Crab Clan in the Inheritance Cycle (Part 2)

Now that the excitement of the Crab Clanpack is out of the way, welcome back to the second part of my attempt to make sense of the Inheritance cycle Crab clan cards;

Sharpened Tsuruhashi

I can't say that I am a fan of the Tsuruhashi. It wants to be used in a sacrifice deck but it is competing for space with more standard 0 cost attachments such as Fine Katana and even buffs such as Banzai! The character has to be sacrificed to activate its interrupt so in effect it is a more restrictive version of the Ancestral keyword. It also only gives a +1 military so even something like Seal of the Crab could be more useful as it gives the Berserker trait which can combo effectively with Crisis Breaker.

Frontline Engineer

The general consensus for Crab is that Glory (and any ability that boosts glory) is generally a liability as we don't have many ways in-clan to honor our characters. This could all change with an air role however as we would have access to Soul Beyond Reproach and a Crane splash in general that would be able to honor our own characters. It's action allows for a holding search on defense with the holding going into the attacked province. This does limit its usefulness somewhat but assuming that we are still taking rebuild as our restricted card its another tool to be able to dig out holdings for re-use. It does however have synergy with...

Strategic Weakpoint

Again, I love the artwork on this one.
Endless Plains in holding form. I could see Strategic Weakpoint being used in one of two ways; either rebuilding it onto a province to discourage attacks there and therefore onto your other provinces, or rebuild on a province you know is about to break in order to kill a character. It does have the disadvantage of your opponent choosing which character is discarded but I would still be looking to run this as a 1-of to expand the holding toolbox to be able to kill towers that typically attack alone.

Withstand the Darkness

On the surface, this simply looks like another Crab save card. I've given it some thought however and it is actually much more restrictive. It can only be played as a reaction to targeting events so it does not do much against the current trend to tower characters with  several attachments. That being said however, it will work to give a fate on a number of the more commonly used events in circulation at the moment, notably; Court Games, For Shame, most of the problem Scorpion cards such as Way of the Scorpion and Fate Worse Then Death, and any event based duel such as Policy Debate.

Personally I don't see myself using this as we already have a number of more reliable (albeit more costly) ways to keep characters around but if for example, reprieve makes it's way onto the restricted list in the future, Withstand the Darkness will no doubt be tested as a replacement depending on the prevalence of targeting events in the meta.

Gallant Quartermaster

A 1 cost Courtier which generates a +1 fate advantage if it is sacrificed? Yes please. This card differs from something like Kaiu Envoy as its effect specifically activates on sacrifice effects and not when it leaves the field by other means. Along with the Envoy it will be your prime Way of the Crab and Funeral Pyre target but unlike the Envoy this combos with Yasuki Broker gaining 3 fate and 1 card. The only issue I have at the moment is the tightness of the Crab Dynasty deck but once this and Student of Anatomies (below) are both released together I am sure that there will be some major changes to try and accommodate the massive fate advantage this card can bring.

It is worth noting that I have had the opportunity to test this card as proxy with some of the previewed cards from the Crab clanpack. Three copies of Kaiu Envoy with two copies of Gallant Quartermaster allows for a cheap early-game that will more often then not pay for itself. Needless to say, I am looking forward to this card's release.

Student of Anatomies

Finally we get a decent cheap Shugenja. It reduces our reliability on unicorn splash to be able to cheaply run Cloud the Mind and enables other Shugenja-only attachments and events present in other clans' splashes. Speaking of Cloud, the Student has a similar effect allowing you to blank the text box of a character until the end of the phase. The unrestricted end of the phase blanking is key here as it allows you to shut down problem characters before they are able to use their effects. Note that unlike other sacrifice effects, it doesn't need to sacrifice itself so it has natural synergy with the Gallant Quartermaster and Kaiu Envoy so it should be a good fit in sacrifice based decks.

At the time of writing it is also one of the few ways to permanently blank characters which are not allowed attachments such as Hantei XXXVIII; Activate the student's effect and then attach Cloud for a lasting blank effect.

Yasuki Hatsu

Yeah, I know its probably just a ladle for the tea but it looks like Shrewd Yasuki has been sharing the old pipe with his buddy Hatsu.
Even more decent courtiers, this time with the ability to search for attachments. Between Hatsu, Shrewd Yasuki, Procurer, Broker, Oguri, Quartermaster and Miya Satoshi we have the ability to reliably run cards with the courtier requirement such as For Shame! and even Forged Edict if we were to not focus as heavily on holdings as to require Rebuild. It is worth noting that technically speaking with our Yasuki cards we can put forward a decent political fight which might catch some players off-guard if they are expecting a standard military-focused Crab deck.

Whilst search effects are generally strong, Hatsu's effect is somewhat restrictive requiring both the character to be participating and to be less honorable then the opponent so time will tell how much of an impact this card makes. Personally I don't think it will see much play outside of specific courtier focused builds.

Root out Heresy

I have been considering Root out Heresy in a possible hand destruction deck with Kuni Yori, Spies at Court and Policy Debate on earth rings to be able to discard several cards from your opponent's hand in one go. The deck would likely be dishonor focused so that you can capitalise on your own hand advantage so something like Scorpion splash should work well.

In conclusion, I would say that the Inheritance Cycle brings overall some good tech to Crab; We have a number of cards that will help our sacrifice themes either generating fate advantage or bringing useful effects to the board, a holding and an attachment searcher as well as some much needed additions to our courtier and shugenja game. Add to that the Crab clanpack just around the corner and I would say that we still have the tools to be competitive going into the end of the season and into next year.

No comments