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by Austin Murdock
5 weeks ago  (4 weeks ago)
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TL;DR: Use Shizue early to park your unicorn attachments, then keep the favor if possible (put 1 fate on her to start just in case you can't nab it early, because that absolutely happens and you can afford the 1-2 fate) and there you have a permanent Gaijin Customs activation. Fearing assassinate? Drop the next few copies of your spyglasses and talismans on Yoshi/Asami/Tengu (since Tengu's activation multiple times is insanity, why not also draw with it?) and or put the Above Question on her. Talisman people to Upholding and away from other important stuff that you need for later.

I recommend testing out Shameful vs. Pilgrimage vs. Appealing to the Fortunes for your void province to see what works best with your play style.

I cannot stress this enough: Shameful is not an auto pick here. Definitely consider Pilgrimage as an actual option.

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A bit about the deck and myself: I'm a former Yugioh player of 10+ years (among other games ofc) and overall enjoyed decks that were very good but not overly competitive. I'm not one to follow the meta at all or do any type of deck research because I would rather be rewarded with my personal deck recipe winning than me just winning with someone else's. That's not necessarily correct, but it's how I play. I'd like to be rewarded for my ingenuity rather than just getting the win. I wouldn't feel like I deserved it, especially since I have the time to devote to deck construction. I know this is a very unpopular opinion and that's totally cool, I'm not contesting that and nobody should be told or shamed into building a deck a certain way. This is just my personal credo for games and the mantra that this deck recipe follows. I'm aware that this recipe or something close to it has been built before and is in some circulation, so I definitely wasn't the first one to come up with this, but this particular recipe (pre children) is my own design and I'd like to share it for those interested in seeing a new-ish flavor of Crane. :)

I decided on Unicorn splash because I noticed a glaring lack of readiness abilities in Crane and decided to try to capitalize on Gaijin Customs to remedy that, as it is the most economic solution and the Uni influence cards play into other things we need (notably draw power and board control). As crane we can win that first fight or 2 but if they have anything for us afterwards, we might start to fall behind. This also enables more fate off ring grabs as we are doing more attacks = more character economy/more +cards/more +fate.


***Notable experience in game - True story, no exaggeration whatsoever, even ask Gerry Havey, my super awesome Dragon opponent how this all went down: I hit Restoration of Balance (my 2nd most hated card) face first on turn 1 with 2 spyglasses down (I believe. Semantics aside, I had 12 cards in hand start of conflict phase. I think I used a storehouse as well).
I DISCARDED 8 CARDS AND HAD 12 IN HAND. I cry every time. T_T So I hit Resto and boy I'm suuuuuuper bummed. I tried to hide it a bit but that didn't work and our collective mood went down a bit. So here I am with 4 cards and 2 spyglasses. I then run into Shameful and get my best stuff dishonored. Gerry now has an Honored Yokuni with a Seal of the Dragon and 3-4 fate on it. Boy am I on the down swing mentally and in-game. I THEN get my Yoshi Clouded who is wearing 3 fate and a Spyglass. Oh man this is turning out so poorly. I buy Guest of Honor next - AAAAAND CLOUD THE MIND #2. Pls nerf. :[ So things are now really, REALLY going downhill. End of turn 2 comes around and I still have 2 spyglasses out and a talisman. I then buy ANOTHER GoH and get IT clouded. Cloud Yoshi and the other clouded GoH are still out. All 3 clouds are on some of my best targets in my deck and the only tools I have available at this point...

...However. After the draw phase of turn 3 and him finding 2-3 of his hurricane punches, 2 void fists (successfully using them, as I had no VoH in hand) and all 3 cloud the minds (I didn't even get to activate Yoshi once), I was able to out card economy him, come back into the draw game, keep my important characters ready, have an insane board presence, have solid defense with only 1-2 of my provinces broken, break 3 of his and still win. Gerry made almost no mistakes that game and the ones that he did make (per him) [and in my mind] were super minor. The card draw in this deck is IN. SANITY. I was able to come back and *surpass* an 8 card disadvantage, honor and honored character disadvantage, have 3 powerful characters who were blank and come back in for the win with this recipe. I also found no Tengu Sensei to disable his board. Idk what else would convince someone to at least try the deck, but I figure this is a good example of how it can REALLY come back from a bad, bad situation.

Shout out to Gerry for being a great person to play against and a really good sport in general!


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To go in depth on the recipe: The keeper role with talisman is huge here. It almost single-handedly, legitimately won me just about every game because of the massive amount control it provides.

I know most people hate Frostbitten (for different reasons) but for me it was huge. The main issue for opponents with a ton of attachments is: If you have talisman and an unbroken Frostbitten (I actually sacrificed Shameful Display to keep Frostbitten alive at one point) [This is making me heavily consider Pilgrimage/Appealing instead of SD], they can no longer safely attack with their attachment towers. That's a *HUGE* deal. Without even planning or trying or anything, you've now just controlled their board because Frostbitten just exists. They know that they want to break provinces with their towers, but if they try, they'll just get Frostbitten'd. I found a lot of success there as it forced my opponent into terrible attacking/defending positions that they didn't want to be in and were forced to compensate in manners that ruined their strategy. They would have to attack without their towers and that usually meant lower skills that I could capitalize on and forced cards from their hands to make meaningful plays. I can only tell you that in combination with talisman, Frostbitten is a total game changer and far exceeds the 1-3 overall fate gain from Manicured Garden.

To be clear: I also agree that frostbitten is generally below average and in SoA it *especially* is, because there is no control over when it gets hit, so that's still true IMO.

When you talisman people from frostbitten to upholding, then they drop their attachments down (naturally), start spending cards, etc. Break or not, next round you send them to frostbitten with talisman and away from Magistrate (they don't break the one thing I need up? YES PLEASE)/Shameful/Pilgrimage. It ended up being a fantastic addition and an excellent combination of provinces that I admittedly didn't see a connection with initially, so that was a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one!


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About the splash: Not adding wayfinder was a HUGE decision and was a very, very, very tough cut. I personally have the splash set up this way for these reasons:

-3 Gaijin customs: That's the whole point of the splash. xD Get consistency (hence the 3 copies), get ready, get into conflicts, defending or otherwise.
-3 Spyglass: These are prime Let Go targets and are the heart of the engine, so having more available to us is huge. Not only does it mandate that they get removed, it means that we still have control with Talisman.
-2 Talisman: The reason for 2 of them and not 3 is that it's unique and will eventually be drawn by draw phase, Yoshi, Courtly Challenger (not in this recipe yet), Spyglass, etc. I personally don't like running tons of copies of unique cards because then it just clogs my hand. It's obviously very valuable, but not overly so early. That's why I'm ok waiting a turn or even 2 to draw into it. We can defend until that point. Now if I get it into my opening hand, you bet 100% that I'm keeping it, no matter my flop, but overall if I don't get it early, I don't hunt for it like I do Spyglass.

Why I'm not running wayfinder: I need to have consistent Unicorn presence to facilitate Gaijin Customs. It's a target that can get assassinated and that I don't want to invest fate into to keep around for a GC activator, it's barely worth 1-2 fate as it is and most definitely no more than that. It's a fantastic stand alone card, no question, but unreliable and doesn't add enough for this particular engine. Not only that if I'm running wayfinder, I'm running less of my engine (the attachments) or GC, which is always a bad thing, as obviously we want to find the engine ASAP. We also do not need the shugenja tag for this deck.


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Specific differences from other recipes:

Dynasty:

Tengu Sensei: Crane players typically don't like Tengu Sensei because of his mediocre stat line, but that's all they tell me about why they don't like him. I have yet to be convinced that he's actually bad. In spite of public opinion, he legitimately wins games alone sometimes because of his clown-shoes-stupid effect. This effect is also in Phoenix but you need 2 cards, one being a champion and 8+ fate to make it happen. OR you could just play TS and pay 5+ fate for it. With him out it also means that cloud has a new favorite target other than Yoshi or GoH. His reaction is also amazing board control. Why is that relevant? People think he's an agro card for some reason.

I played against a lion who played Lion's Pride Brawler and I just told her to stay home forever with the covert reaction and that kept my characters ready and able to attack. He also blew a bunch of cards (in a following conflict as he was 1st player the next round), way of the lion, legion of one, banzai, etc, to get up to the stat that my TS was at (as he was Katana'd and Talisman'd up) to then bow it. With my talisman out I sent him to go break shameful instead of magistrate. I had no defenders, but magistrate was active. He had Pathfinder Blade. I then activated magistrate and readied my TS because why wouldn't I? Pathfinder only targets the attacked province, meaning that Talisman gets even MORE value. He broke, nothing happened and I readied and went in for another covert attack with a 10/8. Lolwut.

For these reasons he easily pushes out Hotaru for me (who I love). This is because we already have plenty of political strength everywhere else, especially efficient political power in our 1-2 cost stat line and especially with Yoshi. I personally don't find that popping a ring twice is as good as saying "Hey, please tell your best character that they literally sit there and do nothing the entire conflict phase." That means you paid 5+ fate so that their 5+ fate can't do ANYTHING and instead just loses a fate while you void ring them and they then die this turn. Oh look that was a 10+ fate swing. Seems ok to me! Also that's not a pie-in-the-sky unrealistic reaction/interaction, that's just you attacking with his ability, I'm not trying to make it sound better than it is, that's legitimately the board interaction.

Not only all of that, but he has Covert! This is a rarer mechanic at the moment meaning it's very hard to defend against. That also means that somebody huge isn't defending (or in TS' case attacking later lolololol) a conflict/ring that you REALLY want to win, like oh I don't know, maybe...the attack on the stronghold/the attack to get you onto their stronghold? Why play fair when you can instead say "Hey, my card says you can't defend the most important fight that you have to defend or you outright lose the game"?

(Wow, I just convinced myself to add a 3rd copy of him into this recipe. xD)


Kudaka: Kudaka is absolutely a flex card, but I really like her as we are KoA and she supports that entire idea and role, plus provides economy on top of activating Keeper Initiates. She's also a great attachment deposit as she's got good military and political skill and being unique, will likely stick around for a while if you can find another copy or 2 (but usually I just dump 2-3 fate on her as well). Overall an excellent card and is always a threat and a decent defense if you're on the back foot.


3 Doji Shizue: Crane players for the majority also don't like this card (man I say that a lot) because it can get assassinated and has "uh, sure" stats. Nothing insane. HOWEVER her effect is awesome. It's a character that NEVER LEAVES. Crane will likely have the favor quite a bit, yes? With that, we look for board presence and value from what we buy, yes? She's a really great step in that direction (and has great full bleed art) and is an excellent target for (ASSASSINATE, I KNOW) our attachments. Why her? Other than the obvious "she won't go away"?

She's the engine for early game and is a fantastic target for either the fire ring, Court Games or Way of the Crane to keep Voice of Honor perpetually active. We need 3 copies to make sure we get her early/reasonably early.

If we can't find her, Doji Challenger (or Asami/Other 3 cost cards you like) is another excellent attachment mule with phenomenal stats and a reasonable but doable investment cost.

We don't want to buy TS or Yoshi/Kudaka/GoH 1st turn with all of our fate, we need a low cost, efficient body who will stick around who we don't need to invest a lot into to keep the attachments live and start our draw engine with Spyglass. The big problem with investing in a 4-5 cost early (other than the obvious) is that you then don't have the fate to buy said attachments/activate Gaijin Customs and start the engine/defend yourself/etc. If you spend on attachments, that means you didn't put fate on the character or vice versa. So when we get to the 4-5 cost characters turn 2-3, easily split the attachments there if you (rightly) fear assassinate. With Shizue as our attachment mule, we can easily just buy her and have 5 fate for passing first while starting the engine with fate still left over. See? She's not such a bad idea after all!


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Conflict (major differences)[With Children now out, this is also undergoing major reconstruction]:

3 Noble sac: I like(d) 3 for consistency, but with all the draw I now have, I'm going to take 1-2 out and replace it with something more impactful. Don't get me wrong I love them and they're grrrreeeat!

Warm Welcome: I'm going to add 1-3 warm welcome at some point because it's ridiculous for Gaijin customs along with literally everything. But it will need testing to get a good balance (*Cough* it and whatever event you play is free with Yoshi effect *cough* #insertscorpionenvyhere).

Above Question: I have this for an enemy Tadaka/LPB/Attacking anything or Shizue security.

Try again Tomorrow: Not hailed as amazing by most, but with Ichigenkin Soloist it might have a home here, as now you have an inexpensive defender who's immune to some stuff who just pushes huge bodies out of conflicts for a grand total of 1 (that's including her) cost. This can also be activated by Warm Welcome in grave when your opponent least expects it. Overall I'm going to try TAT and Soloist as new additions to just see how it goes, but as a defense it promises to be very cost effective and actually do the job of defending well. "But they got sent home, they can just defend now!" *A wild Tengu Sensei appears!* Tengu Sensei uses covert! It's super effective!

Doji Fumiki: is an excellent defender with Shameful Display or inexpensive attacker.

2 Admit defeat: is becoming less and less useful, I'll probably go down to 1. But again, testing required.

Defend your honor: Phenomenal keeper card, I will be testing this out at some point and I expect it will handle beautifully in this deck.

0 Cloud the Mind: Because I hate this card more than anything else in this game, FAR more than Resto/GoH/Tadaka and Cloud is a horrendously negative play experience for my opponent. I don't want to do that to people. I already make dumb jokes during the game and try to keep it light and friendly, keep us laughing (mainly at me) and this takes a bit from a more positive game experience, in my opinion, at least for me. We could absolutely run it with wayfinder (again a risky adjustment to then give up attachments/GC), Kudaka, Asahina
Takakao (I know you'll need to look her up, but I'm going to try to incorporate her into my next version of this deck. Because of the controlled dynasty cycle and how amazing her ability is, it let's you maximize fate economy, as unique cards are easier to find and it assists bad flops/reorganizes Imperial Palace, etc) and our insane card draw guarantees that Cloud will be found, but I flat out refuse to do it as a moral imperative. But it absolutely can be done.


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To (finally) Conclude: With this recipe, I drew 9 cards a turn almost every game and all of my important characters were ready to fight important conflicts, attack or defense. This made for a solid defense with my best bodies, knowing they'd be ready afterwards. No risk defense? Oof. You drive a hard bargain!

Including the EC (and a few test games before) this is about 12 games that I've played and it did what it needed to every single time. I'm personally at a 100% consistency rate. Now that's not to say it will do that every single time, but for me it's been overwhelmingly consistent. If I can afford the cards for an early mulligan (no courtiers in my flop but I drew 1 For Shame! as an example), given that that's the setup turn anyway, I'll try to dig a bit for one of the attachments, then bid 5 and try to draw deep for Spyglass.

Thank you very much for reading, I hope you found some useful information in there and that it works for you like it did for me!
comment Comments
Nice deck. Glad the Frostbitten Crossing worked out for you!
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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
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 Fire
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 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
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 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 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.
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