Chessrunner (v2)

Earth Red 946

Through the fire of testing and teching various builds, 100% (and one 75%) tournament win rates and a win/loss score of 19 to 3 with this newest build, I present to you this second public iteration of my Chessrunner!


  • This is a tempo deck. Your main goal is to both be able to make strong reactive runs at short notice, and get your engine up so that you can maintain constant pressure as well as strong growth and longevity at the same time.
  • If you can, prioritize getting your board set up, but don't go overboard, you rarely are a turtle deck. And even when you are, you are just acting as though you where.
  • Your end game is mostly based on running and and playing the few floating cards out of your hand. Your early game is based on balancing drawing new cards and pressuring if possible.
  • If your meta is Swordsman heavy, see the last part of "Explaining my splash and other choices."
  • As your breaker base is light, you can also oftentimes consistently spend your Self-modifying Codes to get parts of your engine out (Scheherazade) and Pawn)

Basic notions and deeper points:

  • The main point and game plan of this deck is steady aggressive tempo-play. You should focus on maintaining a steady flow of cash and made runs when able. If you can't, set your rig up up until you see a possibility to continue steady runs, while analyzing the board to know when you can ignore being able to reactively run in favor of booming your own board.
    • If in matchups that just spike their icing out of your stable run range even with e3 Feedback Implants, you'll have to switch to calculated turtling and strike at right moments whenever you can. Thus, in situations like this server checking and R&D locking shouldn't be done lightheartedly. It won't be unbearable, but you just need to be more careful with your power counters.
    • If you have the game pace for it, and if you don't have empty servers to proc your engine on, two runs per turn is usually the optimal amount for you, if possible. This is to ensure that you can play the cards you draw when needed. (Thus, I chose the interfaces as your long term agenda stealing cards. As you'll be pushing for a steady flow of runs instead of single, more disastrous runs, they'll give you more bang for your buck than if using event runs. I run both interfaces due to the fact that I'll want to pressure both HQ and R&D, and keep their icing even.)
    • This is why most cards are cards you can play straight away. Early game, you want to be able to play most cards you draw to maintain constant growth and reactivity, and late game you want to have your deck mathematics built to the end result of most cards drawn with your draw engine wanting to be played.
    • That means, in general, that you should avoid making a lot of plays that cost you most of your game pace. When evaluating different plays, maintaining your tempo should be one of the factors you are taking into account. Should you Self-modifying Code for a panic button breaker, or use it to get your Pawn engine up to get the cash and card advantage flowing? If you can choose the latter, do it. Cumulating long-term efficiency amidst pressure is one of the building blocks of your actual gameflow.
  • This doesn't mean you couldn't or shouldn't also do risky plays flexibly and reactively when it is necessary. If you can catch the corp off guard, go for it. This is an inherent part of Netrunner and you shouldn't forget it, as long as you don't go overboard with wild runs all the time. Exile is playing chess, after all, not attending Fear Factor.
    • Keep in mind that your breaker suite gives a lot of freedom to catch corps when they try to get an agenda out. In general, I chose this breaker suite due to it's flexibility, speed, and not being forcibly reliant on heavy draws and repetitive tutoring (to add to that, all breakers being breakers that heavily require the recursion-oriented cards that Exile always wants to play, plus everything synergizing with e3 Feedback Implants is a godsend). If you have the cash, you most of the time have the option to roll out and get through with one (Overmind) alone, rig up or not... In general, AI-reliant and Self-modifying Code including decks tend to have fast reactive play setup times, and as expected that plays a big part in this decks foundation as well. You shouldn't be afraid of playing Overmind if you really need it, even if you don't have your Deep Red up yet. Having a breaker base that is both flexible and fast mitigates a lot of the clunkyness of both Exile and your bread and butter Pawn engine in my experience. D4v1d is there to soften otherwise disastrous match ups such as Blue Sun, and to otherwise soften the credit costs of your runs, since big strength ice would be a bit too costly otherwise. Cerberus "Lady" H1 is there to stabilize the cost-efficiency and longevity of your runs, when the game has gone on long enough for you to have more time to prepare for runs, and to be a fracter against Wraparound. This suite is built for a meta with barely no swordsman. Fell free to add a sentry breaker if need be.
  • Pawn + Scheherazade + Deep Red is your bread and butter. The reason I chose this economy is its continuous strength and longevity. It offers you top notch click-for-return ratios (albeit being limited to Exile), without the unstability of John Masanori (which I tested a lot, though).
    • At it's worst, Pawn is a sub-par ice trashing card (since getting rid of it will require trashing hosted ice,) which is okay, since you should usually be able to keep it on the right ice as long as you can balance the amount of runs you make each turn with your opponents ice basing and rez pace.
    • This is kind of obvious, but don't start fooling around with Pawns until you get your Deep Red. The only exceptions are against damage heavy decks, if you have to run or risk damage (losing important engine parts), and when you'd have to discard them otherwise at end of turn.
    • As other general rules of thumb, your first Self-modifying Code will usually burn up for your Scheherazade unless you really need that breaker. Also, don't go digging for your pawns like a madman, especially through natural draws. If you get a reasonable chance to burn your Self-modifying Codes for them, go for it, but don't go overboard. You should be able to manage without them. Usually you should only draw a few cards each turn and try to keep up your general tempo up.
    • Remember to actively reposition your Pawns when necessary. I can not stress this enough.

Explaining my splash and other choices:

  • I chose Tyson Observatory for consistency. I'm able to run one copy of every hardware I need as either a part of my core rig or as answers to certain decks, and still be able to get them consistently into play. This also saves me a lot of card slots and influence (adding up to being able to play D4v1d).
  • Levy AR to let me keep my game pace up in longer games, and to recover from too many successful trash programs and forced early damages.
  • I only play two Scavenges, since I can make use of it only after a certain point and before that it has the tendency to float. It was a tough call, but deck slots are hard to come by.
  • Modded synergizes with my pace of drawing and wanting to play things from my hand when I have my bread and butter up. It also lets me get an interface or reactive Overmind up for early runs without losing a lot of credits I could use for runs. I chose three of it over three of Dirty Laundry (due to card slot limitations) due to the fact that it beats laundry in early game efficiency by a small bit, and also lets me burn two cards from my hand with one click if I have to do heavy natural drawing.
  • Swordsman isn't currently very popular in my countries tournament meta, but if you need an answer for it, I'd say even Pipeline is okay, due to it not costing influence (that you need). If your meta, for example, is fast enough and not super trash heavy for you to not need Levy AR Lab Access, take it out. If you don't seem to be able to pull gamechanging Escher runs (I at least have won several games with it) you could take that out instead. If you aren't so worried about small numbers in your deck mathematics, you could of course, say, take out a credit giving card of your choice that you don't prefer.

Match ups:

  • Big ice deck match ups will break or be made with D4v1d.
  • For fast advances, Clot, special focus on pressuring, and being keen on being able to reactively run is key.
  • Against asset reliant decks, you should be keen on getting your engine up, so as you can both proc it and mitigate trash costs.
  • If you're facing a protected Blacklist, be sure you have enough power counters to run and trash it, otherwise you're bound to lose.
  • In case of weirder match ups where the corp can consistently outplay you, try to the corp on it's feet with pressure so that it won't have the resources to do what it wants whenever it wants without severe risks.

Tips for beginners and the like:

  • Your main focus should be learning how to keep up your game pace. You'll probably lose some games due to the fact that you've been too passive or aggressive with your runs, or due to not drawing and playing cards with a steady pace, instead solely focusing on hunting cards out of your deck with draws or clicking money turn after turn and only starting to draw cards when you already need to have the option for plays at hand.
  • Don't understand your bread and butter? You have a Pawn in your heap, and a Pawn in play, plus Deep Red and Scheherazade. You make a successful run, and Pawn is installed on the innermost ice, so it trashes itself and installs the Pawn in your heap. You install it on to Scheherazade, and then move it immediately due to Deep Red. This nets you a card from Exile: Streethawk ability, and a credit from installing onto Scheherazade per each Pawn proc. As the procs happen one at a time, you only need to have a single Pawn in your heap at any given time.
  • Don't be afraid to use your Clone Chips to get lost Pawns back if need be. Also remember that you can use Clone Chips (even on your opponents turn) to save you from from flatline losses, such as against Scorched Earth decks, due to Exile: Streethawk drawing for you.
  • Until you learn this deck inside out and can analyze your hands by more than a few thumb rules, you should prioritize to have at least two of the following in a good starting hand:

And once you get a bit better, you can also try

Anything I forgot to add in these notes? Drop a comment below! I'd love to hear feedback and ideas. Thanks for reading, and I hope you like this deck. :)

19 Sep 2015 FarCryFromHuman

Have you tried testing DaVinci in this deck? It seems like a natural fit, as it also triggers Scheherazade and lets you install a Pawn mid-run if you really have to. You could even DaVinci onto Scheherazade, start a run, use DV to play a Self-modifying Code out of hand onto Sch, use it to play a breaker onto Sch. Seems like there are all manner of tricks you could pull off.

19 Sep 2015 Earth Red

@FarCryFromHuman I've thought about it, and you're right that it'd be a really strong tool for really surprising and wacky plays. As I see it, it'd be quite strong early game, but after a certain point it'd be a pure dead draw. In a very heavily early game oriented meta I could see one playing it and being happy about it, but as it is I've been content with my early game strength. Good point, though, thanks for bringing it up! If only we had more deck slots. :D

19 Sep 2015 x3r0h0ur

I never thought of this before, but technical writer is going to make this deck....insane.

19 Sep 2015 Earth Red

@x3r0h0ur If only D&D still wasn't "On the boat". :D

19 Sep 2015 Earth Red

@x3r0h0ur If only we had D&D already. :D

23 Sep 2015 Romain

Nice deck. Would Bookmark be a good replacement for Plascrete Carapace since you may be drawing a lot at times?

23 Sep 2015 Dreadreaper

I just want you to know that I created an account just to tell you how amazing this deck is. It is the most fun I've had playing netrunner. Why? The synergy in this deck is off the charts, and that brings a warm fuzzy feeling with it. I feel like every card in the deck works buttery smooth with every other card.

The only changes I made were as follows: -1 Escher -1 Feedback filter +1 dirty laundry +1 scavenge I'm on the fence on levy. Will likely replace daily casts with technical writers. Again, the synergy there is off the charts.

Thank you for this deck.

23 Sep 2015 Earth Red

@Romain Thanks :) I've thought about Bookmark, it's okay, but as a one off it's effect being of use (saving Levy AR Lab Access or the like for later et cetera) is quite random and since it's a pure anti-meat tool Plascrete Carapace gives you a bit more value, and in some rare turtly situations also lets you survive three scorches if you have your Clone Chips out. Both have their random uses, so use whichever you prefer at whim. I tend to like the stability of Plascrete Carapace, but will probably test Bookmark to a larger extent soon.

@Dreadreaper Great to hear you like my deck, thanks :) I'm the kind of guy who prefers synergy-heavy decks (probably why I like CoC LCG a lot too) so if you liked this one you'll probably like the other stuff I put out too, if only I had time to write the necessary articles for my decks. :D I'm interested in why did you take out Escher, any particular reasoning behind it or you just don't like the card? And why the extra Scavenge, don't you feel you're unnecessarily floating them in hand some times? Or did you feel you didn't draw it often enough? I assume you took out the Feedback Filter because you don't have a lot of heavy net damage decks in your local meta? A one off of Levy AR Lab Access is essential if you're attending a tournament with any slower decks at all. You can be outplayed too easily by trashing pawns and cards like Caprice Nisei (the corp can turtle out your breaker counters to zero pretty fast with our old friend there) if you don't have the ultimate recursion it brings. But if in a pure FA meta, then you should definitely take it out.

24 Sep 2015 Dreadreaper

@Earth Red Is the CoC LCG any good? I thought about trying it out. I was really hoping they would reboot it with a Core Set 2.0, but looks like its done.

I really really like the extra Scavenge. You mentioned they are not very good early, but I use them early all the time. One of the main plays I do is Scavenge my first pawn into the SMC in my yard to get the second Pawn, usually netting a credit off Scheherazade.

To be honest I didn't try Escher, but I feel that a Dirty Laundry is more universally helpful to keep my tempo going. In theory its good to remove nasty ice like Turing and Swordsman, but it just seems more situation to me.

You are correct on Feedback Filter. I'm keeping the Levy, because you're right that it is needed against long glacier slogs.

By the way, I tested Technical Writer today and it is INSANE. By turn 3 it had 8 counters. Infinitely better than Daily Casts. Having 2 out with the Chess combo gets pretty unfair pretty quickly.

24 Sep 2015 Earth Red

I'm thinking about how to add Technical Writers. Should I publish a new deck, or just add a clause for it in the beginning of my deck description, suggesting what to remove?

@Dreadreaper I consider it probably the best LCG out there for deckbuilders (though I'm the Finnish champion of it thanks to our nationals a while back.) It has a good community but if you want FFG supported tounaments it's dead. Luckily they said they'll keep all cards in print.

Good for you if the Scavenge works for you! That's a good way to use floating Scavenges if needed. I've been able to pull off a lot of game winning plays with Escher. Substituting big ice with small ice wins games, and substituting important ice with unrezzed ice from unnecessary servers is a real pain.

I've been testing out Technical Writers a good bit. It's crazy, and I'll be playing three of it once I get my hands on it. I tend to lean on removing Dirty Laundry, since up to the point when I have my engine up Daily Casts nets me more and is safer. But it's up to ones own preferences, in my opinion.

1 Oct 2015 Earth Red

@FarCryFromHuman @x3r0h0ur @Romain @Dreadreaper Here we go. All hail our lord and savior Technical Writer, I made a new version with an updated guide as well. :)