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Tournament Report: 5th At Gameology Store Champs


#1

Stimhack kind of messed up my formatting so here’s the OG report:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P2ka_oG7h-H9QikgTrSOnadcSEnrWJd6YOJpZzuJZI4/pub

Store Champs Gameology report

Date of tourny: 2/6/2016

Just a note: What you see below you is a long wall of text which may or may not have any benefit to you. While I’ve written it for a third party audience, you, a the true purpose is much more selfish. By laying bare the events and errors of my first foray into competitive Netrunner I can better learn and evaluate myself as a player.

I left my home in San Luis Obispo, California (hereby referred to as SLO) in a car with three of our seven local netrunner players the day before the tournament. On the long ride there we decided on non-standing related goals for ourselves to serve as “secondary win conditions” for our first major tournament endeavor. I had two simple goals: never miss a noise mill, and 2-0 someone. Relatively simple stuff that shouldn’t be too hard, butI never took my mind off the real goal. I wanted to win the whole thing, of course, but realistically I knew to aim at making the cut to top 8. I brough Noise, Hacker Extraordinaire and Jinteki: Replicating Perfection. As for the tournament itself it went something like

Round 1: Aiden Jaliff

This opponent was a great guy, he was a blast to play with and we shot some jokes back in forth as the match went on. At the end of the day he gave me a promo-plascrete. Shout outs to you, AIden.

G1: Replicating Perfection vs Sunny

This game was fairly simple, but echoed one major macro strategy which I wish i remembered more. It is the philosophy of “making them have it”. No matter what strategy you play, in almost every card game (and I mostly learned this in Magic and Vanguard, the latter of which had my playtest group win 2013 nationals) the opponent may have a way around it in their deck. Most of the decisions you make aren’t going to be 100%. They may be 99%, they may be 60% to work. My opponent had used an SMC and a Special order but lacked a barrier breaker yet. I used this to my advantage to get out a Nisei behind nothing but an Eli 1.0. They could have bounced off one of my Ichi or Tollbooth (crick would have let me get a caprice back) on central to then click through it, but they didn’t. I read my opponent and knew that if he didn’t have that SMC he wasn’t going to run. A brazen play, and not my first of the day, but it paid off because I made him have it and he didn’t. At that point he was on full drip going and if I didn’t get that Nisei counter soon I’d find my servers being ravaged by Security Nexus. Luckily I did get that counter the turn before he had Nexus set up. I won a psi-game for the second Nisei which just sealed the deal for The Future Perfect on the next turn.

G2: Noise vs Stronger Together

Here I was expecting food coats out of a ST shell, not having experience against a deck that ran cards like brain taping warehouse like this. This game was over fairly fast after I scored a food and ABT from archives early and then later he failed an ABT and gave me my final agenda in archives. Of note was that although I had a faust all game I never actually used it, I essentially only clicked through his ice and parasite his turing. Installing it was probably a mistake since that money and click could have gone towards more utility programs. I got lucky and managed to steal points off mills which I make an effort not to count on but here it stole me a game. While I feel like my win had a lot to do with variance I also think I could have won in the late game by just hammering his centrals with just single Victor 1.0 protection.

2-0, I’m feeling good.

Round 2: Ben Camm (of Cerebral Static http://cerebralstatic.net/)

If I could put this round last I would, but it is too contextually important to the day for me to push it back. These were my favorite two games of the day and I really feel like both matchups were winnable but I fell short both in the early game and the clutch.I hope we get a rematch when they hold regionals down there.

G1: Noise vs Gagarin

Here my lack of experience hurt. I just had no clue on how to play this matchup. I knew the basic principles of Gagarin and had watched videos of prepaid voicepads and lucky finds take on Quinns’ tier 1.5 deck months ago but that wasn’t enough. I made a few mistakes but the most egregious was letting him score a Utopia Fragment. He baited it as a Grindl Refinery after grabbing it with Executive Bootcamp. I just assumed he wouldn’t bluff that hard which was a horrible mistake because that is the kind of balls to the wall play I am prone to making. I could have spent cards to get in but decided against it and set up more, thinking my opponent wouldn’t go for such an easy blufff. I’d like to assume the former.I didn’t even know what Utopia Fragment did, nor did I know Gagarin decks ran it. I still don’t know how common it is as of writing this but it was effective. The game winning mistake came from me not grabbing Imp from Deja Vu, because if I had then I would have impd the game winning NAPD and that would have let me either 1) Mill out the last 5 cards or 2) Steal it from archives for 4. The macro-level issue was that I didn’t hammer his last 5 cards in rnd or the ones in his hand. I should have been counting agenda points after seeing nothing from 7+ cards in archives. That and counting influence to see he was vegan much, much earlier than I did. While I just said what my big misplay was, in reality this was a game of fundamentals. My opponent just played some damn good Netrunner while I ran alongside trying to keep up.

G2: Replicating Perfection vs Ken Tenma

This game haunts me, and will for a while. While I could tell you the exciting details of his 14 credit plays from high stakes job, none of that mattered on the last turn of the game. His legwork for the win involved him losing what I think was his last code-gate breaker (or at least his last one for a while) and me doing something worse than missing a noise mill. He legworked after a Fisk Investment Seminar at 4 points into my hand of 3 TFP and a Nisei. I forgot a Nisei Counter and then proceeding to lose a psy-game for TFP. I stood up after that psy game, my blood rushing. This was the worst play-related mistake I think I made all day and was a big blow to my mental game. I was able to get the mistake out of my mind during the next few matches which was huge.

2-2, I’m not feeling good

Round 3: Martin Gray

This opponent was a great guy, I enjoyed his runner brew and me and my friends talked about it a bunch on the way back.

G1: Replicating Perfection vs Geist

The dice roll that put me on corp changed everything. My RP skills are far better than my Noise and if I ran first I may have just spiraled downward for the rest of the day. This game was simple on my side, I made a lot of money and then scored out some agendas. I made a brazen play by slamming down a Celebrity gifts showing 9 points when I felt confident he couldn’t make it in and win a psi-game. I really needed this money because I was at the brink of broke. Rezzing a tollbooth and a Tsurigi on HQ isn’t cheap. My money situation also didn’t feel better when I drew into 5 agendas in the top 6 cards. This is one of those plays that not only requires a lot of confidence, or stupidity maybe, but also helps create the former. I scored Nisei Mk II a few turns later and his gang sign+ HQ interface let him win a single psi-game for his only 3 points of the game but I won the second one letting me keep afloat and score out. Winning 7-3 after making some risky plays that paid off really brought my confidence back. I’m feeling good going into Noise.

G2: Noise vs NEH 24/7

I died. Fast. The end.

Seriously, I lost within 6 turns. I hadn’t done the homework and assumed NEH would mean fast advance post-MWL and this doubled down when he scored an early astro. I dug for Imps after seeing my first traffic accident but this game comes down to a big misuse of my pre-tournament time which I will discuss later. If this game had come first then my confidence may had been too low for me to make some plays I needed to, like the aforementioned revealing 9 points. I want to blame my deckbuilding a lot here, as I’ll discuss later, but it was also just poor play. I should have been more proactive in preventing the kill than just digging for Imps I’d never see.

3-3. Here is where i learn I need to win 3 out of my next 4 games to have a chance at top 8. Seems rough coming off a 0-2 and 1-1 but I didn’t come here to be afraid. I came here to play some Netrunner.

Round 4: Alex Batty

Alex and his companion were fantastic. They became fast friends with me and my crew before the tournament began. This match could decide which one of us had a shot at making the cut so we sat down to play some Netrunner.

Game 1: Noise vs Tennin

This game came down to one key miscalculation from my opponent: My willingness to make bad plays. He attempted to sneak out a Nisei from behind a wraparound assuming I wouldn’t faust past it. I threw my hand down, sans one card, and snagged a Nisei. I had a corroder and David in hand so if I had just played them on click 2 like I was thinking about then I wouldn’t have had to sacrifice so much when I face checked the Wraparound on click 3, meaning I had to make up for my misplay with a risky one. A second david let me lock down his remote and I was able to score a couple more agendas and win this one. I did make one more major mistake though, and that was trashing his Museum of History. He only planned on making one server and that meant if he wanted to score he had to get rid of them himself, or he could spread himself too thin by going wider and letting me negate his ability on the turns it would matter. The 6 credits I spent on trashing them would have been better spent on a plethora of cards in my hand.

Game 2: Replicating Perfection vs Apocalypse MaxX

Ah yes, at last I meet MaxX. I was expecting her all day, even though I didn’t prep for her nearly enough, and here she was at last. This game was a slog-fest. It resembled The Battle of the Somme more than a game of Netrunner. I had moments where I was Siphoned from 1 to 0. He had moments of clicking for credit after credit to make a run. In the end, he lost a Levy to a Pup when he couldn’t break it and Assassin trashed his last Eater when he ran on it while low. This match required my trickiest plays of the day but somehow I made it to the end with 7 points in my score area.

5-3. Here I find out that I’m probably not getting in without another 2-0. This really invigorated me going into the last round of swiss.

Round 5: John Brooks

I keep saying this but once against, my opponent was a great guy. I sit down knowing that whatever happens here, this going to be the match that matters. Nisei misplays or dying to 24/7 earlier has no bearing on this match. I am here to score and steal 14 points.

Game 1: Replicating Perfection vs Reina

This game came down to two misplays from my opponent. The first was letting a naked sundew sit all game, which was also the only time I tried that all day since I had a read he wouldn’t run it.The second was putting his Knight on my Himitsu-Bako. I trashed it via the bounce ability and he spent too long looking for breakers while I scored out. This was the first round I feel like I didn’t make any major or noticeably misplays but it was an uneventful game. Most turns my opponent spent spamming Professional Contacts and made very few runs.

Game 2: Noise vs Haarps PyschoBeale

After seeing some Blue Level Clearance I should have put my opponent on vegan but I didn’t, and that was a mistake which led to me wasting a lot of clicks drawing up. I stole 4 points early while he built up econ and on my 3rd steal I was midseasoned to 13 tags. Now, if i had one strength in this game its my tenacity. Every turn I expected death, which I shouldn’t have but I did, and yet that didn’t stop me. I went full tag-me and hammered RnD with imps turn after turn going through a Gutenberg into a 17 strength resistor where I just let the trace fire. It only cost 3 credits since my opponent was too poor to pay into it post-midseason and the bad pub they took from an early Reality Threedee (which was swiftly imped to hell). I knew he didn’t have a Psychographics in hand and I had already scored two beales so all I had to do was keep controlling RnD for the win. Eventually I checked archives to find the winning agenda for that last swiss win.

7-3. I did it. I can’t believe I did it. I’m an arrogant guy and I like to aim high, but I’m still in shock. On the standings I saw myself as 6th going into top 8 cut with 7 and 8 being at 13 points to my 14. This means had I lost one of my last four games, I was done. Also exciting was seeing one of my crew getting in at 7th. Just a side note about SLO here is that we have about 6-7 people on our best days and there is no shop. We just meet up every Friday and play casually for a few hours. One half of our crew got in the top 8 of a 34 person tournament. I’m very glad to see our region represented seeing as it was just November of last year when we were only two plays teaching everyone we could to try and build a scene.

So on to top 8. Here I get to play against the real heavy hitters of the tournament including the aforementioned Ben Camm and Gerry Salinas who would go on to win the whole thing.

Winners Round One: Michael Summers: Replicating Perfection vs MaxX

This guy was cool, reminding himself every turn “I am punk rock” so he would trigger MaxX’s ability. It was an overall pleasure to play against him, even though we had a judge issue it was resolved. This game was so frustrating because I can’t remember, outside of the aforementioned judge issue, what exactly my bad plays were. I know they were there, such as losing a Caprice Psi-game on the apocalypse turn. I wish I had written more immediately post-match but I had to get ready quickly for my next match.

0-1, Still in it to win it. Still in top 8.

Losers Round 1: Clay Larson: Replicating Perfection vs Jesminder

I lucked out as he also hadn’t ran so we rolled for it and he chose runner. Clay was, surprising I know, a great guy. Some program trashing set him back but he made a noble effort to come back. In the end I scored out through raw fundamentals after he flubbed a psi-game on accident. It was late and he bet 2 credits to my 0, while I was at 1 credit. This game was fun though, and Jesminder is so cool. Glad to have gotten a win in top 8.

1-1, it’s late. I’m tired. Win the next match to reach top 4, or lose and get the real prize of eating Popeyes and going home. A win-win for me

Losers Round 2: Gerry Salinas: Haarps vs Noise

Here I made a few major errors that ended in my ejection from the tournament. I kept a hand with imps, aesops, and some other goodies expecting to use Imps to turn off the early kill. His turn one was three remotes. which I proceeded to ignore and instead hammer RnD. Not even HQ, just Imp at RnD. My thought process was it was unlikely he had key pieces in hand and that if I could just control RnD then I could lock out the game. It turns out the Gutenberg I imped let him mandatory draw into Scorched Earth. I should have turn one checked a few of them and maybe checked HQ with my Imp to grab some combo pieces. On the following turns he scored some profiteering, breaking news, and then proceeded to 24/7 me into one very dead runner. A lot of the errors here were two pronged: My in game mistakes and my prep mistakes which I’m about to tackle. Congratulations to Gerry for going on to win the whole thing!

1-2, Ejected from top 8.

So there it was, I tied for 5th/6th at my first real tournament. It was a positive experience and I can’t wait to go to another one. Most of my exposure to the competitve scene comes from Jinteki.net and the occasional podcast. Seeing just a glimpse of physical tournament play was fantastic and now I’ve got my sight set on the next goal: Winning one of these things. To do this is simple: I’m going to find my mistakes in both play, prep, and game philosophy. This is where I invite you, the reader, and anyone who met me on that day to assist and comment where they think I could have made better choices.

The Prep:

Going into the tournament I knew I’d be playing my Replicating Perfection build, heavily inspired by Noah Mckee with a few tunes. RP is my favorite deck in the game to play and if I could only play it for the rest of my life I wouldn’t mind one bit. The choice was obvious, although I flirted with going NEH Fast Advance with a list I made up in the margins of my notebook during a particular boring business class lecture. The list was fairly simple at the time:
Agenda (8)

1 Global Food Initiative ●​

1 NAPD Contract ○​

3 Nisei MK II

3 The Future Perfect
Asset (11)

1 Daily Business Show ●​

1 Executive Boot Camp ●​

3 Jackson Howard ●​●​●​

3 Mental Health Clinic

3 Sundew
ICE (16)

2 Crick

3 Eli 1.0 ●​●​●​○​○​○​

2 Enigma

1 Himitsu-Bako

1 Ichi 1.0 ●​●​

1 Lotus Field

3 Pup

1 Susanoo-No-Mikoto

2 Tollbooth ●​●​●​●​
Operation (9)

3 Celebrity Gift

1 Cerebral Static

3 Hedge Fund

2 Interns
Upgrade (5)

3 Caprice Nisei

1 Cyberdex Virus Suite

1 Marcus Batty

For a long time I knew that interns needed to go, the second was a crutch for weak play. I made some changes for MWL and ended up going with this:
Agenda (8)

1 Global Food Initiative ●​

1 NAPD Contract ○​

3 Nisei MK II

3 The Future Perfect
Asset (11)

1 Daily Business Show ●​

1 Executive Boot Camp ●​

3 Jackson Howard ●​●​●​

3 Mental Health Clinic

3 Sundew
ICE (16)

2 Crick

2 Eli 1.0 ●​●​○​○​

2 Enigma

1 Himitsu-Bako

1 Ichi 1.0 ●​●​

1 Lotus Field

3 Pup

1 Susanoo-No-Mikoto

1 Swordsman

1 Tollbooth ●​●​

1 Tsurugi
Operation (8)

3 Celebrity Gift

1 Cerebral Static

3 Hedge Fund

1 Interns
Upgrade (6)

3 Caprice Nisei

1 Cyberdex Virus Suite

2 Marcus Batty

I tested with this list a bunch in the week before the tournament and decided I was happy with it. I mainly sought out noise decks, loaning my noise deck to a friend even for some IRL practice. Online I would make Jinteki.net rooms titled “please play Noise”. I honed my ability to fight Noise. I played as him, and against him, and felt good about the matchup. I got my win rate to just above half my games which wasn’t bad seeing as before he would stomp me every time. This is error number one:

    There was silence. No Noise.

I was the only Noise player that I saw that day in every game I played, and even just looking around. What I should have prepared for was Apocalypse MaxX. I had done some minor prep and even changed my decklist the night before to:

Agenda (8)

1 Global Food Initiative ●​

1 NAPD Contract ○​

3 Nisei MK II

3 The Future Perfect
Asset (10)

1 Daily Business Show ●​

3 Jackson Howard ●​●​●​

3 Mental Health Clinic

3 Sundew
ICE (17)

1 Assassin

2 Crick

2 Eli 1.0 ●​●​○​○​

2 Enigma

1 Himitsu-Bako

1 Ichi 1.0 ●​●​

1 Lotus Field

3 Pup

1 Susanoo-No-Mikoto

1 Swordsman

1 Tollbooth ●​●​

1 Tsurugi
Operation (8)

3 Celebrity Gift

1 Cerebral Static

3 Hedge Fund

1 Interns
Upgrade (6)

3 Caprice Nisei

1 Crisium Grid ●​

1 Cyberdex Virus Suite

1 Marcus Batty

This was probably the best deck I could have brought for what I was trying to do. I think I made the correct call by going to 17 ice and cutting EBC for Crisium. These choices really helped my MaxX matchup more than I realized and were all made on a whim. I should have playtested more they luckily were the right call, winning me several matches throughout the day. I only wish I playtested against MaxX more, but overall RP was faithful and only lost me a single match during Swiss and that was due to my egregious Nisei misplay. I did lose one too many psi games for comfort though. With each mistake comes a chance to improve so here are my goals for Replicating Perfection (and corp in general)

Some things to improve on:

1.Don’t tunnel on your feared matchup. Be confident against the field and know each runner as they come so you aren’t wasting time and mental stamina trying to figure out each matchup. Instead, show up on the day prepared with the muscle memory of how to take on several of the best decks.
2.Trust your instincts, but test more. I wish I had tested with Assassin because he changed around a lot of my math. I’m too used to calculated a few turns ahead in credits with ice that doesn’t cost 7. It seems simple, but it threw me off big early in round 2.
3.Practice Psi-Games. I thought I really had these down and stopped recording them in my psi-game notebook. In the future I am going to make sure I always keep them recorded no matter how many I start winning.

Here’s where it gets bad, like really bad.

Noise

Noise also seemed a clear choice. He was the runner I learned this game on and I played him from August to about November. Issue is, after that he became a sporadic runner that I rarely played. To make up for this I marathoned Noise on Jinteki.net for a week before the tournament. I should add know that I only knew I’d be going on the Sunday before, hence my week long binge preparations. This is the list I tested with:

2 Faust

2 Adjusted Chronotype

3 Aesop’s Pawnshop

1 Medium

1 Hacktivist Meeting

2 Grimoire

3 Datasucker

1 Clot

1 Corroder

3 Parasite

2 D4v1d

3 Lamprey

3 Wyldside

1 Mimic

2 I’ve Had Worse

1 Clone Chip

3 Déjà Vu

3 Cache

3 Imp

2 Daily Casts

3 Street Peddler

This is a standard Noise build, teched for NBN kill and Foodcoats. This list is a tournament winner, I could have maybe threw in another clot but overall solid. I won game after game feeling good. So what went wrong?

This was the list I brought to the tournament:

Event (8)

3 Déjà Vu

2 Hacktivist Meeting

3 Sure Gamble
Hardware (3)

1 Clone Chip ●​●​○​

2 Grimoire
Program (20)

3 Cache ●​●​●​

1 Corroder

2 D4v1d

3 Datasucker

2 Faust

3 Imp

2 Lamprey

1 Mimic

3 Parasite ○​○​○​
Resource (14)

2 Adjusted Chronotype

3 Aesop’s Pawnshop ●​●​●​●​●​●​

3 Daily Casts

3 Street Peddler

3 Wyldside

This deck seemingly looks nice but is a disaster upon anything than a first viewing. I re-assembled my Noise deck the night before and somehow in my late night brain I threw in Sure Gamble. This was my worst possible mistake. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t supposed to be in there. This list has: No medium, no IHW, and runs a card that would encourage me to durdle in clicking for credits instead of enjoying me low-setup econ. I have no clue how I won games with this deck, and I think it is very obvious why I didn’t win as many as I could. I didn’t even double check my Jinteki.net list when I assembled this which contributed to the disaster. After a week of prep I threw all of it out and brought a deck with no oil for its gears. Medium serves a very important purpose, as do IHW. Both were needed and both were denied. My tired brain, having just driven from SLO to LA, didn’t register this and it never occurred to me until two days after the tournament. Turns out I really didn’t know my deck after all.

In terms of testing I also made some bad choices. For one, I didn’t seek out any matchups and was more okay with whatever showed up in Jinteki.net friendlies. I coasted win after win off pure fundamentals but didn’t’ actually learn that much. In fact, I had never played against Haarpsichord 24/7 until the day of the SC. I knew the theory behind the deck but not the practice and in the end it bit me. I wish I had sought out this deck more and actively learned the matchup as well as brought the right deck to combat it. This really stemmed from my arrogance against kill decks. From the moment I got the game I shared it with my SO. She has always loved Scorched earth and taking down runners so I am very used to fighting kill decks. I myself played Black Tree for a month before I finally moved to RP. What I failed to realize was that the games my deck would play against 24/7 were on an entirely different axis to those. In addition, we hadn’t practiced a lot together for this tournament so I’m not so sure I would have even done that well against traditional scorched decks either.

The store championship was a positive experience but now all I want to do is go to the next one with the knowledge I have learned. And to finish this giant wall of text here’s my last list of things to do:

Things to Improve On:

1.Bring the decks you tested with and double check. DUH. My brain just misfired so hard and it kept going on that line of thinking until the damage was done. It seems simple but I’m going to keep running decklists on my phone, not just Jinteki.net. It just shows I didn’t know my list well enough that I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

2.Test, test, and test some more. This is similar to my corp point, I need to seek out all the decks in the top tiers and know my way around them. For one, I am already testing against a lot more NBN.
3. Keep playing the same deck for more than a week. If I had switched to Noise way earlier maybe some of these mistakes could have been avoided. Sure I had lots of old memory on how to play but that was nigh four months ago and I didn’t even realize what cards were supposed to be in my deck. In the future I am going to more readily know my deck inside and out.

With that ends my long wall of text. Please let me know any thoughts/comments or if I said something that was wrong and you’d like to correct me.