While I have been a long time fan of Legends of the Five Rings CCG, there are a few things that bothered me during this Arc:
The Celestial Name
As a Kolat, this obviously bothered me.
The age of man came to a crashing halt at the end of the Samurai Arc with the falling of Mirumoto Hitomi and Hida Yakamo from the Heavens and the blessing of the new Empress Iweko the First.
With the destruction of the Hidden Temple, the theft of The Oni’s Eye, and the murder of several Kolat Masters, the arc did not begin well.
Like the Kolat, I have bide my time to strike again and that time is soon.
This was one of the first problems that happened. Changing print companies 3 times in 2+ years will cause that kind of problem. The players tell me that The Dead of Winter has had better correlation than earlier sets in this arc. I certainly hope that AEG does not switch print companies 3 times during Emperor Edition.
There has been some very good turnouts during the Celestial Arc. When you have more players, that usually leads to more demand for the same cards. Also, when you have multiple clans using the same cards (like Sedan Sanzo in Crab, Ronin, Lion Deathseekers / Superior Mobility, Determined Force, Muscle and Steel, Only Actions Speak in most military decks) that also leads to higher demand, thus dealers have to buy more boxes or pay more for singles to sell thus leading to higher costs.
From a player’s standpoint, I certainly hope that better design in EE so that each faction will need its’ own separate cards rather than every deck needing 3 copies of card X.
While the balance between clans has been fairly even, the balance between each of the clan’s inner themes has been met with mixed results.
Some clans have multiple tournament worthy deck builds while some only have just one. Certain themes, like Lion Commanders, simply never was very noteworthy. Some like Scorpion Ninja started off as OK and now ended up being very tournament worthy. Others like Crab Heroes have been very competitive throughout the entire block.
My thoughts here are to continue the clan balance through better theme balance.
Multiple Ability ‘Power’ Cards
This is the biggest beef that I have with DT this Arc. Many Strategy cards decks have multiple abilities and plenty of them are Rare. Here is a list of those:
- A Paragon’s Strength (Paragons)
- Battle Fatigue
- Beloved of the Clan
- Caught Unawares
- Claw and Shell
- Determined Force
- Distractions in Court (Courtier/Magistrate)
- Extensive Training
- Immovable Object (Berserker)
- Justly Earned Victory
- Laying in Wait
- Lead by Example (Commander)
- Only Actions Speak
- Open Emotion
- Paths of Honor and Glory (Paragon)
- Proper Deference
- Stand Down!
- Strength of Will
- Subversive Influence
- Superior Mobility
- Swift Counterattack
- The Cost of Pride
- The Thriving Light (Unique)
- Unstoppable Cut (Kensei)
Of this list, there are a few that cards are unique or theme specific that are good and are not overpowered. There are a few that are OK (highlighted in Green) that have proven to been not overwhelmingly powerful. I have colored the ones that start to push the abilities from yellow (caution) to orange to red (too far). Why do I bring up this kind of design? I’ve been studying design (Magic design especially) and this is one of there design no-no’s. This looks like what has been termed as ‘cut-and-paste’ design.
Wow, I love some beef but some of these guys are unstoppable. Case in point, can anyone name the personality that you least wanted to see on the other side of the table in either Lotus or Samurai Arc? (He is on the right of the screen) Chags was the most powerful character to see print up until that point. Turn 2 or 3 Chags was a scary thought. Now name the character you’d least like to see on the other side of the table in Celestial. Hida Kuon has single-handedly destroyed the hopes and dreams of many who have played against Crab during Celestial.
My question to design team is how did you guys let Kuon slide through after hearing the complaints about Chags Exp 4? Granted Moto Chagatai was a great conqueror but you even made him bigger than the most ambitious character of all (Yoritomo). That being said, Hida Kuon has some nutty abilities and strength numbers in his past. I realize that he is The Great Bear’s great grandson but seriously? Sadly, Kuon wasn’t the only over the top Unique printed in the Celestial Arc. Here are some others:
- Yoritomo Naizen
- Tsuruchi Gidayu
- Moto Chen
- Bayushi Paneki
- Daigotsu Yuhmi Exp
- Paneki’s Disgrace
For my own personal tastes, its nice to see 2 Mantis personalities on this listed as most feared personalities in Celestial. This is far from an exhaustive list however. I certainly hope that DT takes this note to heart and decides to not go overboard on personality province crushing, one unit beef sticks or swiss army knives.
Epic Story Characters
Now this is one that I have never had to complain about until now. The main reason I got into L5R way back in Pearl Edition was the story. I feel that there aren’t enough ‘Epic’ characters anymore. When the Toturi line ended and Chagatai’s quest for the throne died there on the battlefield with him, few characters remain that hold the epic stories of yore.
Note: A personal thanks to Scott Rixson and Eugene Earshaw-White for this event that started Kakita Noritoshi’s feud with Shosuro Jimen. This is the one ‘Epic’ story that stands out to me. The reason? It has long standing roots in the Clan Wars Saga that made this game famous. The Scorpion and the Crane have always resented one another. The Crane have had a monopoly on the Emerald Champion. Dariya had a long standing grudge with Kakita Toshimoko after the former EC scared Dariya forever by blinding him in one eye. Dariya got revenge by killing Toshimoko at Oblivion’s Gate and his wandering spirit found harbor in Daidoji Megumi who killed Kakita Toshiken, cut off Doji Reju arm, and blinded Toshimoko in the same eye that Dariya was blinded in. Shosuro Jimen blackmailed Toshimoko into conceding defeat at the EC in the finals by threatening his wife and son’s life. They have put their feud aside only during this time of great need for the Empire. I can’t wait to see how it resolves. This is the way more stories should be.
Hasn’t been much of this going on in since the end of Samurai arc. At least there has been a Master Steel revealed and Moto Chaozhu returns as Daigotsu Chaozhu. Hopefully he will get to finish off his brother, Moto Chen.
“There is no escape from the Tiger.”