smuray at nac.net
Tue Nov 14 22:10:47 EST 2000
> Since you would like to discuss it, I shall.
> How to clip the wings of a Phoenix
> by Jared (Agasha Shukuen)
A Rebuttal by a Somewhat Impartial Tournament Player
by Murai, Scorpion Clan Retired Poet
> The Phoenix clan after the onset of DJH gained an immense new ability in an
> SH, it was fixed. We lost a major advantage. Although I would say that the
> current SHs are good they are not broken but at an even level on the playing
> field (Although the Dragon SHs suck, I think those should be made better).
The Eternal Halls are still a fairly good stronghold, because it has
excellent stronghold stats and a very good ability. The Sacred Temples,
likewise, are an excellent stronghold. The original Eternal Halls were
mindbogglingly broken because it allowed... even encouraged... you to
use out-of-clan personalities, and effectively reduced the cost of all
shugenja in the game by 2 gold - a major discount.
Some clans have good strongholds, some bad, some a mix of the two.
Here's my quick, brutal analysis of the situation.
Crab: One mediocre stronghold (Kaiu Walls), two bad strongholds (Other
Crane: Two good strongholds(Kosaten Shiro and the Eternal Halls), one
mediocre flavor stronghold (The Daidoji).
Dragon: One mediocre stronghold (Mountain Keep), One
mediocre-but-almost-on-the-edge-of-good stronghold (Iron Mountain), and
one... wacky stronghold that's a lot of fun to play, but probably not
very good. (Kyuden Hitomi)
Lion: Two good strongholds (Akodo Terrain Destroyer, Matsu), two theme
strongholds (Akodo Tactician, Kitsu Tombs)
Phoenix: Two excellent strongholds (Sacred Temples, Eternal Halls), one
good stronghold (Ruins), one mediocre-to-bad stronghold (Asako Towers)
Unicorn: One good stronghold (Utaku), one mediocre-at-best (Moto), and
one wretched stronghold (Provincial Estates).
Scorpion: Three good strongholds, with the Yogo Towers possibly hitting
the "excellent" range. (Ruined Fortress, Shadow Stronghold, Yogo Towers)
Naga: One good stronghold (Forests), one mediocre stronghold (Hidden
Temples) one theme stronghold (New Akasha), one bad stronghold (Naga
Shadowlands: One excellent stronghold (SLH), one good stronghold
(Spawning), one mediocre theme stronghold (Sepulcher)
Toturi: One excellent stronghold (Otosan-Uchi), one good stronghold
(Monkey), one wretched, bottom-of-the-barrel, please stop the hurting
Brotherhood: One good stronghold (House of Tao), two bad strongholds
Mantis: One excellent stronghold (Fox - mostly because of the
personality base), One good stronghold (Kyuden), one mediocre
stronghold, bordering on bad (YA)
Ninja: One... interesting... stronghold.
Ratlings: One stronghold that makes the original Toturi's Army look
good. One Sensei that makes all of the decks capable of using it better
than their stronghold.
Spirit: One excellent stronghold.
I believe that the main thing holding Crab back from being top tier is
their complete lack of a good stronghold. By my standards, a "good
stronghold" is one with at least average stats for your clan, especially
gold production wise, with an ability that is either average and doesn't
require the stronghold to be unbowed (Forest of Shinomen), or a good
ability that doesn't require bowing the stronghold (Shadow Stronghold),
or a DAMN GOOD ability that does require bowing (Eternal Halls mk 2).
Exceptional stronghold stats can alleviate some of this.
(Before any Crab allies get upset about my analysis of the Crab, The War
Fortress of the Crab and the Citadel of the Hiruma are reactive
abilities that require the stronghold to bow. That means you can't use
your 4 gold for anything else, which is bad if your opponent, say,
doesn't attack you that turn. That's bad. The Kaiu Walls only barely
hit "good", since they've got a neat ability. But the "no shadowlands"
clause is a nice strong kick in the junk of Open Crab... As I've told
one of my friends when he asked how he could improve his Crab Ratling
deck... "Put it in the Yogo Towers, and replace Dead-Eyes with the
> So, what cards exist that are still problems, I am talking EJ and SJ here
The current matter is Strict Jade, since I believe that this discussion
began while talking about the Test of the Emerald Champion.
> Open is just too screwed up to get into (ie The Sacred Temples should be
> destoryed, wasting disease....etc). Oh for all you players planing to kill
> those cheesy un-interactive Phoenix decks, STOP HANTEIing FINDING THE
> HARMONY, hit Rise from the Ashes.
Rise is absolutely the best target. However, many people make decks
that don't use Hantei Sensei.
> Problem Cards:
> Rise from the Ashes (not in gold)
> Finding the Harmony (in gold but MRPed)
> The Wind's Truth (in gold but MRPed)
Gold is irrelevant for the Test, since it won't be out yet.
> These cards are in the process of being fixed or not reprinted. Assuming
> the MRPs go the right way, which I believe they will many of the problems
> with Phoenix in the current environment will be fixed.
Actually, I find that Isawa Taeruko's one of the main problems. With
Empty Crevasse, that's three free "corrupt" holdings. Poorly Placed
Garden (which WILL be in Gold) will only make that matter worse. I've
already noted many play balance mistakes in the Gold Edition cardlist,
including Bayushi Tangen, Dead Eyes, Isawa Taeruko, and PPG.)
> Empty Cravase (Taekuro but Cravase came second) (not in Gold)
Empty Crevasse was a mistake that should never have been made. I can
understand wanting to help Crab, but it was a mistake there as well.
> I believe that these problems will be fixed over time Banish All Shadows,
> BDoW, and EC arent going to be reprinted in Gold, that axes them.
It's not specific cards that are the problem, though Rise From the Ashes
is, indeed, a trouble spot. The thing is that Phoenix meshes so
incredibly well that it's nearly unstoppable without dedicating 1/3 of
your deck to stopping it, which will dilute your attempts at
accomplishing YOUR victory condition.
However, again, we're discussing SJ right now. I can get to SG in a
> Counter Cards:
> Sun in Shadow
Potentially useful in other situations as well.
> One Life One Action
Again, potentially useful. However, at this point you've already
dedicated six cards in your deck to a reactive play style, which is a
sure way to lose against other decks.
> Final Words
> The First Scroll is Opened
The First Scroll actually hurts Scorpion far more than it hurts
Phoenix. You've got 3 chi shugenja. We don't.
<snip rest of lengthy counter list>
> Now there could be two problems with the play environment from the above
> 1) People dont use counter cards
You know, we (the Scorpion) used to say that about dishonor, and people
laughed at us. Lies, lies, lies, Defend your honor, etc. That should
be enough to stop a dishonor deck! Really! And don't mind that it's a
dozen useless cards if you're not facing one.
> 2) The counter cards arent good enough
> Just an analysis, by no means an autoitative discussion on the entire
In general, you should not be forced to dedicate a large percentage of
your deck to beat one specific archetype. It's why the Shadowlands
Horde stronghold was created - to make a foil for dishonor decks.
There's a nice little cycle that occurs. Honor decks abound, more
people play military. Less people play honor, more people play
dishonor. Less people play normal military, more people play
Shadowlands. Less people play dishonor, more people play honor.
There's no cycle here. It's "Phoenix wins".
(Though, amusingly enough, dishonor's probably one of the best ways to
deal with Phoenix, provided you kill off their shugenja so your honor
losses don't get Wind's Truthed back to you)
Scorpion Clan Retired Poet
More information about the Dragon