For Manchester Regional, sets were legal up to The Valley, with Breaker Bay being deemed illegal due to shipping issues (Which was a shame, but never mind – wrong place to go into that!).
The venue was packed, and the store champs who were spending byes were given prime seats at the front of the store, away from the teeming masses that ended up sat in the rear of the store. Unfortunately throughout the day, hydration was the enemy, but I came prepared with a litre of lemon/lime water. The store itself was well stocked with a range of great products, and it surely won’t be long until Cerberus and CacoethesVictor pick up copies of the My Little Pony TCG and take the game by storm. The only downside of the day (and this was nothing to do with the management! The store staff and tournament staff were all ace) was the act of biological warfare from someone in the top 8 cut (Terrible with names so he shall not be named here for fear of getting it wrong)
Let’s run over my deck lists, thanks to the sets available, my runner deck was the simplest choice, as I only have 2 runners I’m currently comfortable with, and with the predicted RP heavy meta, I made a choice to stick to my guns on MaxX.
Runner Deck – MaxX Destruction
As always, the names of my decks change every time I post them up. Mostly because until they make a noteworthy win, no one will pay attention to the deck anyway
MaxX: Maximum Punk Rock (Order and Chaos)
3x Déjà Vu (Core Set)
2x Retrieval Run (Future Proof)
3x Day Job (Order and Chaos)
3x I've had worse (Order and Chaos)
1x Forked (Order and Chaos)
1x Knifed (Order and Chaos)
2x Spooned (Order and Chaos)
2x Legwork (Honor and Profit) •• ••
3x Sure Gamble (Core Set)
1x Levy AR Lab Access (Creation and Control) •••
2x Grimoire (Core Set)
3x Clone Chip (Creation and Control) •• •• ••
1x Corroder (Core Set)
1x Mimic (Core Set)
1x Yog.0 (Core Set)
2x Eater (Order and Chaos)
2x Femme Fatale (Core Set) • •
2x Datasucker (Core Set)
1x Medium (Core Set)
3x Parasite (Core Set)
1x Imp (What Lies Ahead)
2x D4v1d (The Spaces Between)
3x Liberated Account (Trace Amount)
2x Kati Jones (Humanity's Shadow)
3x Same Old Thing (Creation and Control)
Deck size: 50
Total Influence Spend: 15 of 15
So the MaxX deck was originally a 49 card deck with account siphon, but Cerberus recently suggested dropping it for some HQ pressure. Having seen very little use out of the siphon (and it occasionally back firing... *Cough*tags left allowing SoT to be trashed*Cough* I agreed and spent the influence on 2 copies of Legwork. I debated what to cut to reduce the deck size, however with MaxX’s draw ability, I decided that 1 additional card to what I’ve been using so far was probably the least of my concerns. There’s some glacier tech in the form of 2 Davids for dealing with OAI out of Blue Sun, and Kati for econ. The name of the game is still ice destruction, and it’s a deck I’ve been piloting for some time now after testing it with Cerb and whilst he thought that due to the terrible Blue Sun matchup it wouldn’t be good enough, I decided to stick with what I know and give it a spin for regionals.
My other option was to go back to Stealth Op Andy, but I would have needed to adjust the economy as I don’t think we’ll see enough remote play to make Desperado + Sec Testing as viable – Maybe I was wrong, would love to hear what people think on this.
Corporation Deck – Haas Iceroid / HB End the Fun
I really couldn’t decide what to take for Corp, this decision was probably the harder of the two. I’ve been playing around with a basic glacier HB deck over my usual Weyland (Who as I’d like to remind everyone are currently focussing their efforts on green energy for all, and are no way in connection with the large scale explosions in Gloucester Wednesday 22nd...), but as I’ve been playing HB for quite awhile now with a fair amount of success, I decided to go ahead and take it to Regionals.
Haas-Iceroid / HB End the Fun
Haas-Bioroid: Engineering the Future (Core Set)
3x Accelerated Beta Test (Core Set)
3x Priority Requisition (Core Set)
1x NAPD Contract (Double Time)
1x Utopia Fragment (The Source)
3x Eve Campaign (Humanity's Shadow)
3x Jackson Howard (Opening Moves) • • •
2x Reversed Accounts (Up and Over) • •
3x Melange Mining Corp. (Core Set)
2x Heimdall 1.0 (Core Set)
1x Ichi 1.0 (Core Set)
2x Viper (Cyber Exodus)
3x Eli 1.0 (Future Proof)
2x Architect (Up and Over)
1x Sagittarius (All That Remains)
3x Tollbooth (Core Set) •• •• ••
2x Grim (Opening Moves)
1x Excalibur (The Source)
2x Wormhole (Order and Chaos) •• ••
2x Successful Demonstration (Creation and Control)
3x Hedge Fund (Core Set)
3x Restructure (Second Thoughts)
3x Ash 2X3ZB9CY (What Lies Ahead)
Deck Size: 49
It’s a pretty basic Ash based Glacier deck, with nice and taxing ice. I splashed for Wormholes due to the amount of interesting subroutines available (Brain damage, trash program, Excalibur, Architect), and outside of David it’s expensive even for the most efficient decoders. Tollbooths are an obvious include to further up the tax. Reversed accounts allowed me to bluff out agendas, and if the bluff fails punish the runner for it, giving me a nice scoring window. Melange is still my favourite economy card (Outside of Adonis bouncing in Blue Sun), and it did plenty of work. I usually find that runners won’t go trash it out of a 3-4 deep scoring remote for fear of opening the scoring window, so I can make plenty of money before using Ash and Excalibur to prevent a steal (Or at least that’s the theory, I don’t think I ever resorted to this during the swiss...).
Onto the tournament itself
Round 1 of Swiss – Tom from Huddersfield
With a flip of a token of some variety, I’m corping against Noise, and this game alone makes me hang my head in shame...
Drawing my initial hand I’m flooded with agendas and no answers, so I take a mulligan. Into a hand almost identically flooded. I ditch an early 3 pointers into archives and start drawing up and secure my servers. Tom is setting up a Chakana build to prevent the scores, so I think I get an early ABT out but don’t trigger it. I draw a Jackson and install it, with a 2nd ABT installed, planning to trigger the ABT and Jackson any mishaps back in. Two virus installs mill 2 more 3 pointers, and Tom installs and pops a Hades shard before I can take my turn. Unable to react, I give Tom the game with the 9 points in archives, much to Toms suprise as the Jackson was rezzed and ready.
Lesson learned. NEVER EVER EVER EVER DELAY USING JACKSON. Hades shard is a thing, and it royally screwed me up game 1
We swap over, and it’s MaxX vs HB:Stronger Together which surprised me. I get setup quickly and start poking R&D seeing nothing. I knife Eli to the face in revenge, and Tom shores it up with some huge bioroids. I’ve got a hunch about HQ, so I legwork over a single piece of ice and pull a 3 pointer, a 2 pointer, and a 1 pointer – hallelujah! I build up some more econ, blowing up more ice as and when I can, and launch a 2nd legwork to take the final agenda point needed for the win.
With a split, I’ve managed to avoid both Cerberus and CacoethesVictor (Who was playing PE and I had no interest in playing against if I could avoid it...), so the name of the day became #OperationAvoidCerberus.
Round 2 of Swiss – Roberi from Manchester
I went into this game with a good feeling about the day. I could get some more wins, make my way up the swiss standings, try and get to top 16 on a good day. Oh how wrong I was.
Personal Evolution gets thrown down, and I play MaxX aggressively (I never learn!) and steal a few 1 pointers early on. Half way through my deck and Levy gets milled. I’ve got a SoT on the table ready to use it, when disaster strikes and the facedown install turned out to be a Chronos to wipe out the rest of the deck. Having to be very cautious for the rest of the game, I leave too many opportunities for my opponent to score out and I take a loss as runner.
Another game where HB draws into 5 points after a mulligan (Curses!) and minimal ice. I throw and eli over R&D, daring my opponent to come into HQ as MaxX, but he doesn’t bite, instead making money and installing eater. I draw up and see a tollbooth which I slap down over HQ (Ice may be the wrong way around in recollection), and 2 more agendas, so I put a NAPD and a Pri. Req into Archives, hoping to get a Jackson before this causes me problems. My opponent has spent his turn taking money off day job, so I install one of my ABTs into a server behind another tollbooth after drawing into both. The fun begins here as Roberi runs into R&D, eaters through Eli and accesses 0 cards (I raise an eyebrow at this). Roberi does the same for HQ, Eaters through Tollbooth and accesses 0 cards again (Really not following the plan now). He hits archives and I curse as he removes 5 points, and Roberi is almost apologetic as he Quest Completed my ABT for the win.
Both games are over within the space of maybe 20 minutes at post. I open a bag of Rolo cookies and drown my sorrows in baked goodness. This was probably the low point of the day for me, but a mope until the beginning of the next round, and I’m determined to try and win the rest of my games and storm into top 50% if not top 16 (knowing that winning all my games would be a mighty feat of luck).
Round 3 of Swiss – James from Leeds/Huddersfield
Round 1 sees me playing Corp again, and I’m off to a traditional Ice Ice Baby opening with iced up centrals and a hedge fund. James is running CT, and starts setting up a prepaid voicepad game (Which I was surprised at, I was expecting stimshop) James quickly makes all the money, and I draw into a card which I install, advance, and I take some money. The following turn James ignores the installed card, and I advance it twice, and install some more cards. James is sitting on a large pile of cash, but he still doesn’t run the triple advanced card, and probably pokes into centrals for no return. Double advance, and I rez the reversed accounts and fine James 20 credits for his refusal to run my daunting scoring remote. I follow up with an ABT, and I used my various economic options to make a boat load of credits so I could safely score out a priority requisition. I throw an ABT into the remote unadvanced to bluff out an asset, and next turn score out for the win.
I’m now feeling pretty good, this win puts me back on 2 wins 3 losses. James pulled out NEH, which I hope to do moderately well against if I can stop the fast advance. Early doors I see an NAPD which I take the risky move to steal. This ends up putting me on a massive economic back foot, and I’m playing catch up for much of the remainder of the game. I see either a midseasons or scorch, and James’ plan is laid bare before me. I grab as much econ as I can, and I déjà vu twice for a pair of I’ve Had Worse. I take an Astroscript from James, and a Breaking News, but it gives James the opening he needs to midseasons, traffic accidents me to remove 2 non-IHW cards (He nearly picked an IHW but reconsiders at the last moment – curses!) and scorches me for the win, but no hard feelings from me.
Round 4 of Swiss – Dan from Lancaster
It’s time to run against Weyland, but this is probably my first encounter with a Titan Transnational deck so far, so I’m going to try and play cautious... I take some money, face check some ice on R&D and face check ice wall on HQ. I install a grimoire and pass the turn. Following turn, I parasite the ice wall, and run in and steal a High Risk Investment, and a Project Atlas which probably hurts Dan more. Dan ices up some more, and I build up, ditching a femme to the heap, and drawing into a medium, making some money. I retrieval run the femme, slap a medium down and start digging R&D, and I hit 4 points for the win.
A swap up sees my HB facing MaxX once more, and I’m flooded again with agendas (I’m starting to doubt my ability to shuffle cards at this point). I score out the early ABT mostly out of necessity, knowing it could have been an easy steal. I just about keep MaxX out of my servers, where twice in a row I Draw, Draw, Hedgefund, Restructure for all the money. And get another 2 pointer scored Dan was having none of this however and does some back to back account siphoning to keep me poor. I turn to our lord and savoir of economy the Melange Mining Corp for answers however and get myself back online. I’m getting ready to score when Dan uses Wanton Destruction to ditch them all into Archives. Panicking I Jackson the necessary 3 pointers back into my deck, shuffle up the remaining 6 cards (Erk...). I draw into a Pri. Req with glee and install advance advance. Dan dirty laundries into archives to try and nab a last minute agenda, finds a remaining ABT I had forgotten about, and makes a last ditch attempt to get into my scoring remote, but Dan’s low on money. With 11 credits left, I go to rez an Eli, and realising this is a mistake, leave it unrezzed and rez my Tollbooth behind it, leaving Dan on the wrong side of my scoring server and leaving me 3 credits to score out what was a damn close game that left me shaking!
With a double win under my belt, I’m excited once more; I’m back on track for top 50% of the day. Oh how many times can I be wrong...
Round 5 of Swiss – Andrew from Swansea
Now if anyone other than Nemamiah read my Cardiff / Gloucester store champs report, you may recognise Andrew from my time in the Cardiff store champ, where I’d managed to get a double win against his Gangarin weyland deck and against his Noise Chakana deck. We’d caught up earlier in the day before the swiss began, but I hadn’t found out what Andrew was bringing to the table until now.
First up is TWIY vs MaxX, and I get an early legwork off to swipe 3 points (Huzzah! Thats 10 points it’s earned me, so Legwork has become a firm favourite) I also get to see some grail ice, so I begin my routine of ice destruction to keep the pressure on, and Andrew gets aboard the AstroTrain and scores his way to victory (Boooo).
Next up is HB vs Noise again, and I’m ready to not fall to Hades Shard once more! Andrew is building up quickly with early SMCs, Progenitors and Hivemind/Darwin combo. I rush out 2 ABTs, and install an NAPD in my scoring remote, and I’m trying to get Andrew to run into steal it, but he doesn’t take the bait. I purge and score the NAPD, and now I need to find my final 3/2 (ABT) to win out the game, as I don’t have the chance to score a 3 pointer. Unfortunately the very next mill is the needed ABT, and I’m stuck with needing to score the 5/3 to win. Andrew begins the mill-fest and leaves a Cache on the table. I’m getting all the melange money so I can rez all my scoring remote ice and ash trace to keep a 5/3 safe, and I’ve iced up HQ with 3 multi sub ice to make any R&D run super expensive. I’m at the point where i’m safe to score out, with Andrew running into R&D, paying his last 8 credits to get through ice #1 and #2, and then using Cache left on the table, eats some Hivemind counters for the 4 credits needed to get through the final Viper, and Mediums the final 6 cards in R&D for the winning 6 points in R&D. I’m really disappointed in myself, as an Ash that I had in hand would have won me the game – CURSES!
Round 6 of Swiss – Sam from Lancaster
So for those that have been counting, I’m on 4 wins 6 losses, and it has not been a particularly favourable day. I can still claw my way to the top 50% I tell myself however...
First round sees another Chaos Theory deck against my HB End the Fun. Unfortunately Sam was off to a blisteringly fast start – Opus hits the table early, R&D gives up 5 points. I quickly ice up R&D and a remote, so Sam responds with a Vamp. I decided to ditch my credits into two Eve Campaigns and ice on HQ, leaving me with a single credit. The eves bank roll my scoring remote into something scary, with multiple program trash ice and tollsbooths for the final ETR. I put two ash into the scoring remote with a Priority Req, and over the next couple of turns score it. I follow it up with an Install advance advance Prioirty Req in the remote, certain that I’m going to recover and win the game with the 3/2 needed in hand. My dreams are crushed by a top deck’d ABT off R&D, as Sam decides my daunting unrezzed scoring remote just isn’t worth the trouble...
I come across another TWIY deck now as I setup MaxX for another go. I ditch an early femme, and as Sam goes to score behind a piece of ice I retrieval run over a Mother Goddess to swipe the first agenda. I run into R&D, and Sam rezzes a tollbooth, hitting me in the pocket and I'm running out of money quickly. I build up, I get a Kati on the table, and discard another femme. The following turn I draw into a retrieval run, and femme comes down on the tollbooth, and I'm laughing. I medium dig and find an NAPD, which I take to put me on 4 points. Low on money, Sam strikes with a Snatch and Grab, ruining my chance to recover economically, and proceeds to score out whilst I scramble to get any credits I could together...
Between rounds, the current standings are put up, and with my score now being 4-8, I know I'm placing low today. Checking out the numbers, I'm in 50th spot (63 players). My only chance now is to save as much pride as I can and get a couple of wins
Round 7 of Swiss – Mark C from Manchester
After swapping names and the usual handshake, Mark and I flip for sides and MaxX is out for her last hurrah against Replicating Perfection, which is a pretty good matchup for me, though Mark's RP build was unusual, with a multitude of killshot pieces (Ronins, snares etc). I femmed the ice over R&D (Draco), and start digging with Medium. Every few turns Mark purges, so I'm never seeing more then 2-4 cards, but I manage to see all the caprice and trash each and every copy of the wench, and win a psi game for a TFP. I later hit some of the snares, and see a Fetal, stealing it to put me on 5 points. Whilst I recover from the damage, Mark gets up to 5 points as well. It's all for nothing as I dig into R&D for a Nisei for the win, as Mark was ready to score his final agenda if I'd failed to see anything.
Last game of the day was against Mark's Kate deck. Unfortunately, I hadn't taken any notes of this game, but I'd pulled out a 2nd win to put me on 6-8, leaving me in 42nd place, and in the top 2/3s of players. Not an auspicious end to the day, but I settle in to watch the top 8, and see some very close games (A particularly good PPvP Kate vs RP game was played, but again I took no further notes for the day, and I can't report on that... apologies!)
I've got to hand it to all my opponents over the day, you were all great to play against, and once again the netrunner community shows their best as I could fault no one's sportsmanship even with the regionals on the line.
With Oxford and Sheffield left to go on my regional tour, I'm now left with the decision on what to play next time... with Breaker Bay being available, will I play something new? Tune in next time for the answers! If you're going to Oxford, I look forward to dealing with what ever nasty decks you bring, and I hope to bring a stronger game. The next goal is to get into the top 50% by Oxford, and I'd like to make Top 16 if possible by Sheffield... the Loftier goals of winning after swiss and cut can be left to my betters