The Tournament Journey Part 5

The Tournament Journey Pt 5 (Nationals)

06/06/14

Dave 'Cerberus' Hoyland

 

Part 1 – Testing in a local tournament – can be found here.

 

Part 2 – Store Championships – can be found here.

 

Part 3 – Chronos Protocol Tour – can be found here.

 

Part 4 - Regionals - can be found here.

 

This report is focused on the UK Nationals. For those of you not aware the UK Nationals was run differently to how it appears to be run elsewhere. UK Nationals was a 16 person invite only tournament, in order to qualify you needed to place 1st or 2nd at one of the 5 Regional events, as I did, or come in the Top 6 at a 72 person tournament taking place the day before Nationals.

There were some really strong players in that top 16,to give you an idea of the competition the top 16 included Seb AKA Malefact, the winner of the first BGG tournament, Pavlos AKA kordan11, last years National champ and well known player for his BGG tournament performances. Special shout outs should also go to Neil, Rob,Tim, who have lots of Store Championship, Chronos Protocol and Regional wins under their belts. These are the guys that I knew, there are undoubtedly many other great players who I didn't, especially the guys who travelled from Ireland and Scotland.

For my runner deck I decided to take Parasite Host Andromeda, this deck has won me a Chronos Protocol and second place in a Regional. I'm really happy with it, and other than adding in a couple of cards from Honor and Profit, it has remained unchanged. The reason I love this deck is that is basically has no multi access cards, therefore it encourages you to attack where you think the agendas are or where you can exploit weakness, cards like Parasite and Sneakdoor further encourage this play and are often not expected in Andromeda. Other than these changes it is a traditional Datasucker and fixed strength breaker deck with all of the Criminal event goodness.

Corp was a much trickier decision, my HBFA deck had died to Security Testing in the Welsh Regionals and so I knew I needed a change. Over the last few weeks I tested a taxing NBN MN deck, a CI Scorched Earth/FA deck, a Red Coats variant and a Jinteki RP deck. I was extremely tempted to take the CI deck but felt it just had too many vulnerabilities, and I thought the level of competition I was going to be facing, they would know how to exploit it. I did the most testing with Red Coats but didn't like something about it and so changed some things round with the economy. I didn't have enough time to test it and so on the day of Nationals I honestly didn't know what to take, I'd taken apart RC for Jinteki RP but definitely hadn't tested it enough and so built Red Coats again but with some Ice changes... Day of the event is the time to build a deck right?

The structure of the tournament was 4 rounds of swiss and the a cut to top 4 for double elimination.

 

 

Round 1 vs Eoin with HB:CI & Kate

Eoin had travelled over from Ireland after winning the Regional there. He was a really nice bloke and I'm pleased I got to meet him.

My Andromeda vs his Cerebral Imaging

He gets a Viper rezzed on HQ quite early, which keeps me out but I manage to score an NAPD from R&D before he gets another Viper rezzed. He Biotic Labors out a Vitruvius. A Parasite helps kill of the Viper and I manage to apply some pressure, forcing him to rez Ice and keeping his money at a reasonable level.

I drop a Plascrete Carapace quite early on in case he is running Scorch, and apply pressure as much as possible but draw for some key cards. I draw into the Sneakdoor I've been after and hit his hand hard scoring a Vitruvius. He manages to score out a Gila Hands while I am getting breakers set up and another HQ access gives me another agenda. He dumps agendas and puts them back with Jackson Howard. I Parasite R&D Viper which just leaves a Bioroid to deal with, I run for a few turns, clicking through, and finally picking up the last point I need. Win 7-3

My HB ETF vs his Kate

I ice up and throw out an Eve Campaign which he promptly kills, he also kills a Jackson Howard, and a second Eve, leaving him very short on money. This allows me to Ice up and get a asset economy server going. He uses an SMC for a Magnum Opus and starts building. I use this window to score a Project Wotan. He makes a multi access run on R&D, cannot remember if it was Makers Eye or Indexing, think it was a Makers, but it scores him some points, but costs him a lot against the glacier ice I am running. I score a second ABT after protecting it with an Ash, and activate it adding two more Ice to my scoring server. A few turns later I install an agenda that he just cannot get to because of the super server and Project Wotan. Win 7-2

Prestige 4

Round 2 vs Iain with Weyland BABW & Andromeda

I've seen Iain at lots of Netrunner events, and he always places well. We had only played once at the Welsh Regional, and I was definitely on tilt after taking my first ever double loss to the eventual winner Tim the round before. We split the round, so I knew I was in for a good match.

My HB ETF vs his Andromeda

I Ice up early but don't play out any undefended economy assets due to a serious worry about Security Testing. First turn Iain drops a Security Testing with his burst economy, Desperado etc. I Ice up Archives to prevent economy gain and think I end up rezzing either a Tollbooth or Heimdall on Archives. I manage to get a remote with a Melange set up which allows me to rez my Tollbooths, Heimdalls, Ichi's etc. Iain puts me under a lot of pressure and definitely scores some points before runs become too taxing. I manage to score out in my remote to get to 7. I'm a bit uncertain on details of this match up as I ended up playing Iain more than once in this tournament and I have more memory of the later match ups. Win 7-2

My Andromeda vs his Weyland BABW

This match does not happen, during our first game we have our decks checked and Iain fails the check because his entered deck list doesn't match the deck he is playing. I want to be really clear on something here, Iain wasn't cheating, he was actually under on influence because he had moved some Eli's to a different corp deck, which he was playing the day before and replaced them with Enigma's. The judges gave him a game loss because of it, even though I said that I was happy to play it as it was an honest mistake. However, the judges were quite firm on the ruling and I understand the reasons why. He wasn't cheating in my opinion, it was an honest mistake, feel sorry that he suffered for it. Win...

Prestige 8

Round 3 vs Tim with NBN MN & Andromeda

Tim...what can I say. He is the only person to have ever beaten me 2-0 in a tournament. He's a great player, and deservedly beat me in the final of the Welsh Regional. What is more annoying is that he is a really nice guy... I hate him ;)

My HB ETF vs his Andromeda

I get Iced up early, including archives due to another Security Testing lover. I see a lot of burst economy and this allows me to get some decent sized Ice rezzed. I Ice up an Eve and leave that to generate me money as I Ice up my servers 3 deep. Tim Special Orders out a Yog quite early, but struggles to get a barrier breaker for a long time giving me scoring opportunities. I am also able to Ice all centrals and purge causing him further issues. The lack of his barrier breaker allows me to get to the mid game fast and score in my remote quite happily. Win 7-0

My Andromeda vs his NBN MN

I open with burst economy and breakers and start applying pressure. A Bernice Mai drains a lot of my credits but early accesses allow me to score. Tim is able to lock me out of R&D and his remote and he gets the Astro train going. I have free access to HQ but everything he draws goes straight into his remote. I'm struggling to find my breakers and so after scoring a Beale off the Astro Tim scores and NAPD from his remote, and a few turns later wins with a Breaking News. Loss 4-7

Prestige 10

 

Round 4 vs Brendan with Jinteki RP & Reina

Brendan is from Oxford and a user of the Netrunners forum, but today was the first time that I'd met him in person. He was one of the toughest people I played against all day, and the matches were really interesting, I hugely enjoyed these games!

Andromeda vs Jinteki RP

 

After a standard opening, I Special Order a Mimic so that I can run without fear of Tsurugi and Komainu. I manage to top deck an NAPD Contract early on, and he gets two Mental Health Clinics up and running, one iced. I get a Sneakdoor down run but don't score. I use Parasites to kill a Komainu and a Tsurugi and manage to keep him poor from rezzing expensive Ice. After getting Brendan to zero credits I sneakdoor and find a Future Perfect, making for an easy Psi game. Brendan starts to recover and really start to cause me problems with taxing Ice as my economy suffers, even hitting Siphons doesn't slow his asset economy down which I can't afford to trash. I spend a lot of my economy trashing his Ruhr Valley's before they get into remotes and cause me problems. This gives him chance to score a Fetal AI, followed by a second, which I try to get to but the Enigma keeps me out of the three Ice remote. I draw for my breakers. The game ends when Brendan installs into his remote and advances, on my turn I clear Kati, play the Yog I've drawn, run archives and then the remote, I manage to get through with exactly 2 credits and 2 cards (in case of the 3rd Fetal) but find a Nisei, which wins me the game. If I hadn't of found the Yog, or had the credits he would have scored the Nisei and then it would have been impossible to stop the scoring of the NAPD he had in hand. Close game. Win 7-4

My HB ETF vs his Reina

 

I Ice up early and get an Eve Campaign rezzed. He drops an Imp and kills it. The is a lot of back and forth in the early game where he plays Rooks and makes me rez for high costs. But rezzed Tollbooths and Heimdalls are not good for him. He Account Siphons me and then Deja Vu's them back over and over. I score two ABT's in my secure remote. I remember trashing some Ice to kill his Knights and then installing a 3 pointer in my remote. He draws like mad trying to find a way in but can't and I am able to score out for the win. This game is a bit hazy, mostly because there is a rematch in the top 4. Win 7-2

Prestige 14

Top 4 Factions

1st – HB ETF & Andromeda (14 Prestige)

2nd – Weyland BABW & Gabe (12 Prestige)

3rd – Weyland BABW & Andromeda (10 Prestige)

4th – Jinteki RP & Reina (10 Prestige)

 

Double Elimination – Round 1 vs Brendan with Reina

As top seed I can chose to run or corp, I decide to corp as I feel that my corp deck is quite strong against his runner and the Andy vs RP deck was too close for my liking.

I start with Ice and lots of burst economy, Brendan applies lots of early pressure and I believe scores an early agenda. I manage to get lots of ice rezzed and a good scoring remote set up. I believe that I score an early ABT and then later drop a MMC in the server, this pressures him into running and hit an Ichi which costs him a program. The next turn he runs again expecting to click through the Ichi but hits the Inazuma first and can't break it and so loses a lot of programs. This opens up huge scoring windows and I am able to score out for the win.

Double Elimination – Round 2 vs Iain with Weyland BABW

This one is going to be sparse on details, because I cannot remember much about the game... I do remember that in the early game Iain used Power Shutdown to kill both my Corroder and my Passport. He then used Interns to bring back a trashed Ice Wall of his remote. I knew from playing Iain at previous events but this obviously told me he was playing Weyland Scorch Combo. I'm able to grab a double advanced Project Atlas from the remote by Special Ordering for my second Corroder and then Inside Jobbing into the remote. I manage to score another Atlas from hand as he Ices up HQ and R&D. This has caused a number of turns to go by where Iain has been drawing but not getting agendas scored or into a remote that he doesn't trust is secure yet. I drop a Sneakdoor and pull a Government Contracts for the win, he had two in hand.

Iain goes on to play Rob (Tayrun) in match to get to the final and play me. At this point I'm hyped up on adrenaline. I'm really torn while watching the match between Iain and Rob, I want Rob to win because he is a friend and because he made a boast in January this year that we'd be 1st and 2nd at Nationals (I laughed at him, like any sane person would). On the other hand, Rob is a friend and the last person I want to have to play, especially if I lose as I'll never hear the end of it. In a great game Iain manages to pull out the victory to make it to the finals.

 

Final – vs Iain with Andromeda

I'm nervous...

Iain makes some early runs, and I have the choice on if I should rez a Rototurret to defned R&D on the first turn, I decide against it as I am holding Restructures in hand and the boost I will get is great if I can hold off rezzing and get to 10 credits. Iain pulls a Priority Req which isn't a great start. I get my economy boost, but Iain gets down a Mimic and R&D Interface, mostly funded by Security Testing as I have been unable to Ice Archives. He has a turn or two of access before I can Ice up enough to keep him out. His accesses score him an ABT bringing him to an early 5 points. I manage to get a Melange Mining Corp going at some point which he runs in and trashes at a decent cost. I'm holding another in hand and so am able to get a huge economy boost and significantly Ice up all of my centrals. Iain is still very much putting me under pressure, and I have drawn into a hand of agendas. I drop an ABT into the remote and the next turn score it, I don't have a Jackson out but there are only two agendas left in the deck and Archives is well Iced. I get an Inazuma and a Bioroid, either an Ichi or a Heimdall which I stick on my remote, however it also dumps a Project Wotan into Archives. A turn or so later I score the other ABT and decide to trigger it, there is one agenda left and if I get some Ice, I can put them on Archives and score out one of the 3 pointers from hand to win. The ABT drops the last agenda and so operation economy into archives. Iain sets his sights on getting into check, I manage to keep him out for a turn and draw like mad for a Jackson Howard but don't get one, Iain wins the next turn. In hindsight I should have not triggered the second ABT and tried to score the 3 pointer and hoped that Iain wouldn't have checked Archives as only 1 card was trashed from the first ABT.

I'd like to take a moment to talk about an event that happened during the game, Iain said at the start that unless he said otherwise he was always using Security Testing on archives. During the final Archives runs it was pointed out it was the target of Security Testing, Iain correctly said he would have targeted something else as the whole turn and Inside Job were all about getting into Archives. The TO asked what I thought, and I thought about it for a while, I wanted to win, and if he didn't access there was a good chance I could defend it and win. However, it seemed like a really dumb, as it was just a simple thing he forgot to say at the start of his turn, his intention was very clear. I told the TO he should be accessing and he did. I made the right call, but I thought about it way too long, because of a desire to win, it was dumb. Iain, if you are reading this, I'm sorry for even thinking about it for so long, that was not the spirit of the game.

Anyway, double elimination means that Iain and I both have one loss. Therefore we have to play again, this time I am running.

 

Final Round 2 – vs Iain with Weyland BABW

My starting hand isn't great, and doesn't have a Plascrete, which I know is very important against Iain's deck, so I mulligan. My second hand is very bad, I have two Kati Jones, no burst economy and no Desperado... it does have a Plascrete at least. I'm forced to use Kati quite a lot to get set up early giving Iain the chance to set up nicely. I manage to get some early R&D access after getting some breakers down and Parasiting some Ice. I'm lucky to pull 3 points of agendas in the first two cards. The game goes back and forth, and one of the key turns is me getting to match point while Iain is using Jackson Howard a lot. I know he is using Weyland Scorch combo and so I run his remote to kill his Jackson Howard. I drop a Sneakdoor and run HQ but don't find anything. Iain gets another Jackson down, and I realise that if I run and don't win the game Iain will definitely kill me with the combo, it is tempting to run as R&D is protected by a Quandary and I have a Yog. I draw looking for another Plascrete Carapace but cannot find one, I do draw into a Planned Assault however, so I use it to play an Inside Job, getting into the remote and trashing the Jackson. After the turn I realise that I have only 3 cards, and I ask Iain if that is it, he shakes his head and I'm relieved. Iain plays into the remote, I check HQ using sneakdoor until I have 3 Datasucker counters and then run the remote, he rezzes an Archer which I break with Mimic. I access the card in the server and it is a Government Contracts, I'm a little shocked for a second as I realise I have won. Iain played amazingly, and almost had me several times during the game, he is a great player and I am really glad I got to play him in the final, he definitely deserved to be there.

Closing Thoughts...

It is still strange to think I am the UK National Champion, but it brings a smile to my face every time I remember accessing that game winning agenda in the final. I'm really excited about going to play at Worlds. I need to win, show how strong the UK Netrunner scene is!

I've chatted to Iain a little bit online since Nationals and he has such a great understanding of strategy and deck building. Netrunners or FFG should get him to write an article as I think it would be amazing.

I think that I need to say a special thank you to Taurean, who has been playing Weyland forever, including Weyland Scorch Combo, and playing him has really taught me how to play around it. Thanks dude, you're probably the reason I won the final!

Oh, and Tim, I want you to know I hate you more than ever now... why did you have to beat me in the final of the Regional? You upset my record of Store Championship, Chronos Protocol, Regional, and National... I missed one because of you and I will never forgive you ;)

The Netrunner community is amazing, everyone at the tournament was really friendly, and thats not always the case with competitive games. Every game I played was fun, and people were chatting and laughing in-between rounds.

I was really looking forward to writing some other articles after this one, doing reports is fun but I'm definitely after a change. I wasn't sure I'd go to Nationals until I qualified, so wasn't expecting to write a part 5, I had no expectations of writing a part 6... But it seems that in November I should write one titled The Netrunner World Championships...

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