But New Zealander Braid is not planning to use this season as a learning exercise, insisting Sale Sharks are ready to make another step up.
And with Cipriani marshalling things in the No.10 jersey, Braid is confident his international star can provide the extra spark needed.
"You need your core group of guys that are going to work hard, who buy into what the team is doing, that's always the most important thing," he said.
"But to win at the top you do need that X-Factor with a guy like [Cipriani].
"He can read the game outstandingly well but then he also drives what we're doing so the buy in is there and then he adds his X-Factor.
"Across the board guys can always put in that little bit of magic within our structure."
Cipriani's form last year resulted in a recall to the England set up for the first time in six years.
Sale Sharks have been busy in the transfer market ahead of the new campaign bringing in several senior players, including former Scotland lock Nathan Hines from Clermont Auvergne.
"[Nathan] is a big signing, he's a well-seasoned guy who makes me feel young," added Braid, who scored six tries in 17 Aviva Premiership appearances last year.
"He can still do the business and mix it up and in Premiership rugby you need those tough, hard-nosed forwards so to have a guy like Nathan come in is massive.
"We've made some very good signings, Luke McLean at full-back, Chris Cusiter at half-back.
"We've got guys like Vadim [Cobilas] at tighthead who is going from strength to strength. Tighthead is a massive role in the Aviva Premiership so we're looking pretty good."
"As a team I do think we'll be able to repeat [last year's] performance. The competition's going to get tougher but we've got consistency in our side."
Sale Sharks have won five out of the last six Aviva Premiership games against Bath and have a proud record on the opening day fixtures when they play at home. The last home defeat on the opening day of the season was against Saracens in 1997. Bath did win on their last visit to the AJ Bell Stadium (27-20) in the LV Cup last November. Match referee on Saturday is JP Doyle who will be officiating in his 81st Premiership game.
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