Sunday, 23 March 2014

Android: Netrunner #21: FFG Store Championships 2014

Patriot Games in Sheffield hosted an FFG Store Championship for Android: Netrunner on 15th March 2014 and I was there along with 27 others. First off, let’s have a look at my decks and what I had planned with them going in.

Runner Deck

Andromeda: Dispossessed Ristie

Event (23)
Satellite Uplink x3
Inside Job x3
Easy Mark x3
Special Order x3
Running Interference x1
Infiltration x3
Sure Gamble x3
Dirty Laundry x1
Forged Activation Orders x3

Hardware (4)
Plascrete Carapace x1
Blackguard x3

Program (9)
Garrote x1
Gordian Blade*** x2
Deus X* x1
Corroder** x2
Snitch x1
Crescentus x1
Faerie x1

Resource (9)
Armitage Codebusting x1
Mr. Li x2
Raymond Flint x1
Liberated Account** x2
Bank Job x1
Kati Jones x1
Daily Casts x1
Total Cards: 45
Total Influence: 15

So this is a Blackguard deck only recently built. I won 3 straight games with it and found it to be great fun and highly affective. I think it’s the best deck I’ve built so far. The bread and butter of this deck is of course, Blackguard and the cards to take advantage of its ability – Infiltration, Snitch, Satellite Uplink and Raymond Flint.
My plan is to keep the Corp as low on funds as possible, while I get my icebreaker suite set up and then find those agendas. Inside Job is there to bypass anything nasty or to make those early surprise runs. With the expose abilities in this deck I rarely need to make runs without knowing what I’ll be facing.

For this deck to work, I need a lot of money early to get Blackguard as soon as possible – covered by Sure Gamble, Liberated Account, Armitage Codebusting, Easy Mark and Kati Jones, with Bank Job and Dirty Laundry if the timing is right and I can make the appropriate runs. Using Andromeda gives me the best chance of getting that early money and Mr. Li allows me to quickly work through my deck to find the cards I need.

Corporation Deck

Jinteki: Replicating Perfection

Agenda (11)
False Lead x2
Corporate War x1
Braintrust x3
Nisei MK II x2
Fetal AI x3

Asset (13)
Cerebral Overwriter** x1
PAD Campaign x2
Melange Mining Corp x2
Thomas Haas* x1
Jackson Howard* x1
Sundew x1
Project Junebug x2
Snare x3

Ice (19)
Eli 1.0* x1
Chum x1
Ichi 1.0** x2
Wall of Static x3
Chimera x3
Wall of Thorns x1
Hourglass** x1
RSVP** x1
Enigma x3
Neural Katana x3

Operation (5)
Trick of Light x2
Hedge Fund x3

Upgrade (1)
Red Herrings** x1

Total Cards: 49
Total Influence: 15
Agenda Points: 20

After witnessing it first hand at my last tournament, I wanted to try out Replicating Perfection myself. With help from fellow Netrunner players on Twitter, I went into the tournament with the build you see here. The main tactic of the deck is not to flatline or fast advance agendas, but to waste the Runner’s time. The Identity does this by default, forcing a run on a central server before he can move to a remote server, but there are a few other cards in there equally aimed at using up the Runner’s clicks. People tend to go after Jackson Howard, so having him out and rezzed, should ensure the Runner uses up 2 clicks to run, perhaps leaving an agenda in place for me to score next turn.
Thomas Haas can be advanced, perhaps prompting a run, then I can just trash him and collect the money and PAD Campaign and Melange Mining Corp equally have the effect of gaining me much needed credits, but also to force the Runner to run on these instead of elsewhere.
I always find Ice the hardest part of deck building and here even more so. If the Runner hits Neural Katana on his central server run, he may think twice about running on a remote and Ice like Hourglass is there to rob them of that choice entirely.

Match 1

Vs Kate
Against a new player, I scored Braintrust, Nisei, and another Braintrust; keeping him out with Chimera most of the time. A False Lead that I’d placed on the table near the start of the game gave me a surprise score and win at the end.

Vs Weyland
I got Blackguard out early and really put the pressure on. I scored 5 points of agendas and then went digging in R&D. I could tell he was looking for the Scorched Earth flatline, but my Plascrete Carapace was nowhere to be found and I didn’t find that last agenda in time before he pulled it off.

Match 2

Vs Gabe
I scored a Braintrust, but ultimately lost. An early Account Siphon put me on the back foot, though I did stop another by getting rid of Same Old Thing when he left his tags in place.

A bad mulligan left me without the cash boost that Andromeda is so great at providing which ultimately left me without Blackguard. I tried to use my exposes to instead make for more informed runs, but I just couldn’t get anything going and with a SanSan in play, it was over all too quickly.

Match 3

Vs Gabe
An over eager run led my opponent into a Snare with 2 cards in hand. Not what I’d intended, but I’ll take it!

Vs Weyland
Andromeda ok, but again I didn’t get Plascrete in play before getting the earth scorched from under me.

Match 4

Vs Noise
A very early flatline again from Snare, before I even laid out any remotes!

Blackguard working at first, but my opponent got through it and by the end we were on 5 points each and he had a card advanced twice in a remote server. Not only did he have a Swordsman and Enigma protecting it, but an Off The Grid too, meaning I had to make a successful run on HQ first. Protecting HQ? Only a Wotan, a Janus and another Swordsman!
It was do or die. With my full Icebreaker suite in play, 7 credits and 5 cards, I made a run on HQ on Click 1. I spent a credit to break the net damage subroutine on Swordsman then proceeded to walk right through Janus, taking 4 brain damage. I then did the same with Wotan – losing 2 clicks, paying 3 credits, trashing Snitch and doing another brain damage.
The successful run trashed the Off the Grid, but found nothing in HQ. With Click 4 I ran the remote, paying 2 of my 3 credits to break the net damage subroutine on Swordsman and the end the run subroutine on Enigma. The winning agenda was mine!

Match 5

Vs Chaos Theory
Great use of Blackmail from my opponent and hefty dose of bad luck led to my loss here. Several agendas together in R&D. These things happen.
Vs Jineki: RP
Blackguard came out in this game, but the Corp was already happy with the Ice he had in place, so didn’t bother putting any more out. I stole an agenda, but ultimately this was a loss at a more experienced Replicating Perfection player than I.

I finished the tournament with 8 points and placed 20th out of 28. 2 draws, 2 losses and a win.


My Blackguard deck worked reasonably well throughout the day with the exception of that second game where I mulliganed into a bad hand, denying me the early money and so Blackguard never came out.
I found that if I didn’t run enough while the Corporation was low on funds, they could eventually ride it out. In the late game all my expose abilities have been used and the Corp starts to gain money again.
I think I will be taking Raymond Flint out of this deck as I’m only using his expose ability.
Perhaps Same Old Thing would be a good addition so I can bring a surprise late game expose back or Inside Job.
I’d like to try False Echo with this deck, putting more pressure on the Corp’s Ice, but the problem is finding the Influence. Perhaps – seen as I have 3 Special Orders in there I can afford to drop the back-up copies of Gordian Blade and Corroder, but then should I add a copy of Crypsis to be on the safe side?

My Tournament MVP:
Garrote – I was nervous about switching Femme Fatale for this, but it has proven its worth.

I wasn’t confident going in, but this deck surprised me. I never once struggled for Ice like I had initially feared and the two flatlines were unexpected but great to see.
I think Thomas Haas might be leaving us and I’d like to experiment with fewer agendas – including 3 pointers that I can score in 2 turns or leave out like failed traps.

My Tournament MVP:
Chimera – Stopped several agendas from being stolen during the day. Really effective if the Runner hasn’t got their full suite out yet.

If you have any thoughts on my decks, please do comment here or message me on Twitter @Dodd81. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Android: Netrunner #20: Reboot

And so we’ve reached part 20 of my blog series on Android: Netrunner. While the first few entries were an introduction to the game, the style of these articles has long since stopped holding your hand and assumed you know at least enough about the game for you to understand what I’m writing about.

Well it’s time to look back for the first time and if you’re new to the game, now’s a good chance to jump on board with this blog. We’re dropping the “Dystopian Journey” subtitle and rebooting with a new introduction to the game.

Android: Netrunner is a living card game from Fantasy Flight Games – “living” meaning all you need to play is in the core set, but it is supplemented by data packs on a monthly (if we’re lucky) basis, and deluxe expansions.
Set in a dystopian future where monolithic corporations control the vast majority of human interests, Netrunner is about the cyberpunk clashes between these big, bad corporations looking to advance and score their agendas and the subversive hackers known as Runners, who are trying to break through the corporations’ firewalls to find and steal those agendas.

Sound like fun? Of course it does. While the game is assymetrical and the two players are using very different methods to achieve their goals, ultimately, Android: Netrunner is a game of risk assessment, resource management and maths.
That may not sound as much fun, which is why I didn’t lead in with that description, but stick with me.

As the Corporation you'll be laying out assets and traps, playing operations and advancing agendas and as the Runner you'll be deploying the programs and hardware of the hacker trade and trying to break through the Corporation's defences. 
On either side there are calculations to be made. How many credits do I have? Can I afford to make this run? Will I be able to score this agenda on the next turn if I rez this piece of Ice?

It might sound very daunting, but don't be put off. Android: Netrunner is an exciting mix of bluffs and high-stakes maneuvering all wrapped up inside a vivid cyberpunk theme.
But don't take my word for it. Head over to the discussions on Boardgame Geek or Fantasy Flight's website and check out these two great articles from people more eloquent than me.

Android: Netrunner is a rabbit hole - get down there.

Cardboard Children: Android: Netrunner by Robert Florence.
Life Hacks: A Netrunner Story by Leigh Alexander

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Android: Netrunner - My Journey in a Dystopian Future - Part 19: True Colours

I know, I know, I'm getting behind on the data packs again! Here are my highlights from True Colours.


Make a run on R&D and then trash one of the top 3 cardfs when you get there, even if it cannot normally be trashed. Then the Corp shuffles R&D. So you might not be accessing any cards, but it can't be underestimated how disruptive this could be to the Corp's game. And that's exactly what Anarch are all about.

Check out that ability against Destroyer Ice and consider this: it smashes through Archer for 3 credits.

If it wasn't for the flexibility of Femme Fatale, I'd seriously be considering this for my new Criminal deck. Yes it's 2 MU slots, but Garrote is worth a look when deciding on your sentry breaker.


 Panic Button
From the art and the flavour text to this card's name and ability, Panic Button isone of the best examples of how well Netrunner's theme is portrayed in the game. The Runner breaks into HQ and the Corp keeps coughing up the credits to fill his hand to minimise an agenda grab.

Punitive Counterstrike
Good grief. If Scorched Earth wasn't enough, a rich Corp now has this at his disposal to flatline you. 

A great card this and it's all about the placing. If the Runner can't bypass this, he may well jack out rather than carry on into something nasty he can't pay money to break. Then again you might want to just put it in front of a Fetal AI to really annoy them.

My highlights from the fifth data pack - Fear and Loathing - coming soon. Probably.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A:NR Server Interruption: It doesn't happen without help

As we approach the 20th article in my Android: Netrunner series, it’s time to look back for the first time. Before I discovered Netrunner, this blog had modest view stats, but when I began to write about my journey through this dystopian future, things really kicked off. At the time of writing, there are 6 Netrunner articles in my top 10 most viewed.

Now I’d like to attribute this to the quality of the writing and the insightful thoughts and opinions I give on this Living Card Game, but I know these are amateur scribblings at best. No, the real success has been down to the support from those who read the series and share it with others.

The Netrunner community of Twitter is an enthusiastic one and there are a number of people who have supported this blog with retweets and kind words.

Here is a shoutout to these fine folks. You’ll do well to follow them on Twitter via the links below. Also be sure to check out their Twitter profiles, as many have their own blogs or sites you can pay a visit.:

Ferrous Terran
Gordian Blade
Kent Valentine
Erik Twice

Team Covenant (Check out their site here and their YouTube channel)

Be sure also to check out the podcasts from these fine folks, from whom I draw my inspiration:

Breaking News

Corp Draw
Agenda 7
Terminal 7

There will be those I've missed out by mistake and there are others who don't play Netrunner themselves, but nevertheless take the time out to support this blog. To all of you, I give my thanks.