Bushido: Minimoto Profiles – Blacksmiths, Bears, and Special Cards



Another model that confused me when I first jumped from Jung. He’s the “Leadership” Model, but he’s only 10 points? Coming from the leaders being the most expensive model, I couldn’t immediately see his role.

He also suffered from me overcompensating on constantly hearing about Minimoto’s resilience. No armor, no tough, just 7 health. This was the Kaizoku all over again, but with 1 less dice in melee.

Then I ran Finest Steel with Kami of the Evening Flame and it all clicked into place.

Durable until a member of your War Band is injured means he doesn’t have to worry about armor turn 1. Run with Kimiko and she can give him Durable[Ranged] Turn 2 as enemies start to close in (They’re still a ways off because you brought Blizzard as you always should). Then, with the Metal Totem, he’s Durable turn 3. Halfway through the game and he hasn’t had to worry about a thing.


There’s a reason his model is sitting on the ground: He wants to camp his ass on the center Objective or Zone. From there, he can hold his own defensively, and when there’s a wave of enemies converging on him, pop his Cleansing Flames. The 12” pulse means anyone that was contesting a centerline objective is now sitting on a fire Marker. Your non-Fire Immune Samurai will get it too, but chances are good they can take the one damage.

From there, the rest of the team goes to work stacking Fire on Fire on Fire. Nuan throws his molten metal around, keeping enemies at bay with his aura. Fire Kami giving Yuji and Tetsu Fire(1/1), or if they are in a congested area, remove them from play for fire (2) markers on models within 2” instead! Plus, all minimoto models will sit on +1 strength for the turn thanks to the theme. With the right dice rolls, you’ll have 2-3 fire markers on most of your opponent’s models, and they’ll be too exhausted to remove them.

All centered around a 10 rice model.


With 2 dice, Hauru is not your attacker. Even Durable, you’ll want to roll all defense, he’s not strong enough to waste that 1 all-out attack on. Endurance would have been nice, even for a few more rice, but just make sure you’re protecting an exhausted Hauru.

Leadership helps Minimoto immensely. All that Fear is kept at bay for the plethora of 1 Ki models Minimoto is sitting on. It’s a standard range of 6”, which for a faction that wants to spread out means you’ll have to be very careful about placement to fit everyone in or leave a few stragglers out in the cold.

His Specialist Knowledge ki feat gives Minimoto some armor cracking power, without having to dedicate rice to it at the start of the game. It’s handy, but depending on your meta, it might not see a ton of use if you’re not playing against a lot of armor. Complex action feel’s a little heavy. I would probably have paid more ki for a simple action, given how vulnerable Hauru is when exhausted, and using a Complex Action Turn 1 means he’s playing catch up most of the game.


I have not hated painting any model in Bushido more than Nuan, until the paint was dry. Then he became one of my favorites. I loved the sculpt, the flinging molten metal is gorgeous, down to the cooling shards that have turned back into rod shapes, the details are incredible. But Nuan himself is tough to not make monotone. Luckily, once the molten metal is painted, that draws the eye every time, making Nuan less of a focal point.


The best ranged model in Minimoto, and I’m not just saying that because he’s the only ranged model.

Like Hauru, 2 dice in melee means get out of melee and roll your defenses. He can get bogged down easily, so keeping him as a second man in will keep him safe. Using push attacks with Samurai and Ashigaru to get models out of BTB with Nuan, then flinging molten metal in their faces is satisfying. Pierce (2) +1 Strength, and Fire (1/2”) means this attack is going to hurt at close range. Ammo(4) is more than enough in most games. Takes a turn and a half to get Nuan into position, so even throwing everything you’ve got will take you to the middle of Turn 4, which is when combat starts to shift to melee anyway and you’d have to start expending effort into keeping him out of BTB. You can boost his range but don’t. If you have 3 ki, you should have cast Dashuhua.


At the start of your turn, does Nuan have 2 Ki? Cast Dashuhua. It is an instant, so you could wait and surprise your opponent with it, but it also helps you funnel models to choke points you control. They’ll see the 6” diameter Aura and do whatever they have to to avoid that Fire(2) marker. It makes him great at holding Zones, Objectives, or being your VIM.

Against Ranged lists, Fumeiryo can help shield vulnerable models like Hauru and Kimiko, but Nuan is so starved for Ki, he is often better off holding onto it.

Strap Nuan with the Fire Totem and watch the ticking time bomb go.

Fire Kami – Including these guys with the faction because they are too good not to use. Finest Steel lists clicked as soon as I dropped Kami of the Evening Flame into the mix. As described above, they are powerhouses that make hard hitters absolute crushers.

6 Speed, Cloudwalk, Agile, Evasive, in Minimoto is enough to put a smile on your face. These guys zip around to exactly where you want them, to boost your Samurai, or explode in your opponent’s face.

The one rare time you will hear me say you shouldn’t roll any defense dice, ever, with these guys. Fire(2) markers will do just as much damage as a good attack roll, so everything becomes a combo attack. Your attack lands, let’s say dealing 1 damage and giving them a fire (2) marker. They hit back, having never faced a fire kami before now they’ve got 2 Fire(2) markers. Attack a second time, this time they were smart and rolled all defense, but your attack still got through for another 1 damage and a fire (2) marker. They are now forced to wait to remove some of those fire markers at some point, or they’re going to take a total of 8 damage from this little guy. Their actual Combo Attack is extremely hard to get to work, but pick the right target that you can roll 1 dice vs 1 dice with, and you’ll certainly see results.

Every Samurai and Ashigaru will love getting and extra +1 strength and spitting out fire markers. Start stacking that with Finest Steels boost for models being removed, and you’ll see some disgusting strength on your samurai. 2 Kami in BTB at the start of the turn with Yuji, he’s now a +4. Let Nuan kamikaze with the Fire totem. Now he’s +5. Bait your opponent into killing both your fire Kami. +7. With the Metal Totem and durable, Yuji can be the last man standing, and at +7 Strength Durable, he will take out anyone who attacks him. This won’t help you if you’re down on scenario, but damn if it isn’t fun telling your opponent you’re about to roll dice +7 on a damage roll. They might win the game, but you won’t feel like you lost.


Tetsu – Does it matter what his profile is? He’s an armored bear. You’re going to use him. You’re going to love him. 


Like the Sharks in Jung, I made the mistake of using him too aggressively early on. His Charge Bonus is great for knocking a model Prone that’s already engaged with another model, not as useful as a solo missile. Aya is tied up with a Prefecture Ashigaru, Tetsu charges in knocks him prone. Now he’s prone, outnumbered, potentially frightened,  and going up against a Brutal(1) +2 attack. Depending on how many dice the enemy has left, probably 1, you can pay for Powerful Attack. 2 dice +brutal all in attack with a +7 damage roll, your opponent won’t survive to counter-attack. Say they get lucky with a 6 in defense so you’re rolling on 0. At +7, you’re going to still get damage in. Trigger Hasty Bear to give Tetsu his Bear’s Ferocity, and now they’re prone, outnumbered, stunned, and possibly frightened and exhausted for Aya to whale on. When they’re down anywhere between 3-5 dice, Aya will make quick work of anyone.

If you want Tetsu at his best, consider him a 21 rice model to add the Irokane Tetsubo to your roster. Bear Stands Alone is a bit of a distraction on Tetsu. He can hold out defensively with Armor(1), Tough(1), but if that’s what you’re looking for cheaper models do it even better. Paired up with any of the Ashigaru armed with the Irokane, Tetsu is a force to fear and while their attention is on the bear, the Ashigaru can take advantage of the distracted enemy,


He’s vulnerable to Range, so Kimiko dropping Durable on him is helpful early game. Seeing a bear on the table stands out to opponents, so they gravitate towards targeting the bear early. It’s part of the danger of launching him across the board early. Keep him close, pair him up, and draw enemies into the bear trap.

Special Cards

Minimoto’s special cards are where they shine. They have more auto-includes than you can actually bring, but even lists that have ~15 rice dedicated to special cards are viable.


Barge Past – Mobility for Minimoto is always welcome. Agile, Evasive, and a chance to get out of a bad engagement, this will get you your 2 rice worth. Great if you’re bringing Tetsu.

Bear Hug – In a faction that specializes in prolonged engagements, being able to lock down a slippery foe for 1 rice is worth tacking on. 

Blizzard – Bring the enemy down to your speed. With Kimiko and Tetsu able to ignore Blizzard, you can gain an early position advantage. Combined with the Ronin Cycle Card, War Weary that makes it so all models only can 1 activation marker instead of 2, and you’ve shut down early runners. Slow and steady wins the race



Hasty Bear – If you’re bringing any of the Samurai or Tetsu, its always worth it to bring this gem. Get the perk when you need it, without needing to injure your models first.

Just a Scratch – For when you need that one all out swing, cover your back. You can safely roll all attack without fear of dying. Having this at hand will keep your opponent on edge, wondering when it’ll hit the table.

Witness Me! – If you’re bringing Raiko, bring this. It makes him valuable. Curious to see more Unblessed join the ranks.


Absolute Loyalty – Playing in a Cult heavy meta? This is your new best friend. Not having to worry about your strongest models turn against you is a relief.

Avalanche – MORE punishment for killing tough models is just what Minimoto wanted. A success level 2 damage roll with the strength of one of the Samurai or Ashigaru is going to leave a mark. 

Bear Arms – Tough to find the points for with all the great special cards Minimoto wants to bring, but can bring the most out of your Ashigaru.

Ice Totem –  Every. List. A ki starved faction, 2 extra ki will never go to waste. Nuan loves it because it lets him cast Dashuhua 3 turns in a row. Aya and the Ashigaru have a chance to boost their attacks. For 1 rice, there is room. If you don’t have room, make it.

Mind Over Matter – Great for models like Kimiko and Hauru who like to camp. They can afford the wait action, and benefit from the extra defenses. Also makes a Jyoto impossible to bring down.


The Mountain Moves – Brutal and an extra strength lets the Ashigaru stay defensive and hit harder, or make that all-out attack absolutely devastating.

Obstinate Bear – Running a low model list, this makes the impossible to overwhelm models even tougher. Yuji goes up to Indomitable (3) under Bear Stands Alone. For 2 points you can override the loss of Bear Stands Alone while teaming up Tetsu and an Ashigaru. Useful when you want it, but also falls victim to other enhancements granting more variety.

Over Exhuberance – A tough call in a faction that has a lot of access to Strong already, but gaining it without the ki is worth the risk. Great for models that are destined to die, Raiko or a Blacksmith with the Fire Totem, as they’ll pack a bigger punch before they kick it.

Teaching of Yashushi – For a slower faction, getting the jump on the Tactical Roll each turn will pay you back tenfold. 


Fire Totem – If running Finest Steel, this is a layer of protection for Hauru or Nuan. Killing a model doesn’t feel good if it explodes Fire(2) markers when it goes.

Ice Crystal – Some interesting implications for the future of Minimoto. Kimiko healing at the start of a Blizzard effect indicates there are going to be other ways for Blizzard to trigger in the near future. In the meantime, she will take the 2 additional ki anyway. 

Ironkane Armor – A great addition for a ranged vulnerable faction. Turning a Jyoto into a walking shield is worth the Slow penalty.

Irokane Tetsubo – Another “Too Good Not To Bring” that even at 3 rice is a bargain. Minimoto loves prone.


Metal Totem – Whoever doesn’t take the Fire Totem will want the Metal. I tend to run it with Hauru as camping in a zone with Durable for a turn makes him an activation sink for your opponent.

Minimoto Clan Armor – Get’s Reo up to the Samurai Armor(4) that Yuji loves so much, and protects you from Critical Attacks. That alone is worth it. Being Immune to Pierce…gotta bring it.

Mountain Banner  – Yama…Paging Maesema Yama…

Solid Charm – Another great option for a model camping in a Zone. Immovable will make the Ashigaru even more frustrating to take down.

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