What is the opposite of Hard-Hitting News? A Puff Piece!
The deck is defined by what is missing: Hard-Hitting News. I came to the decision to cut it after two realizations.
The first is that lots of the best decks are really rich, richer than CtM. Often I would have HHN and a tag-punishment card in hand for too long, effectively reducing my hand-size by two most of the game.
The second came from losing a regionals last year to Grizzlefluff's tempo Near Earth Hub**. I saw enough similarities between CtM and that NEH that I imagined CtM could play a great tempo game by forcing the runner to spend on CtM's ability, rather than the corp gaining with NEH's ability.
Grizzlefluff's NEH played zero operations. It installed a lot, triggered Jeeves every turn and scored fast to trigger Amani and Teamp Spo as soon as it could. The game plan is the same in Puff Piece.
Jeeves is the key that unlocks your path to victory, more-so than a typical CtM. Install Jeeves early, get him under ice if needed, and trigger him every turn. With only two operations in the deck Jeeves will be simple to trigger with triple-install or triple-draw. Jeeves is also essential when advancing. Scoring Beale with an extra click to spend or never advancing a Remastered or Bellona (assuming you have Cali Testing or a Remastered token) will win games.
Speaking of Bellona, it is surprisingly great towards our tempo-positive strategy when combo'ed with Amani. Scored or stolen, Bellona + Amani is a major tempo swing. The one agenda that may not be an obvious pick is ARES. Although 15 Minutes is one less to score and has a great ability, ARES is excellent tech against powerful cards like Stargate, Imp, Citadel Sanctuary, Hippo and Apoc.
Moving on to ice. Puff Piece runs twelve rather than the seven-to-nine typically seen in CtM. The extra ice means that the deck can afford to protect important assets while also protecting centrals and building a scoring server, all early enough to matter. It will be easier to rebuild after Apoc, DoF will be harder to land, and you can afford to spare an ice or two on Archives to counter Sneakdoor or rebirth into Omar/Alice. IP Block is the easy choice because it is cheap to rez, provides much-needed hate against Eater and Turtle, and is a tag-punishment card which the deck needs to incentivize the runner to spend tempo clearing tags.
Although Puff Piece needs more than just IP Block to punish tags. Since we have no HHN cards that punish multiple tags like Psychographics are out. While Self-Growth Program and The All-Seeing Eye are powerful they are also situational. What if the runner ended the turn tagged to land Apoc? For these reasons, Closed Accounts is the best card.
Finally, I'll briefly cover weaknesses. Your nightmare match-ups are Mining Accident 419 with Citadel Sanctuary and the Kim/Freedom deck that combo's Friday Chip with Consume and Imp. Sunny, Apoc, and good-stuff Freedom are hard but winnable. Early Pad Tap is shockingly annoying because the deck often can't afford to lose tempo by trashing them. Odore, Euler + Pelangi and Ika all saw through Tour Guide. Miss Bones is bad but the deck can recover so don't lose heart if you see one.
It's a great deck in that removing HHN makes CtM less oppressive to play against while being more efficient and easier to play with. Have fun with the deck and laugh loudly every time the runner installs On The Lam!