Congratulations to our 2023 Netrunner World Champion William “Sokka” Huang! He won with Weyland Consortium: Built to Last and Hoshiko Shiro: Untold Protagonist, after an amazing performance throughout the weekend and a masterful last match against our runner-up Daniel “CableCarnage” Kalotay. A huge shoutout to all of the Standard top 16 – making the cut is an incredible feat in a field of 254 players! Sokka joins Dan D’Argenio as only the second player to successfully win a world champion title twice.
The 2023 Netrunner World Championship was the largest in-person event Null Signal Games has ever held, and our capstone event of the year. Nearly 300 players, volunteers, and visitors joined us in Barcelona for a three-day celebration of all things Netrunner. Thank you to our sponsors Casa Rius for hosting us at their absolutely stunning venue.
The standard event showcased a diverse meta, with every faction represented in the top 16, and nearly every legal identity seeing some amount of play. The diversity in the top 16 included not just Sokka’s unorthodox Clearinghouse Built to Last, but multiple NBN decks with different win conditions, the return of Precision Design, and Outfit adapting to its new tools on the Corp side. Runner-side, the 23.09 banlist shifted the meta, opening up runner diversity. Sable, 419, and Esa dominated the top 8, but Sokka showed that Hoshiko still had a lot of power and could adapt using some of the new cards from The Automata Initiative. If you want to know more about Sokka’s decks you can get it directly from him on his YouTube channel.
Sokka will once again have the honour of designing his own card with his likeness on it, which will be printed in a future set. He came into the top 16 cut in 8th place, and didn’t drop a single game throughout the double elimination bracket, beating finalist cableCarnage in the winner’s finals, and then again in the grand finals. During the cut we got to see both sides of that matchup, both games coming right down to time being called on the round. In the final game though, Sokka managed to survive one final runner turn, with cableCarnage opting to rummage through R&D while Sokka held 12 points in HQ, and then flatlining cableCarnage’s Sable with a six-advanced Clearinghouse. As the cheers went up, the venue closed down, and those of us watching on stream got to see Guy and Andrej slowly have less and less to work with.
It was touch and go as the cameras were taken down, but Andrej managed to get one final conversation with Sokka about how it all ended. “I was sure we were going to a second game … I was starting to think about how to beat NEH [. . .] At CoS [Crown of Servers], three out of four of my wins were Clearinghouse wins and I was playing 1 Clearinghouse. So then – Friday night – I put in a second.”
I’m so proud of the Organized Play team! The amount of effort that went into this year’s worlds was immense. We turned Barcelona into the heart of Netrunner for a weekend. Players got to try every format under the sun, including not just NSG-supported formats like Standard, Startup, and Eternal, but also community-supported formats like Neo, Chimera, NAPD Multiplayer, cube drafts, and more! Community members ran side events, not just of Netrunner but also of other games, all through Sunday. During Friday’s Crown of Servers Extravaganza, we witnessed multiple decks that broke Eternal; ambitious and devious Standard decks that often repeated good results the next day; and Startup monsters showing that even with a small cardpool, decks can be mean and games can be a blast. On Saturday, the nearly 300 players and volunteers persevered through unseasonal heat to play one of the most diverse and competitive events we’ve ever run. Sunday delivered a series of fantastic games among the top 16, along with a plethora of great side events including a Startup Championship won by Tradon and his NEH and Zahya lists, bucking conventions by not running Endurance at all.
And beyond games of Netrunner, we also found ways to show off Netrunner in really unique ways. In addition to a full merchandise table, we took advantage of Casa Rius’ wonderful art gallery to post Netrunner art, both original and brand new.
It was a real honor to help run Worlds this year. There are really no words for how impactful it is to see over three hundred people gather from around the world to share our joy and passion for a community and game we work on together, day in and out. It was amazing to see all of you this year, and I hope to see even more of you next year in North America for Worlds 2024!
If you have memories you want shared and preserved, you can leave them in this form. We’d love to do a follow up article sharing people’s recollections, or even interview you for the Null Signal Station podcast. If you have photos you want to share, please send them to us via email, and we will share the best ones in the follow-up article!
If you have feedback on Worlds, we’d love to get it here. We’ll be releasing a broader survey requesting feedback for the entire 2023 competitive season in a short while, and reminding people about the Worlds survey too.
On a personal note, I’m extremely grateful that so many people were able to make the trip out to the event, and so many people had a wonderful time. So much of the planning and execution of this event was made possible by the hard work of Mar (PSK), Ian (Havvy) and Ed (Ed). Similarly the volunteers across all three days, Amanda, amavric, Ams, Ariel, Atien, Cpt_nice, Espequair, Guy, harmonbee, Hector, herbartklopstock, Jakuza, Labbes, locks, Luke, Mandoline, Odonuvo, Orbital Tangent, Radiant, Sarah, Stefan, strongoose, Tolaasin, Valerian32, and Vectorz made this event possible. If you see any of them, please make sure to send them your thanks as they worked extremely long and hard days. I also want to give a huge thank you to my wife for keeping me fed and sane. I hope everyone can thank their partners and supporters who helped them spend a weekend on a passion project!
In addition to the follow-up article with people’s memories and photos from the event, we will be publishing another article listing the top decklists from each event. Many of them, however, have already been published on NetrunnerDB and claimed on the event’s AlwaysBeRunning page, so please make sure to check them out and see the player’s own write-up of their deck! Until our next article, please check out some more photos from the event below!
Thank you to everybody who came to celebrate, and to everybody who joined us on stream. We look forward to seeing you again next year when we travel to the American continent for the 2024 World Championship.