On the Cheap – Ivory Scorpion (Not) Dishonor

What, I’m not doing everyone in alphabetical order? Yes, yes, it turns out that even I do not always do things in a hyper-systematic way. I just did a Weapon deck and a dueling deck, and next alphabetically is Dragon, which means a deck that does Weapons, or duels, or both. And that sounds boring to write at this particular moment. I could go for Spells, but Phoenix are the only ones who have enough Shugenja available for that, and Jay’s writing their On the Cheap article for this cycle. Plus, there’s probably just going to be a lot of overlap in the military cards once you get past some attachments and a handful of keyword-specific things. So, the most different deck left is Scorpion dishonor. You know, if that’s even possible without rares – while the Crane starter deck presents an honor deck, the Scorpion starter deck presents more of a military deck that takes advantage of making Personalities dishonorable.

Again, here’s the link to the ground rules for On the Cheap. And, just as we did with Crane honor, let’s kick this off by looking at what honor loss causing cards we have available:

House of the Red Lotus
Nexus of Lies
Bayushi Dakatsu
Bayushi Kachiko (Experienced CoM)
Bayushi Nitoshi (Experienced)
Bayushi Shizuka
Shosuro Hotaka (rare in starter deck)
Shosuro Kameyoi (Experienced)
Otomo Demiyah
Ancestral Armor of the Scorpion Clan
Coward!
Delicate Gamble
Desire
Faint Praise
Oppression
Ramifications

Hmmmm. So, I have three repeat honor losses, and two of them can be avoided by my opponent not using the Personality in question. Normally that sort of thing is acceptable because it means my opponent isn’t taking provinces and, therefore, I’m dishonoring him out via some other means. But here the only constant drain left would be Kameyoi. So if I hit with Nitoshi and 3x Demiyah and the Armor and 3x Delicate Gamble and 3x Oppression and 3x Ramifications and 3x Faint Praise and I activate Kameyoi 4 times, then that’s about 36 points of honor loss (and between Faint Praise and The Company You Keep I can eliminate Proclaim honor gains). So if I get to play my entire deck I can win? What if I don’t see every one of those? What if I see half of that? Now I’m only causing 18 points of honor loss (give or take) the whole game. And I’m probably not shutting down every single one of my opponent’s Proclaims. And that I’m getting my opponent’s Personalities dishonored at appropriate times. Even if my opponent eats a Shizuka activation or two, this is probably not going to end well.

Well, gosh. That’s not where this was supposed to go. You know how I said with the Crane deck that the deck should just stick with honor even though military was viable because, well, what’s the point otherwise? I’m not going to say that here. The dishonor deck just really needs things like Brilliant Cascade Inn and Exquisite Silk Works (and Favors and Inexplicable Challenge and Yogo Honami and Mercantile Conflict and you get the point) that aren’t available in a bushi league format. Military it is!

So, let’s see what military Personalities we have to work with in-clan:

Bayushi Aibako
Bayushi Amorie
Bayushi Dijuro
Bayushi Kahoku (Experienced 2)
Bayushi Masashi
Bayushi Mifuyu
Bayushi Nitoshi (Experienced)
Bayushi Toshimo (rare in starter deck)
Bayushi Wateru
The Sorrow
Yogo Nobukai

Is there a keyword here we could pull specific Strategies for? Bitter Lies, Ninja, Yojimbo, Magistrate, Ninja Yojimbo, Yojimbo. A couple of Ninja and three Yojimbo stands out. Do I care about those? Well, Ninja helps a little – it enhances my one copy of Planted Evidence, and enough of it and I can run Shinobi Vassal, who is amazing. I’m not really enthused about the remaining Ninja (which is probably why they aren’t even on that list), but I suppose it’s something to keep in mind. Yojimbo is just full of stuff to consider – Final Sacrifice, Inspired Devotion, The Greater Threat, Unassailable Defense. If we wanted, there are also several Yojimbo not on the list above that could be brought it – Bayushi Dakatsu, Bayushi Manami (Experienced), and Horobei from among the Ronin (I don’t care how much I want Yojimbo, I’m not putting Yogo Katsuta in a deck). I’m more inclined to see what I can justify with just the 11 Yojimbo listed above, however.

And possible control sort of options if we want to be dishonoring enemy Personalities regardless of whether we dishonor the player (which then turns on our Sensei):

Bayushi Akane
Bayushi Kachiko (Experienced CoM)
Bayushi Meiko
Bayushi Nitoshi, the Poison Mask
Bayushi Shizuka
Shosuro Kameyoi (Experienced)

Of course, these (or other Courtiers/Shugenja) are also necessary if we want to fully turn on some of the Yojimbo actions.

And let’s not forget our list of unaligned possibles:

Myuken
The Dark Naga (Experienced)
The Shakash (Experienced)
Zansho (Experienced)

The Shakash remains amazing for his 9G – Conqueror + 6F + a movement ability? Fantastic! The Dark Naga is a beating, but expensive. Myuken gives us one of those nice 3F/4G packages that the Scorpion are pretty lacking in. And Zansho is mostly just a fourth 3F Conqueror for 5G.

The decision that faces us now is whether we want those options to dishonor Personalities. And this is the part of the article where I could make some analysis of whether the Sensei is worth it, and whether the other options add enough. But that really doesn’t matter, because if I pick “no, I don’t want to bother with dishonoring your guys” then the Fate deck for this deck is going to end up something like 75% the same as the fate deck for the Crab deck from last week, and that’s boring for me (it might be boring for you too, but it’s definitely going to be boring for me).

Also, since we’re running Courtiers now, let’s make sure to try and push the Yojimbo side of things as well.

So, with that in mind, the start of our Personalities might look like so:

3x Bayushi Akane (courtier, can cause dishonor)
3x Bayushi Masashi (yojimbo, can take advantage of dishonor)
3x Bayushi Meiko (Courtier, can cause dishonor)
3x Bayushi Mifuyu
1x Bayushi Nitoshi (Experienced) (courtier)
1x Bayushi Nitoshi (Experienced 2) (courtier, causes dishonor)
1x Bayushi Toshimo (yojimbo)
1x The Sorrow (yojimbo)
3x Yogo Nobukai (yojimbo)
1x Yogo Takashi (courtier)
1x The Shakash (Experienced)

That’s 21 Personalities, which is right in our target range of 20-22. I even got to cram in The Shakash! This lineup gives us 7 early Courtiers, plus the two copies of Nitoshi, and most of them are capable of dishonoring enemy Personalities as well. On the other hand, we’ve only got eight Yojimbo, which is pretty light if we plan on running a significant number of Yojimbo-focused cards. The Scorpion starter deck (which our currently Personality base is really, really close to) sports 11 cards that look for Yojimbo, but exactly none that require Yojimbo. This isn’t really an issue for Provoked Violence (because it’s an open, and we can use it without worrying about whether our Yojimbo will get shanked in battle first), but it is for Inspire Devotion, The Greater Threat and Unassailable Defense – all of those cards can be played without a Yojimbo, but they stink. Plus Final Sacrifice, which is bonkers, does require a Yojimbo. We probably want to add 3 Yojimbo and just go up to 22 Personalities.

The most expendable cards are Mifuyu, who doesn’t contribute directly to our dishonor plan, or Takashi, who is great card draw and a 4C Courtier, but doesn’t contribute as much as Meiko and Akane (also, he should arguably just be Kachiko instead, just to get her Force drain on defense, but there will be plenty of time to abuse Kachiko later on in a deck that can use her ability). I’m more comfortable sticking with 7 Courtiers I can get right away, so that means excising 2x Mifuyu to pick up another Yojimbo. Our choices are:

Bayushi Dakatsu
Bayushi Manami xp
Bayushi Wateru
Yogo Katsuta
Horobei

None of these are really attractive choices. Dakatsu is paying for a trait that we don’t care about. Manami is paying extra to make half of his Force immune to being bowed, but it makes all of his Force very easy to shoot in the face. Wateru is paying a couple of gold for that Interrupt, which I’m not sure it’s worth – at least his Ninja enhances our copy of Planted Evidence. Horobei is just a weakling at 2F for 4G when we have no use for Kensai and Duelist, and Yogo Katsuta is truly awful. So … Wateru?

We’ll need to add our Holdings, but we should visit our fate deck first, so let’s see what we might want to play with that adds something specific to this deck, instead of just copying and pasting good military cards. To lead off, there are the rares from the starter deck:

Planted Evidence
Sneak Attack
Sudden Movement

Planted Evidence and Sudden Movement are just really good, and should definitely go in our deck. Sneak Attack here has the advantage that we don’t have to worry about Entrenched Position in bushi league (and the Scorpion Stronghold could shut it down anyway). But Sneak Attack is often not as good as it seems. So we’ll hold of on that one for a bit.

Bounty Hunter
Ramifications
Unpleasant Truths

Bow you if you’re dishonorable. Send you home if you’re dishonorable (or Fallen or some Spider or whatever). Bow you if you’re dishonorable. Yup, that sounds exactly like the sort of thing we’re looking for.

Oh, and don’t forget that we still have a reason to play this gem:

Justice of the Crane
Ancestral Armor of the Scorpion Clan

Dishonor! On a good military card that we might want to play anyway! Sign me up for three. I’m just going to mention the armor here because it’s an Item, but mostly to say that I am not inclined to spend 8 for what it does.

Then there are the yojimbo cards:

Final Sacrifice
Inspired Devotion
Moments of Destiny
Provoked Violence
The Greater Threat
Unassailable Defense

Final Sacrifice is going in as a three-of, because redirection is just that good, but let’s take a look at the others. Every once in a while Inspired Devotion will be +5F because we have Nitoshi out, and that’s a good deal. But more often it will be +3F, and with more restrictions that we’d like. So that’s going to stay out of the deck for now. Moments of Destiny costs gold and doesn’t even unbow, so that’s a big no. Provoked Violence trades a card for a card, and with me paying 3 less Gold – and if I’m lucky, before the attachment can even be used. The Greater Threat is a very nice effect, combining move in with (usually) a Fear 3 – we just have to keep in mind that it only works when we have an unbowed Yojimbo at home. Unassailable Defense is effectively bow to destroy a Follower or Personality without Followers with equal or lower Force. That’s workable.

So what we have so far might look like this:

3x Bounty Hunter

3x Justice of the Crane

3x Final Sacrifice
1x Planted Evidence
2x Provoked Violence
3x Ramifications
1x Silent Movement
1x Sneak Attack
2x The Greater Threat
2x Unassailable Defense
3x Unpleasant Truths

That’s up to 24 slots, and probably a little more reliant on opponent’s being dishonored than I’d like, with 3 cards dead against a non-dishonored Personality and another 6 at substantially reduced effectiveness. But that is kind of the point of this, so …

Then, what cards do we really want to get in just because they’re good military stuff?

Koan’s Staff

Ring of Air
Ring of Earth

Breaking the Rhythm
Deliberations
Fall Back!
Unholy Strike
Back to the Front/Return to Action

I’d put Incapacitated/Block Supply Lines there as well, but we’ve basically got Ramifications slotted in for that role. And Suffer the Consequences is less pressing when we already have Provoked Violence. If we slotted in everything above, we’d have 18 (that’s three between the two move-in cards), which would already fill up our 42. Which I hear is more than I’m willing to put in a Fate deck. Plus we’ve got a few holes left to fill. We only have Ring of Air as straight-up straighten, but we do have Sudden Movement and Fall Back! to help with that. We don’t, however, have any sort of Terrain meta. Given our space crunch, we could use Lakeside Retreat to sort-of address both of those holes. But a couple of those would leave us at 44. Time to make some cuts!

But let’s turn back to the Holdings for now. Let’s start with the obvious ones:

3x Geisha House
3x Nexus of Lies
1x Counting House
1x Temple of Tengen

Efficient gold and card draw. Couldn’t ask for anything more. Our starter deck also comes with a few rare/promo Holdings we’re interested in:

Jiramu’s Court
Small-Time Bully
The Ivory Dojo

And I think we’ll fit all of those in. That gives us 11 of the 18 we have slots for. The only Holding that we might want for our attachments is Colonial Temple, but with only 7 attachments I’m hesitant to saddle us with gold that’s any more awkward for buying Personalities. I’ll stick with the same philosophy here as I did with the Crab – without the ability to construct an efficient gold scheme, we have to run a bunch of 2-4-2 Holdings. So in order to avoid late-game Holding flood, we should default to filling up extra Holding slots with Holdings that give us Dynasty cycle. In particular

Family Library
Fudoist Advisor
House of Exotic Goods

Some combination of seven of those and then we’re done.

The Shadowed Estate of the Scorpion
Jutsushi Sensei

Dynasty (40):

Holdings (18):
3x Fudoist Advisor
3x Geisha House
3x Nexus of Lies
2x Family Library
2x House of Exotic Goods
1x Counting House
1x Jiramu’s Court
1x Small-Time Bully
1x Temple of Tengen
1x The Ivory Dojo

Personalities (22):
3x Bayushi Akane
3x Bayushi Masashi
3x Bayushi Meiko
3x Bayushi Wateru
3x Yogo Nobukai
1x Bayushi Mifuyu
1x Bayushi Nitoshi (Experienced)
1x Bayushi Nitoshi, the Poison Mask
1x Bayushi Toshimo
1x The Sorrow
1x Yogo Takashi
1x The Shakash (Experienced)

Fate (40):

Followers (2):
2x Bounty Hunter

Items (4)
3x Justice of the Crane
1x Koan’s Staff

Rings (2):
1x Ring of Air
1x Ring of Earth

Strategies (32):
3x Breaking the Rhythm
3x Deliberations
3x Fall Back!
3x Final Sacrifice
3x Unholy Strike
3x Unpleasant Truths
2x Back to the Front
2x Lakeside Retreat
2x Provoked Violence
2x Ramifications
2x The Greater Threat
2x Unassailable Defense
1x Planted Evidence
1x Sudden Movement

Well, there you have it. Or, at least for now, because if history is any guide I’ve managed to put a playset of some rare in the deck by accident. Don’t forget the comment box below if you have any questions or comments.

7 thoughts on “On the Cheap – Ivory Scorpion (Not) Dishonor

  1. I’am new at Legend of the Five Rings universe. Could you clarify some points about this deck mechanics? Let me see if I understood. First, we use the Courtiers to disohonor enemy personalities. Done with that, the Yojimbos will take advantage of it and overwhelm enemy personalities via military, using their abilities : battle: +Force and Bow.

    Is it correct to assume the the primary win condition is via military?

    Why did you choose Fudoist Advisor? Isn’t Brilliant Cascade Inn better?

    1. Yes, this deck aims to win via military, with the courtiers and dishonor providing support and boosting options.

      As a 1-4-1 Holding, Brilliant Cascade isn’t really directly comparable to Fudoist Advisor. My holdings here are primarily about gold, and a 1G holding doesn’t fit as well. Although now I would absolutely pull Fudoist Advisor for Family Library or House of Exotic Goods.

      1. First thing to say: Thank you. Thank you very much. I really appreciate your patience. I am not an english speaker and, considering this, I can imagine that you had some bad time trying to understand what I meant previously (and now too).

        Well, Noble Sir, I acquired some cards. Could you give me some tips? I mean, I would like to know if is it possible, viable and wise to insert any of these cards in your suggested deck list.

        Observation: Very important to make clear that I already have the scorpion clan starter deck.

        Acquired cards:

        Holdings

        2x Small Time Bully

        Sensei:

        1x Jutsushi Sensei

        Items:

        1x Koan’s Staff
        3x Justice of the Crane

        Personalities:

        3x Bayushi Shizuka
        3x Shosuro Tosaku
        1x Bayushi Nitoshi Exp
        3x Bayushi Wateru
        2x The Sorrow

        Strategies:

        3x Deliberation
        3x Oppression
        3x Allied Efforts
        3xTactical Setback
        3x Unholy Strike
        1x Unpleasant Truths

        Don’t know which card should go in or out. Could you help me?

        1. Not sure exactly what you’re looking for here. You ask if you should put any of these cards into my suggested decklist, but some of them are already in there (like the Sensei). Are you looking to modify my decklist, or are you looking to modify the starter deck itself?

          1. I am currently looking to modify your deck list, considering I lack some cards, for example:

            * 2x Lake Side Retreat
            * 3x Breaking the Rhythm
            * 1x Temple of Tegen
            * 1x The Shakash (Experienced)

            I really liked your deck list, but considering the quantity of cards that I own right now, I keep asking my self:

            “Ok, he suggested a very nice deck list. In one hand I do not have 7 cards to build exactly what he suggested. In the other hand I own some perculiar stuff. Is it a good idea to modify his deck list with these peculiar stuff?”

            I do not have yet the experience to judge which cards could improve your deck list and which cards could nerf it. Thats why I am asking your help. I don’t want to spoil your suggested deck list with random cards.

            This is the updated card list that I own:

            OBS1: In this list there are several cards that exist in your suggested deck. I will list bellow those one that aren’t mentioned in your suggested deck and that I belive could benefit it somehow.

            OBS2: I believe I do not have the cards to build a pure Dishonor deck neither a Military. The forementioned “peculiar stuff” is to increase the efficiency of your hybrid Military-Dishonoring deck.

            Cards that I consider to add:

            Holdings:

            3x Small-Time Bully << (You suggested 1x, I have 3x. Should I insert 2? Which one to remove?)
            2x Deep Harbor <<<<< (Does it worth to substitute any suggested holding for this one?)
            1x Productive Mine << (Does it worth to substitute any suggested holding for this one?)

            Personalities:

            3x Bayushi Shizuka << (Does it worth to substitute any male courtier?)

            Strategies:

            3x Opression <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<(Card to enhance Courtier mecanics)
            3x Block Supply Lines
            2x Suffer the Consequences<<<<<<<<< (Card to enhance Military mecanics)
            2x Discretionary Valor
            1x Insight <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<(Card to enhance Samurai mecanics)
            1x Unwelcome Supervision <<<<<<<<<< (Simple and direct)
            1x Inexplicable Challenge <<<<<<<<<<< (Simple and direct)
            1x Hidden Storehouse of House Rafiq <<(Buying cards! Good in all trade card games)

            Followers:

            3x Bounty Hunter <<<<<<<<<<<<< (Avoid fear and ranged attacks, why not insert one more?)
            2x Sparrow Clan Aide <<<<<<<<< (Allow me to bow dishonored enemy personalities. Why not use?)

            Events:

            1x Wisdom Gained <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<(Each player gets ring of Void))
            1x Glimpse of the Unicorn <<<<<<<<<<<(Drawings cards)

            Rings:

            1x Ring of Water <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<(Movement)
            1x Ring of Void <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<(Drawing cards)

            Noble sir, thank you very much for your attention.

            ===========================================================================

            All cards that I own:

            (Just in case you want to inspect further more)

            Stronghold:

            The Shadowed Estate of the Scorpion

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Sensei:

            Jutsushi Sensei

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Holdings:

            3x Small-Time Bully << (You suggested 1x, I have 3x. Should I insert 2? Which one to remove?)
            2x House of Exotic Goods
            2x Deep Harbor <<<<< (Does it worth to substitute any suggested holding for this one?)
            3x Nexus of Lies
            3x Geisha House
            1x The Ivory Dojo
            1x Coastal Pearl Bed
            3x Akodo Dojo
            2x Ashigaru Fort
            1x Haiaku School
            2x Kabuki Theather Troupe
            1x Slave Pits
            3x Carrion's Breath
            1x Temple of Harmoney
            2x Clean Water Village
            3x Farmers Market
            1x Deeds And Words
            1x Productive Mine
            3x Rice Paddy
            1x Jiramus's Court
            1x Counting House

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Personalities:
            3x Bayushi Wateru
            3x Bayushi Aibako
            3x Bayushi Meiko
            3x Bayushi Shizuka
            3x Bayushi Mifuyu
            3x Bayushi Akane
            1x Bayushi Toshimo
            3x Bayushi Dakatsu
            3x Bayushi Masashi
            1x Bayushi Nitoshi Exp
            1x Bayushi Nitoshi Exp2

            3x Shosuro Tosaku
            1x Shosuro Hotaka

            3x Yojo Nobukai
            2x The Sorrow

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Strategies:

            3x Block Supply Lines
            3x Back to the Front
            3x Unholy Strike
            3x Inspired Devotion
            3x Unpleasant Truths
            3x Unassaible Defense
            3x The Greater Threat
            3x Final Sacrifice
            3x Deliberations
            3x Allied Efforts
            3x Opression
            3x Vigilant Eyes
            3x Flashy Technique
            2x Provoked Violence
            2x Suffer the Consequences
            2x Ramifications
            2x Discretionary Valor
            2x Stout Heart
            1x Planted Evidence
            1x Sneak Attack
            1x Sudden Movement
            1x Unwelcome Supervision
            1x Inexplicable Challenge
            1x Hidden Storehouse of House Rafiq

            Terrains:

            2x Encircled Terrain
            1x Blind Honor
            1x Contentious Terrain

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Followers:

            3x Ashigaru Spearman
            3x Bounty Hunter
            2x Sparrow Clan Aide
            2x Floating Reserve

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Rings:

            1x Ring of Water
            1x Ring Of Earth
            1x Ring of Fire
            1x Rings of Void

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Events:

            1x Wisdom Gained
            1x Glimpse of the Unicorn

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

            Itens:

            3x Justice of the Crane
            1x Exquisite Nagamaki of the Fox Clan
            1x Koans's Staff
            1x Ancestral Armor of the Scorpion Clan
            1x Heavy Yari

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