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Necessity of recursion?

From what I have read, people on the internet think that Weyland and Criminal are in an uncompetitive place. How much of this is from the lack of in-faction recursion? Outside of the mini-runners, Criminal and Weyland are the only factions without any interaction with the heap or archives.

So I have two questions:

  1. How much of their current weakness is related to the lack of in-faction recursion?
  2. What do viable decks without recursion look like?

Weyland doesn’t have any problems with recursion. Realistically, it’s going to import interns/jackson like any other deck if it needs it. The problem with it is mostly that it’s the faction that has to score without any help, unless its going to import those cards. It doesn’t have caprice, ash, or fast advance. It relies on rushing and pushing the runner into a run-and-die-or-lose situation or just out taxing the runner. There are particularly good cards against both strategies right now: d4v1d and smc. And both of these cards see enough play that playing weyland is simply hard. But, people still win tournaments with it, so its not bad. Recursion isn’t going to do much for a faction whose main issue is protecting it’s agendas, scoring them and getting its beafy ice rezzed all at the same time as trying to keep resources for killing the runner active. If Weyland had an ID that gave it a slightly larger hand size (maybe +2) and some other minor benefit that helped protect agendas (maybe something that had some love with upgrades), then it’d probably be fine. Still, we see wins out of Blue Sun, Titan, and Argus in competitive environments and occasional tournament wins. It’s largely a meta factor and not an issue with recursion.

Criminal’s problem isn’t recursion, it’s the lack of good in faction breakers. Recursion, is only a possible solution to the problem. If it could double up on the breakers it runs, there’d be less problems. As it is, it’s influence still mostly goes towards R&D pressure and breakers, leaving it with only in-house tricks (which are quite strong). The next problem is that a lot of of its money is run based and a lot of decks have gotten better at making servers taxing to run, which means criminal’s best economy is slightly weakened. Cards that did this in no particular order: crisium grid; caprice; large/low cost ice such as wraparound, crick, gutenberg, etc. It’s also less flexible during a run as it needs to have it’s breakers installed already, and there’s rarely space for clone chips. Special order only works outside of runs, etc.

It’s not that criminal ever got bad, it just never got better in a meta that demanded that of it’s factions. And still, you see criminal take tournaments now and then, so it’s not as bad as it seems. Leela, Geist, and Andromeda can still put up good results even if they aren’t at the top of the curve.


Criminal has a problem right now, but its not recursion, IMO, its that they lack a lot of things, so they have to spend too much influence on too much stuff. They cant have everything they need right now (with how program trashing is now a real thing, while it was usually something minor before, among other things). @gumOnShoe put ot in better words. The other tricks they have cant compensate this fact, and thats why they are in a bad spot now. But as they say, everything is ciclical, and we will probably see something in the future that makes them good again (I hope its not as ubiquitous as before, but competitive with the other factions).

Weyland I think is in a better spot. Blue SunSun is great, and if they get one or two extra tools for the glacier builds, they will be really good (they are great now and the are winning tournaments, but I believe they need a little more to get up there with the best).

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What if we found a way to work around RnD pressure as a necessity, freeing up inf for breakers? Fisk + FIS + eden can force cards out of RnD and into HQ, where you want to be anyway. Then, on the corp’s turn, they have to cope with all the cards they now have. I think overflooding HQ can be a real strategy. I tested valencia with Itinerant Protesters and 2-3 bad pub and eden…its rather tough for the corp to handle, since you can only archive so many agendas before the runner goes and checks it out.

Maybe the future for criminal is HQ flooding (doesn’t stop the purpose of RnD lock though). This is probably into another thread though.

I don’t think Weyland lacks recursion at all, that’s not the issue. The issue is the ease of running kill prevention cards, and playing around kill combos. Weyland is built to function if the runner is forced to respect the kill. If they don’t have to, they can run roughshod over Weyland and just score out before dying. The kill needs to be a real threat before Weyland can be worthwhile outside of taxing glacier BS.


“The Kill” is a catch 22. If it’s too easy, everyone complains about RNG. If you can play around it, what’s the point? Binary win conditions are very hard to do well or even accept. If Weyland had more cards that built up to a sure kill, but could be interacted with I think they’d be in a better place. But, what we see is largely Singularity-Events that lead to a kill that either happen or aren’t even attempted. I don’t think this is totally off topic, but it’s what Weyland is and has always been missing. Things in game that weyland wishes it could have easy access too:

  • Brain damage. Hand size reduction is a good way to slowly build to a kill that has some play around it. (Most cards are too narrow, Ryon Knight would be interesting if anyone ever ran early against Weyland, but they don’t)
  • Hand peaking. Snoop, basically. You can import this, but it’s too expensive and easy to play around.
  • Tag storm, rather than single-turn tags, where the runner has to clear and this taxes them over time.
  • Very taxing situations that aren’t just big ice that force the runner to spend down into a trap. (The only thing weyland really plays with.)

NBN can do all of those last three, which is why all of the really legitimate kill decks are in yellow that involve green cards.


I think power grid overload is right on point, but its too hard to use. Weyland needs to leverage massive cash into enabling kill condition no matter what. PGO just never makes the cut though. Thematically and mechanically it is pretty great. Weyland has always been about getting rich fast. More cards like this utility could do it.

The problem is that it plays directly into “Have more money than the runner”, which you can only do so many times in the span of a few turns. There’s anti-synergy between those cards: Power Grid Overload, Punitive Counterstrike, Sea Source, Midseasons.

I agree with the assesment that program trashing is a real thing right now but I think we are starting to see that it can be overcome in a unique way.

We have always assumed that the best counter to trashing is Recursion but there may be other options.
Currently the most effective trash methods are power shutdown and upgrade traps like Batty and Troubleshooter

Criminal is already resilant against shutdown from low cost hardware and programs like Farie. But they have been choking against upgrades.

This is where a new trifecta of cards come in.
Drive By, Unreistered Saw, and Hactivist meeting.
With those 3 you can keep remotes clear of powerful upgrades and in doing so turn on criminals oldest Strength, HQ pressure. Gang Sign, Sneak door, HQI anyone?

It will be intersting to see how it shakes out but in my building I see that 2 criminals will be able to capitalize on this new archetype best:

Gang Logos Leela - letting you punish agenda scores so intensely that it makes the corp wonder if it is worth it.
B&E Geist - B&E + Expose lets you waltz into scoring remotes, which forces your opponent to hold agendas, ice HQ then you drop double HQI and sneak door and laugh


It’s been mentioned before, but criminals aren’t as bad as made out to be. The strong corps right now are 2 blistering fast NEH decks and RP. Andy used to be the proverbial only counter against NEH (till calimsha showed us his kate). And this RP isn’t the sentry heavy-elp taxing mess, too scared of kate’s events and parasite recursion.

The meta simply didn’t change so much to warrant the disappearance of the criminal. Even if other strong decks come up, with the new cool cards, that wouldn’t do it. As corps tech against those decks (say, cyberdex, blacklist, chonos project), even if not top tier anymore, there should still be a place for crim decks.

That public opinion is so against them is slightly weird to me. Might be down to selffulfilling profecies with winning archetypes or simply cool cards people want to play with that create waves in what’s being played, but that’s a discussion for some other place.

As for recursion, to me it seems poor use to just use it as your backup for when your program gets trashed. They have an associated cost, just run the program twice in your deck and draw it earlier. Either have a card that powerful that you actually feel like it’s still worth it at the increased (recursion) cost, or have a diverse set of solutions where your heap acts as a bigger alternative hand.

Crims problem isn’t that they don’t have clone chips or deja vu’s. Their solutions or power cards tend not to be virusses or programs, but (run) events.


Just splash a couple Deja Vus in your Criminal decks. It brings back breakers if you need it to, and it’s another Siphon or Maker’s Eye if you don’t.

Every single argument for Crim begins with “They’re good if…”

That’s a pretty good sign they’re just not as good as the other 2 factions. Their card pool just isn’t as attractive in comparison anymore. It doesn’t have to be recursion, or breakers, they just need to offer something worth looking at.

I’d say it’s not so much recursion in general that’s that problem, but ice destruction, i.e. parasite recursion. Corps have gotten cheap effective ice, and siphon-resistant economy. Emergency Shutdown isn’t a substitute for outright ice destruction anymore.


I think Weyland will get much better in the Film Critic meta. It has some great tools to carry on supporting its NAPDs, like Contract Killer. I’m not sure it’ll be because of recursion.

Agreed, at least I hope they will. Weyland doesn’t really operate with agendas that protect themselves (outside of possibly Argus), and the protection upgrades have to be imported (which only takes away from their tagging mechanism) so I feel like they’re the most dependent on ice and the most vulnerable to a runner with good money/breakers.

As for Criminal and the necessity of recursion… as others have said, it’s not just recursion. They’re missing the flexible programs, the tutors, the card draw, etc. It’s coming back on-line slowly, but they’re still forced to import a lot of tools into every list.

Recursion in general has become more than just recovering breakers. It’s a legitimate strategy now that many Shapers/Anarchs are dependent on, playing programs and events out of their heap because it’s just as dependable as digging through your deck. I think you could possibly argue that they’d prefer to have a lot of these things in their heap, since having so much information about where things are at gives them an advantage. Outside of SOTs for run events, Criminals just don’t have access to this without spending influence that they’d rather spend on programs.

Totally. At some point, people are going to have to consider in-faction breakers and the best way to use them. And I think that’s where criminals are falling down a bit just now, their in-faction breakers suck.

Shapers rock Cerb, Gordian (well a bunch of really solid decoders), Inti, and a great AI in Atman. Anarchs have corroder, mimic, yog, and now Faust. Criminals suck because they have crap in faction breakers, and no strong in faction AI.

Blowing the bulk of your inf on a breaker suite used to work just fine, in fact, the natural pressure they had early game with Special Order’s around to get best breakers worked great. Now they can’t balance between the necessary tricks needed for Inf spend and, well you get my point. Apart from Faerie and Passport (which both have serious limitations), they all kinda suck. Just look at this big pile of junk here: http://netrunnerdb.com/find/?q=f%3Ac|-+s%3AIcebreaker+d%3Ar

Including such long term favorites as, Leviathan, Gingerbread and Peacock.

I don’t really get the “have to spend influence on breakers” bit. Everyone has to spend influence on SOMETHING.

Anarch used to need to spend influence on siphons (5 points to whoever tells me which faction does not have to spend influence on siphons), and before Lady, Shapers had the same situation as criminals. More points on who can tell me which faction gets best HQ threat cards?

A lot of criminals pack inhouse codegate breakers, and faerie is the beast that kept program destruction at bay for over a year. Only reason why program destruction is making a comeback is because of Batty, and GUESS WHO HAS INHOUSE ANSWER TO BATTY! Which is also btw answer to caprice, sansan and other mean assets/upgrades that can ruin your day.

The situation is that Criminals are not BAD. They’re just not THE BEST. They have good and bad matchups. Same as all other factions and decks always had. Stealth decks are still good, and can throw a very nice punch, and are probably best served out of blue ID card.

Still best runner cards are blue. Heck, even best Noise card is blue :smile:

It’s ok if Criminals are not at the top of the pack for now. Really, it is.


Anarchs get to spend their’s on Net Ready Eyes, which makes all their breakers better, and they were good to start, Crim just get’s the breakers … Shaper gets to buy Legworks and Vamps and other hotness that gives options and creates wins, Crim just get’s the breakers. I’d rather spend my influence on support strategies and key tactical ideas than just having a reasonable rig. Maybe that’s just me.

And Cache is absolutely a Noise card, and barely a criminal card, it just had to go somewhere because Inf free for Noise was OP.

Look I’m being facetious, but RND multiaccess for 6 inf being a basic requirement also doesn’t help. Check this: http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/20850/leela-endless-waltz-v5-sheffield-regional-winner-

That’s 7 inf on breakers compared to 1 in PPvP Kate and 6 on RnD multi-access, which both other factions have in-faction, while they spend basically nothing inf wise on breakers and multi.

I know it’s not representative, and a relatively small sample size, but in the BABW series we’ve had 3 Weyland (BS Bootcamp Glacier, BS Black Knight, GRNDL Supermodernism) and 2 Criminal (Andysucker with and without Switchblade) victories out of 7 tournaments. I agree that Criminal and Weyland aren’t currently the best, but they still have viable competitive decks.

That said, UK nationals data suggested that Weyland was, in fact, the best faction.

Edit: Argus, Titan, 2 more BS decks have also qualified for the finals. At least 1 Leela, 1 Ken Tenma qualified too.

Y’all are basically the only country in the world playing Weyland well right now. I’m not sure if it’s the crappy weather or the awful food, but you folks making being green look easy.

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I think Faust makes Weyland murder look pretty attractive again. Runners with Faust are pretty offensive to a lot of decks.