Underhand of the Emperor Review


Worlds is upon us and we bring you a review of the Scorpion Clan pack, Underhand of the Emperor! Chutrevere has once again gathered several Crane players from the L5R discord, including Asahina Neph in his debut appearance. We will be evaluating each of the cards that could be useful in future Crane decks, as well as going through some Scorpion cards that may (or may not) prove troublesome in our Scorpion matchups, as well as those other clans potentially splashing Scorpion.

Also a big thanks to Asahina Masami for helping to compile and proofread this article under the wire!

Please enjoy our review and good luck if you are attending the World Championships in Roseville this weekend!


Doji Fumiki

Average rating: 4.375

Onimaru – 5/5

This is hands down the best Crane card we have received since Kakita Yoshi back in Imperial cycle. Fumiki is simply amazing, especially when slotted into the popular Crane/Scorpion decks. Right off the bat her stats are stellar: 3 POL and 0 MIL for 2 fate is already good, but 2 Glory is where the real action is. She can be used to steal the favor at the end of the round or use our plethora of honoring actions to consistently be at 2 Mil and 5 POL. 5 Pol on a 2 Fate character and I haven’t even mentioned her ability yet. Fumiki combos with For Shame! just as well as Steward of Law, and even turns Court Games into a potential bow. I would easily slot her as a Dynasty character, but as a Conflict Character she can hide out in your hand until you need her. Her only downsides, being Unique and being in range for assassination, is the only thing keeping her from being broken. As a Unique you don’t want to run more than 2x of her for fear that she may clog up you hand and investing in her is a risk. Still, she is worth every penny and should be a staple in all Crane decks for the foreseeable future.

Erik – 4/5

Since my fellow reviewers will probably tell you everything that is good about Fumiki, let me tell you the downsides.

Getting 3 skill is not a bad start, and that might go up to 5 if Fumiki gets honored. I often hear things like “with the many honoring effects in Crane, she is basically a 2/5”. Wrong! Honor effects are nowhere close to expendable enough to play willy-nilly on 2-drops.

Would you like a 1-cost attachment that gives +3 political on defense, covert, and makes you immune to Assassination? If so, why not play Political Rival instead?

Fumiki gives you 0 military instead of a ‘–’ which can be useful, but also means the big bad Mirumoto Raitsugu can destroy her. Playing her into a military conflict is not that good, even if you do get a bow off; 2 fate is a bit expensive for that.

On the other hand, if you want a cheap conflict character, there is always Steward of Law. His combo with For Shame is a lot harder to avoid than Fumiki’s. If you For Shame with Fumiki, your opponent could dishonor their character and honor back up with Way of the Crane, Soul Beyond Reproach (ouch), Court Games, Benten’s Touch; or dishonor and then ready with Kyuden Bayushi or move out (still ready). All of this is up to your opponent, as they can still choose to bow. A large part of the power of Steward + For Shame is taking away that choice, which Fumiki does not do consistently.

Beside the For Shame synergy, her ability is just not as good as it looks. Your opponents already want to avoid having their big characters dishonored, because of the risk of Noble Sacrifice. Political defense is often not that much of an issue for Crane due to our stronghold and Political Rival. On the offense, a good opponent will not defend with dishonored characters, and your Court Games are generally better spent honoring yourself rather than dishonoring opponents.

Finally, being unique means that additional copies are stuck in your hand until she leaves play, or you choose to discard one in the dynasty phase (you are allowed to use duplicates with conflict characters like with dynasty ones, but only during the dynasty phase). Discarding a card in addition to spending a dynasty action is really not a good deal to place 1 fate on a 2-coster.

It’s still 4/5 though, and I recommend playing 1x but not more.

Neph – 4.5/5

I was a bit cooler on Fumiki when she was spoiled than some (I might have thought her ability was pol only), but she has turned out to be a champ. Throwing her down to defend a Shameful Display feels great, having another character with good For Shame synergy feels great, and she has great art. Her only downside is her uniqueness can make her clunky if you draw more than one. The real question for her is how she fits in the deck with all our other conflict characters and how many you run: one or two.

Chuterêve – 4/5

Fumiki, our Crane card of the Scorpion pack, has a lot going on for her. The 0/3 base statline by itself is good and she is our second Crane 2 drop with 2 glory, which synergizes very well with all our honoring tools.

The ability is a little trickier to use than I thought in most decks but remains very strong, especially when you can use it several turns on a dishonored character, generating more value than a simple Steward + For Shame combo.

The main thing preventing her from having an even better rating is that she is a conflict character and our conflict deck is already packed with Political Rival and Steward of Law. In Dynasty, Fumiki would certainly be really close to a 5/5 rating. In the current state, she is a strong 1x at most in our decks and probably a 2x in the ones that use Mark of Shame.


Seppun Thruthseeker

Average rating: 1.500

Onimaru – 1/5

Drawing cards is really good. So good, in fact, that I cannot think of a reason why you would want your opponent to do so. Hypothetically, if he dies when your opponent only has 2 cards in their conflict deck left he could potentially force a 5-honor loss, but that is a hyper rare edgecase. As a 2/2/2/1 courtier imperial, he is not bringing anything useful to our decks. I can’t see a reason to slot this card unless we get some way of punishing our opponents for drawing cards or we get some combos that are so powerful that we don’t even care about giving our opponent a chance to draw the tools to stop us.

Erik – 1.5/5

The ability is completely symmetric, and I can’t think of any ways to tilt it into your favor as Crane.

Neph – 1.5/5

Not big on this guy. Crane has existing non-draw phase draw and we’re getting more with Courtly Challenger which doesn’t give our opponent cards as well. Crane also has great two cost dynasty characters in Brash Samurai and Cautious Scout, and some other reasonable ones like Savvy Politician. I don’t really see a space for this guy anytime soon.

Chuterêve – 2/5

I don’t think there is any good reason to play Truthseeker in a Crane deck. A 2/2/1 statline is not bad but nothing worth including by itself. The ability might be relevant one day in some combo or an imperial-style deck but not right now.


Peasant’s Advice

Average rating: 2.875

Onimaru – 4/5

Ok, this is the one I’m going to get yelled at for. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how they are unimpressed with this card. Maybe they are right. But frankly this card helps in a number of situations that there just isn’t any other options for at this time. The scouting aspect is great for when you are on the lookout for painful province like Feast or Famine, or Restoration of Balance. This is even useful late game to see what is underneath the opponent’s stronghold. Then you have the fact that it shuffles a card back into an opponent’s deck. This helps a lot when trying to secure the favor for Kakita Yoshi by getting rid of an Imperial Palace. It’s also good for getting rid of the insanely powerful holdings some clans have, like Kanjo District or Hidden Moon Dojo. I’ve even used it to get rid of a troublesome Favorable Ground. At worst, this card can save you time and resources by essentially being an easy poke, but at best it can open up lines of play that didn’t exist before.

Erik – 2/5

This might seem like an effect that you need to beat something like Kanjo District or Hidden Moon Dojo, but in my opinion, it is simply too expensive. A card, a fate and a dishonor status are easily paid to remove those overpowered 1-per-deck holdings, but they are only in 2 out of 7 matchups and even if you play against Phoenix or Scorpion less than half those games your target will actually show up on an unbroken province with good timing. So, then the ‘good’ scenario will happen roughly once every 7 games. Subtract from that the times you didn’t draw it at the right time and when it gets cancelled by Censure or Forged Edict, and you find it will be effective in maybe 1 in 15 games.

Anything less than discarding Kanjo or HMD is simply not worth the costs, and for that reason this is not going in my decks anytime soon.

Neph – 2.5/5

This has to be the most polarizing card in the box. It does two things we really needed to do with neutral cards: scout provinces and kill things on them. But it does this at a steep cost of a fate and a dishonor. I’m okay with having less efficient neutral options to some more efficient in clan ones, but for now if you want to kill a holding this is all we’ve got. So, much like Miya Mystic, I think it is very reasonable to play even though we won’t be happy about it because it has an effect that I think is worth having that can’t be achieved by any other means. If you have an especially Crab heavy meta (and I mean heavy), maybe this is a 2x, otherwise a 1x.

Chuterêve – 3/5

This card is already generating a lot of debate and I don’t see it ending in the foreseeable future. For some, Peasant’s Advice is extremely effective at answering Dragon provinces, as well as Kanjo and Karada and is a great 1x that you shouldn’t cut. For others, it’s just not consistent enough and frequently dead in hand.

I lean towards the second side, but, if you really feel like it, I don’t think including Peasant’s Advice at 1x is a terrible idea. That being said, keep these things in mind: 

– The 1x card are likely to not be drawn when you need it, especially not in the early game and going 2x with this card seems too much as it offers utility only in specific situations. You are basically hoping to be lucky here.

– It might not be as strong as it seems against Dragon because you really want this early in the game and even if you have it, there is a real cost to it (1 fate, 1 card and dishonoring a character is a pretty hefty cost). I don’t like the tempo loss that it can provide in a matchup where our winrate is already very low. Turn 1 or 2, I prefer to dump what I can in my hand and play Russian roulette by praying to not hit Restoration of Balance. Yes, it’s a risk but at some point, you must play your odds if you want to win against Dragon.

– Would you really take some Advice from a lowly Peasant?


Offer Testimony

Average rating: 2.500

Onimaru – 2/5

Speaking of unpopular opinions, I am not a fan of this card. At least in Crane. First off, I really do not like how limited the targeting is seeing as you can only use it during political conflicts and your opponent gets to choose the target. So, unless you catch your opponent with only 1 large body then this is only going to bow the least impactful body on the board. This isn’t too bad, but then you have to actually win the high card contest. Depending on what clan you’re up against, that can be tricky. Lion, Dragon, and Crab are easy since they only rarely have conflict cards costing more than 1, though we really don’t need help beating Lions in political conflicts and the other two are resilient to bow effects. Against Unicorn, Phoenix, Scorpion, and the mirror match we need to scout out their hand first to see if they card that can beat ours. If any have a card costing 3, the card is dead until you have A Fate worse Than Death in your hand. If the Scorpion or Phoenix have a 4 or 5 cost card, then this card dead again!


If we ever get a native 5 cost card it will be worth re-examining this, but for now I can’t support playing it except maybe as a cheeky 1x.

Erik – 2.5/5

You need some expensive cards to reveal for this, and 3’s (Political Rival and Menacing Iron Warrior) are not going to cut it. I would only consider running this with Scorpion splash for A Fate Worse Than Death. Once you do have the big card to reveal, your opponent still picks their character that gets targeted. Meh.

Neph – 3/5

This is a neat card. With our expensive conflict characters and a copy or two of A Fate Worse Than Death, we can get decent mileage out of it. However, Scorpion and Phoenix have real game against it and much like a duel, you don’t really want it to backfire on you. So, to be safe you probably want a weenie to fire it off, but you also need to hope your opponent doesn’t have a weenie to use on their side. If we get our own strong 4 or 5 cost conflict card to pack a few copies of, this things stock goes up, but for now I could go either way with playing it or not. 

Chuterêve – 2.5/5

I think Offer Testimony is not a bad card per say (0 cost unbow is obviously attractive) but there are just no builds that can make it work reliably enough. Even splashing AFWTD gets trumped by Five Fires or Bayushi Kachiko, two cards currently played. Despite this, you are not guaranteed to draw out an AFWTD with this card. The risk is probably too high right now to run it.


Stolen Breath

Average rating: 1.750

Onimaru – 2/5

Not much to say about this one. The most obvious comparison is to look at how often Pacifism gets played and you can gauge how useful this card can be. 2 cost attachments are simply too risky in an environment dictated by attachment control. The only way this will get played is in a deck with so many powerful attachments that this becomes a low priority target, and even then, 2 fate is kind of expensive.

Thank god its unplayable because it would do a lot of damage to us otherwise.

Erik – 1/5

Not worth the influence. The ideal targets are characters who already have a ‘–’ for military, but most of them are too cheap to warrant a 2-cost attachment: Alibi Artist, Bayushi Liar, Meek Informant, Venerable Historian. It could be nice against Political Rival, but again: don’t play a card for just 1 or 2 matchups.

Neph – 2/5

Political Pacifism. An interesting card, but as we already excel in Political conflicts I think I would prefer to play normal Pacifism to make our opponents fight us on our ground. The other issue for this is that it’s a Scorpion card and Scorpion has a lot of good cards. I think if you splash Scorpion it might be hard to justify the influence for this card over others. All of this is aside of the fact that it’s a two-cost attachment which are already dubious to run, especially with Let Go running around everywhere.

Chuterêve – 2/5

I want to like this political Pacisfism as I feel like that it could be quite potent in an aggressive Crane build. Sadly, I must just say the same boring thing as ever: 2 cost attachments are generally too costly and risky to be played because of the omnipresence of Let Go. For now, Stolen Breath is probably better in your binder waiting for its day.


Stolen Secrets

Average rating: 1.375

Onimaru – 2/5

This is the kind of card people talk about when they say inconsistent cards are bad. Sure, you could possibly grab one of your opponent’s most powerful cards, denying them its use and using it against them. Or, you could waste 1 fate and a card to get a bunch of crap. And there is value in learning what my opponents next draw is going to be. I’d be tempted to try out 1 or 2 if the Influence cost wasn’t so high. At 3 Influence, it is up against STIFF competition from more reliable cards. This might get played out of Scorpion, but I don’t see this having a home in Crane decks.

Erik – 0/5

Would you like to pay a card, a fate, and a fate off your character in return for a card? No? Correct answer. This is only remotely good in combination with Blackmail, and you certainly should not be using 3 of your influence on that.

Neph – 2/5

This is a card I really want to like but it gets a lot of hate; perhaps not unjustly. At 3 influence, it’s a costly import and 2 fate is a steep cost. The effect is really cool though, letting you play out of clan cards (or at least killing them if you can’t really play it) that your opponent can’t really play around. I think its maybe too hard for Crane to use, but still a cool card! Maybe if low bidding ever becomes a thing, this will see more play as taking the best card from your opponent’s next turn or two is really neat. Despite the poor rating, this is maybe my favorite card in the box and one I would most like to play. Can you tell when I played Hearthstone, I played Priest almost exclusively?

Chuterêve – 1.5/5

Cool flavor but the card in itself is no different than a “Pay 2 fate and look at the top 4 of your deck to draw one of the revealed cards.”. The fact that the card itself is from your opponent’s deck is not an upside as it will probably not synergize with your gameplay, as well as your own cards.

You are not really attacking the card advantage of your opponent either as you are just taking a card he didn’t draw. I guess one of the upsides is that you can have some knowledge about the future cards of your opponent, maybe…?

Still, the cost is really too much for a generally worse version of a Test of Skill. The only case where I can see this card having some impact in when your opponent is forced to bid 1.


Bayushi Collector

Average rating: 2.500

Onimaru – 3/5

I like it! Kinda. Attachment control is the name of the game, especially when Dragon and Crab are so dominant against us. If you can keep your main targets dishonored, Bayushi Collector can get rid of pesky Reprieves and Fingers of Jade at just the right moment. And if you happen to be up against a clan that doesn’t play any attachments then it can be a perfectly reasonable poke body. I’ve even dishonored my own Guest of Honor with the Ring of Fire to peel a Cloud the Mind off of her. It’s probably not worth it to run more than 1 of these, but in a meta so sharply defines my attachments I think this card stands out. Once the game starts getting more attachment control options, I think Bayushi Collectors stock is going to drop drastically, but for now she is a valuable tool.

Erik – 2/5

It’s an option at only 1 influence, but this is surely not Let Go. The dream scenario of discarding Cloud the Mind off your own dishonored character, along with the status token, will almost never occur because a good opponent will not dishonor your big character in order to play around Soul Beyond Reproach. Even if they do, it would be a mistake on their part to then Cloud the same character. You could of course set it up by dishonoring the Clouded character yourself through other Scorpion effects such as Forged Edict or Calling in Favors, but it seems like a lot of work to build your own Let Go.

Maybe this guy’s stock will go up a bit if Crane ends up playing a non-Air role?

Neph – 2.5/5

I wanted to like this guy, but as a two cost 1/2 conflict character who wants us to be dishonored he just maybe seems too clunky. He really excels in removing Cloud the Minds which is handy in a splash with just Calling in Favors for attachment hate, but he isn’t immediate and much like Stolen Breath he fights for influence in a very influence tight splash. I think you would bring Miya Mystic to help with attachment hate over this guy.

Chuterêve – 2.5/5

Let’s be honest: I tried Bayushi Collector but removed it quickly from my deck after a few games where he performed terribly. Due of the lack of lengthy testing, my judgement on this one might not be as accurate as that of previous cards.

If Peasant’s Advice is generating some debate amongst Crane, so is Bayushi Collector. I don’t think we need a 2 fate Courtier 2/1 in our conflict deck, especially now that we have Fumiki so the ability should give us something that we really need.

The good news it that it is attachment hate related and we always need more of that. The bad news is that the ability is hard to trigger. Someone (was it Mind’s Desire?) referred to the card as a “build your own let go” with 2 cards and 3 fate and while it sets up a less than ideal situation, you will still end up forced to do something along those lines if you want to remove an attachment with the Collector, even to the extent of honoring your opponent’s character.

The card has obviously some advantages with only a one influence cost. It can pretty well compliment a lot of Scorpion splashes and sometimes you could get good value out of it with removing a dishonor token on one of your character plus a cloud the mind. From what I’ve experienced so far, it’s just not enough.

That concludes our review of cards that may be potentially useful in Crane decks from the Scorpion clan pack.

Now we will move into Threat Assessment!


Kyuden Bayushi

Average threat level rating: 3.000

Onimaru – 2/5

This Stronghold is asking for a lot just to get a straighten effect. I think it goes without saying that this Stronghold is not as good as City of the Open Hand, considered by many to be the best Stronghold in the game. But Crane were already coming out ahead in that matchup anyways. Against this stronghold things become almost laughably easy. The decks tendency to dishonor itself doesn’t work very well against our tools such as Noble Sacrifice and Doji Fumiki. Steward of Law can be called in to shut down a lot of their shenanigans and For Shame becomes a lot easier to use. Finally, without the ability to steal honor, the toll of dishonoring their own characters can weight down on them fast. At a certain point they NEED Duty just to stay afloat. I am sure it has some good matches, but not against us, and probably not against any dishonor focused character.

Erik – 3.5/5

The new Scorpion stronghold has turned out better than expected for me, but as Crane we are positioned well to take advantage of its weak points. Try to keep a cancel online for Duty, and dishonor will become a real problem for them. We have no great attachments to steal in most builds, so their Calling in Favors that they need to dishonor their own characters will not net them any powerful attachments.

That said, be careful that your opponent might be playing a very different kind of Scorpion when you see Kyuden Bayushi. Instead of a slow, controlling plan with the intent to dishonor you out, they will come in hard and fast going for breaks. Prepare for that appropriately: maybe even consider not buying Guest of Honor with 3+ fate every single time you see her…

Neph – 3/5

A powerful stronghold, but it’s no City of the Open Hand. Admittedly I haven’t really had to deal with this yet, but my impression is we can do so pretty reasonably. We can punish dishonored characters with For Shame without needing a Steward of Law, Fumiki, Noble Sacrifice, and Shizuka Toshi (maybe). Since I still haven’t seen it, my opinion on it is perhaps not very valuable, but I know notable Scorpion player, Shenful feels KB has a hard time vs Crane.

Chuterêve – 3.5/5

This is a really strong stronghold but not as much as City of the Open Hand. That’s ok because nothing should really be stronger than City of the Open Hand. The unfortunate side effect is that you are not going to see a whole lot of Kyuden Bayushi in high competitive play.

Scorpion players are still trying to figure out how to play this stronghold optimally and I certainly saw some strong builds associated with it; especially the one with Court Mask that allows a dishonor at will.

So how do we fare against Kyuden Bayushi? Pretty well I would say, because we have tools to handle dishonored characters, such as Noble Sacrifice and Doji Fumiki. It is important to keep in mind that against it, dishonoring an opposing character might not always be what we want to do. Kyuden Bayushi is a little like playing against Phoenix or Crab, as we should always be aware of the potential character unbow coming.

Also, the low honor of the stronghold is not that much of a drawback and is hard to be played around because of Duty. 



Average threat level rating: 4.625

Onimaru – 5/5

“You lose”

“….No I don’t”

Hard to pass up on card that eliminates one of the games two viable victory conditions. The trickiest part of playing Scorpion is balancing the rate at which you steal honor with the amount of honor remaining in your pool. Screw it up and your Opponent can turn the tables on you.

OR, you can just lay Duty.

When dishonor is being pressured, the last few points of honor are CRITICAL, not just because of how much you are hovering above death but because the game will have evolved into a bid 1 meta where each card is worth its weight in gold. And given the rate that City of the Open Hand can gain honor, an opponent usually only gets 1 shot at dishonoring a scorpion out. This basically eliminates that option from the table. But it might not even get that far. When both players get under 4 honor, the Scorpion can simply bid 5, lose NO honor (in fat, gain 1 honor), and seal the game with the massive hand advantage.

Erik – 5/5

Another 1-per-deck card that is insanely powerful. The main use for this is later in the game, when both players are on 1-4 honor. In an opportune draw phase, when cancels are unavailable, the Scorpion bids 5 to 1 and uses Duty to cancel the honor transfer, instead gaining 1 honor. Hand sizes are small by this point, and the 4 extra cards they just drew can easily be enough to close out the game.

How to play against this? If you have enough honor, for example 4 against 4, you could bid higher than 1 so they can’t play Duty. A bid of 2 against 5 would make them give you 3 honor in this case. Of course, the danger is that they might not be bidding 5 at all, they might not even have Duty in hand, and now you put yourself that much closer to death by dishonor.

The most important thing is to never go all-in on winning by dishonor when Duty could save them. Making them play it outside the draw phase is good, but don’t overextend for it unless you are 100% sure you can cancel it. Personally, I have not yet been able to cancel a Duty, but it is a moment I look forward to greatly.

Neph – 4.5/5 (Five to one baby -Bayushi)

While not the primary way to win vs Scorpion, dishonoring them was definitely a real thing that just got a lot harder. The real power in this card though is that it lets you draw 5 when honor lets low enough that normally you would be bidding 1 or 2 or dodge the reshuffle honor loss. We have some play against it as we have Voice of Honor but holding on to one and maintaining voice control until the very end of the game seems less than ideal.

Chuterêve – 4/5

Duty is a cool design but a monstrosity gameplay-wise because of the ruling that allows the already infamous “5 to 1”. Basically, it doesn’t matter how low on honor a Scorpion is, he will be able to bid 5 with Duty and gain one additional honor. So you are basically doomed if you bid 1 against a Scorpion at low honor and your opponent has Duty in hand…but bidding 5 is a real risk that might also bite you really hard).

To put it plainly: If your opponent might have Duty in his hand, do not try to dishonor a Scorpion unless everything is aligning perfectly. The time where Scorpion could lose to dishonor is mainly over. Luckily, we are not the clan that Duty targets the most as dishonor is not the primary win condition of our current decks.

Hilariously enough, if you think you can win a counter war with Voice of Honor, Censure or Edict you can outright kill a Scorpion player who is trying to cheese a 5 bid Duty at low honor…and it’s really satisfying.


Ignoble Enforcers

Average threat level rating: 3.625

Onimaru – 3/5

This one’s kinda of interesting. Scorpion sometimes do look for ways to low their own honor so that they can activate their strongholds, and this gets the job done while providing a solid body for 3 “free” turns. And it would be really good if it didn’t cost 5 fate. If I were to compare this to other 5 cost characters like Bayushi Shoju or Bayushi Kachiko then it would be hot garbage. But since the excess fate is free, I feel like it is fairer to compare this to 3 Fate character since the investment is about the same. And while having presence that is almost guaranteed to stick around most of the game is valuable, it is not bringing any amazing abilities to the table like most of Scorpion’s other characters. If all you want to do is lower your honor, Assassination and over-investing Banzai work a lot easier and doesn’t take up fate that you are trying to save for Kachiko or A Fate Worse Than Death. I wouldn’t judge anyone who played this card but a “big dumb force” that has never gone very far in L5R.

Erik – 3.5/5

Turns out a 4/4 that comes with 3 ‘free’ fate is a good deal, even if you pay 5 for it. Beside that, it’s just a big dumb character, so I don’t think there is anything specific you can do to play against it.

Neph – 4/5

This is a big dude who can and will gum up the board with his highish balanced stats. Kyuden Bayushi wants to be on low honor anyway to turn on their stronghold, and City of the Open Hand just makes you pay for it. I would expect it to often be a 4/4 with 3 fate for 5 fate which seems nice to me.

Chuterêve – 4/5

This is a card that I really underestimated. It is now played on both scorpion Strongholds and will probably stay in most decks for a little while. There is not a lot of counter plays to it as the Scorpion players will just play it with 3 additional fate early in the game, maintaining a strong board presence with it. It is also a prime target with Kyuden Bayushi’s ability.

Ignoble Enforcers does a lot of work to not make the Scorpion boards as evanescent as it was before, and we should adapt accordingly by trying to size the board harder when we see it come into play


From the Shadows

Average threat level rating: 2.750

Onimaru – 3/5

So, we all know Charge is really good. So good it was put on the restricted list. And that fact is the main reason why I do not score this card lower. Probably the main problem with this card is that there just are not enough truly impressive shinobi in the game just now. Even still, the ones that are worth playing are either cheap or want to be invested in, like Shosuro Miyako. Even using it on Bayushi Aramaro is lackluster as the card turns off his ability. Obviously, the primary target for this is Bayushi Sadako, but now we have the same issues I laid out when talking about Kyuden Bayushi: it’s super easy to punish dishonored characters with our current toolset. With no real powerful Shinobi abilities around, it’s just kind of a janky Charge, but since it’s not restricted to a specific conflict type it does find value as a POL charge. I think this card will grow in strength as the pool of Shinobi improves, but for now I am not overly worried about it.

Erik – 3/5

It can be a nasty surprise, especially with Shosuro Sadako, but a lot of the time entering play dishonored will reduce their stats as well as cost them honor down the line.

Neph – 2.5/5

Charge is a good card. This is a tribally restricted charge that dishonors. With Shosuro Sadako, this card is scary, but I don’t think I’m too afraid of it otherwise at this point. We can punish the dishonored status with all the ways mentioned under my Kyuden Bayushi review.

Chuterêve – 2.5/5

This is a cool card that makes me want to put together a Harrier deck one day. It obviously tries to push the whole archetype by being (roughly) a 0-cost charge. That being said, it requires you to dishonor the character that you are going to charge and even with Kyuden Bayushi, it is still a real cost unless you use it with Sadako.

This is not a card Crane you should be afraid of right now. Just keep in mind that it exists, and it might sometimes be worth cancelling when playing against a Scorpion deck that seems to really like Shinobi.


Bayushi Whisperers

Average threat level rating: 2.167

Onimaru – ……I forgot to review this card. TLDR: Sucks XD

Erik – 1/5

If your opponent is spending all that fate only to disable one or a few cards in your hand, why not use the rest of your hand and board advantage to just kill them?

Neph – 3/5

This is a card I think I am theoretically scared of, but not sure it will see play. I think the ability to get perfect information and block my best line of play is strong. However, the downsides are that 6 is a lot of money, it has to be during a conflict, and its stats are not awfully impressive for so expensive a card. I’m giving it a 3/5 because I don’t think you’ll see it a lot, but I think it if you do it’s something to be worried about. This might get my vote for biggest sleeper in the pack.

Chuterêve – 2.5/5

If our opponent is paying 6 fate to lock one of our cards during the whole conflict phase, it’s probably a fair trade or even one in our advantage. Of course, Bayushi’s Whisperers is also a body but nothing we should really be afraid of for the cost. I don’t see City of the Open Hand ever playing it competitively and if played with Kyuden Bayushi, it will probably be with Charge! as the restricted card, so look out for that possibility.

If your opponent manages to play it with 2-3 additional fate and not be overwhelmed during the same turn, you probably would have a hard time dealing with anything else too so it’s not like it will steal a win.


Opium Wastrel

Average threat level rating: 2.250

Onimaru – 1/5

There are probably a handful of Phoenix Players who really hate this card. Fortunately, it is not going to be played anytime soon so they don’t have to worry about it. This card is designed to curb the inherent disadvantage of perpetually dishonoring yourself by nullifying the skill loss inherent in the process. It does pose a risk to high Glory clans who can easily honor themselves (i.e. us Cranes) but unless they hit Doji Hotaru or Kakita Yoshi, it’s just no gonna add up to much. It’s the equivalent to including a Let Go in you deck that only targets Ornate Fans. Why bother? Normally I’d give it a bit of consideration since it is a 1/1/1, but Scorpions are replete with 1 cost pokers and at 2 Influence it’s way too expensive to be considered in other decks.

Erik – 2/5

I don’t think this card sees any play currently, but it might if someone built a Scorpion deck purely to play against Crane. Even then, most 1/1 conflict characters for 1 have more powerful effects than this.

Neph – 3.5/5

1 cost 1/1 conflict character? Probably good. This one comes with a hard play restriction, but one that Scorpion should be able to meet almost all the time. This guy has the double whammy against us of negating a dishonored characters glory, or our honored characters glory and we rely on our glory really hard to win fights. I also regularly rely on dishonor on Kachiko to keep our characters (like Guest of Honor) in the fight with her. I fear he might have legs against Crane, but less so against other clans, plus Scorpion has a lot of good conflict characters, so I’m not sure how they fit this guy in.

Chuterêve – 2.5/5

I don’t expect Opium Wastrel to stay long in Scorpion conflict decks as spots are pretty tight. Opium Wastrel can be annoying against us, reducing our skill in a conflict by 2 or 3 in addition of being a 1/1 but your opponent still paid for it so it’s not really frightening. We are probably happy to see this card come from our opponent’s hand instead of something much more impactful that would’ve taken the slot otherwise.


Utaku Testuko

Average threat level rating: 4.750

Onimaru – 5/5

Obviously powerful Character is obviously powerful. Our Conflict deck is already getting sensitive about how much fate we have available. If her ability is used a few times it is a massive detriment. The counter-play is pretty straightforward: Play cards before the conflict and try to play as few cards as possible to stop the break, emphasizing on cards that will remove her from the conflict (AFWTD, Nobles Sac, Outwit). And you do NOT want to see her get pulled from the discard pile with a cavalry reserves. Her saving grace is that her ability is all she is bringing to the table, and since it only works on attack it still leaves the Unicorn with their generally lackluster defense.

Erik – 5/5

Hooray, a 5/5 after all! Too bad it is a Unicorn dynasty card. Playing even 1 card while Tetsuko is attacking is painful and playing more than that will lose you the economy game on the spot. You have to do your best to anticipate their attack and play relevant cards before the conflict starts if at all possible. Besides that, try to void her and give her the same respect you would give Isawa Tadaka.

Neph – 4.5/5

This card is exactly as strong as it looks which is pretty damn strong. Any card? Yikes. She’s strong enough as is but with stuff like Master of the Swift Waves and Shiotome Encampment she can really cause problems making defending extremely difficult. Unlike Guest of Honor or Tadaka, you can still play SOME cards, but the additional cost adds up very quick. Unless you’ve got a very safe amount of fate banked and no intention of using it for an expensive card she can really lock a conflict up.

Chuterêve – 4.5/5

She is everything Unicorn wanted her to be and absolutely scary against us. As it is already the case against Unicorn, if we think we can’t win on defence anyway, it’s better to avoid investing too much in it and Utaku Testuko this is amplified. We must choose our battles very carefully against Unicorn and even more so now.

She is also a prime target of Fate Worse Than Death and Noble Sacrifice or anything else that could shut her down.

Doji Challenger is also really good at forcing her on defense (politically if possible because of her low 1 political skill) if we are first player.


Kitsuki Shomon

Average threat level rating: 3.000

Onimaru – 2/5

Her ability seems very scary, especially when dishonoring people is one of our main game plans. Fortunately, she’s never going to see real play. At 3 for 3/3, she is not bringing a lot to the table in an already packed Dragon Dynasty deck. And her ability is rather situational. After all, if you dishonor her directly during a conflict then her ability is basically useless. Sure, if you dishonor her, then you are not dishonoring someone else with that one effect, but at 3 fate, I wonder how often the opponent will be able to afford one of the characters they REALLY want …. A character who is now vulnerable to a second or third dishonoring effect. Now, where I do think Shomon has some synergy is with Master Alchemist, who can essentially pay 1 to straighten her. But that still seem like a lot of fate to throw around for a neat combo when you could just buy Niten Master and some swords.

Erik – 2/5

Could be nice in theory to deal with Noble Sacrifice, but Dragon already has Reprieve, Finger of Jade and Master Alchemist for that. The other 3-costers in Dragon are too powerful to make place for Shomon.

Neph – 4/5

Kitsuki Shomon is a good card who has the problem of being in Dragon, who have more insane characters than a Crab can shake a stick at (one of their few talents). We do a fair amount of dishonoring, especially with Scorp splash and she both mitigates it and turns it into an advantage. I think if she makes decks she will definitely be a headache with that Dragon-gets-free-balanced-stats thing, but their decks are already so jam packed with good stuff she might be more of a meta call in the future.

Chuterêve – 4/5

It’s nice to see some characters previously showcased in the fictions here. Kitsuki Shomon (who is absolutely not involved in some sketchy cult) is more a counter to Scorpion than to Crane, but she can still be terribly annoying to deal with, neutralizing For Shame! and Mark of Shame. Ultimately, she is probably not worse than any other Dragon powerhouse character, but she is another thorn for us to deal with and not a lot of counter play against her other than burning dishonor tools after she is already unbowed.

This being said, with the already really strong 3+ cost in Dragon’s deck and their overwhelming advantage against us and good matchup against Scorpion, I don’t expect to see Kitsuki Shomon a lot for now.

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