To mangle the phrase referring to the US Army in Europe in WWII, upon landing in America – we were Over-cerberus rexed, overplayed and over here.
After a glorious time at Worlds, I decided to head there again this year. We had spread tales of our adventures throughout the land, and so the UK Massive was in excess of 25 players this time around. At various airports, the team assembled and a disparate group became a whole once more. Except for Dave C (shmeguy), who left his luggage on the train and missed his flight. But he turned up again later on with only the clothes he was standing in to his name, so that’s okay. Shame he lost his passport on the way home…
The gregarious Spags had laid on some extracurricular events bless him, so I headed off to watch sportsball and got to laugh at Josh01 losing bets, chat to the Winning Agenda guys and other fun stuff. The gang even packed in a brewery tour (proving once and for all that we can indeed organise a piss-up in a brewery) and other things among the Worlds prep. Great to catch up with a bunch of people I only really know through the internet or what have you, and make some new friends – as well as catch up with older ones. The ubiquitous Hollis, the ever -insightful Jamieson, local guys I met a side events last year, Lukas wandering around looking happy to not be in charge for a while, Ze Germans, my successor as Nordic Champion… the list goes on and on.
FFG Icebreaker was fun, although I had to face an unusual amount of Blue Sun and was not particularly pleased I’d taken out Plascrete to make space for other cards… Finished just under average on the day, but the icebreaker is all about having some fun and getting warmed up for the main event.
For Worlds itself, I figured most people would be on Whizzard – and Temujin. I also didn’t think this would be secret information, so probably people would tech against that too. As a result I went with Dumbles. I’d played a lot in testing and it seemed strong still – although there’s a decision about when you play your Wyldside that can be critical in most games (e.g. will it get trashed? If you get HHN, will you have enough clicks to be rid of it?). My spicy tech was Wanton Destruction. Will so many Corps hanging on to combo pieces it seemed daft not to take it – and it worked wonders. Also I removed a Dirty Laundry for Kati Jones as the ability to store up econ is immense against Closed Accounts or troublesome glacier. For Corp I tool a fairly standard CtM. Ditch the pads for Launch Campaign, add Pop Ups and I really liked Observe & Destroy which did work (thanks UK National Champ Vik for suggesting it). Psychographics is the key card. Can’t believe I’d been playing without it. Finally, a sneaky Cobra in CtM was the doom of many a program!
On to the games:
Lucas is playing CtM (I am amaze) and manages to land a HHN, which isn’t the end of the world, but the second one probably is. I go tag me and start smashing R&D getting to 6pts, but probably get tunnel vision and neglect to check hand for at least one click and Lucas manages to get the EOI for the win – “I thought you had me” he comments, and I agree it was close.
Switching round Lucas is playing a Chaos Theory Au Revoir deck and I get some good points early while he sets up including Astro, but he snipes a Beale and Breaking News from hand and others from R&D while the threat of Clot is alive and I’m struggling to see how I’ll win. Most of the stolen agendas get sold to the Artist Colony so I can’t swap them back, which stops me from winning but reduces his chances of winning. I keep rusing the Runner into hitting a Data Raven / Tollbooth remote and land some counters. Ultimately after one particularly taxing run, Lucas doesn’t have the money for Clot (turns out he didn’t have a third Clone Chip anyway) and I dump three Raven counters for Psycho / SanSan / Astro Food fast advance.
Thomas rocks up with his “I’m good at Star Wars mat” and we have a bit of banter about him turning up at the wrong event. He’s on CtM (quel suprise) but I manage to get some money and hate early. Tom pushes out three remotes, two probably containing MVT and I clear two, including Sensie. The othert remote was an Astro. Bugger. He then proceeds to train out a bunch of agendas, while I’m busy making sure they’re not in R&D. Turns out he was flooded and plays the only options open to him, which are winning options as it happens.
Returning the mirror match, I land early HHN and Tom goes tag me. This leads to him being a very poor boy. He does get some agenads while I’m trying to find an ETR peice of ICE, but the massive financial drain of Pop Up window and Turnpike on R&D are proving prohibitive. An Archangel deals with Medium issues and I end up fast advancing Food for the win, because apparently that’s my thing now.
Sam is playing some saucy decks and tries to dominate me with his Obelus Whizz. It’s a struggle to keep him out at first, but my spicy tech of an Observe & Destroy nukes a Parasite and keeps a SanSan live and ticking behind Tollbooth for the rest of the game.
The flip side is a 5/3 Palana deck which proves hard work, because DNA Trackers have been invented. I grab two agendas early then struggle to find the winning one. Sam Mushin’s stuff out and scores once, and I avoid a trap. Then a third appears. I’ve trashed a bunch of stuff and counted influence and there’s enough for another Overwriter. I’ve got one card in deck and seven in hand. The choice was take one card and run – survive a Junebug then Levy. Check HQ and then decide? I do so and don’t see anything and after a lot of thought decide to be cautious and Levy as Sam is only on three points, so would probably on be on six at worst – and if I run a trap I could end up with four brain damage and Sam runs EMP. The line I missed was him Archived Memories for Clones are Not People, play it, advance once more and win on seven points with a Priority Requisition. Damn.
Thomas 2.0 is first after lunch. He was a super nice guy and put up with a ton of misplays and post food sleepy time nonsense from me, that a more aggressively competitive player would have pulled me up on probably. He gets Best Sportsperson Award for the week, even though all my opponents were great.
First game he’s representing HB and while quietly confident initially, I make amazing avant-garde plays like breaking ICE with the Faust still in my hand and soon start to regret my life choices as a Runner. A fired ABT later and it’s Eli and Ichi everywhere and I want to know if some could kindly lend me an Atman 4. Fortunately though, I start to get my act together and then begin the real work of getting ICE force-rezzed and then burning it down. The trouble with HB, as the new World Champion will tell you, is that it is an entirely fair deck.
Reverse trip and Tom has Leela which could be awkward, plus Networking in hand which is extra annoying. The thing with CtM though, is it’s an entirely unfair deck and with a SanSan on the go, I can swap agendas around, close accounts and other horrible things for the win.
Okay, things are getting interesting. I meet Jacob who was part of the sportsball baskethoops excursion a couple of days before, so at least I’ve seen him before. He’s on HB and fairly convinced I’m on Temujin Whizzard, which is great for me as he tries to rush out behind Lotus Field. My joy is short lived as I can’t find a Faust for love nor money and Jacob declares it’s the fastest he’s ever scored out with that deck. Stupid Faust.
Jacob’s Anarch is keeping my CtM under some control, but I’m slowly building to something fruity. I feed him Food and then manage to land a Breaking News – although he offers me the Exchange I close his accounts instead. That’s followed by another BN into EOI and he’s starting to rack up Medium counters to steal the win, but Psycho Beale saves the day and the honours are even.
Martin was my last opponent of the day and when I got to the table, every man and his dog was talking about IDing to make it to day two. Given my record, I figured a sweep would put me in a reasonable Hail Mary position for the next day, but not great. If I got swept the dream was dead. Split the round and there was still a small chance of making the top 16, but importantly I’d got to play more top tier Netrunner the next day with groovy people. We went for the ID, but decided to play for funsies anyway.
First up Martin has his Val with Magnum Opus rebirthing into Kim to trash my stuff, it was a fun deck. I rused an agenda in a server, got the tags off and managed to Observe & Destroy the MO. It came back again, but the tempo hit was significant and I took the first round, sexy Reina/Gagarin ident and first blood. Martin had kindly offered me the bounty anyway, but it felt better to have earned it.
We switched over and my opponent whips out his GRNDL ID. Now, normally I’d be laughing, but I’d taken the brave (foolish?) decision to not include Plascrete in the deck and with tons of money pouring in to Weyland’s coffers, it was looking like BOOM city. Which is exactly what happened when I scored an agenda and got midseason’d. To be fair I may have been okay if I’d got the Wanton Destruction off (which replaced Plas), but funk me readers if a lowly Ice Wall kept me out of HQ, with Faust once again being Sir Not Appearing In This Film.
With a 7-5 record I proceeded to the second day for more fun and games. 15 Brits made the second day and it was good times for Team GB.
That’s it for part one, and so some quotes from the trip to keep you going until next time – may be taken out of context or similarly manipulated for dramatic effect!
“The Key Inn is terrible, we have rooms free tonight, they don’t want to go there” – Reception staff at the Radisson
“Do you want to play? I have trouble getting it in the hole.” – Bruno
“Good hair knowledge” – Seamus high fives Shanodin
“I slung and got rused” – seeheartype
“That’s twice I’ve tried to fart and failed” – Laurie
” I hate taste” – Shanodin
“Tagore is on our team, he’s actually trying to help” – Swiftie
“Homeless people have it so good” – Seamus
“I assume whenever Dave [Hoyland] takes his hat off, a bunch of Siphons fall out” – Echo
“I made everyone friendship waffles” – Vinegarymink
“Do you know of Kendal Mint Cake Lukas? – milk_jester
“Ooh! Party time!” – beyoken (upon drawing a Sweeps Week)
“You’re not as tired as I am of listening to your jokes Gaz” – Nemamiah, 2016 World Champion
“Seaman?” – FFP OP staff struggle to spell Seamus
“I want a beef nap” – eadipus