On the 15th of October, I started a journey to go back home, to Greece, with the purpose of taking part in the Greek NR Nationals and seeing my parents. I did both, and they were amazing experiences. This report will be focused on the day of the Nationals and will be all about Netrunner. You can read the rest of my journey log here.
On the 18th of October, at StratosVasilikos Hotel, along with many other board/card game tournaments taking place at the hotel, on the 1st floor, we played the Netrunner Nationals of Greece. We played 6 full rounds of Swiss and ended with a top 8 cut.
I miraculously managed to get a top 4 position yet again with my totally strange and weird IDs, Nisei Division and Silhouette. I ended up in the 3rd place and even though Laurie Poulter won (a guy from the UK) with his amazing plays making it a very well deserverd 1st place, there were TONS of amazing Greek Netrunner players that made that achievement really hard.
It’s basically a repetition of my previous and also unlikely and surprising placement at the Belgian Netrunner Nationals 2015 earlier this year where I got 2nd place. You can find the full report for that here: LINK TO BELGIAN REPORT
But before we go talk about anything else, let me talk a bit about my decks and the meta.
Nisei Division :“Retro Gardening”
Those full art Niseis that Christina Stavrou made for me are like the.best.thing.ever. Especially along with Paula’s alt art IDs.
You might remember my “Little Garden” deck from the Belgian Nationals which played Cerebral Cast in order to tag people and kill them with Scorched Earth that just no one expected out of Nisei Division. Well this time it was different.
I ended up removing the Scorched Earths since I had to make room for other things. I also removed the Scorched Earths because, after the Belgian Nationals, I apparently became so notoriously famous about the way I play (Jinteki in general and now Nisei Division specifically) that I rarely ever killed anyone with tag punishment anymore. It was super hard and I would say near impossible in most cases. People were smart, they knew me and had just learned how those kind of things can play out.
So I had to do something about that. I was either going back to Jinteki Personal Evolution or I was going to make something new again. Knowing how good I am with Psi games (with a 95% win ratio on psi games in any tournament) I decided to go with Nisei Division again. Jinteki is “ma thing” and I wasn’t going to go out of it anyway, but I definitely had to build something to break the meta again.
Well this time, I went with “Retro Gardening,” which is basically an RP deck, that is full of stuff that either counter the meta or surprise the opponent in ways that he knew he would be surprised. A pretty staple build with just a couple surprises. All I needed to just make it work well.
The deck plays a LOT of ICE cards, since I really wanted to find protection fast. The reason behind that is because I just find it super hard to defend things if I don’t have enough ICE in my deck. There are so many runners out there with shenanigans for any server, so I would hate to not have any of my things protected. I even had protection for my Mental Health Clinics against a Whizzard deck so I can say that it was a very successful decision in the end of the day. Komainu and Swordsmen for Faust (worked really well) and a bunch of ETRs for protecting well and making it taxing. I didn’t want low strength ICE, so other than the Yaguras, I went with RSVP, Himitsu Bako and other things with a decent Strength number.
Also, Sub Boost is MVP when on an Eli 1.0 or an Architect. In a deck that is full of ICE, it’s worth having at least x1. It actually saw quite a lot of play.
The deck also played the staple x3 Nisei, x3 NAPD, x3 Future Perfect agenda suite. I really considered putting in Braintrusts so that I can fake-asset install them and then score them for x2 easy points, but even though that would have been amazingly easy (since NO ONE ever ran my remotes), it still worked out pretty well anyway since my remote was always impenetrable.
But you would ask me… “Why play Nisei Division and not Replicating Perfection since you have only x6 cards in the deck that have a psi game involved?” And even more, with Film Critic, that becomes a solid x3 only in the deck.
Well, if you still think Replicating Perfection is better, that’s good for you. I believe that too. The click compression it creates is just amazing and even had a game where it almost destroyed me with Silhoeutte. BUT. I am amazing at psi games, and during the Greek NR Nationals, I played about 13 psi games in total and only lost 1. I lost only 1. Get it? Get why I play Nisei Division now? Oh you don’t? Well, I also STRONGLY believe that the x1 credit different is a huge deal when it comes to deciding what to bet and also how you can come out of a hard position with low money.
I’ve been able to protect my Caprice server so easily in most of my games, it wasn’t even funny for the runner. Most of them just gave up after running it once and failing on the psi game. The more bold ones ran twice and failed twice.
The deck also plays x1 Ronin. Why? Because, you will install-advance-advance and if the INSERT-CLASSIC-NOISE-DECK player plays Faust to break in, he will then just die if he fails the psi game at the end of the run. I just love the logic. It didn’t work much for me, but I still used it and burned some good cards when the runner least expected it. It wasn’t THAT strong, but I feel it was well worth the clicks and credits in some games. Not bad to have a surprise right?
Ash is also great. Amazing to have in a deck that plays both Operation and Asset economy. A good balance of economy allows for more than one upgrade protection card.
Nisei Division Deck Link: LINK
Silhouette : “Swift Shadow-Lock”
I kept the name, because I basically changed a few cards and made the deck even faster. With Fisk Investment Seminar being out, the deck became twice as fast. There are even more cards that you would love to keep as your starting hand and it makes the deck twice as powerful since the chances of getting a good hand are way better.
The surprises though were, Film Critic, Hades Shard and Notoriety. To my surprise (and probably yours too), Film Critic didn’t see much use. Not because I couldn’t find it, but I would say that it could play a major role, one that I just couldn’t make use of in this particular tournament. Notoriety on the other hand, won me a game against a Harpsichord and also gave me 3rd place. It allowed me to go out with a huge bang that just made me the notorious runner that I am now (ha!).
Hades Shard though. Oh. My. God. I beat x3 really good players with it just because they did not expect it AT ALL. It was amazing. Read the report below to see how I used it. It was just wondrous.
I also went with only x1 Plascrete Carapace which ended up being a good decision since I only died to one Scorched Earth deck on that day. I mean, whatever, if it means losing one game just because of not having x1/x2 specific cards, then whatever, I’m glad I didn’t bring it.
The deck generally runs the same way it did in the past. You draw like a maniac and install things in order to be ready as fast as possible while at the same time, applying pressure on central and remote servers by just facechecking and doing crazy things.
It worked amazingly well yet again and I am very pleased with it.
Silhouette Deck Link : LINK
The Pre-Nationals training
On Friday, we played a few games with Kostas, Manos and Fotis. I played against Noise, Whizzard, PPVP, NEH and HB. It was actually really good practice and it made me realize for yet another time that I focus too much on pulling of a Ronin kill when I find the card and I know the opponent doesn’t know it.
When I actually won a tournament the week before the Greek nationals, I made that mistake 2 more times and I barely managed to pull off a win by scoring later, after having realized my mistake.
Fotis losing his shit.
But the most scary part of Friday was during my games with Kostas. I played my Nisei Division against him and he beat me in 2 psi games in a row. I got so shit scared that I started wondering “what kind of meta do they have here? Are they all so fuckin’ good at predicting what I’ll bet?”
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
Manos and Fotis also gave me some good practice games and it allowed me to see a few things about my tournament decks.
The Swiss Rounds
In 1st round, I played against George Petsaros. He played Blue Sun and Leela Patel.
We played the Blue Sun game first and I have to say that I was a bit lucky with a couple accesses that allowed me to find key agendas at the right time. Other than that, some very well planned pressure on both HQ and the remote allowed me to secure the win since I dropped cards when he least expected me to have them. He did kind of keep me out for quite a long time though because he used power shutdown twice thus killing my x2 Cloaks. That was a huge hit and all of his Lotus Fields after that were unbreakable unless I had a Ghost Runner installed or unless I used Inside Job on them. Quite a tough game but I managed to secure victory by playing my best moves. A good start to the day.
Then he played his Leela Patel. With his Leela, he played an HQ Interface quite early in the game, so I thought it would be the Gang Sign deck. Despite my predictions being true or false, his HQ interface allowed him to find an agenda in HQ mid-game and the interface generally pressured me since I wasn’t able to keep more than 1 agenda at any time and even that one wasn’t entirely safe there. I planned out my ICE installing as well as I could and I ended up scoring an NAPD, a Nisei and a Future Perfect for the win.
George was a cool guy and the games with him were a nice way to start off the tournament.
In the 2nd round, I played against Haris Lymperidis. He played Haarpsichord Studios and Hayley Kaplan. We were also in front of the camera this time.
We first played the Hayley game. I was quite scared of him, because he played a 55 or so, cards deck and he reminded me of myself when I was building those wacky Kate builds with all the amazing combo shenanigans. He had an amazing rig, a shitload of money and a really good way of breaking into most my servers. I managed to secure the win by putting a Komainu on R&D, thus making it really hard for him to break through with so many cards in hand and with 3 more ICE being on R&D too, I generally made the runs he made very, very taxing. His economy relied on resources like Kati Jones, Professional Contacts and Zona Sul Shipping so it was hard for him to burst economy more than once every 3-4 rounds. Caprice came really late, so I just put an Ash on the remote and scored out of there when I saw him being low on credits.
Then, the Haarpsichord game. Quite an annoying game since I always scored an agenda on 1st-2nd click and then I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run more, but it wasn’t worth it, since if I found an Explode-A-Palooza or an Award Bait, then I would have just helped him. I even ran on HQ to expose what the remote had and saw it was an Astro, but then I accessed Award Bait from HQ and he just scored it for free. I managed to get to x6 Agenda Points by playing Notoriety somewhere near the start of the game and then x1 more point for the win. If it wasn’t for Notoriety, I might have been just a bit too late.
Giannis seemed like a huge fan of deckbuilding but I’m quite sure he still has a bit of a way with downsizing his decks in order to make them more competitive. I saw a couple other games he played against some other guys and his Hayley deck just ran really well. He needed to run more in many cases, but that’s a thing you learn by playing the deck a lot. Good games, cool guy, good fun.
For the 3rd round, I played the tall and cool guy from Thessaloniki, Panagiotis Zinoviadis, who played Noise and NEH (Butcher Shop). That game was also in front of the camera.
The first game was against Noise. I was quite scared actually, because, with Noise being my biggest fear for Nisei, I had practiced alone how to beat that shit and decided to go with certain strategies at certain points of the game. He played a lot of viruses early and trashed a lot of my economy, but one Hedge Fund and x2 turns of clicking for credits allowed me to score x2 Nisei MK II agendas with both of them having the counter on them. He trashed no agendas through viruses and he found only a couple 2-pointers. I installed a Future Perfect and ended it. He tried breaking the Caprice, but that never worked for him. He tried to beat Le Nisei, and he Le Failed.
Then the corp game. Simple game. Played my best moves, ran when I could with money to prevent midseasons, got x1 Agenda, wasn’t even worth it and just died. I even saw a Sea Source on top of R&D, so unless I had dug for a plascrete way faster, I would have just died. He told me he had “Midseason, Breaking News, Scorch, Scorch, Sea Source” in hand. Oh well.
Zinos is an amazingly cool guy and always with a smile on his face. I loved my games against him because it’s the first and only time I’ve seen him so serious. Very tough games and a very nice way to keep myself going in the tournament.
The 4th round, I played against Kostas Ketsietzis. By far the best Greek player I played against that day and he proved that by coming 2nd at the end of the day. He played HB: Ending the Fun and Noise.
We played the Noise game first and my Nisei really tried but wasn’t able to keep up with the pressure that Kostas applied at all times. Very well timed installing of viruses and very well timed runs at the right server each time. He wasn’t able to break my remote but I wasn’t fast enough unfortunately in order to win that game.
We then played the HB game. It was quite funny actually. The game was progressing quite nicely, with me having 2 points and him having 2 or 3 and at some point I just drew a card and saw Hades Shard, so I just went thought to myself “god…this is tiring, might as well end this now,” so I just played Hades Shard, scored 5 points from Archives in one go (he had Jackson down the whole time) and he congratulated me for the move since he didn’t expect it at all.
Kostas was a very good player and also a calm one. I believe he got tired when he entered top 8 and just couldn’t handle the pressure at the end of the day, which is why he couldn’t grab the trophy too. Really tough games with the HB game being quite a fast one.
Just my luck since for the 5th round, I played against Manos Velivassakis. Manos knew my decks from the other day but of course didn’t remember much as he told me himself. He played Whizzard and HB: Ending the Fun.
We started off with the HB game and he took a mulligan right away. I then ran HQ, found an agenda, siphoned him, kept him low for about 6-7 turns by derezzing things all the time. Stole an NAPD that he installed because he didn’t want to have in hand but instead behind a Viktor 2.0 and then when he finally had enough money, I was already at x6 points. I just pulled out another 2-pointer out of R&D and finished the game. The fact that I had a lot of ICE in the deck helped a lot in this game, since I was able to protect x2 Mental Health Clinics with just a Yagura that was sub-boosted and a Himitsu Bako for the entire game. Also, on R&D, I had Architect-Swordsman-Swordsman and I killed x2 of his Eaters thus allowing me to tempo hit him really hard mid-game.
Then, the Whizzard game. God, what a game. One of the best, if not the best game I played that day. Manos’s Whizzard deck is quite an interesting one, with Eater, Keyhole, DDoS and Turntable. Turntable really fucked me up since I scored a Future Perfect and then he stole a Nisei MK II. I then scored another Nisei MK II, but he managed to find the last point from R&D before I was able to install my Future Perfect on the remote for the win. It was quite funny because at some point during the game, I dropped x2 NAPD Contracts in the Archives and he couldn’t steal them because there was an RSVP in front of them. #breakthemeta
Manos is a very good player and also a very good deckbuilder. His decks were really interesting with his HB having a good mix of agendas that you don’t see that often and his Whizzard being a good reminder of how strong that ID can be if left to do its thing. So another split.
7-3. I need a 2-0 in the next round if I am to definitely make the top 8 cut.
For the 6th round, I played against Nikos Leonakis. He played Replicating Perfection and Whizzard. He was also a bit late, but that guy had really good humor so I’ll cut him some slack.
For the first game, we played his Replicating Perfection. It was pure horror. I managed to pull a Nisei, but he scored a Future perfect in turn 3 or so, then an NAPD 2 turns later and the entire time, he had an Enhanced Login Protocol down. I thought my Security Testing would have helped me get up to tempo, but NOPE. He was DE-STRO-Y-ING me. Then I just got tired and I used Hades Shard. I found a Nisei MK II and a Future Perfect, played the psi game, won it and got the game point. OH MY GOD. Secret tech does it again.
Next up was Whizzard. This time, no Eater shenanigans. Pure joy out of Anarchs. A quite pressuring breaker suite allowed him to apply a lot of pressure but unfortunately for him, I had x3 Nisei MK II in hand which I proceeded to score one after another.
It was really hard for him to bounce back from that since I had x2 ETR Agenda Tokens when I installed the last agenda for the win. He pressured quite well on R&D, but wasn’t able to find much.
Nikos had a good smile on his face the whole time and that made my games against him really enjoyable. I felt kind of bad beating his RP with my secret tech, but what can ya do about it, that’s why I actually brought that.
9-3. 3rd in the final standings, so that means that I made the top 8 cut!
The Top 8 Cut
The Final Standings: (click on the pic to zoom in)
1st game of top 8 cut: Kostas Ketsietzis
I went up against Kostas, again, and he played his HB against me. This time he knew my shenanigans and I did the stupid thing of not getting my code gate breaker out first instead of my sentry breaker so he just advanced a bunch of agendas behind a code gate ICE real fast and won the game.
Very well played by him with a good lockdown on both remote and HQ through his annoying Vipers.
On to the losers’ bracket then already.
2nd game of top 8 cut: Sotiris Kappos
Fotis played a Kate deck. A PPVP Kate deck in particular. I played my Nisei right on point and I got x2 Nisei MK IIs out and scored real fast. That kind of secured the win for me since I had all the agendas I needed from the start with the scored Nisei MK II that allowed me to end a run through a multi-access that I didn’t want to see happening. His Film Critic scared me, but it wasn’t scary enough.
Sotiris was good, played his best game, but just couldn’t pull out the agendas for the victory. I feel like he should have run HQ more since I was so super flooded at some point during the game. Still, well played nonetheless!
We carry on then! Next game is for getting into top 4, so getting a playmat too!
3rd game of top 8 cut: GiorgosTroulitakis
We rolled with Giorgos to see who decides what to play and I won. I decided Nisei cuz he played a fast advance NEH (thought it was Butcher Shop until I saw it later) and PPVP Kate. The game pretty much went just like the one against Fotis, only this time I also managed to survive a Legwork when I had an NAPD and a Future Perfect in my hand. I had a scored Nisei MK II and then I had all the agendas I needed to win right in my hand. He was actually wondering how the agendas got through, but he realized that later on.
Giorgos was a very on-point player with many of his calls being made at the right moment on the right server.
(Giorgos wanted and didn’t want to smile at the same time! :P)
4th game of top 8 cut: Zach
Zach climbed to the top of the final standings by pulling off an amazing 11-1. Everyone was saying that his NEH is just way too fast to beat and that he just plays it way too well for someone to keep up. I proved everyone wrong.
I already had a playmat secured by being in the top 4 now, so I didn’t really care what was going to happen. Zach played his NEH and after installing Eli 1.0s on both R&D and HQ, I managed to get through R&D by clicking a couple times in order to find x2 Astroscripts. He was clearly pissed and already wondering how the heck that was even possible out of single accesses, but my answer to that was simply “shit happens, you should protect more.”
I then had a huge block again and I was getting tired, so after pulling a Hades Shard from my stack, I decided to do security testing, click for a credit and use the Hades Shard since there was a Jackson on the board for quite a long time. The stupid thing was that I used the Shard with 4 credits left and not 8. I didn’t count for x2 NAPDs being there, so I wasn’t able to score the other one. I then got my breakers out slowly and while Zach was fast advancing his way to victory, during the last turn that I could do things, I ran on every server and just threw a Notoriety on the table.
You could say that……I AM NOTORIOUS IN MY META.
That was so good. Went out with a huge bang. (the crowd went wild…)
Zach is an AMAZING player and no wonder how he managed to make 4th place in the tournament. He piloted his deck very well and even though he tried explaining to me how he could have won that game, he still didn’t. Tough luck, shit happens but I do really hope he does very well at Worlds now since both him and Laurie are going!
For the people that don’t understand the difference between joking a little bit and being entirely serious, I am not saying Zach is a bad loser or anything. We had a bit of fun with exchanging silly insults, that’s all. Get a life you people that take everything butthurt-mode.
(Zach was happy, but not pleased with our game’s result!)
5th round of top 8 Cut : Laurie Poulter
The “to be” Greek Nationals Champion, played his vegan fast advance NEH which I realized is fast advance later (I had already installed my x1 Plascrete) and I was SO BORED of the game that I just let his Sansan go wild and let him score all the agendas. I was way too tired to even think about trashing it which would have given me at least 3-4 more turns to do things from what people told me (who knew what he had in hand) but I couldn’t think clearly at that time. It’s fine though. It was an ok game and he fair and square beat me by fast advancing things. I maybe could have done things, but as the game goes, I just didn’t and I lost. Laurie played the game the best he could and I believe that either way I would have lost it. He was really “fast” with his “fast advance.” (get it?)
(Laurie flaunting his Sansan City Grid!)
So, this time, my report doesn’t have a 6th round of top 8 cut since I didn’t make it to the finals and only made 3rd place. Laurie went on to beat Kostas 2 games in a row, securing 1st place and the Worlds bye that he really, really wanted so bad.
Most of those games were on camera, so you will most probably see them in the near future!
Here are a few pictures from the event:
Top 8 cut guys:
The UK guys:
Right now, I am at the point where I can actually call myself a pro Netrunner player and deckbuilder without being modest at all (HA!). After the Belgian Nationals, I heard lots of nice words about my deckbuilding, but also a lot of bullcrap about me being all “secret tech” and shit. Well tough luck, deal with the fact that you just can’t comprehend the fact that if you practice other things in the game, they might work just as well or better in some cases. It’s not all luck.
I’m just done with all those peeps and I can happily ignore them now. Haters gonna hate.
I really loved the event and I can’t wait to meet the Greek community again sometime in the future for yet another tournament. I want to thank Chris Paliogiorgos for organizing an amazing tournament and also for him acknowledging me as a judge at the start of the tournament (even though I was told nothing about something like that before the start of the event). Also IoannisReppas for being a good judge, one of those that actually listens to people when he is wrong at something. It’s really rare to find people that know when to listen and when not to.
With the man that is the pillar of the Greek NR community!
Apparently, I am also quite famous since lots of people were asking me “you are the Dutch guy right?” and I loved all the good comments people made about the things I’ve done with Netrunner, be it doing commentary with Krystian, be it the organizing of the community or how I deckbuild and play the game.
Thanks guys! Really! It’s really awesome seeing how much this community can give back to you in ways that you didn’t expect.
Until next time then, take care and….
~Just not on my Whirlpool-RSVP-Komainu server~
-Constantine “Kelfecil” Christakis
BYE GUYS! LUV YA!