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Shapers > Criminals?

Recently, I’ve been finding that Criminals are just a lot less threatening to most of my Corp decks than Shapers are. Criminal decks tend to have much less backup if a plan goes wrong, and thus are very susceptible to net damage, unexpected program trashing effects, and so on. It seems much easier to knock a typical Criminal deck out of the game than it does for a Shaper.

Have others been finding this as well? I’m interested in hearing the opinions and experiences of both those who agree and those who disagree.


yep. just like weyland, crims are not tier 1 anymore.

Well I mean, Criminals did just win a large Regional in Chicago and it was with a new ID to boot.

I think Shapers are very strong, but I think a full court press from Gabe/Express is still solid and only better with Central-only Breakers and Legwork. I also suspect Andy will always remain potent due to consistency and free Link.

Criminals also won Portland, OR regionals.

I still consider strong criminals tier 1 and If I was to play in worlds tomorrow I would be bringing an andromeda deck of some kind. Might not be traditional andy with fixed breakers + datasuckers, but I would be leading each game with 9 cards. If the meta is hostile for datasucker builds then we can always explore magnum opus builds from worlds last year or other optional breaker builds.

I don’t know if they’re outright stronger yet, but they’re certainly closing the distance. Criminal took the Portland Regional as well, but Shaper made a good showing overall. Crim still has access to a few more power cards that Shaper lacks, but the sheer diversity of options and resilience of most Shaper decks is a big advantage. This is all the more true now that the number of competitive corp decklists has skyrocketed recently (with Jinteki entering the scene with two or three solid decks, rather than maybe one).

Versatility will be all the more valuable coming up, I think, but Criminal had a pretty sizable lead, and while H&P didn’t do for them what it did for Jinteki, it did give them a few more options to play with that’ll really diversify the field of what they can do, too.


Pretty much my mindset as well. It’s extremely easy for me to say Shapers are on top now, but looking at both factions objectively, I’d say they’re essentially too even to definitively say which is on top. I don’t think Datasucker builds are as good for Andy now as they were, since players have wisened up to “The Deck”.


Shapers are to Criminals like Andy was to Gabe, and I always thought Andy was better than Gabe. Does that mean I agree? Well… Even in that case, I always thought they were very close. I would say the spread across them is even enough that it comes to playstyle. Kate is the best safe/stable Runner. Gabe has the highest rewards. Andy is the most versatile. Take from that what you will.


Legwork, certainly. The central-only breakers seem like a bit of a deckbuilding trap to me, though - they’re basically worsening the whole criminal weakness of not being able to catch up so well once they get shut out of the game. The loss of control over remotes they give up don’t seem to really be compensated by increased efficiency for assaulting centrals. Sure, they’re better, but they’re not that much better.


At PDX regionals the top 8 included 6 criminals (Andy x3, Gabe x2, Express…might have numbers wrong), 1 Kate, 1 Reina. I think that’s right. Anyway, while the field was quite a diverse mix of Shaper and Criminal, the top tiers were still clearly Criminal.

EDIT: Actually 4 Andromeda, 1 Gabe in Top-8. Overall 14 Shaper (6 CT, 6 Kate, 2 Kit), 11 Criminal (1 Iain, 1 Express, 8 Andromeda, 1 Gabe (!)), 7 Anarch (4 Reina, 1 Whizzard, 2 Noise).


Which I think you’ll agree is great - otherwise negating remotes and exacerbating R&D lock would be extremely detrimental to the game. I agree central breakers are a trap, but only because many out there don’t understand their role and instead throw them willy nilly into decks they have no business in. In my mind, they’re perfect for Gabe. He does not want a long game, which complements central-only breakers perfectly.

I think the split has become less pronounced, but it’s still there: Criminals are an early-game faction primarily, and Shapers a late-game one. The various Shaper Blitz/Control decks mitigate this heavily, but the main advantage I feel like Shapers have is inevitability. Against Criminal, I feel like I need to lock them out quickly and solidly, but if I can keep them out I tend to feel fairly safe. Against Shaper, on the other hand, I feel the need to score out much more quickly, because there will come a time if the game goes long enough that they can do as they please, more or less, and the scoring windows will be all the more tricky to find.

Again, they’ve both diversified on this front a fair bit, but that’s been my general experience. Then again, I primarily play NEXT Design Glacier/Rush and Replicating Perfection Econ Tax, so it’s possible that my experiences there are a bit atypical for the more common decks.


Sure, but this type of event is always a bit behind the meta as people play more conservative, reliable choices. I don’t think that we’ll see Shapers beating Criminals in tournaments everywhere just yet-- but on the “bleeding edge” it definitely seems to be happening.

Out of 52 recorded Chronos Protocol events, 26 were won by Shapers and 18 by Criminals.



Just looking at tournament results, I’d say that Shapers do seem to be doing very well, but Criminals (especially Andy) are still just as strong. It’s possible that this is due to being behind the meta, but it’s the only hard statistical way to judge right now.

Subjectively, I have a hard time believing that Andy will fall out of Tier 1 for a long time. In a tournament atmosphere, her already insane ability becomes even stronger, because in order to get #1 you have to win the vast majority of your matchups. Consistency against weaker decks is the name of the game, and Andy’s ability gives her so much more consistency in the crucial first two or three turns. So even if her general strategy is slightly less strong than Shaper Control or CT Turbo Rig, she’ll be playing it super efficiently until the end of time. In my mind, as long as there’s a Tier 1.5/Tier 2 Criminal strategy, she’ll be very good.

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26 vs 18 is hardly conclusive evidence that criminals are not Tier 1. I think it’s pretty ridiculous to claim that Andy, Gabe and Kate are not all Tier 1, (even if you believe that Shapers are slightly better positioned in the current meta). Criminals are not the oppressive powerhouse that they used to be, but anyone who is claiming that it isn’t close is certainly jumping the gun. It’s totally possible that a large number of people are playing wonky criminal decks in the new IDs and inflating the Criminal numbers, making Shaper slightly overrepresented. There’s also the consideration of what the best players are choosing to play, and simple variance.

Personally, I think we’re at the point where Criminals and Shapers relative power levels are dictated by the corp meta. If everyone starts playing TWIY Astrobiotics, shapers are going to suffer. If everyone starts playing Glacier, the midrange (not reliant on rush) criminal decks, (i.e., Andy with RDI), are going to suffer. With regard to inevitability, a careful Andy player still can claim inevitability against basically every Weyland deck and most Jinteki decks, (setting up for an inevitable win vs criminal is not trivial, even with a dedicated RP glacier deck).

Even given the variance between matchups, it’s totally possible at this point to give yourself an edge in any matchup, in any faction, if you put the right cards in your deck.

The fact that a good Andy player will basically never lose to a mediocre corp is still very important. No other ID can claim that level of consistency, and I don’t think they ever will be able to.


Jeez man, I can’t believe anyone actually took that seriously.

Wait what? I thought Crimial is a favorable matchup for Jinteki. Surely not Shapers, with all their draw and LARLA.

Mediohxcore has traditionally had good results with Andy vs Jinteki. I remember him posting about it before but don’t know where the post is. I think he said he only found the power shutdown/destroy your datasuckers matchup to be close to close.

I have found the matchup manageable. Don’t take needless damage, install your breakers before running so you don’t lose them to random damage. I don’t even use things like dirty laundry once I have my rig + kati established, I just use that stuff to soak up damage. Security Testing helps a lot now as well.

The power shutdown matchup is close if you play it well. They really need to draw an assload of power shutdown to get you. Security Testing helps it out a lot. I think I’m actually more concerned with RP glacier than I am with Power Shutdown at this point. Regardless of the matchup percentages, you certainly have inevitability against every non-RP jinteki deck. The only way you can lose it is if they nail a breaker and you don’t have a good backup plan or if they completely datasucker lock you out of centrals, (and even then, you have femme and inside job and/or parasite/RDI).

Basically, I think a large part of Gozik’s success in the BGG league stemmed from the fact that people had no idea what he was up to.

Jinteki is much better against Gabe than it is against Andy, I think. The extra cards give you a leg up against power shutdown (where you need to draw enough suckers/faeries to avoid a blowout), or against any sort of trappy-rushy deck, where they basically can’t win if they fall behind (on siphon or agenda points) and you’re careful.

I think if you counted cards “absolute value” (presuming you had such an ability), you would find the factions balanced quite well. But with the scoring structure of Netrunner, the decks that can points in phase 1 will often be the decks that climb the ladders, because those decks don’t actually have to win (if they won their first game), they only have to play to X points. Imagine how differently you can play if you know you only need that first agenda (or cant let them score at all) as opposed to being able to settle in and establish a rig.

Another thing is that its not so much whether criminal is “best” or not, its about what you can outsource. Pretend, for example, all decks had zero influence. I imagine Anarch would see a massive influx, as many shaper and criminal decks opt for an anarch rig because you can basically get all your programs and still have a bit left over. Those juicy criminal events are both both high influence (generally speaking) and hard to always justify the influence spent for a 1-time use event, compared to taking like an Atman or an Imp.

False_Idol that scoring system no longer exists at least in official tournament play.