Netrunner Outcasts Tournament Report by Rowan Gavin

Some folks round here run by the books. They love simplicity and efficiency: consistent breakers, easy ways to make creds, tried and tested routes to glory. Most of them don’t achieve anything big, of course. When you’re up against the vast resources of the megacorps, keeping it simple will rarely cut it. But we’re not all like them. Some of us live dangerously, erratically. In cyberspace a touch of originality executed with flare is indistinguishable from magic. We run to make that magic happen. We are the shadows on the edge of society, the flashes of life in dead streams of data. We are Outcasts.

 

Hi there! I’m Rowan, a student, Netrunner-er and jank lover. This report is about a special Netrunner tournament we had at Athena Games recently. We run a quarterly league here, and at the end of the last quarter someone had the excellent idea of running a tournament in which the only legal IDs were those that had been played the least during that quarter. They were:

 

Whizzard

Exile

Iain Stirling

Cerebral Imaging

The World Is Yours

Harmony Medtech

Because We Built It

 

And yes, before you ask, that means we have been playing Nasir, The Professor, Nisei Division and Custom Biotics here. Our meta is weird. I was uncertain how to build decks for this tournament at first. Knowing which IDs are going to be present on the opposing side makes it tempting to tech against them hard. For a while I considered a Siphon-y Whizzard, with Clot and Traffic Jam to deal with fast advance from TWIY, Medtech or CI, and cutlery events to blow up the ice that BWBI had advanced. On the Corp side I considered NBN just so I could run Blacklist to bone Exile.

In the end, though, I decided I wanted to try to win this thing, so I went for two of the most efficient decks I could think of out of the available IDs. My runner was Exile, with plenty of Shaper tricks. It had loads of niche programs, to search out with Test Run and reuse with Scavenge and Clone Chip, which gave me an answer to almost any situation. Meanwhile I’d be drawing plenty for Exile’s ability, and powering it all with Magnum Opus economy. Here’s the list:

 

Exile

 

3x Diesel

1x Legwork ••

2x Modded

1x Quality Time

3x Scavenge

3x Sure Gamble

3x Test Run

 

3x Clone Chip

1x Comet

2x R&D Interface

 

1x Same Old Thing

1x Utopia Shard •

 

1x Atman

1x Cerberus “Lady” H1

1x Cyber-Cypher

1x Deus X

1x Femme Fatale •

1x Inti

1x Mimic •

1x Sharpshooter

1x ZU.13 Key Master

1x D4v1d ••••

1x Datasucker •

1x Imp •••

2x Leprechaun

3x Magnum Opus

1x Parasite ••

3x Self-modifying Code

 

For my corp I stuck with a theme I’ve been playing a lot: Jinteki rush. I’d dabbled with it in RP and Biotech, and Medtech seemed just as good. Having played it I think the reduced deck size might do more for a straight rush deck than RP’s ID ability. The key card here is Nisei Mk II. I was looking to rush one out early before the runner was set up, then ideally create an impenetrable remote with some combination of Excalibur, Caprice, and ‘end the run’ ice of multiple types, with a Nisei token on standby for emergencies. The list:

 

Harmony Medtech

 

3x NAPD Contract

3x Nisei MK II

2x The Future Perfect

 

2x Jackson Howard ••

 

1x Ash 2X3ZB9CY ••

3x Caprice Nisei

 

3x Celebrity Gift

1x Enhanced Login Protocol ••

1x Fast Track

3x Green Level Clearance •••

3x Hedge Fund

2x Restructure

1x Subliminal Messaging

 

2x Eli 1.0 ••

2x Himitsu-Bako

1x Wraparound •

2x Enigma

1x Lotus Field

3x Quandary

1x Cortex Lock

2x Chimera

2x Excalibur

 

On the day, I was the only Exile player in a field of 13. There were only two Iain players; Whizzard was out in force! Medtech and BWBI dominated on the corp side.

 

Round 1 Vs Tim

 

Tim has been playing for a while, but this was his first foray into the Norwich scene proper, and his first tournament. He was one of the two Iain players, and he ran first. He got out Crypsis early, which worried me. When all your ice is cheap and your scoring remote consists of Excalibur-Chimera-Chimera, Crypsis is actually really annoying to play against. However, after Tim spent a couple of Inside Jobs on central servers I felt comfortable starting to score out of the remote, with Ash on standby to make stealing harder. I soon managed to obtain the Jinteki Rush Holy Grail: two active Nisei tokens at once. Tim had little chance of getting into my remote after that. He did steal two NAPDs while I dug for the last agenda though, so it was pretty close at the end.

On the flip Exile faced BWBI, and Tim dropped Housekeeping early. Housekeeping is absolutely horrible to play against as Shaper, and it really slowed me down in the early game. I did get Opus early though, which is always a big help. After a few turns he installed and advanced a card in a two ice remote and I couldn’t resist the chance to kill Housekeeping. I used Test Run to find Femme Fatale, and allocated her bypass ability blind onto the outermost ice. As it turned out, it was Archer, the jackpot of Femme targets, and the ice behind it was Shadow, so I waltzed in and nabbed a Firmware Updates, then laughed in jubilation as Housekeeping fizzled away.

After that I got all my shaper goodness set up with little difficulty and prepared to lock RnD. Just before I was ready to, though, Tim installed and rezzed The Board in the Archer server. Afterwards we agreed that this was a bit of a mistake as it had little relevant effect at the time. In fairness though he didn’t know that I was running Imp, which made Femme-ing my way back in and stealing the Board more manageable. A couple of turns later I saw 4 cards off RnD and took 4 points to win.

 

2-0

 

Round 2 Vs Matt

 

Once again I was playing against someone I’d not played before. Not what I’d been expecting at a local tournament! Matt is certainly not a new player, though. He played Garfield’s original Netrunner TCG back in the day, and played FFG’s version in its early stages. His corp was Medtech, and boy was it spiky. I took a bit of time to get set up before running, but when I did I quickly found out that the first three pieces of ice Matt had installed were all Cortex Locks! These were extra troublesome as I had installed Comet early. It saved me a few clicks, but the extra MU was a hindrance with so much Cortex Locking going on.

After seeing that Matt was playing the damage game, I dug for a bit and found Deus X, with recursion, which allowed me to cautiously make a few more runs. Soon after that I drew into Mimic and a Datasucker, which dealt with the Cortex Lock problem. I managed to sneak into the remote when Matt first tried to score out of it, and then nabbed some points off RnD, so I decided to Legwork in the hope of ending this net damage fest. I hit a Snare, but I had Deus to save me, and nabbed a House of Knives for my troubles, leaving me on 5 points.

The agendas I was looking for must have been on top of RnD, because I couple of turns later Matt Celebrity Gifted to show a hand with a Future Perfect and a Fetal AI. I saw my chance and hard-cast a Utopia Shard, popped it, and ran Archives. Both Fetal and TFP were in there… and I had forgotten to save money to pay for them. So I just took a couple of net damage and a big hit to my dignity. It was two turns before I could run in again, by which time Matt had double iced and upgraded Archives. I Test Ran Femme to facecheck safely, and it turned out both ice were code gates, so I pulled Cyber-Cypher out with Clone Chip. The upgrade was a Caprice, and I didn’t have enough creds to win the psi and steal the agendas so I bid 0, then went back in next turn with more money, won the psi and took the Fetal. Phew!

Our other game was much less intense. Matt was playing Whizzard, and worried me a bit early on by playing a 0-strength Atman with Datasucker support. Matt didn’t know it but that combination would run through almost all of my ice pretty easily. I did manage to sneak out my first Nisei while he set up though. Matt dropped a Medium and started digging away on RnD, but by this point I’d drawn 2 more agendas and he didn’t have enough to steal my NAPDs so I was happy to let him dig. After he went broke doing so I iced Archives and purged, and from there it was pretty straightforward for me to score the second Nisei while he was too poor to contest the remote, then lock him out of it with the two tokens while I scored the final agenda.

 

4-0

 

Round 3 Vs Ed

 

Ed is a lovely local player, who has very kindly lent me cards for tournaments in the past and is really nice to hang around with. Going into this game, the final round, we were the top seeds. Ed corped first, bringing out yet another Medtech. Or should I say ‘Edtech’? Am I right? Am I right? *sigh* This level of humour is wasted on you people. Anyway, it quickly became apparent that Ed was playing a 3-pointer variant, as he made the Mushin-ice play pretty early. I had a Test Run in hand but was afraid of traps, so I searched out Deus X and ran. The ice was a Tollbooth, and next turn he scored The Future Perfect to get to match point. This was a big error on my part. A large part of the reason my deck exists is because of the ‘Test Run Femme for surprise remote access’ play, which I should have made here. I started setting up and accessing RnD, but soon Ed’s scoring server was three ice deep, and he install-advance-advanced into it. I tried to get in but couldn’t, and he scored out for the game.

Ed’s Runner, unsurprisingly, was Whizzard. This game was pretty much the perfect storm for my deck. Early I drew ice for my centrals and plenty of money, then got a beautiful remote set up with Excalibur, Wraparound and Caprice. Before I got scoring, though, Ed played Wyldside, which was a huge boon for me; my deck’s scoring plan is all about click compression, so him having one less was a big help. Ed soon realised his mistake when I scored my first Nisei and he saw Enhanced Login Protocol on RnD, but didn’t draw his Adjusted Chronotype to mitigate his Wyldside hangover. After playing ELP I quickly scored out the second Nisei. With two Nisei tokens, ELP, Excalibur, Caprice and a three click runner, it was impossible for Ed to get into the server unless he played three run events in one turn. This seemed unlikely so I laid down the third agenda confidently and scored out to earn a tie.

 

5-1

 

Unfortunately, this let third place Nick sneak past us both when he won his final games. I ended up in third. Still, on the whole I was happy with how the decks performed, although I made a few mistakes in piloting them. The whole tournament was a blast, and I really recommend this kind of alternate format. It gives you a brand new perspective on the game for a little while, which is great fun.

Anyway, that’s all from me. Thanks for reading, and if you fancy joining us at Athena to play some Netrunner, swing by on a Tuesday evening from 7pm or contact us on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Rowan Gavin (cobrabubbles on various forums) got into the tabletop scene through the Game of Thrones LCG and now, for better or worse, dedicates an awful lot of his time and headspace to card games. His main games are Thrones and Netrunner, and he is an infamous lover of jank. Usually this means he loses a lot, but occasionally ­­– very occasionally – the stars align and he builds jank that wins.

Kieren McCallum

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