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Report: Damage Unlimited Games Center Store Championship, 1st place


#1

Disclaimer: I tend to have a problem with brevity in my creative writing, so this might be a tad long. Consider yourselves forewarned.


Having sorta messed up at our local Store Championship in Bratislava (came in third mostly because I killed myself on a Viktor 1.0, of all things :P), I wanted to try for a shiny plaque again. Almost a month passed since the previous tournament (and Fear and Loathing hit the shores), so it was time to re-evaluate decks.

For Runner, I knew one thing: whatever else happens, I don’t want to lose to Astro Trains and TWIY rushes. Sure, those NBN decks are hard to stop, but it can be done if handled correctly. That means messing with draw order (Indexing), getting into servers (SMC, Tinkering), applying relevant pressure on HQ (Siphon). Speed is key, and more MU means more speed for Shaper, so I went with Chaos Theory. Most of my testing was done on OCTGN, because my usual testing partner was busy that week (you can even see one and a half of those games on Sly’s stream - him and Asroybal were playing CI that evening). It was a bit of a shame, because he’s the perfect acid test for decks (he’s a very solid Criminal, Weyland and NBN player), so I just hoped for the best.

The runner list (along with a detailed rationale of the building process) can be found here:
http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/3382/stealing-ain-t-that-hard-vienna-store-champs-first-place-

For Corp, I originally wanted to play a Personal Evolution build with Data Ravens and Closed Accounts - it started as a wonky thing, but it actually works surprisingly well. It’s got a low enough agenda density that running RnD is usually more deadly than fruitful, packs the Scorch threat to force a Carapace install, and the Closed Accounts work very well in combination with the taxing nature of Yagura and Tsurugi. But, while testing in the weeks leading up to the event, I encountered a problem: if I didn’t draw a Priority Requisiton fast enough, I’d invariably end up stalling at 6 agenda points and then losing. This seemed like too big a liability, so I took a look at Fear and Loathing to think about which of my decks just got more viable… and saw Blue-level Clearance. That card is pretty much custom-made for Cerebral Imaging. Having a super-fast runner (in testing, that little girl often closed games inside of 10-15 minutes), I decided that I do have the luxury of playing something as slow as CI… and it’s a deck that’s very hard to play against if you’re not built to handle it. I sort of bet on the popularity of NBN in that regard, expecting most people to be ready for a fast and furious game, not a slow tax-fest.

The corp list can be found here:
http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/3381/cerebral-giraffes-vienna-store-champs-first-place-

So, one short train ride later our 3-man task force gets to Vienna. There’s 14 people attending and we’re told the tournament will be 4 rounds with no cut to top 4, with a round length of 65 minutes. My previous experience playing in Vienna left me a bit wary of this - last time, a lot of matches ended up going to time. In Bratislava we tend to play quite a bit faster than the Vienna crowd does, and I usually go with 75 minute rounds (so that the newer people don’t feel like they have to rush)… so I decided to play as fast as humanly possible, in order to avoid going to time and being left with some odd sort of score for tie-breakers.

The pairings are announced, and the first round starts.

Round 1: Chris (Jinteki: PE, Whizzard)

We flip the coin, he corps first. My opening hand is decent, with both an Indexing and a Siphon. He ices up RnD, makes a new remote and takes a credit, leaving HQ open. Wasting no time, I promptly siphon him, then hit with the Indexing (no agendas to be had), and check the remote (netting a Profiteering). Things never really pick up for Chris after that - my Indexing moved all the ICE to the bottom of those 5 cards, so I’m able to repeatedly Siphon and Index him without much resistance. His deck is mostly a 1000 needles kind of thing, which doesn’t work so well when the Snares are taken out of the picture. Eventually he does get some money together (my SoT recursion is focused more towards Indexing, since I already have all the stuff I need out) and starts doing the install-advance-advance routine, but at this point I’ve deduced that his agenda composition doesn’t include 3-pointers, and an earlier Celebrity Gift has shown me an AggSec, so I’m not really in a rush to check those remotes. Presumably some are agendas, but I’m not that agenda-starved, so I end up grabbing some more 1-pointers and finish up with a Fetal before he can really do anything with those servers.

Win, 10-0

We switch, he’s Whiz. Right after we start, there’s a funny moment - his phone rings, he takes it and starts discussing armored vehicles and tanks with someone on the other end. At first I suspect he might be just talking about Warhammer 40k minis or something, but then the sentence “No, we’ve got enough tanks already, but make sure to get hold of more armored vehicles” is uttered and I’m left wondering whether he’s an arms dealer or something :smiley: Turns out he works for the UN, I breathe a sigh of relief, and we keep playing. The first game was quick, so we’re not really pressed for time.

The game as such really showcases how much Anarchs need a decent draw effect that isn’t Wyldside - Eli and Ichi make runs expensive for him, the four or so accesses don’t net any points, and before he can find his Corroder, I’ve got all my combo pieces together and cruise through the three scoring turns.

Win, 10-0

Round 2: Thomas (NBN:TWIY, Reina Roja)

So, the rushy kind of NBN… time to put my Theory (see what I did there?) to the test.

Thanks to Tinkering I manage to connect an early Siphon, leading to being able to push through an Indexing which nets me an Astro and a Beale. He installs and feeds two Marked Accounts, to get the drip econ rolling. With 4 cards in his hand, I check HQ three times… which leads to me seeing the third Marked Accounts every single time. We both build up a little, and in order to get my Interface online, I sort of have to let him draw 3 cards I can’t check. Turns out 2 of those cards were Astro and Beale, so we’re quickly sitting at 6 points (him) to 4 points (me). I manage to draw to more Indexings and check, but only see some Biotics and other assorted chaff. Jackson is involved in some form of clearing the Indexing’s effects (either he drew a lot, or he reshuffled some econ - not really sure), and from the way Thomas is playing I get the feeling that he might be running 3-pointers - if he weren’t, he wouldn’t be that nervous about a 2-card RnD access, when I need 3 more points to win. Next turn he gets a decent amount of money together, and all of his RnD cards are unknown to me. I decided to check there before trying to draw for some more Indexing, Same old Thing or Siphons. I announce the run, approaching what I assumed to be a Tollbooth… and he rezzes a Flare. * “Well, crap” * I think… and then I notice that Flare is actually AP, despite only doing the damage on a successful trace. Out comes the Deus X and I break into RnD, finding an Executive Retreat for the win.

Win, 10-6

We switch and he pulls out Reina. My opening hand is pretty ridiculous - I get 2 PriReqs, Rototurret, Viktor 2.0 and a Blue-level. My mandatory draw is an Ichi, and playing the Blue Level draws me a Hedge Fund and a second Ichi. I Roto the HQ and finish my turn. He checks RnD, but doesn’t find anything, then prepares to get his econ rolling. My mandatory draw is another Eli, which is pretty fortunate - it’s the start of my second turn and I already have most of the ICE I’m going to need for this game. Double-Icing both RnD and HQ, I fall into my usual pattern of making money and drawing cards, and Thomas is never really able to catch up due to how expensive all his accesses become (he’s running Caissas, so Knight is not really a happy camper when he has to break 2-sub ICE everywhere). My draws are on the agenda-heavy side, so after about 6 turns, there’s literally not enough agendas left in RnD for him to win from there. Getting into my hand is super-expensive at this point, and so we both do some more credit farming and then I do my usual three-turn scoring thing for the win.

Win, 10-0

Round 3: Franz (NBN:MN, Andromeda)

Franz is the tournament organizer, and he himself is amazed at how well he’s doing today - in his own words, his primary game is Star Wars and he doesn’t play a lot of Netrunner at all. He starts with a pretty standard opening, getting money and icing both RnD and HQ. His HQ ICE turns out to be something pretty weak (Enigma, maybe?) so there’s a little Siphon-fest going on after a while. Chained Indexing detect a Closed Accounts and keep moving it further down into RnD, to get me enough time to setup Magnum Opus and a reasonable suite. He plays a card behind two ICE, I go to check it, they both turn out to be popups. The card is a Breaking News, which I steal. After that he manages to get some money together and scores an Astro off a SanSan behind those two Popups, with Beale following shortly thereafter. I go for some more Indexing action which nets me the final points I need.

Win, 10-4

We switch sides, and it’s one of those crazy high-variance three turn affairs. I draw 4 agendas in 9 cards, which leaves me in a decent place - HQ is ICEd up hard, I’ll just let him have some accesses and it’ll be fine, right? Turns out…not so much. Having 5 agendas in 40 cards apparently means three of them will be in the top 4 cards, so he drops an RnD interface, runs twice and we’re done.

Loss, 0-10

Since quite a few matches ended up going to time, I’m the only one packing 10 prestige at this point, with one of our guys being second with 8. The only other person with 8 prestige is Franz, whom I just played, so the pairings are clear. We sit down to play with the knowledge that this will be the final round of the tournament.

Round 4: Ľubo (Chaos Theory, GRNDL)

Ľubo is one of the newest members of the Bratislava playgroups, but is already pretty strong, with the potential to be truly scary in 6 months or so. If I win both games now I’m finishing clearly first, if he wins both games he’s quite probably first as well. I play corp first.

Turns out he’s playing a somewhat similar runner deck to what I’m running, only with Garrote instead of Femme (and the Stimhacks to cheat it into play via SMC). The game as such is a pretty passive affair, with him nabbing a two-pointer while I set up, then siphoning me twice for a hefty cash infusion. I don’t particularly mind, as it doesn’t make me ditch cards or anything. He gets out a Chakana (a cold chill runs down my spine) and runs RnD once, but doesn’t run another two times, so I quickly score my Efficiency Committee, followed up by a PriReq. He has one last turn in which to do something, as I already have both a Biotic and a Vitruvius. If he arms the Chakana, I need to dig for a Jacksoned Biotic or Archived Memories, but it should still be doable. As it turns out however, he has an Indexing and I have 5 points in the top 5 cards.

Loss, 5-10

We switch, and the final game begins. My first hand is horrible, so I mulligan… and get a hand with Siphon, but no Indexing and no Carapace. I draw pretty hard for either of those, but all copies elude me somehow, so I’m forced to play very cautiously. We do a bit of cat-and-mouse, with a card installed and advanced into a server that I can get into. I check it, and it’s a refinery. Both RnD and HQ are protected by a Chimera and one other piece of ICE, so I run them frequently to be annoying and cost him some money. Once I finally draw my first Carapace (something like 25 cards in), I switch to the multi-siphon plan, using a 0-strength Atman to great effect (HQ had Chimera and Rototurret as defenses). He scores a Hostile, then scores a Posted Bounty out of the remote server which he follows up with an Aggressive Negotiation. He pulls a card, and as we discussed later discussion he made a bad call there (pulled something else, rather than the Closed Accounts he should have). Indexing finally shows up and I get to see another Scorched coming up, but at this point I finally have a second Carapace, so SE stops being a concern. He tries to force an agenda behind an Archer, but Sharpshooter has me covered, so I steal it. Shortly thereafter another indexing shows up, revealing a Cleaners and a second Posted Bounty, which I steal for the win.

Win, 10-1

This last game leaves me as the sole person with 12 prestige, so I’m declared winner. It’s a bit of a shame we didn’t play either a fifth round or a cut to top 4, because there were 4 people with 10 prestige, so the second place got decided by tie-breaker. Ľubo is one of the 10-prestige people but ends up third based on prestige count, if I recall correctly. I get everyone to sign the plaque (because otherwise those things tend to miss some sort of identity, really) and we go home, promising to show up again for Chronos Protocol :smile:


Props:

  • The gentlemen (and lady) at the event - great bunch of guys, always a pleasure to come play with you all!
  • SneakySly and Asroybal, for that game we played on OCTGN - your stacked Victors and Elis made me fit in that Atman, and boy was it ever a super-solid include!
    • also, you two may or may not have had a hand in me picking CI for the tournament… but we will never know
  • all the fine gentlemen participating in the TWIY discussion on these forums, for making me think super-hard about how to beat decks like that :smile:

#2

Awesome! I think CI is getting even better in Double Time. Initial testing is showing Hive to be absolutely bonkers.


#3

To be honest, I haven’t really started evaluating the impact of Double Time. I do my best thinking when I can actually hold the cards in hand, flip through them, make a mess on the table etc.

Hive does sound like the piece of ICE I’d want in CI, I’d probably cut a Giraffe and a Toymaster to make two fit in. Needs testing though.


#4

Your CI deck is very interesting! I would love to play against it. How does it usually fare against Noise/Keyhole/Sneakdoor and other archive pressure? It doesn’t seem like you have enough ice to protect all three centrals effectively (although wotan helps!); have you faced any heavy Archive pressure? I’m imagining playing gabe with a wotan over HQ, only to be emergency shutdown via sneakdoor. :frowning:

For your CT deck, how often are you able to get your x1 MO when needed? There’s only x2 SMC to find it without draw (and no Quality Time). Speaking of no quality time, why the Levy? With this being a fast anti-rush deck, I can’t see the recursion into the deck helping that much, especially without quality time. Without MO, I find that Sansan is difficult to trash, although if you can siphon enough, I guess sansan matters less. As far as general economy goes, it seems like you’re going to have a tough time going through taxing ice (Eli, Viktor 2.0, Tollbooth) consistently. The only economy is x1 MO, x3 Sure Gamble, and x3 Account SIphon if you can pull it off. I really like your 1-of programs, but is x1 Toolbox and x3 plascrete that important?

Congrats on the win! It sounded like you had a great time playing interesting decks :smile:


#5

Good questions, which means my answers will be long and detailed :smiley:

I’ve faced archive pressure decks - not in the tournament as such, but in testing. What I’ve found is that those things are usually slow to get their hijinx started, and by that time I usually assemble enough moving parts that they can’t tag enough to stop me.

Please note that I don’t really consider Gabe and his sneakdoor to be proper archive pressure. Shutdowns don’t matter that much when my ice costs 5 to rez max, Wotan is only usually rezzed 2 turns before the game ends, and playing the sneakdoor for 4 saves you a 5-6 cred tax on HQ. Worst case scenario is you steal maybe 2 points and then I put something on the Archives.

Which brings me to the next point: ICE. I do have plenty to protect all centrals, because I don’t aim to actually stop the runs - only make repeated running economically unfeasible. Two to three pieces of ICE per server are usually plenty for that, given how expensive the ICE is to break with the commonly played breakers. Single runs are rarely a threat, due to the low expected payoff in both hq and rnd (with Indexing being the notable exception, which is why it loses games for the corp). And even in the scenario you’re describing, you usually won’t need the 3rd Ice on RnD until very late, definitely after you’ve drawn over half the deck.

Every time I actually need it :smiley: let’s get something clear - the MO is here as an anti-Closed Accounts measure. That means you don’t need it until after you’ve siphoned some (and possibly have seen a CA you can’t delay any longer with Indexing). That in turn means you’ll most probably already have a SMC trashed (from fetching your first breakerh and a Clone Chip in play when you actually need the MO to hit the table. Cloning an SMC is a very often used play here, and is the main reason this deck needs to be CT.

[quote=“Zebadiah, post:4, topic:780”]
Speaking of no quality time, why the Levy? With this being a fast anti-rush deck, I can’t see the recursion into the deck helping that much, especially without quality time.[/quote]

Oh boy, you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried :stuck_out_tongue: Let me explain my rationale here, so I don’t just sound like a dismissive and hostile jerk.

First of all, I’ll start by saying I don’t like Quality Time in general. I don’t like the overdraw and I don’t like the 3 credits to play. What those two things in combination mean is that you usually want to start your turn at around 10 credits in order to get the full benefit. QT is something you plan your whole turn around, and possibly even a turn or two before that, not something that you can adaptively play whenever it’s best. Sure, QT has its uses, but this isn’t the deck for it. For general-purpose light digging and “healing potions”, Diesel is plenty.

Now, the Levy. I can’t stress how important it is. Think about it: with the exception of 2 interfaces, literally all the pressure is event-based. If you can’t reset to keep the events going, you’re going to have to win in the space of 3 siphons, 3 indexings and 3 same old things. If you don’t manage that (due to bad luck or because your opponent is a slow, taxing build), you’ll run out of steam and lose. If you can save a SoT for the Levy reset, you don’t even have to hold it (or are protected if you lose it to random damage), and suddenly that win space doubles to 6 siphons, 6 indexings and 5 SoTs. That’s most definitely nothing to sneeze at. In testing, whenever I’ve lost the ability to play the Levy I ended up losing the match, which tells me that it’s an important card for the deck.

Another thing with Levy is that it lets you further explore Clone Chip tricks. Having the reset available means you can use your Chips much more liberally (I use it mostly for SMC, with Sharpshooter and Deus X being a distant second) and don’t have to worry about keeping them for contingencies.

And finally, as the closing argument, playing vs needle-centered Jinteki damage decks with CT becomes super-tricky without Levy. Jinteki has gone from “super weak” to “mildly annoying” to “dangerous if not teched against” lately, with the probable trend seeing it going up on the scale of dangerousness, so it’s definitely a consideration.

Oh I don’t trash SanSans, unless the Corp’s paying for the trash (read: I have Siphon cash to spare). I’d rather use that money to Index and RnD lock, to make sure you don’t get the 7 points you need off of it. I don’t have hand-checking power, so points (especially starting hand agendas) usually slip through, but it’s very rare that an opponent actually has all 7 points needed to win in hand… I usually check HQ a couple of times to make sure that doesn’t happen (if he does, we’re talking 3 cards out of 5 being agendas, minimum - run his hand 2-3 times and you’ll see what happens), and then concentrate on locking RnD.

But, I will admit one thing - the takeaway from the tournament is most definitely “-1 Tinkering, +1 Chakana” (huge props to Ľubo for pointing me in the right direction by the potential impact of the play he didn’t make in our last game). It’s an epic include that works really, really well in this deck. Basically, you get a trick to negate a rezzed SanSan at the same time you’re setting up Indexing locks. That’s nothing short of amazing, honestly.

Your econ list is missing Dirty Laundry. Either Sure Gamble or Dirty Laundry is usually enough money to get the first Siphon going (both one-time breakers and Tinkering really help here), you use the money to get an Indexing through, and that tells you a lot about how you need to play the next 2-3 turns. The ball sort of starts rolling after that - you watch for openings and punish what you can.

With regards to the taxing ICE: one Eli/Viktor can be clicked through, giving you a MO-level click/credit efficiency (or better, in the case of Viktor 2). Viktor can be Deus X-ed if needed. One Tollbooth can be Femmed, one Archer can be Sharpshot. The common theme is: the taxing ICE really only becomes a problem in multiples, which will both take a bit longer to happen, and then Atman is often the correct answer to the problem. If I’m facing multiple Archers, Atman goes out at 6. If there’re multiple Viktors/Tollbooths, Atman comes out at 5. Multiple Elis/Bastions/Vipers/Ichis, Atman at 4 has you covered. Sure, it takes a bit of money to setup, but it’s still cheaper than it was for the corp to set up said scenario in the first place :slight_smile:

Over the very long term, it could become a problem, but Magnum Opus and Levy (hopefully at this point you’re starting to see why it’s so important in the deck) make it manageable.

Two words: hell yes.

First, the Plascretes. I’m not in the business of dying stupid turn-2 deaths because of a 3% chance that someone has two Scorches. I’m playing tag-me (and going all-in on the plan, really), so I really want to have my first Plascrete out at the first moment where I’m already tagged and they could conceivably play two Scorcheds. If I could, I’d actually play 4 of those things, that’s how important they are. If you notice, I mention in my report just how much not being able to draw a Plascrete slowed me down in game 4. Sure, it was a Weyland deck, so it was even more obvious than otherwise, but let’s be honest - any corp can afford to splash a Scorch or two if they really want these days, why risk a stupid loss over it?

And now, The Toolbox. It’s a very important card for me, and don’t be fooled about its importance just because there’s only one copy here.

Why I’m only playing one:

  • I don’t need it early, I only need it once I need to free up memory OR have enough spare money
  • I don’t want a second copy because it would be a dead card after the Levy
  • I still am Chaos Theory, so the 5 slots saved have to come from somewhere

Why it’s super important:

  • It’s effectively 3 memory (since it enables Zu’s cloud-ness), leaving me with a rig of Femme, Corroder, Zu, Atman, Magnum Opus, and two spare MU. Those can either be used to keep Deus X / Sharpshooter played and ready, or to have a SMC played, ready to eat a Power Shutdown.
    • In the post-tournament version, those last two MU would be used for Chakana and one of the one-shots
  • It’s a Daily Casts that never runs dry and isn’t tag-vulnerable (you are a good player and are usually running at least once per turn, right? :P)
  • If you really think about it, Toolbox makes running on your first click right after getting your face hit with a Closed Accounts a feasibility, which is not to be overlooked
  • It makes Punitives and Overloads more expensive
  • It’s a Caduceus/Viper breaker :smiley:

One more sidenote, and then I’m done. I have a sneaking suspicion that my biggest problem is an opponent whose starting hand includes Psychographics + Beale. Then things could become hairy, because no amount of Indexing would allow me to stop that loss, and repeated Siphoning does delay it while actually enabling it. If I can’t find the Beale on random HQ accesses, I could very well be screwed.

One thing I’m considering to address the problem is to swap Corroder for Snowball and fitting in an HQ interface. Alas, I didn’t have enough time to properly test this before the tournament and fortunately the situation didn’t come up. Still, it warrants a proper analysis (and I’m basically asking for advice right now).


#6

Thank you for the lengthy explanation! :smiley:

It makes a lot more sense now that you’ve explained it, and I see that I missed the Dirty Laundrys. Both decks sound like a lot of fun to play, I think I’ll make them and give them a try. I’ll let you know how it goes!


#7

Please do, I’m looking forward to your results.

I would ask one thing though - build the runner deck with a Chakana instead of a third Tinkering. I’m 97% convinced it’s the right call, and I probably won’t have enough time to test it in the coming weeks. So, I’d like to outsource the acceptance testing, so to speak :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

This CI list is beastmode, and I’m a little terrified of it in a meta where Double Time is available. I bagged a 5-round SC with it. One loss, and that was to a lucky-ducky set of HQ pulls :).

It can recover from Siphon like crazy: the Giraffes are the difference between this and my previous CI testing, and also the difference between Account Siphon wrecking your face and you giving 0 $%^s. I had a Gabe player give up on Siphons after I ate 3 in a row from him without trouble. That’s never happened!


#9

@hypomodern Glad you like it! I originally created it after playing against a way way way suboptimal version back when Second Thoughts came out, but I had it shelved for a rainy day. Then BLC came out and I was like “jesus!” :stuck_out_tongue:

The best thing ever is having it all set so that after you rez all your HQ ICE you’re sitting on 6 credits with a GLC and a Giraffe in hand. They drop you down to one and pat themselves on the back. Then your turn comes around, you do some voodoo and you’re back at 10. And now they’re like “so let me get this straight - I need to pay like 20 credits to make him lose 5? F**k that!”

Actually like 4-5 Siphons do start to bother you if they come soon enough, not because they make you poor, but because they make them rich enough to hammer the centrals for a while, ignoring the taxing angle. Of course, if you have a reasonable enough credit reserve when the siphoning starts, and can afford a moderately taxing piece of ICE, it’s way less of a problem. (also good at stopping Vamp followups).

Good news is, I have a post-Double Time version ready to go, and it’s completely insane (props to @SneakySly for making me consider triple Hive… who needs Jacksons when you’ve got triple Reclamation Order into triple Archived Memories?)