Eternal Balance Update 11.23

Hello runners and sysops! It’s your friendly neighbourhood mushroom here with a bumper balance update for our oldest and most powerful format, Eternal.

The Automata Initiative has had an impact on all formats, and Eternal is no exception! Even with a cardpool stretching back through 11 years of Netrunner history, new cards are continuing to make their mark on the format. Worlds saw players from across the globe dipping their toes into Eternal in the Crown of Servers event on Friday, and we saw some truly amazing builds emerge. Props to the truly innovative and creative deckbuilders who really shook things up in Barcelona! Without further ado, let’s get into the changes.

Wage Workers goes from 0 points to 1 point

Gaslight goes from 0 points to 1 point

Power Shutdown goes from 0 points to 1 point

Vamadeva, Sadyojata, Aghora are banned

Wage Workers

The text on this card looks very familiar to a reliable old butler bioroid, but a very subtle wording change has ended up making this effect extremely powerful in Eternal. Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers combo decks were already strong, but Wage Workers’ repeatability has catapulted them to an even higher level of power and consistency than before. Thanks to Wage Workers, these decks are capable of scoring seven points in one turn again. This is by no means trivial to achieve, but the consistency Wage Workers provides is a little bit too strong for where we want the format to be, so we’re giving it a slight nerf to hopefully bring it back in check a little bit.


This card has been in the format since last year, and when it was released we were eyeing it up as a potential ban candidate, but didn’t feel the need to act just yet. However over the past few months, we’ve seen Ob: Superheavy Logistics combo kill decks shoot up in power and popularity, in part thanks to the consistency and speed that Gaslight allows. By combining Ob’s identity ability with Gaslight, savvy Corp players are able to quickly assemble the lethal combo of Mutually Assured Destruction, Jeeves Model Bioroids and High-Profile Target sometimes as early as turn 3, and regularly by turn 4. As with the Wage Workers scoring combo deck, this level of speed and consistency is out of step with what we want to see in the format. This change forces these decks to choose between Gaslight and the powerful draw engine piece Estelle Moon, and we hope it will be enough to allow non-teched Runners to keep up.

Power Shutdown

Longstanding players will remember Power Shutdown as a card that enabled some truly spectacular plays. Back in the day it was used in combo decks to put the whole of R&D into Archives and enable Accelerated Diagnostics in combination with Jackson Howard. In 2023, Power Shutdown has once again become a powerful combo enabler, this time out of Industrial Genomics: Growing Solutions. At Worlds we saw a new build of this already-powerful identity pop up, using Power Shutdown to discard large chunks of R&D, fueling both the identity and Nanisivik Grid. This is an amazingly inventive and creative deck, highlighting the wild and powerful combos the Eternal card pool allows for, but we want to rein it in a little, as the deck is very hard to interact with unless the Runner has some very specific tech cards.

The “Devas”

Alright, onto the main event. One deck was the talk of Worlds weekend amongst Eternal players: Hacker Hall of Fame, a Kabonesa Wu deck piloted by wowarlok and CobraBubbles. This deck uses a combo involving the updated swapping rules (which you can read about in more detail in this blog post from community member, postis) to generate an indefinitely large amount of credits – sometimes as early as turn two! The combo utilises In The Groove and Scheherazade to refund the swap ability on Sadyojata, allowing the Deva to be swapped with another copy of itself (or one of the other Deva programs) any number of times, each time putting a credit on Technical Writer. Eventually the Runner will settle on a truly gargantuan number of credits, and from there draw their whole deck using the other mode of In The Groove. With all the credits they could ever need and every card in their deck available to them, it becomes very straightforward to render almost any Corp win condition ineffective and close the game out in short order.

This deck is truly wonderful, and really captures the essence of what makes Eternal so unique as a format. The hype around it at Worlds was a real highlight of the weekend, and it was amazing to watch news of the combo spread. 

Unfortunately, this deck is far, far too powerful for the format. We tested putting the Devas at 4 points to remove the deck’s access to powerful tech cards like Rumor Mill, but the feedback was that the deck was still able to combo out with alarming speed and consistency, with very little counterplay available to the Corp. As such, with no clear way of bringing the deck in line through the points list, we have decided to take the very rare nuclear option and add the Devas to Eternal’s short banlist.

That’s everything from us on the updated points list! We hope these changes are enough to bring certain decks back in line with our expectations for the format, and we hope players continue to explore Eternal with the creativity and innovation we saw at Worlds.

On a personal note, I’d also like to take a moment to say thank you to the Eternal community. This will be my last update as a member of the Eternal team, as I am stepping back from my responsibilities with Null Signal Games. I’ve had a tonne of fun helping to steward the format alongside percomis and lostgeek, and it was truly fantastic to see so much Eternal played at Worlds this year. I had a great time talking to people about the exciting innovations that debuted at Crown of Servers and getting to play a bunch of games of my favourite format in Netrunner. I’m sad to be handing over the reins, but I’m excited to see where Eternal goes over the coming months and years, and what exciting things new cards do to the format. We’ll be looking for someone new to join the Eternal team in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!