The latest Netrunner big box expansion has finally arrived, and I’m signed up to a tournament in less then two weeks. Which means I need need new decks! In this very short series of features I’ll reveal which exciting new IDs I’ve plumped for, what sexy new cards I’ll be running, and how wrong it invariably goes after playtesting against other human beings.
Android: Netrunner is so worth your time. I cannot stress this enough. Never mind just collectible card games, or even board games in general – Netrunner is one of the best things two people can get down to together in a room outside of, well, you know. Chess! No, not chess, the other thing.
If you’re not familiar with it, Netrunner sees one player take on the role of a near-future corporation trying to push through their (frequently shady) plans, while the other plays a computer hacker looking to bust their way into the company servers to steal these agendas. It’s a beautifully balanced game despite this asymmetry and the ever-increasing card pool, which publisher Fantasy Flight Games continues to do a mind-bending job of increasing without breaking the game or leaving older cards defunct. There’s a ton of great guides to the game out there on the internet, but this superb introduction by Quinns from the venerable Shut Up and Sit Down will have you shoving a copy into your Amazon basket in no time.
There’s plenty of mileage to be had out of cards from the very first ‘Core’ set, which still form the backbone of even the most recent decks despite hundreds of new cards with exciting ablities turning up since. Usually these come every few weeks in the form of small ‘data packs’, each with three copies of 20 new cards. But every so often Fantasy Flight throws out a bigger box dedicated to just two of the game’s existing factions – one runner, one corp – which have the entire community champing at the bit to throw together fresh decks with the weird new options on offer. And that’s happening right now!
After what seems like years of interminable waiting while Fantasy Flight ferried my copy of Order & Chaos across the Atlantic, I finally got to rip the clingfilm off earlier this week and look at all the lovely new toys inside. Additionally, I’d already signed up to the aforementioned Quinns’ Order & Chaos tournament on February 21st, and it would be remiss not to break out a new Anarch and Weyland deck to take along. Which means I had just under two weeks to get my new decks in shape and avoid being torn to pieces by better players on the day.
Disclaimer: I’m assuming some familiarity with the rules of Netrunner from this point on, so if you don’t know a click from a credit, or think ‘bad pub’ refers only to Wetherspoons, then… buy the game! It’s truly stunning.
Right then, let’s kick off with Anarch! I’ve played some Noise Mill in the past and dabbled with a Reina Denial deck, and had a blast doing so. Having said that, I hoped O&C would offer the chance to play in some completely different ways, and so was immediately drawn to the ability of The Angel of Cayambe, Valencia Estevez, one of three new IDs in the box.
There are plenty of runner IDs which do annoying things to the corp, but Valencia is the first to throw sand in its face before a card has even been draw by foisting a bad pub on it from the off. I love it. Up until now the only card I’ve owned to directly benefit from the corp taking bad pub is Raymond Flint (I don’t own all the data packs FYI), but this ability coupled with some other new tools in O&C got me thinking it would be a fun basis for a deck. They are:
Valencia’s ability switches on Investigative Journalism straight away, and although I’m less keen on giving up a whole turn to use its power I’m interested to see how it’ll stack up in play. I’m a journo by trade so the idea of a relentless campaign of dirt-digging on the corp really appeals to me – I feel like I’m getting them back for all those tag and bag deaths I’ve suffered in the past. Boosting the corp’s bad pub also shines in combination with fellow newbie Itinerant Protestors, pulling down their hand size to almost nothing if I can lay down enough Investigate Journalism. Take that!
The other cards which made my jaw go slack when I saw them are the gloriously named and illustrated Eater and the event suite of Knifed, Forked and Spooned – the Silverware Set as parts of the internet have excellently begun to call it.
Eater is a super-efficient breaker which prevents you accessing cards, but who cares when you can use the Silverware to chomp your way through the ice and send it to the bin? These beauties are definitely going in.
So here’s my first decklist – it’s a bit of a mess as I just threw in the cards I wanted to play to see them in action, but a spot of playtesting should help me see what works and what doesn’t.
Wanton Destruction and Showing Off both look fun, although I’m not convinced there’s room for them in this deck (it’s 61 cards, so already far too big). I threw in O&C’s Gravedigger as well as it’s got some synergy with eater forcing ICE to be trashed, but I’ll need to be convinced it’s worth the memory and card slot. I threw in the classic anarch breaker suite to back up Eater, some Parasites and Datasuckers to help with ICE destruction and a Medium to pressure R&D (which also works well with Showing Off’s ability to access the bottom of the corp deck).Cyberfeeders to help run the breakers and install the virus programs, Mem Chips to make room for them on the board, and Deja Vus to recur the Parasites (and maybe the Silverware or Investigative Journalism – imagine that!)
I’ve banged in the aforementioned Raymond Flint to benefit from the bad pub I’ll be throwing down, the Public Terminals as it turns out I’ve got a million run events, Demo Run because it’s fun and a single Siphon and Legwork as they’re great and I had the influence. I’ll probably end up including more of both, but nice to test out some new cards without them I reckon. I know, I know! This deck is too big and a bit janky, but it’ll get a damn good refining over the next week or so. Let me know what you think in the comments if you like – keen to hear whether you’ve tested out any of the cards I’ve picked and how they played.
Click here for Part Two, in which I reveal the new Weyland ID and cards that caught my eye and how I crammed them all together in a deck.