Crab Clan in the Temptations Cycle; Twisted Loyalties


Twisted Loyalties has hit Five Rings DB and it looks like we get 4 cards in this pack so instead of waiting until half the cycle to do my deep dive I have taken a quick look at the Crab cards in the pack to see what all this 'dire' fuss is about.
The new keyword for this cycle is 'Dire'. It is an additional effect that activates whenever the character has no fate;
In addition to the theme of temptations, Twisted Loyalties introduces the new dire keyword. This keyword opens new possibilities for the samurai of Rokugan by granting a powerful ability to a card when it has no fate on it. The exact ability depends on the individual card in question, but there is no doubt that the dire keyword can change a player’s approach when deciding how much fate to put on a character.

 Given that Crab in general have an easy time of keeping characters with no fate around, hopefully this mechanic will offer some interesting new opportunities for us and prompt a shift away from the tower meta that the game is currently going through.

Chikara




Ancestral sword of the Crab Clan. This is in my opinion, one of the better (if not the best) clan champion specific weapon. Hida Kisada is already a popular choice in our tower variants and the ability to flat out kill any participating character is very strong despite the restrictions. On top of this the +5 stats for 2 fate seems a good deal that can turn even our smaller unique characters into breaking machines.

Guardians Of Rokugan




This card reminds me a whole lot of Raise the Alarm; A card that promises alot but ultimately is too clunky in it's actual use. To break it's effect down there are several restrictions; You need to win on defence, you need a character with the right printed cost (usually 1-2) in a variable amount of cards from the top of your deck (again, likely 1-2). This all combines to make a card that more often then not will do nothing unless you take a minimal holding route with all cheap characters to try and increase the chances of it buying something good.

Yasuki Oguri



This version of Yasuki Oguri is taken from the recent excellent Crab Clan fictions 'A Call to Investigate', 'A Game of Primises' and 'The Sea and the Sun's Shadow' whereby we get a great teamup with Yasuki Oguri and Kudaka fighting the undead.

I don't know if new Oguri (Oguri2?) is necessarily a strict upgrade from the existing version of the card but he will definitely have some uses. The harpoon effect works on both player's characters as long as they have a fate on them and he retains his covert which retains the versatility of his previous incarnation. Defensively speaking the covert and harpoon also help to avoid opponent coverts (defending with Oguri and bringing in our own tower). I've always been a fan of the son of Taka so I am looking forward to giving Oguri a chance during testing.

Watchtower of Sun's Shadow



The Watchtower of Sun's Shadow was one of the towers of the Kaiu Wall at Ishigaki Province. Again, the focus of the recent excellent Crab Clan fictions 'A Call to Investigate', 'A Game of Primises' and 'The Sea and the Sun's Shadow' whereby we get a great teamup with Yasuki Oguri and Kudaka fighting the undead.

Initially there is alot to like about this card; In a tower meta which rewards multi-fating characters this could net -1/-2 force for a couple of characters in any given conflict against a Kaiu Wall holding and especially given that we have access to holding recursion again through Apprentice Engineer I could have seen some limited use in wall-based decks.

That being said however, the forced interrupt is far too harsh of a downside to warrant considering this card further. It already has the restriction of only working on the defence and only on a Kaiu Wall attack so there was no need in my opinion for an arbitrary loss of 2 fate on it's break. Given that Season of War is still prevalent in the meta which restricts certain holding-centric decks from working well I don't see Watchtower being used outside of the odd wall themed deck. 

Honourable Mention: Daughter of War




Due to the timing of this card, the character will stick around through to the next turn. Considering that what is arguably the best crab deck at the moment uses both the void role and Unicorn splash, I would be interested in using this even if just to bring out some of our better 1 and 2 fate cost characters ready for the next turn (or for that cheeky end of turn Way of the Crab play).

Generally speaking it will want to be on characters who are more likely to leave play over the standard super towers but it could go well on an off-tower for a nice amount of force pump or else something like a goblin sneak to bring it up to breaking strength and then have it leave the next turn to pull out a Kaiu Envoy, Hida Guardian or Gallant Quartermaster.

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