Despite being one of a series of "-1 agenda point" cards that aim to supplement Sportsmetal: Go Big or Go Home, Meridian isn't a particularly effective piece of ICE. The potential tempo swing is such that a Runner will nearly always opt-in to the -1 point at least once, and the single subroutine is easily broken with any number of Runner tools once they have their board set up. In this way it ends up being something of a gimmicky binary ice with a Runner's-choice bypass, albeit a relatively costly one for them.

However... where Meridian shines is with Sportsmetal's suite of "Runner's score area" cards. Alas, Game Changer is no more, and I'll miss Project Vacheron just as much as Domestic Sleepers; but Meridian is most useful when it's fueling a Fast Break or preventing access on the Giordano Memorial Field. Out of faction there's always a good ol' Stock Buy-Back

As ICE itself it needs something more by way of support in order to be worthwhile. Maybe a Rover Algorithm or perhaps even a Rime to boost strength?


Respirocytes is another way of saying "red blood cells", but in a more scientific way. The suffix -cyte derives from Latin cyta and Ancient Greek kĂștos, meaning "container", "vessel", or "jar". In modern medical terms, the suffix is used to denote a mature cell. Respirocytes are therefore cells that assist in respiration.

However, in science fiction and, increasingly, science reality, respirocytes can also be used to refer to any cell in the blood that contributes to respiratory function. This definition includes artificial respirocytes, which are proposed nanomachines built to maximize oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer. Since this is the future and also Mars, I'm pretty sure this cybernetics card is meant to be the latter.

--end educational content--

Plays well with cards that leverage damage into benefits. I've Had Worse is a good in-faction example; Synthetic Blood is another - sidenote, if you have synthetic blood, then why do you need artificial respirocytes? Unfortunately FFG seem to have gotten wise to these sorts of shenanigans, since First Responders specifically reads "damage from a Corp card".

Respirocytes is, of course, meant to synergize with the other cards in the Red Sands cycle, being ideal fodder for Clan Vengeance and easily mitigated by Jarogniew Mercs. It was, for a while, great for degenerate Salvaged Vanadis Armory decks, before the whole Armory got banned.

Since we're on the transhumanist kick, consider pairing with a set of Titanium Ribs or visiting the Chrome Parlor. Honestly, I never expected to see another cybernetics card after SanSan ended, and I'm really pleased to see that FFG are revisiting some of these old card archetypes.

I really want to like this card and build a deck around it. But it just isn't very good. This can at most let you draw 3 cards. Diesel does the same without all the hassle. You don't have to take meat damage, you don't have to empty your hand 3 times. To me, you need to use this because you want the meat damage. You can try using with Officer Frank and a couple other cards, but I don't think it's really that viable. —

Synergizes well with Zealous Judge to make back your . Also a viable choice against an Alice Merchant + God of War-heavy meta, which relies on tag-me to power certain clan resources. Historically, any deck archetype daring to go tag-me against NBN has found itself both empowered, because ICE like Data Raven ceases to matter; and afraid, because ICE like Thoth suddenly matters a lot. With Escalate Vitriol scored, though, that just changes to being afraid. I've seen God of War decks go to upwards of 30 tags. Imagine clicking for 30.

For short-term gains outside of this edge case, though, SEA Source and Hard-Hitting News are reliable tagging operations you can fire on your turn, though with HHN you need to - as has been mentioned below - get the tags to stick. MCA Informant is much the same. Unfortunately most of the other cards that help tag the Runner on your turn have, alas, rotated out. RIP, Big Brother and Midseason Replacements.

All in all, Escalate Vitriol is probably good as a one- or two-off if tag-me is heavy in your local meta. Would advise packing it with the Judge of Zealousness. Just keep giving them two tags every turn, then clicking to cash in on all of them! :3


Hail To Admiral Ackbar, a.k.a., I Will Personally Punch The First Person To Make A Trap Joke

It's high time we had another look at It's a Trap!, with the rise of a certain turtle into the forefront of the meta. For those who can't be bothered hovering over the link, Aumakua is an icebreaker that partially relies on exposing cards to build strength. Traditionally the Corp hasn't had much in the way of protection against exposure, save outliers like Akitaro Watanabe (who is no longer with us), and this card here. Surprise! A Runner using Infiltration, Deuces Wild or some other exposure mechanic (Silhouette comes to mind) will find themselves blasted in the face. Downsides are that this trap is unlikely to be fired more than once, and as a 2-to-rez, self-trashing ICE with a mediocre subroutine, it's barely worth the effort to include in your deck...

...but wait, what's that I see there on the Martian horizon?

Is it that time of year already? When the weak sun rises over the planting domes, and it's time for our Mandatory Seed Replacement? I guess it's time to get Replanting...

Historically Jinteki has had a few tricks like the ones I've just mentioned, like the now-set Sunset, the single-option Tenma Line, and the semi-inversificatory Mumbad City Grid. But the Red Sands cycle really kicks this sort of shenanigans into high gear: Mandatory Seed Replacement allows you to shuffle all your ICE around, and Replanting allows you to install ICE into nasty positions without paying the install cost. These two cards together can let you play cup and balls with It's A Trap!, re-hiding its hidden information and forcing the Runner to be extra careful about using exposure tactics. This either means they have to dive into Archives/open remotes for Aumakua tokens (always a bad idea in Jinteki), facecheck ICE (also a bad idea in Jinteki), or bite the bullet and expose things all over again (now with extra traps!)

Now if only its subroutine wasn't so terrible...

tl;dr - It's A Trap has some potential in an Aumakua-heavy meta, and synergizes well with Jinteki's native ice-shuffling cards to make the Runner nervous about running. However, it's still not that great. I would say the changes in the current meta have maybe bumped it up from 46th card to a maybe-include for a specialized Chronos Protocol or Potential Unleashed deck.

Aren't a bunch of the Aumakua splashes these days not even bothering with expose effects? The majority of the decks I've seen rely on datasucker, dean lister, or just accessing a ton of cards to power the turtle up. —
Nah, still not even close to worth it. —
Whoops, I just noticed I meant Zaibatsu Loyalty over Akitaro Watanabe. Still rotated, though. —


Megacorporation issues policy ruling on nonconsensual augmentations

Lily Lockwell, NBN

In a surprise ruling by the Cybernetics Court this morning, Haas-Bioroid (HAAS) have decided to phase out mandatory upgrades for staff and service crew, citing grievances from the extensive employee strike last Friday. The megacorporation issued a public statement this afternoon on the controversial scandal that has has New Angeles reeling and Haas-Bioroid under heavy scrutiny:

"We believe the late Isabel McGuire to have tampered with her augmentations in such a way as to endanger her well-being, and ultimately her life. At Haas-Bioroid we maintain the highest degree of health and safety protocols for all our products, bioroid, augmentation, or otherwise. We offer our sincerest condolences to Miss McGuire's family. However, it can be shown that her golf swing improved by 4500% over the weeks leading up to her arms exploding, which demonstrates without a doubt the effectiveness of Haas-Bioroid products.

In either case, Haas-Bioroid will be making every effort to comply with the Court ruling, starting with rolling out a series of elective upgrades that employees may access on company credit. Our specialized committee believe this to be the most efficient way to move forward in these troubled times. Now more than ever we must hold, and be, stronger together."

When pressed for comment, Haas-Bioroid executive Estelle Moon added, "We understand many of the strike's concerns involved cronyism at the highest levels of the company. Haas-Bioroid would like to assure them that thanks to the Boggs Act, they shouldn't need to worry about people leveraging friends in high places for an unfair advantage anymore. The same goes for the controversial clone suffrage movement in Mumbad, which has been brought under control after much repeated effort."

It seems that for the moment, Haas-Bioroid is willing to step back and clean up in the wake of the Boggs Act. What this will mean for New Angeles, only the future can say.

Fun! I love these lore-focused reviews - they really make the game more immersive. —