Netrunner regional 2016 post mortem – Ankusa’s not a good card

So at the end of the tournament season for me I thought I’d take a look at pieces of garbage I decided to take to the regional at IQ games in Huddersfield and how they performed. While they certainly didn’t do well, at least some of the ideas might be things I carry forward.

The Runner – Kate ‘Mac’ McCaffrey

kate

Event (10)
1x Rebirth
3x Modded
3x Sure Gamble
2x Career Fair
1x Employee Strike

Hardware (9)
3x NetChip
2x Sports Hopper
2x The Personal Touch
2x Dinosaurus

Resource (13)
2x Councilman
2x Patron
2x The Turning Wheel
2x Scrubber
2x Kati Jones
3x Daily Casts

Icebreaker (8)
2x Ankusa
1x Mimic
2x Cyber-Cypher
1x Study Guide
1x GS Shrike M2
1x GS Sherman M3

Program (5)
2x Self-modifying Code
1x Paintbrush
2x Multithreader

The whole reason I built this deck was to try out the new icebreaker Ankusa, from fear the masses. I figured it might offset its high install costs and terrible expense to use by bringing in some ICE destruction into shaper, combined with Paintbrush I could use this to remove irritating sentries and code gates as well. I supplemented this with Sherman for anything bigger than a Fire Wall. Shapers have absolutely the best decoders, and the combination of Multithreader and Study Guide is brutal after as few as 3 or 4 turns especially after i switch into Kit with Rebirth later in the game. For sentry Breakers I quite like Shrike for its efficiency but added in Mimic to deal with thing around strength 2 or 3.

All this stuff firmly puts the deck into the category of big rig especially with the need for Dinosaurus to make either Ankusa or Shrike much more effective . And the deck consequently probably didn’t give enough slots to multi-access or economy. Relying on just The Turning Wheel for the former and reducing events with Kati Jones for the latter.

The result of this was unfortunately was being too slow against fast advance but also too poor for glaciers. Also, I had not considered recursion which meant that I had a rough time in my last round match against Jinteki, although I did eventually win with only 2 cards left.

Aside from totally abandoning the deck because Ankusa is just dumb, some changes I considered were putting in a Magnum Opus to increase my money or grab some Datasuckers to help out Ankusa. But another thing that I absolutely should have been doing is practising. Even unsuccessful runs are useful with The Turning Wheel but I need to be in that mindset, also Councilman is an excellent utility card but i need to be better at noticing good trigger times for him.

The Corp – Harmony Medtech

harmony

Agenda (9)
3x Braintrust
2x Fetal AI
3x Medical Breakthrough
1x Philotic Entanglement

Asset (11)
2x Mumba Temple
2x Jackson Howard
2x Mental Health Clinic
3x Shi.Kyū
2x Team Sponsorship

Upgrade (2)
2x SanSan City Grid

Operation (7)
3x Hedge Fund
2x Celebrity Gift
2x Cerebral Static

Barrier (4)
2x Bastion
2x Himitsu-Bako

Code Gate (4)
2x Enigma
1x Lotus Field
1x Crick

Sentry (7)
1x Cobra
2x Grim
2x Swordsman

Other (2)
2x Rainbow

Harmony Medtech was an ID I hadn’t seen in a while, but even when I did it was always in one style, 3 Global Food Initiatives and 3 Future perfects with Shi Kyus. I wanted to try something different, fast advancing 2 point agendas on a SanSan City Grid  but still using the Shi Kyus to make the runner need to score more than me.

As a fast advance deck the ICE definitely takes a back seat, nothing over 5 cost and as all of my influence was gone it’s not particularly mean. Keeping to a 44 card deck and staying at 15 ICE to have Mumba Temples meant I was mostly grabbing cheap end the run ICE or destroyers, and I decided to abandon any attempt at killing with net damage. The Swordsmen were almost obligatory due to Faust mincing through most of my other ICE.

For Assets and Operations there wasn’t anything too impressive or unusual here, however there really weren’t enough assets to properly spam, or enough good ice to really protect them, so any attempt to expand, for example for fancy Team Sponsorship plays, would easily get shut down by a even moderately wealthy runner. Also an odd pick was 2 Cerebral Statics, mainly added due to my longstanding hatred for Noise, and my newer fervent dislike of Whizzard, although those slots could have clearly been used better.

As for the decks performance on the day, it did ok, especially if I felt i could score a quick agenda behind some ICE, but if the game went on for any reasonable length of time it was pretty screwed. While it was never a serious aim to kill the runner, I was able to get one cheeky flatline from 2 Fetal AIs during a Legwork. I also discovered that I apparently had no poker face as any time I tried to sneak out an undefended agenda when my scoring server felt too weak, it was snapped up. The biggest problem the deck had was stalling out, and digging for another agenda only to be beaten to it by the runner searching R&D.

Unlike the runner I can see some obvious room for improvement. I have by no means played enough fast advance and because of this totally undervalued Fast Track, the abiity to grab the last agenda when you need it is invaluable, and while it stays in HQ it is actually relatively safe.Also Team Sponsorship is not the way to reccur the SanSans and I will be eplacing those with Interns in future. ICE wise I initially avoided Vnilla for its parasite vulnerability but I think it will go in in place of Himitsu-Bako, and I could probably do with something to replace Grim as I never felt like I wanted to rez it, with all the recursion out there.

Well, the tournament scene comes to a close and I sadly didn’t attend enough events for Netrunner or Thrones due to other commitments. I also failed totally to follow my own advice to netdeck and improve my fundamentals. I might do better at that next year, and with the tournament cycles splitting up could even give some time to the Star Wars circuit so stay tuned on that front.

And to anyone who’s going to nationals or even worlds, in particular @NotTopGearRH good luck.

 

 

 

Coup – I know you are, but what am I?

So, games where you can bluff to your friends/enemies are pretty good right off the bat. Since every action is laced with an extra hidden meaning, these games mean you are always very interested in what your friends are doing rather than closing in on your own player area.

One such game that I’ve played a lot is Mascarade. A game of pretending to be different characters in order to accumulate money. While I’ve played it a lot and it has maybe the best art I’ve ever seen in a board game, I think I’ve found a game to surpass it. That game is Coup, a game of pretending to be different characters in order to accumulate money.

Coup is fantastically simple to teach and with a pretty straight forward objective, be the last player standing. Each player has two cards in front of them representing their lives, these cards will also have one of Coup’s cast of five characters on it. While nothing special the art here is ok and does the job. Coup also has the great quality of being cheap and portable, allowing it to come to my favourite location, the pub.

A player turn is nice and simple, only giving you one action per turn. You might take one of the generic actions, gaining a little money or spending 7 to launch a coup, eliminating one of a players cards. Another option is to claim you have a particular character to use their ability. At this point other players have an opportunity to call you out, asking you to prove that you are who you say you are, if you don’t then you sacrifice a card and move on step closer to being eliminated. But these accusations are also fraught with risk because if you falsely accuse someone, you will lose a card instead and the revealed character is shuffled in with the unused characters and replaced. This restores some secrecy to the accused player and allows them to continue bluffing away. You may also claim to be a character in order to counter another player’s actions and can be called out on this in a similar manner.

coup rules

Player aids: the actual best thing since sliced bread

The bluffing and accusations are extremely high risk but also high reward, which I think compares very favourably to Mascarade. Mascarade does have a much less severe penalty for being wrong this goes in with the fact that in mascarade you don’t even know who YOU are. As a consequence Mascarade definitely has more potential for silly accidents where you both get your characters wrong, but the game does come with its own series of drawbacks that I’ve seen from playing it a lot. As the game is about hidden information a player who can figure out who they are has a serious edge, as such you are often obliged to spend your one action for the turn swapping characters to re-introduce some confusion. While this does offer potentially devious planning, I find that the obligation to give up your actions to stop your opponents all the time quite annoying, especially when anything you plan can be undone by other players doing the same.

This is not to say that Coup is without fault. If you get some good combinations of characters you might never feel the need to lie, and the high price for an incorrect challenge can make you timid sometimes. Another downside is that players can be eliminated unlike Mascarade where everyone is in until the end however unlikely you are to win. Coup’s cast of characters is also much smaller than Mascarade so the variety is definitely lacking. This makes me very interested in checking out the expansion that is available especially as it bumps up the maximum player count.

Having played both games I can definitely say that they feel different even though they superficially seem similar so you can own and play both no problem. But Coup’s high stakes, very fast play (~10 mins) and relative freedom from having to sacrifice your fun options to block other people make it the game I’ll probably be playing most from now on.

Thanks to @Gardnerd_ on Twitter for providing the game.