ICEMAN (1st at New Zealand Nationals 2020, 6-0)

Ghost Meat 469

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"You wanted to know who the best is? That's him. Iceman. He flies ice-cold. No mistakes. Wears you down. You get bored, do something stupid, and he's got you." (Top Gun)

Continuing in the recent tradition set by my Canadian comrade Eric Kielback (also famously known for his culinary-related naïveté as Whiteblade111 on Slack) of Nucks poaching the National tournaments of other countries, this is the corp deck I used to win New Zealand's Nationals on February 29th, 2020 in the city of Dunedin.

At least I have a New Zealand driver's license. (Thanks to Gareth Harrison for this interpolation).

There's a Don Caballero song I like called "Details on How to Get ICEMAN on Your License Plate," and I think I'll be looking into this as a possibility for my car, I love this deck so much.

With the sheer efficiency of the latest Shaper package of Euler, Cybertrooper Talut, Pelangi, Simulchip, and Aesops, glacier is in a bit of a tough spot right now. Not to mention the ubiquity of Apocalypse and Stargate in the current meta as corps have started to go more lateral in response, so I thought that CTM had the best inherent chance of winning at the moment, with its trace 4 on the first ICE/asset trash, and the absurdity of having ARES in your score area to further punish the Stargate trash effect and Apocalypses.

Bellona is an amazing agenda that's brutal for the runner to steal against this deck, as the goal here is to grind their economy into a dust-resembling substance, and then cripple them with HHN and either Boom!, Exchange, or Psycho out for the win. It frees up a restricted slot where GFI used to be, so Mumba Temple gets to shine here, rezzing all your cards on the cheap (or usually free), and acting like a crazy cash battery, allowing you to not need much actual money in your credit pool, hence the conspicuous absence of Hedge Funds in this deck.

I played about 100 games with iterations of this on JNet in the six weeks leading up to Nationals (fulfilling the Damon marathon), and won a small GNK with it a few weeks before this tournament, so had a pretty good handle on how the deck plays. The synergies between Jeeves, Lady Liberty, and Roughneck Repair Squad (great against Val!) are amazing, not to mention Jeeves allowing you to score a non-advanced Bellona off the table if you have it in a server with a Calibration Testing. In testing, a high percentage of my wins with this deck were from Boom!, but I did not flatline one runner with it on the day of the tournament, scoring out each game.

The ICE suite really just cares about draining the runner's econ, allowing surgical accesses, but making them costly, with Goldfarmer being the MVP for this, costing four credits with Corroder, Aumakua, and even two with Boomerang. If they have no credits to lose after the second sub gets broken, you have them where you want them, hence the name and epigraph of this deck (to be clear, the deck is ICEMAN, not me). Virtual Tour is probably the real game-changer on this front, usually acting as the swing point where the runner gets hosed, especially if you have one or more ARES scored.

Games were against Hayley, Ken Tenma, Leela, Hayley, Jesminder, and Leela (rematch) in the grand finals. There was a lot of Shaper at this tournament, so Misdirection was to be feared, but most were not on Clot, so scoring out was the best path to victory. Against Leela, rez everything you can on the table before she makes a blind access in R&D, or if you have an agenda in hand (or bluff as if you do by rezzing everything anyway) when she runs HQ or you're about to score and get Gang Signed.

The grand finals game against defending champion Ben Wilson was probably the hardest fought, interesting, and at times most despairing game of my life, in that he Turntabled a top-decked single-access Quantum Predictive Model for a Bellona I'd previously scored (which I knew when I did it was a major risk), swinging the game from 4-1 to 2-4 for him. He then Stargated me a few times but whiffed before I could shore up R&D to keep him mostly off that plan for a while. I had to jam garbage in a Virtual Tour remote for many turns in a row (never keeping more than one card in HQ in hand due to Gang Signs and HQI's) just to try and bait runs and dip his huge credit pool into HHN range.

The turning point came when I double-advanced a Bellona, then scored it off a Calibration Testing on the next turn, leaving me with one click to HHN him when he finally got low on money. He Boomerang'd IP Block on R&D while on 6 points for one more top-deck access (the most heart-attack inducing run of my Netrunner career), but missed an agenda, and I Exchanged the Bellona he'd previously Turntabled back for the QPM, closing out the game. Easily the most memorable game I've ever had, regardless of the stakes, and Ben is an amazing player and overall awesome guy who was a pleasure to play three games with on the day.

Together with my Hoshiko deck, which only saw four games to CTM's six (as I played this twice in the two-game cut), my record was 9-1 on the day.

Special thanks to my Canadian friend Trevor Godley (meta4) for his invaluable input on my decks, talking for hours on end in the weeks preceding the tournament about card slots, meta-calls, and doing practice games on Jnet, so a huge shout-out to him here. ⁣⁣

Many thanks to my friend Gareth Harrison for organizing an incredible tournament, with some of the most bonkers prize support I've ever seen at one, and to Lead Developer of NISEI, David Withington, for being a great judge on the day. The folks from Christchurch, Auckland, and Wellington were a pleasure to play and hang out with over the weekend, so thanks to them too for being super rad.

The final board.

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8 comments
1 Mar 2020 Tamijo

If you showed me this deck before the tournament I would've told you it was wrong. 🙃

Congrats! Praise CtM!

1 Mar 2020 Ghost Meat

@Tamijo Hahaha, how so, specifically? I'd love to hear the changes you would make! :)

ICE choices were probably the hardest, originally on 2 Ravens, a Turnpike, and no Code Gates. A couple days before, I figured a hard ETR in Enigma might not be terrible, and then Slot Machine occurred to me the day before as a really taxing piece of ICE that rarely gets broken, with a potential 6 credit swing, so I took that. Ravens get pretty useless once they go tag-me, which is sometimes really quick, but are great for the remote.

The hardest choice here for me was probably only 2x Rashida, as I always run 3 in every corp deck, and especially in CTM, where it's best. Was finding though that with 11 agendas in the deck, it has a tendency to get pretty flooded, and sometimes Rashida can hose you on that front. Plus with all the Team Sponsorships, she's really easy to recur so two worked well. MVP of the day was the Team Sponsorship/Calibration Testing/Mumba Temple combo, which just chains agenda scores all day.

Would be nice to have more Bankers here, but as you can see from the final game image, one is all that's needed sometimes. I find runners typically trash them on-sight as well, so they rarely stick around for too long, and then you're broke again. Roughneck allows you to bounce back really nicely from low money, and if Jeeves is online, a really fun play if they ran last turn is Roughneck into HHN if they thought they were safe having a bit more money than you.

Yes, CTM has been a very good ID for me in my Netrunner career. I'm hard pressed between it and Titan for which I love more. I think Titan is less resilient to Stargate and Apoc though in this meta, so CTM was the call.

1 Mar 2020 spags

A 1:1 BOOM! to CBG ratio.

You goddamned madman!

2 Mar 2020 Ghost Meat

@spagsHahahahaha, love it! Roughneck Repair Squad is the new Bankers, haha. Not quite, but it's pretty great with Jeeves and especially against Val. I think even a Ken Tenma Mining Accident'd me during the tournament, and I got to undo their hard work with it. :)

But honestly, you're often totally happy to sit with 4-10 credits just fine with this deck, given the Mumba Temple money and how far it goes. You really only need real money to advance agendas, Boom, Psycho, and HHN. I ended the finals game with about 65 credits, as you can see from the photo, but that's a pretty rare situation and never once got close to that in 100 games of testing.

2 Mar 2020 triorph

Congrats on the great result. Sounds like it was well deserved from all the reps you put in.

2 Mar 2020 Ghost Meat

@triorph Thanks, Mike! I had to smurf some NZ folks pretty hard in the week leading up, yourself included! I played a bunch of 419, Lat, and Palana if I knew folks might be watching, just to throw them off the scent. ;)

3 Mar 2020 triorph

Haha, joke is on you because nobody was listening to me anyway or they'd all have been playing my Azmari deck.

3 Mar 2020 Ghost Meat

@triorphLOL