News for April 2014
Blueprints for Success
New FAQ and Tournament Rules are Available for Android: Netrunner
Android: Netrunner The Card Game | Published 15 April 2014

The 2014 Android: Netrunner Regional Championship season will be rezzed and active in less than a month. Runners and Corporations are building new programs and creating new tech to get the edge they need, but who will the news broadcasts be talking about in the days following?

Increase your chances at winning the next tournament you go to by checking out the new FAQ (pdf, 11 MB) and Tournament Rules (pdf, 6.1 MB).

A Word from the Developer

Greetings Android: Netrunner players!

You will find important updates within the pages of the new Android: Netrunner FAQ and Tournament Rules. We have been listening closely to feedback from the community, and believe that a few new changes will improve the player experience. The biggest change affects the structure of a tournament after a cut to the top players. Tournaments that do not use a cut are unaffected and continue to use our standard Swiss pairings to determine a champion.


In the updated FAQ you will find many different clarifications and questions answered. Cards such as Caprice Nisei, Accelerated Diagnostics, and Sundew are explained in detail. Other concepts have been formalized as well: negative strength, card memory, choosing multiple cards, etc. There is no new errata and no introduction of tournament restricted cards. If you have a question that is not answered by the FAQ, you can submit a question via the “Rules Question” link that you can find at the bottom of each page on our website.

Tournament Rules

We are defining three levels of tournaments: casual, competitive, and premier. Each of these levels should give you a good idea about what to expect when attending a tournament.
Last year we streamlined the way Swiss pairings were scored. We moved from a match structure (that gave extra prestige to the winner of the match) to a purer system that rewarded winning games. Players are no longer incentivized to win a match at the expense of a game. This change has been well-received and is not being adjusted, but the original system still lingered on in the form of a single-elimination bracket, which is used after a cut to decide a tournament’s champion.

The main problem with the match play in the single-elimination bracket is that it encourages players to bring specific types of decks to tournaments with a cut. Decks that can consistently score, such as NBN or Haas-Bioroid fast advance, have a distinct advantage over decks that give up points in order to win the game. Decks that can blow out an opponent, such as Criminal Account Siphon spam, also have an advantage over less aggressive Shaper and Anarch decks. This means that if a player wants to increase his or her chances to win a tournament that has a cut, he or she will avoid certain decks that are legitimately good. This is not healthy for the metagame. It also leads to situations where the goal is not to win the game, but to score a specific number of agenda points (less than seven). This is not the same Android: Netrunner that players enjoy outside of elimination rounds.

In order to standardize the game experience, we are eliminating match play from the current single-elimination bracket that occurs after the cut of a large tournament (the Swiss rounds of a tournament are unaffected and players still play both sides). We still feel like it is important to have a goal to aim for while participating in a tournament, so the cut remains for large events. But we are replacing the match play featured in the elimination rounds with another system: double-elimination.

What is double-elimination?

In a double-elimination bracket, players are seeded just like they would be in a single-elimination bracket. However, instead of playing two games (a match) against his or her opponent, a player only plays a single game over a 35-minute round. The winner of the game advances in the upper bracket, and the loser must fight their way back from the lower bracket. Each game that takes place in the lower bracket is an elimination game, because once a player loses two games they are eliminated from the tournament. Each round a player will attempt to play the side that they have played the least, so if someone plays Corp in their first game they have a good chance of playing Runner in their second game. For more details on the set-up of the Android: Netrunner double-elimination bracket, please refer to the tournament rules.

Click on the 8-player (left) and 16-player (right) brackets above to see a larger version

Why double elimination?

A double-elimination bracket that uses single games for advancement has several advantages over the match play previously used:

It removes the incentive for players to run specific types of tournament decks, and instead lets players focus on decks that win. The most important characteristic of a tournament-winning deck is no longer how well it matches up to the tournament structure, but how well it matches up against other decks.

It allows players to face different opponents before being eliminated. This provides a more accurate result by allowing the strongest players to face each other in the finals, even if they were matched up in the first round.

Players are encouraged to make moves that win them the game, rather than win them the match. The goal of advancing in the tournament is tied to winning games, and players can no longer make sub-optimal plays in order to secure a match win.

Each game is played to completion and remains tense throughout. There are no more truncated games where someone clinches a match win on the first turn of a game by scoring a 2-advancement agenda.

While contemplating these upcoming changes, we wanted to ensure this tournament structure would be good for both the health of the game and its players. As part of our evaluation of the new tournament structure, the staff at FFG generated over seventy-five thousand mock tournaments and analyzed the results. The data we gathered supported our theories on the new structure, and we are confident that this change is a step in a positive direction for Android: Netrunner. As always, we will continue to evaluate all aspects of the game and look for ways to improve the game experience.

It is our belief that the updated tournament rules will lead to the most diverse and exciting tournament season yet. Thank you for playing the game, and until next time, run early and often, and ice those servers!

Lukas Litzsinger
Lead Designer

Click on the above thumbnails to download the FAQ (left) and Tournament Rules (right)

Don’t let those pesky hackers find their way into your servers and steal your data. Get the latest protection with the new FAQ and Tournament Rules and shut those Runners down.

Based on the classic card game designed by Richard Garfield, Android: Netrunner The Card Game is a game for two players set in the dystopian future of Android. It pits monolothic megacorps against subversive netrunners in a high-stakes struggle for the control of valuable data.

Netrunner is a TM of R. Talsorian Games, Inc. Android is TM & ©2014 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Netrunner is licensed by Wizards of the Coast LLC. ©2015 Wizards.
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