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: A Closer Look: Like a Surgeon
Part 16: Hold the Line
Part 17: For Honor
Part 18: Dishonorable Curs

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Last time, we took a look at the high risk, high reward play style that makes up the Rush strategy. This time, we take a look at the other aggressive strategy with a more Surgical approach.

While the ultimate goal of the Rush strategy is to overwhelm your opponent quickly, the Surgical strategy focuses more on scouting out your opponent's Provinces early, then hitting them with just enough force to break them. It's a slower strategy, but it has the benefit of allowing you to know with a lot more certainty what exactly you'll need to break each province - with the added benefit of nixing any 'When Revealed' effects that your opponent may have.

Unlike the Rush strategy, you absolutely want to bring out at least two characters turn 1. It doesn't matter what their relative strengths are - for your purposes, a 0/0 for 0 is much better than a 3/3 for 3. Ideally, you'll be able to bring out two Scout characters for 1 each, then a good Defender for 1 or 2. Depending on the type of deck your opponent is running, you may want to put a Fate on each of your scouts (especially if they're the 0/0 Crab scouts), or you may just keep them blank and replace them next turn.

Then, you poke at each of their Provinces. It doesn't matter if you win or lose these initial Conflicts - you just care about revealing what they are. Once you know what their weaknesses are, you'll then bring in your heavy hitters to finish the job and secure the win for you, while still maintaining a good defense.

This is a lower risk strategy than the Rush strategy, and is much less vulnerable to surprise cards like the Unicorn's unique province, but it's also significantly slower. While the Rush strategy could potentially win in 2-3 turns (depending on revealed provinces and your opponent's defenses), this will likely take you 4-5 turns to win. However, you'll be able to build up a much more significant force along the way - by playing low cost characters early on and not worrying about losing your first few attacks, you will have a much larger Fate pool to bring in your heavy hitters late game, and will likely have enough resources to overpower your opponent then.

As always, the Earth ring is going to be helpful in getting you the Conflict cards you want to win, and the Void ring will help nullify any extra fate your opponent puts on their characters. Early game, however, the Fire ring can be quite helpful - not for Honoring your characters, but for weakening your opponents by Dishonoring them.

As the game stands now, I see this being the most common strategy being used. Each clan has enough low-cost characters to be used as scouts (the Dragon Clan's Doomed Shugenja being a stellar example of a great character for this role) - which means that, no matter what strategy you want to use, you should be prepared to deal with it. Assassinate is particularly good for this, as it will help keep your provinces secret, helping to delay the final assault against your holdings.

I look forward to the discussion on this topic, and tune in next time as we look at the other end of the spectrum and talk about how you would work with a Defensive strategy.
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David Boeren
United States
Marietta
Georgia
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+1 for the Weird Al reference
 
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