Superior Tactics #19: Ishikawa
Usagi Satsui, the Hare Clan representative in Otosan Uchi recently visited
the grave of a man who fought bravely during the fall of the Hantei.
Ishikawa - Rare Personality (SCC1) - 3F - 4C - 5HR - 9G - 3PH
Unaligned Samurai. Captain of the Imperial Guard. Unique. Imperial
cards being attached to Ishikawa have their gold cost reduced by three.
Political Battle: Bow Ishikawa if you have the Imperial Favor and target
one opposing human Personality with a Personal Honor of zero. That
Personality is sent home without bowing. This is considered a use of
the Imperial Favor but you do not discard the Favor.
Sure, Toku may be Captain of the Imperial Guard nowadays. And while
he does a pretty decent job of it, perhaps the guy who used to fill the
position isn't so bad either. In fact, he fits in well at the Palace.
First off, his stats are average, having decent force and chi. Not being
in clan is a killer for most people, especially with a high gold cost,
but being Imperial, he's 2 less for a Palace player. On top of that, he's
an Unaligned Samurai, so the Basecamp produces 4 when paying for him.
And with the Wave Men or Creating the Monkey Clan, his price can be
dropped even further. 5 HR is easy for the Palace...an early Toku,
and you're there. The 3 PH makes him a target for Strength of Purity,
as well as another card I'll discuss later, but unfortunately, you can't
gain honor for it (without other cards). [The Otaku Palaces may also
acquire an early Ishikawa with a first turn Silk Works. Of course,
it's been a while since I've seen a Unicorn deck creative enough to
include unaligned infantry personalities. -- ed.]
He also has another nice trait, however. Imperial cards attached to
him cost 3 less. This combines very nicely with the Palace's discount,
making Imperial cards thrown on Ishikawa a whopping 5 less. Sounds good?
Well, very few Imperial cards attach, and most of them are Followers.
But the followers that can attach are a good lot: Imperial Legion,
Imperial Honor Guard, and Imperial Palace Guard. Yep, free Legions.
IHG off a Basecamp. Feeling defensive? 4 gold gets you an 11F unit
with the Palace Guard. And do I need to mention that the Palace makes
followers even cheaper?
There's one more Imperial card to throw on Ishikawa, and it's an item.
The Imperial Standard. His 3 PH lets him attach it, and at 5G, it
comes out on him for free. You also need to throw the favor, but since
TA starts with the favor, that's not much of a problem. This can get
pretty nasty pretty quick when the rest of the Imperial Guard shows
up... picture this. Basecamp and Toku turn 1, Ishikawa turn 2. Now,
on turn 3, hand him the Standard, an Imperial Legion, and an Imperial
Honor Guard... all free. That's 14 force by turn 3... and you still
haven't spent any gold yet.
Now, about that ability of his. Quite simply, you'll rarely get any
use of it. Not only do you need the favor, you also need to bow him (and
lose the force of his Imperial followers), it counts as the Favor (makes
it easy to cancel), and affects a very small class of personalities.
There's not a lot of 0 PH humans out there... even most Ninja have at
least a 1, and most of the people affected by the ability will never see
a battle anyway (Taka, for example). There are a small few, however.
The Flying Moto Bros. (Tsume and Sada), Hida Amoro, and any dishonored
personality are the only people you'll use this on, and even then, it'll
probably be canceled. The best use of his battle action is probably
to play Iron Cranes on him. It takes away an ability you'll never use,
and get an extra +1/+1 to boot. [If Ishikawa is defending Ryoko Owari,
he can send just about anyone home. And who says you can't use Secrets
on the Wind or Unrequited Love? It's true that Toturi's Army isn't a
particularly staunch dishonor clan, but the aforementioned Otaku are known
to send their magistrates in search of rapscallions. The experienced Doji
Yosai and Kakita Yoshi may also find interest in Ishikawa's ways. -- ed.]