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Why Skorpios is bad for Netrunner


Also, if Skorpios is supposedly so badass, why do their headquarters look so lame? Skorpios HQ reminds me of what you see while flying into Minneapolis airport: aviation warehouses, regional headquarters of medium-sized banks, empty retail developments…

Skorpios is bad for Netrunner because their HQ looks stupid, in addition to everything else. :smiling_imp:


All the money that was earmarked for the “make the arms factory look pretty” fund got shuttled into the “make the runners cry because they shoot their shit real dead real good” R&D funds instead.

They’re working on bottling runner tears and selling them on the market as a side-industry.


I think there’s 2 main criteria on which people find certain decks and metas ‘unfun’:

The first is the innate variety that exists in a game like Netrunner from launch, in which certain styles of decks appeal to different people. In order to attract a variety of players, Netrunner has to support a lot of playstyles, but Joe might find Shaper boring, and Sally might find being siphoned 5 times in a row to be NPE. When no deck is dominant, nobody minds their least favorite decks too much, but as soon as one of them becomes a big portion of the meta people start to complain.

The other is there’s no agreement on whether new deck types are good for the game. To some people, the fact that the card pool can become robust enough to let you score 7 points in one turn is super cool and a sign of the game’s maturity - to others, it’s a betrayal of the game’s core mechanics. Both attitudes are perfectly reasonable.

There’s no way for everyone to be happy all the time. We can ask that FFG keeps shaking up the meta, so that everyone gets their day in the sun. But we can also be more empathetic to each other, realizing that people play what they play because they find it fun, not because they want to ruin your day. And sometimes you just need to pick up another hobby and focus on that for a few months when the meta isn’t your cup of tea.


This weekend, I (kinda stupidly, actually) lost a game to Skorp at a store champ. He indeed won by locking me out, but the game was a long, complex, and interesting one.

My downfall was twofold; I forgot that I had my final SacCon in the trash that I should have Levy’d for and immediately tutored with Artist Colony once I saw a Best Defense on top of their deck (I was out of SacCons and was playing Inti as my only fracter), and I rather pointlessly threw down an Atman 6 on the table to “be safe from Archer,” when my play for Archer should have just been Femme with a Dedicated Processor. This allows me to keep Atman as the emergency breaker that it needs to be in the matchup. I do those two things and it’s an easy win.

However, I didn’t, I lost, and it was a really fun game. I just barely lost too, really having to think about how to cheat my way into servers. The game overall felt like a cool game of cat and mouse, except that sometimes I was the cat, and sometimes he was.

Anyhow, I guess my point is that, while maybe a little broad on design, I don’t think Skorp is bad for the game. If you expect to face Skorp, a lot of what you need to do to beat them happens in the deck building phase of the game. After that, it’s mostly just execution.


I don’t think Skorp is a problem. I played a deck with 0 tech for skorp, and still managed to go 50/50 against the ID through a combination of early aggression and a few sneaky tricks.

Sometimes corps just picked the wrong things to trash, or made some other misplays, but I think that’s normal, particularly since my deck was off-meta. Even if my win % is lower against Skorp, I’m fine with having a bad match-up for my deck; it doesn’t define the meta for me.

However, my brother, @bakashinobi, does not feel the same. He won’t post here because he doesn’t play Netrunner anymore. Ever since Skoprios was printed, he has complained that the meta feel ‘too much like rock, paper, scissors’ at the deckbuilding stage to play. He prefers a slower game where he can expect to play out most of his rig and execute to his game plan. He hates cards like Aaron Marron, Film Critic, Noise, DLR, and Skorpios.

Even with all but one of his worst offenders banned/restricted, he still can’t be motivated to play (even if I promise to never play Skorp against him). I cannot say for certain that his interest in the game hadn’t been waning before Skorpios was printed (we probably shouldn’t have bothered playing the full TD campaign twice), but right now when I ask him if he has any interest in playing again, he cites Skorpios as his main reason for not playing.

I certainly don’t agree with his position on Skorpios, or necessarily believe it is his sole reason for not playing, but I felt that I should let his feelings, as best I understand them, be known here, because he won’t be coming by to post himself in the foreseeable future.


I think the conversations about why people play the game and what enjoyment they get from it is a good one in this thread.

As we saw in the Mumbad cycle, it is not hard for FFG to create a meta that actively drives people away from the game.

The question is not whether you can devise strategies to beat Skorpios. The question is whether its existence is good for the overall health of the game. In a time when we are hoping to see new players and returning players is playing Fracter roulette a good element of that meta? Is it interesting and fun to run into Skorpios as a Runner or something you just accept because you have no choice?


re: different players play for different reasons/ “rage quitting”.

Trying to evolve the game for diversity and balance is enough, asking the designers to try to also create styles that certain players don’t find annoying is just too much to ask of a developper. Designing a game like this is a work of genius and little, temporary mistakes are part of the ride.

Personally, I find NBN way more annoying to play against than Skorp. The endless indexing makes the game drag on and on and it’s the same mathy tag removing asset spam every time. Different things drive different guys crazy.

No matter your flavor, Netrunner is a game that can just be very frustrating to lose at, like many of the best games.

Personally, I “rage-quit” all the time. Part of this is that I rarely type “gg” because I am part of a small minority that finds that whole thing corny. If I have a really fascinating or close game, I will type it but it strikes me as a bit silly/pointless. People might perceive this as “rage” but it is actually just me moving on with my life.

I also don’t say “God bless you” when people sneeze.

And occasionally I actually do rage. When I hit a suck-out or really bad draw I want to flip my keyboard sometimes. I’m competitive and I get invested and it’s a pretty harmless way to blow off steam to punch my wall and bitch to my wife about how unfair the whole world is. I mean, if you can’t throw a tantrum when you are alone in your bedroom at 3 in the morning, where else can you?

My point is, people have feelings. I also pretty much only play Skorp now because I like to imagine people raging on the other side of the game.


This is how I feel about CI.


I def. am against pointless customs like saying ‘gg’. If the game is good, you get a ‘gg’ out of me. Occasionally, you’ll get a ‘wp’, ‘Nice deck!’, or even a rare ‘gfg’. You’re not alone in your gg hatred. !bg

Re: Skorp
I feel it’s sloppy design, but like most things in this game, I’ll take them as they come. I love the game too much to take a break. When something’s dominating the meta, play extra hate or hope to dodge. Otherwise, fight through. As noted above numerous times, Skorp can lead to tough, interesting games. Any matchup can provide tough times to fight through, and that’s where skill and luck may prove to come through for you.

I’ve frequently gone down 5-0 or 6-1 as Corp, and decide this will be an cool challenge, like fighting an artificially toughened boss in a video game, or playing a game on a harder difficulty, where any mistake can lead to death. Every access becomes super fraught with tension. These are the games I love. Skorp may artificially create these moments, or create weighted matchups, but I could argue that about a number of IDs. Part of a card game.


I think gg doesn’t mean the game was awesome, but the opponent played with some respect, moved the game forward with a fast pace, followed the rules etc.
i.e. the game was “good”.
They weren’t cheating, they weren’t taking 5 minute turns, they weren’t afk, they weren’t resetting every click…
It was “good”, nothing special.
And you would like to show your opponent that everything was alright.

It is similar to a handshake in a tournament after the game. You don`t call a judge and start arguing, you don’t just pick up your stuff and leave, you indicate that from your point of view the game is over.

If you “rage quit” in my opinion that means that you weren’t satisfied with the experience and you want to show your dissatisfaction.

Well, this is the way I see it.


This ^

I’ve “gg’d” games that were absolutely terrible in terms of skill, luck, or enjoyment. I also say “good morning” to people even when the morning is not in fact good.


And you would like to show your opponent that >everything was alright.

Right, it’s not that I don’t understand the custom, I just don’t care for it. You guys can go ahead and keep typing it to each other with my blessing, I just don’t.

I don’t call every single girl that I sleep with the next day either, to be completely honest.



I’ve thought a bit about what makes games fun in general, as well as what makes netrunner fun in particular. I think a couple of principles intended for this game are:

  1. The runner always has options
  2. The runner can’t use the same tool to solve every problem

We can see for example that Caprice is bad because she breaks rule 1 and Faust is bad because it breaks rule 2.

Now let’s take a look at the history of recursion.

In core, there wasn’t much recursion. If you were worried about key cards getting trashed by damage, you could just play them. If you were worried about program trashing, you could make sure you had a sentry before running, and as for Aggressive Secretary, you could expose it, or siphon the corp so they couldn’t trigger it, or scout it out in central servers first.

In C&C, runners got a lot of recursion, and they were using it not as a reactive tool against corp damage / program trashing, but as part of their own plan, bringing back Parasites, SMCs etc. These recursion cards were too powerful (as evidenced by Clone Chip and Levy being restricted now).

What happened next was corps got more tools to attack the runner directly, but no one played them because they were weak against these recursion cards that runners were already using. Potential Unleashed and other milling cards could knock out things before you had a chance to install them. Chronos Protocol could choose which card you discarded.

We can already see that the recursion is breaking rule 2. No matter how the corp attacked you, you could solve it in the same way, with cards you were already using.

Then corps got even stronger cards like Batty and Hunter Seeker. These cards avoided being called out as unfair because of the powerful recursion the runner has, but they actually do break rule 1. The runner only really has one solution to these cards. (Milling agendas into archives or using Film Critic to avoid stealing agendas or using Councilman against Batty are some niche options but not something you’d expect many runners to have).

Imagine hunter seeker versus core criminal, whose only decoder is 3x Crypsis. Since the crim might have to steal four agendas to win, it’s possible to trash every crypsis and lock the runner out.

Skorp isn’t at fault. All Skorp did is shove these existing problems into the limelight. Make recursion weaker and make program trashing weaker. Then corps will use a variety of ways to attack the runner and runners will use a variety of ways to solve it, including having extra copies of their key programs.

Now let’s take a look at the history of deck design.

The question is, was it always intended for runners to have spare copies of programs and AIs as backups, and why didn’t that happen?

One thing is that at high levels of competition, the economy became very important. Having to use Crypsis instead of a real breaker was as good as losing anyway.

Also, runners were very aggressive. They ran without programs and tried to keep the corp poor. They used Parasite to trash ice. They also drew lots of cards. So runners used fewer icebreakers in their deck since finding them ASAP wasn’t important, and corps used fewer ETR ice that was just going to cost them creds and get parasited, and more stuff that taxes or punishes facechecking, which meant that runners needed their breakers even less. The strength of R&D multi-access was also an issue because it meant runners didn’t always have to worry about the servers the corps were scoring in either.

This relative unimportance of icebreakers seems surprising from an intuitive / beginner’s look at the game. You expect that icebreakers will be the most important cards in the game and that getting them out is every runner’s first priority otherwise corps are free to just score out their agendas.

Perhaps, now that parasite, credit denial, oldschool criminal, and r&d multi-access have rotated out, this will become true again. Looking at the original post, this was called “inefficient deck building”. You don’t want to just chuck two extra fracters into your deck, because that was never the way to play under the old rotation. But if it became the new standard then you wouldn’t feel like you were teching against Skorp specifically.


There are options to deal with Caprice. Political Operative is a strong card that is worthy of a slot in a meta with Caprice or other powerful defensive upgrades, as well as certain assets like Sandburg or even Blacklist that may require an immediate response.

In addition, Caprice is unique, so winning by running a different server is also an option, since Caprice cannot be in two servers at once.

Saying the runner has no options for dealing with Caprice is somewhere between disingenuous and lazy.


pol op didn’t exist for some time after caprice was printed. But I mentioned caprice because I was thinking of how rumor mill came to be printed, which I didn’t end up writing about


Any card that lets you remove an opponent’s card from the game is a recipe for NPE (unless it’s Slums vs. 2016 IG Prison bullshit).

I’m glad Skorpios isn’t good, but if it ever becomes good, it will suck for the game. Therefore…


I don’t foresee how Skorp could become T1 good. It is too easy to tech against with good cards that interact well with other good cards. Skorp can only ever be a Rochambeau bottom feeder…unless until some serious broke shite get dropped.


I can see where you are coming from, however, I think it’s not so much that in practice.

The thing is, being “locked” is like being flatlined, the interest is not in the act itself but how you play around it. Most notably, Skorpio won’t win on pure rig-shooting. It wins because it forces you to play fast and take risks. You will not be locked out unless you make the choice to take a risk.

In that sense, Skorpio plays very, very similarly to how old-school Supermodernism played.

Let’s also get this out of the way: You can’t get locked unless you are greedy. Running 1 of each breaker is greedy and people playing SacCons do it because it’s a way of being a little bit greedy without the risk.


Some more thoughts on the Land Destruction comparison.

The main reason that Land Destruction is a problem with Magic is that you cannot do absolutely anything without land. Nothing. You have zero actions, zero possibilities of doing anything. All your actions rely on land. Worse, losing land makes it harder to get land.

In Netrunner you can always draw, play and install cards.You have actions and you can use those to get new breakers, even if you lost some. In Netrunner you are only locked out if you lose several breakers of the same kind, you have no AIs, no alternative means of entry and appropiate ICE covers all servers. It’s a much harder lock with far less restricting effects.

Land destruction is also easier and much more versatile than rigshooting. You can fit some land destruction in zoo or Red Deck Wins and have good results. But rigshooting in Netrunner is not effective unless your deck is focused on it.