One week later than scheduled, due to a need for further testing, we bring you the latest update to the Most Wanted List: Standard MWL 3.2 and Eternal MWL 1.2. These updates will be effective for tournaments using the Standard or Eternal formats as of 10 May 2019. (Please note, however, that our NISEI Standard Online Tournament, which was postponed from this past weekend to 4-5 May, will also use MWL 3.2, as its top cut is scheduled for May 11.)
For new and returning players, the MWL is a list of cards which have certain restrictions placed upon them in order to improve and balance the game. Each game format (except Core Experience) has its own list of Removed and Restricted cards. Removed cards are ones which you may not include in your deck for that specific format at all. Restricted cards, on the other hand, you may include up to a full playset of in your deck (normally 3x), but you may only choose one of the cards on the restricted list to include in your deck.
Before we get down to business, I’d like to welcome two new members to the MWL Committee. First, we have Morgan “Anzekay” B. White, taking up the position of Playtest Coordinator. Anzekay has already been expertly managing the playtesting of Downfall in their role as Associate Developer, and will continue to be part of both the Development and MWL teams. Second, we’d like to welcome Seamus Peter Johnstone Macleod, who edged out a dozen other extremely high-calibre candidates to become the newest addition to the NISEI fold! Whether you know Seamus as the host of Theophilius Bagpiper, as a multiple times Worlds and UK Nationals Top 16 competitor, or as the target of some exceedingly entertaining smack talk from Dave Hoyland in that one Run Last Click episode, you will be aware that he is a top player, whose knowledge of the game will be invaluable to our work.
Without further ado, the updates are below. First, you’ll find a summary of the changes, followed by a brief explanation. The full MWL for both Standard and Eternal can be found at the bottom of the article, or by clicking these links: Standard MWL 3.2, Eternal MWL 1.2.
Editor’s note, March 2020: A previous version of this article listed Museum of History as newly unbanned from Eternal, even though the previous MWL update had already unbanned it from the format. Additionally, this article previously did not list Museum of History as being removed in Standard, due to clerical error. These errors have been corrected.
Restricted: Laamb, Labor Rights
- Corp: Mti Mwekundu: Life Improved, Mumbad City Hall
- Runner: Employee Strike, GPI Net Tap
Unrestricted: Commercial Bankers Group, Violet Level Clearance
Effective date: 10 May 2019
Removed: Bloo Moose
Effective date: 29 April 2019
Explanation of Standard changes
Labor Rights and Laamb: These two restrictions are primarily intended to curb the power of “Stabby Maxx”, which has been the single most successful deck in tournaments since Downfall’s release. While we initially hoped that restricting Laamb alone would be sufficient, testing revealed that this wasn’t enough and that the heart of the deck’s power was in fact the ability to recur specific tools on demand. Labor Rights was therefore added to the list. While the argument can be made that the Labor Rights restriction alone might be enough to bring this deck in line, Laamb is problematic in its own right. Its incredible efficiency against high-strength ice, its low influence cost, and its “painting” ability enabling it to act as a pseudo-AI while bypassing the inherent disadvantages of AI breakers (such as punitive effects from ice like Chiyashi or IP Block). While the same holds true for Engolo, which has seen play in some successful decks, its higher influence cost, its appropriateness to the shaper colour pie (as a strong decoder), and the more granular nature of breaking larger ice with it, all mean that at present it feels like the more reasonable of the two cards to remain untouched. It will, however, remain on our watch list, and action may be taken if it becomes so popular as to warp the meta.
Employee Strike: This card has been on our radar for a while, and the release of Direct Access finally allows us to take action on it. While the power level of certain IDs has been high enough that its existence in the game was necessary, Employee Strike is fundamentally an oppressive card to play against for those Corp decks that are built around their ID ability. The core mechanic of currents being so difficult to clear, and the issue of Corp deck slots being so tight that it is difficult for many Corps to include countercurrents, has led us to the conclusion that a game without Strike, in which problematic Corp IDs are dealt with via the MWL rather than by counting on Runners to include this current in their decks, will be more fun for both Corps and Runners. An environment without Strike will also mean that future Corp IDs are balanced without the need for considering such a general-use blanking effect, leading to much more even ID designs.
GPI Net Tap: This card has been seeing play in combination with Aumakua, Rubicon Switch and Zamba in a credit denial deck that is almost unanimously felt to be degenerate and frustrating to play against. While in the past this style of deck was too slow to set up to be a major threat to most Corp decks, the new Criminal draw and card selection tools in Downfall accelerated its setup up to the point that it could conceivably be a real threat in the meta. So we have decided to ban GPI, which we consider the enabling card in this deck, and one which has no legitimate use outside it, in order to prevent such an oppressive deck from becoming ubiquitous.
Mti Mwekundu: Despite the existence of Direct Access, Mti still proved to be far too powerful in testing to exist in a world without Employee Strike. Its ability to force unpleasant facechecks, combined with the credit savings on ice install costs on stacked servers, have made it one of the most successful Corp IDs since its release. We believe that it is far enough above the power curve to justify banning it, and testing has shown that the glacier archetype remains quite powerful out of other IDs, particularly with the unrestriction of Violet Level Clearance giving HB decks in particular a powerful combo with Jinja City Grid.
Commercial Bankers Group: Although the political assets have been blamed for enabling a number of oppressive Corp decks, asset-based Corp decks have seen little tournament success in recent months. With cards like Maw, Hacktivist, and Crowdfunding, Runners have more than enough tools in their arsenals to keep such decks in check. We have therefore decided to boost these decks a little by unrestricting CBG, in an effort to increase metagame variety and indirectly boost glacier decks by forcing Runners to stretch themselves in their deck choices to have to deal with a wider variety of Corps.
Violet Level Clearance: With the removal of Cerebral Imaging, this card has very few powerful combos remaining in the game; the most notable example being Jinja City Grid. None of these combos are as show-stopping as CI, so keeping it on the MWL seems unneeded going forward. In addition, it compares poorly to the now ubiquitous Rashida. While it does provide 1 card more than Rashida, playing it at the end of your turn is far weaker than getting the bonus at the start of your turn.
Mumbad City Hall: In an earlier draft of this update, we tested with Mumba Temple unrestricted, for the same reasons mentioned in the CBG unrestriction above. We found that Temple was too powerful in combination with MCH, so we moved MCH to Removed. We ultimately decided against unrestricting Temple, as we found that it was mostly used in prison-style decks that were a grind to play against. However, we chose to leave MCH on the Removed list, despite there not being any good targets for it, because ultimately it only rears its head in those sorts of decks, and is a card of particular potency and effect we don’t want to have to deal with for any future new sets or new MWL changes.
Standard changes we considered but did not enact
Aside from the Mumba Temple unrestriction mentioned above, we also considered restricting Scarcity of Resources, which we consider an oppressive card that is miserable to play against. However, testing revealed that its restriction severely undermines Corps (glacier in particular) to the point that Runners (and especially Criminals and Hayley Kaplan) dominate them. It became obvious that restricting Scarcity would necessitate a large further wave of restrictions (ranging from Runner currents to some of the more powerful resource-based economy engines) which would increase the scope of this update far beyond what we had time to test, and which felt inappropriate in light of Downfall’s recent release and the meta still being in flux. On the runner side, we also tested removing Film Critic, but found that Whistleblower, while a much fairer and more balanced card, had some notable blind spots, such as Lakshmi Smartfabrics. Since it is barely used currently, we decided to leave it as restricted, potentially revisiting it at a later date.
Standard MWL 3.2
Effective 10 May 2019.
Changes from Standard MWL 3.1 appear in bold. Removals from the list are denoted via strikethrough.
|24/7 News Cycle||Bio-Ethics Association|
|Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers||Excalibur|
|Clone Suffrage Movement||Global Food Initiative|
|Friends in High Places||Mother Goddess|
|Hired Help||Mumba Temple|
|Jinteki: Potential Unleashed||Obokata Protocol|
|Mti Mwekundu: Life Improved||Surveyor|
|Mumbad City Hall|
|Museum of History||Whampoa Reclamation|
|Sensie Actors Union|
|Aaron Marrón||Aesop’s Pawnshop|
|Employee Strike||Dorm Computer|
|GPI Net Tap||Gang Sign|
|Mars for Martians||Laamb|
|Salvaged Vanadis Armory||Labor Rights|
|Şifr||Levy AR Lab Access|
|Watch the World Burn||Rumor Mill|
Explanation of Eternal changes
Bloo Moose: The incredible amount of credits this card can generate all on its own is a major factor for Runners still outpacing Corp economy by a wide margin in the format, despite Temüjin being gone. We believe this will help Corp/Runner balance considerably.
Museum of History: Despite the banning of Temüjin Contracts, horizontal Corp decks have still been underrepresented in Eternal. Considering that decks built around Museum have been an important part of Netrunner’s history, and that there are still more than enough Runner tools to punish open servers, we felt it was safe to bring Museum back into the format.
Editor’s note, March 2020: As mentioned above, Museum of History was unbanned from Eternal in the previous MWL update. This commentary is left here for historical purposes, and the android responsible for this error has been sent back for recalibration.
Eternal MWL 1.2
Effective 29 April 2019.
Changes from Eternal MWL 1.1 appear in bold. Removals from the list are denoted via
|Removed – Corp||Removed – Runner|
|24/7 News Cycle||Aaron Marrón|
|Friends in High Places||Bloo Moose|
|Salvaged Vanadis Armory|
|Watch the World Burn|