Saisentan

Saisentan 5[credit]

Ice: Sentry - AP - Observer
Strength: 2
Influence: ●●●○○

When the Runner encounters this ice, choose a card type. For the remainder of the encounter, whenever you trash a card of that type with net damage from a subroutine on this ice, do 1 net damage.

subroutine Do 1 net damage.

subroutine Do 1 net damage.

subroutine Do 1 net damage.

Illustrated by Krembler
Decklists with this card

Downfall (df)

#44 • English
Startup Card Pool
Standard Card Pool
Standard Ban List (show history)
Printings
Downfall
Rulings
  • NISEI Downfall Release Notes [NISEI Rules Team]

    Does the extra damage from Saisentan’s “when encountered” ability trigger itself?

    No. The damage from trashing a card of the chosen type is not dealt by a subroutine, so it cannot meet the trigger condition of the ability again.

    How does Marcus Batty interact with Saisentan?

    If Marcus Batty is used during an encounter with Saisentan and resolves one of its subroutines, Saisentan’s ability does apply and can trigger the extra damage. If Marcus Batty is used outside of an encounter with Saisentan, or if the “when encountered” ability did not resolve (perhaps due to Hunting Grounds), then there is no chosen card type and the resolved subroutine just does a regular 1 net damage.

    How does Project Kusanagi interact with Saisentan?

    Subroutines added to Saisentan by Project Kusanagi can meet the trigger condition for Saisentan’s ability just like its printed subroutines.

Reviews

As a startup player, every runner should be aware of Saisentan. It has the honor of being the only card in Startup that, with no setup, can flatline an unsuspecting runner with 5 cards in grip. Yes you need to have at least 3 of a card type in hand to make that possible, but that's not really that unlikely, especially if you're running a specialty runner like Az McCaffrey: Mechanical Prodigy or Ken "Express" Tenma: Disappeared Clone. But what are the odds of being flatlined? If you were curious like me, the math is: Assuming the corp picks the 'correct' card type: 3 Same type in hand - 10% chance of being flatlined 4 Same type in hand - 40% chance of being flatlined 5 Same type in hand - 100% chance....

Seeing the above math, and the fact that the minimum is 3 net damage, and you're often worried about being low on cards against Jinteki, it's clear this ice is meant to be a punishment for runners face checking random ice with no breakers, or basically an ETR against runners who don't have a killer installed (just, this ice ETR by killing the runner. Which will do it). You can even cheekily get some damage on runners who think they are safe putting a Botulus or Boomerang on this and running.

So how does Saisentan do when the runner has the killer? In startup, it's okay. Basically every killer is breaking for 3 creds. Bukhgalter gets through with 4 but their rebate brings to 2, and Afterimage also spends 2. Odore pays 5 if they don't have their virtual friends, and Echelon has to pay 6 if it's by itself. None of these are terrible deals, but really you're looking for an unprepared runner facechecking this. And that's why runner friends, always be aware of your face.

(System Update 2021 era)

<B>Saisentan significantly affects runner calculations on how dangerous an unrezzed ice could be</b>. If they get surprised by Saisentan and don't have a method to break most of its subroutines, they will probably lose or at least take a devastating amount of net damage. <Br><Br>If the runner knows/suspects your deck has Saisentan, all of your unrezzed ice look scary early on, enabling high-value early plays. <b>This ability to act boldly early makes Saisentan very valuable.</b> It fights very well against most of the cards a runner might use to break an unknown ice early (e.g. Boomerang, Engolo, and Botulus), so a turn 1 Rashida will probably work out for you even if they do think they have a way inside. It's also the perfect rez cost (5) to deter early Diversion of Funds plays if you have an unrezzed ice on HQ. <br><Br>After the runner has a killer, it usually costs 3 to break Saisentan, which is reasonable for a 5 cost ice. MKUltra costs 6 to fully break Saisentan, which is excellent ice efficiency.

Two words: Face. Splat.

At 2 Strength for 5, Saisentan is an expensive rez, even among other Sentries. It's closest companion is Neural Katana which is 1 more strength, for 1 less to rez, though 2 fewer subroutines. And that difference in subroutines makes all the difference. If Sensei-tan didn't have it's Encounter power, then it's a question of Strength cost vs Break cost

Some notable examples include:

Mimic breaks Katana for 1, vs 3 for Sai-sentence.

GS Shrike M2 breaks both for 4.

Ika breaks Katana for 3 vs 2 for Caeser-Ten; assuming already hosting.

Shiv actually has an easier time with Sailly-senten, requiring only a couple fellow breakers, or even fewer with a bit of boosting to crack all three subs.

The summary is that the credit tax to the runner is roughly the same, favoring Sentai-san only where breaking is more taxing than boosting, typically with static breakers; though I'll leave an in-depth comparison as an exercise for the reader...

But there's a wrinkle in all this I mentioned earlier. Thaisentan isn't actually JUST 3 Net damage. If allowed to fully fire, this card will land up to 6 Net damage. SIX. Realistically, it'll probably only land 4. Only.

Which brings me around to my initial two words. If you can pay for the rez cost, this cards puts an unprepared runner to well within flat-line range. In-Faction, this is a dangerous little Sentry, with a premium price to pay for it's premium package, and at three influence, it's probably not going to see use outside Jinteki, though a few of you will probably prove me wrong.

All this being said, is it worth the slot? From me, it gets a firm Maybe. It's ability and subroutines make it physically painful to move through, and while it's always going to be cheaper for the Runner to crack than for the Corp to rez, it makes an excellent face-blender in the early game. If you can afford the cost early enough to make it worth it, much like another high-rez-to-low-strength Sentry... Well, you're probably not looking to win by scoring.

(Uprising era)

Great review. I'd love a comparison to Cortex Lock, which is a lot more relevant for today's meta, but this review highlights Saisentan's pros/cons really well.

Imagine this thing with Prāna Condenser...

World's Worst Brain Freeze is another comparable piece of ICE. On it's own, C-Lock is probably one of the best pieces of thorny ICE. At 4 Str with only a 2<span class="icon icon-credit"></span> Rez cost, it's an absolute steal, and significantly cheaper to Rez, and much harder to Break than Saisentan. Interestingly, these two pieces of ICE do almost the same thing, or at least, operate on the same level. Both are ICE you want to rez early enough to be useful, both have the potential to do a lot of Net damage; and as a result of these two things, they occupy the same sort of game space. Only Cortex Lock is infinitely more forgiving on the Corp's bank. So when is Cortex Lock more useful than Saisentan? When the Corp's poor. Thanks for coming- What? You need more? Fine. Cortex Lock is useful really only once. It hurts a little less than Saisentan when you stick your face against it, and afterwards the runner gets to decide how dangerous C-Lock is. More programs = less Memory = Less damage; Runners can equip themselves accordingly, with the potential of just walking through entirely. However, a runner will always need to address the damage done by Saisentan, and as such, will either always choose to break, or try and bypass it. Break-cost of Cortex vs Sai is comparable to my earlier comparison, only now swung much more heavily in Cortex's favor, both due to the higher strength, and it's low rez cost. TL;DR: Saisentan is a feisty little Sentry loaded for bear, but wants you to pay for the cost of all it's ammo. It's something a Runner will need to take measures to address.

Saisentan significantly affects runner calculations on how dangerous an unrezzed ice could be. If they get surprised by Saisentan and don't have a method to break most of its subroutines, they take a devastating amount of net damage (usually 4-5).

If you are playing Saisentan all of your unrezzed ice look scary early on, enabling high-value early plays. It fights very well against most of the cards a runner might use to break an unknown ice early (e.g. Boomerang, Engolo, and Botulus), so a turn 1 Rashida will probably work out for you even if they do think they have a way inside. It's also the perfect rez cost (5) to deter early Diversion of Funds plays if you have an unrezzed ice on HQ.

After the runner has a killer, it usually costs 3 to break Saisentan, which is not great for a 5 cost ice. MKUltra costs 6 to fully break Saisentan, which is excellent. Note, if they are running Bukhgalter, keep your sentries together, Bukhgalter is awesome against the first sentry but struggles against its friends.

Tactical recommendations:

  • INSTALL EARLY. If you draw this in your opening hand, installing it on turn 1 is usually the best move. You are Jinteki. Embrace the healing power of murder.
  • AGAINST BUKHGALTER, SENTRIES ARE MUCH MORE POWERFUL STACKED WITH OTHER SENTRIES. A Saisentan costs 2 for a criminal to break on a server which has no other sentry (weak) but 4 on a server which already has a sentry. Keeping your sentries together is hugely efficient.
  • Most valuable for either protecting central servers or early high-value resources.
  • Event is usually the best card type to pick. If they *don't* have events, they will have a bad time recovering from 3+ net damage.
(System Update 2021 era)