I see some use for this in a Chronos Protocol deck, provided you draw it early enough. If you draw it early it has a good potential to snipe a key card from the runner's hand, even if you're otherwise low on credits. Later in the game the effect will be smaller as the runner will mostly have set up their tools and the chance of an AI being out is higher.

A more subtle use of Mganga can be to trick the user into getting their AI breaker on the board and then using cards that are worse when there's an AI breaker such as Chiyashi. However, this is something which works with other traps such as Whirlpool as well and I'd rate Whirlpool higher in terms of scariness (with Mganga you know what you could get, with Whirlpool there's the potential of running into some deep nasty traps with no way out). On the other hand Mganga is reliable, it doesn't need a server with ice behind it and/or facedown cards inside it to be scary.

203

Gene Splicer is an interesting time bomb. It's a Catch 22: damned if you do, damned if you don't. It's both a trap (net damage) and a way to score agenda points given enough inattention from the runner (time bomb).

As a trap it's a bit on the light side. It does 1 net damage per advancement token. Consequently it only triggers when installed, it doesn't help centrals. On the bright side it doesn't cost anything to trigger. Compared to Project Junebug it's 1 net damage per advancement, not 2, which is the difference between a mild setback and a significant setback, given 2 counters. Unlike Snare! there's no 4 activation cost, but no tag either. Also I'd consider Snare! a different kind of trap, more of an R&D/HQ defense since you can't advance it normally to look like an agenda. Psychic Field has the potential to do a lot more damage but is much harder to pull off since it has to be installed and you can't advance it normally. Hokusai Grid only does 1 net damage and costs 2 to activate, but it's more flexible since it's an upgrade that can protect an agenda (nice with Obokata Protocol). Of course you can add a Hokusai Grid to a Gene Splicer server to make it look more like an agenda and add a bit of sting if the runner falls for it.

As a time bomb, a card that the runner must answer Gene Splicer is relatively mild. A Ronin is much more dangerous with the potential to trigger a flatline. Allele Repression is in a way more insidious than Gene Splicer, not providing clear agenda points but allowing the corp to both recur cards and hide agenda's in archives during a run on HQ; not to mention all kinds of tricks when combined with other Jinteki card management tools. Possibly there are more Jinteki time bombs, I just don't know them off the top of my head and time bombs lack a predictable text to search for in Netrunnerdb.

Note that Gene Splicer can also be seen as a straight 3/1 that doesn't give the runner anything when stolen and thus as a way to increase agenda density.

Now to combo's and worthwhile interactions:

  • Tennin Institute can add free advancement counters to Gene Splicer. Those can add up to an agenda point and thus encourage the runner to either run more (dangerous) or trash the Gene Splicer (net damage). Of course you can put advancement counters anywhere but with Gene Splicer you can even get an agenda point out of them without Trick of Light.
  • Chronos Protocol adds an extra bit of sting by letting you choose which card gets trashed by net damage for the first net damage of the turn. That makes running Gene Splicer a bit less attractive.
  • Jinteki: Potential Unleashed also adds a bit of sting by trashing the top card of the runner's stack. Note that unlike Chronos Protocol this happens every time the runner takes 1 or more net damage, not just once per turn.
  • Hokusai Grid as mentioned can add an extra net damage (for 2) and make the server look more like an agenda server.
  • Trick of Light can be used to move some advancement counters to an actual agenda, e.g. to fast advance a Braintrust or a Philotic Entanglement.

And here's a combo that looks interesting, until closer inspection:

  • Tori Hanz┼Ź has a double effect in a Gene Splicer server. She turns one net damage into brain damage if the runner runs (at an effective cost of 5) and facedown she makes the server look more like an agenda server. Unfortunately you have to reveal her before the runner chooses which card to access first so she'll get trashed before she can upgrade that net damage from Gene Splicer.

Somewhat out of the box Gene Splicer might see some play in Weyland because when scored it counts as an agenda and thus can be forfeited to power e.g. Archer or Jemison. It can also be liquidated with Back Channels (a trick that's also useful in Jinteki btw).

203
I wouldn't call it a straight 3/1. It needs another click after the 3 advancement tokens, so it's a 4/1, kinda. A card, 5 clicks total (including install) and 5 creds total (rez cost plus advancing normally) is not a cheap way to get a point. 3/1s are played for their effect and scoring this is like a blank 4/1. A light trap, as you say. A mild time bomb. And n expensive bonus point. It can fulfill 3 different roles poorly. Well, if you can make a deck where all roles are used, this could be a flexible card... —
Err, you're right. Braino. It's indeed very bad, which is good since if it was a straight 3/1 it'd be too powerful since the runner can't steal it. —
I don't think you can see the roles separately really. The three roles combine to create a very Jinteki time bomb. There's no clear "you must do this or else" for the runner so the runner is left guessing what the corp is hoping for. And compared to Junebug you have a chance of at least hitting your opponent even if they guess it's a trap. So for players who are less experienced in setting traps it's a better choice than Junebug. —
In Weyland, I guess you could fast-advance it with Dedication Ceremony. —
Haha, yeah, FA with Dedication is an option of course :D —
It's also a good target for Mushin, save 3 credits and 2 click —

Calibration Testing is SanSan City Grid done right.

It's suitably costed, both to rez and trash, unlike SanSan's ungodly 5 credit trash cost, and being single use means that you can't just windmill agendas like you could with SanSan.

Regardless, this is genuinely strong, and expect that most NBN decks, be it CTM, Sol, or NEH, will run 3x of these bad boys to score out effectively vs a runner that fails to trash these.

Whether thrown out in the open among PAD Campaigns, or behind a couple of nasty taxing ice, the runner has to respect the threat this card poses... especially since they can be stacked to score bigger agendas, or score out from under the nose of a Shaper who's a little too pushy with when they are willing to grab Clot.

131

God dangit, another IG card.


Anyway, the comparison to make here, is of course to Preemptive Action. Sure, this shuffles an extra card back, but it bins two cards first, and costs an extra credit! With the only real saving grace being that it isn't Terminal.

So, clearly, to make this worth using you need to make both the self mill, and the recursion useful; which basically means Breached Dome, which means you are either playing IG, or Potatoes, where the real benefit is probably that you get to effectively run 6 preemptives to make your grind-fest last even longer!

131

From a mechanical perspective, this card is pretty good. paying 1 credit to gain 8 credits off of an unprotected server is nice, but I wouldn't play 3 because some corps don't play unprotected assets. However, from a flavorful perspective, this card is a lot more clever.

In canon lore, the events of the Revised Core Set take place 5 years after the original. All the players are up to their same tricks, but subtle things have changed. Compare to the original Bank Job. The art depicts a young Gabriel Santiago counting money after a successful Bank Job. The alternate art is even more insightful; it shows us the job was a real, physical heist. Imagine the opening scene of The Dark Knight, or one of the jobs from Payday. Big, flashy, and violent.

The new Bank Job is different. Gabe's gotten a wee bit older, and he can't wear clown masks or carry duffle bags without getting a bit winded. So he changes his approach. Being the charmer that he is, Santiago doesn't knock over some branch bank or a credit depository in broad daylight with some armed goons. No, Gabe's been in a few scrapes with the law, and doesn't want to draw any more heat to him. Instead, he does the unthinkable. He gets a job at Titan Transitional, the biggest banking institution in the worlds. Better yet, he impersonates some Titan exec while he pretends to be a good little drone. He makes deals with clients, eats lunch in India, and then disappears without a trace. Well, one trace: 500,000 missing Titan credits and one frightened employee dropped off on a street curb.

This card perfectly embodies the transition caused by The Revised Core set: Runners still run, corps still corp, just in a little different way. At first Santiago operated like Neil McCauley, now, he's Danny Ocean.

Boy, do I love me a good flavor review. —
My thoughts exactly. Have a little heart from me. —