The 4th pack is out and ive been testing the heck out of it. This is a very good expansion for most clans except for our usual suspect which ironically got the best card this expansion. I sympathize with all players of the clan FFG abuses the most and I hope you get good cards in the future.
On to the review!
Before the Throne 2/5
There is a place for this card but as of now its a bad province. Let us leave the fact that it is competing for an Air slot which along with Void has some of the best provinces. As it stands right now the card just does not work. It is a trap province. You are meant to break it just like Feast or Famine or Art of War to give you a major one time boost. The problem is unlike the other provinces it is 5 strength. You can break a 3 strength province without trying. To break a 5 strength province you would need to put in effort like a buff. This makes it a bad trap as you have a choice whether or not to trigger it.
Guardians of the Seiketsu 2/5
A card that only one clan can play. It is also a clan that loves its weenies. From Vanguard Warrior to Kaiu Envoy to the Shrewd Yasuki. All are very good. While it is true they exist to be sacrificed Crab would like for them to be used first. Another factor driving down the rating for this card is Defend the Wall which is already a perfectly good Earth province which provides a good defensive benefit to Crab.
If this card were available to Phoenix, Crane, or Dragon it may see some play. Sadly the possibility of that is most of a year away.
Way of the Chrysanthemum 0/5
To understand this rating let us first unpack it. What is your best case scenario for this card? In essence you are paying 2 fate and 1 card for 4 honor. Would you pay 2 fate for 4 honor? I personally think it’s a bad deal. Keep in mind most players already equate 1 card to 1 honor.
Compound this with the fact that you are realistically only going to be able to use this card for its maximum effect first turn. You will be going into the first conflict phase with 4 cards to your opponents 9 and -2 fate to boot.
Nevermind helping you win a game this card helps you lose one.
The Imperial Palace 1/5
Before Censure, the favor champions, and all the other favor related stuff I would have rated this card 1/5. After all those cards came out I would….. still rate this card 1/5.
There is no question that the favor is powerful. This card all but guarantees that you will get the favor for the turn. Yet I can’t ignore that there is only going to be one copy of this card per deck. There is a certain way to construct a deck when I expect to get the favor most of the time. In that deck I would have other ways to boost my glory negating the purpose of this card. If this was the only card in my deck that I would rely on to get the favor then I would not build my deck around it again negating the purpose of this card.
If I could put 3 of these in my deck it would at least go to 3/5.
Gaijin Customs 5/5
This is a cruel card. You give the best card in the pack to Unicorn and then tell them they can’t use it. Why FFG why???
This will mostly be used by other clans splashing Unicorn and it is so good that it could make Unicorn splash be the default splash instead of Dragon. With Unicorn you
have Spyglass which is hands down the best item in the game and you also have Wayfinder which is in the running for best conflict character in the game (and growing more important with the release of cards like Feast or Famine).
With Unicorn becoming a valid default alternative to Dragon we may see more items in the game as well as fewer decks will be running Let Go.
Utaku Mediator 1/5
To make up for every other clan getting Gaijin Customs Unicorn gets a 1/2/1 courtier! Oh wait they don’t. They only get that if they make sure the opponent has the favor. If you get the favor she becomes 0/1/1.
You already have Utaku Infantry which is in competition for the best 1 cost in the game, Meishodo Wielder another powerful 1 cost, and Moto Youth which is a very efficient
military attacker. Why would you ever run this card?
Agasha Sumiko 5/5
This is an amazing card. More so in the clan that runs attachments for half their deck. Just like Yoshi or Ujiaki if you see that you are not going to get the favor anytime soon then you don’t really need to even bring her out.
One thing that may surprise some people is that Dragon actually has a weak dynasty deck. They have some superstars to make up their starting line up but after the Niten Masters are put in the rest of the line up looks surprisingly weak. It is not surprising to see Dragon players run Otomo Courtiers or Seppun Guardsmen just as cheap characters.
Sumiko earns a slot almost by default despite being a very strong card.
Mountaintop Statuary 5/5
The same argument applies here. Dragon sees a decent card and it automatically earns a slot in the dynasty deck. Dragon players will also appreciate that they get to use up the dynasty draw for an advantage without having to pay fate as their conflict deck is already expensive.
Centipede Tatoo 3/5
Another card for the inevitable Dragon build. I doubt the current Dragon item build will use it much but there will be a deck for this in the future. With the amount of items Dragon has it is actually very hard for their tank to lose a challenge which diminishes the value of this card for the standard builds. They also have Indomitable Will available as well as an in faction option in case they needed the ready effect. Dragon is also a prime
candidate for Unicorn Splash and Gaijin Customs.
Implacable Magistrate 3/5
I personally do not like this card. It is a Lion 3 cost and that slot is very competitive. There is also some matchups like Crane or Phoenix where this card does practically nothing.
That said there will be a build that can abuse this card or he could be run as a one off just to be a Spirit Caller silver bullet when needed.
Guard Duty 3/5
Similar to Gaijin Customs this is a card that is meant to be splashed. As a general rule Lion do not have very high glory stats. The ones that do have high glory stats
already have ways to honor themselves. Lion now more than ever also have very little incentive to defend. Half their provinces explode to their benefit. One of the other provinces Shameful Display already honor them negating the use of this card.
While Lion may hate this card Phoenix and Crane love it. In addition to honor effects it is also the splash that lets you carry Ready for Battle and Stand your Ground.
Akodo Toshiro 3/5
A low cost character which helps you win military conflicts. What really hurts him is that he is unique. This matters a lot in a deck which rely on swarm tactics. It is not a coincidence that Lion wins by using their faceless minions most of the time instead of their named characters.
There could be a potential build for this character in the future with a more politically focused Lion. But even then the commanders that are required to run him are all
focused on military.
Fawning Diplomat 3/5
I consider this card to be the Imperial Palace done correctly. For all intents and purposes this card lets you claim the favor, which is the exact point of the Palace. A game usually lasts 3-4 turns. Proper layering of the Fawning Diplomat using the card itself and Back Alley would let you claim the favor for the entire game.
The question is whether or not Scorpion is willing to pay 3 fate every turn to do this.
Backhanded Compliment 3/5
Ahh the card that started the entire controversy. The kicker is the card isn’t even that good. First you have to draw the card. This is easier said than done when you are bidding low to honor your opponent out. Second you have to wait until they are enough of them to get the kill otherwise you are just giving your opponent cards.
I don’t doubt that there will be a deck for this. Most likely from Phoenix but I don’t think that deck is here yet.
Seal of the Phoenix 2/5
Another seal another low rating. It is very hard to judge cards like this when there is nothing worthwhile to use them on.
Haughty Magistrate 4/5
The only thing keeping this from being a 5/5 is the fact that he is a bushi not a Shugenja. Being a Shugenja would mean easy access to ready effects which would let him commit to 2 attacks per turn.
That said there will be a build for him with Unicorn Splash where he will be involved in multiple conflicts per turn with Gaijin Customs and Favored Mounts. Phoenix has multiple 3 or higher glory characters that can attack with him if necessary while there are entire clans which will not have a single character to defend with.
If you include him in your deck you are most likely going to be removing Fearsome Mystic as they are both reliant on your stronghold to be useful.
Kaiu Inventor 2/5
Currently this card works with Karada District, Borderlands Fortification, and Funeral Pyre. As of right now only one of these are used in competitive Crab decks.
As of right now this card is functionally useless. It has a very high ceiling though and can only get better over time.
Pit Trap 3/5
This card is not as bad as people think it is. Before Crab players bring out the torch and pitchforks (all hail Fu Leng!) lets unpack this card first.
Left alone it lets your opponents best character attack for one round then prevents them from being used again. There are two counters to this. First is ready effects. Of course if the opposing character is someone like Prodigy of the Waves then you will not use this on them. For more regular characters people will have to use a card to ready them. A ready effect usually costs one card and one fate. Alternatively they could use the Ring of Water, but surely the premier defensive clan can defend against that. Second is attachment removal also known as Let Go which neuters this card and any other high value attachment.
In effect the card is not bad it just suffers from everyone splashing Dragon. If that were to change into something like Unicorn splash (with Gaijin Customs?) then this card would be more viable.
Doji Shizue 3/5
A 1/2/1 courtier that stays around forever if you have the favor. Being unique counts against her here as you want to bring out multiples of evergreen characters to make the best use a wide board.
Her main use will be to give Crane a character that is permanently honored much like Steadfast Samurai is to thwart Crane. There are builds that will love her and some that will find she is to low impact to matter.
Curry Favor 5/5
A ready effect with 0 cost! Is it conditional? Yes it is, but most ready effects cost 1 because you are essentially getting another turns use out of the character.
You can either use this to defend against an opponents attack or to grab the favor. Either way you have a winner as again you are doing it for 0 cost!
This ends my review. I am working on a continuation of the masterclass Lion article and one for Phoenix as well. As always leave your thoughts in the comments. I love to hear from my readers.