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Superior Tactics #13: The Mountains Below Kyuden Hitomi

Can you dig it? The Hare Clan has plenty of experience digging holes to shape the land. It's thus natural that a Bunny Clan representative, Usagi Satsui (aka James Major) should come to talk about

The Mountains Below Kyuden Hitomi - Common Region (HE1)
Battle: Beginning with the top card of your fate deck, draw and reveal each card until you reveal a terrain. You may put this terrain immediately into play for this battle, or discard it. All other revealed cards are shuffled back into your deck. You may do this once per battle.

Let's face it. Terrains are pretty strong cards. Many games have been won or lost solely on a Deadly Ground or Dispersive Terrain. Superior Tactics, or or other ways of destroying terrains, are staples of nearly any deck.

But, let's face it again. No terrain is useful in every situation. You don't want a Dispersive Terrain on the attack, and if you're not playing Shadowlands, the last thing you want is a Corrupted Ground.

This last point is the main drawback of this little region. You get to pull a random terrain from your deck, but who's to say it will be useful? Add this to the fact that you can only use it on defense, along with the other drawbacks of regions (one on a province, etc), and it's not looking very attractive, is it?

Well, what if you only play with one terrain?

If the only terrain in your deck is Dispersive Terrain, then by using the Mountain's ability, it's pretty much the same as playing one. No matter where that terrain is in your deck, it's out. The most dangerous example I can give is Deadly Ground from under a Hiruma Sensei. Unless they can blow the terrain, they're toast. This alone makes it worthwhile for someone using Hiruma. For you spell casters, the Mountain is a perfect place to have a Night Battle, or maybe to Root the Mountain. For those who like to hide behind Entrapping Terrains... you get the point. [I'd argue that Plains of the Emerald Champion is a better region for a Hiruma Sensei player. However, the presence of a Mountains Below Kyuden Hitomi and a Togashi Mitsu with a Tetsubo above Kyuden Hitomi may send your opponent scrambling for Come One at a Time. -- ed.]

Perhaps you're into interesting tricks? Well, if you're packing Tacticians, you can use Toturi's Tactics on the terrain when it resolves. Now [at the end of the turn] your terrain is back in your hand. Then, you can use Ichiin to put the terrain back into your deck, where the Mountain can grab it again, and get another card out of the deal to boot. Okay, okay, you didn't ask for practical tricks, here. [However, you can't use actions which put a Terrain into play as an Open or Battle action (Oracle of Earth or Go Master, for instance), so make sure you've got ways to destroy Terrains as an atomic action if you'd like to depend on the Mountains. -- ed.]

[Additional: Mountains Below Kyuden Hitomi can give you consistency -- if you haven't gone through all three of Foo Terrain, you can all but guarantee you can play Foo Terrain in a battle at the Mountains. But what if you want to live dangerously? Does MBKH have any place in a deck with more than one terrain? The answer depends on the deck. A defensive deck might have some combination of Entrapping Terrain, Encircled Terrain, Awakening Shakoki Dogu, Mountains of the Phoenix, Flooded Pass (note that you need a personality at the battle to use MBKH) or even Wide Terrain. While you might prefer an Encircled Terrain to an Entrapping in the particular battle you're in, either will save the province. Of course, if you have enough Terrains, you can be pretty sure you'll have one in your hand when you need it. One method to decide on MBKH is to guess the number of fate cards you'll see before the Mountains get attacked (Attackers: if you attack MBKH last, the defender will have a higher chance of having the terrain already in hand, thus wasting a card). Once you have an idea of how many cards you'll go through, determine the number of terrains you'd like to have left in your deck. (If you have 6 in the deck, and you'd like to play one in each battle, assume that you have 3 Terrains left). Divide the number of cards seen by the size of the deck -- if the result is less than the number of terrains left, you probably won't have a Terrain in hand for the critical battle.

One interesting use of Mountains Below Kyuden Hitomi comes in an Enlightenment deck. When you're playing the Ring of Water the standard way, you don't care what the first terrain in the battle is, since you're going to destroy it. So why use up your valuable fate hand? Go digging and grab the first Terrain that pops up. -- ed.]

Card text copyright FRPG, 1995-2000.
Article text copyright James Major, 2000.

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Last modified by Trevor Stone