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Why Skorpios is bad for Netrunner

You might disagree, but I think Skorpios is bad for Netrunner.

Some of my reasons:

  1. It encourages a play style that aims at producing a game state where one player has no options and has nothing they can do. Rig-shooter should be a strategy that slows Runners and/or opens windows, not one that ends the game.

  2. It encourages tech cards or inefficient deck-building as the way to win rather than in-game play adjustments. The game becomes more about “do I have the right card” than, did I play well.

  3. It would have almost no value as an ID if Hunter Seeker did not exist, but Hunter Seeker would be useful even without the ID. This just feels like poor design to me.

Overall, I think the ID has a negative impact on the overall game and the game would lose none of its appeal if the ID ceased to exist.


I understand the sentiment. There can definitely be cards and strategies that aren’t fun to play against.

On 1), I agree that you don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t win the game but you haven’t lost yet. At least if you’re certain you can’t win, you could just concede, but sometimes it’s harder to know. However this is hardly unique to Skorpios in this game. There have been lots of strategies that mean someone is out of options, from credit denial to dyper to tag n bag to caprice; these are all bad, but hard to avoid making something like this when you’re making a complex card game.
In netrunner you have lots of options anyway. If you lose your only fracter, it’s not completely game over till they have a barrier on R&D, HQ and their remote. Otherwise there is always the possibility of still getting to 7.

On 2), deck building is always going to be an element of an LCG. That’s part of the reason we like it, cause we get to bring our own decks and see how they go. If we wanted play skill alone to rule, we would play chess or poker. Playing around skorp is no different to playing around Lotus Field or including Film Critic in your deck in case it’s relevant.
But further, skorp only does something if the runner is using recursion cards in their deck to begin with. If they’re not, then things being in the heap is no different to being removed from the game. Decks that didn’t have recursion always needed to have redundant copies of their cards, or backup cards that can do a similar job but badly (like Crypsis), or else needed to be extra vigilant about not getting their stuff trashed. That last option has gotten harder since the corp has gotten more proactive cards like hunter seeker, but even in the original core you could hit a rototurret with a corporate troubleshooter, or an aggressive secretary.
If skorp got popular enough, people would adapt to it and their decks wouldn’t be completely shut down by it. It’s probably only an issue because it’s rare enough that it’s unexpected.

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“It encourages a play style that aims at producing a game state where one player has no options and has nothing they can do”

In what game do you avoid producing such a gamestate? Without Skorpios the entire rigshooter archetype is virtually dead with anarch’s retrieve from bin breakers and clone chip. Rigshooters (through ICE originally) have been viable since core-set, clone chip and SacCon just changed the rules somewhat, with paperclip etc just breaking the entire concept. Corps had to adapt to be viable as a shut-out rigshooter.


Please stop explaining how an object that exists for your amusement is just like a woman.


I’d have gone with a sentiment of admiration, and rereading now I don’t even think I did too bad a job of conveying that. I get that one has to be careful in a metaphor with people, but here I do feel sought out by your framing as: “object of amusement”.

I am of the opinion that rig-shooter should be a tactic not an archetype for a deck.

I think rig-shooter is kind of like land destruction in Magic and agree completely with this position by a former lead developer of that game. The game should have some rig-shooter cards and effects, but it should not have a strong deck that’s primary win-con is removing from the game the tools that make it possible for the Runner to interact with the Corp.


From my experience of playing against Skorpios, I haven’t found lockout scenarios very common. Issues I tend to run into are:

  1. Fear of running, due to not having Saccon or strike out, thus allowing the corp to get away with an otherwise unsafe score.
  2. Not being able to steal an early agenda due to not having right breakers (basically a standard problem against rush).
  3. Losing a breaker, and having to fallback on my less efficient AI instead.

All of that seems to fall into the realm of the corp just having a different way of creating scoring windows. Some decks do it with upgrades and taxing ice, some do it with tag tax, some with the threat of death. Skorpios does it by disrupting your boardstate. If you play carefully as the runner, getting locked out is usually avoidable.

I’ve lost one game to lockout, where a Skorp player advanced an underway renovation, trashed Refractor off the top, and removed it from the game. Later they found Hortums and triple advanced them, preventing Dai V from breaking them, and I couldn’t get in anymore. That type of thing I would see as NPE. But that doesn’t seem to be the way most Skorpios decks are playing.


He never did though

@mykonian’s comment was inappropriate and immature. In addition to being a pretty poor analogy, his language minimizes women. Imagine! Not only cute and pretty to look at, but good at telling stories, too! Now now, even though we all know how embarrassing it must be for a woman to have (gasp) yellow teeth, we should remember that this woman called “Netrunner” is only rarely boring.

Probably worth having a read through this thread Increasing Diversity In The Netrunner Community where the community reflects on inclusive behaviors etc. This particular case is basic “don’t be an asshole 101,” but there’s a lot of good discussion on how this community can be a better, more welcoming place.


Well said.

If that is being an asshole, well, I really don’t know what to say

Language which uses gender stereotypes, particularly female descriptors, to describe objects is not appropriate or helpful. We have challenges enough with a lack of diversity in our community. As @internet_potato has already highlighted, this thread Increasing Diversity In The Netrunner Community is relevant and I encourage everyone to read it.

Further comments in this thread should be focussed on discussion about the Skorpios identity.


This is well put. Weyland’s my favorite corp, but I don’t like playing Skorpios for the same reasons. If tech cards are necessary to avoid being completely shut out of the game, something’s wrong. There should be space for gaining an advantage or shoring up your weaknesses with tech cards in certain matchups, but the stakes are too high with Skorpios for there not to be an in-game response. There should be other winning strategies besides calculating path length and playing mathrunner, and there are, but I don’t think a rig-shooting lockout is desirable in this regard unless it took a lot of good plays to get to that point.

I would like to see an ID that taxes recursion and makes rig-shooting a good tempo play; maybe one that imposes an additional cost to play cards from the heap or at the very worst, one that turns off recursion when the runner is tagged. As it’s printed - with no conditions or limits - it makes the aforementioned lockout too easy.

Also: thanks, @tolaasin and folks, that post made me pretty uncomfortable.


To get the discussion back on track, I’m gonna take issue with the entire premise of the topic. It seems like whenever a new type of win condition becomes feasible for the corp, inevitably someone or other will take issue with it. Astroscript decks were described as uninteractive races to find the astro; complaints about IT dept decks focused only on the lockout situations and ignored the interactivity that occurs while ITD is still setting up (let alone david and femme); and combo CI needs no introduction.

In all cases the answer was simple: runners should adjust their decks. Put 2 legworks in shaper to beat astrobiotics. Play david or plop to keep ITD in check. Jam councilmans (or more recently, heartbeats) to grief CI. For skorpios you don’t even need silver bullets: it’s just, play 3 of each breaker and back it up with davids and saccons which are good cards anyway. I’ve never played a matchup with skorp that I could describe as a “total lockout”; it’s simply an archetype that aims at preserving the corp’s early-game advantage while the runner scrambles to find more pieces, and I personally find that quite refreshing.

At least with combo CI it could still called an uninteractive matchup on account of being a race to find your silver bullets. If I lose against skorp, it’s either because I skimped on backup breakers during deck construction, or because I didn’t draw enough breakers in the midgame (a complaint which can be made of any netrunner game at all).


I can’t help but think back to when I first started playing Netrunner, when three of each icebreaker was considered standard. Obviously, things have changed a lot since then; instant tutoring and recursion have become so readily accessible that a lot of facechecking (and, to a large extent, even the differences between the ice types) is now trivial, whether you’re dumping everything into your heap, or whether there’s only one program you need to draw (be it SMC or Aumakua) and you bring along a few singletons to support it. Skorpios hits that trend and a lot of decks that depend on it hard. But rigshooter is not the problem. The problem is the degenerate paradigm that went unchecked for so long that it became the default.


This is more or less how I feel, for slightly different reasons. I like rigshooter as an archetype but runner recursion (mostly the bin breakers now) is so strong you almost have to have an ID like Skorpios to make it work. Older rigshooter decks, with Power Shutdown, Archer, etc. had natural counterplay for most runners whereas Skorp does require some sacrifice in deckbuilding. But so does literally any strong, linear corp strategy as @bblum alludes to. I struggle to see this one as particularly bad for the game. When Skorp completes a full lockout, you just concede. That’s a better player experience than grinding 20 more turns against Gagarin for that 0.5% chance of winning.

One thing I strongly dislike about Skorpios is its interaction with MaxX’s ability, it feels completely unfair. If the ID were worded just a bit differently (“whenever the corp trashes a runner card…” or “whenever an installed runner card is trashed…” etc.) it’d still be a powerful rigshooter archetype but without that incidental effects.


Unless it is during Swiss round at a tournament and you don’t want the Skorp player to know the exact amount of extra breakers in your deck in case you meet them again during the cut.

I like how skorp can be a check against decks that are super heavy on recursion (like siphon spam), and I do think that pre MWL when 3x clone chip was pretty common, program trashing was super weak. That being said, rotation and core 2 have weakened recursion significantly, so I’m not sure it’s necessary any more, definitely not as an id


I would only ever entertain restricting or banning Skorpios if the Conspiracy breakers went away too.

Those things are dumb af. Lady got MWL’d for less.


I take the opposite view, that skorpios is dumb AF but I’d be willing to give up conspiracy breakers for a world where we don’t have to have it.