Rules and RL changes

The world spins and seasons change. The winds shift and the tides turn. Rokugan finds itself in a time of upheaval and renewal. Few can say what lies ahead, but now we take the first step. Now we lay the groundwork for the continuation of the Legend of the Five Rings.

This milestone represents a fresh start of sorts. For this reason, we have taken the opportunity to address some imbalances in the game through several small changes to the rules. Additionally, we present the Emerald Edict, a revised restricted/ban list building off of the work done by the Jade Council and the lessons learned during Clan Wars.

There are a lot of updates to be seen (at the end of this blog post), and our team has taken the time to present the reasoning behind all of them in this blog post. You will find the latest version of the rules here: https://emeraldlegacy.org/rules/
All efforts were made to ensure that our changes would be positive and in line with the desires of the community. It is our humble hope that you receive these as positive changes.

We also want to announce the Emerald Legacy format’s release on https://jigoku.online/ as well as the official launch of https://www.emeralddb.org/, where you can browse and build for the Emerald Legacy format! (including the first two released cards from Through the Mists, Ayubune Pilot and Disarm!)

You’ll all have a chance to try out these changes yourselves in the EL Launch tournament, starting on August 1st! The tourney will have a group stage followed by a finals event which will be held over the course of a weekend. Signups, prize announcements, and further details next Friday!


Reasoning behind the rules changes

One Tower to Rule Them All

Attachments are a central component to L5R and have always been very efficient at what they do. As opposed to events, attachments provide permanent benefits as long as the attached character stays in play. That character can also participate easily in multiple conflicts per turn, as more and more ways to unbow and reuse your characters have become available.
As a logical conclusion, “Tower” decks have become the most efficient way of playing L5R: One to two characters that stay in play all game, accumulating a great number of attachments (and therefore skill and abilities) and participating in as many conflicts as possible until victory is achieved.

We try to tackle this evolution with two different measures: Restricting access to unbow effects by making them unsplashable as described below and changing a general rule when it comes to attachments.

Under the Emerald Legacy rules update, a character can only have one copy of an attachment (by name, per player) attached to it at the same time. Furthermore, you can not attach a second copy of an attachment to a character and discard the first copy from it.

This rules change has a few implications:

  • Attachments that grant or have powerful abilities cannot all be collected on the same character. A single Duelist Training on a Crane character is easier to deal with than multiple copies of it. A single Togashi Acolyte may still grant a lot of skill to a Dragon character, but it is more manageable than 2 or 3 copies of it attached to that character.
  • Attachments that have one-time effects cannot be “cycled” anymore. Once your character has an Elegant Tessen attached, you cannot ready it again with another copy of that attachment unless you find a way to discard the first copy.
  • Multiple copies of attachments that provide skill efficiently need to be spread out or a player needs to include alternatives if they want to build a Tower. While Ornate Fan still is one of the most efficient political skill buffs available, including a full playset of it now comes with the risk of it being a dead card in certain situations. This can open up deck space for less efficient, similar cards like Kitsuki’s Method or Letter to the Daimyō.

Playtesting showed that restricting access to unbow effects and this rule change do not kill Tower strategies. They simply become less efficient than they were before and their power level is reduced to that of other deck strategies.

Tweaks and Changes to Keywords

When it comes to keywords, deciding how to deal with the highly controversial Rally keyword was our highest priority. That didn’t stop us from taking a look at the other keywords present which results in the following changes to Rally, Disguised, Covert and Limited.

Rally

Due to the experiences we gained from the Jade Court’s way of dealing with Rally and the heated discussions that were caused by that, we knew that we had to proceed carefully when it comes to Rally. Therefore, we decided to gather the opinions of the community by having a day-long discussion and creating a survey containing some of the results of that. As of today, 167 of you have partaken in that survey, providing valuable data for us.
The result of that survey was that the community was on board with our preferred way of dealing with Rally, which is as follows:

The keyword itself stays unchanged. When a card with Rally gets revealed, you add the top card of the dynasty deck to that province, faceup. However, Rally cards do not count towards the minimum deck size of the dynasty deck (but still towards the maximum deck size). Effectively this means two things:

  • A player can include between 0 and 5 Rally cards in their dynasty deck
  • A player must still include 40 non-Rally cards in their dynasty deck

This creates another decision during deckbuilding, however one that is completely optional. When building a deck in the Emerald Legacy format on EmeraldDB, Rally cards will be highlighted and counted only against your maximum deck size.

Disguised

Disguised is a versatile and strong keyword. It acts as an unbow for one of your characters, includes a cost reduction for a high cost character and also can function as a move home after you’ve successfully forced your opponent to commit a defense or after you’ve attacked a province you would rather not break right now. 

To take away from that versatility and to make the keyword make more thematic sense, we decided to remove the opportunity to play the Disguised character at home when replacing a non-unique that is currently participating in a conflict. This means that a character has to be played into the conflict, when using the Disguised keyword to replace a character that is currently participating in that conflict.

Covert

Covert is a game warping and highly desirable ability. Being able to sneak past your opponent’s defenders has won many games over the last four years. This is especially true for Covert effects from the conflict deck, like Tattooed Wanderer or Hiruma Skirmisher. This can lead to situations where this keyword takes away all agency from the defending player.

In order to weaken the keyword a bit, only one defender can be evaded by Covert in each conflict, no matter how many attacking characters have the keyword. 

Limited

In order to play a card with the Limited keyword, a player must now bow their role card as an additional cost. This should help with keeping a better overview of the board state.

More Options in the Dynasty Phase

We decided to remove the restriction that attachments and characters cannot be played from hand during the dynasty phase. While removing an arbitrary line from the RRG, this also opens up more counterplay to cards like Way of the Crab.

Minor Timing Change when playing Event cards

When playing an Event card, the card now leaves the hand (or province) before costs are being paid. Previously this has happened after costs have been paid which made it possible for the event to be discarded as part of the cost, causing the event to fizzle.

Card Erratas

Two cards will receive errata in order to prevent infinite loops and undefined game states:

Shosuro Deceiver does not gain abilities from other Shosuro Deceivers anymore to prevent two copies of the card giving each other indefinite instances of any ability on a dishonored character.

Spell Scroll loses the “Item” trait to prevent an infinite loop that becomes possible when it is turned into a character by Togashi Hoshi’s ability.


Reasoning behind changes in Restricted and Ban lists

Weakening the Common Strategies

Throughout Clan War, it was apparent that there were a lot of cards that were easy to abuse when splashed, and were splashed frequently as a result.  With the addition of Under Fu Leng’s Shadow, these strategies became even more effective and were starting to become ubiquitous, making many decks play in a similar fashion by building up a character with a lot of attachments, and getting it into every conflict either via movement or stands.

Every clan started to feel like a similar deck, and there was a reduced flexibility in deck building as determining your splash meant simply identifying the stands that helped you the most.  To help combat this, and to try to increase variety in competitive splash options, 21 cards have had their influence removed.  This means that these cards are not on the Restricted or Banned list and may be freely included in decks in-clan, but they may not be included in a splash.  The full list is:

Crab
* Common Cause
* Fight on!
* Reprieve

Crane
* Festival for the Fortunes
* Noble Sacrifice
* Return the Offense

Lion
* Fan of Command
* Glorious Victory
* Heroic Resolve
* In Service to my Lord
* Renowned Singer
Dragon
* Indomitable Will
* Mirumoto’s Fury
* Soshi Ni Kie

Phoenix
* Against the Waves

Unicorn
* Daikyū
* Favored Mount
* Force of the River
* Gaijin Customs
* Scouted Terrain
* Steed of the Steppes
* Talisman of the Sun

Move silently and without a splash

Of the cards on the splash ban list, 11 of the 22 cards are stands.  Stands were put on the list to reduce the amount available to clans to what they have in-faction, instead of clans going out to track down a couple more using their splash.

Four of the cards are related to combos and were moved off the banned list as the primary way to abuse these cards was either out of clan, or in combination with cards that are on the splash ban list: Glorious Victory, Festival for the Fortunes, Force of the River, and Scouted Terrain.

Five of the cards are just too strong to be allowed out of clan, as they cheaply provide powerful tools that not every clans should have access to: saves (Reprieve), recursion (Renowned Singer), removal (Noble Sacrifice), bows (Mirumoto’s Fury), and province control (Talisman of the Sun).

Two of the cards are targeted at reducing the strength of Unicorn Splash, which has been becoming more and more ubiquitous, especially with the introduction of Daikyū.  In addition, decks have long used Favored Mount to abuse in-conflict action such as Duelist Training and Fan of Command.  The power of Unicorn splash has been reduced by adding these two cards to the splash ban list.

Building upon Foundations of Jade

After the success of Clan War, we decided to use the Jade Edict as the starting point for the Restricted and Banned lists.  The lists will be summarized first with the differences highlighted, and a complete list will be provided at the end.

Banned cardsRestricted cards
Neutral
* Accursed Summoning
* Audience Chamber
* Charge!
* City of the Rich Frog
* Enlightenment
* Gateway to Meido
* Lost Papers
* Lurking Affliction
* Oni Tyrant

* Policy Debate
* Proving Grounds
* Shameful Display
* The Imperial Palace
* Way of the Warrior

Crab
* Common Cause
* Karada District
* Rebuild

Crane
* Daidoji Netsu
* Daidoji Uji 2
* Festival for the Fortunes
* Guest of Honor
* Kakita Toshimoko
* Magistrate Station
* The Wealth of the Crane

Dragon
* Centered Breath
* Mirumoto Daishō
* Shoshi ni Kie

Lion
* Glorious Victory
* Ikoma Tsanuri 2

* Logistics
* Tactical Ingenuity

Phoenix
* Calling the Storm
* Consumed by Five Fires
* Dance of Chikushō-dō
* Display of Power
* Isawa Tadaka 1
* Jurōjin’s Curse
* Kanjo District
* Master of Gisei Toshi

Scorpion
* Cunning Magistrate
* Dispatch to Nowhere
* Duty

* Forged Edict
* Governor’s Spy
* Hidden Moon Dōjō

Unicorn
* Force of the River
* Scouted Terrain

* Spyglass
* Talisman of the Sun
Neutral
* Contested Countryside
* Imperial Storehouse
* Kami Unleashed

* Keeper Initiate
* Slovenly Scavenger

Crab
* Kaiu Envoy
* Kuni Laboratory
* Reprieve
* Way of the Crab

Dragon
* Adorned Temple
* Ki Alignment
* Mirumoto’s Fury
* Sacred Sanctuary
* Seal of the Dragon

Lion
* Called to War
* Chronicler of Conquests
* Exposed Courtyard
* Ikoma Tsanuri 2
* Master Tactician


Phoenix
* Embrace the Void
* Forgotten Library
* Sanpuku Seido
* Sanguine Mastery
* Secluded Shrine

Scorpion
* A Fate Worse than Death
* Alibi Artist
* Bayushi Shoju 2
* Dispatch to Nowhere
* Duty

* Mark of Shame
* Shadow Step
* Shadowed Village

Unicorn
* Khanbulak Benefactor
* Shinjo Yasamura
* Swift Magistrate
* Utaku Tetsuko















Leaving the Shadowlands Behind

Three more cards from Under Fu Leng’s Shadow have made their way to the banned list.

Testing quickly proved that Lurking Affliction is an extremely powerful effect.  For the cost of 0 fate, you get +2/+2 for a character that is extremely difficult to interact with, and does not put any limits on other stat increases that the character can receive.  The honor loss on declaration proved to be a non-existent deterrent, as it could be avoided via movement effects, or just gaining some additional honor.  As a result, Lurking Affliction quickly found its way into every deck, and the only way to counter it was to play your own copy.  Lurking Affliction has been banned.

Oni Tyrant is both an extremely strong and versatile card.  While not on the level of Accursed Summoning, the pure flexibility the card provided with minimal cost could be easily exploited in a lot of decks.  For being so flexible, strong, and easily exploitable in multiple ways, Oni Tyrant is banned.

Audience Chamber can be used to negate the innate cost of expensive characters: that you cannot afford to put too much fate on them.  A Turn 1 Audience Chamber allowed for buying 4 and 5 cost characters with enough fate to survive the entire game, and it was determined that a holding reading “Gain 1 Fate” had too large of an impact on the early turns of the game.  The best way to combat Audience Chamber was to run your own, but as a dynasty card the swings when it would show up for one player and not the other were too large.  As a result, Audience Chamber is banned.

Reducing some Neutral Options

Imperial Storehouse can be found in every deck, and provides consistent value.  In line with Keeper Initiate and The Imperial Palace, Imperial Storehouse has been restricted to open up space in decklists by removing a basically auto-include option.

Kami Unleashed can be abused in several decks, none more than Honor Lion in combination with Kitsu Spiritcaller to rapidly gain honor in a way that the opponent cannot interact with.  As a result, Kami Unleashed has been restricted to put a heavy price on including it in Honor Lion decks, as it now means you cannot include cards like Chronicler of Conquests, Exposed Courtyard, or Master Tactician.

Commanding the Lion

The Lion have a major shift happening with the new list. Tactical Ingenuity has been freed, and in its place, Ikoma Tsanuri 2 and Master Tactician have been added to the restricted list.  The rule change preventing multiple copies of an attachment from being played on the same character has reduced the ease at which Tactical Ingenuity could be exploited, and with the two best commanders on the restricted list, it felt like Tactical Ingenuity was in a spot where it can still be a powerful card, but not overly so.

Lowering Swings

Two cards have been placed on the Restricted List for how powerful they can be versus specific decks, almost guaranteeing a win on their own: Sanguine Mastery and Swift Magistrate.  Sanguine Mastery, at its extreme, is able to discard upwards of 4 attachments with a single card, and massively swings the Dragon matchup.  In addition, with the inclusion of Disarm (Through the Mists, 48), we felt like it was okay to put an Attachment Control card on the Restricted List.

Swift Magistrate can be an extremely difficult card to match up against.  Between it, Utaku Tetsuko, and Nimble Noyan, a Unicorn deck could build a deck that could counter any sort of defensive strategy their opponent could put up: Swift Magistrate counters decks that rely on using attachments, Utaku Tetsuko counters decks that rely on using events, and Nimble Noyan counters decks that rely on using bows.  It was decided that Unicorn players must choose to either easily counter attachments (using Swift Magistrate) or easily counter events (using Utaku Tetsuko), rather than being able to counter everything.

Opening up Scorpion options

Two Scorpion cards have been moved from the Banned List to the Restricted List.  Both Duty and Dispatch to Nowhere are comparable in power level to other cards on the Restricted List, and including them requires excluding powerful cards like Shadow Step, A Fate Worse than Death, or Mark of Shame.  In addition, with the loss of Noble Sacrifice to the Splash Banned list, a Scorpion deck can no longer use Dispatch to Nowhere to kill characters you buy with low fate, or Noble Sacrifice to kill characters you buy with high fate.

The Unicorn Ride Again

With the updates to Covert, as well as the addition of Ayubune Pilot (Through the Mists, 49), we felt that the opportunities to abuse Shinjo Yasamura were significantly reduced, and therefore he no longer needed to remain on the Restricted List.


Emerald Legacy Restricted/Banned List

Only one card from the Restricted list may be included in your deck list.

No cards from the Ban list may be included in your deck list.

No cards from the Splash Ban list may be included in your deck list as part of a splash.

Splash Banned cardsBanned cardsRestricted cards
Crab
* Common Cause
* Fight On!
* Reprieve

Crane
* Festival for the Fortunes
* Noble Sacrifice
* Return the Offense

Dragon
* Indomitable Will
* Mirumoto’s Fury
* Soshi Ni Kie

Lion
* Glorious Victory
* Fan of Command
* Heroic Resolve
* In Service to my Lord
* Renowned Singer

Phoenix
* Against the Waves

Unicorn
* Daikyū
* Favored Mount
* Force of the River
* Gaijin Customs
* Scouted Terrain
* Steed of the Steppes
* Talisman of the Sun



















Neutral
* Accursed Summoning
* Audience Chamber
* Charge!
* City of the Rich Frog
* Gateway to Meido
* Lost Papers
* Lurking Affliction
* Oni Tyrant
* Policy Debate
* Proving Grounds
* Shameful Display
* The Imperial Palace
* Way of the Warrior

Crab
* Karada District
* Rebuild

Crane
* Daidoji Netsu
* Daidoji Uji 2
* Guest of Honor
* Kakita Toshimoko
* Magistrate Station
* The Wealth of the Crane

Dragon
* Centered Breath
* Mirumoto Daishō

Lion
* Logistics

Phoenix
* Calling the Storm
* Consumed by Five Fires
* Dance of Chikushō-dō
* Display of Power
* Isawa Tadaka 1
* Jurōjin’s Curse
* Kanjo District
* Master of Gisei Toshi

Scorpion
* Cunning Magistrate
* Forged Edict
* Governor’s Spy
* Hidden Moon Dōjō

Unicorn
* Spyglass
Neutral
* Contested Countryside
* Imperial Storehouse
* Kami Unleashed
* Keeper Initiate
* Slovenly Scavenger

Crab
* Kaiu Envoy
* Kuni Laboratory
* Way of the Crab

Dragon
* Adorned Temple
* Ki Alignment
* Sacred Sanctuary

Lion
* Called to War
* Chronicler of Conquests
* Exposed Courtyard
* Ikoma Tsanuri 2
* Master Tactician

Phoenix
* Forgotten Library
* Sanpuku Seido
* Sanguine Mastery

Scorpion
* A Fate Worse than Death
* Alibi Artist
* Bayushi Shoju 2
* Dispatch to Nowhere
* Duty
* Mark of Shame
* Shadow Step
* Shadowed Village

Unicorn
* Khanbulak Benefactor
* Swift Magistrate
* Utaku Tetsuko









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