Hello fellow Pony players! Since the moderators have asked us to write articles for the Unicorn forums, I am going to focus on writing on the cards from various expansions that would be good for you to keep in mind. With the release of Second City this week, I will be previewing various cards from that particular expansion. I will mostly discuss cards in contrast with other Emperor cards in mind but if there is some sort of important Celestial combo I will mention it as well. This part will preview Shugenja and Battle Maiden cards with the following part previewing Tactician, Commander and Miscellaneous cards (Dare I say a scout deck?).
Part I: Shugenja and Battle Maiden
Moto Ming-Gwok (Common) - Our 4th EE legal shugenja, Ming-Gwok doesn't exactly wow our socks off. Barring the return of Temple of Death or a similar stronghold his ability is "dead" so to speak. At 4F for 9 gold he is also slightly over costed (was their any reason he shouldn't have been 8 gold?). Good news is once you get his ability going, he is decent going forth and will work well with Skipping the Puddle. Overall, he might make early shugenja decks, but quickly come out for more efficient personalities.
Skipping the Puddle (Rare) - If any card is going to make our Shugenja theme, this is it. I highly recommend going out of your way to pickup 2 to 3 of these if you have any urge to play a Shugenja build. As a Kata, you put it into play as a limited action, reducing the Surprise factor it could bring otherwise. What it does though is make your opponent play a completely different game. Since all of our Shugenja that have been previewed so far are Water and Cavalry, let the hijinks and trickery begin! One of the most important rules to remember is the new Spell attachment rule for EE which can be preformed off this kata. So, you can move in, attach a spell and then use that spell on your opponent. Channeling the Fallen (gencon promo), Pearl of Rage (FL), Strength of the Tsunami (SeC), and any spell that has a battle ability worth playing. Skipping the Puddle also can be used on any preformed actions including those on weapons! (Cursed Relic or Wrymbone Katana anybody?) Stronghold abilities such as Journey's End Keep can also be used (a combo that also cant be negated by Effortless Counterattack). Worst case scenario, Skipping the Puddle negates a send home action without giving up your action to do so. Highly recommended card to acquire to start the arc.
Bo of Water (Common) and Katana of Fire (Rare) - Two spells with very similar function. The spells themselves do not have actions besides the Limited action to create a weapon attachment. Double attachment cards are a benefit and a curse in their own ways. Benefits include counting as two attachments for actions that target cards without attachments. These attachments can also be attached to any personality. Iuchi Yupadi can also use the "blank spell" to give naval to somebody. However, a few bad points for them also exist. The "meat" of the attachment is a 0GC weapon. Cards like Bonds of Coins can be used to destroy the weapon, which is the main point of the spell. Also, attaching these spells in battle with the rulebook equip action will not be optimal since you cannot use the limited action then. Bo of Water works well with our Shugenja, seeing as the attachment allows us to contribute force while bowed after using a card like Pearls and Spirits.
Strength of the Tsunami (Rare) - High Force, high versatility, powerful spell. 6 Force makes any of our Shugenja province crushing and gives them a multitude of abilities. The battle straighten and/or send home is highly useful as a proactive or defensive ability. When used in combination with a Pearls and Spirits it makes for a very large range attack with the spell. The Battle ability is great for removal if it is successful. My only concern is that it's proactive battle is not as powerful as the other 8 gold cost range attachments. Its versatility and ejection ability make it a good option to go to for awhile.
Mastering the Elements (Rare) - Unique copy spell. 4th copy of any spell. Issue with it is that if I spend 8 gold on a Strength of the Tsunami, it can still be destroyed by Bonds of Coins. Probably more effective with the double attachment spells (Bo of Water and Katana of Fire) as their weakness was already the zero gold cost.
Utaku Liu-Xeung (Rare) - Brings what battle maidens have been missing: proactive battle actions. She also has a decent force gaining trait that works well with her inexperienced version. Wish the send home action was equal or less personal honor and that her force was a base 5 (9 gold for 4 force isnt great military numbers). However with a base 4 PH and the paragon and cavalry keywords she fits perfectly into current Battle Maiden decks.
Utaku Mai (Uncommon) - Sound of Thunder the personality. 5 HR is a little harsh (though my WoH deck will love her for Strength of Paragons) but you get a solid 4F 4 Chi 4 PH for 6 gold after you gain 1 honor. Her ability is great too for leaving behind extra force at home or waiting at another battlefield and seeing if you need her. The Wind Never Stops is extra lolz with her but I doubt we will get that back for EE.
Effortless Counterattack (Rare) - Chase rare from SC. So many cards are granting additional actions and Shugenja can straight do it as a rule book action with spells. With Iron Will in our paragon decks this card is an auto include combo with it. My Testing has shown people are starting to not take the additional action after an Iron Will in fear of getting their additional action canceled. Best of all, the additional action this card has isn't awful either. It is proactive send home or defensive send home on your own guy with no attachments. Battle Maiden decks are going to have so much negate it is actually going to be pretty funny between Iron Will, Effortless and Know no Fear.
Spirit of the Paragon (Common) and Surety of Purpose (Rare) - Two similar cards with the same battle ability (Bow a personality) with slightly different pluses and minuses. Spirit has a higher range of possible personality targets (equal or lower force or personal honor) but requires you to play it pre-battle. Granted it is reusable, but how often are cavalry paragons going to be opposed in battle (maybe once a game?). It can give paragon to a personality, which is an ability to keep an eye on but since paragon does little on it's own, that is not really that much of a benefit. Surety of Purpose can be used while bowed and is a surprise out of hand. It also gives a small honor gain. Either of these card in total are not very powerful and will be replaced early into the arc as more cards become playable, if they are played at all. EE has already shown a plethora of unbow making these cards weak already.
Part II to be soon!