Games Expo – Day 1

I was going to post 2 seperate articles about the day and Netrunner Regional but since the later ate most of my day it seems sensible to just squash them into one post.
It was a reasonably early start to the day in order to get to the right room and get registered before 9:30. I had brought along a Pitchfork Hayley deck and a rush style Palana and was in a much better place mentally than I had been in the year before, that saw me giving the Nationals a wide berth.
Here are my decks for those interested:

Due to the number of players the tournament was 7 rounds swiss with a cut to top 8. 8 out of 124! More on that nonsense in a seperate post.
Calm before the Storm!
Round 1 – Rufus Lunn
vs. Geist: I corped first against Rufus’ Off Campus Apartment Geist deck that was producing staggering amounts of money by the end of the game. I forgot about a Polop that led to an early score and I think I should have hit up with Nisei tokens earlier than I did. Game went too long and he built too much momentum until I just couldn’t keep him out anymore.
vs. NEH: I quickly established that this was a deck that was trying to kill me so I played as cautious as I could. I managed to get the Clot lock in fairly early on but I got hit with a midseason and from then on it was a race against time. I knew he had most of the parts ready for the kill but a couple of late glory runs saw me snatching victory from the jaws of a meteor being dropped on my house.
Result: Wins 1 Loss 1

Round 2 – Will Haywood

vs. NEH: Yellow is still amazingly popular because FFG can’t give good cards to anyone else it seems. Will was playing a fairly typical NEH deck with some kill in there if I recall correctly. I was doing ok when Will made a misplay that required a Judge call, clicking a 4th time on his turn and saw a card. Unfortunately for Will this resulted in a game loss which I wasn’t expecting, sorry about that Will!
vs. Leela: Our first game had gone quite long and although we had a little extra time due to the ruling we came very close to timing out. Against leela you have to be careful and I built up my centrals whilst establishing a scoring remote. When time was called I was in a position to score out and get my first full win of the day.
Result Win 3 Loss 1
Round 3- Sam Pay

vs. NEH: Argh more yellow. I couldn’t quite get the clot lock in early enough on this one and Sam was playing straight up Fast Advance. It didn’t take him long to just score out.
vs. Whizz: I knew whizzard was strong in the meta at the moment but I really hadn’t played a lot against the Dumblefork archetype. Sam absolutely hammered me and I thought he had it in the bag. A late game R&D medium dig saw him ditch a bunch of cards with faust and me on 5 credits, just enough to Snare! him. A close fought game.
Result Wins 4 Loss 2
We had a break after round 3 and I was delighted so far with my performance. Much better than I have done in a tournament for a while and I feel that is mostly down to a more positive mental attitude. A rush out to the food stalls saw a quick burger and crepe consumed, nom nom nom, and then back in for round 4. I was feeling fresh still and really enjoying myself.
I almost lost my next round game before it began as I found myself down an Artist Colony! The fantastic judges got everyone’s attention and 124 players scrambled around under their seats helping me out. It was found in seconds and I rushed to my table to get started. Thanks so much everyone!
Netrunners! Hundreds of ’em!
Round 4 – Matthew Addison

I don’t know you come all this way to Birmingham and end up playing a local. Matthew and I have locked decks many times before and last time we did he trounced me, this was going to be tough.
vs. Sol: I played Sol for a while and really enjoy the current ability, more of that kind of thing please FFG. Anyway again I failed to get the clot lock in but I managed to hit 4 points before Matthew rushed his way to the win. I did have clot in hand but didn’t want to play it to just see it wiped. In retrospect I probably should have played it to buy myself a little more time.
vs. Gabe: Matthew runs a really aggressive Gabe deck and two single accesses early on off R&D saw him on 4 points by end of turn 1. Gulp! I built slowly pushing him out of centrals and established my scoring remote getting out a Nisei and a corp sales team. A run involving a forgotten Nisei token on Matthew’s part saw me open a scoring window and I hit the final points I needed. Tough game but very good fun.

Result: Wins 5, Loss 3

Round 5 – Joel

Sorry I didn’t catch your last name Joel
vs. Haarp: I knew that this deck was probably out to kill me but that didn’t stop me going for a stupid early play. Two cards down naked and I ran one hitting an agenda, Exploda, and giving him the credits necessary to Midseason. It was a race against time then and although I sneaked out some more points I couldn’t hold off the kill long enough.
vs. Hayley: This was a stealth Hayley build I seem to recall, might have that wrong. Anyway I built up centrals pretty quickly and my scoring remote allowing for a pretty solid score out in not too much time.
Result: Wins 6, Loss 4

Round 6 vs. Jesper Duffy

vs. Noise: The only noise deck I saw all day and the first one I had seen in a while. That ability is so brutal and when Jackson cycles out who knows how we are going to deal with it. Some judicious use of Psi Games kept Noise busy whilst I established my scoring remote and hit go. Gave up only 2 points before I won, which wasn’t too bad but he got unlucky with the milling.
vs. Gagarin: I had been devastated by a Gagarin deck at my last tournament so was cautious and kept checking remotes for Corporate town and similar horror. One was eventually rezzed but I quickly dealt with it and got on with the task of digging R&D and hitting up remotes. I hit 6 pretty quick but it took a while to find the last, a late glory run into a deep remote snagging me an NAPD for the win. Close games but a full win for me!

Result: Wins 8, Loss 4

Round 7 vs. Andrew Hynes
My final round saw me at the heights of table 11 and I was starting to feel light headed from the lack of oxygen! I knew Andrew by reputation alone and also knew he was playing that @#$!@#!!!! IG deck that is going around. I was untested against it so was not fancying my chance at winning anything in this round.
Crampons and Oxygen needed at this height!
vs. IG: ARRRGGGHH! I had to run first and go up against the monster. I trashed some museums early on but in retrospect should have got rid of the Mumbads as well. He started to establish the combo for plinking me to death but an early score from hand with a Future Perfect gave me hope! Having talked about the deck with the locals I remember the words of Seamus, a fantastic player in his own right, who had advised us to not play their game. Following that advice I hurtled into R&D and HQ picking up the points to win before IG ground me to death. I was elated with that win and against such a good opponent!
vs. Whizzard: This was pure Dumblefork and Andrew played it very well. He was absolutely relentless and a lack of ICE early one saw me spewing out Agendas. I tried a couple of baits here and there but he wasn’t having any of it and quickly found the Agendas necessary to win.
Result: Wins 9, Loss 5
I had a fantastic day and came a very respectable 25th out of 124 players with Matthew just above me on strength of schedule and my room mate Gaz just below. Another local player Even making the cut and eventually taking the whole thing! Well done that man!
The Tournament was really smoothly run and I would like to send out my thanks to the Judges and TOs that made it happen. Every opponent on the day was excellent, friendly and I had some tough close games. I was really happy not to have a complete loss to my name all day and I’m looking forward to improving even more over the next year!

Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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