Twenty Years of Memories: 2013

A place for those from far and wide to present themselves to the Khan and engage those from far and wide in conversation.

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Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:52 am

Twenty Years of Memories: 2013

The year is 2013. Emperor Edition is on it's way out and the playerbase is ready for a change that Ivory Edition will bring. Torn Asunder has released this year and was the first expansion in seven years without starter decks marking some of the change that are to come.

The year is 1198/1199. The Colonies have become embroiled in madness. The Mad Dragon, Pan-ku, has made his influence felt and members from every clan are turning on their lords and fighting their own brothers and sisters. Iweko Seiken must face Pan-ku and try to end his threat to all of Rokugan.

To catch up on previous installments in this series visit the FFGforums for the master list: here

Today we hear from Tom Kirchgesner, winner of the 2013 World Championships at GenCon Indianapolis.

Where are you from, tell us about your playgroup?
Springfield, IL. My playgroup consists of about 5 guys, 4 regulars and 1 that seems to change who is filling it each arc. We play a lot of other games together too, so as the game's ability to hold our interest wanes at times, we fill the gap with board games.

How did you hear about or get involved in L5R?
An old friend of mine Matt Lufcy talked about how great the game was, so eventually some of us gave it a try, circa year 2 or 3 of the game. We weren't in it at the beginning.

Do you consider yourself a clan loyalist?
No. I prefer Unicorn, but also play a lot of Phoenix and Mantis. Everything else is just dabbling.

What was your first L5R tournament experience?
Hmmmm, probably just a little one at our local store I was working at and hosted. Maybe a dozen players at best. First bigger one was Gen-Con. Was playing this Lion player named Leon(sp?), I had the game won, and said pass instead of playing Deadly Ground out from under my Armor of Sun Tao. My local friends still tease me about it to this day.


Do you have favorite story or quote from the fiction?
Yoritomo, "I am my twenty strongest." Cause dude stole provinces.

Do you have a favorite character?
Kachiko... BAD... ASS... BITCH!... on a horse.

Best memory or experience you had playing L5R or because of L5R?
In the late 90's I was playing a 10 player free for all multiplayer game, and I was sitting at 8th in the turn order. First player flips an Unexpected Allies. 7 of the players flip a personality. He declares an attack on me. I ask why. He says because this is the only time we know we can kill you. I lost 3 provinces. By the 5th player's turn they went ahead and took my last province... I held great pride in my vicious and thorough defeat.


Do you have a favorite deck that you built or played?
Dark Path of Shadow. Dueling ninjas with bloodswords. Making the gack sound as you kill your friends personalities is too fun.

Do you have a favorite Arc?
Samurai. The extensive player involvement and encouragement was the best I had seen AEG do.

Tell us about the leadup to GenCon 2013. How did you prepare and how did you decide on what deck to play.
My buddy Rich told me about Dineen's tournament and a deck that Melissa played. It had no personalities. He and I each made different tweaks on it, then playtested our decks against the tweaks of hers cause we thought it would be an interesting ringer that we'd run into. After not a large number of games I came to realize that the best decks in the arc at the time were some of the ones it was strongest against. The only reason my phoenix shugenja nonhuman deck was even competitive against it was because of the terrains that dropped province strength back to base and its ability to move the big spells around to adjust for open bow. I switched gears to practicing other decks I wanted to try against it, and gave up quickly. Then it became testing the deck of few personalities against everything else. I could not find a build that could beat honor based decks, but didn't think honor decks could stand against the ridiculous strength of military at the time, so made the choice to accept that I will just lose those games and hope I don't have to play against many. After removing the honor meta, the deck stood even stronger against military and became my choice. This was all with extensive help from my playgroup and a fair amount of ribbing at me hanging on to how to beat the deck for so long instead of just playing it.

This type of deck was pretty unique, often called a “faceless” deck, why was it so good in this environment?
Mine only had 2 personalities in it, both there pretty much just to sacrifice to a card to raise my province strengths after buying them for honor. All the other deck types needed to play with cards to kill, bow, send home, etc. other personalities, and by not playing with relevant ones I made all those cards in other decks useless, greatly increasing the odds of my opponent sitting on and drawing cards that did nothing. The gold based kill cards also had many people playing with heavy gold, which in several matchups let me have less opposing personalities to try and control.

Can you recall any details of the final match or any intense moments throughout the tournament?
The final match was less exciting than some of the ones earlier because he was playing a deck very close to what I was originally wanting to play. I had played against that type many times and had designed in all the tools to beat it. Crab had turned out to be my biggest problem with its ability to bring people back, and I think they were adding in and/or assigning while bowed.

You chose to “egg” Shosuro Keirei. What made you choose that personality?

I like ninjas. Scorpion is the favorite clan of my buddy Rich that initially gave me the deck idea. There was also a bounty involved to sway me.

Are you still involved in L5R at this time?
I haven't bought any 20 Festivals yet. I am likely to be on break while finishing grad school and hopefully have people to play with at the start of the next arc.

Anything else you would like to tell players about L5R at that time, or any stories to bring back some fond memories for old school players or inspire new ones?
Still the best large scale play group I have ever been a part of in the many different games I have played.


Thank you Tom for giving us some insights into one of the most unique decks to ever win a World Championship.

For a complete decklist you can visit the Kolat Informant: Worlds 2013
Last edited by AFrede on Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Shinjo Yosama
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Fri Aug 14, 2015 4:06 pm

Thank you for your time in doing this. Your effort is appreciated. Looking forward to reading more.

Shinjo Yosama

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