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Why Skorpios is bad for Netrunner


[quote=“qqq, post:94, topic:9500, full:true”]

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. [/quote]

When you play in person, do you say hello to the person sitting across from you? If you lose, do you get up and stomp off? If you don’t actively intend to be rude in person, I’m curious why you think it’s okay online.


Well, I played at least 6 consecutive games in JNET Casual yesterday against Skorp.

I take back anything nice I said about it.


I play online Netrunner in my underwear while I do 5 other things.
IRL, I would wear pants and offer my full attention if I were to play Netrunner with someone in person.

Surely, you are not that unclear on how internet interactions have a more transactional etiquette than IRL ones. As does a lot of things that you do in only your underwear. I have nothing against players but if you told me someone I played online Netrunner against died, I don’t think that I would feel compelled to attend their funeral. Unless it was near my house and their was going to be a tourney. But I would be going for the tourney.

Also, I feel that if someone is looking to me to offer them sort of ‘gaming experience’, that is more emotional responsibility than I am willing to take on just to pass a few minutes gaming. I can’t be responsible for the emotions of strange men in any way.


[quote=“qqq, post:105, topic:9500, full:true”]
Surely, you are not that unclear on how internet interactions have a more transactional etiquette than IRL ones.[/quote]

All true. But surely you’re not unclear that you are still playing against a real person on the other end of the computer. The interaction you have with them is different than one you would have with a bot.

I’d suggest that part of the reason the video game community is so toxic is that people tolerate and perpetuate an idea that because there’s a computer between two people, the interaction is not governed by any social contract.

Of course, any community we participate in has its own rules–there may be an RL pantless league you could attend somewhere–and we negotiate those rules as a community, which is why I find it worthwhile to pursue conversations like this even though I suspect many people see online gaming from a perspective closer to yours than mine.

As to your last comment of what you owe someone regarding their “gaming experience” – again, because you’re in a social environment, I contend you do owe something to your opponent: you owe it to them, and to other people on jnet, to maintain a play environment that is worth engaging with. But I suspect we’re on opposite sides of a chasm in this regard and may have to agree to disagree.


Hope it is not too off topic to dive into this topic further. If y’all want to throw more hate on Skorpios we can always come back to it (Isn’t the ability to recur things wonderful?).

I am of two minds about saying “gg” to people.

On one hand, I don’t think very much of the ritual. The mechanical nature of it rubs me the wrong way, and typing two letters to your opponent (or six letters if you are feeling extremely charitable and offer up the “glhf”) really isn’t a lot. And the fact that it is the same letters minimizes the extent to which it reminds me that it is another human on the other side of the screen.

And if it is such a slight interaction, propping it up as some absolutely necessary social custom is a bit annoying to me. The comparison to saying “bless you” after someone sneezes is apt. Are we doing this because it makes people happier? Makes things run smoother? Or are we just doing it because the practice exists in some real or imagined guide to etiquette.

To that end, I try to demand very little of my opponent, and I try not to get frustrated about my opponent not talking. Some opponents have good reasons why talking isn’t practical for them, some of them them don’t feel up to it sometimes, some of them don’t feel up to it anytime, and I think that’s all okay.

(As a minor aside, I think at least hitting the concede button is proper if you are giving up on a game, if only so that your opponent can differentiate between a concession and a disconnect.)

All that said, it is a reality that when you play a game of Netrunner on J.net you are playing against another human, and your interactions with them can affect them. It’s a lot easier to be callous online, especially when we are interacting with people we don’t know and we never see them. To me though that means I need to make more effort to acknowledge the human on the other side of the computer monitor, not less.

Personally, I find it more fulfilling playing Netrunner when I can talk to my opponent. The game is more fun that way (for me), rules confusions get straightened out faster, and I am better at Netrunner for talking to my opponent after the game about strategy and deck building options.

I know that’s not for everyone though. If someone wants to not talk on J.net I hope they still feel comfortable using the site. That said, I do think we are a better community because we have people who are considering the person on the other side of the screen, and sometimes a boilerplate “glhf” and a “gg” is an easy way to do that.


I would never want to play in a pantsless Netrunner league.

I know you are coming from a good place, but being lectured about my perspective on etiquette and being used a surrogate for your sermon on gamergate is getting pretty far away from the balancing techniques of the skorpios id ability.


I wonder what effect you think playing pantless has on your online opponent?

It’s not a very good metaphor!


The metaphor is very good.


I do not agree with that. (It is interesting that the Skorpios defense seems to often include some implicit conviction that the greedy runners deserve their punishment.)

First, I don’t know how playing 1x breakers can be called “greedy.”

Second, and more important, you absolutely can be locked out if you run 2-3 copies of each breaker and/or an AI back-up. Standoff, Hunter Seeker recursion, Batty triggers, Underway Renvotion, and bad draws can achieve this on a regular enough basis for people to aim for it as their main strategy.

Flatline and lockout are different game experiences. When I am flatlined or I lose because you score 7 points, the game is over. When I get locked out, the game is not over. I can “give up” because I am now powerless to impact your board or progress, but the game will go on until you dig out the necessary agendas and score them – all the while leaving me to do nothig but click for credits and pass.

This is why I think lock out is similar to land destruction and it should be avoided by the designers. Blowing up rigs should be a tactic that allows the Corp to opens scoring windows or advance toward its win condition. I do not think it is good for the game when you have an ID whose primary threat is that it can reduce you to the point that only one player is playing Netrunner while the other watches them win the game.


I agree that ‘greedy’ is not a good word because of the moral undertones. There’s nothing implicitly wrong with wanting to play fewer breakers. But we can still understand what he means by it.

Runner has two choices. Play extra breakers and not risk getting locked out by skorp easily, or play fewer breakers to improve overall match percentage against the rest of the field. You’re effectively “allowing for the possibility” of getting locked out by skorp when you choose the second option.

In a tournament, there is a “Nash Equilibrium” which says how often players should bring different kinds of decks so that no one can exploit the field (for example, by playing skorp). Skorp players should expect that there are enough opponents prepared for them that they won’t have a better winning percent than just playing a normal corp.

However, looking at it this way, I’m coming more into agreement with you -

  • Firstly cause this is just talking about win percentages i.e. you get an unlucky matchup and so you lose. But it doesn’t really address fun. Other runners might have fun in the games they lose whereas the “dead to skorp” players have to have a miserable game when they lose.
  • Secondly because it doesn’t seem right that adding just a few hate cards should completely change the win percentage. In MtG there are some decks in some formats where you automatically lose against Leyline of the Void, but there’s a reason why those aren’t the main supported formats. (I have a similar issue with Jinteki PE decks. If you have a feedback filter and a film critic, you don’t have to dance to the corp’s tune).

I still say that the problem is program trashing rather than anti-recursion (otherwise this problem just gets moved one step up: are you “greedy” for not packing recursion and then meeting a program trashing corp who is not skorp?)

Though I wonder if it is possible to avoid designing any unfun decks in a game like netrunner. We have had plenty on both the runner and the corp side through the game’s history, yet it doesn’t stop people flocking to the game despite it. Perhaps these kind of mistakes are the price that we pay for wanting lots of different strategies in the game instead of just generic ice and money decks (what some people call “mathrunner”). Also it’s the price FFG pays for wanting to sell us expansion packs every month, you couldn’t always come up with new content if you weren’t finding new angles for the players to attack each other from.


I’d like to echo some of the thoughts others already said and add my own arguments why I think Skorpios is a badly designed ID. Note, I have played cool and exciting games against this ID and I also don’t think it’s super-strong - but it has the tendency to create “unfun” games (for me, at least).

  1. I think Skorpios make the game longer and more boring, for two reasons:
    First of, as others already said, Skorpios often plays like Supermoderism - it often can’t defend its agendas, but it punishes you for stealing them. That said, the best play is often to not run (because you might steal something, if you do), but sit back and drop your SacCons, Trackers or Strikes (or whatever your hate cards are) on the table. Meanwhile … not much happens. The Corp might score an agenda or two. Also, in my opinion playing too much breakers makes for more boring decks. It means less cool cards, and it means more dead draws.
    And second, even though mostly breakers (and high impact Run events) are removed from game, this is probably not the most effective way to play this ID. Especially against Runners with know recursion (Maxx, Geist, Steve) you should remove as much cards from the game as possible. This creates decision points, which is interesting and good. But those decisions are only for by the Corp, they are totally non-interactive.

  2. I think Skorpios often wins by chance. Modern Skorpios builds seem to have abandoned the Hatchet-combo and rely on Hunter Seeker, Underway Renovation and Batty. From those three, Underway is the worst in my eyes. This card has zero counterplay, especially early in the game. As the Runner, you have no control what cards are on top of your stack and there is no way you can stop the Corp from install-advance-advance. This card is stupid even without Skorp, but the ID makes it worse. As a Runner, you might have considered the case of losing essential cards and included a way to bring them back. Guess what - wiith Skorp, that doesn’t matter. What’s gone is gone forever, and there is nothing you can do about.
    Batty is the next offender, although he has some counterplay. But more often than not I have the feeling Skorp games are decided on a single Batty PSI game. Not the way I like to have my games decided.

  3. I don’t think Skorpios is particularly good at stoping recursion. In fact, those deck seem to pack a lot of recursion themselves. Those Hunter Seekers are so crucial to the game plan, why no recur them in time of need? Standoff is a card, Hunter Seekers can win the game even when the Runner is on match-point! Archived Memories, Preemptive Action, Whampoa + Consulting Visit - those are often played cards in Skorp decks.
    And second, I always felt Skorp punishes those decks the most, that have no way of recursion at all - because then not even Strike can save you. I always hated to play against Skorp with Andy, because more often than not it was a race to find that singleton Film Critic or make it Siphons rain after each steal. With modern Crims, I wouldn’t even know what to do. Even with a Paperclip, a Femme and an Aumakua you can be locked out pretty easily.


Your point #2 is the best argument for me.


The card that seems to be really “elevating” Skorpios is Tithonium. How the HELL! is that a barrier? And why the FUCK! is “Trash one resource and end the run” printed on it? I feel like I’m running against AgInf with that card everywhere. So…


I disagree. As a runner against Skorpios, you have control over the order and number of choices the corp has to RFG. Playing events first click puts them on a hard choice - RFG now? Or is a more significant card coming?

Play 2-3 strong cards that can be RFG in a single turn and you know at worst only one will leave. I presented all kinds of difficult choices to Skorpios when I was playing Steve.

Sometimes your best line of play for a turn makes it easy on the corp, but the runner is in control of the timing and presentation of the corp choices, so it’s far from being non-interactive.


In a universe where Skorpio exists, it is negating it to win vs others.
Pretty much the definition of being greedy.

How do you compare this with tag “I need 2 cards” n’ bag.
If you need luck to win vs Skorpio then the ID won’t be played. If monobreaker becomes a norm, Skorpio will feed on that.

This ID prevent every Shaper to go 1 AI + 3 SMC + 3 Test Runs + 3 CC + 3 Scavenge + 3 Trick pgm. That’s its job.
Its job isn’t wining with reliability in the current environment : if you think that, it’s because you did not play enough with it.

If Skorpio doesn’t exist, you can put back an old school MWL with CC on it. Or never ever release trick pgm anymore.


Mathematically, my Nash equilibrium is :
2x each breaker + 1x synergizing AI + eventually 2-3 tutors in a 45 card deck. It is my good compromise that works against Skorpio and other decks.

My main reason for that is when I draw a breaker, then the vast majority of the other cards aren’t dead draws, so this doesn’t kill too much my draw quality, which have a huge importance against rush or asset spam or any kind of match up.

9/10 breakers or breakers synonyms in a 45 cards deck is between the slow and the fast. It’s good enough to attack lots of decks, it is what we had as a norm before, but we had sometimes 1x breakers + lots of tutors.

Therefor, SMCs or AI.

Both problems are related : if you’re with the guys that are criticizing SMC, Skorpio is in your team. If you prefer the SMC world we had before, then Skorpio is an ennemy, since playing more SMC / breakers synonyms than breakers is basically the question that asks Skorpio.

Skorpio is identified as a rush ID with build-in SMC protection, it’s not a random judgement Stimhack and other players made just because players saw 40 written on it.


Skorpios only need to lock you out of one breaker type (and very often specifically plays to this). So using your metric you have to score two-and-a-third agenda points with each breaker before it gets trashed. Every time the Corp has a Hunter Seeker in hand is an automatic fail on that count for the current breaker unless you can score more than one agenda in that turn (assuming the Skorpios player isn’t being stupid and playing three-pointers). If they manage to snipe a breaker before it gets installed somehow, then obviously you need to score three-and-a-half agenda points with each of your remaining two breakers.

And the AI can’t be one of the Deva breakers, or Atman, or Aumakua, or Darwin, certainly not Eater and Overmind is really pushing it.
It really has to be Crypsis, Maven/Brahman with lots of other programs for support or Dai V with a load of stealth support, and God of War might get you a run every other turn if you’re lucky and there is little multi-sub ICE floating about.


18pts in a 44 deck and < 3-pointers means you have at the same time R&D way less diluted than your usual corp, while playing a poor Corp situation.

3 pointers isn’t a stupid choice in Skorpio. Both Seeker and GFI on the restricted list is one of the reasons that the ID is average at best.

AI would be the best card that synergize with your ID. It can be turtle if you want, I don’t see the problem : Skorp packs no special hate for this card, and an AI that synergize with your deck is an asset in most situations.


God. Is this real ?


Is there a thread yet for “Why CI is bad for Netrunner”? That seems way more apropos.


It’s totally explicit. The Runner must make not one, but several choices, that exposes them to Skorpios. Like SEA Source/Scorched it’s not something Skorpios can do without the Runner allowing that risk.

I think that losing because you took a series of bad choices is deserved, at least on a strategic level.

Standoff should not trash any of your cards, simply decline to trash. Similarly, only one Hunter Seeker can be played per turn regardless of whether it’s brought back or not.

Batty is a good bet, though keep in mind the Skorp player is paying a lot of influence for it, it’s unreliable, only covers one server and requires a destroyer to work.

Underway is kind of dumb, but it’s unreliable, expensive and does not affect installed cards or cards in the Grip. If you tutor them up Underway won’t take them away. So it’s not really likely to lose everything if you play it right. You should not lose 2 breakers to anything that is not Hunter Seeker.

Here’s the thing, first, there’s a lot of common, good cards that let you gain an edge against Skorpios:

  • Film Critic
  • Imp
  • Freedom through Equality/Mad Dash
  • Employee Strike
  • Kim, Adam, Geist+ B&E suite
  • Legwork, Indexing and other multi-access cards
  • Sneakdoor Beta
  • Femme Fatale, Inside Job, Security Nexus
  • Political Operative (if you fear Batty)
  • Sacrificial Construct

Notably, you can combine them. For example, when the Corp advances an agenda you can Mad Dash, Legwork, and then run R&D. That’s a winning turn right there that works against all Corporations and Skorpio can’t do anything against it.

That said, there’s a Jinteki-related issue that ought to be mentioned here.

On Jinteki, people play stupid decks that lose a vast majority of the time but that can sometimes give them “free wins”. If they win, that’s great, a free win! And if not, they just ragequit and move on to the next opponent.

Skorpio, being what it is, is often designed like that but it’s not the only example. Remember all those Turn 1 Door to Door NBN: Making News decks or those megamoney decks that can’t beat anything but the slowest Glaciers? Same principle.

It’s one of the reasons why I don’t like playing on Jinteki much.