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Subject: My First Place Decks From the Atlanta Regionals rss

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So, I'm the lucky bastard who won the Atlanta Regionals this past weekend. I've never posted to BoardGameGeek before, but I figure this is a great excuse to finally give something back to the community that basically taught me everything I know about NetRunner.

My Level of Experience:
I'll be the first to admit that I am still very much a novice when it comes to this game. I'm just a particularly lucky one. I think the quality of my analysis probably reflects that, so be gentle.

While I started playing NetRunner about six months ago, I haven't had the opportunity to play a whole lot. When I walked into Regionals on Saturday, I only had 30-35 games (not matches) under my belt, all of them face-to-face. Most of these games involved me teaching a handful of long-suffering friends of mine how to play, using decks that I built for them. The rest of these games were played in two local tournaments here in Atlanta, where I typically got my deck slapped by people who knew what they were doing.

Meta Considerations:
As an infrequent player, I had to rely heavily on the BGG Hive Mind to get ready for Regionals and to understand what was happening out in the real world. Based on what I read about different metas, it seemed like there were four major, competitive deck archetypes that I could reasonably expect to see in tournament play: Fast Advance HB, Tag n' Bag Weyland, Noise Virus Mill, and Aggressive Gabe. In particular, there seemed to be a lot of discussion surrounding the power of HB and Noise, two factions that I've never felt comfortable with.

The Tournament:
Twenty-one competitors. Five rounds of swiss-style play, followed by single-elimination rounds for the top eight players. For the last two standing, that's eight matches (16 games) over the course of about nine hours. Atlanta has a lot of strong players that are very active in the NetRunner community. Quite a few of them post here regularly, others host podcasts, some blog about it. All of them are intimidating as shit to play against. Not because they're hostile or unfriendly (quite the opposite). They're just really, really good.

My Decks:
Knowing the caliber of the competition, I decided to stick with what I felt most comfortable with in terms of my level of skill and my personal play style: shoot-you-in-the-face Weyland and smash-and-grab Criminal. I don't have a lot of confidence in my deck building abilities yet, so I poured over BGG in the days leading up to the tournament, looking for inspiration.

Here's what I ultimately went with:

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Android: Netrunner Deck Builder

Identity:
Gabriel Santiago: Consummate Professional (Core)


Total Cards: (45)

Event: (23)
Account Siphon (Core) x3
Easy Mark (Core) x3
Inside Job (Core) x3
Satellite Uplink (Trace Amount) x2
Special Order (Core) x2
Diesel (Core) x3 ■■
Deja Vu (Core) x2 ■■
Stimhack (Core) x2 ■
Sure Gamble (Core) x3

Hardware: (5)
Desperado (Core) x3
E3 Feedback Implants (Trace Amount) x2

Program: (9)
Femme Fatale (Core) x2
Sneakdoor Beta (Core) x2
Corroder (Core) x1 ■■
Crypsis (Core) x3
Yog.0 (Core) x1 ■

Resource: (8)
Compromised Employee (Trace Amount) x3
Decoy (Core) x2
Armitage Codebusting (Core) x3

Influence Values Totals -
Anarch: 9
Criminal: 62
Shaper: 6


Deck Origin:
This is a clone of a deck that won a tournament in NYC earlier this month, which is itself a slight mutation of the deck described in IirionClaus' fantastic Illustrated Guide to Building a Gabe Deck. I was intrigued by the idea that a deck without any cards from the last two data packs could still be so strong. Plus, IirionClaus' article had pictures. I had to give it a go.

The Basic Idea:
Crime Spree! Burn through your deck, snatching as many agenda points as you can in the early game before the corp can erect a credible defense. If you're lucky, you'll shut out a corp 7-0 and dramatically increase your odds of winning the match. Even if the corp scores a win, you've got a good chance of having several points on the scoreboard, which helps a lot. Rather than invest in Gabe's (admittedly terrifying) suite of ICE control cards like Emergency Shutdown, Forged Activation Orders, and Crescentus, this deck doubles down on brute force cards and a strong economy that helps you apply- and sustain- pressure right out of the gate. Its sleaziest feature by far is a pair of Deja Vus, which lets you volley cheesy blasters like Account Siphon or Inside Job in rapid succession. One of my favorite moments from the entire tournament was an epic quarterfinal bout against Kevin, a Jinteki player. I managed to land FIVE full strength Account Siphons on him over the course of our game and he STILL managed to win 7 to 6. Achievement unlocked, sir!

How This Deck Wins:
When things go your way, corps that are slow-starters or draw a bad opening hand are in for a world of shit. You pose a serious threat to the corp without a full (or even partial) rig. An early Account Siphon can capitalize on these bad draws, leaving an HQ packed with agendas the corp can't afford to defend, but typically won't risk discarding. When they eventually secure HQ, Sneakdoor lets you change attack vectors and continue to hammer HQ.

How This Deck Loses:
Things get difficult for this deck during the mid to end game, especially if you can't deplete the corp's bank account early on to retard their development. With little in the way of ICE control, deep servers can quickly become a serious obstacle. You're packing Stimhacks for late game hail mary runs, but you have to make sure those count. You often can't recover quickly enough from a wasted run on a heavily defended target!

What I Would Change:
Honestly, I'd probably ditch the Compromised Employees. I really wanted to like them, but I never felt they pulled their weight during the tournament. Because this deck was so fast and so hellbent on gouging HQ, I think Emergency Shutdown would be a much nastier addition, especially with the Deja Vus to boomerang them.



Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Android: Netrunner Deck Builder

Identity:
Weyland Consortium: Building a Better World (Core)


Total Cards: (49)

Agenda: (11)
Government Contracts (A Study in Static) x3
Hostile Takeover (Core) x3
Posted Bounty (Core) x2
Project Atlas (What Lies Ahead) x3

Asset: (2)
Aggressive Secretary (Core) x2 ■■

ICE: (20)
Archer (Core) x2
Caduceus (What Lies Ahead) x3
Hadrian's Wall (Core) x2
Ice Wall (Core) x3
Shadow (Core) x2
Chimera (Cyber Exodus) x3
Data Raven (Core) x2 ■■
Enigma (Core) x3

Operation: (16)
Beanstalk Royalties (Core) x3
Oversight AI (A Study in Static) x2
Scorched Earth (Core) x3
Green Level Clearance (A Study in Static) x3 ■
Hedge Fund (Core) x3
SEA Source (Core) x2 ■■

Upgrade: (0)

Total Agenda Points: 20

Influence Values Totals -
Haas-Bioroid: 7
Jinteki: 0
NBN: 8
The Weyland Consortium: 40

Deck Origins:
This deck is something of a Frankenstein, pieced together from the two Weyland deck lists notyetsuperman featured in his great Comprehensive Discussion on Weyland Tag n' Bag OOF Options.

The Basic Idea:
Nuke aggressive runners who overextend themselves in the early game. For more cautious runners, capitalize on the tempo gain you get from their fear of being Scorched and rush early game agendas behind Chimeras or Oversight AI Archers/Hadrians. This tempo gain occasionally increases when a runner glimpses a SEA Source and begins hoarding bits to fight off the inevitable tag. Much like the Criminal build, this deck aims to get on the scoreboard early and often, to minimize the impact of a loss on the overall match.

How This Deck Wins Games:
I flatlined three of my eight opponents (one from each faction). I outran two more in the agenda race. Between Green Level Clearance and Project Atlas, you've got a good chance of having early game access to both a SEA Source and a Scorch. But once you push a few agendas through, even cautious runners start getting froggy. That kind of recklessness certainly makes them easier to Scorch, but it can also lead to them blundering into an unexpected Aggressive Secretary that trashes their rig.

How This Deck Loses Games:
Someone steals its wallet. It completely lacks long-term economy cards like Melange Mining Corp, Pad Campaign, Adonis Campaign, or Private Contracts. As a result, it is banking (ha!) on a scored Government Contract for a stable economy in a longer game. I found out the hard way that getting a 5/3 agenda scored in a deck like this can be a complete son of a bitch. I think I successfully scored one during the entire tournament; I had four stolen.

What I Would Change:
I'd love to swap out some Government Contracts for Corporate Wars when Future Proof gets here. I think the new agenda will go nicely with this build, which wants to squat on a $7+ pile of cash while waiting to take its killshot.


Final Thoughts…
I had an absolute blast at Regionals, even if it was one of the most intense, white-knuckle hell-rides of my gaming career. I was outclassed by most of my opponents, especially Butterbob, who I squared off against in the Finals. It was just the Devil's own luck (and E3 Feedback Implant in my opening hand) that allowed me to shut out his undefeated Fast Advance HB deck and take home the trophy. I'm guessing I'm more likely to be struck by lightning during a shark attack than to beat him in a rematch. Anyway, if you want to see a real decklist with some actual analysis, you owe it to yourself to check out his write-up. This guy is the real deal, folks!

And to any of you reading this who are sitting on the fence about competing in your own regional tournaments: DO IT. You may be surprised at how well things turn out for you. I know I was!

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David Jensen
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You don't give yourself enough credit. In the games I watched you made great moves and installed counters at just the right time. Even when they were available at all times. That is not rookie piloting.

I think you kept great pressure as Gabe did a great job of hand/draw management. Though I didn't see much of your Weyland play it appears you played it right.

I did catch two occassions where you sort of went 'well I don't know what to do so ... I'll run HQ'. haha. Exactly what you should do. =) Besides the credits the information is priceless.

Very well done and excellent write up. ...The final round was a bit lucky and I think we all recognized that but to get there didn't take luck - that was excellent play from all I saw.

GOOD LUCK IN WORLDS!
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Kester J
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Thanks for the write-ups!

I'm interested in how you played the Weyland deck: you say that not having enough money killed it, but I'm sort of impressed it had money at all. I tried a couple of Weyland decks with operation-only economy (the first a standard 49-card deck, the second 45 cards with a couple of Anonymous Tips to see if that helped things) and neither really had enough money. Both had a similar set of ice to yours, except Caduceus, and Oversight AI - I tried to avoid rezzing Archer or Hadrians without it to save money.

I would like to make it work, so do you mind sharing any hints? Are there a lot of turns of "take 3 credits, go", or is there some other secret I've missed out?
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David Boeren
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Are you going to the other Atlanta Regional coming up?
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Wesley Kinslow
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If you change a Government Contracts to a Priority Requisition and one of the Aggressive Secretaries to a Data Raven our Weyland builds are identical.

Great job - both lists look solid.
 
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Bryan
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Welcome to the Geek as you said that was your first post

I just bought Netrunner cards and have only played 1 basic game. I am thinking about going this Saturday to a regionals near here, but I don't think I would do to well lol. I have to make a runner and corp deck before I go.
 
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Bingo Little
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Y'all so lucky with these current and upcoming regionals. It's going to take me until June to show that I'm the best netrunner in Washington State.
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Z
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notyetsuperman wrote:
You don't give yourself enough credit. In the games I watched you made great moves and installed counters at just the right time. Even when they were available at all times. That is not rookie piloting.


Thanks for the kind words and the support, man! Believe me, I made *plenty* of mistakes throughout the tournament (my corp and runner decks were both 5-3). I just seemed to have the good fortune to make them in situations where they cost me the game, but not the match (I ended up 6-1-1 for those). I was actually surprised at how my tournament anxiety really melted away after I made it to the Final 8. After so many consecutive hours of playing, I think you just get too damn tired to worry.


Kester wrote:
Thanks for the write-ups!
I'm interested in how you played the Weyland deck: you say that not having enough money killed it, but I'm sort of impressed it had money at all… I would like to make it work, so do you mind sharing any hints?


I actually think this deck has a pretty good sprint economy; you just have to realize that and pace yourself accordingly. You have to secure HQ to ward off lethal Account Siphons, but draw aggressively and take risks with early agenda gambits. By the end of the early game, your goal should be to have a SEA Source and Scorched Earth in hand and 1-2 agendas scored. If one of those is a Government Contract (or an overclocked Project Atlas) you're in great shape. I also got a lot more mileage out of my Shadows and Caducei than I ever expected to. Runners were quick to disrespect their money-making subroutines, especially if they were in front of R&D or HQ. Between the two of them, they helped me pinch quite a few pennies over the course of the tournament.


dboeren wrote:
Are you going to the other Atlanta Regional coming up?


As much as I'd like the extra experience, I think I'll probably sit it out. In the (unlikely) event that I advanced very far in the tournament, I'd potentially screw someone out of a prize, or even a shot at the title. I may drop by and watch a game or two, though!



wedgeex wrote:
If you change a Government Contracts to a Priority Requisition and one of the Aggressive Secretaries to a Data Raven our Weyland builds are identical.
Great job - both lists look solid.



Thanks! I definitely can't argue with switching out for an extra Data Raven. Runners get spooked when they crop up in Weyland. While I'd personally steer clear of the Priority Requisition, I can definitely see the argument for it. Even though every piece of ICE in the deck costs 4 or less (with the exception of Hadrian's Wall), it's nice being able to conserve that agenda point for Archer. That one point can literally make the difference between you winning the match and going home a sad-faced clown.

Either way, I have no doubt your deck will be an unpleasant experience for your opponents. Give 'em hell!


Zarash wrote:
Welcome to the Geek as you said that was your first post
I just bought Netrunner cards and have only played 1 basic game. I am thinking about going this Saturday to a regionals near here, but I don't think I would do to well lol. I have to make a runner and corp deck before I go.


I certainly admire your fighting spirit! With one game under your belt, you are likely in for a big challenge on Saturday. I say go for it! At the very least, you'll walk away with a much better understanding of the game and be a much better player for it.

There are a ton of excellent articles on BGG aimed at folks like you who are just getting into the game. Here are two that I found particularly useful when I was starting out:

Practices to Help Beginner Corporations
Practices to Help Beginner Runners

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