The Scorpion Clan Coup

The Scorpion Clan Coup

Introducing, the Scorpion Clan Coup, a single-player story variant for the Legend of the Five Rings Living Card Game.

“I reject your appointment as Regent. You have climbed to the Throne over the body of the Son of Heaven, for whose death you are responsible. … Your regency is a Scorpion Clan Coup.”

– The Last Leaf Falls By D.G. Laderoute

Legend of the Five Rings Living Card Game is a competitive card game for two players, but many of the important choices you will make during a game depend on the current board state and the options your deck gives you. Knowing which character you need to make this turn, understanding how much fate to put on that character, working out how many cards to draw this turn. The fate system of the game creates an ebb and flow which forces you to plan ahead for future turns or risk disaster. The best way to learn these skills is to play the game, but if you didn’t have an opponent, that wasn’t an option, until now.

In this single-player variant, we provide an opportunity for new players to learn some of these lessons and challenges experienced players to build tailored decks to win faster. Your opponent’s board is a static but challenging one that you will need to work to overcome. This format also is a time for players to appreciate the rich stories which have recently culminated in this moment of chaos for the Empire with the Emperor dead and the multiple possible heirs to the throne. To reflect this, you get to support one of four possible options each of which gives a very different play experience.

To learn about the L5R story click here.


The four inheritors of the Empire

Go through your collections and find the following cards sorting them into 4 groups.

  • Bayushi Shoju, Bayushi Kachiko, Bayushi Aramoro, Yogo Asami, Petal Village Estate, Festival of the Departed.

Although Shoju and Kachiko have had disagreements, ultimately they both believe in the Scorpion. Aramoro is the brother of Shoju and Asami is his wife, both have their place and purpose within the clan. The Petal Villages are the towns surrounding the capital city while the Festival of the Departed represents the funeral of Shoju’s friend and Emperor. This setup can be dangerous as Shoju and Aramoro have the potential to kill your claimant to the throne instantly losing you the game and the province prevents you from using events to boost your skill.


  • Akodo Toturi, Agasha Sumiko, Seppun Ishikawa, Akodo Kaede, 2 Seppun Hidden Guard, Driven by Courage.

Toturi is the Emerald Champion, the leader of the Emerald Magistrates and the one responsible for protecting the Emperor himself. Sumiko is the Ruby Champion working under Toturi. Kaede is Toturi’s wife while Seppun Ishikawa is the captain of the Imperial guard. Together they seek the truth and to find justice. The province is Driven by Courage to represent the ideals Toturi strives to achieve, it also provides a way to boost a big character protected by the Seppun Hidden Guard.


  • Hantei Daisetsu, Iuchi Shahai, Togashi Mitsu, Bayushi Dairu, Fertile Fields, Chisei District.

Hantei Daisetsu is the heir selected by the Emperor before he died. Not realising this, and seeking to avoid his destiny, Daisetsu has fled the Imperial Palace with Iuchi Shahai in what may be the start of a love affair. In their travels, they met the tattooed Dragon clan monk Togashi Mitsu who now protects them. Although they left Bayushi Dairu behind, he was a close friend of Daisetsu and would no doubt act to help him. Due to Chisei district, part of the Imperial city, you must attack this as a political conflict which will allow Daisetsu use his ability and blank your best character. Fertile fields can draw another card which may allow Togashi Mitsu to trigger his ability.


  • Hantei Sotorii, Kakita Yoshi, Mirumoto Hitomi, Army of the Rising Wave, Hito District, Shameful Display.

Hantei Sotorii is the oldest of the Emperor’s sons and heir to the throne. Supported by Kakita Yoshi in the courts and protected by Mirumoto Hitomi and her Army of the Rising Wave on the battlefield, Sotorii is an accomplished Bushi himself. As this battle occurs at Hito District, another part of the Imperial city, you must attack military allowing Sotorii to use his ability. That ability works very well with Shameful Display which suggests some of the shameful actions Sotorii recently committed. If Hitomi has a target (or targets) with military 2 lower than her, then she will use her duel, but not until then. This all requires some careful setup though, most often starting with Shameful Display and Sotorii’s ability. If you do not beat Sotorii in the first conflict, his Pride will trigger making him harder to deal with in the next conflict!


If you don’t have all of these cards, don’t worry, just find some cards that are close enough in skill and replace them.

Shoju, Toturi, Daisetsu, and Sotorii are the four possible claimants to the throne. Select one of these characters who you will support, they will start the game in play under your control with 3 fate. If your selected character leaves play, then you lose the game, this means you will lose during the fate phase of turn 4 unless you do something about it.

If you find yourself losing due to your selected character leaving play, consider some cards like Good Omen that will extend your character’s time.

Place the remaining 3 piles as 3 opposing provinces. All cards including the province are face-up. Each pile of characters goes with their own province (so Shoju and Sotorii won’t be defending the same conflict). To win the game, you need to defeat each of the opposing claimants. You do this by destroying each of the opposing provinces in any order. After you have defeated the first two and have only one conflict left to win, add The Imperial Palace and replace the province with Before the Throne as your final battle will be to claim the Imperial Throne itself. If you win this final conflict, the throne is yours.


Rules changes for single player

To account for the lack of an opponent, a small number of rules changes come into effect.

  • During the dynasty phase, your opponent will always go first and immediately passes, so you cannot gain passing fate during the dynasty phase.
  • Whenever you have to compare bids, your opponent will always bid 3.
  • Your opponent starts on 10 honor but cannot lose by dishonor, however they cannot play cards that would bring them to 0 or lower (for example they cannot play Assassination if they have less than 3 honor remaining).
  • The opponent will always pass their conflicts.
  • Your opponent only has 3 provinces and each province already has defenders in place (so they do not need to assign). During each conflict, your opponent is only considered to control those cards in the conflict. For example, if you attack Shameful Display then Hantei Sotorii, Kakita Yoshi, Mirumoto Hitomi, and Army of the Rising Wave will all be assigned already. As the holding Hito District is also there, you will only be able to declare military conflicts.
  • Your opponent does not have a hand of cards, but will draw a random 4 cards from their deck at the start of each conflict. These will be face-up so you can see them.
  • As the Emperor is dead, no one can control the Imperial Favor and no one can win by honor, although you can still lose if you become dishonored as the other clans reject your claim.
  • Due to the elemental imbalance in the empire, fate is not placed on rings during the conflict phase.
  • Your opponent’s characters do not have fate on them but are not removed during the fate phase.

But what about x? There are a number of cards and rules interactions that will make this challenge a lot easier. Rather than attempt to cover all cases, we’ve attempted to simplify the rules to cover 90% of cases. If you find an interaction or card that makes this challenge trivial, good job! Now try again without using that card.


The Conflict Deck

Go through your collection and make a conflict deck with the following cards.

  • 2 Spreading the Darkness
  • 2 Let Go
  • 2 Assassination
  • 2 Court Games
  • 2 For Shame!
  • 2 Purity of Spirit
  • 2 Ornate Fan
  • 2 Fine Katana

After you have declared your attack, the defender will draw 4 random cards from the deck. This hand of cards adds a random element to keep you on your toes. When considering the options for the AI of this deck, think about what would hurt you the most. If you’re not breaking the province then the AI should be looking to remove your options on the board first. You have visibility of both hands and you should play it out as if the AI also does. So if you have a trick in hand that will win the conflict, see if the AI has any options to avoid it even if they wouldn’t know in a real game. Don’t make obviously bad plays, like having Mirumoto Hitomi start a duel you know she will lose. You will have to choose the best options for the opponent, but hopefully, these should be self-evident.


Each conflict is intended to be a difficult one, so it shouldn’t be a surprise for a deck not build for challenge to be unable to win. That’s part of the fun. Hopefully after a few attempts and with a deck designed for this challenge, you’ll be able to consistently beat it. At that point, why not try some variations? Try with one of the other characters and see how much of a difference that makes. If you find a strategy that is particularly strong, consider taking that out of your deck and playing without it. Since this is a story based variant, why not build a story themed deck focusing on thematic rather than effective cards.

Please do post below if you find a particular strategy that works and maybe share a link to your decklist! Alternatively, if there’s anything you think that could improve the experience, please share and we might incorporate it in!


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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6 Replies to “The Scorpion Clan Coup”

  1. This is brilliant. I’m a new player so just getting started and this seems like an ideal way to learn. What packs will I need to build the AI deck?

    1. This particular setup used a bunch of packs all over the place but the only reason was to try be thematic with the current story.

      You can easily put your own set together by building the deck you want, and then selecting cards from what you have left-over. Setup something like 10 skill of characters in a province and get some event cards that might make things hard for you. If that’s too easy, add more, if it’s too hard add reduce the numbers.

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