Android Netrunner: The Nationals Down Under

2014 has been a killer year for Netrunner. The introduction of Store Championships for all LCGs at the start of the year was the first yellow brick in the road to the upcoming Worlds tournament in November, but you can’t get to Worlds without first experiencing a National-level event and competing for that sweet half-price plane trip to the United States to test your mettle against the world’s best Netrunner players. It was suddenly that time of year when our very own competition rolled into town inviting all combatants for the rumble in the concrete jungle.

National Championship Prizes - what players were making so much Noise over.

National Championship Prizes – what players were making so much Noise over.

Australian Nationals took place under the watchful gaze of Games Laboratory in Melbourne’s bustling city centre on a cold, fateful morning at the start of September. Now, being a Brisbane local and attending only the Brisbane Regionals, it was difficult to get any real idea of what attendance would be like. Using Melbourne’s Regionals as a yardstick (where Games Laboratory also played host) one could guesstimate there would be about 50 runners of nets throwing their cards into the ring.

Games Lab - complete with bar in the basement!

Games Lab – complete with bar in the basement!

Alas, no one can contain the power that is Android Netrunner! A total of 80 players donned their beanies and jacked in to the event for the chance at having their name in lights – 30 of those were from interstate with Brisbane’s Mr. Li Machine crew making up one-third and even one very keen player from New Zealand who was the runner-up of Brisbane’s Regional which you can refresh yourself on here.

And Gabriel...Don't leave town. ZOINKS!

And Gabriel…Don’t leave town. ZOINKS!

 

It was going to be one heck of a long day of Netrunner (but who’s complaining?) with 80 players calling for seven rounds of Swiss with an expected top eight cut in place of top 16 (in the interest of time) for double eliminations at the end. Due to the sheer numbers and anticipated timeline, each round was relegated to a mere 55 minutes. This sucked. Horribly. For all those players who like to chance playing a long game and setting up their servers or rigs before initiating an onslaught of R&D runs or making agendas rain out of a five-ICE deep monster remote server then let me say – don’t. Just fuhgettabowtit. I took an RP assets/kill/IhavenoideawhatI’mdoing deck and I paid for it. Tournaments are usually very fast-paced and if you don’t play to this then you’ll feel the hurt. Four of my seven Corp games went to time which cost me valuable points so take heed my friends.

Interstate Runners

Interstate Runners

The tournament was, on the whole, run very smoothly and professionally by the crew at Games Lab, with seconded employee and ATGN contributor Tomas at the helm helping to coordinate each round by keeping everyone on the fast track. Without an allocated lunch break either, all players were on edge to ensure they played all of their games as quickly and efficiently as they could while keeping to their strengths with each match. After all was said and done all 80 players gathered around the TO’s podium for the top 8 rankings. And they were:

  1. Liam Prasad (VIC)
  2. Johann Fischmann (VIC)
  3. Jesse Marshall (VIC)
  4. Andrew Pirie (NSW)
  5. Brian Holland (VIC)
  6. Alex Marchuk (QLD)
  7. Daniel Rodrick (WA)
  8. Yan Zuo (VIC)

Liam took out the Swiss rounds after doing the same at the Melbourne Regionals earlier this year. Of the top 8 there were two regional champions in the mix to maintain their tabletop ferocity – Daniel Rodricks of the Wild West in WA and Jesse Marshall who snatched the Adelaide regional championship from under their noses. The top 8 brackets were set, playmats were rolled out, decks shuffled, and game faces switched on – it was all or nothing from here on out.

The brackets progressed, smiles were worn, frowns were drawn, matches both won and lost until the final game was at hand at a mere 10:30pm on Saturday night. Everyone was exhausted from a long, hard day of Netrunner but a sudden surge of energy filled the room as the two top contenders, one from the bottom bracket and the other from the top, took their seats and set up for the National Championship. Without spoiling the final results you can watch through the top bracket matches starting with Game 4 of the double eliminations between Jesse and Alex right here:

 

If you’ve ever sat at home watching videos on YouTube of top 8 cuts or finals matches and wondered how you could get to that level then take these hints and tricks from Alex Marchuk who placed 5th in Australia after the double eliminations:

  • Know your decks by heart. Pick your favourite deck and play until it’s burned into your brain. The easy decisions are then automatic – leaving more mindspace for tough decisions.
  • Test your decks against as many opponents as you can. Play leagues, tournaments, casual games, play OCTGN too! You can never be too well prepared – you’ll always run into surprises at a big tourney.
  • There’s no shame in playing an “Easy Deck”. A long tournament is hard enough without giving yourself extra work.
  • Be aware of both your and your opponents’ board states – tags? Bad publicity? Remaining cards on decks? It all matters!
  • Tournaments are physically stressful. Physical fitness helps, and caffeine can be a nice supplement during a long tournament. Ensure you have snacks, water and take regular breaks when you can.
  • “You’re never as good as you think you are, never as bad as you think you are, and you’re never far from either” It’s a basketball quote, but it holds true here. Netrunner is designed to evoke your emotions – that’s why it’s fun. Be aware of your emotions – don’t let them manipulate you. Keep them separate from your game decisions.

Thanks Alex! And thanks to all the players of the Australian Netrunner community for making this game what it is today. Without each and every single one of you I doubt Nationals would have seen the turnout it did. For now, keep on keeping on; support your local communities, game stores, and new players. We can’t have a game without all players present.

One last thing! You can check out the top eight deck lists in the forums right here which will be put up with each video. So go and feast your eyes and satisfy your curiosity on what makes up a top 8 players deck.

Jacking out….for now.

– Kuso

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2 Comments
  1. Will Stadin
    September 26, 2014 |
  2. September 26, 2014 |