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Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: A Question of Diversity rss

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Benjamin Schoenheiter
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Hi Guys - I really need your help. Let me start this thread by explaining to you, where this question that I am about to ask comes from: My first very very serious LCG that I heavily got into was the Star Wars Card Game. Sure I dabbled in Invasion and Lord of the Rings a bit, but stopped those quickly. When I got into Star Wars I really digged it because of the breadth of decks I could construct - I have 10 or so decks at a time, as does my fried who has been playing CCGs for at least 20 years. We both love Star Wars for exactly that: the diversity of decks - we play 2 or 3 decks every go and it is just a fun romp. Now a good year ago I felt confident enough to get into Netrunner. I am absolutely loving it - but I am not loving that there are MUST HAVES that you basically have to include in every deck. If I want to stay competitive as a Corp without a Hedge Fund it basically seems silly. So I have 1 "normal" Corp deck, and 1 experimental - that I try to make work without those MUST HAVES. Sure it is fun to play, but I wish I had more diversity in the decks I could construct, because I love to play some vastly different styles.

Now for the real question: Do you think the neutrals of L5R will kill the diversity as well? Is this way too soon to ask? I love everything I have read of L5R so far, but after having been burned by Netrunner, the recent deckbuilding leak of "neutral cards" really bummed me.
I know that the old CCG had a clan loyalty thing (so you could have built 1 deck for each clan), but now you can include cards of another clan in your deck, cutting options in half.
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Craig Groff-Folsom
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Short answer? I think seven clans is too much to support with one LCG core set, so neutrals are going to be pervasive for a few months.

I haven't seen any concrete details announced about the release model, other than generic statements that it will be like other LCGs. By this time next year, I think each clan will have enough material to feel like they each play differently. Not sure how much longer it will take before each clan has multiple viable paths.
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Benjamin Schoenheiter
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I think it is much deeper - if a "problem" persists. For example even after years, Hedge Fund or Sure Gamble are MUST HAVES in the appropriate decks, and even if some Icebreakers are simply "the best" of their kind. I know we don't have much to go on right now, and this question is probably not answerable at this moment, but maybe someone here knows more about this than I do ...
 
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Craig Groff-Folsom
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Strictly speaking, I don't expect a neutral card to be better than a clan-specific one. I'm not very familiar with the Netrunner model, but I was under the impression it has a much lower emphasis on playing "branded" cards than old L5R did.

At this point we have two schools of thought to follow. Will L5R look like a reskin of other FFG LCGs, or will it bring the FFG aesthetic to a new game that justifiably took two years to design because it brings brand new design pieces to a game with a distinctly AEG flavor?

This isn't really a question that can be answered yet. It probably cannot be answered until the cards come out, and even then, all it takes is one monthly expansion to tilt this balance in the opposite direction. However, I am optimistic from what I've seen that FFG is going to do their best to avoid a neutral card from dominating the game.
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Paul Johnson
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So, what I can say is that you can expect the situation to be better than it is in Netrunner, but the problem will still persist.

The last two LCGs, Arkham Horror and A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition, included one copy of nearly every single faction card per core set (AGoT2e had 2x of the cost reducers per box) and 2-4 copies of every single neutral card. What this means is that in AH:LCG, with the two core sets needed for full playsets, you've got 4x of every neutral and 8x of certain neutrals, and each deck can include two copies of each card -- two full decks minimum. In AGoT2e, with the three copies of the core set you'll have 3x of each faction card, 6x of most neutrals, and 9x of the really universal neutrals -- again, a two full deck minimum.

I've been maintaining a collated card list spreadsheet here and there is more than enough space for FFG to do the same thing in L5R. We've got room for 12 duplicates in the Dynasty deck (with 8 neutral conflict cards) and 16-14 duplicates in the Conflict deck (with 12-14 neutral conflict cards; we don't know the last card in the list and of course the more cards total the fewer duplicates there are). So it stands to reason given past behavior that there will be duplicates of every neutral card and some will even get multiple duplicates.

The real problem occurs with splashes, though. There will, most likely, only be one copy of, say, Ready for Battle in the set. Decks will probably want to splash for Ready for Battle. Unlike Netrunner you can only splash one other faction, so the propensity to just gobble up all the best 1-2 influence cards in every deck will be much diminished, but that only slows the problem down and doesn't solve it.

Finally, with regards to the strength of neutral cards, the Dynasty deck neutral cards so far revealed have been pretty much universally unplayable with the exception of Imperial Storehouse which is probably going to be a staple in a lot of decks for a good while. The characters, though, are just really bad and are binder fodder. The Conflict deck neutral cards, on the other hand, include a number of instant 3-ofs in every deck for the foreseeable future. 3x Fine Katana, 3x Ornate Fan, 3x Banzai! are just immediately what conflict decklists start with. For Shame!, Spies at Court, and Cloud the Mind are also very good and will see a lot of play as well, albeit not universally. (Please note I'm making these card evaluations based off about ~10 games played on Tabletop Simulator using a mocked up version of the game with incomplete spoilers and incomplete rules, so while I'm not talking completely out of my butt I also don't have the full picture).

The long and short of it is, your Dynasty decks will likely have no overlap at all (especially if Imperial Storehouse has 3x or 4x copies per core set), but your Conflict decks will have a similar problem to what you experienced with Netrunner.

That said, my personal solution will be to proxy those duplicates for decks 3+ and only deal with the hassle of switching cards over when I go to tournaments. The people you're playing with will understand, and it's easy enough to do.
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Benjamin Schoenheiter
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Thank you! That was an incredibly detailed analysis! I tip my hat to you, sir (and some GG).

And yes, cards like the Fan or Katana are exactly what I feared in that regard. So I will just have to proxy, which I haven't done before; but these look like they again belong in any deck, any it seems for a long time as well. Well high hopes that 3 cores will give me some extras here.
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Chris Berger
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In the CCG, not only did Unaligned personalities exist right from the start (though many of them had Toturi's Army or Shadowlands or Monk or Ninja traits, so they eventually belonged to "clans" once those traits had their own Strongholds and most of those officially became clans), but you could include personalities from any clan in your decks. Also most cards in the game that were not personalities had no clan restriction. And decks were still plenty diverse. I don't think there's a deck diversity issue just because neutral cards exist.
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mathew rynich
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Is the issue that you want to build two decks to face off against each other or that you want to have a bunch of prepared decks ready to go in your deck box?

For the former if you get 3x core sets you should have plenty of redundant neutrals to form 2x decks at the same time. I worry about ubiquitous neutrals outside of core because that's where you don't expect redundant purchases. Even then given the way influence works in this game your two decks might still step on each other if you want to influence into the same clan. This is probably the more likely bottleneck, but if you coordinate you can play around it. So far I've been pretty successful with coordination supporting two players with one collection in Conquest, Netrunner, AGOT, AH TCG, LOTR. So I'm confident you'll be able to do similarly in L5R assuming 3x core purchases.

For the latter given the way deck building works in this game you'll probably be able to swing a couple premade decks, but after that you'll run into roadblocks because the best conflict cards for each faction will be cannibalized pretty quickly after your first 2 decks. That's even before we start talking about ubiquitous neutrals. For Netrunner and Conquest I usually put a slip of paper in a sleeve for cards I was missing in that deck to know which I needed to swap out. You could always do that instead of proxies if you absolutely wanted to play with the real cards and just wanted to be prepared with a bunch of premade decks.

SW LCG was kind of a unique experience deckbuilding-wise since it had that pod system. L5R is more restrictive than Netrunner, but it's not as restrictive as SW LCG so that means more potential conflicts. Long story short is I'd expect a harder time of it
 
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Benjamin Schoenheiter
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It is actually the latter - I love having different styles to play and experimenting with new themes. I love Star Wars for that but I cannot find a single person to play that with me competitively. Now L5R is giving me that chance but I fear dropping a load of money again, but having only 1 or maybe 2 decks to play at a time - that for me is just somehow too little diversity at a time. Which is why it is so sad for me and Star Wars
 
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