Ok, I'm going to be devil's advocate and try to make a case for this seldom-used teacher. I've always loved the art here, and I think it may actually have a place in decks with a variety of porous ICE, or even where a little extra tax is desired. So many ICE lack ETR subs, and what I find particularly appealing about this guy is that he doesn't just give an ETR to the next piece of ICE, but "each" piece of ICE behind him. He's also just beyond Net-Ready Yog range, which is pretty nice. On another note, he can make bioroids cost either an extra credit or click.
With Sensei, there are three categories that ICE fall into (excluding ICE that already has a solid ETR):
- Synergistic - ICE lacking an ETR altogether that benefit by having one, either by adding tax or stopping power.
- Boosted - ICE that has an ETR, but it is unreliable, such as traces or psi games, which would benefit from the addition of a solid ETR.
- Anti-Synergistic - ICE that is designed to work better without an ETR, that complements the ICE behind it (like Sensei, himself), or trashes itself before an additional subroutine could fire.
As of Data and Destiny, the following is all ICE (again, excluding those with a solid ETR) which interact with Sensei, by category:
CATEGORY 1 - SYNERGISTIC
Archangel; Architect; Assassin; Bandwidth (synergy much?); Builder; Bullfrog; Burke Bugs; Cortex Lock; Crick; Data Hound; Data Raven; Enforcer 1.0; Errand Boy; Excalibur (which feels pretty darn good if they don't have an AI); Gemini; Grim; Gutenberg; Hourglass; Hunter; Ichi 1.0 (who suddenly looks like an HB Archer); Ichi 2.0; Information Overload; Ireress; Janus 1.0; Komainu; Lancelot (when lacking Galahad); Lycan; Mamba; Matrix Analyzer; Merlin (when lacking Galahad); Minelayer (though it is slightly anti-synergistic, as the newly-placed ICE won't benefit from Sensei, without some Tenma Line shenanigans); Nebula; Neural Katana; NEXT Gold; Pachinko; Pup; RSVP (provided the first subroutine fires, but this is an odd case); Sagittarius; Salvage; Searchlight; Shadow; Sherlock 1.0; Shiro; Snoop; Swarm; Swordsman; Taurus; Tsurugi; Turnpike; Tyrant; Virgo; Woodcutter; Wotan (just cruel); Yagura; and Zed 1.0.
CATEGORY 2 - BOOSTED
CATEGORY 3 - ANTI-SYNERGISTIC
Chum; Cell Portal; Checkpoint; Data Mine; Howler; Inazuma; Gyri Labyrinth; Kitsune; Lab Dog; Hudson 1.0; It's a Trap!; Lockdown; Marker; Sensei; Special Offer; Susanoo-No-Mikoto; TL;DR; Universal Connectivity Fee; Wendigo; and Whirlpool.
While I don't think Sensei is at the cutting edge of competitive play, far from it, in fact, I do believe there are a number of significantly impactful niche uses for it. While it may sometimes be a simple tax, there are just as many occasions where that extra ETR can trigger some interesting or just plain mean effects (i.e. Bandwidth or Wotan).