Want it More – Winner Interviews: Rotage

“Want It More” is a series of post-event chats with the people who wanted it just that little bit more and managed to climb to the top of the field during a given event. We’re asking about impressions, strategies, good (and not so good) plays, and more.

This time we’re speaking to the winner of the first ever NISEI Regional Championship held in the UK.

This will be the last installment of this series for a while, as there are many exciting announcements around Worlds, Nationals, Uprising and more to come. We also had some feedback that people were not fans of the naming of this series as “Want it More”, so if you’d like to see this series come back, please let us know your name suggestions through all the usual means, or by emailing website@nullsignal.games.

Name (or username): Rotage
Personal flavour text: I don’t read flavour but I like marmite
Event: Taunton Regional
Placement in Swiss: 4th

3N1GM4: Massive congrats on the win! How does it feel to win not only the first ever UK NISEI Regional, but your first ever Regional period?

Rotage: Very happy. I have been in quite a few Regional cuts before and have made one final, but have not quite done enough to win, so it feels great to win one. The fact that it was the first ever NISEI Regional in the UK was a nice bonus too.

3N1GM4: The advertising for this event was… ahem… quite extensive, so you’ve known about it for a while. How did you prepare for the event in advance?

Rotage: As usual, my preparation was very disorganised. I had tested quite a bit versus myself in the weeks running up to the event. I had Apocalypse Val as a Runner and had been testing a BABW rigshooter/kill hybrid list for Corp. I had looked at putting the list into Blue Sun, but only did so at the last minute thanks to Catherine, who convinced me to run it. Also in the run up FREDPI sent me a Val list which had Film Critic, which immediately seemed a good meta call with there being Punitive Counterstrike decks around and being able to turn off the on-steal ability on Obokata Protocol, SSL Endorsement and SDS Drone Deployment.

3N1GM4: You tested against yourself? Can you explain a little about how that works and why you do it?

Rotage: So, back in the days when I used to play “Dyper”, I found it made sense to test against myself, as I mostly wanted to check for the speed of the deck as opposed to any interaction with the Corp. Once I started to play regular decks I continued to do this so I could test both my Corp and Runner decks against each other as well as other decks I expected to see in upcoming events. This would help me tune decks and understand how they functioned against what I believed were the common decks.

3N1GM4: What was the most exciting play (or plays) of the event for you?

Rotage: A few spring to mind. The first was in my tiebreak game against Aaryn, where he used Oversight AI on an Orion out of Blue Sun. My response was to install D4v1d and run the the Orion which was protecting HQ. I chose to access and hit an SDS, so I was able to trash the now-empty D4v1d and steal the agenda. My second was in the final versus Paulyg, where I knew he had Punitive Counterstrikes in his list, so I installed Film Critic and ran HQ using Turning Wheel to see two cards. I hit an agenda on the first access which I hosted on Film Critic, then the second access hit another agenda which I had to steal. Now there followed a few panicked moments where I had to work out if I could be flatlined, and the audience and stream could enjoy watching me panic. Luckily I had enough cards in hand to survive.

3N1GM4: Punitive panic is definitely a thing! Do you have any misplays or mistakes from the event that you’d like to share?

Rotage: As always I often make mistakes during the event, however the one that stands out is in the first game of the final against Paulyg, I was playing Blue Sun and just needed to score a 5/3 to win the game. I was setting up a remote to score out by using a Chiyashi and a Border Control. I felt that if Paulyg was able to get in twice then he would be poor enough that I could punitive him. Unfortunately I became so focused on doing this as quickly as possible that I did it too soon and couldn’t afford to rez both the Chiyashi and the Border Control. This meant Paulyg could steal the agenda and I went on to lose that game.

3N1GM4: Always good to know that even the top players make some mistakes. What do you think is the best thing about the meta right now?

Rotage: Being from the Aldershot meta I was brought up on meat damage, so after many years in the doldrums it is nice to see Weyland doing well with a variety of decks. Gagarin, Blue Sun and Titan are all doing well at events.

3N1GM4: We finally made Weyland great again! What was the prize for winning and where is it now?

Rotage: Aside from the usual prizes from the NISEI Regional kit and the excellent prizes provided by yourself Ian, I won a statue of a crow. The crow is now undergoing training to join Don’t Run Duck and Keep Flatlining Koala on my team.

3N1GM4: Always Be Advertising Crow perhaps? What would you consider a good way to get into competitive Netrunner? 

Rotage: I feel a good mixture of activities can help. I think there are three which I used to help me (and still do): 

  1. Watching Netrunner videos – either streams or recordings of major events – is very useful as you can see how others play and learn from what they do. 
  2. Keeping an eye on NetrunnerDB to see what decks you can expect to face. You also might find a good deck that is quite new which you might be able to take to your next event and others may not have seen or had time to practice against. 
  3. Play some games with the decks you intend to play – at first this is to get a feel for the decks and eventually you should play against decks you would expect to see. So currently I would test my Runner deck against Argus and prison Gagarin, and my Corp against good stuff Leela and rudeberg Hayley. Finally, I feel that you should try netdecking at least one of the decks, as trying to get competitive while building your own decks can be a hard road and if you struggle it can be tricky to know if this is down to the decks or your gameplay.

3N1GM4: You made the cut through a tiebreaker round and had some tense games throughout, especially in the grand final. How do you handle the pressure and make the best decisions you can in those circumstances? 

Rotage: The most important thing to remember is that it is just a game and that making the cut is a good result in itself. But, being more practical, just take your time and don’t rush anything. As an example, I mentioned the situation earlier against Paulyg where I accessed two cards, the first one was an agenda which I hosted on a Film Critic and the second was another agenda I was obliged to steal. At this moment I paused to work out if and how I could lose to Punitive. I then thought this was unlikely but made sure I had 3 cards in hand and as much money as I could get.

3N1GM4: Have you had any notable competitive success in the past? What result(s) are you most proud of? 

Rotage: The two that spring to my mind are making the cuts at Worlds 2016 and Euros 2017. Euros was probably my best performance, as unlike at Worlds I won some games in the cut.

3N1GM4: As you said yourself, making cuts is a great achievement by itself! Do you prefer online or offline events? For what reasons? 

Rotage: I prefer offline events. I love the social aspect before, during and after an event. It’s also fun to meet new people and I find all of this easier in an offline event.

3N1GM4: You reach the top cut and you get to choose your side: Corp or Runner? 

Rotage: This depends on lots of things. Sometimes you’ll be lucky and the matchup makes the choice easy, but this is rarely the case so sometimes you can try to plan ahead if you feel you can make a future matchup easier.

3N1GM4: Any lucky charms or superstitions about the game itself you’d like to share with us? 

Rotage: As mentioned above I have a trained duck and koala – a kind gift from my first round opponent, Brian, at Worlds 2018. The duck came about due to my game loss in Euros 2017 where I played Peace in our Time and then made a run on the same turn. Now whenever I play PioT, I place the duck in front of me and I don’t run – it has a 100% track record so far.

3N1GM4: Anything that gets more animals involved in Netrunner has my support! Is there any particular format or card pool you’d like to see an event for? 

Rotage: I’ve enjoyed seeing the formats currently being used by NISEI (Standard, Core Experience and Eternal). However, recently I played in an event with different IDs which changed how you made a legal deck. Mine was that my Runner deck had to have an equal amount of Shaper, Anarch and Criminal cards and influence, but my influence was unlimited. As someone who enjoys deck building challenges, I’d love to explore these ideas further.

3N1GM4: We’ll have to keep an eye out for a new Dyper deck then! Any other games or hobbies you’re partaking in on a competitive level? 

Rotage: Nope, being rubbish at sports and not even knowing competitive games existed before Netrunner means this is my only competitive hobby, which I’m fine with as I don’t feel I have the time for any more. I’d rather do one thing well than two things badly.

3N1GM4: Thank you for answering our questions and all the best in your future tournaments!