The Long Road
If you have never travelled interstate/internationally for your hobby, I recommend you do so. If you’re the type of person that derives enjoyment from individual achievement or community interaction, a trip is the best way to satisfy those needs. Over the past year I’ve been making an effort to travel to Australia’s various “City Grids” to both compete and (in an age of digital interaction) put names to faces. My previous trek led me to Brisbane for their Chronos Protocol where I witnessed a community of strong players and even stronger personalities. For regional season this year I put Adelaide in my sights and was lucky enough to be joined by fellow Melbournite and Donut fanatic Jesse for the trip.
How Australian travel feels sometimes
A quick aside for those unfamiliar with Australian geography, Adelaide is about 700km (roughly 450 miles) from Melbourne. The state of Victoria where Melbourne sits is about the size of the UK. As you can see, Australia is a really big place and going to an interstate event is not as easy (or cheap) as you’d want it to be. Because of this, out-of-state attendance can be rare and stores have to rely on local players to get numbers.
I will be the first person to admit that my deck building skills are poor at best. I’m much more confident picking up someone else’s lists and grinding out some games, tailoring to the expected meta or my personal preferences along the way. Speaking of meta, Adelaide seems to have had a love affair with Jinteki for a while. I expected to face a lot of it as well as NBN fast advance on the Corporation side. Kate and Andy were my prime suspects for Runners.
Haas Bioroid: ETF
3x Accelerated Beta Test
1x NAPD Contract
3x Priority Requisition
1x Project Wotan
3x Jackson Howard
3x Melange Mining Corp
3x Adonis Campaign
3x Eve Campaign
3x ASH 2X3ZB9CY
1x Caprice Nisei
3x Hedge Fund
3x Eli 1.0
1x Wall of Static
2x Heimdall 1.0
1x Victor 2.0
3x Ichi 1.0
I think NBN is one of, if not the most powerful deck at the moment. I avoided it for two main reasons;
- It has been popular for a long while so people have had plenty of time to play against it
- The deck is about as fun as cold porridge
When I saw the UK nationals list I was pretty excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve jammed 5/3 agendas in my deck, let alone 4 of them. The deck was also playing 20 ICE and 15 economy cards! One of the best ways to counter variance and terrible opening hands is to just play more of the basic stuff.
After a few games with the original list there were some small changes I wanted to make. Successful demonstration just wasn’t doing it for me. Over multiple games they would just rot in my hand, which was not what I wanted in an economy card. The easy replacement was Adonis, which I actually prefer over Eve anyway. It felt like the right choice as I often hit the critical mass of campaigns where the Runner didn’t want to trash them.
As far as the ICE goes the original is very soft to an Atman at 4. Not a lot I could do without lowering the overall quality significantly, but switching the Bastion for a Wall of Static was probably correct. I also cut the pair of Caduceus (Caducei?) because of my meta expectations. Tracers like this are weak against the 1-link runners and Mimic is still a very popular breaker.
With 2 extra spots and 4 influence there was a lot of options in front of me. A big sentry would’ve been nice and influence would’ve allowed for a Shinobi or Susanoo. Many of my test games I found myself wishing for another upgrade and (though I’ve never played her before) I decided to take a chance on Caprice. Ultimately, this was a horrible decision and caprice did exactly nothing the entire day.
“Watch this. It’ll be funny.”
3x Account Syphon
3x Deja Vu
3x Sure Gamble
2x Plascrete Carapace
3x Armitage Codebusting
3x Data Leak Reversal
2x John Masanori
3x Same Old Thing
3x Gorman Drip v1
I’ve talked about the Sam Suied style Noise deck before and have had some of the most fun with it while still being competitive. After testing some other decks off stimhack I decided to stick to what I knew. This may have paid off in multiple ways; confidence is always a good thing to have and knowing what to do from experience was a big plus. Also, the deck might not have been on everyone’s radar and given me a bit of a surprise factor.
There were a few changes made for the event. With Weyland on the decline it felt safe to cut the plascretes down to 2. Haemorrhage has been good in the past but is a comparatively low impact card. A recent video over at Team Covenant got me excited about running Datasucker in the build. It makes Parasite and Crypsis much better and lowers the average cost of the deck. Medium gives you another angle to pressure the corps ICE and probably should have been there in the first place.
19 Runners rocked up to the event, 3 of which had byes from store championships. Myself and Jesse made up 2/3rds of the interstate contingent, keen to block the home team from keeping their trophy. For those of you who like stats, here’s a bit of a breakdown.
NBN: 8 (7 MN, 1 TWIY)
Jinteki: 5 (2 Tennen, 2 RP, 1 PE)
HB: 3 (2 ETF, 1 CI)
Weyland: 3 (2 GRNDL, 1 BABW)
Criminal: 8 (3 Andy, 3 Silhouette, 2 Ken)
Shaper: 6 (4 Kate, 1 Kit, 1 Exile)
Anarch: 5 (3 Noise, 1 Reina, 1 Whizzard)
If we shift focus to just the top 8 after swiss rounds;
NBN: 4 (MN)
Jinteki: 1 (Tennen)
HB: 2 (ETF, CI)
Weyland: 1 (GRNDL)
Criminal: 3 (2 Ken, 1 Silhouette)
Shaper: 3 (Kate)
Anarch: 2 (Reina, Noise)
Making news was certainly the choice of the day, making up 36% of the field and half of the top 8. Jinteki was the next most represented corp but only a lone Tennen survived the swiss rounds. On the Runner side Kate was the pick of the day, though every Ken and Reina made the cut. In a surprise upset, none of the Andromedas managed more than 8 Prestige leaving them on the sidelines for top 8.
I was happy with my performance during the swiss rounds, finishing in second spot on 12 Prestige with zero byes. HB was my stronger deck going undefeated; Noise dropped 2 games against Making News.
The Top 8
This tournament would be my first using the updated double elimination structure. I was convinced that it was a good idea, taking out the need for agenda point counting and (hopefully) making for a shorter top 8. After playing it through, it feels right. Netrunner is a game of stories and drama so having people fight back from losers bracket seems fitting.
As far as my personal efforts in top 8, I dropped the first game against Cerebral Imaging. He was playing the scorched earth variant and managed to get an Ichi 1 and Victor 2 up on HQ early. Without Parasite, there was no easy way in though I did manage to pluck 6 points before getting blown up. In hindsight, if I had started removing my tags after getting the 6th point I could have tried to mill him out. A great game either way, but I now needed to battle back from the losers bracket.
My next two games were played as HB against Ken and Silhouette. The deck has a lot of resiliency against criminal and being able to reliably set up big ice can really slow things down. Being lucky enough to fade a couple of R&D accesses is a necessity too.
Not much to say about the 4th game. Noise against NBN and my opponent drew cheap ICE and not much cash. I forgot how many Account Siphons went off but ‘a few’ would be a safe assumption. Quandry, pop-up and wraparound don’t do much against Knight, Parasite and Medium. My next game (losers final) would be played with Corp so I was feeling confident that I could get to the finals. It was, however, against one of South Australia’s strongest runners Damian O’Dea (check out his Netrunner musings over here). We’ve never clashed before but I knew it would be a cracker of a match!
This game was over in 2 turns. If you’ve played Netrunner enough you’ll know how these games go. Sometimes you mulligan into no ICE, other times you have 4 agendas in your opener. It happens. For me, it was that the first 11 cards of my deck contained 1 ICE and 3 agendas. An important thing to realise is that no one enjoys winning like this either, it sucks for everyone. Do whatever you need to do to build a bridge and get over it. I like to think that I react well when this happens but to travel so long and get so deep into the event only to lose like this? Even I needed to take a walk and relax.
By the time I came back and made a quick call to my girlfriend to tell her the news, I saw the finals already underway. Jesse was fighting from winners bracket with NBN while O’dea was on Ken. The first and last thing I saw was a Shinobi being rezzed with Ken at 4 credits. With that, the Adelaide Regional Championship was decided!
Top 4 handsome guys (also Netrunners)
Jesse Marshall, your 2014 Adelaide Regional Champion
Here are the lists that Jesse ran on the day:
NBN Making News
3x Project Beale
3x AstroScript Pilot Program
2x Breaking News
3x NAPD Contract
3x Jackson Howard
3x SanSan City Grid
2x Ash 2X3ZB9CY
3x Popup Window
2x Eli 1.0
2x Medical Research Fundraiser
1x Beanstalk Royalties
3x Sweeps Week
3x Hedge Fund
3x Shipment from SanSan
Kate ‘Mac’ McCaffrey
3x Clone Chip
2x Plascrete Carapace
3x R&D interface
3x Professional Contacts
3x Daily Casts
3x The Maker’s Eye
3x Dirty Laundry
3x Sure Gamble
1x Gordian Blade
3x Self-Modifying Code
1x Deus Ex
1x Net Shield
I managed to get a few questions answered to provide some insights into his choices.
Congratulations on the win. How does it feel to travel interstate and take down the tournament?
The Adelaide community is really friendly and welcoming, with a great balance between taking things seriously and remembering to have fun. It was a great pleasure to get to know the guys there, and particular thanks to Damian and Adrian for their hospitality. It’s always nice to have some success in tournaments, but the best thing about the day was definitely having fun throwing some cards around with some genuinely nice people.
Kate and Making news put more people into Top 8 than any other identities. What made you choose them and why are they so strong right now?
I have been playing Kate for quite a while, and I feel like her game has just been getting better and better as the metagame moves even further away from traps and almost exclusively to decks trying to use the new defensive or fast advancing corp cards to score more agendas (Ash, Caprice, SanSan etc). I always feel that I am ahead in the game when I have a Professional Contacts on the board early, and as long as I am keeping up central server pressure, I rarely feel like corps are getting into the game. The consistency of drawing into the pieces of the multi-access combo (R&D Interface, efficient breakers and The Maker’s Eye) and almost certainly having the money to get in at least once in the midgame gives excellent inevitability to the deck. NBN has picked up an excellent Operation economy card (Sweeps Week), fantastic early game ICE (Wraparound and Quandary), and an amazing agenda to fill out the suite (NAPD Contract). This has pushed it over the edge in my opinion as the best placed corp at the moment.
Many Kate builds are moving towards event based economy with Pre-paid Voicepad. What do you think about this style of Shaper?
My favourite thing about my Kate deck at the moment is how much I get out of turns with Contacts and how quickly I can recover from big runs economically whilst also digging for extra pieces. I don’t feel that operation-based card draw is as useful, as you often want the drip feeds of cards over the game so that you can spend clicks running and only spend one click a turn installing to gain the maximum benefit from Kate’s ability.
One of the things that jumps out about the corp list is the pair of Shinobis you’re splashing for. It ended the game in the finals, but what made you include it in the final 49?
I was running three Shinobi just because I love what the card does in the deck so much, but I took one out because I didn’t want people seeing them on R&D or in HQ as much and being alerted to their presence. It just adds another dimension to the deck, and I really like playing corp decks which pressure the runner in different ways. NBN is so terrifying in terms of its fast advance ability that people have to run and trash SanSan or hammer your centrals relentlessly to keep you out of agendas in hand and off R&D. While they’re doing that, if you can make the switch to using your economic resources to shooting them with Shinobi, you’ve got a backup plan which finishes the game efficiently and effectively.
TL;DR : I love Shinobi in the deck.
Is there anything that you would change about the decks if there was a tournament tomorrow? Anything you’d like to experiment with?
I was trying out Net Shield as an answer to Jinteki: PE in order to prevent programs being trashed from my grip, as I want to use my Clone Chips for Parasites, not for reviving my Corroder or Gordian Blade. However, I never used Net Shield, and just played more carefully with my 1 ofs so that when I had them in hand I installed them ASAP against decks that threatened damage. I would cut the Net Shield for a Levy AR Lab Access.
On the NBN side, I have no real changes that I’d like to make – everything performed pretty much as expected!
Any final words?
Thanks again to the Adelaide peeps and to Tomas for coming along for the 8 hour drive from Melbourne!