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Novice impressions of Corp versus Runner

Dear all

I started playing ANR very recently (a few weeks back) and am enjoying it immensely.

One thing I have experienced in this time (50+ games) is that it seems far easier for the Corporation to win. In my games, even when I played superior opponents, I was often able to win with the Corporation, quite reliably, but not with the Runner.

I started with Jinteki PE, after a few games I got the hang of it and was winning most of the time. Jinteki RP was harder to learn, I lost every one of the first few games- but after that (once I saw my friend use the deck well) I got the hang of it and very seldom lost (the only subsequent loss I can recall was to Leela where she got off to an absolutely flying start). This deck seemed much harder to beat than PE and less reliant on gambling.

After this I tried, NBN butcher shop; again, the Runner was only winning (early) when I got a dreadful opening hand. However, I would say that this deck seemed more variable than the Jinteki decks. And perhaps a careful Runner could avoid death and beat it. With Weyland scorch, again, one small mistake and the Runner immediately loses.

On the Runner side, I tried Reina Headlock, Andromeda and a little Maxx. In all cases the game felt more random, with a need to get decent cards and economy early on. In addition, even if ahead early on, one small mistake could throw the game.

I would like to know your views, is the Corporation stronger overall right now? Or perhaps I am just much better at running the Corporation side and need more practice as the Runner? Or, maybe this is the typical novice experience? I saw a study of OCTGN results that concluded that the Runner is better at high skill levels- but does that apply with today’s card pool? I guess the study results were taken from all games from outset, and I heard that in the early stages of the game the Runner had a huge advantage.

Thanks a lot for your views on this!

When the game started, the pendulum was on the runner’s side for a long time. Now it’s on the corp’s side. That’s just the nature of an asymmetrical LCG.

At the highest level of play, I would say that the runner is strongly favored at the moment in tournament play. Of the decks you say you played I consider Andromeda and Reina weak against the feild right now, and Maxx decks are very difficult to pilot correctly. Take a look at the Whizzard deck on the front page of NetrunnerDB [here][1] for a straightforward, powerful runner deck. It packs several of the best Runner cards at the moment, notably parasite and medium, has a strong economic and draw package, and Whizzard’s ability has never been so relevant.

Edit: To be clear, not as strongly favored as it was Pre-Spin cycle or anything. But I think this is still the weakest the corp meta has been since probably halfway through the spin Cycle.
[1]: http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/21538/l4j-looking-for-job-madison-wi-regional-2nd-place


I would not have said that corps were particularly favoured right now, overall it feels quite even although there are some noticeably lopsided matchups on both sides.

I think you’re in quite an unusual situation having started playing by using established archetypes rather than the more normal fumbling around playing janky nonsense which is how most of us started out, and this could be contributing to your unusual experience. I think it’s probably easier for a novice player to pilot a strong corp deck well than a strong runner deck - it’s obvious that you have to protect your central servers, build a scoring remote and advance agendas when the runner is low on credits or sit back and wait for them to overextend so you can kill them in Butcher Shop/Weyland murder, but learning when to run, when to sit back, when to dig for what tools with the runner is much more subtle and less obvious. I’m sure that the more you play the more you’ll find your win rate with runner improves. Stick with it!


I think this is probably accurate. The Corp generally has a pretty straightforward game plan in mind and the runner is largely playing a reactive game. This means that the Corp player just needs to place ICE in reasonable positions and follow their plan, (and generally doesn’t get punished super hard for putting ICE in suboptimal positions), while the runner needs to get a read on the Corp, be disruptive, and as you said, avoid fatal mistakes.

As runner, achieving victory is largely dependent on being extremely efficient, maintaining the ability to threaten the Corp from multiple angles, and putting a read on the corp as to not making fatal errors, which often could depend on gleaning information from how the Corp is playing. Often, you have to identify when you’re losing so you can switch gears from disrupting the Corp to fighting for as many random accesses as possible before the Corp can close out the game. It also means choosing and practicing with a Runner deck that has decent matchups against the most popular Corp decks, as not every runner deck is going to have a good shot against every Corp deck. Developing these skills is extremely difficult, moreso than the skills needed to play Corp, because you have to know each Corp deck well enough to know how the matchup tends to work, what your best angles of attack are, and have a good idea of what ICE you’re likely to run into in what position without having much information to start beyond which ID the Corp is playing.

When Netrunner started out, the Runner had a huge advantage. Corps were lacking enough powerful agendas to fill out their suite with things they actually wanted to be playing, as well as reasonable economy options, (many corps were splashing things like Beanstalk Royalties simply because there were no other options, whereas today, barely any decks play that card because it’s too low-impact). In the second cycle up through Honor and Profit, Runners gained next to nothing while Corps managed to fill out their agendas and economy with cards like NAPD Contract, Celebrity Gift, Sundew, Sweeps Week, and Restructure. Glacier also became a playable alternative to Flatline and Fast Advance as the Corp’s econ became able to back up protection upgrades like Caprice and Ash. Corps became dominant, especially as NEH AstroBiotics and RP Glacier put the Runners in a position where they needed to be able to challenge both fast, aggressive Corps and slow, grindy ones, as well as manage the flatline threats from NBN, Weyland, and Jinteki PE.

Since then, the Runner and Corp both gained valuable tools, and it seems to me like there is good balance right now between sides at the highest levels. The trouble for new Runners is that the larger card pool and abundance of punishing ICE makes challenging the Corps contingent on the ability to avoid blowout situations as well as balance risk when you might not be able to play 100% safe. As you get better at the game, you will become more familiar with typical Corp plays and thus be able to react accordingly as the Runner. It’s just going to take some time.


I think that right now, at a high level, runner is advantaged , however, corp is significantly easier for new players as all the information is present and you know the few cards you need to play around. Right now I actually have an issue picking out a corp deck because what’s good against kate is bad against anarch and vice versa


This is partly my issue as well. I could live with having a bad (but not overwhelmingly bad) matchup, but it’s also harder to find a Corp I just like to play. I might try that new IG deck that people are excited about.

I’d agree that Runner is advantaged at high levels right now, while Corp is (and probably always will be) at an advantage at lower levels.The hidden info the Corp has is a big deal against less experienced players, but it’s all but negated against the strongest ones, barring Shell Game decks.
The Corp can’t disrupt or screw with their opponent nearly as easily as the Runner can, and this strength really manifests itself during high level play.

One thing I like to do with new 'runners (which me and a friend did when I was new) was start off each game discussing the corp decklist in detail - talk about it’s strengths, strategies, splash choices, etc. It’s a good way to simulate the experience of being a more experienced player who goes into most matches having a very good Idea what they might be up against.

In competitive netrunner you will obviously never do that as the game can hinge entirely on one crazy splash or weird trap in your deck; however in casual play between/with novices, I think this is a great way to level the field a bit.


I like this idea. It gives the runner a pretty good idea of how to expect the game to play out, and it could also make for some good discussion about figuring out a deck’s weaknesses while playing.

I think so much comes down to this. Once you know what the absolute worse thing that could happen to you at any given time is, a lot of the fear goes out of running and it becomes an awful lot easier to play aggressively.


One aspect of the game the novice Runners under-appreciate is the value of making runs and this is where a lot of the skill (and difficulty) comes in that side of the game. Running aggressively forces the Corp into making decisions about which ICE to rez, which in turn gives you information about which servers they feel they need to protect.

The Corp only has finite credits, so very often rezzing one piece of ICE will mean there’s not enough left in the coffers to rez another on a different server. Similarly, certain decks find it hard to kick-start their economy if they fall below a certain credit threshold, which means they can be afraid to over-commit by rezzing too much. The Runner can exploit this to forge openings by making the Corp spend money.

Obviously you need to know when to adjust your play: for instance Blue Sun doesn’t suffer from over-committal because it can recoup its outlay next turn. Similarly, you need to know when it’s safe to run aggressively and when it’s not: vs. Jinteki you would traditionally need an early killer to deal with sentries, but vs. Weyland there’s basically nothing that can do you much damage if you’re running naked. HB is mostly safe to run early, provided you have clicks left to break potentially nasty Bioroids - although faceplanting an Architect isn’t great. Likewise vs. NBN you might have to clear a tag against Butcher Shop, so don’t run last click. As a rule you want to install a killer quickly and then run; decks that are packing Grail are a bit of an oddity because you don’t know which breaker you will need to avoid the destroyer and AP subroutines.

The more familiar you become with the game, the stronger your Runner play will become. You will get a feel for what the Corp can accomplish with the amount of credits they have (and the cards you suspect they are packing) and that will give you a good handle on the worst case scenario. Once you understand the game flow from the Corp’s perspective you will be able to see how to exploit their decision-making process and make some high-level plays. For instance, don’t be afraid to play powerful run events like Maker’s Eye, Vamp and Account Siphon in order to bait the Corp into using a Nisei counter, for instance. David Sutcliffe describes in his blog a play he made whereby he “Spooned” into a server blind, under the strong suspicion the facedown ICE protecting it was a Tollbooth - he realised that the Corp’s financial position was such that it would not want to pay $8 to rez an ICE for one use that would cost the Runner less to break.

But stick with it, it’s a great game and you’re doing exactly the right thing by coming here and asking questions. One thing to bear in mind when net-decking: the decks you are playing have been tuned for a single point in time and some of the cards will be meta choices to counter particularly popular strategies (sometimes very locally). For instance, a lot of the UK players are now packing Vamp in Kate decks to improve the RP match-up, but that wouldn’t be immediately evident to a novice from looking at a deck list. So you could pick that deck up and not appreciate the optimal use of the card.


Thanks a lot for all the information guys! It’s good to know that there are sound reasons I am finding it harder to run. Looking at the way the game works, to win the runner has to “do something”, otherwise the corp will win just by playing out its cards. It’s mainly the runner that has to decide, how and when to interact with the corp.

Lately I started practicing with the runner, using the same deck over and over, rather than alternating with the corp (or trying out other runner decks). This method does seem to work, providing more insights into the deck itself, and I am starting to see the various corp archetypes available. In short, I seem to be getting better at running!

I can also see that, once the runner is more familiar with the corp cards and the informational asymmetry is reduced, then they could give the corp quite a hard time in many cases. And finally, it has been good to play as corp against a very good runner, so that we can see the best ways of exerting pressure!


Hi guys

I’d like to check, have you played against Snitch and Au Revoir much? In the novice league I played against Chaos Theory; she had Snitch, 3 x Au Revoir and Rachel Beckman. After some time she had 5 clicks and could get 3 credits per click guaranteed by bouncing off an unrezzed card over archives.

Needless to say, it was hard work playing against it! The only thing I could think of was to use Executive Boot Camp to rez the outermost ice on each server.

Is the above combination of cards common, i.e. is this one of the standard Chaos Theory archetypes? And how is it countered generally?

It’s not exactly new, but not exactly common either. Fringe, really (although the Beckman is somewhat new to me).

So, two things that can work against this sort of engine

  1. Set up time,

  2. Econ dependent upon board state.

I’ll start with number two. If you can get rezzed Ice on all the servers (Bootcamp and ABT are the two common ways to do this, Toybox works as well) then you can shut off their econ. Simple enough.

The first is more tempo based. If you can take advatage of their early game weakness to get something powerful in place (An astro train, a Niesi scored, a super server with a ton of cash) then you can use that to leverage into a victory.

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that engine takes a very long time to set up and usually eats all their smcs to get going, I’d recommend trying to rush out a few high value agendas in the 6-7 turns where she doesn’t do anything.

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What deck did you play? You’re in more trouble against that if you’re on a slower decktype, especially one with a lot of windup that aims to use economic superiority to push agendas through (because, let’s face it, you’re not getting that in this matchup).

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Yes, I was Jinteki RP and it was tough :smile:

The game came down to the last few runner clicks- I had the winning agenda installed and advanced- backed up by a Caprice, an Excalibur and a Nissei token. Total overkill on the remote! I had only a few cards left in my deck. My opponent chose to dig at R&D with multi-accesses, but I actually had the balance four agendas in my hand behind some weak ice! Luckily for me he didn’t check there on the final turn and I was able to win. I had been extremely lucky in that he had missed the agendas in hand with earlier runs against HQ, and must have thought they were all at the bottom of R&D.

In hindsight, I could have made much better use of EBC to rez my outermost ice and shut down his economic engine.

RP actually has a pretty good out to that style of deck, rushing out a nisei can be game winning and even without it caprice negates money advantages on her own. putting a caprice on R&D and keeping the remote one unrezzed until he runs it can make it very hard for him to get in anywhere.


Another novice question from me; I am planning to go to my first tournament in a month or so (due to my location I have to fly to another country to do so! Hence I have no information on the meta there). I was planning on using Jinteki RP but recently have tried out and enjoyed HB Red Coats. I have played Jinteki RP quite a lot and am comfortable with it; however I was thinking that if I do well with Red Coats in testing then I may run that instead. I would like to know, is HB Red Coats feasible for tournament play? What would be the pros and cons versus Jinteki RP? I heard for instance that certain decks may lead to running out of time and potentially be very taxing mentally over numerous games?