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I have just purchased the Android Netrunner Core Set, played a few games, and am now excited to play more.

The problem is that our usual gaming group consists of 4 people, and to my knowledge the Core Set only allows you to build up to 2 playable decks (1 corp, 1 runner) for play at the same time, because of the number of neutral cards.

I would like to know what would be the most economical way to extend the Core Set with enough cards to build 2 enjoyable Runner and Corp decks for play at the same time without actually shelling out another 40$ for a second core set?

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    fwiw a second core set shouldn't cost you $40: coolstuffinc.com/p/165000 – Andrew Vandever Sep 3 '14 at 16:28
  • How are you playing 2x2 Netrunner? Do you just mean playing two games at once each of which have two players or are you using some unofficial Netrunner variant? – Zags May 6 '15 at 20:46
  • The problem with trying to have two simultaneous decks is the economy cards, you really do need a set of say Sure Gamble/Hedge Fund in your decks, particularly if you're dealing with a limited card pool. – Andrew Jan 9 '18 at 22:32
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Most data packs won't meet this requirement on their own (for the exception, see this answer on this question). From the rulebook, page 7:

To make a starter deck, take all the cards of a single Corporate or Runner faction and shuffle in all of the neutral cards for the chosen side.

That's 22 neutral cards on the corp side, and 15 for the runners. On average let's assume you can make up 5 of them by pulling in other-color cards, you still need a few more cards. A data pack is going to have maybe 3 neutral cards and 6 of each color typically, so by the time you have 2 data packs you could probably technically pull off 2 separate simultaneous games, as long as nobody is playing the same faction. However, this will limit what you can do in terms of deckbuilding - both runners fighting over Sure Gamble, for example. That will become less and less annoying as the number of data packs you own goes up, but won't likely stop being a topic of conversation. :)

  • Some neutral cards in datapacks can have influence costs. If you're not careful, you could wind up building invalid decks. – Ellesedil Sep 2 '14 at 18:42
  • True, but I'm not sure it's relevant. – Andrew Vandever Sep 3 '14 at 16:17
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    It actually is possible with the core set and the What Lies Ahead data pack. See my answer for detail. – Zags Nov 24 '14 at 20:36
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Short answer: Buy the What Lies Ahead data pack. That with the core set lets you build two legal runner decks and two legal corp decks.


Longer answer

I assume from your question that you've already read the rules on deck building and aren't just trying to build the starter decks. If you're thinking about buying data packs, you pretty much have to be building custom decks for things to even make sense.

If you're just going to play you're own decks against each other, you can do whatever you want in terms of deck building. When limited in cards, ignoring influence limits is the best way to be able to follow agenda density requirements and deck minimums. As long as your decks are fun to play against each other, that's really what matters.

If you want to follow all the deck-building rules, here's the run down:


Runner Decks

The base game comes with enough cards for you to be able to build two legal runner decks by having each run cards from the third faction. Remember that you can spend up to 15 influence on out of faction cards (at least for the core set identities). For the runners, all they need to do is get up to 45 cards (at least for the core set identities) while still staying under influence limits.

Let's assume we're making Shaper and Anarch decks. The core set comes with 31 shaper cards and 32 anarch cards, with 15 neutral cards. If we split the neutral cards between the two, that means we have two decks of 39 and still haven't used any influence. That means each deck can run 6 criminal cards and has 15 influence to spend doing so. Between Forged Activation Orders, Special Order, Easy Mark, Femme Fetale, and Bank Job, (all either 1 or 2 influence per copy) you're good to go.


Corp Decks

The primary limitation in building decks is the corp's agenda requirement. The core set does not come with enough agendas to legally build multiple corp decks. This is problematic because agendas cannot be run in decks of other factions (they have no influence value, which is different than having an influence of zero). Of secondary concern for the corp is ICE. The rule book suggests 17 - 20 pieces of ice for a 45 - 49 card deck. This is an area where the corps might be hurting.

The deck building rules require 20 - 21 agenda points for the 45 - 49 deck size required by all the core set identities. Given the core set only ships with 5 or 6 points of agendas in each faction and 15 points of neutral agendas, we need more to work with here.

The data pack What Lies Ahead is the best of the data packs for enabling more decks because it contains an agenda of each faction. If you only buy this data pack, one of your corp decks must be NBN, as you need the 3-point Restructured Datapool. This lets you run the neutral Private Security Forces in your NBN deck and the Priority Requisitions in your other corp deck of choice (along with the core set agendas and the corresponding What Lies Ahead agendas) and have two corp decks that meet agenda density requirements.

Now on to the ICE issue. NBN (which must be one of your corps because of agendas) starts with 9 pieces of ICE from the core set, and gain another 3 (TMI) from What Lies Ahead. If we split the core set's 6 pieces of neutral ICE (Wall of Static and Enigma) between our two corp decks, that means the NBN deck is already up to 15 pieces of ICE. This means you only need 2 - 5 pieces of out-of-faction ICE which is fine on a 15 influence budget (look at Ice Wall, Shadow, Rototurret, Chum, and Wall of Thorns for 1-influence ICE). You also get the neutral ICE Draco in What Lies Ahead, which probably works well in the NBN deck (goes with the "trace" theme).

All of the other corporations have at least 9 pieces of ICE in the core set, get another three from What Lies Ahead (though if you're running Haas-Bioroid, you'll probably need a Priority Requisition or an Accelerated Beta Test to be able to rez Janus 1.0, so maybe don't run all three copies of him), which leaves you in a similar situation to the NBN deck. Pretty easy to get to the 17 - 20 range.

The fact that What Lies Ahead includes a piece of ICE and an Agenda for each of the four corporations is what makes it the ideal data pack to buy if you're just going to buy one. Also, Morning Star is amazing.


2x2 Netrunner:

I'm curious as to how you're playing 2x2 Netrunner, as the standard rulebook does not support this at all. The only rules I've run into on the topic were designed for the old Netrunner game (that's Netrunner the CCG, not Android: Netrunner the LCG), but could probably be adapted: http://www.darkpact.de/netrunner/variants/theBigSellOut.html. That said, the simple solution is just pair off and play two games at the same time. I'd be interested to know which you do.


A Purchasing Alternative

All you need from the core set to build multiple starter decks is a set of each of the neutral cards from the core set. There are ways of buying these sets, such as buying a special of all the "triplicate cards from the core set" from http://borntoplaygames.com/product-category/customizable/netrunner/. This would let you use the rulebook's recommended starter decks and have any corporation pair you want.

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While it's almost possible with just core set for 2 runner 2 corp decks, not recommended.

The first couple of data-packs, especially the Genesis cycle give you enough to start doing some things. What Lies Ahead alone has more Agendas to build a second corp deck.

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The most economical way I know of is to peruse eBay or some other commerce site that sells what is commonly called a "Core Completion Set" or something similarly named. In essence, someone has accumulated extra copies of the 1x and/or 2x cards from the Core set and is offering them for sale.

Another common practice for players starting to get serious into Netrunner is to simply buy a second Core set, but I'd personally look into finding a Completion Set from a highly rated seller first.

  • Usually this is the advice I'd give to someone who really wanted to have 3x of every card for the sake of deckbuilding, but I don't think it matches the asker's case very well. I also think there are more economical options than buying a core completion set on ebay. That goes for ~$55 on ebay, but you could get 2x extra core sets on coolstuffinc for LESS than that, and sell off the extras of the 2x cards for $20-$30. But unless the asker really cares about 3x of every card, data packs are still probably better: 60 cards for ~$10 vs. 77 cards for $20-$30 or even $55. Do you sell c/c on ebay? – Andrew Vandever Sep 3 '14 at 16:26
  • My apologies if you are not trying to make a profit here, it just seems highly suspicious that you'd give such specific purchase advice that is aimed at spending more money than necessary. If this was a sincere answer then I hope you'll a) stick around and b) make more efficient shopping choices in the future. ;) – Andrew Vandever Sep 3 '14 at 16:32
  • @AndrewVandever: I'm not a seller of any sort. I looked on eBay briefly (at work, so time is limited) to verify your $55 dollar claim, which seems high. I found some entries for 1 of each 2-quantity card going for about 10 dollars or less. I wasn't able to find anything addressing the 1-quantity cards, or any all-encompassing completion kits. But, it's eBay and at the whim of sellers, and I lack the time to do a thorough search right now. – Ellesedil Sep 3 '14 at 16:47
  • No problem. ebay.com/sch/… It costs slightly less (not including shipping) to buy a second and third full core set than to buy one of those kits. It's those 11x2 one-of cards that get you. A 3rd copy of two-of cards is cheaper as you said, but still about the same as a data pack, which also adds diversity. I think the reason is that the 2-of kits are sold by people like me who bought the extra core sets and are looking to recoup, and the core completion sets are sold by scalpers looking for margin. – Andrew Vandever Sep 3 '14 at 17:11

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