On Saturday, June 8 we had our regionals at Redcap’s Corner in Philadelphia, and I wanted to share some of the highlights and observations about the meta. We had 41 entrants, six rounds of swiss followed by top-8 single elimination. I ran a fairly unique Chaos Theory deck, and a traditional NBN: Making News fast-advance. Let’s go through the matches and I’ll add some meta comments and my deck lists toward the end. Spoiler alert: I did well but did not win the tournament, so turn back now if you’re just looking for regional-winning decks.
Match 1: HB:EtF/Andromeda
I got matched up with a pretty good player out of the gate, a relatively new player to A:NR but experienced in Magic. I ran first, and he advanced an early Accelerated Beta Test bringing out a Janus, Enigma and Chum. He placed the Janus on his R&D, Enigma and Chum on his Archives, which I thought was odd. I landed an early Indexing before that, seeing no agendas but trashing an Aggressive Secretary. I also saw a Rototurret, which I moved to the bottom. His remote server consisted of Enigma, Tollbooth and Viper, which was great for me because Gordian Blade was the only breaker I had in play. Eventually he put one more ice on his server which I assumed would be a Rototurret. I stole my third agenda by Tinkering the Rototurret and running, then Test Run/Femme for the winning agenda.
As corp I had a solid draw, and he had trouble getting icebreakers out. By the time he got one out I managed to push through 2 Astroscripts, scoring a Beale out of hand and a final Breaking News to take the match 6-0.
Match 2: HB:EtF/Noise
I was pumped for my second match because I assumed I would be going up against another player who swept the first match. I ran first again; his first turn he iced a remote, placed a card in it, and took a credit. I happened to have an Indexing in hand, so I indexed his wide-open R&D to see three agendas, and spent the remainder of the turn scoring a Vitrivius, Beta Test and False Lead. He managed to ice up a bit more, but after he delayed for a while I test ran Sneakdoor Beta to steal the final Vitrivius from his hand.
He ran as Noise, and opened with a first turn Retrieval Run. Apparently he misunderstood the card and thought it installed a card from his stack (deck), not his heap (graveyard). He hit a Rototurret with his Datasucker out, which I trashed, then proceeded to play out a series of Datasuckers and Parasites. After every mill, he ran my archives to no avail. The game was a quick 7-0. Apparently he had the bye, since there were an odd number of players. He was a friendly guy and we went our separate ways.
Match 3: Jinteki:PE/Chaos Theory
After getting 12 prestige points for the first two matches, my friend Corey and I were matched up for round 3 since he also went 6-0 on his two matches. We had played each other a lot and helped construct/critique each others decks. Running against his Jinteki deck ended up as one of the most intense games of the day for me. I had actually packed a Net Shield because I thought there was a chance a lot of PE players could show up as a result of their recent regionals wins. He laid down a card on turn 3 in a server, and I went through his Chum and a Tinkered Ice Wall with my Gordian Blade to hit an Edge of World. Devastating! No points on the board, and I had 2 brain damage. I wasn’t sure how I could possibly win at this point.
I pulled back and started playing very slowly. He then scored a False Lead which made me extremely nervous, because I know he packed a Scorched Earth and 3 Neural EMPs. I saved up my cards and drew into a Net Shield thankfully, and started making 1 run every 1-2 turns, trying to keep him poor by making him rez new ice. Running his hand, which he left entirely open I nabbed a Fetal, getting me to 2 points. He had 2 Data Ravens on R&D, and with him at 2 credits I decided to Index R&D taking all the tags, moving a Priority Requisition and Fetal AI to the top. Then I ran a Maker’s Eye on my last click leaving me with 2 cards in hand, exactly enough (with the Net Shield) to score both agendas and win. Unfortunately I forgot he had an unrezzed Hokusai Grid which he rezzed, and I had to jack out because Maker’s Eye doesn’t give you an option on how many cards to access, and the Fetal would have killed me. The game dragged on for a while, and I managed to snipe a few agendas with Infiltration and some fruitful HQ runs when he was under 4 credits taking the game 7-2.
When he was running, I had a solid draw and scored an early Astroscript, which I used to score a Beale out of hand. I drew and scored a Breaking News getting me to 5 points, putting him under a lot of pressure. I had a Data Raven, Enigma, Rototurret remote, but he had to use Crypsis to break, so I replaced a Melange with a second Melange to get him to run it. After that he was out of steam, allowing me to drop an Astroscript to score the next round to take the game and the match.
Match 4: Weyland: BaBW/Gabe
My fourth match was with a friendly woman named Lea, who had a bubbly personality but was all business when it came to our match (she silently waved away a friend of mine during an intense moment in our match, which I found funny). I started the match as corp, and quickly had Pop-up Window and Caduceus on HQ. I managed to get a Melange going, which she left alone trying to find some economy and breakers. She was ticking away on Kati Jones as her sole source of economy. Eventually my remote had a Sansan, Bernice Mai and Melange, so I replaced the Melange with a Breaking News. The next turn I rezzed my Sansan, advanced the Breaking News once to score it, then Closed Accounts her and trashed her Kati Jones leaving her utterly broke. After that it was tough for her to recover, and by the time she got an Armitage it was over. She did manage to top-deck a Priority Requisition on her last turn.
Next I ran against her Weyland deck, featuring Oversight and 3 Scorched Earth. She got a really early start, scoring 2 Hostile Takeovers out of hand. I managed to Index her to score a Priority Requisition, also seeing a Snare! and Wall of Thorns. She then placed a card in her remote, and took some money. I let it go for a turn because it would’ve broken me to get in and wasn’t threatening the match; she then triple-advanced it, leaving me in an awkward position because I wasn’t ready to handle a Junebug. I let it go, and she scored a Priority Requisition, rezzing an Archer on archives and put her at 5 points.
Eventually I had a Gordian Blade on the table, the score was 3-5 and she drop-double-advanced a card in her remote protected by an Enigma and two unrezzed ice. I didn’t have a Corroder out, but I had seen a Wall of Thorns during the Indexing, so I guessed the middle ice was WoT. The only mystery was the third ice. If the card in the remote was an agenda, I would lose the game; with 4 credits left, for my first click I Quality Timed for 5 cards. I basically drew into the nuts, with a Tinkering and Stimhack in my hand. I Tinkered the middle ice and Stimhacked, and the blood drained from her face. She flipped over the first ice — CHUM! I yelped for joy, as she revealed a Wall of Thorns as her second ice (sick reads, bro). This was the luckiest play of the day for me, and both of our hearts were pumping Diesel at this point. She drew aggressively for a turn and chucked a ton of cards into her archives. I moneyed up for a turn, but honestly wasn’t going to have the credits to break the server again. I had played out a Corroder and had enough to get in. Then she placed a card in the remote. This was a very difficult decision for me — I could afford to get in, but I felt like a trap made a lot of sense for her in this situation, especially since I saw the Snare! when I indexed her R&D. Instead I opted to Femme through the Archer on her Archives and looked at her bin — no agendas. I asked if it was over, and she shook her head. After the game, I found out she had 3 Scorched Earths in hand, and had indeed placed a Snare! in the server. She swapped a new card into the server, so I ran the server to score a Project Atlas and win the game. We shook hands and laughed about it, both of us jittery with adrenaline.
Match 5: HB:EtF/Noise
At this point I was in the lead with 24 prestige points, and got matched up with the second player at 22 points. He ran first, a classic Noiseshop deck. He got an early Workshop out, and I managed to score an unadvanced Breaking News to trash his Workshop. This set him back pretty far, and I had enough agendas in my hand to win the game. It was a race at this point, and I got to six points before he Parasited/trashed my R&D ice, then dug with his Medium to pick up 4 points and the game. I was really frustrated, because he got 4 points out of 5 cards on his Medium dig, and I had a Breaking News in my hand that would’ve won the game next turn. This was my first loss of the day, but scoring six points wasn’t bad.
Considering he was piloting a Noiseshop deck, I got a little worried when I saw he was playing HB, because I thought my runner deck would have trouble against him. I got off an early Tinkering to pass through his remote and score a Vitruvius. Meanwhile he pushed through an Executive Retreat and a Vitrivius. I brought out a Corroder, and Indexed his R&D which was protected by an Ice Wall. I saw an Executive Retreat which I moved to the top and scored with my last click getting me up to 5 points, and left the remaining cards as follows:
Green Level Clearance
The idea was that he would mandatory draw into a GLC, run it with his first click to draw a Biotic Labor, draw the Ichi with his second click and place the Ichi on his R&D with his last click. He did exactly this, so I ran his R&D on click one, clicking through his Ichi to score the Vitrivius and winning the match. He face-palmed and realized that I had done this intentionally. We shook hands, all the while thinking in the back of my head: Indexing. Wow. You aren’t getting nearly the love you deserve.
Match 6: A quick draw
At 28 prestige points, 4 points ahead of the #2 seed, both myself and the #2 seed were guaranteed to make top 8. We played a quick 5-minute match, and both went 7-0 against each other. Imagine that. It was a legit game, I promise I went and got some Thai food.
Top 8 Single Elimination: Round 1
Not much to say about this. My opponent ran a Gabe deck with fixed strength breakers, and I drew into 4 agendas very quickly. With no economy cards and a lot of agendas, I took some risks and put an Astroscript in a server. He ignored it, allowing me to score it, followed by a Beale out of hand. It didn’t matter, though, because he made short work of me after that, clicking through the Eli on R&D to score a PSF and Beale and plucking the remainder out of my hand.
As corp, he had a Trick of Light/Biotic HB Fast Advance deck. I managed to pick 1 Vitruvius out of his hand, but again didn’t draw into any economy cards. In desperation I broke myself on a Maker’s Eye to try and suck out a win, but got nothing. He fast-advanced 3 2-pointers and the match was over. After 10 hours of Netrunner, a Project Beale mat and some other goodies, I was happy to go home!
Closing thoughts, deck lists and observations
Overall, I was very happy with how my decks performed and with the tournament overall. It seemed like everyone had a great time, and Redcap’s Corner did a great job organizing it. I saw a lot of players running variations of HB fast advance and Weyland tag and bag, much more than I expected considering the new NBN cards drumming up interest and recent Jinteki:PE regional wins. There were fewer Gabe players than I expected, and maybe 1/4 of the players were running Andromeda. The best part of the day was when five guys lumbered in dressed in black jeans, boots and matching cut-off black denim jackets with “Void Rippers” printed on their back. Apparently they were part of a band or something, and all played Netrunner together. One of them even went on to win the tournament! Unfortunately I never had time to see what he was running, but one of our local guys running Andromeda/NBN:MN was the runner up. The skill level ran the gamut, and I saw many players rocking regional gear from other tournaments. From what I heard, most of the regional tournaments on the East Coast had set caps on the number of attendees and filled up, so Redcap was getting a lot of interest from players who missed out on their local tournaments. We would’ve had even more entrants if a car-load of players hadn’t been delayed by a highway accident.
Here’s my hard-to-pilot Chaos Theory deck; it focuses on luring the opponent into rushing agendas, then finding ways into their remote when it seems like you can’t. Key cards are Tinkering, Test Run, Stimhack and Inside Job. A few other tricks include Test Run/Sneakdoor Beta for when the corp is stalling for ice, and of course, Indexing. I prefer burst access with this deck because of its low economy, so Indexing performs better for me than R&D Interface here. Superstars of the day for me were Indexing, Tinkering and Sneakdoor Beta. I’d say over 3/4 of the agenda points I scored were due to some combination of those, and in future revisions I’d try adding a third Indexing and a third Armitage. Indexing isn’t great in all situations, but it severely punishes corps who rush against Shaper and leave their R&D vulnerable, which in many situations is a decent strategy for the corp. R&D Interface is a very different card, allowing sustained access if it’s economically feasible but doesn’t punish too hard in a single turn. Also, I don’t really buy the idea that you have to run a 40-card CT deck — in future revisions I’ll probably just run this with 44 cards.
I like Chaos Theory over Kate for this deck because Kate only saves 2-3 credits per game, and I like being able to Sneakdoor with a full rig out without having to run consoles or mem chips. They feel like a huge waste of deck space to me. If you play this and feel poor but are able to access servers by the seat of your pants, then you’re playing it right.
Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Android: Netrunner Deck Builder
Chaos Theory: Wunderkind (Cyber Exodus)
Total Cards: (42)
Tinkering (Core #37) x3
Infiltration (Core #49) x3
Sure Gamble (Core #50) x3
Stimhack (Core #4) x1 ■
The Maker’s Eye (Core #36) x3
Test Run (Cyber Exodus #47) x3
Special Order (Core #22) x1 ■■
Inside Job (Core #21) x1 ■■■
Quality Time (Humanity’s Shadow #87) x3
Indexing (Future Proof #106) x2
Plascrete Carapace (What Lies Ahead #9) x1
Net Shield (Core #45) x1
Femme Fatale (Core #26) x2 ■
Sneakdoor Beta (Core #28) x1 ■■■
Gordian Blade (Core #43) x2
Corroder (Core #7) x2 ■■
Crypsis (Core #51) x1
Kati Jones (Humanity’s Shadow #91) x3
Armitage Codebusting (Core #53) x2
Personal Workshop (Cyber Exodus #49) x2
Sacrificial Construct (Core #48) x2
Influence Values Totals -
My corp deck is a pretty straight-forward NBN fast-advance deck. I included a ton of cheap ice, and a few Flares to catch people off guard and hopefully peel off a Plascrete. I also didn’t include too many trace ice, because once you have a server with multiple trace ice it diminishes the value of your identity. Unfortunately I never drew a Scorched Earth all day, but Breaking News or SEA Source into Scorched Earth is a pretty common win condition for me. I supplement a lot of the economy of the deck with payer ice like Popup, Shadow and Caduceus. Don’t be afraid to trash your Popups or other ice if they stop working for you, because there’s always more coming. I may go back to using Ice Wall instead of Eli 1.0 — I don’t like that you can click through it and it ended up being an issue in a few of my games. Draco is my least favorite card here, but it’s a solid opening hand draw and there isn’t anything neutral or in-faction I’d rather run. Bernice is fantastic both as a lure to get people to run your remote, punishment for when they trash your Sansan and as central protection.
Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Android: Netrunner Deck Builder
NBN: Making News (Core)
Total Cards: (49)
Breaking News (Core #82) x3
AstroScript Pilot Program (Core #81) x3
Priority Requisition (Core #106) x1
Project Beale (Future Proof #115) x3
Private Security Force (Core #107) x1
Melange Mining Corp (Core #108) x3
Data Raven (Core #88) x3
Wall of Static (Core #113) x3
Enigma (Core #111) x3
Draco (What Lies Ahead #20) x2
Pop-up Window (Cyber Exodus #56) x2
Caduceus (What Lies Ahead #19) x2 ■■
Shadow (Core #104) x2 ■
Flare (Future Proof #117) x2
Eli 1.0 (Future Proof #110) x3 ■
Rototurret (Core #64) x2 ■
SEA Source (Core #86) x1
Scorched Earth (Core #99) x1 ■■■■
Closed Accounts (Core #84) x2
Hedge Fund (Core #110) x3
SanSan City Grid (Core #92) x2
Bernice Mai (Humanity’s Shadow #97) x2
Total Agenda Points: 20
Influence Values Totals -
The Weyland Consortium: 10
I’d like to thank Adam, Jake and that bearded guy at Redcap’s Corner for hosting us all, and showing us a great time! Now I’m looking forward to taking my bad Jinteki:RP and Whizzard decks to New Holland this Saturday for some road-tripping Netrunner fun, without the pressure.
6/12/2013 Edit: Apparently there actually were a lot of Gabe players, I was just never seated next to them or ran into them. Someone else also wrote a recap of the tournament and completely unreadable decklist scans, which can be found here.