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The State of Netrunner

Damn, now I feel obligated to say that it was @bakashinobi who first told this idea to me, but I really believe that it has to be right.

The card makes so much more sense and feels so much fairer when you have to call out who you’re putting on blast.


Just to play devils advocate:

The argument for current mechanic is that you’re stoking the rumor mill fire. You’re getting the gears going. No name is safe from slander. Everyone gets thrown under the bus to cause as much chaos as possible.

I would like to see a TM style Runner card. I imagine it as Criminal. Criminal names a piece of ICE And makes money whenever a copy is rezzed. Lots of synergy with criminal card pool.


I agree with many of the conclusions drawn in the article and within the thread.

I have not played Netrunner in over a month. I went to an informal Monday night meetup and played four opponents: I faced IG54, a Power Shutdown/BOOM! combo deck, somebody else, and finally a Blackmail/En Passant spam deck. I don’t remember the other decks played by the first two, and I made my excuses and left after facing the Blackmail deck, declining to swap sides. Only the third opponent played both decks that were “fair” or “fun.” In case you’d assume this is just a case of me being a sore loser, the third opponent swept me but I had a great time. I really don’t mind losing in an interactive game where my opponent outplays me or in which I’ve gotten unlucky accesses, for example.

The following day, the thought occurred to me to sell my collection and move on. The friends I entered the game with in spring of this year don’t seem to play anymore either. We even watched the Worlds stream together and the conclusion I draw is that it cast a very long shadow over our feelings about the game.

My personal opinion is that FFG is a very old-fashioned company and are not well-equipped to handle a community like Netrunner (from a community management perspective, a marketing/production perspective, and a playtesting perspective). While I feel there are a few cards that probably shouldn’t have been printed and a few toxic interactions that should have been considered more carefully, I a) respect that some players actually like this kind of play, and b) understand that designing for balance is incredibly tough.

It’s clear that the MWL is not dimensional or responsive enough to address issues that ultimately result in players exiting the game.

What would an alternate, player-driven set of restrictions (or set of sets of restrictions) actually look like for play in the non-sanctioned space? As a project, how would leadership or stewardship be defined and how would a working draft be produced? What criteria would it use to select cards or interactions? There is precedent here as far as the ANRPC’s decision to ban Museum of History from an event (or events?) but I think there’s enough consensus demonstrated in this thread that more could be done.

I think it’s time to talk about it.

As someone said on a recent stream, “It’s one in, one out at this point.”


Oh boy! At the last tournament i went, on my first game as a corp and first game of the day, i faced a deck like that with my HB (Architects of tomorrow for ID). I got destroyed so much that i literally lost my will to play anymore.

When we switched sides, all i wanted was to go away from the table, so i commited suicide to his jinteki deck, wanting only to exit the shop and throw the cards away.
I do not mind losing at all (i’m the typical guy who is almost always friendly and you can find me at the bottom of every tournament) but i can’t stand not being able to play or do anything.

I play (and I always will) the decks that I like. Not caring a thing about hotness or the local meta, I understand that this things can happen a lot , so everytime it happens, I just need time to move on and a small break from the game to be back.

Btw, I play Khan as my runner


Hmm. How to put this delicately… I understand why you would leave, and wish you would stay… But as with any other game, if you’re not having fun, then it’s probably just not for you. Thanks for trying out the game and giving it a chance at least. :slight_smile:

Netrunner (and, to an extent, Other CCGs that possess a Competitive environment) strikes me as very similar to the Programming profession. Lots of people try it, but only a small subset of them are actually willing to be a programmer. And, for what it’s worth, it’s appearing more and more like it’s something that cannot be taught. To re-state; if you don’t like it now, you probably won’t ever like it. Both require a certain mindset to go at it, to continue to slam your head into that brick wall… And if slamming your head into a brick wall repeatedly doesn’t provide some measure of enjoyment, you probably shouldn’t do it.

For Netrunner… First you slammed your head into the brick wall of SEA-Scorch. Then you slammed your head into the brick wall of Siphon-SOT spam, then Andysucker… Then came the brick wall of RP with Nisei and Caprice. Then someone thought up the brick wall of CI7 which remains to this day, almost unchanged… Then the brick wall of PPVP Kate which was only broken by designer fiat. Then came Dumblefork and HB Glacier… NEH Museum and Gagarin Hot Tubz and IG54…

There’s an endless stream of ‘unfair’ decks. They come and go. Either some new thing gets printed (Rumor Mill singlehandedly dethroned Jinteki Glacier), a new paradigm of play emerges (Siphon Spam doesn’t exist, yet the cards are around to make it powerful… But we know how to play around it now, so it doesn’t matter. Notably, even the ‘counter’ card of Targeted Marketing didn’t affect Siphon.), or designer fiat alone makes the deck untenable (PPVP Kate, Dumblefork, Fastrobiotics).

It takes a special kind of crazy to look at this and say this is something you want to do and dedicate time and energy to. For my part, at least, I find it a challenge. My fundamentals are good enough (not great, mind) that when I look at an opponent that’s doing something ‘dumb’ or ‘unfun’ or a ‘negative play experience’, I see a challenge to overcome. I go ‘Damn, CI7 was really unfair… What can I do to actually just neuter their deck and destroy them?’ That’s my fun, and my reason to stay on. I have to beat the thing that beat me. No matter how long it takes or how futile it seems. My fun is finally overcoming and beating it. (Which, btw, I haven’t managed to really do yet for CI7. I’ve come close, though. NEXT TIME, GADGET!!!)


Speaking as someone who’s run the Blackmail train hard (admittedly with Hayley rather than Val), I know I don’t have much moral authority on this matter, but personally I think there are still a number of cards that can do a number on Blackmail as a core strategy… if you have time to set them up. The same people who gripe about Blackmail locks are often the ones who’d never consider playing Executive Boot Camp to lock that down.

The problem is really Blackmail -> En Passant -> Siphon as a windmill slam on turn 1. While most people have figured out at this point that you really need two pieces of ice to Siphon-proof a server, between Ddos and now this garbage, often you don’t have two ETR ice, and the fact that EP lets the Runner choose which one to spike means that you usually lose your innermost ETR ice and then your outer ice, which for me is seemingly always either too expensive or a Pop-Up left there to buffer DDOS, is worthless. And there are only a couple of cards that can remove a bad pub turn 1, and they aren’t great. (Scoring a Clone Retirement turn 1 for fear of the death grip never feels like the best move, even when it is.)

There are ways to cope in the meta, and if I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times: if you’re mad at broken decks because they wreck your jank, you’re not actually playing Netrunner, you’re playing Solitaire. (I know this will make me sound smug, but Asenari0n’s caveat that he plays Khan made my eyes do pinwheels.)

Temujin, Net Mercur, Bio-Ethics Committee, and I could go on forever - the game adjusts, even stiffly, to unbalanced cards. Doesn’t mean you’re not wrong in calling them broken - I despise En Passant as much as the next guy. But nor does it entitle you to sympathy when you give up.

And yet a lot of the complaints about the broken decks are the reverse accusation. Many good strategies do revolve around being able to completely ignore what your opponent is doing, and just assemble or play out your combo and win. Certainly you can include specific counter cards in your deck to counter that combo, but if the state of the game is ‘be unable to act unless you draw X, in which case you win’, you’re not painting a rosy picture for the state of the game.

For what it’s worth I don’t think we’re in such a state, but a a defense this line of reasoning seems poor.


Except both of those are oversimplifications. The Val deck’s highest highs are still contained somewhat by the deck’s large size and the threat posed by floating tags in certain matchups. Much as the solution cards to that windmill slam are never as simple as “draw this and win”, because there are very few cards in the game that blank an entire strategy. You draw those cards, and the game just gets more complicated - and out of complexity springs skill. Speaking as someone who’s played both sides of the Siphon-spam hundreds of times, I’ve run out of fingers and toes for the number I’ve won or lost for playing better or worse than my opponent, baiting them into a mistake or being baited in turn.

And that’s not even to mention the true crux of my point in the part you quoted, which is: it’s very easy for people who stubbornly stick with bad decks or inferior strategies to say “my deck isn’t bad, it’s just that X deck is OP.” That’s how we get a flock of Hanzos.


Absolutely. I just take issue with the idea that:

a) There are no archetypes that require specific cards to even make a game of it.
b) Such a state of affairs is not worth griping about.

And sure, sometimes this is confused with playing a bad deck vs a good one. That won’t ever be much fun. But - as someone who frequently plays bad decks - I can certainly distinguish between matchups where the skill-level (or at least the decisions) of my opponent matters, and those where it really doesn’t matter at all unless I happen to draw card X before they draw combo Y. I’m suggesting that other people can too, and that this isn’t much fun for them.

Though frankly I think we’re in a better state than we have been for a long time.


Those are some very, very different decks to complain about - if you don’t like facing any of them, I don’t see how that’s the fault of the designers. They’re offering a wide variety of experiences.

For instance, the complaint against IG 54 is that the game can often be ‘over’ but take another 20 minutes to resolve, due to the slow, grindy nature of its win condition. Power Shutdown / Boom is the exact opposite of that, a fast paced, exciting race for the corp to assemble its combo before the runner wins or assembles its defense (plascrete, Citadel Sanctuary, Obelus, NACH, On the Lam, etc. - there are many counters). If I’m Damon, and someone complains about IG 54 and then its near opposite in Power Shutdown / Boom, I have no idea how to please them.


You guys need to re-read the article. In a well balanced and well designed game, a solid “fair” mid-range deck with strong fundamentals and econ should give a good player fair matchups across the board and allow him to win (or lose) against any other deck primarily based on the player’s skills.

This is clearly not the case anymore in Netrunner. There are actually very few fair decks being viable now. Most of the decks are some kind of OP combo junk deck of the week, which is trying to piss over the other OP combo junk decks from the previous weeks.

Which is all good and great if you love your combo OP decks, but a lot of players (probably even majority) don’t.
And this is not the Netrunner as we used to know and love it. Prepaid Kate was a strong fair deck. Foodcoats was a strong, and almost fair deck (if you remove the Caprice junk). We don’t have such decks anymore…

And this is a huge problem. The game is clearly on the decline, based on the player attendance and general lack of enthusiasm.
The designers have made so many mistakes in the past year, and allowed such a power creep of combo OP cards and tactics, that there is very little chance to fix the game without a massive overhaul.

I think at this point even the rotation won’t help much, and maybe can even accelerate the process.
Probably the only thing which might really help at this moment would be a hard reset.


Another way of saying this is that too much of the game is being played out in the deckbuilding, and not enough in the game.

I have always preferred more of the crucial decision-making to happen interactively, face-to-face. Don’t get me wrong, I like deckbuilding, but I generally aim to build those that enable interesting ingame decision points, not those that aim to most efficiently lock out the opponent thus avoiding meaningful decision-making. I do think that it has become more skewed towards that deckbuilding side of things: the pregame rock-paper-scissors issue if you like. But that is maybe because the cards themselves have been creeping up in power. You will always have a deckbuilding “meta” where some deck choices do well against others. The question is what the advantage is. If by making a lucky/strategic deck choice you turn a 50/50 game into a 55/45 one, that’s one thing. If it turns into a 90/10 game, that’s something else entirely. The more powerful individual cards become (Hard-Hitting News versus SEA Source, BOOM! versus Scorched Earth, Mumba Temple versus Dedicated Server), the more you the game will be skewed by getting a good/bad matchup because the effect of not bringing “the solution” in your deck is more likely to be game-ending rather than just aggravating.


Exactly this. It is a preference for sure, but one where the debate is about how much of the interactivity is within a matchup compared to before it.

Since players have different preferences here i think the best path would be to balance the game so that the decks aiming towards the 90/10 matchups have (on average) lower power -level than the more interactive decks.

However they should be like wolves on the sidelines of the village, very powerful if someone steps outside the village with not enough preparation. Good meta-calls.


Remove the bad pub

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I’ve really been enjoying HB: Architects of Tomorrow for some of the reasons discussed in this topic. I have played HB glacier almost exclusively since I started playing a few years ago, and I am so excited that there is finally a new ID that has the potential to stand up to ETF in power level when played smartly.

I’m currently testing a hybrid of Biotic/SSCG and normal remote scoring for the scoring plan, and the Bioroid ice makes for remarkably taxing servers. I use Domestic Sleepers to clear Rumor Mill and help with reaching 7 points (GFI is in my deck but hard to score, so mostly I win from 3/2s and DS). I have CVS for Clot. Jackson is my only card affected by Rumor Mill so I play around it as needed by removing him from the game on my turn most times.

This to me feels like classic Netrunner. It’s a fair, mid-range deck that’s flexible and can really gain a powerful economic advantage when played well, but the games can be really fun against a good opponent.

I’m really excited for Terminal Directive to be released so we can see some new cards all at once and inject some more deckbuilding into the meta that has nothing to do with Anarch or NBN!


Okay, I know the solution! We can errata Valencia to say “The Corp begins the game with 1 Bad Publicity. The Corp may choose to lower the runner’s needed point total by 1 agenda point to avoid the bad pub.”

Everyone happy now? :slight_smile:

Getting rid of Valencia is not a great solution of the problem :wink:

A good solution is printing BP cards which, while giving a bonus big enough for Valencia decks to be competitive, don’t turn off whole big area of the game like Blackmail. Then, once Blackmail rotates out, we can have playable and more interesting Valencia decks.

I don’t agree, I think a couple bans and a more proactive use of the MWL would be enough.

The problem is that Damon or FFG as a whole are not willing to do it.

PD: I think that every Corp deck needs to run Executive Bootcamp right now. It’s the only cheap, reliable and versatile way to win against Valencia and DDoS. And yes, this means you have a de facto influence of 10 at best.

Alternatively, putting the counter-play of Blackmail on Blackmail itself. Add a extra sentence or something where “The Corp may take 1 Bad Publicity to ignore this effect for the rest of the run…” So it gives you a actual choice to make, do you let whatever evidence the runner has on you just blow up in the news and it’s now even cheaper for the runner to get into servers later with actual breakers, or do you just let it go and let the runner into the server?

Make it actual blackmail.


So I disagree with the premise of your post script generally, but if you are going that route, Surat does that job a lot better than EBC. You could very conceivably install Surat and fire it a bunch of times before the runner gets a turn, as opposed to putting out EBC, hoping it survives and getting one ice before they trash it.