Remember the Wheel? (1st Place US Nationals)

BlueHg 633

For my Corp writeup go here

Valencia was my first runner ever, so I’m super comfortable with her. I knew going into this meta that she’s probably the strongest runner for the field, and definitely the one I’m most comfortable playing. I’ll just have to make do without Eater/Keyhole I guess. ;)

Deck Choice Highlights:

Find the Truth / RNG Key

There were two main Val builds before Kampala dropped; Indexing and FTT/RNG Key. I played both, and liked them both, but wanted to include Zer0 in the build because it’s so powerful. With that consideration, my meta-mate Gustavo (@inniscor) made the argument that your cards in grip need to be liquid, and Indexing requires precise opportunistic timing. If you can’t install it or use it immediately, you might end up losing it. So FTT was the right call.

Maxwell James

This is my remote Surveyor answer. Big remotes hurt as Val on Conspiracy breakers—they get expensive fast. I decide on Maxwell James over Aumakua because it’s more resilient to Corp counterplay and I can Inject with near impunity (RNG Key excepted). It’s a great slot helps and lot if you can’t find breakers early. It also encourages you to run HQ more, which is something everyone should do a lot.

Ice Carver

Sam Suied @samrs made the argument for this over the third Stimhack. So often in testing I blew all nine Stimhack credits on one Surveyor and was just sad. Ice Carver turns every even strength Sentry and odd strength Code Gate 3c cheaper, and is basically a Bad Publicity on every Barrier. Would you pay 3c for a Stimhack every time you run a stacked server? I would, and did. Good slot. I chose this over Datasucker (which is a fine choice and the SF crew represented it) for the Inject resilience.

2x Breakers and Clan Vengeance

Why am I lumping these together? Because I think at the end of the day, I think the right call is either max breakers or max CV in Val, and it’s hard to find slots for both. I talked with John Treviranus (@joseki) a bit about this and I’m in agreement. CV didn’t do a ton for me on the day (besides once when it would have won me the game if I ran Archives), and I saw a lot of Val on 2x breakers lose to my Skorp rush and just not finding breakers fast enough. 3x CV did a lot for people vs my Skorp though, so a reliable CV lock has its worth. If you expect any rush, I think you should have 3x breakers right now. If I could do this again I’d probably lose the Clan Vengeances and one Dirty Laundry or probably Mad Dash for the same reasons I opted out of using Indexing. 3x breakers also makes you significantly more resilient vs Skorp, which was a solid choice in the meta.

Mining Accident and Dirty Laundry

Not spicy, but worth talking about. Both of these are good tempo plays that also net you a FTT trigger. There were a lot of times my planned line of play was aiming for an Accident but ended up seeing agendas on R&D or Dirty Laundrying Archives to FTT the next agenda. Btw, if you run Accident, you need to run 3x so you can see it early when it matters the most.


Super useful in any meta where there are Standoffs or Hostile Takeovers. One is right unless you have Suckers, because it’s dead against a lot of matchups, especially six agenda Azmari.


Omar is always the answer unless they preemptively double ice Archives. If they do, Null vs Glacier is basically a clickless Easy Mark, and Kim vs PU can kill their recursion and Shipment from Tennins.

The tournament.

DISCLAIMER. I don’t have great memory, as I showed in my last round when I completely blanked on what @pj20 had in his hand (and forgetting all my TTW counters). If any of my opponents or watchers notice I recounted something incorrectly please let me know and I’ll correct it.

DAY 1:

R1 vs. Izaac Swan @Swan (Custom Biotics) / WIN

I have no idea what to expect from CB (who does?), but the SF crew brewed it so I have to believe it’s potent. He turn one Hedge/Stinson/Stinson Hedges me so I assume he’s on tag kill and play carefully. I manage to find my breakers early, and set up FTT/RNG pretty fast, boosting my econ a lot. I force him to rez ice while he’s trying to score and Mining Accident until I have four bad pub and trash Stinson for one real credit, which is a heavenly feeling. During that run I FTT to see the Jinja and go “Oh, I bet you were supposed to see that a lot earlier.” #slightlyrude I keep running through his R&D IP Block for free with my bad pub and FTT/RNG until I see enough agendas to win.

R2 vs. Cory Diers @stonar (Skorp) / WIN


Skorp can be a scary matchup, and is part of why I think 3x breakers in Valencia is correct right now. I hard install breakers, don’t Inject until I get them, and same with using Zer0. I snag an early SSL from hand, which puts me in a good place points wise, but really bolsters his economy. At some point I grab a Hostile from R&D, then later I get a silly FTT/RNG run and see Trojan Horse. I have to read the card because I have no idea what it does. He’s super rich, playing Hedge after Hedge after IPO. I don’t remember the game super well, but he may have gotten a Stinson off as well. Suffice to say he has enough money to Trojan Horse RFG my Paperclip after Arking my other one, so R&D and his remote are pretty safe. I run HQ just to farm TTW counters and FTT, and get a 1/5 SSL to close out the game.

R3 vs Clint Sbiza @ramus (Mti) / LOSS

Mti is scary because it’s such an incredibly flexible ID. He puts out two assets turn one, then a Moon the turn after, and I think I know what’s going on. I have no problems running and faceplanting stuff vs Mti but I could not get stable econ to keep threatening to trash stuff. I kill a Jeeves early and every Turtlebacks I see, but he just Team Sponsorships them back so I’m draining my econ to keep on top of his assets. I also try to run a Moon, but then he Mti’s out a Cortex Lock, to which I install MKUltra then eat the rest in net damage. That net damage kills my Ice Carver and now I’m looking at 6c to break this stupid ice. I only draw into one EStrike all game, to which he just scores a Philotic off the board to clear (the one remote I didn’t check). I get FTT/RNG up and just keep running R&D while. Eventually he rezzes a Tracker on R&D, but by that time I already have a Clan Vengeance down, and fire it to trash his hand. I then proceed to never run Archives. He surprise Blacklists me sticking it behind an Enigma. Luckily I have my other Black Orchestra in hand when he does so and I trash it handily. I’m down 4/6 when he rezzes Political Dealings (one of which I’d seen and trashed earlier) and Rashida draws into the last agenda in his deck for a win. He shows me Archives after the game's over and there’s a TFP and a Medical Breakthrough in there and I cry a little bit inside. Clint’s a great player, and the Seattle meta gets a lot of credit for conjuring this build. He goes on to get first of Swiss and boosts my SOS a lot, which is nice. :D

R4 vs Sam Suied @samrs (Cerebral Imaging) / WIN

I know he’s combo asset spam, but I don’t really know what form that takes. He gets out a lot of assets early and I have no econ to properly contest Jeeves and TS properly. I FTT and see an agenda early but no breakers and an unrezzed ice on R&D, so I just yolo’d into RND and faceplant an Architect. He opts to install a card from R&D that advances his combo plan more and lets me snag the agenda. He gets his engine online and just starts jamming agendas. I snipe a couple lucky agendas out of HQ and I’m up 6-4, but he’s got a billion cards in HQ and infinite credits so I’m on the ropes here. I run R&D for FTT/RNG money to contest remotes and end up lucksacking into the winning agenda. Sam’s a great guy and he’s probably the best new friend I made at Nats. We were rooming together and we talked about deck choices a lot, so I think he directly contributed to my tournament win. Feel bad because I think this round knocked him out of the cut, but Sam’s an absolute saint and handles the loss incredibly gracefully, and continues to root for me in the cut the next day.

R5 vs Pete Johnson and R6 vs Ben Torrell are IDs, and I finish at top of the 8-4 split in Swiss at sixth. I’m over the moon happy, tempered only by the fact that Sam and my meta-mates Gustavo and Albert didn’t make the cut with me. We eat, drink (shakes), and be merry and I get a good night’s sleep.

DAY 2:

T16 vs Noah Podolske @podoboyz99 Corped this game.

Winners’ Quarterfinals vs Jon Moormann @IAMWALRUS Corped this game.

Winners’ Semifinals vs Raj Giri @grogboxer (Azmari EdTech) / WIN

Raj is a super nice guy and let me borrow a playmat the day before. #freelancer By this point I’m top 8 and playing on the first playmat I’ve ever won in ANR! I’m kind of intimidated by this matchup because Glacier can get expensive for the Conspiracy breakers. I get a FTT out early and just keep hitting HQ to see the top on R&D. I grab a Degree Mill early and lose my FTT to it. I saw no Zer0 but both Clan Vengeances so I’m clicking to draw a lot and feel kind of suffocated economically. I have all my breakers in the bin but not enough money to use them. Eventually I do find a Zer0 and it immediately nails my Mad Dash, which hurts. I grab a lucky SSL as he jams two 5/3s through his three ice remote. The entire game I keep up EStrike and keep hitting HQ for TTW counters. Raj has an Archangel in HQ which I see a billion times and Raj keeps paying to use, bouncing back all sorts of useful stuff so I never get a ton of TTW counters. He IAAs something in his remote with an upgrade (only ice rezzed is a Surveyor at 6) and I’m super skeptical. His list has a Bio Vault and three NGO Fronts, none of which he’s played. I play Maxwell before running HQ click 3 (I was thinking the link would help me in case I hit the Archangel trace, but Raj pointed out after the game he can just dump $$$ into the trace to bounce Maxwell then I can’t get into the remote). I access a Bio Vault and I feel slightly relieved that the IAA isn’t that. I run the remote and rezzes an IP Block, then I Maxwell the already-rezzed Surveyor, and his last ice is an Enigma. Looking at the weak remote I think he’s bluffed me out to over-extend myself, but it turns out the upgrade was a Crisium to bluff an Ash and the IAA card was the game winning SSL. Solid game with lots of #realnetrunner on both sides.

Winners’ Finals vs Pete Johnson @pj20 Corped this game.

Grand Finals vs Pete Johnson @pj20 (Asa Group) / WIN


So I kind of dread both my matches with Pete. He’s doing really well with underplayed strategies and decks, and glacier feels like a rough matchup with Val sometimes. Your runs have to be well-timed and lucky. I look at his list—Jinja Surveyor, and it seems econ light, until I see the Stinson. Understood—my plan is to pressure him into rezzing ice when he really doesn’t want to and stay above 6 credits. He sets up a Jinja remote early, leaving R&D open. I have two Dirty Laundries and and FTT and use it to start figuring out what’s in his hand and on top of R&D. He ELPs me early, but I have EStrike in response, and he’s too poor to play his second ELP immediately and still threaten with ice. FTT and a poor Corp gets me an Ikawah and a Vitruvius, but he manages to NA a Corporate Sales Team (that I thought was a Stinson) with Jeeves, which buoys his economy. I kill the Jeeves by running HQ and installing Maxwell to threaten the ice protecting the butleroid. Eventually he p'ops a Fairchild 3.0 on HQ and I Rebirth into Omar, Omar running into R&D almost every turn because it ducks the third ELP that he played and getting RNG Key draws. I trashed a lot of Rashidas doing this. The judge has to remind me like seven times on my triggers for The Turning Wheel and Daily Casts and I’m super embarrassed. He eventually sets a FC3 on Archives too, which nearly bankrupts him when he rezzes it. I briefly consider breaking with Black Orchestra until I #dothemath and go “Oh god oh god oh god no no no no.” I have all three breakers in the bin at this point and he’s low on credits, so I feel comfortable running the double iced R&D to build up TTW counters until I splurge on a three card access and discover the winning Vitruvius on top anyway. The judge points out to me afterward that I didn’t end up installing a single breaker this game.

I had a great time at Nats, and winning as a queer person during Pride month felt surreal but poetic. It was awesome to get to meet everyone and put names with faces, and the atmosphere was super friendly. Tbh I forgot I was on stream a couple of times because the general feeling was just like playing a new person visiting our meta in sunny San Diego. Special thanks to @dodgepong for being da real MVP by streaming the entire thing AND still making the cut, which can be a thankless job. His PeachHack channel helped get me into Netrunner and without him I probably wouldn’t have kept playing. Donate to his Patreon! Also thanks to the #rainbow-coalition and #artist-colony channels for good talks; Sam and Timmy for the cut advice talks; Raj for his playmat Day 1; and Kris, Gustavo, Albert, and the rest of the San Diego meta without whom I’d miss out on a lot of good times. This community is amazing, and I hope it continues past the game’s official demise. I love you all. <3

25 Jun 2018 Sanjay

This write-up is so good! I especially liked the very clear way you spelled out the economic benefit of Ice Carver. Makes it a lot easier to think about situations in which the card is good.

Congrats. Very happy you won!

9 Jul 2018 Shiro1981

I've been playing with your deck last couple of days and I enjoy it a lot! I will go for 3 of every breaker though as you mention, though.