Game of Thrones LCG Gamezilla Fredericton Store Championship

Game of Thrones LCG Gamezilla Fredericton Store Championship

On February 7th, 2016, I ran the Gamezilla Fredericton Store Championship for A Game of Thrones The Card Game 2016.  There were 8 of us in attendance, and the even number meant that I got to try my hand at some old fashioned cards for a change!  

I had been playing around with a Tyrell Banner of the Sun deck for a few weeks, loving the way that the Martell icon control interacted with the strong rush element in Tyrell.  I know that the deck is a little fragile (it can get outrushed pretty easily by a really well prepared Baratheon or Lannister deck, etc), but I love card draw more than any single mechanic in all of games, and I love tutoring second... that made Tyrell the no-brainer choice for me to have the most fun possible, and as a Martell faithful from first edition, I felt that the strong banner was a sign.

This is the decklist I played...

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Of Dreams and Magic: A Whole New World!

Of Dreams and Magic: A Whole New World!

This summer, I had the privilege of going to Gencon for the first time.  I've been over the specifics of my trip on this blog in the past, so I won't go back into those old stories; but something has happened since the trip that has had a pretty big impact on me.  I discovered that D&D isn't the only RPG out there.

My whole life, I've been led to believe that the only type of RPG that exists (or that anyone actually plays) is the d20 game.  The d20 is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to RPG systems.  For one thing, it gives you a very nice 5% increment random number generator; but for the other, you wind up with game engines that are incredible reliant on luck to accomplish even basic tasks, while also having so much variance that at times it feels you aren't even playing the game.

Apparently, others have been feeling the same way about the d20 for years, and they've been putting out RPGs that have completely different gameplay mechanics.  I got to learn about one of those games at Gencon this year, and I'd like to share with you some of the things I really like about it now.  The game is called Of Dreams and Magic (ODAM for short), and it might have changed my entire perspective on RPGs.

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The Games I Love(d): Puzzle and Dragons

The Games I Love(d): Puzzle and Dragons

So, it's been a minute since I last wrote anything for the blog, and honestly, it's been a lot of personal stuff taking up the majority of my time. I'm sure nobody comes here to read about my personal life, so I'll just leave that to the side and start talking about the one game I actually get to play these days: Puzzle and Dragons.

Puzzle and Dragons is a mobile game, available on Android and iOS, it is Free-to-Play, but it is FTP in a similar way that Clash of Clans is FTP... You will find your progress stunted over time without investing actual money into the game. This isn't for a lot of people; Kris plays casually and hasn't put a dime into the game, whereas I've put in probably around a hundred dollars over the two years (off and on) that I've played. Let me talk about the game before I talk about why I've spent a hundred dollars of hard-earned cash on a free-to-play mobile game.

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A Game by any other name...

A Game by any other name...

I've been with my girlfriend for almost 3 years now; and while we are both gamers and nerds, we are very different breeds within that species. I am a tabletop gamer, raised on games such as Warhammer, Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons and Dragons, while she is a Video Gamer raised on Mario Bros 3, Extreme G2, and Smash Bros. We talk about these passions in very different ways, and it often feels like we don't even speak the same language.
 

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The Games I Love(d): Civilization

The Games I Love(d): Civilization

We always had a computer in our house growing up, but until I was old enough to use it responsibly, it was locked away in the forbidden zone known as the basement. In hindsight, I understand the reasoning, computers are incredibly finicky machines, and an immature hand can do a lot of damage to one of those incredibly user-unfriendly machines from the late 80s, early 90s. But I still hated it as a kid.

I was 8 (almost 9!) when Sid Meyer's Civilization was released to the world, and it was one of the first gamer games that my dad let me play after I had proven myself mature enough to handle Space Quest and Oregon Trail. I was hooked immediately - I had always had an inquisitive mind and was always fascinated by the idea of strategy and planning out alternatives. I really enjoyed figuring out the best way to tackle a game; getting to the solution was a big part of the fun for me.

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The Games I Love(d): Middle Earth: the Wizards

The Games I Love(d): Middle Earth: the Wizards

I was a small child of only 12 years old when my father informed me that he had acquired some cards for a brand new trading card game based on the Lord of the Rings trilogyIron Crown Enterprises is a gaming company most famous in the early nineties for producing the Rolemaster roleplaying system and the Middle Earth Roleplaying (MERP) sourcebooks, and they had recently made the foray into TCGs in order to hopefully capitalize on the newly popular category.

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The Games I Love(d): Warhammer 40,000

The Games I Love(d): Warhammer 40,000

I was a junior at George Streeet Junior High School in Fredericton, New Brunswick in the year 1996, and my friends and I walked into the small comic shop nestled in a hole in the wall of an upstairs storefront, right beside the vinyl shop. Strange Adventures and I have a complicated history - it was the comic shop of my childhood, but things like that aren't always so simple, are they?

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To spoil or not to spoil?

To spoil or not to spoil?

This piece is one I've been storing in my head since Gencon; when FFG shocked the world by releasing the next three month's worth of Netrunner all at once and without any warning. Is it better to dive headlong into the spoilers for cards that won't be out until nearer Christmas than now, or should you avoid those threads and revel in the cards you have now?

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Is D&D feasible today?

Is D&D feasible today?

So, this weekend, I'm having some friends over for D&D for the first time since February. We started playing D&D early last autumn with a group of five players (Kris, Tiff, Ryan, Mike and Chuck), which quickly became four, then three. The three players we had left were all very inexperienced so we decided to change what we were doing from an open-world campaign to the offical D&D campaign resources.
 

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I hope you had the time of your life: A Gencon 2015 retrospective

I hope you had the time of your life: A Gencon 2015 retrospective

So, here I am, first week of August, exhausted beyond measure trying to let it all sink in. Thirteen days ago, we left Fredericton and took a 23.5 hour drive (over two days) from my little corner of the Maritimes deep into the midwest toward Gencon. There are stories to tell, but most of them are about as interesting as every terrible "character story" your D&D playing friend has subjected you to.

Hopefully the stories I am about to tell will be a little more interesting.

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How will I take the Iron Throne - A Kingslayer Preparation guide Part 2

How will I take the Iron Throne - A Kingslayer Preparation guide Part 2

Welcome back to part two of my overview of A Game of Thrones second edition and my preparations for the Kingslayer tournament at GenCon in just over one week's time. My carpool is leaving Tomorrow for Indianapolis, so I am making sure I have as much of my prep work done as possible before we leave for the States. In previous articles, I've gone over my preparations for X-Wing and Netrunner, and last Thursday I released the first half of my analysis regarding the relaunch of my favourite of all FFG games, A Game of Thrones.

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How will I take the Iron Throne - A Kingslayer Preparation guide Part 1

How will I take the Iron Throne - A Kingslayer Preparation guide Part 1

Matt explains in broad details the basic mechanics behind the upcoming Game of Thrones second edition and then breaks down his thoughts on the first four houses: Night's Watch, Stark, Baratheon and Targaryen!  There is a lot of info in here, and Matt will be back next week with the second half!

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How will I run and score? - Gencon Netrunner Preparation

How will I run and score? - Gencon Netrunner Preparation

I just wanted to start this post by saying thanks!  Thanks to everyone for their feedback on the last post - I know that most of you were in the “tl;dr: Chiraneau/Fel” camp, but I felt that while the end result might be something dull, the process by which I got to that point was interesting.  It wasn’t just about the bandwagon, I tried to figure out what was best for me and happened upon something common.  With that out of the way - It is time to look at my preparation for Netrunner.

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How will I defeat the Rebel Scum?

As you are reading this, I am under two weeks out from leaving for Indianapolis in advance of Gencon.  My car pool leaves Fredericton on Friday evening, July 24th, arriving in Indy Sunday morning after spending some time at Gettysburg.   Due to the number of people in the car (and the length of the trip at ten days), we are very limited on the amount of luggage each of us are allowed to bring.

My father is one of the premier level DMs for Dungeons and Dragons over the weekend, so a large portion of the trunk space will be taken up by plastic cases with D&D terrain and models representing the monsters and villains he will be presenting to his players.  This means that there isn't room for a 4000 count box of Neturnner cards or a full-sized toolbox full of X-Wing models.

Before I leave for work on Friday the 24th, I need to know not only what my forces will be in X-Wing (and my decks in Netrunner) but I need to know the exact makeup of them to a very large degree.  I will be able to spot room for a dozen or so extra cards in either game in my fleet box and deck box; but I'll need to have 90% of my stuff decided and practiced before I leave a week before the events are set to occur!

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Netrunner Regionals Recap - Doin' it the hard way!

Well, that was certainly an event!  26 players arrived at the Comic Hunter in Moncton, NB for what I believe is the largest single event in Maritimes Netrunner History; and The NGN crew was among them!

You've heard last week on the Tag Me podcast what decks everyone was playing, but Rob, Sean, Kevin, Alex and I all piled into Kevin's car and took the 90 minute drive east to the Hub city and towards what felt to some of us like destiny beckoning.

I wasn't one of the ones who felt destiny.  I felt like I was probably going to go 2-8 and wind up at the bottom of the standings due to my failure to adequately prepare and the lack of confidence that inspired in me.  So I kept a positive attitude in the car and as we got to the venue I ignored the sense of foreboding knocking at my subconscious' door.

As I said before, 26 players gathered at the store and in our little secluded gaming room, five players submitted Super Bye cards and the rest of us got started.  Alex got the bye in the first round and I was playing a Haligonian I hadn't before met.

Tammy was a really nice girl, but she was very nervous about appearing on camera for the first round in her first major event.  I didn't know she was as new as she was when we sat down, and had I know I might have put someone else on Camera for the first round, but as the heavy hitters were all sitting out for the opener; my options were limited.There was a very tense moment in our first game where I was running as Kate and stole a Government Takeover off a Legwork and the other two cards I accessed were SEA Source with Scorched Earth...

She opens her next turn by returning her Orion to hand for 15 credits and lays SEA Source on the table. She boosts the trace to five, and I spend four of my ten credits to avoid the tag.  This is where I begin thinking there is more to this than a simple SEA-Double-Scorch; and she lays down a Punitive Counterstrike.  She boosts the trace to eight which is just above my six credit limit (leaving her with six credits for the second punitive if she has it ftw).

I take four counters off my (lucky 46th card) Plascrete Carapace and take two meat damage out of my four-card hand.  I sit there very nervous for about ten seconds until she replaces her ICE over HQ and I feel like I got away with highway robbery!I might have gotten lucky there, but I also feel like I had put myself in a position to avoid the tag-n-bag that is so ubiquitous in Blue Sun.  Lucky for me that wasn't a Midseasons Replacement!

In round two I faced off against Matt with The Professor and Nisei Division.  You might look at that previous line and scoff to yourself, but this guy is a master of making the jank do his bidding!  Nisei Division crushed my poor Kate deck, no matter where I looked there was a psi game waiting for me, and the math was so weird with his ID ability that I think I only won about 20%.  

The Professor was a competitive game which boiled down mainly to a series of 6,7,8 deep medium runs which ultimately found a Future Perfect.  We Psi Gamed for it twice on his last two clicks of the game which I managed to win in order to secure a timed win for RP.  I felt very lucky to get out of that one with a point - though I also felt like it may have been the drop that breaks the dam.

In round 3 I faced off against Mark H who has been a long time rival of mine through my days playing Game of Thrones and now Netrunner. We always have fun games and we always match up very well with one another. Mark was on Whizzard (waaaaaaaaaaaat a bad matchup!) and Replicating Perfection, which managed to get going despite my aggressive econ denial strategy.

After getting wrecked in the third round and being 2-3-1 and pretty much out of the running already - I just started looking at ways to make the day more fun.  So I ate a cookie and sat down for my fourth match agaisnt another very familiar face.

Sean was in the car with us on the way down to Moncton, and he was very confident walking into the venue; since he had spent the past eight weeks prepping and participating in various regionals around the GTA, that was no surprise.  I knew that I had a mediocre matchup against his Hayley deck, my only real hope was to pile ICE up on R&D and hope that I could tax him of stealth credits sufficiently that he wouldn't be able to progress into the late-game as far ahead as he might.

Things don't always go according to plan.  I found some ice early on, but unfortuantely I also found a lot of Agendas with no way of protecting them.  I fell behind early, and only came back to make it a game when I was down 5-4.  I had a lucky break when Sean Makers  my R&D on last click and hit my singleton Snare.  He then proceeded to not trash it, and subsequently run it again the next turn.

Unfortunately, I'm an idiot.  I trash two of his resources (Aesop's Pawnshop and Ghost Runner, for the record) and keep two credits behind in order to have four when he takes his next turn - however, I forget that the next R&D access is the Snare he saw the previous turn, and rez the Eli 1.0 I had on top of my R&D tower, putting me below the threshold needed to pay for the snare and kill him.We get down to a rush situation where I'm trying to tax him out and score my TFP, and he is trying to find any agenda anywhere.  I put him to the last turn with a double advanced TFP in a strong scoring remote, but he manages to find the copy I had left in my archives earlier in the game.  With no way of channeling it out of archive the game boils down to a trio of psi games which I win 2-1.  Just awesome enough for me to lose that game.

His ETF deck is very straight forward and does its job fine.  I feel like I'm gaining on him when he scores an Accelerated Beta Test, triggering it and getting three ICE for the cost - securing his R&D, HQ and scoring remote all in one fell swoop.  The game quickly fell out of my favour at that moment, and at a score of 2-0 I knew I was falling to 2-5-1.

In round five, I had an outside chance at hitting the top 16 if I could win both games and manage to have all of my previous opponents win as well.  I was going up against another player in a similarly poor situation; Craig, who was piloting Silhouette and Industrial Genomics.I manage to stall out the Silhouette deck long enough to get my economy going, and rush out a few agendas before he really gets going.  The second game was much tougher despite my preparedness in general against the IG archetype.

Craig has three face-down cards in archives so I run it feeling pretty good about my chances - triple shock.  Of course it is triple shock.  I drop most of my hand and trash his econ before drawing back up. I slowly managed to grind him down and somehow I came out on top of the grind without accessing archives again after that one bad experience. Lucky!

So I sit down and wait for the final swiss results to get announced and my 4-5-1 was exactly enough to find myself in 17th place after the cut.  Womp Womp.

The event wasn't a failure, though, as I did learn quite a bit - I learned that no matter how much you may or may not know your deck, you can't beat bad matchups; and when there are as many Whizzard decks in the metagame as there are Criminal decks generally, an RP might have a tough time avoiding the worst of matchups.

I also learned that Kate, no matter how great her other matchups might be, is at a severe disadvantage (without proper practice) against Jinteki of most varieties - most notably RP.  

I think that had I taken more time to prepare against the most common matchups, I might have stood a better chance in one of the losses I suffered.  I made a few miscalculations in gameplay, and I made at least one outright mistake (by rezzing the Eli).

The best thing I did, was putting in the Comet over Astrolabe.  So many turns I was able to use that click compression to give me so much value over the course of the game.  I never found I was worried about affording it, nor did I find I was really missing out on the additional card draw the Labe can offer.  I wouldn't say it was "better" than Labe might have been, but it was the very definition of 'awesome'!

Now the question is what do I do now?  I have tickets for Gencon Netrunner and X-Wing championships, but I'm not sure what I will want to be playing by then.  I officially have six weeks to learn to play these two games!

Thanks for reading, until next time, always be gaming!

Netrunner Regionals Incoming!

Netrunner Regionals Incoming!

So, after spending so much time on X-Wing in the past month, I unfortunately had to let Netrunner slide from my preparation platter - which in all respects was fine with me because as I covered last month, I was feeling kind of burnt out after Store Champs season.  But all of that ended last weekend when I played a bad list without sufficient metagame practice to my regionals (on the advice of a man I thought knew something I didn't).  

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T-Minus 24 Hours

T-Minus 24 Hours

Netrunner has taken a back burner in my gaming time for the past couple of months, but I have a perfectly reasonable excuse; X-Wing Regionals are 24 hours from now, Saturday, June 6th, 2015.  I've been testing and theorycrafting very hard for the past six weeks in order to give myself the best possible opportunity to be disappointed in my performance.

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Moncton Store Championships, March 28 2015

Headed to Moncton for the last Store Championship of the season; with two decks I've been testing regularly for a while - Titan Fast Advance and Supplier Andy.

Andromeda: Dispossessed Ristie (Humanity's Shadow)

Event (10)
3x Inside Job (Core Set) 
1x The Maker's Eye (Core Set)  ••
3x Sure Gamble (Core Set) 
1x Hostage (Opening Moves) 
1x Legwork (Honor and Profit) 
1x Uninstall (Order and Chaos) 

Hardware (12)
1x Plascrete Carapace (What Lies Ahead) 
1x e3 Feedback Implants (Trace Amount) 
3x Dyson Mem Chip (Trace Amount) 
1x HQ Interface (Humanity's Shadow) 
2x R&D Interface (Future Proof)  ••••
1x Feedback Filter (Creation and Control)  •
1x Clone Chip (Creation and Control)  ••
2x Logos (Honor and Profit) 

Resource (14)
3x Underworld Contact (A Study in Static) 
2x Kati Jones (Humanity's Shadow) 
1x Mr. Li (Future Proof) 
3x The Supplier (First Contact) 
2x Earthrise Hotel (The Source) 
3x Data Folding (Order and Chaos) 

Icebreaker (8)
1x Corroder (Core Set)  ••
1x Femme Fatale (Core Set) 
2x Faerie (Future Proof) 
3x Overmind (Honor and Profit) 
1x Cerberus "Rex" H2 (All That Remains) 

Program (1)
1x D4v1d (The Spaces Between)  ••••

 

Titan Transnational: Investing In Your Future (Order and Chaos)

Agenda (11)
2x Chronos Project (First Contact) 
3x High-Risk Investment (Order and Chaos) 
3x Hostile Takeover (Core Set) 
3x Project Atlas (What Lies Ahead) 

Asset (8)
1x Elizabeth Mills (Second Thoughts) 
3x Executive Boot Camp (All That Remains) 
3x Jackson Howard (Opening Moves)  •••
1x Mark Yale (Order and Chaos) 

Upgrade (1)
1x Crisium Grid (First Contact) 

Operation (13)
3x Beanstalk Royalties (Core Set) 
1x Biotic Labor (Core Set)  ••••
3x Hedge Fund (Core Set) 
3x Shipment from Kaguya (Core Set) 
3x Trick of Light (Trace Amount)  ••••• ••••

Barrier (5)
2x Fire Wall (Order and Chaos) 
3x Ice Wall (Core Set) 

Code Gate (4)
1x Enigma (Core Set) 
1x Lotus Field (Upstalk)  •
1x Wendigo (First Contact) 
1x Wormhole (Order and Chaos) 

Sentry (7)
1x Archer (Core Set) 
3x Caduceus (What Lies Ahead) 
1x Grim (Opening Moves) 
1x Nebula (Order and Chaos) 
1x Orion (Order and Chaos) 

12 people, and it was determined (through popular consensus) that we would play five rounds of straight swiss rather than four plus the cut.

First round I am up against Chris MacLeod (because I'm always paired with Chris round one), and I get rofl stomped by both his Reg-Ass MaxX deck (thanks DAN!) and Replicating Perfection; Andy never got going enough to pressure Jinteki R&D, and Titan just fell behind early and never caught up.

0-2

Round two I'm feeling okay, I lost to Chris... so what I always lose to Chris!  So I get paired against Lufa, with whom I've had a bunch of great matches both in Netrunner and Game of Thrones.  She's got a Chaos Theory stealth deck as well as a strange ETF/Trick of Light rush hybrid.  The ETF throws me off a bit, because she manages to score a couple of good agendas before I get my rig set up, and by the time I manage to start catching up, she's got a pair of advancement counters and a trick of light in HQ just waiting to fins those last two points to finish me off.  

On my Corp side, I feel like I got a little unlucky, as she pulled an Atlas, two Hostiles and a Chronos Project off the top, all with single accesses over consecutive turns.  If you haven't been paying attention, that means that for scorable agendas I have 2 atlas, 1 Takeover and 1 Project available to me.  I find and score all of these agendas, putting the game on match point - however; I have no access to scorable agendas, all three of my jacksons are gone (two spent, one trashed of R&D in the late game), all three of my tricks and my biotic labour has been spent... I'm out of gas.  

I look for ice to make a scoring remote, but I just run out of time as she manages to grab a 20% agenda pull out of R&D the turn before I install safely away.  GG Lufa!  I hope to get my vengeance at regionals!

0-4

Now 0-4, I'm feeling pretty dejected.  I know that Netrunner is a game where most matches end in a draw, so I'm not technically 'out' until I lose one more - but come on, I have just lost four, so I'm definitely going to continue this trend.

In round three I get paired against my buddy (and ride) Clay, who is running the MaxX (eaterhole) and Blue Sun (tagnbag) decks he's been playing for a while.  He doesn't get to play
much and he's still working on the fundamentals... but he's definitely improving!  

In the first Game, I'm on andy, and start with the Sure Gamble, Supplier, double host that I've come to love best out of that deck, and facecheck every piece of ice I can.  Running without programs can be dangerous, but it can also be very liberating... I managed to force Clay to rez a bunch of ice that he never really wanted to rez in the first place - and bouncing off his end the runs just let me keep slowly building up my rig until I was ready to start applying real pressure.

I might have gotten a little fortunate that he never found the SEA Scorch Scorch in time to kill me before I got my link established and had my drip economy getting me further ahead than he could catch - but sometimes you have to be a little lucky to come back from the otherwise tilt-inducing losses I'd just endured.  Slowly I manage to get his R&D locked with RDI, and I DAVID away his Oversighted Wormhole... The game took a while, but I was able to survive the middle game into the late where Supplier Andy is a champion!

My Titan deck finally does the thing!  I lose an Atlas in the mid game, but I manage to secure one early, and then draw a Chronos Project and check his heap - Levy AR Lab Access, 3 Lucky Find, and a Day Job, all tucked away waiting to come back!

One trick of light later, MaxX is pretty much out of steam - he's still got half the deck, and a full rig built, but I know that once I run him out of cards, I'll be able to just grind away at him until I can score out.  The game wound up not even close; I felt really bad for sweeping my friend, but I was really happy to get the monkey off my back and pick myself up from the bottom of the standings.

2-4

In Round four, I'm paired up  Dan, a player I hadn't previously met.  He's come with Leela and Near-Earth Hub!  I'm so nervous about his Leela deck; I'm glad he wins the roll and decides to Corp first.  Near-Earth Hub, I know how to play this, even if I don't really know how to beat it.  He start with an ice ice remote open that is so common with NEH players that I mostly disregard it.  

I open on Supplier and some hosting - this video was on camera, so it'll go up on the YouTube channel eventually - I was tired and hungry so my memory is foggy about how this game wound up.  Except that second turn...

Mandatory draw, advance, advance, advance, score Astroscript?

Well crap...  I install a hosted card, I draw, and get some money.  He money's up, and I start building my rig.

Install, advance advance, token, score Astroscript?

Fuck.

So now I'm under pressure to really start this thing going.  I have an RDI and start running R&D, hoping beyond hope that I can get a soft R&D lock established.  I find a Beale pretty quick, then run his hand and find the Breaking News he had hidden away for the end game (LUCKY!) a couple of turns later, he scores a beal he finds off the top.  This is great for me, because he's out of astro tokens, and he's living off the top of his deck.

And then I realize a difficult truth... he's not an astrobiotics deck - I see a Scorched Earth off the top, and his Data Ravens and Universal Connectivity Fee finally click in, and I figure out what this matchup is really about.  

And I basically ignore that fact; I just make sure to stay over three cards, and watch his credit count to make sure he never had enough to double scorch me.

And keep running R&D, just keep running R&D... stay focused.  I find the second Breaking news pretty quickly, which is fantastic because it meant that he had no way to win off the top of his deck anymore.  So as long as I never let him scorch me out, I feel like I can't lose.  He gets a midseasons off, but I manage to keep it to 2 tags, and it drained his accounts; I manage to shrug off the tags and keep digging.  

A glory run on R&D later and I find last astro script and on the last access I find a beale for the win... phew!  Didn't die, didn't get rushed out; that one felt really great!

He shuffles up Leela against my Titan ,and I'm worried again.  I know that I can't afford to lose if I still want a chance at the cut... and that was my goal at the onset of the season.  This is my last chance, don't blow it Hendy...

I shuffle up Titan and see a good open, Ice Ice Advance was my open.  He runs R&D and bounces off my Enigma.  I get some money and advance my HQ ice a second time to set up my first Atlas.  Luckily enough, he runs HQ on that next turn, which lets me rez my Ice Wall.  He bounces and I get my scoring window.

Good thing I had no unrezzed cards, nothing to get bounced!  No huge opening for that Leela deck to start punshing me.  I money back up, and set up my forts with some more ice, and pretty soon I am ahead!  It feels pretty great to be ahead... right up until he installs a Sneakdoor Beta.

Shoulda seen that one coming.  I install a piece of ice over Archives, but I can't rez it right away (bounces on a steal), I re-install it, and still can't rez it (bounced on a steal, dammit!) ... eventually I just give up and start rushing to win; score another Atlas, score a hostile... finally I'm at the point where I have topick between scoring an Atlas to go to seven (but breaking my bank account to do it), or scoring a takeover to go to five, putting myself up to seven credits, but opening up a stealing window the size of the former USSR.

I chose the Takeover, taking my bad publicity and giving him his window - I figured this option left me with the most cards in my hand, giving him a lower percentage chance to pull the right one if he takes his shot.

He decides to go for R&D instead, digging like a mad man, until there were only a few cards left in the pile... but no agendas when just about any agenda which was left would do!  

I score my Atlas and move to 4-4, feeling very fortunate to have escaped such a tight matchup with two wins.

In round five I'm paired up with Joel, a player I've seen around in the Moncton scene for a while, but to this point hadn't faced in battle.  He is with an ETF deck that is a little more like what I would expect from a normal HB build - Biotic Labours for scoring, SanSan City Grids, clickable ice.  You know, the stone cold rags.

I am ony Andy for the first game, and I take my time to set up my rig.  I facecheck his HQ early and he rezzes a NEXT ICE - the one that gains ETR subs for each NEXT ICE.  I get my Overmind up and running and begin gaining access.  I get a Fairy up just in case, but I only ever used it on the glory run at the end of the game.  The game was fairly back and forth until I manage to stall him out of Rush tech, I score two NAPDs out of his hand fairly early thanks to my RDI (I actually had to run them twice, since I didn't have enough money the first time), which helps me pressur ehim into piling ice in front of R&D in hopes of keeping me out.

Unfortunately his R&D fort is mostly paper castles, with Eli, Victor 1.0 and an Architect blocking my path.  I get a third agenda while he is setting up to rez his fortress, and finally win with a five access glory run off double RDI/Maker's eye.  The fifth card was the ABT that secured my victory.  Thank goodness, because I was out of Overmind counters and trashed both Fairies to get in!  

Game two was Joel's Andromeda versus my Titan.  His first turn included installing a Cloak... so I knew immediately he was on Stealth - a bad matchup for me if he gets set up too quickly.  He gets his refractor, a second cloak and his switchblade in a real hurry... luckily for me, he stalled for a bit looking for his Corroder.  I'm able to start advancing and scoring while he's digging for a way past my Ice Walls - I get to four points off an Atlas, a Project and a Takeover!  It is like the deck just gives me the same cards over and over!  

Again I am in a tough situation, I can either score a takeover out of hand, setting me up to win the next turn, or I can store an Atlas and have to money up for a turn before securing the victory.  I honestly can't remember which I picked, but either way his path was open - he runs HQ like he was supposed to, and reaches into my grip and pulls out... Caduceus!  The victory is secured!  

What?  You have more stealth credits you can use to get in?  Damn...

One more time, into that great darkness... he reaches in and pulls out...

Nothing!  I did it!  

It felt really rewarding to go from 0-4 at the start - an opening that would normally have demoralized me completely, making me go on tilt and just lose all focus - and follow that up with a really strong 6-0 finish.  I'll admit that I had some good fortune in there (in round four, Dan ran my R&D at least a dozen times without seeing a single agenda), but in order to do well in events like these a little good fortune is required.

I learned that the Andromeda deck is really powerful if it makes it into the late-stage of the game without being too far behind.  Against Lufa, I got to phase three, but I was already too far behind that I couldn't establish a hard enough lock before she managed to pull out the victory.  Against Chris, I never even made it to phase three before he had two Nisei tokens and a Future Perfect double advanced in a scoring remote.  

The Titan deck is a strange creature - the first half of the day, I was bemoaning the fact that I only run 16 ICE in the deck, feeling I might want to replace the Shipment from Kaguya from the list with more copies of mid-game ICE.  By the time round five was in the books, the Kaguya had saved my neck more than once, giving me the Advancement tokens needed to tax the runner, while also being 'free' advancement tokens when I need them to score out my Atlases.

The problem with the deck is that it has to run a number of 5/3 agendas in order to make room for all of the combo elements that let it be such a powerful rush strategy.  These 5/3 agendas are virtually impossible to score, since the deck doesn't pack enough ice to create a secure scoring remote in the late game, while also advancing an agenda five times naturally.

If the opponent takes an atlas, the deck is usually fine to continue with plan A, but once the runner has stolen an Atlas plus one or two one-pointers, the game screeches to a halt while it scrambles to find a way to win before it inevitably loses.  I think that had I gotten a little less fortunate in the final few rounds I might have suffered that tragic fifth loss in either rounds four or five.

Ultimately I'm happy I played the decks I played, even if they weren't the decks I was originally planning on playing a month ago.  I put in my time, I tested them pretty thoroughly, and knew the weaknesses of each walking into the building. 

Props:
-Comic Hunter for hosting a great event in their play space, as always!
-Chris MacLeod for becoming a two-time store champion this weekend.
-Nicole for running a tight and efficient event!

Slops:
-Chris MacLeod for beating me in every round one I can remember!
-No lunch break, leaving Clay and I starving and grumpy for most of the drive home!
-Forgetfulness, for leaving my Netrunner collection behind in Moncton; fortunately Chris and Nicole managed to grab it from the store before anything bad happened to it!  

That's all for this post, I'll try to write some more again soon!  

Until next time, remember to always pay attention to what kind of ICE your NEH opponent is running... sometimes he doesn't want to stop you... he just wants to welcome you into the warm embrace of oblivion!