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What cards in Netrunner are also in Magic: the Gathering?


#1

Introduction:

I have fond memories of Magic: the Gathering. I stopped playing several years ago when the two friends I mostly played with stopped playing. Since then, those same two friends introduced me to Android: the Netrunner, and I’ve loved this game ever since.

But Magic and Netrunner have more in common than my affection. They also share, by my count, 29 card titles. 29 card names for Netrunner are also card names for Magic. The following is a list of those cards, as well as my keen analysis of which card is better.

However, it is a truth universally acknowledged that any card game analysis article includes at least a brief method section, so here is a short description of my methods:

Methods:

To create the list, I went through cards on NetrunnerDB, one set at a time. If I identified any cards that seemed like they had the potential to be the names of Magic cards, I searched for that name on Gatherer. I treated any entries that had the same name as the name I was searching for as positive matches.

I also included as positive matches card titles that differed only through punctuation, capitalization, or spacing, or pluralization. For instance, I considered Hivemind and Hive Mind, as well as Mind Game and Mind Games.

I did not consider it a positive match when a phrase from one card was only part of the card title of another card. For instance, I did not include Colossus and Darksteel Colossus. There would have been many more matches had I chosen not to take this approach, particularly because Magic tends to pepper their card titles with adjectives and epithets, whereas Netrunner has a lot more single word titles.

To decide which card was better, I used my extensive competitive expertise as someone with multiple second place finishes to my name, including a 2nd place GNK finish, a 2nd place Netrunner regional performance, and a 2nd place finish at my kitchen table against a kid’s green ramp deck. I am principally deciding based on power level, though elegance of card design and my own person feelings about the cards will also color my unbiased judgments.

Results:

Corp Cards

Netrunner card: Archangel
Magic card: Archangel
Analysis: The giant 5/5 flier seems like a limited bomb in slow formats, but otherwise not very playable and not very exciting. The NBN ice has amazing numbers on it and been a part of multiple top level decks. I heard that it is less useful now that Medium is gone, but I think the decision of which of these cards is better is still easy.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Boom!
Magic card: Boom (one half of Boom/Bust)
Analysis: Boom! the operation is an incredible win condition to build around. Boom the sorcery (that’s like an operation for wizards) is an annoying addition to what sounds like an annoying deck. There used to be some wacky shenanigans you could get up to with Boom because it is a split card, but they changed the rules with that recently so it harder to do stupid things with it :cry:.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Brainstorm
Magic card: Brainstorm
Analysis: As sweet as dealing lots of brain damage to someone is, Brainstorm the Magic card is one of the most busted cards on this list.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Dracō
Magic card: Draco
Analysis: Apparently Dracō was some sick tech to duck Account Siphon and mess up Atman during Worlds 2013, but the card has not seen play since then on account of it is bad. Draco similarly isn’t very good, but it at least has some spicy potential for janky decks as the card with the largest converted mana cost in the game.
Who has the more powerful card?: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Magic

Netrunner card: Flare
Magic card: Flare
Analysis: Hard to compare a piece of overcosted nonsense that can wreck someone if the situation is exactly perfect and a slightly overcosted card with a slight effect that replaces itself, so in the end I went with the one that makes me happier.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Foxfire
Magic card: Foxfire
Analysis: My friend won the finals of a Netrunner Store Champ with Foxfire one time and he still won’t stop talking about it. Foxfire the Magic card has cool art and good flavor text for a combat trick. Both are exactly as good.
Who has the more powerful card?: Tie

Netrunner card: Hailstorm
Magic card: Hail Storm
Analysis: No one ever plays either of these cards, but one of them gives green access to some stuff really outside of their color pie, which is neat.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Hive
Magic card: The Hive
Analysis: Look, I’m a bee partisan. I’m going to pick the card that could have bees over the card that is explicitly for wasps.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Mind Game
Magic card: Mind Games
Analysis: Mind Games the instant seems pretty sweet for dragging the game out but it also seems like no one has ever played this card. There are much better options, I think? Mind Game is a nice friend who sometimes lets me down but hey, I paid zero to rez ya, buddy.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Restore
Magic card: Restore
Analysis: Both are nice utility cards. I’ve really been impressed by the operation, particularly how it gives you neat lines against DDoS and Leela. The sorcery seems weird because it might be unreliable at ramping you early, but also lets you occasionally get into wacky shenanigans. As a tiebreaker, I’m picking the card I like more.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Sacrifice
Magic card: Sacrifice
Analysis: Both these cards seem really bad. As a tiebreaker, I’m picking the card that combos with Draco.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Salvage
Magic card: Salvage
Analysis: Interestingly, the Magic card might be better in Netrunner, where card disadvantage is more palatable, and the Netrunner card might be better in Magic, because it wouldn’t be as big of a deal to be the worst ice in the game if you were also the only ice in the game.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Sand Storm
Magic card: Sandstorm
Analysis: Sand Storm the trap can be extremely annoying punishment for runners who have the temerity to run without an AI breaker and I love it. Sandstorm the instant is boring and I hate it.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Shock!
Magic card: Shock
Analysis: Both these cards have inferiority complexes about the amount of damage their bigger siblings Snare! and Lightning Bolt can do, but at least one fires from archives and doesn’t cost the same dang amount to do less damage.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Watchdog
Magic card: Watchdog
Analysis: I dunno, both these cards seem pretty bad to me. The Magic card seems like I could build a deck around it at least. Can we talk about how great Holly Chandler’s Watchdog Narrative Campaign is instead?
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic
Who has the more powerful unofficial narrative campaign?: Netrunner

Runner Cards

Netrunner card: Apocalypse
Magic card: Apocalypse
Analysis: Both are devastating board wipes. Apex’s Apocalypse is THE board wipe for Netrunner, and Apocalypse is merely A board wipe, so tip of the cyber hat to the event.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: The Archivist
Magic card: Archivist
Analysis: I like The Archivist because he helps you in lots of tiny ways and gives you unexpected gifts when you are feeling down. I like Archivist because drawing an extra card a turn is good when you can just use a basic click action to do that. I feel like my analysis of which one is better might be wrong on this one, whereas all the other ones I’m exactly correct.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Blackmail
Magic card: Blackmail
Analysis: Blackmail Val sure is a terror, huh. Much better than Blackmail Braids.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Bribery
Magic card: Bribery
Analysis: Bribery the Magic card is a really powerful effect that is at least fun for you. Bribery the Netrunner card is the sick tech Public Terminal + PPVP Nasir needed to go from Tier 8 to Tier 7.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Feint
Magic card: Feint
Analysis: If you thought Feint the Netrunner card didn’t do much for the card slot, check out Feint the Magic card.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Force of Nature
Magic card: Force of Nature
Analysis: Sometimes you need to pay 6 mana plus another 4 mana every turn to get a win condition, and sometimes you just need to think long and hard about how important is it for you to have a decoder really.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Grappling Hook
Magic card: Grappling Hook
Analysis: Both these cards are really sweet, but only one of them was part of this cool deck I lost to at Worlds.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Gravedigger
Magic card: Gravedigger
Analysis: Should I start playing Gravedigger the Netrunner card? It seems kind of cool? Plus I think if you play it with Apocalypse you get to put a bunch of virus tokens on it before you flip it over. Combo with that spoiled Apex card in Kitara maybe?
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Hivemind
Magic card: Hive Mind
Analysis: Hive Mind is part of a really stupid and powerful combo deck that kills your opponent through wacky technicalities. I love it. Hivemind gives you some nice bonuses plus it lets you trash Gorman Drip for one extra credit.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Hunting Grounds
Magic card: Hunting Grounds
Analysis: Hunting Grounds the Netrunner card seems really good right now, I hear? I’m trying to play Armored Servers + Brainstorm right now, so please don’t play it, okay? I’ve never played the Magic card but that seems really cool. Certainly much more powerful than the stupid Netrunner card.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Leave No Trace
Magic card: Leave No Trace
Analysis: I hear if you play a lot with Leave No Trace the run event you eventually sour on it because ultimately the effect isn’t work a card slot. But I haven’t put in the time so I’m still excited about it. Anyway, it’s got to be better than this boring Disenchant, right?
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Rebirth
Magic card: Rebirth
Analysis: Rebirth the Magic card is banned in all formats. This might make you think it is powerful or something, but it is actually just banned because it involved ante and really isn’t very powerful anyway. Rebirth the Netrunner card is amazing and I love it even though my friend who won that Store Champ with Foxfire hates it for its bizarre flavor implications.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

Netrunner card: Reshape
Magic card: Reshape
Analysis: How bad would the Magic card have to be to be worse than the Netrunner card? It isn’t that bad.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Wasteland
Magic card: Wasteland
Analysis: A full 33% of the Apex cards share names with Magic cards. What could this mean about the identity of Apex? I don’t think we have official confirmation that Apex ISN’T the disembodied cyber ghost of a Magic player, so maybe that’s true! That would certainly explain why Apex is so excited about wrathing the board even though that isn’t really a Netrunner thing, and also why Apex’s identity ability synergizes so well with Cheatyface. Anyway, Magic Wasteland is busted.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

THE END

If you were keeping score (I wasn’t) Netrunner and Magic finished 14-14-1, which I swear was not intentional.

Thank you for continuing to read and/or skim my important research. I’d be happy to hear about stuff I got wrong and cards I missed!

EDIT 12/6/17

Adding two cards to the list I missed. Thank you @BubbaTheGoat and @bblum:

Netrunner card: Scheherazade
Magic card: Shahrazad
Analysis: I’m a bit surprised I missed this one because I really like both cards. The Magic card has an extremely wacky story attached to it. The Magic card makes a Magic subgame. Apparently, a long time ago, tournament players used to use Shahrazad for wacky shenanigans. Magic tournaments usually have rounds that are best of 3, or, if the round went to time, best of how ever many games you played. When Shahrazad was legal, players, if they won game 1, would sideboard in Shahrazad into their deck, and then use shenanigans to cast it again and again and again, making subgames within subgames, making more subgames, and just keep playing forever until the round goes to time. While this, I’m sure, was miserable for actual tournament play, it is very evocative of the One Thousand And One Nights character, who keeps telling stories to keep from being executed. Incidentally, the card is banned now in all formats.
Who has the more powerful card?: Magic

Netrunner card: Scorched Earth
Magic card: Scorched Earth
Analysis: "I’d like to remind the ladies and gentlemen of the press that several of the land cards placed in the graveyard this turn were owned by Weyland Consortium subsidiaries…"
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner

EDIT 12/7/17

Netrunner card: Battering Ram
Magic card: Battering Ram
Analysis: One is a never played barrier breaker that if you somehow find yourself playing you will find it to be a bit overcosted but occasionally adequate. It’s certainly a step above Aurora. The other one is weak and underpowered and you can’t even include it as a silver bullet against Great Wall for your plainswalker deck because Great Wall isn’t a wall.
Who has the more powerful card?: Netrunner, I guess.


#2

I think the more interesting question is which cards share mechanical effects. For example, Anonymous Tip and Brainstorm both draw three, but have very different values and uses between the games.


#3

That’s a good one too! I’ll look into it.


#4

Anonymous Tip / Diesel and Ancestral Recall comes to mind


#5

Doom Blade, otherwise known as Rumor Mill.


#6

Sanjay, you’re the best. This list really tickled me, given my long years of wizardry in my pre-Netrunning days.


#7

Spelling aside, I want to nominate Shahrazad and Scheherazade!

The mtg card is so weird and time consuming that it is banned in,well, a lot of formats. The netrunner card is fun, modestly useful, but probably closer to the shaper mechanic pie than anarch.


#8

CBI Raid was explicitly based on a Magic card, IIRC.


#9

Also the magic version of Restore is better imo. It’s not for ramping you but rather for wastelanding your opponent an extra time. I’ve thought about playing ANR restore as like a 4th MCA but archived memories always beats it out on flexibility.


#10

Thank you @bblum and @BubbaTheGoat. I have made the appropriate edits.

The comparison between Restores is really interesting here.

I think you could argue that Netrunner’s Restore is to Archived Memories as Magic’s Restore is to either Life From The Loam or Crucible of Worlds. I suppose an even more apt comparison might be to Regrowth.

One interesting factor is that Magic has a few formats that give a card value even if it is worse or even strictly worse than another card. Commander means that you might play Recollect even if Restore is legal. Or maybe a card is strictly worse than a card that isn’t legal in standard. Or maybe the better card is simply super expensive and so you make do with the budget alternative.

Makes it a bit weird to compare the relative power level of cards. That’s entirely a problem of my own doing though, because I was inexact in defining my parameters for power.


#11

Ah I was actually mixing it up in my mind with regrowth, which is the actually good one. I was like, I remember there’s a super good 1G that brings stuff back from graveyards, was this it? I’m comfortable with ANR restore being the better one.

Come to think of it I’d also rank archived mem above regrowth as well.


#12

I don’t know if it counts, but there is the Netrunner card Indexing and the MtG card Index


#13

I decided not to count stuff like that mainly because it would be a lot of work for me to properly find all the matches.

There is also Tinkering and Tinker, and Infiltration and Infiltrate. Maybe more?

It’s kind of an interesting reflection on respective naming styles for MtG and Netrunner.

Also, looking through the core set I found another one I missed:

Battering Ram

Which I will add to the list.


#14

That one is no contest, in my mind. The Magic card was terrible. I look forward to your take.


#15

For Battering Ram, I think you left out a word - surely it’s a never played barrier breaker. Also I think plainswalker should maybe be planeswalker?

Also, thank you for compiling this list! It is very entertaining.


#16

Your first correction is correct. Thank you for that.

The second correction is not correct but also the only reason anyone ever mentions plainswalkers is to cheekily solicit such a correction.