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

Excellent post, and it’s a shame that the switching-decks thing is never incentivised by the way we actually play (GNKs, other tournaments, …). It could be fun to run a “deck tech” night where everyone does that explicitly.


This was great advise and I spent all weekend obsessively playing that CI Champion deck on Jinteki.net that is all the rage right now. Honestly, that deck is ridiculous and as a new player I am winning 80+ percent of my matches without even playing it that well. It only loses when it gets a really bad draw.

However, I actually love playing against it now that I understand it and I can keep the match close and pick off games here and there.

I think that I will always be an advocate for the concept of different sets of balanced dueling decks because some match-ups are just extremely fun and element of design surrounding the decisions to include or not include hard-counters is essentially a needless element of rock/paper/scissors.

Perhaps, when I am more advanced, I will get into designing these. The core set is fun enough but the games I have had with my wife and brother haven’t done the best job hooking them, as the core decks often create frustrating games where things never come together and tweaking decks to create better games is not very fun or easy when your entire understanding of the game has only been gleaned through playing these weak games. I end up saying to them after a lot of games “see how it would be fun if your deck was better, you should check out jinteki.net and netrunnerdb.com”.

Why not just hand new players 2 decks that match up in a fun way until they know all the rules and enjoy the game and then get into deck design and tweaking?

Multiple tangents aside, I appreciate the advise and certainly have been appreciating elements that I previously found frustrating and have been having a great deal of addiction/fun. Playing a deck with an 80% win-ratio doesn’t hurt the fun element either. A lot of the champion corp decks I have played with more than 75 percent of the time. A good corp deck pretty much plays itself sometimes.

Does Jinteki track stats on their games? I would be curious to see what the win rate is for different ID’s or for different sides of the match up.


Yes, but they don’t get published often nor in full. @mtgred, the site’s creator, occasionally would provide a statistical report, but it’s been months if not over an year since the last time I saw one.

Didn’t someone run a tournament recently where every other round you had to play with your opponent’s decks? (eg first round everyone plays their own decks, 2nd round everyone plays their opponents’s decks etc) Was it the Reading jank tournament or something? I think it’s a cool idea, especially for a casual meetup.

Also, when you think about it, this is kinda the way most people learn Netrunner, since it’s usually 2 people sharing 1 core when they’re first starting out.

Good to know you’re enjoying yourself :slight_smile: And yeah, playing with decks that are specifically tooled against each other can be a lot of fun, but it’s often a little lop-sided as the runner’s silver bullets tend to be a lot more effective than the corp’s silver bullets. I don’t know why that is, it’s just something I’ve observed. It might be not due to the effectiveness of the cards at all even, but simply due to the fact that the runner can dig through their deck to find them more easily (cause if the corp starts drawing a lot they risk flooding their hand with agendas), or because the runner has more recursion and can bring them back more.

Making decks that are simply fair and balanced against each other (rather than specifically teched against each other as duelling decks) might give you more of the kind of game that you’re looking for. In which case check out those decks thebigboy made whch I think someone linked to above. Or wait until he’s updated them with post-rotation cards.

Now that you’ve played the world champion corp deck though, go back to NRDB and check out some of the top runner decks. Now that you know what that corp deck does, you’ll be able to see that most of the high-placing runner decks were specifically teched against it. For instance the first place runner deck has the Clot and the sac cons, and the Info Sifting to deal with CI. Of course they were also building against the other top corps like PU, CTM, and AgInfusion, so it’s not as immediately obvious with these as it is with Chris Dyer’s decks last year (when CtM and Whizzard were by far the best decks on each side and they didn’t much care for dealing with other matchups), but it’s still the case that any two successful decks from a large tournament will, in a way, be duelling decks to an extent.

Just want to make sure you saw this, there was a stat dump just the other day. It’s currently only compiled in a few plots on twitter, but I’m certain someone’s writing an article on it.

http://www.knowthemeta.com/ also tracks ID usage over time for tournaments, and they’ll write up blog posts on trends in deck archetypes every few months.

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Leads directly to this:

Netrunner would not be as healthy as it is without Jnet, but it has also introduced some issues which could be addressed better, particularly for new, infrequent, returning, or social players.

For one thing, Jnet is spectacularly ambivalent about helping players find matches that suit their play goals, and I’m afraid some of the recent additions (deck and game stats, particularly the nebulous “game completion”) have not actually improved the quality of matchmaking in the casual lobby. (I think I get more seemingly angry opponents and ragequits than I did before the changes.)

Bad vibes are a natural consequence of playing video games online with strangers. In-person Netrunner metas are bound by local social and cultural norms, the online meta is not. I prefer the in-person vibe, but I have jammed around 1,000 games of Netrunner on Jnet in 2017 and I simply couldn’t do without.

If you’re feeling bummed out, take a break from Jnet. Don’t feel you have to netdeck or play abusive combos, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you “just slot X” or “just pretend your cards are hitpoints” or “this deck is easy to beat if you understand how it works.” This is categorically unhelpful advice if you’re just not enjoying your games. Jnet amplifies this feeling by 1,000%, so it’s not entirely the game’s fault.

  1. Try to find a group of likeminded players and form a private chat on Facebook or similar. By knowing each other’s playstyles and being able to have more honest discussions about what you find fun and unfun—away from the posturing of the competitive-dominated online discussion space—you’ll find better quality matchups.
  2. If you do actually want to dip your toes in pseudo-competitive play for whatever reason, you’re probably still in for many many awful matches. My advice is that a) you can’t control this; b) sometimes Netrunner isn’t fun; c) you probably will have to figure out how to beat PU or whatever deck you dislike at some point; d) it’s not personal; d) the person on the other side may be in the same boat as you, just trying to get better. I’ve actually learned discipline, patience, and humility by losing hundreds and hundreds of games. I never question why I’m doing it, but if I get bummed out I can work on something else for a while.

good fun, luck have


I don’t think it is quite fair to blame j-net for this. They are an incredible labor of love and as someone who has been looking in vein for people to play Netrunner with for literally 20+ years, I will not hear a bad word said about such a fantastic website. If someone made a website like this for the 1979 version of Avalon Hill’s Dune board game, I would literally die of lifelong nerd-wishing gamergasm overload.

I don’t think my problem is that the ‘play goals’ aren’t being met, i.e. I am not looking for less competitive players. I really think it is the nature of the game itself that any 2 decks are supposedly meant to be played against each other. Maybe the rock/paper/scissors element of it is a fascinating meta-concept for some, but I have been trying to teach my enthusiastic wife and brother the game and they are both into it but with just 2 core-sets and a Terminal Directives Expansion, I haven’t been able to provide them the quality of experience that has hooked me through Jinteki. Having spent over 100 dollars, our games are mostly the runner just drawing for a missing breaker the whole game or something equally less engaging compared to the fascinating depth of play I get on J-net with netrunnerdb decks.

My options are spend a significant sum of money (which I am not ready to do on players who still might play it a few times and get bored) or give up on live play. Maybe core 2.0 will address this but, and I am probably droning into broken record territory, why not just release a solid, well-crafted smoke deck and a solid Jinteki deck that match up pretty well so I can jump my friends and family into a game that I know will be a challenging, fair game. As player base dwindles, this would be especially key as I can’t be the only person who wants to play with a couple of friends as opposed to spending a few hundred dollars and going to meet-ups or whatever.

This is actually what killed the original netrunner as the starter decks were only borderline playable and with the random distribution of cards, it costs even more money just opening pack after pack hoping for another Sure Gamble or Hedge Fund. WotC netrunner cost a lot of money and then involved a lot of deck building homework and only after a few dozen hours, a lot of bad games and a few hundred bucks could a player have an enjoyable game. It was the recipe for total game failure.

FFG has significantly addressed this flaw with datapacks and a more thought-out core set, thank god, but I feel like the closer you get to new players having competitive-level decks, the better the game does, period. Many of my old-fogie, friends that I have been raving about the new Netrunner to on facebook chat all said they bought a core set, didn’t have good games and put it aside. On J-net you can jump in with the most recent tournament winners and it solves the biggest problem.

One more defense of Jinteki v. IRL play, I vastly prefer J-net myself. “rage quits” have never bothered me (and I actually have always held the unpopular opinion that the whole ‘typing gg’ thing was rather corny). Not everyone, but quite a few people who play games IRL have body odor and social issues and the convenience, comfort and pleasure of my own home, not to mention the ability to build decks without spending 100’s of dollars is superior is almost every way. To each their own, of course, but to clarify, my problem is 100% not with J-net and 100% just wishing I had 2 fun decks that match-up well against each other to hook new players with.

My only gripe wit J-net is that it is so much better that I really don’t enjoy live play anymore, as I have now put in so many hours that I am way ahead of my wife and brother and find their inexperience combined with our more restricted deck options to be slow and boring.

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I suggest to proxy cards to ease the transition for the buy-in in case your friends and you decide to keep up with the game. You can find watermarked images at http://ffgapp.com/qr/ADN01 to http://ffgapp.com/qr/ADN48

Supposedly a lot of work went into making revised core a better experience, so waiting for that might be a good move. I can’t say, though - I’ve been more than happy to play constructed decks after rotation!

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You could netdeck some core set only decks if you want a good, balanced experience. People have had 5 years to solve that puzzle. Try https://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/20404/criminal-gabriel-tricks-econ-icebr-single-core-set- vs https://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/15757/hb-etf-economy-traps-deck-from-single-core-set-

Or buy a pair of champ decks?

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Where can I buy champion decks?

Even without the use of an internet search engine, there are plenty of clues in this thread as to where you might find the World Champion decks for 2015 and 2016. Using the information we have at hand you could, as one example, ask the Mormon Comedian where he originally acquired his core set. (How’s he doing by the way?)

Skip 2015 and go right for the 2016 Champs. They’re very, very well balanced against each other, such that Whizzard and CTM dominated the top cut of Worlds last year. There is absolutely hours and hours and hours of learning and fun available with just these two decks. I never got tired of watching Whizzard v CTM matches. These are as close to battle decks or constructed decks you will find, even though for me the absolute best part of Netrunner is variety and weirdness.


If you friendly local game store sells Netrunner, they may have them in stock or can order them. Looks like Amazon has it for a little bit over retail for 2016, Team Covenant will also have them and they’re worth supporting. FFG started selling Champion decks for 2015, but I also agree that the 2016 matchup is more interesting. 2017 will probably take several months before they are released.

Yeah definitely 2016.Most games stores should still have stock,and most online places too.

Oh wow, exactly what I wanted. Although people talk about how broken the game was before this last fix. Would these two decks be the kind of broken games that seem so universally complained about or are they a balanced, strategically interesting match-up with a decent multiple-replay value?

Most of the complaints around “brokeness” during the 2016 Worlds were tied to the fact that there was objectively one best Corp deck and one best Runner deck. The championship decks are examples of those decks. They are balanced against each and both have relatively high skill caps, which means that there is a ton of replay value as you/your opponent learn how to play them.


I believe in the latest episode of The Winning Agenda they conversation revolves around this subject. Our games best players noted that they enjoy the game when their are more skill intensive decks but less deck diversity. This is interesting (to me at least) because of the notion that the game becomes more about the “game-in-the-game” rather than “does my deck have a good match-up against this other deck.”

When Dave Hoyland was talking about this it sounded like he was talking more about (for example) chess than (for example) poker. So when the meta is “stagnant” with only one or two good decks, then game becomes more about chess rather than poker.

I for one like a diverse meta, but can totally see what he/they are saying about how 2016 was a more fun Worlds than 2017.


That is very interest perspective and I feel mildly validated to be in good company regarding my deep and passionate opinion on this philosophical matter.

I know what you meant with your chess v poker metaphor but as a serious poker/netrunner player I would respond that when both decks are known it is more like poker than when they are more diverse. I could write a stupidly long post on this topic, but I will spare you here.

I would say that known cards are more like poker and chess and more diverse fields are more like rock/paper/scissors.