Hello and welcome to the Sneakdoor Meta Snapshot for November 2015! These ratings are based on results from the Stimhack, Acoo and NetrunnerDB Tournament Winning Decklists pages, as well as community discussion. For explanations of various deck archetypes listed here, check out the (NOW EXPANDED) The Big List of Decks. Check out the new Videos page for some more great Netrunner content too!
Worlds has come and gone, and it’s time to look at how everything shook out! Congratulations to Dan D’Argenio for taking out an incredible second championship, as well as everyone else who played and made the finals. For this edition of the Meta Snapshot I’ve cut out GNK’s more (with the exception of 25+ player tournaments) and given more weight to ANRPC, Nationals and – of course – Worlds.
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.
Remember when Order and Chaos came out and the biggest boost ended up going to NBN when Butchershop became a thing? Data and Destiny gives NBN a taste of their own medicine, with the immediate big winner being HB Glacier aka Foodcoats. Global Food Initiative has, as expected, been an incredibly strong addition to the already powerful HB Glacier shell. Similarly to Prepaid Kate, it’s a list with few real bad matchups due its strong consistency and, importantly, access to HB’s powerful economy assets and incredibly taxing ice without spending a point of influence. The presence of Turing in faction is a huge advantage in a Faust-heavy meta. It also benefits from a fairly simple game plan – make money, make a big server and score agendas. A massive 11 of 16 players in the finals were playing variations of this list or (less popular) the fast advance/rush version.
NEH Astrobiotics, despite being the most popular Corp deck at Worlds, didn’t perform quite as well as expected. Part of that is due to the field teching against it with the high representation of Prepaid Kate with Clot. Special mention to Timmy Wong for placing 2nd overall with his amazing Butchershop variant. Convenience Shop (ie Haarpsichord Butchershop with 24/7 News Cycle) is listed as Tier 1 here despite not placing that highly simply because the deck itself is incredibly powerful, but the field was very much prepared for it. It remains a deck you should absolutely consider when building your Runner.
We saw two RP decks perform quite highly, both in the hands of very skilled RP pilots. It’s staying as Tier 1 simply because the build is inherently powerful, but with vulnerabilities to Noise it could be a difficult choice for some.
Finally, times are tough for the Big W. The faction’s in dire straits when its main draw, fiery murder, can be accomplished better out of NBN. There’s some good discussion going around at the moment about how to improve Weyland that I won’t go into here, but to summarise: their ice kind of sucks, their agendas aren’t amazing (edit: Oaktown is obviously amazing but Atlas requires overscoring to get maximum value), and they severely lack an in faction tool to actually score points (think Biotic Labour, Caprice, Ash, SanSan).
Right now, we see huge amounts of classic Prepaid Kate, Faust Noise and DLR Val, with a side of what I’ll call “good stuff Anarch” – basically no-gimmick Anarch decks with money, breakers and Street Peddlers that look just about the same whichever ID you play in. Recently these decks are tending to feature Atman again over the previous splash of Net-Ready Eyes due to the slow disappearance of Lotus Field.
The DLR shell, played primarily in Val and Leela before, has shifted to Val due to her innate ability to resist The All Seeing I and to threaten remotes with Blackmail. The version piloted by Dan D’Argenio to the top of Worlds features 2 Account Siphon, Faust and D4v1d to make the high-impact runs needed to set up the engine. Note that this deck is far from brainless – like anything in Netrunner, it takes a strong player to make the most of it, Expect to see a lot of this around in the near future until the hype dies down or enough people slot All Seeing I and Freelancer. Minh Tran’s variant in MaxX is also incredibly powerful and functions similarly to the old Eater MaxX shell with the addition of the DLR/Pavilion suite. It does not have Val’s resistance to All Seeing I, but its sheer power puts it as Tier 1.
As much as I love Leela, and as good as it was to see Dave place 3rd at Worlds with her, I still have to slot her into Tier 2. Dave’s an insanely good player and has put in a LOT of work with Leela and Criminal in general which is probably more of a factor in his placement. We also see some other highly aggressive decks positively represented, particularly Faust Gabe (an archetype I’m particularly fond of) and a return of Eater MaxX. Apocalypse is an interesting addition to the Eater MaxX shell – it’s a great counter to horizontal NEH decks and can potentially demolish a scoring server against glacier Corps. We’re yet to see how much of an impact Keegan Lane will have on the meta, but recursion-less Criminals will have a very difficult time against him.
There’s not a lot to talk about for Shapers – a ton of players have been winning tournaments with Prepaid Kate, sometimes with Professional Contacts, sometimes not, sometimes with Film Critic sometimes not. That said, special mention to Noah McKee’s Book of Kate, featuring Sacrificial Construct and D4v1d as changes to the shell. Chris Hinkes also represented strongly with his Kit Vamp deck, which he’s been repping for over a year now.
Noise, although inherently powerful , has shaped the metagame to a point where some of his matchups are looking significantly weaker. Crucially, HB decks basically autoinclude 3x Turing at this point as well as 1-2x Cyberdex Virus Suite, NEH can often win by rushing hard and taking advantage of Noise’s setup time (as well as including the strong anti-Faust card Little Engine). and RP is just not as big a part of the field. It’s still very much a deck to respect but did not perform as well as expected in tournaments this month.
Post Worlds, we’re likely to see much more experimenting with the new IDs and factions. Many NBN builds in the new IDs can slot comfortably into Tier 2 simply by virtue of having yellow cards. I’m going to see how popular they become, but here’s the most popular or interesting archetypes so far out of Data and Destiny
Spark FA/Rush: A natural starting point, taking the well-established NBN fast advance shell and adding in synergistic cards such as Product Placement (very strong here), Launch Campaign and Special Offer. Ash is often used to transition to the midgame and establish a scoring server if Clot is a factor. It aims to take advantage of the small tempo hits afforded by Spark to rush the runner down.
SYNC Psychographics/Troll Sync: A new tagstorm archetype that takes advantage of the new tag punishment mechanics in D&D, particularly Resistor and (importantly) Quantum Predictive Model. With Global Food Initiative, QPM and 15 Minutes it’s possible to have 6 of the 18 agenda points be worthless to the runner. News Team, Data Raven and Gutenberg are used to land tags and it aims to Psychographics out the win or score in a taxing Ash remote.
A Power Shutdown combo deck that aims to score Hades Shard and use its ability to put whatever card you need in the deck. Haarpsichord’s ability forces the runner to take tags from News Team and provide the Corp money from Explode-a-Palooza, which lets the Corp combo out the rest of their agendas.
Vanilla Sunny: Sunny lends herself to a pretty uncomplicated strategy – build a big rig and lock R&D and remotes. Underworld Contacts is turned on automatically, which makes it not terrible, and her console allows for some interesting plays.
Aesop’s Adam/Adam the Anarch/Faust Adam/???: There have been a LOT of Adam build floating around as people try to work out how to take advantage of his directives. Currently there’s no consensus on a build that approaches optimal, but the highest ranking Adam from Worlds uses Faust, Drug Dealers and Anarch breakers so let’s go with that.
Apex Hyperdriver: I saw some games of this on stream and it looks like a blast. As you can probably gather, you basically just set up to Apocalypse as much as possible. Either way I like that people are making Apex work, because I have absolutely no idea how to do it.