In the run up to UK nationals we were collectively durdling a bit on testing properly after putting a lot of time into worlds. After discarding EOI Azmari (because the games were too long), Boom CtM (so close to tempo CtM but so far away) and Argus (because it felt just about okay at worlds and cutting good cards from it for Self Growth to beat the growing Liza threat just felt sad) we were left with Asa.
The list that had been going around the UK pre-worlds derived from [Unban CI You Cowards] still felt okay but we assumed there would be a fair amount of apoc and hacktivist at nats and that combined with mine and @binarydogs’ love of combos pushed us towards Pinsel’s [world’s winning Recoco combo deck] which had a better chance of still putting a win together once it’s board got blown away. A couple of days prior to the event @nemamiah asked me for the final cut of the list and in the end I believe 4 of us played it on the day.
Obviously very little here has changed from Pinsel’s original list so I’ll only really go through the minor changes we made:
-1 CVS, +1 Lakshmi
Despite the success the deck had at world’s, we didn’t expect there to be much Freedom at nationals. There was also relatively little discussion going on about needing to respect it so we didn’t expect shapers to be packing Imp which really only left CVS as a non-tutorable Clot answer that very occasionally bought you expensive Hagen blowouts against Aumakua. Given the relative lack of Imp and Critic we found that Lakshmi fulfilled a similar purpose against Clot while also giving you a significantly easier time assembling a 3 turn score plan (rush the effcom, lakshmi the pv, combo the gfi) that didn’t rely on playing a Biotic Labor against denial heavy criminal decks.
-1 Archived Memories, +1 Restore
This one I believe I first saw when playing against @mcbeast on jnet and decided it was pretty smart. You lose a little bit of flexibility in being able to recur Fully Operationals or Dedication Ceremonies multiple times but you gain in several places that add up quite quickly. Firstly, I found that quite a lot of players were adopting a strategy involving heavily attacking your Cybernetics Courts to the exclusion of a lot else. While that line doesn’t seem amazing it could occasionally case you real problems. Restore being a single click to get a court back simplified the recovery because you can draw 3 times with Jeeves, see if you hit the second court and if not Restore it back onto the board and keep moving.
More importantly, it improves a fair number of your combo lines by making it easier to trigger Jeeves or by giving you a 1 click Recoco install from the bin that doesn’t rely on a Vitruvius counter. As before, these things started to become particularly important when playing against denial heavy, aggressive criminal decks like Liza that sniped the Recoco from a central, being able to Restore, DC, DC, then install the agenda with the Jeeves click without being forced to play a biotic is a lot more plausible off a low credit pool (and without forcing you to give up the second DC for counters).
There’s also a line in the opposite kind of game where you have a ton of money but no real board state (particularly no Jeeves) where it improves your odds of getting the 5 point combo off with a piece missing. Having access to a Restore to get the Recoco out of the bin for the second score allows you to use one of your PV counters to play another Biotic Labor (also useful in the case that you do have Jeeves but have already been forced to use the counter to play a value FO or save a gated agenda from a Mad Dash).
Overall on the day I think all of us found the deck to be fundamentally “okay”, as expected the heavy presence of Aumakua Corporate Grant decks and Apocalypse + people aggressively pushing the board made it difficult to assemble any ideal combo wins and meant the majority of games came down to a scrappy combination of mini combos, Lakshmi scores, cheeky jams behind Gatekeeper and clicking for credits under Corporate Crant. The 3 Liza/Asa games Chris and I played against each other were probably indicative of the fact that if the Liza deck remains playable and the people on it have a solid enough understanding of how Asa works then this isn’t the correct corp pick, but on the day and into the meta that was present it was just about good enough to get carried there by a particularly absurd runner.
Overall the weekend was fantastic and I feel incredibly privileged to be part of the UK Netrunner community which is the best group of random internet friends you could possibly ask for to spend a weekend locked in a game shop playing a children’s card game with. Particular thanks go to John Hulme for grinding out a whole giant pile of test games with both versions of the Asa deck (and just about every other deck I’ve played over the last 2 years, Chris Dyer for keeping us grounded during testing and being an extremely gracious opponent in the finals given an all time bad draw on Asa, Team Party House for playing a whole pile of classics and generally upping the fun factor outside of Netrunner all weekend and Andy Lovell for the unrelenting positive hype when I was panicking in the cut.
11 Nov 2019 DonLoverGate