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Replicating Perfection : System Core 2019

FWIW, I played single core set the other night and it was a really fun experience. Paper Trail was one of the reasons I lost a match–never in my life had I seen paper trail played; and here it was–blowing up Kati, my Professor, and my place of employment.

Kit was a sad runner.


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.

In truth, a sizeable number of player have considerable love for Terminal Directive, both with respects to its effectiveness as a stand-alone campaign experience, as well as the non-trivial number of cards in the box that are strong yet balanced, or utterly unique in the card pool.

My point here being that any expansion has its good cards and bad cards, and that you mileage may vary, and that there’s plenty of people going to be on both sides of this topic.
More importantly, I do not think any of this is sufficient reason to delete that part of the game from the game, on the grounds that it is all that we have, and part of Netrunner we all got a chance to buy from the store. My argument is that you are throwing out the baby with the bath water, and the cost is the size of the list of cards you can play in the game. It would have been better if you had expanded Netrunner instead, while curating the experience by monitoring and policing cards that upset the delicate balance of the game.

Nobody is being served either by deleting archetypes from the game, or cards that occupy a unique niche in the game. Nobody is being served either by bringing back cards that are way above the curve either, because that’s the kind of card that will diminish the pool of cards that are playable in comparison to the top of the power curve.

It is quite clear that I had expected more from this both in the content perspective as well as in the framing perspective. If you want to create a better single-core experience: Go for it. There’s definitely a crowd that likes to play that format. If you want to make this the standard way to play and diminish everyone’s card pool in doing so? Sorry, that sounds like a poor strategy. Your goal should be to let people play as diverse a list of decks as possible, while still remaining a balanced format. I feel you got the second part of that equation right (albeit with some slip-ups, but we’re all fallible), but at the cost of reducing deck diversity.


FFG also tried their hand at creating new formats, but they understood that people just want to play with their collection. That should be the flagship format, whilst cache refresh, core set only or draft are each supported. FFG also did the rotation only once, and the reason was two-fold: They wanted to create a better version of Netrunner, one where a handful of cards did not dominate the meta, mainly because they were made before they realized how powerful a card would end up being. The second reason is to make it easier for new players to join the game and make it affordable to enter Netrunner. I feel that with the death of the game, it is more important to cater to its existing player base, yet also accommodate to newer players.
The current rotation policy isn’t accommodating the game owners, and is too half-hearted an approach to get new players on-board, considering that you’ll need cards from the revised core set and about 10 datapacks in spin and genesis to cobble the system core together.


All what you say is fine. And in fact you can play TD! But not in a tournament environment! And in the near future it is nearly impossible to get an unopened TD and nearly everybody needs to proxy cards anywhere…
So what is the point you are trying to make. Don’t rotate cards?
We need less cards in a tournament environment that what it is for.

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I hear what you’re saying, but it still remains true that even with TD gone the card pool is still much too big to have a healthy environment that is also accessible and sustainable. Rotation is necessary to keep the OP environment fresh and exciting, as well as to leave design space open for reprints and fresh takes. We will keep reading and taking note of all feedback, so keep it coming. We’ll always be ready to make adjustments as we move forward with what we think will make the most interesting format environments. This is why we think Standard and Eternal are the two most important formats - gotta have things stay fresh for people who like to keep up and keep changing, while other people want to play with their collections. We don’t feel the need to pick one!

As a side note, remember also that FFG only did one rotation not out of choice but because the game got cancelled. It was very much an intended aspect of the game.


Yeah, if there weren’t going to be any breaks, they’d be rotating about once every year from here on out. It would’ve happened again with the first set post-Kitara?

It’s not so much the continued rotation that seems a deliberate diversion from the current game, but rather what is being rotated (the most recent rather than the oldest, big boxes rather than datapack cycles, the very recently curated core set designed with the future metagame in mind and widely very well-received).

NISEI is an awesome project, but my concern (and that of others too, locally) when it was born was whether there was a danger of it being a few pet projects getting carried away redoing the game, “fixing” what’s already been done or redesigning Netrunner, rather than expanding on the game we all love. This first designed change to the card pool makes me fearful that is actually the intended direction of travel. The primary impetus seems to be culling key portions of the game, rather than preserving and extending.


For what it’s worth, I am entirely on board with rotating TD. It’s expensive, comes in a ludicrously sized box and has a load of cards that are either bad, or ba for competitive play. IT also skews the ccard pool towards the facction it contains. It will also still exist ffor casual play + the campaign.

Reign and Revere is a much better Core augment that complements factions core identities.

If I were involved in Nisei, I would consider further altering the order of rotation, such as to remove Mumbad, and possibly Red Sands, before getting rid of San-San. In the longer run however, I think decisions on rotation will need to be transparent and / or follow a clear formula and schedule. Given what I’ve read, this seems to be what’s intended.

Deleting archetypes that make it hard to play other archetypes is perfectly fine with me.

Excuse me in advance for this dumb question: does this also mean that FFG rotation of the first two cycles is invalidated?

About TD, I gotta say that I liked the cards it had. Or at least some of the supposed intentions behind them. Maybe FFG would have expanded and refined on some themes, maybe not. The campaign was insignificant, but this is just my own opinion.

Anyway, I’m a new and not so competitive player, and as such I trust NISEI and their decisions. Mind you, it’s not a blind trust. But I believe it is too early to judge. I think we have to see how things will unfold in the next year, and then maybe everyone will be able to have better judgement.

Edited: I’ve found a very useful spreadsheet on reddit detailing the new core 2019 and in which pack/core/deluxe each of its cards are. I know it was made by someone from NISEI but don’t know his username on Stimhack (on reddit is icecoldjazz). Thank you a lot!

Not dumb at all, there’s a lot to take in right now. :smile:

So no, FFG’s original rotation of the Genesis and Spin cycles has not been invalidated. However just as FFG “saved” some cards from that rotation by including them in the Revised Core, so some (in many cases different) cards are “saved” or resurrected from those cycles in System Core 2019.

Hope that makes sense!


That’s very clear, thank you sir!

Rotation is a perfectly normal thing to be expected for any card game that wants to support a “standard” type format. I think rotating Terminal Directive makes sense, since it omitted a couple of the factions and contained a lot of cards. The great thing is that there are multiple formats available, so nobody has “lost” anything, nor has anything been “deleted”–it’s just that, for now at least, some cards are only part of various non-rotating format pools. I’d wager that some of the fan favorite TD cards will make a reappearance in future standard-legal sets and hey–if they are missed enough, the non-rotating formats will be that much more popular, which feels like a no-lose scenario.

It’s a good and healthy thing to try to keep the standard/intro format as tight as possible while also varying it regularly.

I don’t know how many cards NISEI is targeting to keep legal in standard at any given time, but my instinct says it should be in the 800-1000 range, and that it should probably keep card counts across the main factions pretty balanced. Big box rotation may not have been planned by FFG, but that was a huge mistake anyway as it increased the pressure on the cardpool and design space to a pretty large degree.


That’s my biggest issue with TD. Where’s my Jinteki love?

As regards the size of the card pool: 800-1000 would put it in a similar range to MtG I think but I’m not sure that’s a good comparison because so many cards in a Magic set are unplayable and will never be playable no matter what happens - that’s not the same in netrunner. There are cards that have been unplayable but then come into their own in a different meta. It seems that in MtG although the card pool is big there’s probably more like 200 or so cards to actually keep track of because there’s so much bulk. I’m no expert though so I’m happy to be told I’m wrong.

Magic Standard ranges between ~1200 and ~1800 cards; FFG was targeting 1250 cards for their rotation window, but I think it should probably be a little tighter than that since I’d rather–like most people, I suspect–have more interesting cards and less draft / limited / binder chaff in a fixed-rarity distribution game.

If you want to enable a couple different lines of play per faction, I’d ballpark a need for somewhere like: 60 to 80 cards per faction and a similar amount of neutrals? Probably more since you don’t want everything to be too obvious.

1250 cards? Wow I suspect I dont use half of them. The rest, as you say, binder chaff.

It’s worth pointing out (as people have in the past) that in any card pool there will be different cards which appeal to different players. Just because one person is competitive and so will only be interested in say 300/1200 cards which are “good” enough to make up the competitive meta, doesn’t mean there aren’t another 300 cards in that same pool which kitchen table players love to build with for example.

One person’s binder fodder is another’s treasure. :smile:


Indeed! The jank must flow!

Yes absolutely, but the question I have to ask is “does the card pool need 2 or 3 times as many jank cards as playable cards?”

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In my view a well designed card can often be both. I would’ve thought you need at most 10% pure ‘jank’ cards, and a lot of cards that can be jank / competitive / whatever depending on the other cards they’re played with and the state of the meta.

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