Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) hosts their World Champs the first week of November every year, and this was my fifth consecutive time that I would be experiencing it. It is a great time, but the time of year needs to change. The weather was a low spot, including a drive through snow and ice on Wednesday, November 1st, and a snowstorm on the Friday of Worlds. I just wanted to note that the time of year is really bad for Worlds, forcing people to travel from near and far into possible doom. FFG, pleasepleasePLEASE move Worlds forward one month, when people can experience the beautiful fall times that Minnesota can offer. It is not like the venue has severe booking issues; it is yours.
Well, enough talking about the weather, the most boring, cliché thing one can do. Let us move on to this, my report from Android: Netrunner Worlds 2017. I usually decide to only write these up if I perform well, but thought I would perhaps create one regardless, as the community has a voracious appetite for content, and I am more than willing to vomit words onto digital paper for that purpose.
Worlds always involves a large amount of prep time for me, and this year may have peaked that out. The meta was new, unformed, and uninformed. To prevent ourselves from remaining uninitiated, a bunch of us from Wisconsin decided to actually test together, both in real life (IRL) and on Jinteki.net (JNET), as well as form a Slack channel to talk. We added other stragglers along the way, people in the community whose minds and personalities we enjoyed. This led to a really wonderful experience. Worlds testing in the past usually involved just Aaron Andries and myself bashing our skulls against each other for a few weeks. This time there was a lot more of that, as well as some great discussions. The more I play this game, I find that I can glean as many insights and revelations, if not more,by talking about decks, the meta, matchups, card slots, etc. by bullshitting around some beers, either online or IRL. For that, I thank all of those involved, as it really helped to prep for Worlds.
Part of the problem was predicting what people would be on, and testing accordingly. Cerebral Imaging (CI) was going to be the only Haas-Bioroid (HB) identity (ID) that people played, and would probably be the most played ID. The problem is that it is not a fair ID, and thus, allows one to do many things with it. Fast advance (FA), combo kill, glacier, and asset spam are all viable out of it, and one needed to be ready to face all of those. That is just one ID. Now, add in Data Loop Obokata decks, Potential Unleashed (PU) or Personal Evolution (PE) decks, Aginfusion, or Jinteki FA decks. That’s all one more faction’s options. The list goes on and on, and we decided to play a ton, to suss out what we felt the top tier was. By the time Worlds was upon us, we felt that we had a pretty good grip on the meta. CI, Controlling the Message (CTM), and Gagarin all seemed to be top tier, with various Jinteki builds being right there. On the Runner side Shaper, in various forms, was the top choice, followed by Reg-Anarch. Clanarch and Geist were good, but perhaps too slow for the current meta. They had some fantastic matchups, but none of our team felt like they fast enough to compete with CI.
The above testing only ate up part of my preparation time. This would be the third year in a row I would run the King of Servers (KOS) team tournament. There is a large amount of prep time for this sprinkled throughout the months leading up to it: venue securing, beer selection, prize support design and acquisition, etc. It was going to be at the same venue as 2016, the B-Dale Club. The short notice from FFG on Worlds did not allow for much venue searching, and they only offered Wednesday as an option to host. Since ANR was Saturday and Sunday, I decided hardly anyone would be around, and pushed for Thursday. Also, I knew the food options were severely limited in the area around the venue, so I gathered input from local players about food options, and settled on the World Street Kitchen, a food truck/restaurant/caterer in the area that is highly touted. It was the week beforehand before all of this was fully situated and paid for, and led to some slight sleeplessness on my part. (well, that, and ingesting caffeine after 3P)
Let us move on to a more structured timeline.
Andries and I headed up Wednesday afternoon. I would have loved to go up earlier, but we both had work crunches and time-off issues to address. One of the great things about being an American is the severe lack of paid time-off. The harrowing drive up through
snow and ice was alleviated by great discussions about ANR, food, Rick & Morty, Blade Runner, sports, and more. Aaron really made the five hour drive fly by. We bypassed going directly to the Radisson, deciding to go straight to downtown Minneapolis. We were meeting up with ajar and his wonderful wife EIJay for some dinner at Zen Box Izakaya. Ajar took me there in June during the FFG Regional, and I fell in love. Drinks, ramen, and dessert were all hastily consumed, and some fine discussions were had. We parted ways two hours later, heading to the Radisson, and had our room visited by various folk. Every year, since 2013, it seems the room Aaron and I share becomes a meet-up point for various people, sometimes becoming quite loud. I joke with Aaron about it, as sometimes he just wants some downtime and rest, and yet we have 5-10 people sitting on our beds loudly discussing the cards they’d make if they won Worlds. The company was fine, though, and the discussions were great. Having talked about decks and meta for some time, we closed up shop, for tomorrow was KOS.
King of Servers was going to be the first ANR tournament this Worlds, so I felt some pride at kicking off the weekend. I was also feeling some slight jitters leading up to the event, as one never knows when disaster can strike, and I would hate to ruin the day for so many. Instead, I received more support and assistance than ever. Many were there before I got there at 9A, and were already starting to help setup. The assistance with arranging the room, grabbing chairs from the back, numbering tables, helping set up the stream, and more were all greatly appreciated. Seriously, if you helped the morning of KOS, I am forever grateful.
Tournament went off about as well as I could expect. The stream was lit, with Dodgepong bringing professional-level production as always. Sotomatic and CTZ killed it on the commentary, with the former also helping by bringing some streaming equipment. Special shout-out to inniscor for his help handing out participation prizes during registration. Really moved things along.
KOS went well, but I received more judge calls than ever. Missed triggers clicks/turns later, Maw cards flipped over, and many more misplays made for me getting double the judge calls today than KOS 15 and 16 combined. I had really hoped people could settle these for themselves, but I am always there to make a judgment call. I always believe people should call a judge, though, when in doubt, and was disappointed to hear someone bullied someone at KOS into a game loss without calling me. Please, ALWAYS call a judge. I frequently, despite being 100% sure of the ruling, will call a judge to clarify. KOS being a friendlier event only made that sadder to hear.
KOS16 involved a new venue, and I had found the food options to be non-existent around it. I decided to up the food game this year with high-end street food from World Street Kitchen, and it didn’t disappoint. I heard lots of good reviews about the food, with the Korean short rib BBQ being called ‘next level’. WSK will be the food option going forward for KOS, unless we get to hold it at the FFG Centre.
In the end, the tournament was fun, and the Versace Brick Syndicate defended their title, albeit with a new member, due to Dan D’Argenio having to miss due to a medical emergency with a loved one. People helped me pack up as quickly as possible, as we had a special dinner engagement at 8P at Travail Kitchen and Amusement that night. What ensued was an amazing dinner and experience, with over 20 dishes and 10+ drink pairings. A great evening, and some lovely chats with my tablemates mikesheehan, stephene, orbital_tangent, cranked, and many others.
I finally got some good sleep in after a long day, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the
OG Pancake Haus with sirris, paranoid, and webster. We were boisterous, laughing too loudly at times, much to the chagrin of the elderly patrons (scd excluded) around us. This was going to be the break between KOS and Worlds, and I was going to relax and enjoy the day. I had no real plans, and did not intend to play in the Icebreaker as I had plans to see Tegan & Sara on their Con X tour, playing through ‘The Con’ album (their best), that night. Webster has one of the largest original Netrunner (ONR) collections in the world; I say that with zero proof, outside of the 20+ constructed decks he carries with him at all times. I had vowed to get some games of ONR in, and do, including playing a deck with 12 Stimhacks and 2 LARLAs, and a Slaghund deck that puts ANR tagstorm kills decks to shame. I end my day at the FFG Centre commentating Round 1 of the Icebreaker with Tugtetgut. My voice was wrecked from KOS, and it was loud, but we had a good time. Tugtetgut is someone I have had a number of games with on JNET, and as a result knew him to be a strong player. We saw Josh Wilson on Val and PU, and it turned out that was what he was running for Worlds.
Tegan and Sara turned in an amazing performance, as always. Unlike most shows, it was
just them, no headliner, playing with two other musicians backing them. They played a stripped down version of ‘The Con’, then played around 8-9 other songs, all in the same minimalist style. Between songs, they had some great banter, probably giving them a breather so they never had to leave the stage in the two hours they played. Highly memorable.
Main event time arrives, but not until 1P. A few of my teammates are waffling. Spoiler alert: even the best/brightest can suffer from anxiety, uncertainty, and doubt pre-tournament. I felt a few days ago pretty dialed into what to play. I really played zero ANR at Worlds to that point, but so much before, that changing decks would be a mistake. Some of my friends went 1-2 with CTM in the Icebreaker, noting Maw was a problem. I expected little Maw, was willing to risk it, and have defeated Maw before. I was a bit worried about Maw/Imp/Ed Kim attacking the hand and knocking out the tech cards our CTM relied upon to win, so I swapped a Commercial Bankers Group with a Whampoa Reclamation last minute. Otherwise, I filled in my decklists Saturday morning, and felt fine. I had so many games in with the CTM that it felt wrong to move off of it. I had no backup Corp I felt comfortable with, and I sure af wasn’t playing CI. My teammates rolled from CTM to CI Glacier the morning of, with no experience.
On the Runner side, we had both Hayley and a late-in-the-game MaxX build as our top considerations. Both were meta calls, both ran Tapwrm and Levy AR Lab Access (LARLA), and both were control decks. I longed to return to playing Green and Yellow at Worlds, my only deviation from that in four previous trips being Whizzard last year, and Lady Hayley seemed like the optimal move. The Shaper BS that Artist Colony and Shadow Net provide, combined with her ability and the late addition of DaVinci, can make for some stunning counterplays, especially vs. CI FA or Rewire kill.
My dex can be seen here:
I have a ridiculous appetite for media, and love good television. After Gen Con this year, in late August, my TV viewing was basically consuming all of ‘Twin Peaks’ (40 episodes and a film), then all of ‘Rick and Morty’. The latter was very fresh in my brain, and in our final large testing session, the Saturday before Worlds, we felt that Information Sifting, a corner case silver bullet, could be a strong game-winner versus a lot of the field. Testing proved right, to the point where the Corp would occasionally be pushed into a 50/50 situation, where their best play is to load all of the agendas into a single pile. Having already started to call Sifting ‘Get Sifty’, after the ‘Get Schwify’ episode of R&M, the 50/50 became known as a 50/Sifty. We were amused by this, and it almost felt wrong not to play Sifty, just to be able to say it.
The CTM I named after a fantastic ad-lib episode of R&M where they watching interdimensional cable TV. 15 Minutes was a late addition to the build, thanks to Dashakan, and turned out to be a great move. The tie-in to the R&M episode appeared to be too good not use.
I promised paranoid I would finish the new ‘Twin Peaks’ by Worlds, and I finished it
before October. I was obsessed, and loved it. When he suggested I dress like a character, I picked an easy but fun one: Gordon Cole, FBI Regional Director, played by none other than David Lynch himself. The beauty is that he wears an ancient hearing aid. I thought this would be great, as my hearing is pretty shot from 100s of punk rawk shows and working in a factory for over ten years. Plus, it would be a nice excuse to listen to Rap Caviar all tournament. Having prepped my costume, I headed to the event.
(Forgive any details remembered incorrectly, names misspelled, slights given unintentionally, etc. Memory is fallible, and I took zero notes.)
Jason G. – Smoke/Titan
Jason is a Milwaukee, WI guy, and a local player I know. He was surprised to see me when I sat down to play him, not matching up my birthname with my nickname. Game data from this match is a little fuzzy in my head. Smoke is generally a decent matchup for CTM, as long as one isn’t ravaged by Indexing, the best R&D multi-access card currently out there. There have been a Misdirection, another bane of CTM’s existence, but Hard-Hitting News (HHN) after a Closed Accounts (CA) may have kept his Misdirection under wraps.
On the Titan side, he had a rough draw, getting flooded up. I believe I Clot locked up any FA attempts, and finished with an Indexing. Jason is a great guy, and was wearing a Girls Rock Milwaukee shirt. Having an eight year old daughter myself, and after meeting his at an ANR tournament, I inquired, and we had a nice chat about it.
Carl M. – Smoke/PE
When I sat down, Carl greeted me, and then let it be known he was going to be chatty the entire match. I appreciated the heads-up, and decided to turn up the volume on my phone a little bit. Turns out, Carl is not only a local Minnesnowtan, he’s also an amusing dude. The running commentary he provided was akin to having play-by-play provided by a game show host, and I thought it was great.
As far as the games go, Smoke dropped a turn 1 Misdirection, which makes CTM surly. Sadly for Carl, no good money followed up that play, and I believe a SEA Source/CA/HHN play arrived at some point, leading towards a hard lock of the game. The PE deck tried to push, but didn’t have a lot of potency early, I believe. Indexing is huge v. trap decks, and the Feedback Filter (FBF) did heavy lifting.
We chatted for a bit afterwards, and Carl noted he wished the FFG announcement about the new ANR meta came earlier. If so, he wouldn’t have dived into the Utz pool of L5R. After talking to him, and others, about L5R, I am feeling intrigued to try it. However due to the rigid complexity and pacing of the game it sounds like it is a tournament nightmare, with a large number of games in the cut going to time. Apparently, even the finals, at 100 minutes, went to time, leading to the new champion of Rokugan being entitled the Slogun by his peers.
Asger ‘Tugtetgut’ S. – Hayley/CI
Having just met TugtetguT the day before, commentating on a CodeMarvelous stream with him, it was a pleasant surprise to face him today, this time on the other of the table. It was even more of a nice shock to find that he was on nearly the same Hayley build as myself. Testing various Shaper builds found our group landing on this Hayley build as the most versatile and daring, and LARLA was the most useful Restricted card. Film Critic is very good in certain matchups, especially when facing Jinteki (an admittedly inferior matchup for the Lady Hayley), but was frequently a blank card. Clone Chip is very good, but, once the opponent knows you are on that, the clock is set. If wise, they will realize they can burn through your SacCons, and then you are stuck with what you have remaining. A full LARLA reset is almost always useful, and a great ‘In Case of Emergency, Break Glass’ fallback plan.
The games were tight, tense, and long. TugtetguT is a very strong opponent, both through reputation, tournament results, and JNET games I have played vs. him. I went against CI first, and was really hoping for my first Rewire opponent of the day. We talked the day previous, and Asger was on an undefeated CI Threat Level Alpha deck for KOS. While I was hoping for kill, I found something quite different. A jam into a single ICE remote revealed a NEXT Silver. Normally, I play fast, quite fast. However, that information left me reeling, and I had to sit back for a second. Turns out that TugtetguT was on Sandburg, not a great matchup for my limited, low strength breaker suite. The Atman immediately went into the garbage. HQ had a two ICE defense, and I face planted a 10 strength NEXT Gold with only Femme out (it having targeted the inner ICE). I sucked up that credit loss, as I really couldn’t afford for the Femme to get murdered so early. From what I remember, I allowed for HQ to fill up with cards, and then pulled the trigger on a Sifty, knowing it was a Stinson and not a Crisium on HQ. Like a number of Siftys I fired this tournament, I made a ridiculous show of it, standing up like I was going all in at a poker tournament. Essentially, this was my all in, as the Sandburg was going to lock me up. I reached out for the pile in front of my right hand, and Asger shook my hand. I got there on the 50/Sifty.
We did not have a large amount of time for game two, I believe. I faced a lot of fantastic opponents this Worlds, but a number were very deliberate with their decisions. This led to long games, and two ties in Swiss. I never had a tie before in my 5 years of ANR. This game was one of those ties. I jumped out to an early five point lead, but Indexing, the most feared card for my deck, got TugtetguT back five, as well. As time was called, he had one more click, and Stimhacked R&D for a single access, missing.
On a side note, I ran into a wardrobe malfunction here. One of my shoes, being old, slowly had the sole peel away, and then fall during Round 3. My foot completely ripped through my shoe, and sold it to Aesop after the round finished. I then had to spend my lunch break going back to the hotel, having a foot get soaked outside, to retrieve alternative footwear.
Alex F. – Ed Kim/CI
The VOD is here.
I would rather not go into this match too much. I will note that game one was one of my top three games of all-time. It was a masterclass to myself in how to be patient, trust your deck, and get extremely lucky at times.
Alex ‘laminatedsmore’ H. – Hayley/Aginfusion
This will be my second of three Alexes I faced this tournament. I also was paired up with three National Champions. In all, I ended up facing non-Americans in 7 of 10 matches. The diversity at Worlds has only grown every year since I first attended in 2013, and I welcome it. Despite how much the meta and hivemind has shrunk due to the internet, each country brings its own playstyles, deck flavours, and more to the table, making Worlds its own insular, exciting meta.
I was happy to see an Aginfusion doing this well, this high up on the tables, but I did not want to face it. Hayley in general can have some issues with Jinteki decks, and the ID having the ability to shunt my Indexings meant this could be a brutal game. Alex pushes out a remote, and works on advancing an MCA Austerity Policy (MCAAP). He eventually uses it to score out a Nisei MKII. I believe I follow with an Indexing to grab an Obokata from him. He fires off a Tech Startup after putting MCAAP back into R&D, and I inquire about more MCAAP. Instead, he reveals with a slight smile an IT Department (ITD).
My face drops. That card also destroys Atman, and would be very tough to deal with. Tapwrm survives a bit, keeping me afloat. Alex reads the Dedicated Processor, noting that it’s a two-for-one boost, specifically noting, “So, it’s 20 creds for 40 strength?”. Those kind of words scare me a little, but I shrug it off. I end up smashing headlong into a Tithonium on R&D that reaches 55 strength.
“Uh…. it fires?”
I lose 2 SacCons and a Beth. However, I now have a nice Femme target, and go to work with it. If memory is correct, I come back in, looking for the win to Mad Dash, but end up with just a Nisei MKII. The ITD cannot be combatted, and his low credit pool makes the Tap very sad. Eventually, a Sifty is attempted, and a beefy Rototurret is encountered. I go through, hoping to have a nice turn taxing the ITD. Instead, I proceed like an idiot, and am redirected into a Tithonium that isn’t Femmed (was overwritten previously). I lose my breakers, and another Resource. Alex took the Laguna Velasco District over my Shadow Net, on the second run through my deck. That gave me an out. He was never able to protect R&D with more ICE. I build up for the power turn and fired it for the win: Shadow Net for Scavenge, getting Femme back for the single Tithonium on R&D, losing the MKII; Indexing; draw my final card; Mad Dash in, using all of my remaining cards to steal the Obo. Very close.
Game two left little time, but it did not matter. I jumped out to a quickly rushed lead, but in the midgame Alex took advantage of IP Block as my only R&D defense, and Indexing/Mad Dash’d for five points. Quid pro quo, and all that. Another Indexing as time in the round loomed gave Alex the win.
I was glad to face some UK opponents, and Alex was a top-notch player and opponent. We had met in years past, when he attended one of my NBA basketball game outings, and it was nice to face him in game.
Sam ‘circadia’ B. – Hayley/Aginfusion
Sam asked for an intentional draw right upon sitting down with me. I have been paired up, due to these bloody ties, and did not feel it was wise. However, I was getting gassed. The tournament started after 1P, and had a lunch break. I was ready for the hot tub, dinner, or just to get out of my outfit. After checking the Prestige, I see that we are on the same, and felt better about doing it. Plus, I assumed ITD was in Sam’s deck, and did not feel like more matches going to time.
We drew, and I wished Sam the best of luck tomorrow. We were guaranteed Day Two, and would be in pretty good shape. After chatting for a bit, I got the vibe that Sam was a pretty cool person. I knew vaguely of Sam from afar, mainly through the interactions I had over the past few months with his partner, shipmentofheadcrabs. They were responsible for the great art on the alt-art MaxX/Omar cards I handed out at KOS, and I am grateful for being able to hand out such lovely art as a prize.
I immediately left, as both aandries and paranoid faced off, and were already finished. I changed out of my Cole costume, and I got a little animated telling ANR tales at the Baker’s Square. Recreating !chairspin in the restaurant brought over the waitstaff, inquiring if everything was alright.
I later found that although we were 15th and 17th heading into Round Six, I ended it 16th, with Sam dropping to 17th. Had a brief laugh about it, but, it did not matter: I had to go 3-1 on Day Two to have a shot, and went to bed with that in my head.
Eric ‘whiteblade111’ K. – Ed Kim/Gagarin
Whiteblade is one of my fave Netrunners. We first met on Slack, and learning he was pretty young was not surprising, based on some of the comments he made about his culinary experiences. Our first IRL experience was at Worlds 2016, the final round of Swiss. As I sat down to play, he asked if I were attending KOS the next day. The people around me started laughing, and I lifted up my badge to show who I was. We laughed, had a great match that had no consequences, as we were both out of the cut already, and chatted afterwards. Eric noted that I was the only opponent low sodium enough to have a post-match discussion. That saddened me, but I was not surprised, because he was on Gagarin Hot Tubs, which most players would probably prefer playing AGOT over facing.
Eric was once again on Gagarin this year. My group tested Gag quite a bit, and gagging is the reaction induced. It was pretty strong, but had the downside of taking a long time to either lose or win. When it comes to a long grinder of an event such as Worlds, time is a factor. Having already gone to time almost 3 times already, I was not looking for another long match, joking that if I received my third tie, three of tie equals one of win. The game goes as expected, with Whiteblade spamming assets, and Lady Hayley setting up and attacking centrals. One of those assaults was a turn two Sifty against a naked HQ. I decided there may not be a better time to fire it, did the whole ‘poker all-in’ routine, rolled a die, and got a High-Risk Investment. That was a fantastic start, as it meant I may be able to escape this game by stealing only two agendas, combined with a Mad Dash on the finisher.
Accesses are few and far between versus Gag. Hortum turned out to be the inner ICE on R&D, and I Femme the outer. There were two face-down remote servers, and I decided to sniff out an Executive Bootcamp (EBC) in hiding. One was a Zealous Judge, and the other was the EBC. Whiteblade congratulated me on being the first Indexer to to counter the foil, in 6 previous Indexing attempts. I was both shocked and proud of myself for being a fantastic player. :eyeroll: The Femme’d ICE turned out to be none other than one of my most hated ICE, the Tour Guide. I plowed through, hoping for the win. Alas, a mere New Construction awaited me, and I went to 5 points.
The game ground on, and I squeezed every bit I could out of my Levy usage. Eric pushed with a heavy Best Defense defense, firing that card off at least 10 times during the game. When it was played for its first use, it nailed an Inti with a Dedicated Processor on it. I knew this was going to be a tough game when that happened. Eric eventually fought through all of my SacCons and Clot, pushing out 5 points of his own via Mumbad Construction Co. I had a singular out, and that was good ol’ Indexing. I built my money for many turns, and went for it. Eric thought he was in decent shape, having killed the Shadow Net. On the first time through my deck, I did not use the third Indexing, and he thought having two stuck in the Heap left him safe. Luckily, I had that third in hand. This is a situation where hidden decklists are quite nice, and this information would be lost in the cut. I attack EBC, and follow with Indexing. The Tour Guide is at 11 or 12 subs, and there are now two of them on R&D. I find the third Agenda I need, and use a Stimhack to get through for the W, just barely.
This game having gone long we have some time, but not a lot, for the second (detecting a trend here?). I asked Whiteblade why he was on Dedicated Response Team in the Gag, and he noted it was for Clanarch, which he thought he would see more people on, yours truly included. How amused I was when I saw his Ed Kim was a Clanarch. CTM enjoys that matchup, but Eric played it really well, limiting his tags to only five, making Psychographics not the instant game-ender it could be. I get into a good place, pushing agendas naked or behind a single unrezzed Tollbooth. Eric steals an ARES, and then two more on a Counter Surveillance. I was a bit flooded, and had to rush. I Psycho’d out a GFI, and slowly installed and advanced another twice in a remote. Eric’s final turn involved a DDOS and another Counter Surveillance. He goes at R&D, giving me the win. If he attacked HQ for a Beale, and got the GFI in the remote, he wins. Instead, I Exchange of Information on his turn. I was forcing the fork by either scoring out for the win, or EOI’ing.
Some fantastic games, and the third time in a year facing Whiteblade in a tournament was both stressing and pleasurable.
A sweep in Round 7 put me in 8th place, but these dang ties had me in a strange limbo. I thought I may have had to play it out, but was resigned to intentional drawing, and missing the cut, like Jesse Marshall did in 2016. That seemed like a poor way to go out, until mediohxcore assured me I was in. He counted up all of the people below me that could possibly 241 their way into the cut. He noted that even if they all 241’d, I could still make it at 16th. With that knowledge in mind, I was ready to draw in.
On an aside, I want to note what a great guy Dan is. His finish this year, considering the situation he had going into Worlds, was fantastic. It was a shame he missed KOS, but I was glad he could make it to the main event. A great guy, and a fellow Brule devotee, Dan is one of my fave Netrunners, and a gem of the community. Someone recently said both he and I are ‘lovable dickfaces’. I will wear that badge of honour proudly.
Josh ‘josh01’ W. – Valencia/PU
We draw. This allows for me to chill, and watch some other games. I see ajar sweep out in a tough match, going on a 12-0 run after starting 0-4. To see him make the cut warmed my heart greatly. I remember him coming to dinner with aandries, paranoid, and I after we took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Madison, WI 2015 Regional. From my vague memories, I believe he noted that he would like to be joining us as part of the victors in the future. Sir, you have arrived fully. Well done.
After the dust cleared, I went from 8th to 15th. I made it! My opponent is Wilfy, aka chaosjuggler, and I knew it would be a tough match. Wilfy doesn’t strike me as the type of player to make a mistake. I go to lunch with my team, and we discuss strategies and outs for the possible matchups.
Wilfy ‘chaosjuggler’ H. – Hayley/CI
We exchange pleasantries and decklists to begin, and agree to be on CodeMarvelous’ stream. (Dan did a great job streaming all weekend, and that isn’t easy when you have to fly with all of your gear. Fantastic work, CodeMarvelous!) I laugh immediately upon seeing the lists, as I see Peace in Our Time (PIOT) near the top of Wilfy’s Hayley list. We’re on nigh the same list, barring 3-4 changes. He decides he wants to Corp, and that is probably a good call. He does risk getting Sifty, but is willing to risk those odds.
There is not a ton to discuss in this game. Wilfy is a consummately professional opponent, and very deliberate. This is a slower game, but I am not worried about time. I do remind Wilfy of the time left in the round every five minutes once we hit 25 left in the round, as I want to avoid a timed win on either side. His CI is an ugly (for the Runner) build leaning on MCAAP and Reversed Accounts. The latter is fantastic, leading to drawing in costly runs on the remote, to little avail. Bryan Stinson pairs well with this build, as well. My basic mistake was getting laser focused on R&D. I make a costly Indexing run, hitting an Architect. I could have let it fire, but was scared of that, so I fetched a Femme, targeting the inner R&D ICE. Normally, like when I faced this same CI in Round 4, I Femme’d HQ. I had the Sifty, and I should have gone that route. The main problem is that this isn’t the type of CI deck to hold 15-20+ cards in HQ. The thing is, my Indexing sees 3 Agendas, and a Fairchild 3.0 (FC3). I Mad Dash in back for one, but I am broke, and cannot get back. The ICE is too taxing.
The play I should have made was to sit back and make credits, allowing him to draw up. He also drew an Elective Upgrades after those 5 cards, apparently. If I wait a few turns, I could have easily Sifty’d (Femme’d ICE would’ve been FC3, outer being Ichi 1.0), and taken my chance on the 50/Sifty. Even if I missed, I would immediately Shadow Net back in. Wilfy played it well, and eventually scored out an EU that sat a turn in the remote. Well done.
TOP 16 – LOSERS
Alex ‘vinegarymink’ W. – Val/CTM
Alex is a great guy. We were planning to see Beach Slang, a guitar rock band from Philadelphia, the night before, but the tournament started far too late, and the show was moved. It was sad we had to face off here, but I had never played him before and was looking forward to it. I was pretty loose after the loss, and ready to pull the ripcord on the event. I was glad to have made the cut, but just wasn’t feeling it. I attempt some banter with Alex off the bat, but note after a few turns he really isn’t in the mood. He’s tense, intense, and when I note to him not the flip over a card after a Hacktivist Meeting rez (when he almost did; FWIW, I wouldn’t have given him a game loss for that), I can see that this isn’t going to be an enjoyable game.
I push out to a Beale and 15 Minutes, mainly to break Hacktivist. Sadly, my draw was not good, mainly ICE, tag-related operations, and poor Agendas. If that Beale were an ARES, we would have a different game. Alex pounds nothing but money and card draw, and wisely trashes everything. When he Stimhacks a second time to clear out an MVT remote, I knew the game was over. I saw the list, and knew 2 Indexing were still coming. I had a single IP Block on R&D, while Alex was under 15 cards left. The grinding strat worked in Round 4, but not here, where overdrawing brought more Agendas. I put Whampoa in the remote, and Alex runs Archives. Honestly, I am having a miserable game on many fronts, and we are crowded all match by a lot of spectators, being on the aisle. I don’t even bother to put the GFI in the bin back, and he Indexings next click for the win. Well played, Alex. Sorry if I was too chatty to start the match. Lesson learned: do not talk to opponents who are not in the mood, especially in the cut
That is the end of the run. I was happy to make the cut, and really was not upset that I did not get further. I am as competitive as anyone, but have long ago realized that I can take joy in the success of others I care about. The community is more important to me than the games themselves. I just received an update from Facebook about all of the new Friends I added the past year. 95% of them were Netrunners.
I say a few goodbyes, and aandries and I head out. I am not one for long goodbyes, and dapping up everyone I want to say goodbye to would take an hour. If I did not wish you a goodbye at Worlds, I apologize. If you had any enjoyable experience or conversation with me at Worlds, know that I really appreciated your time, and cherished it.
PROPS & SLOPS:
PROP: Everyone that comes out to KOS
You make the event possible. If you did not want such an event, I would gladly save lots of time and money not running it. However, I feel that most everyone had a fun time, so I will continue it as long as the community demands it.
PROP: Food at Worlds
Ajar, gh0st_b1rd, and orbital_tangent were all key locals who were great hosts for their city, getting people ready for good food and fun. I tried to up the KOS food game, and the Travail experience was fantastic, both for the food and who I spent the evening with.
PROP: Worlds event
FFG really ran a tight ship with the Worlds events this year. Despite the odd start times (minor Slop), they all ran smoothly and efficiently. I was a bit surprised that the Top 16 wasn’t cordoned off, leading to an informal atmosphere where onlookers crowded the games.
SLOP: Prize Wall
I was not a fan from its announcement onwards. The implementation was a bit awkward. I also did not like the fact that it devalued any older prizes, and that there were not tickets for Day Two in any game. Unlike last year, the Icebreaker was short, with no unique prizes. I gave all my tickets away, as I did not believe in meritocracy prize support throughout, and most of my opponents paid airfare to get there. Last year, we got a nice deckbox, sleeves, a t-shirt, Hedge Funds, and cards for other games for our $75. This year was much less than that, with the ANR promo bewildering most in its selection. This was my 5th consecutive Worlds, and worst for prize support.
Webster brought his collection, and it was fantastic. I highly suggest trying ONR sometime. You will be shocked at the amount of cards Lukas and co. mined from it, and playing without card count restrictions can lead to some absolutely wild dex.
PROP: My team
Usually it is just aandries and myself testing for Worlds, with paranoid joining in occasionally. This year, due to the massive meta change, we decided to make a team of Wisconsinites, and a Slack Channel. We had some face-to-face meetups, and slowly added others to the group that we felt would benefit both us and them. The discussions were humourous, insightful, and ultimately helped to lead not only to my success, but others, with some other deck ideas that we didn’t use at Worlds. I personally ground out a ton of practice games, and the definitely helped my Worlds performance, but the team aspect was invaluable. So, a Prop to them: aandries, paranoid, webster, cranked, leburgan, dashakan, mmychal, thearete, and jake.
SLOP: Slow play
I know it wasn’t intentional, but, I am a fast player. I like to make moves quickly, and keep the game going. ANR is tough, and requires deep thought for long lines of play at times. However, we have two games to play every round, and timed wins or ties suck.
PROP: Worlds crowd
Worlds is the one of the largest ANR meetups, and I enjoy it for that fact alone. Seeing familiar faces year in and out from abroad is great, and meeting people for the first time is fun as well. It is nice to put a face and person to a Slack or Stimhack handle. It was nice meeting you all.
PROP: Anyone who helps to make Worlds a better event
You are the real MVPs. I already mentioned the locals who helped out, which is awesome. Dodgepong and CodeMarvelous brought their streaming rigs, and really helped to accentuate the weekend. Many were enjoying from afar, and they allowed for that to happen.
PROP: Anyone who helped with KOS
There are too many to name, but when I arrived at KOS, for the first time, people were there before me. Many were ready to help setup, and I almost got a little emotional. Almost. (I am mostly dead inside). Your assistance allowed for us to start reasonably on time, and for that, I am really grateful. I especially want to shout out those that put in heavy work: Dodgepong, Sotomatic, and CTZ really crushed it with the stream throughout the day, and Inniscor was essential in helping me register players and hand out prizes. Thank you again.
SLOP: Anyone who did not make Worlds better
I had a ‘not so great’ game experience this Worlds, and I thought it was because I was my normal asshole self. The VOD, upon, review, backed up my spotty memory, and confirmed that it wasn’t me. Coming at me is fine; I can take it. However, when PM’s start coming in to me about your behaviour, and how you coerced someone out of a win at KOS, that is not acceptable. The KOS banlist update is not official yet, but consider yourself heading towards it.
SLOP: Heading home from Worlds
Coming back to reality from any vacation is tough, and the post-Worlds return is no different. I had a blast, as always, and am already looking forward to 2018. We in Slack joked about the doom of the game for some time, but I knew what was coming, and was happy it landed when it did. Boggs, congrats on your first Worlds, as it was a great success! Looking forward to what you bring in the coming year!
PROP: Reboot Mother
Well, you made it to the end without an explanation of the titular phrase. Basically, Friday morning of Worlds, aandries left his phone on, and received a phone call. I assumed the only reason someone would leave on their phone on vacation was for work, and in my sleep-hazed state, I overhead what I thought was a call from a co-worker:
‘Yes, … yes, … reboot Mother. …. She will be very flattered to hear that.’
After the call, I start yelling out REBOOT MOTHER over and over, thinking ‘Mother’ is a moniker for some web server. Turns out it was a call from his daughter’s school, and he was saying, ‘Call her step-mother.’ Oh geez, man. Egg on my face. ‘Reboot mother’ then became our code phrase for the weekend.