Apr 19

Legend of the Five Rings – Coils of Madness and the Approach of Ivory Edition

Coils-of-Madness-HeaderThose involved in the Legend of the Five Rings card game likely already know about the Coils of Madness set (available from May 13th) and that it means the end of Emperor Edition is in sight. For anyone less familiar or who, like myself, haven’t kept up with Emperor Edition as much as we would have liked, this is the perfect time to get involved again or to start L5R for the first time and I’d like to explain why.

Coils of Madness is the first ‘dual bugged’ set (cards are marked with a bug/symbol to show which edition they’re legal for). This means that most of the cards will be legal for both Emperor and Ivory Editions, so if you want access to the full card pool for Ivory it’s best to start now while boosters are plentiful and while prices for rare singles are still being worked out as people try to work out what’s going to big in Ivory Edition. There are some cards in the dual bugged sets that are traditionally single bugged (such as strongholds, to keep the clans on similar footing at the start of a new arc/edition) so not every single card in Coils will be Ivory-legal but the vast majority of them should be. As they’ll all be Emperor Edition legal as well, it means that if you pick up some cards now and find people playing Emperor it isn’t going to cause any legality issues in pick up games or more organized play (Though Coils isn’t tournament legal until June 12th).

One really nice thing in Emperor Edition was the Gempukku sets – starter boxes that contained all of the themes of a particular clan and boosters that contained 6 rares from the arc. Having bought the Dragon Clan Gempukku starter (and awaiting a Mantis one as well), I can only sing praises of it. It comes in a sturdy, compact box with beautiful artwork as well as having two Gempukku booster packs (12 random rare cards from the arc) and 224 fixed cards that give a great view into the different themes of the clan, five different strongholds as well as a rulebook and suggested deck to try (which can help a lot if you have someone else get one to make a deck to learn with and then adapt it to fit your own play-style or to cover weaknesses you find through playing it). Between a Gempukku starter and the Coils of Madness set, you’ll have a good starting point on the way towards Ivory Edition and you’ll be able to find out a lot about how you like to play and the sort of decks you might look at during Ivory.

Coils of Madness is also going to be the first set with cards that have been greatly simplified. A lot of the complex, grammar dependent rules which could change costs, required costs, timings and so forth will be cut down massively. You can find the full explanation from Bryan Reese here (http://www.l5r.com/2013/04/14/ivory-edition-design-diaries-coils-of-madness/) but it can be summed up as this: Cards are going to be a lot simpler to read, the amount of text on cards is going to be reduced and exactly when and where cards can be played from is going to be a lot simpler.

If you play from now until Ivory Edition starts, then it means you only need to worry about current Reactions and timings for a little while (though if it’s a friendly pick-up game, opponents might be happy to play as if Reaction was replaced by Engage/Interrupt) and you’re more likely to be finding something that you enjoy playing during that time rather than worrying about the minute details of timings that only make a difference in a tiny number of situations.

If you want to find out more, www.l5r.com is the home of Legend of the Five Rings.

For card previews for Coils of Madness, the product page is here  (For anyone skipping straight to looking at the cards, the symbol on Foothold of the Mad means Bow (turn the card 90 degrees clockwise, like Tap in Magic and Exhaust in WoW), the other cost symbol that may feature in an action is a circle with a number in the middle and is the amount of gold/koku that needs to be paid.) and there will also be previews on the L5R Facebook page and the various Clan forums in the run up to the release.

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