Tears Of Amaterasu
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The State of Rokugan
The Scorpion Clan makes moves in the shadows, and though they are trusted advisors of the Emperor, their agents influence events in the cover of darkness. Smoke and Mirrors (Tears of Amaterasu, 18) allows you to choose any number of attacking Shinobi characters you control and move each of them home. A trick akin to those favored by the Unicorn, Smoke and Mirrors can allow you to feint an attack your opponent feels forced to defend. When your characters return home, they remain unbowed while your opponent’s defending characters are forced to bow once the feint has been resolved, weakening their defenses and allowing you to make a powerful counter-attack.
The Crab, meanwhile, continue to ask for assistance in defending the Emerald Empire from threats beyond the Kaiu Wall. Karada District (Tears of Amaterasu, 4) is a holding limited to just one copy per deck, and allows the Crab to use their enemy's tools against them. As an action, you may give your opponent one fate to move an attachment on a character that player controls to one of your own characters. If you have no eligible characters, that attachment is discarded. This can provide a massive swing in skill if your opponent pays for something like a Crane’s Height of Fashion (Core Set, 143). And as a holding, Karada District also fuels cards like the Shrewd Yasuki (Core Set, 29), allowing the Crab to unlock more of their powerful, holding-dependent abilities.
Though the Dragon Clan have won the Emperor’s Favor at the upcoming Winter Court, they still focus on the mysterious visions of their champion, Togashi Yokuni (Core Set, 65). Kitsuki Yaruma (Tears of Amaterasu, 6) represents the Dragon as a new unique character. With two military skill and four political skill, Yaruma is already a force to be reckoned with during conflicts. He also has Courtesy, allowing you to gain a fate when he leaves play. He is also immune to Poison attachments, meaning Fiery Madness (Core Set, 183) is ineffective against him. His most unique ability allows him to turn an unbroken province facedown once he enters play. This can fuel cards like Mirumoto's Fury (Core Set, 159) or allow you to resolve the “when revealed” ability of a province a second time. Kitsuki Yaruma is a versatile character, and represents the balance so often found in the Dragon Clan.
At the center of the events of the Kiku Matsuri was Isawa Kaede (Tears of Amaterasu, 9), a Phoenix Shugenja who had a vision of the Unicorn’s Meishōdō magic threatening the entire Empire. Kaede is one of the most powerful characters in the game at five-cost with three military and four political skill. As a void practitioner, Kaede is immune to opponent’s ring effects, meaning she cannot be targeted by the dishonor of the Fire ring or the bowing effect of the Water ring. Furthermore, whenever she is attacking, the contested ring gains the Void element, meaning that if she wins the conflict as an attacker, you may resolve the Void effect in addition to the normal ring effect. Isawa Kaede is a heavy fate investment, but any opponent is sure to fear her deadly abilities.
The Imperial Cycle also features a full offering of Magistrate cards that null out certain characters’ skill in conflicts. The first of these is the Swift Magistrate (Tears of Amaterasu, 10), representing the Unicorn Clan. At three-cost with two military and political skill, the magistrate brings balance to the often martial clan. Furthermore, while the magistrate is attacking, each other character that has one or more fate on them does not count its skill towards the resolution of the conflict. This severely limits your opponent’s choice of defenders when the Swift Magistrate enters either type of conflict.
Know Your Role
The Imperial Cycle will place further emphasis on the role chosen for each clan during official tournament play. Each of the seven great clans will receive a Keeper role only card and a Seeker role only card. The first of these comes in Tears of Amaterasu for the Lion and Crane Clan.
The haughty Crane, currently serving the role of Keeper of Water, get their first role-specific tool in Disdainful Remark (Tears of Amaterasu, 13). The one-cost event can only be used if you control a participating Courtier character during a conflict, and gives the attacked province +X strength, where X is equal to the number of cards in your opponent’s hand. If your opponent has been stockpiling conflict cards with high honor bids, a Disdainful Remark can ensure your provinces remain unbroken during all out attacks, but only if you are using a Keeper role.
Meanwhile, the mighty Keepers of Earth, the Lion receive Time for War (Tears of Amaterasu, 15). The Seeker-only event allows you to choose a Bushi character you control after you lose a political conflict. You may then put a weapon attachment with printed cost three or lower into play from your hand or conflict discard pile attached to that character. Like the Vengeful Oathkeeper (Core Set, 160), Time for War allows for an advantage after losing a conflict, ensuring the Lion can effectively counterattack after a loss. Though the Lion cannot currently play Time for War in Organized Play events, roles will be reselected again during Winter Court this November, giving the Lion an opportunity to add Time for War into their repertoire. If they do not, another Clan might seize the opportunity to ready themselves for the battles to come.
Tears of Amaterasu also adds two neutral Seeker and Keeper cards to Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game in the form of new provinces.
As the Legend of the Five Rings continues, the Clans of Rokugan continue to build their forces and develop their plots. Dark forces are gathering both in and outside of Rokugan, and it will take tremendous inner strength and honor for the samurai of the Emerald Empire to prevail over their foes.