The Imperial Herald
A Legend of the Five Rings Publication
Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Emerald Dojo's own Imperial Herald. Inspired by the Legend of the Five Rings periodical published by AEG in 1990s, this monthly roundup aims to reflect on the month that was in Legend of the Five Rings, and to highlight upcoming releases and events.
COVID19 continues to dominate headlines in the real world, just as it affects the world of offline and online gaming. There have been no official tournaments for several months now, and none planned with Gen Con the latest convention to sadly cancel its 2020 event.
On a more positive note, games stores are beginning to open their doors again and FFG have resumed their release calendar for Legend of the Five Rings content. Pack 2 of the Dominion Cycle Spreading Shadows was officially released on June 5, although my local store is yet to get the memo.
There is no word on Pack 3, In Pursuit of Truth, beyond the original announcement, although all card images have been officially released and the Jigoku devs wasted no time implementing the pack for online play. Speaking of Jigoku, the platform now officially supports Skirmish mode for those wishing to play Tyler's slimmed-down version of the game.
As usual, a number of Scorpion cards were added to the lists (Bayushi Liar is now banned, while, Bayushi Shoju, and Display of Power are restricted). Will it stop the dominance of the dishonour deck? Probably not, as City of the Open Hand continues to be playable, but at least there will be a brief moment of respite before Scorpion players adjust and once again begin to dominate.
Several neutral cards were also targeted, with Keeper Initiate being restricted and Gateway to Meido and Policy Debate being banned (celebrations continue over at the Khan's Ordu).
Expect to see plenty of meta experimentation taking place online as the new lists go into effect, and hopefully some official tournaments again soon.
To alleviate the lack of new releases and competitive events FFG have kept up a steady supply of Legend of the Five Rings fiction. Over the last month or so we have two fictions related to the Mantis clan: The Sea and the Shadow and Heart of the Mountain, and clan letters for both the Lion and Unicorn.
Importantly, another letter from Yogo Junzo of the Scorpion clan was discovered, unannounced, on the FFG website. In it, Junzo writes to his clan champion about his concerns for the future of the empire. However, several astute readers have noticed the inclusion of an archaic font throughout the article, although only in certain words. Is something afoot? An interesting rabbit hole of conspiracy awaits the intrepid reader.
On the topic of conspiracy, lead designed Tyler Parrott himself has written his own official fiction! In Discerning Eye and an Unyielding Resolve Investigator Kitsuki Chiari reveals her theory about Bayushi Shoju's own conspiracy against the Hantei dynasty to the Ruby Champion, Agasha Sumiko. Tyler proves himself quite the dab hand at writing, and while some might suggest he should get back to playtesting new cards, in this writer's opinion it is great to see a leader designer immersing himself in the wider world of Rokugani culture and lore.
Hall of Heroes
This month the big splash on the competitive scene was the Phoenix Enlightenment deck. The deck relies upon Our Foe Does Not Wait, Isawa Eju, and Rebuild to power Secluded Shrine, which it uses in conjunction with Wholeness of the World and Know the World to amass four of the five rings, with the fifth coming from a single victory or Display of Power to claim the titular event.
A brilliant piece of design by Daniel Correas, aka Daigotsu Kaikou, the deck's success has inevitably come under criticism, notably for its lack of interactivity, and it has since been banned at several tournaments. Whether or not this ban continues, or the meta is allowed to adapt, remains to be seen.
While no official tournaments have been held for some time now, the community has made sure to keep the competitive scene healthy with a number of volunteer-run events.
Discord World Cup
The 2020 Discord World Cup is well underway with 10 teams making the cut to reach the elimination round. A massive shout out to Aniel (Mind's Desire) and the organisers and streamers who have made the event such a success so far.
The April 2020 Discord League saw Chutereve's Crane deck face Akodo Ginawa's Lion in the finals, with the Crane emerging victorious. The winning game can be seen here, and congratulations to Chutereve for a dominant performance.
London Legion Online
One of the more positive responses to the COVID19 crisis has been the emergence of the London Legion Online (LLO) tournaments. The brainchild of England's Steelfur and USA's Handsome Dan, the tournaments have seen the the best players from each side of the Atlantic facing off over several closely-fought events.
The following statement from Steelfur expands upon the origins of the events:
"When I created the LLO it was to try and capture that ‘big L5R weekend’ event feeling. It’s not the same as in person but with the stream and the concentration of games, we do get a good community buzz going. This also means that it’s great for newer players as well, who might not make it to the cut, but might get their games streamed with commentary and can interact with the community and play and talk with great players all day. Honestly though one of the biggest reasons for its success is Handsome Dan stepping up to bring the US Swiss event along as well, meaning we can have a huge tournament in two continents and a cut with some of the best players in the world.”
In recent weeks we have seen Daniel Correas emerge triumphant with Crab in LLO 3, Villabriga victorious in LLO 4 with Scorpion, and Ignithas come through with a win for Dragon in a Banned List event which removed a number of power cards for each clan. In the most recent event, Luiz Bretas won the final match for Phoenix.
A deep bow to both Steelfur and Handsome Dan for organising these events which have helped keep the Legend of the Five Rings community active and engaged in the absence of real-world events. Players of all skill levels are very welcome, and you can use the link below if you're interested in getting involved:
A recent piece of news for followers of the competitive scene was the announcement of the inaugural Jigoku Invitational tournament. Jmart's post on Discord about the event reads as follows:
The Discord League, in partnership with the London Legion Online, are pleased to announce the first annual Jigoku Invitatitional, an intensive online event to recognize the best players from each clan around the world, showcase the very top level of L5R play, and ultimately crown a global Jigoku Champion. Entry will be determined by performance across all international events in the last year, including Worlds, Grand Championships, Koteis, Discord League, and LLO Tournaments.
Full details, and some more recent annoucements, can be found in the #league-announcements channel on the L5R Discord.
The Emerald Dojo
In the month or so since launch we have had a number of updates and changes here at The Emerald Dojo.
First of all a huge thanks to everyone for the positivity and messages of encouragement that accompanied the launch. It has been gratifying to see the site so well received, and all feedback (positive and negative) has been taken on board.
It has been a pleasure to welcome Severijn to take over the reigns of the Phoenix clan guide. Together we have also had some great conversations about the direction of the site, and the Starting Out section has been the first product of these. We are also looking to further update the format of the clan guides section to offer a more comprehensive introduction to each clan, whilst also presenting more up-to-date write ups of the most popular archetypes in the competitive scene. This will take time to roll out, but will hopefully offer a more intuitive layout for both beginning and competitive players.
In other news the Scorpion guide has been updated to match the tone of the rest of the site, although lordshoju's awesome archetype write ups are still in place. Contributions to the archetypes section for each clan are always welcomed, so if you have been playing a competitive deck, or would like to recommend one, please get in touch (and don't be surprised if you get a tap on the shoulder if your latest build has been making a splash).
This month has also seen guides on Streaming and Tournament Hosting added to the Resources section, and a slight adjustment to the order of the Gameplay Fundamentals section.
Feedback is still very welcome as we find our feet for the site, so don't be afraid to get in touch if you have any suggestions.
While COVID19 continues to impact the world of Legend of the Five Rings, July should see Pack 3 of the Dominion Cycle drop, and don't surprised if the images for pack 4 are quietly released, and then added to Jigoku shortly after.
There is still no official announcement about 2020 Worlds, but with travel bans in place we can only hope that the Kami deliver a positive outcome for everyone.
In the meantime, keep an eye on Discord, Reddit, Facebook or wherever you get your news for Legend of the Five Rings, make sure to sign up for any upcoming online tournaments, and stay healthy and safe.