Hello Runners! Jeremy and I had the opportunity to go to the Plugged-In Tour and we had an excellent time. We recorded two podcast episodes on the road, so make sure to give them a listen if you haven’t already had a chance to check them out. I have had a week to decompress from Plugged-In. Here are my thoughts.
The Plugged-In Tour!
Going into Plugged-In Tour, I didn’t really know what to expect. To be honest, this was the first real Netrunner event that I had been able to attend since I missed my local Regionals. I must give a big thank you to Fantasy Flight Games for providing this opportunity. In a sense, this event was my proving grounds. Producing a podcast implies a certain working knowledge of the game and it adds some undo pressure to perform. I would have been very disappointed in myself if I had been skunked at both tournaments. It was my own personal goal to do well enough to be proud of the results. I was very comfortable with the decks that I had chosen but I was still nervous needless to say. I never expected to actually win a tournament!
No one was more surprised than me that I won! Over both events I went 14-4 against some incredibly tough competition. I was proud of my results. I was not proud because I won; I was proud because I felt like I played well against very strong opposition. Did I mention it was tough? If you want to check out my decklists you can see them here. Winning one of the tournaments was awesome, but the most rewarding experience of the whole event was how it opened my eyes to world of Netrunner beyond my local meta.
I have the privilege of living in New England, which turns out to be quite the melting pot of different Netrunner metas. People from Maine to Rhode Island to Vermont all showed up to put their decks to the test. I saw a Cerebral Imaging deck perform admirably, I lost handily to a Whizzard Control Deck, I played against some tried and true Andromeda decks, I inched out a win against a scary Next Design big money deck, I got pretty beat up from a Jinteki deck, I almost lost to a Professor deck and I even saw Darwin used quite often as a solitary breaker. I was shocked at the amount of diversity I saw at both tournaments.
Manchester, NH Faction Breakdown
I love Netrunner. I really do. No other game has captured my attention the way that Netrunner has in the last year. I love everything about it and going to Plugged-In only strengthened that love affair. Playing at a high level of competition really excited me and seeing all sorts of different working decks filled me with joy for the game. It made me realize that there is no perfect answer in Netrunner. This realization has made me take a step back and analyze my personal game. I recently read a thread entitled “What’s holding back your potential as a player?” where the author put forth the question of what is holding you back from being a better player. It really made me think.
After much Netrunner soul searching I came the to understanding that what is holding me back as a player is that I only play what I consider to be good. As a self proclaimed Spike player, I tend to focus on the strongest winning deck formulas. Lately I have been focusing on strong Runner decks like Good Stuff Gabe and strong Corporation archetypes such as HB Fast Advance. That mode of thinking really limits my game in a number of ways. I have only been playing in my comfort zone. For example, as the corporation I hate having an agenda installed in a remote server so I play fast advance to avoid that. Focusing on my comfort zone as a player only makes me a better player in one aspect of a game that has many aspects.
My plan for the future is to expand my Netrunner repertoire. I want to become more comfortable with Jinteki. I want to get better at playing for the flatline with Weyland. I want to start playing Shaper. I want to explore under utilized cards. I want to stop relying on fast advance. I want to break away from the norm and explore the meta from different angles. If I do all of these things I can only become a better player overall. Plugged-In opened my eyes. This is my personal evolution.
– Phil the Netrunmancer