by Gaël Schmidt Cléach
Hail, Defenders of Rokugan!
Welcome to the Impregnable Fortress of the Crab, where our brethren train tirelessly to guard the Empire against the threat of the Shadowlands. If you are here, surely it is because you want to know more about our Clan’s strengths.
Since the dawn of the Empire, the duty of the Crab Clan has been to protect Rokugan from its enemies in the south. For over a thousand years we have stood guard, patrolling the Great Carpenter Wall, pushing back wave after wave of oni, goblins, and other denizens of the Shadowlands. Our might is unparalleled, regardless of what the Lion or the Unicorn would have you believe.
We are a simple Clan, and this simplicity is reflected in our Stronghold. One trait is all we have, but one trait is all we need. We don’t play games in the courts like the Crane and the Scorpion, we don’t feel the need to show off our tactical prowess like the Lion. We rely on our strength to carry us through the day, and it always does. The Force bonus our Stronghold gives us while opposed is, of course, very helpful when it comes to winning battles, but it is also a way to protect us; when your enemies rely on Ranged or Melee Attacks to dispatch your bushi, what looks like a meager +1F bonus will often be enough to neutralize many of their actions, especially given the already considerable size of many of our warriors. The beauty of it is that it works just as well if you decide to go for swarm tactics instead, giving you a larger bonus and still providing your Personalities with a measure of protection.
As guardians of the wall, we are used to being on the defensive. When the opponent is faster than us, we just wait for him to overextend himself, then we crush him. With a Province Strength of 9 when going second (the highest in the game, tied only with Lion when they go second, which will rarely happen), we have all the tools we need to do just that.
The Impregnable Fortress of the Crab is a deceptively simple Stronghold. Its trait is rarely going to be useless. Few, if any, are the decks in Ivory that can afford not to go to battle, and most battle actions care about every point of force. The +1F bonus will disrupt most battle actions. The Stronghold obviously favors military decks, which have always been the Crab’s forte, but that Province Strength boost is going to come in handy regardless of what deck you’re playing, and the Force bonus will help your defenders survive even if you never declare a single attack.
Strength and resilience, that is the Crab’s Way, and no one knows it better than their Champion, Hida Kisada.
The Little Bear is everything you could ask for in a Crab. As a 5F/5C Personality, he will be extremely difficult to deal with, and his Tactician keyword can help make him even more formidable. If that wasn’t enough, he also has two traits and an ability that are all about protecting his own, and synergize very well with your Stronghold. With Kisada in play, your Provinces will reach 10 Strength if you went second, forcing your military opponents to commit more troops to attack than they might be comfortable with. Kisada’s second trait will make life even more difficult for your opponents, especially together with your Stronghold’s Force bonus, drastically reducing the effectiveness of many of their Battle actions; with Kisada in play, even a 2F Crab will be safe from a Ranged 3 Attack! Finally, his ability will protect your warriors from bow effects during battle, or give you one more defender after an attack (like, say, Kisada himself).
The Crab are all about resilience, about making sure that they outlast the opponent, and both their Stronghold and Champion help do just that. They may no longer have access to the huge Berserkers that wreaked havoc on their enemies during the Emperor arc, or to the free Follower protection granted by Kyuden Hida, but don’t get it wrong, they are still a force to be reckoned with.