Urbane Gagarin (Liverpool UK regional winner, 4-1)

Tolaasin 722

It's been clear for a while that Gagarin/Zealous Judge/HHN decks are really strong, viz @thebigboy's SIU/Judge deck, and @mcbeast's Bioethics Association version.

Chatting with @tugtetgut over the last week on Slack, he mentioned that Contract Killer was working well as a way to punish runners who soak the Urban Renewal damage and just don't run while they get set up. Plus, you can also take out Film Critic, Kati Jones, and other notable characters along the way. I got in enough practice with it to a) work out the basic lines and b) mean that it started taking a really long time to get people to join my games on jinteki.net. On the day of the tournament, I sleeved up this list, and a slightly amended version of @rotage’s Ryper Blue Sun list, and then vacillated for an hour between the two before consulting @nemamiah with 10 minutes to go before deck list deadline, who persuaded me that Gagarin was a stronger choice, although, and I quote, “If you don’t want to play Gagarin, Blue Sun is on my list of approved but still inferior substitutes”. As it turned out, I was happy with the choice, and was even happier not to face @Davo’s Freedom deck.

The day went something like this:-

Round 1 bye: spent the time watching over @seamus’s shoulder and remaining impassive when he turned to me when trying to decide about an SDS steal and asked ‘We have two Corroders in the list, right?’.

Round 2: John Buston on Leela. So my experience with this deck is against MW3.2 Leela, you either win fast or lose very slowly, if the runner knows what they are doing. I had a mediocre mulligan and John was dripping 4 credits a turn by the end of turn 2, and that’s really hard to beat. The game dragged on for a while, but I could never establish anything like a econ advantage and eventually John found the agendas.

Round 3: Tom Balmer on a Lat/spy cam/trader build, which I knew would be a challenge, given Levy and Flip Switches. I was gaining 10 credits a turn fairly quickly, but the econ advantage is no use unless you can protect a Zealous Judge, and the Judges were nowhere to be seen, I suspect they were at the Daily Business Show which was also hiding somewhere in R&D. I landed a couple of HHN’s for value and to force the use of Flip Switch and used Contract Killer to kill Beth, and used an SSL to bait a run (in retrospect, this is always a mistake), and with about 5 minutes to go in the round, managed to land an HHN and get a Judge rezzed behind Border Control with HPT in hand. Thankfully, Tom wasn’t able to find two agendas on his last turn and I landed the kill.

Round 4: ID’d with @seamus

Cut round 1: Matt Lloyd on Stargate/Gang Sign Leela – chose to corp for obvious reasons, had an early economic advantage from the start and DBS filtering, Contract Killer took out Kati Jones, and was happy to find ice for both HQ and R&D, then landed an HHN. Matt found Stargate and Bukhalter, stimhacked into R&D to steal Hades, then ran into HQ to steal SDS, but a Rashida fire then gave me the HPT I needed to land the kill.

Cut round 2: John Buston again on Leela, we’d both corped in the first game so rolled and I landed corp again. This time the cards fell in my favour, and John wasn’t able to find the drip economy he needed to contest my assets, the game’s a bit hazy from here, but I think an Urban Renewal forced the run, and followed up with HHN and HPT.

Cut, Grand Final second game: Seamus on Leela – and not only that, the identical deck to me, teched to beat Gagarin. We’ve joked many times that you can save a lot of time in this matchups if you just compare opening hands and figure out the winner from there. My first hand was pants, 3 preemptive, I think. Thankfully, the mulligan was just perfect – BEA and CBG with ice for HQ, creating pressure from the start. Seamus pushed back with Corp Grant and some drip, but the BEA fire took another Corp Grant from hand, and I had Paywall kept back, and installed Urban Renewal. Over the next couple of turns my draws were double Econ Warfare to go with the HHN in hand, and after Seamus had run to trash the must-kill CBG, I had the kill. Honestly, it was just about the best mulligan I could have asked for, plus perfect draw.

Thanks to all my opponents for such good games, to Seamus for a ton of chat and input preparing for the tournament and to Simon Ho for organizing the day.