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Superior Tactics #15: Oracle of Thunder

When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.

-- William Shakespeare, Macbeth I.i

This week, Fox Reinard returns from the mount to inform us about the latest person touched by prophecy.

Seems the Oracles are changing daily. Seems they have no idea where they're going or what they're doing. Some are dark, more are not. This time, we bring you the youngest of the Oracles: The Oracle of Thunder! *neat thunder and lightning effects*

Oracle of Thunder - Rare Holding (F&S) - 6G
Retainer * Unique
Open: Target one of your personalities. Bow the Oracle of Thunder to give the personality a +4C. The personality cannot issue challenges until after the turn ends.

Not too shabby, eh? This little gem can do wonders for decks using Chi-based Ranged Attacks, or even give our friend Shiba Tetsu a hand. Obvious Phoenix uses aside, this Oracle can be quite powerful if used correctly.

Oni No Okura, the nonexperienced version, can stop any human with a Chi less than 6 from assigning against her. Good luck finding that many! Want to raise someone large via the Dark Sanctuary? This'll raise the Shugenja's Chi to allow this to happen, and you can pretty much get anyone from it. Clan Champions for example.

Iuchi Katta can give a number of cards equal to his Chi the trait: Cavalry while he remains bowed. If his Chi is lowered after he bows, it doesn't matter. The cards keep the trait. Keep Iuchi Shahai alive after handing out her full load of Maho tokens! [Until the end of the turn, any way. Just enough time for some Sympathetic Energies. -- ed.]

On a similar note, Essence of the Void also only worries about Chi at the time of casting. Straighten nearly any of your personalities with a single application of Chi Projection from Asako Hosigeru. Fury of the Earth to reduce the Province Strength by an additional 4.

Combined with the Ancestral Sword of the Hantei, it's a +4F bonus instead. Using the Power of Incompleteness, one can give larger boosts to existing high Chi, low force personalities. Have someone under the effects of A Soul Of Thunder? Use this rather appropriate Oracle to protect them if you can get an action in on your opponent's turn.

Want to do that last little mean strike? The Final Breath can give your opponent a real headache with this. You can pick what personality you like to be Tactician using Harsh Lessons. I can probably find about twenty more uses for this card, but most involve Kiho.

Fox Reinard

[Additional: Much fuss was made of the fact that this card didn't let the personality duel. While it's true that the most common use of high Chi is issuing a challenges like a drunkard, the crafty player can still get an Oracle'd personality into a duel. Consider He's Mine! combined with Kolat Instigator. Or you can use The Coward's Way. Or boost someone and then copy her Chi with a Ninja Shapeshifter before issuing a challenge. Proactive uses aside, the Oracle is also a valuable preventative measure. Fear your Tchickchuk may be dueled away by that Yokuan with a Nunchaku? Boost everyone's favorite fuzzy friend to 7C. The Oracle may have some strong words for a personality bearing a Soul of Thunder, provided you can get a chance to perform an Open action (A Moment of Clarity or The Time is Now provide a combo approach while just winning your first duel is more straight forward). Of course, none of these approaches prevent your opponent from dueling some other spud just for the honor, but the Oracle of Thunder lets you keep your big star in action.

As Fox alluded to, nifty combinations involving Chi are almost limitless. A few of the more stellar ones involve Flameseeker; Force of Will, Kakita Shijin, and Honorable Seppuku; Black Wind from the Soul (especially with Incense of Concentration); The Fire From Within; Porcelain Mask of Fu Leng; Corrupted Jade Sliver; Essence of the Void; and Essence of Air. It's also a decent anti-Ninja card.

For roughly the same price as the Oracle, you can buy yourself two Shugenja and Sharing the Strength of Many. This solution proves more scalable, you can throw more Shugenja in to get bigger Chi bonuses. It also gets around the fact that Oracle of Thunder is Unique. But, of course, Shugenja are vulnerable to more personality destruction (though the Oracle gets whacked by Kolat Assassins). And the Shugenja can't play The Prophecies. Or help Harima out. -- ed.]

Card text copyright FRPG, 1995-2000.
Article text copyright Fox Reinard, 2000.

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