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What do you think about the corp's deckbuilding today and in the future?

I’ve read this thread today on reddit and find some interesting points why deckbuilding in the corp is much less fun than the past and some of the users there makes some valid points why deckbuilding in corp today have problems, not just only because of the card pool but in core mechanics of the game as well.

Quoting David Sutcliffe from The Satellite Uplink:

The top corps and top runners are roughly evens, but you can play a huge diversity of runners and still have a good shot while the success rate of Corps drops away REAL quick when you start getting creative.

Runners can play quite varied decks and IDs and still be successful, indeed while there is raw power in a Kate deck there is good value in playing a runner deck out of the norm and hitting corps from a new angle.

Corps don’t have this luxury. They have to waste 20% of their deck on agendas, then play enough ice to guarantee seeing some to protect HQ and R&D early, then play 3 Jackson Howard, and probably another 20% of their deck (at least) on economy. You get maybe 5-10 slots to play with, half of those are likely to be more ice but as all ice gets broken that’s just a tax on the runner, and these days the other half of those almost have to be either a Scorch threat or a Psi/Ash delaying tactic. Also, because so little of the corps deck actually has meaningful card text the strength of IDs that do something good is disproportionately important so corps cluster around ‘the good IDs’ where the ability matters like wildebeest being circled by Lions.

The homogenous nature of corp decks is what allows runners to be specialised as they know what they’re up against - Eli, Wraparound, Tollbooth again and again, Caprice and Ash again and again, Midseasons or SEA again and again.

The problem is rooted deep in the games mechanics and would be very tough to fix. Corps cannot be meaningfully specialise as so much is prescribed for them, at least not if they want to remain competitive, while runners gain value in specialisation that helps compensate for playing tier 2 cards and can rely on a predictable corp target.

The best Corp decks are roughly a match for the best Runner decks, but once you drop out of that bracket the runners remain strong much more than the corps do.
(All the above is IMHO, obviously) /rant

Any thoughts on this topic?


I think the biggest problem is agendas:

  • Any 5/3 that isn’t TFP is potentially a big liability at the wrong moment, and the Never Advance/Always Advance/Fast Advance styles don’t always play well with each other.
  • Excepting a few stand-outs (Nisei Mk II, Astroscript immediately spring to mind, though there are others), most agendas don’t do all that much.

Continuing this line of thought, some, like ABT and Corporate War, can actually hurt you if things don’t necessarily go your way. PSF only does anything if the runner is tagged, and we have much better options for harming the runner in that situation. Still more like HRI or Restructured Datapool, have the potential to just never be useful, or at least never useful enough to warrant the investment necessary to score them.

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I think that FFG is definitely not unaware of this. If you look at some of the more recent agendas, especially the Weyland ones, you can really see them thinking about how agendas, and agenda scoring, can be more interestingly integrated into a deck’s gameplan, and therefore present new avenues for deck building.

If we see a continuation of that and see some new jinteki agendas that do similar things, we’ll be good. I think the hb ones have been pretty lackluster, unfortunately. And I’m sure the next big box will have some sick (good) nbn agendas. So yeah. I’m not concerned in the least, I think things are moving in the right direction

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tldr; (I did actually read it all)

He’s an old Netrunner content creator who jumped ship, came back because the game he jumped to was subjectively crap as well, and just left again last week. He got a big welcome back because Netrunner loves its content creators and is using the attention to high horse his way into making logical conclusions about the meta (like how its Runner dominated and Corps have to go all-in on a strategy to get reliable wins) but in complete negative nancy fashion.

My own tldr; Don’t care - nothing new - 11/10 Salty Dog rating. I had very salty experience in the AGoT board game tonight so leave me alone. :grinning:


When designing a card game like netrunner there is always a trade off between how interesting deckbuilding gets versus how interesting actually playing the game gets. Consider Magic, the best game for people who like building decks, but when you sit down to play there are not a lot of choices on any given turn - some decks basically play themselves. I think part of the reason is that if you had a game with many different kinds of decks you could build and many different choices while actually playing then it would be impossible to balance as there are just too many branching paths to consider.

So in netrunner there might not be many strategies for the Corp but you make up for it by having to adjust your strategy on the fly depending on what cards you draw.

One weird thing in netrunner is that cards can be very unusual. You get a few very straightforward cards like Wall of Static and Hedge Fund which only do one thing each. But then you get cards like Dedicated Response Team that sort of does four things: It can do meat damage, but only if the runner makes a successful run, but only if that run is on a server other than the one DRT is hosted in (unless they access but don’t trash it), but only if the runner is tagged. Where are all the in between cards?

There’s probably a good reason why, and I trust the developers to make a fun game, but it does mean when deckbuilding you can straight up ignore 90% of the cards that don’t fit with what your deck is trying to do.

The other issue is that sometimes you have to trade off diversity of archetypes for making sure that all the competitive archetypes are actually fun to play and play against. Fast Advance added a new way for the corps to win instead of kill or glacier but then they started to nerf it because the matches just weren’t that fun.

It’s possible that you also have to make a game that’s balanced for two noobs to play against each other just as for two pros to play against each other, especially since netrunner’s skill ceiling is so high. This means that they could, for example, make a Ronin-Junebug deck viable that mediohxcore would find challenging to play against, but they wouldn’t want to because everyone at your local store would hate it. So instead they make a Ronin-Junebug deck that your local store finds an acceptable challenge and mediohxcore just laughs at.

The game is still in its infancy anyway. There’s only just over 300 corp cards to choose from, of course there’s not gonna be that much diversity. In the Modern format in Magic there are 3000 cards to choose from in the color “black” alone.

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I feel like non-RP Jinteki is actually really well positioned right now, but everyone seems to be ignoring it because they’re stuck in the “Jinteki = RP = slow game and scoring server lockout” mentality. Like, there’s the odd mention of an IG deck doing well here and there (paging you-know-who), but no real discussion. PE is also decent right now, from my experience (and if you’re afraid of Critic neutering the ID, there’s plenty of ways to tech - even Contract Killer makes sense, despite being costly inf-wise).


The biggest design space in this game is the ID cards. Things like Blue Sun and RP proved this.

You get a new ID, it COMPLETELY flips upside down how that corp can be played. Cards that were crap become awesome, etc.

I do agree that Corps are in a bad place right now. After the initial meta of “runners win most of the time” (mainly known as Siphon era), corps got it back to a “corps win most of games” (last year nationals season). Now runners are getting ridiculously good cards (especially Anarchs), and I think a BIT too many of them. Hopefully they can turn the tide to the middle ground, not again back to corps.


It’s not that bad, at last the game started to be in runners favor - OCTGN stats
There should be no middle ground, the game should always favor one side at least a little, Extra Credits video is great about this issue.

Regarding David Sutcliffe - I think he’s simply displeased with Netrunner rules, such as runner must run and corp must have agendas and score them. There are other mechanics, such as milling (Noise), making the opponent have smaller hand (Valencia, Cybernetics), overdrawing (Laramy Fisk) etc.

Right now the corp’s deckbuilding is getting interesting with large amounts of new assets. PAD Campaign is going to be the new Hedge Fund. :wink:

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I think it’s maybe a little bit of a perception thing. I wouldn’t say that agendas ‘waste’ deck space or that ICE is not a choice because you always ‘need’ X pieces of it.

When I build a deck for the Corp, I feel that the agendas and the ICE define the deck! I tend to pick other stuff around those choices, assets and operations that are supposed to help make my ICE and agendas work. Not vice versa!

If you see agendas as just a store of points, or ICE as just a necessary tax on the Runner, then maybe it doesn’t look so interesting. I suppose the question really ought to be: is there a boring set of obvious choices within the available options for ICE and/or agendas?


I feel like the only culprits in this particular category are Eli 1.0 and NAPD Contract, two cards that are severely undercosted in terms of influence.


A big part of the agenda problem is that almost a third of the available agendas are 3 advancements for 1 point. If your objective is to win on points, these are universally poor value when you could’ve put a 3/2 in your deck instead.

Chronos Project gets some play mainly because the ability is that good, but a lot of them are severely underpowered like Vulcan Coverup. A playable 3/1 should ideally protect itself, not punish you for playing it!

I would say the feeling that agenda composition is a ‘waste’ is because if you want to score points your suite is largely scripted and the same as every other deck in your faction. Astro, Beale, BN, NAPD is such a local maximum that even kill decks play the same or nearly the same suite.

If I were FFG I would be thinking about ways to close that power gap between the top 10 agendas that see 99% of play, and the other 50 agendas that see 1% of play. The answer is definitely not “print Underway Renovation, a 3/1 with a drawback”.


I’m more inclined to forgive Underway Renovation, because at least it has strong theming and flavour. Some of the others are garbage on that front too.

Ones with strong theming and flavour are the worst, because I can’t resist testing them in a deck even though they look bad on paper. Then I have a miserable time, and then sigh and cut them for more NAPDs.

The ugly ones I can just write “Jackson Howard” on them in Sharpie and move on.


I think more good 4/2’s with powerful abilities is a good direction. 5/3’s that protect themselves. 3/1’s there are just way too many of. Decks only want to be playing 2 of them at most, so they’re basically just competing for those slots outside of PE/Argus.

3/2’s with overadvance ability I think are the best from a design standpoint.

Biggest design space their missing is Ice that can be operations, or do non-ice stuff.


The interesting question is if this a problem with 3/1’s or a problem with 3/2s (or both)?

I.e. if there were no 3/2s would anyone play 3/1s (outside of PE) or would we only see strategies using 4/2s and 5/3s?

I think the answer is its a problem with playing 1-pointers: in addition to not progressing you towards a scoring win efficiently they also eat up the corps constrained deckspace. Its a difficult question for the designer to answer as any corp card-based solution (an upgrade that only protects 1-pointers for example) just takes up more deckspace. The only way I’d see existing 1-pointers being made better as class (rather than just printing stronger ones) is with ID abilities that care about them. The rumoured Data and Destiny ID points towards that, but putting things like the team sponsorship ability on an ID would have been much better for making 3/1s better.


To be completely honest, I feel that the problem lies with the 3/2s, not the other parts of the equation. Taking look at the number of agenda points per advancement (APpA) reveals:

  • 3/1: 0.33 APpA
  • 3/2: 0.66 APpA
  • 4/2: 0.5 APpA
  • 5/3: 0.6 APpA
  • 6/4: 0.66 APpA
  • 9/6: 0.66 APpA

From this, I see that the designers acknowledge how progressively harder agenda scoring gets, and also acknowledge that 5 advancements is easier than 6, but more than that is essentially all equivalent. And then they took this knowledge and just ditched it right out the fucking window.

3/2s are the ones that should pretty much always have a drawback (at least when stolen, possibly also when scored - depending on other utility they have).

Beyond non-3/2 agendas, TFP and NAPD are obviously a problem - take a look at the efficiency hit Fetal AI takes for being self-protecting (going down to 0.4, better than a 3/1 but worse than a 4/2). TFP has none of that and NAPD is way, way out there, due to being neutral. If it were in-faction, the BP drawback could theoretically been enough. As it is? No way.


Groupthink seems to be a real problem.

Also, most people like easy decks that win right away. They aren’t willing to put in the effort and losses to develop something new.

Netrunner has a ton of archetypes available right now.


Yep. Exactly. Original comment smacked of, oh I couldn’t make something interesting work after a couple of games, so the whole game sucks. Can I haz ur stuff?

I don’t think this is a helpful comment or true at least in this thread, people are trying to dig into the validity of this complaint and their views on it.

On the other hand this is certainly a consideration, but a lot of people don’t have the time to grind out something new. Spending their few hours of netrunner time a week using something someone else has demonstrated rather than having their jank fail to deliver* is a valid choice of time allocation.

*deliver not necessarily meaning win