This is a tournament and playtesting report from our newest StimHack contributor, Narziss. The tournament took place before Creation and Control, but includes a section on updates to be made with Creation and Control in mind.
I previously managed to get a top-4 at a major regionals, getting cut out in the semifinals after a tie with a higher seeded player. Even though I wished I could’ve advanced further, having only been playing Netrunner for a month, I was also just happy to have even made top-8. I played these decks: Andy and HB: Engineering the Future.
Now with more time to tweak my decks and fine tune, I was practicing on OCTGN the week prior to a small local tournament held the following weekend. This tournament is now over, and both of these decks were pre-Creation and Control, but I wanted to share some of my observations from playing on OCTGN and in the local tournament, and I wanted to discuss how the decks could be adapted for new the expansion.
After several games on OCTGN and a bit of a really good kill streak with a new corp deck I was tweaking, I happened to stumble into the champion of one of the other major east coast regionals, and we played four games. I didn’t realize who he was until he mentioned (after the second game) that he had won a regionals. Being familiar with the various decklists on the Stimhack tournament deck page, I would’ve recognized (by seeing his decks unfold) which regionals he had won even if he hadn’t specified where he had played. It is always a strange experience to run into individuals you recognize from elsewhere on OCTGN.
In our first two games, I used Weyland: Building a Better World, against what seemed to be at most a minor variation on the Gabe deck he ran at regionals. I had abandoned HB for Weyland recently because, not only is HB fast advance predictable, I came to truly appreciate that Weyland has the significant advantage of multiple win conditions: either through flatlining or through scoring agendas. Also, trying to flatline the runner as Weyland feels a little more active than as Jinteki, which instead feels like a burrowed tarantula in waiting, waiting for an opportunity, for a vulnerability to strike. Whichever corp you play, it is really nice having a combo that slowly assembles in the background while you busily try to score agendas, so if you don’t win via scoring normally you can then fall back on the combo when all the relevant cards align.
Here is my Weyland deck:
Weyland Consortium: Building a Better World (49 cards)
3 Government Contracts
3 Hostile Takeover
1 Private Security Force
3 Project Atlas
2 Snare! •• ••
3 Anonymous Tip • • •
3 Beanstalk Royalties
3 Green Level Clearance • • •
3 Hedge Fund
3 Oversight AI
3 Scorched Earth
1 SEA Source ••
3 Eli 1.0 • • •
3 Ice Wall
Code Gate (3)
Part of the inspiration for this deck came from reading about the 1st/6th place corp decks played at the Maryland regionals. Those decks ran 3 Oversight AI, 3 Archer, and 3 Anonymous Tip. The idea seems to be that Anonymous Tip helps you draw faster into the Oversight AI + Archer combo. Of course, you can devastate by suprise rezzing an Archer (forfeiting a Hostile Takeover or even a Project Atlas), but even explicitly rezzing an Archer with Oversight AI is fantastic, as very early on you can make a server cost too much to break through.
Anonymous Tip also serves the purpose of fueling the deck’s transaction economy: drawing more Beanstalk Royalties, Hedge Funds, and Green Level Clearance to amass many credits (the latter, Green Level Clearance, serving the dual purpose of econ/card draw). Unlike any other deck I’ve played, with this deck I frequently find myself spending the turn’s first click to draw a card. Corps normally fear excessive card drawing, but this deck welcomes it and converts it into further control: it can draw to keep agendas out of R&D and either keep them safely in HQ or in the remote. With the prevalence among runners of putting lots of R&D pressure, agendas can frequently find themselves much safer within either HQ or a well defended remote.
Reflecting on the Maryland Weyland decklists running Anonymous Tip, I started thinking about how much combos can benefit from accelerated card drawing and began considering further combos that might benefit from the deck. The obvious combo for Weyland is running Scorched Earth. Many decks even splash their sacred, few influence for one or two Scorched Earth (like NBN with various tagging and Jinteki with Snare!), but strangely the non-SE Weyland decks from Maryland weren’t taking advantage of their accelerated card drawing to incorporate an alternate in faction win condition. With so much extra card drawing, why not also put in the pieces for a flatline victory?
One might respond to this question by saying that it is both (1) better to specialize in an agenda victory and (2), since SE is anticipated in Weyland, runners will play around it. However, after personally testing the Maryland Weyland decks, I was disappointed because if the deck didn’t win in the early-to-mid game, it was because either early game disruption threw the deck off or it lost through a gradual late game attrition (as the runner accumulated the economy and breakers to break through any remote). Especially powerful against this deck is Kati Jones who can store up creds until the runner sees an agenda drop behind the remote. With the power of fast advance (in NBN/HB), there are going to have to be some really good reasons for trying to score behind a remote. Don’t get me wrong, the Maryland Weyland decks are really strong, but exclusively relying on scoring behind a remote comes with a lot of risks.
The Maryland Weyland decks try to respond to this risk (of relying on a remote) by playing protective upgrades (like Red Herring, Ash, or Corporate Troubleshooter, the latter which is especially terrifying on Archer), but I still felt unsatisfied with the predictability of the mono-win victory. These upgrades rely on both (1) runners making a run with not enough credits to steal the agenda and (2) the corp having enough credits to make effective use of the upgrade. With the prevalence of Account Siphon and other econ denial, and runners wealthy off Kati Jones, I had a hard time making good use of these upgrades. Furthermore, I noticed that after I scored 3-4 points worth of agendas, runners started leaving some holes open in their defense against SE (holes like not removing tags, having just a couple cards in hand, which made them vulnerable to both Snare! and Scorched Earth, or having too few credits and being vulnerable to SEA Source’s trace). These holes could’ve been exploited if I only had an SE in hand. Sometimes runners would even begin to play over aggressive if, after having looked at a good chunk of cards, they suspected that the deck didn’t run SE. With that they lost their fear of SE which is part of what builds their anxiety and slows runners down against Weyland (just like the possibility of hitting a Fetal AI, Junebug, or Snare slows runners down against Jinteki).
With these observations I then sought to incorporate SE into an agenda scoring Weyland deck fueled by Anonymous Tip. — Ancestral Recall is really insane. Diesel is really insane. Under what conditions would Anonymous Tip seem like a worthwhile card to play?
Game 1 of 4 – Weyland versus Gabe
I was originally testing out replacing HB:EtF with NBN: Making News because I liked how if it didn’t win through its normal agenda advancement, enough time may have elapsed to make Midseason Replacements + Psychographics + Project Beale a possibility. Even just a Midseasons at some point is really great as it opens up the possibility of later using Psychographics to score agendas like Private Security Force out of hand. NBN is really good. It can win through regular advancing, fast advancing (supplemented by SanSan or Astroscript), or really fast advancing through Psychographics. However, these various routes to victory still only fall under one win condition: scoring sufficient agenda points.
Another recent issue for NBN, HB, and Jinteki has been criminals running Bank Job. These corp identities litter the board with undefended remotes, and as a result, I’ve been seeing a resurgence in Bank Job’s punishment of weakly defended remotes. Weyland: Building a Better World can deny Bank Jobs through its operation: transaction economy, an economy that doesn’t create any unnecessary remotes. This deck only requires one remote, and it’s a remote that’s defended heavily.
The first game was a flatline victory, but I first want to take a tangent and mention an earlier game I had against another OCTGN player also running criminal. That player fell prey to a surprise Snare! pretending to be my game winning agenda behind a remote. The criminal runner had Kati with 18 credits, a Ninja, and had just played an e3 the turn prior. I had a remote with an Eli, Eli, and an oversighted Archer. Although the first Eli was unrezzed, the runner had exposed it earlier with a Satelite Uplink, so he knew all three ice defending the remote (as the other two ice were rezzed). I was at 5 agenda points, and so the runner was pressured to run if he suspected an agenda in the remote. On my turn, I dropped a Snare! into the remote, as I realized that it would take the entirety of the runner’s turn to break into the server (leaving no clicks to remove the tag).
He probably thought that I had forgotten that he had earlier exposed the first Eli because I’m sure it was pretty clear (at least to him) that he had the capacity to break into the remote as is. I’m guessing he thought I underestimated him (in being able to get into the remote) when in fact he underestimated me (and I wasn’t about to give up an agenda because I remembered he had exposed the outermost Eli). So I dropped down the Snare! and used clicks 2/3 to get 4 creds from a scored Government Contracts. On his turn, he used click 1 to Kati for 18 creds, click 2 to run the remote, click 3 and 1 cred to break the first Eli (with e3), click 4 and 1 cred to break the second Eli (again with e3), Ninja with 10 creds to break and trash the Archer, and then he hit a Snare! I can only imagine how terrifying it would have been to be the runner in that position. From the corp side it was quite satisfying, and I subsequently laid down a single Scorched Earth to end the game.
Returning to the relevant game at hand, the game against the regionals champ, I also had a flatline victory but this one was through the standard SEA Source + SE + SE. Again, accelerated card drawing helped bring the combo together, and it came together by the time we were just hitting the midgame. I actually tend to find that SEA Source is an unreliable way to tag runners as you must out credit them significantly. You need 2 creds for SEA Source + 3 creds for the first SE + 3 creds for second SE + x creds for the SEA Source trace where x is equal to the number of credits the runner has minus 2. For example, if the runner has 10 credits, you need 2 + 3 + 3 + 8 = 16 credits. That traces them for 11 (base trace 3 + 8), which they can’t outpay, and leaves enough credits for the cost of the three cards.
The general formula is that if you have at least 8 credits and you exceed the runner by 6 credits, then the SEA Source + SE + SE combo can go off.
Alternately, if the runner has less than 4 cards, then you need at least 5 credits and you must exceed the runner by 3 credits to pull off SEA + a single SE.
It’s useful to memorize the 8/6 and 5/3 credit break points for SEA + double/single Scorched Earth; that way you don’t look suspicious as you sit there calculating costs and comparing with each others’ credits. Also, don’t forget to count link strength + recurring credits on cards like Compromised Employee as creds that you must exceed the runner by when making the calculation.
It can be really costly to pull off the combo, which as I said makes SEA Source somewhat unreliable. I actually find that as situational as it is to get a runner to hit a Snare! on their last click, it is actually not much less reliable than SEA Source. Snare! is an excellent card.
Even if they have 1-2 clicks left after they hit a Snare! and drop to 2 cards, getting hit by the Snare! opens up the possibility for a SEA + single SE (assuming they spend a click to remove the tag). So a suggestion: for a runner (if you haven’t installed Plascrete or Decoy or Crash Space), if you hit a Snare! and suspect Weyland has a SEA Source + SE in hand, it is better to draw to 4 cards than remove the tag (only if you can’t do both and only if you won’t have the creds to beat SEA’s trace).
In any case, since my deck’s primary strategy is scoring agendas, the deck often creates enough pressure that it hasn’t been unlikely for the runner (perhaps confident against SEA + a single SE because he has lots of creds and/or a Plascrete Carapace up) to run R&D with 2 cards and flatline into a Snare!
I spent more time in this section discussing both an earlier game as well as discussing the flatline potential of this deck because the game at hand was actually fairly straightforward. If I remember correctly, the runner had scored 2-3 points when I was at 5 points (this deck is really great at scoring early from behind a remote), and the threat of me winning the game by only needing to score a 2 point agenda caused them to run themselves low on credits which, after one of their runs, opened them up for a SEA + SE + SE. Because the game was so straightward, I felt like I could say more about how the game went by instead discussing the general threat this deck produces with its accelerated card draw, a card advantage which enables, again, (1) a transaction economy, (2) oversigted Archer on a remote from which to score early, and (3) the potential to flatline.
Game 2 of 4 – Weyland versus Gabe
The first game ended so quickly and ran so smoothly for me that I was immediately challenged to a rematch. Perhaps I had just gotten lucky? Of course, here my deck would lose some of its surprise as the runner knew he had to protect against SE and had also seen a Snare! In this game Gabe drew an early Plascrete and padded his runs with enough cards just in case he hit a Snare! Again, in both games Bank Job became a dead card as I never had a remote worth running, just one huge remote. I think, however, spending time and creds playing a Plascrete and padding his runs with cards slowed Gabe down enough to make it easier for me to win by scoring agendas. Although I don’t run upgrades that prevent the theft of agendas (like in the Maryland decks), I think the threat of getting Scorched/Snared slows the runner down enough to make those upgrades somewhat unnecessary. You can almost see, even through the clumsy OCTGN interface, the squirming discomfort in a runner when they glance a SE off a run on HQ or R&D.
The highlight of this game came when I searched up a Government Contracts using my single Atlas counter. At this point, the score was 4 – 3 in my favor (I had scored two Project Atlas and he had scored a Govt Contracts from R&D). In this situation, scoring the Govt Contracts I had searched for would win me the game, so I placed it in my remote and advanced it twice. I had a remote with an unrezzed Eli covering an oversighted Archer; HQ was covered with Enigma; R&D was only covered with Ice Wall (as he had earlier destroyed an unrezzed Archer with Forged Activation Orders); and archives had an unrezzed Shadow (as a deterrent against Sneakdoor Beta). Mentioning only the relevant cards, Gabe had a Yog.0 and a Corroder in his rig, and an Emergency Shutdown in his grip. It was clever of him to save the Emergency Shutdown in hopes that I’d drop something into the remote instead of scaring me off from putting anything behind the remote by using Shutdown earlier on the oversighted Archer.
On his first click he ran HQ, breaking Enigma with Yog. Second click, Emergency Shutdown on Archer. Third click, Inside Job into the remote server. I rezzed Eli (which absorbed the Inside Job) and then I rezzed the Archer (forfeiting one of my two Project Atlas) unfortunately still with an Oversight AI still on it, and then I trigged the subroutines to trash Yog and Corroder (leaving only a Datasucker among his programs).
It was a good move from what he had available. I guess he didn’t really have a choice or else I would’ve won the game on the subsequent turn. I didn’t have a choice either but to forfeit the Project Atlas in order to protect the Govt. Contracts. He also could’ve benefitted from Account Siphoning on his first click if he had the card, although if I remember correctly, I still would’ve had the 7 credits for rezzing Eli + Archer (although not enough for scoring Govt Contracts on the following turn). In any case, without any icebreakers left, the Enigma covering HQ and the Ice Wall covering R&D became relevant again. On my turn I scored the Govt Contracts, (now down 2 agenda points) going back up from 2 to 5. Gabe was still in the game, our scores had only moved from 4 – 3 to 5 – 3, but now his rig had been devastated.
Fortunately for him, however, he had a Crypsis to install from his grip and his Datasucker had already accumulated 6 virus counters. This would’ve made quick work of any agenda placed behind the remote. In fact, as preemptive as it might’ve seemed, it might not have been a bad idea to just run the empty server to break and trash the oversighted Archer (it wasn’t like the counters on Datasucker were a secret that he could hide until he needed to run). The turn after he played the Crypsis, noticing the threat, I wiped virus counters as a preventative measure, then on my next turn I placed an Ice Wall covering Eli on the remote so as to increase the amount of virus counters needed on Crypsis if he planned to get through and used clicks 2/3 to take credits with Govt Contracts. On my turn after that, I drew a Private Security Force, installed it, advanced it once, and installed another Ice Wall on the remote.
As soon as I ended my turn, I realized that it would’ve been much better to have covered the Enigma on HQ with the Ice Wall. I had something like 5 credits, so I could afford to rez both Ice Walls and subsequently advance PSF for the remaining three, but had he drawn an Account Siphon, I would’ve been a sitting duck and would’ve had to gain credits and leave the PSF in the remote for the taking.
Fortunately for me, Gabe didn’t draw an Account Siphon, and so I scored the PSF to win the second game. However, had I placed the Ice Wall over HQ (instead of over the remote) that would’ve prevented the possibility of hitting me with AS (since it would’ve costed an extra virus counter on Crypsis plus 2 credits to break through, which would’ve been just enough to shut my opponent out until I could subsequently score).
What would I change in my deck? If you have any suggestions, I’d like to hear them. If I had more influence, I’d probably throw in a couple Rototurrets as those can be a nasty surprise early on. Early game runners calculate that Weyland can’t rez Archer without a scored agenda and so they tend to confidently facecheck with an Imp/Datasucker/Magnum Opus (or non-Sentry breaker) in their rig which can then be wiped out with Rototurret. Comparing with the Maryland decks, the singleton Private Security Force could be replaced with a Corporate War, although I really like the possibility of eating through a Plascrete with a scored PSF against a tag-me runner (and subsequently making room for a flatline through SE). Corporate War can also be really inconvenient if you get it at the wrong time. It was also suggested to me that Shadows could be replaced with Draco, but I really like how Shadow can pay for itself early on, although I’m nevertheless going to have to test Draco to compare. I think working in at least one Corporate Troubleshooters would be a good idea, as it can be a nasty surprise behind an Archer.
It was after this game that I found out I was playing against a regionals champion, and he also mentioned how surprised he was with the performance of my Weyland deck, stating that he rarely loses against Weyland when running Gabe and that he had never lost twice in a row against Weyland. At this point I was confident enough to select this as the corp deck I would take to the upcoming local tournament.
After this second game I was actually challenged to another rematch, but at that point I felt I should perhaps test my NBN: Making News deck to double check whether my Weyland deck was actually that much better. I asked if I could change my corp deck which was when he suggested that we then instead swap sides. Now I would be running Andromeda for two more games, and he would be playing two decks: a Twiy* deck and the Weyland deck he ran at regionals.
Here is my Andy deck:
Andromeda: Dispossessed Ristie (45 cards)
3 Account Siphon
3 Easy Mark
3 Emergency Shutdown
2 Forged Activation Orders
3 Inside Job
3 Special Order
3 Sure Gamble
1 e3 Feedback Implants
2 Plascrete Carapace
2 R&D Interface •• ••
3 Bank Job
2 Kati Jones
2 Corroder •• ••
2 Mimic • •
2 Yog.0 • •
3 Datasucker • • •
Game 3 of 4 – Andy versus The World is Yours*
In the first game with me as runner, I had a really delicious opening hand. I think the consistency Andy brings by starting with 9 cards makes her superior to Gabe. I usually run once on my first turn (normally resulting in having to discard one card), but I had too many goodies that I didn’t want to discard. On his first turn he played a Caduceus on R&D and an Enigma on HQ. On my first turn, I played a Desperado, Faerie, Datasucker, and a Bank Job.
I have to say, Faerie is one of my favorite criminal cards, which is why I ran three copies. Early on she lets you confidently check ice, and later on she saves you lots of credits breaking big sentries. (Also, if the corp covers all three central servers with big ice and then wipes your Datasuckers, you are effectively locked out, at which point a Faerie might be all you need to get one Datasucker counter and get things rolling again, supplemented with an Emergency Shutdown. Oversighted Archers and Janus 1.0s are a lot less scary with Faerie. Also, since she costs zero, she’s nice to install on Andy’s first turn.)
On his second turn, my opponent played a Melange into a remote and covered it with a piece of ice (which I suspect may have been a Tollbooth). On my second turn, I played an Easy Mark, ran HQ to get hit by an Enigma, and then ran the remote. Either he didn’t have enough credits to rez the ice or just thought that I was going to trigger Bank Job, but in any case, I chose to access at which point I saw and trashed MMC.
In the subsequent turns, I ran the empty server to gain credits from Bank Job and drew some cards. He covered the suspected “Tollbooth” with an Ice Wall and played an Astroscript in the remote. I Special Ordered a Yog to Account Siphon through the HQ Enigma and then used Forced Activation Orders, trashing the “Tollbooth” in the remote.
He spent his next turn in recovery, using clicks to gain credits. I played a Corroder (now having Faerie, Yog, Corroder, Datasucker) and ran to steal the Astro from behind the remote. I then spent the short remainder of the game running R&D, using a Mimic I drew to repeatedly break through Caduceus, to eventually win 7-1.
I didn’t check, but I’m guessing he might’ve been running a 40-card deck. Because of how small the deck is, Twiy* can sometimes really abuse Astroscripts, scoring the first one behind cheap ice and then turning to defend R&D while waiting to score the next three pointer out of hand. The small deck size also facilitates combos with either Scorched Earth or Oversight AI. However, considering the high agenda density of a 40-card deck, Twiy* is really vulnerable once criminal builds a full rig. To make matters worse, Twiy* melts against criminal’s credit denial (in particular, Emergency Shutdown and Account Siphon).
Game 4 of 4 – Andy versus Weyland
For the last game, my opponent decided to use approximately the same deck he ran at regionals. Unfortunately for him (although he knew this), I had read the various session reports on BGG and looked at the tournament decklists on Stimhack.com and remembered that his decklist contained an unusual amount of Jinteki trap assets. Since I don’t run any cards that expose (like Infiltration or Satellite Uplink), I decided to ignore his remotes and instead focus on R&D. That is frequently my strategy against Jinteki. I let them score whatever agendas they may have gotten in their opening hand as long as I can manage to look at almost every card that makes it to the top of R&D (which is facilitated by R&D interface).
Furthermore, now that the tournament scoring structure has changed, it will even be more effective as a runner to lockdown R&D while letting the corp score whatever agendas they had in their starting hand. As long as you can see every card off R&D, the corp is helpless (however, these games and the subsequent local tournament occurred prior to the new tournament rules).
Because he didn’t know that I was going to completely ignore the remote, he built up three ice protecting his remote (ice that never got rezzed). I ended my turns with at least 4 cards in my grip until I drew and installed a Plascrete, which subsequently protected me so I could Account Siphon (not stopping to remove the tags so I could continue to focus on R&D). He scored a 1 point and a 2 point agenda from behind the remote (agendas that he either began the game with or drew the couple times that he drew an extra card). I scored 5-6 points in a mix of 1 and 2 point agendas off of R&D and also (on two separate runs) hit a couple Snares! He eventually then Scorched me once, burning through my Plascrete, but I kept my grip big enough to prevent a second SE from flatlining me as I ate through more R&D until finally scoring my game winning agenda.
That was all for the games against the regionals champ. I had a great time playing both my NBN and Weyland decks on OCTGN that day and was now decided on taking Andy/Weyland to the local tournament.
Going into the local tournament, I decided to keep my Weyland deck exactly the same but I made some slight modifications to the Andromeda deck:
Andromeda: Dispossessed Ristie (45 cards)
3 Account Siphon
3 Easy Mark
3 Emergency Shutdown
2 Forged Activation Orders
3 Inside Job
3 Special Order
3 Sure Gamble
1 e3 Feedback Implants
3 Plascrete Carapace (+1)
2 R&D Interface •• ••
2 Bank Job (–1)
3 Kati Jones (+1)
2 Corroder •• ••
2 Faerie (–1)
2 Mimic • •
2 Yog.0 • •
3 Datasucker • • •
Since I arrived at the tournament an hour early, I was asked by a friendly, fellow Netrunner if I wanted to play a couple games of the original game while we were waiting. I had never played the original, but I was really curious to try it out. What can I say? It was really intense and basically felt like a broken version of the current game, or in other words, it felt as if you took the current game and put it on overdrive.
For those who don’t know, the original game allowed you to play with as many copies of a card as you like. The cards are also pretty insane. There’s a runner event that costs 4 credits and gives you 9 credits, though you take a tag. There’s another event that lets you shuffle your grip, stack, and heap together and draw a new hand of a five (looks like it was just reprinted in Creation and Control but costs 5 instead of 3!). It was pretty wild. I got to play some Self-Modifying Codes and pull up an overpowered Crypsis (called Bartmoss Memorial Icebreaker) protected by a Joan of Arc (a program that essentially keeps Bartmoss from trashing). There was also a neat event that let you make a run on HQ but count it as a run on R&D. Probably the wildest card I got to play was an event, costing 3, called All-Hands: make a run on HQ, if successful, access three additional cards from HQ. Essentially, an HQ Maker’s Eye on godmode. That card got me a 4th turn win, stealing 8 points worth of agendas in one run (made easier by the fact that individual agendas seem to be worth more points in the original, so you need to score/steal fewer).
I had lots of enjoyment getting to try the original, and once it was time to start the first round of the tournament, I actually felt a bit disoriented looking at my colorful Android Netrunner cards. My cards seemed like imposters of old cards, imposters wearing different clothes, sometimes having the same or altered names, and having the same or slightly altered behavior. Don’t get me wrong though, from my feel of the two versions of Netrunner, the new version seems a lot more balanced and better paced.
Match 1: Game 1 – Weyland versus Andy
Now I got to play a game against another regionals champ, though this one from a smaller venue than the opponent from OCTGN. Also, I think this Andy deck that I was facing was a bit more of a casual/test deck, as it splashed in Retrieval Runs. Nevertheless, I was facing a strong player, and strong players can frequently make great use of any deck.
To make things more difficult, I had the notorious mulligan nightmare of a bad hand into a worse hand. My starting hand was now a Govt Contracts, two Hostile Takeovers, and two Hedge Funds. I had a mandatory draw of a Shadow. Clicks 1 and 2 I drew twice, hoping for more ice, getting an Archer and then an Oversight AI (which were really nice to draw but offered no immediate solution). On my third click, I placed the Shadow protecting HQ, then I painfully discarded the two Hedge Funds, and I crossed my fingers hoping he wouldn’t run HQ (which was now holding 5 points worth of agendas).
Since he was Andromeda, I actually got quite a save here. He used three clicks to play cards and the last click to run an undefended R&D (stealing nothing). If he had x-ray vision, his best bet would’ve been to run HQ four times. My panicked drawing should’ve clued him in, but that unrezzed Shadow was enough to keep him away.
On my subsequent turn, I played Archer + Oversight AI protecting the remote, with a Hostile Takeover behind it. On his turn, he ran HQ to steal the second Hostile Takeover, and ran R&D to steal nothing. On my following turn, I scored the Hostile Takeover (which had been Inside Job bait) and played an Ice Wall over the Shadow on HQ as a sort of preventative to any Emergency Shutdowns or Account Siphons (that would’ve easily gone through the Shadow). My next turn, I put a second ice over the oversighted Archer and finally double iced R&D.
It was all smooth sailing from there. I placed a double advanced Govt. Contracts behind the remote, scoring it on the following turn and bringing me to 4 points against his 1. I kept gaining economy, protecting my servers, and scoring behind the remote for a 7 – 1 win. Oversighted Archer is a beast, though again your worst enemies are Faerie and Emergency Shutdown.
Match 1: Game 2 – Andy versus Haas-Bioroid
This game was pretty close. It was the standard race against HB fast advance. He built a remote to try and score early, saving his fast advance cards for later. At one point I hit Aggressive Secretary for 1 and lost a Corroder, but luckily I had my second Corroder in hand. Another turn I hit a second Aggressive Secretary, which fortunately hadn’t been advanced (but slowed me down as I had to pay credits to get through the remote).
Soon enough I managed to find the agendas in all the right places. One turn I first did a normal run on HQ to get him to rez the two ice and see if I had the breakers and credits to pull off an Account Siphon. As I saw that it would not cost me very much to continue, I decided to break my way through instead of letting the run end, getting lucky and pulling a Project Vitrivius from HQ. Then I subsequently Account Siphoned as I had planned.
This was a close game, but I eventually managed to pull a 7 – 6 win.
Match 2: Game 1 – Andy versus Weyland
For my second match, I would be facing the player who had invited me to a game of original Netrunner while we were waiting for the tournament to start. This was a lucky game for me as I opened with an Inside Job and drew a second one in my first couple draws, and Inside Job was exactly what I needed. First he put an agenda behind a single ice remote (probably hoping that I didn’t have an Inside Job and motivated perhaps because he had a couple agendas in hand and didn’t want them sitting there). I stole the agenda with the first Inside Job, and then he thought he could at least pull off scoring behind the single ice remote on the second try, only to underestimate that I had a second Inside Job waiting. From that I could tell that he had likely taken a mulligan into a hand with two 2-point agendas and was trying to score those quickly.
I was already up 4 – 0, and it looked like he started thinking about flatlining me or at least slowing me down. He placed a double advanced Junebug behind the remote. On my subsequent turn, I was lucky to run R&D first, at which point I saw and trashed a Junebug. Then I Account Siphoned him so he couldn’t afford paying for the potential Junebug behind the remote. I guessed correctly as I then ran and trashed the two advanced Junebug and then played a Plascrete (to avoid having to remove tags). After seeing the Junebug, I assumed he probably ran a deck quite similar to that of the Weyland deck used by the regionals champ I had played against on OCTGN (a deck with tagging, SE, and Snares!).
At some point I got an R&D Interface, and after subsequent runs on R&D (keeping my hand padded in case I hit a Snare!), I finished with a 7 – 0 win.
Match 2: Game 2 – Weyland versus Kate
My opponent was now playing Kate. In the early game I managed to score 4 points (a Private Security Force and a Project Atlas), and he managed to steal a Project Atlas. I used Anonymous Tip to draw three cards, getting a Hostile Takeover, a Project Atlas, a Snare! I put Atlas behind my remote (which was protected by an oversighted Archer covered by an Ice Wall) and ended my turn (at this point I had in my grasp the last three agenda points I needed for the win: Atlas in remote and Hostile Takeover in HQ).
As a further temptation to run, I didn’t have any ice in front of HQ (and I had just used an Anonymous Tip), so he ran HQ on his first click, hoping to pull an agenda but instead hit the Snare! With only 2 cards in hand, that was the game. There was some disappointment about being flatlined by a trick he ran in his own Weyland deck. I’ve also learned this the hard way: if you have some tricks in your deck, don’t understimate that your opponent also has the same tricks (sometimes I think “What are the chances?” and then subsequently get whacked pretty hard). This game finished 10 – 2 from the flatline.
Match 3: Game 1 – Andy versus Weyland
Now in the final match, I was facing against a relatively new player who had won both of his prior matches each with a 4 – 2 record (using the old tournament scoring). In this game I ran R&D with an R&D Interface letting me access an additional card during six runs before seeing a single agenda (unlucky that I only saw one agenda in twelve cards). He had scored two Hostile Takeovers, so the bad publicity was helping me, but then it got really expensive for me when he rezzed an Archer on R&D (forfeiting one of the Takeovers). He also managed to get enough credits to then rez a Janus covering the Archer, but as I had seen every card he drew through R&D accesses, I knew to expect the Janus. I had a Faerie to break Janus and a Mimic fueled by Datasuckers to break Archer (and finally stole an agenda). Now that Janus was rezzed, I ran HQ and then used Emergency Shutdown on the Janus. However, I still had an Archer to deal with. Nevertheless, though the first 11 cards I saw from R&D didn’t have any agendas, I then found a pocket of agendas on a subsequent run (putting me up at 5 points), and then I stole the 2 pointer I needed from behind a remote (he had spent a turn drawing, which was when he had gotten it), giving me a 7 – 1 win.
Match 3: Game 2: Weyland versus Noise
This was the final game, and would end my win streak. I was hit by a bit of bad luck against Noise. He had only trashed 6 cards but was able to get exactly 7 points, so I’m not dissatisfied with the performance of my Weyland deck. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate the unexpected luck factor in Netrunner, especially after watching this video by Richard Garfield (the creator of Magic the Gathering and of the original Netrunner) discussing luck versus skill in games.
In the video Garfield shows us a graph of four different games plotted according to luck (vertical-axis) versus skill (horizontal-axis). Tictactoe (in the lower left quadrant) is considered low-luck, low-skill. Bingo (in the higher left quadrant) is high-luck, low-skill. Go (in the lower right quadrant) is low-luck, high-skill. And finally, Poker (in the higher right quadrant) is high-luck, high-skill. Where would that put Android Netrunner? Probably somewhere near medium-luck, high-skill.
As Garfield went on to discuss, if a game is too skill based, then it only appeals to hardcore players, but if a game is too luck based, then it only appeals to casual players. Netrunner has a really great balance because, though it favors hardcore players, new players can still score a really satisfying win in a really tense situation. This is probably one aspect of many that has contributed to Android Netrunner’s early success and popularity.
I think it’s a reasonable assessment of this game to say I wasn’t blessed with fortune. In terms of viruses, my opponent played a Darwin, Crypsis, three Parasites, and finally one Datasucker. The first 5 of these viruses got my opponent 5 points from my undefended archives. Fortunately for me, I had scored a Private Security Force and an overscored Project Atlas that was hosting a single agenda counter. At this point, I had a remote with an outermost, oversighted Archer and two other pieces of ice. However, the Archer was also hosting two Parasites, which were together giving it -3 strength. As for my R&D, it was well protected.
For my turn, I used the Atlas counter to pull a Govt Contracts, which I immediately played and advanced twice. On his turn, Archer dropped to -5 strength, but he didn’t have Grimoire (to play a Datasucker with a counter), and I hoped he didn’t have a Surge (which turns out he wasn’t running). He was also sitting on only 2 credits and his Crypsis didn’t have any counters on it, so even if he managed to destroy my Archer, he likely wasn’t going to get through the other two pieces of ice defending the remote.
Since Wyldside was going to leave him with only 3 clicks left (he didn’t have an Aesop’s out), he needed a really good hand to win, which I rightly betted against him not having. Surge + Stimhack would’ve worked as a Surge could’ve finished off the Archer, he could’ve put a counter on Crypsis, and then he could’ve run with Stimhack (breaking both remaining ice and trashing Crypsis when breaking the second ice).
As he didn’t have such a hand, what was he to do? I was about to win the game, and given his resources, he only had one thing he could do. Djinn for a Datasucker (bringing him to 1 credit), play the Datasucker with his last credit, and run archives. That’s what he did. As he played the Datasucker, I smiled when I saw the Project Atlas get trashed (he probably thought I smiled because I wasn’t trashing an agenda). He then looked at his cards for one last hope, and then looked back to the table for the inevitably remaining action: a run on archives. In response to him declaring a run on archives, with a hopeless look on his face, I said, “good game, you won” (as I flipped over the Project Atlas). His face pulled back in complete surprise and he instantly leapt out of his chair, raising his fists like antennas to heaven, and shouting with glee!
Creation and Control
Now that Creation and Control has been released and is widely available, I thought to add a section discussing how I’d update these decks with the expanded card pool.
My Andromeda deck will get a set of really nice upgrades. First off is the incredibly efficient econ from Daily Casts:
This card has already been heavily discussed in various forums, especially with its Aesop’s Pawnshop synergy, so I just wanted to throw in a mention for my support, advocating for the strength of this card. I’m interested in adding 2-3 copies of this card, potentially cutting Bank Job (-2) and at most one Kati Jones (-1). Bank Job is already a bit of a risk, as it is useless against Weyland decks that use transaction economy or against heavily defended remotes, so Daily Casts is a welcome alternative.
Next up is Dirty Laundry:
Without hesitation, Easy Mark (-3) will be subtracted for three copies of this card. How insane is this? An Easy Mark with a free run included, ramping up to a Sure Gamble with a free run if you have a Desperado out.
Finally for Andy is Same Old Thing:
This card seems to come at a bit of a tempo loss but in the mid-to-late game can provide some nasty recursion of the insane criminal events. My priority targets for this are Account Siphon and Emergency Shutdown, and I’d probably make room for 1-2 copies of this card by removing Forged Activation Orders (-1 or -2). This card could also come in handy in the early game when the corp bluffs you into burning your Inside Job and subsequently gets the confidence to think they can sneak by scoring an agenda behind a single ice remote (you would then install this and recur the Inside Job).
While Andy gets some nice upgrades, I’m seeing nothing for my Weyland build. Successful Demonstration (notably a transaction) seems really good, but in practice is way too conditional and thus unreliable (a frequent dead card in hand).
However, since there are no upgrades for my Weyland deck, I am also considering that I should expand my use of Anonymous Tip to fuel combos in some new decks. Oversight AI is one of my favorite cards, and now we have a Bioroid exclusive version:
Fueled by the combo enabling card acceleration of Anonymous Tip/Green Level Clearance, I’ve been considering the construction of a Haas-Bioroid deck that runs both Oversight AI and Bioroid Efficiency Research. Such a deck could run a combination of cheap, strong ice (like Ice Wall, Eli 1.0, Enigma, Shadow) while hoping to quickly rez some massive ice (like Heimdall 2.0 or Janus 1.0) with these two operations. The disadvantage, however, would be losing an alternate means of winning the game, that is, unless the deck also managed to include some way to flatline (which seems subpar next to the simplicity of striking with Scorched Earth).
In conclusion, the underplayed card that has impressed me is Anonymous Tip, which not only fuels combos but also protects agendas by moving them from R&D into HQ and your remote. Especially with so much R&D hate, this latter strength of Anonymous Tip has been immensely useful.