Netrunner Spanish Nationals 2017 Report
Now, we get to the real Netrunner stuff!
The Corp Deck / Poisonous Herbs Garden (Link to NetrunnerDB)
It is EXACTLY the same deck that I played for Euros too and the plan was exactly the same. The only difference this time was that I had more experience playing the deck than before and therefore it was even easier for me to make certain calls during some very hard games (such as against Siphon/Keyhole Whizzard and DLR decks). The deck lost me only one game against Gustavo, who I later found in the top 8 cut and even though he knew what my deck was about, I managed to easily close out the game after pulling out some neat tricks on him. Make sure to read the round and top 8 cut match descriptions that I have in the rest of the report for all of that.
I am basically a rogue deckbuilder and an experienced Netrunner player, allowing me to pilot pretty much any deck quite well but even better the ones that people do not know how to play against. I thrive on surprising my opponent and therefore, all of this needed some build-up. I realized that I am not playing Jinteki mindgames just during the tournament, but I am also playing my Jinteki mindgames before it. I feel bad for having to lie to my friend Adrian about what deck I brought saying “yeah it’s a Palana glacier” when he asked me “why bring Palana,” but it was unfortunately the best way to keep it a secret as much as possible since the Spanish community did not know me.
Oh did I tell you that? Only a handful of people knew about me on Saturday which made me very, very happy since I knew that I was going to have at least 4~5 wins out of the 6 rounds with my Corp deck. My smoke would have to work hard for it, but could definitely pull out some wins and drag me to the top 8 cut. But I was most definitely more confident about my Corp deck, seeing as how most people did not know me.
And I was indeed correct, the deck did what it was supposed to do. It fooled people. It disguised itself as something innocent, having Anarchs play I’ve Had Worse for draw in the early game and Criminals use their Aaron Marron counters for draw instead of keeping them to protect themselves against my SEA Source / Scorch / Scorch.
The best part of the whole “trying to keep it a secret” deal was when we were at the bar on Friday night and one of the guys (Dollah I think is his nickname) turned to me and said “so what is your online name?”
I answered “Kelf” and he said “oh, like Elf? Is that it?”
“No, it comes from Kelfecil.”
“OH SHIT! Did you bring your Palana Traps deck for Spanish Nationals?! Oh man! You are going to burn so many people tomorrow, aren’t you!?!?!”
Adrian heard this and he said “oh, so you do play traps in your Palana! I knew it!” and I just spent the rest of the night trying to convince him that I found the trap deck to be weak and that glacier was the better meta call. I am pretty sure he did not believe me, but he saw how keen I was with denying it, so he stopped talking about it so that other people don’t hear about it too. Still, such a funny comment from Dollah just yelling that out!
The Runner Deck / Hyper Light Smoke (Link to NetrunnerDB)
After seeing how Euros went with Smoke, I fell in love with stealth even more and I decided to refine that deck to my best abilities. After a bit of testing against SYNC, Mooninites and a couple glacier builds, I realized that I needed to find my Net Mercur faster and I also needed to contest currents. I removed my 2nd Cloak for a 3rd Net Mercur since it was pretty much the least useful out of all the other cards I needed to see early and I then started to think about which currents are good. Personally, I do not find Employee Strike to be that amazing and it does not really help my game plan that much anyway. Also, it costs influence and I do not have all that much of that. I looked at Interdiction and System Seizure next, but neither of those helped with my game plan either. System Seizure was good only very late game, but I had seen that I rarely ever run more than 1 server during those last few turns of a game. It’s usually a power run or a run to just check something and pump up Net Mercur in the process. Therefore, I decided to go with Net Celebrity.
Needless to say, Net Celebrity made me about 10 credits in every game I played it. When I saw a CI that only scores 3-pointers, I knew it would give me at least 5 to 10 credits before it is forced out. When I saw a SYNC score out x3 or x4 of its 2/1 agendas, then I played it and kept it up for the rest of the game. Its main goal initially was just to be used as a counter to Scarcity and Enhanced Login Protocol if they hit the table, but it apparently did way more than that.
The inclusion of Notoriety was a no-brainer for me and I am still sad about how I was not able to include in my Euros deck just because I did not bring that card with me to Birmingham. It won me 2 games that I would not have won otherwise so definitely a super good inclusion. There is no late-game situation where you cannot fire Notoriety with Smoke since you are most certainly going to have a loaded Net Mercur.
If I was to make a meta call, I would have brought Whizzard though, because it is just better against everything right now (even SYNC in some ways, depending on which build you play) but as always, I would rather build my own deck and do my own thing instead of just picking up something off the internet.
The Road to Top 8 Cut
The tournament had 6 rounds of Swiss and a cut to top 8 with a series of double elimination games to show the National Champion of 2017.
The tournament took place at a huge Cinema venue and both the Netrunner and Game of Thrones National championships were ran at the edge of the building at a very nice, spacey and very well illuminated area. The air conditioning was pretty good, keeping us from dying to the heat and overall the organization was great. I gotta say that EDGE definitely did a good job with the running of the tournament by both being on time as well as being very precise with dealing with all sorts of situations mid-tournament.
45~47 people running!
Round 1 – Kike (Bo_) Smoke / Skorpios
We started with the Skorpios game. The guys told me the day before that I will most probably be seeing a lot of Skorpios and wouldn’t ya know it… my first round was against someone playing Skorpios. I knew about the Barrier-only and Code Gate-only Skorpios decks and what they generally did, but I never played against one. I knew the tricks, but I never had any practice against them. I asked a judge to tell me what Hatchet Job does exactly, since I did not remember the numbers and from that point on, I basically just spent clicks getting credits in order to keep myself at the same number. At some point, Kike got tired of the nonsense and he just Hatchet Jobbed me anyway for a trace 35. I met the trace and we were both at 2 to 4 credits left. So, it was a game reset and from there on, I had everything I needed and I eventually found a 2-pointer to get to 6 and then did Notoriety for the win. Having Film Critic, Sacrificial and playing it safe when you know what Skorpios does, is pretty much the only way to go.
The Palana game went by very fast. So fast I do not even remember how he died exactly. I think I SEA Source / Scorched him after a Neural EMP or something like that. Either way, he was very surprised and we laughed it out.
Kike was an awesome guy to start the tournament with and I am very glad I played against him, since the Skorpios game gave me a good lesson as to what to expect if I play against it again later.
Round 2 – (Ash) Leela / SYNC
Ash told me after our games that he hasn’t been playing for more than 6 months. Honestly, if he did not tell me that, I would have thought he is a very experienced player, since he played both his decks on point and very smartly.
We started with the SYNC game in which he had Breaking News and another agenda scored very early. I basically spent all of my turns just drawing the heck out of my stack in order to find at least x1 New Angeles City Hall. I eventually found one in the last 6 cards left in my stack and from there on, I just had all the tools I needed to close out the game.
The Palana game went with a Ronin kill I believe that Ash did not expect. An agenda was never scored or stolen, since I ditched them all in the archives under the disguise of a thousand Shock!s residing there and I just advanced my board state of traps and other dangerous things. The game was finished quite fast and Ash was also very surprised with what the deck actually was, since he said he expected glacier.
Round 3 – Mark (National Champ) Whizzard / Cerebral Imaging
Mark saw we are playing together and I told him “do you want to just ID and be done with it?” and he said “yeah, let’s do that.” I asked him what IDs he played and seeing what he played I immediately realized that it would have been a split anyway, him getting the CI game and me getting my Palana game. It would only go 2-0 for one of us if either of us gets lucky in their runner game and that was literally it. I’ve killed a thousand Whizzards and I’m sure he has beaten a thousands Smokes, so there was no point wasting mental energy on this.
We instead went to eat some burgers at Burger King and talk about all sorts of Netrunner things and other stuff. Mark also told me that when he told the judges about wanting to ID, they were weirded out, since they knew he was a good player. He said, they asked him why would he want to ID against me and he just replied “trust me, it’s for the best, just write down 1-1.”
Thanks Mark! ;)
Round 4 – Gustavo, Hayley / Skorpios
Gustavo was a super chill guy and what seemed to be a very good player (before I even saw how he plays Netrunner). He brought a Skorpios with Code Gates only and the classic Hayley deck that runs with Faust and Deep Data Minings.
We played the Skorpios game and it pretty much went exactly like my first one in the day, me clicking for credits and him trying to get ahead in order to do the Hatchet Job – Salem trick. I eventually won that match-up with a Notoriety (which if I did not have, he would have done the trick and then kept me out of everything for the rest of the game).
Next up, we played the Palana game. I knew he runs at least a couple Levys and he very expertly kept one in his grip, just in case I ran Ark Lockdown. He did not realize what kind of deck it was until I started installing various things. He ignored a few of them and ran a couple others but overall, kept himself at the right amount of cards, with the right breakers and the right amount of money at all times. It seemed his deck very well and even when I rezzed a Chiyashi, he managed to get around it with just a scratch to his stack because of the installed Faust. He eventually beat me and I have to say that he is now the best anti-Jinteki player I’ve played against. It was Beyoken before him, but Gustavo proved that he knew exactly when to draw, when to run, where to run and how to survive even the most dangerous cards. He apparently did not know about SEA Source / Scorched Earth being in my deck, but even then, he started making a lot of money in the late game with his 3rd set of Daily Casts being Aesoped slowly as the game progressed, therefore keeping himself safe against something like that too.
Very well played Gustavo. Thank you for the awesome games and congratulations on making the top 8 cut as well in the end of the day. I believe it was well deserved!
Round 5 – Vicente, Whizzard / SYNC
Vicente was the only person who I played and did not speak English at all. We played the Whizzard game first and just like everyone else who does not know what is going on, he wasted his I’ve Had Worses early in order to draw up for building up his rig. The game went for about 40 minutes because he was not sure how to go against my deck and was trying to be very careful with his last 7 cards. He basically Rebirthed into Omar and ran once per turn through a Kakugo on Archives in order to access R&D with a Medium. Sooner or later, I knew he would die from access, so I just waited and he found a Snare!.
The SYNC game, was quite frustrating, since we only had 22 minutes to play it. It went fast at the start and then a bit slower at the middle and end of it. I had a New Angeles City Hall with a Film Critic from pretty much turn 5 and it was basically a matter of time before I won that match-up. His best bet would have been just ICE up R&D with x3 Data Raven and just wait it out, but that means I could still go on HQ and find them there. Unfortunately, the match went very slow because of some slow Jackson draws (which are understood as well, since if you are in that tight spot as SYNC, you do want to think very carefully what you will be doing in order to save the game). We actually went to time and I was winning 5 to 3 on agenda points. However, as I have stated in the past in other reports, I despise timed wins and I would rather give an entire win to my opponent while trying to get a full one instead of getting the timed win myself. The timed win would have given me a 100% sure finish on the top 8 cut, but I preferred to just Same Old Thing ~ Maker’s Eye on R&D, just in case I find the last Global Food that was still in his deck. I got double tagged from Data Ravens with no clicks left and then on his last remaining turn, he Boom!ed me.
I sorta freaked out at that point and threw my cards on the table all pissed, but that was not because of my opponent or the SYNC game, but mostly because I just really, really, REALLY, hate going to time. I just strongly believe that going to time should be something easily avoidable when two experienced players play Netrunner and despite that game being full of surprises or hard-to-get-by circumstances (my weird Palana and the early pressure from Film Critic / NACH), it could have still been finished on time. Knowing I would have eventually won that game is what annoyed me and I just couldn’t live with just getting a timed win into top 8 cut, so I just let him have the win after a glory run on R&D.
I later found Vicente and apologized to him for freaking out and he was really nice about the whole thing too, so all is well with the world again. Thanks for the awesome games Vicente!
The break for the tournament happened between rounds 5 and 6 and was probably the longest break I’ve ever had in a Netrunner tournament. Having eaten already, I just stayed in the venue (which was way cooler than it was outside where you could just melt like an ice cream), I found a couch where a bunch of Game of Thrones players were chilling and I just slept there for a good 50 minutes out of the 90 that we had for the break. Apparently, Spanish people really like long breaks and I can roll with that, since it’s always nice to have a nap and recuperate a bit.
Round 6 – Oscar, Whizzard / SYNC
Oscar was 2nd with 24 points and there was only Victor on top with 27. 5 people or so at 21 and I was 5th on the scoreboard with a decent Strength of Schedule. I knew Oscar played Whizzard / SYNC and after the last round I just did not have the mental strength to go against another SYNC or even play my weird bluffing Palana game. I asked Oscar if he would be interested in an ID and he of course said yes, since he was 100% in the top 8 cut with one more win. For myself, I was not so sure and I started stressing for the next 75 minutes that remained until the round ended and the final results were posted.
I told Oscar that we could play one game for fun if he wanted and that I would even play my Palana against him, despite trying to keep it hidden all day. My goal was to just make top 8 cut to get a Spanish mat home as a souvenir to remember my awesome trip to Madrid, so if I made the top 8 cut and then someone beat me because they knew my deck, I was fine with that. My goal would have been achieved anyway.
We played the game and just like any other Whizzard, Oscar dropped two of his I’ve Had Worses early in order to build up his rig. I tried to play a bit smart against him, ICEing up a little bit at the start, in order to make it look like a Glacier deck. He fell for it and once he fired his first Account Siphon and ran into a Chiyashi, he started realizing what was going on. Few turns later and he was dead. Guess Whizzards never learn!
The organizers put up the final standings on the wall and I told Michal to go look at it because I was way too scared to do so myself. He walked over to it and he turned to me with a super happy face saying “YOU ARE 8TH!”
Needless to say, I yelled “YES!” and “FUCK YES!” a couple times, hugged all the people in the venue at least twice (probably Mark more than four) and ended up just being extremely happy even up until now.
The organizers gathered everyone around the prizes table and they started calling out names. Tre was actually the one that announced the top 16 and when he got to me, he said in Spanish “8th place, Konstantinos Chrisajtkowdwhoiudhgw!” (no, he couldn’t pronounce my last name) and then said “WHO IS ALSO A REALLY NICE GUY!” and suddenly, Mark and a couple others came over and they lifted me on their arms and threw me a couple times in celebration. Honestly, if I was happy when I found I got 8th place, I was ten times happier seeing how that community reacted to me being there and making their top 8 cut.
But all the good words about the community and the people will have to wait as they will come after I tell you how the top 8 cut went too!
On to the next page!