The #$#!! Compendium of Netrunner Newbie Mistakes

We’ve all done these. No shame in any of them, Android: Netrunner is a complex game! Just collecting typical beginner mistakes here as a handy reference for beginners to look through and go “oooooh, so THAT’S how that works!” and for experienced players to chuckle at and think “were we ever so young?”



  1. Each player starts with 5 credits, not 0.
  2. The runner starts with 4 mu (memory units), not 0.
  3. When the runner installs a program, they can trash any number of other installed programs. So you can always install something, even if you have 0 memory.
  4. When cards go to archives, they go faceup if the runner can see them at the moment they got trashed (eg. the runner accessed them during a run and trashed them by paying the trash cost), and facedown if the runner couldn’t see them at the moment they got trashed (eg. the Corp is discarding from their hand at the end of their turn). Yes that means you can surreptitiously chuck an agenda in there and pretend it’s nothing the runner would be interested in.
  5. The runner only accesses ONE card when they run HQ. The Corp gets to shuffle and let the runner pick randomly, don’t show them your whole hand and let them choose one!
  6. You don’t need to discard down to maximum hand size until the END of your turn.
  7. The Runner does NOT get a mandatory draw!


  1. Events/Operations have play costs. Runner cards that aren’t events have install costs. Corp cards that aren’t operations have rez costs. This is confusing, because in all cases this is the number at the top left of the card.
  2. Runners pay the number on the top left of a card when they install it. This might seem like I’m stating the obvious, but…
  3. Corps only pay the number on the top left of a card when they flip it faceup (ie. when they rez it). Not when they install it. All Corp cards get installed facedown (unrezzed).
  4. No, agendas don’t have rez costs. Agendas are never rezzed, you just score them.
  5. Extra credit: ICE are the only corp cards that have install costs. That cost is not printed on the card, so everyone forgets to pay it in their first game. For every piece of ICE that’s already in front of a server, you have to pay 1 credit to install a new one. (eg. if I have 3 ICE on HQ, it costs me 3 credits to install a 4th. If I have 0 ICE on Archives, it costs me 0 credits to install one.) You also have to pay the rez cost when you rez the ICE.
  6. Corp cards: ICE can ONLY be rezzed during a run, when the specific piece of ICE is being approached. Assets and upgrades can be rezzed any time.
  7. Rezzing cards does not cost a click, only installing them does.
  8. Come to mention it, no paid abilities cost clicks, unless they say so. Otherwise Icebreakers wouldn’t work.
  9. PAD Campaigns also pay out on the turn you rez them on (you have a window to rez them before “start of turn” triggers). And every turn after that. But only on YOUR turn, not the runner’s. Similarly, you can rez a Melange Mining Corp at the start of your turn and immediately spend 3 clicks to use it.
  10. Operations and Events are never installed. You play them (spending a click and the play cost), resolve their effect, then put them in your discard pile.
  11. Assets do not need to be advanced in order to be rezzed. You just need to pay the rez cost. Obviously, neither do operations (see 10. above).


  1. Advancing costs a click AND a credit!
  2. Don’t flip it faceup while you’re advancing it. You’re meant to let the runner think that it COULD be an advanceable trap like a Junebug.
  3. Scoring agendas DOESN’T cost a click! Once you’ve advanced it enough times (as indicated by the top right number), you can score it at instant speed.
  4. You can only score an agenda in your own turn, not the runner’s. But there is an ability window in which you can do so right after your last click, you don’t have to wait until your next turn.
  5. The text on agendas doesn’t work unless they are in the Corp’s score area. Unless it says something like “when the runner accesses this agenda”.


  1. When the runner’s deck runs out, they don’t lose. Only the corp loses that way.
  2. Nor does the runner shuffle your discard pile back into your deck like in some other card games.
  3. The runner is not flatlined when they reach 0 cards in hand: they’re flatlined when they hit -1 cards in hand (as in: by receiving more damage than you have cards in hand).
  4. Similarly, the corp doesn’t lose the instant they have an empty R&D. They lose when they are forced to draw from an empty R&D (eg. compulsory draw at the start of their turn).
  5. If the runner would have been flatlined immediately after stealing their 7th point (for example by Jinteki: Personal Evolution‘s ability), the runner still wins.


  1. Only one asset or agenda can be installed in a server. Yes, you have to trust the corp not to cheat on this. No doubling up!
  2. You can have any number of upgrades in a server (including the central servers). Plus one asset/agenda if it’s a remote.
  3. No, you can’t really tell if a facedown, unadvanced card in a remote is an asset, agenda, or upgrade. That’s kinda the point.
  4. An asset/agenda in your remote server is not stuck there forever: you can trash any cards you want from a server when you install a new card in it.
  5. You are also allowed to trash upgrades in the same way.
  6. It doesn’t matter if cards are rezzed or not when they’re trashed in this way.
  7. No, you don’t get back the rez cost if a rezzed card gets trashed.
  8. Yes, the runner always has to pay the trash cost of a card to trash it, not just when it’s installed.
  9. No, the runner doesn’t HAVE to trash every card they access.
  10. If it doesn’t have a trash cost (eg. Operations, Agendas, ICE), you can’t trash it.
  11. Ambushes do not need to be rezzed to work. They only need to be accessed. Rezzing them in advance ruins the bluff!
  12. The runner MUST access ALL cards installed in a remote server if they make a successful run. Your last opportunity to jack out was before the run was successful, after passing the innermost ICE. If you access it’s either all or none. Similarly if you’re accessing multiple cards from a central server (eg. with Maker’s Eye), no jacking out mid-access.


  1. If it doesn’t say “end the run”, it doesn’t end the run. Subroutines fire if the runner can’t break them, or doesn’t want to, but if none of those subroutines said “end the run”, the runner passes the ICE and the run continues. (The runner can still jack out voluntarily after they pass the ICE.) Conversely, if it ends the run, it ends the run: if there are 3 subroutines after the “end the run” that say “the runner suffers horrible pain”, they will not fire, because the run’s already over.
  2. ICE doesn’t get trashed when you break its subroutines or pass it. Only specific card text can trash ICE.
  3. ICE doesn’t get derezed when you break/pass it either. Only specific card effects can derez ICE.
  4. ICE doesn’t get trashed if the asset or agenda that it was protecting goes away (by being scored/stolen or trashed). The server continues to exist if there is ICE protecting it, even if it’s empty.
  5. Yes, that means the corp only pays for ICE once, and the runner pays for it every time they run through it and want to break it.
  6. Breakers can only break ICE of the specified subtype (the breaker’s paid ability text will read “break [type] subroutine”). If the ICE is neither code gate, barrier, or sentry (there’s only one such ICE in the Core set), you can still break it using AI breakers.
  7. Runners can’t spend clicks or use click abilities in the middle of a run. No clicking Magnum Opus mid-run if realize you’re a credit short for breaking all the ICE, no playing Inside Job or installing a breaker when you encounter something you can’t break. (Unless specific card text allows the runner to spend clicks to do something.)
  8. You can’t jack out after encountering a rezzed piece of ICE. Your last chance is when you are approaching the ICE: you get to decide whether to continue or not before the Corp gets to decide whether to rez it.
  9. If the ICE is already rezzed (from a previous run), you still have an opportunity to jack out on approach (eg. if you realized you don’t actually have enough credits to break it).

And finally, the most common Netrunner newbie mistake of all:

  1. Icebreakers DON’T keep their strength for the whole of the run! Only breakers that specifically say so do that. When you pass a piece of ICE, the strength of your breakers goes back to normal, and you have to boost it again to meet the strength of the next ICE you encounter.

So that’s it, hope it’s been useful and a little entertaining. Remember to also check for FAQs, official and unofficial rulings, and any questions about card interactions!


6 responses to “The #$#!! Compendium of Netrunner Newbie Mistakes

  1. Edited to clarify faceup and facedown cards on the suggestion of reddit users /u/Argonwolf and /u/jonbitor.
    Edited to add runner mandatory draw on the suggestion of reddit user /u/mustang255.
    Edited to add playing operations on the suggestion of reddit user /u/Hum4n01d5


  2. Pingback: 5 on Friday: 14/07/17 – No Rerolls

  3. Pingback: Netrunner: Competitive Decks on the Cheap | Cry of Frustration [rant]

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