Category Archives: Ivory Edition

Here’s what I think about Crane’s 20 Festivals Starter

I haven’t written anything on L5R for a while, but 20 Festivals seems like a good time to kickstart things to write something about. As you well know, AEG has just released all the starter decks in pdf the same day as I’m writing this post. Since I’ve always played Crane, here are the links to the Crane starter, which will be the subject of discussion today:

Crane Dynasty

Crane Fate

Note that the Dynasty only has the first player side on it.

Let’s kick things off with the Dynasty side, then Fate, then a summary on how well these two sides gel with each other.



Holdings: 18 (2 Fortifications)

Personalities: 22

Events: 0

The stronghold ability is a very simple one: If you have a peep, bow the box to gain 2 honour. The deck has approximately 10% of its number to help with the defense of your provinces by their own text, but everything else is for honour running.

f167687b598b4deb85a33a0af8d0083cFor a starter deck, I was honestly surprised about the singular focus that the Dynasty provides. The gold curve is not too bad, with most peeps hovering at 5G each. But a number of them rely heavily on the use of the Imperial Favour. It seems a bit of a glass cannon to me at first glance, but thankfully it’s also chockfull of affordable Duelists. Here are the peep rundown (if they have multiple traits, I’ll choose the one that they’ll be heavily relied upon):

Courtier: 9

Duelist: 10

Just plain Samurai: 3

Perhaps the card that caught my eye the most is Kakita Jikeru. She’s cheap, and more likely than not is definitely netting you honour on your opponent’s turn. Of course you need a Fortification or she’s just a plain ol’ cheap courtier, which is why there’s only 1 copy of her in the deck. But I wouldn’t run so many Fortifications myself, at most would be 3 copies. Sticking a holding onto a province can make the province a very tempting target.

Speaking of gold, I have the impression that the Crane are paying for their abundance of it in Ivory 1. The gold scheme, like the peeps, are meant for running. It would take some adjustment to play normally again, what with the oodles of gold in Ivory 1, but the holding selection is by no means bad. But it does require you to make a choice between honour and gold. It becomes a dilemma when you reach 30 honour. Do you use everything for a home stretch and defend with everything else you have on the table or do you weather another turn by buying more warm bodies for a better defense?

Speaking of defending, everyone is squishy. Expect someone to die with every other action. The reliance of duel also means that there is a possibility that you might never get to use your focus effects. Which brings us to the next deck:


For a dueling deck, this is going to make a lot of people squirm. While the deck does have 30% of FV 4 in it, here’s where it might make you shake in your boots a bit: It also has 25% FV 1 cards.

Wow. Talk about choosing your fights. Not to mention that the number of lethal duels in the deck is exactly 2, in the form of Come One at a Time. But they can kill more than 1 peep each time if given the chance (which, most likely they won’t be since they’re going to die at the next actions anyway). Everything else just bows or occasionally, sends someone home.

So like the Dynasty deck, the duels in the Fate deck are basically honour gainers as well, first and foremost. Shinai is going to be one of the most important card in this deck, since just by winning you advance your winning condition. Thankfully, there are also cards that can unbow your peeps so that will be very useful. Imperial Summons is also there for some measure of Open control.


I like it. The deck escapes the pitfall of a “perfect” duelling deck and has solid cards that does the things that you want consistently. The wonky FV might throw some people off, but if you can control your hand and pick the right moments to initiate duels, you won’t be in any sort of trouble. Perhaps the majority amount of non-lethal duels can be a good thing, since the low FV will not kill your peeps for your opponent that easily at least.

But how does the Fate synergize with the Dynasty?

Like bread and butter.

It’s a no-brainer on what this deck wants to achieve. It wants to honour run and it wants to do it fast. With some tweaks of maximizing what you want and getting rid of the rest, the deck can really rev up to be a decent speed machine. You’ll be losing people and provinces left right and center, but you really don’t care about any of that because all you want to do with this deck is to keep one province intact by at least being equal to the opposing army when you cross 40 at the end of the 4th/5th turn or so.

It’s a good base if you want to go to the full courtier honour or dueling honour route, but it’s a really poor springboard if  you want to go military. I would hazard to say that there’s nothing for the military player in the starter at all, so a purchase is not necessary if you want to go full Iron Crane on someone. But a mixed focus would screw up the deck, so I can understand that if the designers wanted to showcase the core of a clan, nothing beats honour running when it comes to the Crane.


L5R – The personality card design edition (or what was DT smoking?!)

This post will be long. BLOODY LONG. Otherwise just read this TLDR version:
What is DT doing with card design, screwing the game for most part.

If you’re in for a show, we’ll continue with my exceptionally detailed analysis on this matter having played from Imperial edition till Ivory Edition competitively so you better believe i know my SHIT. Read the rest of this entry

May 2014 Updates

L5R malaysia Kotei is only few days away.

I’ve been out of l5r for awhile, as Phoenix is not exactly stellar and not performing too well. That fits fine for me as I take some vacation time away by focusing on family for awhile. No new gaming front from me today except for four things.

1) Diablo 3 – Reaper of Souls

Back in Diablo 3. Thanks to recent Reaper of Souls and the now dead Auction House.

The changes make it worth playing again. Grind is now a must since you have to focus on finding the equipment you want and need. I took my time to level up all the characters to level 70. 4 down so far, Monk was the first to reach 70, followed by Wizard then Crusader and latest is Demon Hunter. what’s left at 62 for now is Barbarian and Witch Doctor. I initially didn’t want to spend time levelling Crusader, but a high leveled friend assisted and that shot up my Crusader from level 1 to level 65 in 2 hours. How? First you create a level crusader with Torment 6. Then your high powered friend steamrolled through and you gain massive xp. Lvl 70 in 2-3 hours tops

Crusader is now my most strongest character but needs more loot/work. Definitely can sustain herself in torment 2 but dps is quite low, so it takes awhile to kill an elite. This game will probably last me at least a few more months thanks to my OCD trying to fully equip my characters.

2) Weiss Schwarz Sword Art Online Vol2 English

Returned to Weiss Schwarz last week after managed to split the box. I take Asuna (Yellow) and Kirito (Blue) while my friend took Sugu/Leyfa (Green) and the other girl, (Red). THe set is in english, so that’s a plus. We opened three boxes and that gives us most cards but we’re short by a few RR and R. Will probably source singles for those. The game is still simple enough if you’re not competitive about it and i probably will not be competitive about this game. There’s just too much luck involved.

Playing casually makes it great though. Good for the lols. And so much Asuna.

3) Star Realms (

This is a very good deck building game. If you’ve played Dominion, Star trek deck building game and various stuff, this should be a familiar ground. The exception is that the game is build with MTG in mind. While you can’t quite interrupt opponent’s action via instance speed cards, there enough life gain, combo and direct damage in the game to play with. Winning objective is to reduce opponent’s life to 0. A fairly cheaply priced game, I think around USD16.99 and it’s highly addictive. Friendships have been ruined during the course of the game. 🙂 I recommend this game a lot.

4) Eve Online

Yeah. Somehow or rather i got back into eve. There are various changes from 2 years ago that it seems like almost a new game. Interface changes, new ships. Exhumer/Mining Barges reconfiguration that I almost couldn’t recognise them. Hulk is no longer the most tankier of the exhumers.

Industry changes is coming in summer. I like the new Sister of Eve ships as well, Nestor and Stratios. Exploration has been greatly simplified and it makes easier.

A lot of interesting changes but the main reason for me is that we now have more guys to play the game with. The thing about MMORPG is the community. If you play solo, then there are better things to do frankly.

So have fun. For those attending kotei 2014. All the best.

P’an Ku Crane

Actually, any deck can be a cool P’an Ku deck with 3 Temple of Madness and the main man (dragon?) himself. Here’s mine.

The Exquisite Palace of the Crane

P’an Ku xp
Doji Makoto, the Shining Blade xp
Doji Hakuseki xp3
Daidoji Soken x2
Daidoji Tanshi x3
Daidoji Kinta x3
Doji Kurohime x2
Doji Dainagon x3
Kakita Amiki x3
Doji Razan x3

Temple of Madness x3
Marketplace x3
Deep Harbor x2
Yukihime’s Hot Springs x2
Kabuki Theater Troupe x3
Poorly Placed Gardens x3
Counting House x1
House of Exotic Goods x1

Hold the Walls x3
Encircled Terrain x3
Unholy Strike x3
Discretionary Valor x2
Strategic Withdrawal x3
Inexplicable Challenge x2
Advance Warning x2
My Lord’s Favor x2
Block Supply Lines x3
Treachery and Deceit x2
Entrenched Position x3
A Game of Dice

Sparrow Clan Aide x3
Blessed Sword x3
Ancestral Armor of the Crane Clan xp

Ring of the Void
Ring of Water
Ring of Air
Ring of Earth

What kind of deck is this? I wish I could tell you, but short to say that it works. You have to be really creative in using everything in this deck, but more importantly, flush out your provinces clean if you can’t buy them. Get P’an Ku and the Temples out asap and you’ll have an easy time defending your provinces while you rack up honour the old fashion way,

Cool mini combos

I’m bored. I’m thinking of building my new deck along these lines:

Justice of the Crane + Bounty Hunter

Come One at a Time + Fortune’s Charm focus effect

Already right off the bat I need a good base of magistrates to work with, which Crane has a good spread to choose from. Let’s list them all:

Doji Razan – cheap even when invested. 6g for a 4c duelist is seriously not bad.
Doji Etsuki – a star when he’s wearing Justice on his obi. Solid choice.
Doji Hakuseki – cool peep, but weak enough that a pig with the Nagamaki of the Fox Clan can still eat her up with Justice.
Kakita Ujirou – totally no brainer, just be smart about spending and try not to keep more than one of him in the provinces.

Notice how many of them are courtiers as well? Interesting….

I think we’re going somewhere with this. A janky deck with 10 attachments is fun to think about, but I need 30 solid cards including Rings and the customary dueling cards. Question is, which dueling cards?

Sanctioned Duel – yup!
Demonstrating Technique – if you have a good hand, this is equivalent of a cantrip that forces your opponent to help you get a focus effect going off.
Stand or Run – not too shabby, but not too exciting either.
Come One at a Time – good, but keeping one guy alive and straightened can be daunting. I guess I need some movement cards as well to cover my base.
Don’t Delay! – 50/50.

Okay, we’re off to a good start. I’ll post again when I have something more concrete (like the physical cards for example)

Ivory Base set – Prelimiary clan tier standing

Preliminary round of testing for l5r have yield this results.

Tier 1.0: Crane, Unicorn

Tier 1.5: Mantis, Spider, Scorpion, Dragon

Tier 2.0: Lion, Phoenix, Crab

Of course, this is not set in stone. While new expansions will change the dynamics, there is no new expansion between ivory release and kotei season. So this should generally be fixed but may only change during kotei season due to metagame. This initial test has shown this results on consistent basis. We will know the ‘real results’ after the first two weeks of kotei results.

Till then, more tweaking and testing. This tier list will probably be revisited in a month or two.

2014 moving forward in gaming

Almost the end of January, Ivory edition is not released yet. I’m too lazy to print/proxy the kolat pdf, since it involves a whole lot printing, (ink wastage) and also the fact that… i’m still missing 2x Jade Petal Inn.

That card proves to be far more staple than i initially thought.

With a good base of 3g produce 3g, it also fetches 1g for 1g holdings that you can buy, ramping your gold and thin down your deck or just discard the fetched holding straight away, to thin down your deck anyway. There are at least two good holdings for that, such abundant farmlands, with straightens every turn (yours and opponent) to provide you moolahs on standby. Also, Deep harbour, which buys your 2g holdings for free. And yes, lion can also discard those 1g holdings in the early turns in the hope to speed up your dynasty cycling.

At this rate, i don’t think the market price going down anytime soon.

On the plus side though, it’s reprinted in Mantis starter. Which means that people will mass grab that one, in triplicates. Productive mine, another staple for 4g Strongholds, will be in Spider starter, so yes. People will go grabbing those as well. Expect some shortage of sorts for those starters. While brilliant, they really should have included one Jade petal and one productive mine for each clan starter to avoid the imbalanced demand.

Other card games don’t hold me much this time around. The much hyped over Vanguard has died down. I have completed most of what i want in the last few sets for Eradicators and Angel Feathers. So nothing much until BT13. I’m sticking my son into Liberator for now, he likes it. So it works i guess. I do need to fill in with the proper rares if i want to turn it competitive. As a teaching tool for now, it’s ok.

Buddyfight is not just as appealing aesthetically. Something is off with the drawing and they really should improve on that. While the mechanic is somewhat more sound than vanguard, the art is just…. off… so no to that.

I still don’t touch much standard mtg, mainly since i don’t feel like spending more outflow for the assorted rares and mythic. However, having completed my modern decks, i have a few smaller side project, being Standard Pauper. One of the local shop runs standard pauper on Sundays, so I’m very keen on joining that mainly due to the cheaper cost.

Now, if only FNM runs with Pauper would be great! However, I doubt they will, since Pauper is not exactly an accepted format for mtg due to wizards are trying to sell cards. Telling customer to stick with pauper is not the most profitable idea to do, so you can expect it to be ignored mainly.

I managed to get a cheap Vita deal. So I’m now focusing on finishing my Persona 4 Golden and finding people to play Dragon Crown with.

Dueling in Ivory (for Cranes)

So we’ve all seen it. The dueling boys got more toys and everything is looking very exciting this time around. Only, dueling is not the lynchpin it once was.

The average focus value for a duel intensive deck has effectively fallen, with really good cards in the fv 2-3 area and not much to spam on 4. With Kharmic Strike making its way into an accessible uncommon slot, what does that leave us?

We duel as normal, but with considerable chi upgrades through items. Duels will also have to be of equal chi footing to negate extensive sighting of Kharmic Strike (which, incidentally, might even make it into your own dueling deck if you want to design it that way). But whatever it is, 2 personalities have the utmost advantage when it comes to dueling this time around:

Suzume Shindo

Kakita Amiki

With these 2, you can focus first. Which will be huge in the current environment. Want to get rid of a champion or a big kensai with buttloads of attachments? Issue a lethal duel with Shindo and focus that Kharmic Strike (toldya it might make it into your decks). That’s just one example. The lack of numbers of redirection, delays and negation this time around makes dueling viable and powerful again.

Of course we’ll have low FV in our decks. We can no longer aim for a 3.25++ average fv in our decks anymore, but then again, no other decks will either. We can expect a more fair fight when it comes to duels, with tying being our best bet to win. On the minus side, we’re no longer guaranteed a kill by issuing duels anymore. But on the plus side, a lot less people will groan when they face a dueling deck and will probably have more fun this time around.

Raiding the storeroom

AEG has dropped another announcement that annoyed some of us l5r players. After Gate of Chaos expansion, which releases soon, there will be another expansion in nov/dec namely Aftermath. I was like wtf. Another expansion? Where’s the base set dudes?

Most of us are really waiting for Ivory Edition and if it takes too long, some will migrate to other games like namely MTG. The problem with games with once a year tourney scene locally is the lull/downtime/quiet time that follows a post-kotei season.

I wonder if the expansion name is a foretelling of l5r local scene.

Talking about the Gates of Chaos releasing soon, it becomes obvious from this that the base force for non-unique dudes, is 3F averagely. So looks like they are lowering the force? But being a dual bugged set, it’s hard to say for sure.

Also, if they run non-standard games, I wonder how they will treat the gold cost of peeps, seems like a lot expensive now.

Chase rare from the Gates of Chaos Expansion? Productive Mine. Deal with it. You need at least 2x playsets if you’re building a minimum of 2 decks for Ivory Edition.

Productive Mine, a 4g that produces 4gold solid. With Kharmic traits.

Productive Mine, a 4g that produces 4gold solid. With Kharmic traits.


Among all the other rares available in the set, this card is the one card that all decks need in Ivory Edition. I dont understand the logic of printing this type of card in expansion, where this card should really be printed in base set due to its stapleness…..

In other news,

It’s time for stock take as usual. I have been cleaning up the house and get rid of my excess cards and organised my old cards… like Harry potter ccg, initial d ccg, Duel Masters, a bunch of old Pokemon cards… (which i gave to junior to learn to read), organise mtg cards by colour and a bunch of other stuffs.

I got rid of Netrunner… while the game is good, having not enough people to play with and since i need to drop a ccg/lcg, netrunner gets the short end of the stick. If somehow the game gets more popular somehow, I might regret dropping it early.

But then again, maybe not.

I passed some of my excess Initial D cards to Lit.sensei… I got some of the starters for cheaps so i passed some spares to makes decent decks. This game should be fun for the giggles.

Post house cleanup, so what decks do I have with me in the car at all times?

L5R – Imperial JEK Honor

WS – Madoka Magica Trial Deck (Eng)

WS – Fate Zero Trial Deck (Eng)

WS – Asuka Pilot (Jap version)

MTG – Modern Red Burn

MTG – Modern Infect

CF – Bermuda Triangle Random Cheap deck (Eng)

CF – Bermuda Triangle Rivierre Deck (Eng)

Initial D – Mako Sil 80 Tactical Turn Deck

SW LCG – Imperial Hoth deck / Rebel Space Fleet deck

And… having sorted some of my old stuff… I’m unsure what to do with my harry potter ccg and Duel Masters……. sigh..

Ivory Edition Changes

Yet another change. Ivory edition is coming and so far based on two design diary videos of Bryan Reese, the next arc, (released within sept to nov 2013) will bring about another round of changes.

I will list them in bullet points to avoid lengthly post. Have a meeting to attend in half hour.

1)         Bowing is now a squiggly samurai worm. (I don’t have screenshots with me yet, but today’s preview for Coils of Madness will yield some of these symbols. Think of MTG tap symbol, and it’s the same.

2)       Gold cost for actions are now in the action keyword action designator. Such as the new action “Battle, 2g: Bow target enemy card” So the action is a battle action with 2 gold cost, whereby 2g is represented by the gold coin usually found.

3)       Followers have no honor requirement. I don’t like this new ruling, as honourable followers used to have a meaning… guess not this time around.

4)       Events are now like celestials. They resolve immediately into play at home, but have keyword designators to trigger when you want to use. Such as Limited, Open, Battle.

5)       Reactions are gone.

  1. Replaced by “Engaged” which trigger before battle such as Sneak and Naval and Hidden Defences.
  2. Most of them replaced with “Interrupt”. Interrupts only triggers before action is resolved… so no more confusion on the timing as per the old.. “After announcement, before targeting, after targettig, before cost, after cost, before action resolved, during action resolve, after action resolve. Now, it’s only before action resolves. Cleaner, but i dislike the term Interrupt as MTG used to use it. They could have used something else instead.

6)       Holding are also the same, Squiggly samurai worm: Produce 2 gold. This means it’s no longer traits, but i would presume if they take a lesson from MTG, it would be producing gold is not interruptible and doesn’t use the stack. Something like that.

7)       All abilities in battle will now require presence and relevance. They have to be there. If there are exceptions such as moving in, then the card will say so.

8)       No more performer and non-performer actions. All costs are in the designators…. “Battle, (Samurai icon), (2g): Bow a target enemy card.”

9)       Certain phrases will now be change to keyword

  1. Home: Cards with abilities that can be done at home.
  2. Tireless: Can be used even if bowed
  3. Absent: Doesn’t need presence to do so.

These are the changes that we’ve seen so far. We will see more soon. I for one, welcome the changes, (most of them at least) to attrack newbies. But we will see whether they wil change the current and old flavour of L5R too much….

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