Recent L5R player starting from Emperor Edition.
Stronghold supporter for L5R.
Warmahordes and Heavy Gear player.
Winning through dishonoring your opponent is like fighting against the stream. L5R is setup to gain honor through the battlefield and proclaiming alone your working up on honor. This makes dishonor decks tricky to do right. You really need to bring in the best combinations to hammer your opponents family honor down as quickly as possible.
Winning through honor offers a different kind deck strategy then a straight military deck. Where military wins on the battlefield, honor decks work in just about every phase of a turn. To win using honor you have to start your turn at 40 or higher honor. When building an honor deck you’ll not only be looking at your methods of honor gain but how are you going to defend on the battlefield. I’ll be going over the basics of an honor deck and what common strategies are out there right now.
Winning a game is hard, at least if you're not playing against a Crane deck. The military victory is the most common way to win most games of L5R. There are a lot of things that can go wrong if you make some poor choices. Learn what you need to know from taking your first province through to taking your opponent's last province.
There are several mechanical rules for dealing with honor in L5R. Having a range of honor requirements and personal honor adds an amount of strategy when working out gold costs and even what cards you want/can use. Evan covers the basic rules and strategies behind working with (and around) honor requirements.
Rounding out the card types you can find in your dynasty deck, this week Evan talks about Regions, what they do, and how they aren't just an "Enchant Land" from other unmentioned games.
Everyone likes free things, and events offer you a great way to get a 'free' effect out of your dynasty side. Following up on his last article on Celestials, Evan talks about Events with a side offering of Katas.
Celestials are a a funny little card type that operates in a little niche of the rules. Why do you want to dedicate a slot to them when you can only ever run one and most to them seem to offer what seems like a marginal effect. Evan is here to help explain how they work and how to help make the best use out of the celestial in your starter deck.
Celestials are Unique cards that offer a wide range of abilities that can benefit nearly any deck. Most decks will include one Celestial for that extra benefit. In your starter deck you’ll have your clan Celestial included. They tend to work off of your clans strengths and should be considered in most cases. Most Celestials also have a couple abilities to add to your utility.
Celestials come into play when the card is flipped in the province. No matter when that is. The downside to this is Celestials replace one another. The newer Celestial replaces the older one and the older one is discarded. Each player can only have one out at the same time. There are two exceptions to this rule. The first being if you flip the Celestials outside of the Events phase they both enter play. The other exception is a promotional card Shrine to the Heavens which stops the normal discarding of the older Celestial. In either event, it’ll be a rare sight as most decks that I’ve seen run usually just one celestial and the most I’ve seen is two. With Celestials being Unique and only one in play at a time, it’s usually not beneficial to go over.
Below, I'll go over the starter box Celestials. There's pros and cons for each celestial. Take a look!
Lion Clan: Akodo's Guidance
Adding more Utility to the Imperial Favor, Akodo's Guidance offers you another option on the offense. With Lion’s high family honor and easy access to proclaiming high personal honor samurai, it’s not to hard to stay ahead on the honor gain for a lobby action to gain the favor. Or throw in a few Dazzling Attire’s to assure that you gain the Imperial Favor. Sending a defender home is a great option to have available. If you send someone home and still need that extra oomph, Use the Battle action to ping off a small personality. Most Lion decks are offensive in nature and fits nicely in most decks.
Scorpion Clan: Bayushi's Guidance
Though more for dishonor decks, Bayushi's Guidance offers some interesting options. Pinging your opponent every turn for one honor is great for dishonor decks and good for slowing down the honor gain decks. There’s plenty of honor rocket decks out there and this is great deterrent. For dishonor decks you’ll usually want to stack this honor loss up with cards like Suspicions. The Open ability to target one or more personalities in any province and put them on the bottom of the owners deck is really nice. You can see this as a limited Border Keep action to try and hunt down better personalities. Or better yet, force a nasty personality to the bottom of your opponents deck. You can do both which makes this a great utility piece. Saying goodbye to your opponents Shadow Dragon or clan champion is well worth having this Celestial. For me, this card is nice to have in every Scorpion deck.
Spider Clan: Daigotsu's Guidance
Though lacking an all the time ability like most Celestials, Daigotsu's Guidance has a good bowing/destroying effect. With the proper setup your destroying a bunch of cards or bowing. This fits in with most Spider decks as an extra destroy effect. This is fairly cut and dry Celestial. [Editor Note: Much like the Spider.]
Crane Clan: Doji's Guidance
This is another Celestial that plays with the Imperial Favor. The important part here is that it allows you to play the favor without battle presence. This helps protect your personalities from nasty effects. It also can potentially move personalities home if they hop to a battlefield unexpectedly. This is very handy to have around. The Open action is a bit more corner cased. Grabbing a non-Unique strategy in your discard pile is great, if you have political strategies. This hinders the usefulness of this Celestial to courtier decks or some dueling decks. [Crane Editor Note: There are two very relevant Political Strategies, Courtesy of the Crane and Interference. I buy starters just for more Doji's Guidance and Courtesy of the Crane. List of EE legal Political Strategies.]
Crab Clan: Hida's Guidance
Negating the first straightening during a battlefield is a nice advantage. It could buy you a turn with battle actions if they waste one to try and straghten. This is a huge advantage. The Battle action is a nice backup in case you need to get a bowing done quickly. On the defense it’s better that it’ll bow a unit, which works well in a siege deck. This card fits well in about any Crab deck. Even if your not battlefield focused like a military deck, it’s a quick bowing action that could save your province. The berserker and siege decks love this card.
Dragon Clan: Togashi's Guidance
This is an interesting Celestial in that it’s one of the few ways you can grab a ring from your fate deck. This makes it ideal for Enlightenment decks. Though remember you have to bring the ring into play by it’s own card text. So you have to use Togashi's Guidance to put it into your hand first. If your not running an Enlightenment deck it’s still great to get a ring out into play. All the rings have some great abilities. If anything grab the Void ring for an extra card draw and you can’t go wrong. The all the time ability is nice, but isn’t something to write home about.
Mantis Clan: Yoritomo's Guidance
This Celestial favors a military deck. Reducing a provinces strength to 5 at the start of a battle is a nice perk, especially when your tackling a Crab player. Though it’s only 1 strength if fighting Pheonix. Having this as an all the time ability however does raise the value of this card. Siege decks or any deck that can raise province strength will hate to have this ping. The secondary allows you to play a little more aggressively at the end of the phase and discard port holdings for a chance of flipping a personality. Then just grab the port when the Celestial is in play. Overall it’s a nice Celestial to have in several decks.
Phoenix Clan: Shiba's Guidance
This Celestial works well for military decks. The card draw happens even if you don’t take a province and just destroy a card is handy. This helps with keeping up with the card advantage. During a typical round of combat you’ll burn through your cards and if you can recoup the cards you’ll be in a better position to strike the next round. Which goes back to card draw always being good. The secondary allows you to grab any non-Unique spell or kiho strategy from your discard pile into your hand. Grab that key card and your can go in swinging next round. This Celestial will work best in a military shugenja deck. Though kiho strategies are monks, I have yet to see a phoenix monk deck… [Editor Note: I hear I give you my name is non-unique.]
Unicorn Clan: Shinjo's Guidance
This is probably the most odd Celestial, because you want to run the Unicorn clan champ, Moto Naleesh to get the most use out of it. Not that it’s a bad idea, every clan champ is great to have in a deck. But it does mean these two cards are almost always together. This action only places her in a province so you still need to buy her in the Dynasty phase. This could also be a second chance in case you had to pass on her earlier in the game. Overall this is a clan champ finder. If she is pulled before the Celestial you have the added bonus of +1 force to everyone with attachments. Which in Unicorn’s case should be most of the time. So it’s always useful to have out.
That's the rundown for the clan Celestials that come in the starter boxes. There are very few celestials to choose from outside of these. Though they can fit into many different deck types. Take a look at how they fit into your deck. Let me know if there's any Celestials you have questions about.
So, you've decided that you like firing arrows (or boulders in the case of the Kaiu) as a method of trying to defeat your opponent before swords actually meet in battle. How exactly do ranged attacks work? Perhaps more relevantly, how do you play around them, so you don't get decimated?
So you've started to build a deck and you were feeling good about it until someone pointed out that Unique meant that you could only have one copy of the card in the deck, and not that it was awesome (though it probably was). Evan writes in talking about Unique, Singular, and how to figure out how many copies of a card to run in your deck.
In with his weekly article ahead of Dojo Thursdays, Evan talks about the Imperial favor. How can you get it? What does it do for you and why should you care?