The Four Corps you Meet in Netrunner by erinrockabitch

The Four Corp Decks You Meet in Netrunner

Glacier, Fast Advance, Kill, and Rush. Every corp deck you play against is one of these or else they don’t have a plan. Let me explain.

The reason why there are such strong categories of corp decks (and not runner decks) and the reason why I say that decks that don’t fall into one of these categories don’t have a plan is due to a phenomenon known as the 3 stages of Netrunner. Some of you may have heard of this before but for those who haven’t it works like this. In stage 1 the corp doesn’t have rezzed ICE protecting servers. This is simply where the game begins and generally favours the runner. In stage 2 the corp has rezzed ICE protecting centrals and/or remotes, but the runner doesn’t have the requisite breakers to get in. This is where the game swings to the corp’s favour and they are best able to score agendas. Finally, stage 3 is where the corp has rezzed ICE, but the runner also has a full rig of breakers (whatever that looks like to the runner). Here favour has swung back to the runner and it becomes a simple matter of math to determine whether or not a runner can access a server.

Because Stage 3 favours the runner, corp decks need to plan for that eventuality. And the abilities of the cardpool in netrunner means that the strategies for dealing fall into 4 categories.

So how do the different corps deal with this late-game scenario where their defences don’t matter? I’ll go into a little detail about each strategy, how they function, and key cards,.



Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future

Agenda (9)

3x Accelerated Beta Test

2x Global Food Initiative   ••

3x NAPD Contract ☆☆☆

1x Project Vitruvius

Asset (9)

3x Adonis Campaign

3x Eve Campaign

3x Jackson Howard   •••

Upgrade (9)

3x Ash 2X3ZB9CY

3x Breaker Bay Grid

2x Caprice Nisei   ••••• •••

1x Cyberdex Virus Suite

Operation (5)

2x Archived Memories

3x Hedge Fund

Barrier (3)

3x Eli 1.0 ☆☆☆

Code Gate (6)

3x Enigma

1x Tollbooth   ••

2x Turing

Sentry (8)

3x Architect ☆☆☆

3x Ichi 1.0

2x Ichi 2.0


First up is Glacier. A glacier deck beats stage 3 runners by making it prohibitively expensive to run servers every turn. This way a simple credit count will tell you if an agenda is safe in your scoring remote. Glacier decks accomplish this through 2 main factors: taxing ICE, and upgrades.

Taxing ICE is simple; it’s ICE that costs the runner a lot to break. If the corp stacks 3 pieces of ICE that cost 3c a piece to break, then it costs the runner 9c to get in the server. Most runners can’t generate 9c and still have clicks left over to run in the same turn. The runner’s ability to check the server is limited and the corp will have a window to score whenever the runner is below 9c, for example. Often this ice will trade hard end the run subroutines in exchange for strength and number of subroutines.

The second main tool is path multipliers or defensive upgrades. These are upgrades that require the runner to run through the server multiple times in order to access. Think of upgrades like Ash 2X3ZB9CY, or Old Hollywood Grid. Both of these upgrades can prevent the runner from stealing agendas (even though they might be trashed during the run!) Combine these with the taxing ice from before and suddenly a 9c server costs 18c, or even 27c to get through!


Fast Advance

Worlds 2014 #1 Seed – Broke A$$ Shite

Near-Earth Hub: Broadcast Center


Agenda (11)

3x AstroScript Pilot Program ☆☆☆

2x Breaking News

3x NAPD Contract ☆☆☆

3x Project Beale

Asset (9)

3x Jackson Howard

3x Marked Accounts

3x PAD Campaign

Upgrade (3)

3x SanSan City Grid ☆☆☆

Operation (10)

2x Biotic Labor   ••••• •••

2x Fast Track

3x Hedge Fund

3x Sweeps Week

Barrier (5)

3x Eli 1.0 ☆☆☆ •••

2x Wraparound

Code Gate (8)

3x Pop-up Window

3x Quandary

2x Tollbooth

Sentry (3)

3x Architect ☆☆☆ ••••• •


Fast advance takes a different approach to scoring agendas than glacier. Glacier decks leave their agendas in remotes for a turn, confident that the runner doesn’t have the resources to successfully run the server multiple times. Instead, Fast Advance concentrates on scoring agendas in the same turn they install them. The runner never even has a chance to make a run to steal them from a remote!

First up are the fast advance tools. Most agendas can’t be installed and scored in the same turn, so Fast Advance decks rely on tricks to accomplish this. Here we see cards like Biotic Labour, which gives the extra clicks necessary to install and score a 3 cost agenda, and cards like Sansan City Grid which reduce the number of clicks needed to score agendas. Through combinations of these types of effects Fast Advance decks can easily get to seven points without having to worry about agendas being stolen from remotes.


These extra tools required to score agendas reduce the deck space available to Fast Advance decks. Luckily since Fast Advance don’t care about protecting remote servers, they are able to only worry about icing centrals, which in practice means they tend to run less ice. The ice they do run tends to be a mix of simple end the runs (to enable rushing) and taxing ICE with punishing subroutines (to protect central servers)




Jinteki 15.5 (Chirs Hinkes’ 2014 Cambridge Regional Winner)

Jinteki: Personal Evolution

Agenda (12)

3x Fetal AI

3x Gila Hands Arcology

3x House of Knives

1x Philotic Entanglement

2x The Future Perfect

Asset (18)

3x Cerebral Overwriter   ••••• •

3x Jackson Howard   •••

3x Psychic Field

3x Ronin

1x Shi.Kyū

3x Snare!

2x Zaibatsu Loyalty

Operation (11)

2x Diversified Portfolio

3x Hedge Fund

3x Mushin No Shin

2x Neural EMP

1x Scorched Earth   ••••

Barrier (2)

2x Eli 1.0 ☆☆ ••

Code Gate (3)

3x Yagura

Sentry (3)

3x Pup


Where the other 3 types of corp decks worry about how to score agendas against late game runners, Kill decks don’t worry about scoring agendas as much, and sometimes not at all. Instead they force the runner to play a different type of netrunner altogether. Since all runners start with a handsize of 5 most Kill decks will focus on how to do more than the runner’s max hand size worth of damage in one turn, though strong Kill decks are often capable of much more!

First of all let’s talk about the damage cards. Damage cards broadly fall into two types, passive and active. Passive are cards like Snare! or Shock! that do damage when the runner accesses them. These effects are often active even in R&D, HQ or Archives. So these passive damage effects act as defenses for central servers. Kill decks are also the decks where you’re most likely to see ambushes, especially like Project Junebug or Cerebral Overwriter. The active damage are cards that corp can use to cause damage irrespective of whether or not the runner accesses a specific card. The corp uses these to capitalize on turns where the runner ends with only a few cards in hand.

Kill decks also tend to run the least ice of any of the types of corp decks. This is largely because of the inherent defense of passive damage (or the threat of active damage). But don’t think runner’s ICE breakers don’t matter. The few pieces of ice these decks do run are often damage oriented to further give the runner the opportunity to slip up and leave themselves in a positioned to be flatlined.




GRNDL: Power Unleashed

Agenda (10)

1x Eden Fragment

1x Geothermal Fracking

1x Government Contracts

3x Hostile Takeover

1x Priority Requisition

3x Project Atlas

Asset (4)

3x Jackson Howard   •••

1x The Root

Upgrade (3)

3x Will-o’-the-Wisp

Operation (15)

3x Hedge Fund

3x Interns

3x Power Shutdown

3x Restructure

1x Subliminal Messaging

2x Targeted Marketing   ••

Barrier (13)

2x Bastion

1x Hadrian’s Wall

3x Ice Wall

2x Paper Wall

3x Wall of Static

2x Wraparound   ••

Sentry (4)

2x Archer

1x Grim

1x Ichi 2.0   •••


Rush is the least common/successful of the 4 types of corp decks. In fact it’s as much a playstyle as it is a deck strategy. In essence a rush deck wants to accelerate the game to stage 2 (where the corp has rezzed ICE but the runner doesn’t have the breakers they need to get in) and then stay there as long as possible. The acceleration is achieved through burst econ and the staying there is achieved by trashing the runner’s key breakers.

The first half of the equation is acceleration. Operation economy for its burst of credits, and agendas that provide credits too. Often times this economy will be at the expense of long term economic advantage (bad publicity especially), the corp is hoping that they are able to better leverage their credit gains before the runner can make effective use of these downsides. The ice itself is cheap and often focuses on hard end the run subroutines.


For the second half the corp is looking for means by which they can push the runner out of stage 3 and back into stage 2 by trashing key breakers. This is achieved either through hoping sentries with trash program subroutines fire, or other tricks like Will o’ the Wisp. Notice how cards like Power Shutdown, which trashes cards from R&D possibly giving up points, mimics the deck’s overall theme of giving some benefit to the runner hoping to make the better of the exchange.


So this is the part where I reveal that I lied to you. In addition to these four types there are also many hybrids of the four types. Hybrids are in fact the most common, and it behoves the corp to have multiple paths to victory. Glacier decks with a little Fast Advance to sneak out those last few points. Rush decks that can (and will!) Kill runners if they dare to keep up. In fact many corp decks are often forced to play different strategies or lose to certain runners. Kill decks have to look to score out against runners with plentiful damage protection. Glacier decks that need to rush against runners with an overwhelming late game. So the purpose of this article is not to pigeonhole everyone’s decks, but rather to help aspiring corps focus their strategies.

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