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Runner Engines

Originally published at: http://stimhack.com/runner-engines/

Discuss the latest article here.

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Are there any alternative engines besides the one mentioned in the article for Criminal?

There’s Geist/Tech Trader! :smiley:

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Indeed, but when I don’t see Tech Trader early I’m put in a awkward position. So I’ve put Lucky Find and Easy Mark in my Geist build but it’s not as strong as the Desperado engine.

Ken has a pretty strong engine with public terminals fueled by econ run events like high stakes job, account siphon, and dirty laundry. it’s a bit of a hybrid of andysucker (by running desperado and sometimes john mas) and ppvp kate (public terminal reducing the cost of run events, and Ken generating extra cash off run events simultaneously).

that said, it has some reliability problems and isn’t (yet) highly competitive. I think the lack of a clear, universally powerful engine is a major contributor to criminals’ perceived weakness right now.


Don’t forget the powerful engine that Apex has. Endless Hunger eats his free facedowns and Wasteland pays out 1s of credits, so he’s horribly poor and can’t afford to…

[incoherent sobbing]


I was thinking the same thing, but I also kinda feel like the 3 engines described in the article are 3 separate and distinct archetypes, while Public Terminal Ken’s engine is probably a variant of PPVP Kate’s, or possibly a hybrid of the Kate and Andy engines.

The 3 engines described in the article don’t really overlap much at all, and function in very different ways.

I’d say Career Fair-Liberated with a sprinkling of event econ that we see in the various Whizzard builds may be another engine, but it’s really more a collection of cards that give credits more than a coherent and complimentary credit generating machine.

@Clamatius brings up Apex, which is a novel econ engine, since it is driving and synergizing from the same effect (trashing installed cards).

Calling it an engine implies that it might drive you places other than self ruin. Not to run the metaphor into the ground, but the dude needs more gas in that engine of his (its? whatever it is).


Faust/wyldside/pancakes seems like a discrete engine from the Aesop’s version. It works very differently from the aesop’s version, because faust is a breaker with a built in engine-like effect, converting cards in hand into pseudo-credits for breaking ice. This allows the deck to get away with a much smaller credit engine. Just like the engines Aaron mentions, it synergizes with a particular ID, whizzard, since the low credit nature of the engine would otherwise make trashing key assets and upgrades problematic.

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Yes, I tend to agree that we may want to consider all of the tools needed to gain access to a server to be part of the engine, since part of what makes the Andysucker engine so efficient is that it is gaining and using Datasucker tokens to power fixed-strength breakers, which are very efficient when they can be used.

Interesting- I wasn’t making this more general argument, although now I see that including the breaker as part of the engine does change the picture somewhat. My thought was more that, as well as being a breaker, Faust could be thought of as also a card that turns cards into credits, so it could be considered both a breaker and an engine piece. I wasn’t intending to say that other breakers were also engine pieces, although you make a good point about fixed strength breakers. Still, I’d be tempted to say this is more of a matter of making a particular engine more efficient, rather than being a part of the engine per se.

I would also not consider the breaker suite as part of an engine unless you want to take the step and expand the scope of the engine so that it converts resources to accesses. In the article it was just about a repeatable series of interactions that converted one resource to another at a higher efficiency than the base actions. So in one case its the engine of the car, in another its the whole power train.

In a good deck the breaker suite or the part that enables accesses, works as a transmission in the car analogy. It takes a resource and converts it to momentum to go forward in the game state. These can be and often are separate entities and while some are better suited for some engines (faust/d4v1d with wyldcakes, fixed suite with the desperado/run engine) there is little intrinsic reason that they have to be run together.

Magnum Opus is a pretty good runner engine

Or the 3x Au Revoir + Snitch

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The article talks about the base engine of 1-click -> 1 credit / 1 card / 1 run. I would also extend the basic resources provided by the game to turns as well as clicks because some resources like wyldside/pancakes or Kate’s cost reduction are per-turn rather than click based. So the engine turns turns and clicks into resources that you can then use for other things.

I like the idea of separating the analysis of the breaker suite from the economic engine. When looking at a typical current anarch suite of faust/d4vid/parasite it’s important to separate the efficiency of that vs the engine that’s powering it. A lot of people have pointed out it’s not that the suite is overpowered, it’s the suite when powered by wyldside/pancakes is overpowered. Without the strong card draw engine faust starts to breakdown and not be as reliable.

I like this definition of engine, i.e how you convert clicks/turns into resources. I don’t think that it is helpful to lump “accesses” into what an engine produces since that is very dependent on the corp’s play. To wit, the rate at which runners can turn their resources into fruitful accesses is the main interactive avenue in netrunner.

As the runner, cards in hand is certainly a resource - and with Faust - can be converted to accesses at a rate set by the amount of ICE the corp has rezzed. Cards like Ash and Caprice further affect the rate and require other resources - credits in this case.