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Disney Lorcana – Into the Inklands: First Impressions


As the weather is (sort of) getting better after the winter, what can be better than going out a bit more for a walk or a trip? I know..., getting to explore the Inklands in search of all the artefacts that have been spread all over by the wave of roaring ink. As you likely know, this is the premise of Disney Lorcana Chapter 3, “Into the Inklands”, that just pre-released on Friday the 23rd. I have been quite excited for the new set ever since I saw the pictures of the first few cards months ago, and I am very happy I was able to play more than a few games at the release event held at my usual Boardgame Cafe on Friday - and on Sunday at our weekly appointment with the Lorcana League.

As the adrenaline from the events is still running in my veins and the excitement is still quite high, I thought of sharing a few thoughts on the new set. You may obviously agree or disagree with my opinions, but I hope my perspective may be useful in case you have not been able to get the new chapter yet and you are looking forward to buy them from Zatu for delivery on the 8th of March.

How the new set looks

Products First thing first, Into the Inklands booster boxes have finally been sealed in plastic with Lorcana logos all over. This packaging solution will hopefully put an end to the stories of boxes tampered to get the Enchanted out and provide peace of mind to everyone buying these products. It's a bit of a shame that the initial environmental-friendly packaging designed by Ravensburger had to be modified but I think the change will be very positively welcomed by everyone.

The contents of the Illumineer Trove have also been massively improved. Instead of the two cardboard deck holders and the damage tokens, the newer Trove will include 6 dice to be used as damage tokens, 6 cardboard dividers to separate your cards and a Lore counter. Although there is no booklet in the new Illumineer Trove, all the changes are for the best and I LOVED the new design. Hopefully, all future Trove sets will provide similar, more player-friendly content.

The gift set, on the contrary, has not been improved and it still includes cardboard damage and lore tokens. Considering the price, the gift set is only worth it if you really like the jumbo cards, otherwise the Illumineer Trove is a much better product.

Starter decks, playing mats and sleeve packs are as good as always and of a great quality. As seen in the previous sets, there are only two Starter Decks (Amber/Emerald and Sapphire/Ruby). I personally enjoyed more playing the Ruby/Sapphire ones but they are both quite balanced for any new player to start enjoying the game.

One final important note is about the art cards that came in each booster packs, as these will not be present in this set due to the swap with two summary cards with all the rules instead. Personally, it feels a bit of a waste as I really loved the art cards but I do appreciate the effort in sharing the new rules to everyone.

What the new set brings to the game

As everyone expected, Into the Inklands brought a completely new type of card to the game called “Locations.” As the name suggest, a Location is a place that can be summoned as any other card by spending Ink, and that stays in play unless destroyed. Some Locations can generate some Lore every turn the same way a character or item do. Other Locations can provide special bonuses that are generally well worth the ink you have to spend to move the character there. Of course, there are also some locations that provides both Lore and bonuses. So far, the most impressive one is the Amethyst “The Queen's Castle." This generates two lore per turn, which allows a player to draw a card for each character that is at the location at the start of the turn...

In addition to the Locations, the set introduces a new mechanic that allows a player to move damages from one character to another. This does not count as “healing” or “taking damage” for the purpose of triggering other abilities and it is limited to a few cards at the moment, although it is very likely we will see more cards with this ability in future sets.

What this new set means for the Game and for the Competitive play?

Overall, I think it is safe to say the introduction of Into the Inklands will dramatically change the game for many reasons. First, Locations will surely have an impact on the game as now a character can choose to Quest, Challenge a character, Sing, Move to a Location and Challenge a Location. This last option in particular is not trivial as Locations can greatly benefit a player, but there are not a lot of cards that can deal damage to a Location at the moment, meaning that the only way to perform the action is to challenge them with your characters. On a positive, Locations do not fight back when challenged (for now) but they have quite high Willpower values, thus removing them is not an easy task.

In addition, Into the Inklands is very rich in cards with passive abilities and that can synergize with other cards from this and previously released sets. This is what will likely affect the competitive gameplay the most as it opens the way to a lot of new decks and combos. For example, Amber/Steel Song decks and Be Prepared based Ruby decks have been dominating quite a lot in Chapter 1 and 2. Emerald has got two different Ursula cards that are impressively efficient tin shaking up these two decks: the first one allows a players to check the opponent hand and discard any song card they want (at turn two!!); the second one can sing a song a second time at no extra cost. Considering just these two cards, a lot of players are testing different variants of the Emerald/Steel deck based either on the discard engine from Chapter 2, or on the new Sheriff of Nottingham/ John Silver cards. The new song “The bare Necessities” that can also help to force the opponent to discard Be Prepared, becoming a good addition to any Amber deck.

Amethyst and Sapphire have also got some new great cards to make their decks much more interesting. The Madame Mim/Merlin/Sorcerer Engine in particular massively grows in potential in this set, with an impressive card drawing ability that can now link nicely with the ability of the new Steel Jafar that can gain one Lore for each card drawn. Players are already testing this deck extensively and I am sure it will become even more meta-relevant than the Amethyst/Ruby deck from Raise of the Floodborn set.

This concludes my thoughts after a bit more than 48 hours into Disney Lorcana Into the Inklands set release. We probably just scratched the surface of the new set but I am confident this set will please all different types of players and it will make Lorcana games even funnier than they have been so far. I am looking forward to see how many interesting combination players will come up with in the next days and to see if I will be able to pull some of the good cards I really want from the new set. Zatu will have stock of the set on release soon, so make sure you pre-order it as it will likely fly off the shelves!