As promised, a second article devoted to the Ring of Air – this time with a focus on spells (but hopefully you Monk players out there get something useful out of it too). Spells are trickier to use than Kihos because there is a delay between attaching the spell and using the spell during which
As per the poll results the first of two articles on the Ring of Air will focus on Kiho. The follow-up post will go into the details of using Spells. The Ring of Air is, like Void, a ring that is mostly in your control. Barring some special circumstances (having your presence removed, for example
“Consistency wins tournaments” A mantra I frequently see repeated in strategy discussions related to L5R (and other CCG’s). The fact that it is endlessly repeated is a testament to its power. Simply put, it’s true. A consistently strong deck is better than a janky deck that instantly wins 1 in 7 games – especially
Continuing the article series on Enlightenment we come to the first article on a specific ring. Normally these articles will focus on getting that ring into play, but since I have really driven home the importance of Introspection already, I wanted instead to take the time to discuss how Ring of the Void fits into
Another entry in the inappropriately named “Card A Week” series. It should probably be called the “Card When It Strikes Me As Noteworthy” series, but what’s named is named. Today we have Martial Instruction, a card that came up in the comments on my previous article dealing with Ring of Air and Kiho. Martial
It’s basic function is quite useful for a Military leaning Enlightenment deck. Going on the offensive means you’re risking your precious bodies and risking the Ring of Water. You need time to get 4 actions off and every action your opponent takes increases the odds of running out of presence before Water hits the table. Not to mention taking that province for Fire and protecting yourself for Earth. Sneak Attack lets you, as the Attacker, act first. Tempo swing before the battle even gets started, letting you get one step ahead on your Battle Actions (perhaps also on your spells) and possible neutralize threats before they manifest. As a bonus, reacting with Sneak Attack at engagement contributes 1 card towards Void.
Bringing me to my second point: Sneak Attack is Void Jank. Note the text of the Reaction, the trigger is “After Engaging”. Nothing prohibits you from using Sneak attack three times at the same battlefield. I know, what a waste of Sneak Attacks. On the other hand, that’s 3 of 4 actions in the Battle phase towards Void. Play another strategy and drop that ring!
Finally, something that has been alluded to in several recent articles, Sneak Attack is a really strong tool for getting Ring of Earth down. The trick is to combine the Sneak Attack with an action that cannot be be negated (or delayed). This evades the common worries of Sneak Attack action-negation (No Time for Games and Entrenched Position to name a few) and those damned Berserkers. If you happen to be Mantis or Spider you get those kinds of actions on your Stronghold. As does Unicorn, For monks, a recent preview gives us just such a tool in a killer Unique and there are other options out there. Just keep Sneak Attack in mind (if you’re not already using it) when you see battle actions that cannot be negated (or delayed).
As promised, I got an article from the player who was running Unicorn Enlightenment, Enjoy!
The Khan’s Estate
Border Keep xp
1x Jurojin’s Blessing
1x The Jade Championship
1x Wisdom Gained
2x Refuge of the Three Sisters (Chi to Focus is limiting but sometime you just need to)
3x Mahatsu (switching 1 out for another Tactician)
2x Shinjo Sanenari (cheap keyword)
3x Shinjo Junpei
3x Moto Rani (cheap Cavalry)
3x Iuchi Yupadi (Naval!!!!)
3x Komori Taruko
1x Takasho (Solo RoE)
3x Silk Works
3x Tranquil Garden
2x Second City Dojo (cheaper then peddler)
2x Shrine to Hachiman (helps with RoW)
2x Deeds and Words
1x Temples of Gisei Toshi
1x The Seeker’s Temple
1x Traveling Peddler
1x Ring of Air
1x Ring of Earth
1x Ring of Fire
1x Ring of Water
1x Ring of the Void
1x Moto House Guard (Solo RoE but with 7 non-Unicorns can be a dead card)
3x Walking the Way
2x Cleansing the Path (might switch one out)
1x Control Your Destiny
1x Bo of Water
1x Katana of Fire
1x The Tapestry Perceived
1x The Kami’s Blessing
1x All Within the World
1x Mastering the Elements
1x Drawing on the Mountains (weak link, being changed out)
3x Meeting the Keepers
3x Consideration (action negation helps with RoE)
2x String of Victories
2x A Yojimbo’s Duty
2x Sundering Strike (good but if it was performed my naval lady would have a blast)
2x Tamori Potion
1x Creating Order
1x The Fires of War
1x A Game of Dice
The idea of Enlightenment shoehorned into Unicorn is quite funny to me. But after looking an Enlightenment player can abuse the crap out of 5 a gold stronghold and cavalry. So as with most Unicorn decks (past, present and probably future) the less I have to interact with my opponent the better I do.
I picked my spells and actions to variety and affect. Battle/Open is my dearest friend, helps with keeping me versatile and maybe one step ahead of the big meanies.
As you can see there is no defense or other win possibilities, so its Enlighten or die trying.
In the recent tournament in Waterloo I did better then expected.
Round 1 Me vs Phoenix ToP Honor 0-1, got 4 rings into play, his force penalties and province boosts gave him enough time to cross
Round 2 Me vs Unicorn JEK 1-1, I enlightened!!!! Takasho for 3 rings on turn 4 seals his fate, he was new and had no idea on what I was doing. Bully win, but still a win.
Round 3 Me vs Crab Berserker 2-1, I had no chance but his ride showed up and conceded. I’ll take the win, I have no shame.
Round 4 Me vs Dragon Kensai 2-2, Got 3 rings but a Ryoshun’s Guidance early on his side means I have no way of Ambushing for the RoW.
It had been a long time since my last tournament but I had fun playing and telling war stories with new faces. Watch out Gencon . . . Unicorn Enlightenment out of left field for the win!!!!!
Unicorn Clan “Enlightened” Berserker
My absence this week thus far has been due to my first organized event that occurred yesterday. It was a great day, we have 9 turn out (and 4 of our regular group were absent so it was a much higher turnout than anticipated). I am excited that our group is growing so fast! The event was a lot of fun, many promo’s were given out, and our store received its first of many Banzai charges
One Enlightenment deck made an appearance and I am trying to get the pilot to pass up a decklist and write a match report. In the meantime I thought I would write about the tournament itself.
In our 9 players we had the following clan break downs:
Phoenix 1 (Temple of Purity)
Dragon 1 (Foothills Keep)
Crab 3 (2 Kyuden Hida Exp and 1 Halls of the Forgotten)
Scorpion 2 (Shiro Chugo and The Otoro Estate)
Unicorn 2 (Khan’s Estate and Journey’s End Keep)
Of those 9 we had 4 players for whom this was their very first organized L5R event. For a a gempukku ceremony they were invited to embarrass themselves via self-introduction and were given some Q1 promo’s for their trouble. I also gave Q1 promo playsets to the top finishing new player (who was also the winner of the event, so he got a lot of swag!)
By the end of the day after 4 rounds of swiss, a single double loss and 2 early drop outs after round 3, we had the following in wins (by victory condition, if the numbers don’t add up right then there were more Miliary wins):
The wise and careful readers probably have already determined the ultimate winner of the event. It was Phoenix with Temple of Purity Honor rocket. It was a tough field and his 4 rounds were against the players that would finish in second and tie for fourth (I don’t think he matched up with the Dragon Kensai which came in third by tie breaker). Second place was one of the two Kyuden Hida decks and the other tie for fourth with The Khan’s Estate Enlightenment.
In closing I will leave you with the winning decklist:
This one probably comes as no surprise. Creating Order is an incredible card, and a lot of why it is an incredible card is why it is a great card in Enlightenment. I endeavor today to explain why I think it’s an auto-include.
First, Battle/Open. That on a Strategy means it can be leveraged for Void in the Open phase if you need it, and for Water in the Battle phase if you need it. The flexibility of Battle/Open non-Kiho non-Spell actions is very important to being able to Enlighten consistently. Consistency in Enlightenment calls for 2 things: The ability to get the rings into your hand quickly and timely and the ability to meet their entering play requirements as often and easily as possible. Actions that can be used to meet multiple ring requirements go a long way to achieving the second aspect of consistency.
That said, Creating Order also helps with Fire and Earth, in so far as both require winning battles. Negating force penalties and bonuses can be used to rebuff yourself or debuff an opponent that is using force pumps. Straightening up to 2 units can allow you to overcome open bow and launch an attack, or recover much needed for in battle. So Creating Order can be used to get Void, Water, Fire and/or Earth to the table. That’s pretty good for consistency!
That’s not all. The challenge with Earth is that it requires opposition (which is why Ambush is so popular in Enlightenment decks). If you run a lot of Battle actions that also require opposition to target then you will find Water difficult against opponents who do not defend or do not need to defend. Creating Order can be used unopposed. Which means it can work your Water ring to the table even your the opponent doesn’t defend, which is a great boon for consistency and winning!
The second installment of this series spotlights the Spider Ninja stronghold. Like Mantis they have a non-negatable, non-delayable action on their stronghold. And so, I take it to come as no surprise that the ‘big secret’ is to use Ambush, Sneak Attack and send them home with your stronghold. Unfortunately the Spider Ninja do not have built in Naval to avoid the second fate card requirement like Mantis, but they still get a nearly trivial earth ring.
Looking at Ninja strategies what else do the Goju get? Well, Fire can be had via lateral movement to unopposed provinces using Asset Denial (move any single unit that is big enough to take a province, Goju Gochiso with a follower or two perhaps?) and Ninja Tricks gives them access to action negation, which can be vital for getting Fire or Earth or preserving your forces long enough to finish up your actions to get Water.
With the Card A Week series I like to highlight cards that everyone can use and the card pictured to the left is no different. I know what you are thinking, “I don’t play Crane.” but that’s okay, neither do I. I still run 3 of this in several of my Enlightenment decks.
The secret is getting cheap Crane bodies into your Dynasty, preferably Shugenja’s to help with keywords needed for Ring of Air. There are two great candidates, the 4 gold blank Shugenja Asahina Yasutora and the 2 gold, not a Shugenja but only costs 2 gold, Kakita Seishi.
3 copies of each of these personalities should give you the Crane density necessary to run the clan virtue. As it turns out, 2 cards is worth giving your opponent one – The Courtesy of the Crane makes your deck an effective 34 cards. 6 card opening hand plus 1 card draw end of Turn 1 and we’re at 27 cards. Border Keep experienced brings that down to 24 and it’s only Turn 2.
This will be the first in a 9 part series aimed at revealing effective Enlightenment combo’s, one for each of the Great Clans. We begin with Mantis and Thunder Enlightenment.
Earth is regarded as one of the most difficult rings to get into play as it allows your opponent the greatest control over your fate. If they can destroy a single personality Earth is blocked. There isn’t much destruction negation in the environment and so finding ‘cheap’ ways to drop Earth is important for making your Enlightenment more consistent. Thunder Shugenja get this solely from the actions on Suitengu’s Torch.
Suitengu’s torch has the Thunder keyword allowing it’s Battle send home to be non-negatable, non-delayable but its own Reaction. This combined with the Naval trait means that you can quickly remove a single enemy personalty from a battle, go on to win the battle and get Earth without breaking a sweat. The next step is to arrange a situation in which you can call Naval and there is only one opposing personality. Enter Ambush.
For the low low cost of 5 honour you can grab an enemy personality, call naval, send them home without recourse and proceed to play the Ring of Earth. Their only counter measure would be to move back in, at which point you should be able to hit them with a thunderbolt and make them good and destroyed for their trouble.
I know what you’re thinking, you thought this was an Enlightenment blog and here I am about to go on about how awesome Dishonour is. Well, the good news is that this is an Enlightenment blog – the bad news is that I don’t really care for dishonour so if that’s why you came you will be disappointed.
I switched this card in on a recommendation from a Scorpion player (go figure) who has been getting great mileage out of Game of Sincerity in his Paragons of Loyalty deck. The one game I played last week with my Enlightenment deck I may have lost, but I did stall the game with a mutual army destruction against Mantis magistrates with only 4 Henshin (I got gold flooded) versus his 8 Magistrates. What did it? Game of Sincerity mostly, at the very least it nullified the ridiculous 12F monster that is Yoritomo Minori.
This is one of the main virtues Game of Sincerity brings to the table, it can be a huge force swing against any flavour of big unit military. Kensai, Commanders, Berserkers, etc. When no particular unit of yours is remarkable (I used Asako Heiwa in that game, but Asako Niou is a good option and in desperate situations Yung also does the job well). As an added bonus, most of your monks (if you’re Phoenix Henshin in any case) have relatively low personal honour and so the honour hit you are risking isn’t a big deal. Ideally you would try to play the Game with a unit that has low PH and low Force relative to your target.
Here’s the best virtue of Game of Sincerity, and it’s something I rant and rave and praise all too frequently. It can be used unopposed. I know, at first you don’t think of it, but it can be used unopposed by playing a Game of Sincerity with yourself. Great for Ring of Water.
I will end with a quote from the Scorpion player who recommended the card, “I can’t see a reason not to run Game of Sincerity in every deck.”
Perhaps that’s taking it a bit too far, but at the very least the lesson here is not to disregard a card because it’s not ‘intended for your clan/theme/win condition’.
Card image from Oracle.
You may have noticed the new link on the bar to the right. Michi Seido, Temple of the Path, our enlightenment community forum here at Through the Void, is open. So please, drop in and join us in meditation as we aid one another to follow the path to enlightenment.
Additionally, to celebrate this momentous occasion I have decided to up the ante with another contest:
When @TTVoid reaches 30 followers I will randomly draw the names of 3 of the Twitter followers and each will receive an Emperor Edition Legal booster pack from an expansion of your choice, mailed directly to you.
This is in addition to the 20 koku being given away once @TTVoid reaches 20 followers. So tell your friends, your clans and your local play groups about us here at Through the Void and lets get this Enlightenment community booming!
Spells are trickier to use than Kihos because there is a delay between attaching the spell and using the spell during which your opponent could destroy your spell and prevent you from getting Air into play. Enlightenment is hard enough with Ring of Earth, the last thing you need is another ring becoming a liability. Especially a ring as easy to play as Air!
There are two things you can do to shield yourself against spell destruction. Either use spells with non-zero gold cost or use Battle spells. Why Battle spells? Well, the rulebook action to attach a spell and sling it nets 2 actions towards Ring of Water as well as getting your Spell off without fear of attachment destruction blocking your efforts. Additionally, even if the additional action gets negated it still resolves and still counts towards Air.
The last thing I want to mention before getting to some specific spells is the last condition on the Ring of Air: ‘… with different titles’. My first suggested spell is actually because of that restriction, but I had something else in mind before that. While consistency demands including three of cards where possible (and usually 2 of meta cards) Enlightenment might benefit from an alternate rule, at least as far as Spells (and Kihos) are concerned. Having 2 of a wider selection of useful spells (or Kihos) increases your chances of drawing into 3 differently named spells/kiho and also lets you include more cards to cover more situations. Definitely something to think about (and something I am going to be implementing in revisions to my current Henshin deck).
Onto the spells:
Mastering the Elements
This one is a no-brainer. It requires another spell to be in play, but that should be the case given that you are Enlightenment and trying to play Ring of Air! The biggest benefit of this card is that it can copy any spell you have and counts for Air as it comes into play. Reaction speed spell effect resolution is hard to stop with attachment destruction. The one downside (and it can be a big one) is the zero gold cost.
The Kami’s Blessing
If Samurai are backing up your Shugenja for military might this one is a great include. At 3 gold cost it’s safe from the usual suspects of attachment destruction, as a Battle action it can be lightning attached via the rulebook spell attach action and as an Open action is packs the kind of phase-versatility that Enlightenment decks like to have access to for Ring of Air (and Void).
As a bonus the effect of the spell can be useful as protected from ranged attacks, providing the necessary force to take a province or win an battle and thus contributing positively to getting Ring of Fire out.
Walking the Way
While I personally do not like this spell, others have pressured me into including it here. I find it to be too slow due to a 4 gold cost and bowing of a shugenja, on the other hand if you aren’t running as much card draw as you can find then having this in your deck really improves consistency. Given that one of the hardest things for Enlightenment is getting your rings out of the Fate deck (it’s easy to get them out of the discard) this spell is a close-to must-have for Shugenja based Enlightenment.
All images from Oracle