• The Transition Zone: Netdecking

    So, casual kitchen table player-it's time to build a team. Maybe you have a card or two or thirty in mind, and you are trying to move this there and shift and determine what works where. Hopefully you took my advice in the article HERE on how to best determine the core aspects for your team. There are two very distinct ways to go about getting your team together when you start the construction process: Netdecking vs Homebrewing. There are positives and negatives to both of these approaches and today I want to start with netdecking and the positives that go into this way of constructing a team.

    Let's start with a definition. Netdecking, at its core is copying or using what someone else has designed. It is taking a successful or winning team or deck that is used in a competitive event such as qualifiers, Nationals, Worlds or any other type of event. The term can also be defined as the idea of just copying a team straight card for card, or deck to deck. I use the term deck because the idea of netdecking comes from the world of Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Netrunner and other deck building games.

    How does one find team builds? If the idea of trying to play a team that won an event appeals to you, where do you start? There are a few places on the Web to find this information. WizKids produces lists after their major events of winning builds and top finishers. One our website, you will find them within our wiki HERE.

    What are the advantages to playing with a netdecking approach?


    1. Archetype
    "Some people attach a connotation to netdecking, but that's the wrong frame of mind. Netdecking allows a player to learn the ins and outs of what makes a certain style or archetype good, or even how to consider building a deck on their own. It's a jumping off point for beginners, as well as a means of finding something to tune up and make their own for the experienced." @dave

    Netdecking allows you to see what the archetypes are. The further we get into this game, the more we will see certain builds that do certain things well. Wether that is control, aggro direct damage or a combination of the sort there are teams that have proven track records taking this approach.


    2. Learning how to construct
    "I design two teams a week for people to netdeck. Why? because the hardest part about learning to build your own team, is starting with something that works. Once you have that, learning to pilot it is simply practice, and making it your own involves changing just a few cards. You don't just steal some other guy's team, but by taking the back bone of it, it saves you having to do the arduous task of trying something brand new, and learning that it doesn't work." @shadowmeld

    Starting a team from scratch can be daunting. Some of us are better at constructing and some of us are better at piloting and a few of us are good at both. But if trying to make a team from the ground up seems rough, then using a pre-constructed team and netdecking for play becomes and easy way to start to learn. Maybe you play it a handful of times and realize it isn't for you, or that there are parts that are and parts that are not. So you find a way to make it yours by subtracting and adding cards. Now, as Shadow said, you can use a backbone to construct that full skeleton.

    As a side note, both him and JT build teams on a weekly basis on The Prep Area podcast. If you are looking for some fresh ideas, look no further. In fact, here is the most recent one: The Prep Area



    3. Combos

    "Running a team that is already built can help you gain a deeper understanding of the intended interaction of abilities and actions. It is that knowledge and experience that I used to ensure I knew exactly how to run my Patch Avengers team from Canadian Nationals." @jthomash

    Just like JT, when I learn about combos that sound awesome I want to play them. But just putting one or two cards together and throwing the another six one and hoping for the best isn't going to work. Good combos have good supporting players. Knowing how to run a great team will help make you a better player. Play it, know it, experience it and you will be better for it. Running teams that work will show you how to be successful.


    4. Comfort
    "I know some people will criticize netdecking as a whole, but as a newer player, I like looking at what people like @Shadowmeld, @Necromanticer and @jthomash2 create on the forums. They come up with combos I would never have thought of, and it allows me to be a little more creative with my own teams. It's a good place to start. Look for decks that may fit your playing style, and morph the deck until its your own. After a while, you'll be more comfortable creating a deck, and maybe someone will netdeck you!" @rjretro

    Playing a team that is already put together eliminates the stress of trying to create a successful team. For many of you kitchen table players, the idea of having a team ready to go is comfortable. Like RJ said, it's a great place to start and use as a springboard. You will learn what type of style of play you prefer this way. Personally I love control elements, and prefer to play teams with that as its focus.


    There are reasons to consider netdecking negative also, but today we chose to focus on the positives for a player moving into the competitive world of play. It could be argued that there are currently only a few archetypes that are successful, but I think at this point in the game with more and more sets being released that the variety of successful builds will continue to grow and there will be opportunities for you to netdeck teams that fit your style. So go out, explore the wiki and find teams to work on your particular skill set. Next time in The Transition Zone, we will explore the other side of this coin: Homebrewing.
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. JorduSpeaks's Avatar
      JorduSpeaks -
      Another advantage to netdecking is that by playing a list that has been consistently trouncing you, you can better understand its weaknesses.
    1. Jthomash2's Avatar
      Jthomash2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by JorduSpeaks View Post
      Another advantage to netdecking is that by playing a list that has been consistently trouncing you, you can better understand its weaknesses.
      Excellent point.
    1. Ressless's Avatar
      Ressless -
      We did this, with one each other, taking out our strongest Teams, every with a really good win condition and proof of success.
      Then swapping the Teams, so we can understand it better and maybe try i out ourselves, the so called archetypes.
      It could be so far that you will have a "TopMeta-Deck" where the most needed cards for % of win are inside.

      Note: ( I dont like Top Cards, and Netdecking either, but it is fun to try out new things every time, so will just go with it).
    1. Ledzhedz's Avatar
      Ledzhedz -
      Great article sir! Awesome points. I know I find myself looking through those decks just like you said to gain perspective on consistency. Prime example is Deans Solomon blue eye synergy and now when I run blue eyes it's almost a peanut butter And jelly kinda relationship in my mind. Then I throw an imprison on the team and call it a day :P
    1. Zeriphem's Avatar
      Zeriphem -
      Great read. Netdecking isn't a bad thing. It gets a bad rep from players that do it. Everyone knows the type, individual that starts a new game. Starts netdecking it and all of the sudden he's a pro player. That's what ruins netdecking.

      As a whole it's just a much broader range of what we've all always had...information. Back in the pre internet days we all had that one person at our FLGS that just picked the game up faster than everyone else. Those were the people we went to for information. They could only tell you stories of what they faced and didn't even know exact card counts if they didn't see them all. Netdecking today is nothing more than knowing a guy who has a friend, that has a friend, that has a friend that does event coverage. Gone are the days of the small circle of people kicking ideas around wondering if anyone else thought of it. Now that circle knows what the "meta" of their game is and kicks around the ideas to counter it. It definitely helps everyone be more competitive by giving base foundations to build on.
    1. Bestia's Avatar
      Bestia -
      O.k Here is an example of some netdecking

      One of these are a team made by @Necromanticer
      The Other was made by me starting from looking at the team that NecroManticer made

      Can you tell which is which (Links below)
      http://tinyurl.com/op58wwj
      http://tinyurl.com/ngp6nrp
    1. jevansfp's Avatar
      jevansfp -
      One of your best, @IsaacBV . I like the quotes about each netdecking "pro" topic by some of the leaders on the site, followed by your commentary. This is one of my favorite ways to build teams. I hear or read about a combo or theme that interests me and pair it with my own favorite cards. Sometimes I am beat over the head at a constructed event by someone else's combo and I will bring it home and give it my own spin and bring it to the next event. Using these podcasts and the internet to share these ideas just expands our exposure to more ideas.
      How do I modify AIA for Little Cup?
      How do Jocasta and The Outsider change that Villians Retaliation team?

      Reverse Netdecking should be a thing too. Expecting that someone will bring Walsh's, JT's or Dean's team to the next constructed event, then bringing counters for those win cons that pair well with yours. I guess we actually just call it "building a meta".
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Quote Originally Posted by jevansfp View Post

      Reverse Netdecking should be a thing too. Expecting that someone will bring Walsh's, JT's or Dean's team to the next constructed event, then bringing counters for those win cons that pair well with yours. I guess we actually just call it "building a meta".
      Thank you!
      And yes I think that "Reverse engineering" idea fits the meta building idea and it fits well into the idea of homebrewing that we will cover next time
    1. Osprey's Avatar
      Osprey -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bestia View Post
      O.k Here is an example of some netdecking

      One of these are a team made by @Necromanticer
      The Other was made by me starting from looking at the team that NecroManticer made

      Can you tell which is which (Links below)
      http://tinyurl.com/op58wwj
      http://tinyurl.com/ngp6nrp
      Necro made this one: http://tinyurl.com/ngp6nrp

      Also on topic, since I come mainly from a Yugioh background, I think I can provide some background on netdecking and what netdecking actually is. I'm glad @Bestia posted this because it can help my point a little bit. For starters, what Bestia did here is not what I would ever call netdecking. Necro came up with an interesting concept, Bestia appears to have tried it out and gained some inspiration, and has built something almost entirely different. In fact, the teams only share the Blue Dragon card between them, which provides some mass removal on a large body at an affordable price, always a great card to play with. Instead, something much more valuable has happened here, a new team has been born.

      Anyways, in Yugioh, netdecking has developed a hatred among a large portion of the playerbase, and ironically, they are usually the people responsible for it's recurrence. Here is what will happen. There will be a circuit series ARG event where a well known player such as Jeff Jones will do well playing a deck. We'll call this deck X. Now, what will happen is people will immediately latch on to deck X and will begin to play it. Here, however, is where we see the crucial difference. People are not taking X deck and modifying it to become something new or innovative, which we'll call deck XY. Instead, people are ripping off the deck, taking it to events and succeeding. This is largely to do with the skill gap in the game and how playing most decks in Yugioh do not require any thought (I can say this, I've played the game for years and have been successful) but follow a checklist. This is due to a number of reasons, but for the most part it's because Yugioh is largely a combo based game. I can't necessarily speak for MTG because I don't play it, but I can say that this is where a significant portion of hatred for netdecking comes from.

      This is where we get the key difference. Netdecking in a game like Dicemasters will not earn you any success outside of a small local event, at best. Matchups and bad rolls are always a factor, but it's impossible to deny that success will mostly come from the skill of the pilot, both in playing it and in building it, talior making it for specific events. My point is, outside of maybe some little cup concepts that @Shadowmeld and @RJRETRO come up with, most of what I've seen done on here is not netdecking, but rather taking a concept, becoming inspired, and making something that is your own, just like Bestia did up there. It's one of the reasons I like this game so much, because a game where netdecking can lead to success at events is destined for stagnation. The most I tend to see on here is after the recent Worlds event, a bunch of people throwing Solomon Grundy and Deadpool Jack into whatever team they can think of, even when they serve absolutely no purpose because their team isn't built for control or the have a strong win condition already and need to fix other flaws. They will probably figure it out for themselves however, once the cards do nothing for them and they decide to experiment with other ideas, and possibly even come up with something great.
    1. Bestia's Avatar
      Bestia -
      Well to be honest - my team started with SR Black Canary, and cards that attempted to do the same thing Necro did in his team, but because I don't own any yughio cards, I drew on what I had.

      Then it morphed into a little cup team (that I took to my local stores tourney completely untested), which then I heard/read about Doctor Strange, and added him in - making my team completely new (in music it is called a variation of a theme)

      But with the large amount of cards, and with out the easy of buying exactly the singles you need (like magic, and I am guessing yughio) where you can drop a list into a website order the team with the excite number of dice we won't see, what MTG players consider true net decking for a while
    1. JorduSpeaks's Avatar
      JorduSpeaks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bestia View Post
      Well to be honest - my team started with SR Black Canary, and cards that attempted to do the same thing Necro did in his team, but because I don't own any yughio cards, I drew on what I had.

      Then it morphed into a little cup team (that I took to my local stores tourney completely untested), which then I heard/read about Doctor Strange, and added him in - making my team completely new (in music it is called a variation of a theme)

      But with the large amount of cards, and with out the easy of buying exactly the singles you need (like magic, and I am guessing yughio) where you can drop a list into a website order the team with the excite number of dice we won't see, what MTG players consider true net decking for a while
      It's actually pretty easy to find the exact cards you need from large online board and card game shops. Finding them at a price you're comfortable with may be a struggle, but it's helped by the fact that running four of a super-rare means ordering one super-rare and three commons.