Purple. Purple everywhere…

It’s been just over a month since our last episode, and we’re sitting right on the cusp of three weeks of continental tournaments, kicking off with APAC this weekend. Our original plan was to record another episode at this point, briefly wrapping up our experiences with Fite Nite and discussing our thoughts on the competitive scene as we move into Continentals. Unfortunately due to a mixture of busy schedules, the opportunity to get out and enjoy some UK summer weather and some low enthusiasm with the current meta, recording this episode never looked to be on the cards. Hopefully this little article will go someway to making up for this shocking lack of effort on our part.

Fite Nite

Despite our rather lacklustre performance, I think all four of us would agree that we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play and chat together as a team. Getting to connect and talk about Netrunner is something I think we all miss the most about the lack of IRL tournaments at moment. So huge thank you to Vale for organising, NWE and Snarebears for being such great opponents (extra hat tip to Jonas for giving us all a good schooling), and everyone who participated in streaming and supporting this effort. I look forward to this format returning in the future and watching some more teams battle it out.

Continentals

At the time of writing, worldtimebuddy is telling me APAC is due to kick off in about 8 hours. While I won’t be waking in the wee small hours to watch, I will definitely be very curious as to the meta breakdown for this first tournament of the series.

It’s pretty apparent that the meta is still corp favoured, and very heavily stacked towards our purple overlords HB. With all in fast-advance Sportsmetal, rushy skunk void PD both pulling runner in a variety of different directions, and hard hitting Asa as a stalking horse that presents another problem alongside those. What few recent tournament results we have to go on, featured both these corp ID’s in the top 4 so the question for the last month has been how exactly do you combat them both?

To be honest, we don’t know.

The default answer (to most netrunner questions) seems to be 419, and the NYC SC results would go some distance to confirm that hunch – you have early interaction in the form of boomerang, turtle and very solid long term sustain econ from rezekis and bravados which give you some play against PD, and you can slot a mix of tech of your choice to try and make things better. The sports matchup isn’t ideal though, while doof does slow them down a little and turtle cuts through their ice, unless you make some very specific and awkward tech decisions you have essentially no interaction with their path to victory and are just playing vacheron roulette off r&d in the first few turns, same as it ever was with game changer spombo.

On the other hand Antarctic Continentals were incredibly green, with three different Shaper decks making it into the top 4 (Smoke, Apoc Lat, Mayfly Wu), they all give you slightly different approaches to PD while potentially allowing you to play clot or imp and some simulchips to try and get an edge on Sportsmetal.

Overall a pretty mixed bag. Just to further muddy the waters, we’re going to throw our own hat into the runner ring. Initially driven by a real want to not have to play 419 at a competitive event again, and also to actually build a deck for a change rather than discuss the same 4-5 tech slots in crim we’ve ended up on the following [ Mike Note: some of us were relatively happy to just suck it up, play 419 and then complain a lot about sports on the day but John insisted that we should do something more interesting and, for want of any need to actually really build 419, we agreed to give it a shot ]

Maxx

1 MKUltra
3 Sure Gamble
3 Simulchip
3 Liberated Account
1 Misdirection
1 Clot
2 Black Orchestra
3 Overclock
1 Rebirth
2 Paperclip
1 Stargate
2 Apocalypse
3 Fermenter
3 I’ve Had Worse
3 Labor Rights
3 Botulus
3 Cookbook
1 Imp
3 Daily Casts
3 Hippo

If you’ve bumped into myself, Mike or Chris in random jnet lobbies recently, you’ve likely seen us playing some variation of this list. I’ll spend some time discussing some of the decisions that went into this list, but also want to preface this whole section with a fairly large disclaimer.

This list is likely still behind 419 across the board. While it does appear to have a significantly better sports matchup, the PD matchup is only okay, you have to work very hard and tread some very tight lines and that’s before you start to factor in the Crisiums that are popping up in PD now which make your main game plan significantly worse.

At this point we don’t know for sure if any of us will play the list in competition, but we’ve spent a few weeks working on it and in the spirit of project, we present it here warts and all.

Originally designed with the sole objective of crushing Sports the list featured double stargate, double imp, triple wanton, docklands pass and spent the apoc influence on Pennyshaver. This rather ridiculous amount of central pressure, combined with triple chip and reasonable access to clot did probably unsurprisingly work rather well against Sports. Unfortunately beating anything else was a tall order, particularly any corp that was packing HHN. Working back the wantons fell away for more econ in the form of Overclocks, Docklands Pass went out for Misdirection and we shifted around some of the other slots to find room for Hippos. The deck started to feel more solid, and while it did drop a few percentage points against Sports was now not a complete dog to the rest of the field. Ctm and Boom ASA felt approachable, and outside of net damage Jinteki decks a host of other random corp lists proved to be no real problem. Unfortunately none of us could really beat PD, and it was becoming apparent that the influence spend on shavers was likely not correct. Around here we drifted away to other things (Smoke, 419, Wu) until Mike tried swapping in a couple of apocs for the shaver influence and made some other minor tweaks to the econ.

Despite only being able to fit in two copies, the apocs really present you with another avenue of attack that was missing before particularly against PD. After initial early tussles over the remote with Botulus, Overclock, Hippo and the bin breakers. PD often finds a 3rd piece of ice or manages to stick a void/skunk that you just can’t get in to trash without falling in to a huge hole. Pivoting across to an apoc gameplan at this point can sometimes turn the tables in your favour, especially if you can catch PD with an agenda in the remote. Initial testing in this match up proved encouraging, but after a small period of adjustment for the PD player this gap narrowed. Subsequent addition of Crisium or extra Border Controls into the PD list then almost eliminated this gain altogether.

Some recent experimentation has been made swapping out the Hippos for Wildcats but at time of writing this hasn’t really featured in more than a couple of test games, so I can’t really comment either way regarding that change.

Overall, even if it turns out to not be the answer to all our hopes and prayers, it’s an extremely fun deck to play and we’ve had some super interesting conversations during games and afterwards looking at replays to try and figure out the exact optimal lines in different situations. You get elements of the full Hivemind Maxx deck but have a slightly leaner set up and more normal anarch econ which leaves you with quite a few options and opportunities to outplay both the corp and yourself.

What we will actually play at Euros is still up in the air, it could be this, hivemind maxx, 419, some shapoc with clot or something else more off the wall. As always if there are any significant breakthroughs or changes, we’ll put out an update but for now our attention turns to APAC and the hope that someone else has found a runner deck to really shake up the meta

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