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Crab clan strategy thread


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#41
HidaHonk

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Ok, after playing some games. I think Court games is a must have atm, even in crab. I did get lost of Good Omen. It is a good card, but again situational...


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#42
phillosmaster

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I played some more and I can say now:

1.) I'm convinced if you aren't trying to win by dishonor or honor Levy can be cut.

2.) I'm figuring out that holdings aren't so bad.  I was playing scorpion and I had 2 favored ground, 2 imperial house and 1 city of lies.  I wanted to try scorpion, but I also wanted to do homework for crab.  Yeah I totally get it now.  Favored Ground is great.  Imperial Storehouse was great for Scorpion as well since I was rarely buying out all my provinces. I guess having extra face up characters for Ambush is a consideration, but it wasn't an issue in my game.  I suspect the same could be said for Charge!, which I still do include in my Crab deck.

 

I think that's the trick.  Figure out how to play the game without going wide.  I think that's the key thing in Joe's posts that wasn't clicking for me.  I think it's gonna be a common reaction that you need to go wide to have flexibility on committing to conflicts.  For Scorpion that sure wasn't true.  I was definitely winning with my conflict hand.  I think the trick is understanding how much Fate you need to stack on your characters to try and build a character advantage as the game goes on since Crab is trying to emphasis character removal.  Also Spies At Court is really good to double down on pressuring their hand.  I'm gonna have to think and draft another deck.  I liked alot of the Scorpion Conflict cards, but I'm not sure they are a good splash.  I guess Crab don't care about dishonoring themselves, but there is also a lot of political/courtier synergy in that faction.  Still the Ninjas and Ambush were fun to play.


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#43
JoeFromCincinnati

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I played some more and I can say now:

1.) I'm convinced if you aren't trying to win by dishonor or honor Levy can be cut.

2.) I'm figuring out that holdings aren't so bad.  I was playing scorpion and I had 2 favored ground, 2 imperial house and 1 city of lies.  I wanted to try scorpion, but I also wanted to do homework for crab.  Yeah I totally get it now.  Favored Ground is great.  Imperial Storehouse was great for Scorpion as well since I was rarely buying out all my provinces. I guess having extra face up characters for Ambush is a consideration, but it wasn't an issue in my game.  I suspect the same could be said for Charge!, which I still do include in my Crab deck.

 

I think that's the trick.  Figure out how to play the game without going wide.  I think that's the key thing in Joe's posts that wasn't clicking for me.  I think it's gonna be a common reaction that you need to go wide to have flexibility on committing to conflicts.  For Scorpion that sure wasn't true.  I was definitely winning with my conflict hand.  I think the trick is understanding how much Fate you need to stack on your characters to try and build a character advantage as the game goes on since Crab is trying to emphasis character removal.  Also Spies At Court is really good to double down on pressuring their hand.  I'm gonna have to think and draft another deck.  I liked alot of the Scorpion Conflict cards, but I'm not sure they are a good splash.  I guess Crab don't care about dishonoring themselves, but there is also a lot of political/courtier synergy in that faction.  Still the Ninjas and Ambush were fun to play.

 

I'm happy that testing revealed these things to you :)



#44
GreedoShotFirst

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I've never played L5R before, but I took any online quiz a d it told me to go crab so you asshats are stuck with me.

Assassinate into way of the crab seems like a pretty legit combo since levy pretty much means they're going to pay fit you too kill their own guy.

mirumoto fury is some real crap. I don't know if it's legal for us to include that card, but I would totally think about it.

#45
phillosmaster

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We can take Mirumoto's Fury.  I started out playing a Crab/Dragon deck and it did feel pretty good.  I've been trying Crab/Unicorn, but now Joe's got be exploring Crab/Phoenix to double down on the dishonor/card choke theme we have (which is reinforced by our current role as Keeper of Air).  Assassination is an amazing card because it feels like at least the people I play against always seem to overlook that possibility.  The 3 honor loss is a deceptively expensive cost, but if Crab is already pressuring honor then we can afford it I think.


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#46
GreedoShotFirst

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We can take Mirumoto's Fury.  I started out playing a Crab/Dragon deck and it did feel pretty good.  I've been trying Crab/Unicorn, but now Joe's got be exploring Crab/Phoenix to double down on the dishonor/card choke theme we have (which his reinforced by our current role as Keeper of Air).  Assassination is an amazing card because it feels like at least the people I play against always seem to overlook that possibility.  The 3 honor loss is a deceptively expensive cost, but if Crab is already pressuring honor then we can afford it I think.

 

And like you said, if you play Levy and they pay you in honor, they are literally paying you to kill their own 2 or less guy.



#47
phillosmaster

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I played Crab twice today against my usual opponent.  Once against a first time build he had for Unicorn and then again against his favorite build for Phoenix.  I won both games.  I won the Phoenix game by dishonoring him to death.  This thread has been very helpful for me.  I feel confident with Crab now.  I feel like if you aren't putting on the dishonor pressure in Crab you are probably playing them wrong.  I quickly jumped him down both times to about 4 honor and it never really recovered making my Watch Commanders game winning cards.  I think he'll probably know he needs to defend honor stronger against Crab now though so maybe from here on I'll have a harder time against him.

 

The ring claims still need to be a judgement call but I took Air every round.  I never bid higher than 2 on the draw.  

 

I did manage to play Way of the Crab well twice.  You definitely need to play the 1 and 2 cost characters almost always with zero fate on them because they are getting sacrifice.  Maybe bring them to 1 fate if you are trying to catch a fate stacked character in the fate phase with Way Of The Crab.  The only 2 cost character  I was fating up was the Shrewd Yasuki. Then stack 2 or 3 fate on your 5,4 and 3 cost characters to keep them around to build up a character advantage.  I cut Good Omen because when the deck is working they are usually bidding low once they figure it out.  It just won't trigger most of the time. That all did help me keep a good board position.

 

I had 7 holdings in the deck, and they were fine.  They definitely made more sense now that I was buying less characters out of the provinces each round.  I never flopped a whole dynasty hand of holdings though so that's still a crappy possibility, but I guess it is what it is right?  I think you need to try and keep your conflict character count kind of high for this reason.  I had 9 in my deck.  I like Favored Ground and Imperial Storehouse. I needed more draw so Imperial Storehouse was very useful.  Favored Ground I was already sold on from a previous post.  Funeral Pyre I still am underwhelmed by because I always felt like if I was gonna keep a holding around turn to turn I'm rather it be Borderlands Fortification.  I still think Borderlands Fortification is a real good at least 1x include in Crab.  It prevented so many breaks without me doing more than a token defense.

 

I took Joe's lead and splashed Phoenix.  I only drew Display of Power once and the game was over before I could us it.  That said the Seekers of Knowledge and Display Of Power both definitely could have pushed me over the edge on the dishonor pressure.

 

I did cut Levy.  I'm sorry Levy fans, but I just didn't need it in this deck. Maybe if I wasn't splashing Phoenix and needed the extra pressure. 

 

I was usually sitting at around 15 honor or so.  Assassinations were super easy to play.


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#48
phillosmaster

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Stronghold: Shiro Nishiyama

Current Role: Keeper of Air

Provinces:  Defend the Wall, Manicured Gardens, Night Raid, Meditations on the Tao, Rally To The Cause

 

Dynasty Deck:

Crab:

2x Eager Scout

2x Hida Guardian

3x Kaiu Envoy

3x Hiruma Yojimbo

3x Shrewd Yasuki

3x Vanguard Warrior

3x Borderlands Defender

3x Intimidating Hida

3x Steadfast Witchhunter

3x Kaiu Shuichi

3x Hida Kisada

1x Borderlands Fortifications

Neutral:

2x Keeper Initiate

3x Imperial Storehouse

3x Favored Ground

 

Conflict Deck:

Phoenix:

3x Seeker Of Knowledge

3x Display Of Power

Crab:

3x Hiruma Ambusher

3x Stoic Gunso

3x Reprieve

3x Watch Commander

3x Way Of The Crab

3x The Mountain Does Not Fall

Neutral:

3x Banzai

3x Assassination

3x Court Games

3x Ornate Fan

2x Charge!

2x Rout

 

So my big changes from my original deck are I swapped out the Pyres and redundant Fortifications for the neutral holdings, which seems like what a lot of you guys did.  This was a big change.  I think you want Fortifications for be a 1x include and Pyre to be a 1x or 0x include.  The neutrals giving me good benefit and then sacrificing was nice to clear out provinces.  I was only ever keeping Fortifications in a province round to round and it stayed in for the rest of the game when it showed up.  I changed Night Raid out for Meditations because I saw alot of you guys were doing that.   Yeah I was not realizing how good Meditations is and it's really good. I changed my splash to Phoenix and went aggressively for the Air ring like Joe suggested.  I upped the Assassination count and upped the Way Of The Crab count, which is what a lot of you suggested.  I got rid of Good Omen and Levy.  The Ornate Fans and Court Games helps me defend political and the Court games did help add to the dishonor pressure.  I saw alot of you included Court Games and I had been passing it over in Crab, but since I'm going hard after the Air ring it really did make a difference.  The Keeper Initiates never fired because I was going after the Air ring so much.  I guess they served as a deterrent, which was still useful.  I never bought them out of the province.  I always left them there and discarded them at the end of the round.  I'm not using 1 of my influence in this build.

 

ADD:  I feel like I can put on the honor pressure without the Phoenix cards, but they do make the pressure more consistent.  If I wanted to really pressure military breaks more I could see going back to Unicorn and including my 3x Captive Audiences,  2x Favored Mounts and 1x Spyglass.  That would up my province break game since I have a better chance of a double break round.  I was struggling to break twice in a round with this deck.  Though I would lose 3 conflict characters in this build so that's worth considering.  I do like having my conflict character count up at 9 or 10.


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#49
estyles

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Unicorn:

3x Seeker Of Knowledge

3x Display Of Power

 

 

:huh: 

 

Your Phoenixes are labeled Unicorn!      :D


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#50
phillosmaster

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:huh:

 

Your Phoenixes are labeled Unicorn!      :D

Fixed it.  I guess I really want to keep working on the Unicorn build.

 

So you can see from the deck I didn't put Spies At Court into the deck.  I think the thing that really stopped me was the clause that I had to win a political conflict.  Sometimes I won political with Crab and sometimes I didn't so in my experience that card might sit around for a while.  That's why it still hasn't made the cut, but I gotta experiment with it some more.  It does feel good to really push their hand down to low numbers when you are already pressuring dishonor so it does seem like it should have a place.  Especially considering most of the time I could care less about being dishonored myself.



#51
Vorrt

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So I posted this question in the Crab Facebook group, but I'll post here as well:

What province do you feel is best under our Stronghold?

I personally enjoyed Rally to the Cause at Gen Con, as I was getting pressured politically a lot.



#52
estyles

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So I posted this question in the Crab Facebook group, but I'll post here as well:

What province do you feel is best under our Stronghold?

I personally enjoyed Rally to the Cause at Gen Con, as I was getting pressured politically a lot.

 

 

If playing with Ancestral Lands, I think that's the one that goes under the stronghold.  However, the clan province is Earth, so to include it you either have to skip Defend the Wall (it's pretty good, but I'm not sure it's better than Ancestral Lands) or play Seeker of Earth (not the current role for OP). 

 

So if you don't have Ancestral Lands, I think Rally to the Cause is a good choice.  Unfortunately, I doubt it will help against Unicorn or other Crab, and probably not against Lion, but probably good against everyone else.



#53
phillosmaster

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Rally to the Cause.  That's what I always put under there now that I went with Meditations on the Tao instead of Night Raid.  If I was still going Night Raid I could put either Rally or Night Raid under the stronghold.  I found people usually push in with several characters to take the stronghold and therefore I maximize Night Raid's effectiveness.  I always run Defend the Wall in a normal province to maximize it's effectiveness.  Defend The Wall and Pilgrimage (optimally with a Fort in play) out on the board makes for some tough province breaks before the stronghold without me really spending many (or any) resources on defense. 



#54
Hakkor

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Watch commander looks so strong. It is an instant punishment for high bidding players, increasing their honor loss furthermore. It keeps them punished it latter turns, where they are forced to bid low to cope with the attachment's honor loss.

 

Anyway, I'm not sure yet (just a single game with Crab) if dishonoring is the way to go. I found them excellent going defensively. Half of the crab conflict cards change the board state, so it's some sort of attrition game, being able change into honor or character starvation depending on the situation, adding some province punishment with miliraty surprise attacks after defending.



#55
Epicurus

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What province do you feel is best under our Stronghold?

I personally enjoyed Rally to the Cause at Gen Con, as I was getting pressured politically a lot.

 

I used to use Rally to the Cause, but now I prefer Pilgrimage.

 

5 base strength + our stronghold produces a respectable 8 strength vs both challenge types, and on top of that if the enemy does not win by 8 then thanks to the effect of the province all they get is a slightly better shot at imperial favor. So basically "If you can't win by 8, you wasted your time". This lets you commit a lot less characters/cards than the enemy if you defend precisely, without giving up ring effects, and you can turn that dynamic into a "crack-back" threat. 

 

Unlike Rally to the Cause, it keeps working over and over. Since I tend to play a long game based on Dishonor, I will likely need to defend my stronghold more than once. I want an ability that keeps paying dividends. Further, the "Win by 8 or don't bother" plays into the crab tactic of low bids and weathering hand disadvantage by providing a giant sink for the enemy to waste their resources so you can overtake them.

 

Philomaster, thank you for sharing your new decklist and your rationale, your write-ups of your thought process are greatly appreciated. I agree with you that Crab NEED to push dishonor right now, and I love it. Of my wins in Crab, almost all of them have been outright dishonor wins, or concessions from opponents who were going to lose provinces due to fighting too hard to avoid dishonor loss.

 

I am curious about how you said your keeper initiates never fired because you hit air so much - you know that the initiates come on the board when you simply CLAIM the ring - you don't need to do it on defense like the Keeper role ability. If you attack air a lot, you should be drowning in keepers. I do find myself hitting Air to help close out the game, but usually I prefer Earth. Earth is very complementary to honor pressure, because if we translate the card swing to honor, it's a much larger honor swing than the ring of air. Also, if you're bidding low and forcing the enemy to do likewise, one ring of earth hit represents the gain of a full turn's worth of cards for you, and the loss of a full turn of cards for them. Void is also very strong just due to its natural efficiency. Generally I'll go for air only to close out a game or else deploy my keeper initiates.

 

My current decklist is very similar to Joe from Cincinnati's, but I cut a few odds and ends in order to run 3x Levy and a single Rebuild.

 

My most successful play right now has been to always bid 1, or occasionally a 2 to try and dance around a scorpion who wants to bid 1 but also want to be able to use I can Swim on me and therefore bids 2. Bidding 2 and reducing your bid to 1 after seeing a Levy is a pseudo deck-thinning play, and Levy gives you a bit of reach to get a dishonor win. Once the enemy respects the threat of Levy held in hand, you can start playing a deck with no Levy in it occasionally and get the full benefit. 

 

My most successful gameplan so far has been to do low bids and play to weather the storm. When you bid 1 to the enemy's 5 for 1-2 turns, your goal is to make them use up more cards and resources to crack your provinces than you do, and sneak in a counter-hit whenever possible. Making small attacks with low-power characters to force them to either block or give you a free ring effect is also solid (1 skill military swing with Kaiu envoy, saving your other characters to save a province. Do they use someone to block and weaken their attack, or do they give you a ring for "free"?). If you're defending and they commit enough to break the province, I love the combo of using favored ground to send your defender home, then use Display of Power to reverse the ring effect. Then swing back with your still-standing defender and maybe break one in return. I found it very useful to avoid playing Banzai! on defense as much as possible so you can save them to threaten breaks on attack. With this honor-choke strategy, Assassinate is also a golden card. Use it when the enemy commits fate or cards to a 2-cost, trying to break a province, to get that efficiency.


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#56
phillosmaster

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Watch commander looks so strong. It is an instant punishment for high bidding players, increasing their honor loss furthermore. It keeps them punished it latter turns, where they are forced to bid low to cope with the attachment's honor loss.

 

Anyway, I'm not sure yet (just a single game with Crab) if dishonoring is the way to go. I found them excellent going defensively. Half of the crab conflict cards change the board state, so it's some sort of attrition game, being able change into honor or character starvation depending on the situation, adding some province punishment with miliraty surprise attacks after defending.

Watch Commander wins games.

 

The dishonor compliments the defensive play since playing on the defense means playing less on the offense usually barring ready effects.  Also I'm not actively trying to win by dishonor.  I'm trying to choke cards and attrition characters off the table with Way Of The Crab and Assassination.  So I'm trying to choke the opponent all around to make their board state more manageable for me to win breaks with less on the offense.  I suspect this is also the way Joe was playing based on his posts.  It's probably not the only way to play, but to me right now in core only it feels like the strongest way to play.

 

@Epicurus - Yes at the time for some reason in my games I was conflating the Keeper Initiate and the Keeper role card. I had only just started using the card.  Prior to Gencon I was never playing with the roles in my proxy games.  Lately I've been playing Scorpion with their Seeker role.  I need to go back to Crab now that I'm clear how the Keeper Initiate works.  Also I agree that Earth is not a bad choice to hit for pressuring their hand.  Maybe that's a consideration for our role pick at Worlds.  I'm gonna miss not being Keeper of Air.


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#57
HidaHonk

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I am thinking about adding for shame in my crab deck. The reason is that I feel that I lack battle actions sometimes. Crab are big and scary, but I have a very limited set of battle actions. For shame is a very strong action, especially gainst most of the clan champs. I will test a deck with crane splash for the 1 Fate courtier that helps with the courtier count. In addition, for shame is a automatic bow action after he enters the battle. 



#58
JoeFromCincinnati

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  The Keeper Initiates never fired because I was going after the Air ring so much.  I guess they served as a deterrent, which was still useful.  I never bought them out of the province.  I always left them there and discarded them at the end of the round.  I'm not using 1 of my influence in this build.

A quick question for clarification:

 

What do you mean when you say you never fired the keeper initiates? If you were throwing them in your discard pile and going after the ring of Air so much, you should have been triggering them to bring them into play from your discard pile each time you claimed the air ring (on either offense or defense).

 

Am I misunderstanding what you're saying or did you just now find out the keeper initiates are way better than you thought they were? ;)



#59
phillosmaster

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Yes when I first started running them I was conflating their text with the role card's text.  I hadn't been playing with roles until around Gencon.  We'd just been playing the clans role-less up until that point.  So I had just started using the card, and my opponents never noticed that I was forgetting their ability.  Then someone used it on me and I reread the text :)

 

They are way better than I thought they were.


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#60
estyles

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Yes when I first started running them I was conflating their text with the role card's text.  I hadn't been playing with roles until around Gencon.  We'd just been playing the clans role-less up until that point.  So I had just started using the card, and my opponents never noticed that I was forgetting their ability.  Then someone used it on me and I reread the text :)

 

They are way better than I thought they were.

 

Is it just me, or is it bonkers how much better Keeper Initiate is than Seeker?  I kind of like the Seeker roles for doubling up on province elements, but paying 2 Fate for a temporary weak guy that might give you a card draw is so much worse than paying 0 Fate for a temporary weak guy from your discard pile.  Or 3x temporary weak guys sometimes...