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After a 6 week break, positive impressions!

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I feel such a stranger logging onto this site again!




I hadn't played since the Birmingham Grand Kotei (details in the Crane and Crab threads) when I didn't bother with Day 2 and admit that after seeing pack 2 previews, I got fed up with:-


6 in 6 - the worse of both worlds, either dump it in one go or drip feed monthly to maintain interest and give hobby enthusiasts something fresh to talk about all year. For someone like me who plays very infrequently unless there is a competitive incentive like a Tourney or a League, there seemed no point keeping track every week until the full jigsaw puzzle was unveiled. 


Role-locked Clans - the game adds this extra layer of Role-locked cards which could be so great, a restriction to aid creative deck-building, but what I hated is that Clans are locked to a role. So there's no choice! How can a game be customisable when they deny choice?


Variable card quality - sometimes cards betrayed lack of understanding of the game by R&D and design cycles like the "already claimed Ring X or Ring Y" lack creativity, flogging a single idea many times, selling us dross that was either crap, unplayable role-locked cards or high variance.


Maze of Illusion - I really hated the design, even if I instantly posted a Phoenix.Scorpion the moment I saw it. Awful design.


Cost barrier to success - this appalled my egalitarian principles (dare not use the S word in case US readers start frothing at the mouth). Koteis seemed prohibitively expensive to some because they often required travel costs, entry to an irrelevant conventions on top of entry cost and overnight stays due to the 2 day format. The hobby is segregated on affordability! I hated the fact talented players who can't afford to go to Koteis will never get the recognition they deserve (I don't fall into either category, neither talented nor modest living). How can anyone feel that great after winning if cost may have prevented better players from competing? Sure, there has to be some expected level of buy-in but in L5R, there seemed to be a 2-tier game of The Rich Kids and The Rest. Shame on you, FFG, for creating this cost barrier in L5R OP beyond many family hobbyists.




When my local meta started a new League, I didn't join. I logged out of this site and I was determined to quit LCGs forever and focus on my other game hobbies (me hosting Gloomhaven had taken off). I confess there was a whiff of "Ha! That will teach FFG to mismanage such a promising design!" but it's silly arrogant delusion to think FFG care if some nobody quits the hobby due to their mismanagement. They can sell us dross, make mistake after mistake, and the fanboys will still lap it up.


Then yesterday, Friday, my Gloomhaven evening session was cancelled. Then my Star Wars Rebellion / War of the Ring 2 player gaming day was moved from Saturday to Sunday. Plus one-time CGDB regular poster GKZhukov (Varun Khetarpal, Conquest World Champion) was arriving later last night and staying in a spare room for an all-day wedding he's attending today. Then I got a Facebook message saying "you going to the tournament tomorrow?" and remembered today was the local store tourney. Perhaps due to GKZhukov's shared links with LCGs, I found myself spending yesterday evening looking on 5RDB at all the new L5R cards. And reading sites like Imperial Advisor (but not here, I didn't want to visit until I was truly committed as I knew I would be sucked into forum activity again).


Looking at the 6 packs as a whole, I felt I was wrong to be fed up with the game. It has changed dramatically, possibly due to a stubborn no errata to a card (Hawk Tattoo) and other factors, Unicorn looks scary, Monks intriguing, the game has been transformed. Looking at it all after a break, it seemed so fresh!


On Role-locking, not only have we now got 2 Roles each but more frequency of change (each concession drip feeds more freedom to us like grateful peasants when we are the customers).


Whilst card quality was still variable, there are some meta-changing cards, possibly more than in the Imperial Cycle (hence why I played at a Grand Kotei a Crane deck which was all Core except for 4 cards in 85).


There were no more designs like pack 1's Maze of Illusion (I quit Conquest after Backlash high variance).


FFG seem to be instigating a sort of Regional 1-day halfway house between Store and Kotei. So no longer will the hobby be divided into high disposable income "samurai caste" and modest budget ashigaru.


Even the fiction seems to have got better if the RPG fiction is anything to go by (RPG is how I know Rokugan).


Taking a break and coming back, you really do notice how much things have improved.




So anyway, I had enough time to build 2 new decks before GKZhukov turned up late last night. And then he started regaling me with tales of both his US World Championships until 2am. So I can't say that I've done deep analysis of the new meta.


However, whatever analysis I did make, it must have been quite good because today I bought the 6 packs at 10.30 and built my deck before the local tournament at 11 and then won it! Just a 4 rounds 13 player store tourney but, as I've told locals, when compared to the players I faced at Birmingham, I have had just as challenging games locally (just not consistent, an error usually made). I think I benefit from a psychological barrier with the local meta, going back to my unbeaten run in the first Stronghold league and tourney. Which is half the battle won.


So what was my analysis? Well, while Formal Invitation is pretty good, my theory-crafting had to agree with the sentiment that Hawk Tattoo is indeed bonkers because there is no defence and no restrictions. This meant:


1. cards that benefit being lone participant (Cautious Scout, Indomitable Will) are super-gimped

2. cards that benefit being attacker (Scout, Challenger, Hotaru, Sumiko, Brawler) or defender (Mountain Does Not Fall) are gimped

3. characters that benefit from a conflict type (Asami, Hotaru, Ikoma Ikehata) are gimped (why Rally is the best neutral Water province)

4. characters with built-in retreat (Doji Representative, Kaezin, Juro, Nerguii) are better

5. characters should ideally be balanced or dash in one stat (but not too many of the latter else variance).


I initially built a Crane.Dragon deck evolution of my old deck and a Crane.Scorpion build. If there's interest, I'll discuss in the Crane thread. But all I could see were Crane's flaws in a Hawk Tattoo meta. 


So I went through in my mind which Clan was best suited to being harpooned. And the answer was Phoenix, as long as you avoided cards like Kaede that stipulate attacking. The reason being that Phoenix has:

1. relatively balanced stats (only Dragon have more balanced stats)

2. text often don't require participation due to shugenja magic range

3. unlike Dragon, it has 12 copies (recursed) of unbow/doesn't bow.


Anyway, this was my initial solution build for the current meta. It may be horribly flawed.





Short Game Aggro


Kyūden Isawa
Keeper of Water
Manicured Garden Air
Public Forum Earth
Meditations on the Tao Fire
Shameful Display Void
Rally to the Cause Water
Influence: 12/13, 1 remaining
Dynasty Deck (40)
Characters (33)
3x  Adept of the Waves
3x  Asako Tsuki
3x  Ethereal Dreamer
3x  Isawa Tadaka
3x  Isawa Uona
3x  Keeper Initiate
3x  Kudaka
3x  Master Of Gisei Toshi
3x  Prodigy of the Waves
3x  Shiba Yōjimbō
3x  Solemn Scholar
Holdings (7)
3x  Favorable Ground
2x  Imperial Storehouse
1x  Kanjo District
1x  The Imperial Palace
Conflict Deck (40)
Events (22)
3x  Against the Waves
3x  Banzai!
2x  Benten's Touch
3x  Clarity of Purpose
3x  Court Games
3x  Let Go ///// /
3x  Supernatural Storm
2x  Walking the Way
Attachments (12)
3x  Cloud the Mind
3x  Fine Katana
3x  Hawk Tattoo ///// /
3x  Ornate Fan
Characters (6)
3x  Feral Ningyo
3x  Shrine Maiden
Firstly, this was for a tournament with no published deck lists. You don't need to "keep the opponent honest" with 1x high impact situational cards like Assassination, Censure and Display of Power that can be cancelled at great tempo loss or never playable. Opponents will respect the possibility of these cards anyway. Fiddling with your Imperial Favour reminds them to respect Censure etc.
I'm a firm believer in super-focused decks with redundancy to ensure consistency, especially in fast decks that can't stall to get your combos.
Why 2x Benten's Touch?
* You often need to attack in Water to trigger benefits and have no targets.
* You often need to bow your shugenja attacker hitting a "break province".
* You can make use of the over-committal that a Hawk Tattoo has caused.
* Ethereal Dreamer is the key new card that makes this card much better.
* It's an Air Spell bowing Uona that can be recursed.
Why 2x Walking the Way?
* Phoenix is all about combos! So many cards synergise together.
* Dynasty array of 4 cards hand size is highest variance element.
* In a tourney where your worst fear is bad luck, smooth variance.
* Can find unique copies, 7 useful holdings and discard 3 keepers. 
* It's a free Air Spell for Uona that can be recursed,
Why 2x Imperial Storehouse?
* The game seems aggressive enough to break a Library province.
* The +1 strength could end up critical in saving the province break.
* A Library just reduces dynasty array hand size in a combo faction.
* Easier for someone returning to the game to forget Library trigger.
* It works better with 2x Walking the Way and both key 1x holdings.
Why 3x Shiba Yojimbo? Helps vs Hawk Tattoo and Formal Invitation. The key thing is not to overcommit Fate or attachments on it against Crane because they will Noble Sacrifice kill it (at least saves a better shugenja). In a deck with 27 shugenja, having 3 Bushi Yojimbo enhances the disruption potential of protecting all your other threats.
The problem with Phoenix is it's so Fate hungry. This build tries to minimise conflict deck cost (15x 1 cost to mininise cancel pain, but another 6x 1 cost recursed) and situational cards. It even spurns cancels. It's not aggro-control (like my Crane builds). It's just plain aggro.
Anyway, this post was originally meant to be a review of "my how things have changed in just 6 weeks" on so many fronts. And ended up just another deck list. Sorry about that but hopefully there's something useful in all that waffle.
Like an addict, I returned for my LCG fix. Have to say I feel like a kid in a candy shop with all 6 packs I bought today in front of me. :)

  • Caldera, Antaiseito, Solaris and 3 others like this



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Welcome back :) Can't avoid the LCG bug it seems!

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I'm glad you got back to the game! 

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Thanks for a great idea, until Hawk Tattoo gets errataed, I will take a break :-)



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1. Definitely agree that the last 6 did a lot for the game.  It's way faster, there are cards that are impactful enough that the game isn't *just* a value grind, and a good number of synergies/builds that are new and fresh.


2. I do think monks or Pheonix/Dragon is probably the best deck at the moment.  I'm currently playing the hell out of Crane to try and get a few things to work.


3. I personally think Feast or Famine is far more offensive than Hawk Tattoo.  Tattoo might need to be restricted list, but it's a 1 cost harpoon.  There is no way a 1 cost harpoon is an overpowered card in and of itself.  Feast or Famine is part of why Monks is so busted.  Their deck is somewhat reasonable, but when you add resto/FOF it's dumb.

  • sparrowhawk, Stefan2581 and Grimbo like this



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You are right about Feast or Famine!

The issue is pervasiveness because Let Go is the only flexible attachment removal and Fury is on the restricted list. Thus pervasive Hawk distorts the meta.

Playing Crane eh? So have you attacked with Cautious Scout only to see your new Brash Samurai at home Hawk Tattoo into attacking Feast or Famine? Or watch as Raitsuga with 2 weapons attacks and Hawk Tatoos Hotaru, Guest of Honour, Challanger or Asami? Hawk Tattoo is worse than bow, it ensures the text on the character is irrelevant too and creates unopposed openings for precise breaks.

Crane is such a finesse clan (there's nothing finesse about a 6/9 beatstick but it should be very precise and finesse) and Hawk Tattoo really stuffs it (but it has the sole counter of Debate). Hence ronin like me should spread their wings.

It's too strong without the errata (and silly) because it's so versatile and uncounterable (Invitation gives opponent a discard window and has strict eligibility).

But yeah, Feast or Famine is silly. As regulars may recall, I have advocated restricting Feast or Famine to remove Clan role restrictions.
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But yeah, Feast or Famine is silly. As regulars may recall, I have advocated restricting Feast or Famine to remove Clan role restrictions.


Ban Feast or Famine.  Restriction isn't good enough, it would still just automatically be the RL card for every deck.  The effect takes one of the major decision points in the game and flips it on it's head.  It should have only taken 1 fate, and had the same restrictions.  Or it should have cost 5 honor to trigger, or 3-fate.  Provinces should give you interesting decisions to make, and have readily accessible ways to play around them.  You can't just make a province that's text says "lose the game", and make it a 1/4 chance of flipping T1.  Or 2 in 4 if you're actively scouting and playing any kind of aggressive deck.


The card needs to be banned.


Hawk Tattoo will have errata or just be banned with an apology article.  It must have been a typo, that will be rectified before worlds I'm sure.

  • Ignithas, Stefan2581 and Grimbo like this



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But Feast or Famine is ‘when broken’ - not ‘when revealed’? It can be played around just like Restoration, or Way of the Crab - both cards which force opponents to make suboptimal plays. Is it as devastating as Abandoning Honour or Noble Sacrifice - both easily triggerable by Scorpion & Crane respectively?

I get that the Talisman combo makes it more formidable - but a broken province is a broken province...
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I get what you mean that it's still a province broken, 25% closer to a win or +2 tiebreaker points. But at what cost? Let's take a median case of moving 2 Fate from a 3 coster to another 3 coster. That 4 Fate swing denies 2 turns of 3 cost investment and gains 2 turns of a 3 cost investment. That's a 12 Fate value swing. Good luck getting back into the game against any semi-competent opponent after taking that hit!

One of the reasons I rate Benten's Touch a bit (many don't) is that I've used it as insurance when attacking Dragon or Lion. It means that if the flop demands it, you can play Prodigy with 3 Fate and attack with it rather than dent your Fate efficiency by playing no more than 1 on a character (my Crane approach) until you find it (and break it vs Talisman).

Hawk Tattoo and Talisman make the issue far worse that now you just need to take the hit, ideally less than 2 Fate.

The problem with Feast or Famine is it feels such a cheap easy way to hugely swing the long term balance of the game. Restoration of Balance can be worked around to some extent but Feast or Famine and the eternal threat of it just so stunts your Fate efficiency. It has too big an impact on many Clans.

The fact that Keeper of Fire and Seeker of Fire are the top 2 picks is evidence that it is just too strong.

Doomed Shugenja, Vengeful Oathkeeper, there is always a host or threat of a host around and once I remember thinking I'd be fine against a Talisman threat with a no fate Tactician still in play until a Crone appeared to spike my Assassination in first window before he brought out Talisman spiking my Let Go to use it. That game was one of my super-long untimed wins and that was due to losing all Fate off a major investment.

I've heard a tale of someone Assassinating their own character. Opponents often buff the attacker. What other province provokes such extreme behaviour?

Sorry, Caldera, I'm unconvinced. Unicorn is a scary match-up now due to Talisman Feast or Famine. So I can sympathise with Unicorn players wanting to down play this advantage. For the rest of us, it just feels a tad too easy, too restrictive on early Fate efficiency whilst we go all out to find it and break it.
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Moving 2 fate from 1 character to another isn't a 12 fate swing, from a tempo perspective if your oponent has played the character this turn is at most a 10 fate swing minus the impact of the one character for this turn, because the value of a character isn't cost*turn it stays on the board. But this is quite honestly enough to warrant a restriction/ban. The fact that someone can play around a card is not enough evidence of a card being broken or not. Because playing around Feast or Famine for Clans that don't naturally counter it often means making game losing plays.



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Thanks for the (corrected) support that the province unduly distorts the meta. Many people have said it already so nothing new.

I will let far better qualified people than me quantify "tempo". Back in Thrones 2.0, I tried to consultatively define this much quoted (and let's face it, a tad pretentious) attribute. The lack of agreement on what it means was startling. Whilst not related to L5R, the games are similar so there is cross-transference of learnings in this old thread:


A problem is how to introduce the restriction. It's very unfair on Clans with a Fire role who proactively chose that Fire role because of it (like Kingsley did for Dragon). This is different from other restricted cards as this directly challenges the whole pseudo "players have direct impact" concept that is role locking Clans. They must grasp this nettle sometime as a Role restricted card will eventually need to be restricted (this has already happened).

One solution is to simply announce the new restricted list in its entirety (as the whole list impacts on role choice) to be enacted after Worlds before the new roles are chosen at Worlds. As I very much doubt roles will be unlocked anytime soon and probably never.



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I didn't think my thoughts warranted an entirely new post, and this one seemed tenuously related, so:

Went to the local FLGS that seems to be trying to grow the game, an hour away rather then 40 min to the one that doesn't try much but gets a few players. I took along a friend to introduce to L5R.

The best thing about going was bringing along all my old Conquest stuff and playing a couple of games.

I'm really not sure that I'll stay with this game.
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