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Tips & Strategies (14)

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Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Guardian Angel
27 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“I like gold (schemes)”

When designing a gold scheme for your L5R deck, first take into account what environment/ruleset you are playing in.

– The Ivory and Twenty Festivals arcs include gold pooling, so go for efficient holdings, and the ones which will support your deck the best. There are a few good accelerators available in this environment: first, clan holdings, which are 2f3 (cost 2 Gold, produce 3); second, Coastal Lane (4f5), which force you to build larger decks. Since they produce more than they cost, they can ramp up your deck’s efficiency well. Decide if you want blocky gold (4f4) with few abilities, requiring fewer Holdings in your deck, or nimble gold (2f2) with utility, requiring a more padded gold scheme. Also, with Twenty Festivals, you have access to the 3f3 Forgotten Legacy holding, which can help an unforgiving and gold-barren start.

– The Celestial and Emperor arcs do not have gold pooling, but do have access to the starting holdings and their variants: Border Keep, and Bamboo Harvesters for the player not going first. Gold schemes here can more readily use larger holdings (6f5) to run fewer gold producers and more personalities. There is no forgiveness for a low-gold start in these arcs, so be sure you can get to what you need.

– Earlier arcs have access to other Legacy holdings but no starting holdings. The Legacy holdings let you search your deck for a holding to buy if you’ve bought no others, letting you play a bit with the gold mix.

“Fishbowl” your deck: shuffle up and lay out your cards, then play through a few sample turns one-sidedly to see how your gold is working out. Can you reliably buy Personalities from your provinces after a couple of turns of gold? Are you seeing enough gold to develop over the first several turns? Do your costs work out, or are you finding problems with the costs being clunky and you having either extra gold or not quite enough?

It can be difficult to develop a proper gold scheme, and not every one will work the same for every deck. Experiment with different options, and make sure to test how the deck you’ve constructed lines up with the vision you have for it.

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Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Crane Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Smash Up Fan
31 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Learn your meta”

This logic applies to all CCGs, but is particularly true of L5R. Learn what is being played in your local area and tune your deck to that meta-environment. Sure, Magic strategist are always going on about the meta, but in reality Magic is a game of tides. The Magic meta is truly defined only by a handful of high end players on the competitive circuit, then those decks are copied across the world by players hoping to emulate their success.

By and large that is difficult to duplicate in L5R. What does well at high end or national competitions does not always translate well to one’s local scene. Say for instance that a particular Crab deck does really well at nationals, but has a difficult time against certain Honor based decks. If your local meta is defines by a lot of said Honor decks the Crab deck will be unusually weak in your meta.

This may seem intuitive, but here is where L5R and Magic differ: Clan loyalty! Players tend to play one or two clans exclusively, and if you build your deck to deal with those clans specifically you’ll find much more success than if you try to copy the deck of the week piloted by the pros.

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Dragon Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Phoenix Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“First turn starts”

So, you have your deck, you have the opponent across from you, and you have the will to win! This small article is to tell you what to expect in the first turn of the game (uhh from a very ‘basic’ overview, i’m not going to be pointing out specific cards) depending on deck type as well as what your options are if you’re piloting one of these decks.

First turn personality(cheap) + holding(2~4gc)
This is most commonly a play that will be seen out of clock decks(honor/dishonor possibly enlight), although a The advantages of this sort of play are that there is a person right away to throw something on the personality turn 2(spell, attachement, etc.) or to take advantage of an ability elsewhere. Also if an honor deck buys a 4gc personality for full on turn 1 they are giving themselves a headstart. The disadvantage here are in that 1) the personality gotten is boxable(or less) and due to that useless by themselves.

First turn personality(7~8gc)
This is most commonly done by a ‘blitz’ style military deck that has the means to try and threaten a province turn two, but all in all is a very risky play, because you are costing yourself a turn of early economy (over the two holding start) especially if an attachment (more gold) is needed turn 2 in order to actually threaten a province. A dishonor or enlightenment deck might also do this play if the printed text on the personality is strong enough (i.e. Bayushi Kazutoshi or Bayushi Rentatsu out of scorpion. will both be good choices as they start messing with the opponent right away and in the case of rentatsu furthering your victory condition starting turn 2!!!). The downside to this play is always money, you are (again) giving up a turn of gold, which ends up meaning that on turn 2 you will only be able to either buy a person+holding or 2 holdings[note: if you are going second this is slightly aleviated by non-exp bamboo harvesters]

First turn two holdings
This is by far the most common play, and 90% of the time the best play. You get funds into the game to be able to be effective on your second turn to the best of your ability. The only times you should stray from this is if you know that your opponent is going to do one of the other plays or if you know that one of the other plays will get you a distinct advantage in the game (taking a province turn 2, starting clock early, etc.). Also while doing this it is important to note that most of the time, early game higher gold holdings are worth more then utility, since they will let you bring more things out turn 2.

Hopefully this helped some people 🙂 ~Aselus

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29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Stronghold Stores, for the win!”

If you are trying to start playing this game by yourself, I urge you to check in to a Stronghold Store (and your new playgroup) ASAP. If you are in a group who just started this game together, then go find your local Stronghold Store, as a group.

A stronghold store is your local gaming store that not only carries L5R product, but hosts L5R events as well.
Also likely: There is a group of people playing L5R on certian nights already, so you can get some playing in with those not of your initial group.

I’d also like to point out that people who play this game are incredibly nice and are usually more than willing to give away good cards, or at least make trades that heavily favor new players.

Summary: Get to your Stronghold Store! This game gets SO much better when you can play/buy/sell/trade with a group, in a centralized spot.

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27 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Shuffling effects and you...”

There are very few effects in this game that let you shuffle your deck. Even less that let you shuffle your dynasty deck! This is especially important because of the border keep abilities, which (more often then not) cause you to move some heavy hitting cards to the bottom of the deck.
Try to have at least one way to search and shuffle your dynasty deck.
“Peace” is a great strategy that allows you to search and buy any one holding from your deck, and shuffle, so it fits nicely in nearly every deck. It is a promo, however, and a bit pricey (though it’s unique, which means you won’t need three).
“In Search of Guidance” is a much more affordable event that lets you search for a sensei personality (which most decks will be running), put him in that province, and shuffle your dynasty deck.

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Dragon Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Phoenix Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
26 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Fuseki(Opening theory): Expectations of a deck type”

First a disclamer: There are a lot of tutorials on how to play this game, and this is not aimed to teach you what ‘personalities’ or ‘strategies’ are, it is aimed to show a few different opening plays (i’ll call them Fuseki since I am a go player, and this is a japanese themed game ^^).

Between all the different themes there are four distinct victory conditions that can be subdivided into three different categories of decks for mid/late game: defensive decks, control decks and agressive decks. And although there is far more depth to the game then that, there are a few things you can expect to happen before the game even starts based on the analysis of this three party state.

Defensive Deck – a deck defined as a type that wants to goto battle and defend. This type of deck is usually of the honor/dishonor veriety, but can include some military decks.

– Will want to get into an opposed battle, in order to further its victory condition, but will probably not attack you.
– Will likely favor a play with a personality/holding on the second turn
– WIll have some things that further its victory condition in the open/limited phase, to deal with control/other defensive decks.

What does this mean?
XXX if you are military:
– have a plan in your mind to ways you can attack un-opposed. (unopposed movement like A Brave New World, Cavalry, etc.)

– it is unlikely that they will attack you, So make a note to avoid your defensive meta(cycle cards in your hand you don’t see yourself using on the offensive or to meta their victory condition). i.e.: if you have a choice between two personalities and can’t buy both, avoid the one with the ‘if defending’ action on him

XXX if you are honor/dishonor:
– ask yourself whether your clock is faster then theirs, you need to figure out as soon as possible, whether you or them will be the one who hasto switch to military to be able to focus towards that goal.
– if you are the stronger ‘military’ and their clock i faster, see the second military note

Offensive Deck – for the most part this includes almost all military decks, a deck that needs to attack soon and fast in order to bring you down, or a deck that plans on slow rolling you, a lot of offensive decks will not even defend in battle, in order to have a good stance on the attack.

– Will try to start taking provinces as soon as possible
– Will probably try to attack on turn three, turn 2 blitz plays are also possible out of a few blitz decks(crab is best at this)
– Will probably have almost no open/limited actions
– likely to be aiming to attack, and will avoid defending most of the time

What does this mean?
XXX if you are military:
– You are likely to be racing them to take provinces. This means whoever goes first has the initial upper hand. This being said, if you have ways to take this tempo away from them (retribution, a perfect moment, etc.) use it, but always think on which of you will haveto defend in the last battle(s), a lot of times the game comes down to this last battle and being prepared to defend if you will be the defender is important (means not having 4 cards 3 of which are Sneak attack ;-))

XXX if you are defensive honor/dh/enlight:
– this is the deck you are aimed at doing well against, but don’t get cocky, remember to think of ways s/he can take multiple provinces and to account for those.
– if s/he has a big unit deck that is likely to get into a battle unopposed (kensai, berserker, follower), start digging for ways to get into that battle so that you can do your shinanigary(tm word)

XXX if you are control
– Aim at cards that will delay him attacking you, but remember that he is very likely to win a battle once he gets into it, so towards mid game you will need at least some way to slow down his taking to one province so that he doesn’t beat your clock.

Control Decks – A deck that aims to stop battle from happening all together (usually by focusing on actions that happen in the Open/Limited phases of the game.

– likely to not want to goto battle at all
– will have lots of open/limited actions
– is on a ‘clock’, meaning wants to get to their victory condition asap, and just delay you from yours.
– will have a limited amount of actions once in battle(but still some)

What does this mean?
xxx if you are military
– Dig for your open cards that can be used as meta for bow.
– early game if you have a choice to take a province or give them x honor, take the province. Slowing down their access to dynasty cards can mean the difference in the end.
xxx if you are a defensive deck
– aim at your strongest offensive cards, and attack. control clocks are usually faster then yours, since you won’t be able to use your battle actions uneless you are in a fight
– If you can dishonor and the opponent is an honor deck, aim it at the personalities that will gain the opponent the most honor, to slow down the clock and give you time to build a personality pool(Slanderer is great)
– don’t buy for full unless they’re DH, this is an odd one, but in this case you know their clock is faster, so pretend honor doesn’t really exist.

The above are just some basic thought to have going through your head and plans that should start formulating as you sit across the table in a game. There are obviously more detailed thoughts that should be considered for specific types of decks (like big follower decks vs berserkers vs kensei vs naked lions, etc.) but I hope that this gave you some insight into what your first set of plans could be. 🙂

Like this? Want more? like/tell me, I am considering writing a series of
fuseki/joseki(yes i know this means corner play, -_-)/Yosei articles in more details if enough people are interested.

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Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Guardian Angel
25 of 26 gamers found this helpful
“Sun & Moon: An online interface for L5R”

Since the CCG is no longer actively being published, it may be difficult to find opponents outside of anyone you can recruit to play locally. There is an online client for L5R called Sun & Moon which allows players to play against each other remotely. The Facebook group L5R Sun and Moon contains links to tutorials, players seeking games, and the occasional online tournament.

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Gamer - Level 3
Thunderstone Fan
38 of 41 gamers found this helpful
“Play to Theme!”

One of the easiest things about Legend of the Five Rings, even more so with Emperor Edition is the strong theme in each of the basic deck archetypes. Once one has chosen what deck to play, even a newbie can quickly assemble a functional basic concept. For instance, lets say I like monks. And I like Phoenix, so I want to play Phoenix Clan monks.

1st, look for any character card with the Phoenix Clan and Monk traits, grab em.
2nd, look for any card that references monks, such as kiho. Grab em.
3rd. Look for any card that references Henshin. Henshin are a special type of monk that only Phoenix have. There may only be 1 or 2 action cards that care about Henshin, but you can almost guarantee they’ll be good for the ones in your deck.

Now at that point, you’re probably 60-70% done with a deck already! Grab some basic gold holdings, a few more actions to fill out whichever direction your going (honor or military – defense or offense respectively), and you’ve got a basic set up.

Sure as you play you’ll find that some of the kiho aren’t perfect for you. Some of your own Phoenix Monks may not be quite up for the direction your going (a defensive monk may not help your deck if you’re going for a strong attack), but all that can be tweaked through play. Point is, it’s quite easy to get going, no matter what theme you want, all of which have multiple deck variations:

– Berserkers
– Commanders
– Siege
– Merchants

– Scouts
– Courtiers
– Shugenja
– Magistrates

and the list goes on and on.

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Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Guardian Angel
25 of 27 gamers found this helpful
“Oracle of the Void: amazing online resource”

Oracle of the Void ( is AEG’s in-house searchable online database of cards for L5R. It contains images for every card in the game, including older printings (minus small variations on reprints in expansion starter decks). The text accompanying each card entry has been updated to the latest wording templates (with a number of cards being reworked now for the forthcoming Ivory card templates), which is useful for Legacy and Big Deck format tournaments. Cards can be searched by any number of factors, including looking for cards which represent specific players’ contributions to the game.

The most recently added functionality includes the ability to print proxies from card lists, allowing for easy printing for casual local play, or for Big Deck events. Features continue to be added over time, ensuring that this will keep on being a useful tool for L5R players in the future.

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27 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“The Gentleman's Mulligan:”

“Can my deck hold up if I get holding screwed turn 1?”
A very important question, no doubt. One you will be loathe to answer, but it will eventually happen.

Once you learn that it can’t (generally), you might do what my play group does during play-testing and/or recreational games and allow the ‘Gentleman’s Mulligan’:

Limited: If you get zero to one holdings on your first limited phase, after using both the abilities on your Border Keep(BK): You may ‘reset’ by putting all of your dynasty cards (in or out of play) on top of your dynasty deck, shuffling, and re-filling all four provinces, face up.

You regain one first turn BK ability, but not the once per game.

ongoing effects from events activated before the Gentleman’s mulligan are ignored. Events ignored this way will activate again if they show back up in future event phases.

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Legend of the Five Rings Fan
38 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Clan Forums”

One of the biggest selling points for L5R is the community surrounding the game. I’ve collected links to the forums dedicated to the 9 core factions of the game, also known as the Great Clans of Rokugan.

The Crab Clan: Crab Clan Catastrophe
The Crane Clan: The Home of the Crane Clan
The Dragon Clan: The Dragon Clan
The Lion Clan: Castle of the Swift Sword
The Mantis Clan: Kyuden Mantis
The Phoenix Clan: Gisei Toshi
The Scorpion Clan: Dojo of Lies
The Spider Clan: Shinden Fu Leng
The Unicorn Clan: Children of the Wind

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Unicorn Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Gamer - Level 6
Novice Reviewer
34 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Buy together, win together”

If you are like many of the site’s users, you probably focus on board games. Many of you prefer your card games to be sold pre-set, like Fantasy Flight’s LCG line. Some of you, like me, just can’t afford to play a collectible card game at a competitive level because of all the random card purchases. My friends and I have always bought in to CCGs together. With L5R you can gather friends, each pick one or two clans you like best, and split large purchases. This has worked for me very well in the past, and the Clan factions of L5R make it easy. There’s no reason gamers on a smaller budget can’t enjoy this amazing game!

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Legend of the Five Rings Fan
31 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Avoid Stronghold and Starting Holding Confusion!”

Sleeve your Strongholds and Starting Holdings in different sleeves than your Dynasty and Fate decks for quick and easy clean-up after a game.

Keeping them from accidentally getting lost in your decks is easy, yet it happens a lot more than most players are willing to cop to!

Keep a few extra sleeves that match your Dynasty deck around, however. Just in case your opponent uses an effect that makes you shuffle your Starting Holding in to your deck. Wouldn’t want a game loss due to playing with marked cards!

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Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
29 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“There are many certain rules in life...”

Dogs will bark, it will snow in Michigan in February and Noobies will assign blockers way too soon.

If you have an insurmountable force coming to take your province, unless its your last province, become a bullfighter and Olé that attack. Remember, in L5r, you lose your whole army if you defend and lose. Most times its better to let the province get crushed to build up a bigger threat.

Plus, you can always attack him when his units are bowed. It’scary to let someone just have your province, but the quicker you learn this, the better your chances will become!

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