Test Run: Stimhack Power Rankings

By: Josh01

The esteemed content producers of the Android: Netrunner community have, for some time now, blessed us with honest articles, podcasts, and videos about everything from card reviews to tournament recaps with such consistency and detail that you may still be working to process when Sandburg’s time is actually coming. Those exhausted by the avant-garde works of Seedy Location, the underground illicit content of the [redacted]cast, or from repeatedly refreshing fetal.ai’s webpage in hopes the creator will return from tweeting images of the children’s show Arthur will be glad to know Stimhack is now producing an alternative form of content. Missing from the Android: Netrunner catalog of community content is an irresponsible use of a respectable platform to create content that is in no way thought-provoking to drive clicks. If you’ve been seeking an outlet for content tangentially related to Netrunner because the world champion giving you nuanced opinions about competitive Netrunner on a consistent basis in the form of a well produced podcast is a bit more than we asked for or deserve, we are here to cater to your vapid tendencies. We will be Test Running a column for such useless information in the form of Power Rankings, an original term we thought of ourselves. If you like it, we just may Scavenge it.

First, what I promise to be the most directly Netrunner related and thus least interesting list, is from author, deckbuilder, and player TheBigBoy. TheBigBoy started his blog shortly after the 2015 regional season, which is not coincidentally the height of player turnout in the USA. His crowning Netrunner achievement is being the only compelling link we have to player turnover. His list is first today only because I am certain if I opened with some of the others, there is simply no chance that you would not have closed this tab in your browser and filed a complaint about this content.

TheBigBoy’s Top 10 Most Powerful Corp Cards of All-Time Power Rankings

1. AstroScript Pilot Program

2. Breaking News

3. Global Food Initiative

4. Caprice Nisei

5. NBN: Controlling the Message

6. HB: Engineering the Future

7. Estelle Moon

8. Jackson Howard

9. Biotic Labor

10. Accelerated Diagnostics

I don’t doubt you have some thoughts about this list, but I’m going to refrain from commenting on it, because, frankly, that is way more talking about Netrunner than I am comfortable with in this column.

Next, from Inniscor, a San Diego Netrunner most famous for relentlessly complaining that Netrunner is dead is a list for both petty Netrunner argument connoisseurs and new players who are wondering why people are talking about playing 100 games of Stronger Together. For our newer readers, Gustavo and I have decided to take direct quotes or screenshots so navigating a Netrunner tournament involves less standing as two people recite inscrutable memes that, best you can tell, could not have ever been about anything important.

Top 8 Cards That Will Make You Say “What was Damon thinking?” and Then He’ll Tell You on Facebook Power Rankings

1. O2 Shortage

2. Desperado

3. Any card played for value
Damon was very strongly dismissed by the community for this take, but
to his credit, Worlds was won the very next year by Wilfy Horig using
value Biotic Labors to enable a value Reversed Accounts -> Bryan
Stinson play. Also prevalent at the tournament were multiple top 16
Potential Unleashed lists playing Neural EMP often exclusively for value.

4. Sifr
But it was a card that went through playtesting . . . and in the
second to last approvals meeting, someone decided that it needed to
be ‘sexified,’ and so they upped its power level a bit, and I have 
to say that I wish I had had the ability to fight back against that.
 - Damon Stone

5. Build Script 
Before your frustration with having two cards that do mostly worse
versions of Dan’s Deuces Wild brings you to a conclusion, consider
that if we had a Hardest People to Formally Communicate with Power 
Rankings, Dan, whose 2015 World Champion tournament report is still
being written (by ghostwriters), would perennially occupy the #1 spot.

6. Rigorous testing procedures
Honestly if you're going to go to a tournament. Anything [including] 
a store championship, you have to play your deck at least 100 times.
 - Damon Stone

7. Aaron Marron

8. Jackson Howard

As we continue down the stretch of increasingly less Netrunner related content, our next list, courtesy of SimonMoon, is about a television show I do not understand and would not recommend you, or anyone watch. It is his favorite show, Pretty Little Liars, which he insisted I watch an episode of.

In the pilot episode I watched, one of the girls commits shoplifting on screen and is caught on camera for an understandable crime and believable situation. “Just pay the fine,” I said casually. She’s brought to the station, where the situation appears to weirdly escalate. “Just pay the fine,” I repeated, confused this plot was continuing. Shortly after, I am subjected to a shot of her mother dragging the police detective upstairs as she makes stern, guilt inducing eye contact with her daughter. “JUST PAY THE FINE,” I screamed at my television, questioning why I’ve associated with or opened my column to someone who recommended this show to me.

Anyway, this column suits such quality of content, so I present a list by SimonMoon, whose Netrunner claim to fame is that he was cut from day 2 of Worlds 2017 despite having a record good enough to make the top 16 cut if he had a perfect second day. He was cut because he was far enough down the list that he did not fit on the first two pages of standings, which is what FFG considers conclusive day 2 material. Thus, unlike 15 of the top 16 players, he has not technically rightfully lost the tournament yet. His list and reflections will obviously be written entirely by him. His list is also descending because he thinks you care about the suspense of the reveal, when really, you didn’t know this show existed until just a moment ago.

Top 7 Decks Mona from Pretty Little Liars is Most Likely to Play Power Rankings

Spoilers incoming, but Mona is definitively the best character in Pretty Little Liars (one of two characters to be a ghost at some point, and one of 30 characters to be apparently murdered and still be alive). She is smart, funny and every time she showed up on the screen it would remind me why I’ve actually seen 6 seasons of this show. She’s also one of many people to be A at some point and is far the best at it, torturing the Liars for all the things they should be guilty for. Also, her outfits are pretty good. It is a travesty that Lucy Hale has to be in Truth or Dare while Janel Parrish remains an underutilized piece on this long running sitcom.

7. Cambridge PE 
A master of mind games and a lover of winning, Mona would be 
immediately drawn to the one Mushin deck to ever accomplish anything.
However, after realizing that the strategy for mushin is to just 
Mushin whatever card happens to be in your hand she would be less 
enthused. When Minh Tran installed a FBF and won on the spot she 
would give it up entirely.

6. IG54 
Definitely the deck with the highest ratio of actual play time to
created misery, there is no way Mona would pass this up. On top of 
that, there is no deck that more soundly beat people who didn’t have
a plan than this deck. However, despite the pubstomping tear inducing
qualities, it failed to beat the best players on the best deck at 
the time, and for that Mona would not forgive it.

5. 2016 Controlling the Message 
It won Worlds. Breaking News Exchange for Global Food is an 
undeniably cruel play. It caused people to whine about a card that
cost 2 to trash and could not be protected by ICE. It has 5 of Abram’s
top 10 Corp cards of all time. Why isn’t it higher? Like all 
intelligent people Mona recognizes that even a single copy of
Astroscript Pilot Program has zero place in a competitive game.

4. Replicating Perfection 
Another worlds winner, and you may be forgiven if you’ve forgotten
how much people whined about this. At the time it won you could just
get money and install Ice forever until the runner was locked out,
and your Agendas meant you were extremely strong against random 
access plans. Mona would not tell her opponents that she was going
to bid 1, forget about it, and then bid 1 against them.

3. Andysucker 
The best deck in Netrunner for the longest period of time of any deck.
Two time Worlds winner. Low variance. Siphon OG NPE. What’s not to 
love? Also Andromeda is badass woman that dresses sharply, just like
Mona.

2. Comrades PU 
After 3 straight decks that won worlds, how can a deck that failed to 
do so possibly rate this high? It was both extremely good and 
extremely cruel. If you did not bring tech cards of some sort your 
win rate was in the single digits against an opponent who could sit 
there taking 3 and doing nothing until they drew Shipment from Tennin
10 turns later, and you had no choice but to slowly impale yourself 
on net damage and hope they drew all their agendas without drawing
Whampoa. Mona also would have stolen Wilfy’s decklist and crossed
out Feedback Filter and would currently be our world champion.

1. DLR Val 
I do not think there is a deck that punishes misplays more than DLR. 
At the very top level of the Netrunner, games involving DLR are 
extremely tense tight affairs with lots of lines of play that are 
very close. As soon as you make a mistake you’re suddenly counting
cards in RnD and realizing it is impossible to win or trash DLR 
before the Runner mills 25 cards and you have to sit there while your
whole deck goes into the bin. Its strong, hard to play, crushes the
field and caused an inordinate amount of complaining, whining and
misery.

To close today’s column, we have a list from Grogboxer, most well known in Netrunner for having the record of most consecutive cuts made in Netrunner swag tournaments. Now, you have stuck with this useless column this long, so please do not close the browser when I inform you that this next list is about the NBA. The NBA playoffs are very near, and if you’re looking for just a little bit of ammunition to saunter over to the water cooler to astound your coworkers with knowledge that seems pretty on point, even though you are just speaking about the Washington Wizards precisely as if they were an Adam deck, then I can guarantee this column is the only assistance you’ll receive. Alternatively, if you just want some quick context on NBA teams, I’m breaking Grogboxer’s list down in Netrunner terms which is definitely faster than googling them yourself.

Top 8 NBA Teams Power Rankings

1. Houston Rockets, or L4J
The Houston Rockets unsurprisingly take #1 on Grogboxer’s list for a
few reasons - James Harden, likely NBA MVP shoo-in this year, they 
have the best record in the NBA, and they take a preposterous number 
of 3-pointers (the most effective way to score in the modern NBA) 
courtesy of reigning Coach of the Year Mike D’Antoni. It’s hard to 
doubt them looking like this, but consider that at the end of last 
NBA season, they appeared to be playing their own incredible brand of
3-point raining, high flying offense led by Harden on a season he
finished 2nd in MVP voting. Harden notoriously disappeared when the 
Rockets needed him most in a series against the San Antonio Spurs, 
leading critics to question his ability to win in the playoffs. Since 
then, Houston has added another future Hall of Fame guard, Chris Paul, 
and become the winningest team in the league, but Paul has had his 
share of criticism of his ability to deliver in the playoffs as well.

The Rockets are L4J, a Steven Wooley deck based on making hard-hitting 
runs for low cost with cards that were all removed from the Core Set 
for being too good. L4J was comfortably beating everything when set 
up, but it had potent opposition from a fully potent NEH and 
sometimes RP, which would often win while it was desperately trying 
to beat a gear check. None of us will doubt the efficiency of 
Yogsucker and 3 recurring credits, but when those breakers aren’t 
showing up, you might be questioning why you didn’t just bring Prepaid 
Kate like everyone else.

2. Golden State Warriors - DLR Val
Golden State has won two of the last three NBA championships. They 
have multiple MVPs (Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant) playing in their prime 
and four All-Stars on the starting roster. This combination of 
undeniable power has been leading critics to challenge how it’s 
possible so much talent could accrue in one faction. It’s true that 
DLR seems to be uniquely powerful on its own, but how - how did someone 
decide it was okay to print Wireless Net Pavilion in its current state, 
increasing the trash cost of DLR, Fall Guy, and the rest of this engine 
to 8 credits? This ridiculous engine helmed by two MVP cards so good 
they needed to be banned (Faust, Blackmail), is enough to make anyone 
cry MWL. As of late, Golden State has become a NBA villain for their 
continued winning and negative player experience.

3. Toronto Raptors - Canada
The Raptors currently boast the 3rd best record in the NBA and will 
likely be 1st seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs. 
Demar DeRozan is coming into his own as an NBA superstar, but they have 
previously been in the position of promising much and delivering little 
in the Eastern Conference, where King James has ruled for seven 
consecutive years. The Raptors are better than ever this year, but 
just like Canada in the Netrunner universe, you and I both know that 
they will not win it all. They’re Canada.

4. Boston Celtics - Geist
The Celtics, who finished 1st in the Eastern Conference last year, 
are most well defined by having a number of players who aren’t much 
on their own led by a couple legitimate All-Stars and one aspiring 
coach who seems to be able to get the most out of all of them. This 
has been their identity for some time now, though, which has never 
amounted to more than impressing fans in the regular season only to 
be anticlimactically ousted in the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers. 
Every once in a while, you come back to them, thinking they might 
really be the best deck out there, and you find the most efficient 
way to make use of your cards that don’t pull their weight in isolation, 
but even Geist can’t unify them enough to get by that one problem that 
holds them back from being the best deck. Finally, with rotation, it 
looked like the Corporations may be weak enough for Geist to make a 
run at it and come out on top, but the crucial Levy AR Access Lab 
was restricted and the new flavor became continuous replaying of 
Scarcity of Resources and Death and Taxes. The Celtics’ best player, 
Kyrie Irving, most well known for a commercial series where he 
basically smurfs on jinteki.net casual with his main decks is 
currently injured, as is All-Star Gordon Hayward. Maybe Kyrie will 
come back in the playoffs and Geist will finally be the best deck. 
Not really, though. There will just be a different reason why we 
bring Valencia.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder - New NBN: Controlling the Message
Reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook teamed up with perennial All-Stars 
Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this year to replace the loss of former 
MVP Kevin Durant and make a serious run at a championship. Westbrook 
(Commercial Bankers Union) continues to produce good numbers in 
volume, and George (Architect) is a great addition, but Breaking News, 
Sensie Actors Union, and SanSan City Grid are gone, and not coming 
back. Anthony (Daily Business Show) is able to give meager 
contributions at best. What was in hindsight a powerhouse is simply 
not good enough to contend for a championship anymore, at least not 
until we can shelve our Daily Business Shows for Sensie Actors Unions 
again.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers - Old NBN: Controlling the Message
The NBA is as topheavy as ever, and to compete with full powered 
Temujin Whizzard and Bloo Moose Andromeda decks, you need the 
resources of unrestricted Moons decks brimming with power assets. 
Alternatively, you could stare down the overwhelming Aaron Marron, 
Salsette Slums, 80 credit generating Temujin/Moose behemoths with a 
few powerful assets and rely on a single AstroScript Pilot Program 
(Lebron James), the most powerful card in Android: Netrunner history 
to carry you. Their decks are more powerful. The Cavs’ game plan 
cannot consistently beat theirs down the stretch. But, Cleveland has 
AstroScript Pilot Program, and on any given day, that can be enough 
to win it all.

7. Philadelphia 76ers - A virus deck
The 6ers, who have won their last 11 consecutive games, have some 
promising young players coming into their own (Embiid, Simmons), but 
are very young. They’re waiting for their Freedom moment. They will 
be good one day soon, but for now, you and they would be happy to see 
them win a series against any other team on this list.

8. San Antonio Spurs - Cerebral Imaging
The Spurs are a team that has been declared “too old” by critics for 
a long time. Year after year, they have continued to defy their critics, 
redefining themselves as their powerhouse cards become less powerful 
and having good finishes (7-pt Shutdown, Hasty, Stinson Glacier, 
Brain Rewiring, Moons CI). This year, though, their best player and 
MVP hopeful Kawhi Leonard (Violet Level Clearance) is declining to 
play despite reports that he has been medically cleared, leaving them 
with a handful of MWL’d cards that worked yesterday and are just 
enough to get them into the cut. I agree with Raj’s assessment. The 
Spurs are still good, but they are not competing with the best of 
what’s out there now, and if you want to pick a winner, you should 
look forward.

This concludes this Test Run of Stimhack Power Rankings. Like it? I’m surprised. Hated it? I’m certain you will let me know. Disagree? Continue the discussion and submit your own Power Rankings on the Stimhack forums, but be aware, these Power Rankings are official and we already published them, so you’re definitely wrong.

Continue the discussion at forum.stimhack.com