L5R: The New Order – Focus on the Draft Format

Posted by Jim {Power Gamer} | 10-Nov-14 | 0 comments

By Christopher Medico | AEG
The New Order is fast approaching, and with it comes the official Draft release events (if you’re not familiar with the Draft format for the L5R CCG, you can find The Rules For It Here.) This expansion continues the themes of Ivory Edition while also introducing two new mechanics: Courtesy and Unstoppable. In addition, there are three Uncommon Sensei available to build around, along with two, separate holding schemes that reward you for taking advantage of their synergies. All together, the set has a considerable number of options that should provide players with a variety of different strategies to pursue in Draft.

Thrill-of-Daring

Showing Proper Respect

Traits listed with the Courtesy mechanic only take effect when you started the game not going first. Depending on your clan in Constructed L5R, these Traits are relatively inconsistent, especially for higher Honor clans. Draft allows you to get around this with Sensei that reduce your starting Family Honor, such as Shika Sensei in The New Order. She essentially enables you to guarantee the bonus effects for Courtesy (unless your opponent is also using the Sensei, of course.) A card like The Thrill of Daring, which is already a worthy inclusion without Courtesy, can become even stronger if you use this tactic. Pairing off Dragon with one of the clans that have access to Shika Sensei can also be an interesting option, as it gives you access to Tamori Daiishu’s full potential.

The other new keyword is Unstoppable, which first made its debut in the Siege: Heart Of Darkness Set. Unstoppable modifies an Action, preventing your opponent from responding to it with any Interrupts. The prevalence of Unstoppable within The New Order makes traditionally-powerful Interrupts like Courage Beyond Question a little worse, since both Sinister Deception and Springing The Ambush get around it. Since you cannot prevent the Action itself, the easiest way to work around the restrictions of Unstoppable is to reverse what your opponent did with your next Action. Just because your Personality was bowed by In Defense does not mean that you can’t just straighten them with Dirty Tricks. Dirty Tricks even has the bonus of giving you another consecutive action, making up for the tempo you would normally lose by making such a play.

Rich-Vein

Mining for Value

Compared to previous sets, The New Order has a much larger percentage of high-Gold producing Holdings. These all allow you to get a large chunk of production on the table without relying on your deck to flip multiple holdings on the same turn. Protected Temple and Weapon Artist both work best within their individual holding schemes, but Otomo Bureaucrat and Jade Bazaar can shine in almost any configuration. Otomo Bureaucrat in particular can have a major impact versus an opponent going for an Honor victory, potentially slowing their Proclaim gains enough over the course of the game to give you an extra turn of attacks. Beyond the bigger holdings, Missing Caravan can also help fill out the more specific requirements of the two Keyword-based schemes, especially if the packs do not cooperate and you need to scrape together your last few slots.

The Mine scheme is primarily built around the strength of Rich Vein. This innocuous holding gets exponentially better as you draft more Mines, allowing you to both fetch them from your deck and also take a peek at your next few Dynasty flips to plan out your next turn. Rich Vein also enables some of the more explosive starts in the format, whether you grab two of them on the first turn along with another 2 Gold-producing Mine, or just get one along with your Weapon Artist if you went second. The various Mines also encourage the use of Weapons and Armor, giving you extra utility out of cheap Attachments like Tsuruchi Hankyu and Unfinished Blade.

Unlike Mines, which can be powerful in a variety of deck builds, the Temple holdings work best in a deck using Brotherhood Sensei. Protected Temple is a fine choice even without the Gold cost reduction, but having multiples in your deck can more than make up for the Sensei’s starting Gold penalty, with the added benefit of the Kharmic Keyword to cycle them away in the late game. This also helps make up for one of the downsides of Fortifications in draft—the fact that they cycle back into the deck after the Province is destroyed, potentially clogging your late-game purchases. Aside from Protected Temple, both Contemplative Shrine and Earthborn Temple push you towards a Shugenja-based deck, which can reward you alongside the Sensei’s Action for pursuing a focused strategy.

Seppun-Tasuke

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Traditionally, a Sensei like Seppun Tasuke that focuses on specific cards is better left out of your pick order in draft, especially since it relies on a hard-to-find Rare card, Iweko Miaka, to complete the alternate win condition. However, Tasuke’s ability to make all of the Love Letter Personalities aligned to your clan opens up some deck-building options, even if you aren’t vying for the affection of the Imperial princess. Doji Takato is particularly enticing for non-Crane honor decks, giving you access to another 3 Personal Honor Personality that can potentially gain you another point of Honor, or even grab a card from your opponent. If a military deck can afford the hit to their starting Gold, Kaiu Akemiand Matsu Misato can also be cheap force that messes with your opponent’s plans in battle.

Sinister-Deception

Order Complete, Out for Delivery

The New Order is another interesting step in the evolution of L5R draft, further advancing the Design Team’s attention to the format. With the new rotation system kicking into gear, the third expansion is now the capstone to the year’s releases and finishes off the development of the supported themes, both in Constructed and Draft formats. I hope you all enjoy exploring the new cards while digging in to what the set has to offer. As always, feel free to comment on the forums or the L5R Facebook page about the results of your local event and how well these various archetypes performed. And if you’re a paid subscriber to the Imperial Herald, you’ll find a more in-depth strategy article about the Draft Format and The New Order there. In any case, until next time, have fun, and try to keep Keppo away from your valuables!

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