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Trying to find the perfect Intermediate Format, after Core System 2019

Hi !

(no English native speaker here !)

I started playing Netrunner a bit more than a year ago, with one experienced player. I’ve dived quite into the game and now I’m pretty much playing every day with friends or on jinteki.net

Our community is now growing in Brussels too, with some new players joining regularly.

Why an intermediate format ?

Some of them now feel like going on, beyond Core Experience. They have mostly acquired Core sets and all the big boxes. But jumping into the whole standard format doesn’t appeal them just yet. At all. The necessity to already buy / print more and more, the overwhelming number of cards to learn and, as a consequence, the fact that you don’t deckbuild but rather fish decks online for a while before reaching at a decent level do turn some of my friends off.

Personally, I slowly get by in the standard format but I play much more than most of them.

I’ve read many posts and questions about this concern. Experienced players or kind-of-rookies-but-already-super-implicated ones may argue that playing standard right after Core Exp is the way. But I think that the community, and NISEI group above all should really lend an ear to this question, respect everyone’s learning tempo and making sure new players find their way through this very rich game.

This question is surely key to keep Netrunner alive, with newcomers feeling truly welcomed.

Various proposals have been made, because many players have heard that concern too. But, since a high number of different formats can also puzzle or divide new players, creating one convincing intermediate format, “uniting” around it and making it official seem necessary to me.

Which intermediate format ?

I’ve played the SOCR9 tournament and found it very exciting. It gave a lot of room to create very personal decks, introduced many cards that will be frequently used in standard (mainly from Kitara & Downfall cycles) and still was not too much of a dauntingly large meta.

This format represents a very solid base. Besides, it is already an official format.

SOCR9 then… but it may be tweaked just a little bit. There are three main reasons to do so:

  1. after the SOCR9 tournament, stats showed that Corps have a 60% winning rate, which isn’t critically problematic but still not ideal.

  2. As NISEI decided for the standard format, removing Crowdfunding from the game allows more diverse Corps options (for instance, being able to leave a Calvin B4L3Y / Marylin Campaign / Daily Business Show open), which is nice.

  3. Runners have only access to two currents (Itinerant Protesters & Corporate “Grant”, respectively costing 2 inf + your big box choice & 3 inf)… while Corps have access to five of them (Jinteki being the only one with none in faction).

Thus, I’m suggesting:

  1. not using Magnum Opus: this would take out two very good and often splashed Corps cards : Border Control and Slot Machine. And Crowdfunding too.

  2. still applying the 3.2 MWL (like it was during the tournament) : to have Surveyor still restricted, as in this format glacier decks don’t suffer at all.

  3. taking currents out of this format.

In the end, this intermediate format would use the 3.2 MWL (or its own named MWL, like Eternal has) + “no current” rule and include :

3x System Core 2019

1 Big Box (Creation and Control/Honor and Profit/Order and Chaos/Data and Destiny) (this may be different for Runner and Corp)

1 Copy of Reign & Reverie

All 6 Packs of the Kitara Cycle

Downfall, the first half of the Ashes Cycle

I’ve been thinking for a while about it. I’m quite confident it could be a great format. But they surely are some aspects I didn’t consider enough. What do you think ? Can we ease the way for players needing another step before standard with this format ? Should we propose it to the NISEI board ?

I’d happy to help building this format as well as testing it more.

Thank you for your help !


I like your goal. I think there’s more we can do for new/intermediate players to get into the game and enjoy themselves. Since you’ve played in the SOCR9 tournament, you may be aware that the format changes with each iteration. Here is the information post on SOCRX (i.e. 10):

Do you think the format of SOCRX meets your goals?

@Sanjay may be the nicest person in Netrunner, so I think if you reached out to him, I’m sure he would be open to feedback about the format being approachable to intermediate players.

Also, SOCR is not a NISEI official format, as in it’s not listed on the support format page:


But, it does have support on jinteki.net through Sanjay’s polite persistence, which is not part of NISEI, but they do work closely together. But, that’s just minor details, because I agree that if there is a widely accepted indeterminate format that helps new players out more.

Also, if you’re interested, I believe NISEI did post a position for “Alternative Format” coordinator here a while ago:


I’m not sure if that position was filled, but it may be worth sending an email if you’re interested in helping.

Hi !

Thank you for your reply :wink:

As for SOCRX tournament, well, I’m obviously playing it !

I’d like to set up a more persistent format than the changing SOCR project. Just like Core Experience.
I may reach NISEI directly, yes. I wanted to receive some feed back from the whole community first.

Thanks a lot & have a nice day :slight_smile:

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Yeah it was a huge mistake by FFG to wait so long to introduce an intermediate format, and to make Cache Refresh such a flustercluck when they did. Between the stupid bidding system, broken TD cards in the card pool, and the card pool being FAR TOO LARGE, they made sure it was totally unsuitable for beginners. Then, just to make sure no beginner could ever play it, they supported it ONLY as a side-event for 2-day regionals, and ruled that only people who played in day 1 could play in Cache Refresh! Given that beginners are often too intimidated to go to tournaments, forcing them to go to a regional just so they can play the side event format was monumentally stupid!

Modded (revcore+Kitara) worked far better, but unfortunately SC19+Downfall isn’t as good as a beginner format, as Downfall has a lot of complex and weird cards designed to support more off-beat archetypes. SC19+Kitara would work pretty well, but I think that would be self-defeating given that Kitara is so hard to buy, and new players generally seem very hesitant to proxy cards.

NISEI design is definitely aware of the issue, and if you listen to a recent interview by Greg Tongue, he hints at something being in the pipeline. If you’d like to contribute to creating it, try applying for the Alternative Formats post that Tim linked!


Hi !

Thanks for these comments :wink:

I’ve actually mailed NISEI with a proposal that I’ll just past below.
Your doubts about Downfall & Kitara made me think. But I’m still confident about including them in this format :

  • Kitara : New players will more and more surely need to use proxies, as System Core already use some cards from boxes (like TD) that you won’t find so easily or won’t be willing to buy.
  • Downfall : true that some cards are more complex. But that’s a intermediate, not beginner format. And you’ll need to learn these cards eventually, before jumping into Standard.

So, apart from the ± same intro I posted here, the new format and thinking I shared with NISEI :

Which intermediate format ?

The main goals of this intermediate format are :

  1. introducing rookies to many cards that will be frequently used in standard ;

  2. giving some freedom and enjoyment in deckbuilding with more options than Core exp ;

  3. but still keeping it all manageable in a limited meta ;

  4. having this meta pretty stable (unlike SOCR or Relive, but like Core exp) - so that players don’t need to buy / print too many boxes to begin with. This must not just be a jinteki.net format.

  5. introducing the concept of MWL.

Initially, I had though about a tweaked SOCR9 format. That’s what I posted on reddit & stimhack forum, to get some feedback. And, indeed, some comments helped me change my mind. Mainly the fact that you have announced that Creation & Control will rotate. And that SOCR9 in the end still has a pretty large cards pool.

So, at the end of the day, I’ve considered and specify a proposal made by TamiJo (thanks !) on Slack. I think the perfect Intermediate format would be :

3 x System Core 2019 + Kitara cycle + Downfall.

Add to this, two elements :

  1. No current are allowed in this format.

  2. Its own MWL is :

Corps restricted cards : Surveyor, NGO front, (SSL Endorsement, Rashida Jaheem ?)

Runners restricted cards : Laamb, (Engolo, Corroder ?)

Notes :

  1. After the SOCR9 tournament, stats showed that Corps have a 60% winning rate, which isn’t critically problematic but still not ideal. The Australian community that played a lot its Modded format also confirmed that Corps had a higher winning rate.

Netrunner is essentially a money game and Corps have access to more super solid economy cards (IPO, NGO front, SSL Endorsement) than runners within that meta. In that aspect, NGO front seems very strong, as it can bait the runner into a well defended scoring remote, get you some serious resources, and get you back on tracks from nowhere (not like Hedge Fund or IPO). Furthermore, the “only” runner’s response to it is Falsified Credentials, which costs 2 inf while NGO is neutral.

For example, during SOCR9 tournament, I won many games as Corp against better players, with this idiotic list : http://www.netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/56123/high-in-the-castle-weyland-socr9

Putting SSL Endorsement in the restricted pool too would probably be a double and unnecessary punishment for (glacier) Corps. But I’m leaving this point - as well as any other, of course - to discuss. Rashida Jaheem was also mentioned in a comment, but I’m not very convinced about it.

  1. Letting currents out is optional but probably a healthy decision. Runners have only access to one current (Corporate “Grant”, 3 inf)… while Corps have access to two of them (Death & Taxes, 3 inf ; Kill switch, 5 inf).

  2. Unlike in the standard format, glacier decks don’t suffer at all in this format. They are actually very good. So Surveyor still belongs to the MWL here.

  3. As for runners, Laamb is certainly the prior target for restricted cards. But it may be the only one. So not having a restricted list for runners is an option (why not ?).

Or, if we feel like we need at least a second card with this restricted status. Engolo is a good call, due to its similarity to Laamb. Corroder could be restricted too, to promote diversity in runners decks. It won’t hurt much (you “just” cannot combine it with the excellent Engolo), but it may just be enough to foster players not to pick Corroder no matter what. Corroder is all around in standard. In this much more limited format, with no real competitors to it, Corroder will just appear a way too often, I’m afraid.

Final words

That’s it.

I’m ready to help with testing or so, even though I’m not the best expert around. But I’m definitely in this still intermediate player step.

In the end, my biggest motivation is that NISEI, being the most legitimate directing board of the game and its best shot to maintain it alive, take this serious “what am I supposed to play after Core exp ?” concern into account. Because so many players are facing it and that some have quite frequently expressed it, different options have been proposed (SOCR, Modded, Relive, …). They are all great and make a lot of sense but probably either suffer from being too jinteki.net oriented, or too demanding, with a large card pool.

NISEI now needs to find one firm solution that would address this matter, unite players and formats and make it shine, thanks to its greater visibility and reputation.

What do you think ?

Thank you for reading and have a joyful day !

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