Since the great Dr. Zen Faulkes began this tradition with the CCG reporting the World Championship back in the slow early days of the internet, it is our duty to carry on that tradition.
The first L5R Living Card Game World Championship (and all future ones) were held at Fantasy Flight Games Headquarters in Minnesota. Competitors from across the land braved the snow to trek to the capital of Rokugan, Otosan Uchi for the prestigious event.
The Winter Court World Championship event had 3 qualifying days of L5R before a final day of long, grueling conflict.
Players from each day who had 34 points or more advanced to Day 2:
- Full Win – 10 points
- Modified Win – 6 points
- Full Loss – 1 point
- Modified Loss – 0 point
This day was added after Day 1A and Day 1B filled up almost immediately, hence the odd name. As I understood it, there were 43 players for this day. Clan breakdowns were as follows:
Phoenix and Crab were heavily represented here, which was odd as Crane, Dragon, Scorpion, and Lion were thought of as in the top-tier.
Total for Day 1A was 123 players. Clan breakdown was as follows:
Day 1B had 146 players. Clan breakdown as follows:
Day 2 began with the final 2 rounds of Swiss paired from all the players remaining.
After that a special cut was enforced. The Top 9 players received a bye into the Top 16. Players ranked 10 through 16 must play in a Clan Challenger Round against the top ranking player from each clan outside the Top 16. This gave each clan the opportunity to make the cut. Below was the information that was gathered by our agents:
Decklist links provided by FiveRingsDB.com:
- Top Crab – Challenge Round
- Kyle James – Dragon – Challenge Round
- Romain Foucault – Crane Top 8
- Brandon Zimmer – Top Unicorn
- Joshua Johnson – Scorpion – Top 16
- Travis McDaniel – Phoenix – Top 16
The challenge round knocked out both the Crab and the Unicorn. This left 3 Lion, 4 Crane, 4 Scorpion, 3 Phoenix, and 2 Dragon. By the top 8, the Phoenix were eliminated, leaving the Lion, Crane, Dragon, and Scorpion. Former L5R CCG North American Champion Timothy Wells also fell in this round. The Top 4 featured a perfect gambit of the same 4 clans. Mark Armitage lost his match to John Urbanek here while Samuel Benies defeated Davis Tower Kingley to move on to the finals.
Considering that the story choice for the first Shogun of the LCG era was to decide Duty or Justice between the Lion and Crane, it only made sense that the Crane face the Lion for that choice. Oddly enough, the only CCG World Championship final when the Lion meet the Crane happened 20 years ago at the most famous L5R event in history, the Day of Thunder.
Thanks to FFG for uploading the finals!
The match itself was a back-and-forth affair. John (Crane) had the early lead in the game but Samuel (Lion) was channeling Akodo Toturi’s patience as he built up army. When Samuel decided to move in on John, there was a turn where the game state flipped and ultimately lead to John’s demise. I’m not the storyteller, so I’ll let the video do the job there.
The story choice was laid out as follows:
Tsuko could follow her duty, which would lead her and her Lion Clan troops into battle with all Crane in the Osari Plains. Or she could pursue the path of justice, setting her prisoner free to investigate the death of the Crane champion, Doji Satsume, and its ramifications upon all Crane.
Samuel choose Justice over Duty.
The accompanying story is here: The Fires of Justice by By Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda