Some tournament thoughts

I played in and won an SC on the weekend, going undefeated with Dumblefork and Railgun. I wanted to quickly get some thoughts down as I was very happy with my play and deck choices and would like to write it down while it’s still fresh.

Dumblefork is the strongest deck in the meta at the moment in my opinion – it has no bad matchups and many extremely good matchups. The same is true for Temujin Whiz but I feel that once you get used to the play style of Dumblefork it has a higher power and skill ceiling. In fact, it’s overtaken Prepaid Kate as my favorite runner deck ever to play! 3 recurring credits just can’t be argued with and many games you’ll make upwards of 30 credits from your ID alone.

The key to playing Dumble successfully in my opinion is sticking to a strong gameplan. Phase 1 is establishing the basis of your economy – Wyldside, Liberated Accounts and Daily Casts. I’m counting Wyldside as econ because it feeds Faust and draws all your other econ cards and ice destruction tools. Phase 2 involves identifying your opponent’s win condition and relentlessly shutting it down. Typically, this will involve trashing key assets such as campaigns, Sensies or Hostile Infrastructures. At the same time destroy your opponent’s scoring remote with Parasites and cutlery. Obviously this needs to overlap with phase 1, as you can’t simply ignore their board state while setting up. This is why Whizzard is the strongest Runner in the game – 3 recurring credits a turn allows you to challenge assets without falling behind. Eventually you can move to phase 3 – picking all the agendas out of centrals, where they’re inevitably building up. Obviously early Medium is powerful and allows you to put on significant R&D pressure if the opportunity arises.

Round 1 – Matt West on Cybernetics Division. I make a million credits but am scared of running centrals because there are known Heinlein Grids, he has Fairchild 3 money and I can’t find my Faust. Eventually I get everything online and start nailing the points out of centrals. I also come incredibly close to losing when I break a Fenris, going down to 0 cards in hand and going into HQ with Matt on 1 cred and an upgrade. I think “nothing kills me on 1 credit, right?” and continue, at which point Matt rezzes Marcus Batty which nearly kills me in real life from a heart attack. Luckily I get the read that he’ll bid 0 and survive.

Round 2 – Dave with RP. Really interesting deck with lots of ice that’s both annoying for Faust to break and low value to Parasite. Luckily I have Slums and Strike so can go to town removing all the nasty stuff and sniping agendas when he goes to score. At one point he says that I’ll probably run out of cards soon, then Levy happens.

Round 3 – JZ on Titan. I get lucky and snipe Hostile Takeover and Atlas from hand, shutting off his FA wincons. Eventually I win off R&D and the remote.

Round 4 – ID

Finals 1 – Rob on CTM. Closest game of the day that could easily have gone either way. He starts with Sensie and Bankers but I have just enough money to contest without getting HHN’d. I never get off to a massive money lead and have to be super careful all game to play around the Bad News. Rob goes to 1 to score a Beale off SanSan and Strike shows up in time for me to deal with it. Rob’s sick Voter Intimidation tech takes out my Slums, but I manage to blow up R&D ice and Medium for the win. Great game, very close.

Finals 2 – Sam on Potential Unleashed. This is a great matchup for me and I pull a godly draw of Gamble, Wyldside, Slums and something else. Sam makes some good plays but with that opening it’s very hard for him to do anything. I corped in Grand Finals so this was the last game of the day for my Runner, putting me at 5-0.

Railgun was something of a meta call. Melbourne tends to be a very Criminal-heavy area, and most decks were relying on some combination of Aaron Marron and/or Citadel Sanctuary to avoid death. It’s also a deck that can absolutely wreck an unprepared runner who doesn’t know how to play around it and does silly things like run. I still think CTM is a stronger deck overall, but enough games on Jnet facing turn 1 Temujin followed by turn 1 Aaron put me off it somewhat. The Runner-favored game right now made me happy to play a fast and consistent Corp to win or lose quickly. On the day, that turned out just to be winning quickly, so that’s pretty good.

The coolest thing about the combo is that it’s possible to pull off some pretty weird edge cases. You can single Boom from 3 credits and double Boom from 6. My tech cards on the day were Salem’s Hospitality to beat I’ve Had Worse (and one hilarious game where I played it for Wyldside on turn 1 against Noise and got it out of his hand, putting me way ahead) and Hatchet Job for NACH (never needed).

The double combo requires Power Shutdown, Jackson and 2 Accelerated Diagnostics in hand. It tends to be:

Interns (JH) – Subliminal – (another card, usually Sweeps, Salems or Hatchet Job, sometimes 24/7)

24/7 – Boom – Boom

Double Boom beats almost all protection. Salems beats any amount of I’ve Had Worse. Other hate like the Shards needs to be dealt with through 24/7 and trash before the combo turn. I only needed to double combo twice – once with Sweeps to double Boom from 7 credits and once when I decided to play around triple I’ve Had Worse in Sunny just in case.

Round 1 – Matt on Leela. Disposable HQ digs me out of agenda flood and I double combo using Sweeps Week for money. He reveals there was a Hades Shard in HQ that he would have installed next turn.

Round 2 – Dave on Sunny. Since my ice is all tracers, this was actually pretty rough. I eventually find a Quandary for HQ and double combo, naming IHW with Salem’s because you never know. I also had some amount of panic when he dropped Political Operative before realising it doesn’t actually do anything here.

Round 3 – JZ on Noise. I mulligan into a subpar hand and take the hilarious play of Hedge, Sweeps, Salems for Wyldside…which snipes it out of his hand, putting me at a solid lead. He stops running for a while after I score Breaking News until I bait him by icing an agenda-less Archives. JZ is surprised the combo can go live so fast.

Round 4 – ID.

Grand Finals – Sam on Andromeda. I feed him an Explodeapalooza early, which gives him the idea I’m on Butchershop. Consequently, he thinks Film Critic will make him safe and eventually explodes.

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