Resources for New Players

Moderators: dragonofid, Zetan, Littleteacher

Resources for New Players

Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Joined: 19 Jan 2013, 14:48

05 Sep 2016, 19:58 #1

Howdy and welcome to Netrunner!

Whether you're new to the game, getting back in after a hiatus, or looking to up your game, this page has a bunch of links and info so you can plug in to our awesome community.

Play Face to Face

The best way to learn Netrunner is face to face. We meet Tuesday nights and Saturdays at the store. Check this forum to see who will be there and come by and learn! Several of us are happy to play learning games, offer deckbuilding advice, etc.

In addition to events at Atomic, which will be listed in this forum, you can check out events at other local stores on the Triangle Netrunner google group

Learn to Play Events

Periodic learn to play events are designed to make it easy to jump into the game. Check Atomic's calendar to see if there are any scheduled or grab a few friends and email Elliott ( to schedule a time that works. As long as we've got at least a few people committed we'll get an event on the calendar.

Note: you don't need to own any cards to attend or schedule an event! The store has a demo copy of the core set and those of us who teach the game are happy to bring decks for everyone.

The Basics: Learning the Game

There are tons of great resources for learning out there. Here's a list of some recommended ones:

[*] Shut Up and Sit Down: Matt's First Game - Watch someone play a first game of Netrunner in Realtime.
[*] Fantasy Flight's official tutorial
[*] Reddit New Player Guide
[*] Beginner's FAQ on Reddit - Common misconceptions or overlooked rules

Next Steps: Deckbuilding

Deckbuilding is super fun, but it's often hard to learn the game and learn deckbuilding at the same time. Personally I recommend picking a deck or deck type constructed by someone else, and playing that a lot before diving into building your own. Also, getting deckbuilding advice from more experienced players at Atomic can be super helpful.

Either way, there's a lot to learn. Here are a few resources on Deckbuilding in general, followed by some sites that help you build your own decks quickly (including utilities to build only from cards you own).

[*] Good reddit article on getting started with deckbuilding
[*] A history of Netrunner archetypes
[*] Stimhack Archetypes forum
[*] NetrunnerDB - The best place to build, browse and publish decklists. Lots of options here, including the ability to only show cards you own.
[*] Stimhack Articles tagged for Learning and Teaching Netrunner
[*] - info about the relative frequency of deck types, factions, and IDs in tournaments.

Buying Guide

A brief glossary:

Core Set - you need this. One is probably enough until you've gotten caught up on other sets. You'll eventually need three to if you want a playset of all the cards. Remember you can buy someone's used collection online and save $$!

The 'Big Boxes' roughly once a year, these come out. They have roughly 160 cards and are your best value, especially since they often contain powerful Neutral cards like Daily Casts that work in lots of decks. The catch? They only have two factions per big box. So my advice is to prioritize the ones that have factions you're interested. These never rotate out (see below) so you'll eventually want to own them all.

Data Packs These are the (roughly) monthly updates that keep the game fresh. There are lots of them by now. They are organized into 'Cycles' of 6 packs. You probably want to avoid the pack from the first two Cycles since they're cycling out soon (see below). Because of cycling, in general it's better to buy packs that came out recently. Also, this may just be me, but the first pack in each cycle tends to have really powerful cards, so keep that in mind. That said, powerful cards are all over the place, so check out the prioritization advice below. And/or buy a used collection on the cheap to get caught up on old cards.

Sleeves If you're new to card games like I was, I recommend buying some sleeves. These are required for tournaments but regardless of that they make deckbuilding easier. If you start with 45 or 49 sleeves it's very easy to keep track of how many cards are in a deck by just swapping things out. Atomic caries Fantasy Flight sleeves and the Ultra ones are nice too. Pro tip: buy some Black sleeves to sleeve up all your identities so they don't get mixed in with your decks. Sleeves are super cheap and you'll thank yourself for buying them.

Proxies Once you've got sleeves, you can totally proxy cards you don't own! Or, make more copies of common cards like Sure Gamble or Hedge Fund so you can have multiple decks without swapping cards out. You don't want to play proxies in a tournament, but they're great for learning. I use a color copier to make actual-size copies of cards I own or have borrowed, then slot these paper proxies on top of cards you're not using inside a sleeve. Problem solved!

Even though LCGs like Netrunner are WAY less expensive than CCGs like Magic, it can be difficult to know how to prioritize what cards to buy. My recommendation is to set yourself a budget to get started that you can afford, buy the core set and as many of the 'big boxes' as you can, prioritizing the ones with factions you like best. Then set a monthly budget that's at least $30 thereafter. Since packs only come out monthly at most, you'll eventually get caught up.

In addition to data packs, Fantasy Flight has release World Championship decks that contain full-bleed art of decks that won at worlds. This is an efficient way to get common cards you may want more than a playset of. This is also a decent hack to get playable decks with minimal investment, though you'll likely want to modify them.

One of the best resources for prioritizing packs is the Buyer's Guide. Pick an ID you're interested in and it'll show you the most-used cards with that ID, by pack that they come in.

NetrunnerDB also has great search and browsing features that may help you understand which cards you're most interested in. You can also search for decklists that use specific cards to get ideas for other cards that might combo with what you have.

Note: Starting in early 2017, the first two Cycles, Genesis and Spin, will rotate out of competitive play. I highly recommend prioritizing other cycles first so you can use your decks in tournaments. Even if you're not a 'competitive' player this will help keep you in sync with the game as it evolves. See the NetrunnerDB link above for a listing of the packs that are in these Cycles. They should also be listed on the data pack itself.

Online Discussion

Talk to people about Netrunner regardless of whether you're wearing pants.

[*] Netrunner on Reddit
[*] The Stimhack Forums
[*] Stimhack Chat on Slack - super convenient if you already use Slack for work

Podcasts and Youtube

Yup, we got those too.

[*] ANR Blackhats Youtube Channel - The TestRun series is great to see sample games in action.
[*] Willingdone's Youtube Channel - lots of great how-to and strategy guides here.
[*] Team Covenant Youtube Channel - Pack reviews and high quality commentary on live tournament games
[*] The Winning Agenda - focused on competitve play, but full of insights even if you're a casual player
[*] Terminal7 Podcast

Play Online

I'd don't recommend starting here, as it's tough to learn with random people on the internet. But once you're up and running, getting some games in online can be a nice way to increase your reps as you get better and better.

[*] - Play Netrunner in your browser. Recommended.
[*] Netrunner on OCTGN - requires Windows and installing software. not recommended unless you also play other tabletop games online.


Netrunner's a very deep game! Once you've got your feet under you, use these resources to get better. These are all from, which has lots of great posts by top players.

[*] Noah McKee's The Two Year Turn - Great article by a player who went from zero tabletop experience to #4 at Worlds in just two years by being disciplined about how he practiced.
[*] 7 Things You Can Do to Get Better at Netrunner - nuff said.
[*] Runner Engines - understanding what makes a Runner deck tick
[*] The 4 Corps You'll Meet in Netrunner - 4 types of corps and how to play as/against them
[*] All Stimhack Articles tagged Classic - these range from strategy guides to classic introductions of new deck archetypes. You can always find something good to read in here.

When should I play in a tournament?

Early and often! Atomic has tournaments every month and they're a great way to learn a lot. At the very least you'll get 4-5 games in against a wide range of opponents. As soon as you have the basic rules down I'd recommend attending the next tourney. Netrunner players are very nice and even in a tournament, most will be very helpful to new players. Contact someone from the store or in the community if you want help with your first tournament.

Speaking of tournaments, note that there are some altered rules for competitive play, most notably the Most Wanted List. This list basically allows the designers to counteract cards that are overpowered by adding influence or errata to them. NetrunnerDB is the easiest way to keep track of this. When building a deck, select Legal For > Most Wanted List and it will automatically enforce all of these rules. Don't worry too much about the MWL when you're learning, but you'll see a lot about it as you go deeper in the game.

Keep Going!

Our hope is that these resources will encourage you to join the Netrunner community at Atomic and beyond. The main way to get better at any game is to keep playing it. Show up to some events, meet some friendly people, and keep going. We think you'll love the game as much as we do in no time.


How much will it cost to get started? Well, if you bought every legal card it would cost a few hundred dollars. You may also be able to find a used collection for sale locally or on eBay for a discount. See also the buyer's guide above, which recommends budgeting an initial investment plus a monthly budget until you're caught up on the cardpool. But you could also buy the World Championship decks and be off and running for under $30. Or, hack it like I did: I didn't own any Netrunner cards for the first few months of playing. I kept showing up, making friends, and asking to play learning games with people or just asking if I could spectate. Pick from or combine these ideas to suit your personality and budget.

How long will it take to get good? New players are joining the community all the time, and if you play every week you should be halfway decent within 1-3 months, depending on your level of commitment.

Should I really get in touch with someone at Atomic about Netrunner? Yes, don't be shy! Email Elliott at or Shane at and one of them will meet up with you or connect you with another player who's committed to teaching newcomers. Or, show up on a Tuesday or Saturday and meet some people in person. We love expanding our community- the more the merrier!

Thanks for reading and once again, welcome to the community!

Joined: 08 Aug 2008, 00:41

06 Sep 2016, 00:02 #2

Amazing write up. Being a new player myself (Only 2 months so far). I can attest for all this information being accurate and awesome.
Netrunner: Anarch & Haas Bioroid
Warmachine: Cryx
Infinity: Nomads

Experienced Member
Experienced Member
Joined: 05 Feb 2008, 20:35

06 Sep 2016, 17:05 #3

This a great resource, Elliot, and something I should have done a long time ago.

Though I don't have the time to run much these days, I'm still always happy to teach new players. I've got multiple learning decks created and in the car with me at all times. So definitely feel free to message me if you'd like some help learning the game, I've taught it a lot!

I also can't stress enough how much fun it is, and how good a learning experience it is, to play in a tournament. New players often express some trepidation about going to an event. Yes, you probably will lose all your games. But the community is great, and if you offer up that you're new and just figuring the game out, no one's going to take advantage of that, and in fact most people will do their best to help you learn.

But I've had many new players tell me after tournaments that they learned more during that event than they had playing in the league or free-play days. Just think of it as a $5 Netrunner lesson, grab a beer, and you're all set.

Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Joined: 11 Mar 2016, 20:37

11 Oct 2017, 12:50 #4

While waiting on Core 2.0 to drop my advice would be to just come out to casual meet ups on Tuesdays/Saturdays. We've typically got players with several decks built who'd be willing to share. Once it drops 1-2 copies is a good way to get started in the game (I played my first tournament with just 1 core set and had a blast and got some sweet alt art swag just for playing).

If you can find a cheap second hand collection with at least 1 Original Core Set + Genesis & Spin Cycle you can assemble the revised core from it, and if it has 2 Original Core Sets you'll get essentially a full play set of all of the Core 2.0 cards with 2 exceptions (Aesop's Pawn Shop, Ice Carver). Of those Aesop's was an old promo so you can likely get a 3rd copy from a friendly player and you'll probably never want to play 3x Ice Carver.