Twenty Years of Memories – 2005

by Aaron Frede

Twenty Years of Memories: 2005

The year is 2005. The winds of change blow strongly on the horizon. Diamond Arc is ending and the next base set offers the chance to shake the Empire. Depending on the purity or corruption of the winners deck the next base set will either be “light” or “dark” Lotus and determine the direction of the story for the entire arc.

The year is 1166. The Bloodspeaker Iuchiban has been defeated by the combined might of the clans and the heroic efforts of the returned Hida Kisada and Isawa Sezaru. The teachings of Rosoku have one final task to be completed for the one who will become the Keeper of the Five Elements, but the heir of Shinsei will not see this day after he is assassinated by one of Iuchiban’s bloodspeakers.


Today we get the chance to hear from Scott Rixson, or Yasuki Blidao on the forums.

Where are you from, tell us about your playgroup?

There is a great game store that I practically grew up in, called Tabletop Game & Hobby TableTop Game & Hobbylocated in Overland Park, KS.  Like a lot of playgroups, we got in just to play for fun.  I recall fond memories of sorting through endless stacks of cards, building silly themed decks, and playing for hours on end.  At some point, a couple of us decided to get more serious, and that’s when we started hitting the tournament scene.  Very glad that we did because of all the great people we met over the years.  The community is really what keeps this game thriving.  I started in Hidden Emperor days, and my first starter deck was Mantis.  Yoritomo with all his two weapon goodness!  Who didn’t like that dude?

Do you consider yourself a clan loyalist?

Crane has always been my clan of choice.  I did play some Crab for a while to dish things up.  I applied what I learned from Crab military to make myself a better Crane player.  I never liked the blitz honor that was a fragile shell.  I wanted to get in there, and make the decks slightly aggressive and interactive.  Making a deck that can go switch (honor and military) gives you added flexibility against a myriad of tournament opponents, but most importantly makes your opponent attack you.  They can’t sit back and build up if you are attacking them too.

What was your first L5R tournament experience?

Oh man, I cannot recall my first few tournaments.  I do recall the first time I won something though.  I was playing up in Sioux City at my friend Bob Yager’s kotei.  I won top of clan with my Crab Berserkers deck, which featured Shosuro Maru.  It felt great to win something, and gain some street cred especially on the Crab forums.  That crew is feisty!

Is there a story or quote from the fiction that stands out?

Anything involving Emmo-O.  Off the top of my head, the story of Diagotsu traveling to Meido to release Fu Leng.  How he did it was what made that story great!

(interestingly enough this was the same fiction highlighted by Scott’s friend and also former champ, Eugene Earnshaw –

Who is your favorite character?

Doji Reju.  A lot of great characters have come up over the years, and I suppose they all tie in my book.  Reju wins ties.

What is the best memory or experience you had playing L5R or because of L5R?

The final match at 2005 World Championship against my friend Matt Demand.  He’s playing a faceless Dragon honor deck.  Close first game that he wins via honor.  Second game, I give up on honor in favor of military.  Thank you Fury of Hida!  Going into the third game of the final match.  Pressure is on!  I get a great start, and jump up with honor/card discarding with early duels.  Saving Outmaneuvered by Force for any big honor gains, or Tribute to Your House.  Being able to win 2-1 with both honor and military victories created the perfect end to a fantastic tournament!

Do you have a favorite deck that you built or played?

Crane Honor Dueling (CHD).  I recall hearing a lot of negativity that honor doesn’t work, or Crane in under-powered, when Lotus started.  I worked with my friend Chris Nicoll to create CHD.  If unprepared, it could provide a negative play experience, but overall was very fun to play.  Watch out not to lose your deck to dueling though!  The reason this was my favorite deck was because I decided to post it online to share with everyone who was struggling with Crane.  I would like to feel that gave Crane players a positive boost!

What was your favorite Arc and why?

Gold Edition.  I really liked a lot of the sets, especially 1,000 Years of Darkness.  Who didn’t like Hoturi the Heartless?!

Tell us about the lead up to GenCon 05. How did you prepare and how did you decide on what deck to play?

Lots of practice, and fine tuning.  I was fortunate to have a fantastic playgroup that was local.  A lot of great players have come out of Kansas City!  I made a few changes after only making Top 4 at Origins that year.  Every card was extremely useful, and I never regretting dropping or adding anything after that.  The year before I made Top 16 at Worlds, and was determined to do better.  I was thinking Top 8, but #1 was good too!

What was the atmosphere like for the players there, what was the feeling on the story prize and the paths of Light and Dark Lotus?

I feel like there were a handful of people that were corrupting everything under the sun in hopes of Dark Lotus.  I personally wanted Light Lotus, but playing tainted is very fitting for Crane.  A little dabble of corruption, huh?

Your deck was tainted but not corrupt. Was that a deliberate story decision or were you just playing the best deck possible?

If there were more corrupt cards worth playing that made the deck better, I would probably have included them.  I did consider playing totally clean, but the Shadow Dragon was just too good of a card not to play.  My hardest matchup at the time was Gatling Gun Unicorn, and had a guy concede to me after dropping a turn 3 Shadow Dragon!

You chose Asahina Sekawa to become Master of the Five Rings what made him the right choice in your mind?

This was all Chris Nicoll.  He did a good job convincing me Sekawa was the best choice.  He had a rich storyline of fighting against the tainted bloodspeakers, and would be a great fit for the storyline.

You also had the chance to form an alliance that would last the entirety of Lotus with any other clan and you went with the Lion. Now up until this point the Lion and Crane had traditionally been enemies, what made you choose them as your ally?

You know that movie you watched recently.  The one that was a remake because Hollywood spends more time remaking movies than making anything original.  Yeah, that’s how I feel about the feud between Crane and Lion.  Lion attack the Crane.  Second Lion attack the Crane.  Blah blah blah.  I get the animosity, but wanted something different.  I wanted to be bold, and force what we had always taken for granted to change.  I wanted to see something new develop, and alliances shift as a result.  In hindsight, it was the best selection IMO, and I really enjoyed watching it play out.  I didn’t expect as much player support though, and soon there were whispers of the Feather and Claw alliance.  All fear the Right and Left hands of the Emperor!

Looking back with how Lotus played out storywise were you pleased with the result or does part of you want to go back and add one more shadowlands card to your deck?

I loved how the story played out, and would not have changed a thing.  It was sad seeing the Emperor card getting torn to pieces, but watching the Shadow Dragon running around with an Ancient Armor was more enjoyable.

You also placed second two years later at GenCon 07. Tell us a bit about the difference between those two events? What was the atmosphere like? How did players like the story prize?

That was a fun environment too.  After 2005, AEG started alternating World Champions between USA and Europe.  In 2006, I placed Top of Clan with Lion at the US Championships to support the alliance.  I played Crane switch again in 2007 World Championships, and made it to the final table.  My teammate Eugene Earnshaw stood in front of me.  He was playing for Shosuro Jimen to be Emerald Champion for our fellow teammate Jim Chatham.  We all preferred to have Shosuro Jimen gain the rank of Emerald Champion, but I was advised that I was not allowed to forfeit the story prize if I win.  So… do I play to win, or concede for my preferred storyline?  I conceded, and took second place.  The storyline turned out perfect, and played up the concession as Jimen blackmailing Kakita Noritoshi.

Are you still involved with L5R at this time?

I have focused my efforts on work and raising a family.  I stay connected online with friends that I have met through L5R.  Like I mentioned earlier, the community is what makes this game great.  I am very fortunate to have made so many lifelong friends through L5R.  I recommend everyone to participate in the tournament scene, and travel if funds allow.  Plus, you get to see people dress up, and scream UTZ BANZAI!!


Thank you Scott for taking the time to talk to us about Victory, Freindship, and just a little bit of taint.


You can see Scott’s decklist from the event here:

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Ivory Kotei’s are here!

Two koteis in two weeks saw the Portland L5R crew scrambling around to prepare some Ivory legal decks worthy of tournament play. After cutting out dozens of proxies, searching for original printings of re-printed cards, and actually playing a few play-test games, we may not have been ready, but at least we were completely unprepared.

Vancouver, BC (March 15th)
First up was the Burnaby, BC kotei attended by Mike (playing Dragon guys with battle actions and weapons), Roy (playing Scorpion dishonor), and Ruthie Wiley one of our new rising stars (playing Unicorn).

Ruthie Wiley takes top Unicorn at her first kotei ever!

The Portland L5R team has a long standing tradition of getting horribly lost on the way to this kotei, and this year was no exception. At one point while trying to puzzle out yet another convoluted road, Roy commented “Hey, we’ve been lost here before.” Arriving at the kotei site did little to ease our minds, as it looked suspiciously like the beginning of a low budget horror movie (complete with random flock of ravens devouring a carcass on the front lawn). Despite the last minute venue change, the kotei exceeded our initial impressions and was very well run! The Swiss rounds (not surprisingly) consisted of a lot of card reading, puzzled looks, and “Aha!” moments. At the end of 6 rounds, Ruthie and Mike had a respectable 3-3 record, Ruthie was top Unicorn, and Roy managed to make it into the elimination rounds. After Roy lost his X-2 round, we all entered the honor competition which was the simple, and surprisingly fun, Love Letter. Unfortunately, none of us were very good at the game, however we were able to get on the road back to Portland at a reasonable hour. Overall, an excellent tournament, and a nice kotei introduction for Ruthie who commented, “I’m again amazed by the player base and how friendly everyone is. As far as the tournament scene goes I’m really excited to see my deck performing so well and that I was able to place high in a tournament! I have pretty limited experience with deck building and it’s amazing to see a deck I sat down and made do so well.”

Santa Clara, CA (March 22nd)
Anyone that’s been to the Northern California kotei, will tell you it is not to be missed. The people are great, the prizes are amazing, and the tournament itself is run with a precise efficiency. (Trust me, you do not want to be late reporting your results to Amanda.)

Roy and Mike playing at table 1 during the third round. What's wrong with this picture?!?

This time around, we added Dennis D to our car, and set out on the grueling 11 hour drive with high hopes for a little more team Portland success. Mike, Roy and Ruthie had made a few modifications to their decks, Dennis had opted to play something Mantis-y (big surprise), and everyone was expecting a repeat of the Crane scout heavy field we saw in BC. The trip down was pretty uneventful, and we managed to get a few hours of sleep before the 6:45 wake-up call. The Swiss rounds seemed to be full of people enjoying the new environment, the close games, and actually counting up force in battles. Speaking for myself, most rounds seemed to go to time, but with the addition of the “draw” as an official match result, there seemed to be a lot less uncomfortable end-game situations; less angry die-rolls, more calm discussion and in many cases friendly concessions. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue throughout the Ivory Arc, and lead to an increase in tournament attendance. Team Portland definitely upped their game as Mike, Roy and Ruthie made the X-2 cut, Mike made it to the top 4, and Roy won both the kotei, and the honor event.

Kotei and honor event winner, Roy Esquivel.

Two weeks from this Saturday (April 12th) is the Portland kotei being held at the amazing Guardian Games. Roy will not be winning this kotei, since he is the official Tournament Organzier. We look forward to seeing you all there, and hearing about your experience. Until then … BANZAI!!!!

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Winner’s Choice Results – 12/14/13

The top 4 in action (Mikey Frisch, top left; Brian Ginja, top right; Ruthie Wiley, bottom left; Roy Esquivel, bottom right)

The Winter Court event held at Guardian Games in Portland, Oregon was won by Roy Esquivel. Roy’s Crab dishonor “highlander” deck went undefeated on the day, and is listed below.

Roy selected the “Masked Crab” choice after defeating Ruthie Wiley (playing Battle Maidens) in the top 4, and Mikey Frisch (playing Mantis shugenja) in the final match. The other top 4 finisher was Brian Ginja playing Dragon monks. Congratulations guys, and we hope to see you back at Guardian Games during the kotei season!

1 Yasuki Palaces – exp
# Dynasty (40)
# Events (4)
1 Successful Bounty
1 Suspicions
1 Rebuilding the Empire
1 Gaining Advantage
1 The Amethyst Championship
# Celestials (1)
1 Blessings of the Shi-Tien Yen-Wang
# Regions (1)
1 The Second City
# Holdings (15)
1 Den of Iniquity
1 Exquisite Silk Works
1 Hachi’s Revenge
1 Indomitable Home
1 Iron Mine
1 Luxurious Silk
1 Prosperous Village
1 Slanderer
1 Small Library
1 Small-Time Bully
1 The Yasuki Peddler
1 Traveling Peddler
1 Colonial Farm
1 Forgotten Outpost
1 Nexus of Lies
# Personalities (19)
1 Yasuki Tsujiken – exp
1 Yasuki Tsujiken
1 Yasuki Tono – exp
1 Yasuki Tono
1 Yasuki Tanimura
1 Yasuki Makoto
1 Yasuki Jinn-Kuen – exp2
1 Yasuki Jekku
1 Yasuki Ikke
1 Yasuki Dokansuto
1 Yasuki Daito
1 Yasuki Daisuki
1 Yasuki Daiki
1 Yasuki Baiko
1 Kasuga Aizawa, the Razor’s Edge
1 Yoritomo Yashinko (Exp)
1 Shosuro Rokuta
1 Soshi Yoshihara – exp
1 Otomo Demiyah
# Fate (40)
# Strategies (34)
1 Cowed and Defeated
1 Delicate Gamble
1 Destructive Priorities
1 Disreputable Deal
1 Easy Persuasion
1 Favors
1 Game of Sincerity
1 A Game of Dice
1 Inexplicable Challenge
1 Insulting Gesture
1 Remember Your Ancestors
1 Rhetoric
1 Scandalous Rumors
1 Scars of War
1 Scorn the Weak
1 Shameful Rebuke
1 Summoned to Justice
1 The Host’s Advantage
1 The Power of a Word
1 The Shadow Court
1 Veiled Menace
1 Words Have Strength
1 A Threat Enacted
1 Dismissing the Cur
1 Fruitless Search
1 In the Right
1 Request Authorization
1 Sacrifice of Pawns
1 The Heir’s Wrath
1 The Last Move
1 The Law’s Strength
1 Turning the Story
1 Mysterious Deaths
1 Peace
1 Relentless Conviction
# Items (3)
1 Armor of the Heavens
1 Paneki’s Mask
1 Mining Apparatus
# Rings (2)
1 Ring of Fire
1 Ring of the Void

A special thanks to Chris for running a great tournament!

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Winner’s Choice Event – Saturday, December 14th (Highlander!)

Greetings all! We here at Portland L5R are excited to have the chance to show off the new location of our stronghold store Guardian Games, with a Winner’s Choice tournament on Saturday, December 14th, 2013. I was greatly inspired by the alternate format (strategic L5R) at the Emerald Champion’s Tournament this year, and and as a result we have decided to make the format for this tournament Emperor Legal Highlander. The rules for this format are pretty straightforward: You may play only one of any Emperor legal card in your deck. Decks are still 40/40. The format restriction super-cedes the text on any card (e.g. Eternal Victory Dojo). If you have questions about this format or need to acquire cards for this tournament, either post here, or see the About Us page for an e-mail contact.Highlander

HERE is an old article written about alternate formats for those interested.

So, a few details:
Date: Saturday, December 14th
Time: Registration starts at 9:00, start playing at 10:00
Format: 40/40 Emperor Legal Highlander
Cost: $20
Prize Support: At the very least, you’ll receive a participation promo pack, and $20 worth of booster packs. AEG also donates a prize kit, and the Portland L5R crew has been known to come up with some fairly unique items to give away :D
Venue: Guardian Games has over 10,000 sq ft of gaming space, any game or accessory you could possible want, and a 21 and over room with alcoholic beverages served. (Chris Enns will receive a free beverage of his choice from the TO for winning the Drunken Master award at our last Winter Court event.)

From AEG, here is the most recent update of keywords available to pick for this tournament:
Flavor Traits of Choice:

  • Scion of Flame
  • Scion of Stone
  • Scion of Wind
  • Scion of the Sea – No longer available – 11/9 – Univers Parallèle, France – Bruno Molinié with Phoenix Clan
  • Scion of the Void
  • The Masked [Clan Name]
  • Lord of Blades – No longer available – 11/8 – Austin, Texas – Daniel Landrum with Crab Clan
  • Child of Prophecy
  • Scourge of Darkness -No longer available – 9/21 – Atlantic City, NJ – Joshua Jonas won with Crane Clan
  • Sinner – No longer available – 10/12 – Nuremberg, Germany – Christian Wolf won with Unaligned/Oni

I look forward to hearing who might be able to attend this.

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Portland Kotei 2013

Andrew Ornatov (Spider Ninjas) vs. Tan Ahmad (Mantis Enlightenment) face off in the top 4.







More to come …

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Torn Asunder Previews

Today we have two new previews from Torn Asunder: Green Lake Dojo & Forgotten Teachings

Green Lake Dojo
2 Gold Cost
Bow this card: Produce 2 gold.
Open: Bow this card, destroy it if it is your turn, and target a personality: Give him Cavalry.
“And what is taught here Shichiro-sama?” “Cavalry tactics.” the sensei replied. Moshi Ira looked around. “I see no horses.” Shichiro smiled.


Forgotten Teachings
0 Gold Cost
4 Focus Value
Open: Target another players sensei personality: Remove all traits and abilities from him (this turn).
“The young learn too late that they ought to learn from the past.
-Moto Taha”

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Upcoming Events at Guardian Games

The Portland L5R team will be hosting the following events at Guardian Games: Continue reading

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The Shadow’s Embrace Previews

We are very excited to bring you two exclusive previews from The Shadow’s Embrace: Pure Strike Blade & Deep Roots

Pure Strike Blade
6 Gold Cost
+5 Force/+1 Chi
3 Focus Value
“It is a wonderfully crafted weapon, devoid of any blessings or enchantments. Those who face it in battle swear otherwise.”








Deep Roots
0 Gold Cost
2 Focus Value
Battle: Choose your performing Personality with 7 or more base Force: Negate all current and new Force penalties on him and effects which prevent him from contributing Force. He contributes Force even while bowed.
“If you hit me one more time,” he said mildly, “I might lose my temper.”


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A Matter of Time

I am painfully aware that it has been far too long since this blog has been updated with a Table Talk article. Rather than offering apologies for the limited time I have had to post here, let me just say that it is this shortness of time which has inspired this article.
Continue reading

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Embers of War Previews

We are very excited to bring you two Embers of War previews today: Preceding Reputation & Preserving Forces

Preserving Forces
0 Gold Cost
As a Focus Effect: Before your Personality in this duel is destroyed for losing it, you may destroy one of his Followers; if you did, negate his destruction.
Open: Target one or two Followers in your discard pile: Put them into your hand.
“I will say this for the Scorpion,” Hida Horu said, “they know how to hold on in a fight. Almost like fighting alongside a Crab.”

Preserving Forces

Preceding Reputation
0 Gold Cost
Battle: Choose your performing unbowed Personality and target an enemy personality with fewer keywords, ignoring “Soul of” keywords: Bow all cards without attachments in his unit.
“Back! Back! Out of the way! Heimin fools, don’t you know who I am!?”

Preceding Reputation

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