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The Spirit Wars

Fecha de la publicación: 11/11/2022
Check our stock of The Spirit Wars HERE.
The Spirit Wars was a large set. 199 new cards, plus 35 starter reprints. Two cards had variants, a misprint in fact, when the fate and dynasty backs reversed: «Doji Meihu» and «Sanctified Temple«.
Lots of things go dangerously wrong, in Rokugan AND the real world!
A small video game publisher had a game with a very similar title, and threatened Wizards of the Coast with a lawsuit. This was just barely a nuisance lawsuit, destined to squeeze a little easy money out of the big company. As these things go, Wizards did the maths and decided to pay up, rather than surely spending way more money fighting it in court. Fortunately, the set was already sold, but it could no longer be referred to by its original name. In the future, whenever the story needed to be alluded to it would be «The War of Spirits» or «The War against the Spirits» if it was an in-game context. Out of game, it would be just «the Set That Shall Not Be Named».
Legend of the Five… Coins?
Way more important, there was an issue with the US Olympic Comitte, who had the sole rights for ANY composition featuring five interlocked rings. This mandated a change of the logo of the game and the card backs with it. This alone, could have killed the game. Let’s consider that, as aberrant as it may look to us now, back in year 2000 playing with opaque sleeves was not the commonplace practice it is today; rather ir something reserved maybe for high profile tournaments with more strict rules. But, for friendly games, playing with cheap, clear penny sleeves at best was the norm. From this time on, mixing cards for The Spirit Wars on, and those that came before, would mean that you had a marked deck. WotC/FRPG tried to sweeten the pill by including opaque sleeves in every Spirit Wars starter. Also, they were nice  sleeves, too.
A Stronghold too spirited
Finally, the Spirits came. As far back as the first expansion of the game, Personalities with the «Spirit» trait had been part of the game and lore. But during the second half of the Hidden Emperor arc, we had been getting more and more Spirits in the form of ancestors coming back for the afterworld, which would be the root for the Spirt Wars confilct. So in this set Spirits became a playable faction with «The Shrine of Spirits» Stronghold. It started with six provinces, and drew one extra fate card every turn. To offset this, their province strength was zero, and Events wouldn’t resolve for them. But those penalties simply didn’t balance the benefits, and Spirits became an overwhelming force.
Tainted Jade
Was this deliberate? The change to Jade legality had been difficult to implement. People wanted to play with all their cards; after all, this was the game that at some point (not so way back, either) proudly advertised as «0 resticted, 0 banned» cards. Most players didn’t like «strict Jade,» and the «extended Jade» format was arguably more popular. Maybe they didn’t want this to happen with the coming Gold format, prefering a cleaner slate, Maybe the Spirits stronghold was a way to play «scorched earth» with the Jade environment, pre-empting any extended Gold format from being born at all?
The story
The storyline of the set is an unusual one. It takes place over a decade or more. For reference, this was waaay more that it took a regular arc, like the Clan War, or The Hidden Emperor, or any other that came afterwards. As a result there was much action, many events, packed in one single set. This, combined with the aforementioned rights issue, that had AEG walking on egg-shells around the set, forced to avoid any direct references, made sorting what happened during this era… challenging to say the least.
An high value set
Despite all these problems, this set is highly prized. Many distributos underordered, not wanting to risk getting caught with dead stock of a dead game, and much of that stock ended being destroyed so it is relatively rare compared to other sets from that era.
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