Netrunner: Change has come, and it’s good

There was a shift in the meta….did you feel it?

So, the new rulings, FAQ and what-not came out from FFG today and boy were they delicious. I have quite a few things to say about them and I figured that instead of making posts all over the place and just ranting about this and that, maybe I can just make a more constructed version of my thoughts and pull it out as an article so that y’all can read it and rejoice in the glory of what my mind races for every time it sees changes.

So let’s take everything one by one, shall we?


New Points System

So basically, it goes as follows now:

  • You win, you get 3 points.
  • You get a modified win, you get 2 points.
  • You get a draw, you get 1 point.
  • You lose, you get 0.

I personally believe this is a pretty good change, since it will allow for less ties and it will also encourage people to actually win a game instead of trying to draw in order to get the same amount of points for both sides of the table. At the same time, people who utilize the time left in order to get a modified win for themselves (otherwise known as scumbags-who-you-should-punch-in-the-face) are also going to have a great time since they have yet another reason to do what they have been doing. I’ve only noticed a few myself in competitive Android: Netrunner so I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

In my honest opinion, it’s less tiebreakers used in the end of the day, so that makes me happy both as an organizer as well as a player.


Astroscript Pilot Program – Limit 1 per deck

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OH MEIN GOTT. Are you kidding me? This may be the biggest change that has ever happened to NR. If you thought the first MWL shook things up a lil’ bit, then you were very mistaken. With Astro being one per deck now, not only are lucky topdecks gone but also a lot of “I play to win” players will not know what to do and won’t make top positions. I am sorry my friends all around the world, but if you are one of those people that rely on having an Astro in the top 10 cards of your deck in a game, then you are entirely royally fucked.

I rejoice in the tears of my NBN enemies and I rejoice even more in the fact that we will actually start playing Netrunner now. It will be a game of “what the heck kind of ICE is hiding there, waiting to destroy every part of my existence?” rather than a game of “oh hey, you have another 2/3? Great, gg…”

To be fair though, the GOOD NBN players, who are only a few around the world, will actually still find ways to make the corporation shine. NBN is still an amazing corporation and you should not take it lightly as it can pack all kinds of things to tag you and bag you in no time. It might not have the luxury of pulling agendas that auto-win the game, but they still pack a bunch of tricksies that can catch you off-guard. Punitive is now a thing, Midseason Replacements has always been a thing and tagging and bagging is going to be back on the table now that people are afraid and all dazed and confused.

This is always the case as my good friend Dave “Cerberus” from the UK said in a chat we had an hour or so ago. “People tend to switch to kill when they are unsure about the meta.” Couldn’t have said that better myself.

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People will be very much afraid and will look for the next “easy” go-to option for winning the game without too much effort. That includes scorch, punitive and all other kinds of kill decks. Might even see a bunch of Personal Evolution now with a bunch of self-proclaimed Jinteki experts again (it was so funny last time that happened and all of those flopped in big tournaments).

Nonetheless, I am very happy about this change, since now I can finally enjoy seeing an interesting deck against me in the top cuts instead of having to cringe every time yellow hits the table. Yellow has been one of the reasons why I dropped to 2nd and 3rd place in many big competitive events. As good as you may play sometimes, if they have the right cards in those decks, they can win easy-mode.


Breaking News in MWL

I am not really sure how I should feel about this. I mean, it’s great that they are removing so many great cards that powered every engine that every NBN ever made had, but at the same time, breaking all the good agendas of a corporation seems a bit too harsh. At the same time, it’s not like it was limited to 1 per deck like Astro, so it can still see play. Noone was daunted when Astro was put in the MWL and everyone still played x3 of it.

So at least now, we can see less fast NBNs as a whole. In combination with the Astro limit, we can definitely see that FFG really wants to cut down the “it plays itself” kind of decks and allow people to experience Netrunner before losing to some weirdly-fast combo on the 2nd or 3rd turn of the game.

I am actually happy about this. Not just because I hate yellow, but because I feel that the current people involved with balancing the game are actually thinking in the right ways.


Faust, D4V1D and Wyldside on MWL

I said what what, in the butt? You wanna do it in the butt? ALRIGHT. That’s what anarchs did at least, since one of their biggest game engines was shut down.

Well, to be fair, I never really had an issue with Faust and if anything, I have actually said before that I like it when I see the Runner throwing away cards to break subroutines. However, the fact that they are drawing these cards SUPER fast with Wyldside was never nice and even though their deck went out fast, they were a bit out of control. Whatever I included in my deck in order to tackle those problems, it flopped. So I just decided to go with the flow and play my own game, trying to beat that before it gets too much speed. Low agenda density and high strength – low cost ICE were the answers to it.

So, even though I already had an answer to those things, they got nerfed even more and that makes me even more happy, because that basically means, “more easy wins for me”. I would not get cocky with these either though, since even when Clone Chip got MWL’ed we still saw it in play a lot. But definitely a lot less than we saw it before.

D4V1D, I honestly couldn’t care less and if you know anything about how I deckbuild, you would know why.


Mumba Temple on MWL and Museum on being unique

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Yes, yes, yes. As Team Covenant said, the Museum decks kinda ruined the fun of Netrunner. It was no longer about playing the game of information but rather the game of “you can play but you will eventually die”.

I am very happy this happened. As excited as I may have been for the Museum card when it came out, it was very broken in certain decks and I am very glad that this was addressed very fast. The deck can still work up to a certain point since it can still run 3 of everything (including its Weyland tutor for the alliance cards) but at the same time, we will most definitely see less of it now that the meta has shifted to slower decks. Seeing as how people will have to change to glacier and kill decks, runners will also have to adapt by playing more “big rig” stuff and protection cards. You might not have x2 or x3 rezzed Museums, but it is still a big deal to have in your deck.

Mumba Temple will most definitely still be played though because it is just a very good economy card and Whizzard won’t be a dominant ID anymore since his Wyldside and Faust engine has been poked.


How I am affected personally

In no way honestly. I am still going to play the decks I have been playing. If they did well before the MWL, they will do even better now. That was my prediction last time when the 1st MWL hit the table and I was 100% right. So hopefully I can do some good stuff this time. I am very confident about attending a bunch of nationals now and maybe even Worlds if I do well at National events. I may sound very cocky saying it, but it will take a while before all those NBN players adjust to the new meta, just like we’ve seen before with the previous changes. I wouldn’t get too cocky though because there are other good players out there, who can just pick up an HB and still steamroll through competition while no problemo.


Conclusion

There are still amazing players out there who did not just know how to pilot NBN well, so the competition might even be fiercer at the top cuts. I mean, since there won’t be all those lucky top-deckers making it to the top tables, there will only be the best of the best at the top who are actually there because they play well and not because Astro was at the top 10 cards of their deck.

I am very excited for this new season of Netrunner as it is very different than any we have experienced before and I plan on making a lot of changes to my decks as time goes by to tackle every little problem that might appear because of said changes.

My predictions are:

  • Criminals will be on the rise, especially Andromeda with her fast start and Rebirth. That is until she dies due to cycle rotation though. Setting up a good rig and making lots of money with all the good economy cards that Criminals have (and are getting) will just be the key to most games.
  • Kill decks will be all over the place. People need a fast way out again. You can’t go from playing 10 minute NBN games to playing 35 minute Palana games. And if anything, there are runners that know how to tackle glacier and upgrade-oriented decks.
  • Glacier might be a thing now. Not sure about it, but I am expecting even more GFI decks now, especially now that Punitive Counterstrike works with it.
  • Anarch is dead. Too many cards in the MWL. Yellow is not, it can still work. I mean, SYNC can still be amazing with x3 Beale, x1 Astro, a bunch of quantums and GFIs and then tag’n’bag plans. Many corps would kill for even that kind of agenda suite.

Thanks for reading and let me know what YOUR thoughts are on this. Yay or nay for the new changes?

UPDATE: New Pack Stuff

The new Escalation data pack was shown just now and you can check it out HERE.

So let’s take things one by one:

New Anarch ID: That Omar guy has a Sneakdoor Beta program in his ID ability (as Krystian Majewski of Teamwork Cast very nicely said). It may only be once per turn, but it also works with R&D. This allows for a new “Noise” kind of player in the meta since the Corporations will be forced to protect all 3 central servers more than ever before. This is a good shift, since it was about time Anarchs get another good identity that does not work as a silver bullet, like Whizzard for asset-spam decks. I am quite excited for it and cannot wait to see what the good Anarch deckbuilders are going to prepare with it.

The new Anarch console: Not only does the new guy access cards from whatever central server he wants, he can also pack a bunch of cards in the process. Nerve Agent and Medium will be big again with this and so will Cyberdex Virus Suite. I mean, how can you not play against viruses that allow for multi-access when you know stuff like that are coming. I am actually not going to edit out what I said before, which was “Anarch is dead” just to show you, as proof, that the people that are making new stuff at FFG right now, know their shit so well that they are constantly fluctuating the status and the meta of the game in awesome ways.

The new Weyland Cards: Boom! is literally what Weyland players have been asking for, for ages now. You can now build decks entirely made to kill. In combination with the Door to Door current, Weyland is back on the table when it comes to posing a huge threat for runners. Maybe Sports Hopper x3 isn’t good enough. Maybe we need to pack both Plascretes and Hoppers now!

Note that Boom! is trashable. So no need for x10 Imps to be safe.

The new Jinteki Cards: Oh my god, I might just go back to my PE tricks yet again. This new ID, allows you to mill back your opponent. Not only do you cut him once every time you do net damage, you also cut his stack once. Which not only does it kill cards that the runner has not seen yet (so they might be super important) but it also slows down so many decks that aren’t prepared to take the net damage. I feel like this ID might see a lot of play and for that reason we might have to start thinking of playing Shaper (which is getting a bunch of cool cards anyway, like that awesome resource that allows you to get a credit, a card and a click depending on how much money the corp has).

The new 0/2 Agenda for Jinteki ain’t great. Even though it is the time of glaciers and kill decks again, I feel as if it is not going to see much play. Surely you can drag a runner through a server with a bunch of hurtful ICE just to let him score a 0-points agenda, but at the same time, it is time and money that you are spending on things that just might work later. Enhancing your late-game even through agendas is a bit too much in my honest opinion. I have played enough Personal Evolution to know how fast it needs to be and how slowed down it can become by various runner decks.

The new Code Gate ICE though. Damn son. I have always loved code gates when it comes to ICE, but this just tops everything. It has enough subroutines, perfect strength value and it literally cripples the unprepared Runner on both cards and money. I love it. It is going x1/x2 in my Jinteki decks for sure.


-Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis