Tāopocalypse - The icecaps are melting

Clupea 34

"Sokka, can I copy your homework?"

"Sure, just make it look different so that it doesn't look like you just copied it."

"Sure thing."

To be fair, I didn't ask the champ. But when I briefly met him at worlds he seemed a very friendly person, so I am pretty sure he wouldn't mind a relatively new Netrunner looking for inspiration at the deck he won Worlds with.

Worlds 2022 was my first big tournament and I had a blast. I brought a Tag-Me Freedom list which didn't perform that well. Part of the problem was that the operator of the deck still needed to learn a lot, and another part was that I just think the deck wasn't optimal either. After worlds I was inspired by two different decks: Sokka's list linked above, and this deck by Hams, because I had always liked Taos ability and was pleasantly surprised to see a deck perform that well.

I built the first version of this deck before Parhelion and took it to Dutch Nationals. The deck felt strong and performed quite well. I ended up on the bottom of the pack, because I made some errors piloting the Tao deck which costs me some points, and because I couldn't win a corp game that day even if my life depended on it. Still, it felt like this Tao deck could be good.

Que Parhelion release and the great content by YsengrinSC and André where they talk about the cards and put them all in a tier list. In this clip they talk about Nanuq and how it could work in a Stargate or Apocalypse deck. It might have been partly meme-ing, but I thought they were on to something. I looked at Sokka's video discussing his Worlds run and remembered that the breakers in the deck were there for ICE that is hard to deal with for Endurance, but not necessarily the primary good breakers.. Putting these two points together I decided that (in my humble opinion) the WC deck could be improved by replacing the breakers with 3x Nanuq.

I have been playing games on J-net and I think the deck is strong. I have no click-bait worthy win% to show off, but it wins more games than it looses and I seem to be getting better at playing it as well. I am sure that in the hands of an experienced person the deck could perform quite well in this meta.

A few things to mention:

Why Tao? Apocalypse is a card you built your deck around, and having a 40-card minimum ID makes drawing Apoc in your opening hand slightly more consistent. Lat's draw engine might be better in the long run for consistency, but don't forget Tao has another ability and isn't just a 40-card blank ID. You can get ICE in a better position to make sure your Apoc can land after a score; or you can pivot your game plan and make sure the remote is weak for your final steal. It has won me several games and I believe can make the difference on top tables. Its also way more flashy and can make moments to remember on a stream if it wins you a game ;)

Why Nanuq? Endurance is still your primary breaker. Yes it is a bit boring, but the boat is just good. People tech for it so you need a secondary breaker suite that deals with stuff the boat is not good against. Nanuq is good against anything, it just has a a short lifespan. You don't really want to use it to steal a single agenda unless it is your final steal or you know that you can get to the finish line with another Nanuq or your trusty boat. Nanuq also cleaves trough most ICE on your Apoc turn so there isn't much that can prevent your beautiful destruction. It might be a bit morbit, but I find it poetic that you run a polar bears and icebreakers together in a deck with a world ending theme ;(. Its sad but true...

3x Pinnhole?!? I am just a bad player and need to get good tm. Besides, it is a great card in the meta to get rid of pesky stuff in protected servers. It can get rid of a Crisium Grid while running another central so you can still Apoc away. And you can't steal agenda's with it, which can be a benefit! In the first few tries I have had some bad luck stealing an agenda on a central run, which kills off your beautiful polar bear and prevents you from running the final server for your Apoc (yes this can be a bad thing for your game plan). I have used Pinnhole on HQ several times if I suspect agenda's in there and I still need to run R&D afterwards, or the other way around. It's just a 1-cost event that makes sure the icecaps melt 1 run later when you want to.

Economy Most if the cards are similar to Sokka's list. Its missing the dirty laundry's which can be noticeable. I have added the 3rd Telework Contract because you sometimes need the money and getting 8 extra credits in 1 card can be the difference, even if it costs several clicks. I do think the economy can be improved. The Stoneship Chart Rooms are great in certain match-ups, and still decent in others, but I feel like I could swap one out for a dirty laundry or daily casts. The SMC hasn't been great either, but can be clutch in a game or 2. I feel like having the Nanuq's make it less valuable compared to the original list by Sokka, and it could also be replaced with a money card to make the deck run even smoother?

Yes I do think World Tree Wu is a strong(er) deck. I also believe Apocalypse is still a strong meta card and can win some of the prison/asset match-ups Wu struggles with. They are different shaper tools for different meta calls. I have more fun playing this, and hope some of you do too.

So that's my first write-up on NetrunnerDB after my first year of Netrunner. Hopefully some of you enjoy playing this deck like I have. I would love to hear your thoughts on how the deck can be improved! Maybe one of the hotshots can take it to Fight Night or the Circuit Breaker Invitational!

Small edit on 06-01-2022: After further testing and some feedback on one of the testing Discords, I am thinking of re-adding 1 Engolo. While Endurance should still be considered the primary breaker, people do tech against it and you need a secondary solution sometimes. You have the MU, and it is a less riskier version of Nanuq. I would still keep 3x the Polar Bear and look for another slot to use, maybe one of the Stoneships. Nanuq can be really good in certain match-ups (where the corp is not planning on scoring, or only uses a few agenda's), but can be risky or hard to time in match-ups versus corps with taxing ICE for the boat and multiple small agenda's. Adding 1 Engolo (which can easily be tutored when needed with the SMC or Into the Depths) can be a tech card of a sort, which can really help you versus these harder match-ups. Landing a good/early Apoc remains key, but sometimes those are just your bottom 3 cards and we need an option when that happens ;). Let me know what you think.

4 Jan 2023 Diogene

Awesome write-up! This is my kind of deck. Considering that you have few programs, could Spark of Inspiration be used here?

Thanks for sharing!

4 Jan 2023 Clupea

Hey @Diogene, thanks for the kind words!

I haven't tried Spark of Inspiration and I am a bit hesitant to do so. It is true we only have a few programs, but it is very important we do not get the wrong one out. Double Nanuq when you might need them all, or a Stargate before you want to Apoc can ben pretty bad for the deck I think.

Besides, with Into the Depths, SMC, lots of draw and a small deck, I don't think additional tutoring is necessary. The discount wouldn't be worth the card either.

Spark is a great/fun card though. Hope it finds a place in a cool deck I can use later on.

4 Jan 2023 hams

I see Tao I give a like

5 Jan 2023 Clupea

@hams Look! One of the main inspirations. ;) Thank you, and keep swappin' those steaks.