Android: Netrunner - Cybernoir Card Games

Another big announcement, in a similar vein as the core damage announcement: NISEI is going to rebrand.

At the end of the day, although this name has served us well for nearly four years, we no longer want an appropriated term to be the face of our organisation. We’re therefore retiring “Project NISEI”.

tbh, although I had seen one or two NISEI members say they regret the name in public Discords, I didn’t think they would actually do this. it may be less controversial than the core damage change, but I expect it will take more work and risks messing with their SEO and discoverability?

A year and a half ago I wrote this post about my conflicted feelings about the name and the original FFG theming. Although I stand by what I wrote, I underestimated the thoughtfulness and confidence of the people involved, and I have been repeatedly impressed by them.


If I’m interested in physically playing Netrunner with friends what is the best route to take? I see theres print on demand and print and play options but is it still worth getting the older sets/expansions when possible?

tl;dr: I think the best route is to get NISEI’s System Gateway “complete bundle” which is available as print on demand or free PDFs for print & play. but read on for details, especially about the current state of card backs

SG has preconstructed “starter decks” designed to be a good way to learn or teach the game, but also has extra copies of cards to allow building decks using the normal deck building rules. This set is IMHO the best introductory NR experience, speaking as someone who has taught the game a lot over the past year. (btw NISEI recently commissioned a nice well crafted and short learn to play video)

After that, buying/printing System Update would make sense, this is a set of classic FFG cards reprinted with new art by NISEI, and together with SG make up a good “core set” and adds more variety in the deck building possibilities.

Beyond these 2 sets, buying/printing NISEI’s latest Midnight Sun cards before the previous NISEI cards (Ashes Downfall and Ashes Uprising) might make more sense as Ashes will rotate from the “startup” format in about 6 months (but still be legal in the larger standard format, which still includes some old FFG cards). Startup is a popular format and you may find people playing it at meet ups or cons, which is an advantage, but it’s also a great standalone card pool with a ton of variety and plenty of cool decks to netdeck from NRDB.

All of this needs to come with a caveat at the moment: SG, SU, and Ashes have different card backs than Midnight Sun, because NISEI removed the name from the card backs leaving just the stylized “N”. This caused a lot of drama on Reddit because you really need opaque card sleeves now, which was true mixing FFG cards but is now also true for NISEI only.

NISEI is going to release a remastered edition next year which will update everything to match, and have updated card text for core damage and other streamlined rules things. So it’s conceivable that printing and playing makes sense at the moment, if you want to eventually have all matching card backs.

Although I’m a fan of NISEI and think they’re doing great work, almost all Netrunner is basically pretty good. If you stumbled on an old core set and some packs or expansions from FFG days you’ll still have a great time. The old 2012 core set was not as great an on boarding experience, because the power level is all over the place, but it’s still pretty fun, I played a bunch with my old cards right before NISEI released SG and it was great.

However, do not pay extra for the FFG 2017 “revised core set”, it’s much more expensive on ebay only because there were fewer printed, not because it’s actually special. The 2012 core is more reasonably priced on ebay, but neither are as good a beginner set as NISEI’s System Gateway.

There’s a lot of FFG sets still in rotation in NISEI’s Standard format which is also popular as a format online and in person. These vary in price because again some sets at the end of FFG era had fewer printed. Some are absurdly priced. If you really want to get into Standard, it probably makes more sense to proxy specific cards in the decks you’re playing (always “legal” in NISEI events, and enabled by some tools made by the community, but obviously dubious legality in the eyes of copyright law) unless you happen to find an entire collection going cheap.

and although totally unnecessary, as you can play with lots of different physical bits to represent game state, you can find a variety of cool tokens made by various crafty people here, which may enhance your experience Near Earth Hub - Tokens


To add another brief take, I introduced a buddy to the game who completely fell in love (within a month, he had played 200+ games), and we exclusively play the “Startup” format that includes only NISEI-designed cards. In my opinion, there’s an expansive surface area of gameplay out of that limited cardpool.

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I bought the revised Android core set within days of them discontinuing it… thus it sat on a shelf for years and I never touched it.

Recently I got the starter decks printed, can confirm that’s a great way to get into it. My wife and I have played about four games so far, 2 with the simpler starter decks, 2 with the full starter decks, and it’s been real easy to ease into it/understand the stakes and bluffing needed to play.

We’re both itching to actually do some deck building so I’m about to get the deckbuilding packs printed. I think in retrospect just getting the system gateway complete bundle is definitely the way to go.


I’m curious if any of the System Gateway folks on here have picked up the 2021 System Core set? I looked up the card lists yesterday, and while System Gateway decks are designed so both the person playing them and the person playing against them good habits, they lack a lot of the real power cards that give each faction their feel (for good reason too, I love PE, but if I made a new player run against a decent PE deck they’d be too scared to ever run servers again). I do wonder how it would feel moving from the Gateway to the Core card pool though?

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Do you mean System Update 2021? (just clarifying as it’s a bit confusing because NISEI curated a list of FFG cards early in the organization’s history called System Core 2019, but this isn’t used in organized formats anymore, and isn’t a product available to buy or print and play)

Definitely agree about that, and I think that adding System Update (SU) does solve this problem to a certain extent. I think this is most acutely felt on the corp side, because SU contains Biotic Labor, Snare, SanSan City Grid, Tollbooth, Hostile Takeover, Archer, and Punitive Counterstrike, just to name a few cards that give the corp factions distinct feel while also being a step up in power level from System Gateway, and opening up different win conditions for the corp

Speaking as someone who played a bunch of SG-only games, then taught friends with SG, and then moved on to play primarily Startup* with that same friend meta, I think it feels great. SG is a great set for teaching the game but it feels limited after a while, and the deckbuilding options are fairly constrained. To be honest even playing SG+SU (which I did a couple of times) feels limited after playing Startup, but it does provide a smooth on ramp from SG on to the larger formats.

*Startup is SG, SU, Downfall, Uprising, Midnight Sun

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Yeah, I did mean System Update, that’s what I get for writing the post a day later.

I agree about the corp feeling it worse too, but things like Inside Job and Sneakdoor Beta fill in the ‘bypass’ theme the Gateway criminal deck lacks (Gateway’s shaper deck might be more thematic than any of the FF designed shaper sets though). Update also has a lot of the basic cards that can fill out any deck too, stuff like Diesel, Ice Carver, Dirty Laundry, Eli 1.0, Pop-up Window, and PAD Campaign.

My history with the game was mainly playing against my brother, we’d split the cards corp/runner, then he’d take his set home and we’d have a week to deckbuild before playing again. Meant we’d always have the same cardpool to build from without worrying about formats. It was a good way to get into the system when money was tight, so I was curious about how that looked from the current perspective. Thanks for the response!

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