Toolboxes and reactivity

So this post came up on the Netrunner subreddit yesterday, and it got me thinking about the possibility of a “toolbox” style Corp deck much like the role Prepaid Kate fits for Runners. I believe that the asymmetrical nature of Netrunner makes this almost impossible to achieve in a strong deck.

JEEZ MAN WHY 

Rick-and-Morty1

Let’s look at why Prepaid Kate works as a toolbox first. Number 1: What’s the game plan? You’re not hitting R&D every single turn with R&D interface, or milling like Noise. You want to set up your economic engine, then make high impact runs that either snipe scoring remotes or access multiple cards – a well timed Legwork or Indexing wins games. The point is that the deck is reactive. Typically you will set up a way to get what you need (ie, SMC or Clone Chip) and then go for it hard and fast.

A reactive Corp deck is never going to be as strong as Kate, relative to the field. Take a look at Near Earth Hub Astrobiotics. Its goal is to score agendas fast, and every single card in the deck is geared towards that goal. Similarly, Replicating Perfection Glacier will set up a highly secure scoring remote while generating money through must-trash assets. The point here is that both these decks set the pace of the game. Of course you need to react to high-priority threats like Medium or Account Siphon, but overall strong players will be aiming to drive the game where they want.

Number 2: 3x Self-Modifying Code and 3x Clone Chip. The ability to search for and install whatever you want mid-run is, as we all know, incredibly strong and a massive reason for Shaper dominance. There’s simply nothing Corp-side that can compare.

HEY BUT WHAT ABOUT ATLAS COUNTERS

Well…yeah, they’re pretty sweet. The only issue is that you have to overadvance (outside of Titan) a 3/2 first! Compare that to SMC, which literally costs nothing to install. Or Clone Chip, which will probably cost Kate nothing to install and can search from the heap OR deck (comboing with SMC). Although an Atlas counter is a wonderful thing, it’s a one-shot effect and not as flexible.

DRAW CARDS, DUMP CARDS

Apart from our Lord and Saviour Jackson Howard and Blue and Green Level Clearance, there’s not many draw cards that see play on the Corp side. Again, this is down to the asymmetry in Netrunner. Agenda flood is a real thing and your Archives aren’t safe. The Corpside ways to recover cards from Archives (Project Vitruvius, Archived Memories, Allele Repression, Jackson Howard) either require a click, an overadvanced agenda, or to shuffle the cards into R&D instead of HQ. Corps also lack a Levy AR Lab Access equivalent – going through your deck is bad news.

As any Kate or MaxX player knows, your discard pile is a vital resource. More importantly, if you have cards that you don’t need now then you can draw more and pitch unwanted cards into the bin, safe in the knowledge you can pull them out later. This also means that you can more easily get past cards like Clot or Plascrete Carapace that are dead in a particular matchup.

MaxX's heap.
MaxX’s heap.

GO WIN THE GAME, COME ON

There’s nothing wrong with including one-of cards in your deck! They just need to further your win conditions or shore up weaknesses. NEH will often include Cyberdex Virus Suite to defend against Clot, while RP may include Cerebral Static to assist in the difficult Noise matchup. Some Weyland Supermodernism variants include one ofs like Biotic Labour or Midseason Replacements – extremely powerful cards that push towards the deck’s win conditions.

SO JUST CARDS THAT MAKE ME WIN, GOT IT

Kind of. You still need to answer the main questions of Corp deckbuilding:

  • how do I win?
  • do I have enough money?
  • do I have multiple ice types?
  • do I get rekt by Parasite recursion?
  • DO I HAVE ENOUGH MONEY?

Hopefully this helps out a bit. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out The Big List of Decks!

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