First off, I’d like to give a big thank you to Jake, Amanda and Raygun Lounge for organizing these events, and giving us a reason to try out this crazy Big Sell Out format. They’re doing a great job building an alternative Netrunner scene in the Seattle area, and I know we can expect more crazy, fun events in the future at Raygun.
What is the Big Sell Out (BSO), you ask? It was originally cooked up as a Two-Headed Giant / 2 player team variant for original Netrunner. Each team consists of an “agent” (runner) & “sponsor” (corp), with the runner hosted in a special remote server. Separate credit pools, but the option to transfer creds between them for a click; separate agenda piles, but shared agenda points and 9 points to win. There was some play-testing, and subsequent modifications / errata made to update it for the A:NR card pool.
I’d read up on the Big Sell Out back in the days of original Netrunner, but never had a chance to try it, so I was very excited to be involved in its A:NR reboot.
The event was organized primarily through the Seattle Area Netrunner FB group, starting off with some qualifying tournaments at four stores / areas in the Seattle region, with the resulting champions invited to the final double-elimination event on 10/6/13 at Raygun Lounge:
– Veen & Riley, representing Green Lake Games
– Ben & Nicholas, representing Raygun Lounge
– Jake & Zac, as the host team
– and myself & Derek, representing Renton
Our team went with a fairly standard Weyland tag & bag, paired with my crazy, resource-heavy Andy. We built our decks to be decent on their own (playing standard Netrunner), and actually didn’t have any opportunity to playtest them in BSO before the tournament.
Decks Created with CardGameDB.com Android: Netrunner Deck Builder
Total Cards: (49)
Total Agenda Points: 20
Influence Values Totals –
The Weyland Consortium: 31
Total Cards: (45)
Sure Gamble (Core) x2
Hostage (Opening Moves) x3
Inside Job (Core) x2
Levy AR Lab Access (Creation and Control) x1 ■■■
Retrieval Run (Future Proof) x1 ■■
Account Siphon (Core) x3
Dirty Laundry (Creation and Control) x3
Doppelganger (A Study in Static) x2
Data Leak Reversal (Future Proof) x3 ■
Joshua B. (Cyber Exodus) x1 ■■■
John Masanori (Opening Moves) x2
Daily Casts (Creation and Control) x2
New Angeles City Hall (Future Proof) x2
Crash Space (Core) x3
Access to Globalsec (Core) x3
Underworld Contact (A Study in Static) x3
Same Old Thing (Creation and Control) x2
Professional Contacts (Creation and Control) x1 ■■
The Helpful AI (What Lies Ahead) x1 ■■
Influence Values Totals –
I’d originally tried this concept out with Noise, but Hostage + drawing a quarter of the deck with Andy helps get more of the combos together, Account Siphon + Same Old Thing is just cruel, and her link econ means you can potentially sustain 5-click turns with Joshua B. indefinitely. Anyways, I really hope it doesn’t become a legitimate archetype, because apparently it is incredibly annoying to play against. (while playtesting, I had to promise one of our regulars I would never play it against him again after decking him out of a stalemated board)
Bringing her to BSO, the idea was to basically go for all the win conditions we could: stealing, scoring, flatlining and milling. BSO’s agent server shenanigans seemed like a good reason to try out the frustratingly non-interactive combo of John Masanori + Data Leak Reversal, lots of weird synergizing cards (Doppelganger, Snitch, Crash Space, Joshua B. + New Angeles City Hall), drip econ, and Account Siphon. Minimal reliance on programs, (besides Femme, which is expensive to steal) along with tag evasion / subsidized removal meant less threat from the opposing runner. Doppelganger also added the potential to stick 5 tags on the runner in a single turn for a surefire sleazy alley-oop. And I actually managed to cheat Femme out with Retrieval Run in every game of the tournament.
On to the tournament:
Match 1: Zac (HB:EtF) & Jake (Andromeda), host team.
My deck and Jake’s Andy decks turn out to be completely different, but equally eccentric; using Xanadu, Rook, and Cortez Chip, Jake was able to make rezzing ice painfully expensive: At one point, we had to rez Ice Wall for 6 creds.
Our side made a good number of mistakes; we neglect to ice HQ and take a turn one Account Siphon. So while Veen & Riley seemed to win their game in about 10-20 minutes, we pushed our game close to the 65 minute mark. Later in the game, with Derek hard-pressed to keep up with the economic warfare, I flash-rezzed Caduceus to side-step Cortez for a run, which turned out to be another mistake: Flash-rezzed ice derezzes post-run. Jake used his last click to get back in, and scored a double advanced Government Contract.
This brought them to something like 7 agenda points, and I’m wasn’t sure if we still have a chance, when Derek drew Scorch #2 with his mandatory, then over-advanced Atlas by one & scored it. Bag? Check. Time to pull a BSO tag-team maneuver: I hit the agent server hard, and stuck 3 tags. Jake, perhaps over-confident in his single Plascrete, went hunting in R&D for the last agenda they needed to win, and came up blank. Three Scorches melted through a full hand and Plascrete, for the first sleazy win of the day.
Match 2: Veen (NEXT Design) & Riley (Gabe), Green Lake Games.
We were both pretty sure we were going to lose this match before it started. Veen had won the Seattle regionals, and Riley’s big CK tournament win had also been featured here on Stimhack; both Derek and I had read these tales of glory and learned to fear & respect their Netrunner expertise. Oh, by the way, this was Derek’s first tournament, and my 2nd. So yeah. Reputation advantage: Not us.
Anyways, Riley’s deck could have been the same deck used in the CK tournament, because we saw very little of it: They won the toss, went first, and Veen installed ice on HQ, runner server and a remote with NEXT Design’s head start, added more ice to the remote, installed what I later learned was SanSan in the runner server, and installed Melange in the other remote. Riley rezzed Melange, used it, and clicked passed to send it all back to Veen, who now had 16 credits.
It quickly became evident that their plan was to leverage this ten-click head start to power a big-ice fast advance monster corp. Riley bankrolled the corp for most of the game, which I dutifully worked to keep up with in a series of click-1 face-checking. Eventually, I cheated out Femme through an Eli on archives, managed to trash one Melange in the agent server, and another in a different remote, but was too broke to do anything about either SanSan they shared server space with. They maintained a massive economic advantage the entire game.
We got incredibly lucky, with two consecutive Beta Tests dumping 6 cards in a now heavily-iced archives. Then Riley stole Femme, unbelievably, locking me out of most everything, including the agenda piling up in Archives. I started looking for an Inside Job to get a DLR in play to start milling, while Derek’s tag & bag raced Veen’s super-fast-advance for agenda points.
Somehow, we ended up at a 7-6 advantage, installed and double advanced a Government Contracts in the agent server to try for the win. I continued digging into my stack for something useful, and find a Crypsis on my last click. Veen uses SanSan and Biotic Labor to score another 2-pointer; at this point it’s clear this would be the final round, one way or another. Then, with his last click, Veen wires a huge pile of credits into the agent account, and Riley actually started running! At this point, we have only one piece of ice rezzed, an Enigma on HQ, with an unrezzed Ice Wall in front of it, and two pieces of ice on the agent server.
Click 1: Gordian Blade.
Click 2: Account Siphon; Riley bounces off Ice Wall!
Click 3: Corroder (!?)
Click 4: Run on the agent server, Derek rezzes Caduceus; we win the trace by boosting the ETR sub to 9.
Now that it’s my sponsor’s turn, we’re in a real bind. He’s too broke to score the agenda, and Veen will score their last point out of hand. Derek draws for anything helpful, comes up with nada, and now I have four clicks before we’re finished. I install Crypsis with 3 creds to spare, load Crypsis, and run the only server with one ice, HQ, protected by a solitary (yet fairly effective) NEXT Bronze. This is the first time I’ve actually seen this card in play, and I didn’t realize it boosts itself to strength 1, when I thought I’d have two. So just one shot at this. Then Veen burns his last Vitruvius counter to bring his hand to four cards. I pull a Sentinel Defense Program. After the game, we find out that two cards in HQ are operations, one is a 1-pt agenda–but we pulled a Sentinel Defense Program, for our first (and only) honest win.
Match 3: Bye.
At this point, we’re shocked to find ourselves undefeated, headed for the final match. We have a bye for round 3, so while Veen & Riley re-match against Ben & Nicholas, we reflect on the last match, and conclude that despite their clearly superior deck setup and daunting table image, their massive streak of bad luck combined with a handful of mistakes narrowly granted us a victory we were sure couldn’t be repeated. We took a breather, and play some normal Netrunner with Jake & Zac, who were eliminated with their second loss to Ben & Nicholas. Fully expecting Veen & Riley to win the re-match before they go on to crush us throroughly, we lamented didn’t get to play Ben & Nicholas.
Match 4: Ben (Weyland) & Nicholas (Andromeda), Raygun Lounge.
We were equally shocked and stoked to find that Ben & Nicholas narrowly won their re-match! Since this is double-elimination, and we’re undefeated at this point, they need two wins to take first place, whereas we only need one.
We go first: Derek installs some ice and plays a Hedge Fund. I install some econ cards, put Femme in the trash with a retrieval run in hand. Ben ices HQ and agent server, and plays a hedge fund. Nicholas and Derek do some things. I retrieval run my femme out and place the counter on the agent server, and then, on my last click, I run the naked R&D. So of course, (karma for perpetually piloting Jinteki?) I hit a Snare!, wiping my grip and ending my turn tagged. Uh-oh. Scorched Earth burns down my Crash Space. We lose.
Match 4, round 2: Ben & Nicholas, again.
Ironically, after lamenting that we wouldn’t get to play them at all, we get to play Ben & Nicholas twice. I promise Derek to never again run last click on anything.
Ben installs ice on HQ & agent remote, Hedge Fund. Nicholas does some econ things, and installs Crypsis. Derek ices up HQ and the agent server, and Hedge Funds. I run a Dirty Laundry into archives, something else, Dirty Laundry again, click for credit, discard Femme. Ben plays Hedge Funds, clicks for a card, and installs something in the agent server. Nicholas installs an Imp, loads Crypsis, and runs HQ. He breaks through an ice wall, trashes a piece of ice, and then on his last click, runs R&D. He tries to use Imp again before Ben reminds him that he can’t. Derek draws the Scorch that Imp almost killed, ices R&D, plays a Beanstalk and clicks for credit. He looks at my hand, and grunts a few things while showing me his pair of Scorches, but I’m too distracted about the pair of Account Siphons to really know what he’s trying to tell me. I Retrieval Run Femme out (again), and waffle on trying for the agent server. With 3 cards in hand and still slightly singed from last round, I go for the safe play, mark the unrezzed ice on HQ, install Doppelganger and click for cards.
Ben triple-advances and scores Project Atlas. A successful bluff, well played, but with the cards I’m holding, I’m not terribly bothered. Nicholas finds a Snare in R&D, and spends the rest of his turn recovering his grip & anonymity. Derek scores a Hostile. With about 15 credits in Ben’s account (but not for long!) I play Account Siphon. He rezzes Rototurret, I bypass for 2, take his money, and clear tags. Ben installs more ice on the agent server, and makes a little more money for me to steal with Account Siphon #2 on my following turn. Ben’s now down to 1 or 2 credits, so I take my extra click & run to stick tags on Nicholas, so he goes equally broke struggling to clear tags.
On my next turn, I run 5 times on agent server, stick 4 tags and steal the Imp, just to be sure. Desperately trying to avoid their impending doom, Ben passes Beanstalk money to his agent, just a cred shy of enough to clear all the tags. (this turn) He digs through his stack for a Plascrete. He doesn’t find one, but Derek draws Scorch number three with his mandatory, and we win the tournament with book-ending triple-Scorch sleaziness.
Since it was responsible for ending most rounds that day, it was fitting that full-bleed Scorches were given to all teams. Third (Veen & Riley) and second place (Ben & Nicholas) won datapack credit, and another Scorch each went to the second place team. Derek & I took home a full set of 3, (because that’s how we play them) plus playmats as the tournament champs.
Which I have a hard time believing we were, knowing the caliber of our opponents and the strength of their builds. Derek was particularly fired up, as he didn’t actually care for BSO much before the tournament, and deciding last minute to fill in for my original team mate. Again, it was also the first Netrunner tournament he’d played in, ever, which apparently grants you a massive luck advantage… Afterwards, he also won the raffle for a sealed original Netrunner starter pack.