Jump to content

Welcome to Card Game DB
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!


Essentialist Unicorn, a Philosophy (Updated for KoF)

* * * * *
  • joepott and StepOne like this

Tags: AggroExperimental
Clan: Unicorn
Conflict Cards:
Dynasty Cards:
Influence: /
Version 2 UPDATE: Current through, "The Chrysanthemum Throne."

Version 3 UPDATE: Current through the entire Imperial Cycle.

Version 4 UPDATE: Dropped 1x Rout and last copy of Reprieve in order to make room for 2x Policy Debate.

Version 5 UPDATE: Added in more Talismans.

Version 6 UPDATE: Modified deck to include Satoshi Gambit (Keepers, Satoshi, Palace, Miwaku). Added +1 Flower Power for tech. Testing 3x Shinjo Scout for Cav. Reserves support. Added +2 Gaijin Customs for Satoshi support. Traded out fans for katanas to help with Policy Debate. Added in For Shame/Court Games because of the shift in emphasis from military to political (and the consequential shift in emphasis to courtiers). Testing Mediator, though not sold on her. Dropped Way of the Unicorn, which makes me sad and feels wrong.

Version 7 UPDATE: Now that the restricted list has dropped, pretty much everybody needs to take time to rethink their strategy. Thankfully, Unicorn wasn’t hit quite as hard as some of the clans (see Scorpion, Dragon, and Crab lol), but we still have some restructuring to do. Of the eight cards we have to choose between, I feel Charge is Unicorn’s best option, and in fact, have always felt like it was a wannabe Unicorn card. We’ve made several changes to our deck and I’ll do my best to outline them here.

1) There is a distinct lack of courtiers in the deck. Giver of Gifts, Utaku Mediator, and Satoshi were removed in favor of Tatsuo, Nergui, Swift Magistrate, and more copies of Warrior Poet. This shifts our emphasis to Cavalry, military, move abilities, and aggression. To compensate for our loss of political prowess, we have added some new cards to our conflict deck (which conveniently has some space due to losing some newly restricted cards). Primarily, we have added Rout and Waning Hostilities, in addition to our new splash (to be elaborated on in a moment). Rout is not restricted to military conflicts, and can be used in political conflicts to mitigate our heavy-handed military strategy. In conjunction with Waning Hostilities (ideally used while you are the second player), we can neuter our opponent’s conflict phase and then counter punch with a hard military attack.

2) Since we’ve lost our copy of Miya Mystic, we now only have three copies of shugenja, making Cloud the Mind very difficult to play reliably. To shore up this weakness, we’ve switched our splash to Scorpion so we can run three copies of Fate Worse Than Death. This card is great because it does several things for us. First, it blanks a trait like Cloud the Mind. Second, it bows and send home, thereby synergizing with Nergui and Rout. Third, the high cost is mitigated by our chosen restricted card, Charge! By using less resources to play high cost Dynasty characters, we have more resources to play high cost Conflict cards.

3) Since we are not splashing Dragon and are not playing Miya Mystic, we also are lacking in attachment hate. Because of this, we are rounding out our Scorpion splash with two copies of Calling in Favors. Dishonor is not a huge deal for us because of two reasons. First, many of our characters have low or even zero glory so the stat deduction is not a huge problem. Second, lost honor through dishonored characters can be compensated by our holding, Windswept Yurt.

4) Since we are playing Charge, we can no longer play Forged Edict (and honestly, it’d be tough to run Edict with our current lack of courtiers anyway), so we need some event negation. Cue two copies of Censure. Pretty standard option.

I think that covers most of this version’s changes. We’re in new territory here, but I think the future for Unicorn (though admittedly, we’re still the worst of the clans) is bright and it won’t be too long before we get a chance to shine.

Version 8 UPDATE: After playing several games with the previous iteration, I realized that it's too expensive even with Charge cutting down on our Dynasty curve. So we're looking to reduce our overall curve in this build, and also looking to incorporate some of the newly spoiled Unicorn cards!

1) Removed Altansarnai, Tatsuo, and Poet for Infantry, Mediator, and Shono. Added 2x Encampment for utility. 9 holdings isn't a big deal because of two reasons. First, we're not too worried about passing first because swarming is a sub-theme of this build. Second, Windswept "doesn't really count" because it self-replaces with another face-up card and if you use it in the Dynasty phase, it's as if you never drew it. Therefore, we only have 6 "hard" holdings.

2) Removed 1x FWTD and added in 3x Meek Informant to reduce curve. Informant also grants hand info so we can better use our 2x FWTD. Also can poke with Informant into Pol conflicts, something we're inherently weak at as Unicorn. Traded out 2x Fine Katana for 2x Seal. Controversial move, but I've always liked the seals even if they do get flack. The added utility of a flexible Cavalry trait fits well with our lackluster stronghold, Shono's ability, and Trader's ability.

3) Swapped Pilgrimage for Shameful. I go back and forth on this one. Right now I'm favoring Shameful, but will probably swing the other way again eventually.

Version 9 UPDATE: So we've updated the deck with a few more new cards and had to make some adjustments as a result. I'll admit that some of these changes are simply for the sake of testing.

1) Replaced Manicured Garden with Border Fortress, I KNOW I KNOW, let me play some jank once in a while. Lol.

2) Replaced 3x Mediator with 3x Sneaky Shinjo. I really like the design of Sneaky, think it fits well with Unicorn's paradoxical goals (wide board + passing first). Never was a big fan of Mediator, but cheap one drops are an important part of the game.

3) Dropped Ide Trader and 1x Favorable Grounds for 3x Kudaka. I think that Trader's time is drawing to a close. Although he's a good economic engine when he gets going, you have to run too many pieces in your deck and then draw into your pieces for him to go off. Kudaka gives you both of Trader's boosts at the same time (fate + card draw) and also gives you another shugenja trait, which is important because it'll let us finally run Cloud the Mind effectively.

4) Alright, now it's time for another controversial one. Replaced 3x Utaku Infantry for 3x Meshodo Wielder. Wait! Drop the stones and allow me to explain. Utaku Infantry is a card that snowballs strength according to how many characters you have participating in the conflict (bowed characters also contribute). His downsides are numerous however. First, his utility is inversely proportionate to how long the game has taken. In other words, you don't really want to see him early on while your board is small. Second, you have to commit several characters in order to make much of his ability. Third, as of right now, Shiksha Scout (that sweet Naga character) doesn't work with his ability because the added characters are not considered to be Unicorn characters, so unless we get a developer ruling, that combo doesn't work right now. Meshodo Wielder costs 1 (provided you're first player) for 4 total stats, which is incredible. He is basically Infantry after you've committed one additional character to the conflict, but you've saved an actual potential body by playing him instead of the Infantry. He also gives the Shugenja trait, which is great for Cloud the Mind. If we get a Water Role at worlds this year, I can see Meshodo being replaced with the new 2-cost Mantis shugenja.

5) Now the conflict deck. Since we're running a total of 9 Shugenja, we can add in 2x Cloud the Mind. Since we have a new cheap blanking card, AFWTD loses some of its unique utility. Therefore, we have changed our splash to Dragon for 3x Let Go and 3x Tattooed Wanderer. That means we take out 3x Meek Informant (superseded by Wanderer), 2x Calling in Favors (superseded by Let Go), and 2x AFWTD (superseded by Cloud the Mind. On an interesting note, Covert works wonderfully with our readying abilities. Shiotome Encampment and Border Rider means that our covert has the potential to shoot off multiple times a round.

6) We've also dropped 1x Talisman and 1x Ornate Fan for 2x Way of the Unicorn testing. Going first is slowly gaining some appeal because of cards like Sneaky Shinjo, Shinjo Scout, and Meshodo Wielder. I'm not sure 3x is best way to go at this point because First Player Utility is still limited, but 2x is good for testing. Dropping one talisman is alright because it's a unique card, meaning duplicates are dead in your hands. Ornate Fan is still objectively good, but our political strength got shored up a little bit by including Kudaka.

7) As for the future, I'm envisioning replacing 2x Fan with 2x Invocation when it comes out and dropping 1x Favorable and 2x Giver of Gifts for 3x Master of the Swift Waves. Battle Maiden Recruit looks like garbage, as does Dispatch. I want to try Shiksha Scout, but am unsure what to take out for her at this point. If we get a water role at worlds, then Press the Battle and the Mantis 2-cost are instant includes imho.

Version 9 UPDATE:

Dynasty/Province/Stronghold Removals

-3 Kudaka, -3 Keeper Initiates, -1 Meishodo Wielder, -3 Juro, -3 Sneaky, -1 FG, -1 Imperial Palace, -1 Endless, -1 Entrenched, -1 GPO

Dynasty/Province/Stronghold Additions

+1 HMT, +1 Upholding Authority, +1 Rally, +2 BMR, +1 GoG, +3 Shahai, +3 Master of the Swift Waves, +1 MKR, +2 Altansarnai, +2 Infantry, +1 Encampment

Conflict Deck Changes: -1 Wanderer, +1 Hawk, +1 CtM, -2 Fan, -2 Seal, -2 Banzai!, +1 Cav Reserves, -2 Censure, -1 Court Games, -2 Rout, +2 FoJ, +2 River, +3 Ash, +1 Dispatch, +1 Ancient Master

Version 10 UPDATE: Changed around some things for KoF Role. Feast or Famine and Pilgrimage went in. Minor changes to Dynasty and Conflict side.

Version 11 UPDATE: Reduced fate curve in both Dynasty & Conflict. Replaced 2x GoG w/ 2x Meishodo Wielder. Replaced 1x Ancient Master w/ 1x Tattooed Wanderer. Replaced 1x Hawk Tattoo & 1x Cavalry Reserves w/ 2x Way of the Unicorn.

Version 12 UPDATE: Changed around some things after a couple months of testing. Deck is significantly different.
Sample Hand:


    If you're going to splash crab, use Pathfinder's Blade. It's the standout card for Crab alliances right now, and will help your aggressive game a lot. There's also a synergy with your wayfinders, as you'll either be able to scout more rapidly between the two cards, or know where you need to send your pathfinder's blade. Reprieve is the card you don't need, if you need to make room.

    If you're going to splash crab, use Pathfinder's Blade. It's the standout card for Crab alliances right now, and will help your aggressive game a lot. There's also a synergy with your wayfinders, as you'll either be able to scout more rapidly between the two cards, or know where you need to send your pathfinder's blade. Reprieve is the card you don't need, if you need to make room.

    Unfortunately, Pathfinder's Blade is seeker only, and Unicorn is currently Keeper of Void. Thanks for the suggestion though!

    Pathfinder's Blade is seeker role only.

    Good point!

    Aug 17 2018 02:20 AM

    I'm sure you know this, but I had to ask for a ruling... if you attach Tattooed Wanderer and Adopted Kin to the same character, then that copy of Tattooed Wanderer gains ancestral.