Well, what do you know? For Gates of Chaos, we got a lot of cards that were Fudo. And some of them were Ring-related mechanically, but in flavor they were all Fudo. And then our first two Aftermath previews were also Fudo. But look at what we have here – it’s got Rings, but it’s not Fudo-themed! And here I was thinking that I was just going to be able to milk my anti-Fudo meme for all of our L5R previews!
I think I need a guest analysis for this one. Donnie, you got anything? Because I’m coming up empty. It gives your Shugenja potentially lots of element keywords … but do we have anything yet that’s going to make that work? Temple to the Elements seems more consistent (can change targets from turn to turn and doesn’t need a Ring of Water in play), but even that is almost always used just to activate Skipping the Puddle. And it seems inherently difficult to rely on for any specific interaction – not only do you have to get Drawing on All Things, but you have to get the particular Ring into play (which, especially since Rings are going back to being instant-win, may be tough in Ivory). At least for the rest of Emperor Edition you’ve got the False Rings, which still work for Drawing on All Things. (what, how did Fudo stuff end up in here? Argh!)
So what cards that are Ivory legal get a boost out of your Shugenja having an elemental keyword? Hitomi’s Devotion and Trembling Earth care if you’re an Earth Shugenja. Trembling Earth seems like more of a Kitsune sort of card, but with a general lack of in-battle kill so far, Hitomi’s Devotion could be quite strong. Focus on the Flame cares if you’re Fire … but figuring how dueling is going to play out in Ivory Edition is beyond my ken. And Mystical Augmentation gives a bonus Force if the Shugenja is Void. In all, hardly seems an imposing lot so far.
Well, what about the ability? It’s an Open, so you can use it on either player’s turn. And, because attaching cards will itself be an Open in Ivory edition, that means the first time you can use it to straighten a Personality who attacked the prior turn. Plus, of course, it can shift the cost of any other random thing that bows your guy – Among the Clouds, Hidden Power, Summon Fushicho, Tempest of Air. The two repeatable effects in that group are decent, and the non-repeatable effects could be very strong. Outside of Spells there’s Boiling Point, and it can also be defense against effects like M’rika. But, as I noted above, Drawing on All Things is just a cost-shifter – you get to straighten your Personality, but you lose one of your Rings. Rings are liable to change from arc to arc, but they tend to have pretty good effects, so that can be a real cost – is it worth a card to straighten a Personality at the cost of move-in/straighten (Water), unit straighten (Air), drawing a card (Void), solid PS boost/reduction (Earth) or unit destruction (Fire)? Some of those are laughable (bowing the Ring of Air to straighten your Shugenja, for example), but in general that’s not a great trade. The Fudo Rings could help with this – they’re overall easier to get into play and overall have weaker effects, so it’s easier to turn on Drawing on All Things and it has less of a cost. False Ring of Earth, in particular, has no ability and is great fodder for effects to bow Rings. But in Emperor Edition, at least, you’ve got many better ways to straighten Personalities, and also better things to do when bowing your Rings.