Originating as a collection chronicling David Gordon’s return to the Legend of the 5 Rings CCG after a a number of yr absence, Dave of the 5 Rings continues on as he examines the present and way forward for the long-lasting world of Rokugan upon the sport’s sale to FFG in 2015.
Chapter 36: Expectations of the Youngsters
And typically, pricey reader, one can merely get sick for 3 weeks. Let it’s famous that I don’t advocate it. Nonetheless, regardless of the lateness of final month’s publish and February being brief, it was fairly the eventful month for Legend of the 5 Rings and we now have an awesome deal to speak about.
The Youngsters Have Arrived
Having arrived in shops on February 14, 2019, Youngsters of the Empire has completely shaken up the meta recreation of the Legend of the 5 Rings LCG. As the only largest launch of playing cards outdoors of the unique Core Set, Youngsters of the Empire has catapulted dueling into the highlight of the sport, lastly fleshing it out from an occasional facet to one thing that almost each deck has entry to.
Whereas it was extensively previewed within the weeks main as much as its launch, a number of of its extra impactful playing cards slipped previous unannounced till it was within the palms of lower than affected person distributors who have been very happy to publish the remaining spoilers on-line. The Elemental Championship in Saugus, MA had the distinction of being the primary occasion with Youngsters of the Empire being authorized, having acquired particular permission from FFG Organized Play to waive the 11 day ready interval for legality, and it drew sufficient gamers to make it the most important Elemental Championship in the USA up to now this yr.
Each Nice Clan acquired playing cards within the Youngsters of the Empire, with some being thought-about distinct winners already. The Unicorn Clan picked up the highly effective Dynasty character Utaku Kamoko, bringing a rise of their aggressive play whereas insulating herself from the dominance of Dishonor results within the setting. Trustworthy Challenger and Problem on the Fields have turn into auto-includes in any Unicorn Clan deck as nicely for his or her highly effective capacity to disclaim key assets throughout a Battle for opponents.
Lastly, Shinjo Ambusher has given the Unicorn Clan the ultimate piece to their puzzle, offering them a strong reply to Provinces which may cripple their early aggression, like Upholding Authority. Each the Dragon and Crane Clans picked up heavy help for his or her dueling themes as properly, with the Dragon Clan gaining Mirumoto Hitomi, the Mirumoto Dojo, and the Mirumoto Daisho, whereas the Crane Clan gained Kakita Toshimoko, Kakita Dojo, and Iaijutsu Grasp. The Crane Clan additionally gained an edge within the type of Paragon of Grace, a card able to creating sustained card benefit each flip. Equally, the Lion Clan gained a strong four Destiny physique within the type of Matsu Tsuko, and two workhorse Battle playing cards, Hand to Hand and True Strike Kenjutsu.
Not each Nice Clan benefited immediately from the bevy of latest playing cards, nevertheless. Regardless of gaining a helpful Dynasty character in Hida Yakamo, the Crab Clan picked up no new tips within the enlargement and appear to be struggling to take care of a aggressive presence. The current removing of Towards the Waves did extra for the Phoenix Clan than Youngsters of the Empire, although Isawa Ujina has opened a special approach of denial in instantly eradicating Characters from the sport.
In the meantime, the strongest card for the Scorpion Clan was unquestionably Kirei-ko, particularly with the brand new ruling putting it as successfully stopping the various triggered talents which may Prepared key Characters between Conflicts, although a very good argument may be made for the Emperor himself, Hantei XXXVIII, being greatest software field for the heavy, end-game management playstyle they’re at present favoring.
When talking concerning the objectives of Youngsters of the Empire, Tyler Parrott, the lead designer on the product and the present head of design for the LCG, spoke of accelerating the presence and consciousness of dueling in Legend of the 5 Rings, in addition to making a secure of highly effective, signature distinctive characters to face as iconic figures for individuals to construct decks round.
Within the first, CotE has been virtually too profitable. The added emphasis of dueling within the recreation has already begun to create an surroundings not in contrast to the one seen simply earlier than the introduction of the primary Restricted Listing, because of the energy of Coverage Debate. Defend Your Honor has confirmed to be a strong denial software inside a Battle, typically permitting an opponent to create a punishing board state that denies interactivity by means of bully dueling (throwing a duel which by the mechanics of the sport, can’t be misplaced). Characters with sprint Army expertise, who thus can’t be dueled utilizing Army, have turn out to be as priceless as characters with sprint Political expertise have been in defending your hand from Coverage Debate. Coverage Debate itself has seen a resurgence of being the Restricted Card of selection as properly, forcing opponents right into a frequent state of getting no choice BUT to be bully dueled right into a dropping state.
Relating to Tyler’s second objective, of making a brand new secure of highly effective, signature characters at four Destiny via the enlargement, ought to be thought-about a a lot more healthy success.
Whereas Shosuro Hametsu and Hida Yakamo are usually not precisely instruments which the present setting favors, each present highly effective instruments to their Nice Clans which can’t be ignored. Matsu Tsuko will not be the powerhouse wanted to show the destiny of the Lion Clan round, however she favors the strengths of the Nice Clan whereas increasing their choices. Each Kakita Toshimoko and Isawa Ujina have turn out to be staples of their Nice Clan, however I might put them third and fourth in energy because of the sheer acceleration offered by Utaku Kamoko or the dominating management of Mirumoto Hitomi. The four Destiny slot in most Dynasty decks is one which has seen a great deal of competitors already within the recreation, however the energy of the CotE four Destiny Distinctive Characters will probably be in all probability some of the impactful design objectives of 2019.
The aggressive play meta will barely have sufficient time to settle after the modifications brought on by Youngsters of the Empire earlier than the Unicorn Clan Pack, Warriors of the Wind, thunders onto the scene later this month. Amongst these new playing cards is the mysterious Moto featured on the duvet of the product, with most hypothesis pointing this in the direction of Moto Chagatai. Fingers stay crossed that he can be a strong recreation nearer – one thing that the Unicorn Clan nonetheless want.
Masters of the Courtroom, the Crane Clan Pack coming in April, has already had its powerhouse character spoiled within the type of Daidoji Uji, whose textual content permits him to behave like a extra environment friendly Hidden Moon Dojo. The quantity that Uji warps the sport rivals even the powerhouse of Isawa Tadaka, a card that even many prime tier Phoenix gamers have recently been calling to see banned.
Whereas we’ve got considerably extra playing cards unspoiled in Masters of the Courtroom, early checks of the previewed Stronghold has led some gamers to start speculating that the Crane Clan might lastly get the deck they should merely sit again and achieve honor till they win. I’m not positive if I need to see a return to the times of aggressive counting in L5R, as most of the previous Honor-Rocket decks of the CCG have been hardly interactive, however it will be fascinating to see a model of a defensive Honor runner develop into viable within the new period.
Whereas we’re nonetheless on the matter of card previews, the brand new cycle starting in Might was additionally introduced. For The Empire will start the brand new Inheritance Dynasty Cycle, adopted by Bonds of Blood, tying in thematically to the 2019 Kotei season’s give attention to Kunshuu, the Ancestral Sword of the Hantei. Among the many objectives of the Inheritance cycle is to extend the prominence of Bushi in L5R, pushing to make them on par with the extremely desired Shugenja and sometimes helpful Courtiers. Two of the playing cards previewed up to now additionally give further methods of gaining the Honored standing, one thing enhanced by the presence of the Crown Prince himself, Hantei Sotorii. Offered you’ll find the means to get Sotorii Honored and maintain him Honored, the Crown Prince can be a formidable piece in any arsenal, simply able to breaking almost any Province solely by himself.
For the Empire will introduce a brand new mechanical key phrase to the sport, Disguised, permitting sure Distinctive Characters to take the place of non-Distinctive characters already in play, carrying over any Attachments, Destiny, and Standing tokens. The non-Distinctive character is positioned within the Discard Pile afterwards, although it’s unclear if this can rely as leaving play for results which care about such.
The Disguised character does enter play prepared, nevertheless, permitting a participant a further use of the physique on the sector and offering a robust push of momentum for sure decks. In some ways, this seems like an efficient replace of the previous CCG’s Skilled mechanic, although I’m curious if that’s one thing we will see in a future enlargement. All in all, it seems that Disguised will favor a extra aggressive playstyle, giving it extra of an edge towards the extra conservative, management methods which have been the dominant fashion because the introduction of the primary Restricted Record.
Talking of Aggressive Play, whereas there have been no shock additions to the Restricted Record in the previous few weeks, there was an replace to the Guidelines Reference Information. Though not in depth, the timing guidelines on “Triggered” Talents was cleaned up, making Reactions to “triggering” such an Capability happen after the complete textual content of the Means has been resolved. Beforehand, something reacting to the “triggering” of the Means would resolve earlier than the motion itself, permitting for a card like Watch Commander to trigger an Honor loss over a card performed to discard it. This clarification makes the method of the sport a lot smoother, and will increase the playability of playing cards like Kirei-ko. Moreover, the language round “Copying” a personality was clarified, in addition to how duels work together with the Honor Dial and results which forestall modifications to a Talent worth.
Again to the Shadowlands, Again to the Recreation Retailer
L5R information hasn’t been restricted to the LCG, both. With respect to the L5R RPG, two new merchandise have been introduced, although no timeline has been given as to their launch.
Just like how the Shadowlands e-book will function info on a Minor Clan (the Falcon Clan), a Nice Clan (the Crab Clan), and marketing campaign options across the struggle towards for forces of Fu Leng, Courts of Stone guarantees to offer info on the Deer Clan, the Crane Clan, and the courts of intrigue and thriller within the coronary heart of Rokugan.
Winter’s Embrace will function a companion module to Courts of Stone, just like how the Masks of the Oni is a companion of Shadowlands, permitting gamers to discover the ideas outlined within the sourcebook by means of gameplay. It’s my hope that we see Fantasy Flight Video games maintain to this development of merchandise for the RPG, fleshing out the world via a specific Nice Clan and the position they serve alongside a module which demonstrates how these ideas may be carried out.
Nevertheless, included in each the LCG’s For the Empire, and the RPG’s Shadowlands and Courts of Stone dietary supplements are unique bonus gadgets for direct preorder by means of the FFG web site. In the meanwhile these are simply prolonged and expanded items of paintings, however it units a precedent in product presentation which places a nasty style in my mouth.
Whereas a pleasant native recreation retailer can, in concept, place a direct preorder in your behalf to realize entry to those gadgets, doing so immediately will go round their relationship with their distributor. Such an strategy impacts their revenue margin on the product they’re promoting you. When executed in isolation, this lack of revenue might be made up for in different methods, resembling organized play charges or gaming area charges.
When a whole product line begins to encourage this conduct, nevertheless, this shortly results in pleasant native recreation shops being incentivized to not present help for a specific recreation line, resulting in them ordering much less product of those strains so as to save prices. This in flip makes the sport line more durable for brand spanking new gamers to find and may finally show to be very damaging to a group. Recreation shops function a lot, rather more than merely a spot to purchase video games, and being a group middle and place to play video games is usually the place the income from gross sales of video games will get spent.
This seems to be a continuation of a development of FFG displaying much less help for native shops supporting the Legend of the 5 Rings model. With the motion of Organized Play help away from an in-store, month-to-month league or event package deal to a a lot smaller “informal play” mannequin, gamers might want to hunt down the bigger shops merely to discover a place to play. I can’t assist however really feel that these two developments are coming far too shut collectively to be unrelated and could also be a part of FFG’s mannequin to drive to extend income in 2019 after the sale of Asmodee again in October.
As a longstanding member of a recreation that has traditionally relied on native shops for it to outlive, I urge you, pricey reader, to point out your personal help at your LGS together with your pockets. Even when it means a delay in receiving the product and lacking out on some very fairly paintings, each sale counts in small markets like this one. You are able to do your half supporting your area people by going by means of the right channels at your gaming retailer. Inform FFG that this plan for direct gross sales is just not going to work.
That each one being stated, with the L5R RPG just lately being reported because the second best-selling RPG model within the Fall of 2018, there’s some hope that that is merely a short lived measure to check direct gross sales for viability, and never a everlasting change to the enterprise as normal strategy right here. One thing to control, at the least.
And that’s all for this month, pricey reader. Be a part of me subsequent month, whereby I’ll converse concerning the Warriors of the Wind, Shadowlands, and go in-depth on the surprisingly expansive assortment of podcasts and livestreams all through the Legend of the 5 Rings group. It’s my aim to current as exhaustive of an inventory as attainable, so in case you assume you already know of a podcast I’d miss, please attain out to me on Twitter at @OniNoDave. For many who I might be seeing at PAX East, I want you luck. Till subsequent month.
Carry the Fortunes.
David Gordon was a daily contributor to the location. A storyteller by commerce and avowed tabletop veteran, he additionally has an extended and sophisticated previous with L5R. These have been his tales. He may be reached on Twitter.
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Photograph Credit: Legend of the 5 Rings photographs by Fantasy Flight Video games.