Sunday, 22 September 2013

A:NR Server Interruption: Plugged In

Recently Fantasy Flight Games announced the Plugged In Tour – a series of tournaments held throughout North America. The interesting thing about this is that those participating in these events will be able to vote on two new identities that have been revealed. The ultimate winner will be added to the game, the other will be “derezzed forever”.

Let’s take a look at the two cards:

So which way do we think the voting will go. On the one hand people might think, well Shaper have just had an influx of new identities as part of the Creation and Control expansion, so let’s give Criminal a new one and go with Laramy Fisk. Then again, everyone knows Criminal will be getting their own half of an expansion at some point in the future, so they’ll get their identities then.

I would probably vote for Fisk myself because I prefer the artwork, but I think it will ultimately go to The Collective because it is something different – 3 people on the card, a minimum deck size of 55, a restriction to 5 influence despite the larger deck – all of which will lead to some interesting decks.

Not to disappoint the rest of the world, Fantasy Flight have also announced the Chronos Protocol International Tour. This is happening next year and no cards have been revealed for this, though we are told there will be a similar voting process as the Plugged In Tour.

Keep your eyes the on the FFG Website for more news.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Android: Netrunner - My Journey in a Dystopian Future - Part 11: Patriot Games Tournament

So about a month ago now, I entered my second Android: Netrunner tournament. I wrote about the first one here – the 2013 Regional. This one was again at Patriot Games, but a smaller tournament that they hold on a regular basis. There were 8 of us in total and I ended up playing 3 matches (6 games).

Now the savvy amongst you will be able to tell from that number that I didn’t make the top 4. Well you’d be right. In fact I had a pretty bad day when it comes to the game of Netrunner. Let’s have a look at the decks I was using.


Noise (Core)

Event (12)

Inside Job (Core)*** x1
Surge (HS) x2
Sure Gamble (Core) x3
Stimhack (Core) x1
Déjà Vu (Core) x2
Demolition Run (Core) x3

Hardware (4)

Grimoire (Core) x1
Cyberfeeder (Core) x3

Program (23)

Sahasrara (C & C)** x2
Darwin (FP) x1
Crypsis (Core) x2
Corroder (Core) x2
Datasucker (Core) x2
Parasite (Core) x3
Djinn (Core) x2
Mimic (Core) x2
Yog.0 (Core) x2
Medium (Core) x2
Imp (WLA) x3


Personal Workshop (CE)*** x2
Liberated Account (TA) x3
Armitage Codebusting (Core) x3
Ice Carver (Core) x1
Kati Jones (HS) x1

Total Cards: 49
Out of Faction Influence: 15

So I wanted to try this “Noise-shop” deck I’d heard so much about, but apart from playing out cards on my own, I hadn’t had chance to test it. So what I didn’t want was to have to rely on Personal Workshop. I thought if I can get it out, great, but if not, I wanted plenty of other options. Which is where Sahasrara came in – allowing me some credits to get my programs out. If I could host Sahasrara on Djinn, all the better.
I put Surge in there hoping to pair it with Darwin and make a run or two with it before the Corp chose to purge the virus counters. And then just one copy of Inside Job for a surprise run here and there.

Well this deck didn’t win any games on the day. It wasn’t a complete write-off by any means because I stole a few agendas, but I either found myself bogged down my too much Ice or just simply didn’t have the tools.
I think if you’re going to go with personal Workshop, particularly outside of faction, you need to go all in, not half way like I did. I think I only got the card out once and to little affect.

So what changes have I made since? During the tournament I found myself drawing cards a lot, just searching for stuff. So I’ve since added Mr. Li and am really enjoying its ability to draw two, keeping one and placing the other card to the bottom of your deck. I took Personal Workshop out and took with Sahasrara, preferring its more immediate ability.
It was nice to test Darwin, but ultimately it has lost out to the ever reliable Crypsis.

My Anarch deck continues to evolve and what I learned in this tournament has greatly improved it.


NBN: Making News (Core)

Agenda (11)

Executive Retreat (TA) x1
Project Beale (FP) x3
Private Security Force (Core) x3
Breaking News (Core) x1
Astroscript Pilot Program (Core) x2
Gila Hands Arcology (C & C) x1

Asset (7)

Levy University (C & C) x1
Ghost Branch (Core) x2
PAD Campaign (Core) x3
Melange Mining Corps (Core) x1

ICE (18)

Bastion (C& C) x2
Pop-Up Window (CE) x3
Matrix Analyser (Core) x2
Wall of Static (Core) x3
Draco (WLA) x1
Uroboros (ASIS) x2
Ice Wall (Core)* x1
Tollbooth (Core) x1

Operation (7)

Biotic Labor (Core)*** x2
Trick of Light (TA)*** x2
Hedge Fund (Core) x3

Upgrade (3)

SanSan City Grid (Core) x1
Red Herrings (Core) x2

Total Cards: 46
Total Agenda Points: 20
Out of Faction Influence: 15

I like to call this deck “They Said it Couldn’t be Done”, because when I asked a fellow Netrunner player some advice on building an NBN fast advance deck, he told me it couldn’t be done with just one core set and without Future Proof. In the end, Project Beale from the Future Proof data pack did get added once I’d bought the pack, but I’m still only using one core set – and here I am fast advancing.

But was I successful? Well the one game I won on the day was with this deck and in the other games I was fast advancing just fine with the help of Biotic Labor or Trick of Light – moving advancement tokens from a splashed Ice Wall (which I searched for using Levy University’s ability).
In the game I won, I used SanSan to score an agenda (having already scored one out of hand earlier), then lure my opponent into a Ghost Branch (he elected not to trash the SanSan) and then scored another agenda for the win – so there is an argument to be had that if I had two core sets and hence 2 SanSans, this deck would be better.
But I enjoyed this deck. I was running Making News despite not using the credits for traces namely because the other Identity doesn’t give me enough influence to make up for that lack of SanSan.

I struggled for economy, especially against an opponent who Account Siphoned me three times, so if I can improve this I’ll make some changes. Perhaps the ICE suite could be improved as well.
I’ll definitely be going back to this deck, probably when I get my hands on Opening Moves, but for now I’m looking at Jinteki.

Despite a bad performance results-wise, I enjoyed the tournament learned a lot. For me, the game just keeps on getting better – even if I don’t!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Android: Netrunner - My Journey in a Dystopian Future - Part 10: Humanity's Shadow

Humanity’s Shadow – the fifth data pack in this cycle and it would add a certain lady named Kati to the mix, with terrific results.

1. Andromeda
A new identity for Criminal – one that gives you a starting hand of 9 cards. This is great for setting up a strong economy on the first turn and if you didn’t get what you wanted in your first draw, you can mulligan into another 9 cards. Of course, this is only a starting hand, so when you reach the first discard phase, you’ll need to discard down to 5 cards. Ideally then, you’ll want to be playing four cards in the first turn to make the most of this.

2. Kati Jones
The second lady of this data pack and she has made a big impact on the game. Played for 2 credits, you can spend a click to place 3 credits from the bank on her. For one click you can take all the credits off Kati and she doesn’t get trashed afterwards. A brilliant economy card with only a couple of drawbacks – You can only use her once per turn and she is a Resource, so she is vulnerable to trashing if you get tagged.


3. HQ Interface
A pretty simple card, but very effective if your deck is based on assaulting the Corp’s HQ.


1. Whirlpool
If you can get this set up before the Runner has put out any Icebreakers that can break Traps, Whirlpool can deny their chance to jack out of a run and drag them through some nasty Ice and ultimately into a damaging trap installed at the end. It’s Jinteki all over and at 2 influence could certainly find it uses elsewhere. It may be too situational for some, but great if you can pull it off.


2. Eve Campaign
Costing a credit more than Adonis Campaign, you place 16 credits on Eve when you install it (12 credits on Adonis) and take 2 credits off at the beginning of your turn (3 for Adonis). It has trash cost of 5 compared to Adonis’ 4, so really it’s whether you want that slower but longer drip-feed of money with a higher cost to play, but less chance of being trashed, compared to Adonis’ quicker and higher return for a cheaper cost, but one that doesn’t last as long and is slightly easier to trash.


3. Hokusai Grid
An upgrade that will cause a single net damage whenever a Runner makes a successful run on this server. It’s where to put this that is the real conundrum here. If the Runner is low on cash it may be useful behind R & D or HQ – servers that get regular hits. But as soon as the Runner does  have enough cash, he’s going to trash this (at a cost of 4).
I could be wrong, but I don’t see this card getting much play outside of Jinteki, as it works well with the original Identity – punishing the Runner when stealing an agenda.


Onto Future Proof – the final data pack in the Genesis cycle.


1. Mr. Li
A 3 cost Criminal Resource with 2 influence, Mr. Li, for a click, allows you to draw two cards, add one of them to your hand and place the other at the bottom of your deck. This is a great way to cycle through your deck with having to trash cards and works particularly well if you have the means to then go and get the card you just placed at the bottom.


2. Indexing
A free Shaper event that triggers a run on R & D. Instead of accessing cards, the Runner looks at the top 5 cards and then arranges them in any order. This is best played when you can afford to break into R & D several times. Eg. Play this on your first click, arrange the cards, then make another run or two to go get the Agendas you just placed at the top of the pile.


3. Data Leak Reversal
Providing the Runner is daring enough to take some tags this card will force the Corporation to trash cards – great for setting up a subsequent run on Archives.


1. Eli 1.0
One of the best pieces of Ice in the game. Yes the Runner can click through the subroutines as it is a Bioroid, but this is a 4 strength barrier at a rez cost of 3 with two End the Run subroutines. And it’s just 1 influence, so this can appear in any deck.


2. Project Beale
Another example of an Agenda that benefits from being advanced beyond its score requirement. Project Beale for NBN, will give you 1 additional point for each Agenda counter on it. The problem is keeping it safe in play long enough to get those counters on it.


3. Ronin
With 4 influence this will be rarely seen outside Jinteki, but Ronin can be deadly if combined with Neural EMP and other net damage cards, to set up the flatline. Once 4 advancement tokens are on Ronin, it gains click and trash to do 3 net damage. Ouch.


And so the Genesis Cycle draws to a close and it has added some amazing cards to the game. Up next will be my review of my second Netrunner tournament and soon we’ll be delving into the cards from the first deluxe expansion – Creation and Control.