Who will win Worlds — Top of Clan Predictions

Who will win Worlds — Top of Clan Predictions

During our last Imperial Advisor podcast, the question was raised, who is going to win Worlds? The general consensus was that Crane is a serious contender, but I hedged my bets somewhat, suggesting that all clans apart from Unicorn had a shot. Let’s examine this a little more and have a look at some of the currently popular decks.

Crab are in a fun situation where they can both take provinces and push for a dishonor victory. Not knowing exactly how the Crab deck is going to go it is difficult to play against. The below is a variation on the Bear Cavalry deck posted by HidaHayabusa. This is a solid Unicorn splash that plans to draw cards outside of the draw phase and bid 1 to limit their opponent’s options. Hayabusa after testing cycled out Way of the Crab and Eager Scout, but I do think that was a mistake, and I’ve added them back in again in this modified version of the deck.

Note – HidaHayabusa has just added an updated version that puts Way of the Crab back into the mix. Check his version 2.0 here.

This is the top deck for worlds according to the Imperial Advisor podcast. The suggested splash is Lion to counter bow actions with Ready for Battle in addition to Voice of Honor’s event cancellation. Lion also provide Strength in Numbers to help take provinces and Stand Your Ground to keep Crane characters around for an extra turn. Crane have some really great characters and are able to threaten military conflicts with single characters while having plenty of political skill. Guest of Honor, in particular, is a devastating finisher denying the defender options which can only be stopped by something already on the table.

This is my own version of the Unicorn splash deck that AShamefulDisplay has done extensive testing with. This deck is the reason the Crab need to play Way of the Crab, the Crane need to play Noble Sacrifice, and the Scorpion need to play I Can Swim. A typical game is a single character with 2 or 3 fate turn 1, on turn 4 that character is still around with a stack of attachments. The Unicorn splash of Spyglass allows card draw without having to bid high. Splashes such as Phoenix and Crane have also performed well but may suffer when forced to bid 1.

Lion has been considered by many as a serious contender. They have some incredibly strong characters with Honored General, Kitsu Spiritcaller, and Lion’s Pride Brawler. The Unicorn splash gives card draw with Spyglass and changes battles to Military with Captive Audience.

We recently went through Justin’s Phoenix deck on Imperial Advisor. Although dishonor is quite popular for the Phoenix, this isn’t a dishonor deck but instead is a ‘conquest’ deck trying to crush that last stronghold province. Phoenix decks have a lot of moving parts, and almost every card they have has an impact on decisions made on the board. This means they require skill to pilot and can catch opponent’s off guard. Currently, I don’t think they have all the tools they need. This is a deck you can easily lose to, but I don’t think it will win worlds this year. A few more cards though and this deck could easily become a monster.

Like Crab and Phoenix Scorpion have two ways to play, bid high as a conquest deck, or bid low as a dishonor deck. Out of all the clans, I think Scorpion can do the best dishonor, and I suspect the bid meta in Worlds will be bid 5 turn 1, just like at Gencon. This makes the Scorpion dishonor deck’s job a lot easier. Bayushi Akai’s Scorpion Defensive Dishonour is a great example of this. He has splashed Dragon which gives access to Mirumoto’s Fury, one of the best defensive actions in the game and Let Go which can discard the very popular Spyglass.

It is unlikely Unicorn are going to be winning Worlds, but the top Unicorn is going to play in the single elimination round before the top 16, so it really can’t be ignored. This deck splashes Lion to add For Greater Glory to the Cavalry Reserves and Charge! play. Ready for Battle is a good counter to Mirumoto’s Fury while Strength in Numbers gives an extra option to help win those conflicts where Unicorn struggles.


There are a few power events in the environment that will be very influential: For Greater Glory, Captive Audience, Mirumoto’s Fury, Assassination, Banzai!, and Display of Power. Due to this, Crane and Scorpion are ahead of the game with Voice of Honor and Forged Edict respectively. Lion also have Ready for Battle which is an excellent counter to Mirumoto’s Fury. This leaves Mirumoto’s Fury in a weird situation where it is both the most powerful defensive card but also the most meta against, this may result in many Dragon splashes using the Tattooed Wanderer instead.

Similarly, there are some powerful attachments in the environment such as Spyglass, Cloud the Mind, Sashimono, Reprieve, and Tattooed Wanderer. Options to deal with attachments are limited, Scorpion have Calling in Favors, Dragon have Let Go, and anyone can play the slightly over-costed Miya Mystic.

Every clan has some big influential characters, because of this, there need to be ways of dealing with them. Cloud the Mind is a popular option for those clans who have the Shugenja to run it, it doesn’t remove the character, but it does stop their abilities. Assassination deals with the low-cost characters but doesn’t help with the big characters. The other options are effectively only playable in clan: Way of the Crab, Noble Sacrifice, and I Can Swim.

Three decks can threaten dishonor, Crab, Phoenix, and Scorpion. Crab, Unicorn, and Phoenix have excellent card draw which, once it gets rolling, allows them to bid 1 regularly. The Unicorn splash of Spyglass is the only card draw option available with influence, because of this, it is very popular. Different environments end up favoring different bid strategies, but worlds will be a mix of all of those. The question is whether the draw 5 strategy will manage to overwhelm the bid 1 strategy before they dishonor out.

So who will win Worlds?

Crane did win Gencon, the discord league, and came second in the Athen’s tournament. They have Voice of Honor which counters the power events in the environment and Noble Sacrifice which deals with the big units. Although the deck I’ve listed uses Lion splash, the Dragon, Unicorn, and Scorpion options all have compelling reasons but Lion offers the most for Crane’s aggressive playstyle.

I think Dragon is also quite strong as they seem to be playing a different game to everyone else. The Dragon deck has a massive amount of attachments, so there are plenty of targets for Let Go, but then again there are always more attachments to replace those. It doesn’t care as much about the event cancellation that is so key to the rest of the environment. Dragon are vulnerable to anything that is able to kill a big unit.

I’m still going to hedge my bets on the eventual winner though. The single clan splash stops anyone from covering all the options. Each deck is going to be weak to something and strong against something else. A lot is going to depend on player skill, luck on the draw, and making it through the tournament without facing the decks they are weak to.

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6 Replies to “Who will win Worlds — Top of Clan Predictions”

  1. I think that Watch Commander is a much stronger splash in a Scorpion deck. It effectively shuts down card playing in most cases, or just continues to further the dishonor race to the bottom. My money is on a Scorpion dishonor deck winning the whole thing.

  2. I am brand new to the game and have a question – the stronghold influence Max in these decks is 13 but on the stronghold cards themselves it is printed as 10 – what exactly am I missing here?

    1. There was a real concern when we heard rumors the top Scorpion player had forgotten to bring the list with him and was recreating the deck from memory 😛

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