Chapter 8 of Learning L5R
Playing the Unicorn Clan

Welcome to Rokugan! Learning L5R is a series of videos and blogs to help you jump straight into the action of the Legend of the Five Rings LCG as soon as you get your Core Sets. If you are new to the Learning L5R series, we recommend that you start by reading Chapter 1: A How to Play Guide for New L5R Players.

The Unicorn Clan

Re-integrating into society after a mysterious, nomadic history, the Unicorn Clan is known for their unrivaled horsemanship and Meishodo magic (a form which does not call upon the kami).

Below is an intermediate deck list built from three Core Sets. The deck imports a few critical cards from the Lion Clan in accordance with the Influence mechanic found in the rulebook. If you would like to construct a more basic Unicorn Clan deck for your first few games,we recommend watching the Core Set Deck Building video in Chapter 1: A How to Play Guide for New L5R Players.

Stronghold: Golden Plains Outpost

Provinces:
Ancestral Lands (Earth)
Fertile Fields (Air)
Endless Plains (Water)
Meditations on the Tao (Fire)
Pilgrimage (Void)

Dynasty Deck:
3 x Seppun Guardsman
3 x Utaku Infantry
3 x Moto Youth
2 x Otomo Courtier
3 x Border Rider
3 x Aggressive Moto
3 x Meishodo Wielder
3 x Shinjo Outrider
3 x Warrior Poet
3 x Utaku Yumino
3 x Giver of Gifts
3 x Ide Trader
2 x Moto Horde
2 x Shinjo Tatsuo
3 x Shinjo Altansarnai

Conflict Deck:
3 x Bonzai!
1 x Way of the Unicorn
3 x Captive Audience
3 x Assassination
3 x Fine Katana
3 x Ornate Fan
3 x I Am Ready
3 x Rout
3 x Charge!
3 x Favored Mount
3 x Iuchi Wayfinder
3 x Spyglass
3 x Born in War
3 x Cavalry Reserves
2 x Vengeful Oathkeeper (2 influence each)
2 x For Greater Glory (3 influence each)

Given their nomadic history, one undeniable strength of the Unicorn Clan is mobility. Their stronghold has one of the most potent abilities in the game, allowing you to to move a Cavalry character directly into a military conflict. This signals one of the chief advantages of Unicorn – their ability to assert pressure without overcommitting to any one conflict.

In addition to their stronghold ability, the Unicorn have characters like Shinjo Tatsuo and the Shinjo Outrider that further manipulate conflicts through movement. These effects combined with the benefits of the Ide Trader and Spyglass create significant advantage as characters reinforce or retreat. With Giver of Gifts, Unicorn even have a way of moving their attachments!

This freedom allows Unicorn to break provinces and trigger powerful ring effects when their opponent’s do not – or cannot – properly defend against the possibility. A seemingly unthreatening attack often turns into a horde of cavalry riding over the hill to burn down a province or stronghold – something that I have personally witnessed all too often, especially after a surprise Cavalry Reserves! Along with their advanced movement, characters like the Border Rider (who can ready with an action) and events like I Am Ready (which lets you remove a fate from a character to ready) create even more unpredictability and give Unicorn the ability to capitalize on every opportunity.

Understanding the rings that can hurt your enemy the most is critical to successfully winning with the Unicorn Clan. Without a specific enemy in mind, they tend to favor the Water and Earth ring types. Water lets them press their innate advantages by readying one of their characters or bowing an enemy, while Earth removes an opponent’s ability to react to shifting Unicorn tactics with conflict cards. The former can be especially problematic, as a single Unicorn warrior can threaten to bow an opponent’s heavy hitter, then simply leave or call in reinforcements.

The two most notable traits in the Unicorn deck are Cavalry and Bushi. The dynasty deck above includes twenty-nine Bushi characters, so Lion is a natural splash. For Greater Glory, which lets you add a fate to each attacking Bushi when you break a province during a military challenge, is absolutely perfect. Since Unicorn can reinforce when and where needed, triggering the effect is not difficult, and the board advantage is absurd!

You can watch this deck in action against the Dragon Clan in the gameplay video below!

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