The Omaha Regionals took place yesterday (5/23) out of The Game Shoppe in Bellevue (http://www.thegameshoppe.com/), so I'm trying to get this up while it's relatively fresh. All in all it was a great day -- there was a good sized contingent come out from Ames, a whole mess of folks up from Kansas City, some local players, and me repping Lincoln, NE by my lonesome. 29 players in total, with 4 or 5 of them bringing Store Championship byes (I was not among them). I knew next to nothing about any of these three metas, so I walked in pretty unsure of my chances but looking forward to some solid games. While waiting for the first round, I was pegged as "internet famous" (I'm still not sure why!) by KC's very own Brodie/Agent Archer, who, as it turns out, is a perfectly nice fellow.
Over the past couple of months, I've been refining an Edward Kim deck: http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/21211/good-stuff-ed. I'm still convinced that Ed could be a solid runner choice, but many of my practice games felt like I was working harder than I had to be. I'm going to give him another shot once Net Ready Eyes are out, but in the meantime I thought I needed something with a little more oomph for regionals. So I moved most of that basic shell over to Valencia while adding Blackmails and more draw, ending up with what I called "Good Stuff Val." No Protestors or fancy bad pub tricks -- just cheap accesses and as much pressure I could muster. Full list here: http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/21192/good-stuff-val-omaha-regional-winner-#
On the corp side, I went with a pretty standard, old school HBFA plan. I wasn't too excited about it -- I named it "Boring HBFA" -- but I figured it was a reliable counterpart to a runner I was still getting my footing with. As it turned out, I think this fit really nicely into a meta where most people were teched against slow RP or rushy NEH; the mid-range ice and overall speed of this deck sat in a sweet spot where no one was happy to sit down against it. I'd like to claim that this was a brilliant meta call on my part, but in all honesty I lucked into it. In any event, it didn't produce many blowouts and it had more than its share of squeakers, but it proved as dependable and steady as I hoped it to be. Full decklist here: http://netrunnerdb.com/en/decklist/21193/boring-hbfa-omaha-regional-winner-
Alright, onto the matches:
[Swiss 1] vs. P(eter?) from Ames, playing Kit/Blue Sun
I've got a soft spot in my heart for Kit, so I was excited to sit down against her for the first match. I believe this was actually some kind of Study Guide Kit build, but the Study Guide didn't hit the table until maybe two turns before the end. In the meantime, he dropped a Zu and started applying pressure -- I wasn't sweating it too much because I know my ice is all porous anyway; in fact I'm happier if Kit wants to spend 5 credits breaking an Eli than I am if she clicks through it. Steadily FAed out 7 points without too much difficulty. The game against Blue Sun was a blowout, to the extent that I almost felt guilty about it. D4v1d through his turn 1 (or 2?) OAI'd Orion. A couple of turns later he OAI'd a Curtain Wall -- I let the Negotiator on R&D fire with D4v1D as my only program, dropped a Clone Chip, and took out the Curtain wall. Scored a few points in the meantime, until he eventually successfully OAI'd a Curtain Wall and recouped it, at which point I backed off a bit for fear of Midseasons. Nonetheless, I'd accrued a pile of Datasucker tokens in the meantime, and after he hard rezzed a Curtain Wall I dropped a Parasite out of hand. From there, it was simple enough to close out. As a sidenote, this was the only game where I secretly wished I was playing Mr. Kim, as I accessed at least two of those OAIs as they came through R&D.
W: 2 L: 0
[Swiss 2] vs. ???? from Omaha, playing ???/NEH
Unfortunately, I've pretty much blanked this round entirely from my memory. The guy was super nice, so if you're reading this you have my apologies for forgetting your name. About the only thing I remember is from the NEH match. Early on I facechecked into an Architect on R&D and he misplayed by creating a new remote, forcing a draw and leaving me to access the Astroscript which had been the 2nd card down in R&D. I think the runner was Kate or Andy, only because I don't remember any unusual shenanigans. Anyway, 2 more wins meant a strong start to Swiss, especially with the bulk of the field splitting their early games.
W: 4 L: 0
[Swiss 3] vs. Isaiah (sp?) from Ames, playing Noise/RP
This was a great set of games. The Noise deck was solid -- Isaiah wasn't playing solitaire or trying to setup 25 card Medium runs, but instead just applying constant pressure and checking Archives on the regular to keep me honest. Nonetheless, FA and plenty of mill protection from Jackson/Archived Memories pulled me through in good form. Against RP, he Gifted turn 1, showing me 2 Sundews and a False Lead. I dropped a Desperado and went digging for the Sundews, but came up with a False Lead instead. I nabbed a TFP relatively early off of R&D, and then we settled into a midgame that was getting increasingly uncomfortable for me with Caprice-protected Sundew. I made a pretty big misplay about 1/2 way through the game, playing a Wyldside while momentarily forgetting that I had pitched 1 of my 2 Chronotypes to a Pup early on -- playing 3 click turns against RP is doesn't leave a lot of time for screwing around. Nonetheless, I spotted another TFP in a lightly-defended HQ and though I lost the psi game it spooked him into IAA'ing it behind the Caprice (and some unrezzed ice) the next turn, trashing the Sundew in the process. I was comfortable with him scoring the TFP, but I was also spooked that he was sneaking a Nisei through, so I bit the bullet and burned a Blackmail fully expecting to lose the Psi game on Caprice. We both bid 1 and I walked into round 4 undefeated.
W: 6 L: 0
[Swiss 4] vs. Mason from KC, playing NEH and PPVP Kate
Mason was the only other undefeated player at this point, so I knew I was heading into some rough matches. He was repping KC pretty hard with a Royals cap and shirt, and a couple of the Omaha folks who weren't faring so well were grumbling that I had to defend Nebraskan home turf, so the pressure was on. He played NEH first; this isn't my favorite matchup but when things go well I've got the tech to deal with it. Unfortunately, this game was not a case of things going well. My opening hand was a Wyldside and no other econ/draw, so I mulled into hand of all programs and Clone Chips. I did Blackmail an early Beale he tried to sneak through, but I spent most of the time drawing heavily for econ and not finding it -- this, by the way, is exactly why I was wary of a 50 card runner. Nonetheless, I dropped a Scrubber and managed to stay on top of his assets, but he scored the first Astro soon after and quickly pushed through the remaining 5 points in good order, making for my first loss of the day. We flipped sides and he revealed Kate, with me groaning inwardly, knowing that a) I have to guess in advance whether Crisium will be more useful for Legwork or Indexing, b) if things go well for him he will actually have the cash to stay on top of my asset econ, and c) there's a good chance he's packing Clot. Things started off well for me, though, with plenty of Campaign cash rolling in and a moderately defended remote. All agendas were scored under threat of Clot, but I pushed them out nonetheless. I don't recall the exact order, but I believe I installed a Chronos Protocol in the remote and scored it the next turn, FA'd a 3/2 out when he was tight on MU and didn't want to trash a breaker to SMC the Clot, and scored an NAPD from IA behind an Ash in the remote when he was low on cash. The final 2 points came from installing and advancing into a remote with two facedown upgrades. I paused after the first advance and offered the opportunity to fetch Clot, but he thought the two facedown upgrades were Ash/Caprice and I was just trying to bait the Clot before spending my Biotic. I advanced the second time, rezzed the SanSan, and claimed the game. (FWIW, barring a Stimhack out of hand I don't think he could have accessed the remote and beaten the Ash trace the next turn anyway.) It was a squeaker, though -- potential Clot missteps aside, I believe he ended at 5 points, and that was after whiffing on an Indexing during the midgame.
W: 7 L: 1
[Swiss 5] vs Chris F. (from Ames?), playing Iain/NEH
Mason (from the previous round) and I were still the #1/2 seats (he had a slight edge in SoS), but since we paired off in the previous round we were matched against the next folks down the list. I felt a little awkward about this, knowing that I was pretty much guaranteed a seat in the top 8 but that I would probably knock him out if I won. I figured the right thing to do was play it straight up and aim for the top seed, so that's what I did. He played his Iain first, which I was pretty stoked to see at one of the top tables. It was some intense drip econ in a Supplier/Underworld/Data Folding build, which I immediately -- and it turned out mistakenly -- assumed would be too slow/passive to pose much of a threat. It did indeed start off fairly passive, but with enough pressure in the form of raw cash that I was forced to slow down an install ice anyway. By the time I would have rezzed any of that ice it was pretty irrelevant, as he was sitting on a bundle of cash with more rolling in every turn, and a full suite of breakers. So I barely rezzed anything, saving the money for FA efforts. In fact, I think I ended the game with a single piece of ice rezzed over R&D/HQ). I won the RNG of accesses and draws, though, and Biotic'ed out the final 2 points before it was too late. We swapped sides, and if round 4 was an example of how everything can go wrong against NEH with this deck, this was a textbook case of everything going right. Clot and Desperado in the opening made keeping the hand a no brainer. An early Lotus Field rez was met with a quick 4tman, and later he tried to setup a Blacklist behind a Wraparound to prevent Clone Chipping a Clot, but I already had the Corroder in hand. After that it was just a question of checking remotes and continuing to pressure centrals until I scored out. I did knock Chris out of the top 8, which was a shame becaue he's a great player and the Iain deck was a breath of fresh air.
W: 9 L: 1, entering elims as top seed.
[Elim 1] vs. Brodie from KC, playing PPVP Kate
Since I was top seed, I chose to corp first. I didn't know what Brodie was playing, but the Val deck has some rough Glacier matchups, and as the game against Mason showed in round 4, it's not like NEH is a sure thing either. People had also been splitting corp wins all day, and I figured this way I was at least more likely to make top 4. Anyway, he pulled out Kate and I groaned for all the same reasons listed in the matchup against Mason above. The match was fairly similar to the previous game against PPVP Kate, with me trying to push agendas out through Clot. One memorable and awkward moment came in the midgame, though, when I had two facedown cards in a remote and he had a Clot in the heap with a Clone Chip on the table. At the start of my turn, I rezzed the SanSan (misplay -- still getting used to the order in a post-Clot world) and he brought the Clot onto the table. I let him know that the agendas was already installed and offered to let him take it back if it was a misplay, but he (quite cleverly, as it turned out) stuck to his guns. I sat and puzzled for a minute or two, then made a weird play where I Biotic'ed, wiped viruses, and installed something (it was either an ice over R&D or something to further bolster the remote; can't remember). He couldn't get into the remote that turn, though, so on the next go around I proceeded to advance and score the Chronos Project, removing the Clot entirely, which had been the plan from the get go. Anyway, after that, Brodie kept some solid pressure on my centrals, but FAing out the remaining points without the threat of Clot was relatively smooth sailing.
[Elim 2] vs. Isaiah from Ames, playing Noise
This was a rematch from round 3 of Swiss. We had both corped the previous round, but I won the coin flip. I knew I couldn't rely on winning 2 out of 4 psi games again, so I chose to corp. True to form from the first go around, though, Isaiah's Noise brought some serious pressure, hitting my centrals hard and this time bringing Clot to bear as well. I don't remember a ton of details from this game except for feeling beleagured throughout. Nonetheless, I squeezed out 6 points to his 5 as we moved into the end game. He dropped a Knight and made one more check on Archives, Clone Chipping back Clot mid-run for one extra mill. I flipped over the face down cards and thought he won for a minute, until I realized the agenda in Archives was the second Chronos Project, putting him at 6. Next turn I advanced the agenda already on the table, and closed it out.
[Elim 3] vs. Nil.
Apparently, the other guy remaining in the upper bracket at this point was content with the top 4 prizes, and as the evening was getting late decided to take off. I didn't feel entirely great about moving into the finals this way, but hey, it's out of my hands.
Without trying to scout, I did notice that the four players remaining in the lower bracket were all from KC, so no matter who pulled themselves back up I'd be facing someone from that crew. In the meantime, my girlfriend (and ride home) showed up, so I took the opportunity to get outside and get some fresh air while the KC boys sorted it out amongst themselves.
[Finals, Match 1] vs. Joshua T. from KC, playing HB Glacier
I feel like a total douchebag for forgetting this guy's name, but by this point in the night my mind was pretty fried from 10+ solid hours of Netrunner. [Update: Added Joshua's name, courtesy of Brodie. Still feel like a d-bag.] Anyway, once I pieced together that this was glacier and not FA, I knew I was in trouble. 1 BP and a Desperado credit are phenomenal at mitigating the cost of running a server with a single Wraparound, but proportionally they're not so hot against a double Eli/Architect on R&D. Anyway, I started off in okay shape with a Desperado and piled up some Datasucker tokens, but I wasn't seeing any points. Then I go to check multiple cards in a remote and run straight into a Sherlock. SHERLOCK. Meanwhile, Caprice gets a free rez from Breaker Bay. Anyway, Datasucker's the only program on the table, so I let it eat the handful of tokens I've piled up and proceeded to lose the Caprice game. He scores out a Vitruvius, I setup the pancakes combo and trash a few things out of R&D. I can tell he's feeling pressured, but with me at 0 points and his servers already setup, I'm pretty sure he's already got this game in the bag. A few turns later IAAs something in the super server. I Blackmail back through the new ice, D4v1d through the Sherlock, win the psi game, and he rezzes an Ash with a steep trace (10, I think). I'm thinking I need to take care of Caprice while I can, so I beat the trace and acccess -- it's an NAPD, leaving me with enough credits (counting Scrubber) if I steal it to trash BBG/Caprice or Ash, but not all 3. In retrospect, I think I should have let him score the NAPD and cleared out the server, but instead I opted to trash the Caprice/BBG and steal. The next turn he reinforced the remote with more upgrades, and I saw the coffin sealing up. I made some more ineffectual runs on centrals, including a highly questionable decision to install an Atman at 3 because I couldn't find a Mimic anywhere. He scored out an overadvanced Vitruvius (presumably for Caprice/Ash retrieval if I managed to clear out the super server again), while I'm stuck taking expensive pokes at centrals. A few turns later, he IAd something into a central and I'm left puzzling out what it could be -- Eff Comm seems out of place, and a misplayed NAPD (forgetting bad pub) seemed unlikely since he had done it correctly before. My best guess is it's another 3/2 and he wants to immediately reinstall; I break back through the ice on the server, lose the Caprice game, and can't get back in without more suckers (Turing). The next turn, he advances once more and moneys up, I hit an NAPD and steal it, and then he triple advances -- turns out it was a 5/3 (Eden, maybe?), and he was planning to Biotic the previous turn but the psi game and ice rezzes forced him off that plan.
[Finals, Match 2] playing Stealth Andy
I felt better going into this round, knowing the matchup against Stealth Andy is pretty solid, and he confirmed that's what he's running first turn when he installed a Cloak. As much as I'd like to regale you with tales of my heroic efforts, the truth is that I won this round owing as much to his bad draw as anything else. No Sec Test or Desperado in the opening or mull, and while he did find a Sec Test relatively early, the Desperado didn't show up until quite late, causing him some significant MU problems in the mid game. On the other hand, to my credit, Crisium and Tollbooth on HQ did exactly what they were supposed to, shutting down Siphon spam before it had a chance to get going. He nabbed a few points out of HQ and I believe an NAPD out of R&D, but my scoring remote stayed safe enough to FA out 5 points, so as the game was winding down, we were both sitting on game point. I had a rezzed SanSan/Ash sitting behind a couple of pieces of unrezzed ice, and an unrezzed Ash on HQ which I was hoping (I think accurately) he believed to be a Crisium. Since I hadn't scored out yet, he knew HQ was dry and hit R&D with an RDI installed, whiffing on the top two. The next turn, I rezzed a Jackson and used him once, hitting a Vitruvius as the card immediately below his RDI depth. I install two cards (another SanSan, just in case the first one got trashed, and Eve because I've got nothing else to do with the click and figure it might at least burn his time to check it) in new remotes, and wait it out. He checks Archives to no avail, runs R&D and I Jackson back in some fluff to reduce the density while silently praying to the RNG. He whiffs again and spends his last click and all his credits getting through an Eli/Tollbooth on HQ, at which point I rez the Ash. I showed the Vitruvius, shook his hand, and claimed the trophy.