Hadrian’s Wall Tournament Report

We’re back! This time with a tournament report from a game I have easily played more than any other EVER: Netrunner. If you know nothing about the game you can check out FFG’s site over here:

The Hadrian’s Wall Tournament was put together by a couple of friends and they did an amazing job. 56 players converged on the Victoria Park Hotel in Edinburgh and many nets were run, servers broken and brains fried in the pursuit of cybercrime. I had a Hayley deck for my runner and Haarp for my Corp. Here is how I got on (spoilers, not badly at all)
Round 1 vs. Amy Ramshaw (Gagarin and Hayley)
Aimee brought Gagarin to the table, a deck my Hayley was untested against. Aimee proceeded to go horizontal on me, scoring out an Atlas early on but with no token. I don’t think I have seen quite so many servers before, at one time counting 12 I think. 
Anyway there was a moment of horror when she rezzed a Corporate Town off the Atlas, and since I was running resource heavy I had to go and destroy it costing me 8, damn encryption protocols. I was well setup by this time so that wasn’t too much of a hit and my indexing won me the game with a double score just before the dedicated response team came and kicked my door in.
My Haarp vs. Hayley went quickly as I managed to score out a Beale, Astro then 3 point Beale in quick succession. The deck surprised me with how well it dealt with very little money. 
Result 4 points, 2 wins, 0 loss
Round 2 vs. David Hamilton (CT and Biotech)
David and I have crossed nets before and he is a good player. I went Corp first against his Chaos Theory and managed to quickly score out whilst he got setup. 
The reverse was against Biotech which I hadn’t played against at all with Hayley. He quickly flipped his ID for a Nisei score and I knew that the race was then on. I built a commanding rig and managed to score out 4 points before making a silly error. With R&D open and most likely a winning agenda on the table, I mucked around indexing and trashing a caprice, then going for the server. This left me 1 click and some money short, I had a Kati out with the cash. He scored out the next round and my lesson was learnt. 
Result 6 points, 3 wins, 1 loss
Round 3 vs. Mark Wilson (Kate and HB:ETF)
This was the first time my Haarp had been tested against Kate so I was very wary. Kate is still an amazingly strong runner and can get a big rig up fast! An early film critic had me extra cautious so I went the big server route with some mythic ice to help out. This proved fruitful and the game was over once I could start scoring out. 
I got setup pretty well against his ETF deck but he managed to get a really good remote setup with Caprice in it. I kept running it hoping to get rid of her when I should have really gone elsewhere, most likely R&D. My laser focus on that remote was an error that Mark took full advantage of and scored out for the win with little trouble. 
Result 8 points, 4 wins, 2 losses
Round 4 vs. David Barrett (Reina and Haarp)
This was the first time my Hayley deck faced off against Haarp and she did a grand job. David got Agenda flooded and I took full advantage getting out some early scores and a quick rig setup for a quick win.
My testing with the Haarp before the tournament had not been favourable in Reina match-ups so I was a bit worried when I saw here hit the table. I was careful to protect myself from headlock plays as much as possible and set myself up a scoring remote, getting to 4 points reasonably quickly. 
David had a Faust on the table which could be a real problem for me but I decided to go for a risky play. Putting a Junebug in my scoring remote an advancing twice I calculated that he would have to discard just enough cards to get to it to also be flat-lined by it. A cheeky play on the way in, that I don’t fully recall, meant I thought my calculation was off for a second, but he ended up with 3 cards and ran straight into it. My only flat-line of the day.
Results 12 points, 6 wins, 2 losses

Round 5 vs. Thomas Smith (Kate and NEH)
My second game against Kate and the same fears remained. Despite that I got setup with a scoring remote protected by Mother Goddess very quickly and scored out. That card and Chimera where my MVPs on the day.
Hayley hadn’t come up against much NEH but I feared the Butchershop as I’m not running Plascretes. Film Critic is my midseasons defence and I hoped the money I can generate and that would keep me safe. 
This was another one of those games that I got laser focused on one sever, HQ in this case, and lost because of it. I got a clot out which slowed him down a bit, but then a silly run on archives to get a jackson fired lost me that and he scored out next turn. I should have run the jackson directly and would have maybe been able to squeak out the win. 
Results 14 points, 7 wins, 3 losses

Round 6 vs. Matt Lloyd (Andy and Foundry)
I was really pleased with my performance thus far and found myself on table 2 for the first time in ages.  Matt took corp first and I wondered how Hayley would handle the Foundry.
This was the shortest game I ever played. I could blame the beer but let’s call it what it was a stupid play. I ran headlong at HQ for a face check, Matt rezzed a Neural Katana and the twins, went and got another Neural Katana. Game. Over. This was a classic example of me not looking at the table state, and although that combo was impossible to see coming I should have been wary of the probable Merlin anyway. Just dumb.
Picking myself up from we started our second game. I got setup reasonably well but an attempt to score out a Beale early on went wrong and Matt grabbed it from me when I should have scored it. He was using indexing to great effect and really kept up the assaults on me. Well played. 
Results 14 points, 7 wins, 5 losses

I came 10th out of 56 players so I was delighted about my performance for the day. I think of myself as a midtable player but I am really working to improve aspects of my game, and it seems to be paying off. The testing I had done with my Haarp online had really showed but I should have put more time into Hayley: I had grown too confident of my ability with her. The deck is strong I’m certain, my losses coming from pilot error. 
Massive thanks to everyone I played and talked to over the day, it really made my Birthday being able to hang out with such lovely fellow gamers. Also a big kudos to my friends Seamus and Peter who put on a great event that felt at once competitive and casual.
This is the thing that keeps bringing me back to netrunner when I am down on my own performance, as I was after this years regionals: the people. I have met so many good people over the years playing it and made new friends from all over the country that even when I’m down on my own performance, the folks involved at all levels make sure I will pick up my console once more, dust it off and plug in.

Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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