With the Nottingham Massive busy preparing for the Chimera tournament the following day, I had to fly solo to the Manaleak Worcester Store Championships. My satnav got upset by the Labyrinthine Servers surrounding Birmingham and was sending me back up and down two roundabouts on the M40 (or somewhere) until I banked into a business park and did Purge Viruses. I obviously didn’t get them all, as the strange female voice was all like “keep right” “keep right” “keep right” “TURN LEFT NOW” as I passed the Worcester exit. Not enough change for the car park, so I had to phone it in and then the shop itself didn’t appear to exist and instead of being an hour early, I’m three minutes from the start and don’t even know what’s happening.
Short version is, if you want to go to a Worcester Tournament , look for a newsagents. It’s in the back of that. No really.
As my deck lists from the previous Manchester SC were up for all to see I tweaked both my decks for this event, but stuck with Foundry and Noise. The latter of which needed a proper overhaul as I’d be using Order & Chaos during the week and that wasn’t legal for the tournament.
On to the games:
Round 1 – Andy P – Gabe & TWIY
[Corp] Got a couple of trashes off with Agg Sec and Ichi 1.0 meaning Andy was struggling, but I was being kept fairly poor and couldn’t get enough money together to score out with Biotic by the time my agendas turned up – got six points I think, but the theme of the day was playing Criminal decks and get Siphoned a lot. After my Manchester experience against Sam I’d learned to at least double ICE HQ, but even so Crims seem to find a way in.
[Runner] TWIY is only a diddy deck and so it wasn’t too hard for my Noise to run riot. Andy put on a good show, but I could be aggressive and between Imp and virus trashes I kept him in check. I played and won a Stoke tournament a year or two ago with TWIY, but in the current Anarch trashy environment, I think it may struggle.
W-1 L-1 (2 prestige)
Round 2 – Ben – Chaos Theory & Industrial Genomics
[Runner] I haven’t played against IG before, like EVAR. So I thought this game would be interesting. Turns out trying to put your own cards in the bin just helps Noise out. Ben struggled for answers as the assets that would normally be too expensive to trash I could Imp, and with my milling turbo-charging his over-drawing I managed to win by mill.
[Corp] In our little universe, Chaos Theory is dribbling in a nursing home with only 20% of her brain intact. A combination of stumbling into Viktor, Ichi and Stimhack abuse meant that this game probably wasn’t going to end well for Chaos. Unfortunately I had to grind out the win over a period of time as between us we couldn’t find my agendas, but with a one-card hand for the runner, a win for HB was always more likely.
W-3 L-1 (6 prestige)
Round 3 – Dave H – Leela & Stupid RP
[Corp] The Hoylanator plays a strong game as you’d expect from the UK National Champion. I’d learned about Leela the hard way in Manchester, so didn’t rush anything out and steadily built up until I had double ICE on all centrals and a remote. Dave was either waiting for something he wasn’t seeing in card draw yet, or wanting me to make the first move. Runners can usually build up more cash if they do nothing and so there was an impressive stack facing me and I was ultimately forced to act.
He was expecting my Aggressive Secretary action and even called it, but I played one out and got him to face check it in order to get the ball rolling. I’d stuck an extra one in the deck and later Reclamation Order’d them both back so he’d know any advanced item in the remote had a chance of screwing him over. It was a close run thing in the end as Criminal Keeping Gaz Poor reared its head again – there were a couple of runs on R&D at the death that I was convinced were going to reveal an Agenda and lose me the game (so was Dave), but I clung on and managed to click up to enough credits to fast advance the final agenda.
[Runner] I either need to work on my game against Replicating Perfection (highly probable) or work something different with Noise, or both, because this seems to be the match up I struggle with most. People seem to score out an early Nisei – as happened here – and then with Wyldside reducing my click count and the need to run a central before a remote I haven’t got the pace. Comfortable win for Dave to split the round.
W-4 L-2 (8 prestige)
Round 4 – Baldy Tim – Andromeda & NEH
[Corp] I was missing Grail ICE a bit to be honest, but the extra influence taking them out meant I could Sweeps Week Andromeda which is always pleasing. Earlier in the day against someone with four brain damage they were less useful… It was another close game that each of us had to fight for. I struggled for economy against Siphons (spotting a theme here?) and Tim managed to snaffle agendas from R&D to snatch a win. It was a game I felt like I’d almost won a couple of times, but that’s how the HB feels a lot over the last two tournaments. It needs a rejig to get that extra bit of oomph to get it over the finish line.
[Runner] I think I’m right in remembering that Tim saw a lot of NAPDs but maybe that was a different NBN deck, which is not the agenda you want for a fast advance deck. I did my best to ruin his day with Noise and Imp burned SanSan and Daily Business Show for fun. Some people seemed to be letting DBS ride throughout the day. NO! Don’t do this. Burn it with fire. Doing so and removing fast advance tools ensured I could claim glory.
Of all my matches, this is the most woolly, so I may even have got who won which one the wrong way round, but you weren’t there so what do you know?
W-5 L-3 (10 prestige)
Round 5 – Jay – Noise & NEH
There seemed to be a lot of people on 5/3 split for games so it behoved us all to try for a double win.
[Runner] Jay was playing Astrobananas and the right pieces fell to him before I could get properly set up. Not taking anything away from Jay, who played a good game, it’s a deck I intensely dislike – played a lot in Nottingham, games seem to come purely down to who sees agendas first (notably Astroscript) based on the random order the deck is stacked in. I could be wrong, but this feel like a deck lacking excitement. To repeat, I’m taking nothing at all away from Jay (or Tim) in this comment, he played perfectly – it’s more a general comment that NEH = No Fun. Like Statis decks of old in Magic.
[Corp] Jay had brought a Noise deck, but confessed that he hadn’t had much experience with it. From a year ago where I was making decks the night before tournaments and showing up to see what would happen, I’ve kind of learned my lesson (with runner if not with corp) and have played Noise pretty solidly for a few months now. It’s been a tough journey as he’s not really the top tier – or certainly hasn’t been – but for this match it meant I’d got a solid idea of what to expect and how to play against the challenges. Jay put in a good show, but I kept him locked out – an impressive starting credit pool within the first couple of turns dwindling to nothing fairly soon and most of the deck disappearing in a search for answers. Closed out the win, but it took a while – I was being safe rather than sorry. I’m going to say it, for my money Inject is no good in Noise. It may have a place in Maxx or something but seriously dudes, don’t believe the hype.
W-6 L-4 (12 prestige)
At this stage three people were definitely through to Top 4 cut and a bunch of us were on 12 prestige. Fortunately due having played some of the tougher opponents I managed to squeak through on Strength of Schedule. By one point. The honeymoon was soon over though…
Double Elimination Round 1
Due to my earlier traffic troubles I’d not managed breakfast, and long running games with no lunch break meant at this point all I’d eaten was a bag of Wotsits after round 3 and a Twix after round 4. Everyone seemed quick to crack on, so I asked for five minutes and went next door for a chip butty (from the slowest chip shop in Christendom) and managed to wolf half of it before having to rush back. At least I wouldn’t be passing out during the game now.
Andy was higher seed and went runner with Gabe. Stupid Criminals. I mulligan’d but was struggling for ICE still. An early Jackson encouraged me to draw up and ditch three agendas into archives – with Jacko on the table that’s fine right? It’s not like I’m playing Noise. Turns out Gabe had Hades Shard in his pocket, 7 creds to play it the hard way and before I get an opportunity for paid effects 6 points are on the other side of the table. Sad face. I brazened out the rest of the game somehow scoring 4 points and landing an Agg Sec – all with virtually open servers, agendas in hand and no cash! The result was inevitable and Andy eventually tracked down an NAPD for the win. I’ll be remembering that Shard splash for sure. My other misplay was putting down an Adonis for Siphon protection and then thinking is was a Jackson as I forgot later on. Always check your cards kids!
Double Elimination Round 2
An emotional match up. Last time we played it was filmed and there were some really bad mistakes that neither of us picked up. The Nottingham posse have just about stopped giving me grief about it (a year later), but still show the Youtube to n00bs. I expressed to Dave that we should really make sure we didn’t funk anything up this time!
Dave won the dice roll and chose to Corp. He was playing NBN and shouts of “HA HA, I burned your house down LOL!” throughout the day tipped me off that he was playing Scorched. At least is wasn’t straight up boring NEH. I’d put Plascrete back in after Manchester – but obviously hadn’t seen any Scorched all day and they were dead draws. In the one game I might need them they were Sir Not Appearing in This Film. Can’t wait for legal I’ve Had Worse.
Dave got all his economy early and I was overly worried about Scorch so played too cautiously (with hindsight). I built up a strong econ to challenge the threat of Sea Source and started attacking, but it was soon apparent that the Astro-train had left the station. I think Dave top-decked a couple after scoring his first, so there wasn’t a lot to be done about that. I pressured as much as I could but didn’t manage to nip the Beale out of hand that Dave was carrying and so lost to fast advance and was out of the tournament at 4th place, which is still respectable.
Big thanks to the Manaleak crew for sorting out – could probably do with advertising better they’re in the back of a newsagents, but once found it was all good stuff! Good to see extra entrance fee from the tournament going back into store credit as prizes too – something I’m used to in Nottingham, but you don’t always see around the circuit.
Thoughts on the deck changes since the Manchester Store Championship for the decks…
The Foundry still works about the same without Grail ICE, but you’re missing the surprise net damage and subsequent threat of other revealed ICE. This can lead to having to suffer more early game aggression if the runner is that way inclined.
The NEXT ICE is fine and all, but dies to parasite all the time. Removing Grail does give all manner of opportunities for spend influence though. I had toyed with Power Shutdown but the lack of economy was noticeable. Sweeps Week worked out okay, although in some games after brain-damaging opponents it wasn’t that great. Overall I think Beanstalk would have worked better on balance – leaving enough influence for a third SanSan. Moving from one to two SanSans didn’t have a noticeable benefit in and of itself.
Another Aggressive Secretary was useful. I’m concerned after my last two showings its becoming a thing now and no one will ever run a one-advanced thing again. But that in itself is useful in me scoring out NAPDs. Something I noticed in Weyland was having no traps at all left you nowhere to go in the mid-late game. Having one or two traps allows you to bluff out some agendas or trick runners into making expensive or fruitless runs. You can never get it right all the time and some people make runs (or don’t) when there’s no accounting for it, but having the option there is really useful and staves off frustrations and a mindset of “there’s nothing I can do now”.
Having another 4/2 instead of two 3/1 agendas didn’t seem to make too much difference, except there was less plucked from my R&D this time round. Plus I had an extra card in my deck. I can’t say I noticed a spectacular change, but certainly didn’t feel worse off or anything. The Efficiency Committee never got scored by me, I can tell you that much!
The Foundry: Refining the Process (The Spaces Between)
3x Accelerated Beta Test (Core Set)
3x Project Vitruvius (Cyber Exodus)
1x Efficiency Committee (Creation and Control)
3x NAPD Contract (Double Time)
3x Adonis Campaign (Core Set)
2x Aggressive Secretary (Core Set)
3x Jackson Howard (Opening Moves) •••
2x SanSan City Grid (Core Set) ••••• •
3x Biotic Labor (Core Set)
3x Hedge Fund (Core Set)
3x Sweeps Week (True Colors) ••••• •
1x Reclamation Order (Double Time)
3x Eli 1.0 (Future Proof)
3x NEXT Silver (Upstalk)
Code Gate (10)
2x Viktor 1.0 (Core Set)
3x Viper (Cyber Exodus)
2x Viktor 2.0 (Creation and Control)
3x NEXT Bronze (Opening Moves)
3x Ichi 1.0 (Core Set)
15 influence spent (maximum 15)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to The Spaces Between