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Learning decks for advanced gamers

So, I’m set to teach Netrunner to someone next week. It’s not a new experience for me, I’m constantly proselytizing for this game, so I teach it pretty often. I have a couple of regular teaching decks I keep around for this occasion, based in large part on the decks offered in the excellent article on this very site ( http://stimhack.com/teaching-netrunner-part-1/) and they serve this purpose very well.

Thing is, the person I’ll be teaching to is a long time gamer friend, and frankly her brain is like a supercomputer. We currently mostly play tabletop games (bloodbowl, anyone? also the new O.G.R.E.) and she definitely has a strong preference for highly complex, meta-heavy games. My concern is that she has a really high bar for games, and a lot of games I consider really strong she seems to solve and get bored of quickly.

I’m really hoping to get her hooked (desperate for competetive meatspace players in my local meta) and I think Netrunner has what it takes - thing is, the newbie decks are a bit boring. It’s pretty basic “play ice to keep the runner out, play icebreakers to get in” type stuff in my (and most) teaching decks.

I think she can handle a lot of the higher concepts like econ management, punishing ICE, bluffs, etc. right off the bat, but I’m not sure which decks to use. I obviously still want something that teaches the basics (sorry Jinteki PE and Noise Solitaire) and maybe doesn’t require detailed knowledge of each card in your deck (tutor heavy decks like calimsha kate or titan psychoseasons are probably right out… I think?) but I’d like to teach with some “real” decks to give a better taste of what the game really has to offer experienced, competetive gamers.

TLDR: what “real” decks would you teach with if you knew that math and complicated rules/strategies wouldn’t be a barrier?

I think weyland is perfect for new players, no matter how intimate they are with games. Weyland have pretty good ways to punish the runner and it’s nice for a new player to learn the ways the corp can interact with the runner more directly, not just his credit pool (which, surely, they do very well too). I’d recommend some sort of a supermodernism deck. It makes both of you feel on the edge, thinking about the threats constantly, keeping the blood levels high. I think that’s a good way to make the new player hyped.

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For runner, I would make her play some crim deck. The criminal faction rewards the runner for running and pressuring the corp. It’s something new players seems to often lack of.

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for real decks, give her datasucker andy and NEH scorch/butchershop/whatever you want to call it.


MaxX is also decision intensive and introduces another important aspect to the game in heap management. Also if they start complaining about milling their good cards you know that they aren’t as clever as you thought.

I think this is good advice- so I’m thinking some kind of “good junk” leela deck (andy is so boring, especially if you haven’t yet gotten used to the 5 card hand, and I’ve always thought Gabe was a bad learner ID) with plenty of blue tricks and some decent out-of-faction breakers splashed.

Still going back and forth on corp though - I usually teach w/ weyland, but they’re so weird (and kind of bad) right now. NBN butchershop (I like that name, who doesn’t like that name?) is a definite contender, though it might be a weird first matchup given that I’ll go into the game knowing it’s not standard NBN. I’m also thinking maybe some kind of HB rush/glacier build from foundry? I think the Next or grail ICE might be cool, great flavor and interesting choices to be made. Also a great place to splash in weird bluff or trap cards like edge of the world or valley grid.

For real, even though the decks are a little boring, just play with the default FFG demo decks as a means to teach the basics of the game. I don’t care how advanced somebody is at gaming - it’s the fastest way to teach the core concepts of the game.

then move onto a more involved deck. Core set Weyland Supermodernism and Gabe are my usual 2nd decks to want to show somebody. (All of the big tricks shows to my opponent before we even shuffle the decks, eg the risk of siphon spam, inside Job, Emergency Shutdown, SEA Source Scorch, Snare!, etc.)… ideally just going up to like Creation and Control or maybe the Spin Cycle too (Good Knight Gabe is fun enough!)

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You need to be careful about going to far with the idea of teaching the basics of the game. The X-Wing Miniatures Learn to Play guide is infamous for presenting such a stripped down, easy to grasp experience that it fails to convey the appeal of the game and makes it look very boring.

my thoughts exactly! (I had this exact experience with X-wing, actually :P)

I would though be wary of overloading someone, or giving the impressin that the game is all about x. The basic decks could definitely use a bit of streamlining, but even for very experienced table top gamers there is still a lot to take in in terms of concepts.

Personally I’m a fan of using HB, as you get a few traps interesting decisions with ice and a focus on bluffing. It can also teach a lesson about the value of asset economy and FA. Note I am assuming they’ll be running, absolutely give them a Weyland deck when they play as corp!

Most advanced gamers who i’ve introduced to andromeda are amazed by the nearly doubled starting hand, I don’t know why people consider andi boring aside from having to play against it so much, which is not an issue for new players.


no doubt true. Andy has an ability that is crazy strong, even to people who have never played. However, good =/= interesting. Advanced players probably also quickly recognize that sure gamble is a great card - but it doesn’t contribute much to the “oh shit this game is incredible” factor.

aaaanyways, I actually had just enough time this evening to sit down for a first game; broke my own rule and had her play runner first as Leela, which was a big hit. The moment of realization around the 2nd or third agenda score when she was like “oh that’s what this ability can do” was priceless. By the end of the game the training wheels were just about off, so I suspect our next game will be even better. I think I’m settling on HB - weyland is just too… bad right now. Added bonus of having seen most of the deck before (I played HB tonight)