[After a five-month hiatus, Superior Tactics is back in the saddle. For those unfamiliar, Superior Tactics is a (theoretically) weekly online strategy column. Articles are submitted by readers and are edited (with commentary) by me, Trevor Stone. Articles are posted to the newsgroup rec.games.trading-cards.misc, the L5Rinfo listserv, and on the web at http://www.flwyd.dhs.org/l5r/tactics/ See the bottom of this article to learn how to submit an article. I'm especially interested in articles about cards legal in the Strict Gold environment, but which also consider the card's uses in Open. However, don't let this guideline prevent you from sharing your wisdom with the L5R community. -TS.]
[I received the following article from die-hard Scorpion Scott Hebert, aka Bayushi Tasogare in early December. Fortunately, Tasogare-san does not have the trait of this article's focus, since I was not in a position to accept the responsibility of posting it. Fortunately, the Scorpion are a patient clan, and the fruit of Mr. Hebert's labor has now been unmasked. -TS.]
When I heard that this card had never been reviewed, either by Zen's Card of the Week or Trevor's Superior Tactics, I was shocked. While not necessarily a staple personality, he is one of the most talked-about personalities ever to be released for the Legend of the Five Rings Card Game, and has a trait that until recently was unique in the game, and another trait that has yet to be duplicated. I speak, of course, of
Well, let's start with Yokuan's stats. 2/5 for 8 are "standard" Duelist stats (other examples of duelists would be Mikio and Kyojin), so that's not anything necessarily that big to write home about, but 5C is 5C. That number will become very important later in the analysis. An interesting thing to note is that Yokuan was only the second aligned Ninja for the Scorpion Clan, the first being of course the omnipresent Aramoro. Other Ninja like the Spy, Shapeshifter, Hoseki, Mamoru, and Hirariko had all been released before Yokuan, but unaligned.
As a Ninja, he has access to an entire subset of cards, perhaps the most useful of which (for Scorpion) being Poison Dartgun and the new Shuriken. However, before going over Yokuan's absolutely amazing dueling abilities, I would like to talk about his Battle abilities. First, as a Scorpion, he gains the Yogo Towers ability, assuming you're playing with that Stronghold. Second, as a Ninja, there are certain cards that work extremely well with him. Silent War gives him a 5F, Sabotage gives a -3PS wherever he's attacking, Goju Stalkers protect him from Refugees and will bestow a -5PS penalty to the Province... enough for Yokuan to take a 6PS province by himself. These are the main benefits of Yokuan as a Ninja. His real talents lie, of course, in the realm of dueling.
Now, for the first of his traits: "Reactions may not be played in a duel involving Yokuan." Restated, "no one can try any funny business in duels involving Yokuan." While I've seen some Scorpions whine that this precludes our own use of favorite cards (the most famous of which being Poisoned Weapon), this sounds like similar bellyaching I hear from Crabs regarding Hiruma Yoshi and Toritaka Kitao: "They can't Frenzy!" Big deal. Yokuan guarantees that, barring a few cards, if you have higher Chi+focus value than your opponent, you win a duel. A more recent card that Yokuan's trait mimics in large part is Judgement of Toshiken. No Poisoned Weapon, no Double Chi (as in the kiho), no Togashi Yoshi, no Void Strike, no Shouts, no Strike of Flowing Water, no Bend Like a Reed, etc., etc., etc. Two cards that do get around Yokuan's trait are Karmic Strike and Another Time. Since they have no reaction printed on them, they work, even through Yokuan's trait. This can be put to both good and bad use. Certainly, no one wants to see a Karmic Strike against Yokuan. But there is another card that works well with Yokuan, detailed below.
As good as his first trait is, his irreplaceable second trait is where Yokuan really shines: "Personalities must bow to refuse a challenge from Yokuan." As any dueling player can tell you, the most frustrating part of trying to duel someone is that they'll refuse your duels. This is where Yokuan comes into his own. A side effect of Yokuan's trait is that any bowed personality must accept a challenge from him; not simply cannot refuse, must accept. The profundity of this statement cannot be denied. Yokuan's trait trumps perhaps the worst bane of dueling decks, Kuro Sensei. Not only Kuro Sensei, but also Enlightened Tutor and any other effect that allows the refusal of unrefusable duels. However, the caveat here is that the duel can still be canceled and affected in the targeting step. For example, you can Flee the Darkness against his Iaijutsu Duels, and you can use Shiba Raigen's ability, Isawa Ijime's ability, or Shosuro Furuyari's ability.
One good synergistic effect of Yokuan's two traits is that if he challenges a bowed personality, no one can "step between them", as it were. He's Mine! cannot be played, nor can the (largely Scorpion) odd personality's reaction be used to jump in the way (Bayushi Aramoro, Bayushi Aramoro exp2, and Bayushi Tangen).
Now that we know that Yokuan's duels cannot be refused if the subject is bowed, what are some good ways to bow the personalities he intends to duel? Well, it just so happens most of them are Scorpion/Ninja cards (surprise!). These include:
[You can even let Yokuan's victim bow of his own accord. Fight for My Favor can swing the board situation around quite a bit. Die, Toku! For more bowing ideas, see ST#30. -TS.]
Note these are just the Open and Limited Action cards (and Asami) that can be used. Now that we've looked at ways of helping Yokuan duel people, or rather, help his duel go off, let's look at a few cards that, when placed on Yokuan, make him the Dueling Maniac of Rokugan.
Yokuan, the Scorpion Clan duelist. When all is said and done, he is truly unique in the Legend of the Five Rings game, with a flexibility that has yet to be matched.
Scorpion Clan ? * Superior Tactician
[Additional: Yokuan's "bow for refusal" trait is especially useful in battle, where a bowed Personality is almost as nice as a dead Personality. Streets of Otosan-Uchi will extract a fate card for the privilege of bowing. Yokuan ups the price of refusal for A Chance Meeting. If you turn him into a Dragon and boost his personal honor, he can lead the Mirumoto House Guard. Cards which allow Yokuan to make repeated challenges can prove deadly even against a player protected against duels by Kuro Sensei. I'm thinking mainly of Come One at a Time, but with a little work, Yokuan can wield Bitter. Yokuan's reaction nix allows these to wipe out an army prepared with some duel defense.
In the Gold environment, Shosuro Aroru is arguably the best duelist for under 10G, and one of three non-unique personalities with greater than 4C. Combined with Soshi Angai, Shosuro Furuyari, Bayushi Kwanchai, and Shosuro Technique, the Scorpion may be the most formidable dueling clan. There are fewer ways to pick a fight in Gold, but the standards, the three Iaijutsu starters and Come One at a Time, are all present. So while Scorpion dishonor is not the threat it once was, don't count on keeping your Personalities around against the masked arachnids. -TS.]
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