Hello and welcome to the Sneakdoor Meta Snapshot for August 2015! These ratings are based on results from the Stimhack and NetrunnerDB Tournament Winning Decklists pages, as well as community discussion. For explanations of various deck archetypes listed here, check out The Big List of Decks.
Since there were a number of large tournaments this month, including several Nationals, these results don’t take Old Hollywood’s impact on the meta into account as there’s not enough data.
Due to the nature of Netrunner, tiers aren’t set in stone and player skill is usually the main factor. Tier 1 and 2 often have blurred boundaries depending on the pilot. That said:
Tier 1: The most highly optimised, efficient and consistent decks around. It’s very easy for them to find an oppressively powerful line of play. They will tend to have a clearly defined game plan that can be achieved very consistently, even with less experience piloting the deck. These decks consistently win or place highly in tournaments.
Tier 2: Efficient and powerful, but slightly less consistent than Tier 1 and easier to tech against. They may be more reliant on player skill and familiarity, or not quite as strong in the current meta. Still very competitive, can and will take games off Tier 1 decks.
Tier 3: May be either meta-dependent, difficult to pick up and play or simply much less consistent. These decks can perform very well in the right circumstances, but right now are either missing cards to push them over the edge or just don’t quite stack up against the current best decks. Tier 3 doesn’t mean bad – they’re just not necessarily as universally strong as Tier 1.
NEH continues to hold its position at the top, with several high-profile tournaments being taken down by Astrobiotics. Interestingly, despite the larger numbers of Butchershop builds in Top 8s and 16s, Astrobiotics tends to come out on top. This implies Butchershop carves up Swiss, but is slightly weaker against high level opponents in elimination rounds. Remember when Clot killed Fast Advance and made NBN uncompetitive? Yeah. HB rush builds also performed well, largely due to their fairly strong Kate and Noise matchups and ability to play Never Advance in a taxing remote with Adonis and Eve Campaigns. HB’s strength at the moment seems to be consistency. It lacks the ability to have completely overpowering draws like you’d see in RP or NEH, but can consistently set up a taxing remote, generate absurd amounts of cash and grind out a win.
Jinteki PE and Argus rise to Tier 2 this month as a result of the metagame cycling. PE initially all but disappeared due to the prevalence of Deus Ex, Feedback Filter, Keyhole and I’ve Had Worse. However, since PE dropped off the map many runner decks have removed these tools – leading to a resurgence of the archetype. Another factor is the rise of Faust Noise, which often does not feature I’ve Had Worse. We also saw a resurgence of Weyland Scorch decks, primarily in Blue Sun but also out of Titan and even GRNDL.
Cerebral Imaging Shutdown decks get a nod due to winning some GNKs, but their Noise matchup is bad enough that this probably can’t go above Tier 3 at best in the current metagame. It’s worth noting that all results put up were by extremely strong players.
The obvious new hotness this month is the meteoric rise of Faust Noise, which was by far the most popular deck around. Along with Prepaid Kate, it thoroughly dominated the tournament scene. Faust provides impressive flexibility and fundamentally changes the nature of taxing servers in combination with Wyldside, Parasite and D4v1d. Much like Astrobiotics and Butchershop though, we do tend to see Prepaid topping slightly more tournaments than Noise despite the punk rocker’s greater presence. Consistency counts.
The other interesting point is that I find it very difficult to put a Criminal deck into Tier 1 these days. Corps are simply more economically resilient and able to play around Siphon and run-based economy, the pillars of Criminal running. Another factor is the popularity of destroyers and Power Shutdown (due to Net Ready Eyes). Since these kinds of decks are designed to hurt Shaper and Anarch levels of tutoring and recursion, Crims simply can’t hold up.
Aggressive decks in general are in a bad place in the current metagame, including Eater MaxX and the various aggro Crim decks. Anarchs and Shapers, in contrast, are just plain strong due to an ability to set up quickly (usually) and have an unstoppable late game. This is reflected in the number of “good stuff” Anarch builds floating around which work in any of several IDs.
Old Hollywood speculation
The big meta shifter this month is undoubtedly Film Critic, having a theoretically massive impact on RP and Butchershop/Midseasons matchups. It remains to be seen whether it can knock these decks out of the top ranks as deckslots are tight. As well as this, Clot was hyped up as completely destroying fast advance not so long ago and look how that turned out. Haarpsichord may yet turn out to be a major player, but both Film Critic and Imp have a significant impact on its ability and both are either widely played or likely to be.
NBN PRESENTS THE OLD HOLLYWOOD AWARDS
THE “LEELA PATEL” AWARD FOR MOST UNDERRATED CARD GOES TO: Faust! Who could have seen this coming.
THE “FOUNDRY” AWARD FOR BEING PRETTY AWESOME BUT PROBABLY NOT QUITE AS GOOD AS THAT OTHER ID, YOU KNOW THE ONE, GOES TO: Haarpsichord Studios! Because 17 influence and ridiculous consistency is a Big Deal.
THE “OAKTOWN RENOVATION” AWARD FOR A NEW AGENDA THAT’S ACTUALLY SITUATIONALLY BETTER THAN NAPD GOES TO: Exploooooode-a-paloooooooza! Because an unavoidable 5 credit swing in Butchershop is great. Yes, Film Critic, I know.
THE “RUNNING IS FOR LOSERS BUT LOOK AT ALL MY STUFF, YOU GUYS” AWARD GOES TO: Anything involving Paparazzi, Data Leak Reversal and Hyperdriver.