Netrunner: French Nationals 2016 Report
This is going to be another article focused on Android: Netrunner.
So, I had the chance to be in Paris last weekend, to both visit the city and its sights, as well as to play in the French Nationals 2016 tournament for Android: Netrunner. It was my first time in France, so I had a lot to find out!
First and foremost, I have to say a huge thank you to Sebastien Lebret, one of the main organizers behind the French Netrunner scene, who had me and my girlfriend as guests at his place in Paris. Sebastien, if you are reading this, I want you to know for the hundredth time, that you are awesome and one of the most excellent hosts I’ve ever had.
So here goes the report!
I arrived in France, Paris, on Thursday night and I spent all of Friday with Claire roaming around the city. We went to the Eiffel tower, passed by Notre Dame, the Louvre and walked through the city streets for quite a long time. At night, there were more guests at Sebastien’s place, Netrunner players coming from Bordeaux. They were going to play at the French nationals as well, so they found shelter in the awesome house of Sebastien. Soon enough, I realized that Sebastien was a much bigger deal in the board games community of France than I initially thought he was. He’s “the man” basically.
So, after a good night’s barbecue, we slept and woke up the next day (Saturday) to go to the venue where the tournament would take place. What I loved about the tournament’s organization, was that they didn’t only give us Android:Love Letter (a custom-made android themed love letter board game) for participation along with other French promos, but they also provided food for the rest of the day. They gave us breakfast, lunch, a drink and dessert. Not only that, they even had reservations at a restaurant for after the tournament. Now, here’s an important thing that Sebastien told me when I was talking to him about it. He said “if the tournament is bad and the food is good, people won’t complain. They can’t. If the tournament is good and the food is bad, then people will complain anyway.”
I found that to be very true. The food was good though, so that’s all I can say!
The tournament was also held at the coolest of locations. I mean what is more fitting than a museum of cards? The museum was actually awesome to look at when you are not playing games, since it had cards from all sorts of places and all sorts of past times. Huge plus for the French organizers for picking this place for the tournament.
I didn’t take too many pics, but you can see a picture of some, probably archaic Jinteki cards below.
So, first of all, let me tell you what I was playing. You will laugh your socks off. Jinteki: Nisei Division and Andromeda. Nope, not your standard Andromeda.
There was a guy a couple months ago that called me a hipster on a NR chat behind my back, but I don’t really pay attention to backstabbing insults, so I took this particular one as a compliment. “I thought he was just a Netrunner hipster,” the guy said and continued to blabber on. I wear this title proudly now, taking Nisei Division and whatever obscure Runner build I have at hand every time to tournaments. You’d ask, “Why not Silhouette?” Well the thing is, Silhouette is not needed at the moment. It’s one thing being a hipster, and another being a bad player who does not see how the meta is shifting.
I did not post my decklists on Netrunnerdb.com because I just felt that getting 21st spot with 21 points, wasn’t too much of a validation that the decks work. I personally believe the decks are amazing. They do need specific changes (like a couple ICE that can just be more efficient) but other than that, I believe that there are far too many critics out there who will just bury the ideas just because they don’t understand them. Remember that, these are not your standard net-deck decks. You need to practice with them to play them. They don’t play the same way Engineering the Future or anything else common plays. Remember that you’ve practiced EtF and that is why you are decent every time you pick up a build playing that ID. They might be different, but still play around the same ID and general game style.
So, with 3 out of 5 rounds being wins for this deck, I am very, very satisfied with it. The 2 losses came from being super unlucky during HQ accesses. The deck rolled out more amazingly awesome than I had ever expected it to. But let’s take everything one by one, shall we?
- The ID. Nisei Division, is my currently favourite identity. If you do not know why, you should definitely visit one of my previous articles, such as the Trimming the Garden one. I am not going to bother explaining it in every single article I write about my Netrunner decks. When it comes to Psi games, I like to think that I am pretty good at them. I won all the psi games in all my games except the ones on Snowflake when I did not care about the runner accessing HQ (because I had 1 agenda in 5 cards or because I had nothing interesting for them). The average amount of psi games I played during my Corp games was about 15. That and the reasons explained in my previous articles are reasons good enough to play it for me.
- Caprice Nisei. Everyone keeps saying that with Rumor Mill out, Caprice is dead. Well, yeah she is, for a couple turns that is. I honestly found little to no problems with Rumor Mill throughout the tournament. I played against 3 anarch players and they honestly didn’t do all that much on my Caprice. I actually scored out agendas on a naked Caprice in more than one game.
- Cell Portal / Bullfrog. Yeah I know, terrible ICE. Well they are both amazing ICE, but it strongly depends on when you get them during the game. Cell Portal actually won me a game on a 4-ICE remote, but that is because I was able to get it early. Bullfrog is amazing for putting on a small remote or Archives and then having it jump to your huge remote, allowing you to ICE up even harder without having to pay the extra cost for having already too many ICE on that server. But yes, I was indeed mostly trying them out and I will go for something way better. Hopefully some awesome new PSI ICE will come out soon.
- No Sentry ICE. Yap, you read that right. It straight out annoyed me how rarely my sentries fired. Besides that, there are so many parasites in anarch builds that it made no sense to play cards that cost 5 to rez and only have 1 strength (e.g. Komainu). Sure it was very taxing and sometimes it hit runners very hard, but other than that, it never stayed in place in order to do its work for more than just one turn.
- So many Code Gates. Well, apart from Yog – Ice Carver – Datasucker, the Code Gates have done an amazing job thus far in keeping runners out. If anything, I feel as if including another Cyberdex Virus Suite is going to make it even better against Yogsucker builds too. Barriers and Code Gates are apparently the way to go at the moment for Nisei if you want to tax runners.
- Asset Economy. I played against 2 Whizzards and a Valencia that rebirted into Whizzard and let me tell you. I had no money issues whatosever. I always had enough credits to rez ICE, score agendas and play psi games. All you need to do is invest in putting an ICE in front of one or two of your asset remotes. That is pretty much it. Sure, it gives room for Temujin runners to cash from, but it really does not matter with all of the other tax you have in the deck. I did not care for Temujin all that much when I was making all that money myself.
- The Agenda Suite. The well established Nisei – NAPD – Future Perfect build still works. Hard to still agendas and a couple really awesome ones that have a good effect that wins you the game (e.g. Nisei MK II). It felt really good playing that suite again. There was only one runner that day that managed to score a Future Perfect and that was because he Rumor Milled – DDOSed and then ran my remote with blackmail. Next couple of turns I won by scoring 2 4/2 agendas. Simple as that.
- The PSI ICE. The PSI ICE continues to be my favourite. Cheap to rez, high strength and awesome effects. When you play a psi game to end the run, the runner cannot even know if you want them to go in or not. For all they know, you probably have a psychic field in the remote or pack a bunch of snares in your deck. They honestly can’t know. Everything is so hidden information.
- Enhanced Login Protocol. Good current that cancels out their current. I did not even care about waiting to play it, I just played it early and saw them cry as they wasted clicks to go and get temujin money or whatever. I just got money from my assets and scored away.
- Crisium Grid. I personally believe this is the best card in the game right now. It’s a region, so it cannot get rumor milled and you have to run twice if you want your access effect to work. And that is of course, after trashing the Crisium for 5 credits. So good. Also it’s one influence. So hell yeah I’ll put x2 in my deck. It stopped a Siphon, a Keyhole and a Medium dig during the tournament.
That was it for the deck. I am definitely going to switch a few things around, so maybe I’ll post the new build on Netrunnerdb.com when that is ready!
Yap. I went to Andromeda. But I did that, because Silhouette’s ability right now is pretty much pointless. Against HB, it’s still great, but against all other decks (which is 90% NBN) it is pointless, because you know all of the cards they are running.
- Rabbit Hole. The UK nats champion can tell you why this is a good card. One influence, so why not put it in Criminal. It worked amazingly well.
- The Supplier. “You crazy Kelf? You are bringing a resource heavy deck with The Supplier in a meta where there is so much “All Seeing I”?” Well, fellow Netrunner player, a good runner does not let a Breaking News be scored that easily. Also, you should have enough pressure after a couple turns to be able to go and trash a Sansan City Grid if you think there is one on the board. I only had one All Seeing I played against me, and that is because I made some bad economy moves on my part. Other than that, The Supplier carried all of my games. You get him in the first 15-20 cards and you are pretty much installing something for almost free every turn. Card draw is really good because you don’t have to care about making money to install the things you get, so it’s all good.
- Gang Sign. One-off, because it is great to have early. Despite that, I did not get to use it all that much, so it might just become Hostage to get The Supplier or something else early.
- R&D Interaface + The Turning Wheel. Because the Turning Wheel is unique and you cannot install it twice. So you have to be able to have some reliable multi-access. I quite like R&D Interface, so I stuck with that.
- Breaker Suite. Standard stuff.
- Hunting Grounds. Because I did not quite like Rebirth. If you get it late, there is not much point to it. Whereas Hunting Grounds gives you the edge on running fearlessly on various servers. Plus it protects you from staying tagged after Data Raven (if, let’s say you somehow get more tags at the end of that run).
Pretty standard build, but with a lot of focus on installing things cheap through the Supplier.
The Swiss Rounds
I had a bye. Because I am cool like that. I did play some casual games with another guy that had a bye, Nikolai who came all the way from Norway. He played a Cerebral Imaging combo deck and a Dyper Kate. The Combo got me and Dyper Kate just got snipe picks from HQ.
Round 2 – Beale
So yeah, first real games of the day, and they were against the French National Champion of 2013 (who also made top 16 at Worlds as well that year). Beale was an awesome guy. Doesn’t talk much, but is very friendly. I very much enjoyed my games against him. He played Whizzard and New Angeles Sol. Against Whizzard, I struggled to get money from assets, but after a certain point, Beale stopped caring about them, and I made tons of money. Unfortunately, he had accessed HQ enough times to snipe the agendas (yes, 1 in 5 again…) so I eventually did not have enough time to win the game. As always, Niseis – Chronos Project scored. I think he stole x1 NAPD though as well.
The NBN game was pretty great. I was setting up all nicely and then at some point, I suspected the card on the remote was a Sansan. Beale scored an agenda real fast on it and then I went to trash it, but a Tollbooth stopped me. I could have passed, but I wouldn’t have enough money to trash the Sansan as well. That was a bad economy call on my side though, installing all sorts of stuff that weren’t needed yet. Oh well. So Beale took great advantage of that rezzed Sansan and he scored a Breaking News which was followed by an All Seeing I. That’s where the game was decided. I then ran with R&D Interface, got to 5 points, but then an Exchange of Information with another 3/2 scored in the remote, closed the game for Beale.
Great player, careful moves throughout both of the games allowed him to secure a sweep against me.
Round 3 – Zodoh
Zodoh said “my decks are fun and different” but they were nothing but that! I suspected he might be lying and playing mind games with me so I just played as if his decks would be exactly what I expected them to be. He played Valencia and NEH-Scorch.
During the NBN game, I was winning 5-2 and I had the upper hand by a lot. I had seen he has plays Scorched Earth, but for some stupid reason, I left my Crash Space on my Supplier for a good 5 turns. So when I ran that Psychic Field and lost the Psi Game, Zodoh just installed Breaking News, used Astro counter, scored it and Scorched me. So yay for being a bad player in this case. Well done Constantine.
During the runner game, Zodoh played Valencia, and as many times as he tried to blackmail my remote where I was scoring agendas, he couldn’t win any of the psi games. He did not get to score any agendas, no matter how much pressure he applied on my centrals.
Zodoh was super fun to play against because he reminded me of myself and how I like to tell lies as to what I play and do in order to confuse my opponents. Fortunately his tricks didn’t work too well against me! He did get to split with me though. Thanks for the awesome games Zodoh!
Round 4 – Marc
In the 4th round, I went up against Marc. I was joking with him, saying that we will get paired up and actually mess up each others’ standings by splitting. That is what actually happened. Marc is from Spain by the way and he came all the way from Barcelona to play in the French Nationals. He played Sync and Whizzard.
During his Corp game, I got Rabbit Hole early, hunting grounds and everything else I needed and just slowly won the game. He even did “Hard Hitting News” at some point, but thanks to my Crash Space which was supplied from my Supplier (get it?) I was able to remove the tags without paying too much money because of SYNC.
During his runner game. He played Ice Carver and found his Yog a bit late in the game. When he did though, he was just running with Medium, trying to find agendas. He did find an NAPD, but couldn’t score it. Thing is, Marc sniped 3 agendas out of my hand when they were 1 out of 5 every time. He was super lucky with HQ access but I guess that is my fault for letting him go past the Snowflake, thinking he won’t find it. I just thought “eh, I’ll gain a credit instead of paying 2 to keep him out, he won’t find it anyway.” When he was at 5-0, I had a naked Caprice (because of DDOS) and I actually scored 2 agendas there. I had the winning future perfect in that remote waiting to be scored next turn, but Marc found the last agenda on R&D.
Cool guy, fun to play with and laugh with during both the games and after them. Thanks for the games Marc!
Round 5 – KRISS06
Kris was my round 5 opponent! He played Dyper Kate (keyhole, hyperdriver, DDOS, False Echo) and NEH asset spam. With his Kate, he found no agendas whatsoever when he was keyholing, and he got quite disappointed. I told him that I had 4 agendas in hand, and that is why I was just installing and scoring the whole time. I also had a Crisium on R&D to stop the Keyhole when he didn’t have much money during his big (lots of clicks) turn.
During the NEH game, I managed to get to 5 points when he was at 6, then I found another agenda and then cried inside of me when I saw the last agenda I found was a 1 pointer. Oh well. My opponent was playing kind of weird, not bad, but in a way that it felt as if he was not sure about what he was doing. Not sure how experienced he was with the decks, but overall the games went just fine with no problems whatsoever.
The only thing at this point for me was that I got super pissed when I lost to NEH, making me tilt really hard. Once again, it was not because of my opponent, but because I had lost to another stupid yellow deck that was probably netdecked. More about that after the rounds report though. Kris played it the way it had to be played and got the win, so gg Kris!
Round 6 – Bobby
Bobby was my last opponent, and he was by far the coolest guy I played against that day. He said he hadn’t played in a while and he brought Gabe and Personal Evolution. He was pretty good at mind games, I’ll tell you that.
During his Gabe game, I just locked him out of HQ with a Crisium and some taxing ICE and then just started scoring out in my remote. Pretty standard Nisei game. Lots of Psi games for Future Perfects, didn’t lose any of them, so it went perfectly fine.
During the Personal Evolution game, I almost died. Twice. Bobby mushin no shined a card early and I just ran it with 6 cards in hand to find that it was a Philotic. So that was a good steal. From there on, it was all about finding which cards are the Rhonins just to keep myself safe. It was quite funny when Bobby played a Cerebral Cast and I just laughed saying “YOU DARE PLAY PSI GAMES WITH ME?” and then I won the psi game. I then ran into a Psychic Field and lost the psi game, so that was straight up karma for making that joke! I also saw he played Scorched Earth in his PE which reminded me so much of my early PE builds 2 years ago.
Thanks for the awesome games Bobby, and I hope you enjoy that playset of German Scorched Earths, you earned them bruh!
So, the end result was basically, 21st place with 21 points. If I had won one more game, I would have been in the graduated top 16 cut as it was announced a bit later because of something that happened with the 8th player conceding a game while he was winning. You’ll probably have to ask someone else about what happened exactly with that situation since I wasn’t there for that. I spent my Sunday and Monday going around Paris with my girlfriend again, so that was fun.
Overall, my experience was great. But there are certain points that were quite apparent to me. Those were:
- French people don’t speak English. At least 95% of them don’t. A lot of people warned me of that, but I didn’t expect it to be so apparent. Alas, I do not blame them for that though, as it was the exact way in Italy when I visited it a couple years ago. You can’t blame people for not knowing a language. Some of them really tried to communicate with me and that, in particular, I appreciate lots and is more than enough for me as a visitor in their country.
- A lot of French netrunners played cards in English. I found that very surprising. I did not care as to what language the cards are since I know most of them by heart now (I mean come on, I saw the reflection of a Refractor on a card sleeve and was able to tell which card it is…). But it was surprising, since all of their promos are in French.
- I hate NBN more than ever. Please see yourself out of this website and article if you are already offended. Remember that I am not hating the players, but the faction. The faction can be great fun, but I feel that it has become a thing now, that you visit a tournament and 9 out of 10 corps are NBN. I know it’s a great meta call and stuff, but when I bring Nisei Division in a Rumor Mill heavy meta and I do so well, I can say that pretty much anything can be a great meta call if you know how to play it. What I am mostly glad about, is the fact that I brought my own homebrewed decks and actually did amazingly well for what the decks do. If I had not made those mistakes, I may have even been in the top cut. In the end, I was not, but I blame that to lack of practice. Call me a hipster for saying “I should do better cuz I do my own stuff” but that is just what I believe with the current state of my game experience. I honestly really enjoyed doing well with my decks though and I only wish more people did that since the game allows for so much personalized game playing styles. Yellow just tilts me though. I tell new players that netdecking is a great way to get started with the game and learn what is good and what not, but at the same time, I feel like I am condemning people every time I say it now, because they might just end up being one of the people that just play yellow “because it’s good.” I feel as if I have found a good way to have fun in the game (yes, while winning too of course) but people do not want to follow it because they seek the easy way out. It is a very controversial discussion that a lot of people will hate me for even mentioning, but this is my report and I felt like saying it. Yellow tilts me. That’s it.
I am quite sad that I was not able to attend more national tournaments since that was super fun, but oh well. I look forward to the next big tournaments and I hope I see some of the European guys I know at the Euregio tournament coming up in November. I am glad I saw Lander (Ron Zacapa) again who is always a cool guy to be around and joke with and also the other guys from Belgium. Huge congrats to Mr.Mint for playing that combo Haarpsichord deck and making top 8 as well.
Hope you guys enjoyed the report and as always…
-Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis
P.S. Someone told me to add a cool pic of myself with the Eiffel tower, for Paris-Tourist proof, so here you go!