Seven Deadly Sins of Netrunner

The Seven Deadly Netrunner Sins

29/01/13

Dave 'Chimpster' Paterson

 

We've all been there, we've all done it. Anyone who has played the game a fair amount has been scorched, walked into a snare on 2 cards, forgot to trash a fully loaded Kati Jones when the runner is tagged or had to leave a Fetal AI on the top of R&D because you didn't have 2 credits. These errors often stem from a greater problem and give a perfect excuse to seemingly continue my religious theme of article (not sure how much longer I'll be able to keep this up!). Luckily these deadly seven sins are easily repented of!

 

Which is your greatest sin?

Pride

 

Ably demonstrated by Mr Kanye West casually wielding a golden crucifix in the buff (if that's not the perfect example of pride in a visual form, I don't know what is).

In Netrunner, pride can take many shapes. One of the most notable is underestimation. Netrunner is frequently a game of surprises; an unusual deck can wreak havoc in a meta filled with standard Andy and NBN FA. If you underestimate your opponent and let your guard down, you can find yourself in a world of trouble. I find that one of the key iterations of this attitude is heavy corp bluffing.

Please don't misunderstand this section, Netrunner is a game where a successful bluff can play dividends, but at high level competitive play, you should be mitigating your risk, not inviting it for fun. Yes you can install, advance x2 a Junebug or Aggressive Secretary and hope the runner runs on it but the reality of the situation is that you just paid 2 credits and 3 clicks setting a trap that has left you 5 credits worse off if you had clicked for money instead. In order to force a successful trap through, you need to apply consistent pressure as a corp, scoring early agendas and by locking down more appealing central server targets. Don't presume that your opponent will run on your remotes when they have no compelling reason too (or a means to mitigate the worst case scenario)!

 

Sloth

 

(Where do I sign up for a pair of those glasses, seriously).

 

Sloth is a really common Netrunner problem also known as not being aggressive enough. This is a problem that befalls many of us in our early Netrunner days before we realise just how important pressure is. Sloth is a problem that affects both corp and runner equally where either side suddenly forgets that the point of the game is to steal agenda points rather than prepare for every single possible eventuality on every single run. Preparing for the worst case scenario is important still (which we'll cover in wrath, my personal Netrunner sin) but not at the expense of not pressing an advantage.

 

I hope that the players in the next game will forgive me for being cruel enough to use their tournament match as an example of this, but it demonstrates how both runner and corp can fail to press home a powerful advantage (excuse the terrible video quality, you'll notice that my new videos are 10 times better thanks to my new recording setup):

 

 

Sometimes it's easy to fail to recognise an advantage when one is presented to you. R&D in this example was wide open for a cheap run price for a significant portion of the game. If the runner had ran aggressively on a lightly defended HQ and R&D locked when possible, suddenly the whole game becomes a different prospect. Equally, the corp has golden opportunities to score out agendas when the runners rig is trashed. With a Jackson Howard on the board, they had the chance to draw aggressively, find their agendas and score them quickly and efficiently. If they had scored an early agenda or two, this would have undoubtedly won them the game. Focusing too much on economy (see Greed) without a good reason too is often a dangerously slothful practice.

 

My advice to anyone who has problems with playing aggressively is to play a tried and true aggro Gabe deck or a fast advance NBN. Something that will force you to get used to scoring/stealing early agendas while also balancing out the need to keep a steady stream of credits coming into the coffers.

Greed

 

Economy is a hugely important resource in Netrunner, but not as important as the resource of time. I don't mean that in the specific sense of credits vs clicks but rather that you can have all the money in the world but if your opponent is on 6 agenda points, you're in a whole heap of trouble still.

 

Often, you won't need stacks of money to win in Netrunner. Runners and corps alike will frequently be guilty of hoarding their credits when their goal should be breaking through servers at the lowest possible cost or defending your servers at the best possible cost to benefit ratio. For instance, there's a reason why most successful corp decks at the moment play with a significant proportion of cheap, ETR ICE. It's because it's cheap, and it ends the run (facetious alert). A corp cannot lock a server down forever; any runner worth their salt is going to have a solution available for almost every likely instance. What they can do is force the runner to spend valuable time and credits getting icebreaker cards out into play while better solidifying their own position. This is why big ICE decks are inherently problematic. It has cost the corp a lot of money and therefore time to rez that Janus or Curtain Wall which will likely be punished with cards like Femme and Emergency Shutdown.

Runners also should build their decks around efficient breakers. Some breakers look incredibly cost effective on paper, but the tempo hit that ensues from getting the capital together to play said breaker may add further time based costs.

 

Don't just save money for a rainy day, use it while the sun shines and capitalise on any and all weakness.

 

There is one important exception to this rule, when playing (or playing against) a tag and bag deck, greed is good. Try and stay in a stronger economic position so you can keep yourself safe as runner or find the means to tag as corp. Economy suddenly becomes the whole song and dance in this instance.

 

 

Wrath

 

At this point, I feel it only fair to make this section my own personal confession.

 

Hi, my name is David and I have wrath problems in Netrunner.

 

Not flipping the table over and cursing at anyone in ear shot kind of problems but rather the problem of being overly aggressive in positions of relative strength and in so doing, impaling myself upon my own sword.

 

I even have a perfect example of my own shortcomings in all its technicolour glory. Behold!

 

Yep, running last click with 2 cards in hand, against a Weyland deck I know full well has snares (though quite clearly forgot). KHHHHHAAAAAANNNNNN!!!

 

What's worse is that you can see how strong my position is. I have 2 Plascretes out, a corroder, a R&D interface and a Knight hosted. My economy is solid and though I'm slightly behind on agenda points, I'm in great shape for the end game. But no, because a cloud of red mist descends over my eyes, I hurl myself at any opportunity to score agenda points when waiting patiently would have probably yielded the win. You don't even want to see how badly I play against Jinteki.

 

Always be aware of Snares. Try and always be prepared for Archers. If you don't need to run a remote, it's probably best you don't. Don't run 4th click. Always try and keep 4 cards in hand. Don't get rage.

 

Don't be like me folks. Be good.

 

Envy

 

Netrunner is not a game of luck. There are of course elements of luck, but a significant proportion of it can be offset by good deck design. If you find yourself envious of an opponent’s luck, it may be that you just need to design your deck to better reduce problematic starts.

 

First and foremost, if you find yourself struggling against early game aggression, you need to pack more early game ETR ICE. This seems obvious yet many of the decks I go up against seem to overlook this simple fact before then crying when they see Andy or Gabe on the other side of the table (you know, the incredibly popular runners). It should also be clear that 3pt agendas are a significant risk in almost any deck. There are ways to mitigate the risk, but ultimately, you have to be supremely confident in your ability to lock down R&D against random accesses.

If you can't ever seem to find the right breakers at the right time, you need tutors or decent card draw my friend. There are Magic the Gathering players who would give their right testicle for comparable card draw or tutoring cards that are available in Netrunner. Why? Because it provides more options in any given game while also bringing out key threats. Special Order may not be a very sexy card, but it will be the difference between winning and losing in many games. Infiltration may be a tough card to find room for, but you'll thank your past self when you're playing a late game remote server on match point.

 

Netrunner is a game of options and if you're not building your deck around speed and efficiency, you're probably going to be a little bit envious of your opponents 'luck.'

 

 

Gluttony

 

Gluttony is often interpreted as being at its core; selfishness. Again I'm going to presume that if you're reading this article, you probably have a fondness for the game. You could be a fiercely competitive soul; you could enjoy a casual game every now and again. Either way, it seems to me that consideration for others is supremely important if we want to grow the player base for the game. Being considerate towards new players is important, even in competitive situations. This doesn't mean you have to play badly, but rather be patient and forgiving. If they haven't revealed additional information, let them take a move back. Remind them about Daily Cast money or Datasucker counters. Try not to heckle them to play faster, be patient and forbearing!

 

In other words, don't be a selfish, miserable git and try and have fun (and don't eat all the pies)!

Lust

 

Eyes on your cards Mr! (incidentally, the caption for the picture was 'is it fair for women players to show cleveage while playing.' Discuss!)

 

Also, strip Netrunner is never acceptable.

 

Ok, may have struggled for lust...

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