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Early/Balanced Crane Splash

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Tags: AggroControlExperimentalFunTournament Quality
Clan: Unicorn
Conflict Cards:
Dynasty Cards:
Influence: /
This is an earlier version of Charge of the Light Brigade. It might actually be better than my more extreme version as it's more balanced.

Initially I played Lion splash, and didn't actually lose a game with it in my brief run, but I felt it was inconsistent and lacked the tools to deal with a good start from certain clans. I then moved to Dragon splash, as it had more toolbox cards, however I found it had some bad match-ups (all 3 of the Dragon cards do little against wide Lion, for example) so I thought I'd try Crane splash.

The cards I was drawn to initially were

Duellist Training - a few players had raved about duellist training with Giver of Gifts, and Unicorn can also send in bowed characters to start duels. I find when it works it's great, but sometimes it sits around as a dead card so cut it to 2 (and 1 in the extreme courtier version).

Perfect Gift - Originally went in this deck, as it helped to get Spyglass draw up and running. However, ultimately if it doesn't fetch a spyglass it's card disadvantage and I like to play the efficiency/economy game. Furthermore as packs are released there are fewer dud cards to give an opponent. Ultimately it was always going to get replaced by....

Disdainful Remark - Unicorn don't really want to defend and this allows us to move in a bowed Courtier or drop a Steward of Law for a very efficient break-stop. In the trading provinces race a single break-stop can be game-defining.

Steward of Law - I hadn't really appreciated this guy in Crane itself, but when putting together the splash his usefulness became apparent. Even before Disdainful Remark was released, his value with For Shame! abuse, as well as being able to block Dishonour of Tatsuo or Giver of Gifts was extremely useful.

Admit Defeat - Not especially synergistic, but still plays nicely into the over/under-commit game of Movement. Commit with a big guy and get Admit Defeated, commit with multiples and I don't send in mine. Commit with none and it's an easy/precise break/ring trigger.

Omitted Cards:-

Way of the Unicorn - I really rate this in Lion and Dragon, but there wasn't space for it here and going first is less vital with some of the tools at out disposal here.

Iuchi Wayfinder - The one card I really wanted to fit in, but just couldn't find space for. I think this early in the game it's useful to develop the skill of playing around Province effects anyway, plus I might not get it early enough so am okay leaving it out for now.

Yurt Mileage May Vary - I get the appeal of Yurt and I still may put it in, but I found too often I didn't want to trigger it for the Honour or the Fate. I'm often Honour pressuring my opponent, or in a situation where us both drawing cards is better for them (e.g. I have Spyglasses running), and I'm also not keen on Fate flooding. That said there are time against Scorpion where it would have relieved pressure if I had it.

The more extreme version I'm trialling currently, can be found here


That version pushes Courtiers harder and runs Mount/Magistrate/Tadaji synergy as well as Political Debate.
Sample Hand:


    I'm having lots of fun with Unicorn. I'm at the Lion splash phase (Ready for Battle its too great against the omnipresent Mirumotos Fury...)


    What is usually your round 1 bid? excluding exceptions like against Dragon, or Scorpion.


    Do you hard-mulligan for any Character or Conflict card?


    The lack of assassinate is a pain or its ok?

    I generally bid 5 on round 1 (with exceptions such as Dragon RoB, as you note). It gets you more options for longer, and also gets you to Spy Glasses so you can stop worrying about bidding so much. I have run into honour trouble against Scorpion a couple of times. That said I've also dishonoured all the clans, including Scorpion, at some point - though that might say as much about my opponent's as myself, I don't know!


    Generally no hard mulligans on the Dynasty side, as all decks atm have the potential for seriously bad flops, which isn't worth the risk imho if you can have something playable without necessarily having your ideal starting card.


    On the conflict side, depends on the Dynasty cards, match-up etc. I still haven't got used to mulliganing in L5R if I'm honest. In Conquest, Thrones etc. it was pretty straightforward for me. Here I often feel (correctly or not) like I've made a sub-optimal decision :P I think part of that is that different cards are more/less useful depending on what your opponent has, and you don't know that at this point. If I'm unsure, I just ditch anything that doesn't have particular synergy, as it means a chance at Spyglasses.


    Oh, and Assassinate, I think you could run it if you want, but I see both players honour pools race for the bottom often when I play Unicorn, so not having it also means it's never a dead card honour-wise. I think chucking in a token copy might be worth it, though. I view Assassination kind of like having a cost of 2.5 cards and 0 resources early game, and being possibly dead late game. Still worth it, but not all the time or in all decks. Danger is, I am seeing some players stack 2 fate on particularly good 2-costers, and that becomes a really solid investment without Assassination in the mix (and terrible if it does get assassinated).

      • Atrus likes this
    Nov 22 2017 04:36 PM

    I just created an account today to post about a crane deck splash that I came up with. 


    I played lion splash a few times and while for greater glory was great, it was very inconsistent. I switched over to Dragon and went on a 10-15 game winning streak that ended when I ran into a crab player and ended up drawing only captive audiences (not so good against crab...)


    One of the things I noticed is that I was winning a lot of political conflicts. when I got the imperial favor, it went to political more often than not. Having the threat of cav reserves and a mass of dude break your stronghold is really good for also having a strong political game. 


    Last night I put in duelist training, admit defeat, disdainful remark, and one political rival. I like the idea of For Shame, so I think I might steal some of your ideas. 


    What had initially drawn me to Crane was the dream of challenging someone to a duel with a bowed character, and then either readying it or moving it to another character and challenging again. It seems that Unicorn has some really dirty tricks they can pull.