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Crab clan strategy thread


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#61
JoeFromCincinnati

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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...

 

In my opinion, the actual card text of the roles are going to go in different directions as more cards come out.

 

As the card pool expands (and you get more clan and neutral cards to fit in your conflict deck) the amount of influence you use will most likely decrease. This means that the +3 influence on the keeper role will, over time, degrade in its value.

 

On the other hand, as the card pool expands (and you get more clan and neutral provinces for each element) the ability to run 2 provinces of one element will, over time, increase in its value.

 

The initiates, on the other hand, seem to be relatively static: The keeper monk is fantastic. The seeker monk is kind of garbage.

 

So, in time, the choice will be:

1. 2 provinces of 1 element + ~1-2 fate per game

2. the Keeper initiate + ~0-3 fate per game depending on playstyle

 

The role specific cards for each clan will also be a factor in which role you ultimately want for your clan as well, but that'll be a bit more nuanced, since it'll be 1 of each per cycle, I believe, and should hopefully be of approximately equivalent value.


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#62
phillosmaster

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I guess that's why I never questioned my misunderstanding of how that card worked.  In my misread I felt he was more inline with the Seeker Initiate.  Has anyone used the Seeker Initiate to good effect?  It's his 2 cost that really hurts.  I guess if you can get him honored that's something.  It's hard to see how the benefit in economy that the Keeper Initiate buys you can compare to the potential card draw that Seeker Initiate can buy you.

 

Let's compare Shrewd Yasuki to Seeker Initiate.  I think they are comparable cards.  Yasuki is a 1/2/1 for 2 fate and Seeker Initiate is a 1/1/2 for 2 fate.  Both let you draw a card if a condition is met.  Yasuki lets you look at the top 2 cards.  Seeker Initiate lets you look at the top 5 cards.  You have more control over Seeker firing than Yasuki.  If you honor both cards then Seeker comes out on top.  It really comes down to Yasuki having the 2 political out of the gate.  That makes him a more aggressive card.

 

That said I'm not sure Seeker Initiate is complete garbage.  He just does seem to be a bit overshadowed by the swing potential of the Keeper Initiate.  I think that has a great deal to do with the fact that right now Fate production is much harder to accelerate than card draw.  The  possibility of getting multiple cheap bodies on the field for free is such a boon right now, and Keeper Initiate having 2 glory can even make them pretty impactful characters on the field.  In contrast Seeker Initiate helps your card draw at the cost of your fate productions, which is less of a good trade right now in this game. 



#63
GreedoShotFirst

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I'm running into a lot of issues with crab.

playing mostly against crane, I'll have a significant effect canceled with no way to counter or stand. I find I can bid low, get card draw through other effects and defend provinces all day, but there isn't a consistent win condition through honor, dishonor or sacking provinces.

Cranes busted honor guy system translates to massive turns by their chuds and lion can just swing with 20 military without batting an eye. watchers feels better in a scorpion splash imo.

Too be honest, I think crab need event cancel or a standing effect and some way to reward winning defensively. Like a holding that would gather fate for each successful block then you can sack the holding to break a province or something.

Maybe I'm crazy, just not feeling crab as tier 1 at the moment.

#64
phillosmaster

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Hard to say what we need to do to improve your game against Crane.  Maybe if you posted your deck we could get a better idea of how you are trying to play Crab. 

 

I think as a rule if the opponent is bidding high for draw make sure you hit that air ring hard to try and push them toward the lower end (which will enable Watch Commander to be an impactful card).  If they are bidding low and not letting you really bump their honor down then I think you need to start attacking their hand with the earth ring and playing cards like Spies At Court.  You need to get those cancel effects out of their hands or make it so they can't draw or play them.  I think it's matchups like this that really makes the Phoenix splash make more sense.  Crane Is definitely going to fight effectively against your air attack (since they have so many honoring effects) so you need more ammunition to turn the tide.

 

I don't think anyone on this board is emphasizing Honor or Dishonor victory.  I think most of us are trying to choke the opponent's resources through character removal, dishonor and discard.  That coupled with investing fate in high value characters eventually gives you a better board state than your opponent.  It's possible Crab isn't Tier 1 right now.  I do think they are one of the more difficult clans to wrap your head around.  There are some very clear pitfalls you can fall down with this clan right now.  You need to really understand how to allocate your characters in the conflict phase to get the best benefit out of them each round.  That's not necessarily true with other clans like Unicorn who can adjust on the fly, Scorpion who play reactively out of their conflict deck, Lion who pretty much try and go for the steamrolling win or Dragon whose characters are all much more flexible.

 

Crab does have quite a bit of stand to help defend then attack with Steadfast Witch Hunter and the Mountain Does Not Fall.  Depending on your splash you can add more. 



#65
JoeFromCincinnati

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I'm running into a lot of issues with crab.

playing mostly against crane, I'll have a significant effect canceled with no way to counter or stand. I find I can bid low, get card draw through other effects and defend provinces all day, but there isn't a consistent win condition through honor, dishonor or sacking provinces.

Cranes busted honor guy system translates to massive turns by their chuds and lion can just swing with 20 military without batting an eye. watchers feels better in a scorpion splash imo.

Too be honest, I think crab need event cancel or a standing effect and some way to reward winning defensively. Like a holding that would gather fate for each successful block then you can sack the holding to break a province or something.

Maybe I'm crazy, just not feeling crab as tier 1 at the moment.

 

Event cancel is certainly annoying, but that's not something that's an exclusive weakness for Crab. Every clan has to deal with the possibility of their events being cancelled.

 

If you're experiencing it a lot vs Crane, I would recommend either putting effort into removing their honored characters (like the ASsassination + Way of the Crab combo) or start prioritizing the ring of fire to make sure they don't often have more honored characters than you, whenever possible.

 

They have standing effects in The Witch hunter and a faux standing event in The Mountain Does not Fall (the vast majority of bow is via conflict resolution, after all.)

 

I think Crab has a very specific play style that is tier 1. A board and honor pressure combination deck that bids low, relies on out of bid card draw, the ring of earth and Spies at Court for hand control, ring of void and removal effects for board control and ring of air and watch commander for honor control to keep your opponent in predictable and nonideal scenarios for their intended plays.

 

I don't think they're as simple as Crane and Lion are, who are just beat sticks that just out stat their opponents. Crab is a tiny bit more nuanced.


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#66
phillosmaster

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Fighting for Fire as a contingency plan is also a good idea since much of the Crane's military game comes from their glory stat.



#67
phillosmaster

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Alright I think I'm putting Spies At Court back in my deck.  Honoring Keeper Initiates gives me a surprisingly decent political game, and when Spies fires it can be back breaking for the opponent.  That card was doing work for me tonight so I have to respect that.


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#68
HidaHonk

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Spies is a good card, however my concerns are still battle actions. That's the reason to include for shame. Did anyone else having problems winning battles due to the lack of battle actions?



#69
phillosmaster

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When I'm winning currently with Crab I have either completely destroyed their hand and/or I have pushed their honor to 5 or less and have a Watch Commander on the board.  I've gotten much better at catching good windows for Way Of The Crab and I have 3x Assassinations now so I'm doing a reasonable job of either staying ahead in the board state of at least keeping the state even between players.  I think because that is primarily how I'm winning I don't really feel like I need more bow or dishonor effects.  That's been my experience.  I love For Shame, but I do worry that my decks don't have enough Courtiers in it to make that card consistent.  I think the only Courtier I have in the deck is Shrewd Yasuki.  If I'm attacking political it's usually with either him or Keeper Initiate to get a ring effect or a surprise break if the opponent lacks defenders.  If I'm defending political it's usually with the Hiruma Yojimbo or the Borderlands Defender. 

 

I'd need to try and build with more Courtiers to give a better opinion on that card in Crab.  How many Courtiers can we include?  I think 9 with Phoenix splash and neutrals.  I think 12 right now max with Crane splash and neutrals.

 

ADD:  I still think a good opponent can play around Way Of The Crab in such a way that they never give a good value target, but I also think attacking the player via discard, assassination and dishonor also can kind of put them on tilt.   Therefore I think even a good player can forget to be mindful of Way Of The Crab in their attempt to build back their board state and that's what has been helping me out.


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#70
HidaHayabusa

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After lots of games with Crabs in 3x cores, I've come to the conclusion that Crab/Phoenix is the way to go. Either Know the World or Display of power along with the splash of Seeker of Knowledge and probably 1x Pacifism is enough to get your dishonor engine going. MOST of my games are won through dishonor. 

You need to play the bidding game against non-honor runners, in order to make them use an assassination or some 'lose honor' strategy, and then switch with Commanders, Intimidating Hida and multiple wins of Ring of Air. Display of Power works wonders here, at least in tournament level that people won't know your deck exactly. Know the World works in a similar more proactive way, and you can choose what route you follow after testing both cards. 

 


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#71
HidaHayabusa

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I'm short on time at the moment, but I can post the first draft of my deck list that I plan on playing in 3 core. If you have any questions about inclusions, I'd be happy to address them and, ideally, soon I'll have time to read this whole thread and post my thoughts on the Crab as well:

 

DECKLIST snipped

 

 

 

 

No Levy?



#72
phillosmaster

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I can't speak for Joe, but I cut Levy as well.  In my case it was because deck space in the Conflict deck is pretty limited.  In my experience even though it contributes to the theme of dishonor and choke it wasn't doing enough at any given time to justify the inclusion.  I believe that Levy's biggest utility is a point and click honor loss when the opponent is out of Fate.  Thus it's a closer card for a dishonor (or honor) win.  I think right now a Crab dishonor deck is most effective as a choke/military break deck.  Therefore I didn't really need that close out potential (and it didn't feel good to have the card sitting in my hand waiting for a good opportunity to play it).  I had enough other cards or plays I could pursue to accomplish the same effect and what I felt the deck really needed was more ways to pressure breaks.  If I can't pressure breaks I'm not really capitalizing on the economic edge I'm turning out each round.  It seems like an effective strategy.  My current Crab deck is on a 6 game winning streak.  I wish I could have joined the Disco league to try it out, but I'm traveling for most of September.  Scheduling games would have been a nightmare.

 

If you are primarily going for the dishonor win I think Levy makes much more sense.



#73
HidaHayabusa

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Well checking Joe's decklist, and finding out that our only difference is Spies at the Court over Levy that I run, I think that he is quite focused on dishonor as well. In general I win much more by honor chocking, or dishonor, rather than straight military. Levy is something like AgoT's Meager Contribution. A silent winner that nobody saw doing the dirty work. 



#74
JoeFromCincinnati

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No Levy?

 

Unless I'm going for hard hard hard dishonor, Levy is just a deck thinning card in a game where 40 cards isn't even enough space to fit in what I want to fit in my deck haha.

 

And I don't really like the hard dishonor path that much because, most of Crab's dishonor is your opponent's choice. Watch Commander, they can choose not to play cards and Levy they can choose to give you fate if the honor is ever dangerous.

 

It just hasn't been consistent enough for me unless my opponent is just throwing caution to the wind and bidding way too high and assassinating way too often. And even in those cases, I'm often move inclined to use their dishonor as card advantage rather than trying to push them under water when they're doing everything they can to get a breath.



#75
HidaHayabusa

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Same thing here, although I've managed to get them under the honor pressure quite often, which in turn gives me the upper hand in military power. More or less, if they choose not to play cards under the commander effect then it's better for you. Same thing with Levy. 1 Fate is very important in decks that don't include 1fate attachment due to cost. 



#76
JoeFromCincinnati

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Same thing here, although I've managed to get them under the honor pressure quite often, which in turn gives me the upper hand in military power. More or less, if they choose not to play cards under the commander effect then it's better for you. Same thing with Levy. 1 Fate is very important in decks that don't include 1fate attachment due to cost. 

I agree that the alternative to losing honor (not playing cards for Watch Commander, giving a fate for Levy) is great for you regardless.

 

And I run 3 watch commander because it does set up a win-win situation.

 

The problem with Levy is the dishonor is not strong enough to justify its inclusion unless your sole intention is to dishonor your opponent every game.

 

I love putting my opponent under dishonor pressure. It makes them not able to play Assassination, Banzai, Captive Audience (although Captive Audience does nothing against me most games, as most of my characters are better in military than political anyway) so it limits or eliminates a portion of their deck from playability.

 

In addition, it makes them bid lower, meaning my out of bid draw (Shrewd Yasuki, Funeral Pyre, Imperial Storehouse, Kaiu Envoy + Spy Glass if I'm splashing the Corns) can easily propel me to good card advantage.

 

On top of that, it makes them prioritize rings that are not Ring of Void, such as Ring of Air for honor, Ring of Earth for card draw and Ring of Fire for honoring their characters. That makes clearing their board even easier.

 

However, the one thing I don't like about dishonor is trying to grind them down from the 3 honor to 0 honor. It just feels bad and there are a lot of ways to get around it, especially for Crab's dishonor strategy that is heavily based on choice.

 

Watch Commanders are amazing for that final grind, because they are basically given the choice of losing the conflict by not playing cards or losing the game by using cards. But it feels very hard otherwise. And Levy only marginally helps in that regard since, like I said, all your opponent has to do is save a fate to be immune to the dishonor effects of Levy (unless you're holding 2 or 3, in which case that's  about half of your hand that has had no part in assisting in conflicts).

 

Maybe I just don't see the full picture with Levy because I've only ever played it and have never had it played against me to any level of effectiveness. If I could see it in action to its fullest effect, I could be convinced otherwise. But, as of now, I just see it as a deck thinner with no real potential for true dishonor, especially in the spot that really counts (that last 3 honor).


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#77
Hakkor

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Excellent appreciation of the Crab clan. I understand your difficulty to rate Levy's utility, but it's as powerful as other long term cards. You analyzed how the crab must work both on dishonour to keep controlled your opponent's hand and at the same time board control, keeping the character number low. If you consider Levy in the middle of that, it becomes extremely powerful. For 0 cost, your opponent will be drawing less cards or utting less fate on their characters. Now, consider playing a Levy copy turn 1, 2 and 3. Whatever the opponenet had chosen, the advantage by turn 3-4 is huge, even if it wasn't so palpable on turns 1-2.

 

Of course, that could be argued saying three fine katanas would have been of much better use. But Levy, unless countered, gets in. Characters, on the other hand, can get bowed, sent home or suffer ill destinies, so everything that boosts them is not 100% efficient.



#78
Epicurus

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I've been playing both with and without Levy, and in a few cases it's closed out the honor-loss on an opponent who was otherwise going to win. In other cases, it's sat in my hand while I waited for such an occasion, and it didn't come.

 

I think the deck-thinning effect of simply bidding slightly higher than normal and playing your Levy when it appears is actually worthwhile in Crab. The lower you bid, the more deck-thinning is valuable, and I am of the opinion that deck thinning in general is precious. I'm current experimenting with 3x Levy in all my decks to see if the possible tempo hit of drawing a card that doesn't replace itself until next turn is worth it - I'll get back with my results.

 

I will say that cutting 3 cards from each of my working decks to include the Levy was extremely painful because they're already packed with cards I want to see, but thinner = better unless you're decking yourself already.


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#79
HidaHayabusa

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Totally agree with the analysis. What I found out though, was that Levy was good in my first games before people realised what I was playing. Cards that offer a choice to the opponent seem bad (and get cut eventually) but that doesn't mean that opponents always make the obvious choice. 

 

So, final outcome, I've swapped all 3 copies of Levy for my final playtest session, in order to add 2 Spies and 1 more Mountain. Can't say I missed Levy, but the nature of the card is such, that you can't really tell when it's working and when its not. 

 

The concept behind the Crab/Phoenix is choking the opponent leaving them no clear choice and push them to either make mistakes or just lose the conflicts you want to fight. 


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#80
JoeFromCincinnati

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Totally agree with the analysis. What I found out though, was that Levy was good in my first games before people realised what I was playing. Cards that offer a choice to the opponent seem bad (and get cut eventually) but that doesn't mean that opponents always make the obvious choice. 

 

So, final outcome, I've swapped all 3 copies of Levy for my final playtest session, in order to add 2 Spies and 1 more Mountain. Can't say I missed Levy, but the nature of the card is such, that you can't really tell when it's working and when its not. 

 

The concept behind the Crab/Phoenix is choking the opponent leaving them no clear choice and push them to either make mistakes or just lose the conflicts you want to fight. 

 

Call me crazy, but I think 3x Mountain should be in every Crab deck for at least the core set.

 

After testing further, I can't say I'm ever unhappy to see it. And as second player (so that they character can defend twice and then attack) is incredible.

 

It is further amplified by SpyGlass out of Unicorn, which allows for immediate replacement, as the character can now participate in at least 2 conflicts, getting the max number of triggers out of the spyglass.

 

True, it doesn't help you win conflicts, but it does help you win future conflicts, especially when your opponent isn't suspecting it and is anticipating that character bowing and no longer being a factor in future conflicts.

 

And pairing it with Borderlands Defender? Man...talk about a match made in heaven haha.