L5R Purchase Guide

L5R Purchase Guide

Crafting your first deck will take blood and sweat, but not necessarily tears!

If you’re new to the Legend of the Five Rings LCG, getting started can seem expensive as there are lots of different packs. Here we show you the key cards and packs to buy to get started.

Last Updated December 2018 – Children of the Empire has since come out and should be your first purchase  after getting 3 Core

A great way to work out what to buy is to head over to BushiBuilder.com which is a decklist site. They have lists from some of the top players, be aware that those decklists aren’t always going to be legal as the roles for each clan and the restricted List may have changed. Luckily the BushiBuilder.com site will give you that information.

The real reason we’re heading to BushiBuilder is it has an option to sort decks by the pack they came in! This means you can quickly see what you need to buy to build that deck.

Rather than getting every card listed in a deck straight away, we suggest you focus on the sets which have 2 or more cards of interest in them. If you do that, you’ll be missing a few cards but you’re likely to have viable replacements out of all the cards you now own.The deck won’t be 100% exact but should have 80% or more of the same cards.

Right now, every deck has at least half it’s card pool come from the core boxes. So the recommended start of 3 Core boxes will get you over half your deck (current cost on Amazon for 3 cores is $82.41). We’ll be quoting some of the current (Dec 2018) Amazon prices,  but if you hunt around you will find these for cheaper.


Below, we’ve suggested a few packs to get you started with each clan. These aren’t the decks winning big tournaments, but you should have the vast majority of the cards you will need to do well in tournaments.

Crab is a little tricky at the moment. They haven’t had a great amount of success so it is hard to find a deck to use as an example. The typical Crab deck currently runs Unicorn cards so Meditations on the Ephemeral is a good first pack as it contains Iron Mine, Miya Satoshi, and the Unicorn card Talisman of the SunThe Ebb and Flow pack has Fight On and Nezumi Infiltrator. Tainted Lands has some extra Shugenja support with Kuni Yori and Apprentice Earthcaller.

Crab Starter Deck. Total cost of 3 Core and these 3 packs: $117.26

Crane still heavily rely on the core set with each deck typically having 30+ out of the 40 cards from the core set. Elements Unbound has the province Magistrate Station which is a big boost for Crane, it also has the Tengu Sensei. The Ebb and Flow pack contain Soul Beyond Approach and Menacing Iron Warrior. All and Nothing has Callow Delegate and Mark of Shame as a Scorpion splash.

Crane Starter Deck. Total cost of 3 Core and these 3 packs: $121.29

For Dragon, All or Nothing is the big pack as it contains Togashi Mitsu and Void Fist who both are key cards. The Breath of the Kami pack has an amazing 4 cards with Sacred Sanctuary, Hurricane Punch, Kudaka, and Ancient MasterMeditations on the Ephemeral is another value pack with Togashi Mendicant and Seal of the Dragon. If you stop there you will have a pretty good Monk deck!

Dragon Starter Deck. Total cost of 3 Core and these 3 packs: $119.29

Lion are in a situation similar to Crab where they haven’t been doing very well in recent events. Unfortunately, the Lion cards of interest are pretty well spread out so our selection is limited. Breath of the Kami gives Lion a new stronghold Hisu Mori Toride, although many Lion players still favor the old stronghold, having the option is nice. That pack also has Matsu Seventh Legion which can make a good target for the Spiritcaller. Lion have a number of characters with the Bushi and Courtier traits which we could focus on. For Honor and Glory has Ikoma Ujiaki and The Fires Within has Ikoma Ikehata.

Lion Starter Deck. Total cost of 3 cores and these 3 packs: $120.95

New Phoenix players can benefit from the Phoenix clan pack Disciples of the Void. It has a number of must-haves such as the new stronghold Kyuden Isawa, Shiba TetsuIsawa TadakaClarity of Purpose, and Karmic Twist. Meditations on the Ephemeral has Kanjo District and Asako Tsuki which are staples. Breath of the Kami has the awesome Isawa Uona and also the useful Kudaka.

Phoenix Starter Deck. Total cost of 3 Core and these 3 packs: $120.47

Scorpion are another of the few clans who received their Clan pack already. The Underhand of the Emperor has a ton of cards for Scorpion but as it is aimed at different deck types, you might not immediately use all of them. Nonetheless, it still has Alibi ArtistIgnoble EnforcersDuty, and Bayushi Collector which all are great additions. Into the Forbidden City has Bayushi Kachiko and CensureThe Ebb and Flow pack contains Hidden Moon Dojo and the Crane card Soul Beyond Reproach which is good for a splash.

Scorpion Starter Deck: Total cost of 3 Core and these 3 packs: $123.39

Unicorn started out quite weak in comparison to the other clans at the start of the game but received extra love in the Elemental cycle. This means they have lots of great cards in the Elemental cycle packs, but more packs they would like to get. The Elements Unbound pack has a new stronghold Hisu Mori Toride, it also has Minami Kaze Regulars and Unleash the Djinn who find a place in decks. The Ebb and Flow has Master of the Swift Waves, Fight On, and Force of the RiverBreath of the Kami has Shinjo Shono, Kudaka, and Shiotome Encampment. This is a decent basis to a Shugenja focused Unicorn deck. We’ll all be looking forward to the Unicorn clan pack which is due out soon!

Unicorn Starter Deck: Total cost of 3 Core and these 3 packs: $133.45


One thing you might notice as you’re reading through these is some of the clans have a decent amount of crossover. When you get Meditations of the Ephemeral you’re getting cards for Dragon, Lion, and Phoenix. After you’ve built your primary deck, you will have enough cards left to make a secondary deck that might have to make a few sacrifices, but not too many. This will let you have a spare deck for a buddy to play some games against or even so they can enter a tournament with you!

You will also have extra options. The decks suggested don’t use the full card pool you would have available, so there is room for experimentation. If you need some extra cards, another pack is only going to cost you less than $15, so you’ve made it passed the big investment.


If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Check us out on the Imperial Advisor websitepodcast, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the L5R LCG.

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3 Replies to “L5R Purchase Guide”

  1. If you don’t care about second hand, buying a used set is really easy and can save you a lot of money.

    Usually, there are more people trying to sell than trying to buy, so the prices are really low. I bought 3 cores for €60 5 months after the game release. I bet you could find a full collection for less than half the store price

    1. I second this. I just bought three cores for $66 maybe two weeks ago. A full card set, if you look hard enough is possible for $200. Just do your research before buying stuff retail if you don’t care about cards being pack fresh.

  2. This is great not only for beginners but for casual players who can’t keep up with the metagame. I hope you keep updating this list to reflect the meta. I would suggest 2 versions:
    a. A 3 core+3 set targeted for beginners.
    b. All sets that represents the current state of that clan.

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