Best New Decks for Set 4: Ursula’s Return


The new Lorcana set, Ursula's Return, is here! So, in addition to reviewing all the cards independently, we also wanted to discuss which decks are worth taking a look at.

Ursula's Return Set Review

In this piece, I'll go over a variety of decks, both powerhouses during set 3, or potential contenders in the near future. Don't see any of those as finished products, the goal here is to take a look at the new synergies we can explore in set 4, alongside what to expect in the first tournaments in the format.

Let's talk decks!

Discard Is Getting Scary

Amethyst/Emerald Bounce Discard

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The Emerald synergies were getting stronger towards the end of Into the Inklands, pushing two discard oriented decks, with Steel or Amethyst. In this new set, there wasn't so much to make the Emerald Steel deck stronger, but the Amethyst deck sure got some very interesting cards to look at.

004-070 has been one of the most talked about cards of the new set, providing a new draw engine to the Emerald synergies. Yet even though 004-071 released alongside it as its Shift target, 003-037 was already in the game, and I would argue a 2/1 is much stronger than a 1/2. Indeed, the discard synergy has pretty miserable stats to work with, so having a 1-cost which can challenge if we don't find 004-070 feels important.

The second card pushing for Emerald and Amethyst to keep working together is the queen of this new set: 004-058. The card might be too expensive to run, but since it's inkable, it isn't such a big risk to run a couple of it, especially as we are running eight other Ursulas already. I don't expect the card to be game breaking, although a slow start from our opponent could lead to shutting down songs with "You'll Listen To Me!" being a game winner in certain match-ups.

Overall, the Emerald Amethyst deck should not feel much different in this expansion, as the core of the deck will remain the same. We simply got new tools to incorporate into the mix, giving us more options to build around. Gameplay wise, I expect the deck to turn towards more tempo-oriented patterns, with a little emphasis on the discard side of things. The addition of 004-078 is a nice top curve option, but Jasmine won't be enough to close out the game on her own. There is a chance Emerald Amethyst changes drastically in this set, just aiming to summon 004-058 on turn five, and become an anti-song deck discard support instead of a discard-focused build.

Here is an idea in that direction, cutting our support cards to instead focus on building tempo until we can get our 7-cost Ursula in play. I looked for ways to include the new 004-057 in the mix, but couldn't find the required space. Keep the card in mind though, if you want more Shift targets, alongside a solid early game challenger.

Amethyst/Emerald Bounce Tempo

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But we can't discuss discard-focused strategies without mentioning the new kid on the block: Amber Emerald

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First, let me start by saying there were a lot of additions for this new Amber Emerald archetype, so I had to make choices.

For example, I decided not to run 004-070 because we already had a fair amount of non-inkables. We would have to run 004-071 too, as a Shift target, which means cutting on the reactive potential. Lastly, there is a ton of discard in this deck, so 002-089 looked enough as a main draw engine, supported by 003-096 and the new 004-028.

With the available slots, I could invest in some reactive potential, such as 004-090 to pair with the 18 songs we have in the deck. Alongside it, I like 004-097 to bounce our opponent's threats back into their hand and potentially removing them entirely with the random discard. Lastly, it also makes 004-029 a nice inclusion, either as a synergistic card, or just to open a turn we would lore with everything, and limit our opponent's ability to challenge us on their turn.

This ability to control our opponent's development seems key to the deck's success, as we have so much discard we should be able to empty their hand pretty reliably. I believe this balance will be the key to Amber Emerald success, as we clearly received enough tools to make it work as soon as Ursula's Return hits stores.

The Rich Get Richer

Amber Steel, Ruby Amethyst and Ruby Sapphire have been routinely amongst the best decks for the entire Into the Inklands format. With the new set, I doubt this trend will change, as all three archetypes received solid new inclusions.

Amber/Steel Steelsongs

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Amber is the color you want when it comes to singing songs, so naturally the Sing Together mechanic should be a potent one going forward for Amber decks. One could wonder how 004-058 will be at limiting the song-oriented decks, but considering the card can't come down before turn five, we should be good on that front.

In addition, Steel decks are also getting some great additions in this set, further strengthening the gold standard when it comes to midrange archetypes. 004-175 has been ranked high on the list of new cards, with many players I've talked to, or checked content from, placing it in their top 10. Considering this is an inkable, I don't see how this card isn't the next staple you want four copies of in the deck.

The other card I think could have a huge impact is 004-196, which might single-handedly counter Ruby Sapphire. I only included two for lack of more space, but if you expect the Red and Blue deck to be very popular at your next tournament, you can include up to four as it is an Inkable song.

Lastly, 004-190 feels like a sleeper card, potentially representing a way to race to the finish line with the deck, as all our characters, except for both Queens, have the hero trait. This means we have 28 cards in the deck to potentially gain a lore when played, a nice little boost to the finish line, especially in a deck with 001-195, allowing us to see a large part of our deck.

Emerald Amber will get most of the attention due to being a new color combination, but don't sleep on Amber Steel in this set, especially if you like a midrange play style.

Ruby/Sapphire Pawpsicle Control

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We just discussed how the new 004-196 could hurt this deck, but this doesn't mean Ruby Sapphire isn't worth talking about. Just like the deck above, this one is gaining a couple of new cards, with the potential to make this deck much more reliable.

First, if we anticipate our items being banished, 001-159 might not be a reliable win condition anymore, hence the change for the new 004-139. With just one item, if the opponent has none, we get a five lore gain. Alongside 001-142, we have great targets for 003-165 even without 001-159 in the list. We won't be able to win in one turn, but this wasn't happening very often already, but gaining 10 at a time is perfectly reasonable.

Speaking of gaining some lore, 004-128 is another way to help us get there. I've seen many people slot the card into the Ruby Amethyst deck, but I believe the ramp capacity of Sapphire will allow us to play the card even if we can't sing it. Then, this should be a nice control tool to derail our opponent's setup for the win, buying us a turn in the process. Plus, we have seven 6-cost cards in the deck to sing, if we need to, alongside resilient 4-costs to form a group of singers.

We also got new items in Ursula's Return, which will compete with the already crowded group rotating in the archetype. 004-132 caught my eye as a card able to both help our trades with the bonus 2 Strength (perfect for 002-149 to become a trading machine) while also helping to draw. In a deck with plenty of ink to use, the cost to use this shouldn't be much of a problem most of the time.

I kept the best for last, and potentially the only card joining the archetype once we get to the refined builds, 004-154 was printed for the deck. With the other cards, we're talking about alternate win conditions or support tools. Here, there is no negotiating, four copies of 004-154 should be in your Ruby Sapphire deck.

Amethyst/Ruby Bounce Control

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Last on our list is the top-ranked deck heading into Ursula's Return, Bounce Control, a deck which doesn't gain too many new cards, but also might not be in need of anything. Here, I think it is worth testing the new 004-058 as a song killer, which could close the door to an opponent who relied on those to come back once we've seized the board. Naturally, as we aren't an Emerald deck, we have to find room for 004-057 as well, limiting how many big cards we can play. Yet, considering the new 2-cost is a good early challenger, we can rely on 002-058 to exert opposing cards and find good trades. This pushes the deck towards a lower curve, which is not necessarily a bad thing as we could leverage 003-067 in that scenario.

Outside the queen of the party Ursula joining the Amethyst crew, Ruby is also gaining a new control tool: 004-129. Already, the card has been discussed as a great answer to characters with the Ward keyword, and Ruby Amethyst should be perfect to isolate those cards, forcing the opponent to pick them to be banished. As a non inkable, the card will naturally compete with 001-128 for those slots, but considering both Ursulas can go into our inkwell, the deck's balance is intact on that front.

It's Magic Broom Time

Amethyst/Steel Brooms

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The Broom deck has been a talking point since the start of Lorcana, being that gimmick we thought would never function. In set 4, Disney decided to give it a big upgrade, with many new support cards. For many, this might be the time the Magic Broom synergy takes off, on the back of 004-187, 004-048, 004-059 joining the deck. Already, these additions will help, but the card we need to talk about is 004-039, as it looks like the synergy's next win condition.

With 24 Magic Brooms in the deck, alongside the ability to shuffle some from our discard to our deck or to add more if we'd like to, the new 4-cost Bruno just looks like an incredible lore engine, with Evasive added on top for extra protection. Combined with a much better ability to interact with the opponent's characters through 004-188 and 004-187 added in this expansion. The Magic Broom synergy finally looks like a well-rounded deck, and a potential sleeper in the next format.

In this list, I might have gone a little too far with four copies of 001-198. Yet, we have ways to sing it early and few uninkables in the build. Plus, the deck should be solid against slower opponents, so I wanted to edge against fast-paced archetypes.

Closing Words

There are plenty more avenues to explore in this new expansion, both in terms of how to build with the highlighted synergies, or around ones I didn't include. For example, there might be a Ruby deck based around characters with a lot of strength, and the new 004-214 plus 004-106 to gain some lore.

Yet, apart from the Magic Broom deck, which totally deserved its own spotlight, I believe the decks in this article are pretty safe to play if you have a tournament soon after the set's release.

If you just needed a few ideas to get into the new set, or might be looking for the next deck to bring into a tournament, I hope this article helped you get started. Feel free to discuss any of the lists in the comment section or reach out through my Twitter page.

Good Game Everyone,


Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yu-Gi-Oh! and then Magic: The Gathering.

Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on these games.

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