The previous incarnation of this deck came third in a store champ going (3-1) and only losing to a triple Data Raven into QPM server. I neglected the third Hunting Grounds in favor of the third Reboot as I think that situation is more of an outlier than a common situation and the additional fuel Reboot provides can be invaluable, but, in theory, the switch could be correct.
As a skeleton, this deck is the deck we all excitedly made when Assimilator came out and Pawnshop became a viable option for Apex. It wasn't marvelous. This fixes a lot of the problems it had, mostly in regards to speed and can now be a credible challenger to faster decks in the early game. You are still blown out by the super hard rush, but this matchup can be salvageable if the corp stalls on 5 points.
This deck relies heavily on its start and its opening hand. What you are looking for in the opening hand is generally any 2 of the following 3 in all matchups and then some more matchup specific ones in a moment.
STARTING HAND INSTRUCTIONS
Any 2 of: Aesops Pawnshop Assimilator A way to reach roughly 10 credits (Largely this is your early econ, but if you have the other 2 Harbinger and wasteland become options.)
Against suspected FA: Fracter or Decoder In this matchup, only the fast money is on the keep list, you may not have time for harbinger/Wasteland if it's your only option
Against Suspected Kill: Heartbeat Braincage (Anti Obokata tech only otherwise it's fuel) Events/Sports Hoppers that can be turned into Reboot fuel quickly.
THE THREE STAGES
Stage 1 is setting up your Pawnshop/Reaver/Wasteland. The Wastelands can wait but the Pawnshop is the keystone followed closely by Reaver Draw aggressively but avoid discarding down where possible as cards are fuel for your econ as well as your hitpoints, making overdraw strictly undesirable. Remember your facedown install to help mitigate overdraw.
From the base created by stage 1 your job is finding breakers and pressuring central servers, take a sparsely defended remote if you can, once the big scoring remote try to prey the most opportune target ICE down. Stage 2 lasts until your first reboot. You can reboot for anything, including events, but make priority targets of Harbingers, Sports Hoppers, Hunting Grounds. Also, use this to recur crucial pieces you may have lost along the way. On downtime turns recur these with assimilator for value.
From here Phase 3 begins, your focuses become R&D and Archives principally, with HQ and a scoring remote as secondaries. By this point, you have probably made your way through the deck so with Reboot or simply facedown you will have the Stargate. Trash the Reaver with Aesops so that your board is needed breakers + stargate (judge based on matchup if you need all 3 or your datasucker more and keep a reboot if you think you need to switch that choice.) Use Stargate to find remaining points with Freedom Through Equality to back this up.
CARD CHOICES AND OMMISSIONS:
Chop Bot 3000: A staple choice in Apex previously and a difficult cut, however, once Aesops is online this little guy takes a back seat, I found switching him for the Sports Hoppers gave me the more needed burst draw for the mid game and it is more valuable when recurred with Reboot and Assimilator. Remember to crack Sports Hopper on the Corps turn for Reaver and Wasteland triggers.
Prey/Hunting Grounds/Reboot: I'd be fairly willing to be swayed about moving the numbers around on these, the additional Hunting Grounds is handy for the NBN/ ACME matchup where you really cannot suffer 'on encounter' effects to live. However, this isn't particularly prominent around me and apart from the occasional data raven I've rarely used it for more than emergency cards to resist damage. The Prey is there to munch things like Masvingo and Tour Guide, Kakugo in a pinch. Anything low strength and irritating go Monch.
Breakers: This is the bit that I still think needs some work, the original suite was Na'no'tk, Corroder, and CyCy. But I found that it was folding up on credits to big stuff like Chiyashi and Tour Guide. Enter Shrike and Sherman, with a datasucker for good measure. The flexibility of this suite allows you to turn the others into fuel if you don't need them and you aren't saddled with Sunny's breakers if it's all tiny ICE. This is a lot of influence and has no tutor (I tried to get a special order in, I did!) But there just wasn't the influence.
Interdiction: Plays into the asset matchup, making them rez on their turn or wasting an NGO can be crucial in giving you another turn to react to stuff
Stargate: There to close the game out and because I didn't quite feel like I was getting enough Oomph out of The Turning Wheel. Can be dropped in earlier under specific circumstances, but this is here mostly for continuous multiaccess. Also farms turning wheel counters for a big HQ run just in case.
Apocalypse: This isn't the deck for an Apoc. You have single, proper breakers and your recursion is Reboot. I tried the Apocalypse but found waiting for an assimilator was too slow and going without it hurt me more than the corp. I'd rather be able to comfortably turn Assimilator duplicates into fuel than wait for an Apoc opportunity which may be too late.
MORE NOTES ON MATCHUPS
Kill: Install heartbeat, laugh.
FA: Do your best, easily the toughest matchup, if you somehow get the tempo then try to snipe pieces from R&D with Stargate.
Assets: Remember to use your Assimilator to flip your harbingers back. Lategame even against RP you can reliably flip a harbinger, run a central run a remote. 2 clicks for 6 credits and a card isn't too bad.
Glacier: Really try to spare your runs, and perhaps even wait for an interdiction before doing too much. This deck has econ but it is very drippy, you aren't going to be able to crack that remote more than 3 times total.
Peace in our Time helped set up but didn't quite make the cut
Special Order for Breakers
Thanks for Reading, and good Apex!