The Emerald Dojo
A Legend of the Five Rings Strategy Site
The Imperial Favor
Updated 31 May, 2020.
The Imperial Favour represents a clan’s standing before the Emerald Throne. In practice, it provides a +1 skill bonus to military or political conflicts, although a player must have a participating character to receive this bonus.
The favour also enables a number of impactful cards. These can be neutral or clan-specific cards from either the dynasty or conflicts decks. The most significant neutral card, Censure, is covered in detail in the Cancel Effects guide.
To gain the favour a player must win the glory count at the end of the Conflict Phase. Each player totals their claimed rings and the glory of each unbowed character, with the player with the highest count winning the favour. If the count is a draw, the favour stays in its current state (whether belonging to one player, or unclaimed).
Some clans are more drawn to the favour than others. Clans with powerful cards that require the favour to trigger their abilities will generally work harder to gain it. In addition, clans with high-glory characters are more able to gain the favour, and are thus more likely to run cards that benefit from it. All clans also have the option to include The Imperial Palace in their decks, although this will take up their restricted slot.
This guide offers a clan-by-clan breakdown of the benefits the Imperial Favour.
The Crab are too busy fighting oni on the Kaiu Wall to concern themselves with the affairs of court. Crab players are rarely drawn to the favour due to their lack of high-glory characters, and the absence of in-clan cards that make use of it.
Crane are drawn to the favour, although not excessively so. Crane characters have high glory, although Crane players tend to invest in only a small number of powerful characters. This means Crane are able to win the favour, but not without difficulty. Crane also look to Voice of Honor as their cancel of choice.
The biggest in-clan benefit for Crane of holding the favour comes in the form of the Imperial Chancellor Kakita Yoshi (Core set). This character allows a player to discard the favour to draw three cards, and reduce the cost of the next card by two. The latter of these benefits is minor as Crane tend not to play events which cost more than one. The latter effect is more powerful, as three cards is a significant draw.
Crane players must be careful when timing Kakita Yoshi’s ability as they lose their +1 bonus, and must win, rather than drawn, the next glory count to regain the favour. Depending on their deck archetype, Crane players may also prefer the newer Kakita Yoshi from Rokugan at War.
Dragon have some interest in obtaining the favour. They commonly run powerful characters such as Togashi Yokuni and Togashi Mitsu who have excellent glory, and they also have access to Ancient Master, a 2-glory conflict character who can be played at the end of the Conflict Phase to gain the favour. This character is also a solid pick for decks with Dragon splash.
The card which benefits Dragon the most when holding the favour is Agasha Sumiko (Core Set), the Ruby Champion. Agasha Sumiko is a 4/4 dynasty character who does not bow when attacking if Dragon hold the favour. This is a significant effect which allows Agasha Sumiko to participate in three out of four conflicts unaided if Dragon hold the first player token. However, despite this powerful ability, Agasha Sumiko is rarely played due to her lack of synergy with Dragon decks that prefer the Monk or Duelist traits.
Lion have a keen interest in gaining the favour. With their very high glory characters, and the powerful Ikoma Kiyono, Lion are able to contest the favour with confidence.
Lion gain considerably from holding the favour when playing Ikoma Ujiaki. A Bushi and a Courtier, Ikoma Ujiaki has the ability to discard the favour to reveal all cards in his owner's province row, and then put up to 2 characters into the current conflict. This can all-but-guarantee victory in key conflicts, helping Lion to once again retain the favour, and repeat Ujiaki’s ability.
Scorpion have a very keen interest in the favour. They also have two of the best cards to help them acquire it (or at least, deny it to their opponent): Fawning Diplomat, and Bayushi Shoju (now restricted).
Being keen to cancel every event on the Rokugani calendar, Scorpion players commonly make use of Censure once they hold the favour, That said, they also have access to two in-clan cancels: the restricted Forged Edict, and the non-restricted Forgery.
The Unicorn would rather feel the wind in their hair and the pounding of hooves beneath them than concern themselves with the latest machinations in the Imperial Palace.
With their lack of high-glory characters, and the absence of in-clan cards that synergise with the Imperial Favour, Unicorn players generally have little interest in obtaining it. That said, Hisu Mori Toride decks can claim many rings and put plenty of bodies on the board, so gaining the favour of the Emerald Throne is not unknown.
In general, the clans that are most capable of claiming the favour gain the most benefit from holding it.
Clans with high-glory characters such as Crane, Lion and Phoenix all make use of the Imperial Favour through in-clan characters or neutral events. The Scorpion have no glory whatsoever, but that doesn't stop them gaining the attention of the Emerald Throne and using its influence to further their own ambitions. The Dragon, typically ambivalent, will use the favour if they see fit.
On the lonely borders of the Emerald Empire, meanwhile, the Crab and Unicorn patrol and defend the Emperor's borders with little concern for, or recognition from, the courts of Otosan Uchi.