2013 was a make or break year for Android: Netrunner. After massive amounts of hype and with competition in the LCG space from fellow newcomer Star Wars, the pressure was on for the old game with a new face. Safe to say, A:NR was a bigger success than anyone (including Fantasy Flight Games themselves) could have anticipated. Stock has been constantly sold out, the community has blown up and people are starting to take notice. There’s never been a better time to jump into the game with plenty of fan-made resources at the ready for the tentative of heart and wallet.
Looking back on the year, there have been highlights both in and out of the game. I wanted to give praise to the various things that have contributed to making the game a pleasure to be a part of for the past 12 months.
1. FFG Organised play
Before Netrunner, the other LCGs really didn’t have much organised play support outside of Regional and National events. That changed with the release of Game Night kits, allowing retailers to foster a community around the events and let players compete for cool promos! The system isn’t perfect yet though, many waited months between season 1 and 2 with nothing to play for and retailers seeing a noticeable decline in attendance. I have no doubts, however, that FFG are only an arm and a leg away from building a real monster of a system.
2. Jackson Howard
What a card. One of the first cards with an influence cost to be considered close to ‘staple’. Being able to dig into what you need and throw away what you don’t is a lot to pack into a small package. While not the corp’s first foray into combating variance, it’s certainly the most playable one. Action Jackson has really set the bar high for future card design.
3. American Nationals at Gencon
Gencon this year was a show of strength for the LCG brand. Fantasy Flight Games proved that they could get big turnouts not just for Netrunner, but the other games in their arsenal. The convention also blew some minds with the Opening Moves data pack available eons before its worldwide release.
4. Australian Nationals
A bit closer to home, the 32 person event was the biggest LCG tournament in Australian history! Whilst I was 5000 miles away at the time, knowing that we can get people travelling interstate to jam some games makes me happy to be part of the community. Great job guys, I’m sure next year will be even bigger and better!
5. 2013 World Championship
It feels like Fantasy Flight saw this one coming with the construction of their new Games Center. Previous World tournaments were almost an embarrassment with abysmal turnouts. But this year, after all the work put into advertising new games and refreshing old ones the attendance grew astronomically. Not only that, but the groundwork has been laid to start getting an international audience by offering accommodation and flights to National champions so it can truly be a ‘World’ championship
No identity has defined the metagame like the Dispossessed Ristie. Since her release the top tables have never been safe, exemplified at worlds where she appeared fifteen times in the top sixteen. Consistency, options and early pressure are what makes Andromeda a pleasure to play and a nightmare to face (not to mention she can really rock that dress!). 2013 was her year but with powerful oppositions like Reina Roja and Laramy Fisk on the horizon, are her days numbered?
7. Account Syphon
If Andromeda was the Identity that defined 2013, Account Syphon was the in-stack card of the year. It’s also my personal choice for ‘Most Groans Caused’. Since the release of Same Old Thing splashing the syphon has become more popular and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Will we see a counter to the oppression in 2014 or will corporations be left high and dry?
8. ‘Passive’ Economy
Desperado, Data Sucker and company have put trophys in hands this year. Gone are the days of leaning on Armitage Codebusting and clicking your turns away. Clicks are the most valuable resource and you have to squeeze everything you can get from each one. To give credit where it’s due, Flaming Hito was a big advocate of this way of thinking from an early stage in the game. Daily Casts and Dirty Laundry have added to the click efficiency lineup, ensuring runners spend more time actually running.
9. Team Covenant
The premier Youtube content creators for all the LCGs have had a phenomenal year. Great individual performances across multiple games, product launches and managing their own retail store in Tulsa. The guys have been busy all year round and hopefully they’ve been enjoying themselves. Looking forward to more quality videos and innovative ideas from the boys in 2014.
10. The Plugged-in Tour
The announcement came completely out of left field. Something like this has never been attempted before and turning to the community to change the game forever is no small decision. While marred by international backlash due to the exclusivity of the event, those who participated had nothing but praise. Hopefully the Chronos Protocol is just as good and we’ll get many more innovative events in the future.
That’s a wrap guys, feel free to let me know what you thought of 2013 below. FFG has already spoiled us rotten with previews for 2014. Store championships, Chronos Protocol, a new deluxe expansion, draft and the last half of the spin cycle are all coming up soon. Hope everyone has a fantastic year both in and out of the game.