Going into this tournament I was really excited. Larry and I decided to drive up from Toledo for both of our first “real” competitive tournament. Joel and Larry, of BiT, got into Netrunner about a year ago and convinced me to buy a core set, so I did. I ordered my Core set and ended up getting Creation and Control at the same time so I could get free shipping from Amazon last April. I went to my first store tournament a few months later and obviously played HB and Shaper, namely Engineering the Future and Kate. Within another 2 months I had a second core set and all of the data packs and I’ve been going to the local bi-weekly tournaments ever since. I never really performed too well and usually just went because I love the game and I love making crazy new decks.
Fast forward to this last weekend. I was debating which decks to take for the last two weeks as I really wanted to perform well, but I had a few ideas of my own that seemed really promising. I REALLY wanted to take some form of an Eater-Keyhole deck, but I just couldn’t get it to work out how I wanted. I tested a few games with the combo in Andromeda as well as trying a Chaos Theory Stimshop build. They worked, but I felt like they were too slow and I was also scared of people adding some hard-counters like Caprice, Will-of-the-Wisp, and Crisium Grid. I also was very interested in taking an Industial Genomics deck, but again, I was scared of the new presence of Eater just destoying that identity. In the end I decided to fall back to my bread and butter, the place I started, Engineering the Future and Kate.
I saw Corwin’s first place report of the Chilo City Grudge Match tournament in which he has an EtF fast advance build that looked really fun and pretty easy to pilot and decided that would be the deck to take. I put the cards together and looked at tweaking it a little by adding 2 copies of Will-of-the-Wisp (an answer to Eater), but after going through the cards I just couldn’t find the slots for it. Executive Boot Camp is a great addition to the build but I ended up not using it all day. Initially, I viewed the card as an answer to the new hype of Leela as you can rez the ICE you want to lockdown the key servers without having the threat of bouncing anything when you score.
Here’s the list:
Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future
3 Accelerated Beta Test
1 Bifrost Array
1 Director Haas’ Pet Project
3 NAPD Contract
3 Project Vitruvius
3 Adonis Campaign
1 Daily Business Show *
2 Executive Boot Camp **
3 Jackson Howard ***
3 SanSan City Grid *********
3 Biotic Labor
3 Hedge Fund
3 Eli 1.0
3 NEXT Silver
Code Gate (5)
3 NEXT Bronze
2 Viktor 2.0
3 Ichi 1.0
On the runner side of things, I decided to take a ppvp deck, but I had watched the final match of the Toronto Store Championship a few days prior and the winner was running Cache, Bank Job, Aesop’s, and ProCo as their and economy engine. It looked awesome but I didn’t have a decklist so I went stimhack.com looking for a solid ppvp kate build as a base to work off of. One of the most recent decklists was a build from Dan, the winner of the 2014 World Championship. I took his list and then stripped out it’s economy and replaced it with the other economy package. Here’s what I ended up with:
Kate “Mac” McCaffrey: Digital Tinker
1 Levy AR Lab Access
1 The Maker’s Eye
3 Clone Chip
2 Plascrete Carapace
3 R&D Interface
2 Cerberus “Lady” H1
1 Deus X
2 Self-modifying Code
3 Aesop’s Pawnshop
2 Bank Job****
3 Professional Contacts
2 Same Old Thing
On to the trip! Since I only had two core sets and decided to play a Fast Advance deck, I really needed a third SanSan. Consequently, the trip started out with a quick stop at the FLGS we play at, Frogtown Hobbies, for my third core set! 10 minutes later I’m at Larry’s and we’re on our way to Wixom. We arrived at about 1:30 and the tourney was scheduled to start at 2. We payed and then took a quick trip to Taco Bell for me to get some food since I had only eaten a banana up to that point. Two soft tacos later I’m ready for the start of my longest netrunner day to date. The tournament ended up starting almost an hour late while we were waiting for a few players to show up (supposedly someone had been told we were starting at 3). Larry and I played two games of zombie dice while we waited. He crushed me the first game and I was glad I was getting my bad luck out of the way for the day. I beat him the second game. We also joked about getting paired up against eachother and me getting a bye in the first round. They announced there were 22 players so a bye was off the table. 22 players meant 5 rounds of swiss and a cut to 8. This is going to be a long day!
Round 1: NBN Making News and Cache Noise
First match I started a little nervous. Ended up running first and had a pretty good draw with a Sure Gamble, Aesop’s, and ProCo in my opening hand. Sure Gambled, installed ProCo, clicked ProCo to draw a Cache, installed Cache and took the money and I was off to the races. I was able to apply a decent amount of pressure the whole game. He scored an Astro pretty quickly and I was hammering R&D with some interfaces. I think he had an Eli and a Popup stacked and they weren’t doing much to keep me out. I scored a few points while he was just collecting cash and he hit me with a Midseason’s for 7 tags. I wasn’t too scared of Scorched for some reason and just floated them for a few turns. He stacked up two more ICE on R&D and then played Shoot the Moon to rez another Eli and an Information Overload. I froze for about a minute and tried to figure out my play from then on out as I don’t have any way of breaking it (strength 4+ sentry that isn’t AP or a Destroyer is no fun against this deck, just have to deal with it.) I figured he should be short on Agendas since I had seen a few cards recently and decided my best bet was to clear the tags ASAP. I had a few credits and I ended up clearing 2 tags and taking 2 credits. Next turn, I clone chipped a cache at the end of his turn and then immediately sold it to Aesop’s for 6 credits. I cleared 4 more and I was down to 1 credit and 1 tag. Counted up what it would cost to get in to R&D and I had the money. Just needed something to lose to the Information Overload so I installed a cache, and then trashed Same Old Thing to Maker’s Eye with 2 interfaces to see 5 cards and the win. I thought he got me with the Shoot the Moon play, but I managed to make it through and I was off to a great start.
Against Noise, he was not milling a whole lot of cards and got a little unlucky on the cards he was milling. He hit 1 agenda early but I was able to Jackson it back into the deck and he really didn’t have a chance after that. He had a Hades Shard installed the entire game so at the end I played out my last score very slowly since I new he would pop that to see if he got the win. I went “Install and gain a credit….. Advance…” and he yells “Hold it!” There were only 4 points in archives and I walked out of my first match with a sweep. I was not expecting that. Great start!
The shop was also running an X-Wing Store Championship which was surprisingly large with 45 players or something. They made a huge announcement about ordering a bunch of pizzas for everyone since there wouldn’t be time for a dinner break. Yay, pizza!
Round 2: Edward Kim and TWIY
I joked with my opponent about him trashing all my Hedge Funds at the beginning of the game. I honestly had no clue what to expect against Kim. He sniped a Hedge Fund off of R&D on his first turn but that was the only operation he hit all game. He was trying to play a Progenitor – Hivemind something or other and it didn’t really get up and running by the time I scored out.
TWIY was a different story. I was somewhat cautious all game as I saw a few cards off R&D early and didn’t see a single of his influence yet. A few turns in I faceplanted into a Lancelot and he showed me another Lancelot and a Merlin. He trashed a Lady I think and hit me with 2 net damage. Found the influence! Next turn he installed and Advanced something and then on my following turn I figured I should be somewhat safe since I didn’t have any installed cards anymore. Faceplanted into a Merlin and he had the other 2 Merlins in hand to give me 6 net damage for a flatline. Oops.
6 Prestige. I think the leaderboard had 2 players at 8 Prestige and 6 of us at 6. Great start.
Felt a little hungry again and I grabbed a slice of pizza.
Round 3: Andromeda and RP
Uh-Oh. First big test of the day against some really strong identities. We rolled to pick which side and I won so I chose to corp first. Don’t really remember much about this game but I won on points pretty easily. At this point I started feeling a lot of confidence for the day.
I didn’t have a lot of practice against RP and was fairly flustered throughout the match. Wanted to run but was too timid with all his facedown ICE. He ended up scoring out and I didn’t really do much at all. Asked about my play and he told me that I should’ve clone chipped a parasite on a Komainu that was protecting HQ right after he installed it so I could apply some pressure. That play didn’t even cross my mind.
8 Prestige. I think there was one player at 12, one at 10, and a bunch of us at 8. Still in a good spot to make the cut!
Round 4: Titan Transnational and Reina
I ran first and was getting into R&D pretty easily. Saw a bunch of cards but didn’t score anything. I ran HQ a few times and saw a Punitive and knew he had at least 1 Sea-Source in hand as well. He scored out an Atlas to get a counter and I started hammering R&D. I think I only had 1 RDi up and saw a second Punitive as well as a Scorched Earth. I think I was at 2 points and for some reason felt really desperate so I played Makers Eye to see 5 cards. He used his Atlas counter to pull Government Takeover from his deck and then I completely whiffed. Got lucky there because I think I lose if I hit an agenda on that run. Next turn he starts icing up a scoring server preparing to put the takeover down and then on my turn I got some money and hit R&D again because he did something that caused a shuffle and I scored 3 points on my last click. I was at 10 credits and then used a clonechip for a cache to go up to 13 credits which was out of punitive range. He installed a few more ICE on the scoring server and my next turn I installed a Same Old Thing, Scavenged Lady (I think it emptied on the previous R&D run), and then trashed the SoT to Legwork and grabbed the Takeover. This was a really fun game.
As corp I drew 4 agendas on my initial draw so I obviously mulliganed. Almost showed him my hand but remembered that giving him any info was really bad. That would’ve been a huge n00b mistake. Mulliganed into a single ICE and two agendas and then my mandatory was a third agenda. Installed the ICE on HQ and then played Hedge Fund and got a credit I think. Trying to make it seem like I don’t have a terrible draw. He drops down keyhole on turn 1 and hits it 3 times but only pulls 1 agenda from it. Second turn I throw out a jackson and only click it once to dump 2 agendas down and then immediately trash jackson (don’t know why I didn’t wait to see what he Keyholed). He hits keyhole 2 or three times and I think he hit 2 agendas and left them there. I think I drew into some ICE to throw on R&D and his next turn he gets an eater out and just keeps going to town. I think he hit a jackson with keyhole and said something about me not drawing the last one after keyholing on click four instead of stealing the agendas. It was already in my hand and I showed a few people that were watching that I had it and we all laughed. I threw it down, clicked it once and installed another ICE I think and then put the agendas and the last jackson back in. This was going to be a rough game. At one point he hit me with a Wanton Destruction to discard 2 of four at random and missed a biotic and an agenda discarding 2 ICE. I think we stayed pretty even the whole match after my bad start but he ended up pulling out the win. This was definitely my favorite match of the day.
10 prestige. The top 2 played this round and split so there was one guy at 14, one guy at 12, and I think 5 or 6 of us at 10. I think I’m going to make the cut as long as I don’t lose both in the final round.
Round 5: Andromeda and RP
NOT RP AGAIN!?!?! My opponent wanted to run first because he just finished playing corp so I let it happen. It was a pretty tough match but he wasn’t drawing much of his economy and I was able to dump credits almost every time he Siphoned me. One of the Siphons he stole only 2 credits and I think I ended up winning handily due to a semi-bad draw on his end. When he was RP, he didn’t draw a single Agenda after he got set up which really frustrated him. He was also running grail which he stacked two of onto R&D so it was getting expensive for me to maintain the lock but I managed to keep enough money to hold it down. Either I got lucky or he wasn’t running any net damage because I was able to see a bunch of cards without taking any damage. He was rolling in credits but just never drew the Agendas to score and I won 7-0 I think. Tough game for him for sure.
I didn’t know it at the time, but he was the player in first with 14 Prestige. The guy that had 12 split his match so we were all at 14 and I ended up being #1 seed from having the highest SOS. I was so excited that I was doing so well. After swiss there were 7 people at 12 Prestige so 2 of them didn’t make the cut. What a tight group at the top. The tournament was anyone’s game at this point.
Up to this point I was 4-1 with EtF and 3-2 with Kate.
Top 8 – Round 1
I was informed my opponent was playing Titan Transnational and Noise. I thought about it for about 20 seconds and decided the likelihood of a flatline was probably too high so I chose to corp. I mentioned this to my opponent when we sat down and said he didn’t have any scorch’s or punitive’s in his deck and I regret my decision since my runner deck was strong and had received a few comments from previous opponents about them not seeing any Shapers all day.
This was a tough match for me and nothing was going my way. Had a bit of an agenda flood and his mill was rolling fairly well. Turn 1 he installed an Imp and trashed something with it and then hit archives to install his Hades Shard. I jackson pump and dumped on turn 2 and then immediately trashed the jackson on my turn so I could keep my priority of actions to cycle three agendas back. Then over the next few turns he got lucky and milled all 3 SanSans in a row shortly followed by all 3 Biotic labors. How was I supposed to score out?! At this point I was thinking I’ll have to build a server to score from so I mistakenly installed an Ichi and a Beta Test behind it. He ran there click 1 with nothing but an empty imp (I think he used it on an ice from an R&D access and then a jackson that I installed but didn’t have anything to cycle back with) on his board and just clicked through the last sub to score. Not looking good for me at this point. I drew my last Jackson and dumped some agendas and had to immedately use him to return 2 Agendas and a Biotic labor leaving my third jackson and a project vitruvius in archives. He managed to mill a few more agendas and I knew the game was over at that point due to his hades shard. There’s no way he’s letting me score my last agenda before trashing it. So I lost to the 8 seed. Ouch.
Thinking back, there were a few things in which I should’ve recognized a better play option. First is when I cycled the biotic labor back instead of my jackson. If I put jackson back and draw it quickly, it gives me a short window to cycle back my biotics or SanSans to possibly give me a way to score out quickly. Second mistake is I hadn’t used Executive Boot Camp at all the entire day. I never thought the card’s presence through completely and mostly just assumed it was Leela protection, which I never faced. I could’ve used it to get my last Jackson quicker or even better yet, grab my 1x Daily Business Show early on. If I would’ve done that I may have drawn into some of my recursion instead of him milling it all away. Lastly, I’m not sure about the spot but it might have been a really good play to wipe his two imp counters on my second turn.
Top 8 – Round 2
Well, here it is. Playing for my life from here on out. I get matched up against NEH. First meeting with NEH all day. Turn 1, click 1 I faceplanted into an Architect on R&D. He used it to install an ICE into a new server which caused him to draw and then I snagged an NAPD from him. Probably one of the worst ICE to run into but I think he made a mistake and forgot he was going to draw from NEH which let me score. I was expecting to see an Eli, Popup, or Wraparound. Points are good but this is not an ICE I want to see without my Mimic on the board. He drew all three Sweeps Weeks really early and he also scored out an Astro pretty quickly while I’m just digging to try to find my Mimic or an SMC. About halfway through I’m managing to maintain pressure on his first scoring server with Cyber-Cypher and Lady but I have to keep digging and digging trying to find the Mimic. I think I Legworked him once and got nothing. I eventually have out 2 RDi’s and run R&D again letting the Architect fire just to see what happens. It gives him a SanSan install I think (he never ended up rezzing it) and I think I only get to trash a Jackson or something. He’s managed to set up another server with an Enigma that I can’t get through and he scores 2 NAPDs from it. A few turns later he does a Jackson dig and installs what I figured was the winning agenda on his last click so I’m in desperate need to win. I think I hit ProCo twice and then decide to try a Makers Eye. I had all three RDi’s at this point so I see 6 cards but the architect gets to fire again. I completely miss and only have 1 click left so there’s no way for me to get in and prevent his final score. I say that I think that’s game but I run HQ on my last click and miss. He advances three times and wins to knock me out. I don’t think I made any big mistakes this match, just never drew into the Mimic so I could lock down R&D. I think if I get the Mimic out I have a huge chance to win. My deck didn’t have any economy trouble all day and I think I would’ve been able to maintain a 3 or 4 deep R&D lock which is pretty much game over for the corp.
What a day. First big competitive tournament and end up the #1 seed only to lose my first two games and be the first one out. I had a blast and I’m glad I went out that quickly even though I was really hoping for top 4 to get the sweet Kit playmat. Ended up scoring a second Chaos Theory alt art since they had 10 extras along with the top 8 deck box. Can’t wait to play another tournament like this and I think I’ll definitely be a better player from this experience. Looking forward to making it to a few more Store Championships this season!
Can’t forget to throw a shoutout to Flat Land Games for running a great event. They have a really awesome space to play in, with tons of room. Even though I was nervous, that quickly went away and I was really comfortable all day. The staff was super nice as well. I’ll probably be back if they have any more big tournaments worthy of the hour and 20 minute drive like this one.
– Andrew Webber