Manchester Store Championships 2015

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As a grand kick off for the tournament season it was off to my ancestral stomping ground of the North West to the Manchester Store Championship at FanBoy3.

Plenty of parking and food places around, easy enough to get to and a decent amount of space for the tournament.  Registration was slightly delayed while we awaited late comers, but by half ten we were on with the games:

Round 1:  Some jackass called Dylan cheated his way to a win and called my Corp deck a rude word several times.  More seriously, I was dismayed to be playing a fellow Nottingham gamer in the first round (I wasn’t the only one), but Dylan proved his worth by winning the whole tournament ultimately, so I can’t be too disheartened.

[Corp] I was a turn from winning.  Out of two choices he’d be left destitute, so a lot of thought went into it.  If I’d managed to lure him down a remote, I’d have snatched a biotic win.  He spent ages deliberating, but ultimately went for R&D and got the winning agenda.  Darn.

[Runner] RP got the right cards and my slow-out-of-the-blocks Noise just couldn’t keep up.  I saw a couple of Future Perfects, but didn’t win the Psi games.  Things weren’t looking good.

W-0 L-2 (0 prestige)

Round 2: Henry playing Quetzal and E3, which I was delighted about as I was playing bioroid ICE.  Oh no, wait…  Polite and affable bloke as you’d expect from the Netrunner scene.

[Corp] Was surprised by my opponent setting Atman at Str 3 as I’d got an Ichi 1.0 showing and was running Eli 1.0 too – managed to trash it at one point though and a Yog at another.  In a final glory run he managed to Brain damage himself to death in order to hit Aggressive Secretary thinking it was an NAPD.  Good finish.

[Runner] I think Henry was playing Jinteki?  We went to time as I played cautiously and got up to six points and near a mill finish, snatching victory right at the end.

W-2 L-2 (4 prestige)

Round 3: Hadyn who’ve I seen around the scene in last year’s tournaments and is always good for a bit of banter at the table.  Was good to feel a bit more relaxed and enjoy a games.

[Corp] Hadyn was playing stealth Chaos Theory which I was worried about as I thought I’d have trouble keeping him out in the economy stakes.  A timely Accelerated Beta Test enabled me to stack up ICE on R&D and prevent the lockout.  It was just a matter of seeing the agenda to win with a biotic in hand.  I had a cold sweat at I realised if I drew an NAPD I was crewed as I couldn’t fast advance that and he was checking HQ regularly, but fortunately a Vitruvius came through and I secured the win.

[Runner] Much more stable game playing Jinteki.  Steady milling and cash generation, with the constant stream of card draw from Wyldside made it a relatively safe win.

W-4 L-2 (8 prestige)

Round 4: Sam playing Ken with an aggressive streak and NBN.  At this stage we were on the Top 8 table and things were getting a bit more serious.

[Corp] Foolishly I forgot Account Siphon was a thing and rushed to score out an agenda, leaving only one clickable ICE in defence of HQ.  I fought on bravely, but after being cash drained all I could do was click for credits – rez ice, click for more credits etc. and could never get back into the game.  Sad face.

[Runner] Got in quick and stole an Astroscript which made me happy.  Sam was struggling for ICE, although he’d shored up HQ and a scoring remote with rezzed SanSan.  The race was on and I hammered R&D choosing to ignore the SanSan and grabbing a second and third Astro.  The feeling of having 3 scored Astros on the [i]Runner[/i] side of the table is immensely pleasing.  Sam was kicking himself after rezzing an Archer to try and keep me out of R&D – he had to sacrifice a Breaking News (going from 5 to 4 scored points) – but I’d got a clone chip to recover a Parasite, and with the help of Datasucker ate the ICE instantly.  He scored another agenda from hand (which would have been the win if not for Archer) and the next turn I hit R&D to claim victory.

W-5 L-3 (10 prestige)

Round 5: Vik from the Nottingham store and a match-up neither of us wanted.  Recently Vik’s NEH has been unbeatable for my Noise builds and he knew my deck and play style so the corp game wasn’t looking favourable either.  On the other hand, he knows I’m a “playa” within the local meta and had already played two others from Nottingham.  At this stage there were four out of eight from Nottingham on the top table, so these matchups were inevitable.

[Corp] Although super aggressive at running as Vik was, I was doing well as Corp.  I leveraged my knowledge of him Vik expected me to play and managed to score two agendas out of remotes without fast advance.  I was really struggling for Biotics (on deck inspection I later found all three together near the bottom of the deck).  An unfortunate ABT dropped two agendas into unprotected archives (one ICE was all I needed to use Foundry’s ability to shuffle them away, but didn’t see it) and from that point I went from being comfortably in the lead, to dangerously close to losing.  Due to fetching lots of ICE from R&D with my ability, the agenda density was relatively high and although I was going to get a scoring window after a big R&D run by Vik, the run produced two agendas and gave him the win.  Boo.

[Runner] I was not happy about having to go against the reliable NEH Astro-train as I hadn’t been beating it, but this time proved different.  I got the right bits to deal with the ICE (D4v1d for Wraparound / Grim / Tollbooth, and Parasite for Quandary / Pop up) and a Medium on the table started scoring.  Vik was slightly unlucking in how I scored the winning agenda – I was going to play an Aesop’s, but had spent my cash claiming an NAPD – so with nothing better to do I ran Archives just in case and scored the winning agenda.  His next card on R&D was a Jackson…

Overall though I think a fair result as we’re reasonably well matched players and it was good both of us got some points.  Unfortunately Vik met another Nottingham player in the shape of Timo next round and got a double loss – ultimately placing him 9th, on strength of schedule, just outside the Top 8.  Sad panda.

W-6 L-4 (12 Prestige)

Round 6 – Adam was a friendly guy and happy to be up at the Top 8 table, where I was clinging on with my fingertips, after splitting the last game.  He was running a vegetarian Weyland and baddass breaker Shaper (Torch, Garrotte…).

[Corp] Adam got his Magnum down first turn and was quickly assembling his rig.  I wasn’t convinced my taxing ICE was going to do well against highly efficient breakers and MO.  Fortunately I managed to fast advance a good few points and Reclaim 3x Biotic so it was just a matter of waiting for the agenda.  I’d stacked up R&D half way onto his play mat, so he couldn’t make a run every turn, even with MO, and alongside luring him into cheaper runs into HQ where he was convinced there was an agenda, this was enough to get me a win.

[Runner] I had to play cautiously here as I was without Plascretes and big money Weyland could be a real issue.  A few rounds in I’d clocked that the Scorch probably wasn’t going to happen and I’d scored a 5/3 agenda from HQ.  I kept the pressure on all three centrals and Adam was struggling to get enough ICE, as the pieces that weren’t milled I was eating with Parasite or blasting through with D4v1d.  I scored again, but just through shear aggression of drawing and playing I could see the mill was a possibility and less dangerous than hitting an unexpected Snare or struggling with remotes.  As a result I milled like crazy and despite Adam using all three Jacksons, I emptied his R&D before he could score out the winning Agenda.

W-8 L-4 (16 Prestige)

And so on to the double elimination as 5th seed.  There were two other Nottingham players in the Top 8 and three more in the next four postitions, meaning half the top 12 were from Nottingham.  Big up junglist massive to my fellow players from Chimera, some of whom hadn’t been to a big tournament before – or even played outside of the city.

Double Elimination Round 1

Played the very pleasant Tom M and his Leela deck.  I didn’t respect the power of Leela and although I scored out three points, this left me fighting for credits and ICE in the face of an economy machine I couldn’t hope to keep up with.  I was still fighting vailantly on, hoping to repeat my Aggressive Secretary manoeuvres or bluffed naked agenda tricks I’d got away with earlier in the swiss, but couldn’t get the break I needed.  I managed at one point to drain Tom with an expensive run on a remote guarded by four unrezzed code gates, completely emptying his Cerberus but draining me of all but a couple of credits.  Kati racked up about 42 credits or something ridiculous while I was trying to recover by clicking for money and crossing fingers for the right Agenda, but as time was called Tom was rich enough to do whatever he wanted and with his very last run of the match, snatched a winning agenda.

Tom was very nice about it and mentioned his luck etc., but he played well and deserved the win, especially as I hadn’t given enough thought to the cost of scoring early agendas when playing Leela.

Double Elimination Round 2

Tom C this time, in the loser’s bracket.  I tried to be light-hearted but it was all serious business down that end as one of us was going out as a result of this game.  Tom was packing both Scorched and Punative and I’d left my Plascrete at home, so it wasn’t looking good from the start – this was my nightmare matchup.  Early accesses revealed the kill cards, and playing against Blue Sun even if I hadn’t been struggling for economy (which I was a little) I couldn’t keep up with Weyland anyway.

A double-advanced card left me few options.  If I stole a 5/3, chances were I’d get double punative’d – in fact if I even ran anywhere there was real danger of Sea Source / Scorched as I knew he had at least one of those cards in hand.  If it was an Atlas about to be scored, then I was in real trouble.  I decided to not extend the torment and instead go for a Death or Glory approach.

I thought there must be agendas in hand and figured with three-pointers and such there, who knows, maybe I might even survive this run and be one agenda away from victory?

Play Nerve Agent, empty Incubator onto it, play Parasite on the defending ICE and last click run, datasucker the ICE to death, see five cards.

“Its death not the glory I’m afraid”, HQ was full of nothing but Sea Source and kill cards.  Not one agenda.

I was on one credit and three cards in hand.  The fat lady started singing and it was adios muchachos.

Great event and a lot of fun.  I thought my HB deck had done well, but looking back at the Swiss it was 3-3, so I need to revisit why I think it was better than it actually was – probably the close games.  I was more frowny about my Noise deck, but actually that was 5-1 in Swiss, with the only loss to the guy who eventually became champion.  Go figure.

The Manchester crew had their act together and big thanks to Coop for running the event quickly.  Shame to be late starting and having people trying to join half an hour or more late, but once underway the turnaround was lightning fast and it was all done by about nine, half nine.

The venue could do with a bit of a clean up to be honest.  The card room had a (as Rob’s wife put it) “Funky smell, and I don’t mean in a 70s disco way”.  That was before anyone had turned up.  The floor needed a vacuum (credit counters become hairy if you dropped them) and although game store toilets are never the height of cleanliness, these ones were particularly poor.  I feel a bit mean reporting this after such a good event, but the venue does really need some feedback on that if anyone has the ear of management and a more tactful manner than me.

Good to see some familiar faces from Preston, Stoke and perhaps other places.  After the lack of tournaments for a few months I’ve forgotten some names and were people are from, but it does feel like we’ve got a good community building up.

Great representation from the Chimera crowd – seven of us made it up I think, with six in the top 12, which is fantastic work from the guys, especially those who hadn’t played anywhere but the shop before now.

Look forward to more road trips and games soon, and seeing some familiar faces and making some more connections in the UK community!

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