Floodborns Strategy Guide

Floodborns matter! Harnessing the power of Rise of the Floodborns powerful subset.


One of the subthemes of Rise of the Floodborn was a six-card cycle, one for each ink, where playing a Floodborn character after they were in play gave you a payoff. These cards are:

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These have seen varying levels of success: from Bucky - Squirrel Squeak Tutor being a staple and star in Emerald/Steel discard to Nana - Darling Family Pet never seeing the light of day. I love the concept of these cards, as I like when TCGs point you into a direction and give you a decent payout for molding your deck and plays in a specific defined way. I enjoy when “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” and given the stat lines on these cards, it has proven that you do need the “Floodborn matters” payoff to make them playable in the metagame.


Most of the value from playing Floodborn characters comes from the Shift ability: you are ultimately getting a larger threat into play for a massive tempo gain the turn you Shift. These characters give you extra value in addition to the better threat in play, it just depends on whether it is worth it to invest the initial cost for the “Floodborn matters” character before you Shift. If you have these payoffs active, it is worth it to play out the Floodborns for their full cost as the extra value makes up for the benefit you are missing out on not getting the Shift.

So why are some of these more playable than others? Well, the two that see the most play are Bucky - Squirrel Squeak Tutor and Blue Fairy - Rewarding Good Deeds and they share some rather obvious traits:

  • Cost: They are cheap, and can be easily played WITH a Floodborn shifted character as early as turn four in some cases.  You can also play them at a lower point on the curve, so they can already be in play when you start playing out your Floodborn characters (with Shift or without).
  • Effect: Both of these affect the most important resource in the game: cards.  While the others may affect the board in more significant ways, since a card can represent various threats at various times, drawing or discarding simply has more of an effect than even more seemingly powerful effects like dealing one AOE damage to your opponent’s board.
  • Survivability: Bucky has Ward, Blue Fairy has Evasive.  Each of these abilities allows them at various times throughout the game to still interact with the board (ie. Quest, challenge, etc.) while gaining their incremental value through adding additional threats to the board.
  • Flexibility: Ultimately these cards are mini-combos, so it really helps when they are inkable.


Looking at the ones that do not see play, the reasons seem obvious and fall into two categories: Cost and Effect. Chief Bogo - Respected Officer saw sporadic play at the beginning of the metagame but ultimately his high cost before playing a Floodborn and uninkable nature just keeps him from having the impact that his ability “should.” It is just cheaper and more efficient to play Tinker Bell - Giant Fairy, especially because she does not get eaten by Madam Mim - Fox.

Mrs. Judson - Housekeeper is a similar problem, but her effect on the board is even less, since realistically you would be playing a five drop Floodborn to ramp from five to seven (unless you skipped inking and went from four to six, but still..).  There are just better cards that duplicate her value like Mickey Mouse - Detective or Fishbone Quill with much lower barrier to get the effect.

Both Nana - Darling Family Pet and Honest John - Not That Honest are simply too low impact to see play currently. Honest John is nice, but Lore “removal” in general is just too over-costed, especially compared to how cheap and efficient it is to GAIN lore outside of questing.

Floodborn Decks

So where are “Floodborns matter” currently in the RotF metagame? Bucky is a lynchpin of the Emerald/Steel discard decks.  In fact, the main reason this deck even dips into Steel is because of how powerful and prevalent the Floodborn options are in Steel.  Even Amber versions can utilize the little Squirrel as Amber also brings popular and powerful Floodborns to the table like Stitich - Rock Star and The Queen - Commanding Presence to complement the already existing Emerald options “in color.”

Here is a recent list that finished well utilizing Bucky:

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Blue Fairy - Rewarding Good Deeds had a very good showing as recent as last week at the “Pair O’Dice 2k” with two lists running her appearing in the top eight.  She is a key draw engine in Amethyst-Steel, as an early inkable bounce target for Madame Mims and a late game draw recovery engine after any potential board wipes.

Here is the list that top four’d the event:

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Overall, it is fun and exciting to see the “Floodborns matter” concept seeing serious competitive play. I hope these “mini-combos” continue and we get things like “when you play a Dreamborn” or even “when you play a Hero/Princess/etc.” in future sets. We will continue to get Floodborn characters, as Shift is such a cool and unique mechanic in the game.  If you have not tried these cards, I suggest you sleeve them up and give them a whirl!


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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