Announcements and Constructed Musings

Hello again,

I just want to take a minute to address my article from a few weeks back. I’m well aware that some people came away with the impression that I thought Europeans were worse than Americans at deck building and deck selection. That simply isn’t the case. Clearly I do find some of the trends strange and my comments were speculation as to the cause why and should be taken as such.

There was a really good discussion on the unofficial L5R group on Facebook where a fair few members of the community weighed in on the matter. I certainly came away with a better understanding of how people regard the differences between the two continents as well as theorycrafting. You can find it here.

Moving forward I’m going to be writing a little less often as my schedule is making it tough for me to draft as often as I would like let alone produce content. It should be every 2-3 weeks and I’m going to mix things up with a bit of constructed when I feel I have something to say about it.

I will be doing a seven part review of Thunderous Acclaim once the whole set is up on Oracle though. The schedule will be:

1) Common Dynasty

2) Common Fate

3) Uncommon Dynasty

4) Uncommon Fate

5) Rare Dynasty

6) Rare Fate

7) Format Overview

They should be up within 2-4 days of each other so keep your eyes on @kolat_informant on Twitter for when they drop. I am away this weekend so the earliest it will start is Tuesday the 16th of June.

My final announcement is that I shall be attending Gencon this year. This is my first time coming to the States and I’m super excited. I’m flying into Chicago and spending a few days there before heading to Indy to assist AEG and do 6th Ring stuff. After that I’m heading to New York for a week that’s highlighted by seeing my favourite pop group Girls’ Generation live!

If you are having any L5R days or nights in either Chicago or New York at that time please send me an invite as it’s always great to meet other members of the community. Likewise please come and say hi to myself if you’re at Gencon.

I’m also looking for a lift from Chicago to Indy on Wednesday the 29th of July. If you can help I’ll pay my share of the fuel and feed you too. My contact details are at the end of the article.

Remember when I said I would talk some constructed? Well, that’s what I’m doing today!

Twenty Festivals arc has been a story about one clan: Mantis. Over the past few weeks it has picked up a number of wins and discussion had been raging as to whether the deck should receive some sort of errata to curb it.

For those of you who have checked out the thread on the AEG forums will know where I stand on the matter. I’ve been against taking action. I’d like to take you through what led me to that conclusion though so let’s go back a few weeks.

Mantis Shika had been crushing Ivory strict and when the predominant kotei format switched to Twenty Festivals arc it took down an event in the hands of Daniel Landrum in the first weekend but didn’t get on a roll until three weeks later at Phoenixville when Jon Palmer beat player design team member Chris Medico in the mirror. It then won at least one kotei over the next four weeks and a total of nine over the course of the format.

The numbers I was mainly interested in though were cut numbers. The reason being that the much larger sample size meant the data was more meaningful. Winning has a higher degree of variance than making the cut too as single elim is nowhere near as forgiving as swiss. Brett Schofield did a great job of covering this in section two of his Balance in the System article here.

Mantis’ cut percentage, whilst excellent, wasn’t anywhere near dominance. In fact, when it came to making the cut it was number two behind Phoenix for a few weeks. It also seemed well positioned in the elimination rounds too. It’s wins were also mostly in North America and a good number of those came at the hands of name players.

Of course the cut numbers weren’t what a lot of people were interested in. Wins are the focus because of the storyline prizes so Mantis had a target on it’s back by people claiming it was too powerful and they couldn’t beat it.

Eventually we reached a point where Chris Medico produced an article outlining good angles of attack against the deck as well as ways to apply them followed by an announcement that Mantis was being monitored due to concern expressed by parts of the community.

Since the article’s release the field has shifted. Decks have better lines of attack against Mantis. The question now becomes how do you attack them?

This is how to get ahead. Position yourself well for the coming weekend with good angles of attack against the decks you expect by volume and by what you expect to see at the top tables. Play something objectively powerful.

A common trait amongst top performing Twenty Festivals lists has been their exploitation of resources.

The Fruitful Port of the Mantis: Cheap card draw and a gold boost going second.

The Majestic Temple of the Phoenix: Acts as an additional province with a dead dude. Gold reduction going second. Synergy with Destined and Expendable.

The Hidden Bastion of the Spider: Mitigates the loss of your first province when going second.

Sachina Sensei: Gold cost reduction on Geisha. Used to success in both Crane and Scorpion so far this season.

Momiji, the Madam/Shika Sensei: Acts as an additional province after recruiting a certain subtype of card. Momiji is used in tandem with Sachina Sensei whilst Shika Sensei is typically found in Mantis builds.

Playing one or more of these or finding something that’s similar has to be a consideration because of the advantage they give you over an opponent who isn’t doing the same. It’s no surprise that Mantis and Phoenix have performed so well considering the natural resource advantage their stronghold gives them coupled with good draw engines.

Looking ahead to Thunderous Acclaim Turquoise Adjunct is a card people are very excited to try and break for good reason. A good card draw engine is a must and being able to straighten the personality has also got a lot of mileage to it. There’s also Accepting the Choice which is screaming for some insanity to put together.

With Thunderous Acclaim also comes the question how do you predict an unestablished metagame and plan to attack it? I think in the first two weeks it’s to do the most objectively powerful thing that doesn’t run into configurations for the current metagame.

I would try to avoid anything that Standing Fast hits hard and has game against big attachments. I would want to be primarily set up against military and honour. I would be prepared to accept being a dog to dishonour if I had a big game against most of the other decks.

Of course these are just generalisations but barring a big shift with THA it seems like the place to be.


Strange Assembly’s Clan Tourney Success series

Brett Schofield’s Kotei Spreadsheet

That’s it for now. I shall start work on my set review upon my return from a nice weekend away. Thank you.

@simonodocopp on Twitter

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