Category Archives: The Little Sensei
The deck might not be so friendly. Following the lead from my last article, we’ll be exploring just what can the Unicorn do with only 2 cores to at least keep toe to toe with the other clans with fancy new cards. To be honest, not a lot except to outplay with shenanigans.
However, a stay back Unicorn is a deadly one, so try to buy a dude with 2 Fate over if you can. Be prudent with your attachments and attach them out of a conflict if possible. And if possible, try to at least leave out 2 Fate as you end your Dynasty turn. Prioritize buying one dude for +2 instead of 2 dudes for +1. Possibly the only exception to this rule is Border Rider. Chick’s an Assassination magnet, you can buy her with no Fate and get her back with Cavalry Reserves later down the road. Maybe you can put 1 on her if you’re swimming in Fate.
Allying with Crane can be a big boon for the Unicorn. The Duelist Training works excellently with the big force Unicorns are sporting. Don’t be shy to invite an uncouth bushi to a sophisticated Political conflict, since that’s where Rout can be most effective. With no Yurts, prioritize Air whenever possible because you want to be drawing a lot of cards if you can.
The deck is less mobile than I wanted it to be due to the lack of Favored Mount, but the extra Fate pulls its weight into making sure you can come back next turn. I Am Ready is less scary to use on someone with 2 Fate rather than 1.
The rest is usual Unicorn doctrine. Send your horseless dudes up front, see if it’s worth the hassle before bringing in the cavalry later. Also you should defend with this deck whether you win or not. Try to bleed them off their cards as they try to break your province. Remember, a bowed bushi can still Rout an overconfident courtier back home.
Right, so you want to be able to build a fully functional deck, but not enough for you to go to the extra mile to get the third core. You also want to play around a bit before jumping into Dynasty Packs while everyone else is playing them. Fair enough. It’s 2 cores versus the world. This deck has a 70% win rate in Jigoku Online so far, not bad for a deck to start with.
So the whole drop bear deck thing is the current hotness, especially among the Crane and Scorpion where these 2 bears live: Political Rival and Unassuming Yojimbo.
The entire deck is about tempo. The negations can buy you a lot of it and the lots of holdings can help too. To compensate for the lots of holdings, your drop characters are a bit above average in size.
With clever attachment placement, you should be able to use the Routs and Outwits to fully remove troublesome elements from the equation, especially other courtiers. Also, to make Doji Hotaru worth her weight in gold, playing Rout in a Political conflict can be really effective. And vice versa when you Outwit with Guest of Honor in a Military conflict. The mismatch is intentional to make full use of these send homes.
How to play the deck:
If you have a cheap spud in the first Dynasty flip, that’s cool. Better if you have Imperial Storehouses. You want to see at least 1 of the 4 bears in your opening hand so don’t be shy to chuck everything if you don’t see them.
After that, buy 1 spud and pass. That’s it. Drop the bear of your choice, preferably paying 2 more to keep them around and annoy people longer and swing with covert. Usually 1 attachment is enough for you to break provinces. Your second turn onwards you should be gearing for a normal game, but do try to keep 3 Fate afloat for your send home Events.
Rings to prioritize: Fire and Earth. Hit Earth first because discarding a key card to a loss is damaging. Also, if you can attach or play important stuff, do it outside the conflict. Political Debate is going to ruin your day if they get that all important bear/sword/fan that you need to break a province.
And whatever you do don’t leave with 1 Fate at the end of your Dynasty. I can guarantee you that Goblin Sneak is going to make your life miserable.
I’ll be covering a dual core Unicorn deck next that would hopefully make you a believer of the underdogs of L5R.
Yep. I’m definitely flooding the blog with my Crane decks. Stopped trying to figure out Unicorn for a while. So what does one do? Why splash them instead!
The control really comes from the Spyglass. If you get a steady stream of cards, you can bid like the Crab all day long too (which is 1, in case you missed it), Captive Audience is perfect against those impossibly high Political Conflicts. Sometimes, you just want to do it to Charge! a courtier in and spam those For Shame! that you couldn’t use before. Or you know… you just want to Banzai! with mam and smash provinces. That works.
This deck takes a bit to get used to, but by far not really a complicated deck to play,
A tweaked up version from the previous deck. While the previous one was resilient like a rock, this one is vicious. A bit more swingy and more punishing to the personalities that give you fits, it trades Honor stability for the optimized use of Noble Sacrifice to snipe problematic Dishonored peeps before anyone steps foot into the battlefield/court.
Squishy provinces are back to ensure maximum dishonor when your opponent’s peeps come knocking at the wrong door. I have no idea how to bump some card to 3 copies for this deck, it seems like everything is needed and I have no idea which cards to cut out.
I’ve shaved off yet more of what makes the Crane… err… Crane. If I got rid of Duelist Training the last time, now it’s The Art of Peace. Don’t get me wrong, the card is more impressive than Manicured Garden, but it doesn’t give me that one Fate I need to put a Charge! or even a Reprieve if I need to.
This deck is inspired by the many Crab players in Jigoku Online that managed beat my face in with their “I don’t bow for shizz” and suicide bombing shenanigans. For the first time, I feel that this deck can really benefit from Noble Sacrifice, if I got rid of a couple of other cards.
This is still in 2 core mode because I’m still trying to hone down on which cards can benefit the most being 3 copies and which can be axed. I suppose we can bump it up to 42 max but 41 is still okay enough to be consistent. If you REALLY want to stick to 40/40,
you can cut out 1x Fine Katana since we already have a good boost in the form of Banzai! and Stoic Gunso. No, cut off 1x Assassination. Further plays with this deck reveals that this deck runs hot on Honor and it can go down to the wire while you’re trying to break the Stronghold’s Province. Also, you can sub Rout for Outwit or 1 copy of each if you fancy, it doesn’t matter since the deck has an abundance of both.
Trying another angle with splashing Unicorn. This time it’s heavy on pop up Conflict Personalities. Been niggling with the finer points and decided to drop the thing that’s iconic to the Crane: Duelist Training. It doesn’t really fit with the deck.
Frankly, I wish I could fit in Good Omen to combo with Charge!, but it’s a bit too situational and I couldn’t afford to make any more central cuts to the deck. You’ll want a healthy amount of standby Fate for this deck. Switching The Art of Peace for Well Manicured Garden might not be a bad idea as well.
I think I’m in love with the Unicorn clan this time around. It’s exciting to play this oddly jumbled up mashed together deck and see it work. There’s even weird juxtapositions about the clan, like how you really want only 1 Way of the Unicorn in the deck. Yes, weird.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the clan is the +0 to province strength given by the stronghold. So that tells you one important thing: Smash up provinces before they reach your stronghold.
Like other decks, combos makes the world goes round. For the Unicorn, you need them just to function properly. This deck harshly punishes misplay more than the Crane ones. But when it works, oh boy. You won’t stop grinning like Hannibal on how you like it when a plan comes together.
Let’s face it: Dragon splash is good. It’s control and denial at its best. Or you can use it to make your very own Voltron force (great for Scorpions). Between attachment discard, covert and even outright bow, the Dragon has it all… for other clans to enjoy in small quantities.
I’ve built one before but I decided to test its potency in a dual core environment: it doesn’t disappoint. Sure, you can’t really max out on 3 Let Go’s with 2 cores, but it does open up Influence points for other stuff:
There’s really not much wiggle room in the Dynasty side. Just take everything and go! There’s little fine tuning between the holdings and neutrals that you can do, but it’ll be minimal. And no, you don’t want to take the full Imperial complement of 3 Seppun Guardsman and 3 Otomo Courtiers, at least not yet. In cycle one they’ll be stupidly awesome.
For Conflict, those 3 cards are the best denial that the clan can offer in 2 copies. Good Omen and Contingency Plan work really well together. As for the full blown Political attachments, I came across an observation:
There are no events that boosts up Political, only items and honour. Honouring sometimes doesn’t do anything (I’m looking at you, Political Rival) but that’s all that you have to rely on. Military have Banzai! so it’ll be fine in unopposed single conflicts with the little dude.
I’ve had reasonable success with this deck. It’s pretty straightforward but has a couple of surprises to catch people unawares
Besides Let Go and Fury for damage control, the rest is pretty standard Crane fare. The exception is that I find Doji Gift Giver to be an excellent card defensively or offensively that makes me bump her up to 3. Daidoji Nerishma has proven his worth as well by turning up more options that is not normally present during the Dynasty phase.
But then again you guys already know this. Which is why this is a boring deck.
p/s: A card is not supposed to be there but provides immense fun when it can be pulled off. Perhaps the only bit of excitement in the deck.
At first I thought that a Crane deck with Crab sub is going to be a mismatch. However, after playing around with the idea a bit, it’s actually a pretty solid pairing.
While Watch Commander is the star, the key ingredient to this deck is actually Hiruma Ambusher. Being able to shut off an ability for 2 Fate is really strong, especially when you’re facing a decked out Mirumoto Raitsugu that can eat up your skinny blue shirt guys alive.
On the Crane side, I reduced some of the 3-off staples. Main offenders:
Voice of Honor
They’re either too expensive (yes, 1 Fate can be expensive when you didn’t pass first) or too situational. Voice of Honor and Noble Sacrifice isn’t as easy to play as I initially thought. And Crane don’t make good duelists. There, I said it. In the New5R, Dragons and Crabs are the top duelists of the land. Until we see a Political duel, Military duels are often losing propositions unless you pick on the little guys. But Kaezin is pretty ok I left a couple of copies of him in.
The deck has a lot more singletons than I would like, they’re often cards that can provide an unexpected bonus when you have it in your hand.
If you’re playing in https://mahois.fun , look me up (almond55). I often set up games with “open game” as the title in casual so we can try out wonky decks together and practice.