View Larger Image. Ask Seller a Question. Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group. One on one contests have long been a defining element of Rokugani society. The tradition of magical duels among shugenja is also detailed, along with the strange competitions held among the Nezumi, Naga, and even the creatures of the Shadowlands. Visit Seller's Storefront.
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Today we have a guest article by Alex Jacobs from The 6th Ring Rolling in Rokugan podcast who goes through some of the subtleties of dueling to prepare us for the Children of the Empire environment. Some men will tell you of their duels as if they were counting stones on the shore. I cannot do so. I do not know how many duels I have fought, and I cannot tell you how many breaths I have taken.
Few scenes are as iconic as two warriors about to do battle, each taking the measure of the other, each waiting for the single movement that will begin the end. Whether it is a pair of old west gunfighters ready to draw iron or boxers in the ring, this lethal test of physical skill has long captured our imagination. In L5R, this scene is embodied in the samurai duel, two bushi with their blades ready, each prepared to cut down the other in a single stroke.
While long-divorced from its real-world martial counterpart, iaijutsu dueling has become one of the most iconic aspects of L5R. Up until recently, dueling in the LCG had failed to capture the interest for the players.
The core set included only three duels Kakita Kaezin, Mirumoto Raitsugu, and Duelist training , only one of which was splashable, so few players had any experience running duels. Now, however, we have an entire set that expands the realm of dueling. Children of the Empire touches on nearly every aspect of the duel mechanic, from the prizes for winning and penalties for losing to the methods of bidding Honor. Every clan now has at least one character with a printed duel.
The role of dueling in the game is expanding, so it behooves every player to become familiar with it because you will almost certainly face it. This is because I employ a technique that has no anchors to tradition. My school is called niten , for I use both of my swords, not just the katana.
Those who ask why do not understand my thinking. Dueling is powerful, but it can also be expensive. Dueling is a natural art, one which must be practiced before all other things, and whose reward for perfection is nothing more than life itself.
Wielding a sword should be as natural as being alive. The sword must live within you. The stances are its walk, and the rhythm of the swing is the speech of the warrior. Honor is the heart of the duel — the breath and the blood of the sword. Duel Timing D. When a duel initiates, the involved players each make an Honor bid much like when card draw happens.
Whoever bids higher gives the difference in Honor to their opponent. Whoever has the higher total and whoever has the lower total loses if totals are equal then there is no loser or winner. Now the bet itself has two components: Skill and wager. The Skill comes from the Character and the wager comes from an Honor bid. Once the duel begins the Skills are set so the only thing we can affect is the Honor bid.
It is a wager on what you think your opponent will wager. Everything else is extrapolated from this. Okay, dueling is a wager. So what? It matters because when one understands the wager it changes how one approaches the duel.
Your stance should never change, not from peace or time of war. Natural, natural, natural! The way you stand with a sword in your hand is the same way you stand with a tea cup in your hand. If you fight as you stand, your stance is natural and you do not need to shift your mind. Every deck needs a strategy. Roughly put, a strategy is a plan to win the game. There are 3 ways to win a 2 player game of L5R: honor, dishonor, and conquest.
Dueling can help each of them but in different ways. Honor: Because duels can transfer Honor between players, it is possible to achieve an Honor victory with a dueling deck. Dishonor: The Dishonor duel deck functions very similar to the Honor duel deck: the goal is to create duels that disadvantage your opponent to bait out high bids from them.
Eventually, your opponent is so low on honor that they have to stop high bidding which not only means you start to auto-win your duels but also means they have to stop bidding for cards during the draw phase.
The dishonor duel deck is a heavy control style deck. Conquest: In this style of deck, you care less about the Honor gains and losses and instead focuses on dueling effects, the stakes as we said earlier.
This deck seeks to have significantly higher starting skill than the opponent in a duel so that the effects are guaranteed or can be guaranteed with a relatively low Honor transfer. Conquest duel decks are often of the Voltron style, building up massive characters loaded with attachments. The three initial attacks are to confuse an enemy, to strike at the mind; to engage with the steel of the sword, to strike at the body; and to intimidate an enemy with your chi, to strike at the spirit.
To succeed in any one of these is to defeat your opponent. If a strategy is a path to victory, tactics are the stops along that path. How can we make that happen.
The fine folks at the Jade Throne Podcast teach a very simple but important lesson to new players: when sending characters into a conflict know what your goal is.
Is the goal to break the Province? To resolve a Ring effect? To force your opponent to defend? To force your opponent to spend resources? To simply flip the Province card face-up? One oft-overlooked aspect of duels is that because they can cause massive Honor swings they can have quite profound effects on card draw. If CotE changes the bid-5 meta, it is likely to be not a result of Composure but the Honor swings from duels.
Most of us are familiar with how Honor bleeds out from the game over time and so by after several rounds most players have switched to bidding 1, but a dueling tactic tends to get one there a lot faster.
This can be an asset for your deck as you push for a dishonor victory, a control tactic to force hand control, or a liability if you need a lot of cards to make your deck work. Know this and plan accordingly.
While it does result in a temporary card disadvantage, a board of strong dueling characters will make up for the card deficiency. I often tell other players, that the goal of my dueling deck is to turn off the Conflict decks and have us both play with our Dynasty decks. Finally, one important aspect of dueling decks is that because they require a substantial investment in one or two characters, they strongly focus on Voltron-style play.
You will know your enemy by his weaknesses. The Vain Enemy can be fooled with humility. The Negligent Enemy can be defeated with detail. The Angry Enemy can be drawn off balance. The Exhaustible Enemy tires himself quickly. The Cowardly Enemy defeats himself. Learn this, and you will never be defeated. Duelist Training — This card is the heart and soul of just about any dueling deck Dragon can run a dueling strategy without it using Raitsugu, Hitomi, and Mirumoto Dojo, but even then I recommend it be included in the Dragon dueling deck.
Early reviews of cards out of core even agreed that the card was good but needed more to make it work and so it was largely forgotten. The obvious benefit of Duelist Training is that for 1 Fate you get a reusable bow effect. That is huge. And it is! If you can get the card up and running, it pays dividends in any style of duel deck. Kakita Blade — This was a very misunderstood card when it came out, appearing to be the Crane counterpart to Honored Blade, a component of an Honor-run dueling deck.
The Kakita Blade is a useful card in the conquest dueling deck because it makes it less risky to wager Honor in a duel. Furthermore, it puts more Honor into the game, so we reach the bid-1 phase slower than in other dueling builds. Obviously the card combos with Policy Debate and Game of Sadane, the latter of which will be of interest to Crane players who often lament that one needs to be Honored in order to win Game of Sadane, though I consider these instances of niche utility.
It also is the only card in the game that guarantees composure. Wardens of the Midwest was very down on this card which is, admittedly, very incompatible with traditional styles of play, but it opens up a lot of new styles. This card is clutch in any dishonor dueling build and probably in the Honor-runner as well. Iaijutsu Master — I love how this card is the inverse of Mirumoto Daisho and has a very similar effect, but while Daisho is pre-bid, Iaijutsu Master is post-bid.
Master has the distinction of being cheaper and non-Restricted but provides less of a skill bonuses and as it is a reaction its only useable once per round. That said, I think this card has a place in any dueling deck by either those clans.
Recommended, at least in limited quantity. Seal of the Crane — This card was a surprise break-out star in my testing, turning on Iaijutsu Master and, in Dragon, Mirumoto Dojo at unexpected times. As has been pointed out about Seal of the Dragon, in a worst-case scenario it still acts as a fan-lite.
As such it forces your opponent to consider whether a duel is worth trying to win. The card is great in both the Dishonor and, eventually, Honor-runner dueling decks, though lousy in conquest, and I could see Lion pushing that in the future. Because dueling decks shut down draw bids early on, they need an alternative way to get their cards, and Proving Grounds provides just that.
While they only add to the benefit of winning of a duel, that benefit is one-sided unless your opponent has their own Proving Grounds out. It can make bidding Honor in duels essentially bidding Honor for card-draw with other perks.
The Art of the Duel
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Art of the Duel
Dueling captures many important facets of a samurai's life: skill with a blade, moral and physical courage, personal honor and loyalty to family and clan. It is an experiance which compresses his existence to its essence But dueling is not limited to the warrior ranks alone. Shugenja have used the rites of taryu-jiai to settle matters of honor between them almost since the dawn of the Empire. Courtiers have a myriad of less violent but no less dangerous methods of dealing with rivals for personal and political ends. The Art of the Duel covers the full range of Rokugani dueling practices: iaijutsu dueling.