Monday, 5 September 2022

Netrunner Aus-Nats post mortem - how I probably should just give up and learn standard... maybe

As a recent returner to netrunner (apperently there's a lot of my ilk) and having not played since 2014, which after doing a deep drive of my memory diamonds post this weekend I have realised that I have both lived an entire life since then that wasn't netrunner and I definitely didn't play enough at the time, this is my first big tournament and it was so good, ill be doing a bit of a break down of my games over the weekend and how abysmally I went but also some lessons learned. First off though I really just want to thank Luke for fucking killing it all weekend as TO and for everyone who came along for being great people.

- I only own(ed) system gateway and system update, my two decks I ran were Reina and PD which were both made from those two lots of cards
- I didn't realise until I arrived and was talking to people that PD was a thing in standard and that my deck was going to be upsettingly different to every other one out there
- My PD deck has 11 agendas in it, I'm a knob for doing this but I still do it
- Despite being seriously hamstrung by my own lack of card pool, and knowledge of whats out there, I attempted to make up for this by an adage I had learnt in a previous life: sieze, retain, and exploit the initiative through violence of action. I did this by any means, including running on my fourth click.

CLICK THE SECOND - 8 rounds of standard on day 1
Note: I won't be dropping any names or identities, because I'm not 100% on what people prefer (real, pseudonym, nom de plume, screen name, nickname, or otherwise) to go by or their pronouns, and I didn't write down what they were playing just what happened to me. If anyone wants to jump out and let me know any of these details I'll be happy to change them.

- first game
I was runner, I knew what had to do, run hard, run fast, and run often. I got a god draw and top decked everything I ever needed, by turn three or four my rig was set up, I had a reasonable hand size, and there was nothing on the board I couldn't get through. Reina was firing on all cylinders, and my opponent was feeling the income stress that I could put on them, xanadu + Reina + tread lightly is killer, I got into R&D and saw a few cards, I read them all, one was Boom! which I had never seen before in my life, I locked in that I never wanted two tags ever and then trashed it, a turn later I steal an agenda and get a tag, it's ok only 1 tag I can deal with this, I run some more and read some new cards, I steal another agenda, I get another tag, I have two clicks left. I should kill the tags right, 2 means they can get boom off and I dont want that, I click account syphon, I draw a card for the first time this turn which verbal plasticity turns into two cards, im set I can't be punitive retribution-ed I have 5 cards in hand and I stole a two point agenda... I had forgotten about the tags... archive memories, recover boom, play boom, I lose... GG
"Fuck!!! I'm a dickhead" I say or something similar, have a laugh and then pack up. My opponent was gracious in victory and even said they felt sorry for me and wanted to say something but they kinda couldn't... its a tournament... you know... it was fine, I was taught a valuable lesson that I managed not to repeat over the next 7 games or entire next day

Second game
I was Corp this time, I got all my shit together and sat down, I draw my opening hand and I have 5 agendas, can't have that so I Mulligan, I draw three agendas and two ice, fuck, I guess I'll have to make this work, we had a bit of pre game bants while we waited for the clock to start... it wasn't starting, looks of confusion surrounded me, what was going on, is everything ok, did something happen to the magical web based tournament software we were using, was the countless synergistic management solution meetings that had been snored into the Faraday cage of a building we were in done something to us?
"Is it really a tournament if the software doesn't go down?" Someone asks
"Are sharks eating the internet cables in the ocean between here and America?" Asks someone else
"Surely aesops tables isn't broken, that thing is a well oiled machine?" Asks another person
"Should we call Jeff?" Someone else asks, this one does lead to a bit of a "wake up Jeff" half hearted sing-along
Nah yeah, turns out there was some sort of admin error and repairings had to be done, oh well

Second game the second time
Im Corp, we sit down and set up, I figure that it's going to be a bit harder for me to figure out what's going on with my opponents deck because I'm in a bit more of a defensive posture as Corp... oh well, I'll make it work.
I draw my starting hand and I'm holding 4 agendas, fucking hell, I Mulligan and get two agendas, two ice, and a hedge fund... I keep this, as you know I have to... I fucking hate this... I proceed to top deck a few cards I need and set up a bit of a reasonable defence, I then proceed to top deck every single agenda I have. My opponent gets a deep dive off and sees no agendas, "Hhhmmmm I wonder where they are?" They ask facetiously, knowing all too well they are in my 8 card hand (I scored two super cconductors). They smash into HQ and pull one agenda and a seamless launch from the seven cards (agendas) im holding, then they run my scoring server and take the victory right from it. Another gracious and humble victor my opponent is and we have a chat about how close the game kinda was

Lunch time baby
Lunch got brought forward a round because of the previous rounds error, the first second round, so that they could have a chance to fix up the problem sort out the mess. I head out to Betty's burgers and have a really nice burger and chicken strips, the g town crew is mostly there so we talk shit and smash our feeds. A bloke is playing the violin not far from us, like 50m, and it's a stark juxtaposition of the hard Melbourne infostrcture and beautiful flowing electro violin. Sadly this was interrupted by a loud echoing coming from around us, it took a second or two to figure out the true direction of the obnoxiousness but once it was determined a tired wave of upset resentment flowed over me... Fucking covid protestors, these assholes, out again being knobs... we collectively shit talk them, some of us stop eating and put our masks back on in boldfaced silent protest to them, some people yell at us, I am given some propaganda, we continue to laugh at them, but they do leave and we head back... I'm very not excited to see them again next month at pax especially since I have heard that they will be doing some stuff around the convention centre

Third round
Time to be runner again, second time as runner, but this time my god draw wasn't there, its ok though because I can make it work. A few rounds in I'm digging through deck trying to get that one card I need and my opponent realised this early, and didn't give me any card draw from my wildcat strikes but that's kinda ok because it allowed me to go ahead and have a bunch of cash for my random jank. I stole a few agendas and felt good about it, I tried to make a good thing from something bad but was unsuccessful and lost. My opponent was a gracefull winner

Fourth round
Im Corp, I draw three agendas and no ice or money, Mulligan into two agendas and three ice, I have to make this work I guess. I no advance an offworld office and get some money, I draw a hedge fund, and things are beginning to look up. My hopes sored so high for a second there, but were quickly dashed against the rocks of my deck and a few good accesses later and my opponent had managed to get the seven points needed to win. They were a humble victor and bemoaned my deck along with me.

Fifth round
Im running again, and I manage to get a reasonable hand so I get some econ pressure going and the Corp is feeling it. I get some good steals and things are looking up, but the Corp no advances and then quick advances back to back, things are looking down for me, I make a run to turn it around access two of the three cards in hand and get nothing, they fast advance from hand and get the win. Another good sport who goes out of their way to make me feel ok about my loss.

Sixth round
Im Corp, this one is a straight close out, my opponent got their rig set up and then had great access, my econ never shows up and when it does they trash it hard. I managed to get a couple of scores, but overall I managed to play my badly constructed deck poorly and my opponent capitalised upon this momentum and got into every where all the time. They were a super gracious winner, I bet you are seeing a pattern here about my opponents.

Seventh round
I'm runner, I'm against PE, I haven't really played against PE much but I know I need to keep a full hand and run enough to steal the goods without stealing the bads. My decks idea of doing runs to make econ pressure against the Corp doesn't work when they have no ice, even if I had a full rig and everything set up and working well... the game was still somehow close, but not close enough and I lost to 7 agenda points. Again my opponent was such a good sport about their victory

Eighth round
- note: this round was almost pushed to the next day, but we all voted that we wanted it to happen and the store was gracious enough to stay open an extra 30 mins more for us.
I was Corp, I got a reasonable hand and figured that I would make it work, and this time I managed to do it. I had a hakarl 1.0 unrezzed installed in front of my scoring remote and a manegarm skunkworks also unrezzed in it, I drew a urtica cypher and install, advance, advanced it. They ran this falling for my trick, I had them they only had 3 cards in hand, I knew it but they didn't, I couldn't let them know I knew it. I rezzed the hakarl 1.0 and derezzed something else so that they couldn't click through it, they passed by but it was expensive for them, I rezzed the skunkworks, they were rich and passed by paying the 5 dollars, I rezzed the cypher, a look of sudden defeat came over them, I had won and it was my only with for the standard tournament. I naturally rubbed it in their face and cheered about how good I was... yeah nah I'm a piece of shit... but yeah, we had a chat and laugh over my dirty win, it was disgusting, why did I rez the skunkworks, I nearly fucked it for myself... they were a very good loser and I was a bad person

The results
As you could no doubt guess, I came last, I cheered and fist pumped, I earned this loss with all my bad decisions from my lack of card pool slash research into standard all the way through to my mediocre deck lists and then bad calls on what to keep in my hand draws. Everyone was great to play against and everyone was a much better person than me with their wins and general everything.

Dinner out
We went to an Italian place and had a great feed and drinks, I won a bet against Luke so I brought him a drink (you should always buy the TO team a drink, it's the least you can do) but after writing this up I have realised that I miscounted and I'm a fucking dickhead and Luke was correct, ill need to let him know this...

Back home
After a couple of drinks and a nice wind down chat with everyone, I headed home, I fucked up and left the restaurant too early though and caught the traffic coming out of the footy match, shit happens. Once I got home I poured myself a big glass of starward solaria and pulled out my midnight sun cards and looked over them all for the first time, and decided upon two things that I thought might be fun and then with my limited (albeit slightly better than for standard) card pool I put together two new decks for the start up tournament. Luke was kind enough to lend me three boomerangs (I don't have ashes) and in return I gave him a bunch of prizes prizes prizes I had left over

CLICK THREE - 6 rounds of standard

My runner deck is Sable
My Corp deck is Prav
My mission is to win more than 1 game even though I have pretty much just shoved my decks together

First round
I was runner and I was up against PE, I figured I would just try and run as much as I could and see if I could make sables stuff work. I got a great opening hand, managed to get my rig set up almost straight away (back stitching and mayfly, with boomerang in hand) and I top decked virtuoso on my first draw, HQ was my home, I was able to get past all the ice with no problems, docklands pass was giving me multiple access in HQ, I got a verbal plasticity out early so I could reup my hand size after early successful runs, everything was going great for me. Then it wasn't, I didn't have a mayfly or a tutor for it, I had a boomerang and a back stitching in hand, they score an agenda, I lose two of my four cards... guess which ones... if you guessed back stitching and boomerang you're correct... this put me on the back foot, I needed a tutor to find my final mayfly or a retrieval run to get one from the bin, I didn't get either, my opponent rezzed a san san city grid and fast advanced everything to the win. They won on 7 agenda points, this is the second time in two days that PE has managed to win on points against me, nah yeah I realise that it's not super uncommon but it's still a bit of a thing. My opponent is a humble winner and we had a talk about the new cards and some ideas for tweeking my bad deck.

Second round
I have just finished talk shit with someone about the intricacies of their runner deck. The pairings are announced, I'm Corp, the person I was just talking to is runner, welp this should be fun. I have a good hand to start with and get some nice fast advance through prav doing its put a bean on something if they successfully run, but after hitting five agenda points in about six turns my opponent has now had a chance to get their rig going, Loup with imp and boat is fucked as. They got into R&D and made sure that any econ or ice I was going to draw went away, my hand began to fill with agendas and tech I couldn't use, my jank was failing me. Boat Loup with imps have wrecked me, this deck they are running has some serious legs. I lose but they are sorry about it and we talk some shit about how I could potentially go better next time, they were a real good sport about their win

Third round
I got a bye, fuck yeah first win baebee, I'm the greatest

Betty's burgers again, this time without protestors but also without the violin playing. The bants and burgers was good and everyone is keen for the prizes prizes prizes that has been laid out on the table, now that I have a win under my belt I might accidentally get some

Fourth round
Im up against someone I played on the first day, and I'm the runner against them again. I rig up by tutoring in the first couple of turns and get my life into gear, I have everything I need except virtuoso but that's ok I can run 5 times, boomerang is killing it for me this round, I make a couple of miss plays but they aren't anything too bad and I managed to get into R&D at one point and see a punitive retribution, I can't kill it so I need to remember to keep an eye out for it, I have a verbal plasticity in place so my hand size is going to stay high now. I steal a crypto currency and love that I don't take the seven dollar hit, they rez a tomorrow's headline and I kill the tag (boom has still scared me), I make a run into their scoring server and find a bellona, they have 4 agenda points so if they score this they will win, I have 2 agenda points I need to steal this to stay in the game, they have at least 1 punitive retribution in hand that I know of "you don't have two of them do you?" I ask "yeah nah... or maybe" is the dead panned reply I get, I laugh, they laugh, we both laugh, I pay for the steal and draw up to 6 cards trashing one because my hand size is 5, they play the punitive retribution, "yeah sick, which three do you want?" I ask "yeah nah, don't worry about it" and they play a second punitive retribution "fucking shit" I say, we both laugh and they say that they don't feel great about the win especially since even though I wasn't in my great spot I would of had them in a turn or two. Another loss... and off the back of my recent win, am I destined for last place again? Well yeah probably, but who cares it's netrunner and that's what matters.
- note: there was some how a mistake in pairings here and it wasn't noticed until my game and the other game had already finished, this was caused by a couple of people dropping but was blamed on me winning with my bye and the software not accepting it, understandably so, so the results of this round and the subsequent rounds were all manually entered, scored, and paired. Luke, David, and Hugh fucking nailed this and it is a shit gig, I've done this stuff before and trust me when I say anything more than about 6-8 players you do not want to manually pair, and they did 20 (well 22, but yeah). So anyone who played in the start up tournament owe these three a beer or two at their next earliest convenience

Fifth round
I'm Corp, I have a reasonable hand after my Mulligan, it's got a ubiquitous vig in it, let's see how situationally good this card can get. I don't ice R&D for the whole game, I want that free bean to go onto my vig to get it big, I put it behind a tollbooth but this doesn't end up mattering. I no advance with the free bean or put it onto vig every turn because they keep running the easy to enter R&D, this is going great for me, sure they scored an agenda or two but that happens when you don't ice R&D. My vig is on 6 beans at this point, I have spent all money to keep them out of my scoring remote and they have two clicks left, my unrezzed tollbooth infront of my vig is useless, im about to lose my money making machine, they don't run, I hard click for two dollars just so I can rez that tollbooth, they run R&D, vig becomes 7, they set their rig up a bit, my turn comes and I'm good. I public trail them, they don't pay, I use retribution and kill their virtuoso and their q loop, things are looking up for me, they get through my scoring server and I rez amaze amusements and they steal tomorrow's headline, 3 tags later they decide its not worth spending their turn killing their tags now that they have 4, I dig for an agenda, and finally get one crypto currency and psychographics win me the game. My vig ended up on 12 beans, it was turely a phenomenon that will never happen again. I was a bit more humble on this victory, even though I did install my final agenda face up

Sixth round
I'm Corp, that's fine with me, manual pairings and me wanting to play this again to bug test it mean that I now have my chance. Padma, rezeki, twinning, and a breaker of any kind (not mayfly) is a great combo that works better than it should. I managed to get a decent hand, I had a nice ice suit going and my scoring server was well defended, R&D only had a ping in front of it and I didn't realise in my half cut mess when putting these decks together the previous night that twinning had some crazy synergy, so yeah ping was almost useless once their rig was up, it reached a point for them that they installed their boat for the memory slots... along with their three DMZ operators... I managed to get drago out but I had put him into my scoring sever and I wasn't drawing the ice to make a new one (or protect R&D) so I installed over the top of him, I got to 6 agenda points and my opponent had their rig set up fully and proceeded to see the top three cards of R&D every turn, this put me on the back foot hard but I preserved and attempted to dig for that final winning agenda, I got it into hard by reshuffling the deck and using predictive planogram twice to draw six card and then install the agenda, they run, I bean the agenda, I have them next turn, the dive three deep with twinning, my R&D is there home and has been for a long time they have it on lock, first card blank, second card trash, third card steal and win the game. It was close we both congratulate each other on our game and have a quick chat about how good twinning is but also how it can really just put some blinkers on you once you have something on lock. They were gracious in victory, as one should expect at this point.

The results
I ended up coming fourth last, but managed to get some sick prizes prizes prizes. It was a great tournament and I had a bunch of fun, which really at the end of the day is what matters. Everyone was kinda shocked when I didn't come last, I have to admit it felt weird to me too.

Dinner out
Much smaller group this time, we went to the Charles Dickens pub which was like two doors down from the venue and had a great chat slash wind down. My drive home was slightly better this time despite the road works on the Monash (when isn't there road works on there though)


Lessons learned
- Everyone was a top sport and a good person, the Aussie scene for netrunner is so good.
- I really should look into standard more, the "you can proxy anything" makes it super accessible and every single person I spoke to at some point said "if you want a go in standard I can borrow you a deck" or something along those lines.
- I should probably net deck a bit to figure out if something works or not and not just do my own thing, but I kinda do like just doing my own thing... I'll have to think on this some more
- Don't do 11 agendas in a deck, it's just dumb and your deck is worse off for it
- Off brand jank tech is funny/smart, it will work once but that one time will be spoken about by a lot of people... does that make you a legend? If you do play against someone else after you get this off they will know about it
- Boat has legs
- Virtuoso has legs
- Twinning is wild
- Drago is wild, I under used him and should of had a turn built around him ahead of time to capitalise upon the tag
- Tag storm is yuck no matter how you do it
- Trick of light will see play in prav
- Blood in the water install, advance, score is not something that feels good to have happen to you

I had a great weekend, met some great people, talked a bunch of shit, and got a couple of wins. I don't know about the rest of you lot, but Aus-Nats was an amazing time and I'm keen for next year.... maybe I'll win four games