Let me start by linking to the inspiration to the title of this post.
I used to play Legend of the Five Rings, and was on a team there that was the inspiration for the villains in this film. The Gamers films are fun fluff, and Gamers 3 is great if you play card games, as you’ll get a lot of the humour.
Worlds 2014 was a great time. I loved 2013, but 2014 allowed me to not only see people from the previous year, but to also put faces to names from many people I’ve met online since. Quite a few of those were from this site.
The goal, like always, was to make the cut. For whatever shortsighted reasons they had, FFG decided that last year’s FRI/SAT dates for ANR weren’t going to make the space involved. SO, as a result, their biggest game suffered. With more players (240ish to 150ish) than last year, they had a smaller cut (16, from 32) and worse prizes (mats only to T8 than T16). For this privilege, we got to pay double the entry fee.
Alright, enough complaining about that. Basically, the cut was going to be brutal, and lots of great players were going to be left in the cold. I finished 7th in the Swiss last year, and doubt I’d improve upon that against a tougher field.
I was wrong.
I really didn’t want to play Kate, but thought she would be able to cover the field. I also have been playing some version of the deck over the past year plus, so, that helps. Corp-wise, I decided to be part of the problem, and play NEH. I hated having Biotics stack, and love ICE, so going to a 3 Architect build felt good. Not sure if people were going to be ready for the frequency at which I dropped Architect, and, they mostly weren’t.
On to the games. I’ll try to be succinct.
R1 - Name forgotten, Tennin/Andy
Tight opener to Worlds, just like last year for me. Then, I climbed back after going down 6-0 to Kit to win. This time, I go down 6-1 to Tennin. I tell myself this is no way to start Worlds, and fight back, having to LARLA to get my money going again. You know what sucks when you’re running Atman and Snowball? Ice Wall in Tennin. I got up to 8 strength, so I installed multiple Suckers, ran a few times to build them, and burned it down with a Parasite. I believe I got the win by deep digging R&D and winning a TFP Psi battle. It was an interesting Tennin deck, that actually built a 3 ICE deep remote. Had to respect that.
He was running an Andy Connections deck. A little slow for NEH, but it didn’t hurt that I had double Sweeps/Tollbooth on HQ off the bat. I quickly went up to 3 ICE on HQ, and good thing, as he had Feint/Shutdown. The APPs quickly rolled under a hot SanSan to finish it.
R2 - Name forgotten, RP/Andy (?)
I honestly forgot the Runner game. Think I had a pretty broke start money-wise and blitzed out. Happens a bit with NEHFA. Corp-wise, he had a great RP start, and was the most aggressive RP player I’ve played. I got 4 points by plinking R&D, IRRC, but he quickly pushed out a Nisei and a TFP. I let them go, as it would have been a ridiculous waste of time and resources to go after the remote. I was in trouble, knew he was on little money. I installed 2 RDI, and pushed into R&D. He rezzed ICE, I believe, leaving him at 1 cred. I hit a TFP, and could just come back in to get it. He magnanimously skipped the Psi games and offered the hand. Great guy, and I believe I played him before in a previous tourney.
R3 - Jens Erickson, NEH/Andy
Here we go. Jens and I have played twice before, and I have a 3-1 record v. him. One of the most aggro players I know, and I wasn’t looking forward to the matchup. However, since I shared a bed with Lady Luck (and @Nordrunner; we had a threesome) the night before, I was able to pull it out. After turns of building with nothing occurring, Jens Biotic’d out an APP, leaving him with 2 unrezzed ICE on both R&D and HQ. Click one, I Maker’s; 3 ICE. Click two, I Legwork: Beale, NAPD, Beale. I felt terrible, and that was pretty much the game. R&D locked for the win.
Not remembering much from the next game, but, I believe it was pretty ugly. Jens was intent on destroying every remote server, using Kati and SecTesting. I let him, built cash, and Biotic’d out cards, Jacksoning tools I needed. Like every Crim I faced on Saturday, he didn’t land a Siphon.
Alright, 3 rounds in, and undefeated. DEFINITELY not something I was expecting. However, this was the match I was and wasn’t expecting. Best to get it out of the way early. Dan started with RP, and managed to CelebGift/drop a nasty piece of ICE he showed me (Komainu, Thorns, Tsurugi) 3 of his first 4 turns. I was digging for answers, and couldn’t get a nice econ engine going. Basically, I conceded that game, as I felt it was fairly lost from the start. I can compete with RP (my fave build currently), but not after that start. On the plus side, we were on the stream, and I felt like we were entertaining. Mood was light, and I tried to give Dan some shit. For example, he rattles off the exact influence of the corp deck I’m about to play. I feign being aghast, asking how he knows that? I state that he scouted me, and ask for a judge. He has a second or two of shock on his face, before I note, “Oh, well, maybe you know it because you sat next to me last round, and I related my influence build to my opponent afterwards.”. Lightened the mood.
FFG dude whispered in my ear that the stream could see that I had an expletive on my shirt. I laughed, and buttoned up. Here’s the shirt.
Game two was blazingly fast. R&D was leaky, and he dropped an RDI and went to town. I pushed out two APPs with tokens; never a good thing. He tries to Siphon, but is stopped by a Quandary. He gets to 5, but left me with a hot SanSan. I Fast Track for the APP, score it, and then score the BN from hand in one turn to win. whew
R5 - Tim Bunn, RP/Gabe
Ah, Tim. We were at table 2, and also met at table 2 at Gencon. What a great dude. Really nice, with a dry sense of humour.
Alright, enough with the reacharound. On to the games. I don’t remember a lot about the RP game, but I believe that ICE was destroyed, and remotes were sniped. Tim had a pretty bad start, IIRC. In the Gabe match, I left R&D open, as I had little ICE and was worried about Gabe, because he’s Gabe, who was a great meta call for the NEH-heavy environ. He turn 1 drops RDI, and scores a few agendas. I’m able to stabilize, and start getting money and pushing out the APPs I started the game with. Lucky draw. He doesn’t have the money to keep up, but the game is at 6-6, IIRC. I have 4 cards in hand, with a BN and NAPD among them. Tim could’ve Legworked (HQ was 4 ICE deep at this point), and gotten in for the win. He didn’t know. Instead, he decided for an R&D deep dig, and whiffed.
R6 - Jesse Meulb, Blue Sun/Noise
Round 6, Table 3, and THIS is what I sit down across from. Love this game. Hadn’t faced these IDs yet today, so I was pretty excited for the match. He took BS first, and gave me a good lesson on a new archetype. We both built money, and I refused to give him money by running. I manage to get one, and then two Plascrete out. However, after R&D and HQ are 2-3 ICE deep, he Mushin no Shin’s and drops an Off the Grid.
I run HQ and then R&D, to at least start forcing some creds to be spent. He returns the OtG, and triple advances and overscores an Atlas. Game is on. We keep going back and forth. I score 4 points, he scores a Hades Shard, and uses it liberally, bringing back stuff he dumped after heavily pounding Jackson draws. He pushes another Mushin for the win. I attack HQ, and he rezzes a Lotus. I drop my last Clone Chip for an Atman 4, and he crushes me with an Archer (sacking Atlas) after it. I had Mimic with 2 Sucker counters, and the Shooter in the bin. He kills the Atman and Snowball. Well played.
I’m desperate, so I LARLA to get cash and the breakers back. He scores a PriReq after installing a Curtain Wall on R&D, rezzing it. I build money and draw for breakers/search. He draws, as well. It’s a race. He Mushins out for the win, and I take a deep R&D homerun swing. I figure, at this state, there have to be some Agendas. I hit a 5/3 to pull it out.
Based on the amount of words I typed, I’m sure you can tell this was my fave game of the tourney. The NEH/Noise wasn’t so hot. He pushed R&D hard, and had some good accesses. However, he didn’t have much money, and only installed 3-4 viruses all game. I was able to recover from my worst ICE start of the tourney (and v. Parasites, to boot) to pull it out.
R7 - Mihn Tran, PE/Andy
OK, so, get this. Round 5, my friend and reason I play this Aaron Andries, are sitting at Tables 1 and 2. Aaron is playing Mihn, and picks PE first (of course). We’re chatting, having a good time, and then Mihn drops a Sweeps Week on Aaron’s Andy. We all start laughing, in semi-shock. Then, he drops a second. We lose our shit as if Oprah just noted that Order and Chaos was taped to the bottom of everyone’s seats (FFG would never do anything that cool), and our shocked laughing echoes throughout the hall, prompting a ton of ‘WTF??!?’ looks. Even Mihn, a stone-faced killah, cracks a smile and takes a pic. Best part was Damon Stone coming over to note that technically we were scouting. I said, “How the F does knowing he has Sweeps Week matter if he has it in opening hand?”. He left.
On to the match. While the Blue Sun was my favourite match, this was the most epic. He chooses to Corp, and rightly so. However, I’m fairly teched against PE, and, since I know I’m in the T16, I’m using this as a fact-finding mission. My goal is to extend the game as long as possible, and see all of the influence in the deck. I can’t remember the details, but I’ll give you a few notes:
- I decided to spend the first time through my deck running every remote. I got Deus Ex out ASAP, and got the Clone Chips going, as well. Managed to score a Fetal and House of Knives in the first 30 minutes of the game, while he scored a House of Knives. I ran into Psychic Fields, Junebugs, Snares (rode the tags), Ronins, and agendas.
- About 25 minutes in, I saw a few people watching (was at table 1), including Lukas. I asked if he was enjoying the show, and he laughed out a ‘Yes.’.
- After I lost my Deus and last Clone Chip, I got a little nervous. Mihn saw the situation, and got chippy, scoring a Gila. I pushed for my only SOT, as LARLA was in the garbage. SOT was second card from the bottom, which I fired immediately.
- Decided to start hitting R&D, which was protected by a lone Yagura. I didn’t want multiple access, so it was two creds every access. I saved the Parasite as hit points. Eventually plinked out a Philotic (thank gods!) and Gila.
- Ran hand once, and saw an EMP. Uh oh. Figure he has multiples.
- Game is almost 50 minutes old, with a good crowd of about 30-40 people watching. Most were done, and waiting for the final standings. It seemed that @mtgred was feeling that crowd more than I, as I tuned them out. I finally ran into an Agenda: TFP. I already had about 5 Psi games with Mihn so far, and noted he bid 2 every time, prob. as a tax. Cool move. Would he try that on game point? I had laid my hand out to the side prior to this, as it just became hit points. I was down to one card. We bid, I nod, he opens his hand to reveal two. I drop my two counters from hand, and the place erupts. Multiple people noted to me that was the best game they had ever seen (this was prior to the finals, which were awesome, IMHO). Fun times.
We only had around 9 minutes for our second game. He last click Sneakdoors into an Architect, and I score out an APP next turn, and quickly follow it with a Beale. Given two more turns, I would’ve won, but we ran out of time.
The terrible cost of me winning was it cost Aaron a spot in the T16; he finished 17th. If I throw a game to Mihn, Aaron makes it in on SoS. Alright, so much for the brief report. Let’s wrap this up, @spags.
T16 - David ‘Cerberus’ Hoyland, Andy
Before the match, we banter a bit, and I note how I enjoyed his articles on his road to the UK National Championship, which he won. David noted that a lot of people hated the idea of an invitational, but I thought it was brilliant, and what the game needs. We both mulligan, and I joke to him, ‘Keep?’ after the redraw. His face is ashen. His first turn: Desperado, Kati, click Kati, click for a cred.
You read that right. I felt awful. Terrible draw. Despite that, he manages to dig and build a quick rig. I push out tons of cash assets. I have leaky ICE on HQ, but it’s 3-4 deep. R&D is Architect and Tollbooth. He had to faceplant an Architect, which led me to install ICE from R&D (wraparound) and an APP from hand behind it (my hand was full of Agendas). I score it next turn, and Biotic another for 2 APPs with tokens, which I love. He starts Siphoning me, and Shuts the Tollbooth down. On the second Siphon, I rez a SanSan, and then score an NAPD on it. Thank goodness he doesn’t have Legwork. Despite that terrible start, he gets 3 points from R&D.
Don’t worry about Dave: he went on to triple Scorch his next two opponents and make Top 8.
T16 game 2, winner’s bracket - Andy Shebuski from Wausau, WI, NEH
Another Wisconsinite in the Top 16! Well done! Shame we have to play. He makes a bold play on turn 2, dropping two face down cards. I run both, trashing a SanSan and scoring an APP. I push R&D, scoring 2 more to go to 6. However, my next access is Scorched. I freeze, and quickly draw up. I eventually drop a Plas, and continue to push R&D. He pushes out agendas through a SanSan (couldn’t get into ICE’d remote), and I run out of creds. No PPVP. I drop an RDI, looking for something. He scores another APP and a Beale, taking all of the 3/2s out of the deck. I manage to get an Agenda, but it’s an NAPD and I am broke. He overdraws for 2 turns, I can’t get money or Legworks, and he drops the BN for the win. Great game. Wish I won, 'cause not only would I get a rematch v. Dan, but I’d be in the T8 guaranteed, and among the dex I’m tuned against.
T16 loser’s bracket - El-ad, NEH
Yeah, a worst case scenario for me. I have a good opener (2 SMC, Lucky, Astrolabe), but I foolishly run his two facedowns, which are PADs. Should’ve known he wasn’t ballsy enough to push out an Agenda. All he does is ICE R&D, fix his hand with Howard, and score from the deck. Good times.
Well, so ends the glory run. I have nothing more to show for it than most, due to the dearth of prize support, which really makes me question going to Worlds in the future. Reminds me of when I played L5R, where eventually I would go to tourneys for the people more than the game, for the prizes sucked. I did have a lot of fun, met a bunch of people, and had some great games.
On to the Props and Slops wrap-up:
Slops: FFG. I am really glad they have a Worlds situation, but what is the point of having it all jammed together like it is? 3 of the top 4 in Conquest were Netrunner players who had to drop out of the main ANR Worlds to play in the top 16. I could’ve made T16 in it, but, I wanted to play Netrunner. I traded my final round of Swiss win for a promo to let another Netrunner have a shot at the Conquest title.
Slops: Jurgen/Axul. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but he was caught cheating multiple times on OCTGN. Then, at Worlds, I hear stories of him pulling shit in both Conquest and ANR. If they start a banned player list, he may make the first cut. FWIW, I lived up to my asshole reputation with this exchange. I was playing against Axul in the draft, and @mediohxcore started talking to him and introduced himself. They were having a good time, and I didn’t like how some things went down in game one of our draft match, as it really seemed like he scouted me out.
Me: “Oh, Dan, this is also the guy who cheated in the Stimhack league.”
Dan, puzzled: “…oh?”
Axul, stammering: “Well, uh…,that’s just one side of the story.”
Me: “Well, there are two sides: yours, and the one full of screencaps of you blatantly cheating.”
Dan, walking away: “Shots fired!”
Props: The hot tub crew. You’re the best, and you know who you are. You contained 5 of the T16.
Slops: FFG, again. I was severely disappointed with many things. The move of the day/time. The ambiguity and fear beforehand of people even being able to get in. The increase in entry fee, yet halving the cut and prize support. A mediocre alt-art card. Using shite software that prob. cost Aaron the cut (he finished 17th) due to non-weighted SoS (Aaron’s 2nd round opponent dropped) and pairing by name, always pairing him up. I like the people at FFG; they’re all pretty cool. Lukas and Ian are really cool dudes, as is Mark. However, why was Worlds a poorer experience than last year? Sad.
Slops: Sleep Number beds at the Radisson. Honestly, I would have rather slept on the floor. Sleeping in it with another person was like sharing an air mattress with a wild animal.
Props: The bathroom in Radisson lobby was top notch. I daily dropped a deuce in there while Hearthstoning. Mood lighting, floor-to-ceiling walls, wooden doors on the stalls, great smells. Top notch, Radisson.
Final Prop: Mad shout to my sparring partner, and friend, Aaron Andries. Always a great sounding board, we have been playing this game together since the get. If not for him, I’m not only not as good as I am, but I’m not playing at all. Together, we both made Top 17 in back-to-back years. Not bad for a couple of ‘old men’, accordingly to the crue we were with this weekend.
Oh, shit. Forgot the decklists: