Regional Tournament Report from the Middle of the Pack

Netrunner Regionals came to the San Francisco Bay Area on July 19, and we saw a great turnout of around 70 people. Props to Gamescape North in San Rafael for organizing a great event, and thanks to all the judges and organizers that made it happen.

So what does an average experience at a Regional look like? I’ll start with my decks.

Andromeda: Dispossessed Ristie
Event (21)
3 Account Siphon
3 Dirty Laundry
2 Emergency Shutdown
1 Indexing
2 Inside Job
2 Legwork
1 Planned Assault
3 Special Order
3 Sure Gamble

Hardware (6)
2 Desperado
2 Plascrete Carapace
2 R&D Interface

Resource (7)
3 Kati Jones
3 Same Old Thing
2 Security Testing

Icebreaker (9)
2 Corroder
3 Faerie
1 Femme Fatale
1 Garrote
1 Peacock
1 ZU.13 Key Master

Program (2)
2 Datasucker

Not really anything interesting here, to be honest. I was running 2 of each breaker type because I tend to be paranoid, and because it can get me running faster; something I anticipated being useful against TWIY* AstroScript + Biotic Labor decks. I was iffy on the one-of Garrote, but it was there because I’d seen a few big sentries in matches leading up to Regionals. Security Testing was actually a recent addition, and it’s included to force the corp to ICE Archives as much as it is for economy.

NBN: Making News
Agenda (10)
3 AstroScript Pilot Program
1 Market Research
3 Project Beale
3 NAPD Contract

Asset (5)
3 Jackson Howard
2 Marked Accounts

Upgrade (2)
2 SanSan City Grid

Operation (14)
2 Biotic Labor
2 Fast Track
3 Hedge Fund
2 Midseason Replacements
3 Psychographics
2 Sweeps Week

Barrier (5)
2 Wall of Static
1 Eli 1.0
2 Wraparound

Code Gate (7)
3 Pop-up Window
2 RSVP
2 Tollbooth

Sentry (6)
3 Caduceus
3 Data Raven

This is what I call my Tag Fatigue deck; the goal is to slow the runner down if they want to be careful with tags, but win quickly if they get sloppy. To that end, Data Raven is a key piece of the deck. Many a runner has grown tired of breaking it and clearing the tag, and with Psychographics, I can turn that into their downfall. Midseason Replacements adds the additional burden to the runner of having to keep up economically. But unlike some Midseason tag storm decks, rather than going all-in on tags with Scorched Earth, I use Biotic Labor to give myself another path to victory, and to threaten to play like AstroBiotics if the runner goes too slowly. And Fast Track is an all-star here, because it supports both Psychographics and AstroBiotics wonderfully. The deck requires some finesse to balance between the fast advance threat and the tag threat, but I’ve had a lot of fun with it, since I feel like it opens up more dynamic play with its flexibility.

Now to the play. My notes were a little light, so my apologies if some of the details from my memory are inaccurate.

Round 1 — Rachel H.

Chaos Theory
Rachel had a PrePaid Chaos Theory build, and she built up her rig fairly quickly, while maintaining a pretty healthy economy. Early game, I was able to set up enough to survive, but I failed to draw into any of my tag tech, so I didn’t get the opportunity to tax her with Data Ravens or bait her into an agenda for Midseason Replacements. By mid-game her economy was established enough that Midseason was off the table, so I had to rely on my (weaker) fast advance threats. A Biotic Labor and AstroScript Pilot Program counter got me to 4 points, but I fell to the near-inevitability of a full Shaper rig.

The World Is Yours*
Every time I see TWIY* go down across the table, I get ready for a race. And a race is what I got. What I also got was run over by a train. I got my rig about as quickly as I could have hoped and I think I grabbed a Project Beale from a Legwork, but Rachel still got two AstroScripts out fairly quickly, with the help of Biotic Labor. At one point in the game, my economy had started to peter out, so I put down Kati Jones to be able to bring it back up, and on Rachel’s following turn, she Fast Tracked for an AstroScript. I was 2 credits shy of being able to Same Old Thing my Legwork, so I went for the ⅙ chance in HQ and missed. From there on out, the train rolled on. All 3 Astros got scored, and the finishing blow from Biotic Labor + Fast Track sent me to next round with 0 prestige.

Round 2 — Wes O.

Andromeda
My notes for this round are very sparse because it went long, mostly from this first game. If I remember correctly, I fast-advanced out an AstroScript and a Project Beale, while he got to 4 points from a pretty typical Andromeda with Datasucker rig. My board state felt well behind Wes’s, but I put two Data Ravens over R&D, and they did their job of making the runner sick of dealing with them. Once the tags were floating, I was able to Fast Track for a Beale and use Psychographics to over-advance it for my last 3 points.

The World Is Yours*
We only had 15 minutes left in the round for this game, but 15 minutes is plenty of time for AstroBiotics. I got my breakers and an R&D Interface out fairly quickly, and he didn’t get all three AstroScripts, so this was a much closer race than my previous round. Still, the train rolled on, and he pulled out the win before I was able to pull the agendas off R&D.

Round 3 — Jamin N.

The World is Yours*
Sigh. I braced myself for another race, and it’s not a great start, because Jamin played a first turn Sweeps Week for 8 credits. Then, my first access of R&D showed Midseasons Replacements, and I paused, because I smelled Scorched Earth. (And sure enough, I later found a Scorched in R&D.) Shortly thereafter, I accessed an NAPD Contract in Archives and left it there, because there’s no way I could survive taking it. His opening Sweeps Week paid for a Tollbooth protecting Melange Mining Corp, and from then on I was trying to find someway to get him poor, or for me to get rich, or just find my Plascrete Carapace, and I was having a hard time of it. The cards at least had some sense of humor: I had a Kati Jones up to 9 credits when he scored an installed Breaking News for his first point and trashed Kati. I quickly found another Kati Jones, and he scored a Breaking News out of hand for point #2. I get up to 12 credits on Kati, and he scored an installed Breaking News #3 to chase her away again. Next turn, I top decked my last Kati Jones. But my economy came too late, since I can never safely steal an agenda with his Midseason in hand, and I lose 7-0.

Andromeda
Jamin accessed a Midseason Replacements early and geared up with a Plascrete in case I had Scorched Earth. This led to a mostly unremarkable midgame — I chained one AstroScript to another, trying to keep an economic balance, and he balanced his accesses with keeping up in the econ war, managing to steal an agenda without giving me a window to play Midseason. But on the turn he got to 4 points, he had dropped low enough that I was able to give him 4 tags the next turn. (I actually had the win in hand that turn, but I miscounted the necessary credits, so I had to wait it out.) He scored the next turn, but I survived, and then played my trusty Fast Track for Project Beale into Psychographics, and used my last AstroScript counter to score Beale for my last 3 points.

Round 4 — Brian “Chops” C.

Stronger Together
An opponent to justify my one of Garrote! I pulled a Priority Requisition off the top of R&D with my first access. He then played Oversight AI to rez a Janus 1.0 over R&D. I had an Indexing in hand and a Faerie on the table, so I was gearing up to kill the Janus, but he dropped another piece of ICE on R&D. It got its own Oversight AI and it’s… another Janus 1.0. Ugh. I got some Security Testing + Desperado + Datasucker work going on Archives, which helped me later when I ran on his remote. I hit a Howler, which put a Heimdall 2.0 into play, which I dealt with mostly with Datasucker counters, and stole an Accelerated Beta Test. In the meantime, he had put an upgrade on R&D. I had trashed a Corporate Troubleshooter earlier, so I figured there was a good chance the upgrade was another one. So thinking I now have to Account Siphon in order to safely attack R&D (if only to have one fewer Janus), I did so. Sure enough, when I went into R&D after the Siphon, he rezzed a Corporate Troubleshooter. So I only managed to kill one Janus with a Faerie before I had to jack out. From there on, I got too focused on R&D, letting him score a False Lead and an Accelerated Beta Test, which he ran with no Jackson. An Archives check yielded nothing for me. Later, I spent a lot of credits getting into his remote to find a Melange Mining Corp, which I unhappily trashed. In the late board state, he still had one Oversight AI’ed Janus on R&D, he Oversight AI’ed his Heimdall 2.0 on the remote, used a Bioroid-Efficiency-Research-rezzed Janus on HQ, and had a hard-rezzed Ichi 2.0 on Archives. I still remained too fixated on R&D, which cost a lot of my credits, and he got a scoring window for Project Wotan. With a False Lead scored, there was pretty much nothing I could do, and he scored a 3/2 two turns later for the win. (Garrote never hit the table.)

Noise
This game got off to a scary start because (a) Noise and (b) I mulliganed into 2 AstroScripts, Psychographics, Pop-up Window, and Midseason Replacements. I got pretty lucky that my AstroScripts survived the opening, and I drew into some cards that saved me. With my Midseasons in hand and an economic lead, I put down an NAPD Contract naked and advanced it once. Brian ignored it, and I left it alone while I was able to stay ahead in credits. I used a Biotic Labor to score my first AstroScript, then chained into my second AstroScript. After I drew into a Project Beale, I scored the NAPD. Brian made a few more attempts at HQ, trashing a Psychographics with Imp, but missing the Beale. I then used the AstroScript to score, and that was the game.

Round 5 — Brent J.

The World Is Yours*
Back to TWIY*. It looked like he another Scorched Earth/tag punishment deck, as I saw Data Raven, Midseason Replacements (I think), and Private Security Force. I kept ahead in economy by making him rez ICE, the biggest drain being an Emergency Shutdown on his Tollbooth. But really, the game was won fairly quickly with just some lucky accesses from HQ.

Chaos Theory
He went about setting up a big rig, but it ended up being a bit too slow. I scored an AstroScript behind Wraparound, and used Biotic Labor to score a Beale. His rig started to come into shape though, including two R&D Interfaces, so I gave it due respect with 5 pieces of ICE over R&D. In the end, he got a little incautious with the Data Raven over HQ, taking two tags and giving me two Data Raven counters in a turn. The next turn, Psychographics finished the job.

Round 6 — George T.

Engineering the Future
This was a pretty lucky game for me. My starting hand had enough breakers and Special Orders to get my rig going quickly, so I managed to sustain good pressure from the beginning. I stole an Efficiency Committee early, and tried to keep him poor with Account Siphon and pressure on the centrals. I stole another agenda, but I did hit a one-advanced Aggressive Secretary, which took out a Corroder. I was able to replace it almost immediately, but I did get overly cautious after that, allowing him to score an Efficiency Committee. The speed at which he was trying to score out of remotes made me smell an agenda flood, so I was able to grab the win from HQ accesses and Inside Job on his remote.

Mac
Here, I had basically the problem opposite of George’s from the first round. George took a long time to set up, and I couldn’t find the agendas I needed. While he was having a slow setup, he was keeping up economically, and an RSVP was able to protect a SanSan City Grid for at least 7 turns. But even the magical Jackson Howard wasn’t able to help me draw into an AstroScript or Project Beale, instead giving me my NAPD Contracts (which I didn’t want because his economy was too strong) and Market Research (which I really didn’t want, since he wasn’t tagged). Eventually, he got Datasucker and an Atman, which he set at 3 to deal with my Wall of Static and Caduceus on R&D, at which point any advantage I had crumbled. After his first stolen agenda, I had two Midseason Replacements in hand, so I played one with no hope of giving him tags, just trying to drain him of some money. From then on, I was only able to slow him down. I got Data Ravens and Wraparounds on centrals, and cleared virus counters, but Femme Fatale got him back in, and Inti came out eventually. I got one opportunity for Midseason to hit, but it would have cost over 25 credits to give him just 2 tags. He got to 6 points, and I Biotic’ed out a Beale just to get on the board, but time was called, giving George a timed win.

Whew. 6 rounds of Swiss is a lot of Netrunner, and as the double elimination was ready to go into the wee hours of the morning, not many felt too bad about missing the top 16 cut. But of course, props to those who did make it and congratulations to Jon D. for his win.

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