Sports Personality of the Year (GNK win + 3rd at Derby SC)

paulyg 1034

Sports Personality of the Year

First a few of the comments from my 100% satisfied opponents:

“Is this memes?”

“Okaaaaaaaay” (after accessing R&D)

“What’s this doing in there?”

“This is a very Paul deck”

This is one of two decks that I’ve been playing a lot for the past couple of months. (The other being my Azmari / Shipment from Tennin / Exchange fun time). I won a GNK in Liverpool with it early in the year, and took 3rd at Derby store champs. I won’t claim that it’s a meta-shattering list of amazingness, but for me it shows the value of practice. I’ve played this list a lot, and going into a tournament knowing every card, most match-ups and common ‘outs’ feels really good.

I must give a shout-out to MrEhjiwurth who turned me on to Personality Profiles at LaurieCon last year. He is one of the most creative deck-builders there is and surely one of the smartest players in the game today. Knowing that I wanted to have some fun with Personality Profiles, I started to build this list.

See, including a bad 3/1 so that you have to run 10 agendas might seem like a not great plan BUT Personality Profiles can work out pretty well. If you score it early then it’s likely to do something against any opponent. Anarchs want conspiracy breakers, shapers are gonna SMC and Clone Chip all day, and criminals at least want to special order. And then there’s this little card call Crowdfunding which a couple of people have been playing and that interaction is a one-way trip to fun town. (Also, sometimes you jam a couple of CSTs early and FA a Vitruvius and it’s nice to have more FA targets for the win but YAWN).

How to Sports

This deck wants to go fast. Don’t be afraid to go fast against shaper and anarch - there are fewer things that ruin your day now. You definitely have to go slower against criminal, and slowest of all against Leela (who feels like the worst match-up for the deck). An early CST score sets you up amazingly and is great if you can pull it off. Your plan A is definitely to rush, maybe use an MCA to either burn through their credits or score (either is generally fine) and finish with either a ridiculous remote that you can score out in or fast advance for the win.

There’s also a plan B… When I originally built this deck the Personality Profiles / Crowdfunding interaction felt like punishment enough. But then I played games where runners would just play everything they cared about and then recur their CFs with no real ill effect. They might even keep an empty hand for a turn or two. Sounds like a job for Neural EMP. Let’s be clear. There’s no tutoring in the deck, so this is by no means something that always comes off. But you can discard it and pull it back with a Vitruvius counter (obviously it gives the game away if they run archives and see it though). Adding the Neural EMP also left me itching for another angle on that victory condition… and so the Brainstorm got added. Just occasionally you’ll land this at the start of the game when they decide to poke your centrals and they’ll have to play the whole game with no hand size. Again, there’s no Helheim to boost this or other trickery, but it punishes runners for doing something sensible. If the Brainstorm lands then you can play the game completely normally, but knowing that if you draw the Neural then you instantly win.

What is Sports?

Let’s talk about some card choices. Your ID can help you draw through lock sometimes. The agenda suite ensures they need 4 steals. GFIs are quite possible to score, either honestly out of a Jinja remote or via MCA, so it’s not too bad to see them. Always try and get Vitruvius counters if you can - it makes fast advancing for the win a lot easier if you can clicklessly grab a Biotic as soon as you draw an agenda and also turns on double Neural plays. I didn't do this enough in Derby and writing this list made me realise that.

MCAAP is great here. Sticking it behind a Turing early can be fun. In fact, this deck is fairly well equipped to deal with any runner who relies overly on Aumakua. Border Control + Turing becomes an impenetrable fortress. Anyway, MCAAP can also be good once your remote is a bit bigger as the tax from running through only to trash this can be significant. Archived Memories is usually for a Biotic, Jinja, MCAAP or Border Control. But, again, there’s a possible double Neural play.

Lateral Growth is mostly in the list to accelerate your early game. It lets you potentially get that turn two Corporate Sales Team. It also lets you Biotic for the win from only 5 credits, which can take your opponent by surprise. Jinja is fine, but try not to go too crazy on the remote. The ice composition of the remote is probably the most interesting part of play and you need to read what breakers your opponent is on for the best mix. I like to get a Jinja on R&D as well if possible.

The ice suite probably needs little explanation. You’ve got cheap rushy stuff, Border Controls to make the remote more taxing, Slot Machines as taxing centrals ice, Architect as an unpleasant face-check and that 1-of Brainstorm if you think you can land it. There’s no Fairchild 3, not because I don’t think it’s great, but because it was proving a little expensive. I think Slot Machine can do roughly the same thing on centrals (if you can get an ETR behind them) for half the price, and with Engolo or Amina the break costs are similar.

Finally, the sports personality of the year herself: Rashida Jaheem! Rashida is terrific in this deck (well, most decks) letting you draw ice for Jinja or into the piece you need to fast advance or just drawing past R&D lock.

I did Sports!

I won a Liverpool GNK with this deck early in the year, and don’t really remember the matches, but the Derby store champs is fresher in my mind. Round 1 was against Matt who was on the endless Spy Cams / Da Vinci / Tech Trader / Technical Writer Hayley build that has been doing the rounds. This deck was actually the reason that I brought this rather than my Azmari deck (which is durdlier and doesn’t have as much counterplay to do-nothing shaper). I got a fast start, got a PP scored to slow down the SMC / Clone Chip nonsense and was able to score out before he could establish the credits to lock me.

Round 2 was against Don on a stealth Jesminder build. Again, I got a fast start but he was faster in setting up and I floundered a bit with agendas in HQ as I tried to make R&D tax out his stealth credits. A well-deserved win to him. Round 3 was against Gordon on Adam. He caught a very unlucky break, running an IP Block with Aumakua out on click 4, and I trashed all his directives and left him a free bioroid. I was able to score out behind a Turing and Border Control. Finally I played Simon on another stealth Jesminder. This time I was able to go faster whilst he found the various pieces and I closed with a fast advance GFI, being fairly confident that he didn’t have Clot in the list.

In the cut I started with a very close game against Andrew on Bendy MaxX. Once he got Maw out I was in for a rough ride, but I rode out my luck and was able to Biotic a Personality Profiles after he missed on HQ accesses and Maw triggers. After a couple of runner games I was up against Alex in the losers’ final. They were on Leela and I knew it was going to be a tough game. I managed to get to 5 points, at the cost of basically all of my ice, but they had R&D interface going and had me basically locked. One glimmer of hope was that Alex didn’t know about the Neural EMP in the deck and did have a couple of turns running with an empty grip but sadly I wasn’t able to find it in time and they got a well-deserved win off R&D. In retrospect I tried to go too fast against this Leela and left Archives open the whole time for very easy Paragon and Bankroll money. I should have slowed down and defended more carefully. But even so, I think this was the most fun game of the day.

Future Sports?

Alright, so you've read this list and think I should get rid of all the joke cards and just make a proper HB list? I worry that it's too fair, but I think it probably looks something like:

-2 Personality Profiles, -1 Neural EMP, -1 Slot Machine, -1 Brainstorm

+1 Advanced Concept Hopper, +1 Biotic Labor, +1 Border Control, +2 Fairchild 3.0

Or maybe an ash or two instead of the extra Biotic / ice. But, honestly, give Personality Profiles a try. It's terrific fun.