The news that Netrunner is going to be cancelled was kind of a blow to me. Fantasy Flight had just released the new core set. We were getting a new deluxe expansion, and the Kitara cycle had resulted in the most balanced, interesting meta I’d ever seen in the game. But apparently the license from Wizards of the Coast couldn’t be renewed and the rights to the design will go back to WotC. Even worse, Fantasy Flight owns the Android universe so even if WotC wanted to continue the game themselves they’d have to reboot it in a different setting.
So here’s my send off–an ode to Sunny, who has always been my favorite runner but who has never been particularly good. Until now.
I think Sunny can be a tier 1 deck right now for one significant reason: Black Hat. This card gives Sunny multi-access within her faction, which opens up a ton of influence to do other things–namely try to patch up the weaknesses that have been endemic to Sunny ever since she was released.
Sunny Lebeau: Security Specialist
3x Another Day, Another Paycheck
3x Black Hat
3x Career Fair ●●●
2x Dirty Laundry
2x Diversion of Funds ●●●●● ●●●●●
1x Mad Dash
3x Sure Gamble
1x White Hat
1x Security Chip
2x Security Nexus
1x Citadel Sanctuary
3x Daily Casts
3x Data Folding
1x Jak Sinclair
3x Laguna Velasco District ●●●●● ●
3x Maxwell James ●●●
3x Power Tap ●●●
3x Same Old Thing
3x Underworld Contact
2x GS Sherman M3
2x GS Shrike M2
2x GS Striker M1
Why do I have such an affection for Sunny as a runner? Well, I enjoy the idea thematically. Sunny is a mom who works for a corporation (Globalsec), which makes her unique. She wants to make a lot of money at her job to give her kids a great upbringing, plus she likes being awesome. What this means mechanically is that she gets access to the most powerful console in the game (Security Nexus), and three of the most efficient breakers. Her corporate ties are represented in two base link–more than any other runner–which unlocks a lot of cool stuff. Her cloud breakers don’t cost any MU, which opens up room for some interesting programs or plays that require free space. Underworld Contract is viable from turn 0, and combined with Data Folding can create a powerful late game economy engine.
Most significantly, the link allows Sunny to turn one of the corp’s most powerful abilities–traces–against them. Many Sunny cards will force the corporation to initiate a trace, and any corp that relies a lot on traces (usually from NBN) will have their entire script flipped by the presence of Sunny. Sunny just works with my style of play. I tend to like runners that build up a big rig, and there’s no rig bigger than hers. I also like runners that try to disrupt the corp, and Sunny now has more ways to do that than ever. So let’s look at my first draft of a good Sunny Deck.
Yes, I said first draft. I’m not playing quite as much Netrunner as I was in my heyday, and I haven’t been able to make my FLGS’s weekly LCG night, so this has only been tested about 15 times online, with moderate success. But I think there can be some value gained in evaluating a first draft and seeing where improvements may be had.
The core icebreaking the deck is the cloud breaker suite and Security Nexus. There’s one Security Chip in there to try to fight against a rush strategy where the corp tries to quickly advance in a remote behind medium to big ice. I haven’t used it much, but in theory Security Chip can be very good value for a single run. It’s Sunny’s version of Stimhack.
The cloud breakers can be great, but another possibility is putting in 1x of each of them and 3 copies of Aumakua. This makes early game pressure much easier but can be annoyingly hindered with anti-virus cards. By this point my losses have all been traditional “too slow” problems, so my next build will test Aumakua.
Sunny needs tons of money, and there’s tons of it in the deck, mostly through resource drip econ. 3x Underworld Contract and 3x Data Folding are required so you can find a couple early and get the drip going. You won’t need to install all 6 by the end of the game, but 3-4 installed by turn 6 or so is great, and 6 copies makes it easier to find them. Daily Casts is included only to help the early economy go. Career Fair is absolutely clutch to help you not lose any early momentum. If I could I’d put three more in there.
Power Tap drives corps absolutely batty as they give you money in situations where you ought to be losing money. Once you have Security Nexus powered on it gets unfair. When you encounter a big piece of ice, where you should be losing 5+ credits to break, instead you’re forcing a trace and gaining credits in the process.
The problem with all of this is that it generates economy slowly and they cost credits to install, so there are 3x Sure Gamble and 2x Dirty Laundry to help with critical burst economy. The problem is that if you don’t find Sure Gambles early in the game they become effectively dead cards in the late game when you’re swimming in credits. I’m not sure what the solution is other than doing exactly this: including a ton of economy cards.
Laguna Valesco District is my draw/speed solution of choice, though I am strongly consider trying out other options. If you can find one early it’s absolutely great and speeds your game up so well, but it’s expensive in both credits and influence. Using all of your credits in your first turn to install this is awful, as it comes at the cost of being able to afford economic resources you’d be able to otherwise. The alternative is probably 3x Diesel and 3x Earthrise Hotel, but it does necessitate cutting some cards out of the deck.
Disruption, Multiaccess, and Other
Black Hat and Diversion of Funds are the two most significant cards for boosting Sunny to potentially Tier 1, so let’s talk about them. Technically DoF is an economy card, but most significantly it takes credits away from the corp. Corporations can quickly build up a good pile of credits and some ice down to try to rush Sunny out before she can set up. DoF forces the corp into doing one of two things: spending time and effort icing HQ to prevent an early Diversion play, or leaving HQ open and suffering from the ability. Both slow the corp down, which is exactly what you want. Account Siphon was arguably the most significant runner card in the game for a long time, and DoF is very, very similar.
Black Hat is a beast. It forces a trace, which can trigger Power Tap, and then it gives you multiaccess for the entire turn. So you can potentially have a turn of Black Hat, Black Hat, run HQ, run R&D to get 10 total accesses. To put this in perspective, the rule of thumb is that you need around 20 accesses to win a typical game as the runner.
Both of these cards can be recurred with Same Old Thing, so once you play them they remain a huge threat.
White Hat is a tricky little card that can be so clutch I’d consider including a 2nd copy. It does 3 things: 1) It initiates a trace and powers Power Tap, 2) It allows you to see the corp’s hand. Information is key in Netrunner, 3) it lets you remove cards from the corp’s hand. Nothing feels better than stealing an agenda against Skorpios and then immediately removing all copies of Hunter-Seeker from their hand. Or maybe you’re playing against a fast advance deck and White Hat lets you snipe their FA cards. It’s my new favorite utility card.
Maxwell James is a cheap link with a potentially devastating trash effect. Playing Diversion of Funds and then de-rezing a piece of expensive ice is RUDE. I love it.
Jak can be good value but I’m not finding a ton of use for him. This would be one of the first cards I cut.
I’m on the fence about Citadel Sanctuary. If you’re playing against a tag deck it can give you money for removing a tag without spending a click. It gives you some leeway to run on the 4th click if hitting a Snare! Is a possibility. It’s a tech card, for sure, but probably expendable.
Right now the feeling I’m getting from this deck is that it still has some of the early game weaknesses you’d expect from Sunny. I’ll want to test it a bit more to see if that’s a problem with the deck or a problem with me being overly cautious. But when the deck works, it works incredibly well. I mean, it absolutely destroys and humiliates the corp. And really, in this time of Netrunner grief, isn’t that what we really want?