Originating as a collection chronicling David Gordon’s return to the Legend of the 5 Rings CCG after a several yr absence, Dave of the 5 Rings continues on as he examines the current and future of the long-lasting world of Rokugan upon the game’s sale to FFG in 2015.
Chapter 41: When Solely One Drawback Gained’t Do
Let’s speak about The Fowl.
But first, welcome back, pricey reader. August has been a busy month for Legend of the Five Rings, with 5 Premier degree events within the LCG and developments in each the fiction and RPG. The group itself is starting to heat up with a rally around the new Elemental Roles, which went into effect at the beginning of September, and testing has begun for November’s Winter Courtroom World Championships. I’m pleased to inform you that I can be in attendance at this yr’s Winter Courtroom (barring unexpected catastrophe) and might be competing in at very least the Final Probability Qualifier. Hopefully I can see you there!
It has additionally been quite the busy month personally. I used to be a featured guest on each the Cube or Dying Twitch channel and the 6th Ring – Rolling in Rokugan podcast in August, and as detailed final month, made my annual trek to Gen Con. Show your help for Dice or Demise and the 6th Ring by testing these two episodes and giving them a pay attention.
I’ve additionally started graduate faculty, and as such, apologize concerning the sudden delay on this month’s piece. Discovering the time to put in writing has been somewhat troublesome but future delays must be minor now that issues have stabilized.
Within the remaining bit of housekeeping, I might additionally wish to take a moment to convey your consideration to a brand new Kickstarter. Trevor Cuba, a long-time pal within the L5R group, has began a Kickstarter to construct help for RokuCon. RokuCon goals to be a community-organized, fan-run Legend of the 5 Rings convention to be situated in southern Michigan and planned for Might 2020.
RokuCon intends to function panels, tournaments, open play, and common help for all things L5R, whether it is the current incarnation underneath Fantasy Flight Video games, the various years beneath Alderac Leisure Group, and even the time it was owned by Wizards of the Coast (keep in mind that?).
While the Kickstarter is in search of a marketing campaign objective of $10,000 USD for help, as somebody who has worked with event planning up to now, this value is probably going more just proof of idea and help from the group. An precise convention can easily value twice that amount simply to set up. Fortuitously, Trevor and his group have a history of operating conventions, and know what they’re stepping into. If you need to study extra, and probably help an superior occasion, please verify them out at Kickstarter, which is presently reside and in want of some help to cross the finish line.
But really, let’s speak about The Chook.
The Not So Grand Kotei
With the discharge of the Dynasty Pack, Bonds of Blood, in July, the meta of the Legend of the 5 Rings was shaken up arduous by two incredibly impactful playing cards. Earth Turns into Sky offered the Phoenix one other highly effective counter to the present Tower technique (single highly effective Character) of play.
Likewise, Forbearer’s Echoes gave the Lion Clan an Occasion which copied the highly effective Action of the Kitsu Spiritcaller, bringing a Character from the Discard Pile into play during a Battle. Both have been locked to a specific aspect, Earth and Air respectively, however each made a powerful influence on the meta virtually instantly.
The first main event which felt these effects was the Grand Kotei at Gen Con 2019.
As one of the attendees of this Grand Kotei, I felt fairly good moving into. I had put together a version of my Dragon Clan dishonor deck (a deck I played commonly since January) and tested it at an area event. I took Prime 4 with it, missing the Finals because of a recreation going to time and dropping on tie-breaker factors. Although a Prime four at an area event might not sound like a lot of an accomplishment, not many function a area of 17 gamers with three Hatamoto and 5 World Championship invitees. So I’ll think about my efforts a well-earned success.
I played towards the Dredge Fowl multiple occasions on this event and managed to win every time. My deck ran Scorpion splash off of Keeper of Water, giving it a shocking edge as few knew how you can play effectively towards it. For reference, my decklist could be discovered at this hyperlink.
So, yes, going into the Grand Kotei I felt assured in my matchups. I had a robust deck with numerous expertise and a great matchup towards Phoenix’s Dredge Chook archetype, the Scorpion’s Keeper of Air dishonor deck, and Crab’s common survival deck. I knew my recreation towards both Crane and Unicorn would possible come right down to participant talent and a few luck, as did the mirror.
Of all the decks on the market, my largest challengers have been the dominant Lion Clan deck as a result of its excessive Honor and excessive Army talent and Scorpion’s Kyuden Bayushi because of its fast tempo and access to Army Talent characters whom I couldn’t duel. With some luck in matchups, I thought-about I’d also have a probability at taking residence a Dragon Hatamoto title – something which I desired an incredible deal.
In contrast to most Grand Koteis in 2019, Gen Con only had a single Day One qualifier. Most Grand Kotei have two Day Ones, both of which permit for qualification for Day Two. The rationale for this scale-back, regardless of being a 4 day convention, was by no means given. 196 players signed up for the occasion, as was evidenced by the truth that Registration took a whole hour to register the decks and acquire tickets. Cascade Games went ahead with utilizing Lotus Pavilion to arrange the occasion, one thing which the group was very grateful for, as it allowed anyone with a smartphone to verify their pairings with each round. Spherical one started at 11:00 AM on Friday with little fanfare, and we immediately acquired right down to enjoying cards.
My first pairing was towards Brandon Trepp, enjoying a Kyuden Bayushi Scorpion deck. A spicy High Kick bowing my duelist caught me off guard, and Brandon was capable of experience the tempo wave to victory. My second pairing was towards Mike Pretchel, operating a shocking Isawa Mori Seido Phoenix Clan deck with Crane splash for Pageant of the Fortunes. I didn’t see a Daisho for the primary twenty five cards of my Dynasty deck, and received my DH lock in a spherical too late to safe the win. My Stronghold was destroyed by a wave of Honored excessive Glory Phoenix Characters with my opponent on simply sufficient Honor to outlive.
Down two losses, I felt fairly disheartened. I might not qualify for Day Two and getting a Dragon Clan Hatamoto was extremely unlikely. I made the choice to drop at my subsequent loss and benefit from the remainder of my Gen Con expertise.
With that in thoughts I confronted off towards a Crane Clan dueling deck using Kyuden Kakita, piloted by John DiGiovanni. My Scorpion splash shined in this match, allowing me to abuse Calling In Favors to steal key dueling attachments, and I used to be capable of safe the win. It took me till spherical four of the event to face an on-meta deck, with Rory Wagner enjoying for the Crab Clan. I managed to bomb his Honor by 10 points within the second turn by forcing Hida Yakamo to win four duels in a row towards Mirumoto Hitomi after she had been whacked by a Wicked Tetsubo.
Alas, my rallying efforts have been for naught in the long run. I finally scored my third loss within the fifth spherical of the event, taken out by Willaim Carriker and his Kyuden Bayushi deck. I did not see a duelist with a Daisho by the second turn, and Kyuden Bayushi was simply capable of beat me down. With an hour and a half left before the Expo Hall closed, I dropped and wished my pals good luck.
Regardless of having a deck built to tear apart the on-meta decks, I died in what’s colloquially referred to as the Jungle of main occasions comparable to Gen Con. Like a MOBA, I spec’d too arduous for the top tier and obtained caught off guard by decks which might have died to the top tiers instantly. Whereas I won’t have achieved my aim, I am glad with my performance and all the time respect dropping to both luck of the matchup and the talent of utilizing jank. I wish to give a shout out to Mark Armitage and Luis Espinoza, each of whom are native players who made the highest 16 amongst those enjoying Scorpion. Honor and glory to Bradley Emon, who took house the highest prize, and Jeremy Campshure, who got here in second. Lastly, I want to give a shout out to Jasper Mangus, who reached the Prime eight with a Dragon Clan Seeker of Void deck, taking house the Dragon Clan Hatamoto title I covet still.
Nevertheless, my poor placement pales in criticism to that of the event administration itself, with little to no seen help from Fantasy Flight Video games throughout Gen Con. Matt Holland offered an instantaneous, physical presence, however it was nonetheless very straightforward to overlook the L5R presence.
For one, there was no streaming setup regardless of there being multiple steams operating for other FFG video games. In accordance with several sources, streamers who volunteered to offer this to FFG have been initially refused and it took a last minute setup by Hisshou Gaming simply to get coverage of the Prime 4 on Saturday. Moreover, there was not even a spherical clock for L5R. Cascade Video games had round clocks obtainable and visual but they largely sat unused. Lastly, there was the aforementioned debacle with the Lion Clan Pack and the Gen Con promos (or lack thereof), but I digress.
The Chook Is Indeed The Word
A fuller, extra complete writeup of the complete event, complete with daily breakdowns, could be discovered on the Imperial Advisor.
The most important takeaway, based mostly on the numbers, is the sheer impression of the Dredge Hen Phoenix Clan deck. 44 of 196 gamers at Gen Con – a full 22% – have been enjoying Phoenix, with a robust constructive win ratio across the sector in every matchup besides Scorpion and Unicorn. Six of the Prime 16 have been utilizing the deck, with 5 reaching the Prime 8, and three reaching the Prime four. Brad gained with the Dredge Hen deck, and it seemed very very similar to August was going to be a month dominated by this deck.
Reactions to this inside the group have been swift and addressed repeatedly by Matt Holland, FFG’s new Group Coordinator of Organized Play.
The deck relies upon a particular combination of results, particularly Miya Satoshi to seed your Dynasty discard pile, Forbearer’s Echoes to fetch Fushicho, Fushicho to fetch other powerful Phoenix Characters, Keeper Initiates to regulate the Imperial Favor (and thus turning off Censure as a cancel), and Kyuden Isawa to recur Forbearer’s Echoes. Both Matt and Tyler immediately acknowledged the difficulty and spoke of playtesting solutions. Any concrete answer, nevertheless, wouldn’t be coming anytime soon.
That stated, The Fowl’s presence at subsequent occasions was nothing in need of ubiquitous, even when its prime tier win ratio obfuscated that reality considerably.
The Sydney Kotei arrived on August 10th with 41 gamers, 9 of whom have been enjoying Phoenix. Whereas the Phoenix Clan consisted of the identical ratio because the bigger Gen Con Kotei, only one qualified for Day Two earlier than dropping. This set up a Prime four of two Scorpion, a Lion, and Unicorn. Honor to Paul Hallett for profitable Sydney for the Unicorn Clan.
Next got here both the Krakow Grand Kotei and the Canadian Grand Championship in Toronto on the weekend of August 23rd. Krakow defied expectations, with solely 41 players out of 246 (17%) throughout both Day Ones enjoying Phoenix Clan. Yet no Phoenix deck made it out of a Prime 16 on a Day Two dominated by the Scorpion Clan, and Konstantinos Paltoglou took house first place for the Crab Clan. The Canadian Grand Championship saw a extra predictable consequence, with 9 out of 30 gamers (30%) enjoying Phoenix Clan. Phoenix did find yourself taking the day, although winner Matthew Beck did so operating a Seeker of Void deck as an alternative of the on-meta Dredge Hen.
Lastly, August 30th noticed the Japanese United States Grand Championship at NOVA Open in Arlington, Virginia. The sector of 41 gamers was surprisingly nicely distributed throughout the Nice Clans, with solely a slight favoring of Crane Clan. While the Imperial Advisor solely has a small quantity of data relating to the event, it was gained by Arash Afghahi enjoying Scorpion Clan, over Aneil Seetharam enjoying Phoenix Clan. The Prime 8 solely noticed two Phoenix Clan decks, with an equal amount of Scorpion and Crane.
With that the month of August came to finish, bringing with it change to the Elemental Roles – notably negating Phoenix Clan’s entry to Keeper of Air until no less than the Position Draft on the World Championships in November and shoving the facility of the Dredge Fowl once more to the again burner. It might have solely taken the top prize in simply certainly one of August’s 5 Premier degree occasions, however its impression was felt in any respect ranges of play. It turned the deck which dominated the meta, serving as an efficient blockade to nearly all of decks which did not have an effective reply to its highly effective, explosive play. Nobody will probably be forgetting the lurking menace of Dredge Fowl anytime soon.
The number of the new Elemental Roles, nevertheless, opened new rifts into the group.
All through the summer time of 2019, the Elemental Championships offered the highest two gamers of every Nice Clan at each event a Vote card. These playing cards offered the winner one (or two) unique codes which gave them a vote for the subsequent Elemental Position their Great Clan would have. These playing cards weren’t linked to a specific participant, occasion, or Great Clan, nevertheless, opening up the theoretical potential for the votes to be bought online to other players.
As was identified by many, there was literally nothing to cease a single individual from gathering as many of those playing cards as attainable after which using these votes to sway a whole Great Clan’s picks in a specific course. Past such abuse, the access to those votes additionally sparked fierce debate inside the player group. What precisely can be the perfect Elemental Position for every Nice Clan going into the World Championship in November was something that most of the loudest voices had opinions about.
On August 22nd, FFG Organized Play made a big announcement relating to the L5R LCG. Tyler Parrott instantly addressed most of the rising issues locally with regard to its plans with the Elemental Position voting going forward.
Briefly, the Elemental Championships will probably be going away, rolled into the Retailer, Prime, Grand, and Continental Championships beginning in 2020.
There would nonetheless be vote cards as prizes, but these cards wouldn’t be tied to any specific time interval. They might, then again, be restricted to a specific Great Clan. This extremely limits the power of a single player to negatively impression the votes of a Clan they do not play however with out punishing players who earn (or buy) further votes. I really feel that this can be a needed action by Tyler and FFG’s Organized Play, particularly considering the results of the newest round.
Out of Seven Nice Clans, two voted for Keeper of Air, one for Seeker of Air, two for Keeper of Earth, and two for Seeker of Earth. As already identified, these Roles have been selected solely for their entry to specific, meta-defining cards.
On this case, the card which impressed greater than half the Great Clans to take an Earth Position, previously thought-about almost radioactive in how little it was desired, was Earth Turn out to be Sky. As a 1 Destiny, 1 Affect Event, Earth Turns into Sky instantly bows a Character after it readies, as a response. It’s a powerful tempo piece, preventing a potent Character from turning into obtainable to your opponent with out sacrificing an motion to do so. Air’s reputation continued from the last spherical of votes, as a consequence of playing cards comparable to Soul Beyond Reproach, Mark of Disgrace, and Forbearer’s Echoes.
The Air Position opens up powerful Character kill effects for each the Crab Clan (via Mark of Shame and Warden of the Damned) and Crane Clan (Mark of Disgrace and Noble Sacrifice). Dragon Clan’s selection for Seeker of Air offers them with a robust Province row, but very little else. A few of these victories came right down to a single vote, leaving sure Nice Clans deeply divided of their group; others, just like the Dragon Clan, merely had no good Elemental Roles to choose from.
Going into Worlds, there are the Clans that can run Earth Turns into Sky to shut down powerful Characters (Lion, Phoenix, Scorpion, Unicorn), Clans that may just kill highly effective Characters (Crab, Crane, Scorpion), and a Clan who can’t do either (Dragon)…which additionally happens to be highly dependent on its highly effective Characters.
The results of this round of voting has led to a name for FFG to “Free the Roles”, eradicating the Organized Play restrictions on which Nice Clans can run which Elemental Roles. This has come from voices previously on the other aspect of the talk, most notably from the Jade Throne podcast and the Imperial Advisor.
Whereas IA breaks down several key factors concerning the debate, I echo the sentiment that the LCG has outgrown the Position Restriction in Organized Play and that it is now a failed system. The only function it serves at current is to lock Clans out of their greatest deck archetype for four months. This may be nice if that Clan has multiple viable deck archetype. When it doesn’t, then it principally becomes the state of affairs dealing with the Crab Clan proper now. Dropping Keeper of Water shuts out their strongest deck. Will Crab’s Keeper of Air deck with powerful Character kill have the ability to keep up with the meta properly enough to win? Solely the World Championship will inform.
What’s extra, being locked out of your greatest deck for months on end discourages play and experimentation. There’s merely not enough purpose to play L5R casually to help the “simply play open roles at residence” argument. L5R is a hard recreation with a fiercely aggressive event scene. Enjoying decks which you can’t play, and enjoying towards decks that can’t be played, does not provide help to follow for the aggressive setting.
The exclusion worked when Elemental Roles have been chosen every year by way of draft. Taking Seeker of Void as Scorpion was as much about giving the Scorpion Clan a strong row because it was about preserving everybody else from it. By making the Elemental Roles not unique, you will have the state of affairs earlier than us for the subsequent 4 months where almost everyone is operating some form of Tower kill, and for those who like enjoying Dragon your Position limits you to at least one worthwhile buildout.
It’s evident that the LCG needs to maneuver ahead with liberating the Elemental Roles, but how that is completed is open for debate. Merely unlocking the Roles for Organized Play is one answer, nevertheless it removes the value of the votes and the World Championship draft. Creating 5 new Roles which any Nice Clan can take is one other, with a spotlight being shifted to the Keeper / Seeker cut up. Nevertheless, how would these Roles be launched? Would they come at a price? Would FFG explore the design area of “Whenever you claim your Ring, Do X”? Or maybe one other answer nonetheless.
Fortuitously I don’t have to unravel this drawback for FFG, but it’s undoubtedly one which needs a solution sooner somewhat than later.
Readying For The Act Break
In different L5R associated information, three new fictions have been released in quick succession final month, bringing the story of the Inheritance Cycle to an in depth. The Crane Clan are primed for a civil warfare, the rightful heir is on the run with a strong sorceress and a mysterious tattooed man, and Bayushi Shoju has reluctantly fulfilled the last promise he made to his oldest, dearest pal. The stability of energy within the Emerald Empire has shifted dramatically, and the story has closed on what is actually its first act. The stage is about for a struggle which can start within the capital however will shortly unfold to all corners of the Empire before it’s via, leaving many our bodies in its wake.
From a literary perspective I discover the re-imagining of the Scorpion Clan Coup to be fascinating, and I am curious to see the way it will shake out within the months ahead. I’ve my bets laid on who will nonetheless be standing on the end of Act Two, and will probably be an fascinating experience seeing the way it all falls aside.
The Great thing about Little Moments
Finally, August additionally saw the announcement of a new supplement and journey for the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. The Path of Waves is one other deluxe guide, matching the dimensions of Emerald Empire and covers all the things a GM and participant would wish to inform a story that includes the Ronin, gaijin, and peasants of the Emerald Empire. This can incorporate a number of of the principles and tidbits I acquired to sample enjoying within the Highwayman adventure at Gen Con, an journey with a storyline impression I got here to study in my interview with Tyler.
Moreover, Sins of Remorse is an journey designed to include the fabric on this supplement, capable of be run on its own or as a part of a higher marketing campaign. And it’s easily one among my most anticipated merchandise to attempt in fairly a while. Path of Waves is the guide I have been waiting for since Means of the Wolf all the best way back in First Edition. As a lot as L5R is a recreation concerning the intrigues of the Great Clans, I’ve all the time found more room for the little stories within the RPG. It is going to be hitting cabinets in the fourth quarter of 2019, and rest assured that I might be giving it a radical evaluate.
And that’s all for this month, pricey reader. As it’s already nicely into September by the time this text reaches you, you’ll be able to guess what my next month’s article will function. I hope to speak with Trevor Cuba about his plan for RokuCon, a fan run L5R convention in early 2020, however more importantly, we will probably be talking about launch dates and why they remain the best failing of FFG’s help of L5R in 2019.
Until subsequent month.
Carry the Fortunes.
David Gordon is a daily contributor to the location. A storyteller by trade and avowed tabletop veteran, he also has an extended and sophisticated past with L5R. These are his stories. He might be reached on Twitter.
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Photograph Credit: Legend of the 5 Rings photographs by Fantasy Flight Video games.