From the Sensei: Lion Strategy for The New Order

by Bryan Reese

While you likely know me now as the Lead Designer for the L5R CCG, I was once an accomplished player in my own right, and when I see The New Order, a few things immediately start standing out to me for Lion.


When looking at the set alphabetically on, the very first card is A Desperate Struggle, which immediately makes me think of Lion. With A Desperate Struggle, Lion now has access to nine cards which send a defender home, and with A Desperate Struggle, it cannot even be stopped with cards like Ring of Earth. I think there is a fast tempo-based deck here for the Lion to exploit, so that is where I am going to go with this article. I think this may work best in Strict, so I am going to build this deck for Strict. Let’s start with the decklist.


# Pre-Game (2)

# Stronghold (1)
1 The Honorable Garrison of the Lion

# Sensei (1)
1 Satoru Sensei

# Dynasty (40)

# Event (6)
3 Glimpse of the Unicorn
3 The Blessing

# Holding (15)
3 Copper Mine
3 Lane of Immorality
3 Rich Vein
3 The Toil of Zokujin
3 Voice of Experience

# Personality (19)
3 Akodo Kenaro
3 Ikoma Akinari
3 Ikoma Shika
1 Ikoma Yoshimoko
3 Kitsu Suzaki
3 Matsu Rishou
3 Matsu Tayuko

# Fate (40)

# Follower (6)
3 Medium Infantry
3 Zlkyt’s Family

# Item (6)
3 Kaiu Axe
3 Reinforced Parangu

# Strategy (28)
3 A Desperate Struggle
3 Destiny Has No Secrets
2 Drawing First Blood
3 Incapacitated
3 Inspired Devotion
2 Okura Is Released
3 Serenity
3 Sneak Attack
3 Soul’s Sacrifice
3 Springing the Ambush


With a blitz deck, we are going to be going for tempo and the most efficient resources possible. Now, one resource we will have a bit more of than other players are Dynasty flips, as we will only be purchasing a couple guys each turn for most of the game. So immediately you see in the Events section the deck plays a lot of Events. The Blessing gives you free gold, Glimpse of the Unicorn gives you free cards. Both of these you are going to need as much as you can get your hands on and six Events should be about the right number where you can most efficiently use your Dynasty flips, but not clog your draws with too many one a single turn. Fiddle around with this a bit, you may find the right number to be five or seven, though I think four will be too few.


Moving on to the Holdings, you will see we again are going for efficiency. Voice of Experience and Rich Vein are 3for3s, so they are solid turn one purchases, though a combination of Copper Mine plus Toil of Zokujin and/or Lane of Immorality is better. Your 3for3s give you the gold you want and have extra abilities that are great for you. Voice of Experience will boost Kenaro’s Tactician, giving you extra force for free. It is also Kharmic, which may be relevant late game. Rich Vein lets you dig for an extra Mine. Now, this may get you an extra purchase on that turn, which would be fantastic. More likely though, it will dig for a Mine that you can then discard, improving your following turn. Again, efficiency is key here in every corner. Looking at the rest of the Holdings, Copper Mine is a no-brainer that should require no explanation. Toil of Zokujin is in here for a couple of reasons. First it is efficient (noticing a pattern yet? :) ), producing two gold for Mines and your Weapons, which effectively takes the cost of your Copper Mines and two force Weapons to one gold. Second, it is a mine, increasing the number of targets for Rich Vein to eight (nines Mines minus the one currently resolving). The last Holding which may give you some pause is Lane of Immorality. You wouldn’t think this is a good addition for Lion, but it works well in this deck because you are free to use your honor as a resource. Your goal is not to have the highest Family Honor, you just want to have enough Family Honor to meet your Honor Requirements, which should not be an issue thanks to your frequent Proclaims of 3 Honor. Buying a second Lane of Immorality could cause so problems though, so you may want to be careful on that front.


Looking at the Personalities, we have a rather standard line-up. As you would expect, we went with the cheapest, most efficient force possible, making sure to keep a good number of Personalities with three Personal Honor and with Scout, as both of those will be important to the Fate deck. A couple Personalities that may stand out are Ikoma Akinari and Kitsu Suzaki. Akinari is a finisher. You will discard him early unless desperate, and then in a key battle, bring him in, preferably through Satoru Sensei, to get all three copies out of one Province. Remember that we need to maximize every resource we can, and three bodies from one Province is huge. The second addition that may give you pause is Kitsu Suzaki, but if you look at her, she is fantastic. Three gold for a 2F/2C/3PH Samurai is ok, gaining one honor in the process helps, but the real kicker is she is an Open action, meaning you get to attack with that body a turn early. That is simply fantastic, and she should be a key Personality for this deck and keeping up the amount of pressure that will be required.


Moving on to the Fate deck, we have 12 attachments; nine of them have two force and three of them have three force, and all are picked for their efficiency. Medium Infantry are simply the best bang you will get for your three gold. Zlykt’s Family have a fantastic fear that can neutralize and entire unit, especially when combined with Okura is Released. Kaiu Axe and Reinforced Parangu are two gold Weapons, so they can be purchased with The Toil of Zokujin, effectively making them one gold with handy abilities.


For Strategies, we are focused on two things and two things only: gaining force and removing presence. We do not wish to bow or force reduce to win a battle at resolution, we want to remove their presence and take their Province, and everything is set up to do this, which brings us back around to where we began, with A Desperate Struggle. Combined with Incapacitated and Soul’s Sacrifice, we have nine cards which send a defender home. Two copies of Drawing First Blood can help send home more defenders, though these will likely need to be combined with Akodo Kenaro and/or Destiny Has No Secrets. You can always fall back on these having four Focus Value for Tactician. Three copies of Serenity should also help remove units, as well as the Okura Is Released. These two combine with Springing the Ambush to hit bigger targets. It should be noted that Springing the Ambush works because of the Scout kicker, effectively giving +2 strength to the Ranged Attack and Fear. Add in Sneak Attacks for tempo and Inspired Leadership and Destiny Has No Secrets for force and you get a Lion deck that hits fast and hits hard. Always keep the pressure up and do not let your opponent stabilize, because if they do, they will probably win.


Our goal for playing this deck should be, in my opinion, to buy gold on turn one, buy a guy plus more gold on turn two which will continue developing your economy, attack on turn three for a single Province, and then attack all out after that, hopefully getting the last three Provinces by your turn five. You will want and need to be quick, because this deck does not have a long term game plan.


So that does it for the deck. Should be fast and a lot of fun, knocking your opponent to the ground before they ever get a chance to get stable. If you want to tweak the deck some, here are some other options in The New Order that could also work well in the deck.


Other cards from The New Order to consider


  • Contemplative Shrine – Now this may seem like an odd call, but you are all about speed and efficiency with this deck. If you can play a 3for3 Holding that you can discard a card to straighten, you do, plain and simple. In a blitz deck you would usually rather discard a card for a three gold Follower than pay for it. With Contemplative Shrine though, you specifically have to discard a Kiho or Spell, which are not good cards for you, but still worth considering due to the power of this effect. High Focus Value Kihos and Spells can always be used for Tactician or any other keywords they might have, such as Kharmic and Courage.


  • Ongoing Division – While this card does not have any abilities, it does replace itself when you discard it during battle, such as to Tactician. In my opinion, three Akodo Kenaro is not enough to play this card on its own, but it is close. If you find a couple more ways to efficiently discard cards during battle, then you should do so.


  • Scouting Amid the Snow – While ultimately this deck wound up with no Terrains in it, Terrains could be a solid addition, and if you are playing Terrains and Scouts, you should probably be playing Scouting Amid the Snow. It allows you to toolbox Terrains and get important Terrains when you need them. I could easily see making room for three Scouting Amid the Snow, three Contentious Terrains, one Unexpected Attack, and one of another Terrain.


  • Unexpected Attack – Simply a fantastic Terrain, and a great one of if you are playing Scouting Amid the Snow. There are a host of Terrains out there that you will want an answer to and this answers those Terrains while drawing you a card.