I felt like Dante from ‘Clerks’: “I’m not even supposed to be here today.”
At our weekly Thursday league night I got talked into Regionals by a mob of people who seem to think I’m a good player. I have only played 1 tournament before, which was the Mead Hall Store championship where I got 5th after being 1st seed out of swiss. I went to that tournament with a casual attitude and was shocked to do as well as I did with the decks that I brought (my Corp deck may have had 3 City Surveillance in it…). I’m mostly an OCTGN warrior and have very little reference point for how good I actually am/might be.
For the last many months I have played exclusively fast advance, and I was not at all excited for this regional where clot would probably be everywhere. Additionally, I dreaded the idea of bringing any deck with asset economy given Whizzard’s recent surge. Finally, I know myself as a player, and I do not have the endurance to play 6+ rounds with a glacier deck. I dig around on Stimhack for inspiration and find this beauty:
NEH Anti-Clot (49 cards)
Near-Earth Hub: Broadcast Center
3 AstroScript Pilot Program
2 Breaking News
3 NAPD Contract
3 Project Beale
3 Daily Business Show
3 Jackson Howard
1 Cyberdex Virus Suite
3 SanSan City Grid
2 Biotic Labor ···· ····
2 Fast Track
3 Hedge Fund
3 Shipment from SanSan
3 Sweeps Week
Code Gate (7)
1 Lotus Field ·
3 Pop-up Window
3 Architect ·· ·· ··
2 Pup · ·
Whenever I netdeck, I try to figure out why all the cards are there and what they are doing. Why are there no Elis? Why the 1 random Lotus Field? Why 3 Architect with no asset economy? What’s up with those Pups? Here’s the reasoning behind the deck:
Clot means Shipment from Sansan is good, especially against paranoid players who will get very trigger-happy for Clot after they see one, pulling it out on every single install once you have an Astro counter or Sansan City Grid. (Spoiler: This happens A LOT on the day). Whizzard means asset economy is bad. Pup is better than Eli because we are going to be dirt poor after we fast advance an Astro due to our bare-bones economy, and a Pup you can rez is better defense than an Eli you can’t. Pup is also a nice tempo hit for the runner when you rez it, whereas Eli just puts you 3 credits in the hole. The Lotus Field is actually brilliant. In a fast deck, the resurgence of Yog.0 due to Net-Ready-Eyes makes lotus field better, since many decks will need 2 cards to get past it, and the Net-Ready does literally nothing against the rest of our ice suite, since it is all strength 0 or already in mimic range. In games that I draw the lotus I can gear-check 4 times, which is huge against clunky anarchs (AKA Whizzard). Just to be thorough, I went on OCTGN without the Pups and Lotus and with 3 Elis instead. Eli sucked. I put the Jinteki suite back in and I won 8 games in a row, Clot or not. As for the Architects, it turns out that card is so good you hardly need any support to make it work. This was my deck. I titled the OCTGN deck file “NEH Anti-Clot” to convince myself I stood a chance against that card.
For the runner, well…I only play Noise (and the professor…so…yeah…). Most days I play a very silly 3x Account Siphon DLR Noise that is a bit notorious at in the weekly league, but this is regionals. It’s try-hard time.
Noise Regionals (45 cards)
Noise: Hacker Extraordinaire
3 Deja Vu
3 Clone Chip ·· ·· ··
1 Plascrete Carapace
2 Adjusted Chronotype
3 Aesop’s Pawnshop ·· ·· ··
3 Cache · · ·
This Noise deck is basically what I played at the Store Championship, but I cut my 3 Earthrise and 3 Inject for Chronotype-Wyldside and a Clot. When it first came out I thought the Wyldside engine would be too clunky, and it kind of is, but it is so powerful that it is worth the setup. Clot in the meta will hopefully slow down the game enough for us to get this engine going. I cut my Nerve Agent (trash card) and 1 D4v1d for 2 Lampreys, since the 3 D4v1d in my old list was due to blue sun being the cool new thing back at that Store championship, and cutting the Nerve meant I needed an HQ threat card. This deck is amazing. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside every time I play it. I really hate Hades Shard. Playing fewer than 3 Clone Chip just feels awful, and most people played around Hades all day anyways. There are no games it would have won me, whereas Clone Chip is the 3rd best card in the deck after Pawnshop and Parasite.
A lot of people have asked why I don’t run I’ve Had Worse. I don’t have a great reason except that when you need the protection it is basically brain damage, and brain damage is frustrating when you are starting the turn with 7 cards. I like being able to plop down my Plascrete and go about my business, potentially even selling it to Aesop if I see them bail on the scorch plan. Saying you can use I’ve Had Worse as draw is bogus. I’d rather just click for cards twice than have it eat 3 slots in my deck. Play Inject if you want a cheap card to dig for Aesops.
I also get hate for my only Crypsis and D4v1D breaker suite. You just parasite everything guys. You can run 1 Mimic if Architect is scaring you but honestly just ignore it and run elsewhere. You can break it late game for 5 if you have to get in with Medium for the game. It’s even actually for 2 a lot of the time because you have sucker counters. Running a 1-of respect-Mimic is dumb. I’d rather have a consistent deck than play situational non-viruses. A part of me actually wants to only run 2 Crypsis but I like being able to discard them early without having to save recursion for them.
After this tournament I would cut the 1 Incubator for a 3rd Lamprey and try to fit a 3rd D4v1D back it. Turing is getting played, and D4v1d destroys it. I knew this deck was likely not optimal, but it is a machine and, more importantly, it is a template that I understand and have played hundreds of games with. All of my testing time was going into anti-Clot play as NEH and I needed a familiar friend by my side as the runner.
Aside about Scheherazade: This card is so good! People dog on it all the time but it makes you so rich! It lets you keep playing the viruses you draw while you dig for your engine without going broke. Please, Noise players, try this card! Give it a chance! Tell some tales! (and pray that your meanie corporation adversary doesn’t shut down the power…)
I expect to get thrashed by Clot all day on corp side, but I always have faith in Noise…
On to the games, but first I have to give a quick shout-out to my wife Mandie (Amanda if you played her), who came with me to this tournament despite only having played for about 3 months and expecting to win close to 0 games. She went 6-6 and had a blast representing as 1 of only 2 girls at the event (as far as I could see). Everyone at the tournament was so welcoming and she said she did not feel treated any differently as a girl. This is a very special thing about our community. Keep it up everyone! She played a Tennin homebrew and got to explain to people all day that, yes, Space Camp does indeed fire from archives…both of them…again…sorry!
Dakota: Kate + Jinteki PE
Turn 1 I play Sansan City Grid, Sweeps, and Ice R&D, leaving HQ open with an Astro in my hand. He plays SMC and makes money. BOOOO. I draw shipment and go for it. My hands are literally shaking and sweating as I put the Astro on the Sansan and ask if he wants to use abilities. He says no, probably waiting until I advance. I play shipment and score the Astro. He face-palms. Next turn I put a Jackson on the Sansan and ask for abilities. He gets clot and starts to tilt a little after he runs in to find the Jackson and not points. Next turn I purge. I purge clot about 4 times this game, baiting it with a mix of bluffs and NAPDs, and fast advance to victory while he looked for more recursion. Guys, even though you have clot in your deck, TRASH REZZED SANSANS!
I hate Mushin No Shin. If a card is ever banned in Netrunner, let it not be for power reasons, let it be Mushin. I trash one Mushin off R&D with a Noise mill after accessing it, but he gets 2 off anyway. I check archives and only see 1 trap, so I can’t rule out Junebug or Overwriter. He has a House of Knives scored so even 3 advancements is probably death. I don’t run them and lose to double Ronin. #SlotTheInfiltraton? I play like a sissy and don’t facecheck centrals all game because HoK + Komainu would mean death. As an aside, he had HQ open for the first many turns of the game. Had I brought my Siphon Noise, this would have been a free win. The regret is real.
1-1, 2 Prestige
I read the pairings and the name of my 2nd round opponent is a dagger. I recognize that name from the internet and worlds reports. What is he doing going 1-1 in the first round? I knew this tournament was a waste of my time…
Spags: Leela + NEH
I rush an Astro out on a Sansan, but can’t find more agendas in time. He gets double Security Testing with 2 RDIs going and the game is over pretty fast. I actually had quite the window to score out this game while he took a long time to set up for an aggressive criminal. I did everything I could to draw aggressively and look for agendas, but they didn’t show up.
In the Noise game I hit a Gutenberg on R&D pretty early and start building money and not running to combat the inevitable Midseasons. Luckily I have Aesops. Unluckly, he scores a Breaking News out of a remote and trashes it. Even worse, he’s not on Midseasons at all and Biotics out an Astro. I had even gone through a lot of work to parasite down the Gutenberg for which he has seemingly no tag punishment… Fast forward a few turns to my saddest moment of the tournament. I’ve got 5 points and he has 3 with an Astro counter. I run R&D and hit an Architect. He tanks for what feels like 2 minutes and installs behind a wraparound which he has no reason to believe I can break. At this point I’m thinking that’s for sure an agenda because of how long he thought. Then he pops Jackson. I guess he had a bunch in a row on R&D. I miss on R&D. I have 2 credits, a D4v1D in hand, and 3 clicks left. I consider breaking myself to check the remote (Credit, install, run), but somehow convince myself it’s a Jackson or NAPD and I don’t want to go to 0 to check. It was an Astro :(. Going all-in would have won me the game. Now he has 2 counters and tries to Fast Advance an NAPD a few turns later for the win, but I Clone Chip Clot him. He clearly forgot I had the Clot in my heap. I still have the D4v1D in hand, but am 2 credits short of playing it and paying for the NAPD. I go for a couple mills to steal the game but don’t get there and he scores the NAPD. Spags is a great player and probably the single nicest guy I faced all day. It still sucked to get swept though.
1-3, 2 Prestige
That 1-3 start though… I knew I should have stayed home. I’ll need to go 8-0 to make it in. Huh? What’s that? Cue the Rocky music.
Raja Doake: Kate + NEXT Design
Seeing Raja at the 1-3 table is a testament to how strong this field was… He is one of the players at Mead Hall that I am scared to face each week. He seems to think I am better than him, but I return the sentiment…
This game was a ridiculous slog. I don’t remember all of the details but it ended with him on 6 points and with me having purged clot about 5 times. He played it from hand once, clone chipped it 3 times, and then Levied to keep it going. His digging for recursion meant he didn’t have the cash to trash my 3 DBS, which let me choose if I wanted to get a bluff or an agenda each time. I guessed right pretty much 100% this game. Raja is a very careful player and I definitely exploited that fact this game.
On the flip Raja mulliganed into a 0 ice NEXT Design hand. Ouch! I get 4 points out of HQ turn 1 and then win on archives a few turns later. Sorry!
3-3, 6 Prestige
Kyal: Kate + Industrial Genomics
He tutors Opus with SMC turn 1. I think “wow he must not be on Clot, that’s good!”, and Sansan an Astro turn 2. He then spends the rest of the game digging and making money to trash things with Opus. My R&D is Pop-up, Pup, Pup, which deters him enough for most of the game and I fast advance to the win. He tells me he DID have Clot in his deck and was drawing for an SMC or Clone Chip all game. Bummer!
Noise versus IG is always funny. I spend all game recurring Imps and he spends all game purging them while he slowly mills. His face-down archives gets to an impressive 20+ cards. Eventually I parasite a hole through HQ, and lamprey him down to 0. This lets me run archives without him being able to rez his Caprice there or any of the ice. He Jacksons a bunch of agendas back and I only get 4 points. At this point there are less than 10 cards in his deck, so I hit it while he’s still on 0 credits and see The Future Perfect for the win!
5-3, 10 Prestige
My next round opponent is another name I recognize from the internet. He is chatting with Spags before the game. That’s a bad omen. He is also playing Blun Sun, an ID that I have a history of tilting against. This may be the end of me.
Aaron Andries: Noise + Blue sun
I get a pretty good NEH draw with a biotic, an Astro, and money. His noise deck doesn’t look as robust as mine. He stumbles around all game trying to assemble his economy and draw engine. I bet if he had Scheherazade, he would be able to pressure without going too broke. I win quickly thanks to a lotus field on R&D that is unbroken all game. For the record, he installed a Hades Shard for free on turn 1 and ended the game with it in play. Such a fantastic player should not hinder himself by playing such an inferior Noise build 😉
His Blun Sun never draws an oversight which is good for me, but I hit a Rototurret turn 1 and lose a Scheherazade with an Imp on it. Who plays Rototurret??? In Blue Sun the card can be quite the nasty surprise against my Mimic-less noise. He uses his big early scoring window to rush out an Atlas with 2 counters, but goes to about 8 credits doing so. I take the opportunity to set up a big dig on R&D with Medium, Parasite-Datasuckering through the Datapike there. I get 6 points. He purges since he doesn’t have more ice for R&D, and I Lamprey him down to almost 0. He doesn’t purge the lamprey…when will people learn??? He’s locked on nearly 0 for a couple more turns and I pull an Atlas from HQ for the win. I really thought he would tutor for Oversight + Curtain Wall with his Atlas counters, but I had D4v1D ready if he did.
This is about the first time in the tournament that the dream is real. I only have to sweep one more time, and my decks have really been shining. People are telling me there is a lot of butcher shop around. I wonder where it is…
7-3, 14 Prestige
Cooper: NEH (with murder) + Whizzard
For the first time all day I play runner first. I see a Scorch off my first R&D access and decide not to mill it. I have my 1 Plascrete in hand just in case. My plan against this deck is to clog their hand with kill cards and stay out of Midseasons range. Of course, this passive play lets him rush out Astro-Astro. I then Imp all his PADs and Marked Accounts and Lamprey him down to 0. He keeps trying to reinforce HQ to no avail. The Parasites keep coming. Even if he purged, I had 2 Déjà vu and a Clone Chip to get back my Lamprey so the lock was good for a long time. The agendas stack up in HQ. He’s broke and can’t score them, and he can’t Jackson them away because he has to defend archives. THIS IS WHY WE RUN SHIPMENT PEOPLE! I pluck them out of HQ 1-by-1 and get the last points off a Medium dig. Wyldside-Chronotype + Aesop was running all game and it felt really good. Wasting both players’ turns on Lamprey runs is REALLY good when you’re drawing 2 cards and getting 3 credits for no clicks the whole time.
This is it. Complete the 8-0 run, or get dream-crushed. With my horrible start, 8-4 will definitely not get me in.
This was probably the most anticlimactic game possible. His Whizzard deck has #anarchproblems and he doesn’t get the breakers he needs. I Astro-train him into the ground in under 10 minutes. I would go through the details but your mental picture of what this looks like should suffice. It started with Biotic-Astro and ended with Biotic-fast track. Brutal
9-3, 18 prestige
I am amazed that my corp deck did better than Noise (5-1 vs. 4-2). Astrobiotics is filthy. The Clot match-up is bad, but I got the best of it 3 times, and the ability to have 80%+ against random stuff cannot be overlooked. If they are not ready, they will lose. They will lose fast. In a big tournament this is a big deal and makes this deck worth the risk, in my opinion.
Mead Hall has 4 players in the top 8. Represent!
The top 8 is 6 Anarchs (Whizzard, Noise, and Maxx) and 2 Kates with 0 Criminals. What an age we live in. I was ‘happy’ to see Spags’ Leela missing the cut at 9th, for my own sake 😉
On to the cut (6th seed, lowest SoS of the six 18 pointers because of my 1-3 start)
Vs. Joe Schupp (NEH vs. Kate)
This was very similar to the Raja game in round 3. He spends so much effort keeping clot online that I get a decent remote up and get a Beale out of it. I bait a clot with an NAPD on a Sansan behind wraparound which he has to pop his Clone Chip for Lady to go get. He uses a Stimhack to steal the NAPD and trash it all, but along with the Sansan and the NAPD is a CYBERDEX in the server, purging his Clot and letting me Biotic an Astro the next turn. The brain damage also takes a Maker’s Eye out of his hand, which is a critical loss. At this point the score is 4-4. He gets Clone Chip back online and gets another NAPD off R&D but goes pretty poor doing it. 4-6 is the score. I somewhat stabilize R&D with 2 architects and a pop-up which he can’t afford to pay 5 for consistently. I get DBSs going and after several baits and purges I somehow win the game as he whiffs on R&D over and over. The whole time my hand was full of points and he never checked it. RUN HQ people! If it’s 1 credit to get in you don’t need legwork!
I was 4-0 against Clot-Kate today. Clot is an amazing weapon, but you can’t just make the rest of your deck and game-plan bad against NEH and rely on it. R&D lock and maximizing random accesses is still the goal, and tunnel-visioning on Clot can definitely lose you games. I think when people get this Clot thing down to more of a science, Biotic NEH will die, but I don’t think anyone but the very best players are there yet. Shipment from Sansan really complicates things and makes the bait game very strong against almost all players.
Vs. Jimi Simon (Noise vs. ETF)
I am greeted by cursing. Jimi hates my noise. We played in the top-8 of Store Championships and I beat his ETF deck in less than 10 minutes. He claims the cards do something different when I play with them than when anyone else does. It certainly looks like it this game as I get my engine up early. He tries to score a naked Gila-Hands at one point when it looks like I am durdling, but I catch it, and I also use a D4v1d to get past a Turing and take an ABT. At this point the mills have stacked up hard and he is digging for Jackson. I parasite through HQ and hit it a few times, ripping into a hand of 100% agendas for the game.
Winners bracket finals Vs. Jeff Schoenberg (NEH vs. Whizzard)
Before I came along a couple months ago, Jeff was the guy to beat at Mead Hall. Our lifetime record against each other is 3-3 and we are constantly back-and-forth at the top of our league standings. The lifetime record versus Jeff is almost worth more than the trophy (almost…). His back-to-basics Whizzard deck doesn’t look like anything special, but he pilots it masterfully.
The flood is real! I draw tons of agendas and none of them are Astros. I score a Beale off a Sansan but he gets in and trashes it after. I have 8 points in my hand and 2 scored. He runs R&D for 2 single accesses and gets and Astro and a Breaking News. Ouch! Then he Wantons HQ and dumps 6 points into archives. I dig for Jackson, don’t find him, and lose. The wanton could have just been 4 runs, but the loss somehow felt more demoralizing this way.
At this point I remember what it feels like to lose, as it has been about 6 hours since that has happened. It’s not very fun. Joe’s Kate deck defeats Jimi’s ETF, so I get a rematch on the flip against Joe. It’s a shame that Jimi got taken out on 2 ETF losses, since his Siphon Maxx deck is beautiful and I wish I could have faced it. Oh well.
Vs. Joe Schupp (Noise vs RP)
This is my first match against RP, the deck I was ready for all day. There is quite a crowd for this and I am a bit nervous since my whole meta really seems to think my Noise is something special, and of course everyone with a soul wants RP to lose 😉
I start the game Imping all the Mental Healths and Dbs’s while setting up. One the R&D runs I have to make to go trash something gives me a lucky Nisei Mk 2. I win a critical caprice game to trash a sundew at some point. It was behind a Wraparound and I only had a couple tries to get it with my D4v1D. Quite the relief. #alwaysbidzero. He does the right thing and gets a Nisei Mk 2 out as soon as he draws one. I use lamprey and parasite to keep his attention on centrals as he slowly mills out. He gets to 5 points with a Nisei counter and has inevitability, but only 3 cards in his deck and no Jacksons left. I have 4 points after getting an NAPD out of archives. Since he will almost certainly deck if he doesn’t, he goes for his only agenda before he is totally secure, The Future Perfect, install-advance-advance in his wraparound + ice remote with no upgrade, leaving him with 4 credits. I don’t have 3 viruses to mill him out with immediately, so I Clone Chip D4v1D, charge Crypsis, run a central, and run the remote. With a click to spare, not even the Nisei counter can save him and he concedes.
My local crew is quite excited that it has all come down to Jeff and I in the finals. My NEH crapped the bed so hard last time that I am ready for a rematch.
Finals Vs. Jeff Schoenberg (NEH vs. Whizzard) MEAD HALL SHOWDOWN
This game goes more according to plan. I get a Sansan up behind a Wraparound he can’t get through for a turn and use it to get 2 Astro counters. I also get my sick double gear-check Lotus Field on R&D which is unbroken all game. The game is over in less than 15 minutes. CHOO-CHOO!
TRUE FINALS (Noise vs. ETF)
Jeff’s ETF deck is a hybrid build with Sansans, Caprice, and two 3 pointers. This is not a deck I am used to facing, but I think the matchup should be good.
Noise has #anarchproblems for the first time all tournament. Jeff gets out ahead of my econ denial plan with 2 restructures, and I see 2 Chronotpyes, 0 Wyldsides, and 0 Aesops for about 20 cards. I still make a game of it, but he stuffs me with a Turing on a remote to score his last agenda when we are both on game point. I could have run click 1 ready to trash Crypsis and planning to click through Turing (I had a feeling that’s what it was), but I was worried about Ash since he had way more money than me. Thinking I would need to make 2 runs I charge Crypsis first and it costs me. It turns out it was Caprice in there and I would have had a 1/3 chance to win the game. That’s what I get for going down to 2 D4v1ds… This was the worst game for my Noise deck all day and I was a bit sad that he let me down in the end. I spent the whole game breaking myself to kill Sansans, and never got my engine up. I will say Cyberfeeder + Scheherazade made a game out of this, giving me the trickle to keep things happening while I dug fruitlessly for my engine. Scheherazade is just so good. It’s a feeder that costs 0 and works multiple times a turn! I’m glad the finals were against Jeff. We had a very relaxed and friendly few games, which is really what it’s all about.
So I guess I’m glad that I went after all. I got a lot of “told you so” from our local group who demanded that I admit I had a good time.
Props n Slops
Purging Clots/Shipment bluffs
Facechecking with no respect for destroyers
Mead Hall meta with 4 in top 8, 3 in top 4, and both of the finalists!
The most welcoming community in table-top gaming
Mushin No Shin
#Anarchproblems making for 1-sided games
Takeaway from the day: Parasite is the best and most important card in the game. It is easy to forget about this little guy since he has been around since the beginning, but take a moment to think about what a different game Netrunner would be without him, and maybe you will agree. I don’t know everyone exact list, but it is likely the only card that was present in all of the top-8 runner decks.