Kotei season kicks off in about 27 seconds, so now seems as good a time as any for some entertainingly bad attempts to predict what will be on top this Kotei season. This time with lots of “bold” predictions in writing, just to make it easier to come back and poke fun at them later. Feel free to do that in advance, as well, either here or on our forums.
First up, I’ll start with my usual “making the cut %” – which Clans will perform best this Kotei season, in terms of raw ability to put players in the cut (cuts that will, surely, be more expansive than in the past, thanks to the now-official X-2 system)?
8 ) Phoenix
Why this order? I like Lion and Mantis the best, and I’ll give the nod to the relatively straightforward and popular nature of Paragons and/or TactaGons over Mantis’s various ways (Explosive Gold, Thunder) to just jack you up with Naval (even with Case skewing this in favor of Mantis). Variations on Lion Honor (Ancestors and/or Paragons) will show up as well. Mantis Scouts is better than I thought, but get any traction. Spirits of the Forest will get played by those who really like the theme, but will put in relatively poor results because more higher-level players will gravitate to the power builds. No one will play Lion Scouts.
Crane on the other end was also a straightforward call – they don’t seem bad, but I just can’t say that I like anything I’ve seen out of Crane better than the best deck of any other Clan. Kyuden Otomo xp will be the most popular, and there will be efforts to duel – it helps that these are the familiar and traditionally solid Crane themes, and there wasn’t a bunch of excitement about the Asahina and purely military Scouts (at least, not compared to the sort of enthusiasm that Mantis Pokemon or the Yasuki generated).
As for everything else? Although they may have one of the best decks in their Paragons of Loyalty (although, unlike the other Paragon decks, it does have the weakness of sometimes face-planting by failing to get a Courtier), the Scorpion will be dragged down by players attempting to force the old standby of defensive dishonor. Magistrates is better than people think, but won’t get the chance to show its chops with the obviously good Paragons around, and also with a solid Ninja deck to fall back on.
I definitely like the Phoenix spell military, but history has shown that I have spent the last couple of years thinking that Phoenix spell military will perform better than it actually does, so you should perhaps take that opinion with a grain of salt. They can also get hammered by the increasingly-popular Gold and Steel (and, of course, Effortless Counterattack). Inquisitors are functional, but not top-notch. Yojimbo and Henshin are to be avoided.
Dragon’s Kensai will lead the way for the Clan, with Kitsuki builds providing some support (although not always out of their own stronghold). The Kensai Personality lineup doesn’t look great at first, but it fares better once you take a hard look at how shallow a lot of the Personality pools are. Too bad the Naval keyword has infinitely more synergy with Weapons than Kensai does. Tamori are overrated, but will get some play. Monks, in their role as the primary selling point of the Dragon Clan for some years now, will get way more play than it should.
Spider Kensai get almost all of the tools than Dragon Kensai do (sorry, no Know No Fear for you, sohei), but get some of the niftiest guys in-Clan, including the over-the-top Tetsuo XP and the Mantis-rivaling cash flow of Yamazaki. The Spider Paragons get less publicity than any of their other keyword companions, but are not to be underestimated. Along with Unicorn and Lion Tacticians, the Dark Paragons have some great card draw – and have all those great Paragon cards to draw into. Don’t expect to see a lot of Goju or Conqueror-focused decks.
The Crab will ride into town on a wave of Kyuden Hida XP, but it remains to be seen what portion of the Crab playerbase can be pulled away from its iconic giant guys who smash you decks (or how many players go for the hot new and not quite together toy with the Yasuki). Although there is still room in the Scout decks for the best of the big boys. Crab are also looking a good deal towards non-obvious smash-up decks, often out of Carpenter – even when effective, these decks can have a harder time producing results because they spread in the playerbase more slowly. I wouldn’t want to roll into town with a primarily Berserkers deck.
This leaves Unicorn, with yet another set of Paragons leading the way. Don’t be surprised to see them primarily operating out of the Tactician box or the pretending-to-be-a-Commander-box Journey’s End Keep (and combining with the best of the applicable set of Personalities). Those two themes will see more tandem play with the Paragons than they do on their own. The Priests of Death don’t mesh as nicely, and will have to face things on their own – a task they won’t be up to yet.
Well, there you have it. The first wildly wrong Strange Assembly predictions of the new arc! Check back next week to see how far off I was.