nebulously girls [65th at EMEA, 3-3-1]

AceEmpress 381

This writeup is going to be less about the deck and more about EMEA as a whole - if you've read my writeups from UK nats you know what you're about to get into, if not once you get past the first heading brace for a lot of me being very sappy about EMEA and the best day of my life so far.

The Deck

This is, of course, based off the only deck I know powerful enough to induce gender realisations, harmonbee's girls. While they haven't put girls 3 up yet, it is very similar to this - I've made the slight changes of a second Burner and extra Sure Gamble because I love disruption and money and can't make card cut choices to save a life.

On the day it went 3-3-1, but I firmly believe a better player (or maybe even me in a cooler room) could have gone 5-1-1 or maybe even 6-1, because two of those losses were me not playing around kills I absolutely should have and actively had seen telegraphed. Specifically, not drawing up while on 3 cards last click vs MAD Ob which turned a very comfortable 6 point lead with most recursion used into a very stylish clone corpse, and deciding that a double advanced card in the remote somehow meant I absolutely had to trick shot this turn against a Punitive RH on zero points. Both of these plays are obvious, pivotal and game-losing mistakes. The draw was against PD, and came from me playing around a Biotic line that was stuck in my head from testing vs Sports rather than clearing a tag to save Eru for one final dig right before time with us both at 6-6. Spoiler alert, the list wasn't even on Biotic. I am sure I made other mistakes, but none that stuck in my head as much, especially in the immediate aftermath. Point is, none of those losses felt like the deck faltering, but instead my failing to read and respect my opponent's deck.

My broader takeaways from the tournament, card and matchup wise, are:

  • The Asa matchup is one I had to play into a few times, and it's awkward - we're well teched against early gearchecks but can't keep their assets or fully ops under control at all, and Bran is taxing to break repeatedly. Eru and Pinholes do a lot here, but it's very much not a matchup I'm confident in - my instinct vs assets is to either play board control if my tech and opener allows or to hammer centrals and hope to race them, but Asa is robust to both of those.
  • I only played against the EA sports Azmari once, but Girls into Kill Azmari is one of my favourite matchups to play. I do not think we're favoured in it, but it's skill testing in an incredibly fun way - we have enough tech and "tech" via trojans as answer to their facechecks and pinholes to answer their kill that it feels really fun and dynamic.
  • Creative Commission is better for how this deck plays than Sure Gamble - setting up Aesops, installing an Env Testing, or contesting early all leave a window where we'll spend a lot of money on a turn and end it lower - Creative lets us bounce back and keeps us able to contest or install in the early-midgame when we've got a half-charged Env Testing or only one of Aesops and fodder for it. Because we have to spend money to make money, we don't want our burst money to have a barrier to entry, but because it's not our main source of money we don't need to be able to play it twice in a turn.
  • Afterwards, Phoebe made the suggestion of Aniccam over Pantograph - it's something we've toyed with before but 3 to install is a bit of a psychological barrier. Despite the cute skateboard tricks Pantograph allows, I think Aniccam's probably correct - the draw helps shore up a weak point and it offers some tech vs kill.
  • In an ideal world this is proooooobably a 45 card deck, but I am not confident in my ability to make those cuts.

The trip

I was going to put a whole day by day overview here, but realised there was no way that I could fit it in any timely fashion, so instead here's a highlight reel.

Day 1, Thursday: Arrive at Brum airport. While waiting, get a call from a letting agent where I frantically juggle paperwork and try to find a quiet place in an airport to hear them. Otherwise, the flight and travel is mostly uneventful, aside from it being infinity degrees in Italy.

Day 2, Friday: Throwback! In the first game, my Ampere (writeup pending) wins with Regenesis Government Takeover! At this point I know that, no matter how the rest of the trip goes, it will have been worth it.

Day 3, Saturday: The tournament! It is boiling and the netrunner is tough but despite my brain slowly melting the atmosphere and people are incredible. I don't have data so every round I find someone I know who does to get my pairings from.

Day 4, Sunday: The Top Cut. I don't have Startup decks and don't wake up early for side events, so instead I make it my mission to keep everyone from the airbnb hydrated and fed. As well as being a really nice chance to get to talk to and look after and hug people, it means I get to take the day at a more relaxed pace. It also means cursing the food options for closing and then only doing drinks until late, which means all I can offer one of the greatest netrunner players and kissers of all time after several rounds of the top cut is a kiss for luck, two cereal bars and some water. It was far less than you deserved, but somehow you made it work.

Day 5, Monday: A lot of very relaxed celebration, fancy food, tired jackbox, and good icecream. One day I will stop fluffing inputs in Smash after falling off a ledge. One day I will have an air game that's at least better than a rock with a parachute and a siren blaring out "here I am come and hit me!" One day...

Day 6, Tuesday: We go on a Funicular and are all completely unmoved by unique methods of public transport because we are the most neurotypical netrunner players in the world. (Lie) We also get some absolutely beautiful photos of Bergamo, and I am trying to keep my emotions together enough to make our flight as we say goodbyes and get onto the bus to the airport.

Thank yous

There are more people than I can name that made this event as amazing as it was, but I will do my best to try:

To all my opponents, for putting up with a tired, slightly late, quiet mess of an who's prone to tanking and getting a bit frustrated. Thank you all for putting up with my breaks to get water and my Shaper nonsense.

To Atien and Porkobolo, you truly did a wonderful job making this event happen. Sorry for committing a little Punitive Government Takeover related murder in Throwback!

To all of EA Sports, for bringing an incredibly cool corp, having ice cream recommendations so good we dragged everyone else there the next day, and being some of the best people in Netrunner. Hopefully I'll see you at regionals!

To all the judges and volunteers who made everything run on the day. You are all no less than heroes, especially in the heat of the venue and how late things ran.

To all of QEH, for helping hone this deck and putting up with my Thunderbolt. Special thanks to:

  • Tiff, for always pushing me to be a better player and for being such an insightful person to test and review games with.
  • Zack, for inventing the evil shuffle, being a font of criminal insights, and being a delight to play with or against. I wish you both could have been here.
  • A huge shout out to Rosie and Zoe, your presence on the day was so reassuring and it's wonderful to see how far you've come in such a short space of time. It's wild to me that you've only been playing for a year, and were not only fighting for cut contention but also making some of the coolest netrunner merch on the planet!

To everyone in the AirBnB:

  • Veronica, for giving us all food to come back to and nerding about Arkham with me.
  • Cobalt, for being a rock of moral support, a startup champion and also being strong enough to princess carry me apparently?!
  • Fi, for being incredibly funny, giving amazing hugs, and having a sense of style I now desperately want to match.
  • Kay, for both being adorable and having the forethought to bring extra cereal bars.
  • Ams, for being Ams. (Amusing through sheer commitment to the bit. Mindful of temperature enough to carry fans and turn the aircon on so the house was actively cold when we returned. Some other third quality that somehow encapsulates your ability to still be an enigma after three years but also your ability to be caring, to check in in situations where I didn't realise I needed it, to make incredibly cool art to the point where I throw money at it, and to be incredibly deadpan about opening doors.)
  • Alpha, for both your efforts judging and being gay. You and Phoebe are incredibly cute together, and it warms my heart every time to see how much you make her smile. Compersion is a hell of a drug.
  • Mallory, for understanding the secrets of airport buses, for somehow matching my record for more than half the tournament, for commiserating in game results and delayed public transport, for being the bearer of google maps, for pulling off the sickest possible win vs Thunderbolt in a casual game on Sunday.
  • The EMEA champion, frog shirt wearing, Ob-slinging netrunner extraordinaire some of you may know as jan tuno! If you had asked me what I expected from this event, I doubt I would have guessed learning you are as good a kisser as a netrunner player. It is hard to put into words just how much seeing you happy makes me smile, and how much I would do to hear your noises of joy. It means the world to me that you won EMEA with my trans flag on stream, both because it shattered my own anxieties about queer success in netrunner and because you deserved that win so fucking much. I love you, from your insights to your Ob lines to your kisses to your endless compassion, and hopefully at some point I will actually get a chance to play netrunner against you :p

  • Finally, to harmonbee. Phoebe. I will run out of ways to tell you how much I love you long before I exhaust my feelings for you. I wouldn't be playing Netrunner without you. It has been so incredible to have seen your confidence blossom over the past few months, and watching you be the head judge for this event was like seeing you reach the top of a mountain and finally realising how far you've climbed. You did an unbelievable job with this tournament, and also with this deck which is and will always be yours. Your insights shape my play - even with my Thunderbolt and Ampere lists your experience, refinement, and practice have been irreplaceable in making them what they are. In a very real way, EMEA feels cathartic, like this was our chance to prove ourselves after missing Worlds to COVID, and we fucking smashed it. Your love for this game is evident in everything you do, not least the fact you're still here after getting back from judging at an absurd hour on Saturday night only to come back, run the top cut, and invent a whole notation for tracking game state while table judging Ob. I say this not just in my capacity as your partner, but as someone in awe of the effort you've put in - I do not think there was anyone better suited to this role than you.

I hope this wasn't too sappy! Stay tuned for whenever I get round to writing up the top performing Thunderbolt at EMEA because that's going to be the pure deck tech content netrunner players crave. Until then, be gay, look after one another, stay hydrated, steal agendas, and Always Be Running!

4 Jul 2024 jan tuno

... <3

4 Jul 2024 HalfHusky

It is cruel of netrunnerdb to only let me heart this post once.

4 Jul 2024 harmonbee

ah feck i cried

4 Jul 2024 Tamijo

If anything it wasn't sappy enough! More sap!!!

You are lovely and wonderful. I can't wait to hug you, pet you, and stroke your head again. πŸ˜πŸ’œ

5 Jul 2024 Porkobolo

I had a glorious death, exploded trying to stop some corporate taking over a government. I will not complain :D

5 Jul 2024 evie

first off, deck notes:

i will say that annicam is the correct console yeah. god i wish there was another money card besides sure gamble to use cos this deck hates sure gamble. i've only found moderate success with daily casts and it absolutely is the worst card in the deck. how much did the second burner help because i would already consider burner 1 to be a card you don't want to draw most of the time. wheels is silly and slap vandal is interesting. wonder how much either came up.

now, personal notes:

wooo another akiko deck! i've heard murmurs along the grapevine for a long while about this deck and have been so excited to finally see the decklist (im not in qtm lol). akiko may not be the best netrunner deck but it is one of the most fun ones and i love to see it do well. happy to hear about the girl kissing. it's been fun to root on the sidelines (harmonbee's and tuno's dms) and i've been cheering you on the whole time. love akiko and i'll forever love anyone who plays her

6 Jul 2024 Tamijo

(Ace is QEH not QtM. Though most of them are honorary Qt's. πŸ’œ)

6 Jul 2024 harmonbee

@evie: I can comment briefly on some of the card choices - AceEmpress will likely have additional thoughts as the person who actually played the deck but I can say stuff from discussions we've had.

Slap Vandal is stellar in the rush matchup: grab it with Muse to hit the remote ice or R&D so you can put pressure on early. We've found it helpful for the Azmari matchup in particular for getting past Hydra in a pinch, but it can also help get past Sandstone and Ping without having to grab the very expensive Pressure Spike in the early game.

I'm personally less big on Hannah "Wheels" Pilintra than AceEmpress is, so I'll let her comment on it rather than me. The aim is to help the assets matchup (clicklessly challenging assets is incredible), but I've found Cupellation and Paricia to do enough there and I'd rather have a card to help set up early in that slot.

I've been considering Fermenter as a possibility in that slot for the monetary boost, but am not 100% on it yet. The other money card, which was AceEmpress' idea, is Rigging Up: you can gain 6c from a Coalescence installed with it (and that's before trashing it with Aesop's), install Aniccam for free or a breaker for free/cheap. Needs testing but I like it on paper.

I think girls struggles with early set up - like many Arissana decks it needs to pop an early Environmental Testing to set up, but this deck is worse at doing that so it's slower than those Arissana decks. So we need to make card choices to support that. (And this might be why Daily Casts felt like the worst card in the deck.) Some Arissana decks run Bravado which might be cute here too.

Gonna keep thinking about girls (the deck and the concept) regardless, so I'd love to hear your thoughts!

6 Jul 2024 evie

@Tamijo every girl is an honorary qt in my book.

@harmonbee slap vandal seems fun. i agree that early game money is what the deck struggles with the most. once it gets going it’s hard to stop but before then it’s struggling to get by. girls are great, and i’d love to form a group of only the cutest girls to discuss the future of girls. Girl Kissers United (GKU), anyone?

12 Jul 2024 Zoehope

Love this very much.