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By Budders
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As featured on the Hidden City Roller Derby podcast!
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--Gameplan: Though Defeat, Victory (Defeat)--
You cannot win. So, your opponent must defeat themselves. Hold out with stall tactics, Imperial Favor, and win-less effects until your opponent eventually gains such as sense of security and confidence, that they allow themselves to slip into a position where you can maybe steal a win.

Maintain a higher honor than your opponent at all times. Pressure honor on all fronts.

--The Structure of Defeat--
*Stronghold: Yōjin no Shiro
12 Honor means 1 point further away from an honor loss. 1 extra influence is 1 extra space for red cards. Ability means you commit to one big swarm attack each turn for a chance to win a conflict.

*Provinces:
All our provinces allow us to capitalize when our opponent breaks our provinces each conflict. Defend anyway, but manage your expectations; don't over commit. We're Lion, not some kind of winning clan. Your stronghold province should probably be Abandoning Honor. When your opponent breaks your stronghold each game, there is a slim chance abandoning honor will kill a dishonored enemy and cause 1 final piece of honor loss that could give you a hail-mary victory. Shameful Display is also an acceptable choice if you think it might allow you to win a conflict. Don't get your hopes up though.

*Dynasty:
A mix of bodies that allow for most common keywords to be used. We have few conflict options, so we need to be able to use all of them. Bushi, Courtier, Shugenja.

*Conflict: Yellow cards are bad. We circumvent this issue, by not using them. We use as many red cards as possible, until our opponent loses themselves the game. We also use as many cards as possible that will slow, disrupt ro cancel the opponents' cards. The best use for your things, is to switch off your opponents' things.

*Mulligans:
Dynasty: 1 and 2 Costers please.
Conflict: Look for Waning Hostilities and/or Way of the Chrysanthemum.

--The Five Phases of Failure--

Dynasty Phase:
1. Early game, buy many small, fate-less people. What we lack in quality, we attempt to fix in quantity. Later game, lash out with a 3+ coster of your choosing with a few fate.
2. Never have less than 3 people on the table.
2.2. The exception is if you can grab Akodo Kage + 1 body. Limiting your opponents card draw is invaluable.
3. Start planning now to take and maintain the Imperial Favor.
4. You need enough people to defend to avoid honor loss and attack with whatever is left. Keep -Waning Hostilities- in mind.
5. Keep at least 3 fate turn to turn. If the opportunity circus comes to town, you need to pay for admission.
6. You probably won't get passing fate. Don't worry. Compared to the issues you're about to face, this is trivial.

Draw Phase:
1. You don't always Bid 5. A Chrysanthemum in hand means you might consider bidding 1 for a fat honor bump, otherwise, maybe 5 to stock up turn 1, then switch to 1 later on. You want to stop them drawing as much possible as soon as possible. Less cards in everyone's hand means less opportunities for you to be outclassed.
2. When the time is right, and dials are sitting at 1 bid, or duel bid to 2. Now that you've (hopefully) bid higher than your opponent, you can turn on ICS and Infiltrator. Removing, or using, your opponents cards means you might not lose all conflicts.
3. You're not going to win conflicts, so play Waning Hostilities whenever possible. The less conflicts there are, the less losing you can do.
4. Retain Kami, Contingency, Backhanded and Dishonor cards for near the end of the game, if possible. You need to lure your opponent down to low honor (or, less likely, you on high honor), then dump your hand to shoot for glorious, unlikely victory!

Conflict Phase:
1. Waning Hostilities if possible. Less conflicts means less losing.
2. If you *don't* have Waning Hostilities, you should usually pass your first conflict. You only want one, Military conflict, and you need to bring as many resources to bare as possible. If you are extremely flush with bodies, you might poke, but only to:
a) Snag some fate
b) Deny a crucial ring effect to your opponent.
c) Make your opponent use resources or commit bodies to defense before your real attack.
Be careful when employing wild, double-conflict declaring tactics. That kind of thin-spread anarchy is for non-yellow clans.
3. Defend every conflict. Prevent breaks if you can (even on Upholding) but DO NOT over-commit. The the aim is to whittle away your opponents resources, not win.
4. When you declare your conflict for the turn, it should be Military, with many bodies to make the most of your stronghold effect.
5. Your people have good glory scores, by the end, you should have calculated your way to Imperial Favor. Take a moment and appreciate it. Victories are hard to come by.

Fate Phase (The Mind Games Phase):
1. Nothing special here.Take stock of what's left and look despondent as most of your board is wiped.
2. Mid-Late game you should aim for your opponent to lose honor here via dishonored bodies, edging you closer to your unlikely victory.
3. Keep your eye on the prize. Look sad, and display weakness.
5. Perhaps sigh deeply, and comment on how you have no chance of victory.

Regroup Phase (The Psychological Warfare Phase):
1. Again, not much goes on here, but loudly bemoan and complain about the power of your opponents cards as they straighten.
2. Appear frustrated by the state of the table and lament at how you have no chance of victory. This should not be difficult, all things considered.
3. Complain that the game is broken and that the developers hate Lion. Be creative, and don't overuse your material or your proponent may grow suspicious.
4. Do your best to make them feel confident enough to let honor creep closer to the win-zone next turn.

--Unconventional Conventions--
*Dueling -- Nasty duel effects, such as Policy Debate and Defend Your Honor are key tools. Consider using them to duel a higher skilled opponent with one of your smaller guys, but no more than 1-3 points difference. Your opponent will assume you intend to bid higher to take out the effect so will have to bid up higher to ensure victory with little actual risk from their perspective. Bid 1, and reap that sweet, sweet honor. The downside is that your opponent gets to discard one of your cards of choice, but you're playing Lion, so the joke is on them. All your cards are bad anyway.

*Assassinate -- Try to lure out your opponents assassinates early game. 3 honor is a great stride towards victory.
If you think your opponent has assassinates, consider 2 fate or a juicy attachment on a pleb to make it a solid target. 3 honor is about as good as it's going to get from a value standpoint. Lure it out by setting up your board to not be capable of any event cancels. Make your opponent feels confident and comfortable in their assassinate use.

--Matchup Specifics--
*Non-Yellow Clans - Bunker down, this is going to get choppy. Your key tools will include:
1. Infiltrator: Your cards are bad. Use your opponents cards instead. Great on a Steadfast Samurai pre-assassinate.
2. Akodo Toturi (Neutral): The best case scenario in a conflict, is no one being able to play cards. Toturi is your man.
3. Akodo Kage: Deprive your opponent of card draw. God yes.

Against Dragon, Crane and Fire Roles do not attack unless you think you can handle Resto, Magi-Station or Feast. You can't. If you still think you might draw (or even win???), then feel free.

*Lion Clan - Acknowledge your opponents commitment and bravery. You may be opponents, but you are kin. The other clans can't really appreciate tribulation you face each and every game. You may need to hug it out, maybe shed a tear or two, but then get back to the task at hand. Remember, you don't run yellow conflict cards, your opponent likely does; you actually have the upper hand for a change. Show no mercy.
comment Comments
Great writeup :D
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Role
No Role
Keeper of Air
Organized Play Role
Increase your deck building influence value by 3.
After you win an conflict as the defending player - gain 1 fate.
Seeker of Air
Organized Play Role
You may replace 1 province of any element with an additional province while deck building.
After an province you control is revealed - gain 1 fate.
Keeper of Earth
Organized Play Role
Increase your deck building influence value by 3.
After you win an conflict as the defending player - gain 1 fate.
Seeker of Earth
You may replace 1 province of any element with an additional province while deck building.
After an province you control is revealed - gain 1 fate.
Keeper of Fire
Increase your deck building influence value by 3.
After you win a conflict as the defending player - gain 1 fate.
Seeker of Fire
Organized Play Role
You may replace 1 province of any element with an additional province while deck building.
After an province you control is revealed - gain 1 fate.
Keeper of Void
Increase your deck building influence value by 3.
After you win a conflict as the defending player - gain 1 fate.
Seeker of Void
Organized Play Role
You may replace 1 province of any element with an additional province while deck building.
After an province you control is revealed - gain 1 fate.
Keeper of Water
Organized Play Role
Increase your deck building influence value by 3.
After you win a conflict as the defending player - gain 1 fate.
Seeker of Water
Organized Play Role
You may replace 1 province of any element with an additional province while deck building.
After an province you control is revealed - gain 1 fate.
Support of the Crane
Increase your deckbuilding influence value by 8.
You may only spend Influence on clan cards.
Support of the Phoenix
Increase your deckbuilding influence value by 8.
You may only spend influence on cards.
Support of the Scorpion
Increase your deckbuilding influence value by 8.
You may only spend influence on clan cards.
Support of the Unicorn
Increase your deckbuilding influence value by 8.
You may only spend influence on clan cards.
Stronghold
Stronghold
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Conflict Inital Draw Probability & Mulligan by Card
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Conflict Inital Draw Probability + Bid by Card
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Legend of the Five Rings
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