Netrunner: Competitive Decks on a Budget AUGUST 2018 UPDATE

 

UVCRANT

Original art by Andreas Zafiratos https://www.deviantart.com/albino-z

I haven’t been able to motivate myself to write much ever since the announcement, but I’ve finally shaken myself out of my funk to write this update to my guide to building competitive decks on the cheap. This may seem pointless, since official tournament support by FFG ends in just over a month, but I think there’s a little demand for it. A lot of people who were on the cusp of buying the game pulled the trigger when the cancellation was announced, out of fear that they would miss their chance forever once stock depletes (and stock shortages have indeed been severe). Those people, despite being beginners, might want to get a taste of organised play before it stops. Moreover, a lot of lapsed players are jumping back in just to get one last hit of that sweet, sweet tournament high, and those who stopped keeping up with datapacks a while ago might need some help putting together a legal, competitive deck, without spending a fortune on it. Decklists and purchase lists below the cut!

Notes: These decklists were built under MWL 2.1. The night before I was ready to publish them, the next version of the MWL leaked, and by all accounts it is legit, though not in force yet. Because it hasn’t been officially announced yet, we don’t know when it will come into force. So, if you are attending a tournament within the next couple weeks, assume that it will be under the current MWL. As such, I haven’t amended the MWL 2.1 decks, in case you’re competing in something under the current MWL. Instead, I added notes in each section on how (if at all) these decks are affected by MWL 2.2: Electric Boogaloo. I’ll probably come back and update this when we know for sure.

The original article’s suggested decks were designed to require as few pack purchases as possible. With this one, there’s an additional concern: stock shortages. I deliberately avoided Reign and Reverie, for instance, because it’s the box that’s hardest to find in the shops, but a few of the pack I recommend from the Kitara cycle might also be tough to get hold of. I try to recommend alternatives from older cycles where that is possible. (I expect those of you who are old players coming back for one last hurrah will already have most of the older cards to choose from, so that should be easy for you.) As with the original article, the decklists below assume you have at least a Revised Core Set, to supplement the packs I recommend buying. In some cases, you can build these with the original core set too. In cases where you can’t, I normally provide a note on how to adapt them under the decklist.

1. Corp

1a. The Tried and Tested Route: Controlling the Message

The deck I made for the original article based around Chris Dyer’s 2016 World Champion deck is still valid and legal. You could pretty much build that, but it would probably be too slow to outpace today’s runners, who are richer and faster than they were 6 months ago!

However, CtM is still enjoying recent competitive success thanks to two cards from the Kitara cycle that sped up its game immensely: Calibration Testing, which brought back NBN’s fast advance game, and Rashida Jaheem, which accelerates your game plan almost as much as Sensie Actors Union used to! It’s still not as strong as it used to be, due to Clan Vengeance decks being able to wipe your hand and trash all the tag punishment operations you’ve been holding onto waiting for a chance to use, and due to Power Tap 419 being a thing, but right now every corp has weaknesses. So we’re going to attempt to make a budget version of the regionals-winning “Rash Decisions”-style decks I linked to above.

Deck 1. Penny Stocks CtM – August Edition

NBN: Controlling the Message (23 Seconds)

Agenda (11)
* 3x AR-Enhanced Security (Crimson Dust)
* 3x Global Food Initiative (Data and Destiny) ●●●
* 3x Project Beale (Revised Core Set)
* 2x TGTBT (Revised Core Set)

Asset (10)
1x Amani Senai (The Devil and the Dragon)
2x Commercial Bankers Group (Democracy and Dogma) ●●●●
3x Rashida Jaheem (The Devil and the Dragon)
3x Team Sponsorship (The Universe of Tomorrow)●●●

Upgrade (7)
* 3x Calibration Testing (Sovereign Sight)
* 2x Mumbad Virtual Tour (Salsette Island) ○○○○
* 2x Product Placement (The Universe of Tomorrow)

Operation (10)
* 1x Closed Accounts (Revised Core Set)
* 2x Exchange of Information (The Liberated Mind)
* 1x Genotyping (Sovereign Sight) ●●
* 2x Hard-Hitting News (23 Seconds)
* 3x Hedge Fund (Revised Core Set)
* 1x Psychographics (Revised Core Set)

Barrier (3)
* 3x Resistor (Data and Destiny)

Code Gate (7)
* 1x Archangel (Data and Destiny)
* 2x Enigma (Revised Core Set)
* 2x Pop-up Window (Revised Core Set)
* 2x Tollbooth (Revised Core Set)

Sentry (2)
* 2x Turnpike (Data and Destiny)

12 influence spent (max 12, available 0)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)

Packs Used: 1x Revised Core Set, 2016 World Champion Corp Deck, Crimson Dust, The Devil and the Dragon, Sovereign Sight, The Universe of Tomorrow. Total cost: $120 RRP. You may be able to cut The Universe of Tomorrow and save another $15 off this price by instead buying the alternate art promos of Team Sponsorship from a second hand seller. They’re widely available for about $5 for a full playset of 3. If you do so, replace the Product Placements with good old PAD Campaigns from the Core set.

FAQ:

What are these deck’s shortcomings compared to the fully-constructed versions?

The biggest is probably the lack of Daily Business Show, which prevents you from getting flooded with agendas, especially after a Rashida fire. Next is that Mumbad Virtual Tour, Commercial Bankers Group, and Hard Hitting News are all 2x instead of 3x, which is purely down to the contents of Chris Dyer’s 2016 Champion deck. Next is the lack of IP Block, which is a good piece of ice. Finally, the 2 TGTBTs would ideally have been a Quantum Predictive Model and a 15 Minutes, but I didn’t want to put a deluxe expansion on the buy list for just 2 cards.

#$#!! What’ve you got against Daily Business Show?

Just trying to keep the number of required packs down. I think Daily Business Show is pretty important for this deck, but I ultimately decided that, with runners being so much richer and able to trash your stuff, and this deck’s reliance on Calibration Testing for scoring since it lacks formidable ice to score behind, Team Sponsorship, for recurring Calis and Bankers, is more important than DBS. But if you can get All That Remains, a couple of copies of DBS will slot in just fine!

Why Genotyping, you #$#!!?!?

Cause it’s in the same pack as Calibration Testing, there were 2 spare pips of influence, and I didn’t want to force you to buy Intervention just for a single copy of Preemptive Action, you #$#!! If you do have Intervention, by all means swap it, and use the influence for something else.

I can’t find Universe of Tomorrow anywhere! Will you lend me 2 copies of Team Sponsorship?

Not unless you come and ask me in person. But I CAN tell you what to put in that slot instead! If you have All That Remains, replace the TGTBTs with License Acquisition. (Then score one and reacquire the license for Netrunner from Wizards of the Coast for us, please!) And replace the Team Sponsorships with Daily Business Shows while you’re at it. If you don’t have All That Remains, you could put in another copy of Genotyping and just shuffle your Calis back into the deck the old fashioned way, instead of shooting them back onto the table with your sports dudes.

I can’t find Sovereign Sight and The Devil and the Dragon for sale anywhere!

#$#!! Sorry about that… :( This deck pretty much relies on Rashida and Calibration Testing to score out quickly enough. You could still play the version of the deck I recommended in my original article. It’s probably too slow for the current metagame, but it’s not horrible. If you have Down the White Nile, you could add NGO Front to that deck, and install-advance-advance something behind a Tollbooth or Data Raven every turn to drag them through. In that case you’ll probably want to replace some of the ICE with beefier versions – make one of the Pop-Ups into a third Tollbooth, and the other into a Data Raven, and make the runner worried that it’s actually a Quantum Kitty behind it, rather than a harmless non-profit.

Hey, #$#!! I actually have a copy of Reign and Reverie! What cards from it should I include in this deck?

You lucky #$#!! Arella Salvatore would be a great addition, especially if you don’t have Team Sponsorship! It does a similar job in some ways, but doesn’t offer recursion. It combines nicely with another R&R card, Fly On The Wall, which, if you can score it with a click to spare, lets you threaten Exchange of Information or Closed Accounts. I’ve also seen decks with Lady Liberty in them, but I’m less convinced by them, because CtM can RARELY afford a 5-cost rez, and because using it doesn’t trigger “when you score this/an agenda” effects, such as Amani, Team Sponsorship, or Fly.

Can I build this without the 2016 World Champion Deck?

You would need the following packs: Data and Destiny, Democracy and Dogma, Salsette Island, The Liberated Mind, 23 Seconds, and either a Revised Core Set, or an original Core Set plus True Colors, Cyber Exodus, and Future Proof. (You can get by without Cyber Exodus and True Colors, just replace the Pop-Ups with a third Enigma and maybe a PAD Campaign, and the TGTBTs with a Private Security Force and another PAD or a third Product Placement.) But if you’re buying that many individual packs, I suggest just taking one of the recently-successful CtMs and just buy the packs you need to make that, rather than basing your deck off this one.

Do I need Data and Destiny?

Chris Dyer’s 2016 deck already contains a lot of the best cards from D&D, but, sadly, not Quantum Predictive Model. In more recent tournaments, the 2016 champion came to his senses and left Team Snek for Team Cat, so QPM is now a staple 1x in the “Rash Decisions”-style decks he pioneered, as it makes you less likely to lose to repeated runs on your HQ and R&D. If you already have D&D, replace a TGTBT with a copy, and another TGTBT with a 15 Minutes. But if you don’t, don’t worry about it.

If I want to spend more money and can get hold of more packs, what would improve this deck the most?

Your first purchase should be Martial Law, which contains IP Block, a great piece of ICE in the current meta (as well as a card that would go well in our suggested runner deck). I would replace the 2 Pop-Up Windows with it. Next, as mentioned above, All That Remains would be a great purchase: put in 2 Daily Business Shows, replacing a Tollbooth and a Product Placement or something. If you can get hold of even more packs, just take a look at FoilFlaws‘s version of the deck and stick cards in until your deck looks more like that. Data and Destiny, Intervention, and Democracy and Dogma will probably be on your shopping list.

How is this decklist affected by MWL 2.2: Electric Boogaloo?

Glad to say, not at all! None of the cards it uses have been banned or restricted (except Global Food, which was already our restricted choice). In fact, this deck should be much better positioned in the meta than under the current MWL, as the Zer0/Clan Vengeance combo really hurt it!

1b. The Cheapest Possible Solution: Cerebral Imaging

Alright, so, Wilfy Horig’s 2017 World Champion decks are also out, although I haven’t seen them in stores anywhere, and it may be that you can only get them direct from FFG. Regardless, his corp deck is only THREE CARDS away from being legal, so it represents the cheapest way to get a competitive deck! How to do it? Replace the now banned Violet Level Clearance with 3 copies of another card. The best solution in that slot? The new friend we made while building the CtM deck above, Rashida Jaheem! Can’t get The Devil and the Dragon? Well, just put in 3 Green Level Clearances from the revised core instead I guess…

Deck 2. Budget CI – July 2018

Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers (Creation and Control)

Agenda (9)
* 1x Corporate Sales Team (Business First)
* 3x Efficiency Committee (Creation and Control)
* 2x Elective Upgrade (Terminal Directive)
* 3x Project Vitruvius (Revised Core Set)

Asset (12)
* 3x Jeeves Model Bioroids (Salsette Island)
* 3x MCA Austerity Policy (Crimson Dust)
* 3x Rashida Jaheem (The Devil and the Dragon)
* 3x Reversed Accounts (Up and Over) ●●●

Upgrade (3)
* 2x Bryan Stinson (Quorum) ●●●●● ●
* 1x Cyberdex Virus Suite (Order and Chaos)

Operation (14)
* 3x Biotic Labor (Revised Core Set)
* 3x Hedge Fund (Revised Core Set)
* 2x IPO (Terminal Directive)
* 1x Scarcity of Resources (Escalation)
* 2x Shipment from Tennin (Blood and Water) ●●●●● ●
* 3x Ultraviolet Clearance (Terminal Directive)

Barrier (3)
* 1x Bastion (Creation and Control)
* 2x Vanilla (The Liberated Mind)

Code Gate (5)
* 1x Enigma (Revised Core Set)
* 1x Fairchild 2.0 (Blood Money)
* 3x Fairchild 3.0 (Escalation) 🦄

Sentry (3)
* 2x Architect (Up and Over)
* 1x Ichi 1.0 (Revised Core Set)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to The Devil and the Dragon

Packs used: 2017 Worlds Champion Corp Deck, The Devil and the Dragon. Cost: $30. That’s right.

I love the simplicity of this, just swapping out 3 cards and having a legal deck! There are a few things that I would change: firstly, Employee Strike is by far the most popular restricted card right now, which is obviously really bad for CI. While it’s not an absolute disaster for this particular CI, because it has multiple ways with which to fast advance, so you’ll usually have a way to clear Strike, it’s still a dangerous time to be holding half your deck in your hand! So if it were me I would have liked to up Scarcity of Resources up to 3 copies, or at least 2. Since if you build my recommended Runner deck (below), you’ll have Escalation, you can do that. I would cut the CVS for the 2nd copy, and, optionally, the Ichi for the third. I’m also not very keen on the barriers in Wilfy’s deck: Vanilla gets eaten up by Aumakua for breakfast, and allows the runner to build enough counters to even get through the 4 strength Bastion without forcing them to install a fracter! Some AI-hate would be better in this slot, and we have a couple of different options. In the Revised Core set, we have Wraparound, which will pretty much force a Paperclip install. Another option would be IP Block, from Martial Law, which gives the runner a tag if they have Aumakua installed. IP Block is definitely more taxing, since even Paperclip needs 3 to break it, but it has the disadvantage of not being a hard ETR if the runner does NOT have an AI breaker installed (they can just pay through the trace of the first subroutine), or even making the runner money if they have Power Taps and a Citadel Sanctuary installed! I therefore went for 3x IP Block, on the basis that it’s still better than Vanilla even if the runner doesn’t have AI, but it’s possible that 2x IP Block and 1x Wraparound (or vice versa) is the right call. To find the influence for this, we cut a Shipment from Tennin, which I’ve found often sits useless in my hand against aggressive runners who run every turn. This frees up another deck slot for Scarsity, and gives us a decklist that looks more like this:

Deck 3. Budget CI – July 2018 with Martial Law

Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers (Creation and Control)

Agenda (9)
* 1x Corporate Sales Team (Business First)
* 3x Efficiency Committee (Creation and Control)
* 2x Elective Upgrade (Terminal Directive)
* 3x Project Vitruvius (Revised Core Set)

Asset (12)
* 3x Jeeves Model Bioroids (Salsette Island)
* 3x MCA Austerity Policy (Crimson Dust)
* 3x Rashida Jaheem (The Devil and the Dragon)
* 3x Reversed Accounts (Up and Over) ●●●

Upgrade (2)
* 2x Bryan Stinson (Quorum) ●●●●● ●

Operation (15)
* 3x Biotic Labor (Revised Core Set)
* 3x Hedge Fund (Revised Core Set)
* 2x IPO (Terminal Directive)
* 3x Scarcity of Resources (Escalation)
* 1x Shipment from Tennin (Blood and Water) ●●●
* 3x Ultraviolet Clearance (Terminal Directive)

Barrier (3)
* 3x IP Block (Martial Law) ●●●

Code Gate (6)
* 2x Enigma (Revised Core Set)
* 1x Fairchild 2.0 (Blood Money)
* 3x Fairchild 3.0 (Escalation) 🦄

Sentry (2)
* 2x Architect (Up and Over)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to The Devil and the Dragon

Packs used: 2017 Worlds Champion Corp Deck, 1x Revised Core Set (optionally, for Wraparound), The Devil and the Dragon, Escalation, Martial Law. Cost: $105.

While I’m certain this is slightly better than the first version for the current meta, if you’re gonna spend this much money putting it together, you might as well play the CtM deck. The appeal of using Wilfy’s deck is that it’s almost legal straight out of the box and you only need to replace 3 cards. I believe CtM may be slightly better positioned right now. Still, this deck is definitely not a trash fire, I played about 10 games with it on Jinteki.net in the competitive tab to test it, and I won 4 of them, which is ok for a player of my level (I won exactly half my games in the last regional I went to). As I expected, Anarchs are a real problem for it, especially with the new Divide and Conquer. But if you find your clearances and Rashidas early, you can outpace them and score out.

Important MWL 2.2 Note: The ID much hoses this deck. In theory, you could replace CI with a different ID (and decide whether to keep Bryan Stinson, which has been newly restricted, or Violet Level Clearance, which has been moved from banned to restricted), the deck depends on having CI’s large hand size this deck uses is listed as banned in the leaked MWL! Should this prove to be real, it pretty and taking advantage of all the draw cards in it to find the card it needs to score. I don’t think this deck would work well out of a different ID, so if you’re attending a tournament that’s under the leaked MWL, I recommend you use the CtM decklist above. If you do decide to risk it, I would try it out of Asa Group, whose ability combos with Ultraviolet Clearance and thereby stops your hand from being utterly flooded, and I would keep Stinson, replacing Violet Level Clearance with Rashida Jaheem (if you can get the pack she’s in), makes this deck legal under the leaked MWL, for the cost of 2 packs (so $45 including Wilfy’s deck). I would also personally replace the Shipments from Tennin with Calibration Testing, as those can be put in a remote rather than needing to be help in hand, partly alleviating us not having CI’s ability. That deck would look something like the list below:

Deck 4. Stinson-Reversed not-CI

Asa Group: Security Through Vigilance (Sovereign Sight)

Agenda (9)
* 1x Corporate Sales Team (Business First)
* 3x Efficiency Committee (Creation and Control)
* 2x Elective Upgrade (Terminal Directive)
* 3x Project Vitruvius (Revised Core Set)

Asset (12)
* 3x Jeeves Model Bioroids (Salsette Island)
* 3x MCA Austerity Policy (Crimson Dust)
* 3x Rashida Jaheem (The Devil and the Dragon)
* 3x Reversed Accounts (Up and Over) ●●●

Upgrade (5)
* 2x Bryan Stinson (Quorum) ●●●●● ●
* 2x Calibration Testing (Sovereign Sight) ●●●●● ●
* 1x Cyberdex Virus Suite (Order and Chaos)

Operation (12)
* 3x Biotic Labor (Revised Core Set)
* 3x Hedge Fund (Revised Core Set)
* 2x IPO (Terminal Directive)
* 1x Scarcity of Resources (Escalation)
* 3x Ultraviolet Clearance (Terminal Directive)

Barrier (3)
* 1x Bastion (Creation and Control)
* 2x Vanilla (The Liberated Mind)

Code Gate (5)
* 1x Enigma (Revised Core Set)
* 1x Fairchild 2.0 (Blood Money)
* 3x Fairchild 3.0 (Escalation) 🦄

Sentry (3)
* 2x Architect (Up and Over)
* 1x Ichi 1.0 (Revised Core Set)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to The Devil and the Dragon

Packs used: 2017 Champion Corp Deck, The Devil and the Dragon, Sovereign Sight. Cost: $45 RRP

However, if you want to spend as little as possible, swapping CI for Stronger Together and Violet Level Clearance with Green Level makes this a legal deck for the cost of $15 plus a revised core set, and although it’ll be nowhere near as good as it was under CI, it’s still an awful lot of deck for very little money!

2. Runner

2a. Zer0 Reina

This side is easy: if Anarchs were one of the top decks when I wrote the last one, they’re even more so now! The release of Zer0 in Kampala Ascendent gave them a massive boost in speed and setup time, and combos well with theconspiracybreakers, which install themselves clicklessly from your heap when you encounter the appropriate piece of ice. Clan Vengeance is also an incredible card in combination with Zer0, but I didn’t include it, partly in case it gets restricted or banned sometime soon, and partly because it’s in a pack that you don’t really need anything else from and the deck is pretty good even without it.

MWL 2.2 Update: What a surprise (not really), Zer0’s been banned! Luckily, I already provide guidelines on what to do if you can’t get hold of Kampala Ascendent, so see below the decklist on what to do.

In its cheapest version, the deck looks like this:

Deck 5. Zer0 Reina – Competitive Decks on a Budget 

Reina Roja: Freedom Fighter (Revised Core Set)

Event (20)
* 3x Dirty Laundry (Creation and Control)
* 2x Employee Strike (Data and Destiny) 🦄●●
* 3x I’ve Had Worse (Order and Chaos)
* 2x Indexing (Revised Core Set) ●●●●● ●
* 2x Inject (Up and Over)
* 3x Mining Accident (Crimson Dust)
* 1x Retrieval Run (Revised Core Set)
* 1x Stimhack (Revised Core Set)
* 3x Sure Gamble (Revised Core Set)

Hardware (5)
* 1x Net-Ready Eyes (Chrome City) ●●
* 1x Obelus (Escalation)
* 3x Zer0 (Kampala Ascendent)

Resource (10)
* 1x Caldera (Crimson Dust)
* 3x Daily Casts (Creation and Control)
* 1x Ice Carver (Revised Core Set)
* 3x Liberated Account (Revised Core Set)
* 2x PAD Tap (Kampala Ascendent) ●●

Icebreaker (8)
* 2x Aumakua (Crimson Dust) ●●
* 2x Black Orchestra (Escalation)
* 2x Mimic (Revised Core Set)
* 2x Paperclip (Blood Money)

Program (2)
* 2x Datasucker (Revised Core Set)

15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Kampala Ascendent

Packs used: 2016 World Champion Runner deck, 1x Revised Core Set, Crimson Dust, Kampala Ascendent, Escalation. Total cost: $105 ($45 if you exclude the Core set and Crimson Dust, which are shared with the CtM deck above).

You probably have questions about some of my weirder choices, so here’s another FAQ:

What’s with the Net-Ready Eyes?

Well, I’m trying to keep costs down, so no Martial Law. This means Mimic instead of MKUltra, and Mimic needs all the help he can get to break higher-strength sentries. With Archer, Surveyor, and Anansi running rampant these days, you will need to deal with them, and, since Net-Ready Eyes was in Chris Dyer’s champion deck, I decided to leave it in there. Net-ready and Ice Carver can let you deal with sentries up to strength 5, but Archer is 6 and Surveyor can get up to 8 or more, so your best option is to run aggressively and accrue virus counters on Aumakua and/or Datasucker.

Why is the Caldera there?

Potential Unleashed has become more popular in an attempt to counter Zer0 Anarchs. Against that corp, you probably won’t install Zer0 anyway, but since Caldera was in Crimson Dust, and there was an influence to spare (which I would ordinarily use for a 3rd Employee Strike, but there’s only 2 in Chris Dyer’s champion deck), I decided to give you some extra coverage against PU. You can absolutely replace it for a 3rd PAD Tap (or, even better, a 3rd Strike if you have Data and Destiny) if you’re not worried about PU. Just a note: Caldera is a nonbo with Zer0 – the net damage is a cost, so if you prevent it, you don’t get the effect.

Would this be better out of Valencia?

Probably. But I didn’t want to include Order and Chaos so you could use just one card. If you have it, or if you can borrow a copy of Val (Order and Chaos came with 3 of each ID, so other players in your area will have spares they can lend you), feel free to use her instead (remember to add 5 more cards to get to the minimum 50 deck size!). What those extra 5 cards might be would heavily depend on what packs you have access to, so I didn’t make a Val version of the decklist. Assuming no additional purchases, I would suggest a third copy

Any other identities I could use?

You could totally be Omar! He’s in Escalation, which you need for Black Orchestra, and his ID ability is well worth the trade-off of 3 influence! This would make him your best option if you’re using the original instead of the revised core set too (although then you’ll also have to find a couple of economy cards to fill in for the 2 Liberated Accounts you’re missing too). I would cut the Pad Taps and the Caldera to get your influence down to 12, although if you bought Martial Law and replaced Mimic with MKUltra, you could get rid of the Net-Ready eyes for 2 pips (and maybe the Caldera for the 3rd).

Why just the one Stimhack?

Stimhack is a god-tier card, and, with Black Orchestra being so expensive to use, is the best way this deck can threaten a remote. Unfortunately, there’s only one of it in the Revised Core. If you’re an OG player with the original core, you have access to 3, so by all means cut a card here and there (probably economy cards tbh) to fit in at least one more and preferably 3. Of course, if you only have the original core, and don’t also have Trace Amount, you only have access to a single Liberated Accounts (the one in Chris Dyer’s deck), so I guess your choice of what to cut has been made for you. Alternatively, you could stick in some Same Old Things if you have Creation and Control.

I can haz Reign and Reverie! What should I use from it?

If you’ve got that box, Patchwork is a really great console, which really helps your economy tick over! I would put in 3 of them, cutting Obelus and literally whatever you want except breakers, it’s great! Divide and Conquer nearly made it into this deck, but it’s recently been ruled that any TTW counters you use during a D&C run only let you access additional cards from either HQ or R&D, not from both as we thought before the UFAQ was released.

I can’t get hold of Kampala Ascendent, OR MWL 2.2 has made your #$#!! deck illegal! 

If you can’t find Kampala Ascendent, or if Well, without Zer0 you’re gonna need more draw. Put in the 1x Earthrise Hotel from Chris Dyer’s Whizzard deck, and maybe 2 of the Street Peddlers. It goes without saying, don’t follow my suggestion to add Clan Vengeance. Zer0 is incredible, but this deck does have game even without it. See section 2b. below for a sample decklist.

What packs can I buy to make this better?

Martial Law contains MKUltra. This replaces Mimic, and obviates the need for Retrieval Run and Net-Ready Eyes. The Liberated Mind gives you The Turning Wheel, which gives you multiaccess, and Rebirth, which lets you turn into Omar (and which you don’t need if you’re already Omar instead of Reina). Changes: -2 Mimic, -1 Retrieval Run, -1 Net-Ready Eyes, -1 Caldera, +2 Turning Wheel, +2 MK Ultra, +1 Rebirth. I think those are reasonable changes, increasing the power level of the deck for only a modest cost. See HERE (deck 6) for that would look like, or keep reading if you want to spend more.  If you can get Station One, Clan Vengeance is great in combination with Zer0. I’d probably remove a Datasucker, an Ice Carver, and a Dirty Laundry to fit 3 in, though you can make do with 2. Daedalus Complex gives you Mad Dash, which also helps charge Clan Vengeance and helps you close out the game faster against Global Food decks. Another option would be to replace the PAD Taps with Career Fair, which is in Breaker Bay. It’s good economy and click compression, and helps you set up faster, although PAD Tap is likely to pay out more in the long run. Bit of a toss-up between them, frankly. Finally, Chrome City gives you Turntable, which is a better console than Obelus – cheaper to install, and more effective in this meta where lots of decks run 1-pointers you can swap for a bigger agenda.

2b. Her0 Reina

The following list is an update for the deck above to make it legal under the leaked MWL. Since the best card out of Kampala Ascendent has been banned, I also cut the PAD Taps to cut down the price. If you have access to that pack anyway, feel free to put them back in (cutting a TTW and an Aumakua to find the influence). Alternate uses for those 2 pips of influence could be to get Breaker Bay for the Career Fairs, as suggested under the main decklist above, or to add 2 copies of Maxwell James if you have access to Terminal Directive, or 2 copies of Peace in Our Time if you have either Quorum or the 2017 Champion Runner deck. I think this deck is fine with 3x TTW and Aumakua though.

Deck 7. Her0 Reina

Reina Roja: Freedom Fighter (Revised Core Set)

Event (20)
* 3x Dirty Laundry (Creation and Control)
* 2x Employee Strike (Data and Destiny) 🦄●●
* 3x I’ve Had Worse (Order and Chaos)
* 2x Indexing (Revised Core Set) ●●●●● ●
* 2x Inject (Up and Over)
* 3x Mining Accident (Crimson Dust)
* 1x Rebirth (The Liberated Mind)
* 1x Stimhack (Revised Core Set)
* 3x Sure Gamble (Revised Core Set)

Hardware (1)
* 1x Obelus (Escalation)

Resource (13)
* 3x Daily Casts (Creation and Control)
* 1x Earthrise Hotel (The Source)
* 1x Ice Carver (Revised Core Set)
* 3x Liberated Account (Revised Core Set)
* 2x Street Peddler (The Underway)
* 3x The Turning Wheel (The Liberated Mind) ●●●

Icebreaker (9)
* 3x Aumakua (Crimson Dust) ●●●
* 2x Black Orchestra (Escalation)
* 2x MKUltra (Martial Law)
* 2x Paperclip (Blood Money)

Program (2)
* 2x Datasucker (Revised Core Set)

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

Packs used: 1x Revised Core Set, 2016 Champion Runner Deck, The Liberated Mind, Escalation, Crimson Dust, Martial Law. Total cost: $120 including Core set.

Most of the FAQ for the deck in 2a applies to this deck as well. The notable exception is that you should not try and put Clan Vengeance in this deck, as it charges too slowly without Zer0.

2c. Shapers Ascendent: MWL 2.2 Alternative

Aesop's Pawnshop

You can tell above how disappointed I was when the leaked MWL made my suggested decklist based on Wilfy’s CI unviable. However, the fact that Clone Chip was coming off the restricted list got me thinking: what about Wilfy’s Hayley deck?

Clone Chip being unrestricted is a big boost for Shapers. With Calibration Testing and Fast Break being popular on the corp tables, being able to threaten Clot-lock is a huge advantage, and Clone Chip helps with that. However, adding 3x Clone Chips to Wilfy’s deck won’t suddenly make it viable: the beating heart of that deck, its economic engine, was Tapwrm, which sadly went from restricted to outright banned in the leaked MWL.

Thinking of Shaper economy engines that aren’t reliant on ridiculous combos out of Kabonesa Wu, aren’t glacially slow, and aren’t built around Comet, the only Shaper archetypes left that are anywhere in the meta at the moment are either Smoke, which we can’t build from Wilfy’s deck, or the various Aesop’s decks that have started appearing recently. That’s perfect! Aesops decks will get a big boost from Clone Chip, letting them sell and clone back their stuff for a constant drip of economy!

There’s only one problem: we’re trying to make a deck out of the champion decks and only one Core set to keep costs down, but Aesop’s Pawnshop is only a 1x card in both the original and revised cores! That’s a bummer, as buying 3 cores to get 1 card doesn’t qualify as a budget deck. However, all is not lost: if you can’t scam or borrow a second (and ideally third) copy of Aesop’s from someone else in your area, you can just buy that card on its own! There is an alternate art promo version of Aesop’s Pawnshop which is widely available, and checking recent sold listings on eBay has shown full playsets (3x) of it having gone for between $5-10, which is less than the cost of a datapack!  So let’s call that an even $10, though with Aesop’s not being the most popular choice of restricted card in the current meta, you might find it easy to borrow it from a fellow netrunner.

If you can’t score a full playset of Aesops, don’t despair: we do have an Artist Colony in the deck, after all, and, although not ideal, since you should be looking to get Aesop on the table as quickly as possible, they will allow you to tutor for him as soon as you get an agenda or a Fan Site in your score area! If you’re forced to go that route, just replace the 2nd and 3rd copies of Aesop with Dirty Laundries, I guess.

Here’s the slightly annoying bit: we really need Creation and Control, cause there’s no other way to get those Clone Chips. It’s a big box, and it’s hard to find, and, annoyingly, Wilfy’s deck is already made up of cards from C&C, so you’re gonna end up with duplicate copies of them. But it’s worth it to experience that sweet, sweet Shaper Bullshit(TM) again!

Decklist is below. Please note that NetrunnerDB will list it as illegal, at least until the leaked MWL is released (if it turns out to be real).

Deck 8. Budget Circus Act

Hayley Kaplan: Universal Scholar (Breaker Bay)

Event (8)
* 1x Escher (Creation and Control)
* 2x Indexing (Revised Core Set)
* 1x Peace in Our Time (Quorum)
* 1x Stimhack (Revised Core Set)
* 3x Sure Gamble (Revised Core Set)

Hardware (5)
* 2x Astrolabe (Up and Over)
* 3x Clone Chip (Creation and Control) 🦄

Resource (18)
* 3x Aesop’s Pawnshop (Revised Core Set) 🦄
* 1x Artist Colony (Kala Ghoda)
* 1x Beth Kilrain-Chang (Blood Money)
* 3x Daily Casts (Creation and Control)
* 3x Fan Site (Old Hollywood)
* 3x Laguna Velasco District (Terminal Directive)
* 3x Sacrificial Construct (Revised Core Set)
* 1x The Shadow Net (Terminal Directive)

Icebreaker (5)
* 1x Atman (Creation and Control)
* 1x Femme Fatale (Revised Core Set)
* 1x Gordian Blade (Revised Core Set)
* 1x Inti (Creation and Control)
* 1x Na’Not’K (Free Mars)

Program (9)
* 3x Cache (The Spaces Between) ●●●
* 1x Clot (The Valley) ●●
* 1x D4v1d (The Spaces Between) ●●●●
* 1x Imp (Revised Core Set) ●●●
* 1x Misdirection (Martial Law)
* 2x Self-modifying Code (Creation and Control)

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

Packs used: Creation and Control, 2017 World Champion Runner deck, The Spaces Between, Revised Core Set and 2 additional copies of Aesop’s Pawnshop. Estimated cost: $110-115 including core set.

FAQ: 

Hey this looks different than the other Aesops decks you linked to!

You’ll notice that the other recent Aesops decks use Brahman, whereas my AI of choice is Atman. This is largely because those decks chose breakers like Lady, which is limited use, or Cy-Cy, which needs to be retargeted when you want to run a different server. I went for Inti and Gordian, so the only limited use program in the deck is D4v1d. Three Clone Chips should give you enough D4 to not have to worry, and you can enjoy not having to juggle all the rest of your rig like a circus clown. Atman at 5 will take care of Fairchild 3.0 cheaply enough that you won’t be completely reliant on D4 recursion. If you want to go to 46 cards, a single Scavenge (it’s in C&C) can let you recalibrate Atman to a different strength, retarget Femme’s bypass ability to a different piece of ice, or even recur an emptied D4 without the need for a Clone Chip.

Imp?

It helps against decks that keep operations in hand waiting for the right chance to play them (High Profile Target, Exchange of Information, Game Changer etc), so acts as fake HQ multiaccess. It’s pretty much the only card you need out of the core set, assuming you bought an Aesop playset from ebay.

Can I replace that with anything else?

Well, if you have Martial Law (which perhaps you bought cause you needed IP Block for the CtM deck above?), Reaver is a great card for this deck! It’s a whopping 4 influence, so you’ll need to cut the last Peace In Our Time (replace it with a Dirty Laundry) as well as Imp to fit it in, but it basically means that every turn you’ll start with 3 credits and a free card draw! That’s basically like saying that, before each of your turns, you get to take A WHOLE EXTRA FREE TURN in which you click for 3 credits and draw a card! As a bonus, if you do this, and buy a playset of Aesop’s from ebay, you can technically build this deck WITHOUT USING A REVISED CORE SET!

3. Piloting Tips

Apart from the decks based on Wilfy’s CI, all the rest have seen recent competitive success in tournaments. As such, browsing videos from those tournaments will normally turn up a matchup featuring one of the suggested decks here. A good way to find such videos is to go to alwaysberunning.net, click on the results tab, and click the “has video” checkbox under filters. I’ve cherry-picked a few below:

Here’s a CtM vs Valencia game from Euros:

Here’s another CtM game from Euros:

Here’s a pair of games featuring CtM/Valencia vs Maxx/Argus from the recent Brighton Regional:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/285339912

(Apologies for Twitch videos not embedding in WordPress properly.)

Here’s a CtM vs Maxx game from the Halmstadt regionals last month, sadly without audio:

At this link you’ll find Peachhack’s backlog of Twitch streams. The two most recent events are currently saved and add up to a couple dozen hours worth of games. Skimming through them will show you games featuring not only the recommended decks, but also the decks you’re most likely to face with them.

For the CI deck, it turns up in a few of the videos I listed here in my last article. You will also find the Valencia games featured there useful, as the anarch decks people were playing in those videos haven’t changed that much since then. For more tips on using the CI deck, watch Ben Ni talk to Wilfy Horig about the deck and some of the more interesting plays he made:

 

4. The Future:

This will obviously be the last of these articles, as the game will no longer be for sale as of October. However, Project NISEI have already committed themselves to organising a new competitive season of Netrunner, and, further into the future, to releasing new cards. They have already stated that proxy cards will be allowed at these events, so card availability and price will no longer be an issue.

I believe that this game will be worth jumping into even after cancellation. As a blogger, however, I believe the way I can best help beginners get into competitive play will be by publishing deeper dives into easy-to-pilot beginner-friendly decks and the matchups they’re likely to face, because the discontinuation of physical product and the availability of proxies will make buying guides like this one pointless.

I’m pretty proud of my previous article in this series. It took a lot of work to put together two fairly strong decks at such a tight budget, and the fact that I managed it is a tribute to how consumer-friendly FFG’s Living Card Game model is. I was always happy when someone posted online saying that they used my lists in a tournament, and I hope that, even with so few officially-sanctioned tournaments left, the decks in this post can also be useful to someone. And although that’s it for these buying guides, it’s not the last I’ll be writing about Netrunner, and the run will not end in October!

Always be running.

 

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One response to “Netrunner: Competitive Decks on a Budget AUGUST 2018 UPDATE

  1. Pingback: Android Netrunner: End of the Worlds Meta | Cry of Frustration [rant]

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