Running the Nets: Dumpster Diving

This is the first in a series of posts I’ll be writing about the terrific game Netrunner that you should be playing right this very instant, and how I go about constructing my decks. Stay tuned for more!

So today we’re going to construct a runner deck using the Shaper identity Exile: Streethawk. This is a rubbish interesting identity that doesn’t see a lot of play – in almost all cases the runner will be better off using Kate. Our challenge, then, is to try to make the most of Exile’s power and see if we can construct something worthwhile out of it.

Exile’s power reads “Whenever you install a program from your heap, draw 1 card”. He also comes with 1 link strength. To make the most of this power, we should get as many ways to install programs from our heap together as we can, and so our first cards will be:

Retrieval Run (4 influence)

Scavenge

Test Run

Clone Chip

I decided against including a full set of Retrieval Run to save on influence, but the final number of these cards you add depends on your personal tastes. I would definitely recommend a full set of Clone Chips, however – it’s actually going to be one of the most powerful cards in this deck, since its power can be activated in response to ICE being rezzed in order to fetch the perfect breaker for the job.

Since we can retrieve trashed programs so easily, we don’t need to worry about including multiple copies of any of our icebreakers as backups. Because of that, if we include enough tutors (cards that enable you to search for specific cards you need) we can have quite a diverse set of icebreakers that should cover a lot of different situations. Test Run, which we already have, can be used as a tutor, so a full set of Self-modifying Code should do us right. The combination of Clone Chip and SMC gives us the ability to install programs from our heap or our stack while encountering a piece of ice, which should let us fetch the perfect breaker for the job.

Self-modifying Code

Now let’s start thinking about what icebreakers we want to use. We definitely want a single Femme Fatale so we can deal with that nasty high-strength barrier, or a Tollbooth. Other than that, we should try to limit ourselves to breakers with low install costs, since we’ll probably be trashing and re-installing them a fair bit. Faerie and Parasite work out well for us, since we can get a bit of re-use out of them when they trash themselves. I also decided to include a Deus X and Sharpshooter, since with all of our tutoring we can afford ourselves the luxury of some quite situational programs. Feel free to work the rest out yourself, but my final set consisted of:

Cyber-Cypher

Deus X

Faerie (3 influence)

Femme Fatale (1 influence)

Sharpshooter

Corroder (2 influence)

Gordian Blade

As far as economy goes, we’re going to stick with the traditional Magnum Opus engine to provide the bulk of our income. Since that gives us a very nice way to click for credits, we’ll try to augment that with clickless economy – and with Exile’s natural 1 link strength, Underworld Contacts becomes viable without too much effort. In order to enable that we’ll go with Dyson Mem Chips and The Toolbox, which also helps us offset Opus’ high memory cost.

Magnum Opus

Underworld Contact

Dyson Mem Chip

The Toolbox

Our Exile deck is starting to really take shape! The rest of it is really up to you, but I decided to include R&D Interface to enable us to apply proper pressure on the corp, as well as a few other small programs that we can tutor for when needed. In particular, Parasite and Crescentus work well, since we can readily recycle them when needed.  I could also see it working with Sneakdoor Beta to better enable Nerve Agent, as well as just put pressure on all centrals. My original build used Freelance Coding Contract and Aesop’s Workshop to trash programs for money so I could re-install them from the heap later, but in testing I found this wasn’t very successful.

Phew! My final deck was:

Dumpster Run (45 cards)

Exile: Streethawk

Event (11)

Diesel

Retrieval Run (4 influence)

Scavenge

Test Run

Hardware (13)

Clone Chip

Dyson Mem Chip

Plascrete Carapace

R&D Interface

The Toolbox

Resource (3)

Underworld Contact

Icebreaker (8)

Corroder (2 influence)

Cyber-Cypher

Deus X

Faerie (3 influence)

Femme Fatale (1 influence)

Gordian Blade

Sharpshooter

Program (10)

Crescentus (1 influence)

Magnum Opus

1 Nerve Agent (2 influence)

Parasite (2 influence)

Paricia

Sahasrara

Self-modifying Code

Find it on Meteor Decks here.

This has actually become my favourite Runner deck to play with at the moment – it’s extremely flexible and a little bit devious. I also just really like the flavor of it all – dirty, grimey, jacked up on diesel and always able to cobble something together at the last minute. Enjoy!

UPDATE: After playing with this deck for quite a while, I’ve concluded that even by playing to Exile’s strength, it’s still better to use Kate here. I tried a bunch of variants, including a strategy where you would draw heaps of cards with Diesel and then use your last click to sell them all with Freelance Coding Contract for cash, but it’s just not as strong as Katie. You’ll get maybe 6-10 uses of Exile’s ability in most games, but I find that with Kate I get at least as many uses and crucially they help me more at the start of the game, when I’m setting up my rig. It’s a pity, but there you go. If you have an Exile deck that you feel is actually stronger with Exile than with Kate, please post it in the comments!

The way I play this deck is to draw a lot, trashing programs as I go when I have too many cards in hand, until I have my full economy suite up and running, which can be surprisingly quick. With just a single SMC and a bit of money you can threaten pretty much any remote server from an early point in the game, so don’t feel afraid to do that if the corp looks like they’re going for an early agenda. Scavenge is great for redirecting Femme or Cyber-Cypher to a new server, and can also be used with test run to cheat Femme out cheaply. One great thing I’ve found with this deck is that damage and program trashing becomes far less scary when you actually want a good chunk of your deck in the heap, so you can afford to be fairly cavalier with face-checking ICE.

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