L5R – Card Spotlight : Ninube Tsukau
This is the ultimate in carbon-copy-ninja-clones as far as Emperor Edition is concerned. Many at times i
wonder what in the name of Fu Leng marvel at the wonders of personality creation in L5R. Let’s have a closer look at him/her/it/shit (not a she, not a he, not an it hence shit. Well… it’s definitely human for sure since it has no nonhuman trait):
Gold cost to play
For a low, low cost of 7g (except Spider of course), you get to copy any non-Unique human personality in play in terms of Force (not base force but current force), 1 Keyword and 1 Base ability that doesn’t copy. Of course let’s not forget the honour loss of 3 when you recruit it so it’s usually out of reach of honourable clans or players who are gonna win via honour. Let’s look at the clans who might employ him outside of Spider. Crab/Mantis/Scorpion are the usual suspects of course. Let’s just see a short list of personalities most players already love (or dread) seeing 3 possible copies of, let alone 6 thanks to Ninube Tsukau:
Hiruma Nikaru – May the Kami have mercy on you if you see more than 3 ‘copies’ of Nikaru without the proper counters like Incense Mill etc
Yasuki Ikke – You wish to
fondle target my Merchants in battle? That’d be a waste of time or lose 2 honour please.
Yoritomo Kanaye – More bow/destruction (with proper payment of course) plus magistrate/naval keywords to bank on
Ninube Onchi – Turning your opponent’s army to pure force and chi bodies may lay waste to your opponent’s entire attack/defense plans if they rely on their personalities’ abilities. Being on a lovely shadow pony helps too.
Yamazaki – More gold or want to use the ability on your holdings? It never hurts to have more of either.
Soshi Shinoko – If your opponent is attacking, giving you even more cards for your dishonour engine to roll over him isn’t going to look pretty. Not to mention cavalry if you don’t need the courtier trait.
Opportunity cost to play
Obviously Ninube Tsukau
sucks monkey balls is just a glorified blank mimic if you don’t have any good personalities to copy in play. Meaning Tsukau enhances your army, but alone it’s not going to work. If you’re up against an opponent who has a different win condition from you, (usually) you won’t be able to make use of his personalities for your own ends. So he’s only an option unless you need warm bodies in play for some reason. Also note that since Tsukau copies the current force of the personality it’s targeting, you can potentially have solo province destroyers with some force pumps (permanent or temporary). Say Tsukau targets a Ninube Onchi with a Cursed Relic, you can potentially take out the majority of provinces out there with a base province strength of 7. It can get ugly real fast for your opponent from there.
Circumvention/Counters to this card
Having an ability like this means you’re likely to be hit on like
a slut nobody’s business. Anti-shadowlands cards affect you or if you die/get bowed before you manage to use your ability the first time, you’re outta luck. Nothing too hard to handle though even if you can’t stop the first use of his ability. If your opponent is playing dishonour you might also not feel inclined to bring Tsukau out due to the honour loss (depending on circumstances).
As I said earlier, alone it’s not going to work but once you get your clones to
sleep with copy the right personalities… Your opponents are not going to be happy. Much cursing has been heard over some lucky player who manages to get all 3 copies of Hiruma Nikaru in play, so let’s not even talk about seeing more than 3. Still, the potential for this card is huge as to a certain extent, your dynasty has 3 more copies of any non-unique human in your deck.
Design team made this card pretty balanced with the fact that the restrictions placed on it do not make it
broken an auto include (except decks that require multiple copies of one particular personality) and the honour loss it gives in decks. Still, they just made their job harder now since now they have to be very careful when creating non Unique human personalities with traits/abilities that do not break the game in multiple copies. If i were them, i wouldn’t want to make my job harder than it already is when it comes to card creation/game balance. Unless banning/errataing cards is one of your favourite pastimes.
Rating : 8/10 (A great support card in the right deck)