Curse of Friendship - 29th @ EMEA 2024

wowarlok 1012

DISCLAIMER

In this write up I'm not going to write about the deck, if you have any question regarding the choice I made leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer.

Prologue

Just a few days before the start of the event mondegreensleeves contacted me and kindly offered to help providing commentary from remote. In the very flattering message they sent, they said something that resonated with me a lot:

I normally put netrunner players at "Friends by default"

Throughout the weekend I realized how much that statement applies to me as well and here is how.

The Event

At EMEA there were three main factors that helped me meet as many friends as I did:

  1. The Location: EMEA was held Italy, making it easy for me and many other Italian players to join the event. So many Italian players attended EMEA, including several who might not have joined such a competitive event, had it been held in a different country. I know everyone in the Italian community quite well and having the chance to catch up with so many of them at the same time is always a pleasure; they're the reason I started playing the game back in the days and the driving force that make me want to continue.
  2. The TAI Breakers: Since I joined the testing team in November, this was the first time I'd finally get the chance to meet some the other members in person. The whole team atmosphere was absolutely amazing: having people cheer you on and people to root for made the main event that much more engaging and the level of support and camaraderie in and out of the games was beyond my greatest expectation.
    I owe the TAI Breakers my most sincere gratitude for helping me get to the level of play I'm at right now and being the best team one could ask for. Finally meeting yall in the flesh filled me with an invaluable sense of kinship that warmed my hart throughout the whole weekend and I just can't wait to do it again. image The Breakers at EMEA, about half of the members.
    We never managed to take a picture with everyone, so you at home can play "guess who got photoshopped in"
  3. The Organizing Team: Being in the organizing team meant I got the chance to interact with all the wonderful volunteers who's effort went above and beyond providing more help than I could ever ask for. Additionally being the main TO for the team event on Friday put me under an unexpected yet really welcome spotlight: everyone suddenly knew my name and had a valid reason to talk to me. I got the chance to meet so many new friends: some were newer players, playing at their first big international tournament, others were veterans, coming back to the game after taking a break. I had the pleasure to connect so many faces to their online handle and meet the person behind the online persona, each one enriching the experience more and more.

The "Curse"

With how much of a wonderful time I had at EMEA meeting all these friends, you might be confused by the title I decided to use for the deck and your confusion would be very justified as I'm using the word "curse" with a certain liberty.
When you try to play a game competitively sometimes friendship comes in the form of a curse that'll make you do things that prevent you from gaining an edge over your opponent. To me the this happened during my second game of round 3 when playing against J0N4LD:

I won game one corping against his World Tree Arissana and we're deep into our second game. He's leading the game 5 agenda point to 0 with his Ob list. I've been controlling the board and he has very little installed after trashing many of his tricky cards to secure the points that he already has, but the clock is almost out, so I decide to set up a conduit and run, attempting to steal some agendas from R&D. I want to win this game so badly, but to do that I need to get a little lucky and this feels like my best course of action.
With 30 seconds left in the round I pass the turn to my opponent, who raises his hand and calls a judge for a rules question. He stands up as the judge gets to the table and the two deliberate for a little a few meters away so I don't hear.
J0N4LD comes back to the table alone, while the judge rushes to a colleague to check the answer to his question. He takes a look at his cards, widens his eyes and goes: "I guess I don't need an answer anymore", revealing the Calibration Testing he had installed on his tightly secured HQ the turn prior.
The more attentive of you already realized, but Calibration Testing cannot be installed on HQ and what we have on the table right now is an illegal board state. He quickly stands up again and runs towards the judge to inform them of the situation.

In the few seconds I was left alone at the table, my mind wandered, as I tried to put myself in his shoes: how would I feel losing a game like that? How devastated would I be if the reason I lost was that I took an action that didn't affect the game in any way except for that it wasn't allowed? I immediately knew what I had to do.
My opponent and the judge both slowly walked back towards the table, while the latter confirmed out loud that the situation warranted a game loss. I turned my head towards them, looked the judge straight in the eyes and asked:

"Can I concede this game?"

I explained how my chances of winning that game were incredibly slim, my best shot would've been to make credits and run R&D, accessing 3 cards at most, so I reiterated my intention to concede the game if the top 3 cards of R&D didn't contain enough points to win or at least tie the game. J0N4LD revealed to me the first 3 cards of R&D and there were no agendas.
The judge very professionally said "I'm not sure I can allow that, but what I'm going to do is tell you that this would be a game loss and the walk away and let you fill your match slip by yourselves" and that's exactly what we did: we reported the game as a corp split, like it would've happened naturally in any other scenario.

Some people might call what I did "colluding" and I know other card games describe it as "match fixing", but I couldn't disagree more: I think what I did is perfectly in the spirit of the game and shows the respect I have towards the friends I get to meet when playing it, I'm very proud of my action and I'd probably do it again if I'd find myself in a similar situation.
I'm also happy to report that J0N4LD ended up making top cut and that winning that game was a necessary step to get there.
As for me, I got to take this picture and it feels like a reward much more valuable than any prize I could've asked for. image

Closing

EMEA has been by far the best event I've ever been to!
A huge THANK YOU to Atien and Porkobolo. You two put in so much work to make this event work that it's hard to come up with words that sufficiently show the level of gratitude I have for you. The word "ambitious" doesn't even begin to describe your pitch for EMEA and yet you delivered on everything promised and then some.
A major shoutout to cros, for all the help provided, and to all the other volunteers: you helped shaping the event the way that it was, we couldn't have done it without you!
Lastly congratulation to jan tuno for the amazing result; your talent is only second to your dedication to the game and you deserve all the success that comes with it!

The amount of enjoyment I got from meeting everyone at EMEA is absolutely immeasurable and every single moments was heightened by the presence of all my friends, old and new. We're all united by the love for the game, but what keeps us together are each other, the friends who play the game with us and the moments we spend together that transcend the game itself.
My hope is to someday run an event as beautiful as this one and if you want to help me make that dream a reality come and join us at Italian nationals later this year!

Thank you friends for being awesome, I spent the last week thinking about and writing this love letter, so I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I loved typing it!
Till we meet again,
wowarlok

8 comments
8 Jul 2024 aksu

if any body tries to call the forefit colluding let me know :quagsireUFC: (you know the emoji).

8 Jul 2024 HaverOfFun

Hell yeah!!! We got the group photo posted! Absolutely awesome writeup and it was super cool meeting you in person! This was such an awesome experience!

8 Jul 2024 J0N4LD

Meeting you was awesome - talking online cannot convey how friendly and cheerful you are in person - but that moment should solidify you as one of the kindest folks in the Netrunner scene 💜

Approaching time felt like a nightmare, because I hated the idea of time costing you a game that you might eventually win if we had longer to play, so I guess the "curse" of playing a friend got to us both 😂

Still, I'll always remember this, and chalk up my first major Top Cut to symbolically "carrying the torch" for you 😘

8 Jul 2024 Gathzen

It was an absolute pleasure finally meeting you in person!

I completely missed that whole story during the event! Incredible! You really are a legend! This genuinely made me emotional reading it. Let's go TAIB! ❤️

8 Jul 2024 jan tuno

you're so great. you held TWO great tournaments so well

8 Jul 2024 Porkobolo

Worwarlock is a Legend!

8 Jul 2024 Silent Arbiter

One of the best worarwork runner decks by far! At least for the fun provided watching your face while shuffling your deck 20+ times/game.<3