War of Honor – A Look Back at Samurai Arc (Part 4)

This is the fourth in a series of posts about Samurai arc cards that might find a place in War of Honor decks – or maybe that would just be amusing in War of Honor decks (Part 1 Part 2 Part 3).

Sorry for the delay in getting to Part 4. As you may have noticed, the site here has been a bit quiet, as real life has intruded on this and editing Episode 030 of the podcast. With War of Honor out for a bit now, you may have found (and possibly discarded) some of these ideas, but we’ll push on all the same.

This post will talk about some meta options, ways to kill folks at home, more cards that take on new value because of the multiplayer nature of War of Honor, and some cards that net big chunks of honor or dishonor.

Death at the Mikado
Dirty Politics
Proposal of Peace
Temple of the Righteous Emperor
Severed from the Emperor
Solid Defense
Winter Storm
Winter Warfare
Redrawing the Maps
Ruins of Otosan Uchi
Shrine of the Sun
Meanwhile . . .

There’s some interesting meta in Samurai Edition, and the pigeonholing of the decktypes may make it more useful than it otherwise would be. Almost all Scorpion deck will be a dishonor deck. The lion’s share of Phoenix decks will be honor decks. Every Crane deck will be honor or dishonor (ok, that’s the same anyway). More importantly, though, is that with three opponents every game, you’re much more likely to be able to use your meta in any particular game.

Dirty Politics is a versatile contender for a meta slot, since it can tag both honor and dishonor. It’s one of the few meta cards against dishonor that flat out negates the loss, which may make it a valuable commodity. Another card that can be handy against both honor and dishonor – although it comes at a steeper price and isn’t usable in most decks – is Death at the Mikado. In exchange for your additional cost/narrowness, however, you get to shut down all effects of that Political action, not just the honor loss/gain.

The other card for today that’s actual meta against dishonor is Solid Defense, which is a more modern card design, with one anti-dishonor ability and one more generic military ability. Crab and Spider make the easiest use for it, but some builds of other clans (including Weapon heavy decks) could get mileage out of Solid Defense. Many Nonhuman decks could easily play it, but I think it’s safer to presume that the dishonor player won’t bother trying to punch through Forgotten Temple.

Although In Time of War (rightfully) got the ban-hammer, there are other potent anti-honor options, starting with Proposal of Peace, which can seriously hamper any honor decks out there for a couple of turns. Temple of the Righteous Emperor only works during the attack phase, and only when unbowed, so its best in a military deck, but when you can use it the tradeoff is generally worthwhile. It’s not as good as in Samurai, because these days whatever they draw will probably have an honor gain on it as well, but that won’t matter if you can eliminate their presence in the meantime. Plus, sometimes you will get to leave it up on other players’ turns, and merrily negate honor gains around the clock. Oh, and you can negate your own random gain to draw a card as well. Finally, Severed From The Emperor isn’t just for Nonhumans anymore – since you don’t lose for hitting -20 anymore, if you don’t care about Honor Requirements then you can Sever to your heart’s content. I don’t know if the current love for Crane will carry over into War of Honor, but be prepared to have a good laugh if you run into them.

Winter brings some goodies – including the original boxable hoser, Winter Storm. Those guys are never going to get to defend again. Winter Warfare also has the potential to wreak havoc – someone is going to get jacked up by not being able to move around and/or play that Rocky Terrain . . . just make sure it isn’t you.

Samurai also has some random meta. Ruins of Otosan Uchi and Redrawing the Maps both hit Regions. They have some value added from that whole “with three opponents, maybe someone is playing one that I care about,” but I’m guessing they still won’t make the grade. Shrine of the Sun, on the other hand, did get played back in the day – but its main targets were In Time of War (banned) and Darling of the Season (useless). There’s also Meanwhile, which may get a boost both from Forgotten Temple decks (Oni + Naga = dead Oni), or anyone who’s trying to take advantage of the lack of the -20 insta-lose to play Crane Oni (or Crab Oni, or whatever).

Hired Killer
Chuda Hankyu

No Hiding Place

Daidoji Gisei got banned, but don’t worry, there will be plenty of annoying guys sitting at home – starting with Bayushi Saya and the much-less-recalled-but-also-great Asahina Beniha. Hired Killer was always great. Now you’re even less likely to care about the 3 honor hit, and there’s more likely to be someone who has to die right now. Chuda Hankyu also benefits from not caring about the honor loss, although you still have to look out for Doomed Intentions. The Hankyu’s stock goes up, however, because it doesn’t care who controls the target – attack one guy, “bite” someone else’s annoying control Personality, laugh manically. No Hiding Place requires an existing ranged attack, and only lets you go after the Defender’s Personalities, but unlike Hired Killer and Chuda Hankyu, it is free.

Miya Anzai
The Strength of Allies
Sake House Brawl
Exchange of Hostages
Misdirection
Flanking Action
Mountains of the Phoenix

Miya Anzai really should have been in the “multiplayer only” cards section in a prior part, because she shuts down allies, but I don’t see her getting in anyway. Sake House Brawl, on the other hand, could see some action out of Crab or Oni – it may not kill anyone like Impossible Force, but it can hit up to three with one blow.

Exchange of Hostages is still probably too weak to play, but has an interesting interaction with multiplayer in that – unlike a lot of the “we both get something” cards – it doesn’t hand out something to every other player, just one other player. You get a border keep, your buddy (or that guy you want to be your buddy) gets a border keep, everyone (who counts) is happy.

The last three cards all care about multiplayer in that they only look for Personalities in your army, regardless of who controls them. Misdirection is pretty ridiculous on its own, but if you have any ally pretty much anything can be shoved onto his Personalities. Flanking Action requires you to bow one of your own guys, but lets you count up all the Personalities in the army to see if you can play it at all (and then the other sides allies better watch out as well). Finally, Mountains of the Phoenix hands control of who dies to the Attacker and Defender, but lets them hit any unit in the army, not just their own.

Yobanjin Alliance
Lies, Lies, Lies . . .
Naseru’s Private Journal
Kanshi
Tales of Battle
Desperate Plea

With the adjustment in how honor and dishonor work, one-shot gains/losses really want to hit big – especially if they can hit the magic 4 honor mark. Samurai adds a few more cards into this category.

If you have any notions of honor/military switch, Yobanjin Alliance will probably be the first card in your Dynasty deck. Indeed, because of tiebreakers, there’s an argument for tossing this automatic Path to Victory advance into any military deck. Just remember that it only triggers when you’re the Attacker.

Lies^3 is also an automatic honor advance if you can play it, but since it requires randomly being the target de jour for a Scorpion or Crane dishonor deck, you can’t exactly rely on it.

Dishonor decks can hope to do five at a pop with Naseru’s Private Journal or Kanshi. The item seems to have more potential, despite the gold cost. Kanshi was non-existent in its time, and even the increased likelihood of seeing a political action shouldn’t save it. Honor decks can make a Desperate Plea. On the plus side, the “lose 5 honor” drawback is meaningless, and the province strength reduction is meaningless if you’re going to win at the end of your turn (instead of the usual start of your next turn). But their own turn should not be where honor decks are struggling to advance their Path.

Determination
Flanking Assault
Pekkle no Oni
Powerful Blow
Purge the Weak
Recruiting Allies
Refugees
Shuten Doji’s Fury
Strength in Certainty
The Fortunes Smile
Three-Stone River
Standing Fast

I’ll leave you with another list of random good cards you might want to take a look at (mostly so you don’t think I forgot about them). All of them will be immediately recognized if you were playing back in SE, except maybe Powerful Blow. An outstanding effect, it suffered from the fact that there wasn’t really such a thing as a Commander deck – but I’m sure it could find a home in one now.  Also, don’t forget to check on the magical new lack of a drawback on Pekkle.

Until next time, which if I’m lucky won’t be another two weeks.

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