Hey everyone, back after a bit of a break to talk about the latest Store Champs I attended in Ringwood. We had a pretty good turnout of 17 players gunning for the last bye of the season, including a few of the top local players, so it was sure to be an intense day of running. This was a pre-Clot meta because Australia is stupid, so that changed the expected meta significantly.
Since this was my last chance for a bye, I brought my strongest, most consistent decks: Prepaid Kate and Near Earth Hub. There’s not much to say about these that hasn’t been said before but they’re both fast, consistent and fun to play. I firmly believe Prepaid Kate to be the strongest runner deck available, with no bad matchups. While difficult to learn, it’s incredibly versatile and powerful once you get used to the playstyle. Part of it’s strength is unpredictability – the Corp can never be sure of whether you can get in or not due to the high amount of draw, tutoring and recursion as well as the ability to make sudden huge credit bursts. I’ve gone back and forth with Imp and Plascrete but have settled on Utopia Shard and a second Legwork for this version.
Round 1: Butcher Shop NEH/Stealth Andy
I started against someone I’d never met before who was in town from Canberra and just wanted to take advantage of a tournament being on – good on him! He was playing Stealth Andromeda, an incredibly good matchup for me compounded by the Sweeps Week in my opening hand (something that would be a recurring theme on the day). Andy usually manages to get at least one Siphon through but my early economic advantage was fairly significant and ultimately I scored out fairly easily.
The second game it became apparent pretty quickly that he was playing the Butcher Shop NEH that’s become very popular lately and for good reason. He left an NAPD in the bin to bait a Midseasons, but I left it and money-d up. Eventually I Legworked into 5 points(!) and took the NAPD for the win. I felt pretty bad for the flood, but it does happen to everyone. 4-0
Round 2: Argus Security/Stealth Andy
Brian’s a very strong player and one of the Winning Agenda hosts so I was understandably a bit worried going into this game. Once again I managed to get a strong economic lead over his Andromeda early and push agendas out. Brian was extremely efficient with Account Siphons this game, always going in when I was 1 credit short of rezzing assets to block it. However, he made a fatal mistake in not trashing my PAD Campaigns – as we know, 2 credits a turn is plenty for NEH to score out.
I know you don’t want to trash me…but seriously, trash me
Seeing Argus was an interesting surprise, especially since his first turn was install in remote- advance – ice it. Knowing Brian’s tendencies it was almost certain to be Paper Wall, so I risked it, played Lady and ran it to snag the early Project Atlas. Brian then went nuts with remotes, slamming them down like there was no tomorrow while leaving centrals open. A scored Profiteering and some Hostile Takeovers gave me plenty of bad publicity to trash his Dedicated Response Teams after narrowly dodging a lot of meat damage, and eventually I took all his 2 pointers with Indexing and remote snipes for the win. I think Argus really needs a scored False Lead to work, as you’re generally not quite as consistent with the damage potential as Personal Evolution. 8-0
Pew pew pew
Round 3: NEH Astrobiotics/Kate ProCo
Not a great start this game, seeing a lot of everything but Astroscripts and an early Legwork scored him 4 points. I managed to pop a Breaking News of a SanSan and trash his Professional Contacts but he immediately dropped another one and continued to dig. I got to 5 points before losing in a close game. I always feel a bit bad about losing to ProCo decks, as they’re so durdley that NEH should almost always be able to score out first barring a very bad draw. Oh well!
Sometimes I’m great, but you’d better hope I show up early
The next game was really tight as well. He started off quite strongly but heavily telegraphed a SanSan, letting me Legwork for the first Astro. I repeated this play a couple of turns later and managed to score the rest of the points soon after. We both considered this a classic NEH vs Prepaid Kate game – very fast paced and reliant on some serious sniping of agendas. Great game. 10-2.
Round 4: Supplier Andy/Butcher Shop? NEH
I’d played this matchup before and was very confident that I could keep the pressure on easily. For the third time I got an early Sweeps while he matched me with loading up the Supplier. This game was stupid though – I got my first Astro really early, he went broke trashing a SanSan, and I topdecked my other Astros two turns in a row. Sometimes that happens.
I initially thought this was a Butcher Shop deck, but he played in a more horizontal style so I may be wrong. He spammed remotes and I employed my trademark Snare magnet fingers, hitting all three in short order (and picking up a language warning – sorry Tom, I get excited) while he scored naked agendas around them. Luckily for me I was still able to play around Midseasons while trashing SanSans, and a Legwork picked up quite a lot of points later as he became flooded and couldn’t push the agendas through. 14-2.
Fuck this thing
Going into eliminations with only one loss I was feeling great! I wasn’t too fatigued either as I play mighty fast and my decks support that, so all the games were over in half an hour.
Elim Round 1: Stealth Andy
Having played against Wilfy’s disgusting HB IT Department deck before, I elected to Corp first. Wilfy (another excellent player and Winning Agenda host) was playing yet another Stealth Andromeda deck. He managed to spam some Siphons and deny me econ for a while, setting up a Masanori/Testing engine while I was poor. However, once I recovered I trashed his Daily Casts, Testing and Masanori quickly. He was running though an Eli and Popup on R&D every turn for only 1 card, which Daily Business Show quickly drew me past and I scored out without much difficulty.
Take control of your future! Put all the NAPDs at the bottom!
Round 2: Power Shutdown Blue Sun
This was probably the game of the tournament. Despite me snagging a Priority Requisition off R&D early, he recovered quickly and got a huge amount of money (46 credits at one point). I Legworked into a Power Shutdown and Accelerated Diagnostics…oh, that’s the plan. Luckily I managed to get a Utopia Shard down, which stopped him comboing off for the rest off the game. I managed to push through his remote with a Stimhack, tying us at 5-5 with comparable money before he dropped an Archer on me (which I’d seen in R&D but forgot about) and trashed both my Cyber-Cyphers! He installed next turn into his Datapike-protected remote and I had a serious dilemma. The winning line was to Same Old Thing a Scavenge to turn my Mimic into a Cyber-Cypher, which just got me through.
I dunno what happened man, I woke up and this huge Atman was installed
Finals: Prepaid Kate
My previous opponent won out of the losers bracket and I faced him again, this time as Corp. It quickly became apparent that he knew how to play Prepaid properly! He also got incredible value out of a Scavenged Imp, trashing my PADs and Business Shows for a saving of 16 credits. My draw was horrible and his HQ pulls were spot on, getting the 1 in 5 every time. Fatigue led me to make a serious mistake – I used a Fast Track, intending to score with SanSan and an Astro counter, but was one credit off and had to use Biotic and Shipment from SanSan instead. I simply couldn’t recover this game.
Finally, I got to play his brutal combo Blue Sun deck again. I was cautiously optimistic after the last game, but his first three turns involved an Oversighted Curtain Wall and all three Restructures. With that money lead I was instantly tilted, and he scored out 2 Hostile Takeovers and an Atlas with a counter. I attempted a Makers Eye run but whiffed, and he went off with the combo to Power Shutdown and score a Priority Requisition with Accelerated Diagnostics, Interns and Shipment from SanSan. Kudos to him for pulling out of the loser’s bracket so well – his deck was insane and I have no idea how he fit all of that in!
Wombo combos are still a thing apparently, come on Clot
Obviously I was disappointed not to pull a bye, but I feel it was still a great test for my decks and I’m looking forward to the competition at Regionals.
MVPs: Daily Business Show is complete madness. Lucky Find for 9 is madness. Stimhack wins games and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Cyber-Cypher is occasionally fiddly but is so efficient it’s stupid. Shipment from SanSan is really nice in low-econ decks. PAD over Marked is something I’ve been tossing up but not having to spend extra clicks is great in a game where every action is precious.
LVPs: Oversighted Curtain Wall…grrr. Mimic did literally nothing the entire day, weirdly. Lotus Field was OK. I never once rezzed Tollbooth but it’s absolutely worth having one in the deck.
LEARNING STUFF WITH SNEAKDOOR MELBOURNE!
Control the remotes and trash those assets, they’re in their deck for a reason. If you miss on a Makers Eye or Indexing, RUN HQ. If you’re playing a toolboxy deck like this, don’t do dumb things like put your tools somewhere you can’t reach them. Don’t let Siphons get you down – stick to the plan.