Heading back to the table for a store championship I knew it would be a more serious affair than the game night kit I’d played for over 2 months ago. I wasn’t feeling confident, not nearly enough practice combined with decks that probably weren’t the best, also the level of play would definitely increasing. Given this I would have been very happy with being in a middling position at best. Disclaimer: in my role as most forgetful man in the world names and events may be remembered poorly or not at all, you have been warned.
Rielle “Kit” Peddler: Transhuman
3x Sure Gamble
2x Plascrete Carapace
3x R&D Interface
1x Kati Jones
3x Daily Casts
2x Symmetrical Visage
2x Film Critic
1x Hunting Grounds
1x Cerberus “Lady” H1
1x Study Guide
1x Magnum Opus
3x Self-modifying Code
My Runner game tends to gravitate towards safe shapers and Kit is as safe as they come. With the newly released Panchatantra breathing life into poor little Gingerbread, this only got better, making any 2 deep ice defeatable. Study Guide combined with one or more Multithreaders is incredible, helping Multithreader make back its high install cost. I was initially worried the deck could struggle for money but that ended up not being the case, although this worry was from testing against HB decks and I saw none on the day. Some of the choices were a bit more questionable, Paricia is nice but eats up valuable memory, so it probably gets overwritten some time in the middle of the game and Hunting Grounds was included for use against Tollbooth which never appeared. The patchwork of support programs, Panchatantra, Multithreader, Paintbrush and Magnum Opus necessitated some Leprechauns, this made things more complicated with the need to find and pay for their installs. Overall the deck was typical of my shapers, too slow and too timid, but with only 4 rounds, the opposition was not representative of the full spectrum of decks.
Cybernetics Division: Humanity Upgraded
2x Advanced Concept Hopper
3x Accelerated Beta Test
3x Project Vitruvius
1x Gila Hands Arcology
3x Self-Destruct Chips
2x Mumba Temple
2x Adonis Campaign
3x Cerebral Overwriter
2x Jackson Howard
1x Chairman Hiro
1x Tech Startup
3x Hedge Fund
3x Mushin No Shin
1x Cerebral Static
1x Defective Brainchips
1x Heimdall 2.0
2x Markus 1.0
Code Gate (7)
2x Viktor 1.0
1x Viktor 2.0
2x Gyri Labyrinth
1x Vikram 1.0
2x Ichi 1.0
1x Janus 1.0
I chose to play Cybernetics Division because i wanted a deck that allows flashy plays and puts the stress on the runner, it doesn’t need to be as rich as a meat damage deck and can close out games with fast advances a bit better than a Jinteki deck. Even though cybernetics division can have a small deck size, I felt a bit too constrained trying to fit in enough economy, ICE and kill so went to 49 cards. The deck is trying to drop my 3/1 agendas along with throwaway assets like Mumba Temple and try to sneak them past the runner, dropping their hand size until i can kill with Chairman Hiro. Mushin No Shin helps greatly with this, meaning I don’t become incredibly poor scoring an agenda turn 2 and making Cerebral Overwriter much more useable. The ICE suite is ok but definitely has some problems, Fenris is nice but i can’t justify it since Faust destroys it and is everywhere. The bioroids are good in this respect as they are typically reasonable strength with high subs and Turing is great. Gyri Labyrinth however should definitely have been cut as it will never secure the kill, the runner being easily able to break it by the time 2 temporary brain damage matters. A necessary addition was one Cerebral Static because I hate Noise and all he stands for The aim of the deck, to play mind games with the runner, is fine but ultimately i didn’t make the wrong decisions seem necessary enough for the runners to take them, and the deck slightly fizzled.
Round 1 – NEH and Noise
Wargames Emporium had a nice late start of 11:30 so I wasn’t forcing myself out of a hungover bed, and I sat down for my first round against Rebekah who i had faced at the game night kit in January. Seeing NEH I had mixed feelings, typically one deep ice meant I could probably get away with only the study guide however the fast pace of the game would require me to spend my money trashing assets and being constantly wary of fast advances from the hand.
I opened up well, seeing both my Paricias and pressuring the open remotes to trash San-San City Grids, Pad Campaigns and Team Sponsorships, but I was unable to prevent her from sneaking out an Astroscript using a Biotic Labour. I made a calculated risk that I would not be seeing any meat damage and spend a little time setting up my Study guide and a Magnum Opus. Seeing an Archangel and a Little engine in R&D I slowed down and built my Study Guide bigger to deal with them. In this time Rebekah was able to put out a bit more ICE and also score a Project Beale out of hand, but I now had R&D lock with two R&D Interfaces so was feeling more confident. Then to my horror she snuck out an already installed Astroscript without me noticing bringing her to 6 points, now I knew it was basically over as any agenda in her hand would allow her to win. I made 4 hail mary R&D runs and got up to 6 points but lost to a breaking news out of HQ. The lesson there, my deck lacked HQ pressure, maybe I could make room for a Legwork.
So we flipped sides and I faced off against Noise, my least favourite fictional human ever. His ability just makes all my lovely careful plans fall apart. I could have played a consistent deck that didn’t care about its individual pieces as much like core set HB, but where’s the fun in that?
I started off bold, Mushin on an Advanced Concept Hopper behind a single piece of ICE, HQ and R&D left unguarded. It paid off with a quick score of an excellent utility agenda and nothing of note lost from the centrals. I threw some ICE in front of my centrals but didn’t really have the money to pay for it all, hopefully I could keep my poker face up as they were only Ichis and wouldn’t stop a determined run. I lost a Project Vitruvius to Noise’s mill before I could get my Jackson down, but was able to score a Self Destruct Chips behind a Turing, following this up with a Cerebral Overwriter behind the turing to bait out a D4v1d although this failed as she chose to click through instead. I was in a rough position, I could either attempt to score another agenda or sure up my centrals, in the end I chose to build up some cash and protect HQ. The end came swiftly, a Faust plus spooned clearing my ICE on R&D then multiple Medium runs grabbing the remaining agendas. Noise is always a pain, especially when I’m playing combo oriented decks. He proved why he’s still my nemesis and that he’s a punk kid who needs to get a real job.
Round 2 Ken Tenma and Tennin Institute
Gearing up for round two against Tom, I was wary of Ken Tenma. Being a criminal I was expecting Inside Job to sneak into the one ICE remotes I create through Mushin and the excellent criminal killers like Fairie or Mongoose would scupper my plans for sneaky brain damage from my ICE, so I considered taking a slower approach.
I began by putting ICE on HQ to ward off the inevitable Account Siphon, installing a bit more ICE and gaining some money, and then over the next few turns snuck out a Self Destruct Chips before he could get any breakers ready. I managed to stop an Account Siphon and a Maker’s Eye with my ICE and used Mushin No Shin to throw down a Cerebral Overwriter, which Tom promptly ran on and reduced his hand size to zero. However, by now Tom had built up a huge money pile through Oracle May and some strong event economy, I wasn’t confident I would be able to continue scoring agendas so instead I relentlessly started digging for Chairman Hiro to get the kill. In the end I was able to flatline by putting out another Cerebral Overwriter with Mushin and it felt good to end the losing streak.
Switching up to my runner I was concerned about facing a Jinteki ID, my deck had no net damage protection and it would slow me down to draw up cards to protect myself with. Although it wouldn’t be too bad as I planned on installing most of my programs before running anyway, I hopefully wouldn’t find myself in a position where I was unable to get into a server.
After a turn of putting ICE on his centrals, Tom laid out 3 new remotes. i chose not to run on any of them and instead build up money and find my study guide, fortunately none of them were agendas. He then used his ID power to advance a card in one of the remotes, I felt like I had to run it, a Junebug wouldn’t be awful and I couldn’t risk a 4/2 like Nisei Mk2 being scored or a Ronin, but in the end it was a Cerebral Overwriter, one brain damage not a serious issue. I then hit a snare which hurt a bit and I had to stop my brain from going on autopilot and clear the tag, however I was able to pick up a Philotic Entanglement from HQ saving a bit of pain later. I was now able to get through the ICE on R&D so I dropped 2 R&D Interfaces and went for it, over the next 2 turns I saw all three Medical Breakthroughs and closed out the game. Tom did get unlucky there, if I had not already seen some of the net damage i would have been punished more for my multi accesses but in the end I got away with it and balanced out my score going into round 3.
Round 3 NEH and Whizzard
Another round, another NEH, sigh. There’s nothing wrong with the fast advance strategy, but it does stress me out ridiculously, the feeling of inevitability after they score the first Astroscript, and the feeling that you’re playing badly if you’re not able to trash all the assets and make repeated multi accesses. However I figured I would stick with the game plan, Study Guide through anything and try to set up an R&D lock.
I tried to be aggressive right off the bat, running early to force him to rez some ICE and deplete his money, but i hit a Data Raven. The horror that I might now have to worry about meat damage, I jacked out and built up my money, digging for a Plascrete Carapace. Any successful run might be my end, with SEA Source and Scorched Earth being a very real possibility. This timidity let him score out an Astroscript and then another from his hand. I tired running R&D but saw nothing and he scored a Project Beale using his Astroscript token. I made a last ditch attempt to score some points in R&D then asked ‘Do you have a Breaking News?’. He did and the game ended quickly.
Whizzard messes with my preferred strategy, to put out my Self Destruct Chips unguarded along with stuff like Mumba Temple and Adonis Campaign. A normal runner might consider running on these to be a waste of clicks and credits to trash them while they are unknown, but Whizzard is more than happy to check them out. I opted to mulligan for a Mushin and try to make flashy plays.
As in game 1 I started with a Mushin putting down an Advanced Concept Hopper behind a piece of ICE, leaving my centrals unguarded. I knew I was going to lose in the short term, but the Hopper would pay off over time. His run in the following turn hurt, losing me a Jackson Howard and an Accelerated Beta Test. The next couple of turns I put ICE over HQ and R&D and built up my money, I felt safe with a Turing on R&D since Faust would be unable to get in. I managed to score a Gila Hands Arcology but often forgot to use it when clicking for credits like the idiot that I am, along with an Accelerated Beta Test which I opted not to fire. Unfortunately a Parasite had eroded the ICE on HQ which lead to another steal. I drew into a Project Vitruvius and had a Mushin ready, with this being match point I went for it and put the agenda down unguarded. The ball was very much in his court, he installed a Turntable, grabbed some money and fruitlessly ran my HQ leaving him on one click. That click felt like it lasted five minutes as he weighed up the risk of a Cerebral Overwriter or a Junebug, sadly the fear did not win out and he stole the agenda, swapping it for my Advanced Concept Hopper. I could clearly see at this point that the tide had turned and he closed out the game shortly after. 2-4 with only one round left and I could feel the awful spirit of tilt gripping onto me.
Round 4 Jesminder Sareen and Jinteki:Personal Evolution
Round 4 was against Dave, an unreasonably nice man who I would be trying to destroy. Jesminder is a nice ID that I’ve been wanting to try out myself, I was expecting standard shaper bullshit but maybe a better than average chance of things like Account Siphon, so I would have to pay attention to his money to spot scoring windows.
The beginning of the game was fairly standard, I used my muligan to try to find Mushin but ended up with Chairman Hiro much earlier than I would have liked, at least I still had enough ICE and cash to protect my centrals initially. Dave’s initial turn involved dropping a Professional Contacts and going down to almost no money, so I took advantage of this to put down an Adonis Campaign and score a Gila Hands Arcology. At this point Dave managed to get himself a breaker, Gingerbread comboed with Panchatantra, so he could now get into any of my one deep servers for a not very high cost. I tried to Mushin out a 3/2 behind ICE and dissuade him from running it but the bludd failed and he stole the agenda, I then did the same with a Cerebral Overwriter and he did not take the bait. My poker face clearly needs some work. He was then able to access HQ and trash Chairman Hiro for 2 more points. I also lost points to accesses through R&D which was expensive for him but he seemed happy to pay to get in. Over a few turns Dave had managed to destroy the ICE on HQ and I had not been drawing affordable means to replace it so the final points were scored from my open central. My lack of ICE over strength 5 meant that his only breaker, Gingerbread, wasn’t being made prohibitively expensive to use. Maybe my deck would have benefited from some Heimdall 1.0s as they would have been good against both this and Faust.
The final match of the day was against Jinteki: Personal Evolution and I was not on top form at all. I knew from experience that playing as Jinteki at the end of a long day is taxing too so I hoped that would work in my favour. Going into the game my concerns were the same as in round 2, slowing down to draw, and missing agendas because I was too scared to run open remotes.
Dave started by using Celebrity Gift to show me a hand full of net damage and not a lot else, gaining plenty of cash and dissuading me from running HQ for most of the game. This at least freed up my turn to run R&D to force him to spend some money, then building up my own money pile. His next few turns were spent laying out a series of remotes, one of them being advanced once, this ended up being advanced a massive 7 times leading me at various points to think it was a Nisei Mk2, an incredible bold Vanity Project or a huge GRNDL Refinery, but it was actually a Junebug the whole time. I did manage to pick up a Philotic Entanglement and trashed a Ronin which made me feel less like I could die at any moment, although a House of Knives was scored from an open remote. R&D was protected by only a Lotus Field so it was cheap to access after I got my Study Guide up to strength, I made several accesses but found a Fetal AI when I was too poor to steal it which stung. Dave then used Mushin No Shin to put out a card and left it unguarded. I decided I was fine with him scoring another one point agenda so instead ran HQ, hitting a Shock, and gathered some more money. Then he asked me how many cards I had in hand, it was three, and revealed that the Mushined card had been a Ronin and delivered the killing blow with a Neural EMP. My only flatline of the day leaving my score on 2-6 but I couldn’t have lost to a nicer guy so I wasn’t too bitter about it. I wondered after if something like Net Shield or Feedback Filter might have been helpful but they are both in their own ways quite fiddly and it would have been a better solution to just play better, not letting myself get so low on cards.
The end came and I received my alt art Jackson Howard, the most stylish man in all of netrunner, since I wasn’t going to make the top 8 I slunk away and retreated to the pub.
All things considered I’m happy with the decks I took, more so with the corp than the runner, but I’ll be spending the time up to regionals doing a lot more netdecking to improve my fundamentals, maybe switching up to criminal since I’m not a fan of the very prevalent Whizzard/Noise Faust decks. Also the Patriot Games cube league should be a good opportunity to get better at building decks that are just solid rather than trying to do anything fancy. However when it comes to the actual event I’d always rather be playing something a bit more unique that I thought up myself.