Ariel - Spectacular Singer Disney Lorcana Art by Alice Pisoni

Amber/Steel Steelsong Deck Guide

Learn how to play the Amber/Steel Steelsong deck for Disney Lorcana.

Since the dawn of competitive Lorcana play, Amber/Steel has been a top archetype.  It fell out of favor for a time during the Rise of the Floodborn metagame, but that was due to it having such a big target on its back after the end of The First Chapter, where it ended as clearly the best deck.  In the current Into the Inklands metagame, Amber/Steel has been given a plethora of new tools and is currently dominating the competitive landscape.

Recently different versions of Amber/Steel have won major events, with Brennan DeCandio winning the latest large online $2k Pixelborn event and Zan Syed winning Charlie’s Collectible Show’s $8k event a couple of weeks ago.  There was a second copy of Amber/Steel, a slightly different take, piloted by Christian K, that also finished in the top four of the CCS live event. 

Today I will be focusing on Zan Syed’s unique look on the archetype. I will also talk about the many options that other players have used or could use going forward.  Amber/Steel will be a force at the Into the Inklands Set Championships coming up in late April and even into the first round of Challenge series events in May.  It is on my short list of decks to run due to its overwhelming flexibility and ability to simply high roll any matchup given the right draw. 

This deck is an ever-present threat to the metagame due to its solid foundations and we already see ways of improving it even into Ursula’s Return!

Decklist & Card Breakdown

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Key Synergies

The main strength of Amber/Steel is the ability to abuse the two most unique aspects of Disney Lorcana: Shift and Singing Songs. Outside of a few "tech" and draw based elements, literally every other character is in service of these abilities. Taken by themselves, Singing would just allow you to play a delayed cost action for free and Shift characters would set up a more powerful character, but one that threatened to cost you card disadvantage when they are dealt with. In practice, however, the ability to power out a much higher cost character at a dramatically reduced discount, combined with the ability to sing songs right away gives this deck a snowball type quality: once it gets going it is nearly impossible to stop!

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The low cost Shift characters that stand out are Robin Hood - Champion of Sherwood and The Queen - Commanding Presence. Both of these can be played very early and can sing your all important five cost songs right away when Shifted onto their smaller versions. The Queen may not have as much staying power, but she is a key way of dealing with opposing characters and Locations, being able to quest and give four strength to another of your characters and shrinking one of your opponents.

Robin Hood is just a straight up dominating unit. His ability to gain Lore while take out opposing characters keeps you ahead in tempo. He is also typically drawing a card on exit, making up tremendously for the typical Shift downside of getting two for one'd when the character is banished. Cinderella - Stouthearted plays a similar role: closing out games with staying power, and getting on board well before her actual cost.

The second part of the strategy are the Songs themselves. Much of the deck is geared towards finding them, singing them cheaper, and gaining Lore from them. Ariel - Spectacular Singer[card] and [card]Cinderella - Ballroom Sensation[card] sing way above their cost. In fact, Cinderella is part of arguably the most dominating early game plays: combining her with the ability to sing [card]Let the Storm Rage On or

In addition to the cost reduced characters, [card]Sleepy's Flute" data-atts='[]'>Strength of a Raging Fire[card] on turn two to take out opposing one drops (who are themselves often Shift targets). There are so many "expensive" removal and board control songs that are reduced in cost to zero by this pair of Princesses!

In addition to the cost reduced characters, [card]Sleepy's Flute acts as a win condition. Essentially gaining you one Lore per turn, almost guaranteed given the number of Songs in the deck and ways to play them.

The deck is all brought together by one card: A Whole New World. The amount of Shift and Songs means you are quickly running out of resources in hand and refilling your hand to keep up in tempo (especially given all the ways to Sing it for free) is huge. It also acts as a counter to strategies that draw cards since you are eventually equalizing hands regardless. This song is the engine that allows this deck to function, even allowing it to play more cards than normal.

What to Ink?

The version Zan played has a few powerful metagame call options, so if you are not playing against decks that are specifically targeted by these cards, you should be looking to ink these: Benja - Guardian of the Dragon Gem, The Bare Necessities, and World's Greatest Criminal Mind[card].

You need to be careful when inking your characters, because this version is playing three copies of [card]Hades - Lord of the Underworld. The goal is to eventually get back these characters to use them again.

Since you play so many Shift characters, you should be looking to ink the larger versions of the characters if you do not have the smaller versions to Shift onto. You are generally going to "wheel" (A Whole New World) into inkables, so even when this deck is running so many uninkables you should be able to make discerning ink decisions. The key is maintaining tempo.

Alternate Builds

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Brennan DeCandio won the large Pixelborn event last weekend with a 66 card version of Amber-Steel. He said he simply "did not feel like cutting any of the cards" and playing with such a large deck really highlights the power of the draw in the deck; highlighted by a A Whole New World, Beast - Tragic Hero, and Rapunzel - Gifted with Healing.

Zan is also posting updates to his deck, and alternate versions on his Twitter, which you can find here:

Alternate Cards to Consider


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The real decision point in building Amber/Steel is which two drop uninkable to run, as they all give you tempo in various ways. Many lists run Lantern over the Flutes, and that opens you up to running a much stronger late game, often with some of the cards below.

Pride Lands - Pride Rock

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The other two drop uninkable to consider is the new Pride Lands. This gives you Lore each turn, similar to Flutes, and can give you a discount similar to Lantern if you can spend the time to move a Prince (normally versions of Simba) or King to the location.

Tinker Bell - Giant Fairy

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She is simply one of the best cards in the game, and even if you are not playing smaller versions to Shift onto (though if you do, I recommend trying out Tinker Bell - Generous Fairy, who at least replaces herself when played) she can have a powerful effect on the board.

Beast - Tragic Hero

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Great card draw or Location control all in one card. Hard to argue with the value in this card, and any version of Amber/Steel should consider some.

How to Play

You want to maintain Tempo and pressure at all stages of the game. Use your disruption and removal to allow your larger characters to continue to quest. Use A Whole New World to ensure you never run out of threats. Pressure from turn one, onwards!

Key Turns

The most important turns are one through four, as from then on you are simply using a new, full hand to continue to pressure.

Turn three is probably your most important decision, as oftentimes you are looking for Ariel - Spectacular Singer to find you the song you need. If you are able to maintain board presence, however, you may want to Shift on three, and then use Ariel on four to get the song you can then sing with the larger target you added to play on turn three.

  • Do not allow yourself to be blown out by AOE like Grab Your Sword or Be Prepared
  • Make sure you are getting advantage off of your Sleepy's Flute when you play it. There is more item removal in the metagame, so be sure you can always use the Flute for value right away. If they chose to use a Benja to take it out, punish them for this tempo loss.
  • If you are playing against a control deck, make sure you get into double-digit Lore as soon as possible and simply keep questing pressure on them, forcing them to deal with your board instead of flipping the script. Remember, you are racing and the aggressor here.

Long Term Planning

Since you have so many early Shift targets, you need to decide oftentimes if you are saving your larger payoffs if you do not have the smaller versions to Shift onto right away. What if you draw them off curve? Should you ever leave the smaller version around to be dealt with?

The deck is full of powerful "mini combos" that you oftentimes need both sides to succeed: the aforementioned Shifting, Songs with Flutes, Rapunzel with damaged characters, etc. You cannot get too attached to any character or strategy, as they are often on board to quest once or twice and move onto the banish pile.

You need to use your Hades - Lord of the Underworld proactively and aggressively. You may be able to play the target the same turn, but if you cannot you need to make sure it is high value enough to make an impact the following turn.

Push your advantage when you have it and do not allow control decks a hint of board balance to move to their late game.

Weaknesses to Be Aware Of

Ruby/Sapphire is your biggest nemesis, and if you expect it to show up in spades there is little you can do to combat it. The combination of inkwell ramping and board clears means you are not really pressuring your opponent's hand or resources to dealing with your board. Their card draw engines like Hiram Flaversham - Toymaker are difficult for you to deal with, no matter which version you are playing, and oftentimes draw them four cards. You can often race other control decks, but the combinations of ramp, characters that constantly replace themselves, and non-damage based board clears make the matchup very difficult for you to win. You need your Benjas and The Bare Necessities to take out key cards, at key times, to stay ahead.

Closing Words

If you enjoy tempo based mid-range type strategies that are very flexible, I suggest you start taking a look at Amber/Steel. You have the ability to go under most control strategies, and at the same time you are a favorite against many of the faster, Emerald-based aggressive strategies. You have truly blow-out type hands that almost no opposing deck can handle as well.

One final word of caution, this deck does not play for the faint of heart, nor for the faint of wallet!

I would strongly consider Amber/Steel for the upcoming Set Championships, just make sure you give yourself enough time to practice and find the best version for you!


Scott Landis is a 30-year Trading Card Game professional, and former writer for the World of Warcraft TCG and Transformers TCG among others.  Currently he is an owner of The Forbidden Mountain, a Lorcana YouTube Page and TCG player Store. You can follow them on YouTube and please use their TCGplayer Store (same cost as the marketplace). You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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