With the final Gencon of Celestial upon us, it’s time for Scorpion to win another one. In this article we’ll discuss the options available to Scorpion Dishonour, including a decklist that highlights one of the styles available to the decktype.
Core Elements of the Deck
Before looking at the options available, let’s look at the cards that will generally be an auto-include in the deck.
Shosuro Jimen- Big Papa J isn’t even a choice- if you plan on making your opponent lose honour, then The Emerald Champion is the man for the job.
Bayushi Hisoka- The Chancellor is almost as awesome as Jimen, and as above, if you plan on causing an honour loss at some point in a game, in he goes.
Yogo Kazanori- The most conditional of our Honour loss Uniques, Kazanori is still awesome. Being immune to PK is a very nice bonus.
Shosuro Makiko- The newest addition to the party, Makiko is seriously undercosted, and you’re never sorry to see her.
Bayushi Jutsushi- Our answer to military decks, Jutsushi is scary enough he can make your opponent reconsider ever attacking. Being a Magistrate on top is just icing.
Traveling Peddler- Drawing cards wins games. You play 2.
Counting House- You will often let your opponent take a Province, just so you can draw cards with this.
Stolen Merchandise- Your opponent will play Traveling Peddler, so copying that means you can have 2!
The Seekers Temple/Wisdom Gained- They get Ring of Void. Ring of Void wins games.
Accidental Confession- An absolutely ridiculous card, it flat out wins games against Big Unit decks, helps win games against every other Military and turns anyone upside down in non-Military games.
Destructive Priorities- The question is whether you play 2 or play 3.
Favors- The ability to just put 2 Honour loss straight into a player is amazing.
Only Actions Speak- Not only great at shutting down Oyo Seidos and honour decks, combo-ing it with Deceit and Subterfuge makes dropping Void a breeze.
Deceit and Subterfuge- 1 honour doesn’t seem like much, but every point counts, and drawing a card is great.
Pull the String- 3 is a lot of honour, and not requiring any Personalities means this is often the last card used to drop Void, since they can’t bow out your guys to stop it.
Veiled Menace- Unlike Pull it requires an unbow Courtier and defaults to 2, but in return it’s an Open action, which is a Big Deal. The extra 1 is nice if you want to Ambush bomb, or just to make attacking a less appealing prospect.
Taxing the Scum- Incredible in the early game, when HR still matters, even later on when they have spare gold or are ignoring HR it’s a card you are never sorry to draw.
Legendary Feud- Primarily used as a way of dishonouring a Unique, it also discourages attacking and is basically free for triggering Void. Okay in theorycrafting, amazing in actual play.
With only a couple of exceptions, the auto-includes do one of two things- draw cards or cause an honour loss. This is the general theme of our Dishonour decks, and why they are so effective: when built correctly everything is advancing your win condition, or drawing you a way of doing so. There are very few dead cards in the deck, which is very rare in L5R decks.
Once you’ve got your auto-includes lined up, it’s time to chose what style you’re going to go with for the rest of the deck. There are a number of ways of going about it, with different strengths and (more importantly) weaknesses.
Courtier Defensive Dishonour:
A deck that really came to the fore with the printing of Bayushi Jou, this deck gets in the way, using Battle Strategies like Game of Sincerity and Inexplicable Challenge to cause hits, making your opponent suffer with Words Have Strength and Shame Never Dies. The deck is particularly effective against midgame military, but does require you to have expendable Personalities that can go into Battle, which limits the ability to do things like Favors in the Action Phase. The key to playing the deck is knowing when to defend and when to keep resources for the following turn.
Bayushi Jou- A cheap defender that will gladly jump in the way of every attack, her printing made the deck type viable.
Bayushi Shigeru- He does his main purpose when he comes into play, and is just a chump blocker for the rest of the game.
Words Have Strength- If you get in the way, you will die. Turning a guy dying into a 3 honour hit is awesome fun.
Game of Sincerity- A very powerful action, especially when your Personality is 0F anyway. Particularly effective against Weapon decks, the combination of dishonouring, honour hit and the force negation is game winning.
Shameful Rebuke- If you plan on getting into fights, you should plan on getting back out again. Shameful is a particularly good way of doing it, as it’s an unconditional hit. Other tricks are defending where they aren’t and just running home to cost them 1 honour, or even just swinging in when they’re on -19.
Relentless Conviction- Kill a dishonoured guy, even if all bowed out. There’s a reason this is Unique.
Shame Never Dies- Like Words Have Strength, Shame Never Dies is one of the main reasons you get in the way. 3 unseppukuable honour hit at reaction speed is great, especially because you can stack them. Remember that a bowed Scorpion Courtier can perform all of them.
Inexplicable Challenge- Bowing a naked attacker is good, but bowing a Follower so they can’t Seppuku it is great.
Magistrate Defensive Dishonour
Relying less on cheap throwaway defenders, the Magistrate build gets into fights to kill things. The decks biggest advantage is that it has force, allowing it to swing into Honour decks, while relying on a hand of honour losses to make defending unappealing. It’s drawback is that it’s slower than the other builds, as it doesn’t buy a turn 1 Personality.
Bayushi Kahoku/Bayushi Higaonna- 5F with a Ranged Attack, you’ll normally only play one of these in the deck. Higaonna’s honour hit normally means he’ll make the cut over the far cooler Kahoku, but the Final Student’s RA 5 is also appealing.
Bayushi Darisu/Soshi Komiko- The deck needs Personalities that are a combination of Magistrate and Courtier, and these two are not only that, they’re also great. Darisu turns Uniques upside down before they can attack into you, and Komiko has a good battle action (that she’ll never ever get to do).
Soshi Orikasa- The deck is tight on Courtiers as it needs to run so many Magistrates, so Orikasa is ideal for bowing for Destructive Priorities and Favors.
Magistrate’s Stipend- One of the reasons the deck can afford to focus heavily on Magistrates, the Stipend gives you another 3 Producer for the majority of the deck. The +1c is also useful against the likes of BM and Lion Paragons.
Restoring Order- The reason to play Magistrates, sending killing a Dishonoured guy through all his expensive attachments is game winning.
A deck in the style similar to what we played pre-Jou, this deck focuses on Action Phase card draw and honour hits. It is reliable, surprisingly resilient and undoubtedly the fastest Dishonour deck. It runs lots of boxables, lots of honour hits and very few battle actions.
Bayushi Shibata/Bayushi Shigeru/Bayushi Jou/Bayushi Kurumi/Bayushi Kurumi XP- This deck needs bodies to do all its stuff, so it plays lots of boxables. Some combination of the above is essential to the deck’s success.
Unfortunate Incident: This deck is about speed, and UI is the fastest way to get someone down. It has lots of drawbacks, but if between Border Keep Xp and Makiko you can get rid of it when you don’t need it.
Arranged Guilt: Fuelled by boxables, this card basically reads “Lose 5, kill your Shigeru: Target Personality dies and his controller loses 1″. The honour hit you take sets up UI, and it’s rare someone will not Seppuku it.
So now we know what decks favour which cards here’s the deck to play at Gencon:
Ken “The Smugest Man in Rokugan” Curran’s Chicken PoCS
1x Bayushi’s Guidance
1x Shosuro Jimen xp2
1x Bayushi Hisoka xp
1x Bayushi Kurumi xp
1x Yogo Kazanori
3x Shosuro Makiko
3x Bayushi Shigeru
3x Bayushi Jutsushi
3x Bayushi Shibata
3x Bayushi Jou
3x Bayushi Kurumi
3x Shosuro Orikasa
3x Arranged Guilt
3x Deceit and Subterfuge
3x Unfortunate Incident – Don’t be afraid to use this early, especially to get Void in.
3x Accidental Confession
3x Only Actions Speak – don’t use to stop one Oyo Seido unless it’ll let you win next turn.
3x Taxing the Scum
3x Pull the String
3x Veiled Menace
3x Legendary Feud
2x Destructive Priorities
2x Shameful Rebuke
2x Test of Sincerity
2x Faint Praise- Great for Void, mainly it stops them making Kuon for 3PH.
1x A Game of Dice
1x Ring of the Void
Make a Personality on turn 1, ideally Makiko. Dig for her with Border Keep. The only time you won’t make a Personality turn 1 is if you go first, where you’ll aim for 2x gold (unless you see Makiko), or if you see Hisoka against a non-Military deck, where you can afford to not make a Personality on turn 2 to get an extra hit in.
You seldom need to make gold past the first turn, the first priority is card draw, Personalities second. When you are buying Holdings, it’s usually just to draw cards later.
Be aware of any opportunity to drop Void. It’s generally worth wasting one card to get it into play, and often worth two. The truth is that it’s rare it’s ever an actual waste, and more likely it’s just a sub-optimal use- pretty much every action causes an honour hit or draws a card.
If you have an Accidental Confession to use before their turn 3 attack, you will win over 95% of games- if you don’t have one on your turn 2 and have a way of getting the favour, then don’t be afraid to use BK’s Fate cycle to dig for it.
With 16 boxables Census will hurt, but not as much as you’d expect. If you expect them to hit you with it, focus on getting out an Orikasa.
You will most likely go to time against honour, but you can just blow them out with a great early draw.