Jared Voshall
United States
Missouri
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There doesn't seem to be much discussion about the strategies of the newest remake of a much loved classic, so I'm going to go ahead and put up my initial thoughts on the strategies of the game and what sort of thought processes go into it. Full disclosure, I've not gotten to play many games yet, and I've yet to dive into the full deck creation system, but I think I've seen enough to get some idea of the play and counterplay that the game involves. So, without further ado... Here's some thoughts on the Strategies of L5R.

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Part 1: The Art of Conflict
Part 2: Put a Ring on It
Part 3: Winning the Battle
Part 4: A Call to Arms
Part 5: A Matter of Honor
Part 6: The Deck Building Game
Part 7: The Dragon Clan
Part 8: The Phoenix Clan
Part 9: The Crab Clan
Part 10: The Unicorn Clan
Part 11: The Scorpion Clan
Part 12: The Crane Clan
Part 13: The Lion Clan
Part 14: Rushing the Goal
Part 15: Like a Surgeon
Part 16: Hold the Line
Part 17: For Honor
Part 18: Dishonorable Curs

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Part 3: Winning the Battle

So far, we've looked at some of the thinking that goes into deciding how to go into a Conflict, and took a more detailed look at what the different Rings were good for, and when to go after them. This time, we're going to take a closer look at an individual Conflict and the impact that may have on the course of the game.

For this discussion, we're not going to worry about whether this is a Military conflict or a Political one. While the specific cards available for each are, overall, different, with different focuses, the overall strategies behind them are the same.

With that out of the way, once a Conflict starts up, you should already know what your ultimate goal for it is. Are you focused on winning the conflict, preventing your opponent from breaking your province, or just looking to mess with their options for later in the turn/game? Each of these will call for a different strategy, and different cards will be better for different strategic goals.

In any case, winning the conflict means getting the highest number possible, and there are several ways to affect things.

Perhaps the highest impact possibility is straight up discarding one of your opponent's Characters. These effects are expensive and rare, but you can easily knock out 10 fate worth of character in one go if you play it right. Generally, these characters are completely out after this, so this is your big gun to make sure either you win, or your opponent loses.

After that, you have effects that have an ongoing impact after the conflict. These are primarily Attachments and effects that Honor or Dishonor a Character, both of which provide various options, potentially for several turns to come. Honor and Dishonor, in particular, can have a pretty immediate effect if the character gains one or the other, then is immediately sacrificed for some other effect - immediately either giving you Honor or removing Honor from your opponent. This can include characters you've put in your Conflict Deck, particularly if you pay additional Fate to keep them around longer than the end of the turn. Otherwise, these are effectively single use +X cards, which we discuss later.

I would include effects that remove Attachments or Tokens from a character in this category - Dishonoring a character that has been Honored, or using Miya Mystics to discard an Attachment from a character can have just as much of an impact as Honoring or putting an attachment on the character in the first place.

The third tier gives you the two effects that effectively remove the character from the combat. Bowing a Character negates any numeric impact they may have on the battle - but since they are still participating, there are a number of effects that they can still provide or be targeted by. This also prevents them from taking part in the Imperial Favor phase or any future conflicts that turn, so is generally a good way of blocking them if you don't have a Discard effect on hand.

Returning a character Home, on the other hand, prevents them from using any abilities or being targeted by any effects that require them to be participating in a conflict, but also leaves them available to be used in future conflicts and be counted toward the Imperial Favor. Generally, you want to save these for when your opponent won't be able to get much additional use from the character, and the character has a rather low Glory value.

Finally, we have the most straightforward of the effects - the +X or -X effects. These generally either last the turn (useful if you have a way of Readying your characters reliable), or more commonly, until the end of that particular conflict. These are generally found on your Conflict cards, and you generally want to make sure you really want to use them now before you waste them. Essentially, hold on to these unless they'll be enough to either Break your opponent's Province/Prevent your Province from Breaking or allow you to Win the conflict (even if just temporarily). Otherwise, it's generally better to save them for when you can have an impact.

And, that wraps up my thoughts here. I look forward to seeing the discussion on this subject below. Tune in next time as we go back to the start and look at what you may want to look for during the Dynasty phase.
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