Are Theme Cards a bad thing?

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Joined: 17/07/2018
Are Theme Cards a bad thing?

Hello everyone, hello GCT

1. Are Theme Cards a bad thing?

On the first thought, they are very cool. Your clan gets specialized and stronger. You have new ways to play with your models. And just over all more fluff and fun.

But, with the exclusion of models in the themed clans, like Ronins. You are forced to decide to either play a strong theme based clan with a lot of additional stuff and get a better this bonus to win. Or just play for fun with the models you like and combine them without the theme restrictions. So without the themes there would be more diversity on the table.

2. Am I wrong, what do you think?

3. Did anybody ever win a tournament without having a theme based list and also a some Ronin models in it?

When you decide that you like theme based clans, you have to think about which model to buy for it. You need to check Theme Cards in the Special Card Packs. So you need to purchase the cards in advance just to which miniatures fit the restrictions. That's very bad considering, that GCT has all the other Profile cards and rules online for free. (Thanks for that, I still bought the rule book! Its just beautiful. Your miniatures as well!)

I don't need to get the Enhancement, or Event Cards for free. In fact I would just like to order the Special Card Pack at the same time with all the miniatures, but for the moment that's not possible. We can already find the changes in the Errata, so....

4. Why can't we have the Theme Cards online or at least just in writing to know what they do?

Looking forward to the comments.



Ret-A_Palmer's picture
Joined: 15/05/2013

1.) I'd dispute your conclusion.  You can look at card games as basically much faster iterations of wargaming, and netdecking happens extremely quickly.  MtG or Hearthstone are both good for gathering sample data on player behaviour.  Without additional impetous for players to move from some tournament winning warband they saw on the internet, you'll see stagnation in warband design very quickly.

Ronin profiles are generally much better than faction profiles in power:rice cost ratio.  The Kappa has absurdly good stats for a 6 rice profile.  Toshiro is a game changer, wait until you see the Cult warbands you can build around him.  The Blood Brothers and Sworn Sisters all do their things very well.  I'm pretty sure the Sworn Sisters might have the highest skill ceiling in the game.  Yukio allows any samurai clan to be able to play control.  There are still some weaker ronin profiles, but that's all under Risen Sun testing.

So it basically comes down to cost analysis for the individual player: do I want theme benefits or do I want options/individually powerful profiles?

2.) See 1.

3.) Hmm, since the release of themes, Colin Tough won the BonesCon Masters with a themeless Savage Wave warband.  No ronin, but Wave has the weakest ronin options I think.  Not sure if Chris Hales' bakemono horde is themed or not since it has Hiretsuna.

4.) Not sure.  Will bring it up next time I meet GCT in person next year.  I'm sure I brought it up before, but then everyone got drunk so I don't remember the conclusion.

Joined: 17/07/2018

Thx, for the answers. I'm always happy to learn new things.

In this case especially, because I would love to test new clans with ronin combinations and just having fun to play a unique clan and still beeing able to win. I love this game, for me it brought the fun back in tabletop gaming. I played 40k for way too long. There you need to play meta for a win. Glad, that this isn't the case in Bushido. I hope it will never be.


Ret-dgraz's picture
Joined: 22/05/2011

Granted my meta isn't too big but we don't even discuss any kind of "global meta". I have played a lot of different games and I've always seen those kinds of "net-list" discussions and I just don't see it here. I think every faction has multiple ways to do things so there isn't really specific models that are auto-includes. There are some that everybody likes, but I see plenty of lists that don't include them. It's very nice.


@Palmer...your #4 answer is golden!

Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints.

Joined: 27/11/2017

My personal tought: at firse glance, I liked them VERY much. Specializing your band and giving them some advantages, why not? After saying I play Ito, there are my thoughts after some games...

1) Themed or Vanilla?

Ronin are good, but every model in Bushido has a deep gamplay so before you choose to explore the others, I think you prefer to give a chance to anything else. 

But after this: Ronin are maybe underpriced (and it's ok, or they would be unnoticed), but you can get a really huge boost to the others if you play a theme. In the Blessed theme you have really good benefits and a good range of models to choose without really losing some tactical opportunities, and you pay 0 for this.

2) One or the Other?

Yes, Ronin are good stuff. But you pay for them, even when they are good.

You don't really pay for a "good" theme: it is "good" when the drawbacks of your choices are little if compared to benefits. When you play lord of Izu you aren't benefit of some of your Clan strength while the Blessed don't really get you lose something essenthial by giving better benefits.

So, you are pushed to choose the stronger theme when you play.

3) Reserved Profiles

Why Ito Samurais fight only in the lords of Izu theme? Why they don't fight with Imperials, Ronins or even their mutated allies? Why Itsunagi, Masunagi and Satoshi do it?

Why Temple Bushi (not temple asp) or Jade Mamba Guards don't fight in The Blessed theme? I suppose Bushi (from Temple) often follows their Shisai, and JMG are supposed to be their bodyguard.

It seems to me that alternative profiles are here to recover a theme for a major loss, for example Ito Samurais are cheap, and Temple Asp are there because Blessed - at the time - don't have any average fighter to put in.

I like alternative profile where they are a better version of an obsolete one (Akimoto), but not when they are really reserved to a single playstyle.



To me, themes shoud be "acquired" like other cards: they also have some limitations, but a theme could be some benefits by pushing the player to do some choices. For example, the Blessed have a bonus to Shisai, one first turn bonus to all models, and another one every turn for a single model. You can give benefit to all Shisai with a 2 Rice Event (the more Shisai you get, the better the bonus, so you won't pay 2 rice unless is a good one), a first turn bonus for 2 Rice but applicable only to BoO ones (so you get it ONLY if you want to benefit from it), and the last could be acquired for a number of turns by paying some Rice, and applicable only to BoO models too, but ony if you have the other two and no Ronin.

In that way, you could spend tons of Rice by getting good bonuses, but you could include other models as well: the more your list becomes "blessed", the better it becomes. Obviously, to make them really effective - since you are paying them - you are pushed to include some models instead of others.


MistakeNot's picture
Joined: 21/10/2014

I love Themes, because when they came out I could add Nightmares of Jigoku and The Blessed to my usual Cult and Ito lists without any changes. Brothers and Sisters are themeless only, and its nice to have a reason to include our non-theme models. Mokoti in Cult is so lonely, usually.. and The Blessed did stop me from running the Kenzo/Kaihime/Masunagi Samurai pain train so that's a benefit probably.


I would like to see the Themes online, so I can plan my next armies without having to buy the card pack or borrowing from another local player.

Joined: 27/11/2017

Don't misunderstand, I always love "themes" that add more personality to a gameplay.

But not that way: I prefer to have MORE themes, but LESS model included. Something like a theme centered on single characters or defined for some of them: something like Princesses or BB, where every model add their feats to the group, and them increase their strength while they are together.


I read about a Ryu girl that hates Itsunagi: I'd like to see this represented in the game, add a narrative depth to your models; a theme like "blessed" could be "Temple of Oorochi" and based upon Shisai, Acolytes and Snakes as core, leaving other models to player's feelings. So, it could be done by spending 50% of the list to some models to gain certain bonuses, or giving some bonuses to the ideal models and a debuff to the others. Like having 2 more BoO points, but assuming the opponent put a Poison token on one of yours each turn: yes you can go Itsunagi even in the blessed, but your opponent would poison him to death.


Or even, some themes based upon a single personality: representing the Itsunagi arrogance, a theme based upon him where other named models gets a debuff (like beginning tired by starting near itsu) while he gets some support abilities on unnamed or expensive models (tactician and command for example, and/or a PathFinder feat): this would push you to make a list that represent the arrogance of a single, really reducing your choices and giving some tricky ways to include everything you want to.

Joined: 24/10/2017

I really like theme because it's like play some kind of ''story list''.

In the cult i'd the army of death kirai list and the army of nightmare. It adds so much lore.

What is needed is just some balance and fix and faq here and there to balance them or fix some strange inclusion/exclusion.

And of course if u theme you cannot use ronin  and that balance some Ronin overpowered profile. (WTF this KAPPA model is totally out of balance BRO)

This is important because otherwise, without some limit on the army composition everyone are going to pick just the best theme and use the best profile from your army and ronin.

So in the end i think theme are very good and add variation and multiple way to play your army than the ''stardard best list''.