Superior Strategist – Grand Master of the Elements

The name Legend of the Five Rings implies the importance of the Five Rings:

In the classic L5R, you could win the game via Enlightenment (playing a copy of each ring via its game text), but most decks only played a couple of rings.  This made the name ‘Legend of the Five Rings’ not hold as much meaning.

With the LCG, the design team has done a fantastic job making the elemental rings something that you constantly battle over.

I feel that to truly master the LCG, you must become the Grand Master of the Elements.

Master the Elements

Naka Kuro, Grand Master of the Elements in AEG’s L5R.

Each ring can help you or hinder your opponent.  While this was true in the classic L5R CCG, you were limited to the elemental ring that you had in hand or in play.  In the LCG, you are only limited on your options if a ring has been claimed.

Timing is Everything

While knowing what ring is most important in a particular situation is good, sometimes it is not enough. it is knowing when to go after them.  Every ring’s value will fluctuate during most games of the LCG.  Understanding this gives you a vast advantage over your opponent.

Let us explore the vast depth of the Elemental Rings with Master Kuro.

Ring of Air

Take one honor from your opponent or gain two honor from the token pool

If an opponent is aggressively giving away their honor (bidding high to draw a lot of cards), going after the Air ring has multiple advantages for you:

  1. You can deplete their honor, pushing them toward dishonor.
  2. By gaining 2 honor, you can push toward an honor victory.
  3. You can claim this ring to keep your opponent from digging out of his low honor total.
  4. Limit how many Conflict cards opponents can draw.

Ring of Earth

Draw one card from your conflict deck and discard one random card from your opponent’s hand

The Ring of Earth might seem to be the weakest of all the rings, but it does have some potential:

  1. Clans who wish to remain honorable will need alternate ways to draw Conflict cards rather than bidding a lot of honor.  The Ring of Earth gives them that option.
  2. Forcing an opponent to discard a Conflict card at random can be powerful if used at the right time.

Ring of Fire

Choose a character in play and honor or dishonor that character

(Honoring a character adds their glory value to their skills and causes their owner to gain honor when that character leaves play, while dishonoring a character subtracts their glory from their skills and causes their owner to lose honor when that character leaves play.)

The Ring of Fire has the potential to be the most versatile of the elemental ring during a game:

  1. A high glory deck can use Fire to pump their own characters.
  2. A player can use Fire to shrink opponents’ characters, making them less effective in conflicts.
  3. Dishonoring an opponent’s character can cause them a 1 point honor loss when the character leaves play.
  4. Honoring one of your characters can gain you a point of honor when the character leaves play.

Ring of Water

Choose a character and ready it or choose a character with no fate on it and bow it

Due to the way that conflicts resolve (the Ring effect resolves before characters go home bowed), the Ring of Water is not as useful as it could be.  Still, the Ring of Water has its strengths:

  1. If you are the first player, choosing the Water ring on your first attack forces your opponent to defend carefully or he might lose a potential counter attacker.
  2. If you are not the first player, choosing the Water ring on your first attack allows you to aggressively defend and potentially straighten the personality you defended with earlier allowing you options on your or your opponent’s second attack.
  3. During your last attack, if you are not the first player, you can straighten a bowed personality to allow you to snatch the Imperial Favor.

Ring of the Void

Choose a character and remove one fate from it

Ring of the Void can have the most game shifting ability long-term but it fluctuates based on how your opponent plays.  Play against the ring is tricky.  Losing defensive conflicts against a player attacking you can be devastating.

We are just 25 days away from the early launch at Gen*Con 50.

Will you be there?

Yoritomo Arashi

A member of the Mantis Clan, Yoritomo Arashi has been masterful at gathering information for the Silken Sect. The master of information founded The Kolat Informant blog in March of 2011 and The Oni's Eye Podcast in October 2013.