Full Coverage from Android: Netrunner League @ Ace

Netrunner

On the 7th of August Ace Comics and Games Annerley hosted the knockout finals of the Android: Netrunner league they had been running for the past couple of months. 11 contenders participated in the league and they were seeded into a 16 bracket elimination tournament. The winner would receive a cash prize of $33 and runners up would receive their entrance fee back. We had some pretty amazing matches played; hearts were broken, expectations shattered and some amazing battles won. A few of the matches were filmed including the Grand Final and the Runners Up Final which you will see embedded below and includes expert BTGN commentary from BJ (our camera man and film editor), JC, Andru and Marcus.

The first match saw Dave bring his Weyland/Anarch combination to Tristin who was heavily running the new Creation and Control cards which had only just arrived on Aussie shores that week. Tristin’s meta breaking HB/Shaper combo was too strong for Dave. An interesting point to note too was that Tristin was the only player in the tournament to field a brand new C&C identity in Kit. Tristin progressed through to face reigning champion Andru who faced a first round bye.

Creation and Control has only arrived on Aussie shores the day of the tournament.

Creation and Control had only arrived on Aussie shores the day of the tournament.

 

Next up was 3rd place Laurence up against 6th place Dutch. I had mentioned that Dutch had what it takes to cause an upset and he didn’t let anyone down. After a disastrous shuffle of Laurence’s deck he mulliganed into an Agenda filled hand. It wasn’t long before Dutch’s HQ Interfaces plucked them out of hand and the match was over as quickly as it had begun. JC caught up with Dutch after the match and here’s what he had to say:

JC:  So Dutch, you just won pretty solidly, 10:0 on your first game. Second game,  what did you come in on?

Dutch:  Just had to score a point!

JC:  Just had to score a point, on account of the new scoring system. So first question I would have for you then: what do you think of the new scoring system?

Dutch:  Not too bad. Makes it a bit easier and faster to know who wins, so you’re not waiting around to finish up a second game when you know the result is already a loss.

JC:  Pretty amazing outcome, you were facing Wayland I think, and you managed to pull a 10:0 score as the RUNNER… Did that relieve some of the pressure for you in the second match?

Dutch:  Yes. I was quite comfortable.

JC:  And the run that actually got you to 7 was pretty impressive, it was a deep-dive shaper… is that what your shaper deck is all about? Get deep into R&D?

Dutch:  Yep, get deep into R&D, having lots of R&D Interfaces out and running the new Self Modifying Code from Creation & Control.

JC:  So is that the main thing that’s changed Shaper for you in Creation & Control? SMC?

Dutch:  Yes, absolutely. Being able to install it, make a run, during the action phase pay 2 and install whatever I need, once I’ve seen what the ICE was.

JC:  Did he only have one ICE out the first time?

Dutch:  First time, yes, second time yes, third time he got a few more out there.

JC:  How many rounds?

Dutch:  Nine.

JC:  Wow… So, SMC a big part of that then?

Dutch:  Yes!

JC:  Cool… so, that’s your Shaper deck, on your Corp side, what did you field?

Dutch:  Weyland.

JC:  Any changes there from C&C?

Dutch:  …no, don’t need it, I can flatline fine!

JC:  Is there anything they’re throwing against Weyland flatline with C&C that you had to adapt to?

Dutch:  Haven’t really seen too many of the new cards yet, but no. Still, C&C is fun so far.

After the first upset caused Laurence to bow out, Dutch had an even bigger threat to face: Ben R. But not before what turned out to be an epic battle of the Bens.

Ben R’s first battle was against our camera man and BTGN commentator Ben J. BJ was the only player to field an NBN deck along side his Shaper, Kate. Ben R was running the ever popular Weyland Tag n Bag strategy with a very potent Wizzard deck. The first match up was a tense one as BJ’s Kate dug deep into Weyland’s R&D and yet came up empty handed every time! The game became a tense stand off but eventually Ben R triumphed with  a 10-0 victory sealing the round for himself in just one game. JC was on hand to get both player’s insights on the match:

JC:  So we just had the ‘Ben Squared’ match as I’m calling it – Ben Vs Ben – We made a lot of comments and cast aspersions about you wearing long sleeves, because he couldn’t find any of your agendas… First game you managed to get 10:0 as Corporation… to what would you ascribe your incredible victory?

Ben R: Very lucky on my part! BJ had R&D Interface out, made a couple of early runs and just didn’t catch anything. I was able to build my economy and my ice walls before I started drawing agendas. And I really put it down to him being unlucky in his early R&D hits…

JC:  For the viewers at home, to what does an ‘ice wall’ equate in this instance?

Ben R: Hadrian’s Wall, TWO Archers and a Shadow on the remote.

JC:  That might have had something to do with his inability to get past you…

Ben R: I did have the new card ‘Datapike’ – the ‘savings brand’ Tollbooth on HQ. He drew his Gordian Blade early, so that was useless.

JC:  We’re not going to talk about the second game, because it was actually over by CLICK 3 of the first turn…

Ben R: Click 4, actually.

JC:  I’ll talk to the other Ben about that in a moment… But for now: Thoughts on C&C? First time tonight we all got to play with it, did it play a role much in the first game?

Ben R: No, see, I wasn’t sure if everyone would have C&C so I actually built pre-C&C decks. I quickly shuffled in a couple of economy cards when I got here! But on OCTGN, I’ve been going crazy with the new cards.

JC:  We had another Weyland player say something similar, pretty much didn’t mix any new C&C through. What do you think the effect of C&C has been on Weyland builds?

Ben R: Not too much at all. You’ve got a couple of good new options for splashing ICE, but I think the new economy cards are some of the best you can splash around. I think it’s definitely the economy options that are the best for the other factions.

JC also caught up with the other Ben to have a jovial dig at Ben R’s incredible luck:

JC:  (jokingly) So Ben… really only got one question for you… how does it feel to have lost so badly… to someone (Ben R) who so clearly must have been cheating?

Ben J: (jokingly)  Well, if he didn’t keep putting the cards down his sleeves and then just popping then out when he needed them, I wouldn’t be so distraught! It’s just the game of Netrunner sometimes, where you are just looking for the cards and you just don’t see them at the right time. And ultimately, that’s what happened: didn’t see a single agenda point in the first game, then when it was Ben R’s turn, fourth click it was all over!

JC:  We’re not talking about the second game. Second game didn’t happen. I’m telling people we just decided your match on head wounds… But you were actually sporting a lot of the new cards from C&C. Let’s talk about Professional Contacts, do you know what turn you played it?

Ben J:  That was actually early game. I’m running three of them to get them up early game if I don’t have Magnum Opus. It’s ultimately giving me credits as well as hand protection against Scorched Earth, net damage and all the rest of it. Also, if you find yourself short and you’re going to draw anyway, I mean…

JC:  Yeah. And did it work that game? Did it stabilize the economy for you?

Ben J:  It did, quite early. Ben R could probably attest to that! If you’re getting both cards and credits done with one click, it’s very efficient. Once you get Magnum Opus and some Quality Times, it tends to sit more in the background.

JC:  The other thing you were sporting was Self Modifying Code. How do you feel about that card?

Ben J:  I like it, but I think I mis-remembered how it worked…

JC:  I like that. “Misremembered”.

Ben J:  Yeah… approach the ICE, then pay the 2 credits and pull the breaker you need now that you’ve seen it. That’s if you’re running blind; it’s absolutely brilliant if you’re running blind.

JC:  Staple of your Shaper decks going forward?

Ben J:  I think so for now. That deck was based around sixteen or seventeen programs, so it was also using Freelance Coding Contract. Got to use that once, got four credits out of it… not so fussed about it.

JC:  I still think it’s a card to watch. See how it plays out.

Ben J:  Oh, and Levy AR Lab Access was brilliant, mid to late game.

Andru’s road to the final was not as smooth as he would have liked. He had a very rocky section of road when he met Tristin in the next round. Tristin made a bold move to try and break the local meta by fielding decks that were heavily influenced by creation and control. The result was a moment when Tristin’s runner took on a fortress of ice and scored an agenda. Tristin came very close to victory and becoming a Giant Killer! But it was not to be. Andru sured up his servers and took out a narrow victory. The second game went to time and Andru was the victor. JC managed to get Tristin’s thoughts on the match:

JC:  So, awesome games tonight! Fantastic games tonight. But of all the games you played tonight, I really want to talk to you about that last one, we’re already calling it the highlight of the night! You really gave us all a show of what C&C can do… talk to us about everything – you had Cloak and Dagger, Self Modifying Code and… THE card, which we’ll get to. Tell us how the new cards have changed the way that Shaper gets through ICE for you?

Tristin: Well, I’m not actually very good at the meta – I really only get to play here as part of the league and I didn’t do very well – I think I only won one or two of the games I played. So I figured that Creation & Control was my chance to get in and have a good run at the tournament, because it was going to change up the meta so much…

JC:  Um… you were right!

Tristin: Yeah! I’ve played Shaper in the past and C&C has given them a lot more options, much trickier ways to get through things. Like if you do Cloak & Dagger and get three of the Cloaks out, Dagger is just great against Sentries – it just goes straight through them; whereas, you’ve had a lot of trouble with them in the past.

JC:  Absolutely! Now, we also saw Atman. We saw Atman in your last turn, we also saw it earlier as well?

Tristin: Yeah, I played a Strength 6 Atman earlier – he was playing a couple of Strength 6 ICE at the start and as soon as I played Atman he just kept away from them.

JC:  Now, I will point out that you were versus Andru, our reigning champ and winner of the Season 1 Regionals… so he’s a very accomplished player and he reacted to that Atman immediately, switched up so that he avoided 6 Strength ICE and actively tried to place ICE around the Atman. So given that, how do you feel about Atman as a card?

Tristin: Quite good, because it can be denying to the Corp. If you play it at Strength 6 or 7, they can’t really play that high strength ICE. Or if you play it early game at a lower Strength, it just gives you a lot of leeway and it’s much cheaper to get through early ICE. Or, if you’re running three of them, just run three different Strengths, look at what they have, then you can just run through the majority of their ICE. And it’s so efficient because it’s just 1 credit per sub-routine and it breaks any type.

JC:  So were you sporting three Atmans in the deck tonight?

Tristin: Yep. I didn’t get them all out though.

JC:  Wow. It would have been great to see that! So like you said, Cloak and Dagger just incredible – it butchered its way through any of the sentries, and playing against HB as you were… he had quite a few of those! Including the new ICE 2.0 – but that wasn’t a problem for you! You just undid it. And then, we have photos of that EPIC last run, where you just punched your way through SIX ICE… five in the run, plus an Awakening Centre…

Tristin as runner about to access a remote server after bashing his way through six ICE

Tristin as runner about to access a remote server after bashing his way through six ICE

Tristin: Yep.

JC:  BUT, for us, the creme de la creme was taking a run on HQ with no rezzed ICE and no Corp credits… and played Escher. Were you waiting for no credits to pull that off?

Tristin: Yep, held it in hand for several turns waiting until he was out.

JC:  Well first of all, congratulations on being the first of us to pull off an Escher! We’ve been waiting for that. How do you feel about the card?

Tristin: I thought it was quite good! I would have got more out of it if I had counted my credits a bit better. I could see the ICE he had rezzed, so I could switch in the weaker stuff, like Eli.

JC:  So, you had Battering Ram and the Cloak and Dagger we mentioned earlier, so you could tear apart any barrier or sentry… and you rearranged to get double weak barrier and sentry in one neat line… and then just butchered them.

Tristin: Yep.

JC:  So, that game ended 10:6, could have been anyone’s game… unfortunately turned the corner into game 2 and it didn’t go so well. Your HB got pretty hammered by CT Turbo. Did you see Andru using much C&C in that turbo build?

Tristin: I didn’t see too much… wasn’t a very long game! Ran into some bad luck.

JC:  Well, what did C&C do for you and your HB?

Tristin: It’s quite nice. I’ve got a lot of ICE strengthening upgrades in there and a lot of ways to slow the runner down.

JC:  Actually, let’s talk about that! You were using pretty much every time acceleration card for HB, and you’re also sporting time dilation for them. It seemed like you were getting a pretty reliable click ‘bump’ every two or three turns. How did that work for you as a HB strategy?

Tristin: It works very well. The new Arcology AI is great. That plus Biotic Labour gives you rapid scoring early.

JC:  I noticed actually that you got the Arcology AI out very early in a previous match tonight… turn 3?

Tristin: Yep, that was nice.

JC:  Last question then: what do you think of HB ICE 2.0?

Tristin: I think they’re great. They’re very expensive, but you’ve now got a lot of different ways to rez them which makes it very interesting, and a lot of ways to get them out.

JC:  You were sporting Bioroid Efficiency Research as well.

Tristin: Yep, like Oversight AI but it doesn’t trash it. Can only be Bioroid though. It’s completely replaced Oversight AI for me now.

JC:  Well, like I said earlier to you Tristin, FFG should have been paying you tonight; what a showcase for the new expansion! Well played.

Tristin: Thanks!

Marcus was on easy street having had a bye round one and a no showing opponent round two saw him glide straight into a Semi Final brick wall by the name of Andru. Marcus adapted his HB strategy with the new Bioroid 2.0 ICE and used a Femme Fatale Smash and Grab strategy with his shaper. But the experimental untested HB was no match for a brutal turbo deck and Marcus went down too easily. This secured Andru’s spot in the final and delegated Marcus to the 3rd place playoff. Dutch came up against Ben R and did not have much luck either. It wasn’t long before the grand final we were all expecting to see took place; Andru v Ben R.

But first we had Dutch take on Marcus for his second chance at an upset. That Match can be viewed here: Your commentators are JC and Marcus.

Congratulations to our winner who received $11 for coming third! Marcus, the TO of the even caught up with JC for an interview about how things went:

JC: So for the folks at home, Marcus is our Tournament Organiser, he’s also wearing a Brisbane Tabletop Gaming News press badge, so Marcus, I’m going to ask you a range of questions – but first up, you’ve just come out of the 3rd place finals… how did the night go for you?

Marcus: Well, I actually managed to get a bye on the first round and then my next opponent didn’t show up… and then I lost both games in the finals… so I actually didn’t manage to win a game tonight!

JC: Well, talk to us about your decks – you were running both HB and Shaper, obviously big changes with C&C – talk to us about the new ICE 2.0 – what was that like?

Marcus: Well, I thought with such a strong focus on HB I would change it up with the new sets. I love the idea of double click to break sub-routines, just to mess with my opponent’s head. It didn’t really work out for me tonight, but I also really like the new ICE that allows you to bring out more expensive ICE for free and try to manipulate the run, like Howler.

JC: You were actually the only person who used Howler all night! What did you think of it in the end?

Marcus: It was more a trial of the card. I do like that it’s a bit of a deterrent for the start of the run but doesn’t do too much after that.

JC: And it looked like you were running with Femme Fatale featuring quite heavily?

Marcus running his Femme Fatale Shaper Deck while sporting a regionals play mat and litco tokens.

Marcus running his Femme Fatale Shaper Deck while sporting a regionals play mat and Litco tokens.

Marcus: Yes, I came up with a concept deck, which I’m told is quite popular online, using Femme Fatale, three of them that allow me to run wherever I want, with new cards from C&C allowing me to retarget Femme Fatale whenever I need to. I think it’s going to be an exciting strategy for me.

JC: So, specifically, we’re talking about using Scavenge to scrap Femme Fatale so that you can re-install it for free and target a different ICE with its ability?

Marcus: That’s right, one of the big draw backs of Femme Fatale is that the ICE that you target with it can be uninstalled, rendering it useless. So, if that happens, I’ll install over the top and target a new piece of ICE.

JC: Great combo! Did you pull it off tonight?

Marcus: I did! Test Run got the first one out, then I used Scavenge to retarget.

JC: Cool stuff! Some very unique builds tonight. Last comments – you’re our TO, so well done, bloody great night, bloody great league…

Marcus: Thank you!

JC: …So, you’ve been doing this for a while now, where do you see organised play going?

Marcus: I find it very interesting with the changes in the rules for scoring and flatlining. I can see why they made the changes, particularly to give Jinteki a chance in the tournament space, with its strategies. But I think it’s a very painful thing with the implications for flatlining – tag n bag will still see you lose outright no matter what you had. I think that will cause some problems.

JC: We talked as well about time. In my experience it does seem that as play gets more complicated, for example with cards like Escher which we saw tonight, gameplay can stop. Increasingly, time is going to be at a premium. Is this something we’re just going to get better at managing as players, or will we continue to see creep in how long you are allowed to play?

Marcus: I think it will be balanced out by other cards that might speed things up. It’s going to vary – this game can have matches that take forever, it can have matches that are over on turn one. That said, it’s really up to the TO’s discretion how much time, like 10 mins either side, is allowed. I have the mindset that so long as it’s consistent, it’s fair.

So with third place decided there was only one thing left to find out; would Andru win yet another Brisbane Netrunner Title or will Ben R secure his total dominance over the league. We have both halves of the match right here. Expert commentary provided by BJ, JC, Andru and Marcus:

Congratulations to our tournament winner! He walked away with$33 and the runner up $11. We hope you enjoyed our full coverage of the Netrunner league finals at Ace. Stay tuned for more events coverage as we cover the up and coming Star Wars LCG Ashes, Nationals and League. Also we will be bringing you the 2nd Netrunner Ashes contest.

Marcus

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