Chapter 5 of Learning Netrunner
Playing Criminal: Gabriel “Gabe” Santiago Deck

Learning Netrunner is a series of videos and blogs to help you jump straight into the action of the Android: Netrunner as soon as you get your Core Sets. If you are new to the Learning Netrunner series, we recommend that you start with the Learning Netrunner: A How To Play Guide For New Players blog.

As of 06/08/18, the end of official support for Netrunner has been announced

Honor & Profit Art - Copyright Fantasy Flight Games


The Criminal faction encompasses those entities in Android: Netrunner who, frankly, treat Running as a profession. They are often well-trained, well-connected, and highly skilled. The moral, ethical, or even artistic considerations are secondary to the personal benefit gained by getting the job done. For Criminals, it is about business.

This Criminal deck revolves around Gabriel Santiago, usually known as Gabe. It was built using a single Revised Core Set, the Honor and Profit Deluxe Expansion, and the Crimson Dust Data Pack. The deck includes a few cards from both Anarch and Criminal using the Influence mechanic found in the rulebook. The influence cost is noted with dots next to the cards in the list below. You can buy these three products direct and build this exact deck!

If you would like to construct your own deck, we recommend watching the Core Set Deck Building Guide and Advanced Deck Building Guide on our Learning Netrunner: A How To Play Guide For New Players blog.

Gabriel Santiago - Copyright Fantasy Flight Games

Identity: Gabriel Santiago: Consummate Professional (Revised Core Set)

Event (18)
1x Stimhack (Revised Core Set) •
3x Easy Mark (Revised Core Set)
2x Emergency Shutdown (Revised Core Set)
2x Forged Activation Orders (Revised Core Set)
2x Inside Job (Revised Core Set)
1x Special Order (Revised Core Set)
2x Indexing (Revised Core Set) ••••• •
3x Sure Gamble (Revised Core Set)
2x Legwork (Honor and Profit)

Hardware (4)
1x HQ Interface (Revised Core Set)
1x Dyson Mem Chip (Revised Core Set)
2x Doppelgänger (Revised Core Set)

Resource (12)
2x Caldera (Crimson Dust)
2x Bank Job (Revised Core Set)
1x Fall Guy (Revised Core Set)
1x Mr. Li (Revised Core Set)
3x Armitage Codebusting (Revised Core Set)
3x Security Testing (Honor and Profit)

Icebreaker (8)
2x Aumakua (Crimson Dust)
2x Aurora (Revised Core Set)
2x Femme Fatale (Revised Core Set)
2x Gordian Blade (Revised Core Set) ••••• •

Program (3)
2x Datasucker (Revised Core Set) ••
1x Sneakdoor Beta (Revised Core Set)

The most important thing to know about playing Criminal is that it is ridiculously fun, but you will be on the edge of your seat the entire time. So much of the playstyle is about sneaking into servers when it looks impossible, and using short term “hacks” instead of establishing a long term rig. Or…at least that’s how I do it.

Gabe’s ability gives a hint as to your early game objective. You are naturally incentivized to run HQ for 2 credits profit, so if that is available, certainly take it. Most Corporations, however, will not make life that easy. By focusing on protecting HQ, though, Corps often skimp on R&D – which is why importing two copies of Indexing from the Shapers is imperative. Your objective is to be all over the Corp’s central servers right from the start, using Gabe’s ability, Datasuckers, Aumakua, Doppelganger, and Security Testing to stack up “successful access” effects.

As you build up Amuakua and Datasucker counters, the Corp will be scrambling to install ICE and eventually forced to purge virus counters. At some point, the party is over and you hope to have a few points scored. Then, it is time for your tricks to carry you to victory. Install Femme Fatale and make an unexpected Legwork run. Play Inside Job to access HQ, then drop Emergency Shutdown to open up more opportunities. When the Corp is left poor after rezzing a few ICE, play a Forged Activation Orders to make them pay. Combine these kinds of tricks together in a single turn and watch as servers open up.

Femme Fatale - Copyright Fantasy Flight Games
I often say that every new player should start with Criminal, because it usually only goes well when you are on the offense. Do not be afraid to take shots at servers, even when it takes a few cards to get in. Pay attention to how long it has been since an agenda was scored and drop Sneakdoor Beta at the right time. Just go for it.

Of course, there are also moments of recovery that must happen – hopefully after stealing an agenda. Armitage Codebusting is the old standby for economy, and sometimes clicking for 6-8 credits is the best you can do. Bank Job is a huge economy payout, especially against Corp’s who are putting out PAD Campaigns or Adonis Campaigns without any ICE. Those are huge opportunities. Likewise, Mr. Li gives a huge efficiency advantage to your future draws. If you see him early, just take the credit hit and get him on the table!

Ultimately, Criminal works best when you are being rewarded multiple times for taking a single action, especially one that you want to take anyway. See how many “whenever you make a successful run” abilities you can trigger at once!

To see a Criminal deck in action, check out my game against Tennin Institute. This is a weird one, since Tennin is all about protecting central servers and Gabe is all about attacking them. Note that cards like Bank Job and Security Testing were not even worth playing in this matchup, so do remember that adaptation is always necessary in Netrunner.

If you have any questions, please comment below and we will be happy to help as best we can.

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