Magic the Gathering, Pokémon TCG, Star Wars Imperial Assault, X-Wing Miniatures

To Netdeck, or not to Netdeck?

Netdecking is the act of finding a deck, list, or army, usually from an online source, and copying it. Typically the player is copying a relatively competitive deck.
In the world of customizable games, the term “Netdeck” gets thrown around like prejudicial slur. I’ll even admit that I have been guilty of that in the past, but I realized something recently that has completely changed the way I think about the issue.

Justin Phua’s Dengar/Tel Trevura list won the Fantasy Flight Games’ X-Wing World Championship this Spring of 2017. Will we see this list at every Store Championship?




I recently played in a Magic Tournament at The Village Geek and got crushed horribly. I’ll also admit that when I play games I can often be a get a little frustrated when I lose. It’s something that I have tried to work on over the years, because I want my opponent to have a positive play experience and enjoy their win. I wouldn’t say I am a horrible loser, but I want my opponent to thoroughly enjoy their victory, because if I win I would want my opponent to let me relish in it as well. I’m not saying I want to be able to brag, but there’s definitely something special that happens when two people are completely sportsmanlike; be it is the epitome of what makes games great from a social perspective. In this recent Magic Tournament I got absolutely destroyed and for some reason, I had a blast. So then I realized the reason I wasn’t butt hurt or frustrated: I wasn’t playing my own deck. It wasn’t even a deck that I researched and slightly modified. This is an extreme example for sure because I also didn’t even expect to win, but at at very basic level, I think an extremely valid reason to Netdeck is that it levels the play experience on an emotional level.

Aetherworks Marvel was everywhere in Standard…until it was recently banned.

When you play a list that you didn’t create from the ground up, taking hours upon hours to design and tweak, your highs will likely not be so high. It’s less rewarding to win with a deck/list what already has notoriety, yes, but your lows are also not so low, and not so frustrating. If you lose too much you just scrap it and find another without worrying about spending tons of time.

There are other reasons people Netdeck. Obviously many people want to win, true, but I think for some people it comes down to the amount of time it can take to create a list from scratch and practice with it. Why spend hours of time when someone has already cracked the code?

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1 Comment

  • Reply Mike Yates June 15, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Great article. Players definitely have different agendas when they set out to play a customizable game. Some want to ‘figure it out’ like a puzzle… and these players are often the same ones that, while playing a video game, refuse to look up how to defeat a boss online, even after their tenth defeat. Others see victory as the only goal that matters… these players buy the strategy guide at the same time they’re purchasing the video game. Customizable games have just as many different players as they have ways to play them. Personally, I’m a puzzle-solver, so I don’t ever Netdeck, but I don’t hold any ill feelings towards those that do. Being a good player often means allowing enough room for other people that play differently than you to enjoy the game.

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