28 September 2020 | Legend of the Five Rings LCG

Change in the Air

An Update to the Rules Documents for Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game


The leaves are beginning to change, and the air grows cold. As the samurai of Rokugan begin to prepare for winter, the laws of the Empire have once again been reassessed and some changes are soon to be implemented. The Rules Reference (37 MB), Imperial Law (3 MB), and Draft Rules (36 MB) for Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game have all received updates, changes which primarily affect the Stronghold, Skirmish, and Draft formats. This update is intended to address the primary offenders from the Dominion cycle, now that the final pack is about to be released.

A Change for All Formats

The updates to the Rules Reference may be minor, but they are important. As they affect all formats, these updates go first.

There are no rules changes in this update. Most of the changes to the Rules Reference in this update are added clarifications based on the contents of the final three packs of the Dominion cycle. There are, however, two cards receiving errata.

Butcher of the Fallen (Spreading Shadows, 31), due to its use of the word “printed,” has proven to be a powerhouse for the Crab Clan that cannot be stopped by almost any other character in the game. This would not be quite so egregious if it did not also have rally, which takes away most of the opportunity cost of including it in your deck. Therefore, to bring the card back into the design space that rally is intended to operate (situational card abilities), the card has received an erratum making it so that only characters with lower military skill than the number of unbroken provinces cannot defend against the Butcher. This removes both the words “printed” and “equal to,” bringing it more in line with the other balanced rally cards in the cycle.

Unbridled Ambition (Atonement, 116) cannot be a stronghold province. This is a simple change that will address issues that appeared with the card after it had already been printed, but before it released.

Restricting Rally

In addition to Butcher of the Fallen, three other cards with the rally keyword have proven to be too strong. These three cards have been either banned or restricted in their respective formats so that they cannot be played with impunity.

Lost Papers (In Pursuit of Truth, 61), while intended to be a metagame pressure to discourage loading lots of fate on a single character, has proven to be equally punishing to characters with one or no fate, if they still qualify as “the character with the most fate.” Thus, it has wildly overperformed its intended role, and to such a degree that restricting it would not be enough to rein the card in. For this reason, Lost Papers has been banned in both the Stronghold and Skirmish formats.

Ikoma Tsanuri (Campaigns of Conquest, 79) has achieved a conflux of powerful conditions: she is a cheap character, with the highly-desired Commander trait, the rally keyword, and a very powerful offensive constant ability. While the power level of story-prominent characters is usually pushed, she has proven to be too good for her cost. Therefore, she has been added to the restricted list so that she cannot be played alongside Tactical Ingenuity (The Emperor’s Legion, 21), the most effective Commander payoff card. This should make Lion opponents’ provinces a little bit safer, while still allowing her to exist in the metagame without Lion’s most powerful card advantage engine.

Contested Countryside (As Honor Demands, 106), much like Lost Papers, was intended to be a metagame pressure against provinces with powerful abilities. However, because it has the rally keyword it has proven to be too effective at that role, as it can seamlessly slot into any deck. In order to curb some of the ubiquity of this card, as well as not completely punish players for playing with some of their favorite province abilities, it has been added to the restricted list. It can still be chosen as a silver bullet against powerful provinces, but now it carries the additional cost of preventing a player from using any other restricted card.

Skirmishing for Resources

Now that the Skirmish format has been out for six months, it has become increasingly clear that two cards are generating too much value in the format and must be banned.

Spyglass (Core Set, 193) has been banned for too easily drawing cards in a format where card draw is more limited. It was initially left off the list due to the tighter fate and character economy in skirmish, as well as the reduced number of conflicts, but it has become clear that even with the fewer resources that Skirmish offers, Spyglass is still too strong.

With a lowered honor-victory threshold, Windswept Yurt (Tears of Amaterasu, 11) can be quite effective at pushing both players towards the honor victory very rapidly. While inconsistent, the Yurt/Rebuild combo allowed a Unicorn player to occasionally win the game before even the first conflict, assuming their opponent bid more than one or the Unicorn player went first. Now that Apprentice Engineer (Atonement, 128) also exists, the uninteractive win is even more available than before, and thus the Yurt is banned.

Additionally, Lost Papers is banned in Skirmish for the same reasons it is being banned in the Stronghold format.

My Revised Draft

Those who prefer to draft Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game with their friends and play with a new deck in every event can now look forward to an updated draft pool drawing from the Clan War and Dominion cycle releases! Cards from February’s deluxe expansion, as well as five of the six packs of the Dominion cycle, have been added to the draft pool. The new draft pool can be viewed in the updated Draft Rules. For those who have already constructed a draft pool, the specific card exchanges are listed below.

Stay Safe Out There

While there are no major Legend of the Five Rings events occurring in the upcoming months, the game continues to be fun and to draw a vibrant online community. This update, along with the resumed releases of the Dominion (and soon Temptations!) cycle, hopefully will inspire a new wave of online deckbuilding and game-playing so that the Legend of the Five Rings community can continue to thrive. I have enjoyed watching what the online players are constructing and look forward to seeing more!

As always, check back in this winter, when I will revisit the ban/restrict/errata lists again. Until then, stay safe out there!

~Tyler Parrott

Draft Pool Changelog



Gateway to Meido

Weight of Duty

Otomo Courtier (extras)

Cunning Confidant

Seppun Guardsman (extras)

Insightful Gatekeeper

Miya Mystic (extras)

Disciple of Shinsei

Favorable Ground (extras)

A Season of War

Perfect Land Ethos

Hige's Sermon

Frontline Engineer

Favorable Dealbroker

Smuggling Deal

Obsidian Talisman

Honed Nodachi

Sturdy Tetsubo

Hiruma Ambusher

Apprentice Engineer

Crisis Breaker

Yasuki Hikaru

Try Again Tomorrow

Captivating Story

Game of Sadane

Return the Offense

Doji Hotaru (JfS)

Doji Hotaru (Core)

Guest of Honor

Master of the Court

Moment of Perfect Beauty

Treasured Gift

Scene of the Crime

Sharing Shinsei's Wisdom

Mountaintop Statuary

Hidden Mountain Pass

Daimyo's Favor



In Search of Self

Mountain's Anvil Castle

Iron Mountain Castle

Kitsuki Yuikimi

Cycle of Rebirth

Monastery Protector

Mirumoto Masashige

Mirumoto Daisho

An Ocean in a Drop

Solitary Strength

Dragon Tattoo

Steadfast Samurai

Quarrelsome Youth

Gifted Tactician

Fearless Skirmisher

Matsu Seventh Legion

Unified Company

Staging Ground

Exposed Courtyard

The Fires of Justice

Under Siege

Inquisitive Ishika

Acolyte of Koyane

Fire Elemental Guard

Fearsome Mystic

Gift of Amaterasu

Cloak of Night
(downshift from distinguished)


Appeal to Sympathy

All and Nothing

Trick of the Light

Master of Gisei Toshi

Garanto Guardian

Kanjo District

Celebrated Renown

Isawa Uona

Shiba Pureheart

Kaito Kosori

Isawa Eju

Cloak of Night
(downshift to common)

Magistrate's Intervention

Brother's Gift Dojo

Unbridled Ambition

Oni Mask

Compromised Secrets

Maze of Illusion


Kyuden Bayushi

Seven Stings Keep

Loyal Challenger

Vice Proprietor

Hidden Moon Dojo

Dispatch to Nowhere

Keeper of Secret Names

White Horde Vanguard

Know the Terrain

Flank the Enemy

Shinjo Shono

Ride at Dawn

Utaku Rumaru

Shinjo Altansarnai


Way of the Open Hand

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