Brendan finished in the Top 16 (2nd Lion) at this year’s Legend of the Five Rings World Championships at GenCon 2015. Below you can find his decklist and a brief tournament report.
by Brendan Quigley
I’m happy to let people in on the Lion list I piloted to the top 16 this year.
I’ll present the list with explanations for each card.
# Stronghold (1)
1 The Grand Halls of the Lion
# Dynasty (40)
# Event (3)
3 The Blessing
In the era of gold pooling, any early acceleration to your gold is compounded in further turns. The Blessing allows Lion to run more expensive options.
# Holding (16)
3 Copper Mine
2 Forgotten Legacy
2 Questionable Market
3 Suana Dojo
3 Temple of the Heavenly Crab
3 The Ivory Courtroom
The gold structure above has been quite stable, with the option of explosive gold starts.
# Personality (21)
1 Akodo Dairuko, the Steel Lion – exp2
Dairuko offers the deck an option for attacking into dueling with lower risk/requiring them to get to 5 chi.
2 Akodo Eirasu
3 Ikoma Ayumi – exp
4 Force for Eirasu and Ayumi is extremely useful against the myriad of fear/melee/ranged 3 in the environment. Ayumi is a powerhouse in the current environment (as seen by her inclusion in many Unicorn decks).
3 Ikoma Ichimoko
Ichimoko is an extremely efficient personality, effectively 5 force.
3 Ikoma Shungo
Reserve personality to retain tempo.
3 Matsu Iairimi
Honor meta on a personality.
2 Matsu Karoko
2 Matsu Misato
Efficient removal. I’d run 3x Misato (and not run Karoko), but the inclusion of Eirasu and Ayumi makes her HR risky.
1 The Abbot – exp3
His open action is quite powerful given the number of attachments the deck runs. The trait gives you a solid option against anyone who bows all their gold.
1 Tonbo Jairyu
Naval is a significant tempo tool, but I couldn’t rely on it with only 3 Ayumi.
# Fate (40)
# Follower (11)
1 Oriole Imperial Vanguard
2 Camel Mounts
Both of these slots are for the honor/dishonor matchup.
3 Junghar Regulars
I cannot sing the praises of the Regulars enough. They versatility they offer is unsurpassed. The engage speed force tricks allow you to upset your opponents game plans.
2 Legion of the Khan
Destined and extremely hard to kill.
3 Spider Elite Sohei
In any even game, if you can drop 2 of these in battle, then you can attack with impunity, very little the opponent can do will stand up to this.
# Ring (2)
1 Ring of Air
1 Ring of Earth
I don’t need to explain these two!
# Strategy (27)
2 Accessible Terrain
2 Sulfurous Swamps
Honor/dishonor meta. Both of these offer significant card advantage in the honor or dishonor matchups. Accessible will let you take provinces right now, but Sulfurous will seal the fate of future provinces.
2 Courage Beyond Question
Meta against force pump, but also a tempo tool for the military matchup.
3 Fearless Devotion
Straighten and dishonor protection, and Courage for the Yajinden matchup (11 followers in the deck)? Yes please.
2 Sanctioned Declaration
Deals with tower military, removes annoying resilient defenders, and has courage to boot.
2 Spirited Dispute
Multipurpose. Duel meta, attachment recycling (good in the mantis and spider matchups).
3 Standing Fast
You have big units. Standing Fast. Profit.
2 Strength in Subtlety
One of the slots, that always performs well, but I find hard to justify. A 4 force swing is big, and makes a difference in a number of matchups.
3 Unholy Strike
Running plenty of melee/ranged, and a few force penalties. Really effective in the honor/dishonor matchup, where removing presence is key.
3 Victory Through Deference
Needed for the Phoenix matchup, but useful in all matchups. Favorite trick of the weekend was to remove cavalry in battle from a Unicorn personality and send them home, so the box can’t move them back in.
3 Your True Nature
With everyone and their dog running Standing Fast, you need to keep unit gold costs down. Still useful in the Phoenix matchup to deal with Seeking the Way.
Overall the deck is a tempo based Lion deck. Get out a ton of gold, but two personalities and load them up with followers. You need to be careful about Come One at a Time from dueling decks, but Ayumi and Spirited give you some protection.
The deck has a lot of tricks/combos (you’ll need to play to see them all), and gives you a lot of options on the attack. I feel it has game against most of the field, but Unicorn Standing fast does seem to cause it trouble.
Disclaimer – I’m awful at names. I’ll omit them all so as to insult everyone equally.
Round 1 Crab – Aranai
Crab normally present an issue for the deck as the province strength puts it beyond a single attacker with a follower. However in this game an odd gold start lets mo use heavenly crab +6 wasted gold to play Legion of the Khan onto an early Ayumi in his turn 3. My turns 4 sees her pick up a Junghar regulars and she starts to chew up Crab provinces. I ride the province lead to victory.
Round 2 Unicorn – Tselu
I’ve not played the matchup before, but keep my bodies honorable and take the Favor away from him before Kozan can act, breaking past the open bow actions to barely take the last two provinces after Naleesh and a surprising Ikoma Ayumi knock down all but one of my provinces.
Round 3 Unicorn – No Sensei
Spotting an early Daigoro telegraphs that this is corrupt unicorn – I’m not running Nexus, so have no way to punish him for his Shadowlands ways. He comes out too fast for me to deal with – my Coastal Lane opponents see them just as often as I see Suana Dojos. Shenanigans. I can’t hold my last province, and lose my first game of the weekend.
Round 4 Mantis – Aranai Sensei
Not much to report here. My gold exploded – 19 gold at the end of turn two, and the mantis scheme choked. I took an unanswered province and then we started trading, which only ends one way.
Round 5 – Unicorn – No Sensei
Urgh. More ponies.
This match features my first unforced error. This matchup is typically a slugfest, big haymakers of large units trading attacks. This one was no different. We traded down to two each, and I was forced to defend with a lone Ichimoko or lose the game. Ichimoko ate two Standing Fasts, but stayed strong. (2x Fearless). With a SH force pump, this saved the province. This is where I got greedy. I played sanctioned declaration to keep Ichimoko alive, thinking to Overwhem next turn when I split. On the subsequent defence my opponent has two Resilient personalities, and if I had the Sanctioned I could remove Resilient on one with Sanctioned, and remove the other with VtD, kill both and not face a threat to my remaining province next turn. As is I fail to break the second province and the counterattack kills me.
Round 6 – Dragon Kensai
I see two YTN in my opening hand which severely punishes his aggressive opening. I can take an unanswered province and ride that to victory.
Round 7 – <insert memory here>
I have no recollection of this game at all. All I remember is nerves going in and elation leaving. I expect Ayumi was heavily involved.
Round of 16 – Phoenix (Hira)
I play this man on Sun and Moon … a lot, but this was our first face to face meeting. Happy to say I couldn’t have lost to a nicer fellow. We both know the opponents deck from testing, so this is going to be tight.
With PS 6, I’ve a good shot as Personality + Follower is enough to break a province. The game was determined by my assigning a naked Abbot (enjoy the image) with a larger force. All but the Abbot were sent home, and he died in resolution. Not a big deal at the time, but later my opponent crossed to 41 on his last province, with no other honor gain in hand … I wish him luck and pack my cards away.
I had a great Gencon weekend and really can’t complain about any of my games. Any mistakes were my own and my opponents were all gentlemen. I leave Gencon with a victory over Fu Leng (Shout out to my wife and the other 3 legends at Challenge Booth #7 – commiserations to Ornatov), my second top 16 at worlds (same result last year in Sheffield), and a storyline draft victory.
Gencon, I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I will be.
– AEG staff: good event.
– Burger King: diverting to pick up your substandard food let us know our GPS was broken before it was too late to go back for another.
– My wife: supporting my L5R addiction (while managing a small one of her own)
– John & Megan: traveled a long way for your first Gencon. Stoked that you enjoyed it so much.
– Eoin Burke: great to have another of the Irish over there.
– All the L5R players I met: I’m glad to be part of this community. The online forums/Facebook groups can be a pit of complaining and bitterness, but the face to face interactions over the weekend were all positive.
– Rokumart and Mark Armitage: Thanks for sorting me out with the last few cards for my deck. As always a pleasure to deal with both of you. Oh, and you are both great to deal with as friends.
– Burger King: Awful burger. Man I missed Irish beef over there.
– BA: Run your planes on time! I don’t like driving on the wrong side of the road at silly hours of the morning just to make it on time.
– Jetlag when I got back: Sleepy now.
– Eoin’s deck for deciding it didn’t want to play. You deserved a better result than the deck produced.