This was the weekend of Sheffield. Two tournaments in two days. The Nottingham Posse were feeling it, time to head up the motorway and claim some glory. The day of Patriot Games store championship arrives and sickness strikes so in the end only four of us make it. Still, not a bad number and with a team from York in their special hoodies and lots of locals I think we got up to the 19/20 mark for the day. Patriot is always a good event, although this number was a little low I can see Regionals being massive if last year’s Chronos Protocol is anything to go by.
After a mid-week flirtation with other Corp IDs I returned to Foundry (version 23 or something). Chaos Theory was my opportunity to use the fancy promo card for entering and I’ve had to retire Noise for now as everyone’s doing Anarch and its so passé right now. As I did two tournaments in two days and some of the people were the same at each, things may get a bit blurry. Therefore I apologies to any opponents for things I get wrong – please assume this is just fatigue and Brain Damage in the first instance!
Round 1: Local man Rich and de facto TO for the day was first up.
[Corp] I was feeling reasonably comfortable to start with as Rich’s Kit seemed a slow set up stealth deck, unfortunately a surfeit of Code Gates meant I couldn’t keep him as taxed as I’d like. I scored some points, but really never had control of the game that I can recall.
[Runner] I face the first of many Weyland decks (Argus). I gave the ICE a little too much respect, but once I got going some points started flowing. Ultimately though I lost my Plascrete to Shattered Remains and it wasn’t long before the brake lines on my hover car stopped working prior to a gas explosion.
W-0 L-2 (0 prestige)
Round 2: Leigh from Nottingham. Leigh is quite new to the game and this was his first time out in the big wide world playing a game. Unfortunate to get paired up together, but if you go mob-handed to a tournament it happens.
[Corp] I face a Leela deck, which is quite annoying for my Foundry as I put a lot of ICE out. Leigh struggles to find his breaker suite and I keep a variety of ICE available to stymie his efforts to get in while scoring out the win. On the whole this deck did quite well though – one of only a couple of Criminals I saw all day.
[Runner] NBN tag storm – the thing we established from the day was if he could land tags the deck worked like a dream. If he couldn’t there was not a lot he could do to keep people out. Obviously knowing the deck as I did, I kept plenty of money and only ran early in the turn, clearing any tags afterwards and ensuring victory.
W-2 L-2 (4 prestige)
Round 3: Ryan who spent the few minutes before the tournament buying four datapacks and putting cards in his decks. A hiatus from getting cards and meant his pool was slightly limited and so I had an advantage straight away.
[Corp] Loading up 4-5 NEXT ICE on R&D meant getting in was nightmarish for him, and hitting a double-advanced Aggressive Secretary really didn’t help matters. I got the ICE and money early and stayed in control through the game.
[Runner] Ryan was pulling in all kinds of money with GRNDL, so I was constantly worried about Sea Source. Early Magnum Opus allowed me to keep the economy engine going though and once I’d found my plascretes we were rocking. The power of Shaper tutoring and recursion was revealed when I burned through Curtain (or Hadrian’s?) Wall, two Archers and an Orion (I think) to steal and put me on match point. From there it was a matter of hitting R&D and scoring the win. Weyland is definitely flavour of the month again, but I feel Sharpshooter and D4v1d really threaten what was once intimidating ICE.
W-4 L-2 (8 prestige)
Round 4: Graham from York with a snazzy blue hoodie which clearly means he’s Boss of the York crowd… 😉
[Corp] I was facing down a Valencia, but she didn’t cause me too many problems. I played plenty of assets to draw out Blackmail and other core cards and made sure HQ was Account Siphon proof. Vigil was on the table and I managed to keep to four cards in hand most of the time. Top tip – don’t give your opponent free card draw – especially Anarch who don’t have very much (and especially big, fat Valencia). Graham was making runs for 23 credits on R&D, then I’d Peak Efficiency for 5-8 credits and stick another piece of ICE at the top of the server. It proved too costly – win for me.
[Runner] Argus number two. The only thing that can cause me to look for non-existent answers is the Strength 4 Sentry. Ichi is a Destroyer, so I can Sharpshooter or even click that bad boy if push comes to shove. I couldn’t think of much else likely to be played. So obviously I got lots of Data Ravens to the face in this game. It didn’t turn out to be too much of an issue, just forces you to run early and have more money than the Corp (which you want to do anyway) and takes up the extra click clearing tags. Although it always feels like you’re going to be short of cards or options, Shaper pulled through again, recurring the necessary keys to the obstructive Weyland ICE. I can’t tell you how nice it is to play not-Noise and have Plascrete in a deck!
W-6 L-2 (12 prestige)
Round 5: Samuel from York, only wearing a black hoodie, so not an end of level baddie. 😉
Apologies to Sam on this one – can’t remember what he was playing – Pre-Paid Kate I think ? NBN or Weyland? I remember them being tough games, but I was so hopped up on probably having enough points to Top 8 that I didn’t properly internalise what had just happened.
W-7 L-3 (14 prestige)
12 points was enough for some people to squeak into Top 8, so I was a safe placing, although not Top 4 so my opponent Andy got to choose which side to play. Andy chose to Argus Weyland (I think that’s what happened – it was ages ago now!). Andy was very nice and pleased to be in the top cut, so it was all nervy in this first game – I was keen to avoid my current run of “making the top cut then losing both games” which seemed to be a thing. It’s better than the first time round set of tournaments when Netrunner was, there I seemed to be placed “whatever the top cut is +1” and just outside the fun stuff.
I felt in control of the game and had scored 4-5 points I think. Largely I was keeping on top of money and Andy didn’t seem to have much in the way of answers, except the ubiquitous Data Raven. It got to a point where I didn’t think it worth worrying about tags and just started keeping them. Then came my clinical school boy error. The annoying this is, I knew I was doing it at the time, but went ahead anyway.
There are Punitive, Scorched and Traffic Accident in the deck, I’ve got two Plascrete out and 12 tags. The Corp move it to ping away at you with minor damage trying to get you to spend Plascrete tokens. The smart runner move is to lose cards from hand instead, if you can afford to do so. I’d tried a couple of glory runs to finish out the game and seen nothing on 4-5 card digs with Same Old Thing with Maker’s Eye and R&D Interface. As a result the Levy in my hand would have to be hard played and I didn’t want to lose it – I only had a handful (literally) of cards left in R&D, and with tags a-go-go I might get killed over a number of turns slowly.
So like a n00b, I lost counters off Plascrete figuring maybe he didn’t have the cards he needed to finish me off next turn (clue: your opponent nearly always does) and so despite a last turn of rooting around in the bin and HQ, I couldn’t find the final agenda I needed and ended up getting my house burned down with double scorch. Silly me.
On to the Loser’s Bracket (which I still think needs a better name) and after some confusion with the software not coping with double-elimination, we hand-balled it and moved on.
I got Cj from York and had to Corp this time against Valencia. Cj Account Siphoned me seven times and should be ashamed of himself. I think I made most of the right plays with the cards I had. I drew out all his Blackmails on assets and other stuff, I rezzed what ICE I could and made money wherever possible, but I just couldn’t get the break I needed to get going with the constant economic pressure and due to a hand full of stuff I didn’t want to throw away (including agendas) I couldn’t even play to 4 cards in hand and stop Vigil firing. Every time you use Account Siphon, George W Bush eats a kitten. Win to Cj and me out and eighth place. Timo from Nottingham had joined me in Top 8, getting through on Strength of Schedule, but unfortunately he too perished before final victory, although got a very admirable third place. Oversight AI + Curtain wall was his first turn. Opponent playing MaxX trashes D4v1d and another card, draws. Déjà vu the D4v1d, smash the wall and take five points. It wasn’t going to end well from there…
Day two and it was just Timo and I in the Nottingham Fun Bus after a last-minute decision to head up to Wargames Emporium. It was a little bit of a challenge to find, but Eric was a welcoming host and he piped various war-flavoured music in his shop as we dramatically set about a 16-man tournament.
Round 1: Nathan was playing Kit and Titan and elected to run first as I didn’t mind really.
[Runner] My opponent thought it’d be okay to leave R&D open for a turn, but I had Maker’s Eye and some cash to trash, so raided his server for five points on turn one. It was a bit of a done deal from then on, Nathan fighting valiantly but I only needed one agenda and could click for eight credits while I waited every turn and eventually it turned up.
[Corp] I made this game as taxing as possible for Nathan, but his ID ability really chews through a lot of stuff. Regardless I made R&D into a seven-deep monster and discouraged runs. Nathan saved up and ran with Maker’s Eye + R&D Interface so I was in the lap of the gods really. I got to 6 points and had a Domestic Sleepers scored so was on for the win. Unfortunately for me, my opponent spent all his clicks and every credit he had to see three cards and the third one won him the game. I would have loved it to be an NAPD, but sometimes life isn’t that sweet…
W-1 L-1 (2 prestige)
Round 2: Steve who’s recently moved to Carlisle and told me all about the interesting things they have up there like The Punching Tree. Netrunner is his solace.
[Corp] Normally a Criminal player, Steve was playing Noise Chakana for a change. I’ve played a lot of Noise and so could see his plays long before he did and managed to score two agendas out naked while he was setting up and ignoring remotes. He finally got the Hivemind online and everything needed two extra advancements to score, but by that point I’d got a spare Jackson lying around for safety, a secure scoring remote and plenty of fast advance cards. I had to install, double advance and then Biotic quadruple advance an NAPD for the win, but I got there in the end.
[Runner] Steve was much more comfortable with his corp ID of Jinteki PE. His opening Celebrity Gift showed me three pads and some other stuff, so I whipped out the Magnum Opus and started drawing cash and smashing everything he put down. Plenty of cards in hand kept me safe from flatline and I could keep him poor with my economy engine. I’d splashed a couple of I’ve Had Worse in the deck having seen so much Weyland the day before and so had extra protection there and really the game was just about grinding out a victory for me and making sure I didn’t lose my Levy and all my Same Old Things so I could get my dwindling deck back.
W-3 L-1 (6 prestige)
Round 3: Richard again from yesterday, this time swapping out Argus for Titan.
[Runner] Although he’d swapped IDs, it was still going to be Weyland kill and I was wise to his shenanigans. I hadn’t quite realised he was playing Government Takeover though – which I should really have thought about given the number of R&D digs that came up empty, but I’ll know for next time. Although he had a range of ICE out, but suite did its thing and I got in everywhere. I ate a couple of Shattered Remains and lost my plascretes, but I still had my secret weapon. When I was eventually Mid Seasoned, Rich rushed out Scorched and Traffic Accident in that order. I felt a bit of a cad, but with four cards in hand I had to get him to wind back to the Scorch, reveal I’ve Had Worse in my hand and draw back up before he could finish me off. Ultimately I ran R&D for three cards, which was the entirety of his deck and scored the win. Rich knew really he should have done the Accident first (giving him a 50/50 chance of winning the game by not hitting IHW), but just got excited and wasn’t expecting the splash.
W-4 L-2 (8 prestige)
Round 4: Kit, the Store Champion from Patriot the day before playing MaxX and Replicating Perfection.
[Corp] I’d previously made noises about MaxX being an okay match up for me, but regretted it here and she tore through my deck like paper and I never even got a look in. I may have scored a Domestic Sleepers to put me on zero points, but I was never even in the game. I’d had to ditch an NAPD in the trash to keep my hand reasonable and then three Keyholes each saw an agenda and it was game over.
[Runner] Historically, RP has been tough for me, but then I’ve been playing Noise and its ill-suited to fighting this sort of deck. With my cash-rich program-grabbing Chaos Theory though, I was feeling more confident. The spectre of not making Top 4 if I lost this game was hanging over me however… Similar to previous Jinteki match ups, I got rich and smashed assets wherever I could, while poking at central and getting rid of Hokusai Grids, only to have them Interned back. Kit was more protective of his Sundew than my previous opponent though and double-Eli’d it and started installing upgrades to turn it into a scoring server when the time was right. I realised it would be too taxing to keep getting in, so concentrated on the centrals, with odd straffing runs at remotes to keep him honest and remove potential Jacksons, DBS etc. I got an early agenda, and busted a Future Perfect to put me on match point, but at the cost of Kit getting to a similar position. I saw an NAPD on the top of R&D but had spent all but three credits so couldn’t take it. In the end I hit his hand enough and won a psi game to score another Perfect and take the game. Beating RP feels good.
W-5 L-3 (10 prestige)
And so to the Double Elimination
First up I had to play Timo, my fellow Nottinghamite. He was more concerned with what he was going to play in the next round against the top seed Tom than anything I was going to do and so chose to run against me so that he didn’t have to reface Replicating Perfection next round. Round 1: I didn’t even get a look in – on the previous day at Patriot we’d played a practice game and I’d kicked MaxX’s head in – then we’d discussed on the way back from Sheffield all the things to do to improve the deck. Turns out they all worked, because it totally ruined my Corp.
Round 2: Rich of Weyland fame from earlier was unable to carry on after getting beat by Tom on the other table, so I was given a free pass to the next round, technically as “runner”. It’s a shame when real life gets in the way, but right then and there I was happy for the win.
Round 3: Timo had slipped up in his winners bracket game and forgotten a tag that would have allowed him to destroy Kati Jones with 30 credits on her before she was cleared. Its often that one mistake that makes the difference between winning and losing. This time I was running against his Blue Sun – typical opener of ice / ice / OAI Curtain Wall. I was having none of it and played D4v1d straight out the gate, trashing the wall and taking a Hostile. Timo’s table banter belied that he’d got something else in hand, so I was all in with a Legwork and scored another. He desperately tried to draw up into more ICE, but found only 5/3 agendas and so I took a swift victory and went on to meet Tom.
Round 4 & 5: I’ll be honest and say I can’t remember which order these were in, so I’ll just fire them out in the order I recall. Spoiler alert, I win at least one as I have to beat Tom twice in a row to take top spot.
[Corp] Tom’s playing a crazy Quetzal deck he made in the car on the way down. Mem chips, Overmind, free money and all sorts in it – including the bane of my Bioroids, E3 Feedback Enhancers and crucially, Medium. I elect to not mulligan as I’ve got one ICE and don’t want to redraw into lots of agendas. Try to find a second piece, but can’t so ICE HQ to avoid Siphon and pass the turn. Tom hits the table with Medium and starts ploughing. He scores an early four points before I’ve got anything for defence and when I have an Eli 1.0 he can just click through it. Fortunately the rot stops there, I get time to get more ice and cash and purge virus counters.
I get the Fast Advance online and although Tom manages to pick up an NAPD along the way, I get to match point and have costly servers with him low on counters and credits. I suck him into HQ a few times to burn credits and waste clicks – with all the tools I need in hand, I’m really just waiting for the agenda to turn up and double Biotic a 4/2 for the win.
[Runner] The dreaded RP is next, but I’m feeling reasonably comfortable. I get MO up and running and start giving hassle. Trash assets, hit HQ and R&D and make a nuisance of myself. As there’s potentially only three agendas needed for a win with RP, it’s always a tight game. I get a couple early, Tom sneaks out two. Eventually it comes down to one turn. I know there was an agenda in hand and my opponent has installed then double advanced. I check my credits. I’ve enough for one run, maybe two (there’s a Nisei token looming over me) but I’ll have to lose my hand to Komainu. If I do that and it’s a Fetal then I’m dead. If I elect to save some cards and it’s an NAPD, I won’t be able to afford to steal it. I could let either of those go though and Tom will still be on six points and I’m still in the game. If it’s a Future Perfect though – I lose. Three ways to lose, one way to win.
I hit HQ on the off chance it’s all a massive bluff and there’s still an agenda there. Nothing. Take two credits, run and drop my hand to net damage, pay for Tsurugi and get bounced back by Nisei. Last click, no cards in hand and enough cash only for breaking that last piece of ICE… and score the winning agenda!
Big thanks to Eric who organised the event. His store isn’t super-easy to find, but worth it if you want Wargame stuff and you can always check out his website. Thanks also to all my opponents who played with great spirit and provided some challenges along the way. “Finally” (as Team Chimera put it) I have my Store Champion plaque and Regional bye.
See you at the Regionals!