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Replicating Perfection : System Core 2019

Sorry, got a bit swamped the moment the article went live, and forgot to post it here!



As much as I love the new Core (and I do!), it basically killed Geist. Fall Guy, Maxwell, Dean Lister, Underworld Contact all gone - that’s just too much for him, even with Hostage coming back. :frowning:

He might have to take a little break, but there’s a new set due out early next year which might change that. We’ll have to wait and see!


Good riddance


But hostage is back, do you know how many time’s I’ve wanted hostage to exist since rotation!
Geist may just have to go back to bin breakers instead of a reg rig for now (although that does seem really bad with all the ice we’ve received lately). The loss of Fall Guy is probably the biggest hit. +5 and a draw for a click is nuts in the late game.

Then again, if the “must change game state” rule goes away (as has been suggested may happen), geist gets access to on demand sac con, otl, forger, etc. So that would certainly give him a bump

Saccon is rotated. It’s not in System Core 2019.

Ah, ok. Still, losing fall guy but potentially gaining a raft of other triggers on demand could help cushion the blow. Speculation!

I’m working my way through Core Experience, starting with the implied “mono” starter decks.

I’m suitably impressed with these; it’s the closest Netrunner has ever had to a simple dueling deck format that teaches and rewards fundamentals more broadly rather than requiring extremely specific knowledge (which can be fairly un-fun to acquire if you don’t know the cardpool).

As an out-of-the box experience, the decks are so much better than FFG’s usual “mash all the cards together” suggestion. In fact, I’d say they’ve been designed rather than simply assembled. Each deck serves as a great intro to its core faction mechanics, explains every card type, includes a fair portion of econ, and just the right amount of spice. I especially love the 1x “power cards” which produce weird and sometimes significant effects. I can imagine a new player’s eyes widening in sudden comprehension of why Run Amok failed the first five times they played it (the corp simply did not rez) and why it just now succeeded (the corp felt they had to rez either way). It seems all the spice cards have been selected with this high ceiling in mind…

I have precisely two reservations about this set, which may turn out to be non-issues, but have perhaps been inflected by my knowledge of the alternate future which already awaits us in our past.

  • I’m obviously not convinced RP and Leela were apolitical nominations. Nisei will simply have to do more to convince the community that extremely controversial cards (they might not be controversial for YOU, but they’re controversial for a lot of people) have been carefully selected and are not the work of a group of players whose tastes and play goals are curiously aligned.
  • Shaper is a bit of a mess here out-of-the-box. I feel like the other two factions’ “basic” ID is more aligned with their cards (e.g. Sneakdoor for Gabe, Xanadu for Reina). Why on earth not at least give Chaos Theory a harmless toolbox program like Paricia? Instead Chaos Theory gets… Akamatsu Memchip… to extend worthless MU even further. The synergy of Chaos Theory, Aesop’s, and Paricia (or something equivalently pawnable) would have been welcome. Atman also seems a bit out of place in a set which generically uses Crypsis as a means of highlighting the use (and counterplay) of AI.

Overall my read is that this is a fantastic Core Experience so far. I’m really enjoying the matchups and I can see how clever and ingenious the set is. I can almost hear the arguments and theorizing and late nights as I look through the cards. (I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for the Quest Completed decision.)


I think the core decks are good introductions that highlight the themes of the different factions, with maybe a slight disappointment in the suite being the Anarch deck. Anarchs, in my reading at least, are thematically a faction that are dubious about whether they can get into the Corp’s servers, but have some explosive ways to brutalise the Corp if they do. Yet even more of their cards than the other factions are based around boring old money wars, and just Imp and Lamprey on their own seem a bit of a let down on the “brutalising the Corp” front. Even their event “tricks” in Run Amok and Quest Completed, while undoubtedly cool effects, lean more towards the Criminal “sneaky ways to access” ballpark than the core Anarch “smash your toys” zone.

It’s not that it’s a bad deck, it just doesn’t seem as Anarch-y as it could be to me.

Im very excited about Eternal, and built a few decks! If anyone out there wants to test a couple games on jinteki.net, send me a DM!

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It is bewildering that Nisei is deleting terminal directive, which is the first product I’d advise someone to buy after they picked up a core set. Exactly to whom are they catering by deleting more cards from the card pool? I was hoping that the system core would be the old core 2.0 with one or two extra cards in it so that some IDs have the cards they need to operate efficiently back again, like Personal Workshop for Nasir and Oversight AI for Blue Sun. Or, that the new core was just to replace the core 2.0 format. The “rotation” part feels unnecessary.

Looking at the new core set, some of the items in there (or not in there) are pretty suspicious. We now have a Shaper core set that has no programs that aren’t icebreakers, while the core ID is chaos theory. Anarch is losing cards that trash corp cards and lost their AI breaker that they always had in the core set. Plus, the choice of console is also strange. Why add the rarest of the anarch consoles here? Especially when Spinal Modem is a very thematic and potent console? Our criminal friends look fine overall, though it is questionable that they have brought back Hostage, especially when we have a resource in the final FFG set that has “limit 1” printed on it. I also think it is a big mistake that infiltration didn’t make it. You would want at least one card to showcase a game mechanic in your core set, wouldn’t you? Especially one so beloved by new players.

The corp side also has its own set of issues, but this post is already long enough as is. The bottom line is that I did not ask for a reduction of the card pool, and that the system core is pretty underwhelming. I certainly will keep playing snapshot given the alternatives.


You have not asked for a reduction! But the card pool should be smaller and rotation should have happened earlier! While it also saddens me to lose specific cards. I appreciate the approach!
And we have to face this is for a competitive environment kitchentable can play what they want so your recommendation is still fine.

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Thrilled to hear that you’ve been enjoying Core Experience thus far, particularly some of the ‘power/spicy’ 1-ofs. Similar to the Core Sets under FFG, each faction is indeed intended to have a ready-made deck constructed solely from Core cards, and we put a conscious effort into trying to make each faction feel unique and uniquely functional in various ways.

That being said, there is only so much that each faction could be adequately fleshed out in light of the (admittedly self-imposed) limitations of the card pool being drawn from for System Core 2019. With respect to Shaper in particular, it suffers the most from attempting to play with an ‘out-of-the-box’ deck. I actually experimented with giving Shaper access to Paricia, as well as a couple of other utility programs, but wasn’t happy with the result - Paricia in particular was cut because Core Shaper having an in-faction answer to assets certainly did not seem necessary, especially when it led to them overperforming somewhat (factions have influence for a reason, after all - more on that shortly). In the end I opted for Deus X and Atman as avenues for CT to use her built-in MU - the former being an answer to the various sources of net damage and AP ice in SC2019, with the latter as a somewhat skill-testing, in-faction answer to various problem ice depending on the matchup (Archer in particular, which is otherwise an absolute nightmare for the faction). Also, while not a program, Ice Analyzer was included here largely as Aesop’s fodder.

Ultimately though, despite ‘straight-out-of-the-box’ decks being part of Core Experience, the format was balanced around players learning to make intentional use of their influence to mitigate their faction’s/ID’s limitations. With influence spent, Chaos Theory is certainly able to make much better use of her extra MU; exemplar full-influence Core Experience decks below:

System Core 2019 Anarch Demo Deck
System Core 2019 Criminal Demo Deck
System Core 2019 Shaper Demo Deck
System Core 2019 Haas-Bioroid Demo Deck
System Core 2019 Jinteki Demo Deck
System Core 2019 NBN Demo Deck
System Core 2019 Weyland Demo Deck

Regarding IDs being preferentially selected, I certainly wouldn’t deny that I have my own biases, but considerations about the current meta, faction color pie, and future design space were at the forefront of ID decisions. I will readily admit that I have great affection for Leela, more so than for Steve (the other consideration for the Advanced Criminal ID), and that unconsciously may well have played some part in my decision, despite my greatest efforts to remain impartial. That being said, personal preference for Leela over Steve aside, I see Leela as much more aptly encapsulating the Criminal playstyle than Steve - her ability being predicated on exploiting Corp vulnerabilities and creating openings to snowball/swing games in your favour. While Steve is somewhat interesting in his ability effectively serving as a flipside to Gabe’s - both triggering off HQ, with Steve’s instead picking up in power into the late game - having one of the Core Criminal IDs be recursion-related (potentially allowing for recursion every turn) felt very at odds with the faction’s intended strengths.

Regarding Replicating Perfection, on the other hand (and actually related to the comment itself), I’m not sure I fully understand the implication of “a group of players whose tastes and play goals are curiously aligned”. The choice of Replicating Perfection as the Advanced ID for Jinteki was made by me (obviously accompanied by discussion with development), and I can assure you that RP has never been my favourite ID. Unlike with Criminal where I had 2 definite IDs I was looking at for the Advanced ID, none of the Jinteki IDs that I had originally tested in that slot (Tennin Institute, Jinteki Biotech, and Palana) were satisfactory, for various reasons. Tennin Institute leaned too hard on Braintrust (which we have chosen to remove from Core, as we are looking to revisit Jinteki’s ‘Project’ 3/2), Biotech felt substantially too gimmicky to serve as one of the Core faction IDs, and Palana was just generically, uninterestingly good (i.e. not flavourful). In testing RP as the Advanced Jinteki ID, we found that it provided an appreciable, compelling difference in playstyle to Personal Evolution within Core Experience, focusing more heavily on the click compression aspect of Jinteki, whilst requiring minimal set modifications to accommodate for it. Of course, various flavours of RP (glacier, prison, tempo) were also tested within the standard format at some length in attempts to ‘break’ the ID, and while some builds showed promise, the general consensus was that the reliable economy of Palana, the raw power and anti-aggression of Mti, and the redirection of AgInfusion gave RP major competition.


I really do no think you should recommend Terminal Directive as the second purchase for new players - rotation notwithstanding, I even actively dissuaded several new players from purchasing TD on multiple occasions in the past. The campaign doesn’t work as intended, the tournament legal cards are boring, sloggy, errata’d, or all of the above, and the campaign cards are awfully confusing.

I always recommend the deluxe boxes as the second place to go. It’s a much better way to get more of the same, plus people get excited about picking their favorite faction or two for the next purchase.


Just to be clear: none of that is true. New cards are coming early 2019, and the set we’ve made contains a wide variety of types of cards, just like FFG did. Designing for different types of players is a key element of good set design!


Thanks for the detailed and thorough reply! It’s especially great to hear your comments re: the “out of the box” shaper experience. Nothing’s perfect, so that level of honesty is much appreciated.

Regarding the choice of IDs, your response does more than enough to put me at ease. I think ID design and balance was one of FFG’s weak points, I’m not sure why they chose to print IDs with such wildly varying viability, even knowing it would make each problematic one a harder, longer-term problem to solve than an ordinary card.

Whatever the case, you have my full confidence. I’m looking forward to the future.


I disagree. The campaign in Terminal Directive is a good way to ease players into the game, especially when they have a background in other board games. You are also getting cards for four factions which is better than a deluxe can offer you. You are also getting some welcome neutral economy options. The faction cards have a couple of very powerful cards, cards with a lot of flavour to them and some cards that are fairly unique in their effect, like Black level clearance. No, this is by far the best product to get second as far as I am concerned. I suppose we’ll agree to disagree.

Not that any of this matters now of course. Deleting terminal directive and the core set from the game is more than enough to ensure that you better spend your money elsewhere. We’re on the path to make netrunner a game you play on the jinteki site.

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In truth, as Jako stated above, a sizable number of players have considerable misgivings about Terminal Directive, both with respect to its ineffectiveness as a standalone campaign experience, as well as the non-trivial number of cards in the box that are poorly balanced, require functional errata to even work as intended, or both. Furthermore, I promise you that the Board is far from the only player group to think that Netrunner would have benefitted from a more aggressive rotation policy, i.e. a smaller card pool than it has presently.

I am sorry that you are not happy with several of the card choices we made in SC2019 - though perhaps the above demo decks may be more to your liking, regarding a ‘Core Experience’ format? Of your own admission though, you yourself had quite specific expectations for System Core that, again, would not be shared by everyone.

All the same, while I would recommend that you actually give the format a fair shake, I understand if you wish to hold onto what you’re comfortable with. If your play group is more interested in a self-contained, less competitively-oriented environment, and don’t feel that System Core 2019 caters to your needs, please do feel free to enjoy the Snapshot format to your heart’s content.


Deleting Terminal Directive and dismantling the Revised Core Set (two of the last major releases, and two of the main proclaimed parts of the core experience) as the first act certainly seems to give an indication of an impulse in NISEI to go back and redo FFGs work, as opposed to preserving and expanding upon it. Whether or not that appeals will obviously be somewhat of a personal preference.