I want to chime in on the “Damon Interview”. I have always valued his perspective. He is highly intelligent and clearly understands the game from a birds eye view. He also however likes to speak from a “self fulfilling prophecy” designer perspective I believe. He wants so bad for his design to be in line with the meta. The truth of todays cardpool and his “vision” however are not in line at this time IMO. That will hopefully change over the next 6-8 months, but his overall tone and demeanor is more prophetic than grounded in fact. I think he is speaking in terms of where he is trying to steer the meta (and our minds), versus where it really is. Netrunner is a game of misdirection, and false information. Damon is the lead designer of Jinteki. He is extremely calculated and careful about every word he uses (can you put the puzzle together?). Take it for what it’s worth, but I think he is planting seeds for the future rather than speaking to the present.
I thought his idea behind science and math was pretty interesting, because I see it all the time, even in top players. I think there is a HUMONGOUS difference between building, testing, and playing a “new conceptual” deck vs grinding it into a pulp to truly find out how to make it work, or if there is merit at a tier 1 level. Just because I built a new deck idea that’s original, play it 10-20 games, does not mean that I am even close to understanding if the deck is viable or not. I have left many potential tier 1 decks on the shelf because I simply cannot focus on too many decks at one time (usually only 1 each side seriously). Any deck that I would consider to be original in anyway and also consider tier 1 always took 100+ games to make all the tweaks to get it there.
So I agree that the “average” Netrunner is more focused on the math of the game versus the science. and I think it’s an insightful way to state it. The truth however is that the “average” Netrunner lacks the time and/or ambition to truly put a deck through the ringer and might also lack the confidence in their own interpretations, or have misguided interpretations from their testing to keep building positively upon their original idea. Net decking a top players deck and tweaking it to your playstyle is a much safer and efficient way to play the game. I think people gravitate to the Math/efficiency of the game, because it is a way to interpret in absolute terms and can create a level of clarity and certainty for a player that gives them confidence. I have always believed the “math” to be part of the equation to being a great Netrunner, in fact in the current state of the game I believe it’s enough for someone to be a top Netrunner. But as the game has progressed this has become less true, and If Damon is as smart as he wants us to believe he is, I think we will see the meta start to open up significantly and open even more doors for a more dynamic and diverse field.
I do love his end statement of question everything. This is one of the reasons I have spoken up at times when people assign absolute values to cards and ideas and speak/write in such certainty. It is a very dangerous approach to this game and I have personally seen it drive some very excellent Netrunners and brilliant people out of the game. They become convinced in their own absolutes that they become blind to a whole array of new ideas that are blossoming right in front of their eyes.
I really have no point in writing this other than that I was moved by the interview, and after reading some other reactions to it, I wanted to get my piece out there. Take for what it’s worth.