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Where to take the game from Core? How to "catch up"?

Hey fellow netrunners,

I’m still pretty new to netrunner. I’ve played roughly 100 games with Core-cards only and a couple of games with cards up to C&C. I also own the cards up to C&C with 2 core sets. I play the game with a friend and on OCTGN. I have played every faction and feel that I understand all the rules, strategies and deck-archtypes so far.

Now in the long run I want to be able to play against players in the current meta and maybe at tournament. But how do I get there?

Everywhere people are talking about buying-in and which packs to buy but thats not the answer to my question, or is it? Because I feel that even if I would buy everything I wouldn’t be “able” to play against other players in the meta well. Because netrunner is to some degree about knowing what cards your opponent could have. So I would lose a lot and if I lose a lot that would take the fun away and that is obviously my number one priority.

Correct me if I’m wrong but the way I see it is that the real challenge lies in catching up with the card-knowledge.

So how did/would you do it and what experience/advice can you share with me?



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Welcome, good questions.

If you want a list of all the cards out there, I’d go to NetrunnerDB and have a look. But as you say, that doesn’t tell you about the meta.

If you want an idea about what the current hot deck topics are, NetrunnerDB has you covered again. Look for decks that have done well in tournaments and have a decent number of comments - a good comment count is usually a sign that the author’s written about how it works.

If you need help building your card memory, I’d suggest a spaced-repetition system like Anki, but I don’t think anyone’s built flashcard decks for it yet. It’s not something we’ve explored on the forum, but you could build look at building some decks if you were super-serious.

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I’d say step one is find a local group and get playing. Netrunner communities in general seem to be extremely welcoming and friendly. Personally speaking I had no problems just diving in and playing some games. I lost a lot but Netrunner is a game I enjoy playing, win or lose, and there were plenty of people playing interesting experimental decks so I was often in with a chance.

If that doesn’t work out then you could try watching tournament videos, playing on octgn or just studying decklists but I can’t really say which of those might be best.

Apologies if this gets a little rambley; it’s early in the morning here, and my thoughts are more scattered than if I were writing this at a better hour.

I think the best way to feel more comfortable playing against other players in the meta is to just go out and do so. I know that you said that losing a lot might take the fun out of the game, but honestly going out and playing with people is the best way to feel more comfortable about playing with others, and losing is the best way to learn strategies and cards. The times I’ve really learned things are the times I’ve showed up and gotten absolutely wrecked from a game. Plus, playing with people better than you is the best way to improve, because you can learn things from watching them play, and you can ask questions about why they do what they do and get tips that way.

The same goes with learning the card pool. Just play a buncha games with folks. Especially with newer players, I have no problem at all with letting them read cards and explaining card interactions. After all, people were nice enough to do it for me, the least I could do is do the same for others in return. And the more games you play where you see cards you’re less familiar with, the more familiar you get with them and the better you can get at predicting if your opponent might be playing them or not and why.

Another great way to get better is to watch videos with commentary. Some of the better ones I found when I was trying to learn the card pool were from Team Covenant (search em on Youtube), because whenever a card is played they will flash up what that card does on the bottom of the screen. Their videos are nice because watching them can serve double duty in both learning cards and seeing deck archetypes. Also, keep an eye on the OCTGN Streaming thread here at Stimhack, and watch folks streaming their games with commentary as well. Oftentimes they’ll give insights into what they are thinking at the time, which can be nice to see how they are thinking of reacting given the board state and their current hand. Card knowledge can go a ways, but watching what different players do with a card at any given time can go further.

So to sum up, go out and play, and don’t worry about losing. It’s gonna happen anyhow, and you can learn a lot from it.

Hi there!

Actually, the game is not that difficult to get into. First of all, you would like to play simple decks at the very beginning.

It is best to buy the following expansions:

Honor and Profit - great value for money,
Opening Moves - it has the most important Corp card ever released, Jackson Howard,
Double Time - has a very important code gate ICE - Quandary and an awesome agenda - NAPD Contract

All the cards up to C&C allow you to build a decent, straightforward Andromeda + Datasucker deck, which you can take to any tournament. If you buy Honor & Profit expansion, the addition of the cards like Security Testing and Legwork may even win you that tournament.

As for the Corp, the aforementioned expansions will allow you to make a decent HB Fast Advance style deck.

Both decks are easy to play and win a lot. With full cardpool you would be able to build slightly better variations of these archetypes, but you will do just fine with all the expansions I mentioned here + your current collection.

The decklists:


And Corp:

HB: Engineering the Future
Agenda (11)

3x Accelerated Beta Test (Core Set)
2x Gila Hands Arcology (Creation and Control)
3x NAPD Contract (Double Time)
3x Project Vitruvius (Cyber Exodus)

Asset (9)
3x Adonis Campaign (Core Set)
2x Eve Campaign (Humanity’s Shadow)
3x Jackson Howard (Opening Moves) •••

Upgrade (2)
2x SanSan City Grid (Core Set) ••••• •

Operation (11)
3x Biotic Labor (Core Set)
3x Green Level Clearance (A Study in Static)
3x Hedge Fund (Core Set)
1x Archived Memories

Barrier (6)
3x Eli 1.0 (Future Proof)
3x Wall of Static (Core Set)

Code Gate (6)
1x Enigma (Core Set)
2x Inazuma (Honor and Profit) ••••
2x Quandary (Double Time)
1x Tollbooth(Core Set)••

Sentry (5)
2x Guard (Honor and Profit)
3x Ichi 1.0 (Core Set)

As for playing the game - familiarize yourself with main Corp archetypes and you will do just fine:

Fast Advance:
NBN: Near Earth Hub tries to win fast by scoring agendas in 1 turn thanks to Biotic Labor and SanSan City Grid. Be aggressive, run a lot! you are on a clock:

Jinteki Replicating Perfection - a lot of strong ICE, tricks allowing to score agendas during 2 turns (Caprice Nisei, Ash). Try to get points from R&D and H&Q, trash drip economy cards like Sundew and Mental Health Clinic whenever you can.


Weyland identities - have more money than your opponent. Always :). They will try to tag you after a succesful run and then deal you at least 4 dmg to flatline you.

Net Damage Shell play

Jinteki: Personal Evolution - be careful ,run with at least 4 cards in hand, preferrably with 5 or 6. They will try to kill you through Net Damage.

Runner archetypes are not so important to be familiar with to have a decent game. Just remember that Criminal’s Account Siphon is always a threat, so are Noise’s viri with his ability. Cards like Medium and Legwork can ruin your day. Jackson Howard is a lifesaver in all the match ups, always play 3 copies of this card.

I started when H&P came out and had no problem sitting down and reading the cards. You know that is the correct path but you are reluctant to do it…? Unsure what the question is here, either you sit down down for a couple hours and think or you don’t. It’s not too bad, there’s not that many cards. Data packs add like two cards per faction. And 25% of those cards are unsupported/unviable so never seen.

I think this is heart of his question; which cards are actually good and which are playable and in which decks and etc. etc… Saying Learn2readcardsnub isn’t helpful or the main point of his post.

As to the OP, a lot of people have already said, get out there and play games. while this really is the best advice, one thing to add is that there is no shame in net-decking while you are learning (or anytime for that matter, really) and this will give you a deck with a decent chance of winning while still learning about the cardpool from both your opponents and the decks you’re testing out.

NRDB decks-of-the-week, as well as the “hall of fame” section are good places to go for solid decks to try out.

I wasn’t trying to be rude, just thought he answered his own question. Its a given to go and play games, or even watch, but I think OP doesn’t need a thread encouraging him to be social and which counselor to see. This isn’t reddit.

NRDB has reviews for cards that are written with the meta and general play in mind. Check those out too. Most older cards have someone giving meta insight.

Hi Jazzleflo, I think I’ve played a few core games with you on OCTGN :smile:

I was in a similar position to yourself last year, started playing in April and up until August had only used core cards because the card pool seemed overwhelming. Then I made the leap and dove in. What I found is there are a LOT of cards that are never or almost never seen so that cut the card pool down dramatically. Then I found a lot of decks stuck to similar archetypes (NEH fast advance, HB glacier) with only a few deviations in each deck, so within no time you’ll learn what the deck you are facing is likely to contain. Of course you will lose a lot of games, but losing these games you’ll come across a lot of tricks and combos that you hadn’t considered before.

The sooner you make the leap in to the whole world of netrunner the better and within a few months you WILL know a hell of a lot of the deck types out there and combos to watch out for. Then no doubt they’ll be another Stimhack league to test how much you’ve picked up!

If you’re really in to your netrunning, as someone said before look up some games on youtube and read some articles on here, this is the best community of runners on the net and probably contains a big majority of the worlds best players.

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Take a day every two weeks where you’re happy to lose and one of the most popular decks off of NetrunnerDB. Go onto OCTGN and just play random people for a few hours. Then go back to what you know for a while. After enough of this type of exercise you’ll have a good idea of what exists and what you can do.

I think its fine to lose as long as you expect to if your purpose is learning and getting to the point where you’re not losing anymore.

Thx for the replies everyone!

You answered my question and I will look forward to lose/maybe win but definitely learn from you on octgn or elsewhere. :smile:

Just to be clear: I didn’t think any reply was rude. I guess my question was: Is it better to throw oneself into the current meta right away with net-decked Decks or better to go through every pack buy building decks up to that pack and play only against decks up to that pack until one feels comfortable with the new cards and continue this for every pack 'til one catches up with the meta? Since no one suggested the second way or another way I have an answer to that question.

Yeah Jazzleflo, net decking from the entire card pool is a great way to learn.

Netrunner is a great game, but the Datpacks have been a shit system. Up until recently, there has been only minimal coherence from one pack to the next, and therefore no motivation to “learn” each pack before moving onto the next.

Always awesome to see new players! Hope to catch you on OCTGN some time.

Yeah you really need to learn each cycle as a whole rather than each datapack individually.

agree with the above- no point in learning old metas to just replace them with the new. Look for a successful, current netdeck that fits your style and give it a whirl!

I just got into the game a few weeks ago, and I got everything. I have issues, but I also really like this game. A ton.

One of the most helpful things for me has been the app NetConsole. I can flip thru all the cards with a flick of my phone screen. So helpful in learning cards.

Other than that I’ve just been trying to play pickup games as much as I can.

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  1. Play to learn and have fun because the game is fun, not because winning is fun. Otherwise no one would play janky decks, right? :wink:
  2. Watch some Netrunner games on youtube, maybe start with the World Championship 2014, there’s your Meta. Team Covenant got that one covered. You can find the decklists right here on Stimhack.
  3. Go into tournaments/your store and just play. Learn what’s in your local meta.
  4. And yes, buy the good packs for the factions you want to play. And go from there if you want more cards/options.
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