I'm a bit of an Apoc enthusiast. I enjoy the puzzle of working out how many resources I'll need to land it, whether I'll survive the aftermath, and precisely when it ought to happen. I fell in love with the 419 flavor during the Store Champ/Regional season this year, (culminating in this), but moved on to more conventional Runner strategies after Crowdfunding ate a ban. I could have just switched to any of the Anarch flavors, but they didn't speak to me the same way.
Imagine my surprise to see an Apoc deck tear up Crown of Lasers... out of LAT! Lat??? I figured I'd sleeve it up, take it to pubrunner, have a laugh with it, then move on...
...then I experienced my first 8 click Apoc turn (OOTA x3, Beth click and click 1 to SoT a Gamble, Apoc, Notoriety, Notoriety), and I knew there was something here. Out of the Ashes is an incredible card for The Gameplan, giving you the extra clicks to contend with Border Controls, Crisium Grids, Enhanced Login Protocols, Nisei MkII counters, Bio Vaults, you name it. And if they don't have any of that stuff, you can use the extra clicks to slam Notorieties. I decided to port the list into Chaos Theory in order to get a shorter stack (find your pieces faster) and an extra MU (being able to have Engolo + Engolo #2/SMC + Lady/Pelangi at the same time is necessary for some boards). Plus, as @errantmage pointed out, bringing Apoc CT to Sheriff of Servers would be extremely on brand for me.
What's up with the Bookmark?
Bookmark does a lot here. You spend a lot of time drawing cards, and the 'mark gives you the flexibility to overdraw without throwing away your precious cards. It also neatly solves a perennial Apoc problem, which is damage during your Apoc runs pinging out the titular card. Simply tuck away your Apoc, Noto, and anything else you'll need for the brave world to come, and pop it after the runs are over. Also, in some kill matchups, being able to have a big hand for a turn might let you score an Obo or fade chunks of damage. You can even put a Bookmark on your Bookmark so that you can Bookmark after the world ends.
Round 1: AgInfusion (Jeff)
I felt pretty good about the matchup, because unlike Apoc 419, I have Engolo to break Anansi/Tracker with, and OOTAs to disregard the click tax from the ID ability or whatever else. I set to drawing and getting credits, pitching extra Ashes, and waited for Jeff to make a move on the remote. I was a click too slow to pounce when he scored out an SSL, which was a real shame. I ended up getting an SSL of my own from centrals and 2 Notorieties, bringing me to 5 points. Unfortunately, as was to be a theme with my matches on the day, I wasn't able to close out before time was called, and Jeff managed to score out a 2 pointer, and we drew. Womp womp.
Round 2: The Outfit (Rain)
This matchup seems terrifying on paper, but I actually quite like it. Misdirection is key to surviving the News that will punish you after landing the Apoc, and the bad publicity goes a long way to finance your runs. I stacked my credits and found my pieces, and when Rain installed and advanced something in the remote, I began to ponder whether I could Apoc and play two Notorieties in the same turn. My teammate @daine agreed that it would be the height of greedy play to do such a thing, and that it would be much safer to just land the Apoc (after OOTA runs) and then click for credits (in order to pay for Misdirection after the probable News). Confident in my sensible line of play, I hit an SDS Drone Deployment in HQ, trashing Misdirection. I followed that up by stealing an SDS from R&D, trashing Engolo, and then figured I might as well play one of my Notorieties. Sometimes things work out.
Round 3: Asa (Sam S)
Limping into this game after getting my Corp smoked by Sam's Liza, I resolved to give the GenCon Champion a run for his money. I had a feeling he was on a variant of his Nats list, and his traditional scoring remote suggested I was right. In an echo of my game last round, I accessed two 5/3s during my Ashes runs... except this time, they were Ikawah Projects, and I was confident that my clicks hadn't arrived yet, since I was resolving start of turn triggers. I managed to snag an Ikawah at some point, as well as a single Notoriety, but skillful play from the Double Champion of North America and a remote with four upgrades led to 7 points for the Corp.
Editor's Note: In fact, I could have stolen those Ikawah Projects, because you get your clicks BEFORE you do start of turn triggers. So yeah, I could have won this game if I had paused to ask a judge instead of trusting my memory. Phooey!
Round 4: Argus (Jaxon)
This matchup is similar to Outfit, with an even greater dependence on Misdirection. Jaxon knew what was up already, and set about making R&D inhospitable with multiple upgrades and ice. One attempt to defuse the hornet's nest revealed a Border Control and a Raven. The Border Control prevented me from getting at the upgrades, and I took the rest of the turn to recover. An Atlas snuck out from behind a Mausolus. A Hostile joined it at some point, and another some point later. I took another stab at landing an Apoc, and managed to get to the upgrades. I suspected one of them might be a Crisium Grid, so when the first one turned out to be a Prisec, I patted my Bookmark reassuringly and took the punishment and trashed the Prisec. The second upgrade was ... also a Prisec. Top card of R&D was ... Audacity. And then, time got called. Welp. No sense in blowing up the world now. I took a few pokes at HQ and then dropped two Notorieties to join a 5/3 I had stolen earlier, and passed back, hoping that maybe this time the Corp wouldn't be able to get past 5 points. Of course, Jaxon had the third Hostile ready to go, and so I ended the day on a draw.
All in all, it was a good day of Netrunner, with laughs and furrowed brows in equal measure. My heartfelt thanks to my teammates @daine and @tavitavi for their valorous efforts that brought us with 2 match points of 3rd place, the other 4 teams of people who drove 2-3 hours from Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio (I think) for a team tournament in DECEMBER, and to @uruz for putting it all together. Can't wait to do it again next year!