Replicating Perfection - SystemCore 2019

Oh, wonder!
How many goodly agendas are there here!
How beauteous ICE is!
O brave new world,
That has such cards in 't!

Ooh, check me leading with a bit of culture! Well, sort of. It’s Friday, so RC - your resident Rule 63 (don’t Google that) Lily Lockwell - is back again with some seriously meaty scoops. This week we have an article about what of those aforementioned beautiful cards you can have in your decks, courtesy of a crack team of writing commandos: @scd, @divadus, @vesper, @inactivist, @bluehairedhackergirl, @venali, and @icecoldjazz...

Today, we are happy to announce many of the newest, most exciting changes coming to Organized Play, providing you and your friends with all sorts of new ways to engage with the game. Truly a Rebirth for the game - welcome to the Brave New World.

System Core 2019

As previously announced, one of the new things NISEI is bringing to the game is a yearly System Core. We received a new Core Set last year, and we’d like to set the precedent of revising it every year. A certain Other Card Game does this to great effect and the System Core will be a powerful tool in our arsenal; with it, we can rescue certain cards from rotation, get rid of problem cards from previous core sets, prepare for future product releases, and push the meta in new and interesting directions. Mixing together cards from across the game’s history, System Core 2019 also provides a well-balanced and fun “out of the box” experience for new and veteran players alike. Lead Designer Gregory Tongue spoke at great length about this in this article.

Without further ado though, here is your brand spanking new Core:

System Core 2019 Card List

 


Hi beautiful people - Lead Developer David Withington (a.k.a. divadus) here. Just wanted to interject with a few words regarding the process of balancing and shaping System Core 2019.

Even though reimagining the Core Set did not involve the designing of any exciting new NISEI cards (though those are certainly in the Pipeline, don’t you worry), this was still a fairly mammoth undertaking. As a Core replacement, SC2019 is intended both as an introductory/entry-level set for players looking to learn and familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of Netrunner, as well as a bridge for rotation within the standard NISEI constructed format.

As such, the two formats that I tasked testers with in playtesting SC2019 were 'Core Experience' and 'Core in Standard'. 'Core Experience' involved building decks comprised of a single System Core Set 2019 and is intended to be a more casual/entry-level experience (MWL does not apply for this format), whereas 'Core in Standard' is as it sounds - determining the impact on the competitive scene of the various changes to the card pool brought about with SC2019, either via rotation or the intentional reintroduction of a few dinosaurs. Greg already relayed the rationale behind various considerations made for ‘Core Experience’ in his article listed above, but I thought it would be appropriate for me to speak on a few of the more significant changes occurring and their effect on standard play.

R&D Interface replaces Indexing?!

Out of all of the changes introduced in SC2019, this is almost certainly going to have the most immediate impact. Indexing has effectively defined multiaccess within the competitive scene for some time now and is a card that Corps always have to be prepared for in some fashion. Despite its potency, Indexing can often provide quite nuanced lines of play around it regarding exactly how to rearrange cards, e.g. the Runner finds more than one agenda, and only has enough money to steal one that turn; the Runner doesn’t find an agenda and is thus trying to arrange the top 5 cards in the least beneficial way for the Corp, etc. By contrast, R&D Interface could create oppressive ‘R&D lock’ situations where the Runner is able to repeatedly run R&D for multiple cards every turn, thus letting them see every card (and thus agenda) before the Corp can. In light of all of this, why remove an interesting, meta-defining card like Indexing and replace it with the more vanilla (and potentially dangerous) R&D Interface?

Purely from a power level standpoint, most competitive players would argue that Indexing is the stronger of the two multiaccess cards - generally speaking, replacing Indexing with RDI is a Runner side nerf, particularly in a Runner’s ability to massively swing games in their favour early on. Additionally, unlike Indexing, R&D Interface is a directly telegraphed threat card - it must be installed first, which may well give the Corp the opportunity to respond in kind by further defending R&D. Furthermore, 4 credits to install is not insubstantial - the Runner will need to have a reasonable economy situation in order to weather the tempo hit without ceding advantage to the Corp, especially if they are looking to then make use of their newly-improved R&D pressure. But the rationale behind choosing RDI over Indexing extends beyond simply that of an overall reduction in Runner power level.

Concerns about ‘R&D lock’ typically stem from earlier experiences of Netrunner in a world where this was a reliable strategy on the Runner side. Ice, however, have been upgraded considerably since then, and making successful runs on R&D turn after turn is a difficult feat against any deck with even moderate glacial leanings. If the Runner has two or more R&D Interfaces installed and the sustainable economy and breaker suite required to repeatedly run through R&D (which ought to be heavily fortified by the time the Runner has managed to assemble all of the above) every turn, the Corp will most likely also have assembled an impressive board state and have a few points in their score area, if not already be at match point. This panned out consistently in testing, with few games ever reaching this point of ‘Runner inevitability’ before either side had already won.

There is very much something of a paradigm shift in the transition from Indexing to RDI, with increased emphasis on improving the general value of runs and Runner board state. Alongside a few of the other changes in SC2019 (the removal of Deep Data Mining in particular), this is a conscious decision intended to sacrifice a bit of the Runner's early potency for longer-term pressure application, thus reducing the impact of bad RNG in openings somewhat. While there is definitely a tradeoff with the game being less contingent on a few pivotal plays and more on consistent waves of intensity, I'm excited to see how things shake out with games lasting just a little longer and perhaps being a little more well-rounded.

Corroder

Once the gold standard of fracters, Corroder, while still rock-solid, is no longer the barrier-demolisher it once was. A fair number of barriers now, both in the medium-cost range (IP Block, Envelope, Masvingo, the new Eli 1.0) as well as the big brutes (Chiyashi, Orion, Data Ward), actually tax Corroder fairly effectively. However, more than the fact that Corroder’s power level is simply not a concern, there is actually a major reason to revive Corroder - that being, taking MWL action against Paperclip is simply not a reasonable consideration unless there is a generically good Anarch fracter (of a lower power level) to replace it. Enter Corroder. And on a related note...

Eli 1.0

Another significant return to the scene is the ever-taxing Eli 1.0. Long a staple of competitive play, Eli 1.0 is noteworthy for having an impressive rez-to-taxation value, frequently taxing common fracters for between 3 and 5 credits. Lady does exist as a highly efficient (albeit impermanent) answer to Eli, but Lady is an exception. Much of the reservation surrounding Eli, however, is on account of it being 1 influence - and consequently extremely easy to slot in any faction. Furthermore, with Paperclip being newly restricted, Eli 1.0 is even stronger against the unrestricted fracter field. So, what gives - why revive what could simply become another tournament staple?

Despite well and truly sounding like a broken record at this point, I feel compelled yet again to emphasize that ice really is substantially more taxing than it used to be. Unlike during its heyday, Eli is not drastically more taxing for its cost than its current barrier contemporaries. IP Block, the closest comparison (also 1 influence), is similarly taxing for a credit less and is actually considerably more taxing if the Runner is on Aumakua (certainly not a rare sight within the competitive scene), Atman or Brahman. Furthermore, unlike IP Block and a number of other taxing ice that see play in top-tier decks, Eli has zero facecheck value.

There is also the fear of “critical mass” being reached - that is to say, why not both? Decks can now run 6+ highly taxing and efficient barriers for as as little as 3 influence (depending on the faction). The obvious downside, of course, is that doing so increases the number of ice in your deck that can be broken by a single icebreaker. Worse still is the fact that playing 3 Eli, 3 IP Block increases the number of ice in your deck that do not require any icebreaker to pass; in typical bioroid fashion, Eli 1.0 can be clicked through. While spending 2 clicks to break a 3-to-rez ice is typically a very poor exchange, when you have a Runner going in for a Legwork, sieging a remote, or going for repeated pokes into R&D with an Interface installed, Eli’s clickable nature is a very relevant downside that can be exploited.

All the same, Eli 1.0 remains an excellent piece of ice that will be readily welcomed by a number of Corps (slightly favouring Haas-Bioroid), with its own porosity and the existence of mid-range targeted fracters in the vein of Lady keeping it in check.

Replicating Perfection

Replicating Perfection is the only ID that was actively resurrected in System Core 2019; its return is followed by its partner-in-crime, Sundew. Similar to R&D Interface’s return, I expect that there will be some degree of consternation about RP coming back, in light of it being something of a glacial powerhouse during the game’s early days and also fostering some unpleasant horizontal strategies alongside Bio-Ethics Association. However (dang it, I swear I’m not always like this), the game has changed substantially since then.

Firstly, as a glacial ID, the beastly Replicating Perfection of yore was backed up by the now-absent Caprice Nisei, a centerpiece of pre-rotation glacier. Modern glacial RP would have considerable competition in faction with Mti, Palana, and even AgInfusion, and is thus very unlikely to be singularly dominant as the faction ID of choice. Looking to RP as a horizontal ID, the most-maligned ‘prison’ archetypes of RP are no longer nearly as competitive as in the past - due to various MWL additions and the rotation of Shock! While RP provides an additional tax in terms of checking remote servers, the value of its taxation is contingent on having rezzable ice protecting all three centrals - which of course requires money and, well, ice. Furthermore, RP is of course vulnerable to cards and strategies that punish horizontal play - the tools for which exist across all three major Runner factions (Crowdfunding, Bankroll, Paricia, Hijacked Router, Mining Accident/Valencia, etc). Finally, like the aforementioned Jinteki IDs, RP is also extremely vulnerable to Employee Strike.

I am reasonably confident that in the current card pool, Replicating Perfection - even with Sundew - is kept in check by a number of factors. While the argument that the ID has the potential to limit the design space/upper power level of certain archetype-pushing cards can be made, the same could be said of basically every ID that has seen competitive play - and in the case of those that lend themselves toward horizontal strategies, rest assured that development is ever vigilant to prevent another Mumbad era.

Where’s Magnum Opus?

Yeah, it’s gone. I am aware that various players have exceedingly fond memories of Magnum Opus, especially within a Core or limited format environment. For many, Magnum Opus is the archetypal Shaper card - the perfect economy engine unto itself, doubling the efficiency of the basic click-for-credit action, while arguably being balanced by its large install cost and steep MU requirement. But it is precisely its ‘perfection’ that makes Magnum Opus problematic.

One of the things that makes Netrunner such a fantastic game is the beautiful, dynamic dance of economy management that underlies virtually every Runner-Corp interaction. Magnum Opus reduces this intricate back-and-forth to a highly linear, repetitive formula; its entire purpose is to ‘solve’ the Runner’s economy, with all the negative connotations of one-dimensional gameplay that this entails. Furthermore, given the various ways to tutor programs, building a deck which can fairly reliably get out a Magnum Opus turn 1 is not difficult - Kabonesa Wu can guarantee it, in fact. As iconic of a card as it is, Magnum Opus is not one that I believe to promote healthy or interactive gameplay.

Alternative Economy Engines

All the same, I can sympathize with the desire to have long-term, enduring economy engines, so as to ensure that all Runners have the ability to contest glacial strategies. Hence, the decision to have two in System Core 2019 - Professional Contacts for Shaper, and Kati Jones for all factions. Both of these cards are substantially more compelling to me than Magnum Opus for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, being connection resources, Kati and ProCo are highly vulnerable to both tagging and connection-targeting tools on the Corp side - tools which are very much relevant both within the Core Experience and competitive play. Professional Contacts, specifically, is quite similar to Magnum Opus in many ways, effectively providing an additional credit gain to the basic draw action instead of the basic click-for-credit action. Unlike Magnum Opus though, Professional Contacts is not a card that you can repeatedly click and remote-camp once you have an assembled rig - the maximum hand size mechanic inherently limits the value of mashing the ProCo button, and encourages the Runner to continually play cards from their hand.

The restored Kati, by contrast, is technically an infinite economy engine like Magnum Opus. However, unlike either Magnum Opus or Professional Contacts, Kati has the unique stipulation that she can only be used once per turn. This significantly limits the Runner’s ability to “just money up”, as the remaining clicks have to be spent on other actions. Alongside this once-per-turn limitation comes the excellent ‘banking’ mechanic - the longer you wait to cash in, the larger the payoff, but the more vulnerable you are to the Corp prematurely ending the party, by paying Kati off or throwing a bus at her.

There are obviously other card inclusions and removals that merit their own discussion, but a number of them concern future rotation plans. Which segues nicely into...

Rotation

Alongside the release of System Core 2019, we will be rotating the tournament-legal cards from Terminal Directive and, of course, the Revised Core Set. Some of the key cards from this set (Marilyn Campaign, IPO, Abagnale, etc.) appear in System Core 2019 and thus are not rotating at this time, and others may show their faces in some form or another in future products or System Cores. This rotation and the introduction of the new System Core will be effective at the same time as the new Standard MWL on 21 December 2018.

Our initial plans for rotation also included the Lunar Cycle, however, this created some unique problems with the competitive meta that we were not able to address satisfactorily without releasing new cards, so it will remain legal (for now). With Lunar and some other products considered for this rotation, many cards deemed necessary to keep in the Standard card pool felt clunky or unfun in the System Core, yet we could not replace them without releasing new cards, which we are not ready to do until early 2019.

We considered several different options, but TD made the most sense. It contains no cards with competitive merit that we couldn’t save from rotation by putting in System Core, and the ones that we did all work extremely well within the Core Experience format - and they’re fun. It’s not too large that we would remove too big a chunk of the card pool, nor are any of the cards particularly near to most players’ hearts; nobody is going to miss Long-Term Investment. TD also contains a critical mass of problem cards, especially considering its size, and an unprecedented number have errata which presents an additional hurdle for new players.

Unfortunately, your Brute-Force Hack promos are now probably worth even less than they already were. Lucky for you, they still work great when lit on fire - you can keep warm in the winter, light cigarettes, and can create some ultra-rare textless versions.

As stated before, we’d like rotation to occur more frequently but in smaller chunks at a time. As such, we may rotate cards up to twice a year; usually a single cycle and/or deluxe at a time. The exact schedule will be announced in the near future. We’ll release a roughly equal amount of new cards each rotation cycle to keep the card pool about the same size. Rotation will generally happen in chronological order, but don’t be surprised if we mix things up now and then. We’re going to prioritize what is healthiest for the game long-term.

Alright, what’s the deal with the cards from Magnum Opus?

First things first, let’s get the naming conventions out of the way. There have been a lot of terms thrown around, so we’d like to offer some clarification here. Hired Help and Watch The World Burn are OrgCrime cards, also known as Community Cards, while Border Control, Timely Public Release, Embolus, Crowdfunding, Labor Rights, and Slot Machine are Champion Cards. Together, these are part of the Magnum Opus set. This “set” will be legal in Standard and Eternal and subject to the most recent MWL for each of those formats. These cards are not legal in Snapshot.

NISEI’s Most Wanted

As previously stated, NISEI will maintain multiple MWLs - at the very least, one for Standard and one for Eternal. You’ll always find the most recent version of the MWLs among the Organized Play Policies, but for discussion and visibility, they are presented here along with the thought process behind them.

Standard MWL 3.0

Officially effective 21 December 2018

Most recent changes appear in bold and underlined.

Removed

Corporation

24/7 News Cycle
Bryan Stinson
Cerebral Imaging
Clone Suffrage Movement
Friends in High Places
Hired Help
Museum of History
Sensie Actors Union

Runner

Aaron Marrón
Bloo Moose
Faust
Hyperdriver
Mars For Martians
Salvaged Vanadis Armory
Şifr
Tapwrm
Temüjin Contract
Watch The World Burn
Zer0

Restricted:

Bio-Ethics Association
Commercial Bankers Group
Excalibur

Global Food Initiative
Jinteki: Potential Unleashed
Mother Goddess
Mti Mwekundu: Life Improved
Mumba Temple
Mumbad City Hall
Obokata Protocol
Surveyor
Violet Level Clearance
Whampoa Reclamation

Aesop's Pawnshop
Employee Strike
Film Critic
Gang Sign
Inversificator
Levy AR Lab Access
Mad Dash
Paperclip
Rumor Mill

Four goals guided the Standard MWL. In order of importance:

  1. Reduction of negative play experiences
  2. Balance between Corp and Runner
  3. Balance among factions
  4. Balance among identities within factions

Given those points, the MWL Committee along with Austin, David, and Greg came up with an initial list, submitted it to playtesting, then analyzed feedback and data and revised the list. This process was repeated several times to get the list in front of you today. Below is a brief summary of the reasoning behind each decision.

Bryan Stinson

This was the easiest decision we made. For most players, very little about this card stands to reason as balanced or enjoyable - the rez/trash ratio is outrageous, he’s an upgrade (butwhy.gif), and mechanically he’s just out of control. “Free” is a dangerous word in any card game, particularly when there are so many ways to fire his ability without the runner making misplays. Low Runner credits are supposed to be scoring windows, not “never run out of money for the rest of the game” windows.

Commercial Bankers Group

Controlling the Message was on the initial version of this MWL and we ultimately decided this would be the most effective way to rein it in a bit while still allowing competitive viability. It was on the brink of dominating the tournament scene and only grew stronger with SC2019; the switch to RDI meant that Runners could not apply the same dramatic level of R&D pressure that Indexing allowed. Our testing determined that restricting Bankers was more or less equivalent in function to a Mumbad Virtual Tour restriction but allowed for much more variation among CtM builds and more interesting deckbuilding decisions.

Excalibur

Most of the time, this ice only sees play in “gotcha” strategies that punish players for using traditional breakers. Excalibur feels particularly cheesy in AgInfusion and Mti - combining its subroutine with Batty or Border Control can leave the Runner with no recourse and score agendas in a way that feels unfair. We wanted to give Runners the ability to be less reliant on AI and hit the very strong Jinteki glacier builds in the process.

Mti Mwekundu: Life Improved

Speaking of Jinteki glacier, it’s a standout in the game right now, and has led to some really interesting builds and matches in both casual and competitive settings. That said, Mti takes the innate power of the Jinteki card pool and turns it up to eleven. The ID is simply too efficient: it saves clicks AND credits, allows you to place ice in an order most convenient to your server, and takes away one of the most important aspects of playing Netrunner as the Corporation - predicting angles of attack and getting in front of them. The ID is so strong that it nearly in and of itself has necessitated a rise in Employee Strike as a restricted card, narrowing the Runner’s options. It has also done an incredible amount of work retraining player brains to avoid running early and hampering early aggression. It has proven itself game-warping in a negative way, so it finds itself in time out for the foreseeable future.

Paperclip

With the return of Corroder, Paperclip was almost a no-brainer and has stuck around on every iteration of this list since we began. This serves as a small but non-trivial hit to Val (who must now play Clone Chip/Retrieval Run or play Inject a little more judiciously), but primarily we’ll see a little more fracter diversity outside of the orange faction. Coupled with some choice includes in System Core 2019 (Eli 1.0, Oversight AI), this’ll also manifest itself as a bit of a boost to Corps.

Watch The World Burn/Hired Help

These cards were removed almost without question. Hired Help is of course extremely oppressive (especially on HQ), and Watch The World Burn does not remove itself from the game and can be easily recurred. The issues with these cards are numerous - granted, they introduce some interesting mechanics, but they were never playtested nor designed through the proper channels, which serves to trivialize the hard work that designers, developers, and playtesters do.

Some other key cards that were considered but escaped the MWL (this time):

Rebirth

Probably the most discussed card of everything we considered. Rebirth was on several previous iterations of this MWL as restricted and as removed but was ultimately taken off. The rotation of Indexing was a significant blow to R&D pressure and our playtesting found that taking away Rebirth (functionally another form of R&D pressure out of Anarch) gave the Corp too little to worry about, so it remains… for now. I think we’re in unanimous agreement that it’s not a great card and we’d like to eventually see it gone.

Border Control

Our initial draft of the MWL included Border Control in no small part due to its interaction with Excalibur, which becomes especially silly when played out of Red Tree. We decided to give it a little time in the sun without a restriction and our testing and further analysis revealed that it was hardly the root of the problem. Four credits for a single-use end the run isn’t exactly economical when it can’t be abused with both Mti Mwekundu and Excalibur landing spots on the MWL. For now, this remains unrestricted, but it’s one we’re watching closely.

Scarcity of Resources
This card is nigh-universally loathed, but in the end we can’t let powerful neutral currents exist on one end of the board but not the other. Scarcity remaining off the list is a symptom of the difficulties around the current mechanic as a whole. At some point, much like Rebirth, many of us would like to see this disappear, but now was simply not the time.

Eternal MWL 1.0

Effective 16 November 2018

Removed:

Friends in High Places
Hired Help
Museum of History

 

Faust
Rumor Mill
Salvaged Vanadis Armory
Şifr

Watch The World Burn

Since we are effectively creating this format, the Eternal MWL will be effective immediately. In the future, expect a few week delay similar to the Standard MWL; they will be announced and effective at the same time.

Our goals for this format are notably different than Standard; obviously NPE and balance are important, but we are going to be a little more hands-off; otherwise, the Most Wanted List would be massive. Notice the lack of any restricted cards; we simply knocked out the worst offenders as a starting point. We are launching an Eternal tournament on Jinteki.net in a few weeks (see below) as a way to help playtest this format and gauge where this list needs to be; expect the next iteration to be substantially different.

Speaking of future updates, you’ll receive MWL updates like this one quarterly. Hopefully “emergency” updates won’t be required, but we are not at all opposed to immediate action in unusual circumstances (looking at you, Vanadis).

Organized Play Policies

When we started this project, we were left with 50+ pages of tournament rules and floor policies spread over multiple documents. We have consolidated, clarified, and simplified these documents into a mere twenty pages, and made several changes which we believe are in the game’s best interests. You can find the complete document here. Here’s the skinny:

Proxies are allowed at all events, and we’ve made a few changes to the policy.

A “proxy” is a substitute for a card that a participant does not own or have with them, and their legality will make it much easier for people with incomplete collections to participate in Organized Play. We’ve tried to balance accessibility and minimizing the opportunity for dishonesty. Check out the doc for the full policy.

Event tiers have been simplified.

There are now just “Casual” events (GNKs, Store Champs, and most miscellaneous events) and “Competitive” events (Regionals-level and higher, all the way up to the World Championship). This greatly simplifies differences in policy between events.

Taking notes is allowed at Casual-level events.

This is huge for new players - for many, taking notes as little reminders, especially of costs to break ice or run servers, was essential, and we can now carry that accessibility into the entry-level tournament scene. We still consider memory to be a skill in some regards, so note-taking will remain illegal at Competitive events.

Tournament staff designations are simpler.

Tournament Organizer and Head Judge are the only unique positions; the rest fall under generic “tournament staff” or “judge”; the terms are largely used interchangeably. At an event, it’ll be made clear who’s who, and the previous system was much more convoluted than necessary.

Two-for-one agreements are specifically allowed.

The “241” (agreeing to forfeit the second game of a match to whoever wins the first) is a regrettable reality of the tournament scene, and banning it is absolutely unenforceable. Previously this type of agreement was neither explicitly allowed or disallowed and existed in a sort of grey area. Moving forward, you’ll be permitted to make this kind of decision with your opponent, provided you randomize who plays which side and jointly declare your two-for-one decision to a member of tournament staff.

Tournaments can have optional Tiebreaker Rounds at the Organizer’s discretion.

Often, a substantial amount of players, being tied for event points, will make or miss a top cut on Strength of Schedule alone. This situation is extremely unfortunate. A Tournament Organizer may now elect to hold shorter, single-game rounds after the normal end of Swiss but before the top cut to definitively settle who makes it and who doesn’t.

Players are again permitted to decide whether they’d like to Run or Corp first.

Previous rules demanded that players randomize who plays which side; this was ultimately unenforceable and in some cases outright nonsensical. If both players cannot agree who will play which side first, then they must randomize, as before.

We’ve removed timed wins.

They served no good purpose; at high-level play, a game win worth two points may as well be worth zero. It’d be hard to count the number of players who have missed a cut simply because they won at time, more often than not through no fault of their own. In the scenario where a player would lose at time, there is zero incentive to not concede as opposed to taking the timed loss - it only helps your Strength of Schedule.

Amalfi Swiss is now an optional tournament structure.

“Amalfi” is a system of Swiss used primarily in chess tournaments in Italy; essentially, instead of pairing players within groups based on event points, players are first ranked, and then paired with the player X places below them, where X is the number of rounds remaining in the tournament. Its primary advantage is that it often removes the incentive to intentionally draw or two-for-one by pairing players with slightly dissimilar records. Time will tell how effective it ultimately is, but it’s an easy and optional change that has the potential for major results. Have a look at the doc for the full details.

Minor changes to infractions and penalties.

As a whole, these are a bit more lenient, particularly at Casual-level events, and we’ve strived to create resolutions that are fair to both players.

The Organized Play team is also investigating several options to further rework tournament scoring and structure to reduce 241s and IDs and foster a more competitive and fair environment, but there is no shortage of research and testing to do before any major changes come to real tournaments.

Let’s talk about Eternal...

Do you tire of carefully balanced Netrunner? Miss the warm-bath feeling of cracking Jackson Howard to vanish some agendas? Fondly remember the phrase “Mill five, your turn”? Ever wondered what happens if you rub Midseason Replacements and High-Profile Target together really fast?

Ask your TO if Eternal is right for you. Side effects may include nostalgia, gaining ten credits and taking two tags, or messing up your Power Shutdown combo. If your game lasts more than ten turns, please seek deckbuilding advice.

Eternal is a format that includes the entire printed cardpool - from the initial Core Set, through rotated cycles Genesis and Spin, straight through the big boxes and current cycles and on to Revised Core and the post-rotation cycles that thought it was safe to print “Virus” cards without Noise in the pool, and wrapping up with the cards released at Magnum Opus. It’s a format defined by the power cards of the heady Netrunner days of yore but now with a few new friends to mix things up and make CI combos even wilder and more intricate.

To break in the format for real we’ll be running a Jinteki.net tournament this December 1st and 2nd to bring the band back together and to test the limits of what the format can hold. The primary benefit of this tournament, other than dunking pure uncut nostalgia on each other, is collecting some hard data on what attention the format needs to keep it rocketing along without going entirely off the rails and being dominated by one or two decks. We’ve instituted a preliminary Eternal-specific MWL just to keep the worst offenders out of the general population, but you’ll notice it’s a much more minimalist list than you’re used to. Say hi to your old friends  Aaron and Estelle, and get ready to fight Mumbad City Hall once again. So bring your weird Snitch/Au Revoir/GPI Tap/Zamba deck that makes nine credits a click when it’s not spamming Account Siphon, and let’s see how it all shakes out.

There’ll be no entry fee and lots of fabulous prizes - playmats, plastic IDs, and plenty of prizes from the new NISEI Q1 GNK. We’re also raffling off a complete, authentic set of the Magnum Opus/Worlds 2018 cards as a participation prize. Most of important of all - if we get at least 32 participants - the winner gets to design their very own card! That’s right friends, the Greatest Prize In Gaming is not dead, it just now comes in the form of a running argument with the dev team about why you should be allowed to make Medium 2.0.

This event will consist of several rounds of swiss (exact number dependant on attendance) beginning at 3PM GMT on 1 December 2018. The top cut (4 or 8, depending again on attendance) will be held the following day at a time most convenient for those who have advanced. If you’re interested in participating, please sign up here. You’ll be contacted via email with more information as the date draws nearer.

...and a bit about other formats.

What are NISEI’s plans for the draft format?

We’re reworking the Draft rules as well as figuring out what draft packs may look like in the future. We’re also planning a curated, regularly-updated cube. We want to make sure we don’t rush it with everything else going on, but expect more updates soon, and we apologize for not having more to offer on this front at the moment.

Does NISEI plan to support the NAPD 3-vs.-1 format introduced at Magnum Opus/Worlds 2018?

Yes, in some capacity. As with draft, this will not be at the top of our list, but it is certainly on our radar. We have not yet begun to analyze this format as we’ve been busy with the MWLs for other formats and the comprehensive rules overhaul. Time will tell if rules modifications and some form of MWL are necessary; again, expect updates here in due time.

Will the Snapshot MWL ever be updated?

Unlikely, but we don’t want to rule it out. The meta where FFG left it at the Magnum Opus/Worlds 2018 event was in a pretty good place, all told, and the idea of Snapshot was to capture that. If you want to play a format that changes, well, that’s what the other ones are for.

Woo, Kati Jones is back! I never did get to use my Kati alt-arts, and now she’s swooped down in her hopper and stolen my heart all over again... roll on the 21st of December!

Rules Update

A new version (1.1) of the comprehensive rules has been published. This version provides a handful of error corrections, only one of which is a functional change to fix a bug. Starting with this revision, updates from previous versions will be highlighted in orange and linked from the change log.

  • Fixed rule 10.1.3 to correctly handle forfeiting/swapping cards that had been converted to agendas.
  • Fixed typos in rule 4.4.9b and in examples for rules 9.8.2b and 9.8.5b.
  • Added reference numbers for the abridged timing structures in section 12.
  • Added definitions in rules 9.2.7b, c, and d for the (P), (R), and (S) symbols used to denote paid ability, rez, and score windows.
  • Re-worked table of contents for better readability.

Other Business

Jinteki.net will be updated with the new legality very soon - hopefully in the next 24 hours, and we're about to start work on NRDB. I'll shout out on Twitter, FB and Slack when it's ready! Until then, here's a sneak preview from the jnet dev server...

Q1 Game Night Kits still for sale; get them here. Prize support is currently in production and will be shipped as soon as we get our hands on it.If you’ve already ordered a kit, it should be in your hands by mid-December at the latest. You’ll get an email confirmation from our team when your order ships out!

We're working on several resources that will be available on the website in the coming days; our “Resources” page should be up and running this weekend. We'll have a “rotation guide” that will make sorting your collection easier, tournament match slips, top cut brackets, sheets to help run tournaments by hand, posters you can print and hang up to advertise Game Nights, and more!

We're still accepting applications for translators!

And lastly, in a day of serious scoops I have a tiny bit of news of my own... nisei.net now has it's own RSS feed! Several people have asked for this, and so we have delivered :)

That’s all from us today, tune in next week - same time, same IP address - for our usual monthly Exposé, aka “Here’s what we’ve been up to for the last month”. Sneak preview: a lot of it will mention the new Core list and MWL. Until then, build those servers, pawn your dead Imps, and most importantly…