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Subject: Seven "Balanced" Faction Decks - what does one need? rss

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David Hernandez
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First a little 411.

I usually play Android: Netrunner with my son and I currently own 1 x Core Set and both deluxe expansions. For a while this was enough because we could more or less match up the different decks to keep things at appropriate power levels. However, recently other people in my playgroup have been wanting in on the A:N fun and since we usually get together at my place I am usually the one that supplies the cards. In this particular playgroup everyone is a seasoned gamer so there is no real need to keep things basic.

So my question is:

What will I need to enhance all the factions in order for them to be roughly "balanced" amongst one another?

I would like to be able to supply any of the runner or corporation factions without having any matches be too one sided. Additionally I would like to improve factions rather than dumb them down. Basically casual competitive decks that we can all share on a given game night. Any guides are welcome (I simply didn't find any during my searches).

Notes:

- I have no problem acquiring cards, at some point I may very well own everything.
- I prefer to keep things to a minimum if possible because I am not a competitive tourney player.
 
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The first big question is whether you want all seven decks to be built at the same time. To that end, the first step would be additional core set(s) for important core set neutrals. Then you have the deluxes, so you're looking to "power up" the factions not featured in those, so Weyland, NBN, and Anarch. Look up some decklists for those factions and buy the appropriate data packs to build them.

Personally, I think you might be well served to try and play the game in a draft style or a "sealed" style. Using the draft IDs, factioning of cards doesn't matter, and everyone can experience a different deck every week. Drafting is the best way to ensure balance, but simply giving everyone 40 random cards and a set of basic econ/agendas/AI breakers, you can get a similar feel without the upfront time commitment of a draft.
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Mike Bialecki
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fusionkast wrote:
First a little 411.

I usually play Android: Netrunner with my son and I currently own 1 x Core Set and both deluxe expansions. For a while this was enough because we could more or less match up the different decks to keep things at appropriate power levels. However, recently other people in my playgroup have been wanting in on the A:N fun and since we usually get together at my place I am usually the one that supplies the cards. In this particular playgroup everyone is a seasoned gamer so there is no real need to keep things basic.

So my question is:

What will I need to enhance all the factions in order for them to be roughly "balanced" amongst one another?

I would like to be able to supply any of the runner or corporation factions without having any matches be too one sided. Additionally I would like to improve factions rather than dumb them down. Basically casual competitive decks that we can all share on a given game night. Any guides are welcome (I simply didn't find any during my searches).

Notes:

- I have no problem acquiring cards, at some point I may very well own everything.
- I prefer to keep things to a minimum if possible because I am not a competitive tourney player.


Here's what I did in your situation (forgive me if I'm too pedantic):

I have three core sets. I pulled out the 3 sets of Runner neutrals and the 3 sets of Corporation neutrals from those core sets and put each in baggy with the corresponding click tracker card, token and summary card. Those are the beginnings of six simultaneous decks.

I then separated all the faction cards from two of the core sets and put them in a white card box, so that for each faction there was the makings two decks. I put the faction cards of the third set into a binder.

I then determined which of the 6 players I was teaching simultaneously wanted to be runners and which ones wanted to be corporation. I tossed the appropriate baggies of neutrals to the players.

I then gave a brief description of each of the runner factions and each of the corporation factions and asked who wanted to play what. I went into the card box and distributed the necessary faction-specific cards.

After everyone had a chance to play a few games, I explained the deck building rules and let them peruse the binder of faction-specific core cards. Each player was allowed to pull cards from the binder and faction cards leftover in the white box to adjust their decks.

This worked amazingly well, took very little effort, and gave me that final push to buy a third core set. And since you are only dealing with core-set decks, it is very easy for new players to keep track of all the cards making games faster and decks better piloted.

After we were done for the night, I had players separate out the neutrals an put them back into the baggies. The faction-specific cards were then properly separated out using the ticks on the bottom of the cards.
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Douglas Northnilly
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In my opinion, it would be better to add the Genesis Cycle before the 2 deluxes. The cards in the 1st cycle are very basic and provide a very important complement to the main strategies of each faction.
My suggestion is that firstly play only with 3 copies of core sets. Within this environment, most of the factions are balanced and some elegant strategies of those factions can be implemented well, for example HB, Noise, Weyland, and Gabe decks with their bioroids, virus, scorched earths, and account siphons correspondingly.
Kate, Jinteki and NBN decks are a little bit weaker within core sets. After adding in the Genesis Cycle, NBN gets much stronger, and the factions above can be strengthened well. Jinteki and Kate are strengthened, but still not that good as the others.
Then you can add in the two deluxe expansions, which would make Kate (and other Shapers) and Jinteki fantastic! These two factions will become much stronger after the deluxes adding into your card pool. Then the seven faction may become nearly balanced (Weyland and Anarchs may be a little bit weaker, but not that heavily).
If you added in the 2nd cycle, the corps would get stronger than the runners, which is just the current meta.
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David Hernandez
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solidhavok wrote:
Personally, I think you might be well served to try and play the game in a draft style or a "sealed" style. Using the draft IDs, factioning of cards doesn't matter, and everyone can experience a different deck every week. Drafting is the best way to ensure balance, but simply giving everyone 40 random cards and a set of basic econ/agendas/AI breakers, you can get a similar feel without the upfront time commitment of a draft.


Considering I turned my Magic collection into a cube I never once thought about drafting in Netrunner. I guess I can entertain that notion but how does a Netrunner draft go? Considering you have Identities do you draft those upfront or as part of the packs?
 
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David Hernandez
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mbialeck wrote:
Here's what I did in your situation (forgive me if I'm too pedantic):

I have three core sets. I pulled out the 3 sets of Runner neutrals and the 3 sets of Corporation neutrals from those core sets and put each in baggy with the corresponding click tracker card, token and summary card. Those are the beginnings of six simultaneous decks.

I then separated all the faction cards from two of the core sets and put them in a white card box, so that for each faction there was the makings two decks. I put the faction cards of the third set into a binder.

I then determined which of the 6 players I was teaching simultaneously wanted to be runners and which ones wanted to be corporation. I tossed the appropriate baggies of neutrals to the players.

I then gave a brief description of each of the runner factions and each of the corporation factions and asked who wanted to play what. I went into the card box and distributed the necessary faction-specific cards.

After everyone had a chance to play a few games, I explained the deck building rules and let them peruse the binder of faction-specific core cards. Each player was allowed to pull cards from the binder and faction cards leftover in the white box to adjust their decks.

This worked amazingly well, took very little effort, and gave me that final push to buy a third core set. And since you are only dealing with core-set decks, it is very easy for new players to keep track of all the cards making games faster and decks better piloted.

After we were done for the night, I had players separate out the neutrals an put them back into the baggies. The faction-specific cards were then properly separated out using the ticks on the bottom of the cards.


Interesting clean approach. I'm not sure how I feel about investing in three cores vs upgrading with data packs but I thank you for this alternative. Definitely gives me another viewpoint I had not thought about.

Followup question:

If I were to invest in three cores how much of my core collection would be come dead weight as I add data packs? I'm mostly thinking about this from a Game of Thrones perspective where more than two cores produces low returns of investment.
 
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David Hernandez
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a37345735 wrote:
Then the seven faction may become nearly balanced (Weyland and Anarchs may be a little bit weaker, but not that heavily).

If you added in the 2nd cycle, the corps would get stronger than the runners, which is just the current meta.


So basically another vote for adding in two more core sets for a total of three. I'm sensing a trend. . So in your opinion everything but the second cycle should be acquired and I should have decently balanced decks.

Are there any data packs from the first cycle I should ignore given what I have already?
 
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Mike Bialecki
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fusionkast wrote:


Followup question:

If I were to invest in three cores how much of my core collection would be come dead weight as I add data packs? I'm mostly thinking about this from a Game of Thrones perspective where more than two cores produces low returns of investment.


There is a handful of cards that are represented only one time in the Core Set. A couple of them are VERY good cards that you will want three copies of (San San City Grid and Desperado for example). There is a bigger handful of cards that are represented 2 times in the core set. You'll want at least another core to get 3 (4 really) of them (Astroscript Pilot Program for example). Finally, if you are considering having more than 1 Runner and 1 Corporation deck built at the same time (to accommodate 2 or 3 simultaneous games), you'll definitely want at least two core sets for cards like Sure Gamble and Hedge Fund. So my answer to you is that as long as you are the source of cards for 4-6 people, you will not regret having 3 core sets. And even if you stop being that source, having the ability to build four simultaneous decks is more convenient than you'd initially think. Being able to just grab a new deck and play another game instead of having to tear the first one apart first is *really* nice.

In regards to cost, you can get Core Sets at places like Coolstuffinc.com and Miniaturemarket.com for less than $30 each. Occasionally they even go on sale for just over $20.00.
 
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I own most of the cards now, but still only 1x core set. I prefer having a large variety of cards rather than paying $90 (+taxes) for the same pool of cards.

To this end, having 7 decks at the same time requires me to set aside a bunch of "essential cards" that is added to each deck. They have to be removed between matches if you want to swap identities.

I think the first thing to do is make sure you can get some agendas for the corps, and some good economy cards. For runners, I look to strong programs and economy cards. Depending on how many cards you're willing to share, you can probably do with a few data packs (considering you already have 2x deluxe)
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Richard Linnell
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fusionkast wrote:
solidhavok wrote:
Personally, I think you might be well served to try and play the game in a draft style or a "sealed" style. Using the draft IDs, factioning of cards doesn't matter, and everyone can experience a different deck every week. Drafting is the best way to ensure balance, but simply giving everyone 40 random cards and a set of basic econ/agendas/AI breakers, you can get a similar feel without the upfront time commitment of a draft.


Considering I turned my Magic collection into a cube I never once thought about drafting in Netrunner. I guess I can entertain that notion but how does a Netrunner draft go? Considering you have Identities do you draft those upfront or as part of the packs?


If you look at the FFG site, they have "draft pack" products you can check out. The "Draft Starter" packs come with two new identities, both of which have 30 card deck size and infinite influence, with no other ability. Each "Draft Starter" also contains the minimum number of agenda points for each corporation and some form of econ, while the runner starter contains econ and an AI breaker. As long as everyone has those basic components, they should be able to make some sort of functional deck. You also do two seperate drafts - one for corp, one for runner. How you compose the draft packs is up to you, but someone on these forums has found a pretty good approximation of what FFG does in their packs.
 
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Mike Bialecki
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solidhavok wrote:
fusionkast wrote:
solidhavok wrote:
Personally, I think you might be well served to try and play the game in a draft style or a "sealed" style. Using the draft IDs, factioning of cards doesn't matter, and everyone can experience a different deck every week. Drafting is the best way to ensure balance, but simply giving everyone 40 random cards and a set of basic econ/agendas/AI breakers, you can get a similar feel without the upfront time commitment of a draft.


Considering I turned my Magic collection into a cube I never once thought about drafting in Netrunner. I guess I can entertain that notion but how does a Netrunner draft go? Considering you have Identities do you draft those upfront or as part of the packs?


If you look at the FFG site, they have "draft pack" products you can check out. The "Draft Starter" packs come with two new identities, both of which have 30 card deck size and infinite influence, with no other ability. Each "Draft Starter" also contains the minimum number of agenda points for each corporation and some form of econ, while the runner starter contains econ and an AI breaker. As long as everyone has those basic components, they should be able to make some sort of functional deck. You also do two seperate drafts - one for corp, one for runner. How you compose the draft packs is up to you, but someone on these forums has found a pretty good approximation of what FFG does in their packs.

Shameless plug for a review of official ANR drafting.
 
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Lou Lessing
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https://docs.google.com/document/d/17RKHwHyCwJBFqPOUxDcuF9kn...

I have seven faction lists, that I keep built simultaneously with no proxies from 3 cores and one of everything else. This document hasn't been updated for Double Time or Honor and Profit yet, I'll do that this weekend.
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David Hernandez
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brisingre wrote:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/17RKHwHyCwJBFqPOUxDcuF9kn...

I have seven faction lists, that I keep built simultaneously with no proxies from 3 cores and one of everything else. This document hasn't been updated for Double Time or Honor and Profit yet, I'll do that this weekend.


Thank you for sharing. Much appreciated.
 
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Hey Lou,

Did you ever get a chance to update your lists through Honor & Profit? I'm really excited to try out building the 7 faction decks you recommend, since they seem a perfect match for how I like to play and collect Netrunner.

Thanks in advance!
 
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It's ongoing. I got distracted by the BattleCON:War Remastered kickstarter. I'll try to get them updated tonight.
 
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Thanks so much! Can't wait to try out the decks.

Just a quick follow-on question: Are they reasonably balanced against each other (for casual/semi-serious play)?
 
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Probably not right now. The runner decks are roughly equal in power, but NBN's definitely the strongest corp, I think. You could do some tuning of your own.
 
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Thanks Lou. I'm actually going to try to play some games tonight with the NBN deck against some of the runners - I'll let you know what tweaks I make to bring it more in line with the other corps.

Again, thanks for posting these deck lists. It's a HUGE help.
 
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Will C
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Lou,

Just wanted to let you know I played several games with your deck lists tonight - didn't end up testing NBN - Anarch and Weyland instead.

I thought the Noise deck was perfect - great list and very fun. For the Weyland deck, I suggest three changes:
1) Swap the ID to GRNDL, the free advance is not so useful on BWBI and I generally think under powers the deck.
2) Trade Bastions for Statics
2) Remove Tollbooths - there is enough expensive ice in the deck. I recommend Shipment from the Kaguya instead to get more action economy.

Thanks again for the lists!
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1) You could definitely make that change. I personally really hate GRNDL, I don't think it does nearly enough to justify the ID slot over the other two Weyland IDs, and I've gotten good results out of using the free advance every time I have a spare click to advance an ice wall. It enables the Commercialization economy. If you were going to get rid of it, I'd move to the original Weyland ID and put Beanstalks back in, but moving to GRNDL and playing a faster game is also fine.

2) Yeah, that's a fine switch. Those are mostly there to make the Weyland list feel a little more distinct from the other lists, reinforce that this is the "big ice, big money" one.

3) This is the only suggestion I really disagree with. While it's true that the deck has enough expensive ice, Tollbooth is the last or second-last one you should cut. It's the most cost-efficient piece of big ice in the game, and it's your only serious code gate. Shipment from Kaguya does almost nothing. Theoretically, it's profitable. It's two credits and two clicks, at the cost of a card and a click. That's basically +2, it's pretty solid. However, we don't usually have two targets for it. When we're advancing an agenda *and* we have a piece of ice to advance, Shipment's a perfectly acceptable economy piece. It's a little better than Beanstalk, or a little worse than Beanstalk if you switch the ID to the original Weyland ID. However, a lot of the time we're not advancing anything, and Shipment just sits in your hand when that happens. You can play them if you like, but I really don't like Shipment.

Also: NBN is now up to date.

EDIT: As are HB, Chaos, Noise and Weyland, although I've made no changes to them. I'll probably rework HB soon, I think it's the loosest of the lists, but that's not for this round of changes. Still working on Criminal and Jinteki changes.
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Will C
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Lou,

Thanks for the comments. I understand your thoughts about GRNDL, and upon further reflection think swapping back to the original faction ID may be best. I'll let you know what I cut for Beanstalk...

I didn't notice the themeing of Bastions vs. Statics, but it actually makes me prefer Bastion more now that I get the flavor. I think leaving it is a good idea for deck character.

Regarding Tollbooth, you are right - I was completely wrong . I just hate the flavor of Tollbooth, and I think it often biases me against the card. But playing a few more games with the deck it is just too strong to cut - I knew how good the card was but I was hoping the other big ice covered it. That's not the case. I agree it should stay as is.

Best, and thanks again for keeping posting/updating the lists!
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Hey, no problem, happy to help.

(If you move to original Weyland ID, my cut would be Commercialization, it's quite a bit worse if you don't get the free advance. I might also try to find room for some more Transactions, maybe find a slot for the third Restructure or some influence for Green Level Clearance...)
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Will C
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Lou,

Just wondering if you ever finished updating the last of the decks? I'm probably going to play again this weekend and wanted to see if the HB/Jinteki/Criminal lists were up-to-date. The other decks were so fun, just hoping to test out the others. Thanks!
 
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Lou Lessing
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Updated Jinteki. May update Jinteki again after I fix HB, I feel as if it could be more focused.

Also put up some experimental changes to Andromeda. I'm considering dropping the Andy list in favor of a Ken Ten list, but I'm not done with it.


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Looking forward to the changes Lou. I'll soon be acquiring more Netrunner so its nice to see the changes being made.
 
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