Forums News and Information Industry News Gates of Chaos Focus: Draft Environment


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    by Chris Medico

    Hello everyone.

    My name is Chris Medico and I am the Team Lead for the main Draft Playtest Team. Bryan brought my group on board starting with Gates of Chaos to view the sets from a limited format perspective and help shape how the format would play out. From speaking with other players, one of the biggest barriers to drafting L5R is a general lack of knowledge of how it differs from regular constructed.
    With this article series we will hopefully be able to spread some of the knowledge gained while developing the set to make the pre-release experience richer. If you need a refresher on the rules for the Emperor Edition Draft format, they can be found on the L5R Rules Wiki:

    When viewing a set through the lens of draft there are a couple main points to think about before the packs are even opened:

    • What are the mechanics and themes of the set?
    • How do I stop an early attack?
    • What are the strongest common and uncommon cards, and how do I take advantage of them?

    With these ideas in mind, let’s take a look at some of the new cards from Gates of Chaos.


    Investing for the Future

    Invest is a new mechanic that allows you to pay additional gold when a card enters play for an added benefit. This is primarily used to increase the card’s force, but there are also a few other benefits like gaining a point of honor (Kitsune Yuko) or seeing an extra dynasty flip (Ikoma Jeiku). These personalities help give your dynasty deck a variety of gold costs and make those cards shine during all stages of the game. One important thing to remember is that the Invest cost is separate from the Gold cost of the personality, so you pay for the two of them individually and not as one lump payment.

    Gates of Chaos also introduces a new keyword to the game: Destined. It allows you to draw a card when you bring a card with it into play. Along with Expendable (which returns from its first appearance in Coils of Madness), Destined helps dig through your fate deck while still developing your dynasty purchases. Both of these abilities also combo well with Hoshoku-Sha, who can take advantage of the deck recycling feature of Draft to give you an extra card every turn cycle. Cheap personalities like Mirumoto Bojan are ideal for this tactic and can give you a leg up in the late game.

    Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

    It has always been easy in Emperor Edition draft to go for an early province thanks to the force bonus ability on The Governor’s Estate, the dedicated Draft Stronghold. While this tactic can be pretty risky, games can quickly turn into blowouts if you do not have a way to punish your enemy for their attempts at blitz. Gates of Chaos has two answers to this in the form of Honor Replaces Rage and Tactical Setback. Both of these common Strategies allow you to reduce your opponent’s Personalities’ force while not having to expose a valuable personality defending. Anyone thinking of trying blitz tactics should be aware of these cards, especially if they passed them during the draft.


    Building a Better Army

    A significant portion of each player’s draft deck will normally be made up of Common and Uncommon cards. Rares can definitely swing games, but the lower rarity backbone of your 40 cards will play the biggest role in how your deck will perform. One of the our main goals is to make sure each clan is a viable option in draft, and that starts with the personalities that fill the Common and Uncommon slots of the set. You will also notice that some Unique personalities are included as Uncommons in Gates of Chaos and not solely at Rare. Be wary of taking them too early since you cannot play multiple copies in your deck and there is a good chance that they will be available in later packs.

    Thanks to the restricted card pool of a limited format such as draft, there are not that many ways aside from the Imperial Favor to remove a unit from combat. This turns Personalities like Shiba Tsurao into virtual tanks that are hard for your opponent to deal with in a profitable manner. The combination of a flexible battle action, good force, and Expendable make him ideal for both attack and defense. Similarly, commons like Yogo Nobukai make it tough on your opponent when you get into an opposed battle, especially in multiples.

    Another subtle deck choice that can fall under the radar is the use of Holdings. Despite the fact that Governor’s Estate allows you to avoid playing them, it is often a better choice to take advantage of some of the ones already in the set. Obviously, Rare Holdings such as Productive Mine and Slave Pits are very powerful, but do not underestimate the strength of Fudoist Temple. Since all of the face-down holdings created by your Stronghold only make 2 gold, having a holding that can provide gold for something with an odd gold cost can give you a jump on production.


    Protecting Yourself from Giant Monsters

    Aside from Personalities, attachments usually are the next largest influence on the speed and resilience of your draft deck. There are a good number of solid attachments with actions in Gates of Chaos, like Spitting Llama, The Bestial Ones, and Steal the Candle’s Flames. However, the biggest threat by far is Spawn of Vritra, which can take over a game if you do not have any way to deal with a follower. Beyond pure power level, there are also many utility attachments like Yodotai Legionnaire to give free protection to your personalities.

    One of the more dominating Strategies available that can also help cover your personalities from the Spawn is A New Perspective. Aside from being a large force swing, it also boosts the power level of other strong cards like Outnumbered. It pays to think ahead before engaging with another army when your opponent has two gold available, just to protect against a potential New Perspective. Other big force swings include Chaos of Battle and Defensive Formation, both of which are common and can be played in a variety of decks.

    A final strategic area to consider is the use of terrains. Now that all terrains destroy one for free when you play it, their power level goes up significantly in draft. Even if the terrain itself might not have too much value in the short term, being able to blow up an opponent’s terrain can sometimes be worth it even without the added benefit. That being said, Lakeside Retreat and The Eternal Rainbows can both win a battle if played at the right time.


    Destined for Success

    Thank you for joining me for this brief overview of the Gates of Chaos draft format. Feel free to comment on the forum and let us know how your release event went. Was there a clan pairing that seemed to work particularly well? How many times did you feed a delicious Expendable personality to a crocodile? Join me next set when we start the ramp up for Ivory Edition.

    The post Gates of Chaos Focus: Draft Environment appeared first on Alderac Entertainment Group.

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