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  1. I'm curious to test this Crane splash against the Crane and Lion. It's true that the Keeper focus does isolate the Ring of Fire for Unicorn. It may work out in their favour overall. Just have to test it. @BordOne makes a great case for Indomitable Will and Mirumoto's Fury as well.
  2. The Lion match up is part of the reason for keeping character costs as cheap as possible. Running both Moto Horde and Shinjo Tatsuo can be onerous in that regard. (I already run Ide Trader, Giver of Gifts, Utaku Yumino and Warrior Poet in addition to Shinjo Tatsuo - so things can get a bit expensive) I do not run Endless Plains. I do things to try and encourage my opponent to over commit to conflicts. Endless Plains works against that play style. When my opponent goes 2+ Fate on one character a turn, I tend to target the Fire Ring as much as possible (dishonour key opposing characters). Which then plays into the Keeper Initiate. As an aside, Way of the Unicorn helps me in attacking with the Fire Ring before my opponent gets a chance to do so. My experience playing against Scorpion with this deck is limited. I will employ the strategy you outline here, see how it works. I may substitute Charge! in for Born in War. Right now, I have 17 characters that are 2 cost and under. Most of those characters are 2 Military or under. Of the remaining 17 characters that are 3 cost and over, only Altansarnai and Tatsuo have 3 Military or more. So Charge! often feels like I'm not getting value from the entering character. Moto Horde feels like a twice amplified Aggressive Moto to me. Ability to defend being the separator. Way of the Unicorn is an 'all game' (early or late) card to me. I like being able to get the Ring of choice on the 2nd turn, even when starting the game as 1st player. When going at a 2 character per turn pace, this also nets me a Fate on the 2nd turn when passing first. I like it mid-game when both sides are trading provinces because if we're even at 2 breaks a piece, I get to push first for the 3rd province. Or, if I'm down 2 breaks to 1 break, then I can try and get my 2nd break before my opponent attempts to break my 3rd province. It's all about staying ahead in tempo first, and then using WotU to keep it, or to wrest it from my opponent if I have lost it. Last question: What do you mean when you say that Unicorn characters are so few?
  3. On the Dragon Splash and Indomitable Will: I don't often end conflicts with just one attacking character. Unless, you are attacking a province the defender chooses to leave undefended? That's where I think Indomitable Will can shine. If the defender chooses to block with one defender, then I will try to overwhelm with more characters to win. So I'm curious as to how effective IW has been for you? How often do you find yourself using it? I too have cut many of the same cards. Captive Audience is fantastic in a pure Military deck though. On Way of the Unicorn: In the turns where you are first player, do you normally buy 2 characters and then pass? That's how I've been playing, and it usually grants me a Fate (to make up for the extra Fate granted to the 2nd player). That's part of the benefit to WoU: It adjusts play so you can net a Fate before your opponent (usually). Further, it messes with the conflict tempo of your opponent. I've had it where an opponent will attack with a more useful Ring in their second conflict, usually RoF or RoV, while ignoring the Ring with extra Fate on it -- knowing he/she will play into that Ring on his/her First attack on the next turn. WoU ensures I get that extra Fate instead. Lastly, I think the time where a player is most vulnerable is when he/she can be attacked twice. That happens at the end of turn when the 2nd player attacks last, and then gets to attack first on the next turn. This creates a big swing in play. WoU is the answer there. It's a card built upon an indirect strategy, much like Way of the Phoenix. It has a place in certain decks, IMO. On Moto Horde: Can you elaborate as to why this card is your deck's MVP? I cut it in my more balanced deck because it's very focused on just Military, and I had already taken out Charge!, Cavalry Reserves and Captive Audience. That suite of cards works best together. I also tried to make the deck cheaper, since I was also running Shinjo Tatsuo (another 4 cost). Your deck wins mainly on dishonour? Very cool. What is your usual starting bid if I may ask? Usual bids every turn? How surprised are opponents when you drop Spies at Court on them? Admit Defeat is the card that had me seriously consider a Crane Splash. If Unicorn had another way to send someone home consistently, I would run the Crane splash more readily. In the end, Watch Commander won out... for now. How effective is Voice of Honour for you? Do you actually have more honourable characters than your opponent? Because I find that I do not. How does it fare against Crane or Lion match ups?
  4. I don't think Lion splash supplements Unicorn's weaknesses enough to be the top splash for them. (IMO) Way of the Unicorn is excellent if you can sustain tempo with Political attacks. I find that it gets devalued by players that focus on Military decks. In my experience, those decks lose too much tempo in the back half of the round. At which point, Way of the Unicorn does not provide enough of a tempo re-adjustment for it to matter. The Military match becomes a slug fest instead of the sustained pressure a more Political deck can provide. Way of the Unicorn gives you access to the first Fate-ladened ring, better allows you to pass first -- netting a Fate, and gets you on the attack first -- which keeps the opponent on the back foot. Helps make Meishodo Wielder 2/2 for 1 as well. I think it's underrated. I took out Reprieve because there are only a few key characters that I wish to retain per round, and I usually double Fate them regardless. Further, I use Good Omen already, so it ended up getting cut. It also costs a Fate which is important. The Conflict Deck already feels expensive... My thoughts on Way of the Unicorn are above. Favoured Mount + Ide Trader nets me 2-3 cards every other match. Ide Trader is very important to the Unicorn deck that wants to press Political attacks. Favoured Mount allows some of the 15 non-Cavalry characters in my deck to move around. I include both in the deck independent of the combo. I think if you're stingy with your draw bids, the combination can make the difference in a game. This combination and Spyglass+Border Rider/Shinjo Tatsuo/Shinjo Outrider fuel the card draw for my deck.
  5. For those interested in this deck style, I made some tweaks to the deck. Provinces: Earth (5): Ancestral Lands Air (4): Fertile Fields Fire (4): Night Raid Void (5): Pilgrimage Water (4): Rally to the Cause 2F B Border Rider X 3 2F B Shinjo Outrider X 3 4F B Shinjo Tatsuo X 3 5F B Shinjo Altansarnai X 3 3F B Warrior Poet X 2 3F B Utaku Yumino X 3 1F B Moto Youth X 2 1F B Utaku Infantry X 3 2F Meishodo Wielder X 3 3F Ide Trader X 3 3F Giver of Gifts X 3 2F Keeper Initiate X 3 Imperial Storehouse X 3 Favourable Ground X 3 0F I am Ready X 3 0F Banzai! X 3 0F Court Games X 3 0F Fine Katana X 3 0F Ornate Fan X 3 1F Spyglass X 3 1F Favoured Mount X 3 1F Watch Commander X 3 0F Way of the Unicorn X 3 1F Rout X 2 1F Charge! X 2 0F Spies at Court X 2 0F Assassination X 2 0F Good Omen X 2 1F Iuchi Wayfinder X 3 The Dynasty change was another Moto Youth for a Warrior Poet. Trying to make the Dynasty deck cheaper. Trying to fit one more Moto Youth in there, but I'm not sure what to drop? For Conflict, I reduced the count for Rout, Spies at Court to add Good Omen X 2. I then took out Born in War to add Iuchi Wayfinder X 3. Reason: Trying to 'build wide' as possible and Iuchi Wayfinder is a cheap way to do exactly that. Scouting provinces also helps a great deal. Born in War is often too expensive to play, and I have 15 non-Cavalry characters. Good Omen seems like a natural fit in this deck with 17 characters that cost 3 or more. (Yet another reason to further streamline the Conflict Card costs) The Province selections all serve to either increase the Conflict card gap between me and the opponent, or to rely on province strength to force the opponent to commit more forces (ideally, exhausting more Conflict Cards) for a break. This is then doubled up on the attack when the idea is to again force the opponent to over commit. If he/she does not, then move in to take the province. If he/she does, then perhaps commit to burn the opponents Conflict hand, or simply do nothing to bow out his/her army.
  6. The objective of the honour/dishonour sub-theme is a way to increase the disparity in cards drawn, so it's not so much about honour itself. It's about honour converting to cards. The Lion and Crane are generally better at gaining honour. They can then convert that honour into cards during the draw phase. That requires a high bid, however. Sometimes that can net their opponent honour in the exchange. With this Unicorn deck, bids can remain low because the card draw comes by way of Spyglass + Trader + Imperial Storehouse (which is not an auto-include in decks from what I see). That slight edge is further pushed with Watch Commander, Spies at Court, RoE and RoA suppressing card draw. Until the high bid player starts to bid very conservatively. The Crane can mimic this somewhat with Asahina Storyteller, but he requires set up. By contrast, the Lion tend to bid low regardless because some of their cards 'shut off' when their honour is lower than the opponent. Widening the lens a bit, there are bigger differences in the deck styles. The Lion play the political side of the game through characters that have disproportionately higher political skill than Military skill(generally). For example, they use Venerable Historian, Ikoma Eiji, Kitsu Spiritcaller and Ikoma Prodigy. All have a Political skill 2 or more points higher than their respective Military skill. In Unicorn, only Ide Trader has the same skill disbursement (favouring politics). So while we know how the Lion forces are going to be distributed, it's harder to gauge where the Unicorn will place most of their forces in this deck style. Especially when Cavalry allows the Unicorn to 'test' defenses before committing in full. The opponent is left guessing. The trick to it is building the board as wide as your opponent. Almost like a mirror. That way the Unicorn do not lose tempo in the number of conflicts they can participate in.
  7. True, but it's more about the claim vs. resolve. Tsukune's ability does not claim the rings, so they can't factor into the Favour count. I think I made that leap because I often end up with the Favour playing Phoenix. High Glory characters make it easier.
  8. Interesting discussion on the Unicorn. After their Kiku Matsuri performance, I became intrigued with the idea of 'figuring them out'. Here are my thoughts: Unicorn seem to have two modes: All out Military or Balance. I prefer the latter because I think the former makes them too brittle. One cancelled event or key misplay and they are in tough to recover. What's more, a more balanced opponent (Dragon) can threaten both conflict types, resulting in lost tempo. In that sense, overwhelming Military skill seems a surplus that isn't required. You only need enough to win a given battle. As such, key decisions were made when forming this deck: I don't use Aggressive Moto, Moto Horde, Cavalry Reserves, Breakthrough or even Captive Audience. It's because the deck lacks consistency in the Cavalry and Bushi traits, and does not rely on Military conflicts. Yes, Captive Audience helps stymie Political opponents, but other cards made more sense to include. In this deck, cards like Shinjo Tatsuo, Favourable Ground and Favoured Mount become that much more important. They help infantry characters achieve mobility -- And that can help win battles at the margins. A point about Stats: Crunched some numbers and found Unicorn's Fate cost average to be 2.53, it's Average Military skill to be 2.33, and it's average Political skill to be 1.73. Meaning, they are tied in the middle of the pack with Crane and Scorpion for average Fate cost. Dragon and Phoenix are more expensive at 2.57, while Crab and Lion are cheaper at 2.50 and 2.40 respectively. In raw Military skill, they rank 3rd with only Crab (2.71) and Dragon (2.36) as better. In Political skill, they rank 5th, with Crab (1.64) and Lion (1.53) as worse off. Basically, they range in the middle of the pack for both Military and Political skill. Slightly favoured at one, while slightly disfavoured on the other. I would not conclude that to be disadvantageous overall... The Unicorn characters do lack in-battle abilities though. I find that this is why I favour the Crab splash of Watch Commander. It's so that I can increase the card draw advantage I should have with Spyglass, Imperial Storehouse and Ide Trader. I further press this advantage by bidding low, using the RoE and surprising with Spies at Court. Way of the Unicorn should also help keep tempo on my side. It's all in an effort to limit my opponent's options via honour and discard, tie up his political characters, and then overwhelm in either conflict type when the opportunity presents itself. Here's the deck (to provide ideas): (Left side has Fate Cost and Bushi notation) 2F B Border Rider X 3 2F B Shinjo Outrider X 3 4F B Shinjo Tatsuo X 3 5F B Shinjo Altansarnai X 3 3F B Warrior Poet X 3 3F B Utaku Yumino X 3 1F B Moto Youth X 1 1F B Utaku Infantry X 3 2F Meishodo Wielder X 3 3F Ide Trader X 3 3F Giver of Gifts X 3 2F Keeper Initiate X 3 Imperial Storehouse X 3 Favourable Ground X 3 0F I am Ready X 3 0F Banzai! X 3 0F Court Games X 3 0F Fine Katana X 3 0F Ornate Fan X 3 1F Spyglass X 3 1F Favoured Mount X 3 2F Born in War X 3 1F Watch Commander X 3 0F Way of the Unicorn X 3 1F Rout X 3 1F Charge! X 2 0F Spies at Court X 3 0F Assassination X 2
  9. You are correct. I don't know why I thought she helped with the favour, must have been her Glory.
  10. Tsukune is a 'stronger' (+2M/+1P) Serene Warrior until she executes her ability at the end of the round. When that happens, she does something on the level of what other Champions do, but she does it without having to lift a finger. That's very strong. "Win-more" implies that the player is already winning, or has just won something. Hotaru executes her ability after a win. That's win-more. She has already won the battle and is generating effects to alter the remaining board state. Tsukune executes her ability win or lose, battle or no battle, honoured or dishonoured, bowed or unbowed. That's not win-more. That's 'win regardless'. The Favour goes to the player with the highest readied Glory + Rings. Tsukune all but ensures that the Phoenix have an advantage here by claiming the remaining rings and having high glory. Also, the type of ring doesn't matter here, just the number. A defender can claim a contested ring if he/she wins said battle. Granted, having 2 rings to resolve at the end of the round is not guaranteed. Nor is the quality of the remaining ring(s) assured. At worst, the RoW would have to be avoided by both players for 'quality' to be an issue. Further, if less than 2 rings remain, then it means that both players claimed 4 rings. Hopefully, the Phoenix player claimed 1 or 2 using Tsukune in the conflicts. She still helps in that regard. In other words, things have to align very well against Tsukune for her not to have been effective each turn. Aside: More often than not, I see the RoE and RoA executed by her. A net effect of about 4 honour points every round.
  11. Ah interesting, a Gozoku player (kidding :)). Those are my top clans as well, but primarily the Phoenix and Crane. The Phoenix in the LCG are a revelation to me. High ceiling, deepest floor. Combo-centric, of which I am not a fan, but the net gains are there this time. You're not honouring your samurai so that they become as good as the base samurai from other factions, they become better. There is a net gain for being combo heavy. I will enjoy playing them (and I hope you stick with them).
  12. I thought you were a Crane player? True. I do use Serene Warrior. My deck tries to target and re-target the Ring of Fire so as to leverage Glory. As a result, I've had to include cards like Way of the Phoenix, Know the World and Display of Power. This in turn resulted in a 'no-splash' Conflict Deck. Theoretically, this should work to alleviate the effects of dishonour while providing enough of a stats boost to break provinces... Yet, that hasn't been the case. I'd like to be able to use high glory characters to maximize those honouring effects though...
  13. Agreed on all points. I am fast finding this type of Crane deck to be my favourite one to play. Events either get cancelled or stay in the opponent's hand (Guest of Honour FTW). Shizuka Toshi becomes that much more powerful with FM, true. FM also helps Outwit (further complemented by Height of Fashion). For bowing, Shizuka Toshi is further helped by Steward, Duelist Training and For Shame! The Crane are much better set up to face the Scorpion than most other clans. I find Phoenix has a very challenging time against the Scorps, if anything.
  14. Tsukune is superior to Hotaru, IMO. A passive double ring effect beats a win-based double ring effect. There are too many permutations in each given battle for the opposite to be true. Tsukune's ability does not dictate her utility, while that's exactly how Hotaru functions. Now, I understand the counter-arguments to Tsukune are often that the opposing player can leave her with the RoW + RoA/RoE, or that she doesn't affect the board on her current turn beyond her stats. These are her drawbacks. In reply, I would say that I prefer my opponents avoid the RoW, and that her ceiling when honoured is higher than any Champion. So there's a trade off. She does affect the board state in raw numbers, and she sets up the next turn with Ring effects + Favour assurance. The quirky thing about her is that she still affects the current turn too, indirectly. The opponent knows that she will get 2 ring effects off, forcing him/her to be aggressive enough to claim 2 rings, lest they lose out on the favour and the board state race (ring effects). The aspect I like most about Tsukune is that she can allows for conservative play. This is different than what most games tend to be like. Hotaru's maximum gains are made when she attacks, so the focus is still on the attack. This is what most games are like. In other words, she allows the Phoenix to variate play styles while forcing the opponent to commit more to make an equal amount of gain. They know they will likely have to face Tsukune on defense because the Phoenix player will get to resolve 2 rings regardless. Lastly, I like that she is equally effective in either battle type. It may not seem like much, but that 1 extra Military can mean something when battle types are switched, or when one absolutely has to break a province via Military. The same design thought would have helped Kaede's card.
  15. 'Building tall' vs. 'building wide' is also a consideration for Rout/Outwit. If your deck tends to field less characters a turn, perhaps supported by more attachments and conflict characters, then Rout/Outwit become more valuable as they can each target bigger characters. Not only that, but the tendency to pass first with Dynasty nets said player a Fate -- Thereby fueling Rout/Outwit. Their inclusion is more a function of deck interdependence, I find. If I have enough other effects that lead to an easier execution of Rout/Outwit, then they become necessary inclusions. Otherwise, they remain conditional, as you say. Speaking of Ornate Fan/Fine Katana: Has anyone excluded either card in their decks thus far? I have just started to experiment with this of late, nothing conclusive results wise. I do find that a 1/1/1 can help me more than a 0/0/2 in certain situations, even though the free card is hard to pass up.
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