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Legend of the Five Rings Review: Crab

L5R review

Time for phase two! This review will cover the Crab clan - keep in mind that stronghold cards are being reviewed in the context of other strongholds and aren't ratings of clans as a whole. Provinces will come later as well.

Our review panel:

benjoewoo: Old5r player, coming back and excited to see this game revive.

Kingsley: Kingsley once played Conquest and Netrunner competitively and is excited for a new and intriguing LCG.

nyxnyxnyx: nyxnyxnyx is a competitive player from Singapore who has played Netrunner, Conquest, and AGOT 2.0.

Grendel: I have around twenty years of card game experience. At one time I was the worst rated player on DCI in the state of Tennessee. I have played several games to varying degrees of competitive success locally. For FFG’s LCG line I have only played Conquest competitively in which I have achieved second place in a 50+ OCTGN league, second and fifth place in two regional events, second in a store championship, and took home several game night kits. Beyond just playing a game. I enjoy discussing theory, strategy, and tactics for said game.

I Fight Dragons: I am an avid card game player who has played Magic, Netrunner, and Conquest competitively and L5R casually in the past. For the L5R LCG, I went 5-0 in the 704 person Kiku Matsuri and became one of the first Phoenix Hatamoto, then placed in the top 8 for the following 256 person inaugural tournament at Gencon 2017. I host a podcast focused on competitive play and being a better player called The Winter Court Podcast.

Shiro Nishiyama (average score: 3.8)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
In context of what the crab clan wants to do—counter attack—this stronghold is excellent in giving you a multiplicative bonus in both military and political stats. Both stats are useful, with political stats being even more so given Crab’s generally military favoring characters.

Kingsley - 4/5
This card is stronger than most strongholds, offering a solid buff for both military and political conflicts. While 10 honor is on the lower side, +3 strength is a big deal.

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
One of the weaker provinces compared to the other clans. 10 honor is below average, although +3 province strength is top of the pack. Ability is exactly meh. If province trading is more popular you won’t get much use out of the effect. FFG’s rules on abilities like this also mean that you can’t use the effect and get benefit out of conflict characters played/put into play later.

Grendel - 4/5
+1 on either challenge on D is fairly nifty. +1 isn’t a huge bonus, but an inch might as well be a mile.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
This Stronghold is very solid with a nice above average stat boost on defense and +3 to Province strength. What holds it back from being a real star is its use being limited to defense only. Still, this matches well with the attrition game Crab seem to have out of core.


Eager Scout (average score: 3.4)

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Benjoewoo – 3/5
This is auto-include right now because it is one of two generic “sacrifice” targets for crab’s various sacrifice effects, but will likely be the first of the two to be phased out once better low cost sacrifice targets are released—the 0 cost does not make up for the 0/0 stats with 0 glory and no ability except for in a core only environment.

Kingsley - 3/5
This is one of the best cards in the game early on, acting both as a scout and as an enabler for cards like Way of the Crab. However, it unfortunately becomes near-dead when drawn in the late game, making it a somewhat marginal pick overall IMO.

nyxnyxnyx - 4/5
Anything that costs 0 is deserving of a closer look. He blocks UO, threatens very sneaky ring victories / province breaks with the help of conflict buffs, and works great with the various sacrifice effects Crab has. He even has the Bushi trait!

Grendel -3/5
I like getting him early game and scouting. I like getting him when I can way of the crab. I hate getting him when I have a holding out and I need relevant characters to kill my opponent or save me.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
There are a ton of uses for Eager Scout. For the whopping cost of 0, he gives you a guy who can attack to scout a province and threaten to break it with a Banzai! or a couple attachments if your opponent doesn’t defend. If they do defend, then you basically paid 0 to bow one of their characters. Even if he doesn’t attack, he’s easily a 1/1 for 0 fate on defense thanks to the Stronghold. He makes a great piece of fodder for sacrifice effects as well once he’s bowed and done, too.


Hida Guardian (average score: 3.6)

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Benjoewoo – 3/5
With Crab’s particularly useful holding, Funeral Pyre, being an auto-include, this card is likely to see play in a core only environment. It’s potential to simply be a 1 for 1/1, however, means this will not necessarily be auto-include and is a likely early candidate for being phased out.

Kingsley - 3/5
At first I thought this card was great, and it can be in the right circumstances - but ideally you need to have both a wide board for multi-character conflicts and at least one holding in play, which can be a hard combination to achieve. 1/1 stats are also weak (2/0 or even 2/- has been superior to 1/1 in my testing), so this ends up requiring the ability to be really worth it. On the plus side, the ability can be great

nyxnyxnyx - 5/5
At 6 holdings in a 40 card deck, not considering mulligans or other biases, there’s a 49.25% chance of seeing at least one holding in a flop of 4 dynasty cards. Considering there are other *good* Crab effects that utilize Holdings, it’s not a stretch to imagine a mulligan/dynasty discard strategy centred around finding Holding(s). When it’s ‘on’, this thing is a monster. In its ‘off’ state, Hida Guardian’s stats aren’t absolutely terrible too. Should be an easy 3-of for a long time to come.

Grendel - 4/5
With one holding out, it’s doomed shugenja levels. 2 holdings, It’s silly. I don’t think that necessarily mitigates the drawback of not pulling characters with your dynasty draws but it does give a compounding bonus if the holding was worth running initially.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
Hida Guardian is a very interesting card that rewards keeping holdings in play for massive stat swings. Unfortunately, she is a little clunky because she cannot buff herself; and if you are keeping that many holdings it can be expensive to dedicate two characters to a conflict. I still think she’ll find a home in a holding deck one day, but for now she’s a solidly average card.


Kaiu Envoy (average score: 4.6)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
Card draw and fate gain for to effectively make this character a resource gain from almost any angle, with the bonus of having a non-0 positive number military stat make this a solid inclusion and auto-include. It can be a poor choice to play when the board requires more significant force counts, but that risk is far outweighed by this being generally useful and a good way to get a body that maintains or gains resource advantage.

Kingsley - 5/5
Amazing autoinclude card. You get a body to use and potentially sacrifice, it pays for itself, and you draw a card to boot. This card's strength is a significant component of why I'm not that thrilled with Eager Scout.

nyxnyxnyx - 5/5
There’s no question this guy is good. An interesting question is, is he better than Bayushi Liar? I had that conversation with a bunch of people and I think he actually is just slightly worse than Bayushi Liar overall. But you still jam 3 copies of this in every Crab deck likely from now till the death of the game. (P.S: He’s a Bushi)

Grendel - 3/5
Cost for stats is probably the worst in the game, but it allows you to roll resources to another turn and draw a card. If you can take the tempo hit you can come out ahead. A reoccurring theme with Crab. My only fear with dynasty characters like this is in multiples the tempo hit can potentially be to much. This compounds with other cards like Eager Scout and Vanguard Warrior and can give you very high variance on your dynasty flops.

I Fight Dragons – 5/5
The sheer economy of this card means that I think he’ll see play even in decks that don’t care for the sacrifice theme. You put 1 fate on layaway and in the meantime you get a 1/0 (or 2/1 with the stronghold on defense), then get your fate and a card back later. Envoy is just economic value in a game that has a fixed economy.


Hiruma Yojimbo (average score: 3.6)

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Benjoewoo – 4/5
This card is efficient, and its drawback can be relatively easy to play around, making it solid in the core only environment. It may even have value into future sets depending on whether more non-clan specific movement effects are released.

Kingsley - 3/5
Great stats for price, but they can only be used defensively aside from tricks. The high glory on this card is ironically a downside because it will attract dishonor effects that would otherwise be wasted, but overall this fits quite well into the Crab battle plan - just watch out for Assassinate.

nyxnyxnyx - 5/5
Crazy stats, with a downside you can *usually* play around if you intend to defend at all. As long as you’re not getting Covert-ed every conflict, it’s easy to find value out of her undercosted body. Also a great target for Charge! or other put-into-play/movement effects, letting her attack.

Grendel - 3/5
Great stats for cost, he can still participate in a conflict if you can find ways to get him in there. The downside about dedicating ways to get this guy into conflicts as an attacker is that Crab is so low on threat density that he will just get assassinated.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
This card has fantastic stats for its cost at the expense of not being able to be declared as an attacker. She often makes it difficult for your opponent to win a conflict which is fantastic for a 2 drop, but she won’t help you directly win the game, just not lose. You can also get around her drawback by moving her into an attacking conflict after declaration with something like Favorable Ground.


Shrewd Yasuki (average score: 4.6)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
This is one of the few crab cards that draws cards, and it gives you choices among cards you see, making it solid and auto-include given its low cost and average stats.

Kingsley - 4/5
Another strong card advantage choice, this one suffers a bit from requiring holdings in play and having bad stats for its price, as well as being Assassinate bait if loaded up with fate. However, this is still an efficient play and can be a solid defender thanks to the stronghold ability.

nyxnyxnyx - 5/5
Same math at play here, 49.25% of flopping at least one holding by T1 before mulligans. Ridiculous ability once it’s ‘on’, generating value every turn it stays alive. Great Assassination bait if you’re holding counters in hand.

Grendel - 5/5
This guy is boss. Relevant trait, amazing ability to get the tech you need when you need it, Crab staple for a long time.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
Card draw is good; card draw with a scry is even better. Note that a holding has to be in play period, not just your holdings; so you can use him if you opponent controls a holding as well. Timing can be clunky with this guy, as there are times when you see him with no holdings in play, but the times he works more than make up for the times he doesn’t.


Vanguard Warrior (consensus score: 4)

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Benjoewoo – 4/5
This character will often effectively cost 1, and is likely to edge out the relatively more niche characters.

Kingsley - 4/5
You should almost always be able to use this ability in a strong way, making this efficient if played normally and great if tricked into play via Charge or similar. Stats aren't great, but like Shrewd Yasuki the ability makes up for it.

nyxnyxnyx - 4/5
I like this guy, if only for his combo with Charge!. You essentially pay 1 fate for his 2/1 body, with the other 1 fate going on your choice of character. Note that post-hoc fate should be valued more highly than normal fate you dump at the point of purchasing the character from provinces, since it’s more controlled and can be done with the aforementioned Charge!.

Grendel - 4/5
Effectively paying 1 for a 2/1/1 and putting a fate on your best character at the end of turn. Nice synergy with Charge for cheating a fatty in and getting an extra turn of value.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
In a game all about characters naturally leaving play over time, any effect that breaks that rule is inherently powerful. Enter Vanguard Warrior, who gives you decent stats and when he’s about to leave, you get to choose a character and keep them around another turn that they otherwise wouldn’t. Very solid.


Borderlands Defender (average score: 3.4)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
Immunity to Assassination, fairly efficient stats, and a great non-triggered ability make this a solid auto-include in the core only environment. It may be phased out early depending on future releases, but those releases would have to present multiple particularly great crab characters to push out this one.

Kingsley - 3/5
Decent stats and an OK ability make this a solid but uninspiring pick. For now it'll be widely played, but I don't think many decks will be that sad about cutting it. If you do have to pile upgrades or buffs onto one character in a big fight, though, Borderlands Defender is your girl.

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
Pretty good solo defender and wielder of Ornate Fans and Fine Katanas, since you can reliably ensure you will not get 2-for-1’d or more investing in her. Nothing too exciting to shout about, however.

Grendel - 3/5
Nothing exciting here, being decidedly average in the 3 drop range is a pretty big fault.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
This is my textbook example of an average 3 cost character: 3/3 stats, some glory, and a decent but limited effect. The insurance on defense is really nice, but I imagine more powerful 3 cost cards will edge this one out in the future.


Intimidating Hida (average score: 3.2)

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Benjoewoo – 4/5
The ability is relatively easy to play around, and may not always be relevant, but it is useful for triggering Crab’s defense only tech cards and is not inefficient stat wise. This is more a dishonor victory oriented character, which prevents it from being a 5/5 in the core set only environment.

Kingsley - 4/5
This is a strong ability for making your opponent come to you and comes on a body with strong stats. However, the fact that the reaction can't trigger twice in a turn constrains this card a bit, and in many situations dishonor may not be all that relevant. However, the stats are still good and the ability becomes very strong in low honor games. One to watch for the future.

nyxnyxnyx - 2/5
I feel like passing conflicts is going to be a very rare occurrence, so he’s a vanilla 4/2 most of the time.

Grendel - 3/5
Repping 4 on the offense is kind of nice as you can break several provinces if you swing unopposed. The ability is decidedly meh.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
Similar to Borderlands Defender, average stats for the cost with a situational ability. I rate him slightly lower than Borderlands Defender because his ability is more limited and the lower political hurts more than the extra military helps for Crab.


Vengeful Berserker (average score: 4.2)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
You include this because despite the dash political skill, his ability can single handedly swing fights and he’s relatively cost efficient despite only participating in military conflicts.

Kingsley - 5/5
Doubling effects are crazy in this game because they multiply other buffs. With a bit of support, this guy will win military conflicts and even break provinces single-handedly. That's all he does, but his effect+ is so powerful in that realm that he gets a five from me. Nobody else scales as aggressively as this and you must have an answer to prevent him from running away with the (military) game.

nyxnyxnyx - 4/5
Having a - instead of 0 is actually a blessing for dodging harpoon or swap effects, and Berserker’s ability to trigger off another Sacrifice effect is very convenient. Since multipliers are calculated after addition/subtraction, he easily becomes a monster with any sort of +buffs.

Grendel - 4/5
Crab have one good 3 drop. He’s going to get hit with all your opponent’s control because they have no other targets worth using it on, so it is going to seem like he is doing nothing. An unfortunate side effect of having low threat density, however putting a banzai on him and enabling him makes him a game ender.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
This card is so close to a 4/5 for me, but I think barely falls short. This ability is very powerful because doubling always happens last when you calculate the stats on a guy; meaning any attachments that come on after his effect is triggered are also doubled. He’s very one note, but man does he hit that note hard.


Hida Tomonatsu (consensus score: 2)

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Benjoewoo – 2/5
In the core only environment, she might edge in, but her highly restricted ability and high investment cost to obtain that ability make her less desirable and more a deck construction requirement choice, especially given her stats are not particularly efficient.

Kingsley - 2/5
These stats are OK enough that she won't get a one, but this ability is incredibly situational and restricted. The fact that you have to sacrifice her to use it means you don't want to put fate on her, but then your opponent can potentially just wait it out... not a strong card.

nyxnyxnyx - 2/5
Let me get this straight. First, I have to win a conflict as a defender. Then, I have to sacrifice her. Then, I have to choose a NON-UNIQUE, ATTACKING character. And then he goes to the TOP OF DECK instead of discard. No, thank you.

Grendel - 2/5
Why? The base ability is actually pretty strong in this game(Unsummon). All of the stipulations, defense/win/non-unique, leave it never on except in situations where you probably don’t want to be sacrificing a 3-cost character.

I Fight Dragons – 2/5
As cool as she was in the story, Tomonatsu does not really live up in card form. She has below average stats and an ability that doesn’t work well with her being a unique, is hard to trigger, and is fairly limited in what it can target. The salt on the wound is that it doesn’t discard, though sometimes putting the card back is better, I guess.


Steadfast Witch Hunter (average score: 4.2)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
Between send home, bow, and character removal effects, bow is likely the middle ground between the other two, and this person converts one of your now useless people who would otherwise do nothing before going away into a resource to likely gain a positive advantage in any fight, or allow you to attack or defend twice in a turn with the same character. Good ability and fairly efficient stats.

Kingsley - 4/5
Strong ability and solid stats - well worth playing and investing in.

nyxnyxnyx - 4/5
Stand effects are pretty good, and the sacrifice cost shouldn’t be hard to pay in Crab. Stats are decent.

Grendel - 4/5
She can put the team on her back and help you pull ahead on tempo by sacrificing board state.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
What Crab lacks in the 3 cost slot it reigns in on the 4 cost slot. Steadfast Witch Hunter is very powerful because it allows you to sacrifice a bowed guy who was probably going to leave play in the Fate phase anyways to get a double use of some of your real beaters. Kisada and Shuichi love this card.


Kaiu Shuichi (average score: 4)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
He keeps someone out when he attacks and can potentially gain you resources, which should be often considering how good funeral pyre is. Auto-include because he’s actually useful and likely to stick around in multiple decks because no matter your win condition, you’ll almost always need to swing at least once in a turn.

Kingsley - 4/5
The stats aren't great, but Covert sure is, and Shuichi's action is extremely strong as well. Even when holdings aren't in play, he's often worth playing, and when they are he's excellent. Just watch out for dishonor.

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
I think this guy should really have costed 3. As he is now, he’s a 3 for 3/3 Covert after your first activation of his ability (which has the same holding requirement as other Crab cards). On subsequent activations, assuming he’s still around, he’s a 2 for 3/3 Covert. Not the most exciting of cards.

Grendel - 4/5
Powerful keyword. Powerful ability. Relevant stats across the board.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
Paying 4 for a 3/3 with Covert is already pretty solid for a unique that can potentially get extra fate from duplicates, but the extra fate gain ability on this card really makes it cool. So long as a holding exists somewhere in play, Shuichi pays back in fate you put onto him over time and that adds up very quickly over a couple of turns. Also, Covert may be the best keyword in the game, so that’s nice too.


Hida Kisada (average score: 4)

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Benjoewoo – 4/5
His ability is the only one that can trigger in every conflict in a turn, significantly draining your opponent’s resources. But, his highly imbalanced stat line with a 0 glory stat mean he’s only slightly better than the 1 cost hida guardian for political conflicts stat wise, and strictly worse in this sense if there’s a holding in play. He will be auto-include in a core set only environment, but may be phased out to lower average dynasty cost curves as sets release because his ability’s potentially oppressive nature may not outweigh having more consistent and affordable effects.

Kingsley - 3/5
Perhaps the worst of the clan champions, though still worth putting in your deck for now. Many decks can disable this ability with little consequence, either by burning an irrelevant action or by simply winning a challenge before making their primary attack. At least the big military lets you threaten breaks immediately?

nyxnyxnyx - 5/5
Within the Crab clan, you’re definitely playing this guy, at least out of the Core set. That’s not to say he pales in comparison to the other Clan champions, though. My personal opinion is that he’s one of the best champs. His ability will almost always be able to happen once a turn. If you’re ahead and able to stretch the duration of his ability, it gets crazy. Lopsided stats like 7/2 are also preferable to balanced ones.

Grendel - 4/5
One of the weaker champs but he can still put the team on his back. When you are behind he might as well be printed as a blank. Against a person a with an undeveloped board his ability can be taxing and equal board state, the cancel might be the reason you win.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
I know it’s probably heresy to rate Kisada anything other than 5/5. His ability is awesome and very impactful on the game, he has 0 glory so you can dishonor to neutralize him like other champs, and he has 7 military! The reason I give him a 4 is his very low political skill in a faction that really could use the help and because it seems like every faction has an easy out to waste his cancel. Don’t underestimate him though; he still is a board warping card once in play.


Borderlands Fortifications (average score: 2.4)

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Benjoewoo – 1/5
With the errata preventing this from swapping your SH for extra PS, this card is significantly less useful and is likely bumped out for Imperial Storehouse and Funeral Pyre in triplicate.

Kingsley - 3/5
This is a solid bit of extra defense and can also get a bit of utility by saving threatened cards from targeted breaks or swapping a card from a broken province that you want to keep for later. Handy, but a handy ability may not always be what you want in exchange for a precious dynasty draw.

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
It’s a 2-skill bump to the province being attacked (except when the opponent declares on another province on his second conflict) at the cost of one dynasty slot. Not exciting, but it’s something. Crab’s effects requiring holdings in play don’t play too well well with the ones that require sacrificing, so this is worth considering. Probably a 1-of since multiple of these feels bad.

Grendel - 3/5
+2 is a good modifier to combat and being able to use it at any province is kind of nice. Having to trade a dynasty draw is kind of rough. Giving up an actual character is a tough pill to swallow but 0 for 2 is strong math.

I Fight Dragons – 2/5.
Borderlands Fortifications simply doesn’t do enough. It’s very cool and thematic, but only matters if the +2 strength prevents the province from breaking to begin with but doesn’t help you actually win the fight which is just better. So in the end, this feels like using a province slot for a worse version of a 2/2 character.


Funeral Pyre (average score: 4.8)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
Play this—it draws a card on a sacrifice cost which can net you multiple cards and trigger useful people like Vengeful Berserker. Will likely be phased out for decks that don’t want holdings, but card draw is few and far between now so it will be auto-include until more acceptable options for those deck builds come out. Even then, it’s a strong consideration because it can be done during any action window, and flexibility is good.

Kingsley - 5/5
Long-lived card draw that enables your holding and sacrifice synergy cards? Sign me up! This is especially nice in dishonor decks, which often want to bid low and thus can use the extra cards

nyxnyxnyx - 5/5
As long as you have at least one character that has no fate and is marked for fate-removal that turn, it’s no big cost to get the card draw.

Grendel - 4/5
Has a lot of synergy with Crab’s sacrifice for value theme and can allow them to manipulate their bids in a way that can be long term punishing to the opponent. The trick is to balance having this sit out in deck construction along with your other low cost characters providing low value. I would look to crabs conflict characters and potentially splashing one.

I Fight Dragons – 5/5
There is basically never a turn where you don’t have any characters leaving play, so the cost of funeral pyre is very negligible and it might as well say “Draw 1 card” every turn. It can run into timing issues however, when you want to use it but don’t have a bowed guy to throw on it, so keep that in mind when planning your turn.


Hiruma Ambusher (average score: 3.6)

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Benjoewoo – 4/5
This card is by no means bad—2 fate for a 2/2 who can pro-actively turn off your opponent’s key character without any form of opposition is generally good. Only issue is that he doesn’t always have good targets, e.g. Kisada, and you may have to play him to avoid losing a battle, at which point his ability isn’t very relevant.

Kingsley - 3/5
This ability is often dead but can sometimes hit hard, and the stats are average for its cost in the conflict deck. Unspectacular but worth including, at least for now.

nyxnyxnyx - 4/5
Being able to just straight-up ‘silence’ a character is very convenient, especially in a conflict character.

Grendel - 4/5
One of the better conflict characters, a lot of characters require their ability to be leveraged in a way to regain the value infested.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
Decent cost and decent stats with a sometimes very powerful effect when defending. There’s not much to say really other than it’s a solid conflict character. Crab also like conflict characters if they are running a lot of holdings to help them keep characters and holdings in play every turn.


Stoic Gunso (average score: 3.4)

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Benjoewoo – 4/5
You run this guy because he has a good sacrifice effect and Crab will be using this strategy for some time to come.

Kingsley - 4/5
This guy can spike up to lots of stats and thus provide a nasty surprise, but you need a weak character to sacrifice to make full use of the effect. The synergies with Envoy and Berserker here are especially nice.

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
Pretty decent card, though I’m not a big fan of investing in 2-costers. Prime Assassination target the moment you use his ability.

Grendel - 3/5
Sacing a character to get +3 is kind of hefty a cost normally, but thankfully crab is full of under cost to stat ratio characters that also provide a benefit when they leave play. Being able to threaten 5 from an eager scout probe is kind of nice.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
Another pretty average conflict character. If you use his ability then you basically paid 2 fate for 5 military skill which is pretty good. This guy and the Berserker are best buddies in my own personal head-canon.


Reprieve (average score: 3.8)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
This is usually going to be why you splash Crab—this and/or The Mountain Does Not Fall. As a result, crab should try to run it to protect their lynchpins, Kisada, Shuichi, and others as they come out.

Kingsley - 4/5
At worst this card can be a "surprise fate" and at best it can save you from a discard effect, most of which are telegraphed a bit in this game. The fact that this is one influence and its near-universal utility means this will likely be a very common splash in Crab-allied decks.

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
Would have been so much better as a Interrupt: spell/event. Being an attachment means it’s super telegraphed, and prone to all the Attachment control out there.

Grendel - 3/5
It can protect guys from discard effects and allow you to use a fate gained by declaring a conflict to keep a mvp around. Has some cute synergy with charge.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
This is a surprisingly flexible card that at worst lets you retroactively put a fate on a character in a sense, and at best prevents a Noble Sacrifice, Assassinate, I Can Swim, or other discard effect.


Watch Commander (consensus score: 4)

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Benjoewoo – 4/5
Crab don’t have a ton of pro-active actions, so you’ll want this to mitigate your opponent doing so. It’s not 5/5 because it’s 1 fate for +1/+1, and doesn’t match normal metrics for buffs very well in a core only environment. This could easily be upgraded to 5/5 when more dishonor cards come out.
Kingsley - 4/5
While in some situations this ability is near-blank, you do get a chunk of stats and the ability can be great in big battles or
in dishonor-focused decks.

nyxnyxnyx - 4/5
Extremely annoying and threatening. Dishonor is a lot easier than honor, at least in the core set meta, so it’s a 1 honor swing in the relevant direction.

Grendel - 4/5
One of the few dishonor cards that can you get there and once there put a serious choke effect on the opponent.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
This card is one of the most obnoxious cards in the game. By adding a cost of 1 honor to any card your opponent plays, you really make them think twice about how much they want to invest in the conflict, and you get nice value out of the card either way. It also gives decent stats for its cost, to boot. Nice!


Jade Tetsubo (average score: 2.6)
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Benjoewoo – 3/5
Because Let Go exists, this card can’t be more than a 4 until attachment protection type cards come out for clans that can’t splash currently available counter cards. It gets dropped to a 3 because you give the fate back to your opponent’s pool assuming you hit an enemy character with it. +3 Military is a huge bonus and really upsets metrics, but the 2 fate cost attachment makes it difficult to like when let go is so prevalent.

Kingsley - 2/5
Paying 2 for 3 stats isn't good in an environment where 2 stats often costs 0, and while the ability is strong the fact that it refunds the fate means it isn't as huge a blowout as you might think. Further, the likely prevalence of attachment control means even in that rare situation where you get bigger than a clan champ and knock a fate or two off, they may well be able to stop you. Could be solid in a different meta, though?

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
Not great. If you jump through the hoops and hit a target with 2 fate on it, then it’s roughly a sharper Fine Katana with upside (admittedly big upside). 1 and below, meh. Getting hit by Let Go / Calling in Favors - priceless.

Grendel - 2/5
Close to being 1/5 but +3 is a big swing. It’s action seems pretty terrible as it can enable shenanigans an opponent couldn’t previously afford. Can empty a character that is overly invested to punish an opponent. Can also be done to save yourself some money if you overly invest and get punished by debuffs.

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
Tetsubo is theoretically a great card for keeping your opponent from building any sort of lasting board state, which can put them in the sort of choke hold Crab likes to have. Unfortunately, I think the game will have quite a bit of attachment hate, and having this card that you paid 2 fate for get discarded or traded by Calling in Favors might be too swingy to warrant much play.

Levy (average score: 2)

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Benjoewoo – 3/5
Forcing your opponent to give you resources is generally good—however this card has to either be played very early into a turn, e.g. dynasty phase, or played when your opponent has to choice/effective choice, e.g. has 0 fate so must give honor, or about to dishonor so must give you fate. This card will get noticeably stronger as better dishonor cards come out for crab or clans running dishonor that can splash this, but right now it’s a relatively even poke at your opponent for a card, which likely makes it less worthwhile than other options for now

Kingsley - 1/5
Repeat after me: Opponent's choice effects are bad. Opponent's choice effects are bad. Opponent's choice effects are bad. Contingency Plan is better than this for dishonoring people out and Contingency Plan is awful. If dishonor becomes super real you might run both this and Contingency Plan, but that's not where the meta seems to be right now.

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
When an opponent chooses honor, they effectively lower your honor bid value by 1. When they choose Fate, it’ll be when you most need the honor/dishonor. Not a terrible card by any means, but not really advantage-generating like you want your cards to be.

Grendel - 1/5
A worse contingency plan. It never does what you want it to do when you want it to do it. If you run this for the honor hit, you should run contingency plan aswell/instead.

I Fight Dragons – 2/5
Similar to Contingency Plan, this card is just for the very specific honor/dishonor oriented decks. Unfortunately, your opponent gets to choose what you get, so it never gets you exactly what you wanted and that holds it back. There’s an argument for cycling with this card, but Rebuild + Storehouse does it better and faster than Levy.


Rebuild (average score: 4)

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Benjoewoo – 5/5
You run this because Crab needs funeral pyre in play.

Kingsley - 4/5
Great way to ensure a bit of extra consistency with your holding synergy cards, as well as providing surprise plays that can be quite impactful in the right circumstances. Strong now, and if better holdings get printed later it will get even better (what up, one-per-deck attachment stealer?).

nyxnyxnyx - 4/5
Great for improving consistency for all your effects that require holdings in play. Also a sneaky way to bump province strength out of nowhere, or protect a good card from being discarded (more relevant in single-core).

Grendel - 4/5
Really strong enabler for any deck with a holding that needs to be in play. If crab ever gets a holding that is staging ground tier it’s suddenly becomes extremely relevant. Biggest sleeper in core?

I Fight Dragons – 3/5
A very cool Crab card that will become very flexible as more holdings are released. My favorite use for it is to return Favorable Ground to play to act as a 0 cost movement effect that my opponent might not expect.


The Mountain Does Not Fall (average score: 4.4)
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Benjoewoo – 5/5
Crab will want this to keep Kisada’s ability on as long as possible and force the opponent to play actions to overcome his massive military might, or Shuichi for political, and keep them available to counterattack.

Kingsley - 4/5
Quite strong. In the dream scenario you can actually fight three times with the same guy using this, since it lasts until the end of the phase. Three influence means this will be hard to import, but perhaps still worth it at times.

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5
Pretty much a ‘stand’ effect for defending characters, except you can be screwed by a bow after playing this. Also makes send-homes less costly for your opponent.

Grendel - 5/5
One of the best crab cards. Very powerful, only if they had some characters that didn’t cost 4+ to use this on.

I Fight Dragons – 5/5
A lot of this game is about resource advantage, where you try to have your opponent expend more resources than you in order to stay even. The Mountain Does Not Fall is one of the best forms of resource advantage because it lets you re-use a character where they cannot and that is a big deal. This card will probably see play for a good long while.


Way of the Crab (average score: 4.6)
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Benjoewoo – 5/5
You play this because it’s a playable way, triggers sacrifice effects, e.g. Vengeful Berserker, and you can force your opponent to kill his best guy with fate on him during the Fate phase. Will also single handedly force your opponent to change buying patterns to avoid being hit by this.

Kingsley - 5/5
Matchup-defining. This will almost always need to be taken into account when playing against Crab, even in situations where it isn't that high impact.

nyxnyxnyx - 4/5
I’m not a big fan of this card. My major gripe is that it costs 1. I grudglngly accept that it’s a good card, albeit a little tricky to set up. Can be awkward if your opponent has more chuds to sacrifice than you do, and you start to draw multiple copies of it. Works best with additional character discard effects, like Assassination.

Grendel - 5/5
Really strong way card when on the play, crab have several openers where a unwary opponent can walk into a huge blunder. Outside of play mistakes, the resetting board state can always keep this card relevant.

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
The threat Way of the Crab poses is one of the most important things to remember when playing as or against them. If the Crab player manages to ever get a good trade with Way of the Crab then it can completely blow out an even game. This can be used in the fate phase when your opponent only has a clan champion left, or in the dynasty phase if they foolishly buy a big character first onto an otherwise empty board for them. You simply have to respect this card constantly or else you can lose the game to it.

  • Epicurus and Richardirola like this


17 Comments

So I counted the number of times the word "auto-include" is used in the text, and it is 10 :)

    • Ironswimsuit, Epicurus, FedericoFasullo and 4 others like this

What happened to Benjoewoo's reviews on the Conflict cards?

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JoeFromCincinnati
Aug 27 2017 02:13 PM

Very surprised to learn that Kisada may be worse than Altansarnai. I must be playing him wrong.

    • IFightDragons likes this
After reading Benjoewoo's comments on Borderlands Fortifications, they probably banned him from reviewing any more cards.
    • Ignithas and JoeFromCincinnati like this
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phillosmaster
Aug 27 2017 03:12 PM

Kingsley, Kisada is the worst clan champ?  Kisada wins games all by himself, and can't be dishonored to any appreciable effect.  Dishonoring clan champs is always my go to play, and it's a generic option open to all decks.   He has his hard counters but the opponent needs to have them in their decks and have drawn them.  That feels like a bit of an edge to me.  He's not the best, but he's clearly at the top end of the pack right now.  Altansarnai is definitely the worst in my opinion.  Sometimes she can make a good play with that ability, but it's harder to play.  Kisada by contrast you just put him out and say deal with it.  I am also not a big fan of Tsukune.  I've found her kind of easy to play around.

 

Also in my experience you guys are overrating Funeral Pyre and underrating Borderlands Fortification (well some of you.  3/5 for Fort is probably fair). 

 

I think the Stronghold is on the weaker side.  It is nice that it's a +3 to the province strength.  The effect only working on defense it tough though.  Sure it can help you defend with less, but often time I'm defending with nothing or with one dude because that's enough and at that point the stronghold did almost nothing for me.  I hope we see some new Strongholds sooner rather than later.  I'd be really interested to see what my other options are for the faction.

 

I hate the Vengeful Berserker.  You guys all rate him high.  He just never seems to pay off that potential for me and his dash in political does come up.  I can win fine in military without that guy, and more than a few times I had no way to trigger his ability, or if I did it was only happening once and for marginal effect.  I think this guy is a fun excited effect, but he always gets cut for me.

    • Epicurus and HidaHonk like this
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Ironswimsuit
Aug 27 2017 03:30 PM

Guys.. it's a LCG. It's pretty safe to assume wild mistakes in valuing cards for the game's duration.

    • Kingsley and Obtuse like this
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phillosmaster
Aug 27 2017 03:31 PM

yeah but shouldn't we point out our disagreements?  I mean what is the point if we don't?  I thought this was all about discovering a card's worth.  I offer nothing to the conversation if I just point out everything I agree with on this page. That get's us nowhere.  On the plus side I agree with most of their dynasty character reviews.  I just hate Vengeful Berserker.  Everything else feel spot on.  The only other conflict card I haven't mentioned that I disagree with is Rebuild because it feels like they are rating it too high.  Maybe in the future it will justify that rating.  It's no where near Reprieve and Watch Commander right now in a comparative rating.

 

ADD:  All that said I do think it's important to remember to be respectful to people.  It's alright to disagree, but there is a polite way to make your opinions heard.  We want good discourse right?  Not flame wars.

    • Caldera likes this

There are some things that I think are not correct:

 

Shiro Nishiyama

Kingsley "offering a solid buff for both attack and defense" is simply wrong (but the grading is reasonable).

 

Hida Guardian

nyxnyxnyx - 5/5

It's pretty much a combination with his stronghold score. The most problematic thing about the stronghold is, that you need to defend with 2 characters to get a really strong effect out of it. I understand, that you take away points for that. But why does Hida Guardian deserve a perfect score, if he is only usefull if you defend together with someone else and can be shut off by your oponent? This card was almost always average in my games.

 

Kaiu Envoy

Grendel - 3/5

Cards like this make Crab work, because they allow Crab to have multiple characters in a conflict, have easy sacrifice fodder and this card even generates a netvalue of one card when leaving the game. 3/5 is completely unreasonable atm.

 

Borderlands Defender

Benjoewoo – 5/5

This card doesn't have good stats, so the immunity rarely matters. 5/5 is way too high. It's not even close to auto include atm.

 

Intimidating Hida

nyxnyxnyx - 2/5
I feel like passing conflicts is going to be a very rare occurrence, so he’s a vanilla 4/2 most of the time."

I don't think that a 4/2 for 3 is worth 2/5 and I don't think that passing a conflict is that rare, if you are playing provinces that gain tempo/value when being attacked.

 

Vengeful Berserker

I Fight Dragons – 3/5

The card is a monster that destroys provinces easily on his own, letting you spend the rest of your ressources on defense.

 

Kaiu Shuichi

nyxnyxnyx - 3/5

"I think this guy should really have costed 3."

This card would probably be broken with cost 3. A 3/3 Covert for 3 would be pretty reasonable and having basically a 3/3 for 3 that gains you every turn after the first 1 fate is actually really amasing. Being unique makes it also not unlikely that he will stick around. The only reason why 3/5 could be reasonable is that he has a glory value of 2 (which is usually a weakness in Crab), but this isn't even mentioned.

 

Hida Kisada

Kingsley - 3/5
"Perhaps the worst of the clan champions". No Clan Champion is worse than the Unicorn one.
I can get behind the score, because spending so much for a beatstick with a situational ability, but at least he is a solid beatstick, which is enough a lot of the time.

 

Borderlands Fortifications

Benjoewoo – 1/5

Seriously? I have the feeling that some reviews don't take into consideration, that crab tries to prolong the game and grind out advantages. This card is a pretty good stalling tool.

 

Hiruma Ambusher &Stoic Gunso

nyxnyxnyx & Grendel

GIving the Ambusher a higher score than Stoic Gunso seems really strange to me. Stoic Gunso makes Crab more consistent and enables the Berserker, with which he often dominates both military conflicts. Even in clans like Scorpion a 5 str mil character for 2 is very efficient for a conflict character.

 

Way of the Crab

nyxnyxnyx & I Fight Dragons

This is one of the best cards in the game and the reason I consider the Crab clan to be one of the three best clans at the moment. It often times wins games against Dragon and Phoenix, because it's really difficult to play around it for them and Assasinate into Way of the Crab often generates a ridicoulus tempo swing. The other clans have it easier against it, but they also need to play around it, which often forces them into suboptimal plays.

    • Epicurus likes this

I think my favorite phrase in this review is "simply winning a challenge before making their primary attack."  If you can't win conflicts because of Kisada, it's simple - just win a conflict so you can play the events you need to win conflicts.

 

I actually think I understand the point of the comment - if you can't win the conflict you want to win because of Kisada's ability, you might be able to win a lesser conflict that doesn't threaten to break a province because your opponent is holding back their defenders for the larger force that they can see you holding back.   But a) it sounds funny the way Kingsley put it, and b ) I'm not convinced it will actually work like that in practice.

    • Epicurus likes this

What happened to Benjoewoo's reviews on the Conflict cards?

 

 

Still forthcoming, but I wanted to get the rest of the thing up without making people wait too long!

 

Very surprised to learn that Kisada may be worse than Altansarnai. I must be playing him wrong.

 

Controversial, I know - we'll see how my prediction holds up. FWIW my ranking of clan champs right now is Shoju > Yokuni > Toturi > Tsukune > Hotaru > Altansarnai > Kisada, though everyone above Altansarnai is at least a 4/5 and Shoju/Yokuni will likely be 5s, perhaps Toturi as well.

 

 

There are some things that I think are not correct:

 

Shiro Nishiyama

Kingsley "offering a solid buff for both attack and defense" is simply wrong (but the grading is reasonable).

 

Fixed, I meant military/political but sometimes mess that up thanks to MtG/Conquest mindset.

 

 

I think my favorite phrase in this review is "simply winning a challenge before making their primary attack."  If you can't win conflicts because of Kisada, it's simple - just win a conflict so you can play the events you need to win conflicts.

 

I actually think I understand the point of the comment - if you can't win the conflict you want to win because of Kisada's ability, you might be able to win a lesser conflict that doesn't threaten to break a province because your opponent is holding back their defenders for the larger force that they can see you holding back.   But a) it sounds funny the way Kingsley put it, and b ) I'm not convinced it will actually work like that in practice.

 

I've had a lot of situations where, for instance, I'm threatening to break a province (or maybe even SH) with a big military attack, and Kisada and a few strong defenders are waiting. But instead of going in on military first, I can make a small political attack that my opponent can't defend easily against, which he either has to overcommit to (lowering his forces' potential for the military battle) or else lose Kisada's ability for the one where abilities are more likely to see play.

    • NuFenix likes this
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phillosmaster
Aug 27 2017 08:19 PM

I mean all I do is win Ring of Fire and I pretty much make Tsukune, Toturi and Hotaru's stats horrific for their cost.  Toturi gets a pass because he has alot of tricks to get him into combat for free.  Yokuni so far has been a pretty stellar character because of that ability.  I have never seen Altansarnai used to good effect on the table.  Maybe I need to play a good Unicorn player, but she seems pretty lame to me.  I don't think anyone is disagreeing on Shoju being top of the pack though.  That guy is crazy.

 

Yeah you can play around Kisada, but you gotta play around Kisada.  5 for a 7 military dude with no other conditionals is never gonna be a bad value.  He's still threatening the break without any other cards against most low cost defenders.  You've gotta throw something beefy in front of him.  Just keep straightening him, reprieving him, and Vanguard Warrioring him and throw a Watch Commander on him as soon as you get it.  Unless it's Unicorn with all their movement tricks I'm not sure wasting your own resources on a half hearted political attack is exactly coming out ahead.  If you were first that round and I didn't feel like it was worth my resources to block I'll just play to prevent the break and you can have Kisada's ability at that point.  In any turn where I'm going first he's probably going to fire that ability at least twice. 

 

Also in the end I'm a Crab loyalist so I'm gonna stand up for my champ.  There was no possible argument that was gonna convince me that Kisada is the worst :)

    • JoeFromCincinnati likes this
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IFightDragons
Aug 27 2017 10:00 PM

I personally don't care if Tsukune is dishonored unless she has the potential to be bridged by a Crane player. Her value is in her ability, the stats while honored are a nice bonus sometimes. Kisada is easilly top half of clan champions though, his ability may not be back breaking,but it's always relevant. 

I stand by rating Way of the Crab 4/5, as it's a card that is always indirectly impactful but not always directly impactful. I don't think you get many "blow out" Way of the Crab plays against good players, but it's definitely useful every game.

Vengeful Berserker is also between 3 or 4 out of 5 for me. Maybe it's my phoenix bias, but he's not terribly difficult to answer and he's so one note that anything that prevents him from doing what he wants to do will pretty much blow him out do to his inflexibility. He's definitely the best Crab 3 cost, but that doesn't say much at all.

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phillosmaster
Aug 27 2017 10:24 PM

I agree about Way Of The Crab.  I was getting alot of "are you sure" kind of comments in the Crab strategy thread, but I do agree against a player who understands that card you often won't get a real juicy target.  You are basically hoping to catch your opponent in a misplay at that point.  That said the existence of Way Of The Crab makes you opponent play a certain way and that has some value since it might be a sub optimal way to play.

 

I think Tsukune is too expensive if she isn't also doing something for you in combat considering I'll usually just leave water and something for her to trigger.  Phoenix was probably winning the favor anyway considering their glory and shenanigans so water readying a dude doesn't phase me much.  If she triggers air or fire on top of that she's basically doing the equivalent of two 0 cost conflict cards.  She's not terrible, but she also isn't exactly making me water at the mouth to play Phoenix.

yall pointin out things you disagree with but no one brought up Grendel's 3/5 for Kaiu Envoy (???)


i might have overrated Hida Guardian (because i like low cost characters). crab SH is rated partly in comparison to the other SHs though, thus the 3/5


intimidating hida at 4/2 is probably worth a 3/5 rating, but i dislike that its 4 mil, which crab hardly lacks
    • Ignithas, JoeFromCincinnati and phillosmaster like this
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JoeFromCincinnati
Aug 28 2017 01:52 PM

I would like to point out that having a printed 4 is infinitely better than having a printed 3. 4 breaks provinces. 4 forces opposition. 4 needs no buffs to break. That means that your opponent must, at a minimum, meet your buffs with their own buffs in order to save their province.

 

The number of provinces saved by 1 skill is actually surprising.

 

I don't think Intimidating Hida is a 5 or anything, but I disagree that the Berserker is their best 3 coster. I think Intimidating Hida is their best 3 coster by a slim margin. Having a printed 4 and a relevant ability in the context of dishonor pressure combined with board pressure makes him one of the better cards in my 3 core deck.

 

It's nice to have good abilities, but raw stats are the name of the game in the core environment, at least until more bow tech comes out for all clans to utilize.

    • NuFenix, Ignithas, Epicurus and 4 others like this

great point about sweet spots. will have to agree that 4 is indeed the magic number to threaten 4-str provinces.

    • JoeFromCincinnati likes this

 

 

I Fight Dragons – 4/5
The threat Way of the Crab poses is one of the most important things to remember when playing as or against them. If the Crab player manages to ever get a good trade with Way of the Crab then it can completely blow out an even game. This can be used in the fate phase when your opponent only has a clan champion left, or in the dynasty phase if they foolishly buy a big character first onto an otherwise empty board for them. You simply have to respect this card constantly or else you can lose the game to it.
 

 

For Way of the Crab, when during the fate phase can you play Actions?