Crab Woes – A Reflection on Worlds

Crab Woes – A Reflection on Worlds

A lot of information about the L5R LCG’s competitive scene emerged from the World Championships this past weekend in Minnesota. Among the most surprising revelations was the Crab Clan’s failure to perform at expected levels. Despite decent participation numbers, Crab struggled in the format, with only a single challenger limping to the final cut. Different reasons have been offered as to why Crab failed – from the trollish to the bewildered. After my own series of bruising defeats, I have been trying to analyze what went wrong, and why, and I have a few hypotheses.

1) Crab’s focus is divided and non-synergetic
Broadly speaking, there are three types of Crab dynasty character:

First, the defensive Crab, like Hiruma Yojimbo, Borderlands Defender, and Hida Kisada. Crab commits a lot of value to defence, but defending does not independently advance you toward victory. The Crab province Defend the Wall is the only card that allows you to turn an unavoidable commitment to defensive value into progress on the board (though Staunch Hida in the Tears of Amaterasu dynasty pack will also help). These characters have good stats, but lack actions, which reduces their flexibility quite a lot.

Second, there are the Crab characters that interact with holdings, like Hida Guardian, Shrewd Yasuki, and Kaia Shuichi. These all require a holding to activate their abilities, and are all quite powerful when you do have a holding. This means, however, that they want a good number of holdings in the deck, generally 6–8. Because they depend on dynasty flips, they almost demand additional fate investment , making them more expensive in real terms, as well as in opportunity cost.

Third, there are the sacrifice Crab, like Eager Scout, Kaiu Envoy, Vanguard Warrior, Hida Tomanatsu, Vengeful Berserker, and Steadfast Witch Hunter. These sacrifice either themselves or other characters for useful effects. They want a high throughput of characters – plenty of meat for the grinder. You could also add the card Funeral Pyre here. It’s when these three character types are forced into a single deck that the problems begin.

Basically, the defensive Crab play well with either of the other two sets, but the holding Crab and the sacrifice Crab have issues working together. The holding Crab want a holding in play and to hang around for a turn or two to maximize their value. Meanwhile, the sacrifice Crab want buy a bruiser and use cheap, throwaway characters with no additional fate investment to fuel their continued existence or additional power. This leads to frustrating dynasty flips when the different elements come out in the wrong order.

2) Mulligan issues
I’m going to develop some language here, for the sake of ease of reading. I’ll refer to a character that costs 3 or more fate as ‘major’ and one who costs 2 or less as ‘minor’. Some clans have obvious goals with their mulligan: they have a powerful major they want to see, and would like 1–2 minors to support the major. So while a Lion player might aggressively mulligan for a major like Lion’s Pride Brawler and some supporting minors, a Crab player’s mulligan has additional complications.

Crab have the issue of wanting to get value from the holding Crab. To do that they need a holding – and running cards like Rebuild further compounds that instinct, because you badly want a holding so you can use Rebuild. This means that if you see a holding in your first four cards, there is significant incentive to keep it. But this also means that you’re only mulliganing 3 cards, while possibly still searching for major and 1–2 minors, or 2–3 minors. However, with the number of holdings you are required to play to make your holding Crab work, you run the risk of getting a second or third holding. This makes the Crab mulligan much more stressful and variable.

3) Costings
Most clans have 7 minor dynasty personalities. The Crab have 6. To make matters worse, because Crab are running large numbers of holdings, they often cut down the number of Eager Scouts to avoid a quarter of the deck (Scouts plus holdings) offering 0 strength in conflicts. If you draw 3 holdings and an Eager Scout, you could easily lose two provinces on turn one. So Crab are compelled toward including only 5 minor in-clan personalities, with Keeper Initiates bringing the total up to 6, or 18 cards total. Given that you either want to see a major and 1–2 minors on your first turn, or 3 minors, those numbers are not statistically comforting.

Reducing holding count to increase the potential number of minors runs into two problems: the unaligned options are lackluster, and you greatly reduce the reliability of the holding Crab in your deck. So, Crab are suffering from a character base badly in need of a few more quality minors. The current situation too often leads to a squeezed economy where we struggle to save fate for conflict cards that might help, particularly conflict characters.

4) Playstyle
Crab are at their best when defending. If Crab turtle up, they can hold off most clans for quite a while, with only Lion reliably overwhelming them in military, and Scorpion and Crane in politics. The problem is, Crab find it difficult to get ring effects off and progress towards victory while simultaneously defending. Crab’s dishonor win condition also lacks a reliable finisher. I spent a lot of time on the weekend getting people to 1–3 honor, only to be unable to seal the deal, the final point or two frustratingly out of reach.

Additionally, the low bid play style which facilitates dishonor means you increase the randomness of your conflict deck draws as you draw far fewer cards. So you usually find yourself on the back foot with few options in the early game unless you hit the card draw Crab can provide.

5) No high-skill attacking minors.
Except for Phoenix, every clan has a 1-cost minor with a sometimes conditional 3 skill value in either military or politics. Crab’s version, the Hida Guardian, has two conditions and a higher ceiling. She needs another character with her, and she needs a holding in play. One of the strengths of those aggressive minors is they can attack or defend alone for a low cost and can reliably grab a ring or even take a province if uncontested. Crab’s minors don’t have that aggressive flexibility and tend to suffer in the early game because of that.

Conclusions:
Crab need more cards to round out their decks. A few more minors will help, and hopefully skew each deck more towards either a sacrifice- or holding-based strategy, allowing many or all of the non-synergetic elements to be cut. A selection of defensive techniques to help grab rings or punish attacks would also be helpful, and some more fate-gaining tactics would be lovely. Crab’s conflict characters need to be a bigger part of the holding deck, and hopefully, we’ll get a 1-coster to help fuel sacrifice effects. A few closers for dishonor like Backhanded Compliment to combo with Levy for a bomb finish would be marvelous.

Finally, with the addition of the 6 packs of the Imperial Cycle, I hope to develop a few new potential Crab personality lineups once we have some valuable additional options. Stay tuned for more missives from the wall.


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Hida O-Win

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13 Replies to “Crab Woes – A Reflection on Worlds”

  1. Excellent write up. You have summarized the lack of synergy and initiated a dialogue around Crabs dynasty woes. Crabs dynasty is lacking punch and what punch it could provide is subject to variance.

  2. Very good article. I play crab and really felt that some cards are just doing nothing if they dont get paired with their requirements. Same as with the mulligan decisions.

  3. Very good analysis. I dearly hope for some good synergetic 1 or 2 cost crab personalities in the first cycle. Crab is not bad atm, but it lacks focus.

  4. Good write up. I have been wondering for a while now if Crab are defending so much how, are they supposed to win games? I am not entirely sure FFG knows. I feel like Dishonour is their primary victory condition but it still lacks a few tools in the arsenal to really work. Staunch Hida from Tears is a solid addition for my mind to claim rings on defense and be an Assassination target. Again, not a strong Mil for a 2 drop and – Pol so only limited use but I like her ability especially as Defend the Wall is going to have stiff competition from Guardians of the Seikitsu soon enough.

  5. Excellent article. I think something worth emphasising here is that one of the best Crab paths to victory – a slow grind to an opponent being forced to 0 dishonour, or creating situations where an opponent’s low honour removes their ability to function effectively, and thus allows attrition wins – essentially takes a lot of time to achieve, so the current tournament rules (with the 1 hour cut off, and massive points difference between modified and normal wins) don’t really favour crab. Clans that break provinces fast are best in this environment, and Crab – who will often come back from behind after setting up dishonour pressure and weathering attacks for a few turns – simply aren’t set up to play well within a one hour window.

  6. I think most of Crabs dynasty issues can be smoothed out by running the correct number of conflict characters. I also think that overly defensive play and overly conservative bidding are getting many crabs into trouble.

    Also, a main reason Crab had a poor worlds showing was that their player who qualified in 5th place dropped to play netrunner.

  7. @Eugene Earnshaw: Okay so let clear a few things up. First off Crab didn’t have a character qualify 5th. Philipp Rover (7-1), who was a Scorpion qualified 5th. He did indeed drop after swiss and go play netrunner. Dave Hoyland (6-2) was the top finish Crab post round 8 of swiss at 21st. He also dropped to go play netrunner. I finished 25th also at (6-2) and played our play in game to the top 16. Also I’d appreciate you not throwing blame at people who had a damn good tournament. You want to blame someone for Crab not being in top 16, then I’m right here.

    With that being said, crab had 5 people in the top 5/53, which is 9.4%. So yes we did slightly worse than our 12% total showing of the field (less than anyone except Phoenix and Unicorn), but I would say that’s within acceptable variance.

    Thirdly, the best things that crab has going for it in my opinion are twofold. One, our resilience and the fact we get more out of more out of our dudes due to sacrificing them than any other faction does. Crab typically doesn’t do well in quick games. We need time to set up our superior board position and then crush people between dishonor and military conquest.

  8. Lastly, I don’t think Worlds was this colossal failure on the Crab Clans part. We had quite a few people do well. Do we need more cards to make us better balanced and give us better depth? Yes. That makes us no different from most other clans. I think we need to be patient and not have knee jerk over-reactions to bad things happening. The sky isn’t falling and if we went and played day 2 of worlds again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3-4 crab in the top 16. Good players lost to good players. It happens.

  9. Great article! It’s good to see high-level analysis of how a deck works (or doesn’t) and I agree about the cards Crab would like to see in the future in order to ease some of the their cardpool’s shortcomings.

    But … I agree with Spector that Crab is in an okay place in 3x core, so here’s my long-winded rebuttal. My opinions come from matches against strangers online where it’s hard to gauge the average skill level, which might be a reason O-win and I would disagree on the more subjective stuff. If anyone else’s experience is vastly different or anyone thinks I’m way off the mark I’d love to hear why.

    (1)
    The holdings theme isn’t a huge burden on the deck and isn’t getting in the way of anything else. Sensible crabs run the 6 neutral holdings, as do lots of other factions at the moment. You only have 2 dynasty cards that really care about having holdings, you have rebuild to get them back as long as you’ve seen one, and Shuichi is probably sticking around for a few turns so it’s not disastrous if he doesn’t get value right away. So basically you only get screwed if you have nothing to play but Shrewd Yasukis and no holdings early on.

    The sacrifice theme is even less of problem. Your main sacrifice outlet is Steadfast Witch Hunter, and when you have one in play it’s not hard to have a bowed fateless character to use for her every turn. Stoic Gunso and Way are in your conflict deck and can wait around for the opportune moment, so you’re not getting screwed if you don’t see fodder for them right off the bat. Back to Witch Hunter, it’s important to understand that she’s so good that she broadens the definition of sacrifice fodder to pretty much anything. Playing a Borderlands Defender with 0 fate then saccing her after she’s bowed to ready your best character is Crab’s (better) version of Shosuro Actress.

    In short: The themes work fine together as neither is taking up too much deck space. Running Shuichi and Witch Hunter in the same deck is not an imposition.

    (2)
    Crabs shouldn’t let holdings distract them from responsible mulliganing. Ship your holdings back along with your unwanted characters if you haven’t found all the characters you need yet. The dream is to get a Witch Hunter and a 1-coster, but any big/small or 3-small flop will do. If you naturally hit Shuichi+Small guy + Holding then by all means keep it all, but otherwise ship the holdings. Shuichi with no holdings isn’t disastrous, 3 holdings is.

    (3)
    My crab deck runs 17 small characters, which is pretty standard across all decks I’ve built and doesn’t automatically cause mulligan issues. You’re 90% to hit at least one small guy from your starting 4 and likewise for a big guy with 17 of each, and if you don’t get both you’re 86% to hit the missing part mulliganing your other 3 cards. That’s not considering a lot of other okay starts (3 small, 2 small + gunso, 1 big + The Mountain Does not Fall), and the fact that some nominally bad starts (2 small, 1 big) still transition into winnable games. That’s glossing over a lot of the complexity of mulligans and starting turns, tough. I’ll concede that Crab have more units or combinations of units than average that they don’t really want to see on turn 1, and a few that they really don’t want to see on turn 1 (Vengeful Berserker).

    (4)
    Crab’s 4+ cost guys are really good at attacking, since they self-ready, have covert, or just smash. You’re incentivized to defend with your little guys since your Stronghold’s bonus scales with head count, or with a big guy when you have a good TMDNF turn. That’s a huge oversimplification of the whole when to attack/defend question, which is a huge skill-testing part of the game, but I don’t think Crab should be triggering fewer ring effects than their opponents, on average.
    I’m not exactly sure what this talk of crab’s dishonor win condition is. I imagine angling to dishonor from turn 1 probably hurts your winrate as crab. Bid 5.

    (5)
    No disagreements here. Hida Guardian sucks but you still play it. Kaiu Envoy and Vanguard Warrior are good but aren’t exactly rocking the raw stats. While we’re at it, their 3-costers are also pretty bleh.

  10. I’m linking us over from the results of the Madrid Kotei following Pablo’s win with Crab. We’ve been having a discussion with Stephen Didion who was the winner of the PAX Grand Kotei. Stephen has been critical of this article as Crab now have two wins directly following worlds.
    To give context, this is his post. I’m going to reply in line to it step by step.

    Baz,
    Heads up, this is a long reply.
    I’m glad you’re not stating that 99% of all Crab players from Worlds/PAX suck, as that would be factually incorrect. Here are some facts from the first 3 major events:

    This point about Worlds/Pax versus Madrid relates to the improvement in swiss performance. We’ve had a few people suggest the reason Crab didn’t perform at Worlds and Pax is because they’re bad players. If that was true, then the Madrid players clearly must be better players than those at Worlds and Pax. That just doesn’t seem right, so clearly something else is going on.

    # of wins: Crab (2), Lion (1), Crane/Dragon/Phoenix/Scorpion/Unicorn (0)
    # of players in top 4: Lion (5), Crab/Dragon/Scorpion (2), Crane (1), Phoenix/Unicorn (0)
    Below that you’re going to find Lion/Dragon/Scorpion populating the round of 8 mainly. Crane has only had John Urbanek make it past the round of 8, while Phoenix and Unicorn have not yet had a player get past the top 16.
    So I’d have to say that Crab and Lion are the top 2 factions based on results right now. Scorpion and Dragon and certainly putting guys there, but they aren’t getting it done right now. Am I saying that the players who lost in the top 32/16/8/4/2 games were bad? No, but they weren’t able to win the games to continue on in the tournament, and on some level results need to matter.

    If we were just to take wins, yeah that would put Crab as the dominant clan. That’s a pretty simplistic view though, and a cursory look at the single elim rounds indicate Crab are struggling to get players into that top cut. Meanwhile Scorpion are dominating the swiss, but struggling in the single elims! Lion seem to have a decent balance, with good performance in the swiss and good performance in the single elims, but in two of the finals they were knocked out by Crab.

    Let’s now talk about Worlds, since that seems to be the pink elephant in the room. Eoin’s article has been referenced as reasons why Crab had Woes at worlds and underperformed. From a results standpoint and looking at Crab has done in a similar meta since then, yes we underperformed. However, let’s dig a little deeper. Since I’m writing this and consider myself a good player, was I disappointed with my Worlds results? No, I was not. My two Day 2 losses were to Travis McDaniels (top 16), who I consider to be the best Phoenix player currently playing and to Gabriel Caban (top 8), who is a stellar Dragon player, one of the best who I’ve had the privilege to play against. These were losses to contemporaries, people who I consider to be equally skilled or better than I am. If you talk to other Crab players from World’s, few are going to share the articles feelings.

    I’m glad you agree that Crab underperformed at worlds. Let me start getting into this by addressing why Eoin wrote his article. Unicorn obviously are doing worse but we didn’t write an article about them. Similarly, the poor performance of Phoenix didn’t require a write up as we can see the move parts hadn’t quite come together yet (spoiler, it’s now fully operational). Crane’s performance has been surprisingly poor, a clan we felt it was a top contender for Worlds, but we didn’t write about that. Instead, Eoin focused on Crab because it was a surprise and because most importantly after 20+ years he is invested in making sure Crab succeed. He wasn’t writing about Crab because the worst faction, but because they are his faction. From what I can see his article received a lot of support from Crab players who recognised the issues he raised and agreed, based on that, I wouldn’t be so sure about your assertion that other Crab players from Worlds are going to agree with you. To be blunt, it’s an unfounded argumentum ad populum and we can do better than that.

    Looking at Eoin’s article, two of the biggest things that I took away from it were that our cards don’t synergize well and we are inconsistent. Joe Habes (Joe From Cincinnati) offered this in response when I asked him about Crab being inconsistent or disadvantaged at a competitive level, which I think is a spot on analysis:

    Before we get into Joe’s points, lets focus on your take aways. Crab cards don’t synergize well and are inconsistent. Out of the 5 bullet points in Eoin’s article those map to 1) Crab’s focus is divided and non-synergetic and 2) Mulligan issues. In section 1 Eoin talks about the 3 different types of focus for characters in the Crab: defensive, holdings, and sacrifice. Looking at your PAX deck I can see you left out the Eager Scout, Hida Tomonatsu, and Vengeful Berserker, so your deck is more focused on the defensive and holding characters. You do still play some sacrifice characters, jesus who wouldn’t play the Witch Hunter, she’s amazing but I think it’s fair to say the focus is reduced. If we go to section 2 of the article, Eoin is talking about how holdings can cause difficulties with draws. Essentially if you try mulligan into a holding to let Shrewed Yasuki draw a card, you’re probably gonna screw yourself. Looking at your deck I can see you cut the Funeral Pyre, instead relying on holdings that don’t clog up your provinces. When watching your games it was pretty clear you were looking to mulligan into major and minor character. In multiple games I saw a Kaiu Envoy and Steadfast Witch Hunter with fate hit the table turn 1. I’m pretty sure you weren’t actively trying to draw into a holding unless you already started with that perfect setup.

    “I think Crab had a disadvantage before people learned how to play them competently. They play differently from each other clan because their greatest strength lies in their ability to wait out their opponent with solid defense and hard to remove characters, character efficiency, and resilience which no other clan typically cared about at the beginning. Once the ideal way to play them was discovered, however, they gained a significant advantage in the game.

    So could we maybe say that Crab have some consistency problems that players need to be aware of? That once you understand the limitations of the Crab pool and how you can best minimise those issues you’ll have more success? So far is sounds like Joe is agreeing with Eoin, not disagreeing.

    Crab is able to play conservatively and accumulate fate through their save effects (saving a 4 fate character with a 1 fate attachment technically generates 3 fate of value) and, once their opponent’s board eventually withers, they can take over a game. That’s why you see only ~3 Crabs per tournament really shine. The ones who get it will dominate the competition. The ones who play them like any other clan will fail.”

    The suggestion here seems to be that Crab are a high skill clan that only a few savants can master. I’ve heard people say the same about the Unicorn, followed quickly by the sound of laughter. It’s a nice idea, and hell it might be true, but isn’t it a simpler explanation to suggest that Crab have reliability issues? A good Crab player knows how to reduce those issues and with a bit of luck and the right matchups they can go all the way.

    At Madrid we saw Crab with a qualification rate of 9% second only to Scorpions terrifying 12% qualification rate. So what happened here? The Spanish players definitely shined, are they somehow better at the game than American players? I’m sure they’re awesome players, but again it doesn’t quite ring true.

    I think Crab is, along with Phoenix, one of the two most technical clans to play in the game right now, with some of the highest skill ceilings in the game. When played correctly/optimally, they shine. When they aren’t, you get subpar results. I think Crane/Dragon/Lion/Scorpion have simpler game plans they want to execute at the moment, and Unicorn still is lacking the cards they need to be able to do what they want to do in order to win.

    It’s nice to think that your own clan is highly technical and that your own success is somehow more impressive than that of another player due to their clan. The reality, I suspect, is that people understand the quirks of their own clan a lot better than that of others. Other clans look a lot simplier, because you’re only seeing the results and not the process that lead to those results. It certainly is possible that certain clans are more technical than others, but I seriously thought the differences is going to be great especially give the complexity of the base aspects of the game overall.

    Phoenix are after getting a serious shot in the arm with the Imperial cycle. Are they still a highly technical clan? Or were they struggling because of issues in the card pool? I think we can all agree they’ve received a big shot in the arm with the Imperial cycle and now they’re putting the final touches on their fully operational battle station. If you’re right, Phoenix will win tournaments but will have a low qualification rate. If I’m right, Phoenix will have a high qualification rate and will tournaments.

    So in conclusion, I’m confused on the stance your podcast has taken on Crab so far. 1. Is Crab, as the results have shown, a top level faction and IA just hasn’t acknowledged it? 2. Does Crab just have some of the current top players in the World (Pablo and myself) and that is what is propping up an otherwise mediocre faction? 3. Or perhaps we’re just lucky and this is a statistical anomaly?
    I’d like to think it’s the first answer with a dash of 2 and maybe a sprinkle of 3, as in any long tournament you’re going to have to win a game or two when you play poorly (some will call this getting lucky).

    Although it’s difficult to speak for the entire team, I’d say that the stance we’ve taken with Crab is that at Worlds they struggled due to inconsistencies that many players had yet to come to grips with. Those inconsistencies meant Crab decks could occasionally stumble, making 7-0 performances unlikely. If Crab were able to make it to the cut, as you were at Pax, if the Crab player played an almost perfect game, got a little lucky, and had the right opponent they could definitely win. For Madrid, the first two packs had a big influence on the Crab decks, Policy Debate and the Crab Magistrate were a pretty big shift. By the end of this week, we’ll have the last pack of the cycle, and everything will be up in the air again. Right now Crab are looking pretty strong, but the Phoenix Magistrate is a serious concern as it wrecks the majority of Crab personalities without needing to be boosted. Crab have received a number of awesome tools and every new characters helps smooth out those consistency issues Eoin was talking about.

    Do I think you and Pablo are the best L5R players in the game? No, I don’t. Before the Madrid Kotei Eoin helped one of the Irish players Corm put the finishing touches on his Crab deck. Corm made it to the top 32 in that 450 player tournament losing to a Scorpion player. I’m pretty sure that Corm could have gone all the way if he’d been a little luckier and hit a better matchup.

    Do I think it’s a statistical anomaly? If I had to choose, I’d say it is. That said, I’d also consider Samuel Benies’ win a statistical anomaly. The reality is we’re constructing post-hoc models. It’s too difficult to predict a winner before you have a massive tournament, all you can really do is look back and what happened. Each of the three tournaments we’ve discussed, Worlds, PAX, and Madrid all happened in a different environment. Ignore attendance and players, Pax had new roles, and Madrid had new packs.

    Look, I know I’ve gone on for a while. I hope the one thing I’m getting across here is that you, Joe, and Eoin all actually agree. Eoin suggested Crab had some inconsistencies, you and Joe say Crab requires some skill to master. That’s just semantics, you’re both saying the same thing. Your success at Pax was a real achievement, the first Grand Kotei, and the first big win for Crab. I’m not going to sugar coat it though, despite being a Grand Kotei, PAX wasn’t big. Your final was against a player who had played 3 games before the tournament. As far as I can see your real final was against Tim Wells who I’ve been assured by multiple people is one of the best Lion players you’ll ever find. Watching that match was pretty disappointing though, he didn’t understand that Guidance would trigger Watch Commander and you didn’t trigger it until after the opportunity had passed. That said, you got lucky and you were ready to exploit that luck, just like Pablo and just like Samuel. That’s all the best L5R players can ever say, and it’s pretty clear you are an awesome player.

    I’d hope that you, Eoin, and Joe put this shit to the side and work out how best to guide the Crab players who aren’t currently successfully into a bright future. If we’re seeing 50% of the top 16 Crab by the end of the year then that’s a win for you all.

    Personally, I’m playing Dragon, so I hope you all suck.

  11. Hello and excuse me for my bad english and many mistakes!

    I believe this thread has started to gain some weight and since I have been mentioned a few times, sharing my opinion on this subject and article may be useful to someone (and I want to write a wall of text like the others! 😀 )

    First of all, I would like to say that assuming that the awesome crab performance in both koteis was a matter of luck or favorable pairings may hurt some feelings, and sometimes it seemed implied. Matchups and luck are definitely important (or even necessary!) to win a big tournament full of good players, but a lot of testing and playing before the tournament (also good decision making and playing calm during it) are the key.

    Onto the “Crab:Good or bad?” debate, I believe, having played all clans, that certainly crab is one of the most technical decks, with a lot of planning for future rounds, with, as was said before, Phoenix, which favor a game style that, even with crazy good new characters, requires more careful planning on your attacks and ring selection, and playing with glory/favour may lead to strange plays that other clans would not think of. Crab is similar, am i saying with this that my wins with crab are more valuable than those achieved by, for example, a lion player? No, obviously not, some decks give more options (like switching to dishonor) than others, who offer a much straight-forward style of play, but that doesnt make player 1 better or more deserving than player 2.

    Crab performance at worlds was a bit of surprise to me too, but i believe that the clans are (with the exception of unicorn) pretty balanced so it could have been every other clan, as we saw on both Koteis (these results were surprising too).

    About the synergies and themes of the crab, I havent found such inconsistency, here in my meta crab is running roughly the same number of holdings that the others clans. It is true that sometimes you see a Yasuki or Shuichi and you dont have holdings, but it is very difficult that you dont have a rebuild, other characters to buy, or even an oponent holding, so we dont really have to make great sacrifices to put them to work. Defensive characters dont demand anything to do their job (you dont have to defend every attack!) , and, without taka, i dont think we can talk about a proper sacrifice theme, some of our effects require sacrifices to work, but every clan could just take Witch Hunter or Kaiu Envoy, and they would be incredibly good, and, you dont leave out of your deck eager scout, tomonatsu or the berseker because they doesnt synergize well with the rest of your cards, they are plainly bad characters, or we have others that can get their job done better. We do have less “minor” characters than the other clans, and we lack a cheap attacker, meaning that we struggle on the first turns, but we have some of the best 4+ drops in the whole game, and we got a lot of tools to make them shine, much more than any other clan, so I believe it comes down to the playing style that was decided for crab.

    Onto the playstyle problem, I do not see why we must defend every attack and not advance our winning conditions, we defend when its worth the investment, or we have some incentives (like The Mountain Does Not Fall), and usually defending and stalling the game dont give us rings or the favour, but we are more prepared for a long game than the other decks, and provinces have nice effects. I also think that you shouldn´t bid low if you cant draw the difference in the bidding through other means like pyres or spyglasses, so we shouldnt be drawing less cards than our oponents. Watch Commander lets you win every conflict if the opponent has 2-3 honor left, wich is pretty awesome.

    Stoic Magistrate and Policy Debate are both great cards against lion, but also against the rest of the decks, I do not think im going to take them down even if meta shifts and Lion starts to lose all those players in the tops.

    On a final note, I would like to add that Crom played in Top 32 against my friend and team member Roberto Cotillas, who was playing dragon, which i believe is a favourable matchup for crab.

    Wow, that was a lot!

    1. Hey Pablo,

      Thanks for posting! Your English is looking pretty fine and, as I kept saying at Madrid, is much better than my Spanish 😉

      You’re totally right, anyone who wins a big tournament doesn’t do it by chance, they make their own luck and they’re ready to take advantage of their opponents poor luck.

      The ‘Crab: Good or Bad?’ debate is a false one. The argument was never that Crab was bad, the question was: why Crab did so poorly at Worlds? Eoin suggested a few hypotheses, as above. Some people took those up as being ‘Crab suck’ which has been pretty frustrating. In reality he was trying to find an answer to the facts presented. You can’t answer ‘why did crab do poorly?’ with ‘Crab are awesome!’. You could suggest, as some players did, that Crab players suck, but that doesn’t ring true. Following PAX and Madrid, a few players have come to us and said – ‘look, proof that Crab are great!’ but that was never the question, and it doesn’t explain the results.

      Eoin’s major over-arching point, as you say, is about inconsistency. You mention a bundle of great points, around holdings, characters, and playstyle. I think Eoin’s big mistake was not following the post up with a second one giving some tips on how to reduce the inconsistencies. Not leaving holdings to clog your provinces is a good one. The Eager Scout is actually one of most efficient characters in the game, because nothing beats free. He is however a wasted slot that clogs a province and reduces your chance of passing for a fate. From that perspective, his inclusion increases a decks inconsistency.

      I’ll definitely be encouraging Eoin to post those articles, which I know he has been working on for a while. Once he does, I’d encourage you and any other Crab players to critic and post any suggestions on how to improve it. He’s putting himself out there hoping it’ll help.

      I checked with Corm and you’re right, his last game was again a Dragon deck. He had beaten Roberto in the swiss already and the Roberto bid a lot more conservatively in their final game. Corm tells me Roberto had a Niten Master start which Corm couldn’t recover from. I guess if Corm had been a little luckier and drawn the Way of the Crab, Assassination, and the Kaiu Envoy turn 1 then that might have been a different match. 🙂

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