Hack the Planet: The importance of attacking economically and how to do it

At its heart, Android Netrunner is a game about economy, both in actions and in credits, and the efficiencies thereof. As such it is an important part of the game to attack the other player’s economy in a variety of ways, both directly and indirectly, while protecting your own. I have even seen Runner decks whose main focus is to knock out the Corp’s cash reserves such that they have free rein to steal agendas.

We’ll start with the Corp, simply because they have fewer options on how to accomplish it. And you're bankruptFirst the obvious: Closed Accounts. You have to land a tag – easier said then done, I know. But this is one of the reasons why. Most Runners are allergic to tags due to a fear of Scorched Earth, but the smart ones fear Closed Accounts. While in the right situation Scorched can win the game, it can also be played around and meta’d against. There is no meta for losing all your bits. And since you need cash to do anything in this game you’re now stuck spending a few turns recovering your economy while the Corp can rack up a few agendas with impunity. Plus, since you’re bankrupt it’s hard to lose that tag and while tagged the Corp can just trash all of your resources — Y’know, outside Magnum Opus, the Runner’s only money generators.

The other way for the Corp to attack econom+ = YogOSaurus!ically is indirectly – with ICE – making the Runner pay out the nose for their runs leaving them with a very high bit threshold to run successfully. Sometimes it’s more obvious – Archer or Rototurret trashing programs. Other times it’s less obvious – I know Runners loving click to break ice, but they should realize it means they spent their whole turn just to get into one fort. At the very least, barring Yog.0 (or everyone’s favorite Yog-o-saurus!) actually breaking subroutines is going to cost the Runner some creds. Every piece of ICE you put in front of them is another few bit gain actions they need to use before they can enter your server.

On to the Runner! Again starting witDibs!h the obvious: Account Siphon and Vamp. Both allow you to directly drop the Corp’s bit total. In the same deck, played cleverly, you can bankrupt the Corp just in time to leave yourself free rein into R&D.

Getting less obvious, trash the Corp’s assets. Just as the Runner relies primarily on resources for their economy, the Corp needs assets. That’s the real strength of Whizzard: he can knock out the Corp’s economy by both trashing their assets and forcing them to spread their ICE thin protecting it. Kill PAD campaigns. Sure it costs 4 now, but over the course of the game it can easily gain the Corp more than enough money to activate their ICE and keep you out.

Which brings us to the subtlest but most important way for the Runner to attack "I'm going to play Sure Gamble." "Sure."economically: make them pay for their ICE. If the Corp does the standard opener of ICE, ICE, bit and you run against both showing two Enigmas, sure you’ve been shut out of R&D and HQ till you hit an ICE breaker, but the Corp is now broke and will likely need several bit turns before they can do anything, leaving you free to build up. As with all things it costs money to make money, so if you’re flat broke on either side with no resources already out you’re left spending your turn for 3-4 credits.

In summation, if one player has a large stack of bits and the other player doesn’t, guess who’s going to win? Maneuvering the game towards that state with yourself on the pile of credits is always a good plan. Just keep in mind that you don’t win from money, you still have to do something with it.

Happy Running!

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