There is so much room for innovation with 20 years worth of cards.
While I am more of a ‘Spike’ player, I do enjoy looking deep into deck design and love playing complicated decks. I also love attempting to break cards. Typically to find a broken strategy, you have to find ways that rules are broken.
The Great Walls of Kaiu was first printed in Time of the Void and was printed through Gold Edition. The line that makes this stronghold powerful is “Fortifications enter play for you for 4 less Gold”.
Now back in the day, there were only a small number of Fortifications that actually produced honor (Poorly Placed Gardens), gold (Empty Crevasse), or both (Remote Temple). After Gold arc, fortification were abandoned by AEG until they were reintroduced in Gates of Chaos. Now there are 17 additional fortification, 11 produce gold, 1 produces honor, and 2 produces both. Of the ones that produce Gold or Honor, only 3 cost more than 4 gold: Protected Temple (5), Distracted Sentries (6), and Poorly Placed Garden (5).
With the starting holdings of Border Keep / Bamboo Harvesters, we can play almost every fortification we want on turn 1. This cost reduction means a well built deck can gain massive amounts of gold on turn 1 allowing them to go through their deck at an incredible rate. You guys have seen what Foothold of the Mad does/did in Emperor and Modern right? Same theory applies here.
Now I built an deck that is trying to win via honor and there are only 3 non unique holdings in this deck that produce honor (PPG, Carpenter Shrine, and Erected Watchtower). Border Keep’s 2x cycle ability keeps from too many bad flips from happening.
Consistency is key with this deck.
The Great Walls of Honor v1.0
3 Accepting the Choice
3 Building Contract
3 Hidden Machinations
2 Sudden Blockade
3 The Fall of Kyuden Bayushi
2 Wall of Honor
2 Wheels within Wheels
3 Plans Within Plans
2 Caught Unawares
The deck is tied together through fast honor gains using lots of searching through Building Contracts. This card lets you find your honor holdings early allowing for maximum gains. The additions of that card to Peace and Planned Adversity (which has a nice combo with Peaceful Retreat) makes getting key honor holdings much easier.
Add Accepting the Choice, Hidden Machinations and Border Keep Exp makes this about as consistent as I can get on the fate side and makes finding meta cards (Overpower, Caught Unawares, Sudden Blockade, Absolution, Claw and Shell) much easier.
Plans within Plans lets you use your PPG on your opponents turn getting an extra 2 honor as well as being able to cycle the favor or use Kaiu Tojikana or Kaiu Iemasa ability to gain honor on an opponent’s turn. Kaiu Endo on the Dynasty side also allows for extra dynasty flips and lets you fly through your deck (save for hitting an event). Kaiu Burei is a cheap proclaim and in every game he has been a Proclaim for 5. Makes rocketing much easier.
Speaking of rocketing, Ritual Armor is insane for adding honor gains. It adds 1 to Tojikana, Iemasa or Otogou honor gain if it is attached OR you can discard it for the Honor mechanic to increase another gain by 1. That incremental addition can be massive.
Every game I’ve played with this deck I have crossed during my opponent’s turn 5 , my turn 4, or during my opponent’s turn 3.
That being said this deck has many counters.
Otomo Sensei is problem #1. Now you do have so much search in the deck, you can force your opponent to be selective on what he/she hits with it.
Other problem cards involve Deeds not Words, In Time of War, Only Actions Speak, On, etc. Despite this, the deck is quite explosive and I’m not even sure that the deck is fully optimize yet.