Jade Edict: Aromatic Aonori

TLDR: if you just want to see the final list go here

We would like to thank the community for participating in the Discord League Open Beta, and also for offering feedback through our surveys, or just by great discussions on Discord. This effort is meaningful because of you.

The Discord League Open Beta is now advancing to the eliminatory rounds. We analyzed the collected data, watched and played many games, and now it comes time for an update to the Jade Edict. As we approach the beginning of the Clan War, one of the greatest community events, we are excited to get the environment as balanced and competitive as possible.

A Quest Abandoned: dealing with insta-wins

Throughout L5R’s history a few decks were capable of setting up combos to win instantly, or semi instantly. Some of the most infamous decks doing that were Phoenix Enlightenment, or Crab Gateway to Meido. While those strategies are uncommon in L5R, they profit from the game framework making the setup for combos quite easy; card draw is abundant and cancel effects are quite limited. Those strategies also go against the 3 main Principles of the Jade Edict:

  1. All Players Play the Game: fun and competition happens when all players are engaged and making decisions in the game. Players should be allowed to choose their actions, attacks, and defenses. Choosing the lesser of two evils is preferable to not choosing at all.

  2. All Victory Conditions Are Created Equal: L5R comes out of the box with 3 Victory Conditions, they should all be respected equally. There is no single “default” condition; honor, dishonor, and conquest are the default conditions.

  3. The Game is Played Through Conflicts: conflicts are the core mechanism of interaction. Players must care about conflicts to achieve their goals.

With those in mind we take actions against those kinds of strategies.

Enlightenment

Enlightenment introduces an alternative Victory Condition to the game, going directly against Principle #2. Enlightenment is banned.

Festival for the Fortunes & Glorious Victory

By honoring characters in mass, Festival for the Fortunes can be combined with cards like Cavalry Reserves or Force of the River to generate huge amounts of honor with high efficiency and low interactivity. The same kind of play could be done with a little extra work by using Glorious Victory. This shortcutting into an Honor Victory leaves little room for counterplay. Festival for the Fortunes and Glorious Victory are banned.

Scouted Terrain

Scouted Terrain enables decks to ignore a large part of the game and the conflict flow, while piling up resources for the perfect conflict at the Stronghold. The setup usually builds up a conflict that leaves no chance to the opponent to interact through a combination of Covert and abilities to send defenders home. Scouted Terrain strategies go strongly against the Principles #1 and #3. Scouted Terrain is banned.

Balance in Nothingness: restraining the Phoenix

The introduction of the Jade Edict left Phoenix in a superior position. Phoenix has a variety of solid cards and strategies, and traditionally excels in the long game. With the game slowing down by one or two rounds, that advantage becomes even more impactful. This gave rise to powerful Tower strategies out of Fire role phoenix; the combination of honorable high glory characters for the stats, a variety of readying effects in spells+disguise, and the potential to remove declaw other towers using Sanguine Mastery make Phoenix Towers impressive - the version with Heroic Resolve is possibly the strongest Tower build in the game.

Forgotten Library

Always a reliable source of value, empowering Phoenix’s late game, further empowered by the easily defensive provinces available to Phoenix. Forgotten Library draws the line of how powerful a holding can be before it becomes too much, the reason we take action against it due to Principle #5 “Balance is Required”, as filtered by Principle #6 “Private cards are targeted first”. Forgotten Library is restricted.

Secluded Shrine

Having a subtle effect, Secluded Shrine is no big deal on a first look, in practice it is a powerful enabler for Phoenix synergies. Combined with Solemn Scholar it empowers Phoenix’s stall tactics by providing very efficient defensive ability. With Katana of Fire it becomes cheap skill bonuses. Closer to the issue, it is a strong enabler for Heroic Resolve, removing the tempo cost of that attachment. Due to Principle #5 “Balance is Required”, a deckbuilding cost is added to it. Secluded Shrine is restricted.

The Legion’s Might: a small touch on Lion

After more testing and observing more games, we identify Lion as needing some adjustment. Lion’s Pride Paragon draws attention due to its powerful ability: it is a character with good stats, participating in each conflict, and in the end still helping you claim the favor with its 3 Glory. That is a powerful character, but it finds some balance by depending on the Dire keyword for all of that. Except Lion can keep it in play perpetually with a combination of Called to War and Exposed Courtyard.

What seems on a first look to be an issue with the Paragon, turns out in fact to be yet another symptom of Called to War. Called to War is often a completely free save for a character, and when combined with Exposed Courtyard it gets to be reused multiple times generating immense value. Marked as a 3 Influence card, it is in practice a Lion exclusive, as it is a hard card to splash. Its power affronts the Principle #4 “Rewards are balanced by cost and risk” as its reward is unmatched in its cost, by being hard to splash it becomes a good target as put out by Principle #6 “Private cards are targeted first”. Called to War is restricted.

Return to Your Feet

In alignment with the Principle #7 “Cards want to be played”, we make an effort to bring back some cards that went out.

Adepts of Mighty Pokku: Ki Alignment & Slovenly Scavenger

In an effort to open up the possibilities for Dragon monks we revisit Ki Alignment. The card expresses well the flurry of blows and acrobatics performed by the Togashi. And while it is a very powerful effect, it becomes less impactful once the recursion of effects gets under control. In the past, Ki Alignment was combined with the goblin Slovenly Scavenger to easily recur all the kihos just played. In alignment with the Principle #7 “Cards want to be played” we make an effort to bring back Ki Alignment: to balance its powerful ability we add a deckbuilding cost, keeping it apart from cards like Sacred Sanctuary thus making it a strategic fork instead of pure addition. We also make changes to keep it apart from the easy recursion provided by Slovenly Scavenger. Ki Alignment is restricted. Slovenly Scavenger is restricted.

Embrace the Void

After some more observation and testing it became evident that Embrace the Void is ok to return to the game. It is still a very powerful card, and can give good returns if built around it with support from the new Maho effects or Yogo Junzo, so it still requires to be restricted. We believe Embrace the Void might find a home in Maho heavy decks. Embrace the Void is restricted.

Spectral Visitation

Due to the removal of Shoshi ni Kie, and to a larger availability of province cancelling, the power of Spectral Visitation is diminished. Also, as we restrict Called to War, the power balance also shifts making Spectral Visitation fully acceptable. Spectral Visitation is free.

Edict of Judgment: the compiled list

Banned cards Restricted cards
Neutral
  • Charge!
  • City of the Rich Frog
  • Enlightenment
  • Gateway to Meido
  • Lost Papers
  • Policy Debate
  • Proving Grounds
  • Shameful Display
  • The Imperial Palace
Crab
  • Common Cause
  • Karada District
  • Rebuild
Crane
  • Daidoji Netsu
  • Daidoji Uji 2
  • Festival for the Fortunes
  • Guest of Honor
  • Kakita Toshimoko
  • Magistrate Station
  • The Wealth of the Crane
Dragon
  • Ki Alignment
  • Mirumoto Daishō
  • Shoshi ni Kie
Lion
  • Glorious Victory
  • Ikoma Tsanuri 2
  • Logistics
  • Tactical Ingenuity
Phoenix
  • Consumed by Five Fires
  • Display of Power
  • Embrace the Void
  • Isawa Tadaka 1
  • Jurōjin’s Curse
  • Kanjo District
  • Master of Gisei Toshi
Scorpion
  • Cunning Magistrate
  • Dispatch to Nowhere
  • Duty
  • Forged Edict
  • Governor's Spy
  • Hidden Moon Dōjō
  • Shadowed Village
Unicorn
  • Scouted Terrain
  • Spyglass
  • Talisman of the Sun
Neutral
  • Contested Countryside
  • Keeper Initiate
  • Slovenly Scavenger
Crab
  • Kaiu Envoy
  • Kuni Laboratory
  • Reprieve
  • Way of the Crab
Dragon
  • Ki Alignment
  • Mirumoto’s Fury
  • Sacred Sanctuary
  • Seal of the Dragon
Lion
  • Called to War
  • Chronicler of Conquests
  • Exposed Courtyard
  • Spectral Visitation
Phoenix
  • Embrace the Void
  • Forgotten Library
  • Sanpuku Seido
  • Secluded Shrine
Scorpion
  • A Fate Worse than Death
  • Alibi Artist
  • Bayushi Shoju 2
  • Mark of Shame
  • Shadow Step
Unicorn
  • Khanbulak Benefactor
  • Scouted Terrain
  • Shinjo Yasamura
  • Utaku Tetsuko

Servitors of Stone: roll the credits

This Jade Edict was elaborated in appreciation for the game and respect for the community, by the Magistrate Team:

DirtyDeeds#9918, jmart#6576, Notfragile#7860, Siri#3954, Usagi#0328, zarzuckett#6853

With the invaluable playtest and council of the Councillors, who offered 100% of approval in support of releasing this Edict:

We also counted on the playtest of the Ronin: