Want it More – Winner Interviews: Patrick Gower

“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’ve got the winner of THREE Store Championships in 2019!

Name (or username): Patrick Gower
Events: Derby | Sheffield | York
Placement in Swiss: 2nd | 1st | 1st

3N1GM4: Congrats on the impressive run of wins! How did you find your first NISEI Store Championship season?

Patrick: Great! Everyone was super friendly as always, and the competition was fierce. 

3N1GM4: How did you prepare for these events?

Patrick: Since my collection is an absolute mess, I need a very good reason to change my physical decks. Coming up to Derby we had the new MWL, which left MTI untouched, but forced my 419 deck to drop Employee Strike for Crowdfunding. For York I don’t believe I changed my decks at all since I was satisfied with how both were performing. Sheffield was my first event with the new cards, which gave me even more reason to be happy with 419, and I decided to try out Azmari with Daily Quest, which at the time seemed like a busted new card (I still think it’s a bit busted, but Corps are sad enough atm that it’s fine). I don’t think I tested the specific list much, but I have plenty of experience with the archetype. 

3N1GM4: Wow, quite the variety between the three events! What was the most exciting play (or plays) of the Store Champs season for you?

Patrick: Let’s try to think of one for each. The most tense moment in Derby was probably in round 3, where my opponent – playing The Outfit – had quickly rushed up to 6 points, but I was pretty well set up (defined here as having a loaded Turtle, a Turning Wheel and a ton of bad pub). He Fast Tracked the last Hostile Takeover to hand and put Border Control on HQ, which led to me attempting a 2 card access (prevented), a 1 card access (missed), a 2 card access (missed, but trashed Too Big To Fail), and a final 1 card access, which hit, probably because I decided to roll a die for the first time in my playing career. It’s difficult to recreate here, but it was exciting at the time. 

The most exciting game in York was the final against rotage. He was playing Weyland, I think it was the Outfit but honestly can’t quite remember – he was rigshooting and my brain defaults to Skorpios whenever I remember the game. He managed to rush up to 6 points and had two Hostile Takeovers left in his deck; about half the game was played with me desperately trying to control R&D as much as possible, and Dave drawing every turn to break R&D lock. He had several turns where he got an unseen mandatory draw and could have topdecked the win, but it never happened, and eventually I pulled the winning food off the top. Nothing sets the pulse racing as much as the feeling you could lose at any moment. 

Sheffield is harder to pinpoint. The cut wasn’t that exciting as two of my games were against a very grindy Palana deck that I had to slowly beat with Caldera. Beating Nemo’s GPI Net Tap 419 in round 3 was exciting when it happened, if only because I felt so far behind for most of it. This was the game where the recently added CVS earned its keep. 

3N1GM4: Sounds like there were some really thrilling moments across all three tournaments. On the other end of the scale, do you have any misplays or mistakes from the season that you’d like to share?

Patrick: Probably letting Don kill me with that cheeky Cybernetics deck at Derby. I didn’t do anything wrong on the final turn, but the plan should have been predictable a turn ahead. 

3N1GM4: What was the most fun deck to play against?

Patrick: Apocalypse Val led to a couple of full-blooded games, even if one of them was an ID friendly against rotage. The other was against some guy called Ian, nobody you’d know. 

3N1GM4: Yeah, doesn’t ring any bells here. ? What do you think is the best thing about the meta in this particular format?

Patrick: At the time these events happened, I’d have said it’s that Corps can win by playing fair. Now they struggle to, so I’m a bit stuck. 

3N1GM4: What were the prizes for winning each of the events and where are they now?

Patrick: The NISEI playmats, which I believe I passed down after winning again. At this very moment, the one I kept is in my rucksack, under the other NISEI playmat I have. I take good care of my prizes.

3N1GM4: What would you consider a good way to get into competitive Netrunner? 

Patrick: Well, playing a ridiculous number of games online is what worked for me! Of course, it’s different for everyone: playing a lot and tweaking an established tier 1 deck is one good way, asking for advice from players you respect is another. Always view your games as an opportunity to learn. That doesn’t mean you have to analyse each one extensively, but think critically about how you played, and avoid leaning too much on poor draw, poor matchup, or a specific busted card being the reason for defeat. 

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

Patrick: Winning Euros 2018 is the one I’m most proud of. Even on the train going home, which was delayed and stood still for over an hour, I couldn’t stop smiling!

3N1GM4: Do you prefer online or offline events? For what reasons? 

Patrick: I prefer face-to-face play, it feels like a much fuller experience. Playing online is still useful; it lets you quickly play a bunch of games to test a deck pretty much whenever you want to. Also my collection is so disorganised that building a new physical deck can take ages. But yeah, now that I’ve started playing in real life, I like it better. 

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

Patrick: The boring answer is that it’s meta dependant, but at a push I’ll say Corp. That was the side I picked up the most quickly as a new player, and I think I tend to be a bit of a Corp optimist. I think Corps were fine at the time that all three of these events were played, despite what a lot of people were saying. 

3N1GM4: What’s your antidote to tilting? What helps you overcome stress when the game goes against you? 

Patrick: I think this is one of the stronger parts of my game, and playing chess competitively from a youngish age probably helped. You get used to dealing with defeat, and unlike in card games, you can’t blame anyone or anything but yourself. Back to Netrunner, I just view it pragmatically as something that happens to everyone, no matter their skill level. 

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

Patrick: Nope, I’m not superstitious.

3N1GM4: Any format or card pool you’d like to see an event for? 

Patrick: Not really, I tend to stick to one most of the time, and I imagine I’d have trouble holding several different metas in my head. I played a bit of classic when the standard meta was terrible, so maybe that. 

3N1GM4: Any other games or hobbies you’re partaking in on a competitive level? 

Patrick: I’ve been playing chess competitively since the age of 7, but am currently taking a break from it. 

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