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New at hobby (Youko)

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I'm getting interested in the game and I'll start a band soon.

Ten thunders catch my eye and at the beginning I consider Misaki. Nice models, and easy and direct to play, perfect for a beginner.

Then I discover Youko, and... those kimonos! So Youko will be. But as beginner friendly Misaki is, Youko seems a nightmare.

My list will be: Youko, Chiyo, Bill, Hanamatsu, 3x geisha, 3x kunoichi.

I know that I could improve it with some versatiles but I want to keep it themed so I'll try to play it as it is.

Bill and Hanamatsu are the hammer.

Youko and Chiho control.

Kunoichis give me hand control and also some punch.

Geishas AP monkeys mostly

Any thoughts on how they'll play?

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Woo! You chose a Master with a high learning curve. The Kabuki Warrior and Bunraku are strong, but always better to start smaller given funds to learn the game. Some immediate thoughts as a Youko lover:

  • Youko, Unseen is generally stronger. If your group allows, give her a try a few games as a proxy.
  • Youko LOVES Soulstones, and you left yourself with only 2. Drop a Kunoichi for more stones and use them liberally to make Backroom Dealing triggers happen more reliably. 
    • Also with 3 Soulstone users, you will want more for damage reduction at the very least.
    • EDIT: I personally use upwards of 8 Stones with Yokuo.
  • For models without Armor, Hinamatsu is 'death by a thousand cuts' and the damage output is huge. But against armor, she really doesn't work well. She is also quite mobile, so be ready to use her for scheme running when needed (note, you don't need a "charge target" when you charge for further distance).
  • Bill has Heroic Intervention with Debt of Gratitude. In many situations, this makes him a Min-5 Damage attacker per attack. Quite brutal.
  • I am one of few people who like Geishas. For 4 points, the first turn you can Lure your own models forward to get them up the board faster. Mid/late game they can spam Sharp Wit to drop Slow on opponent's models (which the Geishas come with Distraction, giving enemies a negative flip against it). Geishas are also good for spreading that negative Willpower flip for Youko.
    • Nonethless, expect them to die, easily, in droves.
  • Kunoichi I personally do not like and rarely have gotten them to work well for me. Tools for the Job is great, but other than that, they don't do much for me at 6 points. Given the number of models you have, maybe use them as a buffer to protect your important models (Bill, Hinamatsu).
  • Chiyo will die, quickly and often. If you have an opponent who doesn't know better, you can get off her Misinformation attack. But generally, she is good for a few free Pass Tokens and scheme running and not even trying for Misinformation.
  • Riddles in the Dark looks so good on paper! But you'd be surprised how difficult it can be to balance your own control hand vs. the opponent to make it worthwhile. 


Now that said, if you end up enjoying the crew and keyword, definitely expand out to the Kabuki and the Bunraku. Kabuki gives you a lot more punch to the list, and the Bunraku drastically improve mobility and scheme running. If you want to buffer using Versatile models, you are in luck because Ten Thunders has some of the best Versatile models in the game and can generally shore up any weaknesses. But for your first group of games, just feel it out.

The one weakness you're going to have (from my experience) is against hard-hitting punchy lists, like Nekima. Youko1 likes to dance, play, control, and strategize. Nekima just takes the Mike Tyson approach of "everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face."

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Another model that I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned is Charm Warder.  I know that they are a little fragile for 7 soul stones but with Chi Tokens, they can be a little pesky to cheat against.  I'm also a big fan of the Chaos Theory action and against summoners obviously their usefulness increases.

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