Irish Kotei – What you need to know

Irish Kotei – What you need to know


In advance of this weekend’s Irish Kotei, I thought I’d compile as much of the relevant information as I could. For those who won’t be at Cork, hopefully, some of this will be generally useful info for your own local Kotei.

Important notes according to the Cork local players.

  • Despite all evidence to the contrary, Cork is the true capital of Ireland.
  • Don’t order Guinness, order Murphys.
  • Buy Alex Watkins drinks



The most important thing to know about Cork is that the god-damned river doesn’t have the decency to travel in a straight line. The river Lee splits and winds and twists and turns. Do not trust that thrice-damned river.

The main convention is in the Student center. This is where registration on Friday night will be and where everything else will go on for the main convention. It might be worth checking out if you want a break from cards. Importantly this is next to the student bar, so it is likely you’ll find fellow players in there that night.

Student Centre for the Main Convention.

The main event itself will be in the Science building. This is about 5 minutes walk away from the main convention.

The Science building

You can find extra maps of University College Cork here

Registration: During registration, you will confirm your name, bring your ticket, hand over your decklist, and vote for the elemental role for your clan. You will receive the exclusive playmat, a commemorative pin, and copies of your clan’s Seal extended art prize card. You will receive 7 copies of your clan seal, 3 are for you to keep and the other 4 are to be traded with your opponent in the first 4 rounds of the tournament. Decklist can use the official FFG form or a printout from fiveringsdb (for example), but make sure it is complete, clear, and importantly INCLUDES YOUR NAME. Pre-registration for the Irish Kotei starts at 18:00 on Friday in the main event hall, please do so, it’ll let you sleep in on Saturday! Otherwise, registration on the event morning is 09:00 to 09:45.

Elemental Role choice: Currently each clan has only one role card they card they can play. At Worlds, each clan will get a bonus elemental role they can use. During registration vote on the second role you would most like to have for your clan.

Timetable: This is a timetable for the event. What you need to know is that these days are grueling. Bring water and food. Drink Sleep the night before. Act as if you’re not going to be able to get out of that room for the full tournament. The day starts at 9 and is planned to end at 20:30, but delays do happen. Make sure you have everything you need to happily stick around all day.

Pub: We’re probably talking about the student bar for drinks. This is in the student centre. There is what is affectionately known as the “Old Bar” which may or may not be the same thing anymore. Ask a local for exactly which pub to go to if you’re in question.

Food: As I’m not local, the best advice I can give is to check yelp. The local places will deliver to UCC, so it might be a good idea to order something after you finish round 4. Some of the on college places should also be open. This is the take away menu for the closest fast food joint that delivers, it’s just outside the big front gates of the university, so it’s close, but not close enough to the Kotei building

Things to do during the tournament.

  • Bring some dice so you have a way to randomize the first player.
  • Time on the round means you stop playing. If you’re mid-combat and are about to play a Banzai! to win that province when someone shouts time, you do not get to play that Banzai! Stop, count up tie-breaker totals. If you’re not sure what to do, call a Judge to help.
  • At the end of the game fill ing your slip and have the winner hand it up ASAP. Do not hit the toilet first, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. Hand in the slip. With 100 games, every delayed slip counts.
  • When you want to drop, tell someone. A player not showing means another player doesn’t get a game and people attending events want to play games. At the end of a game you can mark your slip to say you want to drop, if you decide after handing in your slip just tell someone at the main booth.
  • Bring a Pen. You will need to fill in score sheets every round.
  • Re-read the tie-breaker rules. Stop when time is called. Only mark a modified win if you had to count points the second time at the end of the regroup to determine the winner.
  • If there is any confusion about rules, stick your hand up and shout ‘JUDGE’. They get bored otherwise.
  • Avoid any movement that might make a judge think you want assistance. Stretch sideways, not up.
  • If you don’t like a Judge ruling ask for a second Judge to confirm. A Judge would rather avoid all doubt than make a mistake and is always happy to get a second opinion.
  • Drink water. Eat brain food, preferably nuts. Head to the toilet between breaks!
  • Between rounds, take a walk and get some air.
  • Meet people and socialise. L5R is as much about the community as it is the game itself.

The team from Imperial Advisor will be there. Look for the yellow Beaver clan t-shirts. Feel free to come say hi even if we seem a bit nervous, standoffish or like a grumpy old man late for his nap.


Tournament Structure

Or how to maximize your loot

Tournament Points: If you get to 25 honor, break your opponent’s last province or they hit 0 honor, you get 10 tournament points. If you hit 0 honor, your opponent hits 25 honor or breaks your last province you get 1 point. If you win by tie-breaker you get 6 points and your opponent gets 0.

Tie-breaker: When time on the round is called, immediately stop playing. Do not play another card, activate an ability, or make any further plays. At this point, you need to count tie-breaker points. For each province, you have broken you get 2 tie-breaker points (up to a max of 6). Whoever is on the highest honor gets 2 tie-breaker points. The player with the favor gets 1 tie-breaker point. After counting, compare points. If one player is 5 points higher than the other then they are awarded a full victory as if they had won (10 points for winner 1 for loser). If no player is 5 tiebreaker points ahead, then the player with the first player token gets the first option to concede if they wish. If they do not concede then the other player gets the option. If a player concedes their opponent is given a full victory as if they had won (as before). If no player concedes continue with play until the end of the regroup phase. If you’ve just started the regroup phase that is going to be really quick. If you have just ended the regroup phase, then you’ll have to a full turn.

Samurai Stage (Day 1): The first 4 rounds are called the Samurai stage. At the start of each game swap one of your extra clan seals with your opponent. After 4 rounds those with 18 tournament points or more go ahead to the Magistrate stage. You get 10 points for a normal win, 6 points for a modified win, and 1 point if your opponent gets a normal win. So you need two normal wins or a normal win and two modified wins. If you do not make it to the next stage, sign up for a Skirmish.

Magistrate Stage (Day 1): The next 3 rounds are called the Magistrate stage. If you make it to this stage you will get a wooden first player token, a Way of your Clan card, and 3 copies of Cloud the Mind promo. These will be handed out while you play. At the end of the Magistrate stage we will check for the top player of each clan. Those players will become Hatamoto. Players who make 53 points will go onto the Daimyō Stage. That is effectively 6 wins out of the 7 rounds in both stages. After those players have been determined, the top player from each clan becomes their clan’s challenger and also goes forward to the Daimyō Stage on day 2. If you don’t make it, on day 2 you can join the Proving Grounds side tournament.

Skirmish (Day 1 and Day 2): In this side event, eight players play 3 rounds together. If you win a round, you get a copy of the Cloud the Mind promo. As on a bonus on the first day, you get a Way of your Clan just for signing up.

Proving Grounds (Day 2): This is the side event on Sunday only. It is a straight swiss tournament with 6 rounds. Just for joining up you get the wooden first play token, a copy of your clan’s seal, and a copy of your Way of the Clan. During the first 3 rounds, if you win, you get a Cloud the Mind. At the end of the tournament, those who make 43 points or more get an acrylic bid dial, those who get 52 points or more get acrylic elemental rings and an invite and free seat at Worlds. To get 43 you need at least 5 wins, 52 is at least 6 wins. After the first 3 rounds of this tournament there are no more prizes for winning, so if you don’t have a great record you might be better off playing a Skirmish.

Daimyō Stage (Day 2): If you make it this far, you get an acrylic bid dial and one copy of your clan’s Way of the Clan. From now on the tournament is single elimination, so if you lose a game you are out. The first round is the Challenger Stage where the 7 challengers are paired to reduce the numbers down to a top 16. After that, players continue playing the knock out rounds until there is a final victor. If you lose before the top 4, you can instead join the Proving Grounds event as if you received a bye in the rounds you missed. Top rounds get lots of nice prizes if you get that far ask me about them.


Play  Tips


Shuffling and cutting

Start by pile shuffling and then riffle shuffle. If you’re not sure what this means then check out this article on star city games. Do this in front of your opponent so they can see you do it. Preferably, do this after your game ends. Shuffle your decks a few more times if you have the time. When you and your opponent are ready, present both of your decks to your opponent. They will do similar. Cut their decks, this means taking a pile from the top and putting it at the bottom. If your opponent does not offer their decks to cut, you should ask for them. If your opponent does not shuffle their deck in front of you, you should shuffle it for them. As they are not your own cards, be gentle with them, but make sure the decks are randomised. Some players like to tap the top of their opponent’s deck to indicate they do not wish to cut them, don’t allow this to stop you from cutting your opponents deck. This is basic game etiquette so don’t feel embarrassed to insist on it and don’t feel offended if your opponent does similar.

Actions and Phases

Although it can be a bit tedious, it is best to step through each phase and action. Get used to saying things like ‘Draw Phase, I’ll pass my first action’. Wait for your opponent to take their action or pass. Each phase stats with the active player apart from during conflicts where the defender acts first. Do not let your opponent go back a step, for example if your opponent passes, then you pass, and it is your conflict to declare do not let your opponent go back to play a card. They had their chance and they chose to pass. When you passed, you gave them information. Don’t ask for take-backs yourself.

Give time for reaction windows though, if your opponent has Shiba Tsukune in play, after both players pass you might say ‘Conflict phase ends’, this is their opportunity for them to declare Tsukune’s action. If after a brief pause you say, ‘Fate phase, discard characters without fate’ and then they suddenly say, ‘Wait! Tsukune’s action!’ nothing has happened so go back and let them resolve the action. If instead they remove fate from characters, then they’ve clearly forgotten to trigger her ability. It might seem cruel, but it is not your job to remind your player to play a perfect game.

There are action windows in each of the phases, typically at the end of a phase. As the Draw Phase and Conflict phase as well as the Fate phase and Regroup phase are right beside each other, often players will skip the first set of actions and go straight to the later window. If it helps, here is a list of all the major action windows.

  • Dynasty Phase
    • Reveal cards
    • Gain fate
    • Special Actions
  • Draw Phase
    • Honor bid
    • Draw cards
    • Actions
  • Conflict Phase
    • Actions
    • First player conflict 1
    • Actions
    • Second player conflict 1
    • Actions
    • First play conflict 2
    • Actions
    • Second player conflict 2
    • Actions
  • Fate Phase
    • Discard characters with no fate
    • Remove fate from characters
    • Place fate on unclaimed rings
    • Actions
  • Regroup Phase
    • Actions
    • Ready cards
    • Discard from provinces
    • Return rings
    • Pass first player token

For conflicts, it is important to remember the conflict resolution timing. The mnemonic we like to use is SUPERB.

  • Skill is checked to see who wins the conflict.
  • Unopposed conflicts for the defender result in 1 honor loss.
  • Province is broken if the attacker had enough skill.
  • Elemental ring can now be triggered for it’s ability.
  • Ring is claimed.
  • Bow and send home characters.

This solves a lot of timing issues like whether the Keeper Initiates can be honoured by Ring of Fire (they cannot as Elemental Ring is triggered before Ring is claimed).


If there is anything else that you think might help give us a shout and we will track it down.

If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Join us on our Twitch stream every second Monday at 8pm BST, 9pm CEST, 1pm PST.

Check us out on the Imperial Advisor website, podcast, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the L5R LCG.



9 Replies to “Irish Kotei – What you need to know”

  1. Great info! Can’t wait to get there, it’s going to be an awesome weekend. I’ll be over with a bunch of the guys from Bristol Ronin. See you there!

  2. Thanks for this write up – this will be my first real L5R tournament so appreciate the tips (and the reminders on how it scores !). Looking forward to it

  3. Love the tournament info! Wish I’d had it at my first tournaments. Might be a good to do a whole article on, “How to go to a tournament.”

  4. Amended the tournament summary to correct some errors. As the proving grounds is only 6 rounds to go 42 you need to win 5 games not 4, and the same for the 52 points. I also missed a Way of the Clan prize for those who made it to the magistrate stage. Oops.

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