Meta Snapshot: Long Live the Queen(s)

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Blood Money is out and we’re seeing some serious shakeup happening. I’ll say one thing about this cycle so far – whatever you may think of Damon, both 23 Seconds and Blood Money have had strong and immediate impacts on the kind of decks being played. It’s very possible we’re moving away from what we’ll generously call the conservative design of Genesis and Spin, and seeing some fast, drastic change in the meta. I’ve attempted to give credit for decklists below where possible but a few are just my versions of a general idea.

RUNNER

Boy oh boy are runners spoiled for choice right now. Do you like traditional Netrunner with money, breakers and Account Siphon? Perhaps you like degenerate lunatic Netrunner with DLR, Keyhole and Account Siphon instead? Blood Money’s got you covered.

Temujin Contract is proving to be an immensely high impact card straight out of the gates. It’s basically 5 better Dirty Laundries that only take up one card slot. It’s already deservedly an auto-include in Criminal and is seeing significant play out of faction due to its relatively modest 2 influence cost. Were you playing Lucky Finds without Prepaid Voicepads like a sucker? Try the Khantract out instead and see how it feels..

Paperclip is seeing a ton of play as the first barrier breaker that never costs more to break than Corroder does, as well as even (gasp) being more efficient in some cases. Obviously there’s a higher install cost, but the utility of being able to insta-install from the heap outweighs that.

Rumour Mill is the most obviously high-impact card from the pack, blanking all defensive upgrades, big JHow and Museum to name a few. Weirdly it doesn’t seem to have seen a ton of play as yet (based on NetrunnerDB, anyway) but it’s likely that’s more due to there being no large tournaments since its release and people aren’t necessarily sharing their lists yet. Blackmail/Eater/Siphon/Keyhole Val, as well as Minh MaxX, benefit massively from this current and were already extremely powerful. Be prepared to face it.

Variations of classic Andy are seeing the most immediate impact from Temujin, as well as the new breaker Paperclip. This deck has been around forever and has always been strong, but the recent boost comes from a combination of a huge money injection from Temujin and an essentially untrashable fracter in Paperclip. Initial variations seem to be straight up Andysucker, a more resource focused version using Career Fair, and even some stealth. Also there’s a new ID which doesn’t do anything.

Over in Shaper town, we’ve received another auto-include in Beth Kilrain-Chang. This intrepid reporter will get you anything from one credit to an entire extra click every turn, which is honestly insane. The worst case scenario of getting nothing only comes when your opponent is at less than 5 credits, in which case you’re probably winning anyway. I’ve been playing this pretty slick Temujin Katman list lately, inspired by Shaper savant bahram aka saetzero. Plays like classic Katman with Temujin to replace Desperado. DDoS/False Echo Kate is very solid but very much an all-in deck – you do your thing and interact for exactly one turn. Finally we’ve got the UK Nationals Winner which shows the value in anticipating the meta. 3x Rabbit Hole is certainly unconventional but turned out to be a really solid call and this deck plays a nice straightforward game plan.

CORP

On the other side of the table, the Corp game feels a bit less diverse right now. The one-two punch of Political Operative and Rumour Mill really nails any Corp with a plan to score in a remote server as it’s very hard to keep a defensive upgrade online. Rumour Mill in particular can be dropped first click before running a remote with no counterplay whatsoever available from the Corp. There’s been some talk online about shifting back to glacier before these upgrades were available and we played advanceable traps and liked it, goshdarnit! To which I say “so back when glacier was bad?” Further, the cash injection Runners just received hurts any plan that relies on having more money than the Runner – ie, Scorch.

Controlling the Message has been the boogeyman since 23 Seconds came out, but Temujin Andy really seems to hurt it. Up until now it’s relied on the runner being forked between trashing the assets and getting hit with Hard Hitting News, or not trashing the assets and watching the game spiral out of control. Temujin Andy can make enough money to just kill all the assets, which really removes CTM’s options. The flipside of the NBN tag punishment coin is Sync EoI, which in my opinion is slightly stronger right now due to being less reliant on assets. We’ve also seen some fairly strong performances from the Russian NEH, featuring Jeeves, Team Sponsorship and Advanced Assembly Lines. In my testing this deck struggles even harder against asset hate because sneaking out an Astro is no longer the threat it used to be.

HB Sandburg was pretty solid for a while there, but reliance on (obviously) Sandburg, Ash and Caprice doesn’t leave you any other options than scoring out of a remote. Consequently it’s going to fold pretty damn hard to Blackmail recursion with Rumour Mill. However, HB FA/Rush seems to have legs. It’s worth remembering that EtF is powerful enough that as long as you have a solid path to victory (ie way to score agendas) then you can do pretty well.

Hinky IG won Gencon and is a nice alternative to the old Museum IG, which doesn’t work as well thanks to the Museum and Heritage Committee nerfs. It’s the strongest net damage deck around and likely to perform better than Palana Glacier.

Meanwhile Weyland continues their tradition of having cards that perform better in NBN. Consulting Visit was a big boost to the Midseasons kill/rush archetype but as we mentioned, it’s a lot harder to rush Runners on cash now. Let me know if I’m wrong, but it seems real tough to be the big W right now.

Happy running!

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