The time in between Store Championship season and Regional season is usually a mess for me. While there are the occasional GNKs to fill in the gaps, the lack of constant grinding combined with new releases makes me struggle to figure out if my deck choices are ever a good idea, or if I practiced enough with my decks to weather a long tournament.
That being said, even though I knew what I was getting into with this year’s Philly regional, it didn’t make it any less intimidating. The names alone were enough to make this by far the hardest tournament I had ever played in. The only thing I could really do was get a good night sleep, and rely on whatever sort of luck/play skill I think I have to carry me as far as I possibly could.
The decks I ended up playing were as standard as you’re going to see. I’m by no means an innovator; all I can really do is look online and see what won, then play those decks while making any sort of meta/personal deck slot change. My runner was a standard Prepaid Kate deck, with 2 RDI instead of an Indexing; R&D would either be too taxing to run a second time, or I’d whiff on the Indexing and feel horrible about my decisions. My corp deck was a pretty standard Bootcamp Glacier deck. I can’t thank you enough, Bblum, you made an incredibly fun deck to play.
Yet Another PPVP Kate
Kate "Mac" McCaffrey: Digital Tinker
3x Dirty Laundry
1x Legwork ••
1x Levy AR Lab Access
3x Lucky Find ••••• •
2x Quality Time
1x Stimhack •
3x Sure Gamble
2x The Maker's Eye
3x Clone Chip
1x Plascrete Carapace
3x Prepaid VoicePAD
2x R&D Interface
2x Same Old Thing
1x Symmetrical Visage
2x Cerberus "Lady" H1
1x Gordian Blade
1x Mimic •
1x Clot ••
1x Datasucker •
1x Parasite ••
3x Self-modifying Code
15 influence spent (max 15)
45 cards (min 45)
Cards up to The Valley
Yet Another Bootcamp Glacier
Blue Sun: Powering the Future
2x Chronos Project
2x NAPD Contract
1x Oaktown Renovation
2x Priority Requisition
3x Project Atlas
1x Adonis Campaign ••
2x Executive Boot Camp
3x Jackson Howard •••
2x Ash 2X3ZB9CY ••••
2x Crisium Grid
3x Hedge Fund
3x Oversight AI
1x Power Shutdown
3x Curtain Wall
2x Meru Mati
Code Gate (6)
2x Lotus Field ••
2x Tollbooth ••••
15 influence spent (max 15)
20 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Chrome City
The only changes I’d have made to either deck is to change the second RDI into something more relevant. I never needed to install more than one, and while having two made finding the first one easier, it made finding the second one worse in the end.
Anyway, onto the tournament. There were 94(!) players, with 7(!) rounds of Swiss, with the cut to Top 8. We ended up starting a bit late, because God bless FFG’s tournament software.
Round 1 – Super Bye
I’ll be honest; I’m not used to having these things. I didn’t even earn mine; I finished third behind Dan and Niles, who by that point probably could have gotten 6 Regional byes if you could get more than one. It gave me time to watch my local group play their games, though. It also got me thinking even more about how absolutely stacked this field was.
Round 2 – Sean Doyle: NEH/PPVP Kate
I’m probably lucky that I had a Clot threat up the entire time (#slottheclot, seriously guys just play the card) because for whatever reason once R&D had 4 ICE on it I barely ran it again. I managed to get up to 5 points relatively quickly until I just ran out of money and I needed to Levy (which is one of my big problems with this deck; I still Levy too late). I don’t exactly remember how I won, but it was definitely through a multi-access.
On the flip side, I see him find his Voicepads a lot faster than I found mine. 2 Plascretes were also installed; it’s completely reasonable but it’s 4 credits and 2 clicks that I’m glad to see wasted. Curtain Walls and Tollbooths eventually drain his credit pool and I can close out on a Pri Req.
Prestige: 8 (4-0)
Round 3 – Jonas Wilson: RP/MaxX
This was the first of many questionable lines I’d make throughout the day. I decided to keep an opening hand of 2x Maker’s Eye, Legwork, Voicepad, Sure Gamble. Turn 1 he Celebrity Gifts and shows me Eli and Ichi as his only ICE, followed by Eli on R&D. I used the first turn to get credits then just decided to 3-click Maker’s Eye two turns in a row. It almost paid off; I had two chances to snag a Future Perfect but miss. I do however manage to steal a Chronos Project. By the time I Legwork, Ichi is on HQ, causing me to click through it and take an NAPD. I ended up taking another NAPD before he scores his first Nisei. Unfortunately for me, he managed to find and score 2 more Nisei’s while I was recovering from that super-aggressive start. By the time he found his winning agenda, he had 3 unused Nisei counters. Can’t beat that.
I didn’t know if he was Reg-Ass or Eater MaxX until he milled Wanton Destruction on his first turn. I never found a Crisium Grid, or more than 6 pieces of ICE. Lotus Fields kept me in the game though; he Knifed a Curtain Wall away mid-game and I never really found another one. With his deck extremely small I forced him to use Levy by using Project Atlas to get a Chronos Project. Even with that window he was still one credit off of taking my game-winning Pri Req; Ash saves the day.
Prestige: 10 (5-1)
It’s at this point where I start thinking I might have a chance. Even though I had a bye, I escaped the first two matches relatively unscathed. There was a lunch break after this round, so all I needed to do was to keep focused and not hit any really big names until later in the tournament. As long as that happened I’d have a decent-
Round 4: Chris Hinkes: Industrial Geonomics/Vamp Kit
I was pretty nervous the entire match and it probably showed by whatever sort of awkward conversation I tried to have during the match. I ended up dying in 4 turns to his monster of an Industrial Genomics deck. It wasn’t just because he’s an absolute machine, but it was to me being an absolute idiot. I’ve never played against IG before, so I never really knew what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect him to not have ICE the entire game (4 turns, mind you). I just started running places just to see what it was his deck did. After seeing enough traps to make me even more scared, his Mushin’d remote never got touched.
I eventually ran 4th click on HQ. Yup. Remember learning how to play Netrunner and you’d always have people tell you to never run 4th click against Jinteki? Do yourself a favor and just always follow that rule. I hit Snare, and then die to Ronin. There’s obviously no excuse, I’m just really bad.
My corp game is just a longer version of that same feeling of futility and hopelessness. At the very least I knew what he was doing when got his Magnum Opus turn one. I thankfully had a Crisium Grid and put it on HQ. There were two major problems though. For whatever reason I thought that plus 1 ICE would be enough, with just recurring Crisium Grid after he trashed it. The other problem was Magnum Opus. If I didn’t threaten a score he’d just gain 6-8 credits. If I found agendas earlier I’d have tried to throw them out, but again, I think my inexperience against that deck plus being on tilt about dying plus having a world caliber player across the table gave me nightmares. At least I got 4 points scored before I sat back and watched him finish me off.
Prestige: 10 (5-3)
After getting crushed thoroughly, I had around 45 minutes to think about all of that. Turns out if you flatline in 4 turns, you get a really long lunch break! I knew I wasn’t out of Top 8 contention at this point, but I really had to work for it. My confidence was pretty shot though. If I wanted to try and get up there again, I’d have to go through more world class talent, and if those matches went like the past one I’d be in a world of trouble.
Round 5: ??? (Sorry I don’t remember your name!) Butchershop NEH/Reina
I end up corp first, and slowly find a credit advantage. I manage to set up Adonis early, behind a Caduceus and Hive. I try to overscore an Atlas but that hits Singularity. Thankfully I have Jackson Howard for recovery. With Adonis up the whole game, my large ICE keeps him out for a majority of the game and I eventually seal it.
I can only wish my runner game finished as well as my corp game. He double ICEs R&D, has one ICE on HQ, and a couple of Marked Accounts. I don’t think he’s on Butchershop yet until he installs two new remotes in one turn. We’re both somewhat even on credits, but I figure I have to go for it; even if I die I still can’t risk Astroscripts. I run on the first new remote: sure enough it’s an Astro. Almost resigning to my fate, I run on the second remote. It’s another Astro. Taken completely by surprise, I run on HQ just to make sure there aren’t 3 more agendas in his hand. The ICE is Wraparound, and I have enough money to search for Lady. I see Scorched Earth. I make sure I have 5 cards in my hand and just wait for death. It never comes.
I’m excited now; I dodged a massive bullet. Knowing he doesn’t have Midseasons, I push HQ hard. I hit Breaking News. I Dirty Laundry HQ and see an NAPD, which I couldn’t have taken even if I hadn’t just spent two credits. But now I know the win is there. The following turn he Midseasons me, but doesn’t kill me; he must only have the one Scorched.
I only have one Lady token left, and he has 3 cards in HQ; NAPD, Scorched, and something else. I draw click one to try and hit Legwork. I draw Scavenge, which is almost as good. I scavenge Lady and run two more times. First time I hit Scorched, the second time I hit the mystery card: Traffic Accident. His two Marked Accounts put him to 3 at the start of his turn, and I die. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.
Prestige: 12 (6-4)
Round 6: ??? (Again, sorry about the name!) Blue Sun/PPVP Kate
I run first. Well, I didn’t really run, I just watched him Oversight AI Orion twice. He has over 40 credits by turn 4, and starts to over-advance an Atlas. I run on HQ and steal another Atlas, then he top-decks SEA Source and kills me. To be fair he could have searched for it after the Atlas score, but drawing it so he doesn’t have to is better I suppose.
My Blue Sun game does not go as well. I get to Oversight a Curtain Wall, but he has all 3 of his Voicepads by turn 5. I somehow manage to Chronos Project him twice, taking out a Femme and a bunch of economy. I never have a follow up play, though; his Kati lets him break 3 more Oversighted ICE and I can never punish him on the economy hit. He eventually Legworks to win.
Prestige: 12 (6-6)
Round 7: Jack Silin: Argus/Leela
We’re both tired but both of us are still playing for that weird looking Reina! I run first, and he keeps a hand that has no ICE. He Jacksons into more cards, and I have to play a very slow, methodical game against him. I find the Plascrete early, and that allows me to run a little more aggressively. Being able to take an agenda and remove the tag on the same turn makes the deck a lot less threatening though, and I eventually get 7 points.
The Blue Sun game is pretty standard as far as game goes. I get Adonis up pretty quick behind two ICE. He has trouble finding his Corroder; by far the most important one against me. I double advance every Project Atlas so I can get a counter on it and replay whatever ICE he returns to my hand. The turn I try and score out he manages to see 3 cards off of R&D thanks to his interfaces. Thankfully he whiffs on all 3, and I score the Pri Req.
Prestige: 16 (8-6)
After a long, grueling 9 hours of Netrunner, I end up finishing 24th for the tournament. I’m happy and sad at the result; I’m glad I managed 24th in a really tough field, but I feel like there were a couple games that, had they been even slightly more favorable for me, could have made me close to contention. I do like where the game is at right now; even though there are still decks that will tend to outperform in the meta, I feel like you can play many of the different IDs now and be successful with them. I don’t remember the last time there’s been a meta this healthy and diverse.
So ends this story of how I came to Philly with overly large expectations, only to be brought down to Earth and rightfully crushed. Congrats again to Bblum on a much, much deserved tournament win. I’ll be going to GenCon again this year, and actually managed to snag a ticket to Worlds, so hopefully I get to meet some of you guys and get crushed even more this year!