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Exclusive look at cards from the upcoming L5R Shadow’s Embrace set

Posted by Jim {Power Gamer} | 14-Jun-12 | 4 comments
L5R The Shadow's Embrace expansion set

The Shadow’s Embrace, the new set for the Legend of the Five Rings CCG is coming soon and previews have already begun at Here is an exclusive look at four new cards from the upcoming expansion!

L5R Crippled Sensei card

Crippled Sensei

In L5R, Personalities tend to die. A lot. Whether it’s in battle against a military or defensive deck, during the Action Phase against a control deck, or even by committing seppuku because they are dishonored, L5R Personalities generally have a rather short life expectancy. Crippled Sensei gives you a way to mitigate those losses, basically turning a dying Personality into a not-quite-dead Retainer that can later sacrifice itself to hopefully prevent another one of your Personalities from dying. The Holding Crippled Sensei creates is useful against every deck type: against military decks, you’ll use it to counter a bow action during battle or to straighten a potential defender, while against lockdown-type decks, it’ll give you another way to protect your Personalities against those annoying Action Phase bow actions. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Crippled Sensei is the fact that you can play it as a Reaction to your own actions, which means that, against a Dishonor deck, you can have one of your Personalities commit seppuku, and later use your new Retainer to re-honor someone else, further limiting your opponent’s options.

The card’s Focus Effect is simply yet another way to leverage your dying Personalities. It won’t help you win a duel, but it’ll make your opponent sorry he challenged you. That 2-point Honor loss will probably not be enough to beat Honor decks by itself, but used together with other Honor meta cards, it might just gain you enough times to take that last province.

L5R Crowded Streets card

Crowded Streets

If Crippled Sensei helps you use your dying Personalities some more, Crowded Streets is all about preventing your Personalities from dying in the first place. The battlefield is a dangerous place, especially for defensive decks, whose Personalities tend to be smaller and/or under-equipped compared to the juggernauts military decks can throw at you. Winning a battle can therefore sometimes seem like a daunting task. With Crowded Streets in play, though, your goal changes: you’re no longer trying to win the battle, but to cause as much damage to your opponent and run to fight another day.

Crowded Streets is a deceptively complex card to play. Do you defend with one Personality, drop your Terrain, fire off your additional action and run away, hoping that’ll be enough to save your province? Or do you defend with a larger number of Personalities, willing to lose some of them to do more damage to your opponent? The first option is much safer, as the only thing that will stop you from sending your Personality home is a Sneak Attack effect from your opponent (or The Snow Has Teeth), but the second option lets you get much more mileage out of the card. And that’s not even getting into situations where you’d want to play it on the offensive…

L5R The Lesson of Earth card

The Lesson of Earth

This, on the other hand, is a rather straightforward card. Harpoon-like cards (that is, cards that let you drag another player’s Personality into a battle, or “harpoon” them) have been a staple of the game for a while now, and The Lesson of Earth joins Intimidation and Pronouncement of Guilt as examples of that type of card in the current format. Like most cards of the same type, The Lesson of Earth straightens the Personality it moves to the battlefield, unless your Monk happens to have the right keyword. Dragging in a bowed Personality without straightening him is obviously a good thing, as it will usually force your opponent to burn a card to straighten before they can start interacting with your army, by which time his Personality may already be dead.

Where this card really shines is when you combine it with Pillars of Virtue, the Dragon Stronghold that lets you take an additional action after you play a Battle Kiho. Suddenly you can move a Personality into the battle and immediately deal with him; it doesn’t matter that you don’t have any Earth Monk in play if your opponent never gets to play an action before his Personality dies. This should come in particularly handy against Honor decks, against which you’ll be able to kill key Personalities without giving them the opportunity to run away with cards like Wall of Honor.

L5R Void Tattoo card

Void Tattoo

Monks in Emperor seem to have become the kings of recycling. The World Disappears and Hunter of Harmony already let them get Kiho back from the discard pile, and now they get a third card that will let them go through their discard pile to reuse their best cards. Void Tattoo differs from its predecessors in two major ways, though. The first and most obvious one is that it lets you recycle Tattoos rather than Kiho; the second, perhaps most important one, is that it isn’t a Limited or Open, but a Battle action. While The World Disappears and Hunter of Harmony let your opponent know that you’re getting a Kiho back before they have to commit to battle, Void Tattoo preserves the element of surprise; this also means that it will let you get back a Tattoo you just used and play it again in the same battle.

Void Tattoo can be a little costly to use if you don’t have any Void Monk (and sadly, Temple to the Elements won’t help you there), but getting to kill two Personalities in a row with a single Volcano Tattoo will often be well worth it. Note that Void Tattoo will let you get back any Tattoo Strategy, not only one with a Battle ability; being able to play up to six Snake Tattoo might cause your opponent some frustration, as your Monks keep slipping out of his grasp.

Comments (4)

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8 Beta 1.0 Tester
Mythic Kingdoms Backer 2020
Platinum Supporter
Advanced Reviewer

they look fantastic!

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Gamer - Level 9
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel

It looks like these(combined with who knows what else is in the new set) could make some interesting changes in deck strategies.

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Dragon Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Phoenix Clan - Legend of the Five Rings

tattooed monk is only togashi, and they’re not very strong now, but these cards do make them stronger. Void Tattoo to get snake tattoo back is very strong, or even a second volcano or breath of the heavens for an extra (unexpected) kill. It’s very good for this deck, though it is a shame it’s not a Tattoo/kiho for getting two actions out of it from PoV, but that’s asking a lot for an already great card, it will def see 3x play, i mean it’s an aditional action on top of everything and at worse a card cycle + extra action.

The lesson of earth is important in two instances, one being Enlightenment build, giving an opportunity for an easy earth (especially out of PoV, where you can pull someone in and react with box to send them home(or kill them) for earth, or to get that extra personality for a kill to get fire out. It is also (but a lot less so) useful for getting at home personalities that are annoying. Useful for both henshin and dragon monks a decent amount (enoguh for 2x) not 3x unless enlightenment imho tho.

Crowded Streets I don’t see getting a lot of use to be honest, I don’t know what defensive deck doesn’t already have plenty of retreat tech, that doesn’t want to stay at the battle.

Crippled sensei is nice for DH dueling decks, uhh both of them. ^^ i like it, but neither of these decks have the card support the ‘really’ need with so many duels only doing honor and no dh… we’ll see though.

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Unicorn Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Gamer - Level 6
Novice Reviewer

Interesting cards. Honestly I doubt many of them will make the cut for the decks I’m contemplating. Crowded Streets could help a defensive honor deck put on some hurt before running home. I like the The Lesson of Earth, and may try it in Spider Monk Kensai to gank kill some troublesome enemies. How common / good are tattooed monk decks?

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