Last minute advertising revealed the Northampton Sore Championship to me, and is it was a little over an hour’s drive away and there’s free parking next door, I put off household chores to go do some Running. I think we got to 11 people in the end, with various casualties due to working late the previous day etc. I don’t know if that was code for being too hung over, but regardless the TO decided on four rounds of Swiss, as any less didn’t seem like much of a tournament. There was a general feeling in the room of “no Double Elimination please” so this format suited everyone.
Round 1: James playing Quetzal and Replicating Perfection
[Corp] James is taking his time getting set up, building some economy, but now seeing a massive amount and setting up rig and ancillary cards. I sneak out a couple of agendas in remotes before he gets wise and takes one back. I’ve been building up taxing ice though and saving my fast advance for later so it’s fairly straightforward to close out the win when agendas show up.
[Runner] Replicating Perfection is a reasonable match up for me these days, it’s just a matter of having some cash and an SMC to make sure I don’t get Merlin’d to death early on if it’s a Grail version and I can merrily start tapping away. With R&D Interfaces and I’ve Had Worse / Deus Ex for protection, I’ll happily go digging and can usually get into remotes if I need to. My fast start and constant pressure proved enough to get the win.
Round 2: Hamish with Leela and Titan. Hamish was organiser and player-TO for this event and a great sport and welcoming host. A couple of times he didn’t so much let me take something back, as positively insist that I do – I doubt I’d have been so forgiving, so he definitely gets the Sportsmanship Award for the day.
[Corp] I see an early Eater from the other side of the table, but presume this is one of those decks that uses it for Account Siphon and other things rather than being full on R&D attack. Because its Leela, I build up first before scoring out an ABT and dropping another ice. Hamish is mildly concerned at this, but Mr Li finds his Keyhole and suddenly I’m on the back foot. I’d been concerned with preventing the Siphon and so R&D is fairly lightly protected. He runs riot and grabs a fistful of agendas and between Leela’s ability and Cresentus I can’t recover enough to generate economy and keep effective Ice in play and so perish under the onslaught.
[Runner] Weyland has me playing more defensively than I should initially so Hamish gets chance to score a couple of agendas while I build up. It becomes apparent that this is a vegetarian build though and I stop worrying about the Scorch to hit R&D and score agendas. It’s a taxing build though, so even with Magnum Opus clocking overtime, I’m struggling to keep up. Hamish miscounts his agendas scored when on five points and uses Atlas to get a Hostile (thinking he’s on six and will win next turn). He only realises as he scores it and hastily tries to shore up R&D. I’ve got all my pieces in play now though and although it’s expensive can get into R&D most turns. Despite his attempts to overdraw and get the final agenda, I see one first and pinch a win.
Lunch Break: Everyone decamps to the Subway round the corner for cheap food and swapping of war stories. Everyone at the Northampton store was very friendly and affable and you can tell they’re all in it for the fun. Which is nice.
Round 3: Ben fielding Replicating Perfection and
[Corp] Facing down Whizzard wasn’t a thing I was expecting. He makes short work of my assets I’d normally throw down just to keep the Runner interested and using clicks and credits, like a busy person might throw a kitten a ball of string. This cat just wants to claw its way through to the good stuff though. I just don’t think Whizzard has got the pace though – compared to the Leela and MaxX builds he’s not in the same league. As a result I work through a steady victory as there’s a dearth of Account Siphons and Vamp would beggar the runner too.
[Runner] It’s a spiky Grail RP, so I have to play around it a lot. Ben is protecting Sundew with Chimera, so I keep running that to force the rez and effectively make it a zero sum game. We both score a couple of agendas, and I see the winning one, but lose the Psi Game and instead it goes to hand for Ben. A timely Enhanced Login Protocol means I can’t play my last breaker and get enough money to run a central (2 clicks) plus the remote he then installs into with a double advance. I misplay and use two clicks to run HQ, when I should have used Same Old Thing -> Legwork for the same click cost, as there was a second FP in HQ. As a result I miss it and Ben can score out for the win in his turn. I’d still have needed to win the psi-game to win if I’d seen it, but better use of clicks earlier would have helped (especially letting him have more Sundew money and getting my rig set up instead of wasting clicks running to keep him poor).
Round 4: Andy with Leela and NEH
[Corp] Leela is proving to be a bugbear for my deck, but this build of my Foundry has Executive Boot Camp, so I can get some ice up and running. Andy sees the danger and burns them whenever they appear, alongside Adonis, but that’s sapping resources away from making runs. He’s convinced of agendas in HQ – of which there was frequently one – but often his runs prove fruitless. A Legwork breaks the deadlock, but I soon score Accelerated Beta Test and get more ice out to make things even more expensive. I refuse to play remotes and so Security Testing isn’t viable and with the cost of running centrals high I effectively tax Andy out of the game while I score out my remaining agendas for the win.
[Runner] Usual story against stoopid NEH. I run early and get a couple of agendas. Burn SanSan and Daily Business Show whenever I see them, try to hit R&D and check HQ occasionally. Andy gets out an Astro at one point and then Tollbooth taxes me out of a sever so he can get an NAPD scored. After that he waits until another 3/2 turns up and its Fast Track for Breaking News and the win. Boo.
Results: Ultimately it was a close run thing. Lots of split games and only Swiss rounds meant the final standings were on Strength of Schedule in many cases. I managed second, which was cool and groovy. One Psi game away from to prize ultimately – but I’ve already got me plaque and Regional bye, so that was fine by me.
Fun crowd and well worth a visit to Wargames Workshop if you’re in the locale.