I attended my first Cache Refresh tournament this weekend after Reading Regionals and had a great time, in no small part due to the opportunity to return to my roots with some Mopus Shaper goodstuff. The deck resembles a much less clunky version of the runner I took to my first tournament, a GNK at the beginning of the Lunar Cycle. The secret ingredient is The Gauntlet, simultaneously correcting Big Rig shaper's MU issues and need for HQ multiaccess for a single install (and a thrifty single influence per copy). The deck performed surprisingly well, winning all four of its games. Sufficient nostalgia and success ensured that I figured Kate had earned herself a quick NRDB write-up.
Round 1: Win v Skorpios, a rigshooter deck with Biotic Labors piloted by infamous jankster Guy Patching. The endless HQ pressure of The Gauntlet meant that any agendas he drew were immediately a liability, netting me hostile takeover and a Graft, prompting him to try and hide a second 5/3 behind a Hortum in a remote, hoping I'd ignore it or fail to find a 2nd code gate breaker. His reputation had preceded him though, leaving me with an irrational fear of Government Takeover-based combos and unwilling to leave any installed cards unchecked. An unexpected Parasite and the Datasucker counters saved from hammering HQ got me into the remote for the win.
Round 2: Win v Tom Holliday's ETF, another Rigshooter deck using ETF's natural capacity to rush to force the runner into stealing agendas from a remote only to remove their breakers using Hunter Seeker & Ark Lockdown. This game was on a knife edge throughout for both players with all my Sacrificial Constructs in the bottom 10 cards of the stack and his Lockdowns showing up moments too late. Fortunately The Gauntlet came through as MVP again by helping me snag agendas from HQ and put him under pressure to jam in the remote before he had his combo pieces ready.
Round 3: Win v Dave Hoyland's Moonspam ETF. Dave had an OK start with an early Estelle Moon, economy assets and recursion, but my opening was a fantastic hand of Modded, Mopus, Diesel and 2x Daily Casts with early access to Femme Fatale, enabling me to contest not only his assets but his early attempts to score. The game was still incredibly close, as one expects when playing the dark lord himself, but fortunately he had to dip low on credits to get to 6 points while defending HQ from the Gauntlet, allowing me to find the last 6 points with a couple of Maker's Eye runs, having previously ignored that server in favour of the action in the remotes resulting in only an Ice Wall being rezzed to defend it.
Round 4: Win v Tagore's BABW supermodernism-style rush deck. This looked like a dicey matchup from my perspective given how slow Mopus decks can be to set up, which Tagore leveraged to drain my credits with Hard-Hitting News so he could use Bryan Stinson to make over 20 credits in one turn. Fortunately I had Beth in play, who worked with Mopus to let me recover quickly through giving me five clicks for most of the game.
Unfortunately my corp deck, AgInfusion, let team Mopus down going by 0-4, most likely due to a combination of piloting errors and the fact it was put together at midnight with whatever spare jinteki cards I had with me in the hotel room (back in the binder you go, Miraju). It did, however, result in a hilarious game against Tagore wherein I put two Komainu on R&D vs his Smoke deck after he had installed a Daredevil, and proceeded to boop him into running that server with 7 cards in hand no less than 3 times :party_parrot:
Final thoughts on Cache Refresh - it's fun, encourages deckbuilding experimentation, the decks and card choices are different, and there is a varied meta that poses an interesting challenge from a competitive perspective. If you're one of the players who dismissed it fairly quickly, give it another look - at the very least, it was enough to cheer me up after my most mediocre tournament performance in recent memory, so that has to count for something :)