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Netrunner» Forums » Strategy

Subject: The Efficient(tm) Deck rss

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Ed Chen

California
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I hadn’t played Netrunner for over 10 years, but I recently went to a con which had a slot for Netrunner, so I dug out my old decks to look them over.

To give you some background, I played a ton of Netrunner in its first few years. Cards were plentiful, especially after the CCG market became supersaturated. We had a playgroup of 10 to 12 pretty hardcore Netrunner players, and we made all sorts of decks testing things out.

I tuned my tournament deck over the various tournaments and in my playgroup. At some point, Frisco Del Rosario, of Frisky’s Corner, commented that my deck should never be played because it was too efficient. By then, it was apparent that Netrunner would never become as big as Magic, and many people were having fun exploring the thematic qualities of Netrunner (which are tremendous). I had to agree: the deck was lean and efficient, but lacking in theme or coolness. Still, it’s a good tournament deck. At the time, I didn’t want to disclose the exact contents, but there is no reason not to share it now.

I don’t claim that this is the best deck out there or whatever. There are many really good tournament decks, and many have been shared with the community. Many of the cards aren’t really that different from many other decks posted, but after much experimentation, I believe this is one of the more efficient decks out there. Also, this deck was made before the Classic expansion was released, so it’s possible some of those cards could either augment or destroy this deck. But if you are looking for a Base Set + Proteus deck, this deck is pretty good.

Deck Contents

Preps (32 cards):
Valu-Pak Software Bundle
Forged Activation Orders
Demolition Run
Promises, Promises
Hunt Club BBS
Organ Donor x5
Identity Donor x4
Bodyweight Synthetic Blood x15
MIT West Tier x3

Programs (7 cards):
Jackhammer
Loony Goon
Codecracker
Self-Modifying Code x2
R&D-Protocol Files
Microtech AI Interface

Hardware (6 cards):
Bodyweight Data Creche x2
Militech MRAM Chip x4

This is obviously an Organ Donor bit engine, but it plays a little differently based on what type of corp deck you are playing against. In general, there are 3 types:

1. Speed Decks, like Psycho Tycho, which try to win in 3-5 turns given an optimal draw
2. Tag-N-Bag decks
3. Everything else

I’m going to start with type 3, as it’s the easiest to deal with.

Slow Decks

Against a slow deck, this deck typically sets up in 15 or 17 actions.

Those 15 actions are:
BSBx8, Organ Donor x3, Militech MRAM Chip x2, Bodyweight Data Creche, Valu-Pak out R&D Protocol Files, Microtech AI Interface, and the 3 icebreakers

This puts you to action 4 on turn 4, where you can run R&D using the Protocol Files and then again with the Bodyweight Data Creche. For more surprise value and/or versatility, you can also take 2 utility actions to start turn 5 with the Valu-Pak, usually followed by an Organ Donor, and then 3 actions (including the Data Creche) to run R&D.

A typical start against a slow deck is:
Turn 1: BSBx2, Organ Donor, Militech MRAM Chip
Turn 2: BSBx2, Organ Donor, either Militech MRAM Chip or Bodyweight Data Creche
Turn 3: BSB x2, Organ Donor, whichever you didn’t do in turn 2
Turn 4: BSB x2, Valu-Pak out R&D Protocol Files, Microtech AI Interface and the 3 icebreakers

The idea of course is to run R&D using the protocol files, find out of there are any agenda, run again and pull the agenda using the Microtech AI Interface or cutting 4 or 5 if there are no agenda, and then repeating until you win. Use BSB/Organ Donor as necessary to replenish your bits, and MIT West Tier when you are out of cards in your deck. Don’t forget if you find multiple agenda and are out of actions for a turn you can always cut them to the bottom of the deck (so they stay out of HQ) and then retrieve them the next round using the Microtech AI Interface. Once the Corp has rezzed sufficient ice, use Demolition Run to get rid of it. Don’t be afraid to use it early, as it will get recycled when you MIT West Tier and you’ll get more chances to use it. Forged Activation Orders can be used in conjunction with this.

The nice thing about this deck is while that’s the standard way it sets up, you have a lot of flexibility and ability to adapt to the corp.

Tag-N-Bag

The most annoying way you’ll discover you’re playing against Tag-N-Bag is when the corp rezzes City Surveillance on your first action as you BSB. Take the tags. Embrace the tags. There are two ways you deal with this type of deck. The first is hand size. If you get all 4 of your Militech MRAM Chips out, you’ll have a hand size of 17 -- and you’ll have enough BSBs to get there. Even a Schlaghund won’t kill you! But that’s just a stop-gap measure. Your bread and butter is the 4 Identity Donors, which each give the corp 2 bad publicity when he attempts to Bag you. That means if you play all 4, the corp auto loses.

Fine, you say, but you only have 4 in the deck. That’s true, but that’s where the MIT West Tiers come in. There are three in the deck, and you should feel free to use the first two fairly liberally. By the time you do the third run, ideally the corp isn’t going to be able to risk bagging you again, and you can do your normal setup against a slow deck. You won’t have the bit engine going for long, but usually you won’t need one against an efficient Tag-N-Bag deck, and efficient Tag-N-Bag decks usually don’t have an easy way to score their agenda.

You’re at highest risk in the first couple of turns. If he hasn’t managed to kill on his turn 2 or 3, you’re generally going to win, and he’ll generally have to get pretty lucky on his initial draw to kill you quickly (usually City Surveillance first followed by Schlaghund 2nd turn where you fail to draw an ID donor). This also means if the corp doesn’t manage to tag you in the first turn or two, he’s certainly dead, as you should have most or all of your Identity Donors in your hand by the end of your turn 3 and you should feel free to run with total immunity. Don't forget to use the R&D Protocol Files so you won't actually spring any TRAP!s or Fetal AIs etc.

Make sure you get your Militech MRAM Chips out, and when you run low or out of Identity Donors, MIT West Tier on action 1, followed by 3 BSBs, discarding a card, to leave you with 17 cards in hand and having drawn over half of your remaining deck, assuming you don’t get enough Identity Donors in your first couple BSBs. That way even if you only draw one Identity Donor, you’re still unlikely to die because of hand size.

Speed Decks

This deck was created to be competitive with speed decks. The most popular ones I know about are Pyscho Tycho and ASD/Corp War, both of which can win the game in 3 to 5 turns with a good draw and no interference. Therefore, it’s imperative you delay the corp for just a little bit while you get out everything you need.

The best thing you can do is play those decks yourself, and you will see how fragile they are. They run tight on bits, and usually have to rely on cheap ice. You’ll want to use BSB and Organ Donor as your bit engine, which conveniently also lets you cycle through a bunch of cards. Don’t be afraid to discard cards if you have to, or to Organ Donor for less than 5 cards, or to Valu-Pak out only a couple programs.

The key thing is to interfere with the corp. The best way to do this is through Self-Modifying Code. If the corp tries to drop a piece of cheap ice, hoping to advance it before you get your icebreaker out, Self-Modifying Code defeats this nicely. You can also use it to pull R&D Protocol Files and then Microtech AI Interface. Cut away the important cards (mostly Project Consultants) and take the agenda.

Use Promises, Promises against Corp War so you only have to score 2 agenda. Hunt Club BBS and Forged Activation Orders can also be used in specific situations.

Even if they manage to score the first agenda, you have a great chance to win if they don’t have an agenda in their HQ because you control what cards are in their draw pile (barring a couple cards corp can play to shuffle their deck).


So what makes this deck different from a standard OD/BSB bit engine? I think there are a couple of things. First, it deals very well with Tag-N-Bag, which a lot of runner decks are in denial about. Secondly, it has more BSB’s than most decks I’ve seen. If you played Magic: the Gathering, I liken BSB to Magic’s basic land. You can play low on land, but you’re just hurting yourself; similarly, if you ever have to take an action to draw a card or an action to gain a bit, you’re hurting yourself. This deck aims to never have either take place. BSB also has the added advantage that it allows you to run more aggressively – with 10 cards in your hand, taking a few net damage is less of a big deal, and with so many BSBs you’re unlikely to lose them all. Even brain damage is less of an issue with the Militech MRAM Chips.

In any event, it’s great to find out people still play Netrunner. This deck has won me several tournaments, and I believe it has good flexibility while still being very efficient. It probably won’t make you any friends though.


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Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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I used to have a (bad) version of this deck, though I used the Loan from Chiba engine as I didn't have the Organ Donors. Didn't this deck used to be known as 'Big Dig'?

The main gain from Classic is probably Rent-I-Con, which is pretty much the definition of efficient.
 
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Frisco Del Rosario
United States
San Mateo
California
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It probably won’t make you any friends though.

Ha!

Which con? Where? When?
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Ed Chen

California
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I didn't like the Loan from Chiba engine as it put you on the clock, so to speak, while this deck allows you to take a break from the bit engine as long as you need to.

I'll have to look into Rent-I-Con.

And the con was Kublacon over Memorial Day weekend. To be fair, I didn't play this deck, though I did show it to someone. I played a variety of other people's decks, and did pretty well, though I was a bit rusty. The game that was the most fun was one I had no idea of the contents of the deck, ran on the first turn and took 3 brain damage when someone rezzed the upgrade that allows you to install a piece of ice for half price, and still managed to win the game.

I did also play my corp tag-n-bag deck, which is surprisingly effective, but pretty run-of-the-mill.

All in all, it was great to play some Netrunner again.
 
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B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
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cattekin wrote:
It probably won’t make you any friends though.

Ha!

Which con? Where? When?


Seconded - what conventions are still running Net Runner events with actual cards?
 
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Frisco Del Rosario
United States
San Mateo
California
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None. I ran NetRunner at KublaCon and PolyCon three or four years ago, but I have heard of no other NetRunner activity at a U.S. convention since, at least not on Wizards' NETRUNNER-L list.
 
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Ludovic schmidt
France
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hi everyone, i am trying to gather a community in france and at this time it begins to work
i have 2 evnts per months with between 8 and 12 players every time
i kknow it is not huge but it is pretty cool

try to visit www.netrunneronline.com it is a good evolving site with many ressources !

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