Deck building 101 for CCGs is that you play the minimum you are allowed to unless there’s a very good reason not to. In most other games that would usually be reserved for a very specific purpose or some kind of trick deck, but Netrunner has more deck interaction due to accessing so it evolved a mentality for 49 cards in order to dilute the agenda concentration. This reduces the runner’s chances of top-decking a score from an early R&D access, but besides that it goes against almost every rule of CCG deck-building.
We are all implicitly aware of this, whether we realise it or not. No one ever builds a 50 card runner deck, and no one ever goes into the next tier by building a 50+ card corp deck - despite the fact that you can actually dilute your agendas even further by doing so. Smaller decks are simply more efficient.
As Alex identifies in his article the opening is very important. There was also a post on BGG recently identifying three phases in the game:
- The runner can run aggressively naked before the corp is setup properly - Advantage Runner.
- The corp get set up; the runner is shut out for a while and must tool up - Advantage Corp.
3, The runner gets his rig and is nigh unstoppable - Advantage Runner.
NEXT is a rush deck, it wants to get what it needs as soon as possible because it can get into phase 2 prematurely. If you increase the agenda concentration then you increase the runner’s chances of finding one, but you also increase your own chances of getting one when you need it. NEXT has more protection in the early game than most other decks, so it can afford to offer the runner a better rate of pay-off because the chance of access is reduced.
My philosophy is to build a tighter deck, 45 cards containing 23 ICE. That way your “value per card” is higher - so your influence goes comparatively further, and $ ops are a greater percentage of the deck. NEXT has seen 9 cards (usually) by the time it takes its first go, that’s 20% of the deck, if you’re running 9+ economy ops then there’s a very strong chance of seeing one in the opening hand. Moreover, it means you can just about get away with 2 San San and J-How, which means you can still afford to splash the useful ICE Alex is talking about.
Haven’t had a serious chance to try it yet as I’ve been finishing my MSc dissertation, but looking to play some now that’s done. It might not be the best available, but I would wager it’s a significantly stronger build (of NEXT) than anything going around OCTGN at the moment.