The Pacific Northwest meta lately has been a LOT of Core Sabotage Esâ and good stuff Hoshiko as the runners to beat. With those decks, you have fast disruption ala Esâ (with a finite amount of gas, important to note) and a steady but strong mid to late game runner that generates value via all the broken red cards.
So where does Acme come in? My metamates were all focused on testing out a gnarly nasty prison Ag deck focused around getting a Keeling kill and is resilient through attrition via boops into Anansi or Chiyashi.
I appreciate their efforts but y'all know me: I bleed yellow.
I had been eyeballing the list that Sokka and Whiteblade played at different tournaments, the Acme glacier.
Truth be told though, I've been working on a rushy Acme list for eons and I think, given the meta, the absurd taxation of the single iced servers Acme can provide meant that I could step on the gas and either snowball out to 7 points, OR I put the pressure on the runner by rushing up to 4 or 5 points and forcing the runner to make mistakes.
The agenda suite in my opinion is pretty ironclad: Bellona will always be a 3x in every single yellow deck, Tomorrow's Headline is a fantastic trap, the tag on steal is very often forgotten and will either further tax the runner or be floated to lead to some shifting of credits. As for the philosophical discussion of Artificial Cryptocrash vs Offworld Office amounts, I won most of my games on the day by scoring out Cryptocrashes. Sometimes I'll let it cook just to fake a failed run bait, waiting for the runner to sit at anywhere between 6 to 10 credits when I'm ready to score. Phenomenal feeling.
Ice selection is fairly standard, with a tweak against the PNW meta that I knew was pretty necessary (Magnet). People laugh at Thoth, but a Thoth in front of either a Data Ward, F2P or a Hydra is delicious. PLUS it's worth mentioning that Thoth on the outermost position means the runner is considered to have two tags so can do two net and drain two credits; a fairly taxing swing! I also love to splash Mausolus into yellow as rushing out means the runner might just run through it to allevate the pressure.
Operations might seem unfocused (arguments either way are you either want to kill or score out with tag punishment), but I assure you the toolboxy nature of the choices are critical to the deck. This deck rushes and bursts up and down in money. You use your money to rez the big ice or you use it to land tags. Even a single floated tag for the runner means Market Forces causes a 6 credit swing even if you're flat broke. One problem I've perennially faced as yellow is flood. Especially with all the sabotage in our meta, being able to either stuff Agendas until you're set up or to grab back trashed agendas without having to use up your Spin Doctors means that Attitude Adjustment is exceptionally powerful right now. Y'all know I love to obliterate runners, but another fantastic tag punishment I've used to great effect is Shipment from Vladisibirsk (I have a fun story of how this absolutely pulled me out of the hole during a critical match later on). You only need two clicks to score a 4/2 out of hand or your full turn to score a Bellona out of hand.
The goal is to try and find the heavy hitting ice as fast as possible (Data Ward) and either let a Daily Quest cook until you get agendas to score or even having a DQ protected by an IP Block or F2P is a extraordinary tax. Seamless Launch allows you to just naked install agendas and bluff out agendas as Assets or Arella Salvatore. I've baited many a run waiting for agendas by installing extra Arellas into the remote on down turns. Seamless lets you save money and bluff, Arella helps continue the pressure from scoring. Ice placement is a fairly important skill with the deck, as you have exceptionally strong ETR ice at your disposal but also need to be mindful to not accidentally have a Magnet as your outermost, wasting the Acme ability. Data Ward should go on the remote, R&D and HQ, if you can. Thoth on the inside of a server feels super bad and isn't enough of a tax, unless the runner is constantly trying to run through it.
When you have a Daily Quest set up and cooking, I have a really important technique with this deck: The value Hard-Hitting News. Playing HHN does not mean you need to land the tags. Sometimes you want to drop the runner's credits down significantly to prevent the runner from being able to burst up via Sure Gamble, Bravado, Liberated Accounts, etc. The runner will very often wait until they have at least 10 credits to run against Acme, as the Data Ward tax is 3 credits on encounter plus at minimum 7 credits for Paperclip, and that's if it's already installed! I've set HHN traces to 8 before where I'm setting up to score an Offworld with Seamless next turn safely behind a Data Ward and the runner ends up spending their turns clicking for credits or drawing to find econ.
One note: The runner meta is full of run based econ and events, so icing up all servers created allows you to better tax out the runner and punish aggression. Pinhole Threading can be crippling!
I was actually fairly worried about this matchup given that Shaper normally laughs at tags and my opponent's reputation very much preceded him. Despite this, the game was extremely fun and had a lot of interesting plays. My opponent ran through Thoth and Mausolus many times resulting in I believe about 8 net damage over the course of the game? The net damage managed to hit Self-Modifying Codes and the Misdirection, leaving limited time to dig for Simulchips while I tried to keep the pressure on.
One key turn that game I had the runner accepted a 2nd tag at the end of their turn having run R&D to see a Shipment from Vladisbirisk on top. I begun my turn with 1 credit, and a Spin Doctor in hand. Installed and rezzed the Spin to draw into an Offworld Office. 6 credit bonus plus two points that turn! Soon after, I was able to land the News and buried the runner in tags. Since Misdirection was out of the picture, they gained money as quick as they could to afford runs, but Market Forces killed that idea to create a 16 credit swing in my favor. While they managed to get to 5 points via digging R&D and taking net and tags before I had expensive ETR ice, I weathered the storm to dig for a BOOM to end it.
The single game I played as corp in the cut was against 419, which ate my lunch. The deck gave me the worst draw I think I had ever seen in years and while I was extremely frustrated, I mostly was annoyed that I didn't have a fun game with great back and forth - I just stalled out immediately with zero momentum or pressure.
I wouldn't change a single card in the deck.
Once again we have a tournament where I wasn't even sure if I wanted to play - but I appreciate the good-natured peer pressure from my metamates and testing group to encourage me to come and show up the Canadians that came down!
Special thanks to the Muntal Bost testing group for helping me to hone a few card choices, Radiant for running the tournament, and for all my opponents. This genuinely was the most fun tournament I have ever played in. All my games (except for the 419 in the cut lol) were incredibly fun to play, even the ones where I lost.
Good luck and always remember to ask your opponent:
published by AlwaysBeRunning.net
14 Jun 2023 Radiant
15 Jun 2023 SMITTYL
15 Jun 2023 maninthemoon