Simonmoon stared at the screen. It remained blank, despite his hoping otherwise. ‘Some Worlds-related content is needed, and soon, damnit!’, he told himself. Ever since selling a secret majority stake of the Stimhack editorial control, and part of his soul, to the Trilluminati in exchange for membership some time back, what promised to be a life of luxury and opened doors has instead turned into a burden of expectations, control, and lies. To make matters worse, viewership at Stimhack was down, much to the delight of eric_c over at Fetal. Something needed to be done. Perhaps utilizing that the Botnik predictive text app will help, he muses. Loading it up, and dumping the text from a ‘State of the Meta’ Stimhack forums thread into it, he finds the following:
The right way to play, bruh, and access a presumptive card is miles off.
Worlds will not be strong decks that can win.
Gamers should count ice, and dodge hyperbole.
The illuminati rush glasshouse, unless cards will not be excited.
The answer to dependent ctm wont be better with spags.
Simonmoon’s eyes glaze over at the gibberish that was ejected from the app. Normally, he would appreciate the irony of a dumb AI throwing the Trilluminati back into his face, but he was already most of the way through a bottle of Wild Turkey, and was not in the mood. That last line caught his eye. Simonmoon always had a soft spot in his cold, dark heart for CTM, and the name ‘spags’ triggered a foggy memory of a freelancer who occasionally contributed. The problem was that spags had a price on his head, ever since the Code Gate affair that sent the best of runners to ground. Being short on time and options, he told his aggressive secretary program to contact every vapium den and cyber-brothel in the seedier parts of New Angeles for spags…
Worlds 2017 is almost upon us, and someone needs to get the party started right (outside of kicking off Worlds with King of Servers, of course). Welcome to the third annual Worldshype article. As always, there will be predictions, insight, but mostly hot garbage. Let’s get right into it.
THE U.K. WILL NOT WIN WORLDS 2017
ANR Worlds is a great experience. The long-storied downside of travelling to Minnesota, USA in November is a known factor, and the largest negative against the event. If that is the worst thing about it, that is completely acceptable, as we spend most of our time indoors while at Worlds anyway. Being the wonderful time that it is, that brings with it high expectations and much excitement. Those emotions and feelings led to the creations of these hype articles. For the first two, I predicted that someone from the United Kingdom would win, with some semi-embarrassing specificity on the exact winner last year, Dave ‘cerberus’ Hoyland. 2015 did not see a British winner, but saw a great uptick on both attendance and performance from the U.K. kids, so I felt somewhat justified in my selection. I was also off on Dave winning, but he was close, as always, and the Grand Finals was two residents of England.
(on an aside, Dave thought I cursed him last year, but I believe he secretly loved the attention)
Not only did the U.K. dominate the finals in 2016, but they had 6 members in the top 16. Why would I not select them to crush all that oppose them again? One, it would be boring
to select them again to win. Two, simonmoon has a beef with the U.K., and a clause in my contract noted that I not only not select, but that I try to diss them as often as possible. The latter will be tough for me to do, so I will just stick to the former. Three, their numbers will be reduced in 2017, most notably 2nd place finisher Ben Ni will not be in attendance. Finally, this is a new meta, and the field will be a bit unknown and unexpected. Based on what we witnessed the past year, the creativity that the U.K. has shown in the past has seen to wane, and most of the top players were all playing the same decks. If they do not know what is the best deck to play, perhaps they will flounder slightly as a result. (O.K, maybe dropping a diss wasn’t so hard)
As a result, my prediction is a return of the ANR crown to the U.S., to someone not named Dan.
CI WILL WIN WORLDS
Yes, much like learning of Code Gate 2017, admitting that one of my most loathed cards, Cerebral Imaging, will be the winning Corporation at Worlds this year. Also, to go hand in glove with that prediction, I believe it will be banned shortly after Worlds, whenever the next FAQ arrives (hopefully before Store Champ season gets fully underway). Michael Boggs, lead designer of ANR, noted on a recent episode of Bad Publicity that CI was in his sights, and almost had its imaginary head put into the mouth of Madame Guillotine. The fact that it, along with all of the ugly Clearances, remained off of the MWL 2.0, coupled with the loss of Engineering the Future, lead to CI being an easy choice as the best H-B ID to play. The methods of playing it, the amount of win conditions it can support, and the minimal hate existing against it lead to CI also being one of the strongest Corps in the current meta, full stop.
So we see another Worlds with little diversity coming from Haas-Bioroid, but unlike past Worlds, I believe we will see more diversity than ever experienced from Corp players during the weekend, outside of KOS. The meta is as wide-open and unknown as we have seen in quite some time, and perhaps this will lead to some exciting deck choices. All three other Corps can field a variety of IDs and decktypes that can actually compete. Glacier, asset spam, damage decks, tag storm, and fast advance are all in the current card pool, and the viability of them will lead to some tough Runner choices. Will Runners try to focus on a hard, simple strategy, such as smashing Centrals as fast and often as possible? Will they instead lean on ‘magic bullets’ and meta calls, trying to be able to fight as many strats as possible? These are the decisions that have been weighing on attendees the past month leading up to November 4th, and they have me excited.
CRIMINAL WILL NOT WIN WORLDS
Yes, I know, I know, what a bold prediction, spags! Due to rotation, Core 2.0, and the MWL 2.0, Criminal lost a large amount of familiar tools, primarily in the economy and denial types. Temujin, Account Siphon, Andy, and most recently Bloo Moose all were staples in the Criminal repertoire, among others, and the lack of them really sent Criminal players into the wilderness. These changes have pushed Criminal into Resource economy strategies, which makes them more akin to the other non-Magnum Opus Runners. The difference is that they lack the powerful tools still remaining to the other Runners, making them have to import them at high opportunity cost. Other econ engines are available to them, such as Tapwrm, or the unique package that Geist fields. Those do require a specific archetype, though, and somewhat pigeonhole them, leading perhaps to the reduction of the unknown to the Corp.
Sadly, the other Runners didn’t suffer as much collateral damage from the culmination of events that led to the current meta. The mini-factions suffered even less than the main three, and thus gained in status and power (well, at least two of them), to the point that a fair amount of players have expressed interest in playing them over fielding any Criminal at KOS, something unheard of in years past. As noted in the Corp section above, this diversity in the meta in general should make for an exciting Worlds affair. The weekend of Worlds has always been its own self-contained meta, and I expect no difference this year. While some Runners that perform well at the event will be archetypes for the new meta to come, others will succeed because they happened to be tuned up for what the majority of players are on. If fast advance is the choice of the day, Clot lockers will have their way with the field. As always in this game, matchups are key, and the Runners will have to decide what matchup they want to dominate.
WORLDS WILL SET THE TABLE FOR THE NEAR FUTURE META
People are clamoring for decklists (legally, of course), and everyone has been keeping very mum about their practice results. This is not unexpected; people try to keep their tech secret, keep it safe leading up to the largest ANR event of the year. The new meta has amplified this subterfuge, which was why the Code Gate scraping
was even a bigger deal than it could have been. Worlds will not be a complete picture of the meta going into the Kitara Cycle, but it will be a strong roadmap. A ton of decklists should come out of both KOS and Worlds, which will be interesting signposts. There are already some decklists on NRDB that look like where the meta is headed. The main question will be if Boggs will immediately address the meta or not post-Worlds. He has been shown to have a proclivity for wanting to shake up the meta every 3-4 months, if possible. FFGOP is slowly coming around to the speed that he seems to what to work at.
Kitara should also help kick the new meta off. One of my small predictions (hopes?) is that Core 2.0 is at Worlds, along with the first few Kitara packs. It would be like the hype generated at Gencon 2015, when Data & Destiny, along with the remainder of the SanSan Cycle, was prematurely dropped into our laps to spoil for ourselves. Those first few packs may answer whether or not we will be getting some replacements for beloved cards lost in the Core 2.0 purge.
On an aside, I wanted to note my admiration for the B&R list. At Gencon 2013, I remember noting to Lukas the something needed to be done to Siphon, and brought up the Game of Thrones restricted list. Nothing even occurred under his watch. Damon took the first steps toward it with the MWL creation, but Boggs dropped the ban hammer and finished it. When foolish cards like Vanadis occur, they need to be addressed swiftly and strongly. Also, the restricted list adds a new twist to play. Once you see an opponent’s restricted card choice, you know what they aren’t playing, as well.
WORLDS 2017 LIKE ALL WORLDS WILL BE FUN AF, OFC, IN THE PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES
This has been stressed in the past, but I wanted to note again that one should try to enjoy more than just the card games at Worlds. I think as the community has grown, and people have returned year after year, they look for other hangout opportunities. In the past, I have organized trips to NBA basketball games, KOS, tried to enjoy local food, etc. This year, I personally may attend one or two concerts, and really up the cuisine game. The thought that there is no good food in the area is ludicrous, of course; there’s just none near the FFG Centre, which essentially resides in a commercial/industrial zone. I have seen people organizing brewery outings, dinner gatherings, movie viewing, and even a flag football game. Like most things in life, Worlds is what you make of it. If you prefer cube drafting, some original Netrunner (ONR), or just shadowing Boggs all day while dressed exactly like him, that is absolutely fine, as well. Fun is the key, so make sure to have it.
(if you need assistance, there’s a fantastic local guide put together by orbital_tangent, with assistance by ajar among others, on what to see/do/eat: https://forum.stimhack.com/t/worlds-2017-scoops-of-hot-rotatoes-and-fresh-ruses/9205)
MAW IS A GOOD CARD
Cool art, well costed, nicely balanced, weighty influence cost, and a powerful effect. What more needs to be noted?
That is all I have to note. Worlds will be lit, exciting games will be played, and great camaraderie will be enjoyed, and the U.K. will fail in their repeat quest. Personally, I enjoy catching up with people I speak with online, and perhaps enjoy an adult beverage face to face with them. This community is very inclusive and welcoming, and I enjoy the celebration of that community that is FFG Worlds.