The Imperial Herald

A Legend of the Five Rings Publication

The Imperial Herald - August 2020

By paulofhallett

Welcome to the August edition of the Imperial Herald. This month saw a raft of activity within the Legend of the Five Rings Community including some sad but unsurprising news about Organised Play, the start of the mammoth Jigoku Clan War, and a fiction sure to the shape the political world of Rokugan for some time.

In-flight Report

August saw the annual Fantasy Flight Games In-flight Report streamed live during the week of Gencon.

Amidst a range of new announcements the Temptation cycle for Legend of the Five Rings was outlined. Focusing on a new keyword: Dire, the cycle will explore a range of critical choices to be made by the great clans, each of which will tempt them to betray the values and beliefs of their founders. The Dire keyword will offer characters with no fate on them access to unique abilities, so expect the value of cards such as Reprieve and Ring of Binding to go up in stock in the coming months.

A new RPG book was announced, Fields of Victory, which focuses on the history and philosophy of the Lion Clan. A new adventure pack, Blood of the Lioness, will accompany this, and in a separate stream FFG and EDGE Studios (who will be responsible for all future Legend of the Five Rings: The Roleplaying Game products) discussed the future of Rokugan story telling.


While unsurprising, it was nonetheless saddening to hear that all large-scale Organised Play events for Fantasy Flight Games have been cancelled for 2020. Details of the news can be read in the official announcement, which also discusses changes to store-level events for the coming future.

Depending where you are in the world you might be able to start enjoying play time at your friendly local gaming store again. Our local scene in Canberra, Australia held its first regular night for several months this week, and while it was certainly a different environment, it did feel nice to be slinging some cards again.

Hopefully you've had a chance to enjoy some games recently, or to at least play around with some jank on Jigoku, or compete in one of the online events discussed later.

New Releases

August saw the release of the pack four of the Dominion cycle: Campaigns of Conquest. The pack includes a number of meta-shaping cards including Forgery, which adds another card to the suite of Scorpion cancel effects, Ikoma Tsanuri, who gives Lion incredible province blanking power (and can also be readied by the new stronghold Hayaken no Shiro), and Isawa Tsuke, who provides Phoenix with another powerful 5-fate body.

It also includes the card with the single greatest art of all time (there I said it): Ride at Dawn. This artwork by Calvin Chua is so good it not only featured on the pack cover, but also on the playmat awarded to 2019 Shogun, Jose Luis Saenz.


August also saw a number of official fictions released by FFG.

The Hatamoto story choice for Kuni Yori was decided in much the way that everyone expected, and his continuing adventures with Isawa Tadaka, Asako Tsuki, and the nezumi 'Spike', can be read in Duty's Cost by Robert Denton III.

Not much had been heard recently of the (supposed) imperial heir Hantei Satorii until the arrival of The Stained Cup by Josiah “Duke” Harrist. Can this much-hated character at last be rendered likeable, or at least sympathetic? At any rate, it is an impressive read with a memorable new character and reference to the recently-released Mercenary Company.

Meanwhile, back in Otosan Uchi, the Ruby and Emerald Champions, Agasha Sumiko and Akodo Totori performed the ultimate mic drop as they confronted Bayushi Shoju the Imperial Regent over his supposed involvement in the death of the former emperor, Hantei XVIII. Expect the fallout from this act to be long-lasting and impactful.

Finally, the long-awaited Crab clan novella, The Trail of Shadows by D.G. Laderoute was also released this month. Following the adventures of Hida Sukune into the Shinomen Mori, the novella also includes full-bleed alternate art for the titular character, along with the as-yet-unreleased Crab-clan ancestral armor: Kikyo.

Meta Check

This month saw the continuing dominance of Phoenix and Lion. The former were able to make use of their impressive province row with Seeker of Void to hold off their opponents, while the latter were able to make great use of Ikoma Tsunari to blank said province, in addition to benefiting from the impressive card draw provided by Master Tactician and Tactical Ingenuity, and the power of Battlefield attachments to overpower their opponents.

This author finds himself in agreement with Chris (FroTop) from The Jade Throne podcast who declared "I need Lion to just chill the fuck out for a while". The Right Hand of the Emperor certainly got their push - perhaps it is now time to pull back a little?

Competitive Play

Jigoku Clan War

The massive 168-player Jigoku Clan War got underway this month with the 8 captains drafting their 21-player teams. This impressive event last around 5 hours, and while some inevitable technical problems plagued the opening hour or so, you can catch the majority of the stream on Jeremy's Twitch Channel.

The captains quickly got to work assigning clans and roles with their teams, and the tournament can now be tracked on The Lotus Pavilion.

Thanks again to Aneil for organising this mammoth event, with all feedback so far suggesting the event is proving a fun and community-building activity.

London Legion Online

At the time of writing last month's Imperial Herald London Legion 6 was still underway, and it is now safe to announce that Dari Perri's Lion deck emerged triumphant over Mychal Edwards' Unicorn in the final. Congratulations to both players on a well-played tournament.

London Legion 7 saw Crab, Lion, Phoenix and Scorpion dominate the top 8, with two players present for each clan. Victory ultimately went to Stefanos Michalakis of Scorpion over Luis Bretas of Phoenix.

As usual, Bazeelbub over at the The Imperial Advisor prepared full breakdowns of both LLO6 and LLO7.

Upcoming Releases

September should see the retail release of release pack five of the Dominion Cycle, As Honour Demands. Will Unicorn finally get a playable Champion? At least Altansarnai's artwork is cool enough to get a consecutive Unicorn pack cover.

Hopefully the images for this pack will also be released soon for the ever-awesome Jigoku devs to implement for online play.

The Emerald Dojo

This month at The Emerald Dojo most of the work was done behind the scenes to re-design our clan guides into more beginner and competitive-friendly versions.

This will see a representative from each clan taking ownership of these guides, so look forward to more announcements soon.

In the meantime, stay safe, pray to the kami, and I'll see you next month.