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NRDB in Review ┻━┻︵ \(°□°)/ ︵ ┻━┻ *9-9-16



A few of the experienced players in my meta, myself included, have been feeling the same way. I personally think that interactivity between runner and corp is the main issue but I won’t delve into that here.

After the Atomic Empire regional I intend to take a hiatus as well. The competitive game’s in a really unhealthy spot, and I say this as someone who loves Jinteki murder more than any other archetype and has tinkered with it for ages. Netrunner’s too fun not to play with friends, and leagues/GNKs are a varied environment where crazy decks can win (and get posted to NRDB with masturbatory writeups). It’s an absolute blast. I’ve never played another card game that feels as fun as Netrunner does when it’s at its best.

But the top tier of Netrunner isn’t like that anymore. And that’s sad.


Your best column, Chill. Well said.


This is a problem that all ccgs/lcgs end up having. The promise of a game like ANR is interaction and complex decision making. The goal of a competitive tier 1 deck is to minimize interaction, and maximize consistency. Unfortunately all games eventually hit a point where the needs of competitive players and decks win out over what brings most of the players to the table. The only question tends to be how long this state lasts.

That said the meta right now is very stale. Even the ‘new’ decks like Dumblefork, and pitchfork are just more efficient versions of previous decks, or decks that had to be changed because of MWL to play similar to older established deck.

But regionals for me is at the end of the month, then I can decompress for the summer and hopefully the meta will change for the better before the fall season.


Any card game is going to have times in the metagame where the best decks have high consistency or low consistency, high interactivity or low interactivity, high deck diversity or low deck diversity, with any combinations of these switches at either end.

Nothing is inevitable as the card pool grows (especially if you have a rotating format), this is just a snapshot at a point in time. Very small card pools do have their own quirks, but ANR is out of infancy now. The game will get better and it will get worse, just depends on the developer’s mistakes and/or malice.

Consistency is an interesting switch to push because you neither want it too high (makes games less exciting and new players no chance to win) or too low (makes games too random with no chance for skill to shine through, which seems to be Chill’s complaint atm.) Interactivity and diversity usually want to be high, but it’s not always easy to develop a format that will give you that.

Another interesting issue is the casual metagame. In theory, the deck diversity should just increase as more cards get printed; we’re at the point now where there are far more janky decks you can design than good ones, and I’ve designed my fair share of the janky ones. On the other hand, even the casual metagame can suffer from developer’s mistakes. People can exploit the assumptions that exist in casual that don’t exist in competitive; or there might be a casual deck that just gets too popular but isn’t fun to play against.


Actually I think that the biggest problem ANR has might be best called relative consistency. When two equally optimized decks go at it even though both decks are very consistent the difference between the two is what give the appearance of low consistency. And when most of the main decks are aiming to not be interactive (to increase consistency) this means that luck will have a larger relative share of what is needed to win.

Edit: Also psi games, nothing says luck like when the best defense in the game (right now) is a blind bidding game.


Yeah, great great column @Chill84! Good analysis and it matches my recent experiences as well.

I think there are two “modes of luck” going on at the moment.

  • The first one, where if both players play good decks (Dumble vs. Palana Glacier or w/e), and make the right plays with regards to their odds. Then indeed who comes out on top will be decided mostly by “luck”. Hitting or missing the agendas with Medium, winning or losing the psi game, etc. But that’s ok imo! That’s the type of luck that made the World’s semi-final so exciting.

  • The first mode above is quite different to the second type of “blind luck” lately, where for example you go for single access RnD and hit either a Future Perfect for 3 points or a stupid Snare that gets shuffled back in next turn. Or auto-losses against certain decks with silver bullets for your strategy, where the outcome is only decided by the quality of the draw (who can find their stuff first and snowball from there?)


I can’t think of any deck in any game where I don’t want high consistency.


That read like an eulogy for Netrunner.

I have a theory that explains the current state of the game: rotation was supposed to happen one cycle earlier, and a lot of card design and printing times were based on that schedule.

I prefer to believe that rather than FFG just really dropped the ball hard on balance (across corp/runner; across factions; across the card pool; across archetypes).


That is very true.

Though, when I see how the meta changed and only get stabilized in 3 monthes because of +/- 20 nerfed cards due to MWL, my hopes are very high when the first cycles will rotate out.

With the rotation, each 6/9 monthes, every new cycle, -120 cards = “if you can’t build, gtfo” ??
Wow, yes please.

That pendulum could very well swing back and smatch the face of low inventivity / high efficiency players.


Is there something fundamentally wrong with Netrunner?

Or is it just that the cardpool is moving forward and most people are resistant to adaptation and change?


Can someone go into a bit more depth about these problems? I’m not sure the NRDB:IR post really says enough beyond “some decks win really easily” which I can see as a valid complaint, but don’t see why the sky is falling.

As far as I can tell, the point is that the game has moved towards decks that pilot themselves, with no interaction and no valuation. Just do A B C and you will be ok providing the runner can’t do X Y Z before you can.

NB: Musuem is an awful card, and I hate it.


This ^^. I get that Mumbad has subjected us to some of the most horrifically boring cards I’ve ever seen, and more deck shuffling than could ever be fun. But I’m still confused as to the ‘staleness’ accusations.

“My decisions in netrunner just don’t seem to matter more than the cards that I draw.”

Can you guys flesh that out a bit? My only concern right now is that new Mumbad decks seem to be some of the most boringly oppressive deck ideas that are less fun to pilot/watch then having myself repeatedly kicked in the nads. If this is Netrunner going forward, especially at a competition, it’s gonna be so ‘not fun’.


You want more consistency (though you might be willing to sacrifice it for more power) but that doesn’t mean the game design wants more consistency


Yes, I think this is essentially the complaint.

FFG are clearly trying to push the focus of the game towards assets as much as ice, but there isn’t so much play-counterplay involved with them as there is with ice. The runner has very few ways to interact beyond going and trashing them, so the game is often the corp just playing any assets they draw, and the runner trying to trash enough of them early on to stop the asset snowball getting out of control. Snowballing board states are something Netrunner has generally tried to avoid, but there are a lot more decks that create them now available - and they’re problematic because early draws (for both players) become very important in determining whether the snowball happens or not.

I think a few runner cards that provide interesting ways to interact with remotes or assets would help significantly. The asset spam decks might still be strong, but at least the games would involve more interesting decisions.

All that said, I don’t think this feeling is anything especially new for NR. Playing against the old Astrobiotics decks pre-Clot could feel similarly snowball-y; many runner games seemed to be determined by what the top 10 cards of your deck were, regardless of what you did. To me the state of the game is certainly better than it was then; there’s a lot more deck diversity around now than there was at the start of the competitive season last year.


off the top of my head, the cards that interact most effectively with assets are:

Hacktivist Meeting

… all of these are quite reasonable responses, but yeah the interaction is a lot less fun than ICE because it basically just turns the game into one of attrition / draw order.


Astrolabe in particular is very much - ‘do I get twenty free clicks?’ and is, as such, quite a non - interaction. Just like other thrilling netrunner questions like ‘do I get fifteen free clicks?’ - what I’m asking myself as I hope for pancakes.


of those options the only interactive one are:

Imp vs Cyberdex/purges
Hacktivist Meeting vs Currents/scoring

and even those interactions seem quite limited


Errr… Apocalypse!

How can you miss out the one card that trashes assets most cheaply?

I don’t mind the fact that you can build Corp decks asset-heavy or ICE-heavy and that these require different responses. It just means that it encourages “toolbox” decks that can deal with different situations and aren’t single-track, “Here is my gameplan whoever I sit down against”-type jobs. I think that it’s positive to encourage balanced, toolbox decks, with more interactivity and tactical decision-making within the game based on the board state (rather than beforehand when you formulate an unchangeable plan while deckbuilding).


I played against @rojazu last night with Apocalypse MaxX. Hostile Infrastructure is a hard-counter to Apocalypse.

The runner has to clear all the HI off of the board before launching for apocalypse. I’d recommend starting with an account siphon, since that will usually prod the HI rez if it is out there.

It is hard to pull off.