Netrunner: Competitive Decks on the Cheap

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We have a new Netrunner core set, a new cycle of datapacks, and a steady influx of new and returning players! Are YOU one of those players? Do YOU want to try out competitive play? We’re in the middle of Store Championships season, and attending one is the most accessible way to meet other Netrunners, make friends, and flatline them!

But what’s this you say? You’ve only got a core set and you don’t feel like you can put together a competitive deck to take to a tournament? If so, this guide is for you!

Inspired by Willingdone’s and thebigunit3000’s guides to building a competitive deck as cheaply as possible from a couple years ago, I decided to do the same for the current metagame and card pool. So, if you want a deck that has a chance at taking down a Store Championship without spending a small fortune, keep reading!

Introduction (skip straight to index)

A Note to Time Travelers
The decklists in this article were published in January 2018, after the rotation of Spin, Genesis, and the original core set, under MWL 2.0. If you’re visiting from the future and using this guide to build decks, please check that the latest version of the MWL hasn’t banned or restricted any other of the cards used in these decks, and that no other packs have rotated before making any purchases.

Update: Version 2.1 of the Most Wanted List has been released by FFG. Looking through the changes in that list, the basic decklists suggested in this article are not affected at all and still legal under 2.1.

I didn’t stick to a fixed budget, I just tried to use as few packs as possible. For those willing to spend more, I included suggestions on what packs to buy next to improve the decks. The bare minimum purchases versions of the decks are definitely slightly underpowered, but they’ll let you give your opponents some good, close games, without feeling frustrated and utterly outmatched.

Due to the fact that I want this article to be useful both to completely new players who got into the game with the Revised Core Set, as well as to returning players who might own the Original Core and a few other packs, this article is divided in two sections: the first contains decklists based on the original core set, and the second based on the revised core set. Use the Index to skip straight to whichever decks mean the fewest purchases for you! If you don’t have either the original or the revised core set, I recommend you use the Revised Core Set decks. A third section contains videos of the decks in action.

Wilfy Horig’s 2017 champion decklists would probably be a better basis to build cheap tournament decks out of, but, judging from previous years, they won’t be available to buy for several more months. These will get you by in the meantime, and should be good all the way to Regionals 2018. When the 2017 champion decks come out, I’ll probably update this article with new lists.

Disclaimer: These decks are relatively straightforward, but that doesn’t mean you can roll up to a store championship with these and win if you are a complete beginner. I’m targeting this article more to returning players, who might have played competitively in their day, but haven’t been following the game for a year or two and need a hand figuring out what to play in this brave new post-rotation world. If you are a complete beginner, and are new enough to still need to regularly refer to my Compendium of Netrunner Newbie Mistakes, this article probably isn’t for you! Having said that, a lot of people enjoy learning by being thrown in at the deep end and immersing themselves in a competitive environment, so if you are such a person, keep reading!

Index
1. Decks from Original Core and Champion Deck
1.i. Corp
Decklist
1.ii. Runner
Alice Deck
Val Deck
Kim Deck
2. Decks from Revised Core
2.i. Corp
Using Champion Pack
Not Using Champion Pack
2.ii. Runner
Reina Deck with Champion Pack
Val Deck without Champion Pack
Maxx Deck without Champion Pack
3. Piloting Advice

SECTION 1: DECKS FROM ORIGINAL CORE SET PLUS CHAMPION DECKS(back to index)

The decks in this section assume you already own an Original Core Set. If you own the new Revised Core Set, skip down to Section 2. If you don’t own either, I recommend you go for the Revised Core and use the decks in Section 2 as well.

The first thing I realised when I looked at the champion decks is that this wouldn’t be as easy as it was last year. Dan D’Argenio’s 2015 Champion decks were also not tournament-legal when they were released, since the MWL 1.0 had come out in the meantime. But at least they hadn’t had half the cards in them lost to rotation or the restricted&banned list!

Chris Dyer’s 2016 Champion decks survive with fewer losses, although they’ve also been grievously wounded, especially on the runner side. But, with a few extra purchases, we can mould them into decks that did well at recent large tournaments. Luckily, both NBN and Anarchs have had recent tournament success, giving me some material to work with.

Corp – NBN: Controlling the Message

CtM was the best deck for 2016 Worlds, with most of the top-16 playing something similar to Chris Dyer’s deck. Even though by Worlds 2017 this deck had lost some of its most powerful cards (Astroscript Pilot Program, Breaking News, and San San City Grid have rotated, and Sensie Actors’ Union is banned), there were still four CtM decks in the top-16 of Worlds this year, so the tempo-tag strategy is still decent (though weak to decks using Magnum Opus, Maw, and Misdirection). Most of them were variants of the Team Comrades deck or of Spags’s build. Other variants that have done well in recent tournaments include this Red Herrings build, and this MCA Austerity Policy version, as well as a few others.

In spite of having lost so many cards, the 2016 champ deck is a good foundation for building any one of those decks. It includes cards like Global Food and Project Beale, the most important agendas, Commercial Bankers Groups and Mumbad Virtual Tours, which tax the runner by forcing them to trash them, Hard Hitting News, which lets you tag a runner that trashed too many of your assets and made themselves poor, and Exchange of Information, which (along with Psychographics and Closed Accounts from the Core set) turns all those tags into a win condition. If all you own is the Core Set, the 2016 Champion deck gives you cards from 7 different expansions.

The loss of Astroscript and SanSan means you’ll be scoring behind a remote rather than fast advancing, or luring the runner into the remote using 1-pointers or MVTs to tax them, thereby making them poor and letting you tag them. AR-Enhanced Security is a big part of this plan, making their trashing your assets even more taxing, and I therefore added Crimson Dust to the buy list. Because Misdirection is now a thing, Sea Source is now the main enabler for Exchange of Information, rather than Hard Hitting News. HHN is still useful though, as Sea Source -> Closed Accounts -> HHN turns on Psychographics. Since Sensie is banned, Daily Business Show is crucial to the deck, letting you bury agendas and find all those operations.

The total buy list to construct this deck is therefore 1x Original Core set, 2016 World Champion Corp deck, Crimson Dust, All that Remains. Total RRP: $85, or $45 if you already have a core set!

1a. Decklist: Penny Stocks Investment Show (back to index)

NBN: Controlling the Message (23 Seconds)

Agenda (10)

Asset (10)

Upgrade (2)

Operation (13)

Barrier (3)

Code Gate (7)

Sentry (4)

12 influence spent (max 12, available 0)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Link to decklist on NRDB

Notes: The weak points of this list are the lack of other good 1-pointers that synergise with the tagging strategy (namely Quantum Predictive Model), and the fact that there are too few economy assets. Private Security Force replaces the 1-pointers. It’s not great, but I’m hesitant to put a $30 Deluxe Expansion on the buy list when most of the best cards from it are already in the Champion deck. The Adonis Campaigns replace the 3rd Commercial Bankers Group, Marilyn Campaigns, and NASX that other successful CtM decks have been running recently. They’re obviously not quite as good, since they run out rather than shuffling themselves back into R&D like Marilyns do. The two Pop-Up Windows will partially make up for the lower number of economy assets, and I used the 1 spare influence for a Beanstalk for the same reason.

Fishy Variant: The Red Herrings version did well in recent tournaments, and you already have two of those in Core. You can fit them in by subtracting a couple of pieces of ICE, since this deck runs plenty. I suggest -1 Cobra, -1 Archangel, +2 Red Herrings.

Levelling up your Corp: There’s several good options for pushing this deck to the next level if you want to buy more packs. Your first buy should be Martial Law, because it contains not only IP Block, which is a very punishing ICE against AI decks (and there’s a lot of Aumakua around), but also a card which will be very useful in your runner deck (see below for details). There’s a degree of flexibility in deciding how many of these cards you want to fit in and which cards to cut to do it. My recommendation: +2 IP Block, -1 Cobra, -1 Resistor.

The next expansion should be Sovereign Sight, which contains several great NBN cards. The best one for this deck is Calibration Testing, which allows you to fast advance Beales, ARES, and even Global Food if you have three of them already installed in the server. Put it behind some taxing ice, and, combined with your ID ability and ARES, it can punish the runner and create scoring windows if they run to trash it. Recommended changes: +2 Calibration Testing, -1 Archangel, -1 Pop-Up.

Your next expansion should be Data and Destiny, much as I hate recommending it when many of the cards you need from it are already in Chris’s Champion deck. However, replacing the 4/2 agenda with 1x Quantum Predictive Model and 1x 15 Minutes will improve this deck no end . QPM is perfect remote bait, taxing the runner by forcing them to run through a Data Raven in case it’s a Beale, and they end up scoring it for you for their trouble, AND having to clear a Data Raven tag. In fact some Worlds top-16 CtM decks included 3 of these and only one AR-Enhanced Security! I think the ARES is more valuable, but feel free to mix and match to taste. Put it in the same server as an MVT for extra fun. 15 Minutes is great for scoring that 7th point, clearing a current, or Exchanging it for a Beale or Global Food and then triggering its ability to deny the runner even that one measly point! -1 Private Security Force, -1 Archangel, +1 QPM, +1 15 Minutes.

If you still want to spend more after that, your other best option would be yet another pricey big box: Terminal Directive (+3 Marilyn Campaign, -1 Beanstalk, -1 Adonis, -1 Pop-up).

These recommendations add up to another $85, and you now have a deck that is almost as good as the Worlds decks it’s based on. If you also bought Blood and Water for your runner deck, you can also add either a Miraju, which is a very useful piece of ICE on R&D as it counters Indexing, and cut the last Adonis to fit them in. A less interesting but more sensible purchase might instead be Democracy and Dogma, so you can replace the last Adonis for a third Bankers Group.

If you feel like playing a substantially different deck, you could try building the MCA Austerity version that’s been doing well in tournaments around Europe (see above for a link to a decklist). You already have Crimson Dust, which MCA is in, but because it’s a high-influence asset and you can’t afford multiple of copies of it, you’ll need The Valley for Tech Startup so you can tutor it, and The Universe of Tomorrow for Team Sponsorship so you can recur it. This plays quite differently, but the main idea is still to drag the runner through a taxing remote and then tag them. Here is a sample decklist.

Runner: Whizzard Some Other Anarch (back to index)

This was tougher than the corp side. With Temujin being banned, the economy in Chris Dyer’s deck is gutted, and with Parasite rotated that’s all its ice destruction gone too. But Anarchs have been doing reasonably well in tournaments (although Shapers are undoubtedly the top dog currently), which gives us a number of decent builds to aim towards. High-placing tournament Anarch decks have been quite varied. There’s the standard Reg Val that the Comrades team ran at Worlds. The Winning Agenda testing group’s Edward Kim deck also placed highly, and a similar Kim deck took down the Philippines Nationals. There are also various successful flavours of Maxx, some based around Levy and others on Magnum Opus. There are also the “Clanarch” archetypes, none of which have been particularly impressive lately, but which can still be powerful against some corps.

I tried to go for an approximation of the “reg” builds out of Kim and Val, since they’re both the most straightforward to play and the easiest to build with our basic card pool. The deck I’m aiming for is based on Comrades Val with some tech choices from Filipino Kim. (Some of those tech choices were admittedly made for me by the packs available to us.)

Pack Selection: You might have noticed a pattern with the above decks: none of those are Whizzard! Since the ID that Chris Dyer used has rotated, and Noise from the original Core Set is also gone, we have to buy a pack that includes a legal ID! Our more economical options would be Blood and Water, which includes Alice Merchant, or Omar Keung from Escalation. Omar seems like the natural choce, since we already need Escalation for Black Orchestra (since Yog.0 from the original Core has rotated), but he is not the most competitive choice due to his low influence.

The better option would be to add Order and Chaos to our packs, which contains both Valencia and Kim. If it seems overkill to buy a deluxe expansion just for an ID, don’t worry: O&C can also fill out other gaps in our card pool, such as replacing Chris Dyer’s rotated Parasites with ice destruction events, and filling out our economy package. However, because it’s $30, I made two runner decks: one based on Alice, using Blood and Water, and one based on Valencia, using Order and Chaos. I think the Val list is slightly stronger, but using Alice keeps the cost lower, so decide based on your budget.

1b. Decklist: Alice’s Budget Mining Rig (back to index)

Alice Merchant: Clan Agitator (Blood and Water)

Event (28)

Hardware (2)

Resource (8)

Icebreaker (10)

Program (2)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
50 cards (min 50)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Decklist on NRDB

Packs used: 1x Original Core Set, 2016 World Champion Runner Deck, Crimson Dust, Escalation, Blood and Water. Total RRP: $100 ($60 excluding the Core Set). You’ll notice Crimson Dust is shared with the corp deck, so the total cost for both decks would only be $130 RRP, or $90 if you already own the core set.

Variants: If you’re really on a budget you can cut Blood and Water by replacing your ID with Omar Keung, from Escalation, and save another $15. You will need to cut 5 cards and 3 influence: -1 Alice Merchant, -1 Infiltration, -1 Diesel, -1 Aumakua, -2 Jarogniew Mercs, +1 Omar Keung. Alternatively, you can “upgrade” to the Valencia version below by replacing Blood and Water with Order and Chaos (see below for decklist).

Notes: See the Valencia deck below for explanations of card selection and piloting tips.

The Val Version: Apart from getting an ID which can be slightly more aggressive in making runs due to that extra Bad Publicity, there are other gaps in our Core + 2016 Champion Pack card pool which can be covered by O&C. For instance, since Parasite has rotated, we will add Knifed and Spooned. This allows us to get rid of taxing ice that we don’t want to keep running through over and over again. Kakugo is one example, as, although it’s very cheap to break, it will do 1 net damage every time you run through it. Fairchild 3.0 is another good target, since it’s very expensive to break with Black Orchestra.

The main economy in Chris’s deck is Temüjin Contracts, which has been banned. Comrades Val has 3 Liberated Accounts, but we only have one in our card pool. Liberated is in the revised core, so I’m sure you’ll eventually get round to owning 3 copies, but, since we’re basing this around the original core, we’ll take a couple of Day Jobs from O&C to shore up our lackluster econ package. Day Job is not quite as good as Liberated, since it takes up your whole turn to play rather than letting you take a click off for poolside drinks whenever you need refreshment. On the plus side, it has some of the best art in Netrunner.

Similarly, we have less draw than Comrades Val, with only 2 Injects and 1 Earthrise Hotel, so I snuck in a single Diesel to compensate. Since we don’t have Indexing in the Original Core set, our R&D multiaccess is Maker’s Eyes, freeing up the 2 influence for the Diesel. I also included a console, even though, infamously, Comrades Val doesn’t. But since our killer is Mimic (MKUltra is in Martial Law, which is among the optional extra packs you can buy for this deck), we need Datasucker to help Mimic break strength 4 and above sentries. Between Datasucker, 3 breakers, and Aumakua, that’s 5 memory. The inclusion of Vigil (from O&C) helps by providing a bit of draw. Obelus (which you already own) would also provide draw (quite a lot in combination with Maker’s Eye, in fact), but is more expensive to install so I think Vigil is better. Feel free to use Obelus if you prefer. Finally, I used Employee Strike instead of Film Critic as our restricted card, mainly, to be honest, because it was in Chris Dyer’s deck. But I believe it’s an equally valid choice, having been included in several other successful decks (including the Ed Kim deck that took 5th place at Worlds, and the Ed Kim who won Philippines Nationals), and is effective against a wider range of corp decks, whereas Film Critic is there mainly to counter Obokata Protocol.

I didn’t include Breaker Bay for two reasons: firstly, there are not as many good targets for Career Fair in our card pool as there are in Comrades Val, because we have fewer resources. Easy Mark is not as good an economy card as Career Fair, but it won’t clog up your hand while you’re waiting for a Daily Casts or a Liberated Accounts to play it on. Secondly, we have Employee Strike, so Hacktivist Meeting is not as necessary. Not that it would hurt to have it but it’s less valuable than it is in the Comrades deck, where it’s the only current. The final decklist is therefore:

1c. Decklist: Proletariat Val(back to index)

Valencia Estevez: The Angel of Cayambe (Order and Chaos)

Event (32)

Hardware (2)

  • 2x Vigil (Order and Chaos)

Resource (6)

Icebreaker (8)

Program (2)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
50 cards (min 50)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Decklist on NRDB

Total buy list: 1x Original Core Set, 2016 Champion Runner Deck, Order and Chaos, Escalation, Crimson Dust. Total RRP: $115. Excluding the core set and Crimson Dust, which is shared with the Corp deck, $60. That’s $105 excluding the Core set for both corp and runner decks.

Notes: Apart from the missing economy and draw cards we outlined above, the main difference between this and the Comrades Val list is the use of Mimic over MKUltra. This is purely to save us buying another pack, but it has a few consequences. First of all, Mimic is not installable from the heap, so you’d have to be a little conservative with your Injects until you’ve found either a copy of Mimic or a Retrieval Run. Secondly, the Datasuckers are there to support Mimic, but they can also be useful with Black Orchestra, since it has awkward pump-and-break costs, and Aumakua, which is also fixed strength. The other difference is that there is no meat damage protection, which Comrades Val (and our Alice deck) includes in the form of Jarogniew Mercs. The only deck you’re likely to need it for is Brain Rewiring CI. If there’s a lot of that in your area, maybe use the Alice version, or replace a Diesel or a Maker’s Eye for Crash Space. If you’ve bought Terminal Directive for your corp deck, Biometric Spoofing can also replace Crash Space and Jarogniew Mercs.

Expanding your Anarchy: Your first purchase should be Martial Law, since it contains not just MKUltra, but also IP Block for your corp deck. Replacing Mimic with MKUltra means you can also optionally cut the Datasuckers, since your killer is now pumpable, as well as your console, since you now only need 4 memory. That frees up 4 deck slots, which, ideally, you would fill up with better economy, or more draw cards. You don’t HAVE to do this, as Datasucker is still useful with your breakers, and, as I said, Vigil also provides a bit of draw. Moreover, we’re a bit short on good economy and draw cards with our current card pool. I therefore suggest you simply go -2 Mimic +2 MK Ultra until you’ve saved up for your next expansion, which will be a triple whopper of three packs: Breaker Bay, The Source, and The Liberated Mind. Then you can go -3 Easy Mark, -1 Diesel, -2 Datasucker, -2 Vigil, +2 Career Fair, +2 The Turning Wheel, +1 Rebirth, +2 Earthrise Hotel, +1 Hacktivist Meeting. They come as a package, because the Career Fairs are not good without more resources to use them on, such as Earthrise and Turning Wheel. At this point, our deck is up to the speed it needs, the optional purchases totaling another $60 (with one pack also useful for our Corp deck). The only significant further upgrade we can do would be to replace the Day Jobs with two more Liberated Accounts, when you eventually get round to buying a Revised Core Set. Since Day Job is only a little worse, and the Revised Core Set is an expensive box which largely contains cards you already own in the original core set, stick with the Day Jobs for now. Finally, if you’re facing a lot of defensive agendas like Obokata or the Weyland agenda that was just teased in the announcement for The Devil and The Dragon, consider buying Old Hollywood and swapping your restricted card from Employee Strike to Film Critic. If you do so, fit in another copy or two of Hacktivist Meeting.

Variant: The Hammering: Another possibility would be to build the Edward Kim variation of the deck. This uses 1x Original Core set, 2016 Champion Deck, Order and Chaos, Escalation, and Martial Law, so is slightly cheaper than the Val list, though perhaps slightly weaker. If you’ve bought Data and Destiny for your corp deck, you can also exchange one of your Femme Fatales for a Hunting Grounds.

1d. Decklist: Proletariat Kim(back to index)

Edward Kim: Humanity’s Hammer (Order and Chaos)

Event (28)

Resource (7)

Icebreaker (10)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Decklist on NRDB


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SECTION 2: DECKS BASED ON THE REVISED CORE SET(back to index)

This section is for those of you who don’t own an original core set, and got into the game with Core 2.0.

Corp: Still Controlling the Message

The thing about the Revised Core Set is that it includes a lot of the cards from the now-rotated cycles of Spin and Genesis that have become staples in decks of their faction. In the case of NBN, this includes great agendas such as Project Beale (which nonetheless is but a pale shadow of the greatness of Astroscript), and good ICE like Pop-up Window.

The Champion decks, therefore, aren’t as great a bargain as they are if you only own the original core, since, if you bought a Revised Core, you own a lot of the best cards in them already. Chris Dyer’s deck, however, also includes must-have cards from Data and Destiny, Democracy and Dogma and Salsette Island. Buying it definitely keeps the total price down, but it might chafe for some people to buy a pack with so many cards they already own. I therefore made two versions of the CtM deck based on the Revised Core Set: one using the champion deck, and one not. Use the one that employs the Champion Deck if you want to keep the cost as low as possible, use the other one if buying extra copies of cards already in the core set makes you grind your teeth in frustration.

The decklists are below. I recommend you scroll up and read the description for our original core set CtM deck for more general information on how the deck plays.

2a. Decklist: Revising the Message, with your host, Chris Dyer

NBN: Controlling the Message (23 Seconds)

Agenda (11)

Asset (10)

Upgrade (2)

Operation (13)

Barrier (3)

Code Gate (6)

Sentry (4)

12 influence spent (max 12, available 0)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Decklist on NRDB

Notes: Packs used are 1x Revised Core Set, 2016 Champion Corp deck, All That Remains, and Crimson Dust. Total RRP $90 ($45 excluding the core set). If you don’t mind the fact that Chris’s deck will give you lots of duplicates of cards you already own, this is the most economical way to build a top-tier competitive deck, at least until Wilfy’s 2017 Champion decklists are released. The Adonis Campaigns are suboptimal here, and that influence should be spent elsewhere as soon as you can afford more packs. For suggestions on specific ones, go back and check Levelling Up Your Corp, under the decklist based on the original Core Set.

2b. Decklist: Revising the Message, without Chris Dyer(back to index)

NBN: Controlling the Message (23 Seconds)

Agenda (11)

Asset (10)

Upgrade (3)

Operation (13)

Barrier (3)

Code Gate (5)

Sentry (4)

12 influence spent (max 12, available 0)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Decklist on NRDB

Notes: Packs used for this one are 1x Revised Core Set, Data & Destiny,  All That Remains, Salsette Island, Crimson Dust, Liberated Mind, Democracy and Dogma, and 23 Seconds. Total RRP: $165. This is significantly pricier than the version using the 2016 Champion Corp, but it’s pretty close to optimal already. If you do want to optimise it more, the same buying suggestions apply as for the deck based on the original core set, so scroll up to Levelling Up Your Corp, just below that decklist.

Runner: Different Strains of Anarchism(back to index)

Well, will you look at this! We have a legal ID! Reina is not the most popular Anarch these days, but she is decent, and her ability of making ice more expensive to rez synergises well with Mining Accident, as it can put Corps in the unpleasant situation of being below the 5 credits they need to avoid getting a Bad Publicity.

This means we can use our Revised Core Set, Chris Dyer’s champion deck, and not need additional purchases just to get a legal ID to play! Of course, we will be adding a few extra packs (Crimson Dust to get those Mining Accidents, as mentioned above, and Escalation, because nobody should be forced to play with Force of Nature), but we don’t need many for the deck to be decent!

Despite using a different identity, this deck is not so different than the Valencia and Edward Kim decks I suggest in Section 1 of this guide, so please scroll up and read those sections for more general information on those decks, their weaknesses, and how to play them.

2c. Decklist: Reina’s Regal Revised Mining Rig

Reina Roja: Freedom Fighter (Revised Core Set)

Event (25)

Hardware (2)

Resource (8)

Icebreaker (8)

Program (3)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
46 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Decklist on NRDB

Packs used are 1x Revised Core Set2016 World Champion Runner DeckCrismon DustEscalation. RRP: $90 including the core set. Combined with your Corp deck, the total cost is $120 if you used the World Champion Corp Deck or $195 if you didn’t.

Notes: The Maker’s Eye is a flexible slot there. I put it in because the Revised Core Set only has 2 copies of Indexing. Since this is a 45 card deck, I was not as concerned about not having enough draw, like I was with the Valencia and Alice decks in Section 1. Moreover, a successful Maker’s Eye with Obelus installed will draw you 3 cards, so this is sort of a draw card too. (Bear in mind that Obelus doesn’t work with Indexing, because you’re not actually accessing cards.) Nonetheless, if you find that you’re not drawing your breakers quickly enough, you can replace the Maker’s with a Diesel. 2 Indexings should be enough on their own, and with a 45 card deck you’ll find them faster. If there’s a lot of Brain Rewiring CI in you area, it can instead become a Crash Space.

Expansions: As for our decks based on the original Core Set (please scroll up and glance through that section too), the first purchase should be Martial Law, as it contains a replacement for Mimic as well as a decent barrier for our corp deck. Since you also have Femme and Imp, I’m not going to suggest that you cut the console and Datasuckers, like I did for the Section 1 decklist. After that, I would recommend Order and Chaos. This gives you access to “cutlery” events (Knifed and Spooned are the most relevant) so you can get rid of annoying ice, and also gives you the option of switching IDs to Valencia, with her more powerful ID ability. If you do so, I would strongly recommend swapping one of the Easy Marks for a second Aumakua, as you’ll struggle to find a single turtle in a 50-card deck. -1 Alice Merchant, -1 Easy Mark, +1 Valencia Estevez, +1 Aumakua, +1 Spooned, +2 Knifed, +2 Day Job. You will have noticed that a lot of decks that use Indexing combo it with Mad Dash, which is in Daedalus Complex. However, since we’re trying to keep costs low, you can substitute Mad Dash with Freedom Through Equality, which is in The Liberated Mind, a pack which I also recommended in Section 1 for Turning Wheel and Rebirth. I recommended that The Liberated Mind be bought together with The Source and Breaker Bay, which is the same way it should be done here: -2 Easy Mark, -1 Diesel, -2 Datasucker, -2 Obelus, -2 Day Job, -1 Femme Fatale, +2 Career Fair, +2 The Turning Wheel, +1 Rebirth, +2 Earthrise Hotel, +3 Hacktivist Meeting. The main downside Freedom has compared to Mad Dash is that it would overwrite your Employee Strike if you have it in play (which is bad in itself, but which may also spoil your Indexing runs against certain corps. If you’re facing such a corp, therefore, make sure you play your Indexing while Employee Strike is active, and only overwrite it with Freedom on your next click.

What if I don’t want the Champion Pack?(back to index)

Although the 2016 Champion Runner Deck does not contain nearly as many cards that are duplicated in the Revised Core Set as the Corp deck does, I understand why some people might find it frustrating to be buying extra copies of cards they own. For them, I made two final decklists which don’t use Chris Dyer’s runner deck: one is a version of the Valencia deck that doesn’t use Chris Dyer’s deck, and the second is a Maxx deck for those who want to try something different! I believe the Maxx deck may be the better of the two (as the Val deck is low on card draw and will be slow), but Maxx might be slightly harder to pilot. Personally I would go for Maxx.

2d. Decklist: Revisionist Val

Valencia Estevez: The Angel of Cayambe (Order and Chaos)

Event (23)

Hardware (2)

  • 2x Vigil (Order and Chaos)

Resource (13)

Icebreaker (9)

Program (3)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
50 cards (min 50)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Decklist on NRDB

Notes: Packs used are 1x Revised Core Set, Order and Chaos, Creation and Control, Data and Destiny, Crimson Dust, Blood Money, Escalation, The Liberated Mind. Total RRP: $195. Liberated Mind, Crimson Dust, and Data and Destiny (as well as the core set, obviously) are shared with the Corp deck which does not use the Champion deck, so the cost for both decks together is $255.

Expansions: Mostly the same suggestions as for the previous Valencia decks, but in a different order, since this deck is missing some cards from Chris Dyer’s deck. Because it’s quite low on draw cards, I would recommend that you buy Martial Law and Up and Over in one go as your first extra packs. This would allow you to replace the Mimics with MKUltra, and put in 3 Inject for more draw: -3 Mimic, -2 Datasucker, -2 Vigil, +2 MKUltra, +3 Inject, +2 Day Job. After that, I would recommend Breaker Bay and The Source, again as a package, to get: +2 Career Fair, +3 Earthrise Hotel, +2 Hacktivist Meeting, -1 Employee Strike, -1 Hunting Grounds, -2 Day Job, -2 Same Old Thing, -1 Retrieval Run.

MWL 2.1 Update: The change to Rumor Mill from banned to restricted means you can optionally replace Employee Strike with Rumor Mill as your Restricted card. This allows you to use the extra influence for an additional copy of Indexing, or a copy of Information Sifting (good against Cerebral Imaging).

2e. Decklist: Maxximum Budgeting(back to index)

MaxX: Maximum Punk Rock (Order and Chaos)

Event (26)

Resource (12)

Icebreaker (7)

Program (1)

  • 1x Imp (Revised Core Set)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
46 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set

Decklist on NRDB

Notes: Packs used are 1x Revised Core Set, Creation and Control, Order and Chaos, Crimson Dust, Escalation, Blood Money, Breaker Bay, Liberated Mind. Total RRP: $180 I know this sounds steep, so isn’t really “Maxximum Budgeting”, but a number of those packs are shared with the Corp deck in 2b, which doesn’t use the Champion Corp Pack. The cost for those two decks combined is $270 (including the core set).

I loosely based this on this deck, and, as you can see, that deck includes a lot of very specific card choices designed to help against Cerebral Imaging decks. Information Sifting is excellent HQ multiaccess against  CI, and Citadel Sanctuary is meat damage protection against the Brain Rewiring combo. I chose not to include them here, since this article is aimed at people who may be relatively inexperienced, and tweaking your deck in that way makes your matchup against most non-CI decks worse. As the players piloting CI will probably be competitively-minded and fairly experienced, I decided there is no point trying to tech against matchups you have a high chance of losing anyway, at the expense of every other game you’ll play in that tournament. If you wish to incorporate those tech choices, however, you already own Information Sifting (it’s in The Liberated Mind), so replace one Indexing for it. As for meat damage protection, you don’t have any influence-free options, but you can always cut a Turning Wheel and a Career Fair for Crash Space. Alternatively, you can buy either Intervention for Citadel Sanctuary, or Blood and Water for Jarogniew Mercs, or use Biometric Spoofing if you’ve already bought Terminal Directive for your Corp deck. I personally would probably include Jarogniew Mercs but not bother with Info Sifting.

Expansions: You’ll notice that this is already pretty similar to the deck I based it on, except for the use of Mimic over MKUltra. Buying Martial Law will allow you rectify that. Other upgrades might include one of the meat damage protection options outlined above, or possibly a copy of D4v1d from The Spaces Between.

MWL 2.1 Update: Although you own Blood Money, which contains Rumor Mill, Maxx absolutely needs Levy AR-Lab Access as her restricted card. No change is therefore suggested.


SECTION 3: PILOTING TIPS(back to index)

gamblerant

I tested all these decks to make sure they’re not completely underpowered, but I don’t consider myself good enough to teach people how to play them. Instead, I’ve cherry-picked a few videos featuring decks similar to these by good players that you can watch to get a basic idea of how to pilot them. I’m therefore cunningly shifting the blame for every loss you suffer to these top-ranked players!

First off, here’s Scott “Spags” Pagliaroni talking to Dan “CodeMarvelous” Spinosa about the Controlling the Message deck that took him to worlds top-16:

They also recorded a game with the deck here, with Spags explaining each play. Make sure to watch that too!

Spags again playing his CtM vs Alex Forndran (Edward Kim), Worlds 2017 Swiss:

Abram Jopp playing CtM vs Seamus McLeod’s Hayley, top-16, Worlds 2017, with some great commentary by Dave Hoyland and Jason Deng:

Here’s Marsellus playing CtM against Mlodon’s Smoke during the Belgian Nationals top cut:

Seamus McLeod (Employee Strike Val) vs Martin Paul (CtM), UK Rankings Final 2017 (no commentary, but you can hear table talk):

From the same tournament, Seamus vs Johny Lockhart (AgInfusion):

Dan D’Argenio (Comrades Val) vs Peter (last name unknown), Worlds 2017 Swiss rounds:

Dan D’Argenio (Comrades Val) vs Gregory Tongue (Brain Rewiring CI), top 4 Worlds 2017:

Commentary is not very informative on that one I’m afraid. But here’s Dan Spinosa again, commentating a Worlds match between Ajar and ff0x (both games in the round feature relevant decks):

Watching more videos from the same channels is a good idea. I only picked the ones showcasing decks most similar to the ones in this article, but there’s plenty to learn by watching other games, as it’ll teach you what other decks prominent in this meta look like and how they play.

Of course, nothing is as good as actually practicing, whether in meatspace or on jinteki.net, preferably in the competitive lounge. Try to get games in against other competitive decks, although naturally store championships are not very hardcore events, and there will be plenty of people there playing fun decks that they’re comfortable with one of the tier 1 tournament-smashing juggernauts showcased in these videos.

Finally, literally mere days before I posted this, two podcasts released episodes specifically for beginners, which you might find useful. Shipment from ChiLo has an episode specifically about tournament preparation for beginners right here, and Run Last Click did a beginner Q&A episode which includes some tips for tournaments.

And that’s a wrap! These decks should be good for the next few months, but if any meta-changing cards come out in the rest of the Kitara cycle that make one or both of these unviable I’ll make sure to edit the post to note it. If you take these decks to a store championship, regional, or even a humble GNK, I would love to hear how you did with them! Please share any cool stories of nailbiting wins or surprising losses, any comments on how easy or difficult you found the decks to play, whether any cards weren’t pulling their weight, any ideas on how they can be improved (either for power level or easy of piloting), and any piloting tips you might have for other people playing them! Post a comment below, tweet me @cryofrustration (yep, 1 F), or hit me up on Reddit or Stimhack as cryoffrustration (yep, 2 Fs)!

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One response to “Netrunner: Competitive Decks on the Cheap

  1. Pingback: Netrunner: Competitive Decks on a Budget AUGUST 2018 UPDATE | Cry of Frustration [rant]

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