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Play at or above your level?

Very much this. With ANR being a card game there are some things that can happen just due to the nature of RNG. Like seeing 13 unique cards in R&D on 1 turn and hitting 0 agendas.

Also, one of the things I’ve noticed about Netrunner is that the reason a game is ultimately won or lost a could be the consequences of decisions made much earlier. A sort of “turning point” where you can recognize what the “best” play could’ve been.

I meant more like this:

“‘There is no level above me


I am soooo looking forward to playing at Worlds this year, to play all the pros, hope to get to play at least a couple of the best, to see how I stand against them (don’t think I am at their level), but mostly to learn and have fun.

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I’d never say that. Dan is above us all, and there are a shit-ton of awesome players in this game that can win anywhere at any time. That’s the beauty of the game.

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Do this. I do like that in the SHL, you can have a variety of skill levels, but, usually, the games are always going to be competitive.

People here are suggesting playing against the best and learning from failures. This is good intentioned advice, but isn’t actually a good idea.

If someone is slightly better than you, you can indeed learn a lot from playing agains them. But if someone is too far above your level, you actually can’t learn much by playing against them.

Imagine trying to play basketball against Lebron James. You aren’t even going to be able to touch the ball. Meanwhile, you are such a beginner you just need to learn how to dribble.


Is that analogous? I think playing against the best player you know who is willing to point out your mistakes is the best way to get better. You don’t have the problem of being broken by a man twice your size in netrunner.


Depends on whether or not you play headlock reina or 7 point shutdown, and how spry you are.


Unless you play Headlock Reina against someone twice your size.


I don’t always feel like I’m competitive in every game I play.

Something that may be taken for granted by the posters so far is that Netrunner is two games: deck construction and game execution. So far everyone has been talking about execution (which is good since it’s definitely the more important of the two, especially in Netrunner) but you’ll eventually hit a wall if you play bad decks with good execution, especially against top tier players. A good idea might be to netdeck tournament winning lists verbatim and play with them, just to see how piloting a “professionally” constructed deck feels.

I’ll disclaim up front that I regularly do not follow my own advice, usually out of some misguided attempt to find novel ideas that have been overlooked by other players. In reality I don’t play enough to truly evaluate novel interactions and should really start only lightly tweaking good lists. The problem then is that I’ll have to start blaming my losses on my play instead of my jank not working out that game :stuck_out_tongue:.


Well, I mean that you won’t be going up against as many joke/fun decks, or random unhelpful-for-testing games, in the SHL. Not every game is going to be competitive, esp. on OCTGN. I’ve had tons of blowouts there, where my agendas keep vomiting up.

I’ve been playing Netrunner since March and have no real MTG background so the learning curve has been steep. For me, SHL has been invaluable. Getting waxed by the top players in the world and then having them take the time to give me feedback has been awesome. @erinrockabitch, @anon50033301, @RTsa are a few that were exceptionally helpful. @bblum in particular has gone above and beyond to help me. Playing a casual with him and open dialoguing along the way about what plays I should be making was probably my personal highlight.

So here’s a few of the things I’ve noticed playing SHL vs General Population on OCTGN. Not that you don’t get good players in GenPop but SHL is almost always a much higher caliber.

  1. I can make huge mistakes in GenPop play and not even know it because they may not take advantage of it. In SHL, you know almost immediately you messed up because the opponent capitalizes and you lose.
  2. I can put together a janky deck and think it’s pretty good playing GenPop. Take the same deck to SHL and you see quickly how weak it really is.
  3. There are card interactions/rules that I was playing incorrectly and nobody pointed it out until SHL.
  4. A lot of times the top guys will play decks they’ve been wanting to try out against me in SHL. So I get to see a wide variety of decks piloted at a high level and see “how” they win. I also get to see their different strategies for picking apart my decks.

So basically, by playing tier 1 netdecks (that fit my style) in SHL I can focus solely on what I need to do to become a better pilot and better player. I also have a “diary” as @Badeesh mentioned of my league matches, what mistakes I made, and what would I do differently. Still a very long ways to go though.

One kinda funny story. I jumped into SHL3 after I’d been playing for about 3 weeks (total noob). My first win came against @spags. He was absolutely beside himself that he was losing to me and throwing out acronyms way faster than I could google them. All I could think was “what a jerk!” Not only did I have no idea he was one of the top players in the game, but it was actually reading his blog from Worlds 2014 while researching ANR that inspired me to start playing in the first place. Now I would relish the opportunity to be acronymically abused by him. :wink:


Awesome. Sorry, I was prob. just more upset at OCTGN. I am occasionally a jerk online, and apologize. I don’t really care about losing. Love the picture of you rapidly googling acronyms.

Please, if you’re new, or just confused, stop the opponent, and ask about acronyms, cards, plays, etc.

I love the phrase. We’re all in the prison that is Netrunner.


To learn faster, you really want a more skilled player to coach you. Talking about overall strategy, mulligan decisions, discussing what you should do in various situations in a cooperative, non-adversarial setting is really valuable.

The problem with low level competition is that you often ‘get away’ with a weaker line because your opponent didn’t know how to exploit it, or they made their own mistake that cancelled it out, or their deck was bad. Or your bad play worked because of variance. There’s a risk of learning bad habits that you’ll later have to actively unlearn.

Ideally you want to learn the right things, in an environment where the other guy is trying to help you learn, not maximize his chance to beat you. In SHL some people are going to be good for this, but others really care about their rating and just want to win as hard as possible.


Oddly, I more often hear about people wrecking in SHL (not just OCTGN randos) with a particular deck they put together, then bringing it to a GenPop tournament around here and finding it not as effective.

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Speaking of which, maybe it’s cos I’ve come to live in Easter time for a few months - but it’s SO MUCH HARDER to get games at night here.
Other things to get better: play in Europe, where everyone good is on your doorstep, relatively speaking.


I think this is a lot less true in Netrunner than in, say, basketball or chess. Deckbuilding is part of being good at Netrunner, and when you play against a skilled opponent, you tend to get a demonstration of what (and why) poor decisions you made when building your own deck, and you get to see why their deck is built the way it is.


Something I always tell competitive players that are trying to improve is not to deckbuild yet. Frankly, until you understand what makes top-tier decks work (by practicing piloting them), brewing your own stuff is a fun way to not learn anything of value.

Deckbuilding in Netrunner is both very difficult and totally unnecessary. You can download Dan’s decks and play them and they will be strong, but you can’t download a copy of Dan’s brain (yet). Piloting practice is mandatory, deckbuilding practice is optional.


Truth. I still mostly netdeck, as it’s easier to take a framework, and tweak from there. Let’s face it: the card pool is still pretty small compared to a CCG. There are only so many archetypes, but there are nigh infinite tweaks on those. Focus on playing and tweaking first. Leave deckbuilding for the weirdos like @mediohxcore, @hhooo and @bblum.