Crab Clan in the Inheritance Cycle (Part 1)


We are two packs into an already fully spoiled Inheritance cycle so I wanted to explore the options that will be opening up for Crab players both in-clan and as alternative splash options that we might have access to. I am not normally one to write cards off as simply as ‘good’ or bad’ so I’ll try and go through some of the scenarios where I can see particular cards being useful even if they are unlikely to happen in game. Also due to the release cycle nature of L5R, there is the possibility that some cards released today might not come into their own until several releases down the line (well, unless we are talking about Specialised Defences; that’s just way to situational to be able to be used effectively).

FFG have said that this cycle is all about the sacrifice mechanic for Crab so hopefully we can look forward to some good ‘sac a guy to do a thing’ effects. Let’s find out;


Hiruma Signaller





I think we are all in agreement that Fight On! Is an excellent card and one that will be sorely missed when we lose our Keeper of Water role in August. Hiruma Signaller essentially acts as a slightly more restrictive (as it has to be defending), slightly more expensive replacement with one key difference; It can be used on any character you control regardless if it is bowed or not. This makes it very useful in both a tower style deck looking to re-use attachment heavy characters and also in a sacrifice heavy Yasuki Broker deck for as long as the broker is defending also, it will recoup half of its cost and net a card. Personally, I think that one or two copies should make it into most decks especially after August.

Fifth Tower Watch



The tower that parties all day because they can’t be equipped with a Watch Commander.

5/4 for 5 cost is a decent stat line but the card suffers from competing for the same slots as our higher cost characters such as the clan champion Hida Kisada. The no attachments except weapon effect is decent as it gives inbuilt protection against a number of highly used attachment cards such as Cloud the Mind and Mark of Shame. Bow effects are already very strong and one that works when we sacrifice a character in a deck built around that effect would normally be very good. However, it has the issue that the character it targets must have a lower military skill then the sacrificed card. This is problematic as the majority of cards with either inbuilt sacrifice effects or other effects that you would want to activate generally only have one or two military skill rendering this card’s effect moot.

Give no Ground





It’s like a crab clan specific Banzai! that can only be used on military defence. There isn’t much to say about this card as the lack of flexibility and amount of other, less restrictive cards available hurts its prospects.

Hiruma Yoshino





Our main Disguised character from the Inheritance cycle. The Disguised keyword looks to be quite strong as at the least it will enable another straightened character. Using it with Gateway to Meido we can summon Yoshino onto another card from the discard potentially proccing the courtesy and sincerity from a Yasuki Broker if it is in the conflict.

His ability allows for increased military strength depending on the character in the attacked province so it won't always be active but this can be somewhat offset if you are attacking as you could potentially choose a province with a character. It's also worth noting that there are several cards that can remove/refill cards in provinces during conflicts so ideally you would want to use his effect as soon as possible. His effect also persists if he his bowed, clouded or removed from the fight so as long as you have at least one character still attacking/defending with his effect active you will always have a chance to win the ring.

Personally, I’m looking to run one or two copies as with Miya Satoshi we should have easy access to the cards from discard and the disguised effect is very powerful in its own right.

Fury of the Damned


I must say that the artwork for this card is fantastic.
Our first Fire-role locked card. Crab are known for having a good number of bushi so there is the possibility of running this somewhere down the line if we get a fire role. That aside, the card operates in much the same way as Way of the Lion so it is stackable (doubling the base military skill of the characters involved and then doubling again for a four or even eight times boost) so it has the potential for massive plays especially if the bushi involved have some kind of death triggered ability. Unfortunately due to the timing of the conflict window it does not stack with Yasuki Broker but that was to be expected.

Due to other available cards and the lack of synergy with Broker, I don't see this seeing much play in Crab even with the fire role. However maybe something like a bushi themed unicorn or lion deck focused on quick breaks with cheap characters would be able to get good use out of it.

Hida Sugi



Always carries around a loaded crossbow wherever he goes.

So to start with, Hida Sugi is cheap. At one cost with a 2/1 statline she is cheap enough that she could actually see some play. Unfortunately her ability, like alot of other Crab clan cards is very specific and probably wont see much use outside of niece situations. Essentially Sugi allows recycling of dynasty cards back into the deck. I'm thinking that it might be useful in the mirror match to shut down key components of Gateway to Meido but in my opinion she would be better being used with Miya Satoshi to recycle copies of itself or Karada district in the absence of rebuild.

Unfortunately dynasty deck space is tight so for me she won't see play.

Warden of the Damned


 

Dragon splash for Hurricane Punch and other monk conflict characters perhaps?


Hold up boys. We get a monk. The first thing that comes to mind with this card is in the Scorpion matchup. Speaking specifically from my 'everything is expendable' play-style I could imagine that at least one copy would be useful to force dishonored character deaths. Also, in the event we get an air role, this combos nicely with the Scorpion splash and Mark of Shame (and Miyako when she is released) for some nice, though expensive targeted character removal. I'm guessing the three influence cost is to try and stop Scorpion players doing the same thing..

Callous Ashigaru




So I like Callous Ashigaru (there is said it). Yes, it is an attachment in a game with attachment removal, and it's ability is quite specific but it's stats are good for it's cost and when it does go off it discards every card, face up and down from your opponent's provinces. This would help getting rid of problem provinces such as Hidden Moon Dojo and opponent Karada Districts without actually having to attack the province they are on. In a more tower focused deck I could see it as a one of but it definitely needs testing to see exactly how reliable it is - I would imagine that it is a card you would play when you are already breaking just to get it's effect off for one fate cost.

Fortified Assembly

 


Fortified Assembly is air which means that it has Before the Throne, Demonstrating Excellence, and Fertile Fields, Kiku Matsuri and Manicured Garden for competition. It's effect only activates when an attack is declared on it so there is no using Talisman of the Sun to force attacks into an increasingly strong province. There is an argument to be made for running fortified assembly deliberately as a farm-able province in a row of otherwise horrible choices to attack into. This would allow it to gain size whilst eventually gaining so many tokens that it becomes increasingly unlikely to break. Unfortunately given how good the extra advantage of both Fertile Fields and Manicured Garden is I don't think that this will see much play, especially if we get an air role allowing Frostbitten Crossing to be used in the current tower meta.

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