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Subject: Deckbuilding - approach, hints, mistakes, process. rss

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Sebastian Zarzycki
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How to build a good deck in Android: Netrunner?

As much as naive this question is, I believe there's a good merit in asking community for their experience and approach while doing that. It's extremely helpful for newer players. Building a *good* deck is hard. You pretty much know the rules and limitations, but you're still wandering in fog. In order to improve my own deckbuilding skills, I'd like to start this thread.

I don't have that much experience, but I'd like to start from listing few points from some of these categories and hope you will pick up from there.

Common mistakes:
- Not enough economy cards. If you don't have credits, most often you will struggle. This varies between corp and runner, but in general, you need credits and usually you need them in early game.
- Too many expensive cards. Again, this is questionable for corp, as the sheer amount and presence of unrezzed ice can play a game of its own.
- Not enough ice/icebreaker. When playing "in the middle", you probably want to balance your ice and icebreakers, so that you can defend yourself as corp and attempt an attack as runner. Note, however, that your strategy might be deliberately based on running without icebreakers or not shielding yourself with ice.
- Too many cards in deck. It seems that general consensus is to stay as close to identity minimum as possible. More cards will affect your draw hand and tempo.
- Too much of one thing / redundancy. Optimize. Some cards will do more or less the same thing. Unless you go for extreme (i.e. uber net dmg), switch to something else.

Hints:
- CardGameDB is a great tool to manage your builds.
- Don't fall into the trap of scanning through cards and categorizing them into "bad", "meh", "maybe" and "good".
- It's hard to win with a "a little of everything" deck. This is a good approach, when assuming that your opponent will remain passive. It's highly unlikely . You will also get draw issues - cards that would be otherwise good will come and go in wrong moment of the game.
- Don't build your deck scanning through cards of one identity and then splashing some others. Look at cards globally and familiarize yourself with all the different strategies you can use. Pick one (or two) and try to specialize the deck around them. Obviously, your strategy won't revolve around 20 types of cards, so remaining will be for economy or just safe reactions to surprises.
- Math approach, while helpful, is not enough. Quite often a deck that looks superb on paper, will just play awfully. Sometimes you just have to take it for a ride and see how it goes.
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rattkin wrote:
Building a *good* deck is hard.
...
- Sometimes you just have to take [the deck] for a ride and see how it goes.


I think you've said it there. It's much easier to build a bad deck and let your opponent show you why it's bad. Then you can make it better. Playtest! Playtest! Playtest!
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Steven Tu
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Playtesting is so important, but just playing and testing isn't really enough, you gotta take good note of your deck's performance when you do:

Runner:
> Are you always hunting for breakers?
> Are you always poor?
> Do you find yourself with too much money and nowhere to spend them?
> Do you get too many dead cards?
> Alternatively, are you getting what you want early enough? Is there enough redundancy? So that when you get dead cards, is it OK? (e.g. I have 3 Desperados, I'm ok with drawing Desperados later if I have a really good chance of getting it out first turn)
> Is the corp scoring early without you being able to do anything about it? (do you have tricks)
> Do you feel predictable?
> Do you dominate during a time you're supposed to? (Gabe = early, Shaper = mid/late, etc)
> Are you maximising that phase of the game? (e.g. Gabe, extending the early game by keeping the corp poor, Shaper accelerate into the mid/late game by building fast)

Corp:
> Do you have enough economy? Having too much econ means you can draw.
> Are you drawing cards? Drawing too much means you need to get more ICE/econ
> Are you able to score your agendas?
> Are there particular strategies that eat your strategy regularly? (e.g. Relying on Chimera, Crypsis comes along and munch munch munch, or having too much trace and autofailing to link) Can you deal with that?
> Are you getting what you want early enough? This is much more important for corp because they can't afford to draw endlessly like the runner can. Consistency is important for Corp.
> Do you feel predictable? (Is it your playstyle or the cards?)
> Do you dominate when you're supposed to?
> Are you maximising that phase of the game?

There may be more questions, I'm sure this list wasn't conclusive. But asking questions is an important part of deck building.
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DrTall wrote:
rattkin wrote:
Building a *good* deck is hard.
...
- Sometimes you just have to take [the deck] for a ride and see how it goes.


I think you've said it there. It's much easier to build a bad deck and let your opponent show you why it's bad. Then you can make it better. Playtest! Playtest! Playtest!


This is exactly what I was going to say. I think a lot of people underestimate how much of the deckbuilding process is:

1) Prototype
2) Test
3) Optimize
4) Repeat

When I built Never Advance, the reason the deck came together so nicely for me is that I played dozens of games (losing 50%+ of them against the mixed field in OCTGN) trying to make Jinteki work prior to ever building it. The initial build of the deck was specially designed to fix address all the problems I had trying to play Jinteki, and the concept was so foreign at the time I built it that I had a major advantage of surprise that let me win the first 10-12 games while I was still tweaking the deck list.

People post decks on BGG all the time that haven't even been tested for 1 game; that's why it looks so hard to build a good deck. Most of the magic comes from just taking a concept you like and playing it to death, but that's the part people are so inclined to skip. That's understandable since the card releases are pretty frequent and there's always new things to be excited about. That doesn't stop it from being the most frequent contributor to poor deck design though. It's also why I haven't made any deckbuilding contributions of the magnitude of Never Advance since that one came together. It's a 50-60 game process to put a good deck together, and it doesn't always pan out at the end.

Because of that, the best advice I can give is just dive in head-first and get some practice. Pick a concept you really like to start so you don't get discouraged if the first 5-6 games are really rough. While you're getting the practice, you'll also get a lot of the data you'll need for deck optimization, and when you've had enough games w/ the deck to really get all the kinks worked out, you'll also have had enough practice to know how to really take advantage of that information as well!
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Lluluien
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Tuism wrote:
Playtesting is so important, but just playing and testing isn't really enough, you gotta take good note of your deck's performance when you do:

Runner:
> Are you always hunting for breakers?
> Are you always poor?
> Do you find yourself with too much money and nowhere to spend them?
> Do you get too many dead cards?
> Alternatively, are you getting what you want early enough? Is there enough redundancy? So that when you get dead cards, is it OK? (e.g. I have 3 Desperados, I'm ok with drawing Desperados later if I have a really good chance of getting it out first turn)
> Is the corp scoring early without you being able to do anything about it? (do you have tricks)
> Do you feel predictable?
> Do you dominate during a time you're supposed to? (Gabe = early, Shaper = mid/late, etc)
> Are you maximising that phase of the game? (e.g. Gabe, extending the early game by keeping the corp poor, Shaper accelerate into the mid/late game by building fast)

Corp:
> Do you have enough economy? Having too much econ means you can draw.
> Are you drawing cards? Drawing too much means you need to get more ICE/econ
> Are you able to score your agendas?
> Are there particular strategies that eat your strategy regularly? (e.g. Relying on Chimera, Crypsis comes along and munch munch munch, or having too much trace and autofailing to link) Can you deal with that?
> Are you getting what you want early enough? This is much more important for corp because they can't afford to draw endlessly like the runner can. Consistency is important for Corp.
> Do you feel predictable? (Is it your playstyle or the cards?)
> Do you dominate when you're supposed to?
> Are you maximising that phase of the game?

There may be more questions, I'm sure this list wasn't conclusive. But asking questions is an important part of deck building.


This is a brilliant list to get started from on your test/optimize iterations
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lluluien wrote:
...Most of the magic comes from just taking a concept you like and playing it to death, but that's the part people are so inclined to skip...

Hi.
I just wanted to contribute absolutely nothing and just quote this because it's irritatingly true.

Have a nice day
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Stunke wrote:
lluluien wrote:
...Most of the magic comes from just taking a concept you like and playing it to death, but that's the part people are so inclined to skip...

Hi.
I just wanted to contribute absolutely nothing and just quote this because it's irritatingly true.

Have a nice day


It really is irritating. 100s of cool deck designs to consider, and only time to *really* test out 1 of them before the next datapack comes out. Not that I want the datapacks to slow down; I love seeing the new cards too!

First world problems

Edit: This is one reason no one should be ashamed of netdecking in this game, in my opinion. All of my Runner decks ever are just adaptations of concepts that someone else came up with.
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lluluien wrote:

Edit: This is one reason no one should be ashamed of netdecking in this game, in my opinion. All of my Runner decks ever are just adaptations of concepts that someone else came up with.


This.

With the card pool as it stands today, there are only so many realistic decks to make, and its not realistic to expect that as an average player I'm magically going to stumble upon a secret deck discovery.

I built my HBFA deck for regionals "by hand". I ended up with Snares and San San over Trick of Light and Shadow, and Pad Campaign over Eve, and maybe a slightly different smattering of cheap but irritating ice, but the end result was a deck that plays extremely similarly to any other HB deck.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Three problems raised in previous posts:

- Ideas vs time to check them.

I find it very true for my games. I have ideas for decks, but it first takes time to assemble deck and gather cards, then it takes time to actually play and tune them up. This is mostly the reason why I created this topic - to learn and understand more, so that the time spent playing utterly bad decks is limited to a minimum. A counterpoint for this would be the one mentioned above - pick up a strategy and don't leave it, instead fine-tune your deck over several plays. That would at least make the time invested worth it.

- Investigating net for "best deck" and playing with it.

This one I heavily disagree with. I get so much fun when building my own deck. I tend to stay away from deck lists of others, because that would totally spoil my journey and experience. Instead, I'm open for suggestions and general "trends", hints or math calculations to follow when building. But deck lists I loathe. When you check every damn posts here on BGG or CardGameDB, someone just pastes a deck, generally wanting a clear "good" or "bad" and rating. Instead, the thread unwinds into long chain of posts saying "I never do that", "I would swap this for this", "This is wrong", "I also do this", rendering such thread essentially useless, because people just compare the deck with their own. And, because it's just writing and not playing, opinions aren't that valuable there. Partially, because someone might "think" that the deck is bad/good, but it will turn out to be quite different when actually played.

- Amount of cards to deal with.

I'm on the fence with this one. I do like more cards coming. But! The very good part of Netrunner is guessing metagame during actual play. If you know the player's identity, you can produce educated guesses as to what he might have in deck. Obviously, influence changes this, so surprises will happen, but all in all, you can sometimes make some assumptions and deductions. This is very cool, because it raises the game on whole new level, not only reacting, but predicting and building those "different models" ad hoc. I wonder, how many cards is too many? If we get so much more, there's a limited number of cards average human person can remember and incorporate into his thinking while playing the game. If there will be too many of them, this part of the game will collapse and will get back to just guessing/finding out. It will be refreshing, but something will be lost and with more and more cards, it will be constantly harder and harder to keep up. This would change the game into M:tG, where there are so many cards, that you simply just react to what's on the table. But we have one M:tG already - do we need another one? I don't think I'm too happy about Creation and Control - I find it very weird, that it expands only two identities and not with couple of new cards but with an enormous amount. This asymmetry feel artificial to me and would prefer to stay with just data pack cycles.

But, in general, please, make more checklists coming.
 
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rattkin wrote:
- Investigating net for "best deck" and playing with it.

This one I heavily disagree with. I get so much fun when building my own deck. I tend to stay away from deck lists of others, because that would totally spoil my journey and experience. Instead, I'm open for suggestions and general "trends", hints or math calculations to follow when building. But deck lists I loathe. When you check every damn posts here on BGG or CardGameDB, someone just pastes a deck, generally wanting a clear "good" or "bad" and rating. Instead, the thread unwinds into long chain of posts saying "I never do that", "I would swap this for this", "This is wrong", "I also do this", rendering such thread essentially useless, because people just compare the deck with their own. And, because it's just writing and not playing, opinions aren't that valuable there. Partially, because someone might "think" that the deck is bad/good, but it will turn out to be quite different when actually played.


I don't really think this is fair. First, just saying "this looks good/bad" without context isn't really all that interesting. Second, if someone's coming and asking for a good/bad rating, that's just opinion too. Third, since so many decks are posted completely untested, and since much of the feedback comes from people based on decks they do play, there's actually probably more merit in the "this is wrong", "switch this for that", and ESPECIALLY "I also do this" than there was merit in the original deck list.

This goes back to what I said earlier, I think. If you're trying to shortcut the testing process by asking everyone on BGG what their opinion of a decklist is, then you're getting disheartened by:

Quote:
Partially, because someone might "think" that the deck is bad/good, but it will turn out to be quite different when actually played.


Who is the burden on to actually play the deck? I'd argue the first responsibility for that comes from the one posting it. That's not to say posting drawing-board sketches aren't allowed, but anyone posting one should expect to see more red marks on those than in final draft versions sent for sharing knowledge instead of getting conceptual sanity checks.
 
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Also, netdecking does not always work... like if the original user did not leave any hints on how to play the deck, or if the deck plays very differently from your natural playstyle, or if you could not adapt to different playstyles.
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lluluien wrote:
Edit: This is one reason no one should be ashamed of netdecking in this game, in my opinion. All of my Runner decks ever are just adaptations of concepts that someone else came up with.


"Netdecking" is straight-up finding a decklist on the web, and then copying it verbatim. I have no problem with doing that, but I try to use it as a starting point for a new deck. After playing it a few times, I'll try to see where the weaknesses are, and tweak it. Lately, I've been trying to force myself to be more creative, so I'll look at several similar decklists, and then take the best ideas and put them together into a new deck.

If netdecking helps you be a better player, then there's no reason not to do it. (I wouldn't take a deck copied verbatim off the web to a tournament, though. I don't think that it's technically against the rules, but there seems to be an implicit assumption that a deck you bring to a tournament is "your own".)
 
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lluluien wrote:
Most of the magic comes from just taking a concept you like and playing it to death, but that's the part people are so inclined to skip. That's understandable since the card releases are pretty frequent and there's always new things to be excited about. That doesn't stop it from being the most frequent contributor to poor deck design though.


This is my problem x1000. Here's my design process:

1) Get deck idea.
2) Spend a bunch of time on the web researching how to best build this deck.
3) Build deck.
4) Play deck 3 or 4 times, tweaking and optimizing it.
5) "Huh. Deck works better, but now I'm tired of it. Time to build a new deck!" Go to step 1.

And then I wonder why my decks always suck. :-P
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pirate_chef wrote:
lluluien wrote:
Edit: This is one reason no one should be ashamed of netdecking in this game, in my opinion. All of my Runner decks ever are just adaptations of concepts that someone else came up with.


"Netdecking" is straight-up finding a decklist on the web, and then copying it verbatim. I have no problem with doing that, but I try to use it as a starting point for a new deck. After playing it a few times, I'll try to see where the weaknesses are, and tweak it. Lately, I've been trying to force myself to be more creative, so I'll look at several similar decklists, and then take the best ideas and put them together into a new deck.

If netdecking helps you be a better player, then there's no reason not to do it. (I wouldn't take a deck copied verbatim off the web to a tournament, though. I don't think that it's technically against the rules, but there seems to be an implicit assumption that a deck you bring to a tournament is "your own".)


I agree; I didn't intend to mean "netdecking" as copying a deck card-for-card. I did intend this to mean using them as a starting point for developing your own. When you do this, you're gaining much of the testing benefit already invested in the deck by someone else, if you know the deck to be successful already.

I see that as the primary benefit of reading other players' deck lists, and given that none of us have 80 hours a day to spend on exploring all the nooks and crannies of the deck space, I don't think there's any problem at all w/ using that particular shortcut to start out making decks or to fill in holes in our own understanding of a faction.

For example, the only Jinteki decks I'm likely to ever get to work are ones made by Tuism, Hollis, or Lysander
 
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Alvin Simon
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Here's mine:

1. Netdeck
2. Playtest
3. Figure out which cards don't fit my playstyle
(I like my runners fast and furious, and my corps sneaky)
4. Tweak, tweak, and tweak some more
5. Winning deck is now crap
6. Go back to 1

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lluluien wrote:
I agree; I didn't intend to mean "netdecking" as copying a deck card-for-card. I did intend this to mean using them as a starting point for developing your own. When you do this, you're gaining much of the testing benefit already invested in the deck by someone else, if you know the deck to be successful already.

I see that as the primary benefit of reading other players' deck lists, and given that none of us have 80 hours a day to spend on exploring all the nooks and crannies of the deck space, I don't think there's any problem at all w/ using that particular shortcut to start out making decks or to fill in holes in our own understanding of a faction.

For example, the only Jinteki decks I'm likely to ever get to work are ones made by Tuism, Hollis, or Lysander


Completely agree here. Without your Never Advance thread my variant of it would not exist.

My deck went through 3 data pack releases starting with A Study in Static. It wasn't until Bernice Mai was released with Humanity's Shadow that I dumped Snare! and Edge of the World and began experimenting with ChiLo City Grid.

There were 13 major testing variations that lead up to my Regional tournament deck. That doesn't include the multitude of swap out this or that ICE to test a variation on a theme.

But is all started with lluluien's posted netdeck. Now mine will be one of those decks now that I have posted it. Hopefully someone else will find my deck a starting point for something even more grand.

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Surprisingly, nobody in this thread has mentioned my approach: I start with an idea that seems like it will be fun, and build from there. With the limited cardpool we have right now, a lot of these decks almost just build themselves. Once I have a draft, I'll do the usual thing of playtest and tweak, but for a lot of my creations, it's mostly just economy choices and minutae of breakers/ICE that isn't obvious include.

Some examples:
--Whizzard Resource denial into R&D big dig
--Replicating Perfection asset spam
--RepliKate
--Speculative Exile toolkit (recurring single-use programs: Faerie, Deus X etc)
--Jinteki: PE Midori tricks (Chum shenanigans, surprise Archers and Corp Troubleshooters)
--HB: Stronger Together super server (hey gotta try)
--Noise Data Leak Reversal mill
--Chaos Theory triple notoriety turn (these last few were more silly than they were competitive but still fun)

If you actually sit down and try to build literally *any* of the above decks. You'll easily get to ~35 cards worth of auto-includes before there's even any decisions to be made, and I've found I have about 50% hit rate of ending up with something competitive. Regardless, almost every deck I've made this way has ended up being a lot of fun to play, and I really enjoy this method of deck building!
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Made my first ever deck the other day. I hadn't looked online at anything, just read the page in the rule book and got on with it. I must mention that I received data packs 1-4 last Friday morning and had my deck ready to play in the evening against my girlfriend. She loves Haas Bioroid

I went with a deck I called Whizzard Trashman after 2 games I realised I had a couple of dead cards and not enough resources so that was an easy fix. Since then I've come as close as I've ever been to winning by forcing the corp to draw from empty R&D.

Unfortunately my local community is tiny and so I only get to play against one person regularly but we're having tonnes of fun.
 
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kops wrote:
Surprisingly, nobody in this thread has mentioned my approach: I start with an idea that seems like it will be fun, and build from there. With the limited cardpool we have right now, a lot of these decks almost just build themselves.


This is a superb advice. I've subconsciously went this route as well, even before posting this. Seems to me like the best way to experience A:NR. Take a look at all cards. Figure out all the gameplay "themes". Then, distinguish further subtleties. Build your deck around one-two of the subtleties and test it out.

What I've found out very quickly is that since you aim for very optimized deck, usually hitting identity minimum or the very next one for corps (49, mostly), you have to make your deck effective. It needs to do these one-two things extremely well in a synergized way. The subtleties allow you to look at some "meh" cards again and find out they apply just perfectly to your evil plan. More and more I see games, where just this one card splashed from another identity, changes everything.

Aparat from the advice above, this would be my most important thing to take away - *do not try to do a bit of everything*. You will suffer from draw problems and timing problems. Some cards you might not get. Some will come not when you want/need them. The reason people go to the bare minimum, is that only then, you will draw substantial cards you have to work with. Look at your decks when the game ends. How many draws do you do during the whole game? 10-20? If your deck has 55 cards, there's a good chance, you will never reach half of it. It's extremely crucial to remember this. You will never reach it! Sure, you can build your strategy around drawing cards or tutoring from remaining ones, but a) this is just another subtlety you can use, b) you will be out of tempo, if you draw too much, too often.
 
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rattkin wrote:
kops wrote:
Surprisingly, nobody in this thread has mentioned my approach: I start with an idea that seems like it will be fun, and build from there. With the limited cardpool we have right now, a lot of these decks almost just build themselves.


This is a superb advice. I've subconsciously went this route as well, even before posting this. Seems to me like the best way to experience A:NR. Take a look at all cards. Figure out all the gameplay "themes". Then, distinguish further subtleties. Build your deck around one-two of the subtleties and test it out.

What I've found out very quickly is that since you aim for very optimized deck, usually hitting identity minimum or the very next one for corps (49, mostly), you have to make your deck effective. It needs to do these one-two things extremely well in a synergized way. The subtleties allow you to look at some "meh" cards again and find out they apply just perfectly to your evil plan. More and more I see games, where just this one card splashed from another identity, changes everything.

Aparat from the advice above, this would be my most important thing to take away - *do not try to do a bit of everything*. You will suffer from draw problems and timing problems. Some cards you might not get. Some will come not when you want/need them. The reason people go to the bare minimum, is that only then, you will draw substantial cards you have to work with. Look at your decks when the game ends. How many draws do you do during the whole game? 10-20? If your deck has 55 cards, there's a good chance, you will never reach half of it. It's extremely crucial to remember this. You will never reach it! Sure, you can build your strategy around drawing cards or tutoring from remaining ones, but a) this is just another subtlety you can use, b) you will be out of tempo, if you draw too much, too often.


Yeah focus is important. The theming thing is how I always start - do i want to kill programs? Use tags? Fast advance? Kill ICE? Get Darwin indestructible? Etc. Ideas are fun. Then seeing if it works, to me, is the crux of the matter
 
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One thing I'd like to note is that if you find your deck always poor, it doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have enough economy cards or that your cards are too expensive, but it can also mean that you are simply using inefficient cards for your strategy. Some cards, instead of saving or giving you money, save you time, take you closer to victory, or slow down your opponent; for instance, take a look at Inside Job, Cortez Chip, Tinkering, SanSan City Grid, any deep dig cards (Medium, Nerve Agent, R&D/HQ Interface, The Maker's Eye), Foxfire, and Xanadu.

If you find your deck always poor, and if putting in more economy cards would take it too far away from the core strategy of the deck, try fixing the economy by some other means instead.
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The first and most important question you have to ask yourself is "how is this deck going to win games?" This should have a more detailed answer than "make runs" or "score agendas". Are you going to try to create a window of time where a remote of yours cannot be penetrated, and then spend 2 turns advancing an agenda, or are you going to biotic labour and score an agenda from hand? This question should inform every card you decide to include in your deck. Sometimes these decisions are obvious; if you are building a flatine/tag and bag deck, then you probably don't want SanSan City Grid; if you are going straight fast advance and can pretty much only win via agendas, then aggressive secretary is going to be better than project junebug, assuming you want to play an ambush (though if the runner picks up on the fact that you are scoring all your agendas from hand, a double-advanced card will look very fishy). Other times it is more subtle. For example, I've recently been testing a Kate deck that brute forces huge R&D runs with RD Interface and Makers Eye via femme fatale and crypsis. Obviously, corps will respond to this by devoting a lot of their ice and money on R&D. If I had a card that really punished leaving a relatively exposed HQ, then it would give me a huge advantage in a lot of my games, so I made room to splash 2 account siphons. If I chose HQ Interface, then I would need to make too many runs on HQ to get value out of it that I wouldn't be focusing, and thus not getting value out of my RDIs. Siphon punishes an under-defended HQ all in one go, and does so in a way that hurts their ability to defend R&D.

With this in mind, try rephrasing some of the questions you were asking. Thinking "how many economy cards should I run?" is a good first step, but the better question is "what kind of economy cards do I want?" Kati Jones gives you a lot of money in a very restrictive fashion. Bank Job gives you a huge one-time payoff, but only if you can expect an exposed remote to run on. Liberated Account and Armitage Codebusting are both very similar, with the first one being slightly more efficient but having a higher initial cost. If you are going to dedicate an entire turn to just playing and pulling credits off one, you'd rather have Lib Account, but if you want to just play a card so you dont have to discard the cards your wyldside is drawing you, and want to eventually sacrifice the card to an aesop's pawnshop, you'll probably prefer codebusting. To go back to my example regarding how you plan to score agendas, if you are going to spend 2 turns to score something like a priority requisition, for example, then you want ICE that can stop a runner cold unless they have the specific answer; something like a tollbooth, for example. If, however, you want to score cards from hand, then you really just need to make running prohibitively expensive on key servers, most likely R&D; an Eli that would have been useless for defending that Priority Requisition with 2 advancement counters on it really shines here.
 
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Chris Rodriguez
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rattkin wrote:
How to build a good deck in Android: Netrunner?

Common mistakes:
- Not enough economy cards. If you don't have credits, most often you will struggle. This varies between corp and runner, but in general, you need credits and usually you need them in early game.
- Too many expensive cards. Again, this is questionable for corp, as the sheer amount and presence of unrezzed ice can play a game of its own.


You don't necessarily need a lot of economy "cards," you just need to manage your money well. I once ran a full Jinteki (alt., no influence) deck with only three Hedge Funds and a melange. Won a lot of games simply because I knew when to spend and when not to spend. Same goes for the runner, especially one like Gabriel where his entire strategy is to RUN RUN RUN for his economy.


- Not enough ice/icebreaker. When playing "in the middle", you probably want to balance your ice and icebreakers, so that you can defend yourself as corp and attempt an attack as runner. Note, however, that your strategy might be deliberately based on running without icebreakers or not shielding yourself with ice.

Again, not necessarily. Lets take the opposite example above and make a Weyland deck. You don't need three levels of ICE protecting a server at any given time. With enough strength on advanced ice you may only ever need one or two ice on a server.

- Too many cards in deck. It seems that general consensus is to stay as close to identity minimum as possible. More cards will affect your draw hand and tempo.

For runners the minimum is 45 simply for speed and corps are 49 for speed and draw chance of an agenda being lowered. Even then, the player can modify this to their choosing if they feel the draw chance of certain necessary cards are too low.


- Too much of one thing / redundancy. Optimize. Some cards will do more or less the same thing. Unless you go for extreme (i.e. uber net dmg), switch to something else.

Redundancy is always good, especially now when the runners have Replicator out as well. Redundancy allows you to increase your draw chance of a card you need, and if you find that later you don't need it and it's in your hand still, so what? Now it just adds to your life total if there ever comes a time, as a runner, you are dealt direct damage. Knowing how to play and handle junk cards is essential in Netrunner.

- It's hard to win with a "a little of everything" deck. This is a good approach, when assuming that your opponent will remain passive. It's highly unlikely . You will also get draw issues - cards that would be otherwise good will come and go in wrong moment of the game.

This goes counter with what you said about redundancy. Too little of certain cards and you fall into a rut, too much and you're unoptimized. Now you have a goldilocks situation but have draw issues. Like I've stated before, none of these are necessarily the case.


The great thing about A:NR is that it is highly flexible in every aspect of the game. The meta of the game is so widely varied that anyone can win a game with absolutely "terrible" decks simply out of wits alone. It's not restricted to players having to look for the best combo in cards, nor even looking for hardcore economy cards or anything of the like. Hell, if you played it right Burke Bugs is extremely OP. In fact, I'd go as far to say that every card in A:NR is OP, you just need to play it well.

A:NR is, in my opinion, entirely a mind game. Getting into your opponent's head is just as important as any other aspect in the game, if not more so. Once you figure out the technicalities of the game, the last thing the player needs to know is how exactly he plays the game in general rather than with a specific identity. Are you largely hoarding credits? Are you not running to servers because you're scared of trap ice? Are you running TOO MUCH and finding yourself without an economy and your programs just got all trashed? These largely play into the psychological aspects of play, moreso than games like MtG where, although still present, you largely just need to know how your deck specifically works and know the combos of your opponents based on their colors, making the actual game mechanics all about turn order (which is completely rigid).

Quote:
Quite often a deck that looks superb on paper, will just play awfully. Sometimes you just have to take it for a ride and see how it goes.


That's honestly the golden advice for this game. Just run with a faction you think you like, play a few games and decide. The variety in all the factions is spread far enough that specific combos aren't the end-all-be-all of any deck.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Thanks for your insight. I agree with everything - my initial list was probably a little bit oversimplified. Deck isn't everything and you need to learn how to play it in order to achieve it's "purpose". I've played with "math" people and they're spending ungodly amount of time building their deck, yet, they're still doing silly mistakes during the actual play.

As for economy, for instance, I play my own flavor of NBN fast advance and most of my economy comes from not obvious places: bumping into ice, assets, recurring creds targeted for certain actions only.

I also agree that it's all about mind game. I know that there's a significant part of the community who thinks otherwise, more of a soulless poker way - "just calculate the odds and go", without saying a word out of the game. I despise playing this on OCTGN (barring the abysmal interface and glitches), just because I cannot see my opponent and cannot perform all those small confusing moves - shuffling, reading cards, looking at certain places of the table, mumbling something while browsing my cards, asking unexpected questions, face expressions etc. It's the game of the yet-unsettled-state-that-zomg-might-happen-very-soon, a game of virtual possibilities that might lure you into thinking in a certain way, and hence influence your game decisions. It's not uncommon to have double or tripple bluff or further confusing opponent by not advancing, hoarding credits or doing "weird moves".

I'm sometimes winning games in most bizarre ways that are rarely tied to the deck itself, i.e. I'm pretending that I'm uncontrollably whispering parts of names of the cards while picking them up and checking (as corp). The look on the face of runner being completely convinced that he's going for agenda... worth every penny. As a runner, I like to jack out between ice and scan opponent for reaction. Yes, these are wacky plays that might not work against very experienced player, but I adore the game for at least allowing me to effectively incorporate them in one way or another.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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When I think of Android: Netrunner, I always return to this scene:



That's the core of this game for me - and it's worth remembering when you're building your deck. Human psyche is just so hard to grasp.
 
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