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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
1x D4v1d (The Spaces Between) ••••
Titan Transnational: Investing In Your Future (Order and Chaos)
2x Chronos Project (First Contact)
3x High-Risk Investment (Order and Chaos)
3x Hostile Takeover (Core Set)
3x Project Atlas (What Lies Ahead)
1x Elizabeth Mills (Second Thoughts)
3x Executive Boot Camp (All That Remains)
3x Jackson Howard (Opening Moves) •••
1x Mark Yale (Order and Chaos)
1x Crisium Grid (First Contact)
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) ••••• ••••
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)
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
-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!
-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!