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Keeping the game alive

So here’s an idea.

Every now and then (eg. quarterly) our community heroes release official stimhack.com MWL. Even though the cardpool is stale, MWL shakeups would bring back the living card game feeling to Netrunner. Netrunnerdb and j-net follow suit and implement the latest stimhack official MWL as tournament legality criteria. Add quarterly SHL on top of it and we’re in business.



Whatever happens i’d like to be able to continue playing the last official mwl even if community replacements begin to show up.

If we’re going this route, a structure not unlike the one used by Smogon for competitive Pokemon seems more appropriate than just having some all powerful council. In this system, a council would be responsible for for keeping up with metagame knowledge, understanding the community, and most importantly initiating important changes to the mwl. Once initiated, a suspect test and corresponding room in jinteki is opened up to the community where regular (read: established enough not to be an alt or something) players can play as if the change was implemented. After a certain amount of time those players vote on whether to go through with the change.

I don’t think we need to change the game arbitrarily every 3 months just to keep things interesting, some innovation takes time and you can always make weird decks regardless of what’s broken. But i would like to see what happens if we start with most or all of the cards and go through a slow democratic process to reach a healthy equilibrium.

I believe that custom MWL (rather than custom cycles) is the way to go, at least for a first period, so I fully approve your idea. It would also be cool to make custom tournament kits, to fill in the gap that FFG’s Organised Play team will leave and stimulate RL meetups. If I am not mistaken, custom AA cards were already released before (in full legality?).

One question though: are Jnet, netrunnerdb and this site going to remain operative?

Those are all stewarded by separate community members paying out of pocket for servers and volunteering their time. I imagine the answer differs for each one and depends on a lot of things. Wow this isn’t very helpful lol…I guess we just won’t know until announcements are made.

I believe something like this is necessary to keep the game fresh, but since we have 3 more months of FFG-supported tournaments, it’s probably too early to discuss it now. Discussions should focus more on who the most qualified people to steer the game into the future would be, and to create a centralised committee to elect them, cause right now there’s a group on facebook discussing the game’s future, a group on Slack discussing the gmae’s future, and there’s probably a couple of different Discord servers doing it as well somewhere.

I think a group like that is most likely to get the community behind the if it’s led by people who are well-recognised and respected by everyone in the community. So anybody who is , for example, a former World Champion, or a prolific deckbuilder with 1 billion NRDB published decks, or a well-known podcast host, or whatever else you feel makes you likely to get people’s support, you should step up, get other people like you together, and go into all those different forums and social media channels and try to get people behind you. That doesn’t mean that the job of rotating packs in and out, making custom cycles, publishing new MWLs, or whatever else will necessarily fall to you - you could just be the committee that assigns people to do those jobs. If you’re well-respected by the community, we just need your face.

I think the most important thing is that “game continuation authority” is centralized in one place. The best shot for the game to continue is if it’s obvious who/what is “in charge”.


I think the most important things, from the top of my head are:

  1. KEEP JINTEKI ALIVE. If Jinteki dies, it’s all over.
  2. Keep NetrunnerDB and Stimhack alive. I’m willing to host small articles from blogs and so on on my site if people want to take those down.
  3. Create monthly or biweekly meetups of organized games, a small league like Smogon’s or something like that. A mailing list or similar would also be appreciated so people can remember when they start.
  4. Keep a list of basic info: How to play on Jinteki, where people gather about the game, where to read about the cards and so on. Also: Guides on what sets to buy for casual play (Think BGG people)

I think the most important thing is that “game continuation authority” is centralized in one place. The best shot for the game to continue is if it’s obvious who/what is “in charge”.

Agreed. When you look at games that survive and continue to be played post-discontinuation, there is almost always (AFAIK) one agreed-upon and generally recognized source of rulings/organization/content. Multiple sources of this will fracture what remains of the player base until they fall below critical mass and the whole thing just fades away.


Lucky us, we already have ANCUR for that… It’s already the trusted source of information, so we can build from that I think?

There are already people in the Stimhack Slack setting up a central organisation to keep going, and they plan to make an announcement soon; to avoid the community from fracturing.
They’re focusing on Organised Play first, which makes sense 100%, but will expand to other aspects of keeping the game going as well.


FYI; There’s an Independent Development Committee (IDC) which has kept the Star Wars TCG (WOTC product) alive. They have continued to develop cards many years after the game ceased production by WOTC. I thought it would have fizzled out years ago, but it is still going… I think it’s been well over 10 years now.


At my LGS the A:NR community has been tossing around ideas about how to keep the game going once Reign and Reverie is released and we will not have new cards available. Netrunner, for many of us, has been not only the most unique gaming experience but also our favorite, and the community is second to none when it comes to people with which to enjoy playing the game.

Our current working idea, is that the revised core and MWL will remain the only constants in the format. Each month we will use an RNG system to determine one data cycle and one expansion that can be used for deck building; towards the end of the month we’ll have a GNK using alt-art creations for prizes.

I’m excited about a more limited format than the current iteration of phasing out cards. This helps keeps the meta changing while also using phased out cards to ensure a player with a complete collection will still be able to participate. Plus having the opportunity to resurrect old archetypes with different ID’s (looking at you, Whizzard) could be a nice nod to the nostalgic factor I think a lot of players would enjoy too.

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The idea is definitely a fun one, but will probably lead to pretty unbalanced meta. So if you care the most about “fun” aspect then definitely go for it locally. That said, I believe that creating a healthy fluctuating meta for “community official” leagues and tournaments requires some centralised thought process - something more involved than randomization. There are tons of possibilities to create an MWL that works, and at the same time creates a different meta even when the cardpool is the same.

Thanks for the reply.

I do agree that the current iteration certainly leaves room for a lot of unbalance in the meta; what we’re trying to figure out right now is how to keep the meta interesting and refreshing with a static pool of cards. We were debating using the original core, but quickly realized it would turn into everyone building ‘good stuff’ decks and auto-including the best cards from the chosen expansion/cycle. I had forgotten how awesome Noise could be with just 3x core sets.

I would contend that game night at my LGS is more for casual fun, but we also enjoy competitive play. I think having different formats for is also healthy for continuing interest in the game once development ends.

Feel pretty strongly that final MWL structure could be slightly more complex now that the card pool isn’t changing. This might be used to bring back the rotated cards, which I think should be a goal since there was only one rotation. I suggest:

  1. Keep the removed category
  2. Split restricted category in two: general restricted (a big group of generally OP cards) and special restricted (list of cards pairings that cannot both be included)
  3. Have a one per deck category to perhaps bring back some of the old stalwarts without needing to use banning so much.

The main idea is to have a MWL with enough flexibility to accommodate as many cards as possible in the cardpool, but also to be able to give the game the fine tuning it deserves in the afterlife.

People complained about this with Rebirth and it’s generally bad design decision because it increases draw variance. The games where you draw your powerful one-ofs are significantly different from the ones where you don’t. This was very noticeable after AstroScript errata.

I’ve always been one to favor simplicity. The more complicated the MWL structure is, the more difficult for deckbuilders and new players to understand, but it’s also more difficult to effectively test because the possibility space multiplies. “Should Account Siphon be banned or restricted or one-per-deck or not allowed to be played alongside Aaron Marron” is an already enormous set of questions, then consider that you need to answer all of these for every problematic card simultaneously.

Anyways, I do like the idea of multiple restricted categories in the abstract, I just think coming to the right set would be very challenging. A slim ban list is an appealing mechanism to me since it’s easy to understand and test. People coming from other games will get it and I do think we want to keep player retention/recruiting in mind if the game is to be sustained. Then again, I’m also not sure what format you’re talking about (standard, legacy, cache refresh, etc.) which influences things. Legacy has such a large card pool that, while there are more broken synergies, you might actually be able to get away with a smaller MWL because a counter exists for nearly everything.


Special restricted is my main idea. These should be relatively straight forward to identify cause you’re looking to break up OP combos that should be obvious. Employee strike for example should be general restricted, while Wyldeside/Adjusted chronotype is a pairing that could be broken up with special restricted. It could also be used to restrict pairing of replacement cards like Restructure and IPO.

Putting a pairing on special restricted is less of a hit than the general restricted pool that we currently have. If we don’t want to have an all-cards pool maybe it isn’t needed…but I think more strucutre is needed to bring them all back.

I still wouldn’t mind Siphon as a “one per deck” which IMO it probably should have been from the beginning. Felt the same about Blackmail and Deja Vu. Jackson Howard would also be a good candidate…so less protection against flood but still get the boost later game. But I totally understand the variance in gameplay from limited high power cards. Btw…I think rebirth is well designed.

Rebirth might be about as ideal a choice for “one per deck” as one can hope for, (and I could see an argument for, say, LARLA), but I wouldn’t use it as a way of making Siphon weaker. Either it doesn’t work because we’ve got Planned Assault and Same Old Thing, or it does, but only by distilling the brokenness down to 1/45th of your deck.

(I too like the idea of different categories, and agree that there’s a lot you could do with special restricted in particular. I hate 24/7 News Cycle, but its brokenness depends entirely on what you can play it with. That said, I think phette’s also right about the importance of simplicity.)

I think there’s the seed of a good idea here, but I would go in a different direction. I don’t favor changing the MWL just for the sake of change – I agree with many of the criticisms voiced above, and would add that the MWL is one of the least-clearly-communicated rules of the game.

What I would favor is a rotation of microformats. To me, one of the sad things about the end of Netrunner is that the current cards will never rotate out. A lot of interesting cards and strategies never got played because they were overshadowed by better alternatives or hard-countered by existing staples. I love Paperclip and Hayley Kaplan, for example. They’re both fun cards that enable a wide variety of effective decks and have interesting interactions with all kinds of things. They also make it very hard for me to get excited about new fracters or Shaper IDs, even though I do enjoy Wu greatly.

I think that there is potentially a lot of value in formats such as (New Core+2 Cycles), (New Core+first 4 deluxes+1 Cycle), or (New Core+Deluxes+Choose any 1 Cycle). You could have something like a quarterly or 6-month rotation – A Kitara/Reverie event, followed by a Flashpoint/Mars event, followed by SanSan only or whatever. You might incidentally end up revising the MWL for the limited formats, if any of them got enough gameplay for the meta to be fleshed out.

I really like the MWL as is. My only small gripe is that when i was new to the game i found the phrase “Most Wanted List” confusing. It sounds like these are cards that people want or something. It’s cute I guess but it would have been a lot more clear to simply call it “the restricted cards list”

I think the concern of rotating cards back in is that newer cards were often refined evolutions of concepts explored in earlier cards so in a way it can be a step back.

But more than that, cycles are balanced as a set. Mixing sets that aren’t designed go together might be fun for social-gaming novelty but it sounds like it’s probably just more unbalanced, which for me equals less fun.