by Bryan Reese
Hello Shadows of Rokugan!
Let’s take a stroll together through the halls of the Shadowed Estate of the Scorpion, and talk about what is truly at the heart of this Great Clan: Control.
Many will claim that the heart of our beloved Scorpion Clan is dishonor, but to that I must disagree! In my view, it is not dishonor, but controlling our enemies to which we excel. Now often this will go hand in hand with showing all what dishonorable scum our enemies truly are. But it does not necessarily have to be so. Controlling our enemies so they are less equipped to withstanding our attacks is another way in which Scorpions flex their muscle.
And control we do. Let’s take a look at the abilities of this hall we find ourselves walking in. We have the ability to find the secrets of our enemies and stop them from being used. This ability to shut down our opponent’s abilities is a fantastic form of control, and it scales so wonderfully with your ability as a player. For most players, you can simply name a card in play and turn off its abilities, which is fantastic. But as you get better and better and learn the environment more, you can start predicting which fate cards your opponent will have in his hand. Now you have an increased ability to control your opponent. Either you can continue to lock down the abilities he has in play, or you can lock down cards in his Fate hand that are potentially more problematic. I personally LOVE the way this Stronghold naturally scales with your abilities as a player, and is a perfect representation of the Scorpion.
Now let’s turn down this other hall and see what other tools we have at our disposal.
Now we have even more tools to control your opponent, this time through a reduced hand size. Pro tip: Players will not necessarily be used to playing against Scorpion, so make sure you stay on top of their hand size. You might find your opponents unintentionally keeping an extra card in their hand.
As you can see, the Shadowed Estate of the Scorpion allows for a lot of control, but does not force you to play in any specific direction. And this was our goal for the Clan Theme of Scorpion. We want to give you tools to take this in the direction you want to. If this is dishonor, you obviously will have those tools available to you. If it is a military path you prefer, the Stronghold aligns to that wonderfully. Whether it is stopping the Ranged Attack on their defender, or stopping their Entrenched Position from cancelling your Sneak Attack, you will find the flexibility of this Stronghold to be superb. If you want to get off a real tech play, name Entrenched Position when you *don’t* have a Sneak Attack in your hand. J Now this is the Way of the Scorpion.
And what are the Scorpion without that lovable, rambunctious Sociopath, Bayushi Nitoshi.
As you can see, he continues the control theme of Scorpion quite well. He has really solid stats for his cost. In Ivory Edition, it is quite difficult to deal with a 5/5 Personality. He has some fantastic keywords in Courtier, Ninja, and Samurai. He gives you a second use of your Stronghold’s ability, which is very, very powerful. And lastly, he dishonors an enemy for free, and can do so both in battle and out. So if you wish to use your action phase tricks he can do that, but if you want to use your battle phase tricks to control your opponent’s dishonorable Personalities in battle, he can do that too. Even a military Scorpion deck can find some good control options for facing down the dishonorable in battle. Here is a fun trick. Name Entrenched Position with your Stronghold, then attack an Honor player with Bayushi Nitoshi. Watch him cringe as he tries to make the decision on whether to defend or not.
This is simply another way in which the Scorpion player will be able to control his opponent. As the remainder of your themes roll out, continue to look for this theme of control throughout them. While Ivory Edition may not allow you to lock opponents out of the game as Scorpion could in days past, it does allow you some very good control options, setting up strong board positions for which you may take advantage.
For now, just remember. I can swim.