Trans-Atlantic split on Shaper vs. Anarch?

I don’t have data on this, but it looks like American Regionals are seeing a lot more Shaper in the top cuts and at the top tables than similar events in the UK. Today in Atlanta, Denver, and Huddersfield there were three similar sized Regionals. The Americans appeared to have a bunch of Shaper and Crim and the UK was dominated by Anarch – at least at the top.

Looks like a lot more Jinteki in the USA, too, but that is another topic.

Is there a USA-UK divide on the strength of Shaper in the current meta? Or is there something else that explains what appears to be a split in faction preference across the Atlantic?

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Looking at data:
4 Shaper out of 22 = 20%, 8 Anarch out of 22 = 40%, Top cut, 3 Anarch, 1 Shaper
Which seems not so strong, but the winner is a shaper but the only one in top 8.

No data yet available for Atlanta & Collorado

Collorado on cam:
AgInf - Andy
AgInf - Leela
EtF - Valencia
Sync - Whiz
Sync - Hayley
Sync - Andy
AgInf - Leela
AgInf - Andy
Skorpios - Maxx

Top Cut:
Tennin - Hayley
EtF - Valencia
EtF - Maxx
Blue Sun - Ayla
AgInf - Ayla
Tennin - Hayley
Here we see a lot of shaper in the top cut I agree.

I think things can differ from region to region. E.g. 2 weeks ago we had this tournament: Germany Göttingen which was nicely balanced from my feeling. What is it telling us? Especially if new cards are released all the time.

Without a bigger pool of data does such a question makes sense?

I haven’t been to a Regional here in the UK for a few weeks so I might be slightly out of date on this, but from what I’ve seen of the US Regionals it seems that i) there’s less CI; ii) there’s more AgInfusion, and iii) the Moons decks that are seeing play in the US are closer to HBFA than the tempo decks that are popular in the UK (i.e. Euro Moons).

Most Shaper decks have a bad matchup against Euro Moons, with the possible exception of the Adjusted Matrix kind. So if those aren’t there in the meta, Shaper is a better choice than it would be otherwise. They’ll also be better against more FA-heavy Moons decks, and should be fine against AgInfusion as it’s basically a fancy glacier deck, which you love to see across the table if you’re on the remote-lock Shaper plan.

The CI Shaper match-up is a weird one, but probably still CI favoured just from raw speed.

So basically if I’m going to a UK Regional I know I want to have an answer to CI and Euro Moons. Siphon Anarch would seem to be a better call there than Shaper, which is probably too slow for CI and can lose on tempo to Euro Moons. I imagine the AgInf matchup is pretty rough for Siphon Anarch, but I haven’t tried it. As there’s no Runner deck that beats everything at the moment, it seems fine to be favoured against CI and Moons, have game against SYNC, and give up the AgInf matchup.

Looks like Atlanta has only 1 Shaper in top 8. Remains to be seen how well it finishes. Andy appears popular in Atlanta top 8, too.

Can you expound on this more? The Chris Dyer build of Moons replaced the Bigunit3000 version as the ‘default’ Moons you expect to see in the US, and since Dyer is British I thought the US and European Moons decks would be similar. Have European moons decks become more ‘tempo’ than the old Dyer build? Any examples of this?

Nope, it’s still broadly the same. I think the latest version drops an Eli for a Quandary and an ELP for an Ark Lockdown, and we keep oscillating between 2 3 DBS and 2 Turtlebacks and vice versa, but those are basically just cosmetic changes.

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I’m not going to disagree because it’s not my meta so I’m hardly going to know better than you! What I meant was that from streams, nrdb and always be running, I’ve seen more in the way of SanSan decks that don’t play DBS or Turtlebacks than UK-style (with the notable exception of the DC Regional).

e.g. Rihanna (3rd NH Regionals) · NetrunnerDB

I’m happy to concede that I’ve got the wrong impression of the relative prevalence of these deck types.

Hmm, that may be because Bioroid Work Crew came out and people wanted to play something different than the same old Moons that everyone’s been playing for a whiel? I’ve generally seen Moons with DBS and Turtlebacks, for example:

Timmy Wong was the first person to put them in a Moons deck and win a tournament with it: Nightmare Moon: Friendship, Upgraded (1st @ NorCal regional) · NetrunnerDB

Bluebird was the highest ranked Moons at US Nationals: Moons Mashup 3rd at US Nats - ETX June 4 2017 · NetrunnerDB

What motivates the inclusion of Ark Lockdown?

Clot, Rumor Mill and Siphon

Yeah, it’s mostly for Clot. Shaper is pretty popular in the UK at the moment, and Lockdown gives you a way to beat the fast advance and remote lock that these decks rely on. Ideally you’d find a slot for a CVS as well.

There’s a bit of utility against most decks (conspiracy breakers and Siphon especially, Deep Data Mining against Lock Hayley, Rumour Mill for any deck that has it), but it’s not an inspiring include or anything. Operations really have to pull their weight in this deck to be better than another asset.

As a general note on the prevalence of anarch in uk regional results, while I agree that I don’t think you can draw that conclusion quite so clearly without more data, part of a potential bias towards anarch in the UK comes down to the specific players who attend tournaments.

Huddersfield regional this weekend for example had 4 Whizz in the top 4, 3 of them on siphon, but that says more I think about who was at that tournament. Tris, Dave Hoyland, Mark Mottram and Alex White are 4 of the best players in the wider UK meta and the first 3 are renowned constant Siphon Whizz players going back years. Whether that says something about the UK meta overall is hard to say but it’d be interesting to see how many of the anarchs that appear in regional cuts in the UK are in the hands of the same players who almost always play anarch regardless of meta and also happen to be some of the best (where in the US, because of the scale, regionals are somewhat more likely to have unique attendees).

The Lockdown is interesting as an alternative to the ELP – which is the only realistic card to cut in the list. But it really depends on which Runner currents are prevalent. I think it’s better than the 3rd ELP against Rumor Mill. Strike is not too much of a problematic effect, so going either ELP or Lockdown doesn’t really matter in that case.

Against Siphon Whizz with 3 Hacktivist Meeting, you really want to clear the Hacktivist so slotting Lockdown gets worse.

I think it’s better than CVS against Clot in Lock Hayley or similar Shaper lists. But you need to be able to bait out the Clot early without SacCon protection and then remove it, or else you’re better off trying to rush them out.

I’ve obviously influenced Mark and Tris a lot in their deck choices, however I believe that Whizzard and lock shaper are the only viable runner decks right now against moon. (If folk want to show me stuff I’ve missed feel free to drop me a PM. But testing with criminal hasn’t been positive) and lock shaper isn’t really my dance.

I also think that moon being so strong is the reason we have such a diverse corp meta. If people didn’t have to tech so hard for moon I don’t think decks like SYNC and Ag would be anywhere near as strong. If we get a new mwl and moon gets hit, I’m interested to see where the corp meta goes.


I’ve seen a fair bit of Andy with Aeneas around. Clearly, your testing has not shown her to be a good Moons match up. What have you seen in that match that goes poorly? She just can’t limit the board enough without Whizz bucks or Clot lock?

From my experience it’s that, even if you do draw Aeneas and Desperado early you tend to spend almost all your early effort trying to keep the board in check at the cost of developing your own, and then you’re very vulnerable to Moons putting a lot of pressure on you via an iced remote. You don’t have cheap and sustainable solutions to any of the ice in the deck.

If you don’t draw at least two of Aeneas/Desperado early the matchup is very very tough indeed; it’s reduced to little more than ‘drop Medium and hope’

I don’t mean to make it sound like it’s unwinnable or anything, but at a rough guess I’d say it’s 40/60 in favour of Moons when it’s two players of equal skill.


This is the reason that I’m not sold on Aeneas. A good moons player will put a lot of pressure on you to control the board, and finding the pieces in time to do that is problematic. The most important card in the deck is Desperado, but I prefer Security Testing over Aeneas as it gives you more money when you’ve got less of your own board set up. Without a doubt Aeneas Informant is better once you have them all on the board, but this is a rare event in a moons game especially if they’re using ice correctly.

I had a similar thought about AI vs Sec Testing. Also, it seems like the big money AI play of deep digging R&D with Medium and making huge money from the dig is a classic win more scenario. If I’m making big Medium digs, I’m probably well on the way to winning already.

Also, the three clicks to set up the triple AI is not insignificant.

Of course, I may be wrong. I’m not a very accomplished Criminal player.

We’re way off topic at this point, but the real value of Aeneas with Medium is that it makes your runs sustainable. By the time you’re in a position to do this you probably need to run through a Fairchild 3 or something, and Aeneas theoretically pays you back enough on access to partially or completely fund the next run.

It’s important to remember that Moons is a tempo deck, not really an asset spam deck. Anything that lets the runner counter and cope with that tempo is good, which is why Aeneas is slightly better than Security Testing in the matchup. The flip side is that Security Testing is better in almost every matchup, so it really feels like a meta call to me.

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The thing is: Against Moon you have to facecheck every single face-down card because you need to trash Moon, Clones and AAL. Aeneas helps against that, Security Testing doesn’t, it just compresses you further.

With Aeneas you can have turns like this:

  • Check remote
  • Check remote (trash)
  • Gain money, draw or pay Enhanced Login Protocol tax
  • Install cards, make useful runs

With Sec Testing you cannot do that.