War of Honor – A Look Back at Samurai Arc (Part 3)

This is the third 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). This post will talk about the Farm scheme, plus touch on some obviously powerful cards from Samurai arc (mostly for those of you who weren’t playing then – I doubt many have already forgotten the power of cards like Doomed Intentions!).

Remote Farms
Estate Halls
Small Estate
Overflowing Fields
Ceremony of Planting

Before there was FarmVille, there was the farm gold scheme, which was good enough at the end of Samurai that there was at least one deck that eschewed its Clan holding in favor of Farms, Castle Barracks, and such. The addition of Samurai adds Remote Farms (produce gold = number of your Farms), Estate Halls (Secluded Waystation when you buy a Farm), and Small Estate (turns every Farm into Famous Bazaar). The new Farms in Celestial that aren’t called Seaside Bazaar are bad, but War of Honor brought back Small Farm, and those two could enhance the CE-reprint Large Farm back into playability. Plus there’s still good old Barley Farm, if you like that sort of thing – then, with all those 1G producers, maybe you can justify putting Inari’s Blessing in to make all your Farms cost 1G (ok, you can’t, but there’s got to be some way to make that card playable).

In addition to the Farm Holdings, there’s also Overflowing Fields, which is another Farm to power up Remote Farms, and also helps you churn through all of those cheap Farm Holdings you’re playing with.

Also, if you’re running Farms, it’s probably worth it to run Ceremony of Planting – I’ve never heard anyone complaint about a permament +2 boost to province strength.

Ceremony of Planting also rewards you for Ashigaru, although Ashigaru blitz was more of an “end of Lotus” deck than a “start of Samurai” deck. Two of the Ashigaru Personalities carry over – Sachika and Tsukotu. Sachika has more potential, because she’s another 1G cost if you’re running the Farms that produce 1G, and also because she’d get her force really pumped by Ashigaru Recruits.

First and Final Strike
Warrior Challenge

With the addition of Samurai, you can field three different cards with a straight-up “Battle: Duel. Kill the loser.” I think the applications are pretty obvious.

A New Wall
Resumed Hostilities
Stay Your Blade
Superior Strategist
Temples of Gisei Toshi
Tsi Blade
Wandering Budoka

They say card draw is king, but let’s broaden that to “card access” is king. The list above is just good card draw and tutoring effects. Again, I don’t think you need a lot of explanation, although I’ll waste your time to point out that Wandering Budoka is even better when there are 4 players who might have lost provinces.

Flash of Steel
Surprising Resistance

Two of the best defensive eject buttons ever, Flash of Steel and Surprising Resistance laugh at anything CE has brought in that regard. Why gain 2 from Wall of Honor when you can gain 5 from Flash of Steel? And don’t let the placement fool you – running away on Surprising Resistance is a boon, not a “cost.”

Ordered Retreat
Seikitsu Mountains

Which brings us to two of the best military eject buttons ever – in a format where the unpredictability of how your allies will behave once they get into battle could make eject buttons more valuable than ever. CE’s Fall Back! is nothing more than a bad Ordered Retreat – make the switch now. And Seikitsu Mountains means that you’ll never lose an army in resolution again, although the increased likelihood of lethal Battle actions should reduce the number of guys you have left to save.

Doomed Intentions
Rapid Deployment
Ideal Conditions
The Khan

Who needs conditional junk like Sohei’s Duty or the Light of Justice? Doomed Intentions was the king – move in, straighten, take another action if you’re on defense. Plus a lethal Reaction anytime someone plays Game of Sincerity or the other half-dozen playable cards that dishonor your own Personality (I’ve already had the joy of dropping the Ring of Flame by using the Reaction on Doomed Intentions twice in one Open phase as a Crane and Scorpion player battled to shame themselves and each other).

Rapid Deployment may not have the name recognition of Doomed Intentions, but don’t underestimate the utility of bringing in two guys at once.

Ideal Conditions is a Scout-only card, but it’s broken when you are playing Scouts (since CE actually has real Scout decks). Yes, that really does give every single one of your Scouts unopposed move-in. Yes, you can assign all of your guys to one province, then move them all over to the undefended one. Yes, your opponent will curse at you.

The Khan is also unopposed movement. It goes into almost every military deck; I don’t care if you have Cavalry cards or not.

Harmonious Temple
High Courts
House of the Fallen Blossom
Supply Outpost
Sword Saint Shrine
Secluded Waystation

Whoever coined the phrase “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” was clearly a whiner, because more money is always better. Monk decks not only get to add Temple of Harmony, but also the strictly superior Harmonious Temple – the RA4 might even help drop Ring of Flame. High Courts will happily join (and be better than) Magistrate’s Stipend (since honor loss often doesn’t matter, you will get to dishonor people with this). War of Honor may not care about your Family Honor, but House of the Fallen Blossom does – see how quickly the Crane and Phoenix tiles can get it up to being a 2-for-6 Holding.

I don’t know that Supply Outpost makes the grade, but Sword Saint Shrine does (for those of you who actually think a Kensai deck can succeed in this format). That extra 1G means that even your big Weapons should be in reach.

Well, that seems like enough obviously powerful cards for one post. TTFN.

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