Sheffiled Regional: Steel haven’t found what I’m looking for.
Round 1: Hancock (hope I got that right) is relatively new to the game having played for three months or so and keen to have fun. All good. He’s brought Industrial Genomics (of which there were at least four!) and Noise.
[Runner] I’m not really sure what to do with this – last time I played IG I had Kate with Deus Ex in to ignore the risk of damage and the previous time I was playing Noise to Imp all the expensive assets. With Criminal it was going to be a suck-it-and-see exercise. As it transpired, I seem to remember doing normal Criminal tricks, not getting too low on cards and ignoring remotes in favour of central server pressure.
[Corp] I ended up with one piece of Ice and 2-3 agendas in hand straight up, so got some cash and ICE’d HQ. Hancock takes his first click – Keyhole. Sad panda. The game didn’t go well from there. I was keeping him out of R&D after a couple of turns with a zero strength Draco, and had to SEA Source / Scorch just to get parasites out of his hand. I got a few points back, but the writing was already on the wall from the first turn and so we split with runner wins.
W-1 L-1 (2 prestige)
Round 2: Hayden is playing PE – as well as IG there were a few of these. Not sure what’s going on in Sheffield, last time it was all Weyland and now it’s the non-RP Jinteki. They like to mix it up! Also MaxXimum PuNk Rawk.
[Corp] MaxX was doing her thing, but I was ploughing on with my agendas and getting an economic advantage. Hayden was twitchy about Scorch and went for a panicky Levy after an inconclusive run on R&D. Thankfully, although this refilled his hand, it gave me enough money to land the SEA / Double Scorch combo every runner likes for breakfast.
[Runner] I got giddy with Account Siphon early, but then saw the way Hayden was looking and decided keeping all those tags was a bad idea and cleared four of them sharpish. I was working away at taking cards and drawing up, throwing out other tricks, but ultimately got too impatient. I ended up doing a Siphon on click three and kept a tag which results in a Scorched Earth / Neural Emp death. Bit more patience here and I might have got a better result, but the lesson learned is put Feedback Filter back in. I didn’t think there’d be much spikiness, but after Sheffield I’d say it’s definitely a thing again and bad match up for my Criminal.
W-2 L-2 (4 prestige)
Round 3: I moved down to the basement to meet Robert fielding moar PE and a Kate.
[Corp] Mulligan’d, but my deck was spewing forth agendas like a virus-riddled Regional Champion at Manchester. At one point I had an agenda in Archives, four in hand and two face down on the table. I think Robert top decked one from R&D. I had one piece of ICE. Best bit of the game was when he Queen’s Gambit’d my Atlas. With hindsight I should have advanced it to the max and then gone and got some ICE the next turn, but I was too busy crying salty tears to think straight.
[Runner] I ran into every trap possible trying to get some traction and power through cards but once I’d his the Cerebral for 2 Brain Damage it was always going to be a losing proposition. I think I got flatlined with about five cards left in deck, but by that point I was underling my “Feedback Filter” note several times. Really didn’t expect to see any PE or much spikiness, but it totally slayed me.
W-2 L-4 (4 prestige)
Round 4: Now deep in the dungeons I was faced with Kate and the hated NEH. Despite playing this ID, Phil seemed a thoroughly nice chap.
[Runner] I tried to stop the contortions of my face, crawling as it was towards a rictus of pure malice at the sight of NEH, but don’t know how successful I was. Phil was getting agendas for his draws and I was checking every remote and archives for agendas. I’d scored the first Astro with an Inside Job, and the second was delivered by a slight Architect miscalculation by the Corp who intended to leave me with NAPD instead. Combined with judicious siphoning of funds from NBN to Andromeda to prevent scoring from hand, the final Legwork wasn’t necessary as Phil displayed five Agendas in hand.
[Corp] Phil had been out of the game a bit and so was struggling on some of the obvious plays that you know from plenty of practice. Changeling with a counter on for a Str 4 sentry is a common trick these days against Kate, but if you’ve not played for a while then it’s a bit of a surprise. This knowledge gap worked against me sometimes. I tried to bait the use of Clot with an advancable trap, but when I asked about paid abilities, Phil was all “yeah whatever, carry on”. Ultimately though my time at the sharp end of Store Championships proved decisive and I won out.
W-4 L-4 (8 prestige)
Round 5: I was on my way back up. Martin was waiting for me at the foot of the stairs leading out of the basement, with sunlight streaming in behind. If only I could win one more game, maybe I’d be back upstairs? Before we started, our table of four discussed how it was better down here anyway, with the more avant-garde crowd and interesting decks. The guy next to me was playing Nasir against yet another IG.
[Corp] I got some agendas scored out and built up economy, but Kate was doing her thing and the tipping point where she’d be able to get in anywhere she wanted was rapidly approaching. Initially I was distraught at losing Blacklist, Agg Sec and other key cards out of big R&D digs, but it had cost Martin lots of cash. “How many cards have you got in your hand? Three?”. Kate really should have got her boiler serviced, that gas explosion was lethal.
[Runner] I acquainted Martin with the finer points of robbery in our next match up. I was facing Blue Sun on the return match and got unnecessarily worried about potential Scorches. If I died as well, it’d be embarrassing. Fortunately, even with clearing tags, I got all the right cards to constantly drain Martin’s cash and pinch the points one at a time.
W-6 L-4 (12 prestige)
At that point things got a bit twitchy next to me when someone was looking for what to get out of Archives after a run on Crick and some jackass watching the game basically shouted out the best option. While we all have friends and it’s easy to forget it’s not just a normal day at your store… for competitive events, keep your opinions to yourselves kids (or take them out of earshot). If nothing else, the player at the table might have been going to do what you blurted out anyway, but now it looks like he’s been coached and he’s not getting credit for his own moves.
Round 6: Back in the sunshine and fresh air I was paired with Steve playing Cerebral Imaging and Chaos Theory.
[Runner] I hit the ground running, applying lots of pressure. I was never going to win a protracted game against this ID, with taxing servers and Legwork being a drop in the ocean for 15 card hands. Steve kept me out of HQ with a Wormhole, but it ruined his economy. I grabbed the Passport and started stealing cash, to the point that even a Blue Level Clearance was too expensive to play. This also destroyed his hand size and from that point it was just a matter of keeping the pressure on and not letting him build.
[Corp] Steve had a Chaos Theory, but said himself that was his weaker side. I can’t really remember too much of the game as it was the last of the day, but am fairly sure I chained out agendas and had the Scorch online, so it wasn’t too worrisome in the end.
W-8 L-4 (16 prestige)
By the calculations of the assembled brains I was possibly on enough to get top 8, but having been in the dungeons for a while I knew my Strength of Schedule was woeful having submarined back up from the bottom end. As results came in it was clear that a few people were on 16 and. I finished a respectable 12th, with positions 6-12 all being on the same points.
Good day at Sheffield, only a couple of Store Champion byes being spent and the National Champion on form to take the day. Great to see people from around the country making the trip up and tip of the hat to Brighton(?) based Laurie Poulter for attending all the Regionals in the UK, finally winning one in Edinburgh. Dylan continues to be the Team Chimera poster boy, getting top 8, but ultimately not being able to crack the top spot. There’s another Sheffield tourney the following weekend for a practice and then it’s off to Nationals! Look forward to seeing more of you there. It’s going to be brutal. Just the way I like it.