Meta Check – Birmingham Grand Kotei

Meta Check – Birmingham Grand Kotei

The Birmingham Grand Kotei is the first event using the restricted list, so we are paying special attention to this tournament. If Scorpion win we will be drinking our sorrows in the bar, if Unicorn win will be celebrating with drinks in the bar! Look, all I know is whoever wins, we’re gonna have a good time.

Day 1

Day 1 – Attendance

The tournament is on Lotus Pavilion and can be found here.

At the end of day, there were a total of 12 players who qualified and then another 7 challengers.

Players who made the cut Day 1A
Day 1A percentage qualifications


List of qualifying players

  1. Jakub Irzyk – Scorpion
  2. Pablo Tobias – Scorpion
  3. Pierre Le Maisson – Crab
  4. D Horn – Phoenix
  5. A Trig – Scorpion
  6. Kostas A – Dragon
  7. Lasse Gringmartin Aaguard – Crab
  8. Orian Gissler – Crab
  9. Erik Baalhuis – Crane
  10. Shadowblade – Lion
  11. Darren Hazelden – Crane
  12. Akis Choternis – Scorpion


  • 13. Kevin Rynne – Phoenix Challenger
  • 14. Andrew Blackwell – Lion Challenger
  • 15. Daniel Correas – Crab Challenger
  • 16. Adrian C – Crane Challenger
  • 21. Tony Gleeson – Scorpion Challenger
  • 36. T. Pap – Dragon Challenger
  • 55. Marcus Archer – Unicorn Challenger

Win Rates!

We also had Brad on site who was playing his Unicorn deck. This included some upcoming cards from the elemental cycle. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get you some details tomorrow.


The second and final qualifying rounds have a total of  161 participants.

Day 2 Attendance

Games are reported here

At the end of day, there were a total of 10 players who qualified and then another 7 challengers.

List of qualifying players

  1. Pablo Pintor Espinosa – Crab
  2. A Horvath – Crane
  3. Gihan Bandaranaike – Crane
  4. M Vall – Crane
  5. Santiago Ortega – Scorpion
  6. Richárd Török – Phoenix
  7. Stefano Montanari – Dragon
  8. Reuben Debono – Dragon
  9. David Hoyland – Crab
  10. James Bowen – Crab


  • 11. Miguel Donnego – Crane
  • 12. Matt Light – Scorpion
  • 13. Kailam Dale – Phoenix
  • 14. Iestyn Irfon Jones – Dragon
  • 16. Konstantinos Paltoglou – Crab
  • 22. Luke Richards – Lion
  • 24. Milán Terék – Unicorn


Win Rates

That is a very weird win rate for Dragon.


The final cut can be seen here, that is 38 players broken down over several rounds. The top of swiss for each day looked pretty diverse and did appear to be a success for the restricted list. Once we got into the top 16 however it all started to look very Red and Blue. One point to note, however, is that win rate for Scorpion was much improved on Friday when Jakub was playing while the win rate for Crab was much improved on Saturday when Pablo was playing. Sometimes players do have that impact.

The Victorious Jakub
Position Name Faction
Winner Jakub Irzyk Scorpion
Top 2 Pablo Pintor Espinosa Crab
Top 4 Darren Hazelden Crane
Top 4 Akis Choternis Scorpion
Top 8 Daniel Correas Crab
Top 8 James Bowen Crab
Top 8 Santiago Ortega Scorpion
Top 8 Lasse Gringmartin Aaguard Crab
Top 16 Erik Baalhuis Crane
Top 16 Andrew Blackwell Lion
Top 16 Ádám Horváth Crane
Top 16 Pierre Le Masson Crab
Top 16 Shadowblade Lion
Top 16 Adrian C Crane
Top 16 Pablo Tobias Scorpion
Top 16 Miguel Donnego Crane
Top 32 Orian Gissler Crab
Top 32 Tony Gleeson Scorpion
Top 32 A Trig – Dropped for Game of Thrones Scorpion
Top 32 Marc Valles Crane
Top 32 Kailam Dale Phoenix
Top 32 Stefano Montanari Dragon
Top 32 Matt Light Scorpion
Top 32 Kostas A Dragon
Top 32 Konstantinos Paltoglou Crab
Top 32 Reuben Debono Dragon
Top 32 D Horn Phoenix
Top 32 Kevin Rynne Phoenix
Top 32 Iestyn Irfon Jones Dragon
Top 32 David Hoyland – Dropped for Netrunner Crab
Top 32 Gihan Bandaranaike – Dropped Crane
Top 32 Richárd Török Phoenix
Challengers Marcus Archer Unicorn
Challengers Luke Richards Lion
Challengers Milán Terék Unicorn
Challengers T Pap Dragon
The Proving grounds are in progress here with a total of 123 players. Although the real focus on Sunday was the top cut, the Proving grounds still counts as one of the biggest L5R tournaments this year. Players who did not make the top 8 were able to play, so the competition was still pretty fierce.
Proving Grounds Attendance
At the end of the proving grounds there were 3 players undefeated: Orian Gissler playing Crab, Thomas Scheer playing Scorpion, and Jose Luis Saenz playing Phoenix.
Restricted Cards
  • Crab – 8 Iron Mine
  • Crane – 3 Mirumoto’s Fury, 2 Policy Debate, 2 Charge!
  • Dragon – 3 Mirumoto’s Fury, 2 Policy Debate
  • Lion – 3 Charge!
  • Phoenix – 4 Against the Waves
  • Scorpion – 1 Mirumoto’s Fury, 6 Forged Edict
  • Unicorn – 1 Charge!, 1 Policy Debate

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.

22 Replies to “Meta Check – Birmingham Grand Kotei”

  1. It’s interesting to see that play on Crane Splash for the top Scorpion deck, and overall winner of the torunament. Definitely a surprise and well played.

    Don’t think I’m going to jump ship though. I want to see what other Scorpions were playing.

    I’ve been testing Phoenix Splash, and it is doing very well.

    1. Crane splash had got high suprise factor during swiss. I was considering Crane, Dragon, Phoenix and Crab splashes. All of them are working fine in my opinion. It’s more like prefference choices than one being better than others. I have seen Dragon, Lion, Phoenix and Crane splashes for Scorpion in day 2.

  2. The restricted list failed, the top 8 is boring (Win Scorpion, top 8 composed only of Scorpions & Crab decks but for the lone Crane). The next cycle probably won’t change this (or they would not have introduced a restricted list) and after the cycle, the most powerful clan of that gale is getting a box of new toys, including a (albeit limited to 1) card that says “you can’t lose to honor this turn”.

    Another problem is : games against Crab & Scorpion are not really enjoyable. If I ever do another event, I’ll probably bring a book and concede as soon as I see my opponent play Scorpion. I’m here to enjoy the hour that it takes, not getting bored to death by those control decks.
    Cause the tourneys are utterly boring.

    1. Well, I can see you had a negative experience at the tournament, but I don’t believe things are all doom and gloom like you present them.

      To begin with, I think is too soon to speak of a “failed” restricted list. The gaps between power levels of the clans made a step towards each other, even though it’s not that evident in the results. The variance of cards used has increased and you can even tell that by the fact that crane was used as a splash by the winner, which pre-RL wouldn’t be very likely. So for starters, in my view the game became much more interesting.
      Without wanting to belittle the winner’s deck building or skill, I think my Tadaka would have a fighting chance of winning against an all event, no CtM, that even discards its own events (1/3 out of Test of Skill) deck. And he faced 0 Phoenix players during final cut (even though he did beat 2 during qualifiers, I’m talking about a fair fighting chance and an interesting match-up). As a Phoenix player, I’m convinced that the poor presence of the clan does not represent a weak deck, but that’s another matter.

      As for the scorpion clan pack, I don’t see it as such a big threat, while most of the cards in it will built around a different deck. Yes, some cards would be available for the old stronghold, but it’s too soon to speak of that. Another whole circle will be out where much things are going to change. For the better? Let’s hope, at least I believe so. But don’t paint the curtains black just yet.
      The events can be frustrating, just try to have a good time, you can find the game to be enjoyable even when losing. (Unless you’re playing Unicorn, in that case forget all of the above. The light is at the end of the tunnel for you.)


    2. Very much what I’d say if I was playing in the competitive scene. The dual power of Scorpion and Crab cannot be simply ignored. The issue then is further amplified by the ease with which these 2 Clans are winning tournaments at each tier of elimination. There is just no fun in those.
      Honestly, if I’m going to put in a great deal of my personal time and monies to attend a tournament with the perceived goal of getting into the higher levels, I’m kidding myself. There is not much fun of going through the motions when the outcome is pre-determined during the Clan selection phase of a tournament. I’m sure I’m not in the majority.

    3. You would come to a tournament only to concede because you don’t like a certain match up? You’ll never improve at the game if you have an attitude like that.

  3. Thanks.
    In any case, I’ll continue to buy and play with me friends in casual for a while… None of us play Crab nor Scorpion.
    For tourney play, I’ll continue to watch the Koteis from afar to see if anything changes with the Elemental Cycle.

  4. Luke Richards Lion challenger deck

  5. Greetings,
    First thanks IA for the coverage, you guys are keeping the competitive scene alive, no jokes.

    Second i want to offer my view on some of the comments above,
    scorpion / crab had another good showing , but this time was all about the players not the clans.
    Restricted List shook things alot, build diversity was bigger than ever, and every single game was a derby at top cut.
    Lack of Policy Debate, allowed players to run lots of surprise stuff in swiss and that was something i missed alot.

    All my top cut opponents gave me a run for my money , playing 4 different clans up to top 4 and every game was down to the wire.

    Finished kotei with the feeling that every clan is about equal (non unicorn , soon though).

    1. Glad you enjoy our work ?

      The diversity at the end of the swiss when compared to the reduction to red and blue as the single elims went on was interesting. I was convinced the restricted list was a total success at the start of day 2 but even at the top 16 people were starting to comment on it.

      I’ve just finished the desklists for day 2, and we can see some patterns emerging. It really doesn’t give credit to the mix that was in the swiss. It’s always refreshing to have a tournament like this where no one knows going in what to expect.

      There are a few Policy Debates in there, Darren played 3 in his top 4 Crane deck. The next thing I have to do is look at the restricted cards each clan played. That should be interesting!

  6. Do we know when / if videos of the games will come out?

    Thank you all for these inputs, I’m far from the Kotei locations but I really enjoy reading and listening to your opinions on meta and cards to have other angles on them and step up my game. Knowning which Phoenix cards are ‘mediocre’ and why certain deckbuilding choices are optimal / poor is really helpful !

    1. I suspect it is more of an if than a when. The top 4 and finals were not recorded so it would only be 2 or 3 games on the second day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.