This is a tournament report from tomdidiot, who placed 2nd place in the Manchester Regionals.
I never really expected to go to the Manchester Regional. It was far away, expensive to get to, I’d need to arrange accommodation (which would cost me even more), and worst of all, it was in the North. (I kid, I kid, the North is lovely).
However, after crashing and burning at the London regional, after cashing in a ill-begotten store championship bye (acquired in Norwich for coming 3rd in an 11-person SC, after it emerged that the winner, Sean, already had an SC bye, and that the runner-up, Nick, wasn’t going to make any regionals) due to a mix of bad luck (the runner stole 3 Geothermal Frackings in a row from R&D in one turn), and bad play (wasting dog counters on useless accesses), I had a burning desire to redeem myself. In particular, I wanted to prove to myself that my Corp deck, a Weyland Blue Sun deck that I had been refining for 6 months, was actually playable, viable, and could do well in a post-Order and Chaos meta with lots of Anarchs running I’ve Had Worse. I also, because I’m a materialistic bastard, wanted the Reina mat really badly, after seeing how pretty it was at the London Regional
However, despite Laurie Poulter egging me to go with him on the train, the £60 (£10 entry, £50 train) price tag still gnawed at me: This wasn’t cheap, especially for a medical student in his 6th year of university. It took two strokes of luck, unfortunately: firstly, a friend of mine had recently started a PhD at Manchester, and was willing to let me sleep on his floor for the night, meaning accommodation wasn’t going to be a problem, and secondly, I saw that someone had sold an Alt-Art Reina for £70 on eBay. I figured that I’d be able to get about the same, and pay back my trip. I promptly booked my tickets, put my Reina on eBay, and was therefore committed! Unfortunately that player was a lucky bastard, and my Reina (which has since been reduced in price) still hasn’t sold. I never said that both strokes of luck were good! :p
The Decks: Runner
My view of deckbuilding in card games is that I should always be able to deal with any matchup, and that my deck should have no matchups that are completely unwinnable, and I should have “tools” to deal with any sort of deck I could potentially face. In the context of Netrunner, this means I should always be able to “get in”. This is something that is true in all card games I played – I famously took a 67 card deck to 5th place (out of 207) at the Game of Thrones European Championships in 2013, even running a seemingly objectively bad card (For any Game of Thrones LCG players, this was the Kingsroad version of Ser Meryn Trant, for all those who watch the TV show, this is the guy who beats up Sansa for Joffrey), and refusing to cut down to the minimum size of 60 cards because “I need those tools against a certain matchup”).
Pre-Paid Kate does this: lots of money, good breakers, and a grab-bag full of 1x toolbox tricks that you can fetch to annoy the shit out of specific opponents. I’m not going to waste your time trying to explain Pre-Paid Kate; there are far better primers written by players who have spent far more time building/refining this thing than me. I was introduced to the Calimsha version of PPK by Zach Eaton-Rosen, who took a version of it to, and won, the London Regionals. The major changes for my version are the inclusion of Professional Contacts (great in a slower, glacial meta) over Quality Time (I never liked the card – too slow and too much of a tempo hit when you don’t see your PrePaids, and too anti-synergistic with your other events even if you do), and most importantly Datasucker. I’ve spent far too much time faceplanting into assholes stacking Tauruses on R&D/Susans on a scoring server; Datasucker means that given time, you will be able to slip past any ice, especially with the help of Atman, and seeing/SMCing for Datasucker early will basically net you around 8 or 9 free creds throughout the game, which is pretty damn amazing value for money! I ended up running 46 cards, because I couldn’t find one last cut, and I almost went to 47 for a 3rd ProCon. I know Zach wanted to cut the Deus Xs from the deck, but I just couldn’t justify cutting a get-out-of-jail free card from a Komainu faceplant.
Kate “Mac” McCaffrey
3x Dirty Laundry
1x Legwork (XX)
1x Levy AR Lab Access
3x Lucky Find (XXXXXX)
1x Stimhack (X)
3x Sure Gamble
2x The Maker’s Eye
3x Clone Chip
1x Plascrete Carapace
3x PrePaid VoicePAD
1x R&D Interface
2x Professional Contacts
2x Same Old Thing
2x Cerberus “Lady” H1
1x Deus X
1x Mimic (X)
1x Zu.13 Key Master
1x Clot (XX)
1x Datasucker (X)
1x Parasite (XX)
2x Self-Modifying Code
The Decks: Corp
For some strange reason, I’ve always had a reputation as a kill-happy Weyland player in my local (London) meta. I would like to clarify that I have probably played far more NBN than I have Weyland, my lawyers would like a word with you about libel, and that I know where you live, and there are some urban regeneration plans for your neighbourhood which will be brought into action… now. It is, however, true, that I’ve had far more tournament success with Weyland than I have had with NBN.
My Blue Sun is by far the more interesting deck of the two, and is the bastard stepchild of two decks: firstly, it is a refinement of a deck that originally was a joke: a deck that ran all sorts of ways of giving yourself bad pub (Hostiles, Frackings, Lots of Grims, and a touch of Shinobi), with the ultimate goal of clearing all that bad pub by repeatedly bouncing Elizabeth Mills, with Witness Tampering as a backup plan.
Over time, it gradually morphed into something that was similar to a second deck, the Weyland BABW deck that I had been running before, a Supermodernism-lite (so-called because of the lack of snares) deck that I had won a Game Night Kit with, that was particularly notable for running Midseasons Replacements. I ported that over, along with much of the ice suite, but retained the agenda distribution of the Blue sun version. This deck does have some similarities to the game plan of the Timmy Wong’s 3rd placed Worlds deck, but, because of the presence of Lady and shaper in the meta, is not running the uncorrodable Power Shutdown tech, and doesn’t run posted bounty because I couldn’t find the deck space for another agenda.
There are two things I like about the deck. Firstly, it is threatening, like the old supermodernism decks. It can threaten a win through scoring out behind ice. However, it makes the runner afraid to run by packing some genuinely nasty ice. Tim Fowler, at the London regional, was muttering incoherently about seeing Grims everywhere after my one-of copy trashed his Yog.0. You take this deck’s ICE threat lightly at your own peril, as one of my opponents at Manchester would discover! Also, to a certain extent, it’s a freeloader: it uses the threat of snares and traps to make the runner cautious, while not actually running any traps or kill bar the Scorch combo. The second reason is that it has a way of dealing with bad pub that the old supermodernism decks lacked; a lot of Weyland’s very powerful effects (Hostile Takeover, Geothermal Fracking, Grim, even though it’s not technically a W the long run. The Elizabeth Mills module really helps you deal with that and, in the long game, turns your deck into an incredibly taxing and punishing glacier deck that hopefully brings the runner low enough on creds to either open a scoring window or into Midseasons/SEA Scorch Scorch range. It, also, more importantly, allows me to run 3 hostile Takeovers, which is just so amazingly helpful at pushing through those last few points I need to win, as well as giving me an early credit engine that isn’t reliant on oversight AI.
This is a deck that always has an out – the scorch combo means you still have a shot even if the runner is on 6 points, or gets their rig out very early, and the flexible and taxing ICE suite means that you can still score out if you don’t see your Scorch combo. Against slow runner decks who might (and that is a very big might) have the possibility to outmoney you in the long term, you can really rush out with Hostiles, and non-overadvanced Atlases; and believe me, nothing puts more of a vice on the runner than being 5-0 down. Oversight AI usually goes on Curtain Wall to make money, but don’t be afraid of sticking it on the Archer and scoring out behind it! The key point underlying this deck, is flexibility to do what you want, and to divert resources to more important servers, such as, for example, protecting R&D when the runner is trying to lock you, or to your scoring remote when you’re trying to push The Cleaners.
The first time the combined deck came together was for Quintin Smiths’ (of Shut Up and Sit Down) “Fun” October Netrunner tournament, where it managed to flatline 3 people (one of them, Benjamin Ni, who knew my deck was running Shinobi, famously stated before the match that “Only bad players kill themselves on Shinobi” before subsequently faceplanting into one and dying to it).
The deck has changed surprisingly little since then; it isn’t running any cards from The Source, the Valley, or Order and Chaos: it’s running the same 11 Agendas, the same 14 Operations, and has 5 assets in common with the version I ran in October, with the big difference being me modifying the Ice suite to better manage decks like Pre-Paid Kate. Hadrian’s wall, for example, was great before pre-paid Kate was popular, as it was rezzable even without Oversight AI, but now, with pre-paid kKate taking centre stage, the extra dog counter tax that curtain wall gives you makes it a better choice. Other ice choices including gearing up towards bigger sentries, because most PPKs aren’t running datasucker, making things like Changeling (4 STR sentry in most matchups), Archer, Grim and Taurus much harder for Kate to deal with, as well as me taking out some of the dodgier ice choices that were only in there because they fit the “bad pub” theme, such as Shinobi. The Code Gate suite has remained relatively stable, except I’ve included more of them, particularly tollbooth to out-tax and out-code gate Cy-Cy Kates.
Blue Sun: Powering the Future
1x Corporate War
3x Geothermal Fracking
3x Hostile Takeover
3x Project Atlas
1x The Cleaners
2x Elizabeth Mills
1x Executive Boot Camp
3x Jackson Howard (XXX)
1x Reversed Accounts (X)
1x Crisium Grid
3x Hedge Fund
1x Midseason Replacements
3x Oversight AI
3x Scorched Earth
1x SEA Source (XX)
3x Curtain Wall
2x Ice Wall
1x Lotus Field (X)
2x Tollbooth (XXXX)
I played games against good players (particularly Ben Ni, 5th at London Regionals two years in a row) playing good decks which I expected to be played in Manchester. How else do you prep for tournaments?
On a more serious note, I realized that, especially against Crim big-rig and Shaper, I had to find a way to hit their money, and also an advancable trap which was why I exchanged 1 Lotus Field from my London list for the Reversed accounts. I only saw it a couple of times all day, both when I was busy scoring out and had no time for traps, so I’m not sure I can really evaluate how good it was for my deck.
The Day Of
As always, my day started very inauspiciously. I made my way to London Euston only to find out I had booked the wrong train, and the train I was booked on had just left! I managed to beg the ticket salesman into re-issuing me a ticket for the right train, met up with Laurie Poulter, and off we went!
If you haven’t heard of Laurie Poulter yet, he’s the insane nutjob who is making his way to all 6 Netrunner regionals in the “UK” (Local opinion about the current geopolitical status of Galway notwithstanding) On the way up, we discussed our decks, showing each other everything, and played a few practice games. I discovered, depressingly, that my Kate’s matchup against ETF was less than ideal, thanks to the dog token problem posed by NEXT Silver, and I think I learned a lot of valuable insight into playing against ETF and Kate that proved very useful on the day, particularly about conservative use of Dogs, and aggressive NEXT Silver parasiting.
We arrived at Manchester with plenty of time to spare. Coop, the TO, announced that it would be 7 rounds, posted pairings, and off we went!
Game 1 : Dan Knight (MaxX/Jinteki Biotech)
My first opponent was someone I knew from Game of Thrones, though I had never actually played him in a tournament. He was running a Valley Grid biotech deck, which aimed to stack enough ice on servers to make them unrunnable without me ending up with a miniscule hand size at the end of my turn, and thus allowing him to threaten a flatline. I quickly stole a Nisei, and trashed some Caprices, and I was able to deal with the Valley Grid on R&D by parasiting an ice instead of breaking the subroutines on it, getting in and trashing it. I proceeded to lay siege to R&D, pinching a Medical Breakthrough and a Genetic Sequencing, before running in 3 times, through an incredibly taxing R&D, to win 3 psi-games and steal a Future Perfect on top.
I started off on the back foot against his MaxX, and he got off to a relatively good start, getting up an early rig, and threatening to keyhole me into oblivion after I dedicated too much effort into scoring an Atlas with a counter. However, he hadn’t played against much Blue sun before, and figured he would be safe floating a single tag after vamping me to 0. I bounced my changeling, fired off the Scorch I had in my hand, and, on finding no I’ve Had Worses in his hand, proceeded to fetch up a second one with the Atlas counter, took a credit, and killed him
2-0, 4 Prestige
Game 2: Ben Wicks (CT/NBN:TWIY)
Ben proudly proclaimed that his TWIY was not scared of clot, and that he could score out. He managed to get an Astro out before I got my SMC on the table, and I made a mistake by letting his PAD campaigns live. Because of the timing window, having an astro on the table is pretty disastrous for clot’s purposes: you have to clot immediately after the suspected agenda is installed, because if they are allowed to take their action, they can advance once, immediately rez a sansan, and then score with the counter, or alternatively, Advance with Shipment from Sansan then use a counter/rez a sansan. This effectively meant he could tax out my clot recursion very well by installing Jacksons and PADs in his Sansan server. A tollbooth on R&D and on HQ (courtesy of his PADs) stopped me being able to R&D lock, though I did manage to get to 4 points. I deduced (correctly), that his hand was stuffed full of agendas, given the number of cards that I had not seen, and his inability to score out. I legworked him…. and saw Biotic, a Shipment, and a Fast Track, a sure sign that there were agendas in hand; however, I had very little desire to go through a craptons of tollbooths again for a 50/50 chance of getting an agenda. Once my clot recursion ran out, he was able to score out while I dug furiously for the Levy. He told me at the end of the game that I legworked him when he had 3 agendas in hand, and had somehow managed to miss every single one. Guess 6 cards is an advantage!
The corp game was the only time I scored out all day: Ben was doing a lot of test running and scavenging of his breakers and magnum opus, but with Femme as his primary sentry breaker, and a Lizzie Mills in my hand behind a tollbooth, a Grim on R&D was able to lock him out long enough for me to start pushing agendas hard in remotes. I scored out a hostile, an atlas with a counter, and a fracking, and then started furiously digging with Jackson for my other hostile takeovers. Once I saw and scored my 2nd hostile takeover, it was pretty much game over, as I was able to dig out my 3rd one and immediately score it out with the atlas counter, after deducing that Ben wasn’t running clot given his comments to me about it in his Corp game.
3-1, 6 Prestige
Game 3: Steven Westwell (CT/HB:Cerebral Imaging)
I’m always wary of Cerebral Imaging decks, as they are delightfully unpredictable, and you never really know what you’re facing. I was, in particular, very aware of the threat of the Scorch combo (having played against Laurence Watson and his bullshit one too many times). I was able to get into R&D, thanks to a timely R&DI, a dog, and his money not showing up quickly enough, and got to 6 points very quickly. He then did something I never thought I’d see CI do.
He built a scoring remote, installed a card in it, and advanced it. I was incredulous. CI…… Scoring remote? What sort of devilry is this? I facechecked into it. It was guarded by a Viktor (clicked past) and an Ashigaru. He thought the Ashigaru kept it safe, because there was no way my dog tokens were going to get through a 11 subroutine barrier, so he didn’t bother scoring out, as it would have meant discarding from his hand. I promptly installed an Atman at 4, and paid 11 creds to get through and steal the winning agenda.
The corp game was quick and dirty. I had my kill combo in hand very early, and deliberately let Steven into a scoring remote with an agenda in it, only for me to Midseasons him, and scorch him once. The runner then died under mysterious very circumstances. Weyland Consortium has no knowledge about the death of Chaos Theory, and would like to point to the official NAPD police report points to an assassination by a Tri-Maf drug cartel that Chaos Theory was involved with. We would remind parents that allowing your kids to get involved with the Tri-Mafs is generally a sign of bad parenting, and would recommend sending them to Weyland Space Camp instead! Sign up in the next 20 minutes, and pay only $1,452,531.52 for 3 days for your little Neil Armstrong at the state-of-the-art Glenn Station!
5-1, 10 Prestige
Game 4: Laurie Poulter (Pre-Paid Kate/HB:ETF with Next ICE)
This matchup was bittersweet – Laurie had been a scourge of mine in most previous tournaments so far, having knocked me out at the Rayleigh SC, and then knocked me into the loser’s bracket at the Brighton SC…. So we had a fair amount of history. However, he was also a travelling buddy, and facing each other meant one of us was going to walk away with chances of making the cut severely diminished.
I knew Laurie’s ETF, and I knew that it wasn’t running Cyberdex, which was a huge relief; it meant I didn’t have to keep a clone chip on hand to stop a surprise cyberdex wiping out my rig by clearing my datasucker counters mid-run as I approached an Ichi. This was a tight, close game, and I honestly won it on the back of two psi-games, allowing me into his scoring remote to snipe an ABT and a 3 pointer for the win (having previously stolen an agenda off R&D). If they had gone the other way, I’m not sure I could have pulled it off.
The corp game was far less dramatic. Laurie didn’t see much money, and I knew he wasn’t running Plascrete, which meant he couldn’t run, as he was always poorer than me, and he wasn’t in a position to take the tempo hit from installing utopia shard, or risk me getting even more of a lead on him. I was initially able to Midseasons him after he pinched an agenda off R&D, but my money lead was very small, and I could only stick him with 4 tags. However, he knew that his deck had no plascrete protection, and he had to spend several turns gaining the credits necessary to clear these tags. This gained me valuable tempo where I was score out several points in a remote while he was poor, forcing him to do a hail mary run. I promptly fetched up a Sea Source and double scorched him when he got in, but saw nothing on top of R&D.
7-1 14 Prestige
Game 5: Mark Narkiewicz (Pre-Paid Kate/HB:ETF with Next ICE)
This matchup is a great example of how not to play Kate against HB.
I, as a general rule of thumb, don’t like killing Jacksons, preferring to force the corp to Jackson back agendas and stuff naturally, because 3 creds is actually quite a lot of money, and a fair tempo him. More importantly/infuriatingly, the corp can actually get him back with other jacksons, Interns, archived memories, etc, while forcing the corp to use him means he’s gone for good.
This of course, all flies out the window against HB, because leaving Jackson on the table is literally asking for it. I stumble a bit on money at the start, allowing him to score out an ABT in his remote. He tests. Drops more ice on that remote. Installs and scores another ABT. He tests. He puts even more ice on that remote, and some more on R&D. At this point he has a commanding money lead, and drops an ash and caprice in the remote, allowing him to continue pushing agendas through the remote for the win. Leaving that Jackson on the table was awful – he got far too much free ice out of it, and it would have cost me far more to pay through the ice than trash the Jackson.
My corp game matchup was one of the most memorable games of the day, and aptly demonstrates the importance of respecting the threat Archer poses, as well as the sheer amount of money blue sun can pull out of its arse. I had scored out some two Atlases early (though only one overadvanced one) while he was building up his rig, and the threat of scorch was still on the table. But he had begun to outmoney me (denying me a curtain wall by stimhacking) and had a utopia shard on the table to screw up any scorch combo, I needed to do something drastic to keep myself in the game. I had been keeping careful count of his recursion and what was in his bin, so I laid a trap. I dropped a Crisium grid into a remote with an Archer and an advanced changeling, bluffing it as an Atlas (I could also have dropped a Geothermal Fracking in there, but I figured I might as well bluff the Crisium grid as an ash-I-didn’t-actually-have as well). I figured that, with no datasucker on the table, the only way he could deal with it was by blasting through with an atman at 4, using his one clone chip. If he continued, then he would be very vulnerable to archer. He ran it. I rezzed the changeling. He thought about it long and hard before bringing the atman out at 4 to break the end the run.
“Continue?” I asked in my calmest possible voice. I waited several very tense seconds before he said yes.
I sacced my non-overscored Atlas to Archer, and trashed his atman and Gordian. This opened up a huge window for me to drop a Fracking into the server and score it out. I draw an oversight AI and, looking at the 1-counter dog across the table, sensed an opportunity by putting the oversighted wall on archives. Feeling the pressure, he runs into HQ with a legwork, popping his utopia shard and seeing the two scorches and an ice in my hand. As I didn’t have a Jackson on the table, I think he reckoned that I had an agenda hiding in archives, scavenged his dog, blew up my wall, and stole the hostile takeover I had been hiding in my hand, too scared to score it out because I figured that the bad pub would allow him to completely lock R&D down.
He looked safe. He had a commanding (15 or so) credit lead over me, and the most expensive Ice I could bounce was the Changeling that had saved my butt so spectacularly several turns ago. I count up my money, stare at the frackings, the two scorches left in my hand, and do some sums. I bounced the Changeling. With the utopia threat gone, I fetched my Midseasons from my deck with the atlas counter. “Click one. Frack. Click two Frack. Click 3 Midseasons for 26.”, leaving myself with one credit, and Mark with one turn. He sees nothing on R&D, and promptly dies next turn when I bounce the archer to get the money to scorch him.
I hadn’t really noticed the crowd that had been gathering around. This is when I realized that my secret was out: I wasn’t playing the 6 point kill deck. I was playing with lots of cheap, low point agendas, I was running Midseasons, and I didn’t seem to have many traps. Going into the day, I was hoping people would play against me as if I were running the 6 point kill deck, and only realizing, far too late, that I was actually threatening to score out lots of smaller agendas!
8-2 16 Prestige
Game 6: Henry Kay (Pre-Paid Kate/HB:ETF with Next ICE)
I almost lost the game to Chronos Project. I had a great start, lots of money, my breakers came out on time, and I was able to get into R&D and the remote just when I needed them, stealing 6 pts (4 from a legwork) and getting into a very fast 6-0 lead. However, I had also bankrupted myself stealing the 3rd 2 pointer, and trying to R&D lock him. Things were going great!
He then scored his Chronos Project around a turn before I was planning to Levy. The mic dropped. I counted through my bin: all 9 of my money cards, my parasite… all gone. I was reduced to clicking for creds. Fortunately enough, I still had a scavenge in my hand, and was able to scavenge up enough credits and give my dog enough counters to do a Hail Mary into R&D with 0 credits remaining and with my last access steal one of only 2 non-NAPD agendas left in the (admittedly very thin) deck. In retrospect, I should have been far more aggressive with HQ runs; I wasn’t seeing much of R&D, and he hadn’t really been able to safely score, so there was almost certainly a pretty nasty backlog of agendas in his hand, which he admitted was indeed the case after the game
Against me as corp, he was able to Kate very well, building up a considerable credit lead, playing Imp and legworking to steal both atlases just as I was about to push my atlas into my scoring remote. To add insult to injury, he also managed to run into my Midseasons and imp it. A turn later, he comes in again, imps my Sea source, and steals the Fracking I had just drawn. I manage to score out a couple of agendas, but with my scorch threat neutralised considerably (There were no scorches in hand anyway), he was able to run with relative impunity and able to win.
9-3 18 Prestige
Game 7: James Boosey (CT/NEH Butcher Shop)
I hate round 7 games. I’m always under a huge amount of pressure to perform, I’m usually at the cusp of making the cut, and I know that I probably have to win out if I were to have any chance of making the cut. The last three times at a Netrunner regional, I missed the cut because of the last round.
This was the only time all day I corped first. James’s Chaos Theory never really got off the ground against me, and I felt safe enough to score out a 2-pointer and follow it up with the Cleaners, the only time I scored cleaners all day. This made his single plascrete look very silly, and I was able to scorch him soon afterwards, though, again, I feel I conceivably could have been able to pull off an agenda win if I hadn’t drawn the scorches.
Against NEH – well, I sort of realized it was butcher shop early, after seeing all sorts of crazy tagging stuff on the table. He was dropping things into unprotected remotes. I then got a bit cheeky and stole an Astro off the table. It wasn’t an amazing move, but I wasn’t punished for it, because at that point, we were relatively even on creds. I then decided to get cheeky again and stole another astro several turns later. He had, however, in the meantime, managed to out money me, and I promptly got a taste of my own medicine as I got Midseason scorched scorched the following turn. The delicious irony was that the plascrete I insisted on not cutting was in my hand, having drawn it on click 4 of the turn that I stole the astro.
After game 7, I had an incredibly tense 20 minutes of waiting while the final scores came in – I knew I had gone into the final round in 6th place on 18 points, in a dead heat with 6 other players on 18, but didn’t know the strength of schedule differentials between mine and 5th, 7th, or 8th. There were also some players on 17 and 16 points, who could, if they won out, potentially beat me on Strength of schedule. I reckoned that I would probably have one of the weaker strengths of schedules, because I lacked a superbye, and a couple of my early opponents had dropped after round 5. What made it worse was I had worked out before the round that if I split, the only way I would not make the cut was if 4 matches all fell a particular way, and I didn’t have enough Strength of Schedule. I found out one of the 16s (Dave Hoyland) had won out. Bad. He told me that another of the 16s had won out. Worse. And that Laurie (also on 18 at this point) had split his final game. And the other 18pter vs 18pter game was a split! I was absolutely terrified: Would I miss the cut on SoS again, for the 3rd regional in a row?
Fortunately, it was not to be. As the names of those in the cut were read out, I found out I was 7th, and finally in the cut! I grabbed Laurie, and I gave him a huge manhug, only to realize that, like so many other times this SC/Regional season, Laurie had been bubbleboy, finishing 9th, and missing the cut 🙁
10-4 20 Prestige, 7th.
Top Cut, Game 1: Andrew Hynes (Jinteki: RP)
Ah, the dreaded RP matchup. I was expecting a field full of RP, but luckily only faced one on the day. I had never done well against RP; I am quite frankly, abysmal at Psi-Games, so avoid playing them if I can. I managed to do that perfectly against Andrew. This game is actually a great illustration of why Agenda drought can be as damning as agenda flood: He didn’t see many agendas early on, after shuffling a small flood back into his deck, which meant I was under absolutely no pressure to waste money running into his scoring remote. Based on this, I was able to hunker down and play the econ war, running up and down to trash his economy and draw assets, and then proceed to lay siege to R&D, sniping two Niseis off the top after installing some useless chaff to get me through a cortex lock (I think I had two SMCs and a datasucker on the table at one point). He was then able to somewhat stabilise, and started dropping some genuinely taxing ice on R&D, but a Maker’s eye run with exactly 4 credits remaining for me showed an NAPD on top, which I promptly stole, and then another one 2 cards down. He drew for turn, installed a card in his remote, took some money, and dropped an ice to protect it. With all Jacksons gone, I slammed down my Stimhack, pointed at R&D, and told him there was another NAPD on top for game.
Top Cut, Game 2: Chris Price (NEH Astrobiotics)
While we were shuffling up, Chris stated that his NEH hadn’t run into a clot all day, and had done very well. I had a dream opening hand – two lucky finds, a clot, a clone chip, and I believe, an astrolabe. I kept right away. I slammed a clot onto the table turn 2. Chris purged immediately. I played my clone chip turn 3, and began checking remotes: at the Brighton SC, I lost my semi-final game against another Chris (Chris Underwood, of run last-click) because I hadn’t been diligent with checking remotes, and he had managed to sneak out an unprotected Astro, and I’d be damned before I let that happen to me again. I stole a Beale Chris was trying to sneak out, stole another one out of his hand, and followed it up by R&D locking to steal another 2-pointer. Chris managed to score out an Astro behind a tollbooth I didn’t want to pay to get through (I thought it was an Ash), but I was able to get back into R&D and steal the breaking news for game.
Top Cut, Game 3: Alex White (Valencia Estevez)
Valencia should be a good matchup for me, because I can neutralize her biggest threat to my big scary glacier, Blackmail, by digging for and rezzing Lizzie Mills. I also could potentially neutralize that threat with my constant threat of a Midseasons/Sea Scorch Scorch kill. I knew from the start, however, that he wasn’t running the Joey McMillan’s London Valencia deck, and that he would be far more aggressive with running than Joey was.
I managed to mulligan a bad hand (lots of agendas, no money) into a slightly less bad one (lots of agendas, some ice, still no money), and then subsequently began to flood and he was able to actively parasite down my blue sun ice by using Datasucker tokens, and took advantage of my economic stumble by applying pressure on all my centrals, stealing 6 points very quickly from a mix of R&D and HQ. At one point, after he stole a Fracking, I was faced with two choices – I could attempt to Midseasons and then triple scorch him, or I could try to score out. I believed that it would be easier to score out, as I had no atlas counters at this point, had only seen one scorch, and had just found a lizzy to disable the bad pub, and a lotus field for a scoring remote. I was able to stabilise a little, courtesy of the scoring remote, scoring out 5 points (a hostile, and 2 atlases), but was too poor on credits to stop him getting into R&D and stealing the points he needed to win.
Top Cut, Losers’ Semi-Final: Chris Price (Noise)
My game plan against Anarchs, especially Noise, was to avoid the scorch and to score out. Noise really really doesn’t like actually breaking into remotes to steal agendas, and I took advantage of that very well. After some early Hostiles to gain some money (accompanied by a healthy dose of Lizzy Mills bouncing to clear the bad pub), I was able to start pushing agendas out behind an archer and a curtain wall. I scored an overadvanced atlas, and then a fracking, while he managed to steal 3 points off his noise-mills (including, annoyingly, a hostile). At one point, he installed a Pawnshop, which I promptly trashed with Lizzy, reckoning that 1. Noise doesn’t run, so he isn’t going to be using the bad pub as much as other runners, 2. The money that noise will get form pawnshop will far outstrip the money he gets from the bad pub, and 3. I’m on 4 points, the game is going to end soon anyway. I was one turn away from install-advancing the corporate war in my hand. I think he realised that as well, and because Aesop was blown up, he had no chance of getting into the remote. He was dead set on just installing as many viruses as he could (including a now useless clot) just to get more mill accesses, opening up a window for me to Sea-Scorch him after he ran to check his turn’s results from archives.
Top Cut, Final: Alex White (Valencia Estevez)
There’s not much to say about this game, really. I mulliganed a 2-agenda, money-less hand into a 3 agenda, ice-less hand. I at least managed to get a lizzie rezzed to clear the bad pub, but Alex quickly picked my hand clean of agendas, blew up an oversighted tollbooth with D4V1D, and then topdecked the Cleaners off R&D before I could find a second End the run ice. The game was over in less than 5 minutes.
Phew, that was a very long Tourney Report! Apparently I had a hell of a lot to say! I’m very happy, despite losing in the final, about how I did – it was the first time I had made the cut in a Netrunner Regional, I had the lovely playmat I was so coveting at the London Regional, and I, most importantly, had an amazing time. Hope to see you all at Nationals!
Quick list of props to some of the people and things that have helped me out:
- All my opponents: For the great, friendly and drama-free games all day.
- Benjamin Ni, Zach Eaton-Rosen, Laurence Watson and Kester Jarvis: for all the deck building and deck testing we’ve done together. Particularly Ben for the last minute testing.
- Nick Rice, James Bennett: London Meta-mates, and road-trip buddies for previous tournaments.
- Laurie Poulter: For encouraging me to actually go to Manchester!
- Dave Hoyland: For being a very good sport about me almost losing him nationals last year.
- Iain Reid, Brendan Jackson and Tim Fowler: For their input on the Blue Sun deck.
- Coop for running a great and efficient tournament.
- My 10th virus counter from last year’s Regionals token set. MIA but not forgotten!
- Sam Burdock and John Thornby: For all the netrunner small talk on facebook while I was bored on the Tube.
- Pavlos Pavlopolous. Get back into the game, you lazy bastard!
- Benjamin Ni: Stop recording and posting only the games where you win!
- Alex White: For all those viruses you’ve been spreading around.
- HQ Accesses. The runner always seems to steal the one agenda I’m hiding in my hand, and I always seem to miss the 4 in a hand of 5. Anyone who has watched my games against Ben Ni (bewnt on youtube) can clearly attest to this