Near the end of the Elemental Cycle release, Chutereve gathered several of us Crane players from the discord to do an evaluation of the new cards we feel are relevant to Crane decks. We each wrote our thoughts independently and with various amounts of testing based on what was available at the time of writing before Gencon. Today we will be looking at just the Crane Cards. Articles on Splashable Cards and current decks will be coming in the near future. We hope everyone finds our opinions interesting at the very least and will be overjoyed if some players find guidance in our insights.
Fu Sui Disciple
Average rating : 2.25
Chuterêve – 2.5 /5
Fu Sui is currently a bad card. The subpar stats are already concerning in a clan that tries to push tempo and the ability is just not enough to make it viable. The main issue of Fu Sui’s ability is that it synergizes with the least useful ring in the game currently, so you are generally forced to pick Air when you would normally pick (and deny to your opponent) another ring. The only notable exception is when one player is very close to winning or losing by dishonor. I can see Fu Sui being viable when dishonor focused Crane decks become a thing but now doesn’t seem like the right time. In a non-DH focused deck, Fu Sui doesn’t even make the Air ring objectively better than the Fire ring. You shouldn’t even pick Fu Sui for the Shugenja trait if you want to run Cloud The Mind because we currently have access to stronger Shugenja.
Erik – 2/5
Being a 1/2 with 2 Glory for 3, the text on Fu Sui Disciple has something to make up for. It fails to do that, as the ability is not only contingent on the Air ring being claimed but also fails to be impactful in many rounds. Maybe he will have a place in a honor deck someday, or he could be one of the subpar Shugenja you run to enable Cloud the Mind.
If you do try Fu Sui Disciple, think carefully about when to use the ability. You don’t have to do it immediately after the Air ring is claimed! If your opponent has the Air ring, the Fate Phase is often a better time.
Liforre – 2.5/5
Ah, Disciple, if only you were for Fire rings… Currently, the Air ring is probably the weakest ring of the bunch, which both means that your opponent won’t be taking it and that going for it should, most of the time, be less optimal than any other option. This sub-optimality, coupled with a subpar body and needlessly specific mechanic means this card isn’t all that impressive. Still, shugenja and the beginning of an “Air ring matters in Crane” theme might make him more viable in the future.
Onimaru – 2/5
I had high hopes for this card. I really did. Noble Sacrifice is perhaps the most powerful card in the game but is almost unplayable due to how hard it is get the right character honored and/or dishonored when you need them to be. Fu Sui tries his best to be the bridge we need but simply falls short due to being under stated and being only a Shugenja, a keyword Crane do not get much value out of. The final nail in the coffin is that if the opponent gets the air ring then THEY are the one that gets to choose which of their characters gets dishonored. Until we see more uses for Shugenja other than Cloud the Mind I don’t see this card making the cut.
Average rating : 1.75
Chuterêve – 2/5
If I had to rate this card on the art, it will probably be the best card of the set.
That being said, let’s compare this card to Asahina Storyteller who is currently barely played: Both have the same fate cost, the Shugenja trait and 2 glory. Asahina Takako get a crippling military dash for only +1 political. Storyteller’s has the additional always useful Courtier trait and an ability that has the potential to generate a lot of card advantage during a game.
Takako’s ability does almost nothing aside of some very specific synergies like moving an holding (Imperial Palace or Chisei District seems the most interesting one) or being a support for Nerishma’s ability.
Erik – 1.5/5
I think the text on this character is very interesting, but a ‘–’ for Military and the high Fate cost are simply not good enough to play. There is some nice synergy Daidoji Nerishma and with defensive holdings, but The Imperial Palace is the only holding we sometimes want to keep around.
Liforre – 2.5/5
In my opinion, the hardest Crane card to evaluate of the cycle. -/5 shugenja with 2 Glory is fine, but lacks versatility in a clan which already has too many big drops with tons of pol but not much in mil. Completely unique effect is unique but the only obvious synergy right now is Nerishma. I wouldn’t be surprised if this card ends up being very good with the correct support (the new Scorp unique holding would be amazing with her for example). Right now though? I’m really not sure that her lack of immediate impact on the board makes her worthwhile.
Boy, do I hate this card. I try to be optimistic about cards, try to see how they could be used in interesting ways or in deck-types that may come online in the future. But for the life of me I can’t find a use for this card. Looking at your facedown cards is an interesting way to gain some insight on your future flop, especially if you can move them around to prevent valuable cards from being discard or milled to dig for something more useful, but I cannot see how such an ability would be worth the outrageous price of this character. There is no dynasty card so valuable that I would be willing to spend this kind of cash to ensure she stays in play, and I shudder to think at what kinds of future card we would get in the future that would be so broken that I’d be willing to spend this much money to protect it. The closest card we have right now is Yoshi, and that wouldn’t even be worth it because I wouldn’t be able to buy Yoshi because I JUST SPENT ALL MY MONEY ON TAKAKO!!!! And I haven’t even gotten to her dash MIL stat yet which severely restricts her mobility. Finally, I am not impressed with her high Pol and Glory. We already have a number of characters who can bring these numbers to the table, one of them being Hotaru who is already perpetually at risk of losing her spot due to not having a proactive effect and not being courtier.
Average rating : 1.12
Chuterêve – 2/5
Sadane Student is too mediocre to be played. If it was a Core Set card I could’ve seen it used as a filler because it’s not utterly terrible either.
Erik – 0.5/5
Crane decks have no shortage of good 2-drops, and this is not one of them.
Liforre – 1/5
Amazing art, less than amazing text. Crane already has a good amount of very good 2 drops and this one shouldn’t make the cut. Maybe if we see more courtier synergy cards ? 1/5
Onimaru – 1/5
Well…..at least the art is nice? The thing that really kills this card is the cost. Crane have a lot of really good 2 Fate Characters. Unfortunately, Sadane Student isn’t bringing anything to the table to let her compete with them. Unless Crane gets something similar to Secluded Shrine, as well as a bunch of cards that also greatly benefit from having Fire and/or Air claimed, she isn’t going to see play. And even then, she’s only going to go from a “hard pass” to a solid “maybe”.
Average rating : 2.37
Chuterêve – 3.5/5
At first glance, it doesn’t seem good until we can have a deck that can reliably win by reaching 25 honor, something that it’s not going to happen this cycle.
That being said, it’s an inexpensive tech against dishonor decks and it’s not that hard to find a free slot in your Dynasty deck.
If you are not playing against a dishonor deck you will obviously want to discard this holding at the end of the turn and it will be useless that game but it’s still an OK sacrifice to make because you have 3 others Dynasty cards slot this turn and plenty of good Conflict characters to make up for it.
If you are playing against a dishonor deck and the pressure is real, this card shines because you and your opponent will almost always want to go for the Air ring. A free one honor gain each turn (assuming the province on the holding is not destroyed of course) against a dishonor deck is absolutely huge and can save you from many DH losses.
Bonsai Garden is not auto-include obviously but is a strong 1x tech.
Erik – 1.5/5
The fact that this requires an Air conflict means it could be broken on your opponent’s first conflict without ever doing anything. Even so, I think you will be able to get the 1 honor about 80% of the time. A bigger problem is that gaining 1 honor is not relevant in a large majority of situations, at least with our current decks. In a dedicated honor deck this could actually see play, as the last points of honor are often the hardest and Bonsai Garden would enable you to get them.
Liforre – 1/5
Right now, this card is basically useless. However, no doubt that when Honor Crane become viable, this will be a very important part of it.
I like this card. Obviously this is a callback to classic Honor running holdings from Old5R, but it is also clear that this will be this will be a “bread and butter” type constant effect Crane are going to need to truly push an honor deck. I don’t think such a deck exists in a competitive format at the moment, but when it does I suspect this card will be a 3x in it. That said, I don’t think this card is entirely useless in our current decks either. Dishonor is a huge part of the format and this card can do lots of work to keep us afloat against Scorpion and Crab. The access Honor, while not enough to threaten an honor victory, might be useful as an extra resource to power honor draining cards like Assassination, or make up the difference of lost honor from Duels. The only downsides are that it only works during Air conflicts, limiting your attack options, and it is a province that might block bodies from entering play. Consider testing at 2x. I’d rate it higher but at the end of the day, even in an optimal deck it’s still just 1 piece of a much larger Honor puzzle.
Average rating : 1.25
Chuterêve – 1/5
Unlike Sadane Student, I don’t even think this one would have been played even in Core Set. 2 fate is way too much for the body and the ability.
Erik – 0.5/5
Oh look, another 2-drop that does nothing.
Liforre – 0.5/5
If I’m not mistaken, you can use her interruption even if you have no fate. This means that this go from unplayable garbage to unplayable trash. 1/2 courtier for 2 and that’s about it.
Onimaru – 3/5
I actually like this card. Anyone that has tried to honor rocket knows that one of the biggest obstacles is all of the Honor you lose from your opponent nickel-and-diming from undefended attacks. This artisan single handedly stops that from happening! Unfortunately, it’s at the cost of 1 Fate per Honor saved. While it has been ruled she still works if you have no fate……you now have a lot more problems because you have not fate! At 2 Fate her stats are kinda underwhelming. So underwhelming that I kinda wonder if she’s a good target for Tattered Missive. After all, you’re buying her for her ability, not to take provinces with.
Average rating : 3.5
Chuterêve – 3.5/5
We had a lack of 1 drops, so this one fits pretty well in our decks currently. It’s not amazing but not bad either. Sometimes it will be able to honor a big character when it leaves play but most of the time it will probably just make you gain one delayed honor, which is still an ok deal for the body it is associated with.
The greatest downside of the card preventing me from rating it higher is that by playing it in most matchup, you essentially renounce to the passing fate.
Note that the card works pretty well with Forged Edict as it’s a cheap courtier that you will rarely care to dishonor.
Erik – 3/5
The Crane dynasty side had some weak spots before this cycle, so I expect this to find some spots in most decks. It’s not great that the effect is delayed for a turn, but the 1 Political, 1 Glory and Courtier trait make this an acceptable character. In general you should be thinking about the passing fate every Dynasty Phase, meaning you will probably only play this about 30-40% of the time it shows up.
Liforre – 3.5/5
0/1 for 1 is less than 10/10 and no impact on the board in the turn you play it can be awkward, but should be fine on a 1 drop courtier. Very nice synergy with Storyteller or just about any card with 1 Fate and 2 Glory. We might have too much honor effect at some point though, and the offbeat honor effect might prove harder to use than predicted. Still, this card should be a decent 2-off staple in the future.
Onimaru – 4/5
This is an amazing card! At 1 Fate for 0/1, this is a perfect character to poke Provinces with, but his ability is what really seals the deal. Generating honor tokens is key to stabilizing the usefulness of Voice of Honor as well as making Noble Sacrifice consistent enough to be run at 2x or 3x (do I dare to even dream?). Additionally, he can be used with some of the other honoring tools we have to turbo-charge Asahina Storyteller into a card churning machine. His low stats do make him a bit un-ideal in later rounds as buying him might mean losing passing fate, but he is still valuable when you know are going to be losing the fate anyways. Alternatively, he may be worthwhile buying first and then passing in decks with a lot of conflict characters or decks that run charge.
Average rating : 3.12
Chuterêve – 3/5
At 5 fate cost, Tengu Sensei has some serious competitors.
The ability can be very powerful, especially if you are first player. If you manage to Covert your opponents 5 drop, preventing him from defending this attack and attacking for the whole turn, you are obviously in a very good spot.
That being said, there are many variables that can reduce the impact of the ability: Not being first player, your opponent having a Favorable Ground/ Hawk Tattoo/ being a Unicorn player or even having his big character with Covert/Finger of Jade. Yes, that’s a pretty long list sadly.
The real downside of the Tengu Sensei are the stats. We can now Honor very reliably any of our high cost characters to benefits for the full Glory bonus. That makes Hotaru a 6/9 and Yoshi a 5/9 but Tengu only a 6/4. That’s a huge gap and the ability can’t make up for it enough.
Erik – 2.5/5
In the land of Hawk Tattoo and Favorable Ground, super-Covert is not as valuable. When the ability does not work for whatever reason, you are massively overpaying for a 4/2. I have not had the chance to play any games with Tengu Sensei yet, so I might be wrong about this rating, but I expect that the usual ‘expensive characters’ cast of Guest of Honor, Doji Hotaru and Kakita Yoshi will be better in most if not all decks.
Liforre – 3/5
The body of a 4 drop and an effect that’s highly situational. In some games, you’re going to play this going first and it will be amazing. In others, your opponent will have a Favorable Ground. I might create a Covert/harpoon deck eventually, but probably not right now.
Onimaru – 4/5
Crab and Dragon are the hardest matchup for Crane as all of our event negation with worthless on attachments. These decks generate big, beefy towers with multiple layers of protection that quickly become nightmares are cards are useless against. Tengu Sensei is a potential answer to this problem. Not only does he bypass the towers we want to avoid but he stops them from attacking. This is especially useful against characters that always seem to be in every conflict, like Niten Master or whichever Crab has 3 Spyglass’ that Steadfast Witch Hunter keeps straightening. There are ways to play around his ability, such as Jade Finger canceling the covert or Favorable Ground being used to move people into conflicts, but frankly I am satisfied just with them having to burn the resources to make these plays. If they blow a Finger of Jade on the Covert, then now they have one less answer to For Shame or even Noble Sacrifice! Unfortunately, like most of our cards, he is understated and being non-unique hurts his longevity. Honestly, he may not even be worth buying in any match other than Dragon or Crab, but he is such a solid answer to that massive problem that I don’t even care. After all, those clans are what Guest of Honor is for!
(WARNING: For the love of GOD, do not buy him against Phoenix. Things will go bad for you!)
Average rating : 2.62
Chuterêve – 3/5
Formal invitation has some potential but is really hard to fit in an already very packed conflict deck. The 2 Glory restriction make it hard to play and it is also in competition with the very strong Hawk Tattoo. That being said, if we get a Fire Role and we are going to play Imperial Librarian (a card that we will review in the next article), Formal Invitation gets a lot more interesting.
Erik – 2.5/5
The ability to move a character to a Conflict is very strong, as exemplified by Hawk Tattoo that we will review later. This has the upside of being free, but the restriction to Political Conflicts and to characters with at least 2 Glory makes it quite narrow. I could see this as a 1x, but ultimately I don’t think Formal Invitation works often enough to warrant a deck slot.
Liforre – 2.5/5
In theory, a harpoon effect and a move in effect. I’m pretty sure the Glory restriction is only there because of Guest of Honor, even though we might use it with Imperial Librarian at some point. On its own, I doubt you play this unless you’re playing a crazy harpoon/covert deck.
This thing has so many restriction on it that I wonder why they bothered to make it in the first place. All in all, this is a WAY less good version of Hawk Tattoo. The Glory restriction not only stops Guest of Honor from using it but it is difficult to find many worthwhile targets with high enough glory to make this a decent Harpoon option. It’s not completely without merit as it can allow you to under-commit without fear and some Crane characters have useful abilities that they only need to be present to take advantage of, but overall any decent strategy you can think of that can take advantage of this card is better served with Hawk Tattoo. As a final note, Kakita Kaezin has an interesting synergy with this card. He does not need to be straight to perform his Duel and characters in Political battles often do not have much Mil, thus a weirdly effective control option.
……or, you can just use Hawk Tattoo!
The Mirror’s Gaze
Average rating : 1.75
Chuterêve – 2/5
I will not bother to seriously review this card and delve into rulings hell. It could maybe a fun cards for some players but it’s not consistent enough to be anything else.
Erik – 1/5
Beside being an absolute nightmare with its rulings, a 2-cost attachment that has to attach to a shugenja needs a way better ability than this to be worth playing.
Liforre – 1/5
Oh boy! 2 cost attachment with restrictive conditions and confusing rules interactions? Sign me in! Unless something happens to Let Go/Calling In Favors, you probably won’t be able to play that in a competitive environment, even though it sure is fun when it sticks.
Onimaru – 3/5
There is a long list on why this card is bad. 1. We have very few shugenja, and even less that are worth playing. 2. It is a 2 cost attachment in an environment FILLED with attachment destruction. 3. It is hard to tell what cards this even works on since the wording does not interact intuitively with many events in the game. 4. Your opponent can see it and thus will not play any cards they know will be reversed. All that said, IF we get enough shugenja that are worth playing it is still a decent soft counter to your opponents events. I’ve actually found it fits decently on Kaito Kosori in a Phoenix Splash deck. In fact, I think if any deck can make this card work it would be the Phoenix.
Icon of Favor
Average rating : 2.5
Chuterêve – 2.5/5
Assuming we’ll get a fire role (somethings bound to happen at some point), we will be able to play Icon of favor. The card is not very exciting by itself because you first neet to win a Fire conflict for it to act like an Honoring tool. Obviously, Way of the Crane and Soul Beyond Reproach are stronger by being unconditional but I can see a world where we need more ways to honor characters in Fire role. I really dislike that it almost does nothing if you are not winning Fire first though.
Erik – 2/5
Icon of Favor might seem comparable to Way of the Crane at first, but getting the Honor token after you win a Fire conflict is a massive difference. Cards that force you to contest (let alone win) a certain ring always lose points for forcing you to play a certain way. The +1 glory while you have the Imperial Favor is nice, but in the current state of the game it is not easy at all to get and keep Favor.
Liforre – 2/5
Maybe +1/+1 if you have the Favor and an honoring effect that is functional, but mostly a bit forgettable. 0 cost attachment is about as stable as it gets though. Obviously, you can’t play it with Soul Beyond Reproach, which would make it slightly stronger. Considering all the other Honoring tools we got this cycle, I doubt this will see much play, unless you’re playing a crazy Yoshi storm list.
PS : Feel free to send me this list
Onimaru – 3.5/5
I find I have to hold myself back, because the obvious card to compare this to is Soul Beyond Reproach, and Icon of Favor is nowhere near as good as that card. That being said, if we get a Fire role then this card can do a suitable job filling the same slot as SBR. It allows you to use the Fire Ring exclusively to dishonor other character in the hopes of setting up Noble Sacrifice, and the increased Glory can make the attached character a bigger threat. I wouldn’t underestimate its ability to help mass generate honor tokens, which can power Asahina Storyteller and inch us closer to a potential Honor Victory Deck. It can also be used in rare cases to hold on to the Imperial Favor, especially when combined with Magistrate Station. Overall, a solid but underwhelming card.
Insult to Injury
Average rating : 0.75 (worst rated crane card)
Chuterêve – 2/5
I like the design of the card but the power level is relatively low and the tools are just not here to make it work correctly. For now, we have two events in conflicts that can trigger a duel : Game of Sadane who already has a dishonor effect, making it a non-combo and Policy Debate, often played as the restricted Crane card. To make Insult to Injury work with Policy Debate, we would need to use specifically Kaezin (with or without Policy Debate), Doji Challenger or a character with the Seal of the Crane. It’s really too narrow for an effect that is already not a great payoff. Dueling decks are just not going to be a competitive thing for Cycle 2 anyway but we can hope for it later in the lifetime of the game. And even then, it’s not a given that Insult to Injury will make the cut in it.
Erik – 0/5
You need to A) find a way to duel someone; B) have your character in that duel be a duelist; C) win that duel; D) have the opposing character be someone worth dishonoring; all while having this card in your hand. Unplayable.
FFG being fluff indeed: the real “Insult to Injury” was to release this card in this cycle, when a Duel/Duelist deck is still extremely far from being viable. Basically unplayable currently, might very well be strong by cycle 4.
Onimaru – 1/5
In Old5r we Crane had a saying: “Dueling is not a win condition”. Because many (me included) were the new Crane player that got so excited about the idea of Dueling that they ended up putting every duel card into their deck without any consideration if it helped them win or not. That what this card is, something a novice Dueling player would add to their deck only to learn the hard way that is does practically nothing to help them win games. As of right now there are not nearly enough duelist and/or duels in current decks to warrant the addition of this card. However, even if we had many good duelists and duels we were confident we could always win, this card STILL doesn’t do anything particularly useful. For this card to be good we would need more effects that severely punish characters for being dishonored. I look forward to revisiting this card when there are more dueling options to play with, but we are going to need a LOT before this come even close to making the cut.
Menacing Iron Warrior
Average rating : 3.75
Chuterêve – 4/5
This is one of the good surprises of the cycle. I was originally very skeptical of it being a Conflict character because our Conflict slots are already so stacked and we have no shortage of good conflict characters. It turns out that he’s great to complement Political Rival and gives a welcoming push to our sometimes low Military stats. With all our Honor tools, he will practically always have 5 military skill. The ability will be irrelevant in some games but will play a major role in others. It doesn’t matter how high on Military your opponent’s character can go during a conflict because once Menacing Iron Warrior uses its ability, it’s turned on for he rest of the conflict. You just have to use it as the first action while having a higher military stat (something generally achievable with him honored). The most obvious and welcome use is to disable a Lions Pride Brawler in a military conflict. That being said, you probably don’t want more than 3x 3 cost conflicts character in your deck, so there is a balance to reach between him and Political Rival.
Erik – 4/5
First let’s make sure we are on the same page – this is a conflict character. That means you can pass earlier in the Dynasty Phase with this in hand. Once it hits the table, it’s not hard for a Crane deck to get her honored for a solid 5 military skill. Before, saving a bunch of fate was a strong indicator that a Political Rival was coming. Now our opponents will have to respect threats on either conflict type. The action is icing on the cake, but I have gotten great use out of it attacking a Dragon Stronghold (stopping Niten Master and Yokuni from readying, so they had to stay bowed from For Shame) as well as defending my own Stronghold against Lion (he had an Ujiaki with Imperial Favor, but could not use that on the military attack). I think Menacing Iron Warrior is a great addition alongside Political Rival, and expect to have 1 or 2 of her in my deck.
Liforre – 3.5/5
Also named “Why are you conflict again?”, this card could have been so good. Static effect, no strength restriction or no conflict type restriction: any of those would have make this a very good card. As it stands, you’re mostly using it as a blank 3/1/2 conflict character. How good is it? Surprisingly, it’s quite good in our conflict deck as a x1.
Onimaru – 3.5/5
Oddly enough, this is the first time I can think of where being a conflict character is a detriment to its playability. MIW is pretty decent, offering some much needed MIL skill that we sorely need. It has a powerful ability and the 2 glory not only boosts it while honored but makes it a good option to drop after Conflicts are played to claim the Imperial Favor. Its biggest downside is that it is a Conflict character, putting it in competition with our other excellent Conflict characters in an already packed Conflict deck. Also, for the most part there are very few characters in the game with abilities worth canceling. Still, MIW is undoubtedly an effective character and I think it will only become more useful over time. I would not be surprised to see at least one in many Crane decks and potentially more as the card pool grows.
Soul Beyond Reproach
Average rating : 4.5 (best rated crane card in the set)
Chuterêve – 4.5/5
This is my favorite card in the set. I like everything about it except the fact that it’s Air role locked. The art is gorgeous, the effect and the name feels really Crane and it finally gives us a way to (almost) always have a 3+ character honored on the board. In my testing, it made our Clan Champion a much less risky investment. Hotaru will now be a 6/9 most of the time, which is really enough to push almost any political conflict and is a major force in military too. I am even playing Yoshi without favor sometimes now, thanks to this card coupled to our other honoring tools. Even only honoring a character once for one fate is a more than fair price to pay in a clan with Voice of Honor and now Magistrate Station. It’s a good thing because 2/3 of the time you will probably use it for only honoring once. And then, there is the others times. The one in which Soul Beyond Reproach is absolutely amazing. You can use it after a Court Games, For Shame!, Shameful Display or even Way of the Scorpion to get double value and instantly reverse the critical advantage that your opponent could have had. It is obviously as its best against Scorpion and gives us a very strong tool to fight fairly in the match up (read as: not playing Guest of Honor). There is also a very notable synergy with Forged Edict, Calling in Favors and Spies at Court. While I’m not convinced that it makes Spies at Court worth being included in our decks, splashing the Scorpion cards are certainly worth it (Forged Edict even more on a Keeper of Air role giving us the additional influence).
Erik – 3.5/5
Menacing Iron Warrior was a positive surprise from “The Ebb and Flow”, but Soul Beyond Reproach has disappointed me a lot in games. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a solid card and I would play it 2x in nearly every Crane deck. However, against a strong (non-Scorpion) opponent you should get very limited opportunity to use this on a dishonored character. Splashing Scorpion for Calling in Favors will grant you a little more opportunity.
It is important to learn when to use this suboptimally, spending a fate for a single honoring effect. Personally I am way too greedy and will keep this in hand for a long time, but I think it might be correct to just fire it off when honoring the character is relevant.
Way of the Crane is Crane’s best conflict card and this is pretty similar, if a little bit more situational. Fantastic synergy with Forged Edict/Calling in Favors/Spies at Court, very good without, I predict we’ll see a lot of Soul Beyond Reproach in the future.
Onimaru – 5/5
This card is simply incredible. Not only are our decks dependent having more Honored characters than our opponents, but getting our high Glory characters dishonored can be devastating. SBR fixes all of that. Cards like Shameful Display and For Shame are hard countered by this, creating massive Skill swings and keeping your voice of honors online. And unlike Way of the Crane, it can honor the non-crane characters in your deck. I have a hard time not seeing 2 of these in every Crane deck for the near future.
Game of Sadane
Average rating : 3.12
Chuterêve – 3/5
What a disappointment. Some of us were extremely hyped by the reveal of this card while others were very skeptical of it. It turns out that the second category was right. In testing, this card is often just dead in hand or has really minimal effect for its cost. The card has to major issues: The first one is the “hidden cost”. If you don’t have a very good political advantage in the duel, you must be ready to spend at least 3 honor. If you have a political disadvantage in the duel, don’t even think of it. This is not going to reverse any situation. The second one is even if you have ideal targets, you generally only really want one of the two effects on the card and in this case, there are individuals cards that are way more efficient to produce one effect or the other: Way of the Crane, Soul Beyond Reproach for Honor. Court Games, For Shame or Mark of Shame for dishonor.
That being said, Game of Sadane is still almost a decent card and I still see two potential reasons to play the card in the future:
-When we will not be on a Air role anymore and will really need another un-delayed Honor tool to replace Soul Beyond Reproach
– If a deck that applies a lot of Honor pressure become reliable.
Erik – 2/5
The best time to initiate duels is when you are significantly ahead on the relevant stat, so you can be certain to win without spending a lot of Honor. That means the ideal opponent is either a small character or already dishonor, and the ideal duelist from your side is likely already honored. Only Doji Hotaru and Kakita Yoshi will be able to use Game of Sadane well, making it too narrow and unreliable in my opinion. I like the design that discourages ‘bully duels’ a lot though.
Liforre – 4/5
Upon reading it, I thought this could be the best Crane card of the cycle. I think testing will prove it’s less good than it looks, mostly because most of the time you will only care about using it to honor your character or to dishonor your opponent’s character, not both. Still, it’s a solid card which will only become better with Duel synergy cards
Onimaru – 3.5/5
I know what you’re thinking. It’s not going to work. On paper this looks like the perfect solution to setup Noble Sacrifice. And it can. But, most of the characters we would want to kill with Noble Sacrifice are going to be difficult to duel, most likely forcing you to lose honor with a high bid. It can happen, don’t get me wrong. But the situations that need to align for this to work are few and far between. Fortunately, simply generating Honor tokens to put on characters is still useful for a bunch of our cards. The Honor gained from this duel combined with Kakita Blade make me wonder how effective this card can be in an honor deck.
Average rating : 4.25
It’s a risky Province to include in your deck but probably still a very welcome upgrade compared to Meditations on the Tao. My main issue with it is that it’s a “Hit or Miss” kind of province. Either you can defend the province successfully when it is attacked and you are probably in a very good spot for the rest of the game…or you can’t and you probably just gave a blank 3PS province to your opponent. Magistrate Station will make and break games. Not on the scale of Feast or Famine but still.
Note that it’s obviously interesting to try a Keeper of Air build with Talisman to try to protect it and still get the effect of others provinces.
Erik – 4/5
This is the first Province that works outside conflicts, and I love its design for that. It means your opponent will want to break this quite badly from the moment it flips, and you can expect all of their attacks to be directed at it. You will not get any extra benefit from them attacking it after the first time, because you could use the action anyway. But on the positive side, your opponent will likely break this quickly (or die trying) leaving them with only Shameful Display and Air provinces to attack. That is a lot better than having a ‘soft’ Meditations on the Tao providing your opponent a relatively safe place to attack for many turns.
Later in the game it should be no issue to have a target for Magistrate Station, but it’s probably worth mulliganing a bit harder for things like Brash Samurai and Way of the Crane at the start: if it does get attacked on the first turn, you better have an honored character to ready.
This is not on the level of provinces like Feast or Famine, Restoration of Balance, or Shameful Display, but still a solid upgrade over the other Fire province options available to the Crane currently. Note that this Province makes Keeper of Fire less interesting, because you would have to pick between Magistrate Station and Feast or Famine.
Liforre – 5/5
Not much to say here: should be a staple in basically every Crane deck for a long time. It also makes Seeker of Fire that much more interesting.
Onimaru – 4/5
This may be the first Province that is actually worth investing extra resources to defend. With all of the tools we have, finding an honored character to straighten is trivial. Since the action on this province is not limited to just conflicts at this province, it can be used to straighten characters for future attacks and defense or even to help claim the Imperial Favor! If I wanted to be really crazy, I wonder if this can be used with Tattered Missive to generate more card draw. This biggest question is: Is this card better than Meditations on the Tao? For me, that answer is a resounding yes, but I would not fault anyone for sticking with the arguably more consistent Mediations.
1) Soul Beyond Reproach (4.5)
2) Magistrate Station (4.25)
3) Menacing Iron Warrior (3.75)
4) Callow Delegate (3.5)
5/6) Kenku Sensei and Game of Sadane (3.12)