Assets, Assets Everywhere: A Tournament Report from Portland Regionals

Last weekend (on May 7th, 2016, for you readers from THE FUTURE), I played in the Portland Regional Championship hosted at Guardian Games. I did rather well, taking second place out of 35 people, and thought I’d write about the experience I had and the games I played.

Firstly, I want to thank Bryan Blumklotz and crew for hosting the single best run tournament I’ve been to yet. Things ran smoothly, there was a food break for players after round 3, TO’s were plentiful and well informed, and results were posted swiftly. It’s really, really nice to see people care that much about the players and the experience in general rather than trying to rush people out the door by doing things quickly and sloppily. This thanks goes out to the staff and management of Guardian Games as well, since they kept the store open for us well past closing. You’re all amazing people.

Usually for tournaments, I try and bring whatever flavor of Kate seems to be doing well. Mainly it’s because I have the most experience with her, so I feel I can play the deck well.  On corp side, I have a propensity for Weyland decks, not because they’re always good, but because I love the flavor. I’ve had fun with Blue Sun in the past, and recently became known for several versions of Gagarin. I really wanted to bring a Jeeves Gagarin list this year, but felt that the list probably has a fairly hard Whizzard matchup. People have been on Whizz pretty hard around here, with him being the best deck at the moment, so I thought Gagarin would be a shaky choice. I really only wanted to make the cut (I didn’t think I’d do well enough to win, but somehow got close anyhow), but didn’t think Gagarin was a safe enough bet. Sadly, I’ve had problems with Kate as well, as Shaper econ is a lot harder in these post-MWL days. Plus, Kate has almost no answer to IG without doing really weird things to the deck that make other matchups a lot worse.  So instead, rather than fighting the dark side, I figured I’d join them.

Industrial Genomics and Whizzard were what I ended up taking. Specifically, Bio-lock and Dumblefork. After testing with bluebird503 the week before the big day, it seemed like these were clearly the best decks. If you don’t have experience playing against IG, it’s almost an auto-loss, and Whizzard is disruptive enough to shake almost any corp. The recent release of Salsette Slums was a scary prospect for the IG game, but I found that slotting a single Elizabeth Mills and an Executive Search Firm meant that you could kill it the turn (or the turn after) Slums hits the table. You can also use it to kill Wyldside over and over, slowing down Whizzard immensely. It turns out that Dan (@medioxcore) had the same idea, so I was happy we came to the same conclusion.  PS: Stop stealing my ideas, Dan.

My problem was that I had very little experience playing both Whizzard and IG. I was able to practice a little the week before the day, but not as much as I had hoped. I’ve played Netrunner for a while, though, and figured I could probably handle it. Full of nervous energy and delicious French toast (topped with orange slices, courtesy of my lovely wife), I entered Guardian Games.

Round 1

Scott was my opponent: a newer player from just across the river in Vancouver, WA, playing GRNDL Supermodernism and Stealth Andy. I was fairly certain the GRNDL deck was Supermodernism before the game started (because GRNDL), but found out that Andy was on stealth over the course of the first several turns. GRNDL was up first with a Restructure, a card in a remote, and an ICE over it. I threw down a Libarated and a Wyldside. Another ICE on the remote and a double advance on the card in it. I let him score it while I set up, since I didn’t have a Faust out yet; it’s an Atlas with 2 counters, which isn’t any surprise. Next turn he finally ices centrals, so I decide to do some poking to make him spend some money. There’s a Chimera over HQ, which I’m pretty happy about, because that means I can drain 2 credits a turn if I keep running it. The fact that he rezzed it means he has an agenda, so I spend some time looking for Faust for the rest of my turn. No luck, but I get a Parasite, which is nice. Next turn he scores a Hostlile, taking him back up to 7 credits. I put down a Datasucker and run into HQ, Parasiting the Chimera after he rezzes it. I hit it a couple times, but don’t find anything. Next turn he IAAs an agenda. I put down the Faust that Wyld gave me and steal a 3-pointer. He dipped fairly low on money pretty regularly trying to keep me out of servers, so the kill threat was never really live.  The game closed fairly fast once I found a Medium, keeping R&D free-ish of ICE.

IG vs Andy was up next, and my first turn consisted of installing 3 things; a Bioethics, a Temple, and a City Hall.  I was fine with eating a Siphon, because I could rez my things and make the siphon bad for him, but he didn’t have it anyhow. He was still playing Andy, though, so his first turn was Sure Gamble, Desparado, some other install, and a fruitless Dirty Laundry on R&D. I rez the Temple to rez the rest, and the Bioethics hits his Film Critic. I didn’t know he had it, but this means the game just got a LOT easier for me. I spent my turn getting a couple Museums and a Heritage. He runs a little more, seeing nothing, and trashes my Bioethics, which gets shuffled back. I install Jackson and use him twice to get the Shocks in my hand into Archives. From there, the game slowly spirals into the inevitable. I eventually got out one Bioethics that he could never trash, and eventually a second one.  He may have gotten an agenda (I honestly forget), but eventually he died to a slurry of net damage once he had no good choices left.

Round 2

My adversary this round was a very creative local player named Jaime who I’ve played in several tournaments and game nights around the area. If you liked the When the Flash Wears Yellow deck last year, thank him; it’s his. Today he was playing Palana and Kate. He was very disappointed I was playing IG, as his flavor of Kate has a hard time against it. I’d faced it before; it was a False Echo/Hyperdriver/Keyhole deck that focuses on making several Keyhole runs on a 7-12 click turn, using DDOS as an access mechanism. He had the world’s hardest time finding SMCs or his Keyhole this game. They were all near the bottom of his deck. I did the IG thing and got things in Archives, then got things in remotes. Net damage eventually sealed the deal while he dug for his cards that never came.

The Palana game was much more interesting. I don’t remember exactly what happened in the early game, but he got up to 4 points, and I got to 6. Somewhere in there, I had thrown away my Spooned to Faust for an access and had been regretting it, because there was some large-ish code-gate in front of R&D. I decided I’d just hold my Levy when I found it and used the Same Old Thing to go kill the ice to clear R&D entirely, earning me 4 of those 6 points. I still believe that this was correct. However, what was real, real bad was running the next unrezzed ICE on R&D with only 2 credits and 6 cards when that card could be (and was) a Komainu. I payed the 2 credits I had, in hopes to keep my Levy in my hand, but it wasn’t to be. My deck had 4 cards left in it, and now I couldn’t get anything back. He re-iced R&D next turn and installed in his remote. I run on R&D, but it’s only an Enigma. I pitch a card and lose a click to see a card and get a medium counter. It’s an Interns. I go back last click and see another worthless card. Now I have 2 cards left. He draws Interns, and uses it to throw a Caprice from Archives into R&D. At this point, I can break 2 non-sentry subroutines (I still had my Mimic) for the rest of the game. I think about things and decide that my only real out is to win a Psi game on R&D and also get lucky and see an agenda on top of it. I run it, pitch one of my two cards, lose a click, but also lose the psi game. Last click I go back, pitching the last card, and win. The second card down was the last agenda I needed. It was a very close game.

Round 3

My next round was against Adam and Jinteki Biotech, which was a surprise. Maksim was a surprising dude. He built both of his decks himself, and was obviously doing well with them, seeing as he was at 4-0 as well. Adam was up first, and I expected the game to go about how it went. I almost felt bad, because he wasn’t familiar with the IG machine. He got a nice access on a Fetal AI, which he hosted on his Critiic, but that was all he got. The grind started, and it rolled on until Adam was done. He was a great player, but neither he nor his deck were prepared for IG.

The hard thing about facing a non-meta deck is that you don’t really know what they’re up to. Maksim’s corp deck was one of those. He was playing Biotech, so he probably either built his deck to kill me, rush me, or both. A naked IAA remote lets me know that it’s probably the murder plan, but the first agenda he scored (I couldn’t get through the Enigma because Wyldside was just coughing up more Wyldsides) was a Medical Breakthrough, which is a rush agenda if ever there was one. It turns out that this deck could do a bit of both, and was teched to the teeth against Whizzard. Mimic was at the bottom of my deck (literal last 2 cards), and every time I installed a new Faust I hit another Swordsman. I was forced to use my single Clone Chip to get a Faust to keep him off his 3rd agenda, so insta-Parasite was off the table (I had also pitched the second Faust early in the game, and I had 65% of my deck left with 1 Faust left in there god knows where). I lost a total of 3 Fausts to 3 different Swordsman that game. Eventually I died to the Ronin that he IAA’d the second turn of the game. I never ran it because I had no clue what his influence was and I didn’t want to hit a Cerebral and go down to 3 cards in a Faust deck against someone that was trying to kill me. The game was very well played by him.

Round 4

This round was against Aaron (@myriad) from NorCal. He brought Whizzard and Gagarin. Hilariously enough, it was him that I had been chatting with on the forums about Gagarin, and almost brought a very similar deck myself before deciding against it. I had no clue he lived so close =P He played his Whizz first. This was a game of terrible mistakes by me coupled with very solid play by him. Early game I screwed up my priorities and started mass installing assets before I had built up my archives. He found money galore early game and spent his turns wrecking my board. Whizzard credits, real credits: he was willing to spend them all to keep me off my game, and it worked out. He found his Film Critic and got an early Future Perfect as well as a Global Food. I had been pitching agendas all game with Jackson because I couldn’t stop drawing them, and had 2 Future Perfects, 1 Food, and a Chronos in Archives. I found a turn where I knew I could get a Museum out, so I shuffled the Food and a FP back, thinking that he could just have the Chronos if he ran because I needed the Museum more. The thing is, I forgot that I had a second Future Perfect in there entirely. Eventually he ran Archives to clear it out, saw the FP, and hosted it on Film Critic for the game. He played masterfully that game, but I lost to the opponent I lose to the most: myself.

I’ve played Gagarin enough to know how Whizzard beats me when I play it. I’ve never played the matchup from the opposite side of the table, so I just tried to do exactly the things that I didn’t want to have happen to me. I found a good bit on cash early game, so I ran on his remotes to trash them, spending above my 3 free credits a turn several times. It was still good, because it kept him off his money. He installed an Oaktown behind 2 pieces of ICE, so I ran on his last naked remote to trash it, figuring one of those ICE was probably a tour guide. I installed Faust and ran, and got in for free as he declined to rez anything. I ran R&D as well, and he let me in. I saw a Jackson and trashed it, then saw an IT Department, but was already fairly poor, and declined to trash it. I spent the next several turns regretting that choice, as it accumulated counters in the 2-deep remote. However, he couldn’t find his money. I kept running to keep him rezzing ICE and spending IT counters to keep it from getting too crazy. Eventually I parasited the Spiderweb over R&D, and Medium found me his agendas.

Round 5

Before the round, the top players were sitting around trying to figure out who could ID and who couldn’t. Usually people wouldn’t care as much, but a LOT of us were on Whizzard and IG, and that’s a super rough matchup from both sides of the table, and none of us were really keen on having to play it out and potentially lose both sides (and consequentially our spot in the top 8 cut). It turned out that only the top table could split (they did) and the rest of us had to play it out. My loss last round put me from table 2 (where I had played all but the first game) to table 4. Fortunately, this meant that while my opponent (Stephen, from Seattle) was playing Whizzard, he wasn’t playing IG. Instead he bought NBN: Making News.

Making News was up first. His turn was to ice up and play a hedge fund, which didn’t really tell me anything. I drew some and installed some things; can’t remember exactly what. Next turn he took a credit, restructured, and installed a remote. “Okay, you’re trying to Midseason’s me.” I remember saying. Spoilers: he wasn’t. However, he played off that statement the entire rest of the game, making me fear the pile of tags that weren’t coming. It turns out, his strategy was to use things like Ash and Bernice Mai to tax me out, and the only tag punishment he had was Closed Accounts. Never the less, I played very cautiously that game, making sure I’d always be above him in money, and hosting all the agendas I scored on Film Critic. Really, all my caution did for me was force me to play much more slowly than I needed to. I locked him out of his remote and kept his Astros from him, and eventually found the win in R&D.

The Whizzard game was kind of a nightmare from Whizzard’s perspective. I found both Cerebral Statics early on, and he was only playing one Employee Strike, which was on the bottom of his deck. I forced him to Levy before he found it (so he wouldn’t lose the Levy to random net damage), and he was more or less paralyzed. There were a couple turns where if I had lost Future Perfect psi games I could have lost the game, since he saw them three times over the course of the game (with 2 accesses on two of them), but he didn’t have a Film Critic, or at least never saw it. The one time he accessed an agenda that he could steal and Cerebral Static went away, I had the other one up click one of the following turn. With a blank ID and no real good plays left, he eventually succumbed to the net damage machine I assembled. With the round 5 sweep, I was 3rd seed going into the cut.

Top 8

Game 1

For my first game, I was matched up against Jaime again. Since I was higher seed, I decided my best bet was to play IG again. I beat his Kate rather handily in the Swiss rounds, whereas the game against Palana was fairly close. Admittedly, that closeness was mostly due to the error on my part knocking Levy out of my hand post-SoT, but the IG game was far easier, even ignoring that mistake. I shuffled it up, and he shuffled up his breaker-less False Echo deck. This time, though, he had a better draw. He was able to tutor up his Keyhole and get a Hyperdriver online fairly quickly. I was fairly quick on the draw as well, and was able to get Archives with a couple of Shocks and a Bioethics on the table pinging his hand. It took a bit before I was able to find an ICE for R&D, however, and there was a turn where he accessed the same Future Perfect on top twice, which I was lucky enough to win the psi games on. I finally found an ICE and got it in place before he found his Keyhole. Once his first Hyper and the Keyhole was on board, he broke his DDOS and went in to see several cards.

I had a face-down card on the table that he didn’t have information on, so he had to spend his first click checking to see if it was a Jackson before he started, which was very good for me, as it meant he’d have one less Keyhole run. On his Keyhole runs, he knocked out a couple problem assets, but also got my second Jackson, a Chronos Project, and my Fetal AI, bringing him to 3 points. Tech Startup found me another Bioethics and a Hostile Infrastructure (unrezzed), so my engine was beginning to come online; however, I was unable to find any Shocks for Archives. Eventually he put another Hyperdriver on the board, and I knew next turn I had some runs coming my way. I put down my last Bioethics. The next turn he considered his options, and decided to go all in on R&D. I didn’t have a Jackson on the table, so whatever happened was going to happen. As he ran on R&D, I rezzed the Hostile Infrastructure, exploiting the fact that Keyhole requires you to trash one of the cards being accessed. He drew a card, bringing him to 5, and ran 4 times, taking his hand down to 1 cards. For his last two clicks, he ran on Archives, picking up the Global Food his runs had gotten him, and drew a card, bringing him to 2 cards, thinking this made him exactly safe vs the two rezzed Bioethics on the table. I rezzed the third one, closing out the game. It was actually very close this time; if he had won either of the Future Perfect psi games in the early game, he would have easily won.

Game 2

Noah (@Podoboyz99) was playing me this round, this time with me as Whizzard and him as HB: ETF. It was one of the unluckiest games I can ever remember a corp having. First turn he iced up R&D and HQ, then took a credit. I believe I just spent the first turn setting up some econ and a Wyleside. I don’t remember what his next turn was, but on my following turn I ran on HQ, where I hit a Wraparound, ending the run. I hit an Enigma over R&D, and Parasite it last click. He then spends down all his credits Biotic-ing out an ABT, which he fires. He looks at his ABT cards, rolls his eyes, and throws them in Archives. On my next turn I throw down a Datasucker and go fishing in Archives, scoring a Vitruvius. I hit R&D, trashing the Enigma and see nothing. On his turn he take 2 credits and re-ICEs R&D, getting him his ETF credit. I drop a D4v1d and hit HQ, nabbing an Adonis, then run on R&D; he rezzes a Victor. I decide to just spend a click to not take a brain damage (because I’d like to get a Faust eventually) and it ends both the run and my turn

On his turn he gains 2 and plops an upgrade in R&D. I figure it’s an Ash or something to waste my time, which was actually dumb of me, but ultimately fine. At the end of my turn, I Clone Chip up a Parasite onto the Victor and have another run at it, meaning to kill it with the Datasucker. He shows me my folly when he rezzes and uses the Cyberdex he put on R&D last turn. I click through it instead and see a Jackson, which I trash. On his turn he takes 3 credits and says go. This is where things go horribly, horribly wrong for him. He has the Wraparound on HQ, and I have a D4v1d with 2 counters, and another D4v1d in hand. I figure HQ probably has agendas in it, because I can’t see a good reason to go to 0 credits to Biotic an agenda out of his hand unless he had more in there and just wanted to get rid of one. I give HQ a poke, nabbing an agenda, which he looks disappointed about. Another Datasucker token will enable me to go back in R&D and actually kill Victor this turn, and Archives has a Cyberdex in it now, so I give HQ another poke. I pull a second agenda; he gives me a shocked look, asking “Really?” I shrug, and run on R&D to kill Victor. I’m rewarded with the winning agenda on top.

Here’s the thing. When I ran on HQ and hit the Adonis, his hand was composed entirely of agendas and the single Adonis. When I ran it again, the only thing left was 4 agendas. The man deserves an Oscar for his incredulous looks as I picked the agendas from his hand. The Jackson I picked off R&D was his only hope, and I saw it before he did. Sorry, Noah =(

Game 3

At this point, both Kyle (@bluebird503) and I were undefeated in the cut, and so we faced each other. We both brought IG and Whizzard, and both tested against one another earlier in the week. I was forced to play Whizzard again, and that means he got IG.

This was a very, very long game. We almost went to time. Afterwords, Justin (@nobody) said “You know how when they were mapping the coastline of Japan, they had dudes literally walk the coastline, drawing it as they went? That was that game.” I bring this up because, besides being an awesome statement, the best way for me to describe this game isn’t by giving a blow-by-blow, but describing the overall shape of the game.

At the beginning of the game, I found a ton of econ, and set to work trashing his things. I also found my Slums, and was able to remove a Bioethics from the game, but he had Lizzy in his hand and shut that down next turn. However, this gave me a Bad Pub that he was unable to shake for the rest of the game. Apparently his Cerebral Statics were clinging to the bottom of his deck, because when I used Employee Strike, it stayed out for a very long time. My game plan soon became to trash whatever hit the table. He had a Tsurugi on a remote that he occasionally threw an asset behind, but wasn’t able to get anything meaningful to stick. There was a Hive on HQ, and he added a Komainu to it later in the game. This signaled to me that he probably had several agendas he wanted to hold in hand, but I had no real good way through that ICE. I eventually Parasited a Komainu on R&D, netting me a Global Food and a Chronos, bringing me to 3 points, but he threw a Hive on it, closing it back off. There were still no assets on the table other than a neutered Mumbad City Hall behind the Tsurugi, so I still had no real threats there.

I was on my second time through my stack, and things were getting thin. However, he was doing almost nothing with his turns, and his deck was getting thin as well. I made a choice and Knived the Hive on R&D, spending six cards to break it. I knew he almost certainly had agendas in HQ, but I could see several cards off R&D since Medium was installed, so I went for it. It got me a Future Perfect, which I hosted on Film Critic, effectively bringing me to 6 points. Foolishly, in my glee, I spent the last 2 clicks of my turn taking it off Film Critic, seeing the “3” on Global Food and the “1” on Chronos, thinking I had won, but forgetting the reason that Global Food is played is that it’s only worth 2 to me. I was sad, because I knew the card on top of R&D was a Crick, and I knew where that Crick was going. I couldn’t actually let it fire, because then he’d get back a Museum and this whole damn thing would start again. He threw it on R&D and took 2. The game continued.

I get back into R&D to see more cards, breaking the Crick. The game is a blur at this point. Either way, I had just forced him to use a Jackson on board by running it, fully intending to spend the 10 credits it would take to trash it in order to get him to use it to shuffle the agendas I suspected were in Archives back into R&D. He shuffled back 2 face-down cards, but also a Snare!. I can see 4 cards, thanks to Medium. I think about it, and decide that’s probably fine. First card: Shock!. Second card: Snare! Looking back, I’m reasonably sure the 2 face-down cards were actually Shock!s. Either way, the next two cards whiffed, which was good because my hand was now empty. The game continues. On a later turn, Wyld draws me my final 2 cards. I have a choice. I can go back into R&D and use them to break Crick, which will let me kill it with Parasite my second time in, or I can just sit back and take 4 credits a turn for the rest of the game, running whatever asset he puts down.  I’m already on 6 points, and there’s a minute and a half left before time is called and I win by default. For some reason, I go for the R&D play. It has 7 cards left, and I can see most of them. I go down to 0 cards to get in. The second card down is a Shock!, and I die. There was also a Future Perfect in there, I just saw the Shock! first. HQ was 100% agendas, but I had no way in.

It turns out that taking 4 credits and passing was the correct choice, and with some more thought I might have come to that conclusion. There was around 1:30 left on the clock, though, and I felt pressured to make a fast decision, which was wrong, given my position. I didn’t want to slow play and get a win that way, but instead I overcorrected and played too fast. I should have looked at the face-ups in Archives, which would have showed me that I couldn’t die to anything I’d run on that he’d install, and nothing he had left could damage me other than the single Shock!, which was fine, since I would have had 2 cards left. Doing nothing for the rest of the game would have won it for me, I’m almost certain. Either way, it was an exhilarating game.

Game 4

This game was, thankfully, shorter. I faced Zane, who had done very well through the Swiss rounds, mostly on the back of his Val deck. It was similar to Jaime’s deck in that it used False Echo and DDOS as a win condition, but instead of Keyhole and Hyperdriver, Zane’s deck used a power turn of 3x Medium and Amped Up (and occasionally Demolition Run) to blast through the entire R&D in one turn. It went 8-0 on the day of the tournament and had beaten the IG decks it had faced thus far. Lucky for me, I was up against his Spark deck, which he said had been doing much worse.

The game began in the usual Spark way of him rezzing adverts to try and make me poor, but my hand was full of money. It also had an Employee Strike, which I laid out ASAP. He eventually scored out an Astro (sometimes Faust is late to the party), but I found a D4v1d and was using it to pressure R&D. There was an annoying Tollbooth there, and he had installed a Mumbad Virtual Tour there as well, with the hopes of making me spend at least 2 real credits to trash it. Ironically, thanks to the Tollbooth, whenever I went in I had less than 2 credits to spend, so Medium was slowly building counters as well as finding me 2 agendas. I was poor, though, so his deck was doing its job. While I sat back to make more money, he scored out a Breaking News. I was just happy he didn’t install it in his secure remote to kill my Wyldside.

Datasucker was at 5, Wyld drew me a Parasite, and things were looking up. I dropped it on Tollbooth and killed it on my way back in to R&D, again dipping to 1 credit, neutering the Virtual Tour. I went to 6 points. The next turn he threw a Wraparound on R&D, which was sad because D4v1d just ran out and I had a Knifed in hand. He was beginning to get some of his money back as well. The second D4v1d showed up right on time, and I Knifed into the win in R&D.

Apparently the entire game he was just shy of trying to murder me. I had no idea he was even on the kill. Lucky me, I suppose.

Game 5

It was back to me and Kyle, this time with our positions reversed. This was another insane game. Again, I can’t describe the entire thing. I got both my Cerebral Statics early, and this enabled me to get a good board of assets, but not till fairly late in the game. I saw most meaningful ones fairly early (Museums, Bioethics, etc), and he spent a lot of money making those go away. I had a hard time finding Shock!s, and it took a long time before I was able to protect my centrals as well. He found Critic and got a Future Perfect before I was able to keep him out. His stack started to wear thin, and I knew he needed to Levy soon.

I think this is the turn where I really screwed up. I had a remote with Crick on it which I was mainly using to make him run through and waste cards. I had another remote with a Hive on it which I had used to protect an early City Hall, now mostly useless. I decided to install the Hive in my hand above the Crick and install a Chronos in the remote in the hopes of having him waste his turn and cards going to check it. Instead, he did the smart play and ignored it, getting money and using Levy. Now I was kinda boned. He had a full stack, and I was more or less out of win conditions. I’ll come back to this turn later.

Two turns later, he runs R&D and hits a Komainu with I want to say 7 cards in hand. He thinks, and decides to pay 2 and take 5 damage, hoping to hit an IHW and draw, in order to save money. The second damage hits an IHW, drawing him to to 8. The next hits another IHW, drawing him to 10. This is actually really good for me now, since he’ll have to discard a ton at the end of the turn. Komainu has now done a bunch of unintended damage. The fourth hits the last IHW. I’m almost crying from laughter at this point. This is the best Komainu in existence. I might actually have a chance after all.

I think about my options, and decide upon trying to achieve the insane. My only chance to win is to try and score out in an IG Bioethics deck. I install a Global Food in the Hive/Crick server over the Chronos. At this point he’s on 5 points, so if he sees the Chronos in Archives that’s fine with me. I have the other Chronos and another Food in my hand, and it’s important for me to get the second Food out of there to lessen the chances he sees one if he runs HQ. My next turn I triple advance the Food. He ignores it, and I double advance it, score, and install the Chronos in order to score it next turn. I’m 3 turns out from winning. If he gets through Hive with Faust, he can’t get through the Crick, and I can use it to install a dead Jackson over the agenda, so I’m more or less fine. He finds the winning agenda on R&D.

So that turn that I mentioned where I installed the Hive over Crick and put a Chronos in? I mentioned he had to Levy that turn. What I should have done is installed the Hive over my other Hive and installed the Food then and there. There’s almost no chance he can ever get through a double Hive server, and I can score out in relative safety. There’s a chance he still wins off R&D, but there’s a much, much higher chance that I can close things out from scoring based on the board state and our relative positions in terms of economy. I just didn’t identify in time that I needed to win through scoring out and that I had a reasonable server in which to do so.  I got too caught up in IG’s usual win condition of the flatline.

And that’s it! I’m incredibly satisfied with my second place finish, sad as I am about my misplays throughout the day. I really just went in wanting to make the cut, and brought the decks I thought I could do that with. Ideally I wanted to make top 4, because the plastic flip ID’s are cool. In the end it turns out I had a reasonable chance at winning the whole thing. That’s a pretty neat feeling.

Overall, I’d say my biggest problem is playing too much in the moment and not thinking 2-3 turns away. When I do, I tend to do much better, but when I rush things, or get too focused on a particular line of play and neglect to see a better one when it presents itself, I tend to do a lot worse. One of the things I love about Netrunner is that it is a game of almost continual improvement. That’s actually something I really like about the IG deck. Against a skilled and prepared opponent, there are a LOT of choices to be made. Easy as it seems against someone underprepared, there’s actually quite a high skill ceiling, and a lot of learning is there for someone who wants to look for it.

If you made it this far, congratulations! That’s, uh… thats a lot of text up there. It was a fantastic tournament, though, and I wanted to write about as much of it as I could. Thank you so very much for reading, and I hope to see a bunch of you out there in the tournaments to come.

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