Elemental Cycle – Pack 5 – All and Nothing

Elemental Cycle – Pack 5 – All and Nothing

This week we’re looking at Pack 5 – All and Nothing. This pack focuses on the element of Void. Void is emptiness, no good no evil, but also clarity without preconceptions. It is the Swordsmaster who strikes with no-mind, the Archer who releases at the right moment, the Shugenja who feels the future.


81 Raging Battleground

This is an interesting card. At first glance it seems legit. 4 strength is better than most of Lion’s current lineup so it might have a bit of resilience to it, and it also has an effect that seems really strong especially once you consider that Lion have access to Feast or Famine to create quite the quandary for opponents. I always feel quite jealous of Dragon’s amazing lineup of horrific provinces and while this isn’t exactly Restoration of Balance, it is still pretty darn good in the right circumstances. It makes me wonder just many tools the design team intend to give players access to in terms of manipulation of face up/down cards. If this effect were repeatable on demand, then it would represent a very interesting card indeed.

Speculation on future mechanics aside, this does synergise extremely well with copious void conflict declarations, enhanced by a timely Akodo Toturi. A very interesting province that requires testing to see if it can displace Shameful Display as the gold standard in Void provinces for Lion.

 


82 Appealing to the Fortunes

Some provinces are scary. Void provinces, especially, have a high bar to meet, with powerhouses like Pilgrimage, Shameful Display, and Kuroi Mori among their ranks. But Appealing to the Fortunes absolutely makes a case for its inclusion in certain builds. Clearly, this card rewards you based on the cost of the characters you play, so a deck with a higher number of 4-and 5-cost characters stands to benefit most from having this province broken. Effectively gaining 5 fate and a dynasty play out of nowhere (which may have allowed you to pass first as well) is an enormous resource spike, and can even be set up with cards like Walking the Way. Phoenix, in particular, can take advantage of this play by recycling Walking the Way through Kyuden Isawa, giving them the best dynasty draw out of their top six cards. And if that draw happens to include a Fushicho, their opponent is really going to regret having seen this province. To take the wombo-combo further, a Talisman of the Sun can ensure this province gets broken, and Crab players can additionally use their plethora of save effects like Iron Mine, Reprieve, and Vanguard Warrior to keep their most Appealing character in play. That said, any clan can produce huge board swings with this card.

As usual, this province is arguably better for non-Void roles. Its explosive potential means it has every chance of unseating the more established void provinces, and, like Feast or Famine, this is a card that could determine the course of an entire game if flipped at an inopportune time. Because the ability is an interrupt, a character in the Appealing to the Fortunes province can be brought into play before it would be discarded, which means that big characters landing on this province are going to feel a little like Christmas. And Appealing to the Fortunes also suggests itself in an environment where Lion and Unicorn may be threatening up to three conflicts per turn, simply to get more characters on the board.

 


83 Tainted Hero

Hey look, it’s another giant, 3-cost Crab Berserker who relies on sacrificing a character to work at full power. Tainted Hero is an awful lot like Vengeful Berserker, a card that’s struggled to find a slot in Crab. However, he’s a much better Charge! target than Vengeful, and works extremely well with Favorable Ground. Any movement action can offer great value with him, like Favored Mount or Crisis Breaker. The question is: is such an awkward, big body worth the trouble? Maybe, with fast military decks like Lion and Unicorn looking to win by conquest on turn 2. Having a giant blocker might make all the difference in slowing them down, to get to Crab’s mid-game. Also, he makes a great cheeky combo with Calling in Favors on a Cloud the Mind on Kuni Yori.

 


84 Kuni Laboratory

It’s not often you get a new deck out of one card, but Kuni Laboratory is the engine that will power a new kind of Crab deck. Crab’s 0-2 fate cost characters tend to have average to below average stats, and with none of Crab’s 1 drops featuring an aggressive 3 in any skill, Crab has therefore tended to rely on its 3+ drops to get work done, using the cheaper Crabs as filler or utility. Kuni Laboratory changes that, giving out a blanket +1/+1 to all your characters in all locations. This along with Funeral Pyre is the engine of a low honor-bid deck that looks to swarm your opponent to death by playing about 27 0-2 cost characters. On the downside, it’s a 0-PS province, making it a priority target for your opponent, and it costs you an honor a turn. But with Rebuild, most of these problems can be played around. Annoyingly, it’s another Crab holding that doesn’t combo with Kaiu Inventor, which makes one wonder what was the point of printing that card. 

 


85 Callow Delegate

Adding to Crane’s arsenal of honoring effects comes the Callow Delegate, a 0/1/1 Courtier. Way of the Crane remains one of the best Way ofs in the game, and appending a 0/1 body to that effect for 1 fate seems an eminent deal. However, whereas Way of the Crane delivers an immediate effect, the Callow Delegate’s is delayed until the end of the turn (assuming your opponent doesn’t use an Assassination on him, or you don’t find a way to sacrifice him yourself). This makes him a little harder to use, since you have look a little into the future, although at absolute worst you can honor the Delegate himself to gain 1 honor, since his effect triggers just before he leaves play. Crane may also be reaching a saturation point of honoring effects, where each additional effect produces diminishing returns. That said, the Callow Delegate is only Crane’s third 1-cost character (Asahina Artisan and Doji Whisperer being the other two), so, on that basis alone, the Delegate warrants serious consideration. The Artisan, in particular, has attracted some criticism for its 0/0 stats and off-message Shugenja trait, so the Delegate could be a simple replacement, if he doesn’t see play alongside her. The Delegate lacks the obvious power of a clan staple, but may achieve that status anyway, at least in the short term, based on Crane’s lack of other options at the 1-cost slot.

 


86 Togashi Mitsu

Mitsu has below-expected stats for a clan-champion-costed character, but champions are supposed to be above the normal curve. With 3 glory, he is a great target to honor but also a liability if your opponent can dishonor him. To make up for his so-so skill scores, Mitsu has the fantastic Covert keyword. Typically, Covert is given to characters with a focus on either military or political, like Political Rival, Unassuming Yōjimbō, or Hiruma Skirmisher. Mitsu, in contrast, is like the Crab staple Kaiu Shuichi, who has evenly balanced military and political skills. This is incredibly powerful with Covert, since you can choose the conflict type your opponent is weakest at and remove your opponent’s best character, a combination that can often win a conflict before it starts. 

Then we get to Mitsu’s ability. As we regularly mention on the show, recursion is one of the pillars of degeneration, and, let’s face it, we all want to play the most degenerate filth we can. Mitsu’s recursion, however, is very specific and is limited to a small pool of cards. For the Monk trait, Mitsu allows to return to play (paying costs) Ancient Master, Tattooed Wanderer, and Togashi Kazue. These all can be played as characters in or outside the conflict, or onto characters inside or outside the conflict as attachments. From the Phoenix Clan, we also have Kaito Kosori and, more importantly, Shrine Maiden. Recursing a Shrine Maiden has the potential to draw a lot of cards. Looking under Kihō we have Hurricane Punch and Void Fist. The Mantra cards are Kihō, but, as Reactions, are not eligible. Hurricane Punch is a great option, since it also draws you into an additional card, while Void Fist is a great problem solver. Since both Kihō are actions, they will return to your conflict deck after resolving, allowing them to be drawn again. Importantly, Mitsu is a Monk, giving him access to all those lovely Monk cards.

Finally, we have the Tattoo cards of Centipede Tattoo and Hawk Tattoo. We talked about Hawk Tattoo in the previous pack. It is a powerful and flexible card that has a range of tactical options. Centipede Tattoo is, on the face of it, much less powerful, but it may start to see more play in the new Monk deck. Any of these cards are worth (re)playing with the ability, though you do have to get them into the discard pile first. Mitsu’s ability can be copied by Togashi Yokuni and does work with Way of the Dragon which may start appearing in decks again. As a big Monk character, he is perfect for Sacred Sanctuary. Mitsu is an absolutely fantastic character that might possibly be the best character Dragon have, and given the strength of the Dragon Dynasty deck, that is a high bar. Expect to see Mitsu a lot.

 


87 Tactician’s Apprentice

Anything that synergises with bidding low is going to really help an honor deck, especially when it allows you to claw back the card advantage you gave to your opponent. The unfortunate part of this card is that it has just about the most awful combination of everything else. Courtier would have better than bushi, as it would give better access to more relevant actions for  a more defensive honour deck or really any deck. 1/0 for 1 with 1 glory are terrible stats, which make this character only good as sacrificial fodder for Hisu Mori Toride, but there are far more worthy 1 costers available for that deck. 

 


88 Matsu Mitsuko

To start off, 4/2 for 4 fate is fairly decent. It’s nothing super shocking but it a solid body that will get work done straight away without much fuss. An immediate threat, straight out of the gate, is something that Hisu Mori Toride appreciates, so while Mitsuko won’t trigger the box alone and without some kind of investment, it’s a great follow up on a second military attack.

The most interesting thing about Mitsuko for me though are the traits Cavalry and Commander. The cavalry trait is interesting as it lends a bit more weight to the idea of playing unicorn splash. The thought of being able to run Cavalry Reserves with any kind of consistency is very intriguing for a clan that has the most options available for cheating characters into play. Realistically though, that option is still a few cheap Lion cavalry characters away from being truly efficient, but, Mitsuko does provide another rather beefy character alongside Matsu Seventh Legion that could be really influential in a fight even if you aren’t getting the maximum bang for you 3 fate spent on a Cavalry Reserves. Commander is becoming a strong theme in Lion now and the Commander cards that lion have are starting to take some kind of shape. Even the Odds works particularly well with Mitsuko, as you’ll be gaining a 6/4 into a fight with the potential to bring a second body into the fight to potentially turn the fight in your favor. Mitsuko’s ability is also super flexible, being usable on attack or defense, without presence and she doesn’t need to be unbowed either. All this leads to a card that is likely to see play. The main bone of contention with this character, is that Mitsuko is contending with Honored General in the 4 slot. That is unfortunately not a fight that Mitsuko is likely to win, but with a little bit of tweaking in your curve, you may well be able to find space for both. I guess that leaves Ikoma Eiji out of a job.

 


89 Ethereal Dreamer

While Isawa Uona is probably the stand-out character Phoenix has received this cycle, the Ethereal Dreamer has every chance of being equally impactful. While situational stipulations are expected on Phoenix cards, the Dreamer’s is guaranteed to activate (so long as you remember it) and provides a straightforward +2/+2 skill boost. While the ‘best’ Phoenix 1-drop is debatable based on context, the Dreamer becomes an immediate staple by virtue of its value, and is most directly comparable to one of the best 1-drops in the game, Doomed Shugenja. The Dreamer requires its ability to meet the Doomed Shugenja’s 3/3/0 stat line, and those stats will only be active during conflicts of one particular element during a turn, but this still effectively equates to being a 3/3 Shugenja for 1 fate. Unlike the Doomed Shugenja, the Ethereal Dreamer can have additional fate placed on her when she’s played, a minor comparative perk to make up for her contingencies.

The Dreamer’s implications for Phoenix decks are far-reaching, with the Dreamer allowing Phoenix to generate significantly greater early pressure than they’ve been used to. Phoenix tempo decks will see the Dreamer as a literal dream character, and instant 3-of staple, while less aggressive decks will still want to take advantage of a character that punches well above her fate investment, allowing fate to be directed toward other ends. Her 0 glory means she is unhampered by being dishonored, while Phoenix would rarely target a 1-drop with an honoring effect anyway, making the 0 value a significant bonus. The Ethereal Dreamer is an instant staple for all Phoenix deck types. So what was the deal with Fire Tensai Initiate?

 


90 Bustling Academy

And straight away, we get an answer. Bustling Academy is a card with potentially jaw-dropping implications. Whether those implications carry through into competitive play is another matter, but we do finally find out what Fire Tensai Initiates do: Take off and nuke the site from orbit. (It’s the only way to be sure.) If you control a Scholar character (of which the Phoenix currently have five: Asako TsukiFire Tensai Initiate, Henshin Disciple, Naive Student, and Solemn Scholar – with one more, Steward of Law being available as a conflict character through a Crane splash, and Seal of the Phoenix able to make Scholars on demand), then you can, as an action, discard a card from a province to refill that province face up. This is clearly not intended to be used on your own cards (though it can be, in a pinch), because you would get the same net benefit of seeing an additional card flip by simply not playing this card in the first place! So, time to cast our gaze across the table.

The Academy’s action is playable during the dynasty phase, giving you a fire-and-forget way of denying your opponent a key character (though most likely from turn two on, given the setup time required on turn one, and only if you’re the first player). This can have serious implications on its own – for play order, passing, for keeping or discarding holdings, etc. (and a holding that blows up other holdings cannot be underestimated in a world of Iron Mines, Kanjo Districts, and Shiotome Encampments). But the Academy also makes a complete mess of opponents trying to Charge! in a key character. When you use the Academy’s ability, your opponent is, of course, very likely to flip into something playable, but there’s a big difference between an opponent charging an Akodo Gunso in place of an Akodo Toturi.

You can make matters less pleasant for an opponent by combining the Academy with a Magnificent Lighthouse, first using the Lighthouse to scout their top three dynasty cards for the worst possible flip… and then giving it to them with the Academy. This could point the way toward a Phoenix board control deck that plans to murder and deny its opponent’s characters, eventually creating an overwhelming disparity in board position. The Scholar requirement does make the ability less than 100% reliable, but this is probably a good thing. The Scholar characters themselves are a fairly disparate bunch, but all very playable, with those least seen only lacking an archetype to make them shine. And a highly defensive control archetype with Bustling Academy as a key denial component could be that deck.

 


91 Iuchi Shahai

Unicorn receive another quality character at a cost slot that hasn’t had a lot to offer until this cycle. Iuchi Shahai offers reasonable 2/4/1 stats for 4 fate, but also possesses the Covert keyword, one of the most desirable in the game. Just like Togashi Mitsu, she is perhaps most directly comparable to Kaiu Shuichi, one of Crab’s better characters. Both are 4-cost Covert characters with a total of 6 skill points (although Shahai’s 2/4 split arguably make her better than Shuichi’s 3/3), and both have economic abilities. But where Shuichi’s revolves around holdings, Shahai’s involves Meishodo attachments and reducing their cost when attaching to her or to unaligned characters. (This is a nod to Shahai’s role in the story as an instructor and go-between for the Unicorn and the Imperial families in matters of Meishodo talisman magic which was a result of the first storyline vote). There are currently four Meishodo cards: Force of the River, Invocation of Ash, Talisman of the Sun, and Unleash the Djinn. Of these, Unleash the Djinn is role-locked to Fire, 0-cost, and not an attachment – so she currently affects three cards. However, all three cards are excellent, and even defining. Shahai’s cost reduction is a little less predictable than Shuichi’s, but comes with a higher ceiling, potentially allowing a Unicorn player to play a flurry of attachments for free. Shahai’s Shugenja trait is desirable for Unicorn decks, and allows access to other game staples like Cloud the Mind. With options at the 4-cost slot still quite limited, Shahai should make a more than welcome addition to Unicorn decks still striving to reach parity with the other clans.

 


92 Imperial Librarian

The Imperial Librarian represents a major departure from previous design indications that glory was something of a protected stat. He offers a board-wide glory pump to all other characters, both yours and your opponent’s. The Librarian is Fire-role locked however, which severely restricts his potential impact, at least for now. The two current Fire-role clans are Dragon and Lion. Dragon have basically zero interest in glory pumps, which do not intersect with any of their strategies. Lion have a minor honoring focus through Pride, so the Librarian could have some effect in certain Lion decks. However, the Librarian is unlikely to see play there, on the basis that certain other clans, most notably Crane and Scorpion, can leverage the effect far better, so playing the Librarian against those clans would be a net-negative move. Crane can more reliably honor large numbers of their characters, while Scorpion can do the opposite, and punish a player with a Librarian by dishonoring their now too-glorious fools. Phoenix are the third clan that could make use of the Librarian, but would likely have to build around him.

For now, the Librarian is a bit of a curiosity, but he could quickly become a major player in the metagame should Crane secure a Fire role, with Scorpion and Phoenix potentially having an interest in him as well.

 


93 Game of Sadane

Game of Sadane is a card that Crane players should be delighted to see. Fundamentally, Game of Sadane will cost 1 fate to both honor one of your own characters and dishonor an opponent’s. This can present a significant skill swing in and of itself, but Game also activates Noble Sacrifice. Given that you will be trying to bully duel with a major character, you will not want to pitch them to a Noble Sacrifice, except in circumstances where they are already bowed and leaving play that turn – but that’s where Crane’s ability to honor almost any of their characters comes in. Bully duel with a major character, dishonor one of their major characters, then sacrifice one of your small honored characters for a big board and resource swing. Game of Sadane may also rejuvenate the playability of Asahina Artisan, who now has potentially two political-skill duels that she can affect, in Policy Debate and Game of Sadane. A fine card with a powerful effect, Game of Sadane should see plenty of play.

 


94 Void Fist

During the Imperial Cycle, while Dragon had one of the strongest decks, it still had only limited ways of dealing with opposing threats. Void Fist is the answer to that. While it does require a little bit of setup, with Dragon’s focus on conflicts, playing two cards from hand isn’t particularly difficult. Crucially, attachments count. If you are playing any of the Mantras, they also count towards this, so if you have two of the right Mantra in hand, you could play Void Fist as your first defensive action. The requirement to have equal or more military skill than your target can be a difficulty. Many Dragon Monks are actually quite small, 1-fate characters. Luckily, Void Fist isn’t limited to a military conflict, so you can use it in a political conflict to remove a high-political-skill, low-military-skill character. As Lion’s Pride Brawler as also shown us, the difference between greater than or greater or equal than is pretty big and luckily Void Fist is on the right side of that.

The effect moves the target home and bows it. This essentially ‘kills’ a character for a turn. They’re out of this conflict and, without some additional card effect, they aren’t going to be assigned to another conflict. This effect is like Mirumoto’s Fury, but, once you get past the requirements, can be used on the attack as well as the defense, and costs 0 fate. This is a gamer changer for Dragon decks and will be a staple for Monk decks going forward.

 


95 All and Nothing

The namesake of the pack as a whole, All and Nothing is a thematic representation of the void encompassing – while still being distinct from – all other elements. Mechanically, this is represented by allowing a player who resolves the void ring to resolve any other element instead. And draw a card. And it’s this last clause that will ensure this card sees play in certain archetypes.

Off the bat, this is unlikely to see play in Phoenix tempo archetypes. Tempo archetypes care very much about board control, so the void ring, when they pursue it, is almost always intended for its original purpose: to weaken or damage the opponent’s board. Isawa Kaede could constitute an exception here. When she attacks, the ring will always be a void ring, so All and Nothing could be used to transform the void element she adds into any other element. While thematically attractive, tempo decks will still decline the opportunity costs involved in favor of playing cards that more directly advance their win condition.

But that’s all right, because this card isn’t meant for those decks. This card is meant for decks that either have little use for the void ring, or which very much want to resolve a certain ring effect at every opportunity. This immediately suggests honor or dishonor, and honor at this time remains a far weaker archetype in Phoenix, so dishonor it is. The air, earth, and fire rings are the rings dishonor generally wishes to pursue. One of these rings will usually be a clear first choice, though sometimes an opponent will get to it first; and sometimes the void ring will accumulate enough fate to make it a priority choice – but at the cost of an effect you’d rather resolve. All and Nothing solves both these issues, as well as providing the chance to resolve any given ring twice in one turn – once via itself, and once via the void ring. On its own, the ability would be marginal, but the added draw effect puts an entirely different spin on the card, to the point that we may possibly be seeing the Phoenix dishonor archetype come into sharper relief, characterized by card access. Oracle of Stone provides huge ‘digging’ potential (perhaps to get a handful of Backhanded Compliments as quickly as possible) and All and Nothing can add to this significantly: e.g., resolving the void ring as earth via All and Nothing will draw you two cards – digging you two cards further toward your game-ending combo.

Unlike the Oracle, All and Nothing cannot be recycled through Kyuden Isawa, but this is a good thing (for the game if not for the Phoenix). Card draw only gets better the more of it you have, since more cards with card draw will draw you more cards with card draw – so every draw effect you have improves and reinforces every other draw effect. And a deck that can reliably cycle itself within a few turns can open up entirely new approaches to play, few of which are likely to be ‘fair.’

There is a non-negligible opportunity cost involved in playing All and Nothing, and this may count against it in certain respects, but its potential to add to an archetype that desires and feeds on card draw is not to be underestimated.

 


96 Shosuro Sadako

When the Underhand of the Emperor Clan Pack is released, it’s likely Sadako will become a potent tool for Kyuden Bayushi, but right now she lacks relevant keywords, and requires another card to dishonor her in order to generate value from her glory. Therefore, most of her benefit (for now) resides in being a 2-fate character with 3 glory to help take the Imperial Favour. Some decks may like this, but it looks likely that she’ll sit in folders until October, and then become a potent tool in Shinobi or Kyuden Bayushi decks.

But when that day does come, she has a lot to offer. Turning dishonored status into a significant positive is a powerful effect. First, it reduces an opponent’s options in dealing with the character – Shameful Display cannot effectively be used against Sadako, and she protects her entire army from Court Games. More importantly for Scorpion, it allows her to not only ignore certain costs on powerful cards like Calling in Favors and Spies at Court, but turn them into skill buffs as well. It will also allow her to use Kyuden Bayushi and become a significant threat, all on her own, twice per turn. Having Sadako is on the table will open up new lines of play for Scorpion, whilst simultaneously shutting down some of their opponent’s, which is a lot of potential for a 2-cost character.


97 Mark of Shame

As an Air role-only card, Mark of Shame is currently available only to Crane. At 1 influence, it’s quite splashable, and the Scorpion splash is already a strong option for Crane – but I think it’s unlikely that the Mark will take priority over A Fate Worse Than Death, Forged Edict or Calling In Favors.

If Scorpion acquire an Air role at Worlds, which is a definite possibility, this card may have a place in dishonor-focused decks, providing a way to dishonor honored characters and effectively causing a two-point honor swing, as well as a small skill penalty. 2 fate is a lot to pay for what will often just be a Way of the Scorpion, but that may say more about the strength of Way of the Scorpion than the power level of this card. If a deck is looking for more options to dishonor enemy characters (and has an Air role) this is well worth considering.

 


98 Discourage Pursuit

If this card could be physically placed in a Scorpion deck, it would be excellent with the upcoming Kyuden Bayushi. It doesn’t require your Shinobi to be participating, it sets up the powerful Stronghold ability as well as Bayushi Aramoro and on top of all that it also wins conflicts. It’s exactly the kind of card Shinobi need to be an actual competitive deck.

So, of course, they put “Earth role only” on it and ruined the whole thing. Earth doesn’t even make sense as the element for this card – Shinobi have none of the characteristics associated with earth. Skill penalties and dishonoring aren’t earth-related in the game, and Scorpion have no other reason to ever take an Earth role. No other Clan has sufficient Shinobi to consider it, nor are they ever likely to, with the one non-Scorpion Shinobi having direct counter-synergy with this card. In general, I’m a fan of role locking cards and not role locking clans, but this card is a testament to the fact that than even a simple concept can be mishandled, and waste all the potential of role locking cards.

 


99 Dispatch

Dispatch is Favorable Ground in conflict-card form, albeit limited to Unicorn characters and costing 1 fate. Favorable Ground possesses one of the most powerful and impactful actions in the game, so there’s little question that Dispatch will warrant at least some consideration for any Unicorn archetype. For the new outnumbering mechanic, it offers fine control over the terms of engagement, allowing you to attack with the optimal number of characters in order to meet your goal. It also offers a get-out-of-jail-free card against provinces with powerful on-break effects, such as Feast or Famine or Appealing to the Fortunes. It is one of the few answers to Harpoon effects such as Hawk Tattoo or Formal Invitation which are about to enter the meta-game. The card is Limited, and only one Limited card can be played per turn – which isn’t an issue now, but may become one in the future. Dispatch is a card that offers both direct, conflict-winning power and some potentially game-saving utility. It’s not a sexy card, but one we feel can offer a lot in a metagame with increasingly hazardous provinces and decisive tempo plays.

 


100 Perfect Land Ethos

While thematically very cool, discarding honored and dishonored status tokens and returning everyone to a state of equality, Perfect Land Ethos is sadly doomed from the start. Not only is its effect narrow, but the two clans against which it is most effective – Crane and Scorpion – are the two clans with indigenous, almost-free event cancel. Neither of these clans is going to play a card that directly works against their own core mechanics, and it seems highly unlikely that any other clan is going to play a card with such a limited effect, that costs 2 fate, and which will likely be canceled should it threaten any significant impact. If this card could ever be used proactively by a deck, it might see play, but for now, this one should be consigned to the folder.

 


Summary

Looking at the cards of note: In this pack the Crab get Kuni Laboratory for what potentially could be a new deck type. The Crane get Callow Delegate and Game of Sadane both of which give even more honoring options. This helps the existing deck type which uses the extra skill and powers Voice of Honor but it also pushes that dream honor deck a little closer. This is a key pack for Dragon who get the absolutely amazing Togashi Mitsu and Void Fist, both game changers for the Dragon deck. The Lion get a few interesting options but it’s not clear yet whether they make the cut. For the Phoenix we get the staple Ethereal Dreamer and a super interesting meta option with Bustling Academy. The Scorpion clan get a number of interesting cards, but they are all cards for later decks and don’t currently have a place. Meanwhile the Unicorn get the awesome Iuchi Shahai for a Shugenja deck that has opened up in the last few packs. Unicorn also get Dispatch which may prove to be an effective counter to Hawk Tattoo if that feared meta takes off.

Check out the team going through the cards below


This article was a team effort. All blame will be shared equally.

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8 Replies to “Elemental Cycle – Pack 5 – All and Nothing”

    1. Going by Sanpuku Seido, and the association of Pride with fire, it seems glory is associated with the fire element. The Librarian has a pretty far-out effect, in terms of cards we’ve seen to date, so role-locking maybe makes a degree of sense here. That said, it appears to be almost randomly applied to other cards, so who knows.

      1. My concern is that certain deck types are being punished through role locking. As has been highlighted here, with the new shinobi card, which seems like it would be an absolute core card to that deck. It may be many months before we see scorpion with a earth role, unless the design team are going go for some next level theme where we never see shinobi decks in the environment as intended?

        1. Yeah, that shinobi card is… a head-scratcher, to put it politely. We’ll definitely be discussing role-locking once the preview season ends next week. There are aspects of role-locking that really do recommend it, in theory, but the application has so far been lacking.

  1. First of all, congratulations in your big work here. I read you since the beggining of the LCG, but this is my first comment.
    I don’t think that the new Lion Province will see play. It is just a one time reaction (unless you have cards that make that province go unrevealed again) with a conditional. Shameful display got a conditional too (easy to achieve) but is always active (if you can defend it). Maybe I am losing something…

    1. It doesn’t say it should replace Shameful Display, it says it’s worth testing to see if it is good enough to replace Shameful Display, and the effect certainly has the potential to do that.

  2. I think Mark of Shame is potentially good in Crane, as it lets you set up Noble Sacrifice without getting into a conflict.

  3. Game of Sadane seems to be the most playable Scorpion card of this pack. I’m eager to try it out with Hiroue and Kachiko. There’s been chatter of Scorpion going for Keeper of Earth as a role to get access Sabotage / Discourage Pursuit as well so it might push through.

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