The Final Days of 'Netrunner'

In one of a cluster of small industrial buildings just outside Roseville, Minnesota, something is happening for the very last time. On either side of an oversized table, under a bank of office-style fluorescents, two men sit compulsively shuffling the cards in their hands. A few dozen spectators crowd them, watching over their shoulders, while a set of cameras streams the game to the rest of the world.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Yea I can attest during that period of high powered cards in the cycle before MWL turned me off the game and I went on a break for a few months. I got into this game with a friend that got really turned off of any kind of continuous support for the game, and we’ve never really got a real game in. I stuck around when I found a local scene to keep going, but when that dropped out it really kills any kind of motivation. I’m kind of looking forward to Keyforge and how that will play out, as I just don’t want to get that into MTG even as I play the Arena dailies. Still sad I didn’t jump onto the last deluxe box, as it had some good cards I wanted, and it would’ve just completed my collection.

I’m really confused. Who cares if a corporation’s license ends? What stops people from continuing to play this?

I feel like the repercussions of ceasing production and tournament play should have been addressed earlier in the article, but the information is in there:

The setting wasn’t the only major change for the revamped Netrunner . It moved away from a Magic -style collectible card game model, where cards are distributed in randomized booster packs, similar to loot boxes in video games. Instead, Android: Netrunner pitched itself as a “living card game,” with new cards released in fixed expansion packs, so there was no ambiguity about what you were buying.

This meant that all players, as long as they were willing to invest a steady stream of money into the hobby, were on a level playing field. Anyone could participate in what’s known as the “meta”—a constant dance of strategy and counter, as the weight of what is considered dominant shifts in one direction and the game, through the release of new cards, or the player base, by changing what’s in their decks, adjusts in response.

Games like this aren’t like poker, where the cards and moves are immutable. New content is introduced all the time. Now, as I understand it, not only will no new cards be created anymore, but the game will exit manufacturing entirely, barring new players from starting.

The article mentioned trans and non-binary characters. Anyone know who they are?

(reply to kcin’s post)

I understand what an LCG purports to be, but I still don’t see what stops you from playing the game, unless as of today the balance is so broken that it needs change, or unless the meta becomes boring without change. But neither of those seem to be the case, from what’s in the article.

“You have all the cards” (LCG design) was meant to avoid the pay-to-win problems of Magic, and I think it does that successfully, but I don’t see why this means you require the publisher to continue changing the game to evolve it. That’s the monetization model, it doesn’t have to be the play-and-enjoy model.

Part of the issue is that no more cards will be produced. You can, of course, keep playing with your local community, but it’s going to be really tough to get anyone new to play. Plus hard to fill out your collection if you’re missing anything.

And without the introduction of new cards eventually your local community would probably get stale.

Off the top of my head:

Quetzal and Nero are trans.

The Best Mom In the Universe Sunny’s kids have two moms. Chaos Theory has two dads.

There’s something for Rielle “Kit” Peddler, but I forget the term off the top of my head.

(And, as always: Wizards of the Coast can huff a giant butt.)


I got the opposite impression: that players interviewed for this article (and the author themselves) expect and know the meta will become stale without new cards, and people will inevitably stop playing it.

The meta eventually becoming known enough that the folks playing a thing dwindles is inevitable, it’s just a shame new players won’t even be able to start on this one. It would be cool if a digital equivalent could happen at some point even if it’s not going to get new cards.

New content not coming out is much less of a huge deal to me because like doctorcat mentioned, unless the meta is uninteresting or the game’s balance is really bad that hardly stops the game from being fun.

That said, with an LCG especially if one is really going to get into the meta it ends up being a lot closer to poker than one thinks at the end of the day, which is why a game like this would die very very fast without regular new content. Once people are trained to devour a game’s additions that fast it’s easy to see why they’d just kill it off completely instead of continuing to produce the cards that are already out there.

Quetzal is non-binary rather than trans.

I’m from Roseville, so this game me like double nostalgia.

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I am a little bit disappointed in how negative and final this article is. There is a committed team of fans who are working to ensure the game keeps running, including plans for organised play, updates to the banned and restricted lists, and eventually, development of new cards. It would have been nice to see more focus on the community’s dedication and less on the theme of ‘this game is dead and the people who believe otherwise are deluded’.

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netrunner was the only good card game apart from competitive Uno (played with 1996 rules, none of this modern garbage) and it’s a shame that it’s reached the end of its officially-endorsed lifespan. i met a lot of people through it and it was very important to me for a whole little while there.

I bought Netrunner on a whim this summer and really liked it. It’s unfortunate that it’s ending as I could easily see myself getting into it, and I was super curious about Terminal Directive but it seems almost impossible to find a copy of it around here (can anyone tell me if it’s possible to play a used version? Or is it like other Legacy games in that it is impossible to replay from the beginning?)

Lots of people just buy Terminal DIrective for the tournament legal cards and end up discarding the rest, so they’re definitely around if you check eBay :slight_smile:

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The part I want to understand is why can’t Fantasy Flight create a game that is similar to netrunner in their Android universe. I assume Fantasy Flight owns the Android universe but not the netrunner license. Mechanics aren’t patented right?

Fantasy Flight clearly wanted to continue the game but i’m not sure what Wizards of the Coast wants. More money? make their own game? My guess is Wizards of the Coast is going to create their own Netrunner.

They should do it Commodore 64 style and just keep publishing it but change the title to “Running The Net: A Game Inspired by the Artwork of Netrunner”

For those interested in continuing with Netrunner, the fan organization that’s taking it over just announced the outline for their first set of plans for the game. Details here. (Ignore the weird formatting, it’s an old joke that FFG used to have an intern that random capitalized things.)

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If WotC can copyright “tapping” and keep any other card game from using that word to describe “to use” a card, I would think trying to make something Netrunner like at a corporate scale is very unfeasible.

Their next plan was to make a Genesys book for their Android universe. That might get them to make RPG miniatures for that system. Those seem to be doing well for them for their Star Wars line.