The Little Sensei: 2 Turns
It’s not really a secret that in L5R, victory can be decided in the first 2 turns. The rest of the game is just a permutation of those two turns, whether you can maintain your tempo and control of the game or if you’re steamrolled into a not so spectacular defeat. But what is so important about the first two turns that dictate your entire game? The answer is simple. It’s also the same thing that makes the world go round.
Yes, economy is important in L5R because let’s face it, personalities cost money. Items cost money. Even some strategies cost money. Having a steady flow of income will ensure that you’ll get a steady flow of your deck working how you want it to. And the best time to boost up your economy is during the first two turns, where battles are not fought (well, not most of the time).
Another reason why the first two turns is important is because of this card that everyone has access to:
Using Border Keep helps you to dig for those holdings in the first turn (if your draw is sucky, which happens). But what is normally holding people back is using Border Keep’s once per game ability early to get cash. Now we all don’t want to get stuck in mid-game relying on a peep to show up but flipping over a holding instead, but daring to use Border Keep early can have 2 big effects on your deck:
- You can pack less holdings, say, 13 or so. Which means:
- You can pack more useful stuff in your Dynasty deck, may it be personalities, events or utility holdings that you don’t want to use for gold, like Deeds and Words.
Early use of Border Keep will also fish out your more useful personalities or Guidance earlier than usual. There’s not too many Dynasty cycling cards that you’d want to include in the first place. But really, the main reason you want to use it early is to get your holdings out fast by aggressively cycling your Dynasty as fast and as much as possible so you’d have a very decent koku base to bring out your peeps and reducing the odds of flipping up holdings later.
Of course, you may come across situations where your cool peeps are flipped up a little bit too early and you’d like to keep them. But if your gold can’t handle it, you might as well chuck them out in favour of holdings. We build decks with a specific theme and strategy in mind. Getting that main strategy to work as fast as possible overrides any unaffordable cool toys that you happen to come across.
So try it out and see if you like the it. It feels dangerous, it feels like you’re throwing caution to the wind by using you Border Keep ridiculously early. You’re likely right on both accounts. But if such a play can make a deck be more focussed and fluid, I say it’s worth the risk.