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OG players return to the game, thoughts. feelings. emotions

Musings of a geezer.

In 7th grade, I was a fanatic for the original Netrunner and probably reminiscences on it for years after it went out of print. Netrunner was so weirdly special because it was one of those games that instilled in me an appreciation for the art of bluffing and, for better or worse, I credited it as a major step on my life-journey to a mid-stakes professional poker player. A job that defined a lot of my life.

When it was re-released, my childhood buddy and I joyfully bought a core set. The release date was a topic of many gchats. Our first few games together though, we were disappointed and kind of depressed by the changes. The basic pre-made decks didn’t create the quality of games we had always had and the world of the game had lost it’s sense of black-coffee humor and dorky swagger. How do you call a game Netrunner without Wilson, Weeflerunner? The cards were so ugly and poorly laid out compared to the silver and black old-style with there 90’s retro-computer art. It felt like I had just seen that Star Wars movie with Jar Jar Binks.

Last week, a Mormon comedian that I know became homeless, because he isn’t a very good comedian but also just refuses to abandoned his dumb dream. He was selling all his earthly belongings so I low-balled him on his core-set. Giving it another chance, it just completely blew me away. I got my wife and brother into it and I have been on Jinteki.net 8 hours a day (I get addicted to card games, obviously). As someone with the deep, childhood passion for this game, it’s kind of a mind-blower that 20+ years later this obscure thing I was so obsessed with has such a dedicated player-base and such brilliant designers. As an Nth degree game design nerd, the balance is Brood War-level poetry.

I can’t help but often feel that I missed out on the great game evolution. I envy those who started out 2 years ago. Learning a game that slowly expands sounds like an extremely satisfying experience. Jumping into a game with so many cards is just not the best way to do it. Alas, it is what it is. I envy whoever has been in it for a couple of years.

I searched the forum but had a question, is there any competition with constructed decks? It feels like there can be a bit of a rock/paper/scissors feel to the meta in that some decks match up better against certain other types of decks. This is fine and has a very interesting balance to it, but I’ve never felt that netrunner absolutely had to be a deck building game. I’d like to see someone make a pair of decks that are designed to just create the kinds of games that create the most in-game, skill-based decision making situations. Do deck-pairs like this exists anywhere? It would be an interesting tournament format and be a lot more welcoming to new players while still assuring that the best players are significantly favored to win. It would also be an interesting way to allow really quirky deck concepts that could never hold up normally to play against equally quirky decks. Forgive me if this is actually an old idea in the community and I walked into Mexico and was like “dudes, you gotta try this food called 'burritos”.


There was a meta like that using decks built by @TheBigBoy but those decks were wiped out by rotation. If new ones are built, I’d run that kind of event again.


You can still play with those decks in a self-contained meta. The problem would be getting your hands on the Genesis/spin cards

Every year, they print the World Champion decks with beautiful full-bleed art (and the inevitable typos). They usually form a decent pair of duel decks, though since it’s from Worlds they usually require a high degree of skill to pilot. You can watch for this year’s champ decks to be released probably around Jan/Feb.

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That might be a good resource, those decks. Thank you.

There isn’t a good player base where I live, LA. Or there might be and I just can’t find it.

Mostly, I play with my wife and my brother and the deck building aspect of it doesn’t really have a lot of excitement when it is the same 2 or 3 players. My wife builds a Jinteki deck so I add damage prevention to my deck and then she modifies hers to account for that and it feels silly to go back and forth. Some decks don’t match up as well as others and we just want to play interesting games where the player with higher skill can outsmart and outbluff the other player.

I get how it would be fun with a bigger player base and enjoy Jinteki.net for that reason but as something to do after dinner, the two person meta isn’t working.

hey qqq, there’s a small group of us that play on Monday evenings in LA at It’s Gametime. There’s also a Facebook group called ‘West Coast Netrunners’ which is really just Socal which you can join for info, and on stimhack.slack.com you can join the #socal chat group. Hope to see you sometime!


I had an opposite experience as a former original Netrunner player. I was mostly into Magic, as much as a middle-school kid with no income could be back then, when Netrunner came out. My friends and I gave it a shot since it was designer by Richard Garfield. I was not a fan of the art at all back then, probably because it was so different from Magic’s flashy art. I can appreciate it more now, but I prefer the art in Android: Netrunner.

When I heard about the reboot, I was a bit interested, but after trying it out, I was hooked. The factions, ID’s, updated mechanics and LCG distribution models are all huge pluses. I sold my Magic cards around 2000, but since then I’ve always had a desire to jump back in. Since ANR was released it completely scratches the competitive card game itch and I don’t think about Magic (except when discussion arises about how to use lessons from Magic to improve the longevity of Netrunner).

Anyways, on your competition with constructed decks question: no, it’s not something that happens very often in this community. But one great example of it, happened about 8 months ago, when there was a lull in the meta. @beyoken had a Blast from the Past / Legacy series of events/videos for even match-ups in the past that a lot of long-time players remember fondly:

Take a look at them and see if any of the match-ups sound interesting. I’m sure if you have some particular decks you want to face against each other from those videos, someone here on Stimhack could probably find you a comparable list.


[quote=“qqq, post:1, topic:9420”]
I searched the forum but had a question, is there any competition with constructed decks? It feels like there can be a bit of a rock/paper/scissors feel to the meta in that some decks match up better against certain other types of decks. [/quote]
Yeah, there sometimes is a matchup-dependent rock/paper/scissors feel to the game, but Netrunner has so many different lines that it’s possible to overcome a bad matchup. I was watching a stream from Worlds last weekend and I was telling everyone in Twitch chat how a taggy NBN deck had no chance against the Shaper with Misdirection and Clot, but I was forced to eat my words when it happened on stream.

People already mentioned Ben Ni’s legacy tournament (I hope he does another one at some point), and TheBigBoy’s learning decks (which aren’t necessarily duelling decks, but they’re balanced against each other), but if you keep checking this forum, there’s someone who frequently organises a league on jinteki.net using thebigboy’s decks. I think the last one finished a couple weeks ago, so I assume there’ll be another one coming soon.

Some people have mentioned that those decks are no longer legal due to to rotation, but of course that doesn’t matter at all, as rotated cards are still fine for casual play - it’s only in tournaments that they’re illegal. What it does mean is that those packs might be harder to find because I assume FFG won’t keep reprinting them. But there’s still stock in lots of stores, and they’re discounting them to clear them, so keep an eye out. Also, the occasional person selling their used collection keeps popping up on Facebook, the BGG trading forums, and ebay.

What IS still in print and you can find pretty easily is Chris Dyer’s 2016 World Champion decks. (even though a bunch of cards in them have also rotated) They weren’t built as duelling decks, they were just the decks he won worlds with, but it just happens that the matchup between them is very even and very skilltesting. A lot of people hated that period in the meta because there was a clear best deck on each side and it was monotonous, but those decks were honed and perfected to face each other so playing that matchup is kind of like a self-contained game in itself!


Also, I had to look up Wilson Weeflerunner because I never played the OG, and omg the art on that card is hilarious :smiley: The expressions on their faces, the energy drink toppling seemingly on its own, and somehow the dated computer equipment makes it even funnier!
But I can think of a bunch of cards that do similar things, both mechanically and thematically:

Thanks for the recommendations, Those decks sound like they are worth seeking out. I’ve also been playing a lot on Jinteki.net and when a match up feels particularly fun and thought provoking, I make a note.

I don’t mind the Rock/Paper/Scissors element so much, in a way. I think it’s interesting asymmetrical for different sides to be advantaged. Black is always disadvantaged to white in every game of chess and that doesn’t make it a bad game. However, I’m no veteran but some match ups seem not just harder, but simply unfun and low skill on either side. I hate to nitpick a game that I am re-falling in love with though since it’s kind of just the nature of the beast. I suppose that what you lose in a percentage of games being degenerate, you gain in flexibility. Different strokes.

There are tons of cards that are similar to the OG cards, but my grumpy old-guy whine is that the original just had a lot of great, dumb, personality that I sorely miss.

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Looks like this just popped up today:

Not likely to have too many complex interactions, since it’s only using rotated cards, but might still be worth following the thread in case some people come up with decent decklists.


Man, I hope that Mormon comedian hits it big someday and you 2 get to play Netrunner vs. each other.

Yeah I hope he bounces back, always sad to hear about netrunner players in dire straits.(Even though from what the OP said I would probably hate his comedy)

Bear in mind you’re playing in a 2-person meta (like most of us when we were first learning) which feels VERY different because whatever you do, your opponent can tech against it next time you meet (or even next game if they brought their binders with them). Can’t do that normally, whether that’s going to the weekly meetup or to a tournament, you have to make your meta calls beforehand. (Well I suppose you could do it at your weekly meetup but who wants to carry 1,000 cards around?) So even if there are some decks that counter yours around, it’s fine if you win against the rest of the field, and you can even hope to get lucky and not play against those decks. I loaded up a tagstorm deck I had just made into Jinteki last week, first opponent had 3 On The Lams in their deck! It felt like shit to have such a bad first outing with a new deck, but I know that’s VERY untypical.

To clarify, I play on jinteki all day. I just mean, as you illustrated, it’s a drag that occasional matches are duds by nature.

Other games of this nature design with a philosophy of having more soft-counter options and trying to avoid anything that is a hard counter. If a few copies of a single card are capable of shutting down an entire deck type…

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Sometimes the bad matches are against strategies that require playing totally differently against. I was terrible against spam prison (installing tons of assets and asset protection so the runner can’t afford to trash them) until I learned to play against them: don’t build your own board in those matches - just play econ cards and trash all the must-trash cards. Also I slot two Scrubber (2 recurring creds for trashing) in most decks, which is the best econ card in that kind of match.

My point is that, even against the most degenerate ANR strategies, there’s a way to play that gives you a chance to win. Sometimes bad matchups are actually just hard to play against.

Doesn’t mean that it’s fun to play against those decks…

I thought I was in love with netrunner but the deeper I get, the more “it’s not necessarily fun to play against” caveats are turning me off.

I think when it’s built in that even 20 percent of match-ups are just accepted to not necessarily be fun, then I more and more just don’t like the “living card game” aspect and just want to play with “dueling deck” or nothing.

For me, I like the bluffing, mind games, predicting opponent and out-playing aspects of the game as opposed to just calculating which (expensive) combination of cards cranks out the W.

I get that the deckbuilding is at the core of the game and I am probably an outlier in this reguard and it has been a drag slowly realizing that I was not as in love with this georgeous babe as I had wanted to be. It was an incredible honeymoon and I will probably still play with a couple of core sets and my wife here and there but last week I thought that I would be throwing myself into it and planning on conquering next year’s Worlds. So it goes.

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Different people consider diferent things fun. Often, when you’re not having fun playing against a certain deck, it’s because you don’t know the matchup well enough from the point of view of the other deck. You look at the board and see an impossible situation, but the other player is actually biting their nails and praying you don’t run HQ cause you’re holding 4 agendas or something. If a certain deck isn’t fun to play against, try playing with it, so you see where its weak points are.


That’s very good advise.

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I was really annoyed last week because my meta-mate keeps bringing Potential Unleashed to Netrunner Night. Actually, I was specifically annoyed because he always beats me with it. I didn’t enjoy the matchup and felt that it was just a cheesy way to mill out the runner into a flatline.

So then he said, “Do you want to try playing it? To understand how it works?” I agreed, and we switched sides. He stomped me twice.

I left feeling totally fascinated by the deck. After playing it, I realized that his PU deck runs really poor, and has really cheap-to-break ice. Both of which can be exploited by the runner. Also, all the decision points when playing against it are whether or not to play cards to get their benefits, or to keep them for HP.

So I came in not enjoying the matchup, and left chomping at the bit for the next time I get to play against it.

I think that’s the skill that helps you enjoy the game. 85% of the time the games are fun and amazing. 15% of the time you get a matchup you don’t love, and you have to uncover what makes it interesting. Where are the decision points? What can you do to play around their strategy? What tech cards can you slot to help that matchup?

I have another friend who loves playing Shaper and is terrible against tagging strategies. He never compares credit pools and often gets Hard-Hitting News’d. So then he just started putting in Misdirection into all of his decks. His playstyle didn’t have to change at all, and now get really enjoys those matches because he just has to think about how to get Misdirection into play if needed. I personally play with tagging strategies all the time, so when I’m running against them I’m really aware of the credit pools and can often play around it. Two solutions to the same problem. :slight_smile:

Anyway, sorry for the novel, @qqq. I’d just hate for you to stop enjoying the game before you had a chance to find the fun in those oddball matches.