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Why Skorpios is bad for Netrunner


i had originally typed up a long reply, but i deleted it all because this is the only thing that matters:

Skorpios is bad for the game because in my experience it slows down the game by an unreasonable amount while the corp spends time thinking about making meaningless decisions.

'should i rfg that SMC? what else might the runner play this turn? what about this sure gamble click 1? what about this sure gamble click 4? it’s the last card they played, but they could still trigger a paid ability…'
meanwhile, i have no program recursion, or maybe no event recursion, or exactly 0 recursion in my deck, so ultimately none of these decisions mattered at all because the ID is blank anyway.

i’ve also seen a few people mention that Skorpios restricts design space, but i think the opposite’s happening here. Skorpios exists because Lukas and Damon didn’t predict the kind of effect things like Clone Chip and Same Old Thing would have on the game. you can see in later recursion design that there’s some rfg component (see: Rip Deal, The Shadow Net, Steve to an extent, Bryan Stinson, Restore…)
if things like Siphon, Clone Chip, Parasite, Same Old Thing, etc. just RFGd after use, Skorpios wouldn’t exist


I love Skorpios as an ID and think it provides an interesting and unique playstyle not seen in other archetypes.

To respond to the original post’s points:

  1. Skorp does allow for a different win condition for the corp, but I think this is a good thing. It makes the game–and metagame–more nuanced and encourages runners to prepare for multiple archetypes. Skorp lockout is difficult to achieve, especially with GFI and Hunter Seeker both restricted. The game state it aims to produce is easily understandable (unlike IT dept) and interactive. Runner kill or 7 points also ends the game, Skorp just offers a new win condition.

  2. As others have pointed out, the matchup doesn’t rely on “do I have my tech card?”, but rather how many breakers/saccons put in during deckbuilding and smart choices about when to run and play breakers during the game. I think Skorp exemplifies an archetype where playing well is important; there’s a big difference between experienced and inexperienced runners against skorp.

  3. Hunter Seeker is obviously a good card for skorp, but the ID is useful outside of Hunter Seeker. See any match as Skorp against Film Critic. Without Hunter Seeker, I think Skorp becomes more of a rush deck or a utility glacier deck that prevents runner recursion.

Skorpios is a valuable ID because it adds an interesting archetype with its own win condition. It also supports several existing archetypes in different ways, including Weyland rush. The people who don’t enjoy playing against rigshooter Skorp don’t like it because the game can just be over if they get locked out. That’s missing the point that the game would just be over if the runner got killed or the corp scored 7 points, there’s nothing wrong about a different win condition.


Dripping Sarcasm is my favorite beverage. It pairs well with a finely roasted Snark. :slight_smile:

@Waltzard–I think you and I have might often be on the same page regarding “The death of this thing has been slightly overstated.” We were playing a Skorp game back at Giga (assuming this is who I think it is in real life), and in this awesome match where the board state was so thinky I had to Hunter Seeker your Doctor Strangelove so you couldn’t slow down your Black File and then hope you didn’t find the seventh agenda point.

Granted, even in the “bad times” of Netrunner, I’ve found games to be interesting. I try not to wear rose colored glasses too often, however I would say Skorpios more often than not makes for interesting match-ups. If I get locked out, it tends to be a combination of well placed pressure by the corp and some mistakes/lack of thought on my part.


I think that would be easily more of a hard counter and less interactive. When an anarch injects or frantics into two relevant cards, the skorp player’s choice might be very important for the rest of the game. An ID that shuts off levy, sot, clone entirely would be very strong. Anarch couldn’t inject anymore… It turns off more cards in your opp’s deck than the current id.


When I built Sea Skorp for us nats (hatchet job salems all barrier lockout), it was meant to punish greedy combo decks that ran with only 1 or 2 breakers. It was a response to an abusive play style like cold ones and to sac con being a “catchall” against hunter seeker rigshooter. That deck made top cut and took out every cold ones it played. It was really fun to play, but to @dr00’s point, there were no real decisions to be made regarding the ID ability. He’s right about that. You always targetted paperclip or faust or inti. Whatever fracter or fracter substitute you saw.


Also, RIP Conspiracy & neoAnarch™.


Just to be clear about my OP. I did not write anywhere that Skorpios was winning too much or dominating the meta game from a tournament victory POV.

I don’t think a card or deck has to be tier 1 to be bad for the game.

I appreciate all the responses to the post, though. It has been an interesting conversation.



I agree that having a super-high win rate is an invalid matrix by which to appraise things. If the argument is that Skorpios makes it’s matches coin-flip rather than interesting skill-challenges, the win-rate isn’t that relevant.

I enjoy playing Skorpios myself, it’s extremely satisfying to zap your opponent’s second Paperclip. Punishing Recursion is important to the game and hard-counters to popular builds can be important to balancing the meta. Not to restate but to expound, Skorpios is the only real ‘hard counter’ that occurs in a corp ID, is just a bad place to design a hard-counter.

What would your guy’s take be on a high-influence or Weyland-only current that gave the corp the Skorpios ability while it was in play?

This would additionally balance against recursion by making fear of permanent removals a more spread-out, moderate threat in a lot of games rather than making it a deadly threat in a few specific games.


For the first option, I would really enjoy playing it in Potential Unleashed.

For the second, I think it would be a weird thing to get for our first non-agenda card with no influence box.

…Though actually, it might work as an agenda ability. Maybe on a 5/3, so it would be hard to turn on and you wouldn’t often have two of them active. Or something a little easier to score but with counters you have to spend to RFG a card when it’s trashed.


Totally stealing “appraisal matrices”


This is a great post. This thread has, so far, been mostly about various forms of virtue signalling and “put up and shut up” mentality. All we can draw from it is that there are many people who are eager to talk about how good they are at Netrunner, and that apparently the 200 people who went to Worlds mostly didn’t play Skorpios, so that’s fine, that’s conclusive then.

To me, the sheer number of “eyeroll matchups”—you call it a coin-flip, but I don’t think that goes far enough—is one of the biggest challenges Netrunner faces in attracting and retaining players. I think that this begins with the design of IDs, and that a poorly-designed ID is harder to correct for than a poorly-designed card of some other type. Michael Boggs has shown that he means business by banning cards after the fact, but I think a lot more work needs to be put in during the design phase to make sure IDs “sit well in the mix.”

It’s really hard for me to understand a design philosophy that releases outright dud IDs (Nero, Khan), but also occasionally does seem to consider the effect a new ID can have on the broader set of matchups available (e.g. buffing CTM because Jesminder is a card). I just don’t get it. The whole thing seems like they’re just making it up as they go along. Damon released a whole bunch of “fuck you” cards like that, and I really really question the effect they have on the broader game.

In the bigger picture, I don’t really care how good anyone is at the Skorpios matchup or whether anyone at Worlds played it or not. That’s not the point, we should expect better designed and tested IDs that create good, entertaining matchups at all levels of play, and do not invalidate sections of the card pool. (Whether runner recursion was out of whack or not is a separate issue you can argue if you like, the solution was not to print Skorpios.)


Im actually not following your argument. You’re saying that Skorp “invalidates sections of the cardpool”. What do you mean be “invalidate” and which “sections of the cardpool” are invalid against Skorp? I think MaaX might be difficult/impossible to pilot to a win vs Skorp. But otherwise I don’t see any other cards that are unplayable against Skorp. I think Skorp influence on Runner decks is more about what cards you need to include and how you play them, not what cards cannot be included.


Hmmm, maybe instead of “invalidating card pool” I could have used different terminology.

Skorpios is a hard counter to a couple of IDs, a bunch of deck archetypes, and a whole bunch of cards which feature “fair recursion” (e.g. recursion at a high cost, for a limited benefit, or with diminished effectiveness). Not only that, it effectively restricts the value of any new runner IDs, cards, or deckbuilds that use recursion fairly by ensuring there is always a hard-counter bogeyman in the card pool. (This was exactly the effect Yog had on low-strength code gates and exactly why Damon went on podcasts two years ago to talk about why it was on the MWL.)


Think I got your point. Save for MaxX, still think you may be overstating tho. I win matches against Skorp with Clone chip Steve and several one off breakers. Skorp basically ruins my ID and Restricted card. But with a Paperclip, a Vamadeva/mammon, saccon (normally for Clot/Tapwrm) and the turning wheel…that’s about everything you need. Don’t need recursion, though that would destroy Skorp decks. Don’t even need most of the other cards. Runs are cheap. Just need to play smart and not get terrible draw. My biggest problem with Skorp is that it isn’t a very fun ID to play as Corp. Not very many interesting decisions.


I agree that one of the larger issues for a card game is what you call an eyeroll matchup. This is what I would call a matchup where you are playing next to each other rather than against each other. The best examples in netrunner are the corp decks that minimize interaction such as the 7-point CI decks or the extreme horizontal asset spam decks. If you come unprepared, your entire stack ends up being money, multi-access and lots of blank cards.

Where I disagree is that Skorpios is part of this list, except against Maxx and Exile. Even then, Skorpios is interacting with you throughout the game. You still have a game of netrunner.

I think Skorpios is well-designed. You say that it invalidates recursion too much by being the hard counter bogeyman. I say that it skewed the game back to where damage is more effective as a disruptive strategy. Early in the game’s lifetime, it meant something when damage pinged a breaker out of the runner’s hand. As recurring cards became stronger, damage meant less and less because it only added a tax of clicks rather than a permanent disruption of runner resources. The game shifted back to where it was originally now that Skorpios messes with recursion.


I’ve been playing a lot of Skorpios lately and it does seem to match up unevenly in a lot of games. However, when it does happen to match against a deck that matches up evenly, it can be a really cool game of Netrunner.

I find that playing against a lot of Leela Patel decks tends to create some really interesting games. They really duke it out fast.


In the early days of the game, did the Corp have the ability to actively blow up the runner rig with Batty, Hunter Seeker, Underway Renovation, Hatchet Job, and other tools? Or was it mostly a risk when Runners face checked ice without the right breaker or hit traps with their breakers still in hand?

I do not believe it is true that Skorpios resets the game back to its early balance. If recursion is too easy, address that with the MWL.


Should FFG then ban sources of damage ?
Because each of these cards lead to a definitive victory aswell, and if you did not have a deck capable of tanking these losses, then you may found these unfair too.


That is a whole different discussion. I was merely trying to knock down the argument that Skorpios is somehow a “reset” that returns the game back to a previous state.

I would be interested to see what the game looks like with Hunter Seeker in it but Skorpios not.


I see Hunter Seeker, especially in Skorpios, as a Midseason Replacements replacement for Weyland. And I see Skorpios in general as a really Weyland-y ID which says “hey, this is what I have going on. Feel free to run against me, but there will be consequences”. Very classic Weyland. The only difference is the consequences for careless runners is lockout instead of flatline.

Interestingly, I don’t think a lot of Weyland devotees (you know and love the type) are really very hyped about Skorpios. If I could guess why I would think that lockout isn’t as fun as blowing up apartment complexes.

For what it is worth, I have fun playing against Skorpios. I enjoy the cat and mouse game where they are trying to keep me from taking their agendas while I am trying to keep them from taking my breakers.

I do agree with the points that Skorpios would have been more fun if the ability were more subtle or if it had easier ways to play around. And I certainly would like the ID a lot more if it didn’t require the Corp to make a decision every single time a card gets trashed.

I do like how easy it is to tech against Lockout Skorpios in deckbuilding. Whereas the silver bullets to help my matchup against CI or PU are often completely dead in other matchups, there are very cool ways to tech against Skorpios that are less uni-focused, such as including redundant breakers.