The Obsidian Hand Ruleset

Updates

[02/15/2016]
Moshi Eihime added to Banned List

[10/05/2015]
House of Black Lion added to Banned List

[10/20/2015]
After careful reconsideration, the clause on how old Terrains destroy other Terrains in play will be withdrawn. Reason is the huge power creep of cards making anti-terrain cards obsolete. So as of the moment, terrains will act the same as it’s printed on the Oracle.

[10/25/2015]
One Terrain per battlefield will be returned. This is in relation to the previous change in Terrains.

[10/27/2015]
Player ability Naval Invasion will be changed. This reflects consistency with the prerequisites of Cavalry, making Naval Invasion require a Naval Unit to be enabled. Based on multiple feedback and needed field data, we will allow the action from the Naval Invasion to be from the player’s hand given that this will be performed by a card in the Naval Unit.

Old

Engage: Once per battle, target your performing unbowed Naval Personality at the current battlefield: You have the first opportunity to take a Battle action. This action must come from that Naval Personality’s unit.

New

Engage: Once per battle, target your performing Naval Unit led by an unbowed Naval Personality at the current battlefield: You have the first opportunity to take a Battle action. This action must be performed by a card in that Naval Personality’s unit.

[11/12/2015]
Added unreleased cards/promos to the Banned Cards list

[12/18/2015]

Fixed Favor Cycle ability. Moved discarding a fate card as a cost, from being an effect of the action.

[01/11/2016]

Starting Holdings – clarified how they will not be put into the dynasty deck.
Ninjitsu, Enlightened, & Lobby – added Performing to make it consistent to the other Player Abilities

Ninjitsu & Favor Battle – reworded to explicitly cite Targeting

Proclaim – limited its use to the player’s turn

Initial Guidelines

Major Changes from the last Jade Hand Legacy (post Ivory Edition) votings:

Deck Construction:

  • Only available Starting Holdings are BK & BH (MRPs); Legacy rulebook ability available.
  • BK will have 1st turn immunity – will not be affected by other player’s cards, until it’s controller’s 1st turn ends
  • No Gold Splitting or Pooling.
  • Clan Discount rule and Out-of-Clan Price Hike Rule is applied to all personalities.
  • Rings allowed are only their MRPs.
  • Cards aforementioned to be the same cards are now treated otherwise.

i.e. Utaku Genshi and Utaku Uzuki; Bayushi Hisoka and Bayushi Goshiu Experienced 2 will be considered different cards in relevance to deck building restrictions

****Both are under a watchlist for possible changes

Dishonor Victory:

  • Follows the “dip & die” mechanic of Emperor Edition.

***If a player reaches -20 or less Familiy Honor, he/she loses the game at the end of the current turn.

Turn Structure:

  • Start Phase – Straighten Phase – Event Phase – Action Phase – Attack/Battle Phase (optional) – Dynasty Phase – Discard Phase – Draw Phase – End Phase

***Dynasty Discard Player Ability is removed.

Maneuvers Segment is retained:

  • Infantry Attackers – Infantry Defenders – Cavalry Attackers – Cavalry Defenders

Action Sequence:

  • Announce – Target – Interrupt – Pay Cost – Resolve Effects – Clean-up

Battle Related:

  • Reactions that trigger before or after engaging are Absent Engage actions. Cards that interact with Reactions can still interact with them. Defender still has first priority in playing Engage actions.
  • Cards that create presence, satisfy the Rule of Presence even it does not have the Absent Keyword.

Player Abilities:

  • Cavalry – Absent Engage: Move your performing Cavalry unit led by an unbowed Cavalry Personality to the current battle. You may not take this action if you assigned any units during the Cavalry Maneuvers Segment.
  • Naval Invasion – Engage: Once per battle, target your performing Naval Unit led by an unbowed Naval Personality at the current battlefield: You have the first opportunity to take a Battle action. This action must be performed by a card in that Naval Personality’s unit.
  • Seppuku – Repeatable Reaction: Before you lose Honor from a card effect that targeted or was performed by your Courtier, Samurai, or Shugenja Personalities: He commits seppuku. If the seppuku destroyed him, reduce the Honor loss to one.

    * Seppuku: Rehonor, then destroy, a Personality who commits Seppuku; these effects cannot be negated, delayed, or redirected; unless the action explicitly interacts with Seppuku.
    ** The above ability is not considered Performed, by rules on Performing.

Performing:

Personalities and Followers may perform actions. They are considered performing if one of the following condition/s are met:

  • the action is on a Spell that the Personality is casting or part of a ritual
  • the action is on an Item attached to the Personality
  • the action is on the card itself
  • the action explicitly states that the card is chosen/targeted as performing it/its performer.
  • the action requires targeting or changing the status of the card on the cost constraints (text before “:”)
  • the action uses “to” in between [targeting/change in game state] for a [change in game state] to happen.

i.e. bow to bow, dishonor to destroy, target to redirect

  • the action will issue or create a duel

Banned Cards

The following cards are not allowed to be included in the Play Deck:

*** Strongholds***
Gates of the Second City
House of the Black Lion
Nanashi Mura
Shrine of the Spirits
The Governor’s Estate
The High House of Light
The Shrine of Lady Sun

*** Sensei ***
Gozoku Sensei
Yodin Sensei

*** Events ***
The Master of Five

*** Personalities ***
Hantei
Isawa Tadaka, Seven Thunder (Experienced 2CW)
Moshi Eihime

*** Strategies ***
Breach of Etiquette
Final Wave
Lies, Lies, Lies
Recruiting Drive
Take the Initiative

*** Attachments ***
Gaijin Merchant
Koan’s Jingasa
Koan’s Robes
Minor Oni Servant
Rise from the Ashes

*** Miscellaneous ***
Cards with the Rank (Kabuto) icon
Unreleased Cards/Promos

I. CARDINAL RULES

Cardinal Rule 1: Cards vs. Rules
If the text of any card contradicts these Comprehensive Rules, follow the card text, not the rules. Something that changes one aspect of a rule does not by itself change any other aspects of the rule.

Example: An effect that lets you make a Ranged Attack against a card in a player’s home only changes the rule that the target of a Ranged Attack must be in the current enemy army; it does not change the rule that the target of a Ranged Attack must be a Follower or a Personality without Followers.

Cardinal Rule 2: Cards vs. Cards
New versions of cards with a given identity (title and experience level) may sometimes be printed. If different printings contradict each other, follow the most recent printing of the card.

Cardinal Rule 3: Oracle vs. Cards
Cards that have been revised in its Oracle text will be considered as the most recent printing of the card.

Cardinal Rule 4: Oracle vs. Rules
There will be blanket rules on this format that will contradict the Oracle text. These are designed to lessen being dependent on the Oracle text and make the cards play in a more uniform and intuitive way.

Example: Actions that create Presence will satisfy the Rule of Presence; this is regardless if the Oracle Text of the action does not have the Absent Keyword.

II. THE PLAYER – A. Clan Alignment

A player’s Clan Alignment derives from his or her Stronghold’s Clan Alignment. Effects that say “You are an [X] Clan player” give the player that Clan Alignment.

A player using a Stronghold with no Clan Alignment has no Clan Alignment, and is unaligned. An unaligned player does not have the same Clan Alignment as unaligned Personalities; he/she cannot bring them into play for 2 less gold, but does not need to pay 2 additional gold for personalities with a Clan Alignment.

The following are the Clan Alignments for this format:
– Brotherhood of Shinsei
– Crab Clan
– Crane Clan
– Dragon Clan
– Lion Clan
– Mantis Clan
– Naga
– Ninja
– Phoenix Clan
– Ratling
– Scorpion Clan
– Spider Clan
– Toturi’s Army
– Unicorn Clan

The following keywords are considered Clan Alignments for their respective equivalents:
– Monk = Brotherhood of Shinsei
– Yoritomo’s Alliance = Mantis Clan
– Monkey Clan = Toturi’s Army

Personalities that have none of the above Clan Alignments are considered Unaligned. Game elements or other mechanics pertaining to Clan Alignments have no interaction with other [X] Clan Keywords.

Example: Badger Clan, Sparrow Clan, etc.

The following Keywords are considered Clan Alignments only if their respective Stronghold is in play:
– Hare Clan: Shiro Usagi
– Imperial: Journey’s End Keep Experienced

Shadowlands Horde – No Personalities have or can gain this Clan Alignment; this rule is not one that can be overcome by contradictory card effects. The Shadowlands keyword is not a Clan Alignment; Shadowlands Horde players do not pay 2 additional gold for personalities with other Clan Alignments if they have the Shadowlands keyword.

II. THE PLAYER – B. Family Honor

A player’s Family Honor, Honor for short, is a number representing the respect and integrity he or she is seen to have in the Imperial Court. It may rise and fall over the course of the game. A player is responsible for keeping an accurate record of his or her Honor that other players can check. Players may also confirm their opponents’ Honor by keeping their own record.

A player’s starting Honor is taken from his or her Stronghold’s Starting Family Honor stat.

Family Honor is a numerical value, but follows different rules than card stats. Family Honor may have a negative value. Also, because Family Honor is marked in the game, changes to it do not have a duration; they are instantaneous.

Honor gains and losses

If an Honor gain or loss is reduced or increased by another effect, the reduction or increase is not itself an Honor gain or loss.

Reduction of an Honor gain cannot turn it into a loss, nor can reduction of a loss turn it into a gain; the minimum value of a gain or loss is zero. Losses are expressed in positive numbers even though their ultimate effect is to reduce Honor.

An Honor gain of 0 points is not considered an Honor gain for things that check whether a gain happened. Likewise, an Honor loss of 0 points is not considered an Honor loss for such purposes. Reduction of an Honor gain or loss to 0 points may effectively prevent it (See Timing Conflicts). Each separate Honor loss or gain happens all at once.

Points of Family Honor

References to “points of Family Honor” assume a positive Family Honor value.

Example: A Ranged 3 Attack that gains “+1 strength for every 10 points of Family Honor you have,” does not gain any strength when the player is at -10 Family Honor.

II. THE PLAYER – C. Maximum Hand Size

A player starts with a maximum hand size of 8, referring to the number of cards he or she is allowed to keep in hand at the end of the turn. A player with no maximum hand size has an effectively infinite maximum hand size.

Maximum hand size is a stat of the player and follows the rules about stats.

II. THE PLAYER – D. Player Abilities and Traits

Players may gain abilities and traits from effects, and start the game with a number of abilities. The following is a list of default player abilities from the rulebook:

** Limited **
Lobby
Political Limited: If you have the highest Family Honor among all players, bow a your performing personality with at least 1 Personal Honor: take the Imperial Favor

Favor Cycle
Kharmic Political Favor Limited: Discard the Imperial Favor and a Fate card: Draw a fate card from the top of your deck.

Kharmic
Kharmic Repeatable Limited, [2 Gold Coin] : Discard a Kharmic card from your hand to draw a card, or discard a Kharmic card from your Province to refill the Province face-up.

** Open **
Enlightened
Elemental Battle/Open: Bow your performing Enlightened Personality: straighten a target Ring

Equip
Repeatable Open, [* Gold Coin]: Following all restrictions, put into play an attachment from your hand to your target performing personality.

Ninjitsu
Ninja Repeatable Battle/Open, [* Gold Coin]: Pay Gold equal to the Ninjutsu value of a target performing face-down Ninjutsu Personality you control: turn the Personality face-up.

** Engage **
Cavalry
Absent Engage: Move your performing Cavalry unit led by an unbowed Cavalry Personality to the current battle. You may not take this action if you assigned any units during the Cavalry Maneuvers Segment.

Naval Invasion
Engage: Once per battle, target your performing Naval Unit led by an unbowed Naval Personality at the current battlefield: You have the first opportunity to take a Battle action. This action must be performed by a card in that Naval Personality’s unit.

** Interrupt **
Proclaim
Interrupt: During your turn, after you Recruit a personality with your Clan Alignment from a province, gain honor equal to that personality’s personal honor.

Courage
Repeatable Interrupt: Discard a Courage card to give a Fear effect +2 or -2 strength.

Honor
Repeatable Honor Interrupt: Discard an Honor card to give an Honor gain or loss +1 or -1.

** Reaction **
Ancestral Guidance
Repeatable Reaction, [* Gold Coin]: After one of your Personalities enters play, following all restrictions, attach a target Ancestor from your hand to him.

Ninjitsu
Ninja Repeatable Reaction, [* Gold Coin]: After an action targets a face-down Ninjutsu Personality you control, pay Gold equal to his Ninjutsu value: turn the Personality face-up. If he is now an illegal target for the action, negate its effects on him.

Seppuku
Repeatable Reaction: Before you lose Honor from a card effect that targeted or was performed by your Courtier, Samurai, or Shugenja Personalities: He commits seppuku. If the seppuku destroyed him, reduce the Honor loss to one.
* Seppuku: Rehonor, then destroy, a Personality who commits Seppuku; these effects cannot be negated, delayed, or redirected.
** The above ability is not considered Performed, by rules on Performing.

** Battle **
Enlightened
* see Enlightened Open

Ninjitsu
* see Ninjitsu Open

Favor Battle
Political Favor Battle: Discard the Imperial Favor: Send a target attacking enemy unit home.

Reserve
Absent Repeatable Battle, [* Gold Coin]: If he would be opposed, Recruit your target Reserve Personality (into the current battlefield).
Repeatable Battle, [* Gold Coin]: If it would be opposed, Equip a Reserve attachment to your target Personality (at the current battlefield).

Tactical Advantage
Repeatable Tactical Battle: Target your performing Tactician and discard a fate card from your hand: give him a Force bonus equal to the Focus Value of the discarded card.
* This action can only give one Force bonus per turn to each Tactician due to the rule about performing Tactical actions

** Dynasty **
Legacy
Dynasty: Remove from the game a fate card from your hand: Search your face down dynasty cards for a holding with the Legacy keyword. Put it into play bowed paying all costs.

Recruit
Repeatable Dynasty, [* Gold Coin]: Following all restrictions, put into play a target face-up Personality or Holding from your Province with Gold Cost equal to the amount you paid.
* Personalities with your Clan Alignment can be brought into play for 2 less gold; however, you may not take the Proclaim Interrupt on recruiting those personalities.
** Personalities with a Clan Alignment but does not have your Clan Alignment enter play for 2 more gold.

II. THE PLAYER – E. Victory Conditions

L5R has a number of different victory conditions that reflect different paths to mastering the world of Rokugan or eliminating other players from contention.

Military
A player loses immediately when he/she has no Provinces remaining.

Dishonor
If at any point, a player’s Family Honor reaches –20 or below, he/she loses when the current turn ends.

Honor
A player wins by starting his/her turn on 40 Family Honor or higher.

Enlightenment
A player wins immediately by controlling five Rings, each with a different element keyword (Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Void). All rings must be put into play by their own text; this is with the exemption of Rings that entered play before the starting player is determined (See Play of Game).

Special victory conditions
Cards in the game may give other conditions of winning or losing. Winning by one of these cards, or because one of them caused the last remaining other player to lose, is designated by the title of that card.

Example: The card Political Standoff has the trait, “A player who begins his turn with 50 or more Influence tokens wins the game.” Winning this way is known as a Political Standoff victory.

II. THE PLAYER – F. Deck Constructions and Restrictions

The Play Deck and Deck Construction

The “Play Deck” is the set of cards chosen by the player with which to play the game.

This consists of:

  • 2 decks, each containing at least 40 cards each (40/40)
    • Black-backed Dynasty cards form the Dynasty Deck
    • Green-backed Fate cards form the Fate Deck
  • 1 Stronghold card
  • 1 Border Keep (inexperienced, non-experienced, experienced, or experienced 2)
  • 1 Bamboo Harvesters (non-experienced, experienced, or experienced 2)
  • Optional: 1 Wind and/or 1 Sensei.

Stronghold, Wind, Sensei, and any copies of both Border Keep and Bamboo Harvesters cannot be included in either the Dynasty or Fate Decks.

All these cards begin the game in play except for Bamboo Harvesters, which will only enter play if you are going second.

Deck Restrictions

Only one copy of each Unique card, by card title, may be included in the play deck. No more than three copies of any non-Unique card, by card title, may be included in a play deck.

All Ring cards are considered Unique.

Cards with the same title but different Experienced levels (including non-experienced versions) count as different copies for deck construction.

Some Personalities count as being the same card for the purpose of deckbuilding limits (ie, maximum of 3 non-unique and 1 unique card):

  • Any card that says it counts as another for construction (Bayushi Hisa, Yasuki Hachi).
  • Ancestor Cards that count as all the versions of the personality they correspond to (See Ancestors).
  • Any card whose title and same Experience level (if any) is in another card’s “Soul of X” keyword, as well as cards referred to in THAT card’s “Soul of X” keyword, and so on.

i.e. you may only include 3 copies total in any combination of Bayushi Tangen, Bayushi Kwanchai (non-Exp), and Bayushi Irezu)

However, some cards share a name despite being separate cards. In such cases, neither card is considered a Most Recent Printing of the other, and they do not conflict with each other with regard to the Unique rule for deck construction or control. This is the case by default if two cards with the same title are different types, but some cards share a title and are the same type, yet are still considered separate.

These cards are:

  • A Moment of Truth (Anvil of Despair, Time of the Void)
  • Corrupted Dojo (Fire and Shadow, Winds of Change)
  • Hida Kisada (Obsidian Edition, Emperor Edition).
    • Hida Kisada Inexperienced and Experienced (Scorpion Clan Coup 3, Enemy of My Enemy) are versions of the former.
    • Hida Kisada, the Little Bear Experienced (Ivory Edition) is a version of the latter.
  • Isawa Tanaka (Path of Hope, Imperial Gift 2)
  • Mirumoto Hojatsu (Dawn of the Empire, The Dead of Winter)
  • Utaku Keyo (Dark Allies, Lotus Edition)
    • Utaku Keyo Experienced (Test of Enlightenment) is the experienced version of the latter.
  • Hida Yakamo: There are two separate Personalities known as Hida Yakamo, both of which have received Experienced versions. For the purpose of Most Recent Printings, Uniqueness, and Experienced versions, cards titled Hida Yakamo that have the printed “Oni” keyword are distinct from cards titled Hida Yakamo who do not. Hida Yakamo Experienced 2, Experienced 3, and Experienced 3KYD are Experienced versions of the latter Personality.
  • Despite their similarities, the differently-titled “The House of Tao” (Brotherhood of Shinsei Stronghold, Hidden Emperor 3) is distinct from “House of Tao” (Dragon Clan Stronghold, Diamond Edition).

III. CARD TYPES – A. Starting Card Types

Strongholds

Strongholds do not go into the Dynasty or Fate deck and is neither a Dynasty nor Fate card. A player starts with it in play; the choice of Stronghold is part of deck construction.

Effects and costs will not make a Stronghold leave play unless they specifically mention Strongholds.

Starting Ivory Edition, Strongholds where printed with two sides. Players that do not go first must use the white-bordered side of his/her Stronghold.

A. Clan Alignment
On earlier design templates, the design and color of the Stronghold’s frame were the same with personalities aligned to it. Later on, the Clan Mon is added to the card’s layout to make it easier to identify. For the complete list of Strongholds under their Clan Alignment see Appendix A.

B. Province Strength
The topmost of three icons at the right of the Stronghold shows the starting strength of each of the player’s Provinces. Strength may go up and down separately for each Province during the game.

C. Gold Production
The middle of a Stronghold’s three icons, the coin, shows its Gold Production (abbreviated GP); this is the amount of Gold the Stronghold produces when bowed. A Stronghold’s GP is a stat that can be affected by tokens and effects.

D. Starting Family Honor
The bottom icon on a Stronghold shows its Starting Family Honor stat, which gives a starting value for the player’s Family Honor score.

Senseis

This card does not go into the Dynasty or Fate deck and is neither a Dynasty nor Fate card.

A Sensei is a starting card with modifiers for Province Strength, Gold Production and Starting Family Honor which are continually applied to the Stronghold’s stats. A Sensei may also have traits and abilities.

A play deck may only have one Sensei, and it starts in play (if included). The choice of Sensei is part of deck construction; it may not be changed, added, or removed between rounds in a tournament.

Modifiers from a Sensei are treated as the printed values on the Stronghold.
However, traits and abilities from this card type are not considered to be on the Stronghold; Sensei cards bow and have abilities separately from the Stronghold.

A player may only start with a Sensei that is “All Clans” or has his or her Stronghold’s Clan in the restriction list. These restrictions are expressed either with the full Clan name or with a short form; though they appear in the normal keyword area, they are not keywords.

i.e.: “Dragon” goes for “Dragon Clan”; while a “Dragon” Sensei is not a “Dragon.”

Winds

The Winds do not go into the Dynasty or Fate deck and is neither a Dynasty nor Fate card.

A play deck may normally have only one Wind, and it starts in play (if included). The choice of a player’s starting Wind or Winds is part of deck construction; it may not be changed, added, or removed between rounds in a tournament. Card effects that however interact with Winds during play is allowed, but the player’s starting Wind or Winds will reset after a game ends.

Winds have only a title and a text box. They represent an aspect of the Imperial Court you support, modifying how you may use the Imperial Favor. While you have a Wind in play, you may not take rulebook Favor actions (see Player Abilities and Traits).

Starting Holdings

These cards do not and will not go into the Dynasty deck, even if they are treated as a Holdings for the duration of the game. Only one version of the said cards can be included in the Play Deck.

Before players begin their first turn, the card Border Keep is put into play, ignoring costs; for the player not going first, the card Bamboo Harvesters is put into play, ignoring costs.

Border Keep will not be affected by other player’s cards until the end of its controller’s first turn; this is not negation.