So I have been playing this game since day one. Which even though it wasn’t that long ago, still merits a few points of wisdom I’ve learned and found over many games I’ve played. These also add into the mix of regionals coming up here in Texas and later in Tulsa when I’ll be visiting to compete.
Point 1: Poker face. reading many tournament reports and watching players, never ever give away your hand. Good or bad. Too many games have been won or lost based on a “aww crap” or a sneer looking at the opening hand. Good Magic players win games not on the table, but in the mind. Good card players have to read the opponent to make good plays. Netrunner lives and dies by this rule. So never make any kind of positive or negative remark about cards in hand.
Point 2: Don’t always know what you have. This is especially important when getting your HQ hit as the corp player. When the opponent hits my hand, i shuffle, face down, my cards and spread them out randomly. This way I have NO idea whats what, and neither do they. Too many players fan out their cards, and can still look at them. Very dangerous, because most players have a tell and make it easier to find the agenda, or avoid traps. Tis rule applies to facedown ICE as well. If you don’t check your ICE all the time the runner gets nervous. “forgetting” what you laid down messes with players, because they can’t tell if you’re bluffing with the ICE, or can actually remember everything you laid down on the board.
Point 3: The runner needs cards. The Corp needs bits. Its a philosophy for me when playing Netrunner. I live and die by those words. Yes cards and bits are important to playing the game. But that mindset changes everything when playing against top tier players. You start to focus on what you need, not what you want.
Point 4: Eyes are the window to the soul. Your eyes can be very useful in giving away information. So don’t always look at the board or your cards. Look at your opponent, look somewhere else. Don’t give any information away, good or bad.
Point 5: Keep track of everything. I use tags (3 for corp and 4 for runner) as click trackers. I have encountered players who cheat, players who play so fast they miss clicks and bits paid or taken, and the occasional new player who over or undershoots their actions in a turn. CYS is a very important thing to follow in Netrunner. 1 click, 1 bit, 1 card can change who wins and who loses. There are some tournament reports of discrepancies because players were friends, or rushing through game 2, and something always goes wrong. Keep tabs on yourself and the opponent. It’s not disrespectful to ask an opponent to slow down and play out each action, one at a time. It protects the opponent from being DQ’d from cheating and gives both players a fair game.
I am really psyched about this regional season. I hope to win obviously, but I am ready for new challenges. No player scares me in this game because Netrunner relies on a lot of player skill and some luck. I have had the honor of playing the Gencon icebreaker tournament winner and winning my games against him. I’ve played with people at the TC store and players around the states. And no player is the best. The deck building is important as well as the execution of playing the game. But no one player is the best in the world. This game has a very solid ebb and flow between skill and psychology. Which gives a wide array of players the chance to be the best player in the game. For me every new player, every old player is the same challenge. Play hard, go home happy.