With so many different decks at the Portland Regional Championship, I've decided to start a new thread on the various lists people brought.
I'm still waiting to hear back from everyone on whether or not I can post their deck info online, so I'll start out with my own. I'll continue to add more deck lists as I receive permission to do so.
By the way, I asked everyone to name their deck (something cool, thematic or just plain cornball) to make discussing them a bit easier.
First up, my 6th-ranked mono-Syndicate skill reduction deck titled NINJA SKILLS:
x3 Clover Club Bouncer
x3 Clover Club Torch Singer
x3 Johnny V's Dame
x3 Tattoo Artist
x3 Elite Hit Squad
x3 •Marcus Jamburg
x3 •Mr. David Pan
x3 Hack Journalist
x3 Tear Gas
x3 Bound and Gagged
x3 Parallel Universe
x3 Dutch Courage
x2 •O'Bannion's Ledger
x3 Ice Shaft
Win or lose, this deck plays fast. Very fast. I stunned my first round opponent with a win in under 7 minutes. I equally stunned my second round opponent with a loss in the same amount of time.
The good news about playing such fast games - regardless of the outcome - is that I could then focus on judging and running the event. Being both a player and a Tournament Organizer is mentally and physically draining, and at times I found it difficult to focus on my matches. Still, I wouldn't change a thing. I had a great time, enjoyed talking with everyone between matches (though I'm sure they were tired of my non-stop chattering), and look forward to running more tournaments in the future.
A few more specifics:
I finished the 5 preliminary rounds with a record of 3-2, with 10 story cards won (our first tie break criteria). My 2 losses were to the player who would ultimately win the tournament, and another player who made it to the semifinals, so I take some solace in the fact that my spectacular burnouts were against some tough competition.
Oddly enough, in the 3rd round I played a mirror match, facing a mono-Syndicate deck very similar to my own. It was a race to see who could get their skill reduction and skill/icon swap machines running first, and I ended up on top. After that game we went through our decks and compared and contrasted which cards we had taken or left out.
On the whole, my deck was faster (cheaper characters, Johnny V's Dame) while his was more powerful (Nassor, John Pechon, and Friend of the Family). The one ace up my sleeve was Hack Journalist. I allowed my opponent to place 3 success tokens on a story card (with John Pechon and Mr. David Pan) that I had 2 success tokens on already, and then played Hack Journalist the following turn to win that story. After that, I was able to Ice Shaft Lo Pan and use Parallel Universe + a pair of Fixers to wrap up the game.
After the Swiss rounds, I was ranked 6th overall and made it to the quarterfinals where I was soundly beaten by my brother who was ranked 3rd. Here's the funny part of that story. The night before we stayed up way too late battling our decks. I must have won 10 games in a row (I didn't lose a single game to his deck), and he was getting seriously worried that his deck was fatally flawed. When I announced the quarterfinal match-ups, my bro looked like he had been sucker punched. Then he beat me in no time flat. While I would've loved to make it to the semis and won one of those awesome play mats, I couldn't have lost to a better guy. And it just goes to show, you never know what's going to happen.
For my opening hand I wanted to see Parallel Universe, Fixer and Tattoo Artist. The rest was gravy (usually an Ice Shaft, Tear Gas or Johnny V's Dame). However, if I didn't get those cards in my first draw, I took a mulligan.
Generally speaking, if I went second I was able establish skill control, win the first story card and go on to win the other 2 in quick succession (using Marcus Jamburg to recycle Parallel Universe or Ice Shaft as needed). If I had to go first, I would often hold my cards and not play anything due to the amount of character destruction. For resources, I could often run my deck at near full speed on only a 2-1-1 set up, slowly building up 1 domain to play Hack Journalist if I was getting into trouble.
When my deck didn't work, it was due to my opponent interrupting my skill dominance through character destruction (or taking out my attachments so I couldn't play the Fixer at a reduced cost).