Invitational Player Preview - LTMechanicus Crane Daimyo
Crane LTMechanicus (bitmetal on Twitch) was an early Crane leader from Ohio USA who has also recently expanded into joining the casting team for the Discord League games on Twitch. Joining the league right at the beginning (a league id of 18!) Luke's early prominence was gained from a strong showing in the first season with a 5-1 in the playoff stages
wins vs Keiken , Elmios , Zetsubou , Lion bill.jr and Crab JoeFromCincinnatti
losses vs Scorpion Argelius
Season one split to a top 16 and it was a topsy turvey top cut. This was three core territory and players were still getting their feet on how to even play the game (along with understanding TTS which was how the Season one games were played). The Top 16 for season one was notorious in that almost every high seed was knocked out by the equivalent low seed - with one noticeable exception in Luke. With a rating of 1731 he sat in the top half of the pairings but still won through
T16 beating Phoenix Shiba Travis 
T8 beating Scorpion qkieu 
T4 beating Crab JoeFromCincinnati (again) 
T2 beating Lion bill.jr (again) 
Bill.jr was the epitomatic underdog of Season One smashing his way to the top. Luke was a deserved winner which took his rating up to a top 3 value of 1900
Pre-season Start Rating 1900
During the pre-season the next arc started to come out and Crane began to suffer. Whereas it was one of the strongest clans in the three core set several of the upper tier clans gained cards that pushed them much higher and made their decks much stronger whereas Crane gained more of the same. Crane began a stage where it could win but to win the Crane player needed to play perfectly and make zero mistakes plus be slightly lucky. This caused many high ranking Crane's to face much more adverse gaming conditions.
Luke went 3-2 in the preseason
wins vs Lion TheGReatWestie , Scorpion Shosuro Wild  and Crab Yageru 
losses vs Dragon MindsDesire  and old Lion opponent Bill.jr 
The loss to bill.jr would not have hurt but the loss to MindsDesire certainly did and the pre-season end rating was a lower 1798.
Season 2 Start Rating 1798
The meta shakeup had not settled at this point and Luke went 2nd in pod with a 5-2 record
wins vs Crab HidaYama , Crane Aki , Phoenix Dahrasz , Unicorn Quindo , Crab action_johnny 
losses vs Lion The Littlest Weeb  and Crane Chutereve
The ratiings end season stayed stable dropping slightly to 1758
Season 2 Cup
This did not go so well with a top 64 loss to Lion sruman 
Season 3 Start Rating 1728
By the time Season 3 rolled around the meta was starting to stabalize the new deadly Scorpion AFWTD deck was not only well known it was also common as many other players jumped on the bandwagon. Conversly the other clans had not worked out how to beat that deck. Season 3 therefore showed enormous Scorpion dominance through pods and cup. Luke had a bit of a mare in this one with a 2-4 actual rating (3-4 with drops) meaning he failed to get to the cup for the first time
wins vs Dragon OzilGoazil  and Scorpion Shoruro Kiseki 
losses vs Unicorn Ide Leenath , Phoenix Shiba Inu , Scorpion Wosho  and Scorpion Yaba 
Being a tab unfortunate to be in a pod with three Scorpions Luke went down to two (one also being a lower ranked 1384) which dived his rating
Season 4 Start Rating 1580
Luke was then unlucky to be placed in a pod with a vast number of drops. He managed a 2-1 actual rating (6-1 with drops!) which was enough for 2nd place.
wins vs Crab Raulendymion  and Scorpion Adam H 
losses vs Scorpion Mechmage 
Season 4 Cup
Back in the cup but due to the low number of wins due to the drops was badly seeded and faced a hard first game which was lost
T64 lost to Phoenix fleepa0 
Season 5 Start Rating 1585
For season 5 Luke switched to Dragon which is a very different type of play experience but someone that is much more forgiving than Crane which was promptly shown by a 1st place finish with a 4-1 actual (6-1 with drops)
wins vs Zombiecorn acecase , Crane K3NSHIN , Phoenix LGB , Scorpion Adam H 
lost to Crab Yanted 
Season 5 Cup
Better seeding meant hopefully an easier first match though meeting last season finalist Toreadory could have been sucky.
T64 beat Lion Toreadory 
T32 lost to Crab ZELIOSisback
Luke gains placement in the Invitational due to his cup win. He did not join the LCQ due to this.
He was also kind enough to answer a basic questionnaire on the game which should make his player review a bit more interesting than the ratings/results vomit that a lot of them will end up being…
Did you play a lot of Original L5R? and if so how long/when
I played no O5R. I tried to learn it a few times but it never stuck. I was very excited when the new L5R edition was announced.
Do/have you played other competitive card games at a high level?
Before L5R, I played a lot of Android: Netrunner and sealed MTG formats.
What were your experiences of the Discord League – any highlights ?
I've been on the Discord server since before Gen Con and it has really stoked my interest in the game.
I find that the discord league community is miles ahead of most local scenes, so it is really the best way to stay prepared for Kotei-level events. My favorite part of L5R is watching fellow discordians do well at Koteis, and practicing with others before my own events.
Do you have any advice for the other lower ranked players?
L5R is a dynamic game that gives people the opportunity to see most of their cards before they ultimately lose. Take the time to think holistically about your game plan and try to find the best sequence of plays that gives you the most value out of your cards, while dodging what your opponent is likely to have (which will be every potential card in their deck at some point in the game, more often than not). Try not to lose with "extra" honor, fate, cards, or provinces that you haven't exhausted.
What is there that you like/dislike about new L5R and what would you like (or not like) to see moving forward.
I think the honor bidding mechanics and the temporary character mechanics are what set this game apart from other LCG/CCG options. As long as they can find a way to create a game where your dial choices and character-buying choices are meaningful, I think the game will stay strong.
What are your favourite/least favourite matchups?
When I'm playing Crane, I don't really enjoy playing against other Cranes as it just feels a bit masochistic. I think scoprion is an interesting matchup, as the two clans cards interact with each other quite a lot.
So thank you to Luke for taking the time to provide that extra info and good luck in the tournament.