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Teaching Netrunner: Part 3

Originally published at: http://stimhack.com/teaching-netrunner-part-3/

Discuss the latest StimHack article here.


I like these guides, but I question putting Masanori on the list for new runners, especially as they’re also playing Tri-maf Contact. Masanori makes it a pretty bad idea to face check ice, something that I would encourage new runners to do as much as possible. It’s smart to have some punishing ice in there to show them it’s risky to run headfirst into anything, but Masanori will punish the runner unnecessarily for playing what is mostly just good netrunner: Run early, run often and run naked!

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Masanori is there for several reasons:

  1. Another target for Snatch and Grab
  2. He’s a very thematic card with personality
  3. He’s simple to understand
  4. Teaches the difference between successful and unsuccessful runs
  5. Enables tagging (making it relevant) without corp intervention

I think your point is valid, but there is only one copy so he will most often be set up after a breaker or two. Tri-maf contact is in there for many of the same reasons and helps address a common perception by new players that tags don’t really matter.

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Have you had this problem? Maybe it’s the way I introduce people to the cards (I teach primarily with Core only), but if anything I’ve had new players be terrified of tags. It usually takes me floating them in a game or two (and discussing why after the games) before they understand.

Not saying you don’t have a fantastic set of articles, btw :smile:

I’m not sure if I agree with Atman over Crypsis here. It’s a non-obvious card for new players trying to guess the strength of the ICE they’ll face.

Also, Kati and Opus in the same deck will lead to people ignoring Kati entirely because her ability doesn’t look as good. Maybe pull her for an Armitage?

It depends on the player of course. I’ve had some people be terrified of tags as well, but when nothing bad happens they think that tags are harmless. I wanted to incorporate interesting interactions with the corp and runner with tags without going to the extreme of Scorched Earth.

Thank you! :smile:

Since it’s a 1-off, hopefully by the time they see it there will be rezzed ice for them to base the strength off of. Mostly, I just wanted to put newer cards in the deck and simplify the AI breaker slot.

I’d just like to suggest that the corp deck be changed to include Jackson Howard. It’s such an absolutely necessary card in any corp deck that it should really be part of the teaching flow. As the corp, understanding when to use it and how is critical. As the runner, understanding what it means for HQ and Archives and the timing around the card is just as important.

Yes, it’s a slightly more advanced card, but almost any corp deck not running it is likely to lose. Besides that, who doesn’t like to draw cards?

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That seems more appropriate for intermediate lists. Jackson’s basic flow and purpose aren’t obvious, and the players are going to have more than enough to think about in these first games.


Jackson is a pretty complex card in that it can be used in very different ways that are not obvious looking at the card. You’re right that he makes almost all corp decks better, but the plan is to play these decks against themselves.

Yes, but flooded is flooded. It doesn’t matter what cards you have in your deck if you have a hand full of agendas. And to get this out of the way, this is speaking from experience of playing these decks against each other.

Maybe it’s more highlighting a flaw in the game, but it’s so hard to play the game (and by association learn the game) when you’re flooded. Like, do you put it in a remote unprotected? Oh they ran, so that was no fun. I guess I’ll discard them? Oh they ran, so that was no fun. I guess I’ll keep them in my hand? Oh they ran, so that was no fun.

Regardless, I get it. I mean, I said it myself in my original post. My point is simply that Jackson itself isn’t an overly complex card. Sure, understanding the subtleties of how it’s used is advanced, but understanding “draw cards” and “get stuff out of the discard” are not complex concepts.

Try corporate shuffle instead


Good suggestion.

If you’re also doing sequential beginner > intermediate decks, having something like Jackson that solves a problem the beginner deck was having held until the intermediate list might not be the worst thing, necessarily.

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Yes, and obviously, feel free to modify the decks to suit a specific group. I just provided these as a baseline to make it easier to teach people.


First off I really want to thank you for taking the time to write these articles and make these decks. They’ve really helped me both learn the game myself and what to focus on when teaching new players.

I’m starting to wonder though, just how bad is it to teach with the ready made decks that come out of the core set? I understand that they are not nearly as good as real decks and that the agendas stink on ice, but I feel core set only has a few things going for it.

First, it gives the new player important choices out of the bat. One of if not my favorite thing about Netrunner is all of its factions and identities and not only how differently they play but also the lore they represent. If a player is already open to learning, I think they may show more incentive if they are allowed to pick their own faction and maybe even side and hear briefly what differs the major players style and character-wise.

Secondly, it allows for a very smooth beginner->intermediate transition. After they have played a few games and they have seen multiple fact the next thing for them to do is take their favorites and edit the deck by adding influence to it. They may have lost as NBN but maybe importing Scorched Earth, mwuhahaha.

Netrunner is not a simple game, and I am sure we all worry that a new player will be overwhelmed or turned off if they do not have a positive experience in their initial game. If we think about the things we enjoy right now, do we because our first experience was so pleasurable? Sometimes, but in lots of cases my first time at something was absolute rubbish, but I was nonetheless motivated by what was there to make the next time not-so-rubbish.

That being said, I only have a few generic core games with beginners under my belt. Perhaps some of the core factions are totally stupid without immediately importing influence. A quick and seamless fix could be giving each coreset a better agenda suite. Can anyone weigh in on that?