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    by Andrew Ornatov

    “I have this really cool deck, but it just folds to Kalani’s Landing.”

    A phrase heard many-a-time during playtest nights.

    With the most recent ban list, those decks can breathe a bit easier. Not only did Kalani’s Landing get banned, but also several other powerful cards have been removed from EE tournament play, leaving room for new and innovative decks to shine. Spider, in particular, benefits from the bans in more than one way.

    Throughout the EE arc, Spider has struggled with fielding a tournament-winning deck. The combination of going second most of the time, the presence of such powerhouses as Kalani’s Landing, Lizard Wizards (Phoenix with Quelsa and other Naga), and several blitz decks left Spider half-a-turn behind in most games. Out of the 5 available Spider strongholds – The Shadow’s Lair and Steel Soul Dojo have been able to field reasonably successful decks, with the other 3 strongholds taking a back seat.

    The Shadow’s Lair shone as Spider’s most versatile stronghold, with several powerful military decks, an enlightenment deck, and some wacky honor decks popping up that ran out of that stronghold. By far the most successful of those was the Ninja military deck that relied on building a unit or two made up of a ninja and a weapon, and using various ninja tricks to take unopposed provinces. The combination of unopposed movement, a powerful stronghold ability, and province-breaking units made the deck fairly powerful, but it did have its downsides. The standard predators of that deck were Kalani’s Landing, blitz decks that were resistant to stronghold ability, and decks that could unit-kill the ninjas outside of battle.

    With the most recent ban list – Kalani’s Landing is gone. Lizard Wizards lost their star player and their star removal card, and any deck that ran the Theological Indecision + Frozen in Place can’t Action-Phase-kill ninjas anymore. The Ninjas are safe, the Ninjas’ weapons are safe, and large units powered by Quelsa’s economy boost are no longer possible. The other bans – while definitely helpful – don’t address decks that Ninjas normally had a problem with. What they do is open up the field to other decks, decks that Ninjas can prey on.

    Whenever an environment slows down, and star-decks get taken down a notch, a field of wacky, off-the-wall decks appears out of the woodwork. A deck with a solid stronghold, with solid personalities, and an arc-worth of proven deck builds behind it does great in a field of newly-built, and potentially unproven, decks. There will be Lion and Unicorn swarm decks – Ninjas do well against those. Dishonor decks out of Scorpion and Crab thrive in slower environments – and Ninjas do well against those. A couple of Enlightenment decks will pop up here and there – and The Shadow’s Lair is as close to an auto-win against Enlightenment as one can get.

    Overall, Spider got quite a boost in these bans – not only because the decks that Spider have historically been weak against were taken down a notch, but because other decks that Spider does well against are now contenders in the EE tournament scene.

    If you’re interested in seeing a successful Ninja build, visit the following thread on the Spider forums – there’s quite a bit of healthy discussion over the evolution of the deck:

    My take on a ninja deck is below. I don’t believe there’s anything note worthy for the build below that has come out of Gates of Chaos, other than enabling more swarm decks, which strengthens the build against the field. I’ve opted for a more battle action oriented build, since I believe that the post-ban, GoC environment will be full of mid-range military decks, such as Lion and Unicorn. The deck offers board control with Shinobi Assault, the ability to come back from losing a couple of provinces with Retribution, and has good resilience to swarm due to a large number of ranged attacks. Unopposed movement from Help from the Shadows and A Brave New World allow for an easier game against honor/dishonor and control, and the Stronghold ability tricks are one of the strongest in the environment.

    Overall, I think that Spider is poised to perform very well for the remainder of the EE arc, and I look forward to reading some reports from Spider tournament winners.

    The Shadow’s Lair
    Border Keep, xp
    Bamboo Harvesters, xp

    1x Jurojin’s Guidance

    1x Imperial Gift
    1x Harsh Choices

    3x Low Market

    3x Platinum Mine
    3x Prosperous Village
    3x Colonial Farm
    3x Small Farm

    1x Takasho
    1x Fukuzo
    2x Ninume Hajime
    3x Ninube Onchi
    3x Ninube Shiho
    3x Goju Sawaki
    3x Goju Kobashi
    3x Ninube Tsukau
    3x Yamazaki

    1x Renyu’s Wrath
    3x Wyrmbone Katana
    3x Tsuruchi Daikyu
    3x Sankaku Yari

    1x Creating Order
    1x Closing the Gap
    1x A Game of Dice
    1x Serenity in Air
    2x Ninja Tricks
    3x Power of the Night
    3x Heart of Darkness
    3x Siege Volley
    3x Sundering Strike
    3x Shinobi Assault
    3x Retribution
    3x Help from the Shadows
    3x A Brave New World

    Andrew Ornatov resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife – Marike – and their 3 cats – Nom, Kitten, and Bucket. He’s the 2005 Unites States National Champion, the 2009 World Champion, has won multiple Koteis and Sword Tournaments, and raised over $40,000 for charity through L5R.

    The post Gates of Chaos Environmental Analysis: Spider appeared first on Alderac Entertainment Group.

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