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    RPGMP3 Newsbot
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    • Owlbear

    by Chris Medico

    Hello and welcome to the draft preview for The Coming Storm expansion of Ivory Edition. While Gates of Chaos and Aftermath were both big steps towards a draft friendly booster pack, The Coming Storm is the first non-base set that was designed to be drafted without any outside cards needed and fully developed with the limited format in mind. By increasing the packs to 16 cards (including the Gates of the Second City Stronghold), it allows players to draft the release format of four The Coming Storm boosters, the normal combined format of two Ivory Edition packs along with two from the current expansion, or even mix and match from a variety of future sets as they are released.

    Regardless of the sets being used, draft can be a complicated format to dive into. Much of the skill involved with choosing your cards is related to knowing what is available within the expansion and the cards you can select to counteract them. Since a large majority of the deck will be Commons and Uncommons, we will focus on the role they play in determining success in The Coming Storm. As always, a full description of the draft rules can be found on the L5R rules wiki here if you need a refresher.


    Building a Solid Foundation

    Thanks to the Gates of the Second City stronghold, Ivory Edition draft increases the value of holdings significantly. Gone are the days of barely paying attention to this card type unless they provided an economic advantage or game-deciding ability. Most decks will now want to run between 5 and 7 holdings in their twenty dynasty cards, depending upon how expensive their personalities are, how many attachments they are running, and the overall gold production that the holdings provide. One of the key differences you will notice with the release of The Coming Storm and later Ivory sets is that there will be an abundance of low rarity, high production holdings to help smooth out gold schemes and give players enough options for whichever draft strategy they want to pursue.

    The optimal first turn for most decks will be to use the full production of your stronghold to buy multiple holdings or a solid amount of gold plus a personality. For military decks, this might mean buying a Cloth Market or Hotei’s Smile, along with a smaller holding. Defensive decks may prefer to get a Bountiful Fields and start proclaiming as quickly as possible using a 4 Gold guy, or one even more expensive if they went second and have the boosted stronghold production. Bountiful Fields also has the benefit of producing exactly 4 Gold, which enables you to pay for the stronghold’s honor production without having to use additional holdings. Utility holdings such as Expansive Range and Voice of Experience can also be picked up later in packs, providing extra gold early while giving a boost to your actions later in the game. Voice in particular works very well with Gates of the Second City’s Fear effect, allowing you to buff your discarded cards to hit larger targets.


    No Army is Better Than Its Soldiers

    Another design change to the way sets are configured is that each clan has at least one personality with a quality battle action at lower rarities. This enables most clans to pair with each other without sacrificing the overall quality of the personalities included in your deck. The clans that have keyword synergy within their themes may play nicer together, but there are interesting combinations available outside of those that can work within the confines of the set and might even grow stronger as other sets are added into the mix.

    One of the most flexible actions available is a force penalty, which can be used to set up your other actions or just remove any chance of your opponent having enough force to win the battle. There are multiple of this action type available in The Coming Storm, chief among them is Kakita Burei and Hida Zaiberu, which give you a quality personality along with the solid action. Along with those two, Kitsu Asato also gives you a lot of flexibility, providing a Battle action that can stay safely at home while your other troops attack or defend. If temporary penalties aren’t enough, Shosuro Sadao can permanently reduce the force of your opponent, while also giving you the opportunity to kill a higher chi personality with Strike as the Earth. There are also a variety of actions available on personalities to take advantage of these force penalties. Tsuruchi Hikari, Shiba Yuuchi, and Shinjo Ajasu can use their kill actions to clear the targets off the board, or if you want to bow them to gain honor through resolution, the Fear effects of Mirumoto Takanori and Daigotsu Atsushi can do the job.


    Choosing the Right Tools

    With the amount of Gold available in draft, determining how many attachments you want in your deck and which ones you want to use can be a daunting prospect. There are a multitude of high quality attachments with actions available in The Coming Storm, but not all of them give you the force you need to be able to take a quick province or protect yourself from your opponent’s actions. Finding the right ratio of quality versus force can be the difference between winning an early battle or having to hold back an extra turn.

    Two examples of this are Bishamon’s Bow and Osano-Wo’s Bow. They both provide high quality actions for their cost, but the minimal force provided means you cannot include too many of them without risking the personalities you attach them to. These work best in decks with higher average force on their personalities (such as Crab), or ones that can use them before your opponent has a chance to deal with your guy (via naval or defense). To make up for the force deficiency in these weapons, mixing in some followers can give you the force you need while also providing protection. Samurai Lancers and Zlkyt’s Family both have good actions, and Yomanri Archers can take over a battle if you have Ikoma Keisuke or Relentless to get multiple uses. However, the biggest follower to be aware of is Cavalry Escort, which can effectively Reserve a surprise personality into battle, while also giving them immediate protection in the form of a 2 Force follower.


    Always Have a Plan

    Along with the personalities and attachments, there are also a variety of different strategies available to supplement them. The aforementioned Strike as the Earth is one of the most prominent cards, allowing you to set up your actions at engagement or pick off a 1 chi personality. Relentless and Discovering the Daisho of Water provide a means to straighten during battle, as does Discovering the Shakuhachi of Air if you are a Unicorn player. Deny the False Form and Persuasive Tactics give you additional send home to supplement the Imperial Favor, all of which can be counteracted by Death From Above. Iron and Stone, along with Strike as the Wind and the spell Legacy of Tadaka can save your key personalities and potentially counteract your opponent’s entire action. You can even build a dueling based strategy, using The Eternal Chase and Thousand Year Rivalry to form the core of the deck. All of these combine to reinforce the variety of the format and make sure the packs themselves provide enough different options to keep the draft fresh.


    Looking Towards the Future

    I hope you enjoyed this brief look at The Coming Storm. I am glad to see all the positive feedback we have received on the last few expansions, along with all the reports of players using the Gates of the Second City to run their own draft events. While this expansion can be played completely self-contained, many options open up when you begin to mix in packs of Ivory, such as providing more Tactician actions for Aranai Sensei or increasing the value of Jade Works thanks to the new cards with the Jade keyword. Part of the fun of draft is experimenting with cards you would not normally play in constructed and finding interesting combinations outside of the norm, so please let us know on the forum how your local event goes.

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