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The Four Corps you Meet in Netrunner by erinrockabitch


I agree that prison decks (I’m thinking of IG and Hot Tub) are not themselves a win condition, but your reaction of ‘how do they win if the runner sits back?’ does hint at the fundamental difference between these decks and any other corp deck: these corps can outlast the runner.

Very few runners can operate indefinitely, they all use cards to power some of what they do. Corp prison decks use MoH to recycle cards indefinitely, so there is little pressure for them to score early or ever. Some will score 2-4 points and try to wait out the runner (reverse Moby), but their default plan is not to score, but to wait, build their combo (either through board state or HQ operations), and flatline the runner.

In principle a FA variant could be made as well (and has, but it was less competitive than regular FA in most cases). I have encountered a few ‘prison glaciers’ on Jinteki, but the archetype does not lend itself to success (they fold easily to R&D multi-access while scoring very slowly). The kill variants have seen significant success thus far, and are fairly well known among the community.

At any rate, I think that overwhelmingly, most people who have played with and against these ‘prison’ decks would agree that they operate and are countered in a very different manner than any traditional decks. You don’t discuss interplay or countermeasures much in your article, which may be the main difference between what you are trying to write, and the discussion @hsiale and @pang4 are want to have.


I really like this article! At first, I wanted to comment

There is more gap between SE-kill and 1k-cuts-kill than there is between Glacier and Rush

But at the end of your article, you mention that hybrids of these styles are actually far more common than any ‘pure’ deck. I think this is an excellent springboard to launch off of.

I try to build all of my decks to have ‘two ways to win,’ which means I try to incorporate 2 of the archetypes you described here into one deck.

I believe the best example is Butchershop NBN (both NEH and Harp), which saw oppressive success as an FA/Kill combo. Two very clear and distinct win conditions that both use large credit pools to force a win condition.

A small shift from Butchersho NEH to Fastrobiotics NEH shifted the deck from FA/Kill to FA/Rush. The subtle difference between the two made for interesting meta-games where one could bluff as the other archetype and make the runner guess if a run was safe or not, and is probably worthy of its own article.

Glacier decks are pretty much all Glacier/Rush; many try to rush an agenda early (ABT in ETF, Hisei MkII in Palana) before they really build out a big remote with upgrades to score out from. In my area, there have been a few Foodcoats that began to use 2x Biotic Labor, but I would argue that their smaller ICE may push them closer to a Rush/FA game.

Argus Kill decks are Rush/Kill, scoring quickly behind cheap ETR ICE, forcing the runner to respond to the Agenda rush which may put them in a position to be more easily flatlined.

Chris Hinkes’ PE deck somewhat defies the trend I have described. I would argue that it does have ‘two ways to win,’ but both are distinct from the other (non-kill) archetypes. I have played a variant quite extensively through SC season, so I think I know enough to say that this deck can (rarely) score out, but it won’t score from behind any ICE. It’s certainly fine not to describe an ‘archetype’ for the way PE scores out, since it is a very niche approach that is rarely executed.

I really like that your article constructs a set of primary archetypes from which we can clearly describe the main avenues of play and corp deck construction. I will certainly refer to it when I describe the game to newer players.


Nice article. I’m not a top player, but I would consider myself an “obsessive casual,” so please educate me on any history that I’m missing.

I think that the discussion of rush (burst econ, score behind cheap ice quickly, prevent key breakers from staying on the table) is interesting. Supermodernism-type builds differ from this game plan a bit (early scores build econ, careless runs get punished primarily with tags/murder), and I’ve actually seen comparatively few builds that focus on taking out breakers.

When Chronos Protocol came out, there was a little experimentation with uncorrodable-type decks, but it seems to have dropped off (my testing showed that getting enough econ to trash programs and rez ETR ice was tough, and most runners have enough recursion or redundancy to prevent scoring windows from staying open too long). I’ve been trying to think about how to make a good chronos protocol rush deck recently. I was optimistic that Salem’s Hospitality and Kala Ghoda Real TV would provide enough additional trash/control that it could work, but I’m still stalling out (Cobra is really nice, though). It just feels like without Oaktown/Hostile (to fuel econ while you score), and without Project Atlas (to maximize the scores you get when a window opens up), it is really hard to balance the econ necessary to make it work. Profiteering and The Future is Now take up a ton of slots. There’s got to be some balance between the control and rush aspects that will work, but I sure haven’t found it yet. Maybe the solution is to play PE.

Anyway, cool article. If anybody has bright ideas for making Chronos Protocol work, I’d love to hear them. It seems like a rush archetype that punishes carelessness with program trashing rather than flatlining could be fun.


Midseasons decks could be said to have the same weakness. Does that mean they have no win condition? Does that mean they are not ‘kill’ or ‘fa’ decks as per this writeup?


I would argue that there is a 5th and 6th type, just like some of the gents above.

FA, Rush, and Glacier are ALL strategies used to score. They aren’t win conditions. Scoring is the win condition. HOW you score IS relevant, though. Thus the types.

Kill, on the other hand, is waaaay too broad. In my mind, this is where we discuss if there is another set of archetypes. I think there are three: Fast Kill, Attrition, and Board Lock.

Fast Kill is traditional SEA Scorch Scorch. It aims to catch the Runner on one mistake and end the game on a single power turn with high damage cards.

Attrition is your Cambridge PE style deck, where it gives up access and points to wear the Runner down until it can land a killshot with lower damage cards like Neural EMP.

Board Lock is your IG Bio-Ethics. It is trying to build a board state the Runner just can’t deal with so that eventually they can get a killshot OR grind the Runner out of resources.


In fact you could say the the HB ETF Foodcoats decks with Biotic were 3-way hybrids Rush/Glacier/FA.


I think you misunderstand me. I’m not calling the ability of runners to sit back and refuse to run a weakness of these decks. I’m saying that if the runner does that, what does the corp do? Do they reach out and kill through Ronins/Bio-Ethics, or score out behind a Tour Guide? In the case of midseasons decks they often score an astro and train out, or you run get midseason’d and they psychographics a Beale, both are FA.

If these decks are “prison” decks it still seems like the prison is built out of the same materials I’ve seen before.

I will agree that Museum enables corp decks that can simply stall out and not lose. But not-lose is not the same as winning, and spamming assets is not a plan to win.


It’s true, they kind of just lose to too-narrow-of-a-win-condition syndrome. That’s sort of how I see it. Not that they lack a win-con, but that their win-cons are too narrow. For instance, my old glacier gagarin often rushed out to force a runner to spend money and later versions had a backup of fa or kill, based on the build.

Still, sounded like you were disqualifying their win-con due to smart runner play (which can’t possibly be the case).


@Orbital_Tangent You’re so rigth !


All things considered I think it’s a pretty good article for beginner to almost intermediate level players and sums up past and current strategies and what they achieve, and how. And plenty of intermediate players still lose to decks because they don’t understand what the deck is designed to do, and how, so maybe the article is almost for them as well.

But yes for people with a lot of experience there are obviously nuances that are explicitly noted in the last paragraph, so erin can write some indepth follow-up article later :wink: I myself think most of netrunner is just resource battles between runner and corp, and so decks aren’t so much defined by how they score out, but by the tools used to play the push/pull battle between runner and corp (an example imo is that sansan city grid is not only good because it lets you score from hand, but also because it costs the runner a click and 5 creds to trash, and that’s if it’s not behind a turnpike or something like that)


I agree, and so many games end up being “What can I do now that will help me win and if I do, what position does that put me in for the next turn or two?”

So much of Netrunner is playing to the circumstances, and making the right decisions with what you have at that moment compared to what you see/suspect your opponent has on hand.


I played Chronos Protocol quite a bit when it came out & actually had great success with it. The style wasn’t nearly as close to rush as to prison: the goal was to net damage breakers out of hand, use Batty/Power Shutdown to trash them if they got installed, then sit Blacklist behind an unbreakable ETR ICE. It won games but it was a grind. Most runner decks have too much recursion & too many options (e.g. ways to interact outside their main breakers like Blackmail, Parasite, Atman) for the strategy to work consistently.


I like the categories this article laid out and think they’re a really solid start to understanding Netrunner Corp archetypes. It’s always been a little offputting for me when people use Magic-dervied terms like “control”, “midrange”, & “aggro” to refer to deck types. I understand what those mean, and sometimes see how they apply, but it often feels like an unnecessary stretch. Categories like Kill, Rush, Fast Advance are just so much more informative.


I had a little trouble too when people talk about the spectrums of corp and runner. Before horizontal became an archetype I used to think about how decks worked in the same way Go described playstyles: fast and slow as spectrums.

I hate the term, “Who’s the beatdown,” but I will be honest that during the course of a game I think about whether I want to go fast or slow down.


These are the Corps on your JNET. On your JNET. On your J, J, J, NET!


The first thing that I thought when I saw this was, duh there are four corps. Maybe this article is about color pie?

Was very disappointed.


I’ve been trying to build a Spark deck, and I’m not sure which category it should make its primary emphasis, which I suppose means that so far I don’t really have a plan for the deck.

My sense is that since many of my Advertisements are asset economy pieces (PAD Campaign, Launch Campaign, Adonis Campaign), that pushes toward a long-term glacier style game. The problem, of course, is that NBN ice is not really super good at building sturdy remotes.

On the other hand, the Spark ability is good at slowing the runner down in the early game but usually not super strong in the late game, so perhaps the better approach would be to try to construct some sort of Rush deck. If you do that, though, then the drip economy probably need to be replaced with burst economy, and you lose triggers for the ID ability.

I’m not sure what the right answer is. I appreciate the article, though, for giving me some categories to think with.


Spark is in a bit of a tough spot right now because Runner economies are way overpowered on Temujin Contract right now.

Worse, Nexus Kate and some other Shapers are running Magnum Opus economy, which does not care about going to 0 credits.

It is really hard to get a runner broke, and even harder to get them to stay there. It is really hard to get the Spark ID to carry its weight in the current competitive environment.

So, all that said, when I played Spark I really liked Pop-up Window/Special Offer, Product Placement, Reversed Accounts, and Rebranding Team. If you do go the rebranding Team route, Ad Blitz is a lot of fun to pull back some Reversed Accounts. Also, getting Special Offers and/or Pop-up back from the Blitz is fun too.

I don’t think it will win you any tournaments, but if you’re just playing Spark for some fun, those were some things I had luck with.

Also, Launch Campaign is a bit of a quicker advertisement to get you some credits more quickly.


I think the problem with Spark right now is it’s not controlling the message. CTM is just so oppressive compared to anything you can do with Spark.