This is the sixth 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 Part 4 Part 5).
Last time I tackled some Unicorn-related cards and, because you asked so nicely, the Mantis are up next. Mantis have some decent synergies between the two arcs, with Followers, Magistrates, and Scouts all showing up twice. Well, two out of three, anyway . . .
OK, let’s just get this part over with. Mantis players hate their CE Scouts. Guess what? There were Mantis Scouts in SE as well, and they make CE Scouts look amazing. Hisano – a Naval Shugenja Scout, just like his XP version in Forgotten Legacy – seems like the only one worth taking a look at.
There are a couple of excellent Mantis-specific Strategies hanging around, and “Shoot you in the face for 5+, probably as a Naval” seems like a good place to start. Despite the much-loathed “PH less than chi” clause, Subtle Reminder is still well worth playing (especially with Magistrate’s Stipend around to mitigate that
The basic Tsuruchi Gidayu isn’t even in the same league as his filthy XP version, but he does have that same Open ability. It can be really quite good in multiplayer to bow down an attachment every turn, and is a potential supplement to the Mantis Open Tile (or a replacement, after the tile gets nuked).
Tsuruchi Kaya – mediocre stats, mediocre Ranged Attack, not Naval. He’s got a built in The Arrow Knows The Way against dishonorable Personalities, but I’ve never been a fan of Mantis Magistrates building decks that care all that much about the dishonorable status.
Speaking of dishonoring guys, Tsuruchi Kimita can – sort of. If he doesn’t have any Followers. And has 6 or less Force. And his controller doesn’t have an Outer Walls or Cost of Pride in hand. Still, he’s got solid stats for his gold cost, and giving your opponent two lousy options isn’t too bad. Don’t forget that the Mantis Limited tile hands out Naval, so not having it might not be the end of the world.
The last Magistrate for today is Eriko XP, who shares the above-box HR that so many Mantis players continue to know and loathe from her basic version. This one won’t get whacked by boxable hate, however. I was never a big fan of her action, but I recall others thinking it was better – being a Reaction is a real power-up over being a Battle ability, but conditional is conditional.
Don’t be confused by the world “dishonor” on Sachina’s non-XP version – she isn’t limited to use in Magistrate decks. The dishonor just means that you might not be able to bow the same guy every single turn. Of course, if your deck can take advantage of the dishonored status, then Bonus!
Unlike his Imperial Treasurer version, Utemaro xp doesn’t have anything to do with “Economic Warfare.” But he does have a stupendous Open ability that costs three Gold. Is there some sort of way for the Mantis to take advantage of such a thing? Perhaps a
Stronghold of some sort . . .
Utemaro xp’s ability can cost you honor – but you don’t care in WoH. Either way, his utility is enhanced if you’re playing Followers:
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” The Mantis Clan’s main decks in Celestial Edition have been Follower-based smashery. The Mantis Clan’s main deck in Samurai Edition was . . . Follower-based smashery. In CE it’s out of Dragon’s Guard City; in SE it was out of EHP. This may be a little repetitive for some Mantis players, but it’s a big plus in Extended, since it opens up the possibility of just smushing all that goodness into one deck.
So, if you’re running a Follower-based deck, which is better – DGC or EHP? Both let you equip as a Battle/Open. EHP lets you do it whenever, and as many times as you want, while DGC is just once and only when unbowed. DGC gives you card draw by letting you attach from the discard (and turn discard costs into a bonus), while EHP gives you tempo (including letting you Naval/Equip, then zap something). I’m guessing DGC gets the nod from a lot of people because of its 8PS.
If you want to play a non-Follower Attachment deck, however, EHP is definitely your pick – you can mess with Weapons (there’s pretty solid synergy between Items and Naval anyway, plus @#$%& Oni-Daikyu kills all of my Kensai), or you can use EHP as a janky City of Tears, if you’re not satisfied with the CE Thunder box.
Tadame basic will be as stupid good as he ever was (no, wait, he was even crazier pre-SE MRP . . . but I digress). Like Utemaro XP, buying Tadame T1 and then blitzing was a legitimate option in normal L5R, but that sort of strategy typically has a really hard time in multiplayer.
Tadame XP isn’t as good, but he still has a lot of Force and unit bow plus is almost as good as unit kill.
Koutetsu Unabara pays for itself pretty quickly, and should find a spot in any Eastern Hub Port deck. It also might have some use out of Aramasu’s Vigilance, if you’re packing your deck with enough Battle Strategies with gold costs.
Naizen’s SE version isn’t nearly as good as the CE one (because, well, the CE one is pretty wild). And the trait might be less handy than it was, since there aren’t as many solid guys who bow for their Battle abilities these days. Still seems like he’s worth at least a test drive though.
Speaking of guys who bow for their abilities, Nobumoto has always focused on hit and run, but Naizen gives him the option of sticking around. He probably won’t though.
OK, let’s end this on a little bit of a higher note – Tsuruchi Etsui xp is still amazing, even if the nature of multiplayer might take a little of the luster off of him (shutting down one guy’s biggest attacker doesn’t stop other folks from fighting you). On the other hand, Tsuruchi Etsui xp2 is even better now – he can potentially assign every single attack/defense, and so long as he doesn’t get blown up, he’ll still be there next turn to do it again. Both seem close to auto-includes in generic Mantis.
Mantis’s list of nifty clan-specific SE cards isn’t as impressive as some others, but don’t count them out. A lot of the nice cards there can slip straight into existing decks, and the alteration to how dishonor works means that Thunder no longer has any particular worry about it (pretty much any military-ish Monk or Shugenja theme should probably also be trying to enlighten, and Thunder is no exception). Inertia being what it is, I’d anticipate seeing Mantis heavily going into modifications of their existing Follower decks (Tadame, here we come!) and AV decks that can take advantage of being able to use the box four times per turn cycle, but Thunder Military/Enlightenment shouldn’t be ignored.
So, which Clan wants to be treated to some “insightful analysis” next?