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Crab clan strategy thread


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#1
phillosmaster

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Read to the end of the thread, my initial opinions have changed over time with more play, and with input from this thread.  So some of what I'm saying early in the thread has changed slightly, but I think it's still useful to show the thought process.  So I'm not going to edit any of these earlier posts to update them with my current opinions.  I might revisit the questions again periodically in future posts to get a snap shot at the current answers.

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I guess I'll lead the charge on the board for Crab.  So in my limited experience I've found in the current environment a couple things are true:

 

1.  Winning by dishonor or honor is an unreliable end goal.  So every deck needs to also pressure province breaks.

2. In this game being defensive is fine, but if you don't attack you can't win.

3. Holdings sitting in provinces can become a major issue since it clogs up your dynasty draw.

 

So given that Crab is a clan that is defensive first, has good dishonor cards and likes to play holdings how do we play them effectively in the current environment.  I think we need to process the following questions to work toward the answer:

 

1.  How many holdings should I include in my dynasty deck?

2.  How many cards that care about holdings should I include in my dynasty?

3.  How many purely defensive cards should I include in my dynasty?

4.  How much should I emphasize dishonor in my deck?

5.  Given Crabs preference for sacrifice what should my cost curve look like in my Crab dynasty deck?

6.  Given Crab's preference for sacrifice how much fate should I put on my characters?

7.  What roles are best for Crab?

 

So here's my take given my limited play experience.

 

Question 1 how many holdings should I include in my dynasty deck?  I'd say no more than 4.  We have two in clan holdings (borderlands fortifications and funeral pyre) and two neutral holdings (favorable ground and imperial storehouse).  That means right now if we wanted to we could include 12 holdings in our deck, but doing so means it will be highly likely that we'll completely populate our provinces with holdings (multiple times per game even if we leave them in the province from turn to turn) thus stalling out our dynasty deck.  That seems ill advised regardless of how much holding synergy we have in clan.  So what holdings do I think we should prioritize right now?  I think the neutrals are interesting and maybe has some fun interactions with Rebuild, but I don't see how either justifies a slot in a three core set deck.  Funeral Pyre gives us more ways to sacrifice, which allows us to have a tremendous draw engine since we can just sacrifice characters after they bow and would be discarded at the end on the round.  Though the downside is if you have no one to sacrifice (because you already used other sacrifice tech this round and need to keep the leftovers around another turn) it could completely do nothing.  I think Borderlands Fortification is a stronger include if you are including holdings.  It is effectively a free +2 on defense to prevent a break and it moves around to what ever province you want. Your opponent will always attack if they are playing to win so it's never a dead cards.  So I'd say right now I'm going either 3x Borderlands Fortification and 1x Funeral Pyre or 2x of each.  If you are going high on holdings (more than 4) I think you need to strongly consider including Rebuild in your conflict deck.  You really need to discard every holding at the end of the round to ensure you don't get holding locked and Rebuild is the only way to pull them back onto your provinces.  I currently don't include Rebuild, but I'm also only including 3 or 4 holdings.

 

Question 2 how many cards that care about holdings should I include in my deck?  We have 3 characters that love holdings.  Kaiu Shuichi, Shrewd Yasuki and Hida Guardian. I think Hida Guardian is a no brainer.  He's cheap so he's good sacrifice fodder and he's reasonably costed for his stats even if his effect never triggers.  Shrewd Yasuki also it a perfectly playable character if his effect never triggers.  You need politics in this deck and he can even participate in military if necessary.  If his effect triggers he's an amazing draw engine and if you get him and funeral pyre into play you are swimming in card draw, which turns on a possible dishonor choke strategy in this faction.  Kaiu Shuichi is a balanced 3/3 for 4 Fate which makes him very flexible and he has Covert, which is an amazing ability in this game.  Kaiu Shuichi is a 4 cost character though so you need to strongly look at your cost curve to see if he makes sense.  So right now I'm putting 3x of both Shrewd Yasuki and Hida Guardian in my decks.  Kaiu Shuichi depends on what else I'm including, but he's great on the attack and that's just what this clan needs to pressure province breaks.


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#2
phillosmaster

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Question 3 how many purely defensive cards should I include in my dynasty deck?  There are really only 4, but 4 cards is a large percentage of our card pool right now.  They are Hida Tomonatsu, Borderlands Fortifications, Borderlands Defender and Hiruma Yojimbo.  I wouldn't ever cut Borderlands Defender.  That card just stops attacks.  Borderlands Fortifications is not a bad choice if you are including holdings and want a cheap defensive option to open you up for attacking.  Hiruma Yojimbo is an amazing economic card from a Fate to stats perspective, but it can only defend.  So it can't help you get a province break, which can be a real issue since it gives you less options.  I can see an argument for cutting that card as the card pool grows.  Hida Tomonatsu I think is unfortunately the weakest of the 4 since I've often found that her effect was completely unhelpful because none of my opponents characters had fate on them in the conflict or I needed to use her as an attacker.  I've not been including her in any of my newer decks.

 

Question 4 how much should I emphasize dishonor in my deck.  I think in the current core only environment Crab is the clan that has the easiest time putting on dishonor pressure.  That's because we have so much honor-less card draw in factions.  That allows us to bid low in the Draw phase and thus leach honor away from our opponent.  Also we have some of the best dishonor tech in the game in Levy and Watch Commander.  If we are already sapping honor from our opponent then we can really stick it to them by pushing them to an uncomfortable level with Levy (or just threaten to finish them off if they let their honor get too low).  Levy almost always lets you steal honor since right now people are pretty guarded with their Fate.  Also it can just force them to give you honor if you use the card when they have 0 Fate so that's it's more reliable use.  I wouldn't count on getting Fate out of that card.  Watch Commander is a great card if you can knock their honor down to pretty low levels.  All of a sudden playing cards into conflicts (conflicts are won by your conflict hand) becomes a really expensive proposition.  If you aren't pressuring honor though it becomes a none issue.  All that said I feel right now dishonor is a pressure mechanic.  It can choke your opponent's options by slowing their conflict draw (you coming out ahead if you have cards like funeral pyre, kaiu envoy and shrewd yasuki in play).   Also it can turn Watch Commander into a card that just wins conflicts.  So I'd say yes play into our strength of dishonor, but don't count on it to win you the game.  You gotta still pressure province breaks.  I think there is a way to play where you put up a strong defense early game and leach honor and conflict cards away from the opponent and then in the later game gain a huge advantage in the conflict phase such that you pull ahead in province breaks and can threaten the stronghold.

 

5.  Question 5 given Crab's preference for sacrifice what should my cost curve look like in my Crab dynasty deck?  I think you want it to be fairly low because you want to play multiple characters out of your dynasty each turn.  Even if you are loading your conflict deck with characters you need sacrifice fodder also coming out of the dynasty.  That said the Crab have some real good character that you want to Fate up to keep them around.  So I think the optimal configuration for Crab is a high/low type deck.  We include lots of 1 and 2 cost dynasty characters and a couple really strong units that you Fate up like Kisada, Kaiu Shuichi, Steadfast Witch Hunter and Borderlands Defender. The nice thing is that we have Reprieve in faction and if we are bidding low in the Draw phase Good Omen fits in our conflict decks so we have ways to keep our big effect characters around from round to round.  Also Vanguard Warrior is a nice help.  I think Kisada and Borderlands Defender are both no brainer includes currently.  Steadfast Witchhunter is a card I really like, but he is competing with Kaiu Shuichi for a 4 cost slot.  I think if you are going holding heavy than Kaui Shuichi is definitely the stronger card.  Steadfast Witchhunter though is not bad if you are going attachment heavy since he could always stand himself back up.  Load him up and have him participate in multiple rounds of combat.  I'm still not sure which I like better.

 

6.  Question 5 given Crab's preference for sacrifice how much fate should I put on my characters?  This maybe is kinda obvious, but it's a judgment call based on your board state.  That said some characters are just begging to stay around multiple turns.  If you have a holding on the board then Shrewd Yasuki and Kaiu Shuichi are begging for 1 or 2 Fate to be placed on them.  Kisada obviously wants to stick around for more than 1 round and Borderlands Defender gives you such a good defensive option to free you up to attack.  That said Crab is a very forgiving clan in this regards since between Good Omen, Vanguard Warrior and Reprieve we have ways to place Fate onto important characters after the fact.  So while you may want to put Fate on your characters now you can probably hold off and place it later if needs be to pay for more Dynasty characters.  I'd say for most other dudes like Hida Guardian, Kaiu Envoy, Eager Scout, neutrals... don't bother Fate-ing them up.  Your almost certainly going to want to sacrifice them.

 

7.  Question 7 what roles are best for Crab.  I think Seeker of Earth is the obvious one since we have an Earth province in faction.  It's a good province so we don't want to give it up for the neutrals, but of course the neutrals are both great options for your stronghold.  That said a Keeper role is real good right now since the Keeper Initiate can gives us another good cheap body, which is something we definitely needs.  We are currently Keeper of Air, which I think is a fine choice.  If gives us the Keeper Initiate, the bonus Fate and allows us  to protect the Air ring, which makes our dishonor pressure stronger.


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#3
phillosmaster

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So other big questions for every clan is:

 

8.) What clan do we splash?

9.) what should we emphasize in our conflict decks?

10.) which cards do you think are not worth including?

 

Question 8 what clan do we splash.  I'd been splashing Dragon because Let Go helps protect against nasty cards like Pacifism played on Kisada and it also lets you throw away big attachments like Height Of Fashion.  That said I don't know that it's really a 3x include because I have had match ups where it just sits in my hand.  Dragon also has the Tattooed Wanderer who is a phenomenal card for Crab to push us over in attack and gives us a nice sacrifice target when he's used up.  Another good option for Crab is the ancestral attachments since you can put them on dudes then sacrifice them and pull those attachments back to hand. To me Dragon has made the most sense.  I can see an argument for Unicorn since Captive Audience can help shutdown strong political opponents.  Also Spyglass can help give you more card draw to enable dishonor/card choke play.  Favoured Mount is also a cool card to give you some flexibility in how you commit characters to a conflict.

 

Question 9 what should we emphasize in our conflict decks.  The dynasty deck is the easier puzzle to solve since there are far less variables to consider.  The conflict deck is a wide open playing field right now when you have 3x core sets.  Also it's probably where most of the discussion lives for deck crafting.  The neutrals feel very much like a toolbox for lots of ways to play the game.  Clearly Crab is better at military and it's easier to spike military numbers so Banzai is a no brainer.  Charge! is amazing for lowering your cost curve if you are too top heavy and Crab has lots of ways to keep that character around.  We don't have many courtiers so that excludes a couple strong options.  Our conflict characters are both well stated for their cost and have great abilities that can just win conflicts.  Levy and Watch Commander I think you only include if you want to pressure dishonor.  Watch Commander being the stronger of the two cards.  I do think pressuring dishonor and choking card draw is the best way to play Crab right now.  So given all that right now I think we want to use our dynasty deck to hold on defense.  Then we find some way to ready characters or ambush characters to attack.  We pressure dishonor early game with things like Watch Commander, Court Games, Levy and we win Province Breaks with military by playing military boosts and/or playing our conflict characters.  So our conflict decks should work toward those goals.

 

Question 10 what Crab cards do you think are not worth including.  The only one that I absolutely don't like is Vengeful Berserker.  Art aside (he is an interesting looking fellow) he's got a lot working against him.  He's got a dash in political, which takes options away.  He's pricey at three Fate and Crab has a lot of good expensive options already.  Also he needs a lot to happen to make him worth it.  Sure if you have a way to sacrifice several characters during a conflict then he can reach crazy heights, but most of the time I found him to be quite lackluster.  Another dynasty character I'd consider cutting is Hida Tomonatsu.  She is not a bad card, but just like the Vengeful Berserker her value is quite situational and I'd rather buy our other expensive options and concentrate on more cheap sacrifice fodder characters.  For Conflict cards I like Way of the Crab, but I can see moving it down to a 1 or 2x include since sometimes it just won't do anything economically worth wild if the opponent plays around it.  If they don't then of course it can be devastating.  Rebuild I think is something you either play because you are going holding heavy and need protection against getting province choked in the dynasty phase or you completely ignore the card..


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#4
phillosmaster

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So I've only played a handful of games as Crab.  Don't take my ramblings as a tried and true recipe.  I very much open to people debating my assertions and assumptions.  I feel right now Crab can be one of the harder clans to play, and I am by no means confident in my current play style.  This is just where I am with Crab right now.


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#5
phillosmaster

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So given everything I discussed above here's my current approach.

 

Stronghold: Shiro Nishiyama

Current Role: Keeper of Air

Provinces:  Defend the Wall, Manicured Gardens, Night Raid, Pilgrimage, Rally To The Cause

 

Dynasty Deck:

Crab:

3x Eager Scout

3x Hida Guardian

3x Kaiu Envoy

3x Hiruma Yojimbo

3x Shrewd Yasuki

3x Vanguard Warrior

3x Borderlands Defender

3x Intimidating Hida

2x Steadfast Witchhunter

2x Kaiu Shuichi

3x Hida Kisada

3x Borderlands Fortifications

1x Funeral Pyre

Neutral:

3x Keeper Initiate

2x Miya Mystic

 

Conflict Deck:

Unicorn:

3x Captive Audience

2x Spyglass

Crab:

3x Hiruma Ambusher

3x Stoic Gunso

3x Reprieve

3x Watch Commander

3x Levy

1x Way Of The Crab

3x The Mountain Does Not Fall

Neutral:

3x Banzai

2x Good Omen

3x Fine Katana

2x Ornate Fan

3x Charge!

3x Rout

 

This is trying to lean into honorless draw and winning military conflicts.  If I was going to lean into dishonor and card choke more (thus pressuring the Ring of Air playing into my Role) I'd probably go Phoenix for Know The World to double down on Earth ring.  Also Magnificent Kimono to play on my opponent to dishonor them plays toward that objective.  In this approach Court Games would be a good include.  Spies At Court could be a good include in that deck since we'll probably successfully defend a political challenge, but I found usually I was just playing to block a break on political challenges so I couldn't use it all the time.  I'd need to rethink the deck to make that card more practical.  Also as I stated above I've had good success with Dragon.  Tattooed Wanderer is a great include, Let Go could replace Miya Mystic and Ancestral Daisho gives me another repeatable military buff to threaten a province break.


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#6
nightcrawlers

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X1 Way of the Crab *Gasp*
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#7
phillosmaster

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I get it.  I found people kept playing around it, which in itself had value, but I hated using the card when it had only a marginal benefit.  Felt like there were stronger includes if that was going to continue to be the case.  If people are uncomfortable with that I'd dump Ornate Fans to up Way Of The Crab since we are trying to go hard military in this deck.  The fans are just there to prevent a political break if possible.  I found you play Way Of The Crab in the beginning of the Dynasty phase if your opponent had no cheap bodies to block it yet, but you also needed to have a cheap reasonably expendable body to trigger it.  That didn't always happen once the opponent got used to buying their least important character first.  The better option is the action windows at the end of the round (in the Fate and Regroup phases), but then I needed to Fate up some expendable unit to catch the opponent in those windows and I always felt like my economy was too tight to do that.  So sometimes it would sit in my hand for a couple rounds before I caught a good opportunity.  To me that means either 2x or 1x include.  I went 1x here.  Using it in the conflict phase was not a good move because I'd need something completely worthless to sacrifice (I only got 3x Eager Scouts) and I'd need to do it before anyone bows because they'll obviously pick a character who is finished this round.  So I was almost never hitting a meaty target.  If I was upping my Way Of The Crab I'd also go harder on including Otomo Courtier and/or Seppun Guardsman since they are pretty much the bottom of the barrel as far as cost goes while still being useful to the deck.  Also Way Of The Crab might be easier to set up if you are playing Assassination.  I've found that 3 honor loss can be pretty significant though.

 

ADD:  You always run the risk of poo poo-ing a 3x auto include card when the game is this young :)


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#8
sparrowhawk

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Thank you, Phillosmaster, for the immense effort you made writing your thoughts above. It was a really good read and filled with good insights.
 
I have to admit that Crab has probably been the least attractive Clan to me (I also don't like Night's Watch in Thrones). But I respect their card pool. Your musings made me look at their cards closer. I found myself agreeing with almost everything you wrote. I preface this post with that because I will end up discussing a few areas where I evaluated the cards differently. I want to stress I found myself in agreement with 95% of what you wrote - and much of what you wrote was new to me. Also usual disclaimer - this is all theorycraft!
 
Vengeful Berserker - whilst I completely agree Hida Tomonatsu is an auto-exclude, I believe your disdain for the Berserker influenced your build thinking. Unlike Way of the Lion, it doubles current and not base strength. A Banzai! (1 card, 1 honour) then any of the many in-conflict sacrifice effects (Vanguard Warrior, Miya Mystic, Stoic Gunzo, Steadfast Witch Hunter, Funeral Pyre, Way of the Crab) will result in 14 strength (do it in either order, multiplicative is always after additive and recalculated). He also works nicely with Stoic Gunzo coming in (or any 2 of them in a conflict benefit from 1 sac) as well as Hida Guardian free pump. And it's safe from Assassination and Blackmail. I view him as Crab's mid-range province breaker.
 
Way of the Crab - yes, it's the threat that you leverage and it can be played around during Dynasty. But it's meant to be played in the Fate phase after opponent has lost its chaff - which you can engineer with a Void Ring attack. If you are going second, you can play a dupe as first action in next turn's Dynasty to really bite into the good stuff. And here's the other point: the self sac is not a cost, it does not have the dash (so can be saved by Reprieve). With the ability to save economy between turns to ideally create an ebb and flow of waves of units that disappear simultaneously, you can leverage it to only have upside (as you cannot sacrifice your Keeper Initiates or other neutrals). That is of course when you are not using it during Conflict to surprise pump up the Berserker / Gunzo. It's a very strong card if you embrace the sacrifice theme.
 
Ideal Holdings = 1 Borderland Fortification in play. Whilst the Hida Guardian tempts you to have more, the lack of Dynasty draw would be too debilitating. Having the Fortification in play is +2 to breaking defence of at least 1 conflict - and the main way to kill it is to force you to move it in to avoid breaking then attack it again to break it in the other conflict type, when it is unable to escape (which it will normally do if overwhelmingly attacked). Of course if you commit it too early and then lose to a break, you also lose it - so it is always the last desperate action when you feel it is crucial to avoid the break. Funeral Pyre looks pants despite the sacrifice enabler and I prefer Imperial Storehouse if you want more holding presence to turn on certain abilities. I view Borderland Fortification as the elusive resilient card I need to turn on Guardian / Yasuki / Siuchi.
 
Slightly lower curve - you can find that Fortification quicker if you are buying 3 Dynasty cards each turn (I'd be happy to fully mulligan to try to find it). Your stronghold encourages weenies. Only Way of the Crab states a Crab sacrifice and ignores neutrals (you can power all other sacrifices with neutrals). Crab are weaker in Politics. The only high end I would keep would be 3 Hida Kisada for the Charge / Reprieve combo and 1 Witch Hunter who (I think) can Charge then sacrifice himself to ready another (pumping another), more sacrifice synergy. Whilst Kiau Siuchi looks great, Covert is anti-synergetic with Intimidating Hida's taunts (you are forced down the Dishonour pressure route by Keeper of Air), works best with more Covert (Wanderer in Dragon, Rival in Crane) to force unopposed and does not waste a target's use outside of 4th conflict when it is telegraphed; also uniques are ideally x3 to fish dupes and there's no room and 2 Glory is an issue in a build that minimises Dishonour threats (Hiruma Yojimbo 2 Glory avoids defending against Courtiers vs Crane or Scorpion, fearing For Shame, and defends Politics escorted against Court Games).
 
Good Omens - this is actually anti-synergetic with Honour pressure that Keeper of the Air encourages (Intimidating Hida = critical in the mirror, Watch Commander played first in defence, threat of 3x Levy never played until it wins unless you need the Honour transfer too), pressuring opponent to bid low.
 
 
Unfortunately, the meta is distorted by Kuroi Mori so I believe Unicorn is the only safe choice for Crab and Lion (at least until we get a neutral solution to this province that enforces balanced builds). Note that Vengeful Berserker can Charge in after Captive Audience is played (as late as possible to lure/waste tricks). And the role pushes the build down the 9 Honour pressure cards. My version is only subtly different to yours so I will explain where I differ.
 
 
Crab with Unicorn
Keeper of Air
 
+3 Shiro Nishiyama
4 Defend the Wall [e]
5 Pilgrimage [v]
4 Manicured Gardens [a]
4 Meditations on the Tao [f]
4 Rally to the Cause [w]
 
A defensive longer game build should go for provinces with repeat abilities, hence Meditations (Way of the Crab pressure) over Night Raid (which may be just a chump for Intimidating Hida and may discard surplus to hand size due to Honour pressure). Water is both reveal provinces and unbalanced builds can choose Rally the Cause if they want to gamble 50/50 (lessened as provinces are revealed) but triggering Roles makes Elemental Fury equally viable.
 
3x 0-0-0-0 Eager Scout [b]
3x 1-1-1-0 Hida Guardian [b]
3x 1-1-0-0 Kaiu Envoy [b]
3x 2-1-1-2 Keeper Initiate [m]
3x 2-1-1-1 Miya Mystic [s]
3x 2-4-3-2 Hiruma Yojimbo [b]
3x 2-1-2-1 Shrewd Yasuki [c]
3x 2-2-1-1 Vanguard Warrior [b]
3x 3-3-x-0 Vengeful Berserker [b]
3x 3-3-3-1 Borderlands Defender [b]
3x 3-4-2-1 Intimidating Hida [b]
1x 4-4-2-0 Steadfast Witch Hunter [s]
3x 5-7-2-0 Hida Kisada* [b]
3x +2 Borderlands Fortifications
 
I went 3x Miya Mystic because of leaves play synergy with other Crab cards (and Pacifism/Cloud the Mind can really hurt). I've also embraced the sacrifice theme with cheaper Berserkers over your 4-cost slots because I view them as province breakers.
 
3x 2-2-2-0 Hiruma Ambusher [b]
3x 2-2-1-0 Stoic Gunso [b]
 
3x 0 Fine Katana
3x 0 Ornate Fan
3x 1 Reprieve
3x 1 Watch Commander
 
3x 0 Levy
3x 0 Captive Audience [9]
3x 0 Banzai!
3x 1 Rout
3x 1 Charge!
3x 1 Way Of The Crab
3x 1 Mountain Does Not Fall
1x 1 Fallen in Battle
 
Ornate Fan is crucial against Outwit and Crane stronghold so goes to x3, as does Way of the Crab, embracing the sacrifice theme. With Captive Audience playable in defence, winning by 5 to trigger Fallen in Battle is credible (and adds small board pressure for Way of the Crab), but this is situational hence x1 threat (max. 1/conflict). Finally, no Spyglass because to me it needs additional move tricks to leverage its 2/round limit (and here only Mountain allows multiple commits) so that its 1C1F cost can be recouped with profit (yes, it adds +1P). The other nuance is that, unlike Thrones, there is no declaration of your ally so keeping Captive Audience as a critical surprise (barring Kitsuki or Earth random discard) keeps the opponent guessing, fearing the worst.
 
 
If I had the choice, I think I would prefer Keeper of the Void (to pressure Way of the Crab that bites) and allow the builder to ditch the Honour pressure module. But because of Keeper of Air and Kuroi Mori, I find myself proposing a build that is 90% the same as yours! With only very tiny differences. :)

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#9
HidaHonk

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I play 2 x Charge, 2 x Rout. Especially rout seems not so strong after playtesting 20 > games. Assassination is 3x in nearly any of my decks. Together with wotc it is very strong. Charge is a good card, but again situational... Maybe I will pump it up to three copies. Captive audience is very strong. Currently I only play 2 copies to have three favored mounts. If Crab gets a keeper role for constructed (after worlds), I will pump it up to 3. I think court games is a very strong card, even in crab. 


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#10
Stefan2581

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Just a quick clarification to Way of the Crab:

Action: Sacrifice a friendly crab character. Choose an opponent - that player ....

 

Everything before the Dash is cost, and so is the sacrifice.

Anyway, a sacrifice is only resolved if the character in question leaves play.

So it cannot be saved with Reprieve.


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#11
phillosmaster

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I'm still not completely sold on upping Way Of The Crab to 3x since it still feels situational.  I'll have to give Vengeful Berserker another chance since I do agree that on paper he is a way to break on offense if you are also playing a defensive game.  Also at 3 cost he's immune to alot of trickery.  It just feels like one too many things has to happen for him to trigger and feel worth it.  I like Kaiu Shuichi, but I do think he might be a bit weak right now.  If I don't get a holding in play he's fine, but I think I'd rather have any of the 3 cost characters flop in his place.  That does open up some deck slots.  Tobin mentioned on the Art Of Warcast podcast that 4 costers have sort of a similar problem here that they did in Conquest.  They are in kind of an awkward slot between good 3 costers and the clan champs.  Also 4 Fate is over half your production per round so they better have real devastating effects on the game to justify their purchase.  I think I agree with all that.

 

It might make more sense if I say my deck above was originally splashing Dragon.  I'm still figuring out the Unicorn splash, but it feels strong.  I was debating back and forth for Spyglass or Favored Mount.  Favored Mount seems really good as a contingency plan to not over commit.  It seemed to work good when I was trying it out.  I thought Spyglass would be nice since I do have 5 readying cards in the deck.  I can probably get it to trigger more than once. Haven't tested it in Crab yet though.

 

HidaHonk I think is right about Assassination.  I have one in my currently built deck offline.  I think I might up that to a 2x or 3x include because it did have a huge impact in the games I've played and if we are pressuring honor we should have enough of an honor lead to leverage that into paying Assassination's cost.  We certainly aren't going for the honor win here.  Your suggestions to cut down Rout and Charge! are also probably sound.  I love both cards but Charge! in particular can sometimes be tricky to use if I have a holding in play.  Rout has won me conflicts but it is sort of kicking the can down the street so to speak. That character is coming back so how much of a gain did I actually just buy myself.


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#12
HidaHonk

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HidaHonk I think is right about Assassination.  I have one in my currently built deck offline.  I think I might up that to a 2x or 3x include because it did have a huge impact in the games I've played and if we are pressuring honor we should have enough of an honor lead to leverage that into paying Assassination's cost.  We certainly aren't going for the honor win here.  Your suggestions to cut down Rout and Charge! are also probably sound.  I love both cards but Charge! in particular can sometimes be tricky to use if I have a holding in play.  Rout has won me conflicts but it is sort of kicking the can down the street so to speak. That character is coming back so how much of a gain did I actually just buy myself.

 

 

Jep, Rout is kind of a last province card. However, every military deck that counts will have ways to move back. Since you do not have enough send home to overload the options, I only choose to play 2. I really like Shuichi, even without a holding. The Covert Trait helps alot. I am also not a fan of the crab fortification. Holdings should do 2 things in my option. Help me winning battles or card draw/resource generation. I play 2 sacrifice pits, 3 imperial storehouse and 2 favourable grounds. Especially the grounds help tremendous at saving resources, moving peeps out of the battle if not needed or into the battle from home. Very good card. The same goes for the favoured mount. I also do not like the yasuki peep. Yes he is good with holdings, but not that good without them. And the stateline is medicore. I prefer the vanguard guardian, as he helps me to keep my bigger peeps alive. 



#13
sparrowhawk

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Just a quick clarification to Way of the Crab:
Action: Sacrifice a friendly crab character. Choose an opponent - that player ....
 
Everything before the Dash is cost, and so is the sacrifice.
Anyway, a sacrifice is only resolved if the character in question leaves play.
So it cannot be saved with Reprieve.


Oh, everything before the dash, even prior sentences.

Thanks for the correction. That weakens the event considerably.

Still acclimatising to the new templating. In the end it's more elegant. Sorry.

(Quick post at work. Sorry no time to respond to others yet.)

#14
IuchiToshimo

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I played Crab proxy decks while waiting for Unicorn previews and I disagree with OP's suggestion that there can be too much Funeral Pyre. However, the OP analysis that it creates a fantastic card draw machine is correct.

 

I found that I needed a critical mass of sacrifice options for the smooth functioning of my deck.

 

On the other hand, Borderlands Fortification was always nice to see but it tended to stick around. Opponents would not directly attack it, I presume they were assuming that it was clogging my provinces. If I wanted it gone, I could move it to the battle. If I wanted to save my province or card, I could move it to the battle. If I didn't care, it could just hang out. If my opponent attacked it directly, I could just move it elsewhere. Essentially, seeing the one was plenty, and my opponent had no actual control over it's existence.

 

I would suggest that Crab use the maximum of 10 conflict characters. I once flipped Hida Guardian, Otomo Courtier, and 2 holdings on turn one. I used my conflict characters and took two provinces that turn. Surprise! I believe Dragon is the best addition atm because Covert is very strong. I could see Lion as well for the free Deathseeker, or Pony for the cheap Shug that looks at provinces. With a Funeral Pyre and conservative play, conflict characters take up very little deck space, as the card cost is mitigated. If Crab ever get the ability to use Cavalry Reserves they will be truly frightening.

 

My holdings for Crab decks would look like 3 x Funeral Pyre and 1-2 x Borderland Fortification. 

 

Have fun!



#15
phillosmaster

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The holdings I think are the biggest issue I'm having right now in clan.  I've twice had a full dynasty flop of holdings, which is why I went down to 4.  Hidahonk runs 7.  I think this is the biggest hurdle with Crab and it's a unique consideration in their card pool since they have cards that care about holdings.  Other factions maybe completely ignore their holdings or include 1x/2x to just see it once.  With Crab if you do that it feels like it gives up a lot of potential in our currently limited card pool. Maybe that should be the first topic we zoom in on to try and understand the most optimal way to play the faction out of core.  Just from the opinions we have in this thread we've sort of reach three different conclusions;

 

We have four holdings:

 

Borderlands Fortifications:

Gives you +2 to a provinces strength.  It also can move for an action to any province.  I've found that this is the holding I liked seeing on the flop the most because it took up a dynasty slot but it gave me pretty much a free character's worth of defense which freed me up to spend more on the other dynasty characters or conflict cards I might play this round (which is good because it took up one of my dynasty slots).  It also allowed me to be more offensive with the characters I do have.  The downside is that's all it does and it has no sacrifice effect so you are encouraged to keep it around round to round (which I think may be ill advised since you might flop more holdings).

 

Funeral Pyre:

No strength bonus.  Allows you to sacrifice characters for an action, which in itself can be a boon if we get more characters like Vengeful Berserker.  I always had a target for it since characters were always leaving play each Fate phase for me.  It's possible if sacrificial characters becomes too contested a resource then we might have board states where we have no targets for this holding (have steadfast witch hunter, stoic gunso on the field and played way of the crab...).  So right now it seems like the weakest option for a holding slot.  That said it does give you a repeatable card draw option every round, which can be a powerful option, but that requires you to keep the holding in a province round to round which can be an issue if you flop too many holdings.

 

Favorable Grounds:

gives +1 province strength and has the really good effect of moving a character into or out of a conflict.  Requires you to sacrifice the holding to trigger the ability.  So compared to the Borderlands Fortification the strength bonus is less and it might not be relevant depending on where it flops.  That said the strength bonus is an extra benefit since you are playing it for that effect.  Pulling back overcommitted characters or pushing a character into a desperate battle feels like a very powerful option.  The sacrifice is kind of a none issue since I don't think you want this sitting around for too long

 

Imperial Storehouse:

gives +1 province strength and has the reliable effect of draw one card if you sacrifice the holding.  This is probably the easiest province to use.  The strength bonus may come up and it may not.  You can choose when you sacrifice the holding to draw a card, which makes it pretty flexible.  It will always draw you at least 1 card.  Compared to Funeral Pyre it seems just better if your plan is to discard holdings each round to free up provinces for dynasty draw.  This holding gives you an extra passive bonus in the strength bump and doesn't require anything else to trigger it's effect.  It just is capped at 1 card draw where Funeral Pyre is possibly a repeatable bonus and can give you another sacrifice options as explained above (which might become more relevant eventually).

 

So let's take a stab at ranking them based on their utility to the Crab clan card pool.  Giving it some more thought I'm currently going with the following:

Borderlands Fortifications > Imperial Storehouse > Favorable Grounds  > Funeral Pyre

 

I know this is at odds with Hidahonks evaluation so I'm interested in exploring why.  I think I've prioritized reliable benefit rather than situational benefit.  If we are going on which has the best possible value it would be Favorable Ground since it can cause the biggest swing, but it's possible we might not find a good situation to use it on the round it comes out.  In that case do we keep it around for another round?  In contrast Imperial Storehouse and Borderlands Fortifications are always relevant.  When we look at the holdings in this way Funeral Pyre seems the worst.  I think you want to include it if you are playing the Berserker though to give him one more way to trigger, and it's stock might rise if the card pool needs more sacrifice triggers to turn on effects.  Though right now it feels like the least possible benefit from a holding for a dynasty slot.  If I was considering running Funeral Pyre I think it would be my only holding.  I'd go 2x and I would try and keep it around for multiple rounds to maximize it's benefit (without running the risk of choking your dynasty draw by running too many holdings). 

 

I think it's also maybe important to highlight play style when talking about what holdings and how many holdings we are playing.  Do you keep holdings in provinces from round to round?  Do you run Rebuild to recur holdings?  Are you banking on getting the dynasty character synergy out of the holdings or do you consider that just a coincidental benefit.

 

Rebuild itself is an interesting topic to discuss.  It feels like if you are really going to consider playing 4+ holdings they will come up during a game reasonably reliably.  It also seems to trigger some interesting plays.  Rebuild a Borderlands Fortification into an attacked province then use Fortification's ability to move to the second attacked province maximizes it's benefit.  Rebuilding Favorable Grounds ups it's situational benefit since you get to pick when and where it comes into play.  Rebuilding Imperial Storehouse basically makes Rebuild read Draw 1 card and give a province +1 strength.  Not a bad card to slim out your conflict deck.  I'll be honest I haven't really given Rebuild a fair shake up until this point, but I think it's definitely worth considering if you are including something like the 7 holding load out Hidahonk describes.  That makes it potentially a very flexible card. 


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#16
HidaHonk

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Good analysis.

 

Concering Favorable Ground: It can be used in any round. Imagine you attack with 2-3 peeps to crush a province due to the high number of peeps. The opponent does not defend. You can save one char for def by sending him home. You can also move a char into the battle, that could not declared a defender due to covert. Or the hiruma yojimbo can be brought into an attack as moving does not count as declaring attacker. I did not find a use for rebuild myself. Conflict cards should win me conflicts directly and independent of other cards. 

 

Funeral prye is a good card due to the fate mechanic. I can sacrifice a character in the last conflict segment that is bowed and would leave the game at the end of turn for getting more cards. Borderlands Fortifications gives a straight +2 bonus which is nice but every good player will calculate this bonus in his attack.


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#17
phillosmaster

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Hiruma Yojimbo! I was totally missing that Favored Ground gets around that cards downside.  I guess Favored Mount does as well.  Very interesting. 


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#18
sparrowhawk

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Hiruma Yojimbo!  I was totally missing that Favored Ground gets around that cards downside.  I guess Favored Mount does as well.  Very interesting.


Very clever. 2x Audience, 3x Mount, 2x Spyglass, 3x Favourable Ground looks like far more optimal.

Glad this thread exists.

#19
Stefan2581

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Borderland Fortifications:

I would like to add, that this is a great way to protect a valueable character on any province. If you fear the province will break , you can

switch to it and save the character from discarding.


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#20
HidaHonk

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Very clever. 2x Audience, 3x Mount, 2x Spyglass, 3x Favourable Ground looks like far more optimal.

Glad this thread exists.

 

 

Atm I play only 2 favourable grounds, as I prefer carddraw due to imperial storehouse but 3x favourable ground it is a good option. I am thinking about going to 3 Audiences as it can be used offensively and defensively . But that will depend on the results of the world championships as I would need a keeper role.