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    By Greg Wong

    As frequently happens towards the end of an arc, the Dragon are suffering from ‘second-best’ syndrome where a lot of our deck designs run better if applied to another clan.  Faceless Honour ran better out of Journey’s End Keep Experienced than Dragon’s Breath Castle due to the higher starting honour & better personality base.  Monk Enlightenment ran better out of Temple of Purity due to a better blitz meta action on the stronghold & Asako Karachu’s ability to abuse anything with ‘bow’ as a cost.  Weapon-based military ran better out of The Shadow’s Lair; you get the idea.

    In the wake of Gates & the new ban list I’ve been granted the rare honour of attempting to corrupt my fellow L5R players with my view on the game or, more specifically, my view on how the new arrivals/departures affect my favourite clan; the Dragon.

    Let’s start with the bans.  From a Dragon perspective, or at least from this Dragon’s perspective, the most notable effect of the ban list should be the revival of Dragon Kensai as a competitive deck. The removal of Wall is Breached & Kalani’s Landing clears one of Kensai’s most notable nightmares  – non-negateable unit destruction.  Kensai decks lean towards making ‘uber-mensch’ and an untimely removal of the guy holding a pair of Wyrmbones puts a serious crimp in their game.  The removal of Oblivious & Frozen in Place means your guys should survive for the one turn you need to attach some steel to them and go province hunting.  Attachment hate is still prevalent in the environment but you should be able to play around or meta it without suffering too badly.  The removal of Jiramu should make your honour matchups a touch easier as well as you shouldn’t see as many decks jumping up 10 or more honour in a single turn.

    A nice side effect of having an old deck return is that you don’t need to learn it from scratch.  Most Dragons are very familiar with the kensai deck at this point in the arc so designing & running one will be easier to do.  To paraphrase Andrew’s comments in his article on the Spider ( a proven deck does well in an environment of the unproven.

    Not to say that the Kensai haven’t picked up a few new tricks that bear looking at.  On the arrivals side this set, the holdings in Gates are what first caught my eye.  Between Fudoist Temple & Productive Mine you should be able to field a gold scheme that opens with 6-7 gold on turn 1 with reasonable consistency which should nicely fuel just about anything.  Fudoist Temple also gives you the option of sending your guys in the Cavalry segment to give you some added punch on the offense.

    If you’re not looking in the Kensai direction, perhaps a monk rush is more to your fancy.  The Dragon monk decks that have suffered from lack of attachment protection will likely enjoy A New Perspective both for the force as well as the generic protection provided by the followers.  The addition of yet another boxable monk will aid in allowing you to overwhelm your opponent with targets.  Be aware that A New Perspective is a bit of a double-edged sword for you though as it’s likely to be in heavy use throughout the environment and our monks tend to use a lot of range and melee attacks (both of which work a lot better when you don’t have to chip off a bunch of followers).  A revival of heavy use of Gold & Steel (as seen earlier in the arc) is probably not a bad idea if you have problems with large numbers of free attachments.

    Lion is probably the clan to beat, the loss of Charter of the Legion of 2,000 will reduce the staying power of their blitz deck but it hasn’t lost any speed and the removal of Caught Unawares reduces the number of possible responses; Overpower or Hidden Defences are likely your best answers.  They also retain both their Honour & Paragon decks virtually unchanged.  Terrain meta will likely be an important part of your answer in the Lion match regardless of which style they’re going with.

    Here’s a sample list for the curious; note that it’s intended to be a starting point not the finished product, tweak to taste and enjoy

    Foothills Keep
    Border Keep Experienced
    Bamboo Harvesters Experienced 2

    Celestials: 2
    Ryoshun’s Guidance
    Benten’s Blessing

    Events: 2
    Imperial Gift

    Personalities: 22
    Mirumoto Shikei
    Mirumoto Kojinrue Experienced
    Mirumoto Houken Experienced
    Mirumoto Kojinrue x3
    Mirumoto Kouzei x3
    Mirumoto Kazuya x3
    Mirumoto Reiyu x3
    Mirumoto Houken x3
    Mirumoto Michi x3

    Holdings: 14
    Gold Mine x3
    Productive Mine x3
    Fudoist Temple x3
    Prosperous Village x2
    Chugo Seido
    Tattoos & Trinkets
    Temples of Gisei Toshi

    Strategies: 26
    Never Beyond My Reach x3
    Hundred-Fold Cut x3
    A Brave New World x2
    Know No Fear x2
    Without Mercy x2
    Again! x3
    Hidden Defenses x2
    Near Miss x2
    Broken Alliance x2
    Fall Back! x2
    A Game of Dice
    Creating Order
    Closing the Gap

    Maga-Yari x3
    Celestial Sword of the Dragon
    Cursed Relic x3
    Wyrmbone Katana x3
    Blades of the Black Dragon

    Ring of Water
    False Ring of Void
    Ring of Void

    Greg Wong has been an avid Dragon player since the inception of L5R.  Greg is a six-time Kotei winner and has been top Dragon at both Gencon & European Championships, including a second place finish at the 2010 North American Championships.

    The post Gates of Chaos Environmental Analysis: Dragon appeared first on Alderac Entertainment Group.

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