Artisan Academy - Card Overview

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


Province Strength Boost +1  
Aligned Crane
Action : During the conflict phase - reveal the top card of your conflict deck. Until the end of the phase, you may play that card as if it were in your hand.
Flavor Text: -
Illustration: Conceptopolis



Does this card fit the feel


Striving to produce the finest samurai artisans of the Empire, the Crane maintain the most of any Clan -- save perhaps for the enormous utilitarian force of the Crab -- in an unrelenting search for perfection and beauty. How better to attain one, and produce the other, than a life dedicated to the mastery of one’s art? Many of Rokugan’s most noted works have originated in the scholarly retreats of the Asahina family, from epic tales that drive future generations toward greatness; to storied blades that are granted only to Crane of high position and their most valued allies; to sculptures so exquisite, the subjects’ beauty seems to magnify in their own reflected glory.

When seeking that “Perfect Gift,” is it any wonder that the courtiers of the Crane will nearly always start among the offerings of their artisan cousins?




Game Play

Well. I must say I’m no longer remotely disappointed with “A Perfect Gift.” With this in my province I can either play it off the top of my deck, giving a card to myself as well as to my opponent, as is “good enough” (to coin a phrase) in my mind; or play it from hand to shuffle away the useless card I just revealed; or, or, or.... but enough about last article’s card. This article’s card is pretty great all by itself.

While I have this holding up I can bid 1 lower than I otherwise would, netting me some of that sweet, sweet honor. Specifically, my opponent’s honor, that I earned by bidding lower than them. It’s only fair. Seeing what the Crane have in store for them might just psych them out of attacking at all. I don’t expect that to happen a lot, but Old5R was fraught with board stall and some vets might get caught in the mindset of “my position’s good, but it’s not ideal… if I outflip or outdraw him next turn I might do better.”

There’s a whole other fundamental game play element to consider here, too. Since it’s usually not going to be possible to buy out four provinces worth of characters and have any fate left for the Conflict Phase, there’s very little downside to keeping a holding or two around. And since I know what province is face-down under my holding, I know just how badly things will go for you if you try to force me to discard it, which factors into how long I’ll be willing to keep it there, and on and on into the circular-logic land that is bluffing in L5R. Obviously this applies to any holding, but this is the first Crane one we’re going to see (the only Crane one there is in the core set, based on collector number math) so here’s where I start rolling it around in my brain. I need to print out some proxies and play with physical cards, the theorycrafting is wrecking me.



Final Summation

In my opinion, this card shows that the term “hand size” is a flexible one where the Crane Clan is concerned. This card inflates hand by one and that basically is both a free honor by being able to underbid by one, and an incentive to use that card immediately to gain maximum advantage.  One key feature is reveal the top card -- not look at. All Old5R players who played against Shiro Kitsuki (Dragon) know that the threat of a card often gets players to make poor decisions out of fear.  

This card is an accelerant to any Crane deck that plays with many low cost cards.  That type of low price/ low bid deck would be very well suited to the Honor victory and this pairs very well with A Perfect Gift for this purpose. If I know I have lots of lower 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 personalities he needs on my final push for victory.

I feel this card is a very Crane one in flavour -- as in, “you would never wish to oppose us as this will happen to you” -- and very mechanically sound with deck/hand manipulation without the fate bid. I’d rate it as a solid 9 out of 10 based on other cards seen so far as it both conserves my fate by giving me fewer dynasty purchase options, and gives me a free card.


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Blake McLean, Bryan Murphy & Drew Kirkaldy