Multiple deck list Netrunner?

The new A Game of Thrones format that will allow playes to sideboard in cards to tweak their decks against certain opponents generated a littled dicussion in some places about sideboarding in Netrunner.

The first reaction to the idea seems to be that Netrunner has too many silver bullet cards to make sideboarding a wise idea.

Here is a modified sideboarding idea.

Each player could register two deck lists for each side, so they would have RunnerA and RunnerB, for instance. The ID would be the same for each list, but the cards in the lists could be different. You could cap how many cards could be different to make it more streamlined.

Each round, players would reveal their IDs and then have one minute to decide whether they wanted to play list A or B for each side. If players do not decide within a minute, they default to list A.

Why this might be fun and/or good?

Right now, the meta tends to be characterized as rock-paper-scissors where you can run into decks that you just don’t have a reasonable chance to beat. Allowing players to have two lists of each ID would let them play some lists that they might otherwise not. It would also add an element of bluffing and strategic choice when it comes to constructing lists and choosing IDs.

I’m not saying this is necessary for Netrunner, but the idea of sideboarding is not new to card games. I wonder if a variant of ANR that allowed this would be interesting or fun for people to play.

X-Wing’s Hangar Bay events work somewhat similarly, so there is precedent for FFG OP supporting this sort of thing.

I vaguely feel like, for competitive Netrunner, this would eventually lead to an overall decrease in deck diversity, but (like Hangar Bay) as an alternate format it could lead to lots of casual stuff being brought out for funsies.

It’s a neat idea with a lot of practical problems. Number one being that it would require you to have multiple copies of a lot of different key cards. Number two being that, if you don’t force players to bring multiple copies, you’re going to run into matches going to time or lengthening the entire tournament day.


Well, I’d say you can just move cards from one deck to the other. I do it all the time at casual meet ups and MTG modifies decks between games without any significant problem.

It’s been said before, but the practical issue is influence. If you go around swapping cards, you would have to have everyone double check the numbers to make sure the decks were still legal and it could just cause a huge head ache moving cards around.

It might work for some type of single-round tournament where you only played 1 side per round, that way you could limit rounds to 40-45 minutes and still be able to mess with decks and play the match. Otherwise I think it would make for some miserably long tournament days.

Beyond that, it’s been mentioned that being able to choose your silver bullets, particularly on runner side, can let you blank entire win conditions. You would almost have to force the runner to choose deck A or B first, and then let the corp pick a response so it’s not ridiculous. I think the game is probably better as it is now, where you have to make a lot of predictions and judgment calls before the tournament even begins and then see how those calls pay off or let you down.

I don’t see how influence is a problem if I start the event with two decknlists written out - A and B.

The moving of cards is only if both lists run IPO and I have only 3 copies. In a round where I opt to play list B then I put my IPOs in there from deck A.

That said, the idea might not be good.

the OP’s idea is something i was considering when the discussion started yesterday, but i had similar reservations as yours

it would be cool but not practical

but there’s another huge practicality issue, which is when are you doing the swapping and how are you determining it? also, why?
if you’re swapping cards, do you have to play a round then another with the option to swap? do you get to swap as soon as you see your opponent’s IDs?
if you swap decks, who gets to swap? what if my Runner A is good against your Corp A but weak against Corp B and Runner B is weak against Corp A and strong against Corp B? who gets to ‘win’ in this scenario by being able to choose? a blind choice before starting? how could we ensure that it’s a blind choice?

another potential option would be ID swapping, but many IDs (Geist, upcoming Freedom, etc.) aren’t really swappable, and often swapping an ID doesn’t really do anything in terms of helping a matchup
plus the variances in influence and deck size, and the above issue.

one option i could potentially see would be adding restrictions to your sideboard, so things like:
one copy per item in sideboard
cards in sideboard can’t be in deck
in-faction only and can only be swapped with in-faction/neutral cards in your deck
influence spent from sideboard and your main deck cannot exceed your ID’s influence cost

obviously not all of these would work together and some would work better if others were also added, but
i think since the game has not been designed with a sideboard in mind, it’d be really hard to add one in now. so many silver bullets are so strong because they have to take up deck slots and potentially do nothing. if you get the option to swap them in/out, that increases the value of them exponentially and removes the only real downside to playing them

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I think there’s a bit of design problem in that Netrunner’s hate cards are really strong but also easier to employ (because of draw/tutoring being better) than in a game like Magic. Being able to board in damage prevention cards against kill decks would make them pretty terrible, for instance. Magic has tremendously strong hate cards too, cards which shut down entire archetypes, but you usually have to draw into them naturally. Being able to play three games with sideboards only active in the latter two makes this work, I can’t see it working well in Netrunner. Sideboards would crush most innovative or fringe strategies and push people into playing midrange decks consisting of all the most powerful cards.

I do like some of the limitations that @dr00 speculates about. Having a 0 influence sideboard would really limit its power and make accidental influence errors impossible. Maybe with just a different vision they could work but it’d need to be substantially different than Magic.

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Picking a decklist after seeing an I’D seems ok, although the manipulation factor would make cheating/errors easier.

You could also say something like: after revealing Id’s, you may remove up to 5 cards from your deck. The resulting deck must still be legal. That way you can have the bullets for everything in, and just cut the ones you don’t need.

This could get a teensy bit complicated around agenda points, in that for Corps, at least one of the removed cards will generally have to be an agenda. Which is probably not too hard to arrange, and might even be beneficial, but it does add a thing to keep track of.

I do think this sounds like a good way to have a sideboarding-ish thing without too much complication.

The “Remove up to five cards” is basically “You have a five card sideboard”.

I love the idea of just having a small sideboard. Too big and you can cover too many bases and just make your deck beat whatever, seeing as you can have as few as forty cards in your deck.

A ten card sideboard seems fine, but 12 to make it divisible by three also works. Though MtG has a 15 card sideboard with 4-ofs, which tilts me out to no end, so maybe it’d be funny to split the difference and make it 11.