Netrunner Spanish Nationals 2017 Report
I made the top 8 cut, meaning my goal was achieved. I honestly, did not care the least bit as to how the games would go the next day, but I decided to try them out a little bit and see what I can do.
1st game of Top 8 Cut – Victor – Cerebral Imaging
Victor was there to win and his practice with that Glacier Cerebral Imaging had paid off, leaving him undefeated with that deck thus far. I knew that he ran Sandburg and Old Hollywood but despite playing it to my best ability, trashing Sandburg 4 times actually, I still couldn’t win that game, since he just always had the advantage.
The only mistake I can see making in that game was actually not installing Film Critic in order to be able to bypass Old Hollywood’s ability, but other than that, the game would have gone that way anyway, even if I made more credits throughout its duration. Victor played Bryan Stinson with Reversed Accounts, so if I had more money, he would have just advanced that a little bit more to fire Bryan Stinson.
I still don’t understand how Bryan Stinson was printed with those costs and that ability, but I don’t understand a lot of cards anyway.
Victor is an amazing player and a good deckbuilder too. My Smoke was just not good enough to beat something like that CI deck and I knew it before I even sat down to play it.
I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of Victor. My apologies for this Victor…
2nd game of Top 8 Cut – Gustavo – Haley Kaplan
Gustavo was back and this time, he knew all about my deck and what was in it. He knew about the SEA Source / Scorched Earth (which he in response to that, installed a Plascrete Carapace early in the game) and he knew about all the other tricks with Ronin and Project Junebug. But alas, I know how to play against people that know what is going on too. If I have learnt anything in my past 3 years of playing Jinteki decks, it is definitely having your opponent be scared since they need to stay safe.
I knew I had to score out. I Mushin No Shined a Global Food on turn 2 and then scored it on turn 3 since Gustavo was too afraid to run it, thinking it could be a Junebug. I then installed 2 cards every turn, one being an Agenda and the other one being a Snare! or a Jackson. Gustavo found the first agenda but then I did the same thing again and I managed to score out a Philotic. From there on, anything I installed could have been a 3/2 Agenda and Gustavo knew that, so he had to run everything. Fast forward and Gustavo had ran into 2 Junebugs, 2 Snare!s and 1 Psychic Field which he expertly avoided by winning the psi game. At some point he was even forced to stay tagged during his turn, so I burnt his Aesop, Film Critic and Laguna Velasco resources, crippling him for the rest of the game. He Deep Data Mined, found a Shock! and a Snare! and then I double Neural EMPed him for the win.
Well played Gustavo, really well played. He won the first match-up because he was smart about it, but I had enough practice against runners that are super careful in order to fake out some agendas early game in our second match-up.
3rd game of Top 8 Cut – Oscar – SYNC
At this point, I was already kinda done. Tired and not really looking forward into playing more, since if I won more, it would mean that I would have to either play a CI deck, either Mark’s or Jose’s. We rolled a dice to see what we will play and unfortunately it landed for SYNC / Smoke.
He mulliganed and I kept with 2 Diesels and a Self Modifying Code in hand. He scored a Breaking News and I was like “you know what? Whatever!” So I installed SMC, used it to get Equivocation and I ran R&D like a madman! He then scored a 15 minutes from hand and just took credits for the rest of the game. I trashed one Boom! but then he found, Archives Memories, 24/7, Hard-Hitting News and x2 ICE, one of which was a Pop-Up Window.
In retrospect, I could have just drawn up in order to find my New Angeles City Hall and just play it safe, but instead, I decided to close out my tournament experience with a funny game that me and Oscar will always remember. I looked at the next 3 cards of my deck and they were Sure Gamble, New Angeles City Hall and Net Mercur. So if I played just one Diesel, I would have been fine and would have maybe even won that game. I honestly did not care about winning at that point though and Oscar was such a nice guy, that I felt would be nicer if he goes ahead instead of me. His siphon/keyhole Whizz also stood better chances against those CIs. Maybe my Film Critic was at the bottom of the deck and Oscar would have just rushed out agendas anyway. Maybe this, maybe that, anything was possible. But I did not care.
Oscar was like “YEAH BOIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! :O”
Netrunner and Winning
I told a couple Netrunner friends about this by the way and they replied to me with “It’s ok to care about winning Kelf, and you know you would have liked it if you won.” So I would like to reply to that.
Yes, I would have liked it, but I also never said that it is not ok to care about winning. Victor did and Oscar did as far as I know and they did way more than I did. I knew that I could at best get 3rd to 4th place instead of 5th/6th, but that is as far as I could go with what I had. Either of the Cerebral Imaging decks would have destroyed me, unless I had an amazing starting hand and an amazing draw later into my Sacrificials and one SMC to Clot when the combo is about to fire. But even then, smart players like Mark know their way around it. I knew what I signed up for and that is why my goal of making top 8 was the only goal I had as far as tournament results go.
I was there for the community experience and generally, I play Netrunner differently than most competitive players of my level of experience. If I really wanted to win that bad, I wouldn’t waste my time building decks like the ones I usually play but I would instead pick up some of the amazing decks that other very, VERY good players have built, practice them and just bring them to the tournament and do my best with them.
There is sometimes a fine line between junk decks and decks that can be competitive but need to be piloted well in order to get really high placement in tournaments. There were a lot of people that played meta decks too, but if you get caught in the middle of the standings, you end up playing all sorts of weird decks that might mess up those teched out decks, therefore making them not that competitive after all. That’s why SYNC, CI and Whizzard are so powerful. Whizzard runs Eater, giving an answer to lots of problems that a Smoke deck can’t deal with.
Either way, my point is that, just because someone is happy with making a top cut, it doesn’t mean he is just trying to sound as if he is ok with it, even though he is really not. Maybe he just is and you just need to accept it. Players like Chris Dyer and Laurie Poulter are freakin’ amazing and they play to win. Their preparation and goals in the game are very different to mine though and that is clear just from the kind of decks that they decide to play in big tournaments compared to what I bring to the same tournaments. Some of those players, have been playing the same amount of time as I have and maybe I even play longer than some of them. Still, despite the experience a player may have, the goals may still differ.
Remember that it is a card game and everyone is in it for different reasons. I am personally doing it for the fun of rogue deckbuilding and playing around in that kind of style, as well as for the community of the game. Others do it to win or other similar reasons. To each his own!
Conclusion of the Top 8 Cut – Mark Wins
The top 8 cut continued with Oscar playing against a CI deck and destroying it with an Employee Strike into Siphon – Same old Siphon the next turn. Then he played against the guy that was beaten by Mark. Oscar played his SYNC against his Geist deck and despite all the anti-tag tech that the Geist had, Oscar would have stood a chance if his draw was any better than the 8 agenda flood that he drew into with only one Jackson and a bunch of other useless cards. He unfortunately couldn’t get out of this situation and eventually lost.
Jose’s Geist against Oscar’s SYNC.
The final game started with Mark on CI and Jose on Geist. Unfortunately, Jose did not know how the penguins CI works and even though he had a Temujin and a Vamadeva in hand very early in the game (turn 2 I believe) he did not think of installing it and just running HQ. He was lucky to get an agenda off the top of R&D (even without an installed spy-camera) and he later got another one (due to a spy-camera this time) but just wasn’t enough and got combo-ed out. I was 100% sure he did not know the match-up, because at some point, he accessed a Hasty Relocation from R&D and he picked it up and read the card. I mean, if you don’t know why it is even called the penguin deck, then you unfortunately done for.
Mark firing the penguins combo for the final win.
Either way, a huge accomplishment to get a Geist deck all the way to second place! Congrats on that dude, it takes some guts to bring that to a Nationals. Trust me, I know the feeling!
Yet another congratulations has to go to Mark though, for getting the much deserved title of Spanish National Champion of 2017! Even with just barely an hour of sleep, he managed to stroll through the top 8 cut games undefeated. I unfortunately did not get to play a single game against him, but then again, maybe it’s for the best, since the last time we played, he wasn’t very happy about the results! *WINK WINK*
Wrapping It Up
This was quite a spontaneous trip but it turned out to be way better than I ever thought it could be. I have to say a huge thank you to the entire Spanish Netrunner community as they made me feel that Spain is one of THE best places to play Netrunner. Friendly people all around who are there to make your day and make you feel amazing, not just for playing the game, but just for being there and being part of all this. I barely even knew most of you and I am very happy to have gotten to know you, even a little bit. A huge thanks yet again to Adrian for allowing me to experience all of this, since if I did not have a place to crash, I don’t think I could have made the trip (since I always prefer to stay with another Netrunner player).
Also, I will never forget the words: Primero, segundo, tercero, cuarto. Spanish Netrunner players are very, VERY good at keeping track of their clicks, without the use of click trackers. I rarely ever had any issues with anyone forgetting what click they were on or what they were doing in general. They made very clean plays and always made sure their opponent was up to speed with what was going on. This very clean style of playing is also an extension of how nice they are as people when it comes to playing a board game with people they know or don’t know, which is awesome.
I can’t wait to see you all again in the future, be it for Netrunner or L5R (if I do end up playing) and also play with you again. Thanks for everything guys, you seriously gave me an amazing time in Spain.
Now, as they say in Spanish buses…
PROXIMA PARADA; CAMPEONATO NACIONAL HOLLANDES!
Thank you for reading and till next time…
(Just not on my mushined Ronins, I need those..)
-Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis