Organized Play, Rules

Emerald Edict Update March 2024

Featured image for a post about organized play. It reads "organized play" in the font of the Emerald Legacy.

In this update, we introduce changes towards two parallel goals. We adjust the overall resource manipulation of each clan towards the structure envisioned in the new core set, taking into account the full card base with EL and FFG cards. We also do balance adjustments keeping an eye on specific matchups and not only aggregated win rates.

The changes of Emerald Edict are a complete package, making it unproductive to evaluate on a card by card basis. We must look at the full picture. We will discuss the changes clan by clan for organization. To see the complete restricted list go to the end of the article.


Let’s start with the big problem. Unicorn is currently dominant, having positive win rates against every single clan; and even reaches rates higher than 70% against Crab, Dragon, Phoenix. Those win rates make victories against Unicorn almost exclusively dependent on great luck or major skill imbalance. In their most imbalanced matchup, against Dragon, for a single Dragon victory it is expected Unicorn would have 4 wins in their pocket.

To address this, we must consider the clan’s play-style and design. Unicorn’s design is split into two camps: rush strategies and late game strategies. The following changes aim at pushing both playstyles down, while also moving the clan’s resource manipulation into the planned structure for it in the new core meta.

The approach taken is to attack the sources of late game strength in Unicorn. We ban Utaku Tetsuko to reduce the clan’s attrition potential and eliminate a big finisher. We also ban Scouted Terrain and Golden Plains, as both cards delivered a huge tempo advantage to Unicorn: the first by shortcutting the game, the second by giving Unicorn an extra province in conquest matchups (an advantage that often represents a whole round of tempo). We also attack Unicorn’s late game by increasing their vulnerability to dishonor, removing an easy source of stats, and reducing their access to saves.

Last, we ban Iuchi Rimei. It is a small piece in the Unicorn puzzle, but it causes a large impact in Unicorn’s best matchups. Rimei gave Unicorn virtual invulnerability to Cloud the Mind and similar effects, while also giving the clan established superiority when facing other clans that rely on key attachments sticking around. We expect the banning of Iuchi Rimei to improve the balance of matchups against Phoenix, Crab, and Dragon.


While not being as dominant as Unicorn, Dragon also enjoys good results overall. Dragon’s results are more or less balanced across the board, but they can currently generate too much fate advantage. It is a resource advantage that was planned for Dragon, but the clan can go beyond the line by also denying too much fate from the opponent. This is particularly evident in matchups against Crab and Crane. In this update we make Foothills Keep restricted: without Foothills Keep to protect Cliffs of the Sea Dragon, the opponents have better odds of taking down the source of fate imbalance.


The sons of Hida need help in all matchups, but they don’t have many tools to be adjusted. The effort to help Crab comes more from touching the other clans to rebalance their matchups against Crab. The changes we could do are by restoring Crab’s capability on honor manipulation by freeing Herald of Jade.

We are also giving a chance to an old favorite, as we bring Yasuki Broker back. She moves from the Ban List to the Restricted List. Crab lost many sources of sacrifice triggers in the new core meta: we believe with the current card pool Yasuki Broker can enable interesting play styles without reaching the toxic level it had before. A few of the key resources no longer available are Funeral Pyre and Steadfast Witch Hunter as sacrifice triggers, and Jade Tetsubo translating the resource advantage into victory condition.


Big changes on Lion focused on putting the clan resource advantages where it was planned for the new core meta. We give Lion better access to card advantage with the liberation of Tactical Ingenuity and Field Tactician, we also expect this change to open different strategies in other clans with good access to Commanders.

In the previous RL update we freed many Lion cards. The experiment proved successful when it comes to the honor archetype, but time confirmed that Called to War is ultimately still a problem card. A 0 fate guaranteed save does not belong in the resource balance we’re building, so we are banning Called to War.

The liberation of Chronicler of Conquests and Master Tactician revitalized switch strategies, but those changes highlighted the troublesome nature of Ardent Omoidasu. We want honor strategies to be viable but we want them to develop into rich gameplay, with the traditional back-and-forth of a great L5R match. The Omoidasu does too much in those matchups, as it locks a key avenue of counterplay: the impact of Omoidasu disarms the complexity of honor-vs-dishonor matchups. The fact that it is also a character with good stats and useful traits, makes it deserving of costing an RL slot.

Last but not least, provinces should be respected. As we give Lion many tools to triumph over their enemies, they should do it through superior tactics not by trampling over the fundamentals of the game. Matsu Sakura joins the Restricted List.


The Scorpion currently has well balanced matchups, but it is a bit unbalanced in its resource manipulation. We give them a boost on dishonor potential, and reduce their card advantage potential.


Nothing to report. The elements are balanced.

The new Restricted List

The changes are valid immediately.


  • RL Contested Countryside
  • RL Waning Hostilities
  • RL Kami Unleashed


  • RL Yasuki Broker
  • RL Kuni Labs
  • RL Recalled Defenses

Free: Herald of Jade


  • RL Kakita Toshimoko
  • RL Tsuma
  • RL Preeminent Decree

Free Daidoji Netsu
Free Doji Diplomat


Ban Belief in the Little Teacher

  • RL Foothills Keep
  • RL Togashi Mitsu 2
  • RL Adorned Temple


Ban Called to War

  • RL Matsu Sakura
  • RL Ardent Omoidasu
  • RL Fan of Command

Free Tactical Ingenuity
Free Field Tactician


  • RL Secluded Shrine
  • RL Guardian Dojo
  • RL Isawa Tadaka


  • RL Bayushi Kachiko 2
  • RL Mark of Shame
  • RL Dispatch to Nowhere

Free Final Whisper


  • Ban Tetsuko
  • Ban Scouted Terrain
  • Ban Golden Plains
  • Ban Iuchi Rimei
  • RL Fields of Rolling Thunder
  • RL Command the Tributary
  • RL Reserve Tents

That’s it for today’s update! All the changes are live in EmeraldDB and Jigoku, so go brew your decks and compete on the battlefield! As always, let us know what you think. And check out all the new art on EmeraldDB and Jigoku if you haven’t yet!