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I Fight Dragons

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  1. I've been brewing a lot recently to try and come up with the best Phoenix list going into the current meta and my predictions to how it will shape up. I've had a lot of help along the way from other Phoenix members with both theory crafting and practical testing and today I'm giving you all a write-up on the deck and why I believe it is the best Phoenix deck for the current competitive environment. The list can be found here: https://www.bushibuilder.com/l5r/deck/… ***********META*********** To start, let's define what the meta looks to be, and where it may be heading as it is very important for many considerations put into the deck. It's no secret that Scorpion is not only very strong overall, but also one of our traditionally difficult match-ups thanks to the numerous targeted dishonor and removal options. Scorpion is probably best poised to be the best clan in this new meta with answers to both the impactful attachments that are everywhere and the towers that are common in Dragon, Crab, and (traditional) Phoenix decks. A Fate Worse Than Death is a very defining card in the Scorpion match-up, and very much a card that you need to prepare to face. Dragon is still a force to be reckoned with and you need to consider the Dragon match-up when deck building or lose very harshly to their strong conflict presence and punishing province line-up. Crab is also a strong voltron contender with lots of excellent attachments and the ability to seemingly keep characters in play forever. Lion and Crane, while weaker than the above are also not to be underestimated, but I believe we are currently favored against both thanks to our immense favor control, and excellent hand control thanks to Policy Debate and Censure. So where does that leave us? The meta is built around character towers, with both Dragon and Crab decks relying heavily on a few characters to get the job done with the rest of their board supporting them. Scorpion is a natural counter to this play style thanks to cards like A Fate Worse than Death, Mirumoto's Fury, Calling in Favors, and Let Go being seen in most top lists. So, it seems best that Phoenix needs to be able to deal well with the Towers and attachments as well as build to better survive the horrid scorpion match-up. That means less towers ourselves, and more low curve, wide boards with impactful characters and the high cost characters being able to deal with being dishonored or having value outside of stats. This deck is a bit of a paradigm shift from the traditional Phoenix deck, and I'm going to explain it in much greater detail below. ***********PROVINCES*********** -Air: Manicured Garden is a standard pick as more fate helps build wider boards which is what we want. There is value as well to Before the Throne because it's harder to break and provides an honor net, but is also farmable for rings. -Earth: Public Forum all day. This province helps slow down the game, removes the downside on Display of Power, and wins you the game if you stick Kanjo District on it. -Fire: Meditations is about the only option as it helps control the board and provides lasting value compared to Night Raid -Water: Rally to the Cause beats out Along the River of Gold because it's what will be going on our Stronghold and helps force opponents into poking first before going all in or potentially being blown out by it. -Void: Shameful Display is the void province of choice as this deck is a tempo deck. Shameful Display will not only advance your board, but also slow down many opponents' characters. Kuroi Mori is busted, but Shameful Display allows you to be more active in the early game which is what you want to do. ***********DYNASTY*********** -The first thing you may have noticed is that the deck runs neither Kaede nor Tsukune. While more acceptable against Crab, the tempo loss of buying these characters can be hard to justify against Dragon's blitzy archetype and killer provinces like Feast or Famine and Shameful Display, and both of these characters are horrid in the Scorpion match-up, with buying Kaede being an excellent way to lose the game quickly to many Scorpion cards. I found myself buying Kaede less and less over time because of these reasons, and eventually switched over to Tsukune who was better but much too slow given the pace of games right now. This leads me to believe it is honestly best to leave these characters in the binder, as much as it pains me to do so. -For 1 drops we run the traditional Naive Student and Solemn Scholar. These are both solid 1 drops that provide extra value well worth their cost. Naive Student provides additional card draw which is excellent for a tempo deck like this. Solemn Scholar is just a decent body, a shugenja, and occasionally able to lock down any offense from the opponent. - For 2 cost we run the entire gambit of courtiers and shugenja. Tsuki goes in every Phoenix deck, period right now and is both a courtier AND a shugenja. Adept of the Waves opens opportunities to bow opponent's characters without fate using the water ring by coverting them and is excellent for pushing the enemy Stronghold and removing their best defenders. Asako Diplomat bolsters the courtier count and is a decent way to turn on our Stronghold with her ability. Diplomat also combos well with Master of Gisei Toshi to help guarantee a trigger in many situations. Meddling Mediator is a very underrated 2 drop, but one of our best. 3 political for 2 is very good and the ability is nothing to sleep on either. Keeper Initiates work well with Miya Satoshi and provide extra value for Water Ring claims. -Our 3 slot is short and sweet. Haughty Magistrate is just plain great, with about 6 characters able to actually defend against him when the SH is used. We run 2 instead of 3 because we are also running Satoshi to find them. Yojimbo is a valueable card as well to protect vital shugenja like Tsuki and Prodigy of the Waves. Your opponent has to force your hand with the interrupt before playing any huge events or get blown out if they forget it. -The 4 cost is more inflated because we aren't running any 5 drops. Prodigy of the Waves is generally good and shouldn't need much explaining. Master of Gisei Toshi is a very good meta call against Scorpion and one of the best options at this card slot because of it. She has a natural 4 political which breaks most provinces, her ability isn't tied directly to conflicts and shuts down events which is great against Scorpion, and she's 1 glory base which is a godsend for Phoenix who really love characters that aren't neutered by a dishonor effect. Finally, we have the spicy glue of the deck in Miya Satoshi. Satoshi is a boss as he has great stats (4 in political yet again) but also an amazing ability to find imperial cards. With Satoshi's ability you will either find Haughty Magistrate (a busted card), a Satoshi duplicate to give him a fate (which helps build a wider board), or Kanjo District (which is a win condition on its own when flipped with Satoshi and placed on Public Forum). Satoshi is simply a straight beast and totally worth cutting the 5 cost slot to include. -Finally, for holdings we run 2 favorable ground to help deal with covert, running away from Feast or Famine, or simply maneuvering the conflict phase better. We also run the traditional 3 Library because card draw wins game, especially as Phoenix. Finally, we run Kanjo because it's busted. ***********CONFLICT*********** -Splash: As I said in the opener, Phoenix wants both attachment control and a greater ability to deal with towers. This leaves two main splash options to best align with the meta: Dragon and Scorpion. Dragon gives Let Go for dealing with Reprieve/Pathfinder's Blade/Talisman of the Sun/Cloud the Mind and Mirumoto's Fury which is a great answer to Crab and Dragon towers which typically have 2 or fewer glory and are vulnerable most of the game to its bow effect. Scorpion splash gives access to A Fate Worse Than Death for dealing with towers and Calling in Favors which is very, very good when dealing with the troublesome attachments listed above. Ultimately, I chose Dragon splash because it's about as good as Scorpion against Dragon and Crab, but worse when facing Scorpion as AFWTD isn't usually safe to play nor worthwhile most of the time. -Spells: Embrace the Void helps keep up the building of the board and soft counters Feast or Famine by sending the removed fate to your pool instead of to the enemy character. Cloud the Mind is useful in every match-up and removes the teeth from several characters. Supernatural Storm can get to very high numbers at times thanks to the more wide style of this deck and the low cost of its shugenja, but isn't great early on so we just run 2. Against the Waves is one of the best cards in the Phoenix arsenal and helps us get extra value out of our characters or stop certain key enemy Shugenja such as Yokuni, Steadfast Witch Hunter, and Spiritcaller. Finally, we have a single copy of Display of Power for those moments where it can swing the game and it will keep our opponent on their toes. -Conflict characters: With 12 spells total, Shrine Maiden has a fairly decent chance to draw at least one when played. You really need conflict characters to help dealing with Assassination/Way of the Crab combo and blow out events like Mirumoto's Fury, and Shrine Maiden is super solid even when not drawing spells. Just count the number of spells you've seen so far and determine if it's best to trigger the reaction or not from there. -Attachments: The only attachment we run that isn't Embrace the Void or Cloud the Mind is Ornate Fan thanks to Dragon and Scorpion both having excellent options for attachment control and because the political buff is very nice in a meta where Policy Debate is in a lot of decks. -Events: The rest of the conflict deck is just "good stuff" neutral events. Assassination is fantastic for tempo as it can completely deny entire conflicts and removes a body from the board. Just be sure to watch your honor total and not use it just because you can. Banzai! is a self-explanatory card that is best used to break on offense than while defending. Censure gives us added protection against the very high impact events running about in all decks and because we will almost always have the favor it is basically never off. Court Games is an auto-include for Phoenix. Don't forget you can use it to dishonor an enemy then use the Stronghold to give them an additional -2/-2! For Shame is a super card for Phoenix and we have plenty of Courtiers to use it. For 0 it either bows an opponent entirely or allows us to use our stronghold on their character if they choose to dishonor it instead to really debuff it. Last, but certainly not to be forgotten is Policy Debate, which I'm sure is a card you've heard of by now and why it's good. It effectively is cancels number 4-6 that can remove any problem cards. ***********PLAYSTYLE*********** The deck plays very much a tempo style in a similar vein to Dragon. That is to say you should draw as much as you feel comfortable doing based on your honor and play to break provinces first and foremost. The ultimate goal is to end up in a situation where you are ahead on broken provinces and able to keep it that way. Almost always put at least 1 fate on most characters you buy, the deck plays to a wider board that allows you to better deal with the Mirumoto's Furies and AFWTDs out there without much issue. You won't often get the passing fate, but Embrace the Void helps offset this nicely. Favor control is of paramount importance for both Kanjo District and Censure as well as denial against Lion and Crane of their powerful favor effects. The imperial favor is also very nice with Haughty Magistrate as he will still solo a ring claim even while dishonored. Using Satoshi to dig up Kanjo District is a victory condition in and of itself, especially when placed on a fresh Public Forum where it can be next to impossible to remove. You may end up milling yourself and needing to spend 5 honor to reshuffle if the game goes long enough and Kanjo is buried, but it hasn't happened to me yet. As for rings, you take what makes the most sense - with water and void being typically high on the priority list thanks to the water effects we have and the board control. Earth is almost always solid and Fire isn't bad either. Generally, you shouldn't attack Air unless you need to sustain your honor or it has fate. ***********CONCLUSION*********** I did take this deck to a Way of the Rings event in Springfield, OH where it went undefeated against 2 excellent Scorpion players (one being Hatamoto Mat Frye), and had Joe Habes (Crab Hatamoto) concede on turn 2 in the finals. The deck works well for me and I've been handling Scorpion so much better with it and have even noticed better match-ups against Dragon and Crab as well. When people ask for my list they are often confused by a number of things so I figure a formal write-up was due. Hope you guys enjoy and thanks for reading if you actually made it through all that text!
  2. This list also has the number of Rout and Strength in Numbers swapped. Source: I played him, and therefore saw his decklist.
  3. Here's my take on roles given to new keeper/seeker cards: Crab - Keeper of Earth Crisis Breaker is a truck of a card and only Crab can use it. Additionally, Keeper Initiates are phenomenal for Crab as a utility piece that I'm not sure they want to give up. I think Crab is fine being any element as well, but Earth suits an attrition style that they fit nicely. Crane - Seeker of Air/Keeper of Fire Crane can honestly go two ways here, as both options for their cards are quite solid. I'm leaning towards Seeker of Air in order to run both economy Air provinces, Test of Skill, and Yoshi for a fantastic economic game plan. There's just so much extra fate and card draw potential, that it has to be worth considering. Keeper of Fire is mostly good with Hotaru being able to honor the keeper initiate as it comes into play with her reaction and Crane generally liking to claim the fire ring. Dragon - Seeker of Fire There's not much to this other than Dragon being able to mix up their province allotment to be more tempo driven. Running both Restoration of Balance and Meditations on the Tao in the home row gives some nasty board and hand control which suits their tempo game nicely. Running both Restoration and Night Raid can also be fun, if they don't end up stepping on each-others toes too much. Lion - Keeper of Fire Guard Duty seems leagues better than Time for War at the moment, and Toturi can honor Keeper Initiate as he comes into play with his reaction to claiming the fire ring, making it a 3/3 immediately. The Lion Stronghold really likes keeper initiates in general, so I expect Lion to stick with a Keeper role overall. We might also see an honor deck for Lion on the horizon. Phoenix - Keeper of Fire/Void Seeker of Void is fantastic for Phoenix; but since it's not an option, Phoenix obviously want a keeper role to make use of Guard Duty and Harmonize. Fire and Void are the two rings that Phoenix care about most, and as such seem to be the current best options going forward. Scorpion - Keeper of Air/Fire It's hard to say, but I think Backhanded Compliment may put Scorpion Dishonor as a real deck on the map. With lots of incremental dishonor loss from just being Scorpion, I think what Scorpion was missing for the dishonor strategy was a way to finish off an opponent down to 2-3 honor, and Compliment does that well while also being a pocket cycle when you need it. If a dishonor strategy is the way to go, then the air and fire rings make the most sense for the role as well. Unicorn - Keeper of Anything Talisman of the Sun. Nothing else needs to be said. Once more it seems like Keeper is more desirable than Seeker overall, but I imagine one clan will "settle" for Seeker of Void, which is not a bad option at all but probably not the first on anyone's list. I project Keeper of Fire will be the most hotly contested role.
  4. Episode 10 - On Wings of Glory is out from the Winter Court Podcast.
  5. Hey guys and gals. We are back to recording this week with our first deck breakdown. We will talk about what cards and strategies that clan seems to work best with out of the core set, which splashes to consider, and where the clan seems to sit in the preliminary core set meta. Which clan would you like to see covered? http://www.strawpoll.me/14059160 If you have specific questions for the Winter Court crew, you can leave them below and we'll get to them in the episode as well.
  6. Episode 9 has been added to the listing. Thanks for listening, guys Masked Swimming Lessons - In Episode 9 of the Winter Court Podcast, the usual crew is joined by Gencon finalist and Scorpion player Mat Frye. Together we discuss what we'd like to see from FFG about rotation and ban lists now that Netrunner is officially rotating by the World Championships. The crew then goes into the last core set clan review, the Scorpion Clan. The masked "villains" of Rokugan seem to be a powerful force to be reckoned with so we hope you enjoy our critical look at what they are all about.
  7. You make some good points in favor of the role specific cards. More than anything, I know that I personally want to see how it ends up playing out as it could go either way. The main downside to printing these role specific cards in my eyes is it slows down the growth of the card pool. I would think that ideally right after the core set, the first cycle is used primarily as a springboard to expand the card pool tremendously. That said, it's only 16 cards out of 120 that are going to be role specific so maybe it's not a big enough chunk to disable deck diversity after the first cycle. I do hope they are still releasing new strongholds this cycle as well to promote different styles of deck.
  8. Episode 8 has been added. Episode 8: The Kiku Matsuri - In Episode 8 of The Winter Court Podcast, we mix things up as Travis and Alex are joined live on stream by the winner of the gencon tournament, Matthew Legare aka Reiga. Together they discuss the events at gencon, the first dynasty pack Tears of Amaterasu, and answer viewer questions about the game and its future. This is our first time doing something live and on stream, so be sure to let us know if you'd like to experience more of this in the future and we hope you enjoy the show as always. For future podcast and game streams, you can follow Travis on Twitch at: www.twitch.tv/travisfightsdragons/
  9. I've been undecided for awhile and then decided phoenix really fit my jam as the toolbox faction in this game. They feel like a mixture of Martell (my favorite Thrones faction) and Shaper (my favorite Netrunner faction) and were originally one of my top factions from the CCG alongside Crane and Scorpion. I then became a Phoenix Hatamoto at gencon so I guess I am committed for at least awhile. Crane and Scorpion are still my off-decks for when I just need to spice things up a little in local matches
  10. As a phoenix player, I really don't mind the scorpion match-up at all. The main strength they have is using Edict to prevent Display of power. High glory is a trap, so I don't run Serene Warrior at all and Tsukune is just fine as a 0/0 with her ability in my opinion. Remember that the phoenix stronghold can increase an enemy characters glory by two, so scorpion dishonoring their characters has a costly downside against Phoenix.
  11. Bayushi Manipulator cannot turn on I Can Swim as he only influences the bid and not the dial itself. Also, I think Crane with the Scorpion Splash can go reasonably even with Scorpion. They really, really like Forged Edict, giving them more event cancels than the scorpion player when combined with Voice of Honor, and Fiery Madness lets them bow a much larger range of people with Shizuka Toshi, which isn't bad at all. Doji Challenger is also a nice answer to Shoju when the Crane player is going first, forcing him into a military conflict where he is notably quite weak.
  12. Having played many games as Phoenix by now, here's what I think are the best 5 provinces with Seeker of Void: 1) Kuroi Mori - Obviously, pretty much always goes on the SH, though against some factions like Dragon I place it in the home 4. 2) Shameful Display - The swingiest Province in the game and is even swingier with Phoenix do to the stronghold and naturally decent glory values. Almost always in home 4, sometimes on the SH in certain matchups 3) Elemental Fury - Always does something useful as opposed to Rally which sometimes is a dead card. Bonus points for Phoenix do to cards like Masahiro and Atsuko being able to destroy certain effects. Combos with Display of Power and Tsukune as well. 4) Manicured Garden - Fate is better than a card in most situations, as fate keeps your board bigger and therefore gives you more options for conflicts. 5) Meditations on the Tao - Same reasoning for Garden except in reverse, Meditations helps keep your opponents board clear and therefore gives you more conflict options long term. Earth Provinces are very mediocre when not on the Stronghold, but phoenix almost always put Kuroi Mori or Shameful Display on their Stronghold so Earth Provinces are not as impactful and the obvious choice of element to not run, in my opinion. My current lineup means that every single attack is into something that gives me an advantage, which is huge in this game.
  13. I really just want to say "single core" but it's also that the first tournament had a much higher concentration of newer players where Dragon's game (literally just being good at stats) can really shine without a lot of counter-play. Not downplaying any of the accomplishments of Dragon players, but I feel day 2 had a much harder swiss series once you got into 4+ wins, and several good players didn't make top cut.
  14. Both new Phoenix cards help them a lot and allow them to run For Shame way more consistently. I'm glad they are both Courtiers as Phoenix already have plenty of Shuggies.
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