The first of two(!) Birmingham Regionals took place on Saturday 14th March at the Custard Factory (no really), home to appropriately titled Wayland Forge. Actually taking part were 59 players on the day, and despite some logistics with the venue on the day (the facility management forgot tables), everything else was run smoothly. TOs for the day had a PA system for announcements, organised and super on-it with the floor and game rules.
Standard Whizz is pretty strong, but there’s always room for a mess about. The UK meta has been hard to determine and Jinteki is no use, so it was a bit of guess work, but I suspected some IG and most Palana builds have Future Perfect, so I took a Film Critic, Employee Strike and Archives Interface. The deck felt a bit too light on economy, no doubt. Ultimately though, it was psi games that cost me two losses. I thought Hades Shard would be a good surprise and catch some folk out that were too sloppy with Jackson, but in the event, I didn’t get any joy out of it.
I struggled for ages on Corp, nothing seems that great at the minute. In the end Palana seemed strong, and I went with a surprise Grail version – although it turns out after the fact that Grail is riding high on Netrunnerdb. It was a risk with Whizz ICE destruction and Noise being main competitors, but I gambled with lots of subroutines being better at fighting Faust than the risk of losing more ICE to Parasite. I’ve got Batty to kill breakers in the fly and Interns to get a key piece back, plus all the money. I still don’t like any other 5/3 agendas since Food came out and so there’s no TFP. Corporate Sales Team is money growing on trees, Philotic is there to sneak out and never advance score, rather than an awkward Fetal. A couple of Snares provide R&D protection and CVS is always useful in the Anarch meta.
Fabrizio was playing APEX, but a Lancelot and Crisium on HQ pretty much spoiled his day early doors and Batty killed breakers twice as well. He just didn’t have sufficient firepower against non-ETR. Blue Sun Off the Grid had the potential to burn my house down, but I played it cool until I got Film Critic, and once Employee Strike landed and I’d scored an agenda, the game was pretty much over. Government Takeover for the win. I’d really like Weyland to be good, but it seems even the tech you use for the other strong Corps also negatively effects their best ID! Maybe the new cycle will have something for the beleaguered corporation?
Record W-2 L-0
Martin was rocking a Pitchfork Hayley, and I moved as fast as I could before the engine got to temperature. I rezzed a Merlin on R&D to force the SMC crack, and let that server take some hits while I consolidated a Nisei token + Caprice remote. In desperation, Martin went for a big R&D run and I burned the Nisei token to kill it dead on click three. Sensing agendas, he went back last click with a Simhack and hit a Snare, killing himself on the Brain Damage. Return match I was building up nicely but getting frustrated not seeing a single breaker in half my deck. Martin’s Palana deck was fairly spiky and ultimately I got bored of waiting and ran in a “what’s the worst that can happen?” way. Cortex Lock & Batty death is the answer to that question. Silly mistake born out of frustration, when under no pressure.
Record W-3 L-1
Worlds buddy David Saiya was playing his Dyper out of Hayley. I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, but was fairly sure all those Hyperdrivers were building up for an R&D run. I let a Nisei get stolen to Caprice R&D and stack the ICE up four high. After 15 clicks in one turn, David went for his last run on HQ and hit a Snare with one card in hand. Return trip was a killy NEH, with Salems and 24/7. I burned me early money on Medium and ran aggressively, taking an Astro and Beale from behind a Data Raven on a remote, thanking Turntable for its help in getting an Astro token. A Breaking News got scored with another agenda and it was squeaky bum time. I hit R&D for all I was worth and thankfully took two agendas, as next turn I was dead.
Record W-5 L-1
Alex “VinegaryMink” White, a.k.a. The Plaguebearer, UK National Champion, Mother of Batty, Probably Not The First Of His Name. It was more or less a mirror match, although Alex had a more traditional ICE suite to Palana and a bit more rushy. He scored early behind a single Eli with Batty and got his money rocking, and another soon followed, and despite taking two agendas from his hand, he still found another to push out of his remote and win. The reverse match was more hard fought, but I missed my key Batty psi game and R&D gave up 4 points early. We both got most of the way through our decks (Alex for the second time), but eventually I couldn’t hide the agendas any longer.
Record W-5 L-3
Andy Buston for another mirror match. Against his Palana he did okay on psi games to score a couple of times, and I was struggling to find my pieces, but eventually I was eating away at R&D and got to 6 points. The game came down to who would get that winning agenda out of the remote, and in one turn I lost all four psi games and the game as a whole. As I won a game in the same was to get a Store Championship, I viewed this as paying the piper his due. On the other side I was so horribly flooded I was glad to get double siphoned. However safe the five agendas in hand were, it didn’t stop R&D giving up another 2-3 in as many turns. I only had Excalibur and Crick to defend with and there was nothing in Archives to retrieve in any event, As soon as the Medium hit the table, it was game over.
Record W-5 L-5
Rick from round our way was last up in Swiss, brother to one of our regulars, it was only his second tournament and so a learning experience – great bloke, good to see his enthusiasm continue despite having to play Dave Hoyland and other luminaries throughout the day. MaxX is his runner, Wyldside powering Faust with three fresh cards a turn, plus back up regular breakers. A combination of Swordsman plus Batty Grail destroyed successive breakers, so that Rick was almost through his deck for the third time when a Batty Merlin killed him on the way to risk a Snare in HQ. NEH temples managed to get one Astro before I did, but Turntable sorted that issue out and from there it was a matter of killing one asset a turn and smash R&D.
Record W-7 L-5
- Film Critic saved my ass against Weyland and helped steal NAPDs and TFP.
- Archives Interface only really got rid of CVS and the odd Jackson.
- Employee Strike is fine tech for IG, but the influence spend kills your Career
- Fairs and more money is needed from somewhere.
- Psi games can mess you up, a sneaky Councilman or something might be a splash?
- Grail did okay actually, good against Faust if you can keep some of it alive, don’t rez unless you think it’s crucial.
- More ICE is needed if you run Grail, spares to keep in hand and replacements for dead ICE – double Interns isn’t enough.
- Batty wins games, especially with a choice of subs from Grail.
- In the current environment more than one CVS could be the way forward.
- Corporate Sales Team is the mutt’s nuts.
- Played the same deck with a bit more ICE at a GNK the next day and didn’t drop a game.