Cunning, Deception, Loyalty

Examine the Scorpion Clan with Guest Writer Melissa Palmer 


"Victory does not always go to the strongest of two opponents."
   –Bayushi's Lies

Lies, deception, manipulation. These are the tools of the Scorpion Clan. While other clans rely on honor and open battle, the Scorpion move in the shadows, striking at their enemies in the darkness. Today, guest writer Melissa Palmer explains why the Scorpion Clan are the proper heroes of Rokugan, and how their plethora of tools are ideal for new players of Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game.

Honor and Deception

Melissa Palmer: If you're a new player to Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game, one of the most important choices you make is to decide which clan is the right fit for you. There are several options out there and each clan has its own unique traits. The Scorpion Clan may seem like a group of villains to some, but truthfully, we're just trying to fulfil our duty for the good of the Empire. If you value duty and loyalty above all else, the Scorpion Clan is an ideal choice.

So, why should you join the Scorpion Clan? Let’s start with the most straightforward answer, the amazing characters within the clan. My favorite character is none other than  Bayushi Kachiko  (Into the Forbidden City, 56). Kachiko is one of the strongest female icons within the game. Not only does she play a crucial role within the storyline, but her card is fantastic. The high political skill on her card represents her incredible power within the court, and unlike most characters, the fact that she is a conflict card shows that she can sneak into a conflict whenever she is needed. Few can stand against this political powerhouse, as befits the wife of a champion and a paragon of the Scorpion Clan.

Then of course there is the Champion himself,  Bayushi Shoju  (Core Set, 107). Looking at Shoju’s art you see an extremely intimidating man. His ability drops characters' political skill during political conflicts. More importantly, Shoju can completely remove these characters from play if their skill reaches zero, an ability that no other card in the game possesses. This man is so skilled in the political arena that others are fearful to even compete. Bayushi Shoju is a powerful Champion and a simple one for any new player to understand.

Of course there are other characters within the Scorpion clan. Adept of Shadows (Core Set, 180) and Meek Informant  (Tears of Amaterasu, 17) join Kachiko in your conflict deck.  The Adept of Shadows has a reasonable stat line for her cost, and more importantly, she has the ability to return to your hand by sacrificing a little honor—giving you an excellent representation of the Scorpion ability to sneak in and out of conflict as needed. It may not be an honorable method, but it gets the job done. When Meek Informant enters play, on the other hand, it allows you to see what's waiting in your opponent’s hand. Being able to see the cards you're up against is an extremely powerful ability, informing your ability to make good decisions and counter your opponent’s plays… a vital skill for new players.

Moving past characters, another key card for the Scorpion Clan is  Forged Edict   (Core Set, 184). Forged Edict will cancel an event—an ability only otherwise available to the Crane Clan and players who control the Imperial Favor. One important thing for new players to note when canceling events is that the cost still has to be paid. So, if your opponent plays an event like  Assassination  (Core Set, 203), they would still have to pay the cost of losing three honor. This card gives you the potential to have gain an advantage over your opponent in cards, available characters, and fate. It does have the cost of dishonoring your own Courtier, but the Scorpion know some things are worth losing honor over. 

Speaking of dishonor, one of the main strengths of the Scorpion Clan is their ability to dishonor other characters. Using cards such as  Way of the Scorpion  (Core Set, 185) to dishonor characters, a Scorpion deck can gain a huge advantage. Your opponent’s characters will become less effective in conflicts, and when they leave play your opponent loses honor, moving you toward a dishonor victory and limiting your opponent’s ability to draw cards.

Have I convinced you to join the Scorpion Clan yet? If not, then I think this final card might draw you in. Perhaps the most powerful weapon in the Scorpion arsenal is A Fate Worse Than Death  (Fate Has No Secrets, 98). In a conflict, this event sends home a participating character, bows it, dishonors it, removes a fate from the character, and treats the card as if it were blank.  Not only is this card powerful, but it is also extremely thematic. It represents the Scorpion Clan sentencing someone to a fate that sparks fear throughout the Emerald Empire. The character becomes dishonored and all their contributions have become nothing. In Rokugan, what could be worse?


What drew me to the Scorpion Clan was the way that they manipulate the politics of the Empire in the background. Their sneaky style was a large part of why I choose them. Everyone in their everyday life has various “masks” that they wear symbolically. The Scorpion just show the masks they wear so no one can see their true face. Will the Scorpion Clan be the clan for you?

Melissa Palmer has been playing Legend of the Five Rings since 2010. In the previous edition of the game she made the finals and top cuts of many tournaments and now currently runs the stream/podcast knows as "The 6th Ring" which can be found at Facebook and Soundcloud.

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