Wilfy here, panellist from The Winning Agenda. I’m very proud to present an exclusive interview with famous Netrunner player and internet pundit ScreamBear – a pseudonym especially well-known on Reddit. Enjoy his unique take on life and Netrunner!
Q: Hi ScreamBear, tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am employed as a software engineer working with synergistic social app-based marketing. I have bootstrapped multiple developments via currency trading and crypto-currency capitalization. I am an anarcho-libertarian Redpill Randian capitalist and a proud sociopath. I am interested in transhuman enhancement and have upgraded my dietary needs to 100% slurry based nutrition via Soylent.
Q: How did you get into Netrunner?
A: A subordinate in my dev-pod introduced me to the game. I terminated his tenure for the inefficient use of resources, however, I picked the game up as training exercise in lateral thinking.
Q: how did you find out about The Winning Agenda?
A: The Winning Agenda was mentioned as a podcast for competitive players looking to optimize play on multiple social media platforms including Reddit.
Q: Do you have any preferred strategies on the Runner or Corp sides?
A: I play only optimal strategies based empirical proof and metadata analysis. Strictly speaking I do not “prefer” any strategy except the one that wins. Presently, this has proven to be Andromeda and NEH. NEH is appealing because it is radically un-interactive. Counterplay and interaction are the realm of players looking for drama in their games, they want the “big moment” to gratify themselves. These players are wrong and harm the game state by playing sub-optimal decks that rely on an opponent making a mistake in order to generate their pittance of wins.
Q: What about particular cards? Are there any you particularly like or enjoy playing with?
A: I reject ‘flavor’ in the game as a distraction and strive not to be personally attached to any particular card. Netrunner’s “narrative” exists in the realm of degenerate genre fiction, but the game pieces still create an engaging mental exercise. However, the introduction of Daily Business Show was a welcome addition. If Damon and Lukas insist on refusing to print additional 3/2 agendas, then the least they can do is print cards that support optimal decks. DBS was one of the only notable cards after NEH to be released in the previous cycle.
Q: Do you use any online platforms to play Netrunner? How do you find they compare to playing in paper?
A: I use both OCTGN and Jinteki.net. Play online is superior to in-person play. Eliminating the social element from play focuses play on the real decisions in optimal game play. It disincentivizes the “mind-games” that inferior players rely on to make risky, interactive plays. It would be preferable if FFG licensed or developed an application and moved their tournament structure online, reducing overhead and capitalizing on emergent e-sports markets. However, I would reject the “ease-of-use” / “ease-of-viewership” that e-sports like Hearthstone and League of Legends have implemented as these reduce complexity of play in order to appeal to inferior players.
Q: What sort of strategies do you use when evaluating new cards? Without empirical data it can be hard to determine whether new cards are good or bad, for example.
A: A new paradigm will need to be developed if snowjax has indeed been terminated for disclosing spoilers. This was the primary source of testing. Opening packs was merely a formality — it should never be some childish surprise. If a new leak does not emerge before new cards are released, I would evaluate cards in terms of being strictly better or worse than existing strategies.
Q: do you have any tips for beginning players? Netrunner can be a difficult game to get into.
A: New players have a personal responsibility not to degrade the game state. Too often they find cards they “like” and latch onto sub-optimal strategies. New players must bootstrap their game experience and utilize the wealth of resources available to them. They should not clutter Stimhack, Reddit, or other websites with their simpering decklists, rather they should utilize proven decks. Players that cannot compete with top-tier competitors encourage other sub-optimal players and drag down the overall quality of competition.
Q: You’re a prolific Reddit contributor, but do you post on any other Netrunner forums?
A: I have not presently been approached by Stimhack, FFG, or other resources. However, my overriding professional interests would likely limit my ability to contribute authorially. It would be unbecoming to have my identity associated with novelty pursuits.
Q: Are any particular strategies or archetypes more common near you than you see elsewhere on the internet? how do you deal with that when constructing and playing your decks – do you make any changes based on those factors?
A: As a rule, I do not build “new” decks. Like other top-tier players, I capitalize on the thankless work done by other players and utilize their decks better than they can. Players that seek to use new cards for the sake of newness tend to play twee novelty decks which can be easily played around. If a new strategy becomes dominant, the prevailing strategy to counter it will develop as well and with the resources available online, this can almost always be done before an event requires it.
However, I applaud the work of articles like QuantANR. Mass metadata collection and analysis is critical to emergent strategy identification. For example, it was determined that Day Job provides a +.2 efficiency boost to PrePaid Kate. Information which inferior players may have inferred, but had not proof of. I hope to see further articles of this type to provide statistically optimized deck building free of irrational opinion based inclusions.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this insight into the world of ScreamBear. If there are any other people you’d like to see be interviewed, please let us know in the comments