[Startup] Nuclear Submarine

cocoro 114

Captain Padma Isbister removed her digital mask as she climbed aboard the Endurance, clutching a freshly purchased burner satellite VoicePAD. She was preparing for the most important voyage of her career, bringing heavy machinery and the wrath of the sea directly to bear against the deepwater data-pipelines of the mega-polluters who were ruining her research along with the environment.

Government grants had dried up once the Weyland Consortium bought off regulators, but Padma was used to the hard work and hustle that came with running an independent lab. Her team was ostensibly funded via remote work in the "gig economy", though stolen secrets are worth a hefty price to interested parties and surely the crypto-casinos wouldn't notice a few fixed wagers.

Together with a crew of impassioned postdocs and an ocean of energy drinks, Padma had rigged up a nuclear turbine-powered submarine aboard her ship. As she sat down at the sub's helm and activated her WAKE Implant, dive calculations, topographic maps, and countless other preparations came surging back to her— she was ready to thread the needle on her longest descent to date. Ready to taste the raw datastream and drink deep.

Game Plan

This is the runner deck I've been having the most fun and success with early in the new Parhelion Startup rotation. The rest of this write up has mostly served as notes to myself, as a newer player. The general game plan is to set up a super efficient rig that is capable of looking deeply into R&D to find agendas before the corp can draw into them.

Early game, we're looking for money and card draw to set up our rig (boat + breakers + turbine). We'll need about 20 credits of value to get fully set up, so early money is key. We want to put some early pressure on the corp without overextending ourselves, forcing them to rez ice that we'll be able to safely break or face check. We can then transition into playing control while we get the rest of our rig set up, locking down the remote to discourage scoring while building up our engine. Finally, we can transition into running centrals. Preventing the opponent from scoring out means that agenda density in centrals has been building all game. Conduit lets us use brute force to lock down their deck and Deep Dive lets us get surgical about extracting the winning agendas.

Win Conditions


This card is devastating and demands a response from the corporation or they'll get deeply R&D locked. Install this on turns that you're going to use it, because this will make your opponent want to protect R&D even more than they already do against Padma. With our efficient breaker suite, we can often afford to run multiple times per turn and fork the corp between purging or letting us access handfuls of cards off their deck next turn. We can tutor and install this with Into the Depths. It will even get an immediate virus counter if we ran against R&D, as Conduit is triggered when a successful run ends, even if it wasn't active to see the run declared successful (cf. CR v22.12 9.6.5.b-c).

Deep Dive

Between Endurance counters and turbo-boosted breakers, our opponent cannot sufficiently protect a scoring remote and all three centrals. Deep Dive is excellent at closing out late games where single accesses are expensive, letting us see oodles of cards from just 3 runs. Alternatively, an early dive on under-protected centrals can be a huge head start. In match-ups where multi-access is dangerous (eg. Jinteki's Snare!), Deep Dive lets us set aside 8 cards but only access 1, so we can skip over the dangerous cards.

WAKE Implant v2A-JRJ

We won't see this every game as it's a single include for influence reasons, but when we do, it provides a ton of extra accesses and might be the best charge target in the deck. Running HQ will place a power counter onto the implant, which will let us charge it with our ID ability when running R&D, netting us two extra accesses while leaving us two clicks for archives and Deep Dive. WAKE Implant lets us clear HQ while building non-purgeable value towards establishing R&D lock.

Pinhole Threading and No Free Lunch

Winning the game is also conditioned on not losing the game first. Both of these cards help deal with some of the nastier tricks that corps have up their sleeves right now. NFL will keep you safe from a surprise End of the Line. On the other hand, Pinhole can let you deal with dangerous assets like Dr. Vientiane Keeling or taxing defensive upgrades.

Credit & Card Economy

3x Dr. Nuka Vrolyck: Slightly more efficient than Diesel but slower to pay out. The two complement each other well and I call this draw engine Nuka-Cola. Dr. Vrolyck makes a great charge target, but don't be too afraid to use the first one up when there are 2 others and 3 Diesel in the list.

3x Rigging Up: When we use this to install a program (except Paricia), it's similar value to a Dirty Laundry: 3 and a on an action we generally want to do anyway. And it's even better when we use it to install Endurance, which gets an extra power counter, worth 1 itself, giving us the value of a Sure Gamble that also installs a card.

3x Into the Depths: This card does double duty, allowing us to tutor for programs and/or refund the credits/power counters used to successfully run the server. Our efficient breakers usually make this a winning proposition for us.

3x Telework Contract: Fairly click inefficient; 9 over 4 clicks makes this just better than clicking for 2. However, Telework is very efficient for the card slots at 8 profit each. In addition, this can be played from low credit count to recover relatively quickly.

1x Prepaid VoicePAD: This shines when found early, where it can be one of the better single economy cards in the list. This pays out 1 credit most turns but needs at least 3 turns to break even (2 for the credits paid, 1 for the click to install). While the credit is recurring, the event cards are not, so this is capped at a theoretical 15 of value for us.

1x Paricia: You'll pay more than 0 credits trashing assets in almost every game of Netrunner. Useful tech for asset spam matchups like NEH, where trash costs can tax out the economy we need to get set up and make runs on centrals. Fits neatly in the boat's 6 total along side 3x icebreakers and 1-2x Turbine / 1x Conduit. The more assets we trash off the deck, the deeper we can look into R&D with our multi-access tools. Be aware that Paricia can only be spent on asset trash costs so you cannot use this on upgrades like SanSan City Grid or Manegarm Skunkworks.

3x Endurance: The boat is effectively an economy card because it generates free breaks from runs and charge triggers. We can use this to break sentries or high strength ice and save our credits for our efficient breakers. In this list, I value each power counter as a single credit of value because we often use the boat as a replacement for Mimic. We can use the flexibility of the boat to pressure early and get set up with Into the Depths.

Captain Padma Isbister: Intrepid Explorer: Our ID ability can translate into cards via Nuka, accesses via WAKE Implant v2A-JRJ, or broken subroutines which saves us credits via Endurance. All good things, but our options are limited by which charge targets we've actually got installed with a counter already.

2x K2CP Turbine: Normally breaker strength resets during each encounter, but the turbine pre-boosts every single breaker on every single encounter. This can be worth up to 6 per encounter, which is incredible value. We usually only want to install one of these, opting to rely on our boat to break the largest ice, but our double turbo-charged breakers are obscenely powerful and will let us get into very secure servers over and over.

Breaker Suite

All of our icebreakers are notable for breaking subs efficiently but being either inefficient at or incapable of boosting strength by paying credits. Instead, we leverage K2CP Turbine to boost for us and we can efficiently break almost every ice in the format. Given a base strength of 3 for all breakers, we don't need to sweat the small stuff, and it's easier to think about which ice we'll need a turbine (or two) in order to efficiently break. For reference, we'll list each below along with the cost to break.


Breaks two barrier subs for a single credit. Turbine adds up to 4 worth of strength on every encounter.

At base strength, Cleaver interfaces with 8 barriers.

Turbo-charged to 5 strength, this interfaces with:

Double turbo-charged to 7 strength, Cleaver breaks Brân 1.0 for 2.

A triple advanced Pharos is the only ice in the format that cannot be efficiently broken on double Turbine. However, two boat counters and a tag is a pretty good deal for a board state your opponent has invested four clicks and ten credits into.


Breaks two code gate subs for 1. Turbine adds up to 6(!!) of strength each encounter.

At base strength, Buzzsaw interfaces with 9 code gates.

Turbo-charged to 5 strength, this interfaces with:

There are no code gates in format with a strength greater than 5.


Despite breaking a sub for a respectable single credit, this is by far our worst icebreaker. We're often better off using our boat to break sentries and saving our credits for our ultra-efficient fracter and decoder. Mimic is also our only truly fixed strength breaker, which removes the optionality of paying our way out of a bad face check. Thankfully, there are only 4-5 sentries in the format that mimic cannot break on its own.

At base strength, Mimic interfaces with 9 sentries

Turbo-charged to 5 strength, this interfaces with:

Double turbo-charged to 7 strength, this interfaces with:


There are few very popular corporation IDs in format right now that are boasting very high win rates on the jNet casual lobbies. We have a pretty good match up into most of them, so we'll go over some things to keep in mind below.

NBN: Reality Plus

Your opponent is running R+ because they intend to give you some tags, so be prepared. Keep your NFLs on the table for safety. Don't run last click into unknown ice, or you might get Pinged. Save your Pinhole to deal with Drago Ivanov. Hold at least 4 cards in hand to force a double End of the Line. If you must drop below 4 cards, make sure you have at least 8 credits for Public Trail and make sure the board is clear of unknown facedowns that could be Drago. While we might be able to break most ice for pennies, we can't avoid on encounter effects, so a Funhouse or Tollbooth on R&D can significantly slow down our game plan.

Thule Subsea: Safety Below

Thule's ID ability serves to slow down the game, and we don't mind playing control, but we need to play smart to avoid getting caught out by core damage. Always run with a and 2 left. Avoid taking core until you are confident you're about to close out the game, because even a couple core damage gives the Corp a very powerful fast advance strategy with Ontological Dependence. We want to contest Djupstad Grid in the remote whenever possible, saving pinhole threading for them. When accessing Nightmare Archive, consider if the negative point means you must steal an extra agenda to win and balance that against the risk of losing to fast advance. For example, if you're about to Deep Dive on 6 points and all the Élivágar Bifurcation are in the score areas, you can pretty safely take the negative point and know that you'll still win the game if you find an agenda. On the other hand if you were on 5 points, you might want to risk losing one of your Deep Dives to maintain game point.

Deep Dive is particularly awkward into Thule, basically guaranteeing a core damage, so we'll need to save it to the very end of the game. If we steal any agendas along the way we either need to pay a click (preventing us from completing the deep dive quest this turn) or we need to take a core and risk losing the event from hand. Only use Conduit or WAKE Implant counters when you have enough clicks to steal multiple agendas or if doing so would win you the game. Keep NFL on the table to hard counter Distributed Tracing.

Jinteki: Personal Evolution

Playing against Personal Evolution requires a very different mindset. Treat your stack and grip as your HP pool and be very careful about how you spend them. For example, Dirty Laundry is great value in most match ups but against PE it is worth so much more soaking up damage than the 3 it provides. You can lose the game against PE quite easily by running out of cards in your stack which locks you out of stealing even if you could have drawn enough to replace cards lost to damage. In the meantime draw up and check every face down card you reasonably can before the board state becomes unmanageable. Accessing the cards might hurt, but you definitely want to encounter Jinteki's tricks on your own terms rather than letting them advance their traps or fire multiple Reaper Function. Of particular note when clearing the board are Urtica Cipher which is 2 + 1 net for each advancement, and Snare! which is 3 net and a tag.

Save your Pinhole to deal with Dr. Vientiane Keeling who can very quickly reduce your handsize to dangerous levels. Many corps are running Nightmare Archive to replace the core damage lost by Cerebral Overwriter's rotation, so be cognizant about whether the negative point means you'll have to steal another agenda and remember that stealing costs 1 HP anyway. Be very careful with multi-access, as the damage can quickly add up.

Ob Superheavy Logistics: Extract. Export. Excel.

This is probably the worst match up for us in the current meta. I think it's still being perfected, but rig-shooter Ob is already an absolute menace for this list. Make sure you are holding onto backups of your programs, because recursion is much less convenient without Simulchip in format. Save your Into the Depths to tutor for backup programs that are buried in the stack. Reserve cards on the table to trash for Anvil: almost-empty Telework, late-game PPVP, Paricia, or Nuka. Bad Publicity is pure gas for us, take advantage of it for breakers and trash costs. Weyland has access to some of the highest strength ice in the game, including some that resist Turbine. It's dangerous to sit back let Weyland score even a couple agendas, be prepared for the consequences: Above the Law and Kimberlite Field can trash important cards off the board unexpectedly, while Azef Protocol will take two cards from our hand (or flatline us if we're not careful).


-Dr. Nuka Vrolyck, +Earthrise Hotel: The clickless draw off Earthrise is very tempting but install cost (3 fewer) and control over draw velocity are the two main factors for why we're on Dr. Vrolyck. There might be a case to be made for mixing these, say 2 Nuka and 1 Earthrise.

-Diesel, +Stoneship Chart Room: This variant trades draw efficiency for the flexibility of instant speed draw/charge. The instant draw can save you from getting flatlined in a pinch. The charge can translate to an extra access via WAKE Implant or open up an otherwise inaccessible server via Endurance. Charging Nuka is basically the same as drawing 2 + basic draw. (3 cards for 2). More cards on the table might be necessary depending on how much Anvil we see in the future.

+Test Run: Depending on how bad the rigshooting gets, this might become necessary tech to recur our out-of-faction breakers. It's extremely slow and expensive for that purpose, costing 3, a card, and a click to get one turn out of the program, then next turn we need a click to draw, a click to install, and we need to pay the full install cost again. We'd probably need to run Femme/Orca + Concerto to get the most out of it.

+Basilar Synthgland 2KVJ: Having an extra click means we can steal two agendas off a Deep Dive, and it means we can charge Conduit even further without interaction from the corp. However, 2 core begins to hurt without a way to increase hand size, and it's completely untenable into HB, who now have Ontological Dependence. The damage taken represents many draw actions lost and we'd probably need to dedicate 4 deck slots to reliably make use of this.

-Mimic, +Echelon: Once we're fully set up, both cards will be on 5 base strength, and Echelon even has a slight advantage by being boostable in an emergency. However, having fixed 3 strength means that with Mimic as our first breaker on the table we can be more aggressive and face check relatively safely for minimal investment. The two extra influence could be used in some interesting ways, see below.

+1 Pinhole Threading: This card is a counter to some of the most powerful threats in the format. In addition, being able to take down early iced-up economic assets like Regolith Mining License can let your early pressure really sting. Having three would significantly improve the odds that we have access to this ability when we need it.

+1 No Free Lunch: We like having one of these on the table for safety, having three means we're more likely to find them early. If we have extras then it becomes more feasible to pop them for 3 credits, use them to run through a Funhouse, or sacrifice them to Anvil.

+1 WAKE Implant v2A-JRJ: This card feels so good in Padma, and we don't always get to see it. Adding another would make this significantly more likely to see play, but we'd need to drop a Pinhole Threading or NFL to get the third influence. There are some popular matchups where multi-access is a liability, such as PE and Thule, so spending 6 influence and cutting tech for a card that we can't always use is rough.

+1 Docklands Pass: We have tons of R&D access potential, but we're only accessing singles out of HQ. Docklands would let us more than double the value of our HQ runs (since the second card we access is guaranteed not to be the first, accessing two is better than running twice). This lets us sweep HQ much more effectively in the case where the corp has strongly protected R&D and a remote. However, we can only afford a single include, which means there will be games that we don't see this at all, and like with WAKE Implant, there are cases where multi-access is dangerous.

+Leech: This card takes less investment to get on the table than the Turbine, and enables a more aggressive early game. However, as games draw on and servers have multiple ice, we'd rather not get purged out and have our engine rely on having successful runs to make runs in the first place. In addition, we'd rather not give the corp additional reasons to purge out our very valuable Conduit counters.

30 Jan 2023 Diogene

Amazing write-up!

Did you consider Echelon instead of Mimic? You get the same strength, once all your breakers are installed, and you can boost its strength in case of facing something like Archer unexpectedly.

Thanks for sharing!

30 Jan 2023 cocoro

Thanks! Echelon seems super viable. I haven't tested extensively, but I like Mimic because it lets me be more aggressive with early face-checks if it's my first breaker. There's only 4-5 sentries Mimic can't break out of the gate and they're surprisingly easy to play around. Economy's not unlimited, and I usually want to funnel every extra credit into late game buzzsaw and cleaver. Spending a lot early on a bad face-check slows down the already expensive set-up.

I have a feeling the best version of this is on Echelon, I just couldn't figure out something better to do with the extra influence. In the variations sections I call out some ideas to experiment with, but none really excited me.