A History of Big MaxX

Sanjay 3561

A timeline of how Big MaxX won Worlds:

This write-up is an attempt to trace the influences and causality that lead to a MaxX deck with way cards more than the minimum deck size requires winning Worlds. Because of the nature of invention and inspiration, no such account can ever be complete. I welcome further scholarship on the topic.

Jan 2017: Andrej Gomizelj publishes a 102 card MaxX list. Andrej notes it as “waaaay more consistent and more competitively viable than I would have ever believed”.

Early 2017: Fantasy Flight creates the Cache Refresh format

May 2017: FightingWalloon organizes the first Cache Refresh online tournament. internet_potato signs up and gets second.

July 2017: internet_potato elects to play MaxX in the second online Cache Refresh tournament. Despite Levy AR Lab Access being a legal card, because of the rules of the format, he is not allowed to play it.

July? 2017: While testing his deck, internet_potato notes that he keeps running out of cards. His opponent on Jnet responds “dude, just add a bunch more cards”. He does just that.

September 2017: internet_potato is King of Swiss with his 63 card MaxX deck, comes 2nd in the Cache Refresh Tournament, and is unanimously voted “most interesting deck” by other tournament attendees, which include osclate, thebigunit3000, and me.

2017-2018: Cache Refresh tournaments continue and are rebranded SOCR (Stimhack Online Cache Refresh).

September 2018: internet_potato plays another 60+ MaxX deck in SOCR7. Remembering his list from SOCR2, I collaborate with osclate on a 99 card MaxX which does decently well (8th and 14th out of 77 participants).

Jan 2019: Inspired by my Cache Refresh list, and out of a desire to use my District 99 alt arts, I play a 99 card MaxX list at a GNK and go undefeated with it. I write an elaborate write-up on NetrunnerDB which get attention out of proportion to the significance of going undefeated with one side at a GNK.

2019: Korean player Muellette starts playing Big MaxX, inspired by my 99-card MaxX list.

Oct. 2019: Cliquil takes an 81 card MaxX deck to 24th place at Worlds.

Late 2019: The third rotation happens, removing Creation and Control from standard legality, and with it, Levy AR Lab Access.

Nov 2020: osclate and I collaborate on constructing a 99-card Big MaxX deck prior to Worlds 2020. I pilot it and go 5-2 on the day.

Jan 2021: I play 99 card MaxX in the Itinerant Pro-testers online tournament and finish 2nd after eliminating osclate from the cut. The decklist write-up cites Andrej's excellent analysis of Big MaxX fundamentals.

Early 2021: osclate's enthusiasm for big MaxX reinvigorated, she starts playing it on Jnet casual, tuning the list and making cuts from 99 cards.

~May 2021: thebigunit3000 plays Muellette on Jnet casual, and is impressed by their deck's ability to set up drip economy. Inspired by Muellette's deck and by internet_potato's deck from 2017, he starts exploring the archetype.

Mid-2021: As members of the testing group SnareBears, thebigunit3000 and osclate start discussing Big MaxX.

June 2021: With little time to prepare for a store championship, thebigunit3000 lends me his MaxX deck on osclate's recommendation. I add Wanton Destructions to the list. Though I end up having middling success, the event bolsters thebigunit3000's belief in the archetype as a credible threat.

Sept-Oct 2021: As members of the standard banlist testing team, osclate and thebigunit3000 continue to discuss big MaxX.

Oct. 2021: osclate publishes her final MaxX deck developed during the standard banlist testing process.

Oct-Nov 2021: osclate beats fellow SnareBear RotomAppliance with her MaxX list at a rate where RotomAppliance is forced to accept that it is good and starts to explore the list himself.

Oct-Nov 2021: RotomAppliance cuts osclate's list to a sensible 45 cards. The deck does much worse.

Oct-Nov 2021: RotomAppliance gradually adds cards back to the list until it is good again.

Nov 2021: RotomAppliance takes a 60-card MaxX deck to Worlds 2021. He eventually wins the tournament in a final with fellow SnareBear, and fellow big MaxX player thebigunit3000. The game is streamed with commentary by big MaxX pioneer Andrej Gomizelj.


  • I would like to express my gratitude to thebigunit3000, osclate, Muellette, internet_potato, and The SnareBears generally for answering my questions about their processes and influences and looking over my timeline.

  • I would like to thank osclate for lending me her MaxX deck so I could add a few Wanton Destructions to it and play it at Worlds.

  • I would also like to thank osclate for corping against me so I was able to get a single game of practice with the deck before playing it at Worlds. I went into last worlds with zero practice games and maybe this is results oriented thinking, but I think playing a single game of Netrunner with your deck seems better than playing none. Playing more than one seems kinda excessive though.

Afterword: why I wrote this article:

All my actual friends will tell you I’m an ambitious, goal-oriented, data-driven kind of guy. And I’ve aimed that dedication towards one Netrunner mission:

Be mentioned, in passing or better, on every Netrunner podcast.

Every one of my actions and interactions with the Netrunner community, with Netrunner tournaments, and with the game as a whole has been SOLELY driven by this goal.

My first step was to make a list of exactly what I needed to do to get mentioned by each podcast. For some, there’s really just one way to get on there. For others, there are multiple paths. As some examples, here are a few items from my list that I’ve already accomplished:

  • Kitchen Table Netrunner: Act nice to people and organize “new-player-friendly” online events (they don’t actually have to be new player friendly)

  • Slumscast: Join Stimslack, make “friendships”, make arbitrary deckbuilding choices in tournaments and arbitrary comments everywhere

  • Scoopscast: Create alter-ego as a Japanese home organization magnate and get Netflix special

  • The Shadow Net: Win APAC Continentals (seems like a lot of the guests have done this)/Enter a baking competition/Run for Canadian political office

  • Netrunner Quest: Adapt my prestige through strategic wins and losses so as to maximize the chances of reconnecting with my college friendly acquaintance CodeMarvelous after getting paired at a Netrunner tournament, and maintain a “friendship” from that point forward

Some items on my list have been a little tougher to cross off:

  • Full Immersion: Physically manifest in the Android universe

  • The Process: Meaningfully impact the Netrunner tournament meta/Get a Fite Nite team and challenge them/Have a spy infiltrate their organization

  • TheNochFünfzehnerMinuten: Erst muss ich Deutsch lernen, um sicher zu sein dass die deutschsprachigen Episoden mich noch nicht erwähnt haben. Danach werde ich kalkulieren ob ich eine höhere Chance habe im Podcast erwähnt zu werden entweder durch eine Freundschaft oder eine Feindschaft mit NWE, und dann diese Strategie aggressiv zu verfolgen.

  • Terminal7: Be a Netrunner card that doesn’t work as well as initial impressions might suggest

All in all, it’s been a bit of a grind.

But I thought, this Worlds, I would finally have an opportunity to cross out what has been quite a white whale for me: A Time Traveler’s Guide to Netrunner.

Time Traveler’s Guide, if you aren’t familiar with it, involves Netrunner historian Simon Moon doing in-depth analysis about the participants in the top cut of a World Championship. It’s delightful. The podcast has been a particularly frustrating target because it was so patently simple to identify how to get a mention, but quite challenging to actually do it.

I thought this would be my chance. After a quite successful Day 1 of Worlds, I found myself one tiebreaker round away from making the top cut.

And I let SimonMoon, and myself, down.

But part of being a type-A Machiavellian type means I always have a backup plan. And if I cannot distinguish myself as a historical subject worthy of Moon’s study, I can instead distinguish myself as a historian. If I produce scholarship of note in his field of research, he will be obligated to cite me.

Your move, Deakins.

P.S. It may be heartbreaking for some of my Netrunner "friends" to learn that all of our interactions have been insincere, and strictly designed toward me achieving a self-serving and egotistical vanity project. But that's about how it felt to get eliminated on Day 2 of Worlds, so by my calculus, the Netrunner community and I are even.

27 Nov 2021 anarchomushroom

Can o' Whupass has fucking nothing on this writeup.

27 Nov 2021 Council

Machiavelli did nothing wrong

Super cool write-up, super cool deck :)

27 Nov 2021 neuropantser

honestly got these vibes in your slumscast appearance. no ragrets

27 Nov 2021 bing005

Would love to a series of 'history' decks

27 Nov 2021 Sanjay

Another really great list to mention in the history of Big MaxX. Thanks to Mendax for pointing it out! From 2015!

27 Nov 2021 Cliquil

To be a part of this mighty company is an honour I doubt I shall top

27 Nov 2021 mendax

Fun fact - the first event I took big MaxX I forgot my printed decklists so had to write it by hand, which was fun

29 Nov 2021 Tamijo

I'm sure there's a podcast out there that just focuses on decks with lots of comments, so let this be a gift to you from me, for writing lots of words that I didn't read, but some that I did.

29 Nov 2021 lukifer

At the risk of tooting my own horn: been main-decking 60-90 MaxX for the last five years, including a regional win, and multiple SC top cuts :)

29 Nov 2021 Sanjay

@lukifer Thank you for tooting your own horn! It is most welcome. I know I was missing people with this write-up and I appreciate you making the historical record more complete.

29 Nov 2021 Sanjay

@Tamijo You got the crux of the write-up, so can't fault the strategy.

4 Dec 2021 valerian32

I came for curiosity, I stayed because of the drama. Pretty cool write-up < 3

4 Dec 2021 Sanjay

Since this won deck of the week, I did want to mention two EXTREMELY worthy decklists that didn't, such that future historians do not lose track of them:

  1. A 55-card Wu deck that did quite well at this Worlds
  2. Lewi, Laugh, Love
8 Dec 2021 Medhurstton

Awesome and interesting article. Great things you’ve always shared with us. Thanks. Just continue composing this kind of post. Target) MyBalanceNow

8 Dec 2021 scd

I'm sad to learn that we were never friends, but I do appreciate your honesty.

8 Dec 2021 Sanjay

@scd bit surprised telling an entire giant friend group that our friendship was a Machievellian ruse hasn't caused more ripples tbh.

8 Dec 2021 scd

My heart is rippled, Sanjay.

8 Dec 2021 @Bookkeeper

This tournament you organized in April 2020 helped promote the idea as well: alwaysberunning.net How Machiavellian of you, we thought you're doing this for the community!