The Legend of the Five Rings Living Card Game (L5R LCG) had its first premium expansion recently with Children of the Empire. The samurai-esque card game up until now had only had smaller Dynasty packs, containing 60 cards each. The Clan packs, which focused on a particular clan, but still had cards for all, had 78 cards. Children of the Empire has 234 cards and isn't focused on any particular clan.
We've been covering the L5R LCG from the start and all of our coverage of all the L5R LCG products can be read here:
- Legend of the Five Rings LCG Core Set
- Legend of the Five Rings LCG Imperial Cycle Dynasty Packs
- Legend of the Five Rings LCG Disciples of the Void (Phoenix Clan Pack)
- Legend of the Five Rings LCG Elemental Cycle Dynasty Packs
- Legend of the Five Rings LCG Underhand of the Emperor (Scorpion Clan Pack)
It is worth noting that Children of the Empire isn't a killer release in terms of card content. It isn't packed full of meta changing cards or a huge number of auto-incudes for each clan. Instead, it's designed to bring in a couple of new rules and support those for each clan, along with allowing future packs to build into them. In Children of the Empire, Dueling is streamlined and every clan has cards that focus on that, along with introducing a new Keyword, Composure.
As with our other L5R LCG articles, we're going to look at some of our favourite cards from the pack. They might not necessarily be the best cards, they're just our favorite either mechanically, or thematically.
Every clan in Children of the Empire was gifted with a 4 cost character and the Emperor himself also makes an appearance. Most of them are decent, but some are incredible.
The Emperor, as expected, is an oustanding character and very thematically tied in to having the Imperial Favour. There are already discussions about deck builds, purely to make the most of his ability. Hantei XXXVIII, as would be expected of the leader of the nation, has incredible control abilities that effectively let you nullify a character in a conflict as well as control the target of abilities in play. He has a huge 6 cost though, and keeping him in play will make him costly, but once there, with 6 glory, keeping the Imperial Favour should be straight-forward.
Utaku Kamoko and Mirumoto Hitomi both stand out as incredible cards. Kamoko is a solid 3/3 character that doesn't care about being dishonored and she gets to punish your opponents for breaking one of your provinces, letting you discard a card to bring her back into the game honored. Hitomi is going to be an auto-include for most Dragon decks. She allows you to duel up to two of your opponent's characters (your choice) and the loser of the duels bows or is dishonored. She's very easy to set up in your favor and can really punish your enemy for bringing in low strength units into a conflict.
It's pleasing to see Shosuro Hametsu with the Shinobi trait. It looks like we're building towards a legitimate Shinobi deck, but we're not quite there yet. He's costly and his ability isn't very impactful right now. It will be interesting to see if we see more cards that help build this as a deck type.
Outside of the big cost characters, our favorite cards from each clan are:
- Smuggling Deal (Crab) - A zero cost card that lets you use an ability again if you give 1 honor to your opponent. Thematic and useful.
- Kakita Dojo (Crane) - A very thematic card building into the Duelist theme, especially with the Crane. Exciting to see what might come out of the new Crane set and if this card really builds into it.
- Mirumoto Dojo (Dragon) - Another great thematic duelist card. This one allows you to shorten the game life of a card in play. It's great to see both the Crane and Dragon, both with different dueling styles build into the theme.
- Hand to Hand (Lion) - This card is being compared a lot to the Dragon card, Let Go, which discards an attachment in play. Hand to Hand lets an opponent remove one of yours as well, but it's important for the game as a lot of Lion decks were adding Dragon cards in order to have access to Let Go. Either planned or in response to the meta, FFG have given Lion their own version, which is great to see for the future of the game.
- Unmatched Expertise (Phoenix) - The 'role only' cards are interesting, more so at the Organised Play level as it can restrict the cards available to tournament decks, as decided by the winners of events. Unmatched Expertise is a great zero cost +1/+1 that stops your character becoming Dishonored. We like it more thematically that after this character is beaten in a conflict, the card is discarded.
- Infiltrator's Tools (Scorpion) - Everyone knows how keen I am to get a Shinobi deck going, and this just builds more into it. Zero cost for Covert, which lets you pick a character your opponent can't defend with. Things are looking good for the future of the Shinobi.
- Shinjo Ambusher (Unicorn) - We will see the Ambusher a lot in play. It's very reasonably costed and stopping Province Effects can be very impactful in-game.
- Akodo Toturi (Neutral) - His ability is interesting, but risky as it affects the card playing ability of both you and your opponent. But as it's more interesting to see the story development in-cards, with this Imperial Neutral version of the Lion Champion.
As Dueling is a big theme across Children of the Empire, every clan also gets a different Challenger card that focuses on Dueling. Most of the Challengers aren't great, some are average and the Honest Challenger (Unicorn Clan) is clearly the best of them. Honest Challenger is also interesting because you can aim to win, in order to bring in more units to a conflict, or lose, in order to force your opponent to bring in more units to a conflict.
There is a new Keyword, Composure in Children of the Empire. Composure grants the ability on the card if the bid on your honor dial is ever lower than your opponents. This means that it's constantly checked during play as it can change, either during dueling, or honor bids at the start of the turn. Some decks can really play into this and it's a great new effect that adds an interesting dynamic to the game.
Social Puppeteer allows you to switch dials during a conflict, which opens up some new possibilities and combinations that will be interesting to explore.
The card art, as always with Fantasy Flight Games' Legend of the Five Rings products, is sterling throughout Children of the Empire. Our favorite art is from Stay Your Hand and Severed From the Stream. Both have a lot of depth and motion to them.
We also like The Fires of Justice and Kujira's Hireling card art being carried in the set, and also because Kujira's card was designed by the 2017 World Champion. It's great to see the community involvement and we hop that FFG continue this as the L5R LCG develops.
This copy of Children of the Empire was provided by Asmodee UK.
Which clan are you playing most in the L5R LCG? What are your favorite cards in this set? Which is your favorite art card in this set? Let us know in the comments below.