Zen in the Five Elements
There are generally four major victory condition in L5R for Celestial arc.
Military – take down all opponent’s provinces. On taking down the last province, you win the game.
Honor – You win the game by starting the turn with family honor above 40 or higher, whereby activating the honor victory.
Dishonor – Drag the opponent’s family honor to -20, he loses immediately upon reaching -20.
Zen / Enlightenment – Put into play all 5 elemental rings by its own text.
In celestial edition, there is two other types of victory condition that frankly is just hard to pull off and placed there just for kicks.
Yoritomo Ascends – An event that you must have 20 samurais in play when it resolves
Claiming the throne – An event that makes fulfill partially the major victory conditions, blowing a province, gain honor, put two rings into play and discarding the favor and paying the gold. More work than actually winning via the major conditions.
But today, we are looking at victory condition number 4, enlightenment. This victory condition is among the hardest to pull off consistently among the major victory condition.
Initially, I was planning to write based on clan point of view, but i would think it’s easier to talk from the ring perspective itself.
Ring of Air
Ring of Air has always been the province of clans that have major support for shugenja and monks, as they trigger off specific keywords, spells and kiho. For those clans with a major sum of those, bringing out ring with air with 3 such cards, easy. Usually Phoenix and Dragon have the easiest for this. Other clans are a bit more difficult since they have little shugenjas and trying to muster shugenja, and have 3 different spell kiho makes it hard to pull off. And to make efficient, the clans have to play out of clan shugenjas to make it effective. For example, in Celestial Edition, Crane have only two shugenjas, and both being unique.
Ring of Earth
It’s fairly easy, yet at the same time hard to pull off. Why is that? Generally, the times you actually take care of the province or the army, you don’t have the ring in hand. And most military deck that can take down province, generally do not include Ring of Earth. Having said that, most decks in general can pull off Ring of Earth is they want to, for a military deck, which is usually Crab, Dragon, Lion, Mantis, Scorpion, Unicorn & Spider. Which are most clans except perhaps Crane & Phoenix who are generally lower force than the military clans and mainly geared to honor running thus will have a harder time to play Ring of Earth.
Ring of the Void
Most decks have generally strategy cards to play among the phases, although the most is during battle. So it’s easiest to pull off except for decks running heavy shugenjas or monks, as ring of the void ignores kiho even though it’s a strategy action. So the moderate difficulty will be for Phoenix shugenja decks, Dragon Monk, Spider Shugenja / monks that relies heavy on kiho/spells. Other decks should have no difficulty.
Ring of Water
Among the easiest ring to pull off, it requires only 4 Battle Action. As long as from cards with different title. Another easy one. Most attachment and even personality have ability these days, so it is very easy to pull it off. All clans should be able to use it, maybe the only difficulty is getting it in hand when you need it.
Ring of Fire
The grand ‘pain in the ass’ ring. This is the only ring with the highest difficulty.
First, you have to win the duel in battle, where the risk is high that you can get removed from battle before you can even try to get the duel off. More importantly, if your first duel failed, after putting ring of fire into discard pile, it takes another turn to try it again. So in most cases, when you initiate the duel in battle, make it count!!
Secondly, you need to win the duel by winning by at least a difference of 3 points! If you target a guy with lower chi, chances are, they will strike, since they know you can focus fire ring. If you are lower chi or equal, unless you’re duelist, the attempt will be blocked by the opponent by striking. Even you’re duelist and equal chi or any shugenja equal chi using Master the Body, there is always a chance that your attempt will fail, as even the normal military decks nowadays have a decent amount of 3 or 4 focus value and do remember that you have to lower the ring of fire by -2 value.
So Ring of Fire, the easiest deck to pull this off, is Phoenix decks with Ochiai xp2, since she can duel and focus first at all times when she use her ability and Crane decks that uses Seawatch Castle, as it enables duelling every turn resource-free, removing the need for the player to include a lot of duelling cards.
So in the end, Post-Eaw environment, if the clans were to be ranked in accordance to their capability to pull off enlightment easily, i would ranked them in this order.
Keep in mind though, having said all that, the ability to search/tutor for the rings are mostly in the province of monks / shugenja. Most other decks will be limited in their capability to search for the rings, relying purely on Wisdom Gained while decks with shugenja access will be able “Changing Path”, the kiho that speeds up ring fetching technology when you’re focused on trying to enlightenment.
So surpise everyone in your local environment, play enlightenment. You will find it unsurprisingly painful to play initially, but once you do, you will find that it has its rewards, since you can play it so many ways and it creates less brain damage as you get used to the style and deck.
Even me, no matter what deck I play now, I somehow will always think back to my Phoenix enlightenment deck, makes me itchy to try to make that Crane Seawatch Enlightenment by the Sea deck. 😛