The Perfect Gift - Card Overview

The Focus, Focus, Write team brings us our first card overview for Legends of The Five Rings.  Enjoy the article on their thoughts on this new card.

Event
Fate Cost: 0  
Aligned Crane
Bamboo(influence): 1

Action : Reveal the top 4 cards of each player's conflict deck. Choose 1 revealed card owned by each player and add it to each owner's hand. Shuffle.

Flavor Text: He had refused twice, but could not bring himself to refuse a third time.

 

Does this card fit the feel

Story

The giving of gifts is an important part of Rokugani culture.  It is a part of what binds the Clans together and is often the only thing that brings those of opposing views to the negotiation table. The Crane are the undisputed masters of this art, allowing them to influence the outcome of events as small the success of a dinner party, to those as great as the direction of a war. “The Perfect Gift” reflects this aspect of Rokugan on every level, from title, faction, art, effects, and flavor text. 5/5

 

Game Play

I have to say, at first blush I’m not thrilled with the play value of “The Perfect Gift.” Plucking the best of my top four cards is pretty good, especially for free; and there’s something to be said for the capacity to take “non-pass pass” actions that consume no resources but force my opponent to commit to a strategy before I do.  However, increasing my opponent’s hand size while maintaining my own is less than ideal.  Even if I’m handing them the least relevant of their top four cards, presumably they put those cards in their deck for a reason, and best case I’ve saved them the trouble of giving me honor in order to put it in their hand.

The minimal information I gain about their deck and hand has utility, but I just gave them the same amount of information about my own because I revealed my own cards as well.  I’d be a lot happier with “The Perfect Gift” if it added something like “lose Honor equal to the Fate cost of your card, gain Honor equal to the Fate cost of your opponent’s,” or even if it used “look at” instead of “reveal.” Judging from the small number of other cards we know of today, not much good comes of this. It’s possible this card hints at a Crane sub-theme of peeking at the opponent’s hand, or “guessing” what cards might be there, which seems interesting as an avenue.

I’d also like to note that the wording of this card makes it immensely more valuable in a multiplayer game where the Crane player can go all Crane-y on everyone and talk out which of the revealed cards should get drawn in exchange for what later favours, handing out good cards to allies and bad cards to enemies.  The idea of a drawn-out negotiation leading up to the Crane making all the actual decisions hints at a tale of intricate court machinations culminating in some Doji masterstroke.

 

Final Summation

In my opinion, this card shows the flexibility in the design space the new LCG has created in L5R. You can use it to scout your opponent, thin your own deck and also give your opponent a card he shouldn’t need against you. This type of flexibility shows that the Crane are expected to have their own ways to both control their opponent’s suite of actions that would work either on the offence or defence.

This card is an accelerant to any deck that plays at a very high tempo with many low cost cards.  If I know i have lots of lower fate cost events, I can use this to power cycle to get playable cards while overloading my opponent with cards that he would only be able to afford after the game is over, or by having to forego needs personalities on my final push for victory.

I feel this card is a little more Scorpion in terms of its flavour and that brings down its overall classification for me but I’d rate it as a solid 8 out of 10 based on other cards seen so far.

I also feel that this card doesn’t inspire me to add it to a Unicorn deck, for even though it is has zero fate cost, I don’t see it synergizing outside of an honor build very much so i’d give it a minus on the Crane alliance probability at this time.   

 

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Blake McLean, Bryan Murphy & Drew Kirkaldy