Simple Decisions for Beginners

Simple Decisions for Beginners

Each game has L5R has hundreds of decision points which payers must ponder. Experienced players recognize situations they’ve been in before and can make those decisions quickly without much effort, the rest of us struggle. This article has some simple answers to common decision points. They won’t always be the best option but they should get new players started until they’re ready to go deeper into the game.


Game Setup

  • Should I go first or second? Go first. This means you’ll more likely to pass first on turn 1 to get an extra fate.
  • What province should be under my stronghold? This should be something you already know from deck construction, but if you’re not sure to pick a province that will help save itself.
  • What should I mulligan from Dynasty? Mulligan anything you’re not planning to play in the hope you’ll draw into a holding that will give you a free benefit.
  • What should I mulligan from Conflict? Mulligan cards that cost fate to play. You are limited on the number of cards you can play that cost fate, but 0 fate cost cards don’t have that problem.

Dynasty Phase

  • Should I pass first? Play at least 1 character, if you have already made a character, your opponent has not already passed, and you’re considering making a low impact (say 1 or 2 fate) character then you should pass to get the fate instead.
  • How much fate should I put on a character? The rule of thumb is to put 0 fate on 1 cost characters, put 1 fate on 2 cost characters, 2 fate on 3 cost characters and greater. Increase it if it’s an important character and the game has several turns left, reduce it if the game is almost over.

Draw Phase

  • What should I bid? Bid 5 unless you would lose the game if you’re opponent bid 1.

Conflict Phase

  • Should I attack? If you think you could win, you should attack. Attackers get bonuses when they win and defenders get nothing when they win.
  • What ring should I pick? The one with the most fate is the easy answer. Earth is always a good option.
  • What province should I attack? Face up provinces are preferable unless they have a very nasty effect you want to avoid.
  • Should I defend? You should defend if: the ring resolving is going to be more than a minor problem, the province is worth saving, or you’re so low on honor that losing 1 for no defender would be a problem.
  • Should I play this conflict card? Winning a conflict often has a minor bonus, before you play another card in a conflict consider whether winning is worth spending all those cards.

Hopefully, these pointers will help you get started. After a few games you should start to see times when the advised doesn’t work out so well.

If you’re an experienced player and have some more tips for new players post a comment below!


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

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5 Replies to “Simple Decisions for Beginners”

  1. Thank you so much for your series on beginner-focused content! Your site is what got me and my friends into L5R. You are growing the playerbase through your work! Thank you!

    1. Glad it’s helping 😀
      If there’s anything else you can think of that would help, give us a shout and we’ll try to get something put together.

      1. I really liked your starter purchasing guide and the included starter decks. You’re probably already aware of this, but it’s even being used for a starters league on Jigoku. However, I always wished there was write-up deck guides for the decks you made.

        Established players can scan a deck list and get a gist of the gameplan, what rings to focus, etc. but as a new player me and others find the deck lists a good start, but kind of leave you unprepared to actually win games with them. It’s really hard to learn the game when you don’t even know your own deck and it’s goals.

        I think me and the other learning league players would really appreciate deck guides that help to explain the turn 1 and turn 2 plays of each deck, what your stronghold province should be, what rings you should seek to win and which rings you should seek to deny, when to attack and defend, what to mull for… etc.

        I think there’s a lot to do there, and it would be a good chance to explain the typical gameplan for each of the clans as well. 🙂 Just a suggestion. In any case, thank you so much again!

        1. Thanks for the feedback. That definitely sounds like a great resource for a new player. If I ever can work out those details myself I’ll make sure to share them 😀

        2. Now I think about it, Chris Pottorf has already got some great videos that do this in his recent series. Look for ‘Fro Ttop on Video’ on YouTube.

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