Superior Strategist – Fear the Dropbear

Fear the Dropbear: An Introduction

I’m Shosuro Kiseki, one of the designers and pilots for what we’ve been calling the Scorpion Dropbear deck.  We present this deck because it represents a big departure from the way most players approach Legend of the Five Rings. While this list won’t necessarily be valid after the new roles are chosen, or after the first few packs hit, the playstyle will likely become even more valid as time goes on.

Dropbears are mythical animals from Australia.  Although they look cute and cuddly, they nevertheless drop from the trees on unsuspecting tourists to savage them.  It’s thought that speaking with an Australian accent or spreading vegemite behind the ears might stave off a Dropbear attack, but no one knows for sure if that is effective.  Dropbears, like ninja, don’t exist, of course.

I created an early prototype of the deck shortly after release as a silly diversion to see what a shinobi deck might look like someday.  It did really well, but because it wasn’t “standard” I shelved it because it probably wasn’t meant to work yet.  A few weeks later, I saw some chatter about a Scorpion/Crane splash from Bayushi Yuuji, a former Scorpion Clan double Gencon winner.  The deck he talked about was much like the one I’d prototype. I dusted it off and started building and tweaking.  Piloting the deck involves a total paradigm shift in how one plays L5R, and plays differently than anything else in the environment once you can get past that.

This deck wouldn’t have been possible without input from the following people:  Bayushi Yuuji, Robert “Bayushi” Croy, Modest, Bayushi “Humanoids” Inukai, Louis Tarmichael, Liang “Calimsha” Zhong, John Merholtz, and Jeremie Maurina.  Special thanks to everyone who came on board after the initial list was created who helped with further playtesting and refinement, including [], [], and John “Lockewood” Getty..    

I Want to Drop the Bears: A Piloting Guide

Step One:  Unlearn Everything You Think You Know About This Game

At its heart, Dropbears is an economy deck with an aggro bent.  The core concept combines extreme fate economy with reliable province crunching efficiency.  The two main tools you use to break provinces are Unassuming Yojimbo and Political Rival. Each has a 3 in one conflict type and both have covert.  These are the Dropbears.  Mulligan hard for at least one Dropbear in your opening hand, and bid aggressively early on to get one or more.

Because both main characters come from the hand, you change the way you approach the Dynasty Phase.  The first turn with this deck is almost always stressful. It feels wrong in every possible way.  I’ve had people ask me if I was sure about the play, or imply that I might not have enough games under my belt yet.  You might get offers to take back your pass.  That’s how you know you’re doing it right.

On turn one, buy a cheap guy, sometimes two, and then pass.  I’ll repeat.  Buy a cheap guy, and then pass.  You want 5-7 fate banked to play your first turn.  If you are going second, your goal is to ruin their first attack through some combination of troll provinces, courtier actions, and dishonor tech.  Don’t be shy to Charge! in one of your uniques ( Shoju, Hiroue, or Yunako), use them, and let them bow.  Some pilots like to add a fate to the first turn buy, and some prefer not to.  Tailor it to your match and your style.  Certain matchups benefit from having an extra body on the table, either for both courtier and shugenja traits, or for protection from removal like Way of the Crab.    

The ideal characters for the turn one buy are Bayushi Manipulator, Young Rumormonger, and Yogo Outcast.  Each of these three characters have balanced stats in military and political, while two have the courtier trait and one has shugenja. Characters with a dash are less ideal because they cannot defend a military attack.  Manipulator is especially good because it can increase your first draw.    

Step Two:  Drop the Dropbears  

The first attack is also very important.  The first thing to do is evaluate, based on which Dropbears you hold and which stats you can buff, which big attack you plan to go for.  There are a few valid ways to approach the first attack.  

If you are going first, you can either drop a Dropbear and swing, or attack with your cheap character.  If you feel that the opposing board is narrow enough that you can take a province with a Dropbear, that might be the best plan.  If you think you can bait out a sufficient number of defenders or defensive actions with your cheap character, go that route instead.  

If you are going second, decide whether and how to defend the conflict.  If they attack military, you can often Charge! in a defender (I like Shoju or Hiroue in this situation) and play just enough from hand to prevent a break.  Hiroue is especially good because he can harpoon a character they were planning to use on the next defense, and still possibly ruin the attack with For Shame! or other actions.  If an easy ring denial presents, feel free to do that too, but don’t waste too many resources if that ring isn’t going to mess up the rest of your turn.    

Something worth doing if your opponent hits your Garden on a political conflict and you are sitting on lots of Fate is to drop a Political Rival with 1 or 2 fate defensively, then counterattack right after with Yojimbo and Ring of Water. Using a bear defensively isn’t ideal, but sometimes it gives you a turn and lets you prepare the next one.

The next step is to buy a conflict character.  Decide based on your hand and the board whether you need a military or political conflict first.  Add fate to your Dropbear.  At least one if you have it, two if you can afford it.  Add attachments as needed, and take a province.  If you bounce, it’s ok.  Buy the other Dropbear if you can afford it and do it again.  It’s not uncommon to be up 2 provinces to 1 or 0 at the end of the first turn.  

Step 3:  The Transition to Standard Play

The rest of the game is about banking fate wherever you can and adding more covert to the board without losing boardstate.  The more covert you can get into a single attack, the more oppressive it becomes.  It isn’t out of the ordinary to attack the Stronghold Province with an attack and prevent any defenders from being able to assign at all.  Turn three wins are most common, and turn two wins aren’t unheard of.  

On about turn three if you aren’t poised to win at the start of the turn, you’ll need to transition to what we’ve dubbed as “standard play”.  Standard play involves building a board with strong uniques and efficient cheap characters, and winning conflicts in a somewhat straightforward way.  The advantage that Dropbears bring to standard play is that they can remove specific problematic defenders from fights – Clan Champions, Guests of Honor, Kitsuki Investigators, or just characters stacked with attachments.

A Word of Caution

Apart from some strong flips or misplays, your most common losses won’t be to province breaks, but to dishonor.  Be aware of the clans who are likely to punish low honor, and avoid putting yourself in the danger zone (5 or lower).  Switch to conservative bidding if you don’t need cards at that moment.  Take the Air ring for two honor, and Fire to re-honor your dishonored characters.      

Advanced Dropbearing: Specific Tech Commentary

Apart from the unorthodox playstyle, the core list itself has had to make some interesting choices based on what it is aiming to accomplish.

Part One:  What’s Gone

Court Games:  This is probably the first card that people will see as a 2x and start lecturing you on.  It’s a great card–without any doubt.  The problem is that it does nothing for  your 0 glory Dropbears to break provinces. You also won’t have a ton of targets on defense.  Its best use is the first turn attack to dishonor one of their guys to set up For Shame, and that relegates it to support status.

Way of the Scorpion:  Another seemingly strange cut, this is mostly because it is a completely dead card in the mirror, which we expect to be a challenging match.  And there are other cards that take a higher priority.

Shameful Display:  Shameful is a great province and strong in many Scorpion decks.  Earlier versions included Noble Sacrifice, and ran Shameful Display, but Pilgrimage edged it out of the slot once Noble Sacrifice was cut.  [Although some versions slot the Noble Sacrifice back in and use Court Games and Way of the Scorpion plus the Fire Ring to turn it back on.]

Fiery Madness:  Fiery Madness is another great card, but is more reactive than proactive.  It is a bit too defensive for the main list, but can make the cut in a flex slot.  

Part Two:  Specific Interactions     

Subtle, Paradigm Shifting Plays

Favorable Ground/Ring of Water + Charge:  Charge is used to get access to your expensive uniques without paying for them.  The main reasons to Charge are to ruin an attack and to break on military.  If you bring in Hiroue, you can give up a province to harpoon a big defender waiting in the wings or use courtier actions to stop the attack.  You can move home with Favorable Ground or you can use Ring of Water to get the charged character back up and breaking on the second attack.

Seeker of Air + Manicured Garden + Secret Cache:  Fate is precious in this deck, and cards are life.  Many times you’ll find yourself at 1 fate with a Dropbear in hand and no way to play it, or with the fate banked, but no Dropbear in hand.  Fortunately, there is a person designated to helping you get out of this situation:  your opponent.  If they attack into Manicured Garden or Secret Cache it can serve as a fixer for either your fate pool, your hand, or both.

Calling in Favors + Cloud the Mind:  You can use your Favors to steal Clouds onto characters who have use their abilities or who are down for the count.  Especially useful on our uniques and our Dropbears.

Counterplays

Ring of Earth or Kitsuki Investigator or Restoration of Balance vs Dropbears:  Play out your Dropbears before they get sniped.  Pull Kitsuki Investigator into military conflicts if possible with Yogo Hiroue.  Save Cloud the Minds for Investigator in the Dragon Matchup.

Hida Kisada:  The easiest straight counter is Court Mask.  The dishonor is optional, so you can simply trigger Court Mask and ignore Kisada.  City of Lies can be saved for the Kisada action as well.  The Stronghold can also be a good throwaway action early game, but not if you are in the danger zone.  Also, sleazing a quick ring turns him off for the rest of the turn, so don’t be afraid to do that.    

Part 3:  Rings

Ring selection is fluid, and as such, only a very general priority list can be given for them, along with some guidelines about when and how to prioritize them.

Void:  Void is high priority, often top, as much to deny the claim to your opponent as to affect their board.  If either board has no fate on characters, its value drops a fair amount.

Water:  Water is a sleeper ring.  The best tech play is to charge in an expensive unique for military unique, and then water them back up after your first attack.  You can also water back a defender after ruining the first attack and swing back with them.

Earth:  Earth is a mid to high value ring depending on the relative hand size.  It’s never a bad choice, but sometimes the other good ones are just better.

Fire:  Fire is a low priority ring situationally.  It’s good to buff your 2 glory uniques, to debuff opponent’s defenders, to knock out a dishonor win, or to keep yourself afloat in a pinch.

Air:  Air is the lowest priority ring, but has two important jobs.  First, it helps seal a dishonor win if it presents itself.  Second, it helps get you out of the danger zone if you fly too close to the water.  Never be afraid to use the resolution to gain two honor instead of taking one.  Sometimes that’s just better.

Example Decklist

Scorpion Dropbear 1.8 – Many Mooks Edition

City of the Open Hand
Seeker of Air

Manicured Garden
Secret Cache
Entrenched Position
Meditations on the Tao
Pilgrimage

Influence: 10/10

Dynasty Deck (40)
Character (32)
2x  Bayushi Liar
3x  Bayushi Manipulator
3x  Bayushi Shoju
2x  Bayushi Yunako
2x  Blackmail Artist
2x  Miya Mystic
3x  Shosuro Actress
3x  Sinister Soshi
3x  Soshi Illusionist
3x  Yogo Hiroue
3x  Yogo Outcast
3x  Young Rumormonger

Holding (8)
2x  City of Lies
3x  Favorable Ground
3x  Imperial Storehouse

Conflict Deck (40)
Event (23)
2x  Admit Defeat
2x  Assassination
3x  Banzai!
2x  Calling in Favors
3x  Charge!
2x  Court Games
3x  For Shame!
3x  Forged Edict
1x  I Can Swim
2x  Way of the Scorpion

Attachment (10)
3x  Cloud the Mind
1x  Court Mask
3x  Fine Katana
3x  Ornate Fan

Character (7)
1x  Adept of Shadows
3x  Political Rival
3x  Unassuming Yōjimbō

Of the playtesters, this is Croy’s version. The idea of Dropbear is much more of a style than an outright deck, so he volunteered his deck as the example. There are minor but significant preferential differences among current pilots’ decks.

City of the Open Hand

The Scorpion stronghold is very good. When first starting, it’s easy for people to think that the stronghold is used to dishonor your opponent. What it is actually used for is not getting dishonored out of the game yourself. When at lower honor you can generally safely bid 2, and, assuming they bid 1, you can take your 1 honor right back, effectively staying at the same honor while gaining card advantage.

Another option, one that is talked about less, is you can bid 1 and then use the stronghold to just gain honor back. When you have a good hand with one to three bears in hand, bidding 1 to gain your honor back isn’t such a bad thing.

Province Choices

Manicured Garden (Air)

This deck is starved for fate and Manicured Garden with Seeker of Air allows for two fate upon reveal. More than any other single card, this provides essential economy that the deck requires.

Secret Cache (Air)

The in house province, being air, also combos well with Seeker of Air. Getting a fate and your choice of top five cards is very strong.

Entrenched Position (Earth)

Truth be told, people rarely make it to swing on my box, but when they do they usually run into entrenched. Entrenched has a huge province strength and doubles vs military, which Scorpion is generally weaker at. This is a generally safe pick, unless your opponent is playing one of the primarily political factions.

Meditations on the Tao (Fire)

This province can whiff or it can hurt big time. If you save the province from being destroyed, which as a Scorpion is very possible, then you also get to dictate how people attack into you.

Pilgrimage (Void)

5 strength and ring denial unless they break is brutal. Scorpion is very good at not losing provinces (not necessarily out right winning), and having this makes the opponent really have to commit resources, which Scorpion can generally punish.

Exceptions

Among the testers, Kiseki prefers Rally to the Cause over Meditations and others have experimented with Night Raid. Rally to the Cause can be a huge blowout when it hits an opposing board with several dash characters. The most important provinces are Manicured Gardens and Secret Cache. The rest can be argued for.  

Dynasty Deck (40)

Characters (32)
2x  Bayushi Liar

Only two Liars!? Yes. The dash in military really hurts this deck. He’s a wonderful card and extremely powerful but the dash makes him inflexible and not an optimal turn one buy.

3x  Bayushi Manipulator

Depending on the matchup, bidding 6 on turn one lets you dig for bears and with a 1 in military he can Banzai! for a province, unlike the Liar.

3x  Bayushi Shoju

When you play standard you buy Shoju, when you are dropping bears you Charge! Shoju. Either way he is a monster and if he gets Clouded he is at worst a 3/7 beat stick. When combined with Yunako or Hiroue you can run a board completely.

2x  Bayushi Yunako

Yunako is almost exclusively charged. There are reasons to buy her for cost, especially with lots of extra fate banked, but a surprise charge Yunako with a stat swap is very good. Also, swinging in a solo bear who gets bowed with Mirumoto’s Fury is common. Charging in a Yunako to keep the break can be important.

2x  Blackmail Artist

Blackmail Artist is good, but his ability doesn’t shine in this deck. It does work to keep your honor afloat and can be useful, but this deck aims primarily to break provinces. Croy has actually used him in military fights with a Banzai! more than he has used him in pol for the action. Some pilots have chosen to cut Blackmail Artist completely.  At the end of the day he’s a courtier, which can be valuable.

2x  Miya Mystic

Miya Mystic is a shugenja, a powerful and necessary keyword, and outside of Calling in Favors, is the only attachment control we have. Be sure to try to get use out of her before using her ability. Her main use is to discard Cloud the Mind or other expensive offensive attachments on characters with lots of fate.  It’s rare to buy the Mystic unless you are using her to put your Cloud the Mind online or get rid of theirs.

3x  Shosuro Actress

Actress is effectively two bodies in one for three cost. Crack a province, discard the character, and give yourself someone to grab even on turn one. Removing an opponent’s character to use against them or having them discard uniques for the extra fate are also great uses.  She is all about how well you use her.

3x  Sinister Soshi

Another shugenja with a powerful ability to force the opponent to play cards or miss a break. When you buy her though, you desperately need to buy one or two more people with her, bears or otherwise, as the double dash is rough when you need a defender.

3x  Soshi Illusionist

Another shugenja and the ability is invaluable with Forged Edicts, Calling in Favors, Court Mask, in the Crane match up, the Phoenix match up, and the mirror match. Amazingly flexible and almost always necessary.   

3x  Yogo Hiroue

Amazing. Simply amazing. Necessary against Lion for harpooning Lions Pride Brawlers, and Crane to shut down Challengers. He is a better Ring of Water. He ruins boards and controls how the opponent attacks or blocks. When playing standard it’s not uncommon to invest heavily in him. When dropping bears a charged Hiroue allows for all sorts of disruptions on the opponent’s board.

3x  Yogo Outcast

Another shugenja. This deck runs honor pretty hard, being lower than your opponent is pretty common and usually if you’re above them then you’re winning. Having a 3/3 body helps and gives you flexibility in your stats.

3x  Young Rumormonger

Earlier versions of this deck did not play Rumormonger, and they were worse for it. Being able to control honor and dishonor on characters is important in some of the toughest matchups with this deck. Add a balanced set of stats to the mix, and everything he does allows you to be more flexible, which is key in this deck.

Holding (8)
2x  City of Lies

With so many bears it’s easy to load up on holdings. This is the least valuable one, and doesn’t always work out, but when it does you get a free Charge, Admit Defeat, or Calling in Favors. You spend half on I Can Swim. Some versions of Dropbear run Outwit as well which gives more value.  The difference between one and zero cost is a big change.

3x  Favorable Ground

This holding is extremely strong in this deck. It’s all about what you can make of it. Charge Hiroue, pull someone in, go home for a pol counter swing. Charge Yunako or Shoju into a fight, and then later move them in bowed for stat swapping or murder. Swing with two bears for double covert and send one home for another covert attack.

3x  Imperial Storehouse

Bears are good. Bears are cards. This draws cards, especially if you have hard swapped to bidding one.  In the end, you are punished very little for running so many holdings when you have bears to drop in hand.

Notable exclusions

Shosuro Miyako

So many bears and no Miyako? Yes. Our bears cost a lot of fate and buying Miyako to get average stats plus an action that needs more fate does not appeal to the deck. When playing standard she was last on the buy list. When charging she is last on that list too. She was never wanted so was just removed for more courtiers and shugenja.

Favored Niece

Another 3 drop so competing with the dropbears for space in that sense. This deck self dishonors a lot which really hurts the niece. That said Croy has been trying to get one copy of niece as a cute Charge! trick.

Another argument for playing one Niece is in case of mirror matchup, the niece could be used to cycle out your Way of Scorpions. It’s pretty niche, but it does improve the matchup against other Scorpions. For that, I would probably remove the third Actress, since it’s not someone you want to see turn one most of the time.

Conflict Deck (40)

Event (23)

2x  Admit Defeat

Admit Defeat synergizes nicely with covert. Swing for Water and covert a defender. If they choose to block with one person, you play Admit Defeat, win, and use Water to bow the last character. You can play this, then use Hiroue to bring in more people and still win to bow even more of their board.

2x  Assassination

There has been a trend toward fewer Assassinate lately. Click5, for example, plays only one.  Kiseki lost via dishonor at Worlds after Assassinating at four honor on a risky save. It’s a balancing act between how much you ride your honor and your need to control the board.

3x  Banzai!

Being able to sleaze provinces is what this deck is all about. Banzai! will take any undefended province in the game except Entrenched Position with just about any of your characters.

2x  Calling in Favors

Depending on the match up this card is used as much to move their debuffs on your guys around as it is to steal their buff attachment. Moving Clouds off of Shoju to someone else for a surprise “talking to” is especially good, as is moving a Cloud from Hiroue and then harpooning.

3x  Charge!

This deck is all about getting people on the board at weird and unexpected times. Charge! lets you get a character for a turn for only one fate. A core card, and learning how to use it will maximize wins.

2x  Court Games

Only two!? Yep. Only one can be played a conflict, not fantastic in about half of our match ups, and doesn’t help against a handful of weaker defenders after you’ve coverted their strong ones. It’s got fringe cases and is definitely a solid card, but fits nicely as a two of here.

3x  For Shame!

Courtiers for days, and lots of shame to spread. Way of the Scorpion can turn it into an auto bow if you need to, depending on what they take it enables I Can Swim, it can be used by bowed courtiers, it’s an all around fantastic card. It’s not uncommon to stop a break or even outright win a battle with a single courtier and a couple of these.

3x  Forged Edict

Only 3 cancels means you need to pick and choose what you cancel carefully. Do you REALLY need that 2 cost character with no fate who is attacking and not breaking? Let them assassinate it. Find out what the most problematic cards are in each matchup and make sure you cancel those. Also be aware of your courtiers. Clever players will dishonor your courtiers to turn off your Edicts and push dishonor.

1x  I Can Swim

Our hardest of hard control. Not always playable, so don’t force it, but when it happens it wins games. The fear of Swim is almost as valuable as the Swim itself. Use it for high priority targets, bluff having it. There is a real argument for another copy if you prefer.

2x  Way of the Scorpion

Useless in the mirror, not always relevant, but when it’s good it sets a lot up. It helps For Shame and Swim but opting between this and Court Games is situation specific.

Attachment (10)
3x  Cloud the Mind

This deck didn’t run any originally, then it went to two. We played against some consistent Lion and Dragon, and realized that this is a completely necessary card. Try to have at least one shugenja and one courtier in play at all times in those matchups. This is chiefly used against Lion Pride Brawler, Kitsuki Investigator, and Kitsu Spiritcaller; but with so many and having eleven shugenja in the deck you can easily stop any high priority targets: Mirumoto Raitsugu, Steadfast Witch Hunter, any Clan Champion (especially Tsukune).

1x  Court Mask

Is flexible between political and military. It bridges the gap between them and bounces back to hand at the end. Not always necessary, but a useful tool to have. Added benefit of shutting down Kisada

3x  Fine Katana

Our military dropbears are 3 strength, meaning we need the Imperial Favor or a Katana to break. You’ll find you crack more often to military with this deck. With Katana, Banzai!, and Charge! you have more tools to break in military than political, and people will generally expect the opposite.

3x  Ornate Fan

Our political dropbears are 3 strength. They need the favor or a Fan to be able to break a solo province. It’s important to note that you need your buffs to line up with your dropbears. How your hand looks may dictate whether you transition early to standard play or not. If you need to make the switch, don’t do half measures. Trying to play both styles makes you weaker. Try committing a full turn to standard or dropbear play.

Character (7)
1x  Adept of Shadows

For a while Adept wasn’t in the deck. She was the 41st worst card, but we shoved her back in and it’s better for it. She tends to get assassinated, but that’s okay. By being a 2/2 she works well with either the Fan or the Katana. Much like how Court Mask bridges the gap trying to get that magic number 4 strength in attachments, adept bridges the gap between pol and mil with the conflict characters.

3x  Political Rival

Here is the point of the deck. Scorpion has want for more reliable 3 drops. We fix that by dropping bears. Political Rival is absurdly big on the defense, and covert on the offense. It’s truly oppressive. Don’t be afraid to play them on defense and counter swing Ring of Water to pick them back up to attack.

By virtue of being a dropbear you don’t have to play them until they hurt the most. They won’t lose fate, outside of Spies at Court or Ring of Earth they won’t cycle away. They exist in your hand until they are the worst thing for your opponent to deal with. Also has the courtier trait and zero glory, which is really important with Edicts.

3x  Unassuming Yōjimbō

The military side of the bears. Not a shugenja or a courtier, so that’s annoying, but this one offers a 1 skill in political giving you flexibility. Attacking with a political bear and military bear and then using Favored Ground to move the mil bear home for a second attack is relatively common.

Final Remarks

Kiseki’s Closing Thoughts:

This experience for me has been an exercise in creativity and curiosity, and a refusal to accept the conventional wisdom defining good and bad.  I never set out to champion an oddball deck, but I also wanted try anything and everything that might be a viable deck.  The fact that this game has the design space to support complete changes paradigms is very exciting to me, especially before the cardpool deepens.  Moving forward, what I hope is that other people will champion ideas that seem interesting, but not necessarily competitive.  By exploring ideas like these, you might discover new ways to play, and find combinations of cards that have been overlooked by even the best standard players.

Yuuji’s thoughts:

One of the early things that I think many people noticed in testing out decks was how hard it was to use conflict characters well, especially the expensive ones. There’s a natural tendency, especially when first learning the game, to want to buy out your dynasty and put all the characters on the board you can afford. A bit of experience teaches people to save a fate or two for strong event cards, but saving 5 fate for a bomb does not come super naturally. Playing with adept of shadows is a good learning experience for how to leverage conflict characters into the fate swing of passing early and the surprise province sleazing of an extra body at an inconvenient time. Dropbears takes this to the next level.

I think that playing well with and integrating conflict characters into an overall strategy is one of the aspects of the game that still has a lot of room for development and improvement. Conflict character heavy decks can be built that don’t leverage covert specifically, but still do a lot of what Dropbears do. There are downsides to playing many conflict characters, but as players learn to make better use of them I think we will see more decks using them to do creative and powerful things.

Thinking creatively and trying out different ways of playing the game can open up whole new playstyles, and Dropbears is a great example of that.

Modest Thoughts:

Support and collaboration are the two biggest factors in deck building.

Kiseki showed this deck to me over TTS when it was just an idea, before any tweaking.

This crazy idea he had thought was just a fun, weird deck.

The potential of the deck was there on the first night. Either it was a perfect marriage for the pilot (Kieski), an amazing deck….it happened to be both.

Keeping an open mind, having people support avangard ideas and an amazing team to help collaborate are keys to deck building. I might also add that the biggest benefit of being a small part of this process was the amazing team of people I met. I enjoyed the chat, debates and met some awesome, very talented people. It has strengthened my love for this game and community ten fold!

Croy’s Thoughts:

If you know me from the Discord server at all, you may know that I like to play “bad cards”. I have had an infatuation with Master of the Spear since it was first revealed and during the preview process, since Scorpion was last to be spoiled, I played exclusively Lion.  During that time I was reintroduced to the general “card game player” mindset: that being cards are either good or bad. This mind set bothers me. It stifles growth and creativity. It usually means that the cards with the most hype upon reveal are explored and are deemed “good”.

When Kiseki told me about an idea for this deck, I was already pretty deep in my crusade against “the best way to play” talk. So I hopped on pretty early and was excited. It showed a whole new way to play. It shows that people, when they do work and explore, and experiment, can produce typically dismissed results. I am very excited to see what others do with other designs, Other ideas, other decks. Dropbears is a testament to creativity and open mindedness.

Calimsha’s Thoughts:

‘It looks like a one trick pony” – “Yes, but it’s a pretty good trick :D”. This is how Kiseki presented me the deck about a month and half ago. Turns out, the dropbear has many tricks in its bag.

Something that always bothered me when it comes to competitive card games is that the “best players” always want decks and a playstyle to have some kind of “mid-range do-it-all” deck who try to outskill their opponent decks. As someone who love to explore niche interaction and focused playstyle, it made me a bit sad that some of the most vocal members of the community deemed this kind of playstyle as the “One True Way”.

So having someone who tried to explore was pretty much a boon and that’s how I got drafted in the DropBear Deckbuilding Team.

I’m not gonna say that Dropbear is the best all around deck, but it does show that you can play against the grain even in a such limited environment as the core set and still be competitive.

So I truly encourage everyone to watch every cards released with an open mind and not dismiss it after the first impression. Maybe you’ll find the new DropBear 🙂

Additional thanks to Lockwoord, EG, Shoju, click5, Ahsas, Palumbo, Inukai

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