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NEWS: First Look At Ursula’s Return Lorcana Starter Decks


Who is excited for the next epic set from Disney's Lorcana, “Ursula's Return”? I am VERY Excited as this set promises a lot and I have a very good feeling that it's going to be the very best set released for this game so far! There are a lot of reasons for anticipating this set (as you can find elsewhere on Zatu Blog) but today I would like to focus specifically on the two new Lorcana starter decks that will be released for this new chapter.

Lorcana Starter Decks are always an interesting product as they are designed to please different type of players. As a start, they have to be simple enough to use to allow new players to ease into the game At the same time, they also need to be interesting enough to ensure a good play with them and against them. In most cases, having a key theme or mechanic at the basis of the Starter Decks can help a lot in making the deck interesting and fun to play.

Since the first release, I found that Disney Lorcana has some well designed starter decks that are worth getting, even if you are an experienced player and/or a collector. The main reason is that these decks are always composed around a clear theme and they are very well balanced. I ended up owning all of them and they never disappointed as I enjoyed playing with them all.

Ahead of Ursula's Return release next week, I had the great opportunity to test the two new Starter Decks thanks to Ravensburger team kindness and I couldn't wait to share my thoughts on them. Spoiler alert, I find both of them to be super interesting and enjoyable to play with. I know it may be my excitement for this game talking, but I think they are likely the best Starter Decks released so far! Let's have a look together to them and I will explain why...

Anatomy of a Starter Deck

As mentioned, a Starter Deck is a product designed to provide a player with everything they need in order to start playing Disney Lorcana, the Trading Card Game. Any Starter deck includes in fact: a deck of 60 cards (including 2 foil cards of the characters featured on the package front), 11 cardboard damage counters, 1 lore tracker token, a 23-pages rulebook and 1 double sided paper playmat plus 1 Booster pack of 12 randomized card from the same set of the starter deck.

As per the other sets, all components have been designed to match the graphics of the overall set, in particular the dark blue and purple nuances of the background graphics. Among them, I found the lore track to be particularly evocative as it is shaped as a black tentacle.

Ursula's Revenge set includes two different Starter Decks: “Madrigal Magic” (Amber and Amethyst) and “Stand Together” (Sapphire and Steel). Each deck includes exactly 60 cards of which 1 is a Foil Super Rare, 5 are Rare (including one Foil), 20 Uncommon and 34 Common. All the cards are chosen from two different Ink colours but they are not necessary all from Ursula's Revenge set. In fact, each Starter Deck includes also a few cards from all the three previous sets that were chosen to support the overall deck strategy. Let's look into them in more detail (and in no particular order)

Madrigal Magic (Mirabel and Bruno) As the name clearly implies, Madrigal Magic is build around the characters from the 2021 movie “Encanto”. For those who have not seen it, each of the members of the Madrigal Family has been granted a magical gift so they can help the people of their village to live in peace.

Taking inspiration from the movie, every card featuring a member of this family has some ability to support the other cards in the game. In line with the movie, Augustin and Felix should be the only members of the family without abilities (as they technically married into the family) although I was surprised to see that also Antonio's card does not have any special ability. Perhaps this means we will have more Madrigal cards in the future. Fitting perfectly the theme, the two cards featured in this Starter Deck are Mirabel (Amber) and Bruno Madrigal (Amethyst).

In terms of gameplay, most of the Madrigal characters have a medium to high play cost ranging from 3 to 5 that aligns with the impact on the game of their own special abilities. The card that actually costs less in this theme is the location “Casa Madrigal” that can provide one lore each turn if at least a character is there for a mere ink cost of 1. Unfortunately, it's not stackable...

The main strategy of the deck exploits high questing characters to rush to the finish line as quickly as possible while other characters with Support or Healing abilities keep pressure on the opponent site. “Isabella Madrigal, Golden Child” is the best example of this strategy as she can quest for 4 assuming none of your other characters quest in the same turn. This in turn can allow “Camilo Madrigal, Prankster” to use its second ability to gain Challenger +2 making him a challenging foe for any opposing characters. “Luisa Madrigal, Magically Strong One” can also put pressure on your opponent while the duo “Pepa Madrigal, Weather Maker” and “Dolores Madrigal, Easy Listener” can create new targets by exerting opponent characters and drawing cards in return.

If Isabella is not on the field, the deck also benefit from having a lot of cards with the Support ability that can quest and increase the Strength of other player characters to deal with stronger opponents. My personal favourite for this strategy is “HeiHei, Persistent Presence” from set 2 that can come back to the player hand if it is banished in a challenge. With so many card with Support, HeiHei can be a very cheap powerhouse that will stay on the field forever. “Bruno Madrigal, Out of the Shadow” can also grant a similar effect to a chosen character when played.

Among the cards with Support, “Mirabel Madrigal, Gift of the Family” is the most versatile as she can not only increase the Strength of another character by 3 when she quests but also allow all other Madrigal characters to quest for one more lore in the same turn.

Finally, let's not forget that this Lorcana deck includes a lot of cards with healing abilities including “Julietta Madrigal, Excellent Cook” that can heal 2 damages from a chosen character and allow the player to draw a card.

Together with the character from the Madrigal family, Madrigal Magic features some very interesting allies and support cards. Among them the most interesting one is surely the new “Ariel, Singing Mermaid” that can sing songs up to 7 while only costing 4 ink to be played. “Tick-Tock, Ever-Present Pursuer” is another great addition for this deck due to its high Strength and willpower stats combined with its Evasive ability. Unfortunately, the deck does not include the Abuela of the family that is a key card for this deck as it allows a player to fish out any Madrigal Character directly from their deck. This ability is even more interesting if you consider this is the very first card that allows players to look for a card inside their deck and opens up the possibility to very good combos.

Overall, Madrigal Magic starter deck is quite well balanced and easy to play with. Most of the cards have clear generic effects that can support the player strategy without the need to create complex interactions of combos. The deck reminds me a bit of the 7 Dwarfs deck released for Chapter 2 that a number of players kept playing and improving a lot before set 3 released.

Among the two, this deck is without any doubt the most thematic one and the one I think can be more suitable for new players. In particular, new players should be able to improve this deck as they go along without necessarily buying rare and expensive cards from previous sets. I think playing the Madrigal theme in the Lorcana League format will definitely be super rewarding and it will be interesting to see how far this Lorcana deck can be pushed in competitive settings.

Stand Together (Anna and Hercules)

Considering that Ursula is coming back in the new Disney Lorcana set to threaten the peace of this magical realm, it is very fitting having a Starter Deck full of Heroes to stand against her evil plot. The list of cards included in Stand together is actually pretty impressive as there are 16 different Hero characters including Mulan, Aladdin, Sisu, Basil, Aurora, Robin Hood, Ariel, Rapunzel, Kida, Li Shang, Mickey Mouse and Prince Phillip. Of course, the two main heroes featured in this deck are “Anna, True-Hearted” and “Hercules, Beloved Hero” as featured on the cover of the box. Anna is a Sapphire Dreamborn with a strength of 2 and a willpower of 4 that can quest for 2 lore. When questing, her ability allows all other hero characters to quest for one more making the best of a deck so much focused on this type of characters. Hercules, on the other hand, is the perfect embodiment of the “Wonder Boy” from the movie considering his terrifying strength of 6 and willpower of 5 combined with Resist +1 and Bodyguard. While Anna focuses on supporting the team in questing for more, Hercules can stand in front of your characters protecting your cards from almost any other opposing characters.

The other Heroes of this deck include a range of new and previously released characters with different abilities to fit the overall deck strategy although what makes this deck really shine are the Allies, Items and Locations included in this deck. Among the Allies character, “Ling, Imperial soldier” and “Philoctetes, No-Nonsense Instructor” are the two most notable. Both of them are in fact able to passively boost the fighting potential of all your heroes by either increasing their Strength by 1 or giving them Challenger +1. In addition, Philoctetes second ability will gain the player one lore every time they play a Hero character. With a deck so filled with this type of cards you can see how these stackable effects can become very effective. The item “Imperial Bow” will also provide further fighting power by granting an hero with Challenger +2 and the ability to attack Evasive characters to ensure no opponent card will stay safe on the board. All these abilities will make sure your Heroes can win any challenge they are fighting.

Finally, what better place can there be for so many Hero willing to prove themselves other than “Thebes, The Big Olive”? This new 2 Ink cost location will grant a player 2 lore for every character banished during a challenge by a character at this location.

Overall, Stand Together starter deck is quite interesting and definitely fun to play with. The main advantage of the deck is to have very powerful character that can keep pressure on your opponents with the support of the Allies and Items. The main challenge with this deck is to balance which heroes will challenge and which ones will keep questing for lore that may require a bit of strategic thinking. On the other hand, this Lorcana Starter Deck can be improved in many different ways considering how many good hero cards have been released in the previous sets and therefore can be tailored to fit anyone personal playing style.