Faster PD (aka Apoc's Not Real). 3rd at Worlds 2021

Janktivist 400

This is a handful of cards off from my Am. Conts. deck that I took to second place in that tournament a few months back. I decided to push more for speed here and conceded that any type of apoc matchup would be difficult. The truth is that apoc matches in Am. Conts. were already difficult, and the 2x Crisium I was on didn't do squat against rich, good players running Out of the Ashes, who wanted to yeet my board.

So, the changes:

More Ansel, less Bran – Rotom, a fairly unknown player, came up with the meta call to go with 2x Ansel over 1x of each. This was the right call given how much Anarch was in the field and how awful MKUltra is. Easy.

More AV, less BC - My plan here was to set up the Skunkvoid quicker than I could with only running 1x AV. If all goes according to plan, I can rush out an early agenda, and then outpace/out-money the runner, who can no longer contest a remote stacked with defensive upgrades, effectively putting them on their heels the entire game. Not sure this always worked out, unfortunately, since going fast sometimes means having fewer cards in hand, which also then means it's harder to fire off AV. But no real complaints here. The second AV was also insurance against Pol Op, which I assumed would be everywhere and was. Losing the second BC was tough, but I don't think I missed it as much as I thought. I slotted in a 1x Vanilla, which lowered my total cost for rezzing ice by 4 creds, which seemed good as it most often cost my opponents 5 credits to initially deal with (Paperclip install + break).

More RLC, less AAL – I got the inspiration for RLC from analyzechris, who suggested and tested it for its speed and versatility. And yes, I know the RLC vs. AAL debate is a point of contention, though it’s hard to argue RLC > AAL when the champ deck is running 3x of the latter and 0x of the former. That said, Rotom is a much better player and much smarter player than me anyway, so that messes up the comparison. Rotom is probably right that 3x AAL was still the way to go, but I found in testing after Continentals that I was getting suffocated by Pad Taps, which AAL is going to end up triggering more often than RLC (since you can rez them on your opponent's turn). RLC was great for tempo, cleaning up hands, finding Seamless Launch clicklessly, having an extra card to sacrifice to AV, and for doing some weird skateboard tricks. Said tricks include scoring Luminal from 0 credits at start of turn or doing something like scoring and icing up a vulnerable server on the same turn. For me, I think this was the right decision. And for the record, I still slotted 1x AAL because in testing it really felt like I needed literally just one more jammable card for the remote.

More Spindo, less Grid - I didn't think there would be much apoc, but I thought some of the better players might still be on it. I feel I was fairly accurate on that call. As mentioned, during Am. Conts. I got run over by apoc piloted by good players despite having slotted 2x Crisium. A ton of money + multiple OOTAs can make Crisium irrelevant unless you can stick it on a super-protected archives early. And if you do that, then I’m not sure how you score out, since well-running PD decks end up lean on money. (If you ever win a PD game with 25 credits still in the bank, it most likely means the runner never had a chance, which also means you didn’t need those credits.) The extra Spindos were for speed, clearing up agenda-clogged hands, recycling your sniped AV, Seamlesses, even RLCs, etc. Weirdly, I ducked a bunch of possible apoc matchups where I’m pretty sure I would have gotten crushed. So, the coin flips on side decisions definitely favored me there. I think my plan vs. apoc would have been to keep ice and RLCs in reserve, and rush out after the yeet...Or, if I somehow managed to get super rich/resourced, then drop an AV on archives behind an annoying ice or two.

Much like in Am. Conts., PD only did so-so for me. I got agenda flooded in several of my early games, which put me in a position to have to start sweeping / 241’ing earlier than I would have liked. And then I think it went 1-1 in the cut (beating Rotom in Round 3, then losing to thebigunit3000 in Round 4 to send me down to the redemption bracket). Also, much like Am Conts, my Maxx deck carried me.

A big thanks to everyone who made this event, and my participation in it, possible. NISEI and the devs, the Snare Bears and the CindyLou meta, the greater Netrunner community, and, most of all, my wife BlooMuse. In case you can’t tell from this flat-toned writeup, I am ecstatic and surprised that I took bronze at Worlds, behind only who I think are two of the hands-down best players in the game. Still can’t believe I did it. It’s an accomplishment I’ll hold on to for a very long time.