The Story Behind the Card
Every story has that moment. The moment where the decision is made and the story is changed forever. This was the theme we decided to go with for L5R’s 10,000th card, The Deciding Moment. However, with 17 years of history, there are simply too many great stories to make one single card.
Thus we decided to make multiple versions of the card, each with its own flavor text and art. The art would be drawn by iconic artists of Legend of the Five Rings across the history of the game; each version would reflects the player involvement in the game and the shaping of the L5R storyline for 17 years. We were only left with picking which moment we wanted to depict and as L5R is the interactive Storyline Game, we chose to represent in card form the deciding moment of each major storyline arc the game has known, as well as add both the name of the arc and the moment as a side credit to the card.
In reverse chronological order, here are the selected moments.
- The Battle of the Gods. Celestial Arc: The Destroyer War. It represents the moment when Kali-Ma and Fu Leng fight each other to the death, resulting in the creation of the Second Wall and the start of the Age of Conquest.
- The Ascension of Iweko. Samurai Arc: The Race for the Throne. This version represents the culmination of all the players’ hard work fighting for their clan, leading to the ascension of Kitsuki Iweko as Empress Iweko the First, chosen by the Heavens through its representatives: the Obsidian and the Jade Oracles.
- The Khan’s March. Lotus Arc: Age of Enlightenment. This represents the moment when Moto Chagatai, Khan of the Unicorn Clan makes the decision to march on Toshi Ranbo during the Winter and take the throne.
- The Return of Kisada. Diamond Arc: Rain of Blood. The victory of Salman Barakat at the World Championships in 2004 resurrected Hida Kisada who came back through Oblivion’s Gate to stop Iuchiban and his Bloodspeakers in their attempt to subdue to Empire.
- The Sacrifice of Tsudao. Gold Arc: The Four Winds. The four children of Toturi fought and struggled over whom should succeed their father after his untimely death. The World Championships in 2003 resolved this conflict when Bryan Reese came out victorious leading to Hantei Naseru taking the throne while Toturi Tsudao selflessly sacrificed herself in the struggle against the Dark Lord Daigotsu in the City of the Lost.
- The Birth of the Shadow Dragon. Jade Arc: The Hidden Emperor. The victory of Justin Walsh at the 2000 World Championships saw the Air Dragon corrupted and mutated into the hideous beast now known as the Shadow Dragon. This transformation has had many consequences on the Empire of Rokugan, some of which have still yet to be seen.
- The Second Day of Thunder. Imperial Arc: The Clan Wars. On the Second Day of Thunder, Seven Thunders from Seven Clans came together to fight and destroy the Emperor Hantei XXXVIII, possessed by Fu Leng, the Dark Kami. As the other Thunders are fighting the Dark God, Mirumoto Hitomi must decide whether or not to open the 12th Black Scroll and change the Empire forever.
- The Celestial Court. This card is made for the time before the game, the Pre-Imperial Arc, when the original members of AEG decided to make a game about samurai. This deciding moment has changed all of our lives forever.
The full art for each of those versions will be unveiled the first week of every month starting July 2012 in a special article which will also outline in more detailed fashion how the moment came to be (who made it happen, if you will), how the card will be distributed and how the art was created.
The Card Itself
When we decided upon the theme The Deciding Moment, Design was tasked with creating a card that would best represent this idea. First we had to decide what type of card The Deciding Moment would be. Most of the card types immediately remove themselves from contention, leaving the two best options as a Strategy or Event. Both have equal merit and both could represent our theme well. Ultimately it was decided that we should make the card a Strategy card as it offered more design room.
Once this was decided, it was time to work on the mechanics. We wanted it to be unique, as we felt that best represented the idea of a single point in time when a decision must be made to alter the course of history. We also wanted most decks to be able to play the card, and all decks to at least consider playing it. In a vacuum, this is really easy to accomplish. “Open: Draw 2 cards” would be a card that was played for the rest of time. However, it is dull, not representative of the theme, and simply would make the card an auto-include in every deck, something we did not want. So we started thinking about what all of these moments have in common and the common theme was some sort of fight or struggle. This made us decide that this should be a card themed in favor of a military deck. While this does not cover every type of deck out there in the way “Open: Draw 2 cards” does, military decks do comprise of a large portion of the environment.
The next step was coming up with a mechanic that best represented The Deciding Moment. This moment is the moment when everything has gone haywire and it looks like you are about to lose. The moment when decisive actions are needed to change the course and pull out victory for the good guys. When one brilliant strategy is implemented to turn the tide of battle.
Using this as inspiration, Bryan designed the card as you see it. The Limited action is unplayable until the moment before your opponent is about to win. It is at that time that you may play this card, gather some more forces, and make one last final charge on your enemies. You will notice this only works against honor, dishonor, and enlightenment victories. The reality is that there is no equivalent trigger that remains relevant against a military victory condition. So to make sure this card was not blank when facing a military player, Bryan gave it the ability to cycle itself away, getting you to the next card in your deck to help you fight and defeat your opponent.
The end result is a good card that will be of great help to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat that represents well the theme of The Deciding Moment.
You also have undoubtedly noticed that the card has a special frame. The 10,000th card in any card game is a significant milestone, one we wanted to make stand out to all our players and what better way than to create a specific frame for it. L5R used to have one frame per expansion and while that has been rendered unnecessary due to the abbreviation of the set in the bottom credits, it is something we want to get back to for special occasions such as this one.
Get your Copy!
In the past, milestone cards have been tied to a very specific event, making them difficult to acquire for anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to attend said event. Combined with the fact that such cards can be powerful and you get in a situation where secondary prices are driven too high for most players.
Since the card was designed with multiple decktypes and multiple artworks in mind, we decided to tie each version of the card to a specific release in the 2012 calendar, the year during which the 10,000th card would be officially release, in order to allow the largest number of players around the world to get their hands on a copy (and quite feasibly multiple copies if they so choose).
Here is the rundown of those methods of distribution:
- The Battle of the Gods. A copy of the card featuring that artwork will be sent to all Imperial Assembly Members.
- The Ascension of Iweko. Given to all attendees of the 10K celebratory events during the Summer Convention tournaments (GenCon, European Championships, PacRim Championships, South American Championships).
- The Khan’s March. A copy of that card will be included in every purchase of the 2012 Holiday Pack.
- The Return of Kisada. This version will be sent to all the players who have their names on the Sword of Champions, the item that celebrates past World and European Champions.
- The Sacrifice of Tsudao. This version will be sent to the selfless volunteers who assist us year in and year out at major shows and dedicate their spare time to the game of L5R.
- The Birth of the Shadow Dragon. This copy of the card will be available in the expansion Seeds of Decay, releasing in September 2012.
- The Second Day of Thunder. A copy of this card will be given to all the participants in the level 1 GST 10K celebratory event held over the month of September.
- The Celestial Court. this copy is reserved for the past and present AEG employees and will be made accessible to the public through a special one time offer (as described below)
We are aware that collectors may want specific copies that will only be available in very limited quantity. Therefore, at the end of the year, we will be offering for a limited amount of time ALL 8 copies for purchase for 10,000 Koku.
Each copy of the card will also be available via monthly Facebook contest: starting July. Like and share our monthly article about the card and one lucky winner will earn his very own copy of that specific version!
Finally, if we break the 10,000 likes on our Facebook page, 1 player for each 1,000 likes will receive ALL 8 copies!