Home | About | Tournament Winning Decklists | Forums

What decks would be in your playtesting "gauntlet" assuming you use one?

I’m not asking for how to make the best versions of the accepted top decks in the format. I am wondering what the typical “best decks in the format” look like, hopefully with decklists or links to decklists.

I want to try testing against the “typical” best decks.

On the corp side we have:

RP glacier,
NEH astrobiotics,
NEH scorch,
Blue Sun glacier,
Blue Sun scorch,
HB fast advance,
HB glacier,
PE shell game.

Anything else is probably similar enough to the above that you don’t need to test for it specifically.


For runner:

Andy Sucker with Parasite
Stealth Andy
Desperado Leela
Reg Ass
Reina Headlock
Noise with Clone Chips
Some Siphon Anarch Deck (Maxx or Quet)
Some Noncombo Val


IMO against PE Shell one just needs experience in general, not necessarily a lot of testing with any particular runner list

Regardless of your experience against the archetype, some decks simply handle it better than others. Knowing what your particular deck can and cannot afford is valuable information, especially for a matchup where a single mis-step can easily be fatal.


That’s certainly true. Shaper with Deus X recursion and Leela with… being Leela make the match a lot easier than, say, old style Crim.

1 Like

I feel like you can probably work that out by just looking at what cards you’re playing as runner.


These gauntlets are way too long should be cut down to be of practical use. If you’re testing a new deck you’re going to be lucky to finish a game in less than 30 minutes and I think you should play at least 2-3 games against each deck to account for the variance in a typical netrunner game. You need multiple games because sometimes you’ll pull 5 points of agendas from R&D on the first or end up with your critical cards at very bottom of stack. You can restart if one side gets exceptionally bad luck but that adds even more time to your testing.

You also have to build these decks and unless you have multiple playsets available, that means dismantling and rebuilding the decks between games which adds more time.

I’m all for exhaustive testing a deck but spending 8+ hours seems rather excessive. If you’re planning on taking a deck to nationals or regionals, it’s fine but you probably don’t need to run a established deck through a gauntlet since you should already have an idea of how it handles its common match ups.

1 Like

So have we settled on experience playing against plus experience of knowing which cards are required in favour of testing? Aren’t those things the result of testing?

I was disputing the idea that you need to test against PE with your specific runner deck. With standard PE having tested against it with any runner deck is good enough. I guess MaxX might be the exception because you’re a bit harder to flatline but you’re also on a timer.

If you have a good amount of experience playing Criminal against PE and then someone hands you a Kate deck and says “this Kate deck has Deus Ex in it so bear that in mind”, your experience with Criminal should be good enough.

The cards that do work against PE are extremely obvious. I’ve Had Worse, Feedback Filter etc

1 Like

Since no one has provided links yet and I’m also too lazy to, I highly suggest either Stimhack’s own tournament winnings decklists page (link at top of forum) or http://www.acoo.net/anr-tournament-archive/1/ (where Deck Num is non-0), both of which provide countless examples of tournament-proven decks.

And I’m disputing, well, your idea of disputing the idea :stuck_out_tongue:

To be honest, I was in the same thought camp you’re in right now, until about 3 weeks ago. Then I played against a PE deck, and nearly lost because of some things that weren’t necessarily obvious during the armchair analysis - in this specific case, that IHW doesn’t work so well as flatline protection if you get close to decking yourself normally and/or your deck doesn’t have all too much redundancy.

I am now adamant that at least playing one goddamn game is a more reasonable course of action than going full hubris mode in regards to PE.

1 Like

I feel like rather than testing a whole gauntlet, players are better off picking 2 decks on either side that they might play, quickly moving towards one of them based on perceived win rate as they play against strong opponents playing strong, common-knowledge decks, and continuing to tweak as they continue to get practice against those decks.

Deciding what deck to play based on matchup results from running a gauntlet usually leaves you playing a strong deck that is probably not tuned perfectly that you’re not as proficient at playing as you could be. It’s usually better in Netrunner to play the deck that you’re the best at playing rather than the deck that has the best matchups against the field. In fact, it’s often the case that you’re going to get shitty matchup numbers running the gauntlet because of how drastically a matchup can change based on how skilled the decks pilots are at playing their respective decks.


That’s the same with every deck though. Nothing happens in netrunner that makes you go “woah, what the fuck was that”. It’s all pretty straightforward mechanics. In the majority of cases when you’re testing your deck against a specific match-up you’re just confirming that what you think will happen in theory will actually happen in practice.

I meant this more as an exercise in a casual player possibly trying to enter the tournament scene and also wanting to take the time and reps and practice to become better at the game.

I was kind of hoping to create a repository of the top 1-2 tiers of decks one might find themselves facing in a regional event. Kind of a SMALL “deck database” that isn’t jsut a forum topic of the current popular flavor of the month, but a legitimate “yes, we know you think your new deck is cute, but have you tried it against these commonly accepted builds to see how it performs?”

Sure it’s a lot of work to test any single deck against a gauntlet - but for hte person who doesn’t play very often and would like to START playing more often and more competitively, I thought it would make some sense.

While the list above is nice, can we flesh it out by making a sort of “standard” version of each archetype? Yes, I know metas will vary but for the most part, 80% of the cards should be similar from one version of an archetype to another. It seems like having such a (slightly organized) list of decks might be something worthwile here at Stimhack, no?

I usually pick my worst perceived match up(s) from those lists and find a partner who wants to play through it with me. You can get a feel for how the different lines play out pretty quickly. Maybe I pressured all the servers but whiffed the accesses etc. I also do this on OCTGN so the sleeving/building time is negligible.

For me it’s not so much did I win or lose, but did I feel like I had plays to make that swung the board in my favor or can catch the other side off guard.

1 Like

Your last paragraph nails it for me- in practice it’s not always win/lose; it’s getting practice against real situations. Can you dig yourself out of a no-ice mulligan vs. Leela? Can you score out if all your Jacksons get milled? Doing these things makes you a better pilot specifically with that deck and goes far to prep you for big events.


I test against five runner decks and five corp decks.


Prepaid Kate
Stealth Andy
Desperado Leela
RegAss MaxX


RP Glacier
NEH Fastro
Butcher Shop
Blue Sun Scorch
EtF Glacier

This gives me a good representation of most top tier decks.

If I’m going with a home brewed deck, I’ll often play 10 games against each, then refine, then play 5-10 more, and repeat until I can’t see a way to refine my decks anymore. If I can’t achieve at least a 60% win rate after two rounds of testing, the deck isn’t worth playing to me.

If I’m going with an established deck archetype I’ll usually only play 5 games against each in my gauntlet so I learn how the deck plays before tweaking it to fit my play style.

Also, while gauntlet testing I will never mulligan. I do this to save time, get a better understanding of the differences between a good and bad opening hand for the deck, and to approximate a worst case scenario.

How often can you let the runner access R&D before you must rez ice? Can you take advantage of a rough corp start? Does the opponent learning what you’re up to/what cards you’re running kill your advantage?

That last one is especially important. I’ve managed to make a couple of builds that just smash in initial testing against most of the runners, but then gets stomped even harder on the second go-around because my opponent knows what’s up.

I do this with goldfishing, but not actual test games. “If I mulligan this, what are my observed chances of drawing better/worse?” is an important question, at least to me. Because I’m crappy and will recall “I don’t usually mulligan better than this” better than I will the actual probabilities.

A big advantage of gauntlet testing, I think, is that the players involved can dissect both the new decks but also the current favorites and come to learn how to play (and play against) them so much better. Also, if you do a big huge gauntlet over just a couple of days, you get a much better sense of tournament exhaustion, which is pretty vital to manage. Even back when I played more actively and was probably better, my results tanked come round 4 or 5 because of poor resource management (my body’s a resource, right?).

This is also honestly why I think it’s good to let the other person play the new deck, too, after you’ve had a game or three. Maybe it’ll be too new and weird and out there, but if you trust their opinion enough they might see things or have suggestions that you wouldn’t, normally, and sometimes those’ll be worth listening to. Sometimes not, but getting the hands-on experience helps with input when the refining phase comes around.

1 Like

Im currious how everyones gaunlet has changed for this regional season. Seeing as it is may again it might be good time to revist this discussion.

I haven’t had much time for testing but if I were putting together gaulent I imagine it would be roughly this:

Kill NBN
Control HB
Asset Spam IG
Control Jinteki
Blue Sun??

Wizzard Faust
Maxx or Valencia
Tool Box Haley
Geist Varient
Andy Sucker??

Any body have an actual gauntlet that wants to improve on this?