News for August 2012
Profiling the Suspects
Meet the Runners from the Android: Netrunner Core Set
Android: Netrunner The Card Game | Published 15 August 2012

In our last preview, we looked at each of the Corporations featured in the Android: Netrunner Core Set. Today, we take the elevator down from the penthouse, step out the foyer, and take a cab into the seedier parts of town. There, we’ll shoulder our way through the crowded streets and alleys, enter a squalid cafe (but one with a strong signal), take a seat, and meet the game’s Runners.

Unlike the game’s megacorporations, Runners don’t have clear mission statements or hold key, defining assets throughout the solar system. They don’t spend small fortunes to present their best, focus-tested media image to the public; in fact, because Runners are technically criminals, they usually find it’s best to keep their media profiles very, very low. Thus, it’s harder to understand an individual Runner than a massive corporation. They don’t have clear agendas; they have motivations. Still, while each Runner is his or her own person, and while their motivations may vary, Runners tend to follow one of three basic approaches to their craft.

There are three different Runner factions in Android: Netrunner: Anarch, Criminal, and Shaper. Now, we’ll identify each faction’s modus operandi, along with some of their defining cards.


Anarchs have strong contempt for the corporate oligarchs, the whole corrupt system, and often for society in general. Whatever the exact target of their rage, their unifying characteristic is their anger. At their worst, Anarchs just want to watch the world burn. At their best, Anarchs are tireless champions for the downtrodden and oppressed. They’re very good at breaking things, spreading viruses, and trashing Corporation assets and programs.

Anarchs like Noise are brash Runners who take tremendous risks, rely on their viruses, and spend a good deal of time digging through the trash as they seek to deteriorate and destroy Corp defenses.

  • High-risk, high-reward. It is often said that Anarchs simply like to smash things, heedless of their own well-being. While the truth of the statement is debatable, there are certainly plenty of examples of Anarchs taking tremendous risks on a Stimhack, aiming for a final, crucial bit of Corporate code.
  • Viruses. Anarchs are virus specialists. They have the most and, generally, the best virus programs, as well as other programs and hardware that support their viruses and help them accumulate virus counters.
  • Burn. Anarchs generally break subroutines by lowering their strength. This plays into a “burn” subtheme of theirs, as exemplified by Parasite.
  • Trash specialists. Anarchs like Noise can trash cards that cannot normally be trashed, or trash cards for a cheaper price, and they often find that a good Demolition Run will cause panic in even the glossiest Corporate HQ. Furthermore, Anarchs are experts at making good use of other people’s garbage, and with cards like Déjà Vu they have the strongest recursion mechanics among the Runners.


Criminals like Gabriel Santiago are consummate professionals in it for themselves. All Runners are technically criminals, at least if you ask the Corps, but these runners embrace their lives of crime. They make self-interest an art form and don’t care who gets hurt so long as they get ahead. Many Criminals further diversify their interests beyond running and engage in more traditional forms of crime, stealing data and money with equal gusto. Criminals are good at covering their tracks and employing a variety of dirty tricks to attack from unexpected angles.

Criminals rely on speed and surprise when running against the corporation, and prefer not to be seen at all. Professionals who view running as business, Criminals focus on efficiency in their programs, excel at avoiding tags, pursue multiple streams of revenue, and bypass ice or derez it whenever possible.

  • Program efficiency. Criminal programs are created for efficiency and worst-case scenarios. Icebreakers like Ninja generally boost their strength in large increments; such strength boosts save Criminals precious time that could prove the difference between making a score or not.
  • Tag avoidance. Criminals have plenty of experience avoiding tags. They employ misdirection as often as possible, often setting up Decoys, and they always try to make sure that they have some back-up or a way out.
  • Shady business. Criminals make runs to make resources, and they gain credits by making runs and involving themselves in some rather shady business deals. As a rule, Criminals are always on the look-out for an Easy Mark.
  • Backdoor entry. Criminals prefer to bypass ice or derez it if they can, always on the hunt for an Inside Job whenever possible. The easiest, least dangerous route is the best, and they often employ programs like Sneakdoor Beta that allow them backdoor entry to Corporate servers. Run fast. Run often.


To others, Shapers such as Kate “Mac” McCaffrey seem like idealistic naifs. They’re not motivated by rage against the corporate injustice that is a daily fact of life for the underclass. They’re not in it for the money. Many never understand why Shapers do what they do, but the truth isn’t actually very complicated. Shapers are motivated by curiosity and a certain amount of pride. A Shaper may orchestrate a data raid as underhanded and destructive as the most frothing Anarch, but her goals are different: the Shaper just wants to see if she can do it. Accordingly, Shapers are tinkerers and builders, and they love to push their hardware and software, always trying to break previous limits.

Shapers are engineers who love experimental programs and often break into Corporate R&D to see what they have in the works. They are exceedingly well-equipped, capable of tinkering with programs to get them to perform nearly any function they wish. They make life exhausting for Corps that seek to trace them, and they almost always “mod” their existing hardware and programs to get increased performance levels out of them.

  • Tinkering. Shapers love Tinkering with their programs and Corporate ice during Diesel fueled nights. By tweaking their programs, they make them capable of fulfilling an exhaustive range of tasks, including the prevention net damage and the acquisition of credits with a masterpiece program like Magnum Opus.
  • Link strength. Shapers, being hardware based, are the Runners best at boosting their link. The best defense is a good offense.
  • Mods. Shapers use Mods to upgrade programs and hardware. Modding their hardware allows Shapers to gain extra abilities and increased processing power for minimal costs. Their icebreakers usually have some sort of Personal Touch added on to them.

Find the Future

Factions in Android: Netrunner spur creativity and add style to the game. Which will you favor when you start playing?

If you’d like to see the list of cards available to each of the game’s seven factions, then boost our link strength! Lift us to 300 Facebook likes, and a few hours after that we'll unlock a complete list of all the cards in the Android: Netrunner Core Set! UPDATE: FILE ACCESSED

Based on the classic card game designed by Richard Garfield, Android: Netrunner The Card Game is a game for two players set in the dystopian future of Android. It pits monolothic megacorps against subversive netrunners in a high-stakes struggle for the control of valuable data.

Netrunner is a TM of R. Talsorian Games, Inc. Android is TM & ©2014 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Netrunner is licensed by Wizards of the Coast LLC. ©2015 Wizards.
More News [+]
© 2014 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS