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The Crane Deck Thread


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#101
sparrowhawk

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This is almost identical to the deck I have been running. Instead of Favorable Ground I include Doji Hotaru x3. In conflict, I don't run Political Rival and instead run Censure x3. I also run Assassination x3 and a single Charge!
Any thoughts on including Test of Skill x3 and bringing the deck total to 43? I always go for the minimum deck size for focus, but that card specifically helps me get more cards in my hand anyways. With 37 events and only 3 characters, seems worth it to me.

 

Apologies - I missed this entirely! Welcome to this sadly dying forum - a nice first post! My guess is the "vetting delay" of your first post was the cause of me starting a thread whilst you had already responded.

 

So what you mean is the splash is "identical"... =p

I think Charge and Hotaru go hand-in-hand. How come? Because you defend their Military attack with Charge Hotaru (bonus points if they hit Shameful Display, though that normally results in defending with a +0F character then Noble Sacrifice the big investment attacker). You then watch Hotaru debate with the attacker. You may lose the conflict. But you counter Military Water (opponent's Military weaker after their Military attack, always best to respond in opponent's last conflict type) to stand Hotaru for your conflict 4 Political attack. Charge is also a 1C1F answer to needing that extra body, especially in defence. Sometimes you get unluckily flooded with goodness like 2 Challengers or 2 Guests. Charge is the answer. If you play Storyteller or Magistrate or Shizue (when you will win Favour), Charge can have great impact. Nerishma's dynasty cycle aids it. Charge with Representative or Kaezin against a bigger attacker is a 1C1F cheat in, former used to Debate and For Shame before going home. Charge is pseudo economy, emergency cover if Crab assassinates your weenie. But equally important the body you bring in (usually Military defence) has also saved you a dynasty action as fate bonus is heavily competed.

That said, if you are not playing Favourable Ground, Charge does lose its lustre. Crane.Crab also prefers Charge due to Reprieve and Skirmisher scouting. Such a build which has attachments might play more Shugenja for Cloud the Mind and a charging Storyteller timed well can net you many cards. I don't think Charge is an auto-include as they seem to be in builds.

3x Assassinate works well with 3x Admit Defeat but Censure has made me more cautious. But you playing 6 cancels is a nice idea, especially as there are no visible clues you value Favour. Crane.Phoenix Dishonour spends its Honour gained from Kimono and Seeker of Knowledge on Assassinate, relying also on Storyteller double bonus on honoured characters leaving play. But recently I've moved away from x3. If my solo Military attacker is defended by more than one, that's a win. A good player won't defend against Challenger unless desperate and it combos with Admit Defeat (or Shizuka Toshi in Political). Representative won't provoke overcommit in defence. Kaezin will just go home if faced with a bigger Military defender. There are plenty of opportunities to Admit Defeat already that playing Assassinate becomes mostly a threat. That's just me: I bid high preferring a cheap conflict deck of answers in Crane.

Test of Skill should only be played with Yoshi. Spies at Court grants a half a card advantage (plus fear of random disruption) for its opportunity cost in your deck. Test of Skill with its revealing of 2 cards (many reactive like Voice, Ready and Censure) and possibly 1 is tiny incremental advantage without Yoshi discount. 32 events like the linked build is fine. My issue is that going all-in with Yoshi discount with high cost events is asking for a savvy opponent to commit to Favour. Sure that's tempo loss but your economy base is centred around finding and triggering Yoshi. At least City of Lies can be defended.

Going to 43 is sinful. It's a crime against card gaming. That said, if your build is long game with a side focus of Dishonour, it's not that bad (never exceed Dynasty 40). The Crane I play is very tempo, it explodes from its starting blocks. You want Admit Defeat turn 1, turn 2 and turn 3 just as you want Fury turn 1, turn 2 and turn 3, that's why both are x3. That's why I prefer a very cheap conflict deck, to accommodate high initial bids (except vs Restoration) to find the explosive start. A build that is usually short game tempo needs to be as slim as possible to find that explosive start.

Favourable Ground is golden against Feast or Famine and just a great combat option. Not to mention passive effects like Guest and Magistrate. I would suggest you let go of the Hotaru crutch (she's not a Courtier, she's high Glory Political hence needs an escort vs Court Games, an attacker into Shameful rather than a defender of your Shameful) and play your deck just as you describe but with Favourable Ground instead. I think it's my favourite holding barring OP nonsense like Kanjo District. So much fun.

43! Hmmfff! =p



#102
neraka27

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I definitely agree about the tempo of this deck. When the cards flop favorably, I should be winning province breaks 1-0 round one, 2-1 round two. I love sending my Cautious Scout alone, seeing my opponent commit just enough defence to cover for Banzai, and then I play Legion of One to win by 1.

When I have had Charge! in my deck, it worked well. I just hate losing the opportunity to place extra fate... I will probably put it back in based on how it seemed to work well, even when I didn't expect it to.

For a while I experimented with Magistrate instead of Kaezin for more soft control, but every time I had it in play, the fate restriction was more of a hindrance to me than my opponent. I was late in realizing the potential of purposely losing Kaezin's duel to send him home, a poor man's Favorable Ground. I am not sure Magistrate will ever really find a place with fate economy being what it is.

#103
sparrowhawk

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You spoil me, sir! Two responses. Almost a conversation.

 

On Magistrate, cards that enhance it:

Favourable Ground - loves passive effects

Charge supporting attacker - threat opponent must respect

Mono No Aware - requires specialist deck

Counter opponent's telegraphed Charge in defence (dislodging)

Admit Defeat - causes opponent to not go wide but instead long

Water - defending with the Water target simply opposes

Mirumoto's Fury, Shizuka Toshi and other control cards

 

Let me elaborate on that last point:

 

You have 2 revealed provinces, both broken, and Fury in hand. Opponent has 2 ready characters, one with Glory 3 with Fate on it, the other with Glory 2 and no Fate. Magistrate attacks (in Water if possible).

 

Shizuka Toshi is unused. Opponent has 2 ready characters: the one with Political 3+ has no Fate, the balanced character with Political 2 has Fate on it. Much like a skewer in Chess, Magistrate comes in Political Water.

 

Anything that forces the opponent to react in a certain way, that limits options, is good for Crane.

 

That said, like you say, it is double edged. I've seen opponents attack in Void to remove its threat because it now has no escort and no bite. This to me indicates it's best in an attachments build or with lots of pump as a singular threat. It also doesn't play nicely with itself, an example of a non-unique character that is best at x1 toolbox. But for clarity of "what I'm trying to achieve", all the builds I list tend to be very focused, omit the toolbox options that in reality you do dabble in, because they distract from the illustrative points being made. That culling of x3 to x2 mid-game (don't want it early) with a x1 toolbox happens when you refine the high concept build.

 

I think I discussed Magistrate at length when I dabbled in Crane.Crab earlier in this thread, it's prompting to "go narrow" helping Crane's pinpoint control game. Or maybe it was the jokingly jank Yoshi + Mono No Aware build which I never played (who would have thought the idea had legs). Anyway, Magistrate x1 seems like a good idea in builds with Charge and Favourable Grounds. So maybe not yours.

 

This one-on-one forum chatting, it's got me all misty-eyed with so many good memories from this forum (from various different LCGs). I could never get into reddit's formatting and I wonder what Discord is like. Ah, progress, eh?



#104
Gauldoth2

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I have been thinking about my Paris kotei deck for a while and the Lion splash seems to be the my choice as well in the current metagame. 

 

For me Legion of One is the main reason for it, and it should be supported by some number of Ready for Battles and Stand Your Grounds. The later one is a surprising omission in Your deck, Sparrowhawk, because for me it embodies the meaning of tempo due to squeezing one more round from a body I have already paid for. In addition I would also like to see some Goblin Sneaks, because they combo so well with the already included Legion of One besides their distruptive natures. To remain at 40 cards I plan to remove a Noble Sacrifice and something else. It is needed to be tested before the final decision.

 

On the dynasty side I tend to agree with you. Kakita Yoshi does not belong to this style of deck and Hotaru is good really only as a Charge target. It is a bold move to play without five-costers but already You and Ifightdragons created the precedent for it.


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#105
sparrowhawk

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Thank you for the kind words. But I certainly do not think I should be mentioned in the same sentence as true players like IFightDragons. I'm just a hermit theory-crafter who writes on CGDB who occasionally (when it's a convenient commute like London or already going such as UK Expo) turns up to perform ... above average. Missing the cut in big tournaments at 17 because I let a dominating game slip into a modified win due to perfectionism is my real skill - I'm a master! That and being a victim of dubious borderline-cheating "sportsmanship" tricks during my under-achieving Magic career (that reinforced my view that I'm not a competitor, just an academic).

I agree that Goblin is a great fit for the build, as per the Scorpion-Lion deck I linked. My reason for skipping it is because there are many good Dynasty targets already in Cautious Scout, Brash Samurai and Kaezin, even a versatile Steward could do it at the same cost, albeit without stealing Fate. Cautious Scout +1F nerfs a province as neraka27 loves above, Brash Samurai +1F attacks in Military Fire -> Legion -> dishonour their big investment -> Noble Sacrifice is just too easy (and nets 2 honour swing inherent in the kill). Unlike Scorpion.Lion who don't have similar cheap military units. That's my rationale anyway and it may be flawed. One subtle advantage of Goblin is its "-" in Political as a Cautious Scout is such a patsy to Debate you sometimes just have to eat (why I fluctuate between 1 and 5 bids to regularly flush my hand and minimise higher/lower bid cards). Finding room for 1x Goblin (the option to fate choke) is definitely an improvement, probably by reducing the situational Noble Sacrifice to x2 (but it's won me so many games, perhaps because I bully Fire as the only ring with both board presence and card flow benefits).

Stand Your Ground is a 2 influence card in Seeker. Like Harrier, it has an additional cost - honour (that you didn't gain) to replenish your hand. There is synergy with Crane self-honour but Storyteller gives a clear hint on how I feel Crane should be played. That said, if you are playing 5 costers and Charge, it has greater value to keep the cheat-in. I think it's very strong in Keeper with its greater influence and Guard Duty to regain the board presence and honour you lost playing it (Phoenix.Lion plays 3x Guard Duty, 3x Stand Your Ground, 3x Ready for Battle, with maybe 1x Master of Spear instead of the third). But its synergy in a medium-and-small character build is muted. If you are playing 3x Doji Hotaru (with 3x Charge 3x Grounds) instead of 3x Kaezin, then I could see replacing 1x Ready for Battle with 1x Stand Your Ground. Having seen your list late stage (so they know their 1F bow events can be countered for free by 2x Ready for Battle), they will wonder if Assassinating that honoured Brash Samurai is a clever move with 1x Stand Your Ground...

Both are very valid changes. I avoided including strong 1x options to distill a build to its archetype essence for focus. Good luck in Paris!

#106
neraka27

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Here is my newly tweaked deck. I incorporated some changes based on feedback, namely swapping out a character for Favourable Ground and making room for Charge! in my conflict deck.


Deck Clan: Crane
Total Cards: (85)
Total Conflict: (40) Total Dynasty: (40)
Total Influence: (9/10)

Stronghold: 1x Shizuka Toshi (Core Set #2)
Role: 1x Seeker of Air (Core Set #214B)

Province: (5)
Air (2/2) Earth (1/1) Fire (1/1) Void (1/1) Water (0/1)
1x Manicured Garden (Core Set #19)
1x Night Raid (Core Set #21)
1x Shameful Display (Core Set #24)
1x Frostbitten Crossing (For Honor and Glory #21)
1x Public Forum (Into the Forbidden City #42)

Character [Dynasty]: (36)
3x Asahina Artisan (Core Set #40)
3x Brash Samurai (Core Set #42)
3x Cautious Scout (Core Set #43)
3x Daidoji Nerishma (Core Set #46)
3x Doji Challenger (Core Set #47)
3x Doji Hotaru (Core Set #52)
3x Doji Representative (Tears of Amaterasu #5)
3x Doji Whisperer (Core Set #41)
3x Guest of Honor (Core Set #51)
3x Kakita Kaezin (Core Set #49)
3x Savvy Politician (Core Set #45)

Holding: (7)
3x Favorable Ground (Core Set #128)
3x Imperial Storehouse (Core Set #129)
1x The Imperial Palace (The Chrysanthemum Throne #721)

Attachment: (0)
Event: (37)
3x A Legion of One (Meditations on the Ephemeral #116)
3x Admit Defeat (Core Set #147)
2x Noble Sacrifice (Core Set #148)
3x Ready for Battle (Core Set #165)
3x Voice of Honor (Core Set #145)
3x Way of the Crane (Core Set #146)
3x Banzai! (Core Set #204)
3x Assassination (Core Set #203)
3x Censure (Into the Forbidden City #60)
3x Court Games (Core Set #206)
3x For Shame! (Core Set #207)
3x Policy Debate (For Honor and Glory #40)
2x Charge! (Core Set #210)

Character [Conflict]: (3/10)
3x Young Harrier (Fate Has No Secrets #92)

I kept Hotaru mainly for her ability, not her base stats. Judicious use of that ability has swung games for me in the past. I considered going with Favourable Ground and Imperial Storehouse x2 and sliding in Magistrate x2, because x7 seems high to me. I feel I could go either way on that decision.

I went with Harrier over Steward, because it gives me broader protection and none for my opponent. In addition, it gives me more options when to trigger it. Steward can turn into auto bow with For Shame, but my opponents usually bow anyways due to threat of Noble Sacrifice. I don't really fear For Shame auto bow for my characters due to x3 Censure, Voice of Honor, and Ready for Battle.

Comments?

#107
sparrowhawk

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Hi Neraka

Busy day so a few quick thoughts.

Any back-line province that can be prodded at without a pain trigger is a potential liability to dishonour decks. Scorpion especially will farm them.

I appreciate the synergy of no attachments, Frostbitten and no attachment control but the word "participating" (that doesn't exist in Feast or Famine) always puts me off. Could work really well, more hit-and-miss than Meditations.

Night Raid in the hold can be unexpected. Many will expect Rally (unless they haven't seen Forum) and prod first unless racing. I like it but personally prefer Meditations in the backline with Entrenched or Rally in the hold. But I can see its value. My main issue is that I like bidding high in Crane which also frees opponent to bid high which diminishes Night Raid. It's fine though.

I understand why you went with Kaezin over Asami with Legion and no Court Games dishonour in Military. Asami is very much a longer game piece and Kaezin more burst. My issue is a lack of Courtiers to For Shame (just 4x3).

That's easily fixed by switching the Harriers for Stewards. Your 9 reactive cards already cope with control events. But what if the opponent has Forged Edict? What about multiple 1C0F For Shame bows off a single Steward? You're missing the disruption of self-dishonour effects and the control options it offers, as well as covering for your low Courtier cost. Fearing Noble Sacrifice as a deterrent only works with big investments. So you need to have 1 of 12 courtiers defending against a big character (who won't defend a Courtier usually). There's also way too much honour loss here with Harrier, Banzai and Assassination all at x3 - Crane self-honour is not an endless supply of honour. But test how the Harriers perform.

Otherwise I like how ultra-slim your Conflict deck is, low cost and so much aggro-control.

So overall I'd say have fun with it, I don't think there's anything debilitatingly wrong with it. You may find yourself with unplayable For Shame in hand or your card supply dries up quick facing Dishonour loss before you win by Conquest. Dynasty is also telegraphed without Political Rival which I feel is de rigeur in the current meta. But looks a pretty good aggressive take on Crane.

#108
sparrowhawk

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How is my old favourite Clan coping with the new Kyuden Isawa Phoenix.Dragon meta? Spotted this Deck Thread languishing at the bottom of page 1 so thought I'd put down some thoughts.

Firstly, which cards hurt Crane in the Phoenix match-up?

Clarity of Purpose is incredibly anti-Crane. However, Admit Defeat can still threaten in Military or a Guest of Honour Political attack. Shizuka Toshi is hurt in attack (especially Challenger + Admit Defeat defender + call in victim for Shizuka Toshi) but not in defence. Whilst in the popular Dragon splash, Mirumoto's Fury is weakened only because you can't tempt an opponent to over-commit resources with Crane's plentiful zugswang actions (like Nerishma) before you Fury, you now need to do it as first action. However, the harm is less than in Scorpion with City of Lies telegraphing. Steward + multiple For Shame also suffers from a telegraphed window for Clarity hence Military usage but Dishonour has greater bite against Phoenix multi-use, more so with Noble Sacrifice. In fact, For Shame vs Clarity can be leveraged to force the Dishonour choice you prefer.

Against the Waves also cancels Crane bow. This is especially true if an Ishika is in play when effectively Water conflicts become "do not waste your bow actions" due to both Water spells unless you got anti-event tech. But there is a positive: Dragon have Yokuni, Crab have Witch Hunter and Scorpion have Plagiarist (Lion's Spiritcaller has Ready for Battle but it has is its own problem). Crane (outside of the splash Crab shugenja + attachments build) have no good targets for this spell (recursed).

Karmic Twist is a threat to Guest of Honour and Doji Challenger. But Crane are also blessed with numerous solid uniques so the versatile spell is more limited against Crane than most other Clans. Against Phoenix, you just have to account for it, time the Fate on Guest and Challenger to tick down without offering non-uniques with no Fate on it (Fating up everything should be standard anyway due to Water). Plus Noble Sacrifice gives you a way to use the bowed liability at a key window (e.g kill pumped up dishonoured participant), better if you reckon they will wait for a Void conflict to leverage an Ishika.

Isawa Tadaka is the big problem. Crane live or die by their events and the Yoshi + Test of Skill build may bin even more. But Crane do have the ability to commit card resource to win Earth in either conflict type. And you have Noble Sacrifice plus cancel before Tadaka is Charged in. Now I'm not going to argue Tadaka is a good reason to go splash Scorpion for A Fate Worse Than Death. But I've been a splash Dragon tempo fan since post 1 of this thread because of the surplus of tempo bow it gives you, together with the negative attachment control. Because you just know they are saving Cloud the Mind for Guest ideally. I guess the decision lies on whether you prefer to play proactive and pose questions (splash Dragon burst outs of the tracks) or slower control and react to the opponent's threats (Scorpion splash cards).

Shiba Yojimbo is less of a problem in Crane than Scorpion but it's still a major problem. Beware the Charge opportunity so target that shugenja at first opportunity if it's waiting in a province during Military. He's definitely worth a Noble Sacrifice (requiring Earth ring to repeat on Tadaka) as he shuts down too many triggered effects.

Master of Gisei Toshi is also a problem for event heavy Crane (and Shizuka Toshi can't bow it even when dishonoured). But unless they are playing the Know The World combo (possible if opponent chooses Void with an Ishika in play), it's one conflict per turn per copy. If they choose Earth with Tadaka in play, it's curtains to get out of the soft event lock. So you have to win fast - which seems to be the recurring theme.

Cloud the Mind is the main reason to play Dragon splash. Unless an Ishika discounts during an Air conflict (usually conflict 3 or 4 choice when chosen, reducing impact of Cloud), discarding it for free is incremental tempo gain (quite often critical to winning that conflict). And a constant threat of removing a Fan to use Shizuka Toshi also helps but Clarity lessens that threat. However, a tempo build often uses Charge + Guest + Grounds to lock out opponent. Or Charge + Challenger to open up defences. And Cloud is played on characters with Fate on for greater impact.

Kuroi Mori is a problem for many clans and Crane is most definitely hurt by it (Shigeru and Rival don't attack the stronghold if you have yet to see Void). If you do find Shameful Display in the line (Scout or Kami can sniff it out), it's going to hurt your tempo, but breath a sigh of relief. Thankfully, Crane can easily get a +5 win in either conflict type, unlike say Lion or Scorpion who are more imbalanced. It's a problem as province break is the win condition of a tempo splash so your build needs to be able to threaten large numbers in both conflict types.

Kyuden Isawa is a virtual card draw beast that devalues cancel. But it points at event-nerfing cards like Guest and Shigeru (Ageless Crone in Lion splash, Watch Commander in Crab main) as the way to combat its virtual draw. As those spells often cost Fate without an Ishika in play, choke strategies with Goblin Sneak seems a sensible option, especially against Charge + Fushicho which has to be the silliest efficiency in the game (but this also highlights a need for some cancel).

Crane have several advantages against the new top dog deck. Guest of Honour + Favourable Ground is the big sell. Doji Shigeru is not shabby (but make sure you are going first when it reaches 0 Fate as it's a target for Military Water conflict 1 that Phoenix like to do anyway to Charge a Prodigy / Fushicho / Tadaka). Strong Political helps against Debates (Charge + Fushicho + Debate discards a key event + Tadaka in discards). You have anti-province tech to help constant prods. Finally, a Kyuden Isawa spell build is far less focused on self-honouring than Mori Seido making Voice of Honour and Noble Sacrifice more relevant. But mostly it's speed that beats Phoenix combos that often take time to assemble or gain critical mass for massive pumps like Storm. With virtual card draw from Kyuden Isawa (and Libraries that survive) and Tadaka shut down, a long game is often a lost game. One more reason to mug them with a fast game splash rather than longer game Scorpion. But I see advantages of the Yoshi + Test of Skill + Fate Worse Than Death build as well.

So here's where my Crane build stands in the current meta. It has some unusual features I shall explain afterwards.


"Allegro Accelerando"
Crane.Lion
Short Game Aggro

Shizuka Toshi
Seeker of Air
Fertile Fields Air
Manicured Garden Air
Entrenched Position Earth
Meditations on the Tao Fire
Shameful Display Void
Influence: 10/10


Dynasty Deck (40)

Characters (33)

3x Brash Samurai
3x Cautious Scout
3x Daidoji Nerishma
3x Doji Challenger
3x Doji Shigeru
3x Doji Shizue
3x Doji Whisperer
3x Guest of Honor
3x Kakita Asami
3x Kakita Kaezin
3x Savvy Politician

Holdings (7)
3x Favorable Ground
3x Imperial Storehouse
1x The Imperial Palace

Conflict Deck (40)

Events (24)
3x A Legion of One ///// /
2x Assassination
3x Banzai!
2x Charge!
3x Court Games
2x For Shame!
2x Noble Sacrifice
2x Ready for Battle //
2x Voice of Honor
3x Way of the Crane

Attachments (6)
3x Fine Katana
3x Ornate Fan

Characters (10)
2x Ageless Crone //
3x Goblin Sneak
3x Kami Unleashed
2x Steward of Law



So choke is my solution to Kyuden Isawa (and play Scorpion at their own game). If you can't choke the (virtual) card draw, you choke the Fate in a pass first ambush build. 3 Goblin Sneak (preempt Maiden draw), 2 Ageless Crone + 10 ambush characters apply choke while cheap events/attachments (total cost 4 in 30 cards) help keep up the pressure. You also focus on Fate on rings and Void ring to tighten the Fate choke.

Of course usual splash Lion synergies (Scout / Samurai / Goblin + Legion) help diversify conflict threats. Whilst Crone is symmetrical, there are conflicts where you know you don't want to or cannot invest events and is only weak against Dragon, making it possible to spike events in all conflicts (Charge + Guest + Ground, Shizeru, Crone). It's particularly useful before attachments that are prone to event control. When Fury is telegraphed with 1 Fate saved, Crone pre-conflict can blindside (once they see a Lion card, they will be wary of Ready for Battle, only x2 here as it deters Water on you).

I believe that if there is no Charge threat and you are First Player, attack Phoenix with 1 Fate in Military first to play around Clarity, especially if securing Earth. Because Clarity in attack is second action and bows happen before. Although in this case, there is now no bow soft control beyond Shizuka Toshi. Instead we have hard control solutions in Assassination and Noble Sacrifice (latter can be played outside Master of GT conflicts, as can Way of the Crane).

Now for explaining the x3 events (despite Tadaka). Court Games / Way of the Crane + Savvy Politician + Voice of Honour + Noble Sacrifice. Court Games also handily bypasses Yojimbo. Legion + Banzai help make solo Military attacks (Scout / Samurai / Goblin) into break province threats. 6x Fantana increases that break pressure, played on 3+ costers with Fate as a preference.

The major unorthodoxy is no Policy Debate. But with no Artisan (because it doesn't help bully Dynasty pass) and no Rival, and the fact that nobody goes into a Political conflict with Crane with less than 3 Political, it didn't seem appropriate. It's main use was to Debate when Guest is in a Military conflict or when an honoured Challenger lures in low Political. Unlike Fushicho / Tadaka synergy that Phoenix enjoys, discarding an event against Kyuden Isawa feels less impactful. Perhaps a mistake but a good player should anticipate the opponent's probable cards in hand.

The other quirkiness is 3x Shizue yet no Censure. Shizue is a unique (Twist), played in after you win Favour (6x disposable holdings and 0x Keepers is a flexible dynasty array compared to other clans) with 1 Fate on (Water immunity) because it is easier to keep Favour once won. And should the opponent commit resources to winning it off you (beware Keeper triggers), then she has served a purpose in blunting opponent's tempo and, who knows, the next province array may find a dupe to return her to 1 Fate status. I find that she often stays game long because the build is designed to contest all 4 conflicts.

Expect to flirt with Dishonour to win with this, relying on self-honour lagged benefits to keep you afloat, standard Crane tempo.


This is the build I'm piloting in my Stronghold League that now has more Phoenix. I'm 6-0 with Crane but that's no indicator of whether it's a good build or not. But if you're a Crane player and find it's an uphill struggle beating THAT Phoenix.Dragon spells build (minor variants of the list in the Phoenix thread), this may help in finding you a solution.

I really hope FFG haven't utterly destabilised balance with an asymmetric Clan Pack, swapping one strong build for another. You know, their twice a year Clan packs over 3.5 years. Wait a sec, where have I read that before? Did someone have a good moan about all the mistakes that are helping to kill this LCG, including an infrequently released asymmetric card pool? Surely they must have realised how powerful the Spells build is...?

#109
thiazyl

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Hi sparrowhawk,

 

I'm a new crane player and have been reading this thread with delight.  It's been great reading your (and others) thoughts on crane and their strategies.  Being new to crane I'm fumbling to try and understand their play style and nuances.  Now with the new Phoenix clan pack, I find that playing against Phoenix can be oppressive at times.  I was particularly interested in your last post as it directly addressed the Phoenix cards.  I was wondering if you could comment on strategies of early play, specifically the amount of fate placed on characters and what characters/cards you want for an ideal opening draw.  I realize this will be dependent on your opponent (clan) and their draw (characters) but what are your 'rules of thumb' for opening play?  Is it still roughly the same as outlined earlier in this thread or has it changed somewhat given the new cards (meta)? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.



#110
sparrowhawk

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Hi thiazyl.

 

Welcome to the forum and that crucial first post, sir! If only some of the other visitors had plucked up the courage, this forum may have retained some of its early activity level. We are a friendly bunch here, even if there is an unhealthy Conquest bias amongst regulars (because there was no other forum for that under-appreciated game, perhaps a lesson about fragmentation weakening a hobby).

 

Thank you for your kind words. However, please note I've never won anything of note, I'm simply a theory-crafter with a strong card gaming background, The main reason I mention this is because when I am finally tested at the UK Expo Euros, I will not do well. The reason is because I have almost always exceeded the max. 75 mins tournament game length to win my Stronghold games - because I have been playing a safety first approach to win in untimed games. The game is so fluid that the length of time you need to win is a function of the "win trajectory" game length that you set yourself when you play the game, because of the fate mechanic and the efficiencies therein. In short, the safest optimal play to victory often requires longer than the maximum 75 mins artificial time limit required by tournaments. To win within time limitations requires you to play sub-optimally - any good player will confess they will let provinces go and race to win within a time limit. To me that makes a tournament game with its artificial tie breaker a variant of the real game. I believe this after current 12-0 unbeaten in Stronghold League games but almost every game has exceeded tournament time limits - and sometimes I would have lost within a tournament game limit horizon because I timed my game to win at a longer game length than this artificial horizon.

 

A good analogy would be the "suspend" mechanic from MTG. This is the closest to L5R's fate transience we get. But there is no point in playing a suspend spell that exceeds probable game length. The same is true of L5R's Fate mechanic. The reality is the fate mechanic and the time limit in win trajectory this creates makes any sort of fixed length L5R game such as a tournament game a variant of the game because you must win within X mins. In an unfettered game, you choose how long you plan to win a game by your + Fate lifetime decisions.

 

This is important to what you ask because it answers the question: "why still play Crane after its Core Set strength has not been reinforced?" (This thread may have helped establish Crane.Dragon that I championed as THE tempo deck.) Crane were stuffed in Imperial Cycle compared to most other Clans and the Phoenix Clan pack only applied more hurt to Crane in the form of Clarity of Purpose and Isawa Tadaka (because Crane lives or dies from its excellent events). Crane is most definitely the least improved Clan since Core, when I instantly identified it as strong in this thread. Of all the Clans, I would gladly play a 3x Core Crane deck more than any other Clan. They have gained so little.

 

And yet I play them because, if I want to win within time limits, they are probably a good choice. It's that artificial constraint of winning within a time limit that makes me prefer to roll the dice with the burst tempo of Crane over other alternatives that take longer to win. There is something intrinsically wrong with the game if you play a deck because it is the "quick win gamble" deck. Tournament time limits and tie-breakers (that favour Crane with its province breaks advantage) are surely not reflective of play skill. Or maybe you are required to practice hard to play faster and gamble with big investments face checking high impact unknown provinces so that you fall within tournament time limit parameters. And then there is the issue of published deck lists (a defence vs scouting) which actually influences deck-building because you must represent various threats in your deck list to dare the opponent to gamble.

 

This leads me to Dimensions of a Deck Build.

 

How LONG is your deck? Is it short and wins quick or dies? Or is it long, gains momentum and wins over a greater length of time?

 

How BROAD is your deck? Does it have so many x2 and x1 cards that it's difficult to predict but also difficult to focus a direction beyond luck of the draw? Or is it so narrow in breadth with its x3 cards that it's predictable in its optimisation?

 

How DEEP is your deck? And in deep, I mean how deeply are you committed to pursuing your win strategy? Are you 100% a province conquest strategy? Or 100% a dishonour or honour victory strategy? Or rather a hybrid with flexibility to switch from one strategy to another?

 

So what's all this got to do with your question, namely "how can I beat Phoenix with Crane, that I find oppressive?".

 

The first question you need to ask yourself is "what sort of Kyuden Isawa splash Dragon deck am I facing? What are its dimensions?"

 

The tempo build that has 3x Banzai and other tempo choices wants to win fast. In many ways, it's the hardest build to beat as Crane because it reduces the game length to draw better than your opponent. As a result your opponent may win simply because he/she drew better than you (Charge + Fuschicho with Tadaka to recall is the main variance play that you either cancel or have a tough battle undoing). In many ways, this is the closest to rolling a die beyond a Lion mirror that exists in the game.

 

So let's talk about how Crane beats a slower build which will undoubtedly win the longer the game goes. Here's the classic fast game vs slower game duel we all want to witness (rather than the high variance of 2 fast game match-ups).

 

Firstly, against Phoenix, understand Water is their key ring whilst for Crane, Fire is your key ring. This means you don't make yourself vulnerable to Water Ring in conflict 1 in the way that you add extra fate to characters and how you defend vs Void in a prior turn. You cannot have Doji Shigeru or a Political Rival on 0 Fate as 2nd player when your opponent can easily force a Military win in conflict 1 to bow it.

 

You also need a build that can win in either conflict because of Kuroi Mori under the stronghold.

 

At this point, I need to talk about the Rings. Have you thought about how they were designed? They are very much linked to Length and Depth of your deck, hence your strategy.

 

If your deck wants Short term impact and Board Position focus, Water has greatest impact.

If your deck wants Short term impact and Honour/Dishonour focus, Earth has greatest impact.

If your deck wants Long term impact and Board Position focus, Void has greatest impact.

If your deck wants Long term impact and Honour/Dishonour focus, Air has greatest impact.

If your deck wants a mix of Short term Board Position and Long term Honour/Dishonour, Fire has greatest impact.

 

Fire is the most important ring for Crane. You can't rely on Shameful Display to just Noble Sacrifice their best character to win the game (but this happens too often to claim this is a game of skill). It ensures Voice of Honour threat (pause or hesitate if you can cancel, even without it), Noble Sacrifice and turns all of your 3-costers into efficient 5 strength characters. And it funds your card draw (lagged), the oxygen of tricks you need to win.

 

If Crane were Keeper of Fire (alas they came 2nd and Lion took that role), Hotaru is better due to honouring a Keeper post arrival. And yet somehow, despite this random mechanic of player choice that shapes the meta, we are to believe Clans are balanced? Impossible! Try Phoenix Seeker of Void or Crane Keeper of Fire. There can be no balance because players choose an unbalancing mechanic. In Thrones v.1, around half of all "Champion designs" were Restricted. When are we going to accept having player input into design is incredibly unbalancing? If I was a designer, how the f*ck am I supposed to balance the game for each Clan when such an important factor (such as access to Feast or Famine) is unknown to me? So let's face it folks, either you want player input and an unbalanced game or you just discard this ridiculous constraint that actually further rewards the strongest factions (as opposed to the reverse draft that I proposed at the start of this forum). Let's not pretend there is any other choice beyond either Balance or Player Input Imbalance. This is why MTG is so careful at giving players design decisions.

 

"But none of this helps me win as Crane vs. Phoenix!" So here are some tips.

 

1. A well-built Crane deck can apply force via its card choices in any conflict. Or negate any amount of force via bow. Make opponents unwilling to over-commit in case of bow negation. There is a lot of invisible force behind every Crane probe and block. You get to evaluate the optimum lane of attack. It's difficult to explain but every Crane conflict is skirting with an effect that negates all your bonuses via bow. So if the opponent has this trump card, when are you going to waste your pumps? You need to fool the opponent into thinking they can win this flurry of conflict cards when you had it stitched up long before and the moment the opponent over-commits, you reveal your true nature. Crane to me feels like fishing - you cast your line and catch that fish and bait the opponent to over-commit resources to break/defend a province, only to have their plan negated. Playing Crane sometimes feels like playing a conman. If I'm winning but not breaking, my opponent can pump to deny me the win then I will pump so I am winning and once I have lured you into playing your tricks, I can bow with Admit Defeat and now I'm breaking with equal card resources spent. Crane has the loosest correlation between presence and threat.

 

2. Pass first. This is normally done in my Crane builds by playing a 3F+3F character then passing. You can do this because there are so many solid (but not amazing) 3F characters that threaten a break (especially with Way of the Crane). Your main first attack is almost always Fire, or Water to ready the defender you used in conflict 1. Accept a few province breaks if it happens at the start. You will stabilise and win with just efficient dynasty plays and early dynasty passes.

 

3. Always keep at least 1F spare. My most hated card as Crane is Goblin Sneak as there is no defence so read the opponent's deck accordingly (rarely will the opponent play a Sneak if you are at 2+ Fate unspent). The option to block on Shameful Display attack with a weenie then kill the attacking character with Noble Sacrifice can't be overstated. The high RNG that is Shameful Display can win or lose games with Crane especially - live with this randomness (cheers, FFG, for making this so random).

 

4. Appreciate which rings are first/second conflict and which are third/fourth conflict. To explain this better, I will highlight how the rings correspond to the "length x depth" face of your "deck cube":

 

Water has the shortest term impact (the rest of this round) + impacts the board (via bow or ready).

Earth also has short term impact (losing and gaining a card) + re-balances hidden resource (cards).

Void has a longer term impact (next turn presence at least) + influences your future board control.

Air has the longest term impact (late game alternate goals) + influences your future draw flexibility.

Fire is in the centre of the 2x2 quadrant and aids presence + future card draw via a lagged benefit.

 

A Crane tempo deck is very much in the Water-Fire-Void axis. It normally attacks in Fire conflict 1 to influence winning future conflicts and after defending conflict 1, will attack conflict 2 in Water to ready that defender. Fire helps Voice of Honour (always represent the threat and pause just a little bit even if you don't have it) and outside of Shameful Cheese, is the easiest way to trigger Noble Sacrifice to usually win the game due to efficiencies therein. Its defence against Earth-Fire-Air dishonour decks is its self-honouring mechanics that fund the oxygen of their card draw. A Crane without conflict cards is impotent because, beyond Guest of Honour, Doji Challenger, Brash Samurai and situational Cautious Scout (who often finds itself target of Policy Debate), Crane's Dynasty characters are clearly a downgrade on Scorpion.

 

It's really hard explaining how you win with Crane beyond saying "always threaten you can break with every attack" (this is hard when you have so little >3 skill characters). Crane is all about the threat of the possible. A good example is reading when to Fury or Admit Defeat, either playing with or against that card. You want to reel the opponent into over-committing with pumps before you pull the rug. Many Crane cards are a study in zugswang, the art of delaying your committal then winning a conflict. That's why Asami is an action but Blackmailer is a reaction. Why Kaezin is often an "I retreat" or has no impact. Why Nerishma is used to potentially cycle your dynasty deck at key moments when you don't want to pass, just delay a commitment. Crane is so much about giving your opponent as much rope as you can to hang themselves.

 

Against Kyuden Isawa, Guest of Honour is your best character - when it isn't Clouded or Twisted. But pressure via Earth ring can force an opponent to play these cards ahead of optimal timing. One good thing about the Kyuden spells build is that there is less focus on honouring compared to Mori Seido, hence Voice of Honour (especially to cancel Charge + Fushicho) and Noble Sacrifice are far more likely to bite. But the main benefit that Crane have over Phoenix is cost. The Phoenix Dynasty deck and Conflict deck (including recursion) is more expensive than Crane that you get to the Four Moving Parts paradigm far quicker (and perpetually) with Crane. And there are very few combos with Crane, unlike Phoenix. If you are aware of the Phoenix combos, you can save your disruption to negate their combo benefit.

 

There are many ways to play Crane but the way I play it is to undercut your opponent in speed of winning. It doesn't matter how close you are to losing (often to Dishonour as you greedily draw) as long as you win. Because if you try and play the long game, other builds will outproduce you. You have no Forgotten Library draw. No recursion draw engine with toolbox choice. No exponential benefit of board presence that is Supernatural Storm. A small board suits you best (thus hard then soft control is your friend) and you need to put the Phoenix player on the defensive else you will lose,

 

As an example, I have moved out of Charge in Crane and play a longer, pass early economic game. I have moved out of Kami Unleashed because when opponent defends vs their probe, they win the ring and it aids their Favour. I am still a fan of Admit Defeat (despite Clarity of Purpose) which you want to see early hence x3. For Shame and Mirumoto's Fury are so common that Ready for Battle seems a great counter for tempo gain. Whilst Legion works with a Scout, Samurai and Sneak. But it's Goblin Sneak that I've found to be most disruptive to Kyuden builds - having all the spells in the world doesn't help you cast them.

 

Here's my current favourite "footloose" (no attachments) Crane build, focused on attack (solo in Military, escorted in Political vs Court Games), aiming to break provinces, win fast.

 

 

"Splash Lion Goes Fasta!"

Crane.Lion.7

Short Game Aggro-Control

 

 

Dynasty Deck (40)

 

Holdings (7)

 

Conflict Deck (40)

 

Events (31)

3x  A Legion of One ///// /
3x  Banzai!
3x  Ready for Battle ///

 

Characters (9)

 

 

So yeah, Tadaka will always be a problem for an event heavy Clan like Crane. But there is an out in the Earth Ring, an always good ring to win anyway. A heavy conflict character presence that promotes pass early Fate choke is your best weapon against Kyuden Isawa in my (limited) experience.

 

I'm not at my best this time of night (UK time), especially "worse for wear", so apologies for the ramblings. But does anyone else have any insights into how Crane can beat the Phoenix spells build?


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#111
thiazyl

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Hi sparrowhawk,

 

Thanks for the very in depth reply.  Before I go any further, I should give you a little background.  When I said that I was new to crane, I meant new to the clan, not new to the game (I'm not sure if I gave that impression or not).  Indeed, I've dabbled in Magic a little over the years and have played various LCGs; namely Netrunner, GOT 2ed, Arkham Horror (still playing), Conquest (played a few games), and my personal favourite, Call of Cthulhu.  I never played the L5R CCG (played 1 game) but have been playing L5R LCG since its release.  Until now, I've been playing exclusively one clan.  What clan?  It begins with 'L' and rhymes with 'ion'.  Having played only a few games now with Crane, I quickly realized that Crane's playstyle is vastly different from what I'm used to, hence my original post.

 

I don't want to go on a rant, but I'm not a big fan of the direction L5R is taking.  I think both the Karada and Kanjo districts are over powered and Tadaka oppressive.  I'm all for strong characters but having one character potentially shutdown your entire hand?  I don't find that fun.  If I compare Tadaka with Kisada, Kisada is a strong character but playing against him is not oppressive.  He's annoying and can be disruptive, but you can play around him.  I find Kisada a much better design than Tadaka.  Anyway, I'm seeing a lot more Phoenix with the new cards which is why I want to learn to play against them.

 

After reading most of this thread, I agree that your best course of action is to hit them hard and fast.  I really like the Dynasty build, especially the reasons behind the choices.  It was quite a revelation learning the 'tricks' and style of play with these characters.  For example, Kakita Kaezin, I had pretty much dismissed him until reading how you and others use him.  I may never win playing Crane, but I am really interested in learning how to play them.  My deck is very similar to yours because, well, I shamelessly stole your deck ideas.  I see what you are saying regarding the economy game, but for now I'm running attachments and trying out a scorpion splash. In my limited games versus Phoenix, my opponents have never really had problems with economy.  With their multiple ready effects (Against the Waves, Prodigy) and Embrace the Void, Phoenix players can save on fate for their really expensive characters.  Of course, I've never really put pressure on them in this regard so I look forward to hear how this has worked out for you.  I do like me some Goblin Sneaks.  I will try the Lion splash after I've dabbled in Scorpion for a while.  I do agree that Dragon is a great splash but, as I believe you said earlier in this thread, it is rather pedestrian.  I used to slash Dragon in Lion but I felt it was rather...unexciting, boring even.  I don't know, I may go back to it.  The Phoenix spell recursion is a problem.  Clearly Guess of Honor is one of their best characters, if he doesn't get Clouded.  Perhaps I should play Cloud the Mind but I feel that to play it you would have to compromise your Dynasty deck, not to mention that Crane barely has the necessary Shujenga to play it.

 

For now I just want to learn the tempo and nuances of playing crane.  It is one thing to read about it, but quite another to execute.  You've talked before about the Four-Moving-Parts paradigm, could you elaborate more on this?  Are referring to bringing characters in to overlap with pre-existing characters?  Then when some leave, you still have some on the board which will overlap with newly bought characters?

 

I look forward to hearing how your newest economy-chock deck works.

 

Cheers.


Edited by thiazyl, 05 May 2018 - 11:01 PM.

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#112
sparrowhawk

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Some observations after winning our local tournament yesterday (only 8 local players with 3 rounds so result is no indicator at all).


1. Due to worries about time limits, I played tempo Crane.Dragon with Fury, no Debate or Charge (very similar to my early posts on this thread) and my opponents were playing pre-Restricted List decks (not enforced). I needed the pre-Expo practice (I can't get enthused over meaningless practice games). After my 16-0 over 8 weeks of our 16 player Stronghold League (playing Crane, Phoenix and Scorpion), I thought my prior announcement that I needed to practice for Expo with a Restricted Deck would help attendance (after killing my local Conquest meta, I'm conscious of the harm my competitive nature can do). Anyway, the point is Crane.Dragon really does not miss Restricted cards as the alternatives are just as good for a tempo Conquest game plan.

2. After at least half my League games exceeded 75mins (and at least half of those, I was losing at the 60mins mark), I was pleased that I achieved the max. 30 points - but it was a totally different game! It's like playing speed chess - the skill level feels lower as it just seems intuitive rather than analytical. Or maybe it just tests a different skill set because I made mistakes I would never make in a no time limit Stronghold League game. You have this "hidden pact" not to play defensively because neither player wants 6 points for a win. Several times I traded provinces rather than defended for net ring gain. And I took so many risks that were unnecessary were it not for the phone timer beside me. The time limit makes the game higher variance as you strategise game trajectory to spend all your resources (including Fate on characters) by round X. And it also makes the game prone to bad stalling sportsmanship because it's a disaster if you overshoot or undershoot. Combined with the artificiality of tie breakers, I really don't like the Tournament Variant - it's just not suited to the Fate mechanic and makes some strategies (e.g. the Phoenix Courtiers Dishonour Strategy) not viable (because it's at the mercy of the speed and bid aggression of the opponent).

3. We all know there is match-up variance based on your build. I was lucky I did not face the sole Phoenix player (who was unfortunate to face my Crab finalist in round 1). But what I didn't realise is whether you get 10 or 6 points can also be based on match-up! At least all my opponents got 2 other wins, giving me a huge SoS.

3A. My round 1 Scorpion game was an incredibly countering affair (it's Scorpion denial) and he conceded at the 60min mark. But we still finished the 6th turn and he used all his resources to deny the stronghold break so I ended on 7 points to his 4 (he had more Glory). If he hadn't conceded, I would have just got 6 points even though I played as fast and as aggressively as I could. I expect the same against Phoenix with Mediators to blunt tempo.

3B. Against my round 2 Dragon opponent, because of a turn 1 Cautious Scout (+1 Fate) and early lucky scouting backed with tricks, I was then slowed by a pimped up Raitsuga and a Yaruma Charge on Rally the Cause Stronghold. He conceded at 60mins (I was 7-2 but there is no Win by 5+ rule anymore) then played so I got the full win in that final round by ignoring defence or any possibility of the game lasting any longer. But if I did not have the perfect lucky start, it could have easily been another timed win. With the Restricted List, I reckon Dragon will now play Kitsuki's Method to hurt Shizuka Toshi.

3C. The Crab final was incredibly fast. I won in 3 turns but if my (quite safe) gamble did not pay off, I would have been Dishonoured. And this is when it struck me that game length is so variable based on whether it is fast vs slow (Scorpion) or fast vs fast (Crab). Something is wrong in the game if you can deny a player 4 points by playing defensively and not conceding. I never played Assassination during my League wins but in all my tournament games, I had to play it at least once just to win. There is no getting round the fact that, even without tie-breakers, the tournament game is a different beast.

4. I only ever used Shizuka Toshi once (after a Let Go of a Fan) because you never should be able to use it without tricks. However For Shame in Political also turns into they bow and opponents must save their Court Games to cancel mine or risk bow. But mostly it is the limitations it causes in deploying and in conflict declarations and the threat it causes with Doji Challenger. The stronghold is weaker in Lion splash that lacks the attachment control of Dragon or Scorpion. It did however make me think, in a meta of less Let Go due to Fury restricted, and Calling in Favours being poor with negative attachments, maybe Scorpion splash with 2x A Fate Worse Than Death (could be a Political Rival, blanks Tedaka) and 2x Fiery Madness would be better than Calling In Favours (that works badly in high honour Crane unless you have an honoured Brash Samurai left over from last turn). It's almost like all those Core Set interactions need to be re-examined...

5. I made a really bad error because my opponent was using white fans as honoured and black fans as dishonoured (but only for himself, I used standard cards inserted into my sleeves with the word visible, an elegant design). When we transferred honour or collected Fate off rings, we had the clunkiness of using our own honour and Fate pieces because he had pimped his, reducing playability. Now I've never been such a fan that I've bought any secondary market items in any of my LCGs (beyond sleeves) and I don't want to lessen the enjoyment of those who do. When I offer "let us use my pieces" in L5R, it may be acrylic rings, favour, first player and dial but the rest are currently standard. I can live with the clunkiness of your own honour and Fate pieces. But when it comes to having an acrylic white or black fan represent honoured or dishonoured, I am not trained to recognise them as such. The owner is trained to recognise them and read standard text cards. I think using these non-written status markers is going too far. I didn't even mention it yesterday because it was just a local tournament. But I do hope that in major tournaments, you have to use something with "Honoured" or "Dishonoured" instead of potentially handicapping players not used to your markers - especially when you are playing fast due to time limits. Call me a killjoy but it really pissed me off that I would never have made that mistake if the status was written like with the standard game components. I will play my 3x full art Doji Whisperers because it does not impose on the opponent knowing the card (its vanilla stats of 0/3/1 are on it). In friendly untimed games, by all means play all your bling. But at a high level timed game, are we really allowed to eke any advantage we can get by using non-standard status markers? I'd be so angry if an unforced error, purely due to non-standard status markers (key for Crane with Voice of Honour, Noble Sacrifice and Shizuka Toshi) happened at Expo.


I was lucky that I didn't meet Phoenix. I actually think Crane are not in as great a position as people think (6x Clarity of Purpose, 6x Against the Waves, 3x Tadaka make Phoenix an awful match-up now). Cards like Kitsuki's Method and Borderland Defender will see more play and Lion splash with Goblins stealing that key 1 Fate you need will be more common. My tournament games were all so unpredictable (most of my Stronghold games had this feeling of long-game inevitability), they felt dicey; I was appreciative of the luck I enjoyed that seemed to swamp the analytical skill I can apply with a time limit. Yet because it's the Clan I'm most familiar with (you need to play intuitively with time limits) and it plays fast, it will be what I play at Expo. But snowball designs like Voice of Honour in the (common) mirror really makes it a high variance option.
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#113
Stefan2581

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*stick*



#114
Asklepios

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Crane as I play it at the moment:

 

Clan:Crane Clan
Alliance:Lion Clan
Province deck:5 cards
Dynasty Deck:40 cards
Conflict Deck:40 cards
stronghold (1)
1x Shizuka Toshi
role (1)
1x Seeker of Air
province (5)
1x Entrenched Position
1x Fertile Fields
1x Manicured Garden
1x Meditations on the Tao
1x Pilgrimage
 
Entrenched Position on stronghold at present. Considering switching Pilgrimage in there and putting Public Forum in the field.
dynasty character (33)
3x Asahina Artisan
3x Brash Samurai
3x Cautious Scout
3x Doji Challenger
3x Doji Gift Giver
3x Doji Shizue
3x Doji Whisperer
3x Guest of Honor
3x Kakita Asami
3x Kakita Yoshi
3x Savvy Politician
holding (7)
3x Favorable Ground
3x Imperial Storehouse
1x The Imperial Palace
event (31)
3x A Legion of One
2x Admit Defeat
3x Assassination
3x Banzai!
2x Censure
3x Court Games
3x For Shame!
1x Noble Sacrifice
3x Policy Debate
3x Voice of Honor
2x Waning Hostilities
3x Way of the Crane
 
Lion alliance gives military bite. Considering dropping Censures for a second Noble Sacrifice and another Waning Hostilities. Seriously, that last event has been amazing for me in the current meta, giving real tempo control. And actually, between Voice, Ageless Crone and Guest of Honor, I'm finding I've got a glut of cancel.
I'd love to carry 3 Cloud The Mind, but I can't afford to make room for Shugenja.
 
conflict character (9)
3x Ageless Crone
3x Political Rival
3x Steward of Law

 

I like conflict characters a lot, and it helps that six of these are 1-costers.


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#115
sparrowhawk

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@Asklepios

Firstly, it's great to see you once again posting enthusiastically.

As can be seen from prior posts here, I like attachment-free ("footloose") builds but I fear the meta may have since moved on (because of event cancels, Tadaka, Guest of Honour, Master of GT and Ageless Crone - but mostly because splash Dragon is less attractive now). I have played 1 Ageless Crone in Crane.Lion before (with 6 Fantanas), only 1 because 3x Legion, 3x Ready cost me 9 influence and 3x Goblins for Legion meant the 1 Crone made up the 10th conflict character. However, despite seeing her every time I played that deck, I never played her because she was more harmful than beneficial for Crane. There is also such a thing as too much event control as I discovered playing against Dragon (and often Crab).

Doji Gift Giver also feels inappropriate for the current meta. With Phoenix running 6x Against the Waves, 6x Clarity of Purpose, splash Unicorn having Gaijin Customs, Dragon needing the Fate (to possibly stand Master with a Diasho) and Crane strong post-Restricted List where Gift Giver is very weak in the mirror (and Lion's Ready for Battle), what situations are they for? Covert is also strengthened in a Charge-lite meta to make them even weaker. Whilst Diadoji Nerishma is a 3 strength 2 cost that helps find dupes and is cycle 1 your dynasty deck for card filtering.

The relationship of Yoshi, Shizue and Censure is also interesting. To go All-In with Favour control is admirable until opponent locks you out with Imperial Palace or Fawning Diplomat. There is also the clunkiness of only being able to Censure before you trigger Yoshi and now you need +1 more Glory to win back Favour for Shizue.

The final observation is Waning Hostilities. Despite Crane being the faction of province racing, of 1 attacker and 1 defender (or answer) in each conflict with feint, thrust and parry, I have tried it in Crane. The splash was Phoenix with 3x Waning Hostilities and 3x Display of Power due to:

Waning Hostilities + Display of Power (with Voice cover) => Censure turned on next turn to repeat the combo

I also played 3x Representative and 3x Kaezin to defend then retreat (in Kaezin's case if sole attacker has greater Military) to coax over-commit of resources (or Shameful). I confess I played Perfect Gift (not Test of Skill) to find the combo, conscious of costs.

Anyway, my findings were Waning Hostilities was not what Crane wanted. It's what Crane hates and especially Crane.Lion which breaks in both attacks. There may be a reason why Curry Favour (clue is in the name) is Crane.

Finally Pilgrimage in a clan that wants honour overlap, with Noble Sacrifice and has the good quality weenies to participate in every conflict (especially if there is only one due to Waning Hostilities) seems odd. If you're playing Waning Hostilities, isn't Rally to the Cause under the hold a better option? But again, I don't believe Crane.Lion is unbalanced to play that event.

My suggested changes (kept to a minimum) are:
Pilgrimage => Shameful Display
3x Doji Gift Giver => 3x Diadoji Nerishma
1x Assassination => 2nd Noble Sacrifice
2x Waning Hostilities => 2x Curry Favour (8 Favour cards + tempo when 1st player)
3x Ageless Crone => 3x Ready for Battle (For Shame, Water, lots of bow out there)

I agree with you that you don't need Goblins with Legion (because 1 Fate on Cautious Scout, Brash Samurai or Nerishma suffices) but they are disruptive if you can put yourself in your opponents' POV and anticipate their plays as well as conflict presence enhancing. Goblin Sneak is the card I hate most and so, just as I observed in the Crab thread I hated Ancestral Lands most so Crab should play it, finding room for it is always good in this Charge-lite meta.

I know this sounds critical but actually I "liked" your post because it showed a willingness to experiment away from the norm. But there are good reasons why norms emerge and I hope I've explained a few of them.

Do keep posting! I know us forum old timers are simply re-arranging deckchairs on the good ship CGDB, its hull breached by the iceberg that is Discord. But if we keep the standard of debate high on this forum, I don't think CGDB will sink, just become a niche resource.
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#116
sparrowhawk

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Just noticed Caldera has posted his Unicorn deck that he played at Expo.

As it seems to be Show and Tell time, below's what I piloted at Expo. I came 3rd in Day 1B, losing only in the final round to the winner of Day 1B who ended as losing finalist. I will talk about my tournament and nuggets of clever tactical play (by my opponents and ones I'm proud of) in a separate post. I'll restrict this post to just strategy deck-build. I didn't play Day 2 because it was an 8am start and Expo is there to spend quality time with my distant gaming friends that I rarely see (I dropped out of the Top 16 Thrones last year). I'm a board gamer, I don't play online, I play 0-2 friendly games of L5R a week (mostly 0) in my local meta only. In other words, I'm a total scrub theorycrafter compared to the professionals who travel to Kotei.


"All Core Cards Bar Four"
Crane.Dragon
Fast Aggro-Control

Shizuka Toshi
Seeker of Air
Fertile Fields Air
Manicured Garden Air
Entrenched Position Earth
Meditations on the Tao Fire
Shameful Display Void
Influence: 10/10

Dynasty Deck (40)

Characters (33)
3x Asahina Artisan
3x Brash Samurai
3x Cautious Scout
3x Daidoji Nerishma
3x Doji Challenger
3x Doji Representative
3x Doji Whisperer
3x Guest of Honor
3x Kakita Asami
3x Kakita Kaezin
3x Savvy Politician

Holdings (7)
3x Favorable Ground
3x Imperial Storehouse
1x The Imperial Palace

Conflict Deck (40)

Events (28)
3x Admit Defeat
2x Assassination
3x Banzai!
3x Court Games
3x For Shame!
2x Let Go ////
3x Mirumoto's Fury ///// /
3x Noble Sacrifice
3x Voice of Honor
3x Way of the Crane

Attachments (6)
3x Fine Katana
3x Ornate Fan

Characters (6)
3x Political Rival
3x Steward of Law


A quick summary of build decisions:

I went Dragon with Fury because I anticipated Crane to do well and I theory-crafted this was best in the mirror except vs Crane.Lion such as post #110 above. Although I'd only played 1 Crane mirror before Expo (I like to dabble, I play 5 of the 7 clans). I was first player in all 3 mirrors (I won the dice roll in 1 of them and chose to be first) and I won them all (I played very aggressively to beat a far better player than me, Adam Horvath, who in the end beat me to 2nd due to better Strength of Schedule - so no Hatamoto for me). You need to be first player in mirrors to dig 5 for Way of the Crane then you put it up first to represent cancelling theirs. You also need to be 1st player to win conflict 1 Fire.

Whilst Young Harrier is good for Shameful Display (now we've lost Charge), I don't like its text ability (For Shame against you becomes a bow) so chose to go with 3x Admit Defeat and 3x Noble Sacrifice. I chose 3x Doji Representative over Shigeru because the former is a tempo card while the latter is a long game control card (also the dash is bad with 3x Political Rival and a Military Water target). Noble Sacrifice was my answer to Voltron clans and the current big guys meta and played in every game, even the Crab final when he once anticipated by playing Rebuild Iron Mines as first player right after my Brash Samurai won a Fire attack to dishonour his Satoshi Voltron. He also played 2 Fingers of Jade but as he had a Witch Hunter in play most turns, I had to kill all the ready fodder with Assassinates and Noble Sacrifice (of a bowed honoured character) to stifle tempo and keep up with him on province breaks.

Admit Defeat like Mirumoto's Fury is a card you want to see early hence x3 both and is even better because you power it with Fate on that ring. In post 1 of this thread, I highlighted it as a reason to play Crane and it remains so. You also want a surfeit of bow (along with Shizuka Toshi) as you need to burn through their ready cards. While Shizuka Toshi is there to force opponents to deploy narrower hence less targets to control. The deck is all about control, both hard and soft control, whilst you aim to aggressively break at least 1 province per turn.

It's all about constraints. You can't deploy low Political characters unless you plan to use it in Military. You can't defend alone. You can't attack with low glory. High glory is punished by Shameful Display. You can't ever risk being Dishonoured by Shameful or For Shame or the Fire Ring. And you have so many conflict tricks that let you cost-efficiently win any conflict if you want to spend the cards. Which you will refill when your honoured characters leave play. It's an avalanche of tempo and that's why I won my games 4-0, 4-0, 4-1, 4-0, 4-2, 3-1 concession, then final round 3-3 that I conceded as I was losing on tie-breakers 8-7 when time was called.

So that's it really. It's very similar to the builds I have been championing in the early pages of this thread. The one area I need to explain is why I prefer Representative and Kaezin over Yoshi and Hotaru.

Firstly, both characters give the opponent no good choice. If they defend with 1, you Admit Defeat (or Kaezin facing a higher skill Military could go back home). If they defend with 2+, assuming you don't Assassinate/For Shame + Noble Sac => Admit Defeat, Representative goes back home after a feint attack provoked an overcommit. Meanwhile Kaezin can duel to reduce opposition to just 1 which you then Admit Defeat. In defence, Representative can help trigger Shameful + For Shame without losing attack tempo whilst Kaezin can also expel a swarm (which he did once). Niche, both are useful action sinks facing Kisada (Crane have many sinks, Nerishma etc). Also, having 12 characters at key cost 3 adding 3 Fate on them from the start (except against Crab or Unicorn when my low curve protects me) makes A Fate Worse Than Death a lot more inefficient.

Finally, I like the fact I have no dependency on Favour. Opponents should already want to win Favour against Crane to choose Political to weaken Shizuka Toshi (bowed character is still 1 Political). So why then give them even greater incentive with cards that rely on you gaining Favour? Plus clued up opponents will go to great lengths to deny Crane the Favour. This aids your tempo and stifles theirs.

That's about it, really, for what is a very simple build. It beat 2 Phoenix, 1 Lion then 3 Crane when I was in the top 8. I faced no Scorpion or Dragon but actually felt 3x Fury, 3x Admit Defeat, 3x Noble Sacrifice gave me an edge in those match-ups (Crane already has a good Scorpion match-up). I also felt very confident against Crab - so it's less about the clan you face, it's mostly about player skill.

Happy to answer questions about the build. I may talk about my tournament and detail a few anecdotal plays that may add insight in a separate post.



#117
Asklepios

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Great advice on the deck changes, and have been mulling something very similar, in particular Ageing Crone for Ready for Battle and an Assassination out for a Noble Sacrifice. I've also added 2 copies of Curry Favor briefly shortly after making the post, but took them out again as they anergise with Waning Hostilities. I remain convinced by Doji Giftgiver and Waning Hostilities though, which actually sunergise on their own in my experience. 



#118
WWDrakey

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Since show & tell time has come and gone, figured I'd put this one out for people to be aghast about: https://fiveringsdb....1ccf16fca4/view

 

The deck description has some off the top of my head notes about the deck construction. In general, I did as well as I could hope to do without really putting too much time into prepping or practicing and only stubbornly theorycrafting from my own twisted ideals. Like Sparrowhawk above, I've never been quite the same level of player as I'm a deckbuilder, so when I did well it was probably the deck working, when I did badly it was likely more the pilot being senile...

 

Fun fact: I always got "Most Honorable" in my games, while the Crane deck that beat me in the last round had never gotten it all day. In our game, I somehow ended up playing first for dishonor, then for honor (after he hit ring of Air) against his blitz. Curiously antisymmetrical mirror...

 

As a bonus, I got to enjoy the expo a lot, then go see JC win the AGoT 2.0 ECs. All in all, an excellent weekend.

 

EDIT: Updated with mine & JCs "last night after Curry" changes, including a cheeky 1x Curry Flavor. Errm. Favor. Because JC suggested it. ;)


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#119
Asklepios

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New Crane Spoilers:

 

https://www.reddit.c...sy_of_the_void/

https://www.reddit.c...sy_of_the_void/

 

Menacing Iron Warriors looks middling. Unless you are defending with this character they're going to trigger the ability before you can lock 'em. OTOH, while I can see complaints that this is action ability rather than a passive ability, I actually quite like that it is an action, as it means the lock-out stays in place even if the opponent later boosts MIL up high enough.

Number one effect then is to defend against LPB or Doji Challenger, then shut down that ability as first action. Still, there are a LOT of triggered abilities. Could be interesting. Testing needed.

 

Ikebana Artisan is really interesting but below par. I'm guessing you can't trigger the replacment effect if you have no fate. However, it'd be a MUCH better character if it was a Scorpion. Dishonor loss is less likely to happen in Crane than in almost any clan.

Also real shame that it's just from UOs, and not from other losses.

So yeah, basically a bit weak as well.



#120
SlaaneshDevotee

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There is a designer email somewhere that says you can use it with 0 fate.
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