Please also see my runner deck over here.
So, this was my first tournament I think since UK Nationals last year. I’ve been too busy with life and organising other tournaments to have time to play in them! I was feeling a bit dubious about my chances as a result. I had been playing SYNC in the weeks leading up to the Store Champ, but a severe drubbing from Stephen on the Monday and Seamus (twice!) during the week made me doubt myself, plus the fresh arrival of Jesminder.
Naturally, I decided the thing to do was completely change everything. I puzzled over what to do for a bit, and in chatting to Marty about Leela I found out he had an HB NEXT deck with Batty he was having fun with (based on a Tournament deck link in the ‘Derived from’ box). Again, I checked with him he didn’t mind me taking it, he kindly agreed and talked through it with me!
On Marty’s advice, I tweaked the agenda suite and added 2 Ash to give us a way to score. Highwire had run a similar deck previously, and on his advice, I added 2 Archived Memories over the Reclamation Orders. As Noise was everywhere, I crammed in a CVS. My brief testing indicated a problem with a glut of Str 4 ice, and as runner without a rig can happily walk through Ichi I decided to cut it. Vikram went in instead as a still-punishing facecheck, plus having a sub that can be Batty’d to lock out a runner playing tricks with clone chips. And finally, because I’m cool, I added a one-off Corporate Troubleshooter.
First Round: Iain McAllister, Whizzard
I sit down for this game with a Whizzard in front of me, a Whizzard to the left of me, and a Whizzard opposite the Whizzard to my left. All that asset econ is looking a wee bit more fragile now. Still, I manage to get set up quite safely here, and an early Gold for one trash/damage takes Iain’s Corroder, shoring up some other servers behind a Silver. I squeeze out two agendas, and Iain isn’t having much luck hitting them elsewhere, but he has an impressive and flexible rig assembled. He hits the remote and a Batty fires off 4 trashes on a Gold to wipe his rig. This gives me a window to score the last GFI for win... but possibly at the cost of my friendship with Iain. I’m sorry!
Second Round: Iain Fairclough, Kate
Iain is another friendly face, and though I’ve seen him at tournaments several times I’ve never had a chance to play him. Kate is a slightly worrying prospect as she can pull out breakers whenever she needs and can reasonably recur trashed breakers. Iain facechecked 2 Rototurrets early on, losing an SMC and a decoder which I lock away behind a scored Chronos Project. I can get out a GFI, but then I’m searching for agendas, making money behind a remote. I have a rezzed Silver and Gold on HQ, which Iain runs (as I found out later, setting up for Apocalypse I had no idea about) thinking his 4tman and Inti will see him through. A Corporate Troubleshooter boosts Gold to five and takes Iain’s rig. I quickly find another GFI which I slap in a remote, and Vikram, Bronze and Rototurret conspire to keep him out. I’ll note that not only does Corporate Troubleshooter open my the window, but a Vikram over the Ichi stops him grabbing 4tman back in order to get in and steal the winning agenda...
Third Round: Jonny Lockhart, MaxX
This is going to be a tough match up: Jonny is a great player; his deck, with copious ice destruction and recursion, is a perfect counter to mine; and finally I have the worst start I’ve had in a long time. I spend the first 4 or 5 turns drawing nothing but upgrades and assets, which Jonny trashes. I never really get a chance to stabilise and Jonny remains in control for pretty much the whole game. I grab four points, and firing an ABT to get 2 ice on the remote gives me a brief window in which I could have maybe scored a GFI for the win. I believe Jonny steals a GFI off RnD right about now... I get a couple of Batty and Rototurret trashes, but it’s not enough and Jonny takes it. This puts me on 4/2, and I figure it’s likely I need to sweep the next round to get into the cut. Awooo!
Forth Round: Peter ‘Interns’ Henderson, Noise
I’ve met Peter a few times but again never actually played him. I know he’s got plenty of experience with Noise, and it’s not a match up I have a ton of experience with (especially with this deck!). Peter takes a couple of early agendas, doing the standard Noise thing of milling (he has to remind me to mill a card on an install a frankly shameful number of times), He even takes both Jacksons doing this! His Aesop doesn’t make an appearance early, and he runs very low in cash. I have a window for an overadvanced Vitruvius, which makes a slight misplay over; he installed a Wyldside the previous turn and facechecks the remote ice, not leaving him enough clicks to gain a credit, install the d4v1d then to run again. I finally get a GFI in there with a rezzed ash; he runs the remote 3rd click with 2 d4v1d tokens, intending on going twice to steal. He tokens the Turing, and I rez a Corporate Troubleshooter to take Wall of Static to 6. He doesn’t have enough cards in hand to Faust it twice, or enough tokens to d4v1d his way in. I score the agenda for the win.
Cut First Round: Seamus Hyphenated Macleod, Whizzard
Again, not a great match up, and again not a great start. Not much ice is forthcoming, and I’m stuck with asset econ which Whizzard has no issue chewing through. Honestly, while Seamus keeps up the pressure exactly as he should, my RnD hates me this game. It spits agenda after agenda into my HQ; at one point I have 4 agendas in hand, I drop 2 GFI and a Vitruvius into archives and shuffle them back, only to draw another GFI on my turn. I’m finally getting close to stabilising, and Seamus’ deck is starting to get thin (I’m not sure if he has Levy?). He hits RnD and I Batty a Gold for a full rig trash. Seamus checks archives now; previously, a CVS in the bin had been keeping him away as he had Datasucker tokens, but now he doesn’t care and he takes the agenda stashed in there for the win.
So, while I got relatively lucky with my Runner deck choice (I think playing a deck like this against it would have taken it apart!), my Corp deck choice is slightly less well positioned. Batty is obviously the cornerstone, and he can give you a win in what’s otherwise a fairly hopeless situation. But the turbo-charged MaxX deck, or even Whizzard, piling on ice destruction really hurts. They keep your NEXT Golds less threatening, and stop you building up unstoppable Bronzes.
Obviously I’m a big fan of Corporate Troubleshooter; he caught two people by surprise, and basically won me both games where he made an appearance. Vikram is interesting, I still think I prefer it over Ichi, but more testing is needed; for some reason 6 feels a lot more expensive than 5, and obviously you’re putting yourself into d4v1d range.
Ultimately, very happy with how I did, I was aiming when I came just to not embarrass myself! Thanks to the Edinburgh crew for sticking round and supporting me against Seamus (Urgh, that guy), to BLG for hosting and keeping it all running smooth (cheers Steve and Stu!), to Highwire for a quick NEXT/Batty tutorial, to David and Ronan for deck testing and advice, and finally to Marty for support, ideas, but mainly for letting me steal his decks. What a dude.
8 Feb 2016 ihmcallister
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