For veteran TCG players, aggro, control and combo just seem like self-explanatory deck types. Trying to apply those archetypes to a Lorcana deck, however, has been throwing members of the Lorcana Twitter and Discord communities for a loop. We all know aggro is short for aggression, but what IS aggression in Lorcana? Control in other games, like Magic and Flesh and Blood, often relies on interacting with your opponent’s abilities on their turn. Lorcana doesn’t have that kind of interaction. And combos, well. They may be a tasty snack, but are there really enough of them in the game right now for it to be an entire deck type?
Aggro in Lorcana: You turn cards sideways
The first mental disconnect for TCG vets is that in Lorcana, victory isn’t won by punching your opponent in the face. You don’t need to hide behind a wall. You don’t need to knock out your opponent’s characters. All you need to do is get to 20 lore before your opponent. And right now, pretty much the only way to do that is to quest. If you think of aggro in terms of aggressively chasing victory, it’s a little easier to figure out how the term applies to Lorcana. Aggro decks want to quest early and often, racking up lore before their opponents have a chance to start removing characters and building a presence.
When I wrote about Amber ink, I focused on its support capability. What I didn’t mention, and honestly didn’t appreciate until I got my hands on the cards and started playing, is the color’s aggression. Amber has some great inkable low-cost characters that can help you go wide (play out a lot of creatures) early to gain an early lore lead. The higher toughness on cards like Minnie Mouse, Beloved Princess and Simba, Ferocious Cub also give you the option to challenge early on to protect early two lore characters like Lefou, Bumbler and Lilo, Making a Wish while trading up. In other words, your character banishes the other character with the same or greater cost and survives.
Amethyst is another great ink choice for aggro, on account of its low cost, evasive characters like Pascal.
Control in Lorcana: You also turn cards sideways
A big part of control decks in Lorcana is challenging. In games like Magic and Flesh and Blood, control usually involves disrupting your opponent’s current turn. Because everything happens on your turn in Lorcana, the focus is more on messing up your opponent’s next few turns. Removing creatures, the primary source of lore generation, is critical to that. Steel and Ruby do this best, with handsome removal packages and solid attackers. Ruby messes up your opponent’s plans even more with its lore loss abilities, while Steel gives you the game’s only really reliable item removal.
In my ink guides, I called Emerald relatively weak, and on its own I still think it is. It really shines in a control shell, though, on account of Mother Knows Best and similar effects which return target characters to their player’s hand. Emerald also has quite a few three lore character options at the 4-5 ink mark.
In Lorcana, control is all about setting the pace of the game, and disrupting your opponent’s ink efficiency.
Lorcana Combos: It’s all about synergy
Long-time TCG players always cringe when they hear the word “combo.” In Magic, it can often mean your opponent creating infinite loops that guarantee a win for them. Right now at least, there aren’t any infinite or simple game-winning combos in Lorcana. What the game does have are strong card synergies that can be built around. The strongest of these is found in Sapphire, with Ariel, Whoseit Collector. Her Look at This Stuff ability lets you ready her every time you play an item card. This works very well with Maurice, World-Famous Inventor, whose It Works! ability lets you draw a card when you play an item. In a deck loaded up with inexpensive items, this can easily get you the win once all the pieces are in place.
Fortunately, Ariel is an uninkable four drop, and Maurice costs a whopping six ink. Setting up the combo relies heavily on ink ramp from cards like One Jump Ahead and Mickey Mouse, Detective. It also needs significant card draw support to make sure you can even get the pieces in your hand. Most lists use A Whole New World from Steel for that, but some prefer Amethyst’s lower-cost options like Friends on the Other Side and Maleficent, Sorceress. Aggro decks can often outrace the combo set-up when Ariel combo doesn’t get its ideal draws. Slower control decks need to hold back spot removal to get rid of Ariel before her ink dries.
There are some other, less common archetypes you’ll hear thrown about in deckbuilding discussions. This isn’t an exhaustive list. Once product gets into more players’ hands and organized play starts, we’ll have a better idea of what shorthand folks are using.
- Midrange: A middle-ground between aggro and control, midrange looks to have answers to any problem. It’s not as fast at lore generation as aggro, but it tries to go faster than control decks. Midrange decks run a good control package to make sure the game is played on their terms, but not so much that it’s the focus of the deck.
- Beats: Big characters go smash. Beats decks want to bide their time until they are able to play hard-hitting characters with high lore values. Characters like Maui, Demigod are typical of this deck style. He’s an 8/8 for 8, but since he quests for 3 lore he can easily generate six or nine lore before being banished through challenging alone. In Lorcana, this is essentially a subset of control. I don’t see too many other players using this term right now, but I find it helpful to distinguish between control strategies.
- Typal/Tribal: These decks focus on synergies between cards that share a type. In Lorcana, the most common typal decks are Princesses, Villains, Musketeers, and Songs. Princess typal, for example, runs Moana from Amber to get more mileage out of the abilities on other princesses like Mulan or Elsa, Snow Queen. Amber/Steel Musketeers runs the Mickey/Donald/Goofy Musketeer characters, which enhance one another with their abilities. Doubtless, as the game evolves we’ll see more typal decks emerge.
Did a particular deck archetype catch your fancy? Drop a comment below. We just might do a video about it!