Updated at bottom 7/6/17
I am certain that many of you have seen me around and @Reiga posted a link of our game and people have been commenting on it here and in the Discord. Also @The Laughing Monk wanted a new topic so I am here to post the decklist I have been using. I very firmly believe that the best thing a community do is be open and share tech. This is true everywhere in my mind. With that said, let me be clear. This is not definitive. I think most people understand that the game is so new we only have 3/7 clans previewed. There is no way to speak as an authority about the cards right now except in our own weird little game where we don't have all the neutrals, everyone plays the same provinces, and 4 clans don't exist. So, take these current card considerations with a grain of salt as all of them could change. Except Spiritcaller, She is gold.
Who are you?
Well, My name is Robert Croy. I am one of the hosts on The Table is Yours. I played oL5R starting in Emperor Edition which feels like 2012. I participated in 2 koteis; not doing well in one and taking top of clan in another. All in all not an expansive l5r career. I have played a slew of other card games including: MtG, AGot, AGoT 2.0, A:NR, DTR, Yu-Gi-Oh....and others. I like to tell myself I am pretty okay at deck building. I laid the ground work for what would later become Action Sloane: Mario Party in Doomtown Reloaded with Mr. Larik's help. That deck would later get mentioned on Gamorra Gazette about how "degenerative" it was. I disagree, but it certainly bent the thought of the game at the time.
Get to the deck!
Sure thing. Let me say real quick, I am excited to post my first deck list and I hope others do too. But please, follow this format to some extent. All great writing has a beginning middle and end, and deck lists can be stories too. Don't just put a list of cards. If you have a specific play or card interaction you're fishing for, we need to know. Tell us your thoughts. You didn't build the deck with out thinking after all!
General thoughts: Within my playgroup and echo chamber, there is this thought to bid medium to high for card advantage. Especially when you have the honor to spare. I wanted to challenge that because Lion is better than you. And doesn't need hidden tricks. Also, when you bid high like that you are actively working against yourself for an honor victory, which I have managed more than a few times. So, this deck works to pressure honor while attempting to have a difficult board to deal with. More than a few times I have walked into conflicts with no cards in hand and still won because Lion are BIG.
The Lions obvious problem is their lack in pol. My deck has a nontrivial amount of courtiers, so it actually works out. Also, the courtiers are who I tend to put fate on, so while I can reliably rebuild mil every turn, pol sticks around.
SH: Yojin no Shiro - I was underwhelmed with this card when I first saw it, but have been pleased more and more. Used only on the attack, and most of the time it will be a mil attack, it is important to remember you can use this during a pol attack too.
Provinces: I refuse to play with speculative cards so I only have 5 choices making deck building easy. The Art of War - Good card. When they attack into it I actually try to let them take it if this is province 1 or 2. Pilgrimage - Attacking into this has ruined people. The problem is that its usefulness depends entirely on what ring the attacker selected in the current board state. Chances are, though, they chose that ring because that is what they wanted to do. Unless they are going hard into denial. other than that it is just big. Put it under the box for a beefy province. Elemental Fury - I love this card. it sets up your next attack, denies their effect even when they win. The worst feeling is not having a good choice to give them. Shameful Display - Jesus this card is a swing. Putting it under the box is tricky since it is kinda small, but depends on matchup. I like putting it there for Dragon. Especially since you can use it every fight and not just on break or reveal. Night Raid - I like this card but I am liking it less over time. I used to run it under my box, and I think I still will for Lion matchups. It usually hits 2 cards. It's not bad. It is solid.
Staging Grounds x2 - I wish I could make this a 3x, but we go through the dynasty so fast and it is really bad to have 2 in play at the same time. Very important to keep the Lion churn going. Imperial Storehouse x3 - Love this card. Synergizes with Staging Grounds. Picks up a card. It's really good. Know what wins in card games? Cards.
0 Fate: Obstinate Recruit x3 - I like this guy. It's a free buy. By the way, you aren't getting the fate in the dynasty as Lion. Accept that. Also be aware of this guys ability. You have to keep our honor higher than theirs or he dies immediately. He is good with the box and Honored general. Just solid.
1 Fate: Matsu Beserker x3 - I actually don't love this guy. He costs 1 so almost always usable, but I would generally prefer an Obstinate Recruit. Especially since it can't participate in pol at all. He is a necessary evil. Steadfast Samurai x3 - Get him on turn 2 if you can. The aim is to climb in honor, so don't get them early because you can afford it, but after that he is a good target to honor and just sticks around. Fun board state that happened to me. I could have won to honor if his action wasn't forced. If only I can make that choice. Alas. He is just solid and forever. Ikoma Prodigy x3 - I tend not to put fate on low cost characters, but I 99% of the time put one on her. Honor gain is real. Make it happen. Especially since then yuo get a flexible pol character into the next turn.
Akodo Gunso x3 - Board states are always important but almost all the time, this is the first buy you make to refill face up. He is flexible and that Pride ability is top notch. Try to put him in fights you know he going to win because of that. Deathseeker x2 - This is my first 2x. Usually I just swing with her alone and choose Void. unless they do tech, like assassinate her, then you get her effect or a ring. It's really good. Try to find weird and destructive plays with her. Also she is great spirit caller pick up. You sac her upon lose to the conflict. And Caller puts them on the bottom, if they are STILL in play, at the END. So she will go back to the discard to get picked back up next turn. Seek death. Venerable Historian x3 - People hated on this card, so I didn't play it much, but man I love her. Easy honor if you are playing her right, and good for the Call for more honor. I tend not to put fate on characters who honor, because I want them to fade to pocket the honor. Hard to use on the offense vs Crane. But still good.
Matsu Beiona x3 - I actually am kinda eh on her. Her stats are...okay. You are paying 3 for her action. That is what you want on her. But when you can get a Beiona with 2-3 fate then she becomes a problem. Fun trick: Caller her up, get the fate, swing mil on Fire, Honor Beiona, and when she should leave play she should Stand her Ground to stay. Cute. Lion's Pride Brawler x3 - This card is dumb good. Don't be like me, learn from my mistakes: her ability doesn't target participation. You can put down someone not in the fight. She is so good. Attack with her as much as you can. Kitsu Spiritcaller x3 - You've heard people rave about this card. For good reason. For most of my games, this is the only character who gets fate put on them outside of Prodigy, probably Lions Pride too. The faster you get through your dynasty the better she gets. Try to pick her up turn 2 at the EARLIEST. Also, I only have 1 on the field at a time. If I can help it I would rather have 1 in my provinces to come in after the other dies.
Honored General x3 - I think most people put fate on this guy. Don't. Use him as a turn bomb and then fade for the honor. Call him up when needed. Otherwise this guy is only value.
Akodo Toturi x3 - I very rarely buy him honestly. I usually call him up. But if you are forced to buy him, it's usually a judgment call on whether or not you invest on him. Air ring with Toturi is really good.
Fine Katana x2 - Lion doesn't need a lot of Mil but this fills an important role of being to add mil when you need it. It was either this or banzai!, and banzai! is only +2 if you don't double down with honor, which we won't do. So may as well get an attachment out of it. Ornate Fan x3 - Okay, technically we don't know this card exists. But it Fine Katana, pol edition. And Lion needs pol. So here we are. Good Omen x2 - We are bidding low, we want to use it when we can. Don't count on it but it's an option Way of the Lion x3 - This card doubles your dude. Don't feel bad about double a 2 mil either. This is good and is a huge swing. For Shame! x3 - We actually have a fair amount of courtiers. And putting fate on Prodigy and Lion's Pride Brawler means these are good. Both choices are good for us, generally. Plus, no one expects this out of Lion (as of this writing) Let Go x3 - 6 of our Dragon Influence goes into this. A little control goes a long way. The trick to Let go is to hold it for as long as you can. It is usually my last card played unless I HAVE to play it sooner. For example, the Dragon Box makes it so that you have to let go earlier than you want. Try to neuter the box beforehand. Ready for battle x3 - just good. A little more control. I would prefer x2 but I'd rather have and not need than need and not have. Stand Your Ground x3 - This card will always be a judgement call. You want honor, and thus your guys to die. But sometimes the long haul is better. Good for Akodo Gunso who self honors or Historian. Keeping a board state is how you bully your way into honor. Don't rush it. I win to military more than honor, but you have to pressure both sides.
Honored Blade x3 - Lion doesn't NEED the help with mil, but this gets you honor. Kitsuki's Method x2 - The rest of our Dragon influence goes into these. Lion need pol and these are ancestral. Seems good to me. Guidance of the Ancestors x2 - So, this card is good, I think? I like it. Since we are bidding low we can need cards from everywhere, and playing out of discard is good. Think of it more as consistent card draw than anything else. It has definitely gotten me out of bad spots. But I accept it's not great. Maybe it is? I am torn and want to love this card. Strength in Numbers x3 - Another card I feel would be good as 2x but when it is useful it really wrecks people. It also needs you to be attacking, just like almost everything else in Lion. It sends them home, but they are ready. So be prepared for the counter unless you have the last swing of the turn. For Greater Glory x3 - I love this card. It is almost worth holding onto 1 fate just to bluff this card. Sometimes people think you wouldn't play it just to put fate on the 1 guy you have. Prove them wrong. A board state that exists into the next turn that they didn't account for is very, very good. Try to get best value, but use liberally. 2 Fate:
Sashimono x2 - This card either completely changes the game or it does nothing. I am not sure what to think of it yet. I want to love it because I had a 3 conflict Yokuni in one game. But I am often strapped for fate. Vengeful Oathkeeper x2 - He will usually come out as a 0 drop from his effect, but don't fish for that. He is good and adds to the board. Ideally, you lose a mil, put him into play, win a mil, then play For Greater Glory. Every turn should be "how do I keep as many people as possible?" Also, sometimes you just need 2 more force. 3 Fate:
Master of the Spear x1 - I know people hate this card. They are probably right. My pet project is to try to figure out how to use her but man she is underwhelming. She is expensive, her ability does nothing for swarm, it's only on attack, and her stats are...not great. But dammit! I have won 2 games with her so she can't be all that bad, right? RIGHT!?
They Key to this deck, and honor winning in general, is making the sacrifices to get the honor. I mentioned that I don't put fate on people who honor. That is because Lion does a really good job at refilling itself. You have to do what you can with what you have because when you bid high and start to lose honor for cards, then you are taking pressure off of them. That is why I prefer to have control cards in hand. My hand plays very reactionary but my Dynasty is what is leading the deck. I think I have honored, in total, around 6 times now. Just to be clear, I have won more to military, and I have lost a fair amount too. But deciding to go dishonorable and bid high for all in pushes has be a CHOICE. Not just your game plan.
So there you go, I don't claim it's great, but I have had success and liked it. If you have any questions or thoughts about it, please do ask. The Lists must flow!
Matsu Beiona -2
Ikoma Eiji + 2
Taking out 2 Beiona leaving 1 copy and putting in 2 Eiji. I am sick of seeing multiples of her, and if I see 1 and cant get her action it's not a big deal, I can just use her and she is gone. But seeing many with the sub par stats hurt. With that, I am putting in 2 Eiji. I again, don't love him in the deck, but it helps For Shame! more, and also may cycle my dynasty faster. I don't think this makes a strong deck stronger, I think it makes a weak deck less weak.
Much thanks to Travis from the Winter Court podcast for the idea and thought behind it.
Other cards I am keeping my eye on are: Good Omen x2, For Greater Glory x1 OR Strength in Numbers x1, Master of the Spear x1. Not sure in what combinations, or what I would put in, but these so far the cards I am unhappiest to draw.