This month we have a lot of Disney Lorcana in the line-up for Trading Card Pulls of the Month. Spoiler... oops.
Stefano Paravisi - Belle: Strange But Special
As you may have realized by the picture above, my trading card pull of the month is from Disney Lorcana – First chapter. For me, playing Lorcana kicked off from two starter decks and one Illumineer trove and the best thing I remember about the experience was to pull a foil Legendary “Belle – Strange but Special” from the very first booster pack I opened. Belle is my wife favourite Disney Princess and I considered pulling her a sign that this game would have good things in store for me.
Looking in more detail into the card I fast realized Belle is also an amazing asset for a competitive deck. As a start Belle costs only 4 inks to play that is quite cheap for a card with two very strong Special effects. First, it allows a player to put one additional card into their inkwell every turn without the need to quest or exert the card. This feature is critical as it prevents the card from being attacked the subsequent turn so this effect can be used over and over again. The second effect allows Belle to quest for 5 lore if there are 10 or more cards in the inkwell. This ability builds on Belle's first ability to quickly reach 10 inks and it can easily turn the tables in your favour in any game.
The biggest limitation in playing Belle is the risk of draining your hand very quickly thus you would likely need to have some good draw power in your deck for example by playing Purple and Blue ink cards. In addition, your opponent will likely try to banish Belle as soon as possible hence protecting her till your have 10 inks would be a priority. Aurora and her Ward ability and a few Bodyguards like the musketeers can be good examples of ways to protect your Belle.
Imogen Rogers - Eriette Of The Charmed Apple
With the way I build Commander decks in Magic I like low-cost commanders . I want to be able to see my commander in the first half a dozen turns, otherwise why am I playing commander. A 3 cost legendary creature that dual colours is therefore a brilliant Commander for me, and a pretty lucky pull too.
My card Pull of the Month has to be Eriette of the Charmed Apple. After all, she’s everything you would want from a mythic. First, as I’ve already said, she is a mythic legendary that’s dual colours that’s a 3 cost for a 2 power, 4 toughness. OK, not fantastic, what else does she do? She turns every enchantment in your deck that you play on someone else’s creature a better version of pacifism as well as whatever the enchantment already does! For as long as she’s around, any creature you enchant cannot attack you or your Planeswalkers and although nothing is forcing them to then fight anyone else, that ability alone is enough to build a deck around. It’s a lovely risk-reward of buffing your opponents’ creatures up, knowing that if you keep Eriette alive then the buffed-up creatures can’t hurt you. In addition, as if she needed more, when it gets to your end step, all auras you use to buff your own creatures, and those you play onto your opponents, deal damage to your opponents and heal you. So, if you play 1 aura, on an opponent’s creature, you make that creature unable to attack you, Eriette deals one damage to each opponent, and she heals you for one. This may be the single strongest Magic the Gathering creature card in my entire collection.
Rob Wright - Zapdos Ex Full Art + Nidoking Art Rare
Well, seeing as I play Pokemon TCG and the big newey newness in Scarlet and Violet 151, I guess that I should show a pull from that set, yeah?
Um… about that…
Only kidding! The pulls on this set are a bit harsh, but only because a) we’ve got used to having a holo in every pack and b) it’s a smaller set than Crown Zenith with less Art Rares and Special Art Rares, but I have managed to get a couple of Hot Tamales (coming up with fire + spice related allusions is tiring).
I’m gonna throw in two, because I can’t make up my mind. The first is the Zapdos ex full art, from illustrator takuyoa. Sure, it isn’t the Special Art Rare showing the three legendary birds, but I really like the way the blue-and-yellow colour schemes just pops – electric type in blue. It also fits quite nicely in my electric deck. Three lightning is quite expensive for an attack, but the fact that is does 120 to the active and 90 to an opponent’s benched Pokemon that has any damage counters on it is pretty tasty. It also gets free retreat if you have any energy attached to it. Sweet deals, hot wheels.
The second is definitely a contender for meme deck of the month too, but 151 has a lot of potential for those. The card is the Nidoking Art Rare, from illustrator Misaki Hashimoto. This is only his third illustration for Pokemon TCG, and though it is not quite as stunning as his debut with the Full Art Wishiwashi from Cosmic Eclipse, it is a lovely looking card. It also has a silly ability, which gives it free attacks if you have a benched Nidoqueen, and the attack does 190 plus poison. Meme-worthy? It’s been a long time since I made a energy less deck. Hold my Caturday…
Tom Harrod - Mad Hatter: Gracious Host
Disney Lorcana is still very much riding the crest of the hype wave. The First Chapter has hit the ground running, with 204 cards spread across six different ‘Inks’. My Card Pull Of The Month isn’t one of the sought-after Enchanteds (I should be so lucky!). I’ve seen other people pull them, but not myself… Yet! Will my time come in Chapter Two: Rise of the Floodborn (out November 17)?
However, a big part of the enjoyment for me about TCGS is not all about chase cards. I enjoy building decks that feature fascinating mechanisms, first and foremost. That’s why my featured pull this month is a mere Uncommon. A foil Uncommon, at least, but still, it’s one of my essential, go-to cards when building Emerald decks. It’s Mad Hatter: Gracious Host. I hate to play against it, which has become a klaxon for me to include it in my own decks!
It’s an inkable 5-cost card, so it’s a mid-game option. The Hatter’s Strength and Willpower is 2/4, which means it takes a Challenger with substantial Strength to remove him with one blow. And that’s important, not only because of his 3-Lore return, but also because of his Tea Party Ability.
“Whenever this character is challenged, you may draw a card.” Being able to draw extra cards is so important in Lorcana! Amethyst as an ink tends to give you card draw, but having Mad Hatters in your deck means you have a real irritation for your opponent(s) to consider. They can’t afford to let you keep him - 3 Lore per turn is huge! But they’ll also loathe to attack him with their smaller cards, because they’re gifting you a bigger hand if they can’t knock him down in one shot. Yes, I have four of them in my Emerald deck. And this foil one is my favourite, to a tee.
Matthew Morgan - Cruella De Vil: Miserable
With Lorcana boosters being so rare at the moment, I find it a small victory when I do manage to get my hands on a booster pack. This month I was able to procure a single lonely booster from a local store with the hopes I’d find something, enchanted…
Unfortunately, the best I found waiting for me was a foil Cruella De Vil: Miserable as usual, but whilst not enchanted it is a great control card that I happily slotted into my deck. And although control isn’t always at the top of the Competitive Meta for Lorcana, it’s always been one of my favourite archetypes of deck to play.
Over the years I’ve dabbled in Yu Gi Oh, Magic the Gathering, Digimon and Pokemon and during each I played control. It’s the reverse problem solving of decks and it’s great fun. For those who haven’t played control, the concept is simple: prevent your opponent from doing as much as possible whilst accumulating lore points each turn; much to the other player's frustration.
This can be done by bouncing creatures back to opponents hands, banishing them, milling players decks and outright shutting down their mechanics. But it takes a lot of thought and concentration, always being one step ahead and catching onto the opponents playstyle early. That being said, it’s one of the most unique play styles in trading card games, and something that every player should try being on the dealing side of at least once.
What’s more, Lorcana gives a unique spin to control and really appeals to the problem creation mindset I have in TCG’s. There’s multiple elements to winning a game, and so finding the right focus point and making sure not to ink a combo card are, as always, pivotal to taking that victory.