Irish Kotei – Clan Win Rates

Irish Kotei – Clan Win Rates

The Irish Kotei gave us a unique opportunity to have an in-depth look at the Imperial Environment in action. After the event, we checked with the organizers and managed to get details of the pairings and winners. That let us work out some of the clan percentages to give an idea how the various clans are performing against each other. This included the main event, the proving grounds, and the final rounds on day 2 but not the skirmish events.



Crab had a massive attendance but their performance was less impressive. Despite high numbers, only 1 Crab player, Pierre le Masson, and the Crab challenger, Josfred Poinsot, made it through to day 2. The majority of Crab players were running the classic Unicorn splash as were the top two Crab decks. Initial speculation focused on Phoenix being a poor match-up as there were a large number of Phoenix players in the field but looking at the win rates we can see it was actually Dragon and Scorpion that were knocking the Crab out. Although Josfred, the Crab challenger, managed to make it through to the Top 16 both the Crab players were knocked out in that round. Josfred lost to a Dragon deck while Pierre lost to a Scorpion. There were some suggestions that maybe the Crab decks suffer with the games going to time, out of the 905 games only 24 were recorded as being decided on tie-breakers (0-6 or 6-0). A total of 9 of those were games with Crab players. On one hand, that does seem to suggest Crab decks do go to time more often, but that is 9 games out of 303 Crab games, so it shouldn’t have a big impact.

Pierre seems to have been relatively lucky in his match-ups although he did face and beat a Scorpion in the top bracket of round 6. Josfred may have had rougher lineup, although his early wins could have been against less competitive players while his later games against Dragon and Scorpion were losses.

Splash: 22 Unicorn, 7 Scorpion, 6 Dragon, 1 Phoenix, 1 Crane. The best performing splash appears to have been Unicorn are although Scorpion and Crane did have 5-2 finishes.


In the swiss, Crane had similar poor performance to Crab with only 1 player and the challenger making it through to the second day. After the cut, they performed slightly better with Ken Curran making it through to the top 8 and Alain Laugier making the top 16. Both players were defeated by Scorpion opponents and both played Scorpion splash suggesting this is the best option. Overall, Crane seem to have very few good match-ups with only Phoenix and Unicorn as positive. That said, only the Crab and Scorpion match-ups look terrible.

For both Ken and Alain, the Scorpion red punctuates their performance. Notably Ken only lost that final Scorpion game as the mirror match.

Splash: 10 Scorpion, 6 Crab, 5 Dragon, 5 Lion, 4 Phoenix. The best performing splash appears to have been Scorpion, although Lion and Dragon did have 5-2 finishes.


Two Dragon players qualified for the second day along with the challenger for three. Unfortunately, the challenger Kieran Waters did not make it through the challenge round, but Ben Fox made it as far as the top 8 while Josselin de Carvalho was the last remaining non-Scorpion in the top 4. The win rates indicate Dragon remain a challenger with positive win rates versus all but Phoenix and Scorpion. Ironically, that Scorpion matchup at 41% is the second hardest for Scorpion. We can see from the top Dragon decks that metaing against the Scorpion is already a priority. Censures, Finger’s of Jade, and Political Debate all feature to some extent. They might need to double down on that to have a better chance to improve those odds.

Josselin and Ben are two of the top performers of the tournament both in the top 8 and Josselin the last non-Scorpion in the top 4. Again, we see the red line of Scorpion knocking them both out.  For Josselin the only losses were against Scorpion, while interestingly Ben lost a game in round 3 to Crane. Kieran’s performance is different, he faces Scorpion rounds 2, 3, and 4 winning all those games but later loses to Crab, Phoenix, and Lion. Kieran was playing a pretty unique Crane splash with Way of the Chrysanthemum as dishonor protection, so it is possible the Scorpion decks he faced were caught off guard.

Splash: 22 Crab, 1 Lion, 1 Crane, 1 Unicorn. Crab was the best performing splash, although Unicorn and Crane did have 5-2 finishes.


With Lion again, we’re seeing the pattern of 1 qualifier, Dave Russell, and 1 challenger, Jack Mitchell-Burns. Unfortunately, neither made it past the top 16 losing to Dragon and Scorpion. Dave was playing a Scorpion splash for Forged Edict and Calling in Favors while Jack was splashing Crane for Above Question. Forged Edicts and Above question clearly are answers for the Scorpion match-up. The question is which is better. Overall the match-ups aren’t looking great for Lion with only the Crane and Unicorn match-ups in positive numbers.

Dave lost against Crane and Dragon while Jack lost against Scorpion and Phoenix. Looking at their round 6 and 7 brackets, Lion do look like they can win against Dragon and Scorpion so they might still be a contender. The only Phoenix match-up was a loss, so they might have been lucky to avoid more, but I’m unsure why Lion wouldn’t like that match.

Splash: 11 Unicorn, 9 Dragon, 7 Crane, 4 Scorpion, 1 Phoenix. Lion is a mixed bag. The top Lion, the only one that went 6-1 was Scorpion splash. The three decks that went 5-2 were Crane, Scorpion, and Unicorn.


Phoenix had a bit of a surprise success story. They came out of the gate with a surprisingly high attendance and then followed that up with the highest number of qualifiers and a qualification rate on par with Scorpion. In the end, Eugenio Camalich and Jose Luis Saenz made top 8, Terry Reeves and Even Sorgjerd made top 16, while Nicolas Passemard made it as far as the challenger round. All but the challenger went for Dragon as their splash. There are a few commonalities across the decks that suggest a solid core. Looking at the win rates Phoenix seem to have good win rates against Dragon, Lion, and Unicorn. An almost even win rate against Crab, a weak match-up against Crane, and a dire match-up against Scorpion. If Phoenix can somehow plug that Scorpion shaped hole they’ll be in a really good place. With the glory based mechanics, the Scorpion’s dishonor effects really hurt them while some of the best Phoenix characters are 4 or 5 cost and are perfect targets for A Fate Worse than Death.

Losses are scattered with essentially all but Unicorn appearing. There are slightly more loses to Dragon than Scorpion and but Phoenix are showing wins against all clans even in the higher brackets. The later losses of the tournament seem, to be Dragon, Scorpion, and surprisingly Crane.

Splash: 14 Dragon, 7 Lion, 7 Scorpion, 4 Unicorn, 2 Crane. Dragon was the best performing splash, although Lion, Unicorn, and Scorpion all had 5-2 finishes.


Holy hell. This is truly Frottop’s shitty murder death environment. I’m not going to say we wouldn’t be here without him, as I know similar decks were already in testing, but Chris Pottorf’s win at Pax South gave Scorpion players a template for how to win. Although variations were frequent, the basic concept of the ‘Dynasty, Go’ deck is to pass early and use fate for conflict characters and big control cards. The Lion matchup, at 55%, is the hardest match-up the Scorpion deck has to face. Dimitris Melissinos made the top 16, Jeremie Tiano made the top 4, Piotr Romanowski was a finalist, while Matt Light was the overall winner. Matt himself points out that his deck made one change from Frottop’s version and he had only about a week’s worth of practice playing it. Dragon is the splash of choice, although Jeremie did opt for a Lion splash that may be worth further investigation as it may show strength in the mirror match-up.

The real question is what do Scorpion lose against! Ignoring the mirror, we see 1 Lion, 1 Crab, and 1 Phoenix. These 4 players only have 3 non-Scorpion losses in 41 games. More games were lost to Scorpion mirrors than all of the other clans combined.

Splash: 19 Dragon, 7 Crab, 1 Lion, 1 Phoenix. The top-performing splash for Scorpion was Dragon. A Lion splash did go 6-1 and 2 splashing Crab went 5-2.


We all knew it, but seeing the numbers makes me feel even worse for the local Unicorn players. The best match-up, apart from the mirror, is Crane 40%. Out of every t games, you’re expecting to win only 2 and that’s in your best match-ups. The top Unicorn player Darren Davis finished at 90th place with a record of 3 wins and 4 losses. Notably, Marcus Archer (91st) and Jack Walsh (97th) also managed the same win rate but with lower strength of schedule.

Not much to see for Darren’s games.

Splash: 3 Crab, 2 Crane, 3 Lion, 2 Scorpion, 1 Phoenix. The top 4 Unicorn decks were 2 Lion and 2 Crane splash decks.


For this tournament, Scorpion were the clear top of the heap. Dragon and Phoenix seemed to perform well also but struggled with the Scorpion match-up. We already knew from PAX South that the Scorpion deck was one to fear, but the preparation that was evident at the Irish Kotei just wasn’t enough. For Paris the rest of the field really needs to dial the Scorpion hate up as much possible. Unfortunately (for the non-Scorpion), it might simply be the case that the tools needed aren’t available yet. Over the next few weeks we, and some guests, will be speculating a little more about why Scorpion are on top and what can be done to knock from that pedestal. As a Scorpion player, you need to be practising that mirror match-up and tailoring your deck to perform better in the mirror while also remaining strong against the rest of the field who are increasingly metaing specifically against Scorpion. In this new world it might be worthwhile stripping the game back for your own clan and considering if this new ‘Dynasty, Go’ option has merit for your own clan. Are there ways to play against Scorpion, rather than cards you can play, that will improve your match-up? If you fear AFWTD should you be playing wide or adding more fate so your character doesn’t go away at the end of turn?

We have a month to work this out before the Grand Kotei in Paris. The next Kotei after that is Houston, but we might maybe have the new Phoenix pack in time for that or soon after, most likely shaking up the game all over again. Exciting times!

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.

7 Replies to “Irish Kotei – Clan Win Rates”

  1. Hi,
    great summary! I just wanted to say, that your work is amazing. I’m checking imperialadvisor everyday for new content. Keep up the good work 🙂

    btw i’m really impressed by the big shift from a lion+crab dominated meta to hardcore scorpion dropbear decks. Hard challenge for my Dragons :-O I dislike cards like Finger of Jade, but you have to play 2-3 of them.

    Best regards from Germany 🙂

  2. Amazing job. One thing from my side that is missing. It would be great if you wi be able to add count of the games for each pairs not only the total for the clan.

    1. Good idea, I’ll add it to the stack for next time. Not entirely sure if it will be possible but I’ll give it a shot.

  3. Hi

    Thanks to your great work. Please excuse my english I’ m from germany^^ but where can I find the deck lists?

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