So, I used to play CCG's. I played for many, many years and what turned me off about them was, if you spend more, you win more. That is mostly eliminated in the LCG arena (or at least more managed). This game does a very good job of portraying the world of L5R and manages to capture the feel and ascetic of a very robust storytellers world.
The quality of the game is what you would expect form an industry leader like FFG, and the "core set" provides a good place for people to start getting into Card Games, or in my case, back into them. If you really want to be competitive in organized play, you need two or three copies of this set to really compete, although you CAN win with just the core and a bit of luck.
If you really want to compete thought, get two or three sets (or you and a friend could maybe split 5 total sets), and keep up on the expansions. Its cheaper than CCG's like Magic, and a far more interesting world.