Into the Inklands Set Review: Amber

Disney Lorcana's third set will be releasing to local game stores very soon, so we are taking a look at the full set and reveiwing all the cards. In this post, I will be reviewing all the Amber cards from Into the Inklands.

Introduction

Disney Lorcana's third set will be releasing to local game stores very soon, so we are taking a look at the full set and reveiwing all the cards. With so many cards to go through, we will be breaking this series of reviews down by ink color. In this post, I will be reviewing all the Amber cards from Into the Inklands.

Amber has been a color that has been well-represented in the meta since the game's inception. It's combination of Singer cards has paired well with inks that have lots of powerful songs, such as Steel. Will we see more Singer and song cards coming in this next set? Or will new avenues of play open up for Amber decks? Read on to find out!


Into The Inklands Set Review

Rating Scale

Each card will be rated from 1 to 5. Here is roughly what each rating means:

1 = Garbage - These cards are unplayable in nearly all circumstances. You would never consider adding these cards to your constructed deck and probably don't want to see them in limited formats either. Also sometimes known as "pack filler". When you get these cards, add them to your binder and leave them there.

2 = Kinda Bad - These cards are generally unplayable under most circumstances. They may be good in very specific or very niche situations but you would almost never seriously consider putting them in a competitive deck. They're just too awkward or clunky to see use realistically. They can sometimes be serviceable options in limited formats though.

3 = Fair. These cards are not powerful enough to be deck-defining cards in playable decks nor are they bad enough that you would never consider them. They're somewhere in the middle of the road, and cards in this range could jump in and out of the meta depending on how it changes, either within the current set or possibly even future sets. These cards are never worth dismissing out of hand because it's always possible that they could be good enough to see play if the meta calls for them.

4 = Very Good. These cards are powerful enough that they become staple cards in competitive or serious decks. Cutting it from a competitive deck and trying to swap in something else would almost never be recommended because the card is too important to the deck's overall strategy.

5 = Insane. These cards are the most powerful cards in the set. The meta can shift by their very presence. They are the superstar cards of the best of the best decks. They may be able to singlehandedly move the power of a deck a couple tiers higher in the meta reports than they would otherwise. When people think of the defining cards of the set, they think of these cards.


Into the Inklands Amber Cards

Baloo - von Bruinwald VIII

Baloo is a 3-drop Bodyguard that will almost always gain you 2 lore, and often will get you 3 or more. That right there is pretty decent but he gets even better in the decks with Bodyguard synergy, an archetype that is getting quite a bit of support in Inklands. This card will fit nicely into those decks, and really any aggressive Amber deck that wants to protect their board and gain lore quickly. Solid card.

Rating: 3/5

Bernard - Brand-New Agent

Bernard is a 4-cost 1/5 with 2 lore that works as a pseudo-Bodyguard, protecting characters that you don't want to have challenged by readying them at the end of your turn. The problem I see with him is he is very slow. He doesn't protect any character the turn he comes down, like a Bodyguard, you have to wait a turn before he can be exerted. That means you need to play the character you want protected after you play Bernard. But even then you still have to wait another turn for both Bernard and the character you want him to protect to be exerted on the same turn. If Bernard actually had the Bodyguard keyword and could enter play exerted and activate his ability right away, he would be much better. As it is, I think he's just too slow and clunky to see play.

Rating: 2/5

Chernabog - Evildoer

Chernabog, a 9/9 with 3 lore, is a huge pile of stats that costs 10 ink and is uninkable. On the surface, this would be unplayable. But he comes with an ability that reduces his cost for each character you have in your discard pile. This means you will often be able to play Chernabog for 7 or 6 ink, sometimes even 5 ink or less.

The characters can end up in your discard pile either through being banished from the board or by you discarding them from your hand. This means Chernabog pairs well with Steel's "discard from hand" mechanics seen on cards like Simba - Future King, Ransack and, of course, A Whole New World. In fact, the earliest you can get Chernabog out in an Amber/Steel deck is turn 4 by playing Simba turn 1 (discard counter: 1), Ransack turn 2 (discard counter: 3), and then another Simba and Ransack on turn 3 (discard counter: 6). A turn 4 9/9/3 can be downright scary for your opponent but it takes the perfect draws to make this work.

Chernabog also works as a top-end card for aggressive decks. You play all your cheap stuff, get some lore off of them, they inevitably get removed, and then boom, you slam down a giant character your opponent HAS to deal with or you just win the game on the spot. Will some decks easily be able to deal with a 9/9? Sure, some will. But not all of them and he's a guaranteed closer against decks that don't run any sort of hard removal.

Ultimately, he is a card that can be easily countered, so I don't think he will ever overrun the meta. If a Chernabog deck ever becomes too prevalent, you will see more decks running hard removal to easily deal with him, which will in turn reduce the amount of Chernabogs being run. But he definitely has the power to shape the meta and, for that, he deserves a high rating. Darkness calls...

Rating: 5/5

Dalmatian Puppy - Tail Wager

Dalmatian Puppy is essentially just a vanilla 2/3/1 for 2 ink. His ability is very fun and flavorful but you don't really want to put 99 copies of this puppy into your deck. You probably don't even want 2 copies of this in your deck. The powerful, build-around 101 Dalmatian cards work with any cheap card, they aren't limited to just those with the Puppy tag, so you can find better cheap cards to work with them than this little guy.

Rating: 1/5

Joshua Sweet - The Doctor

Joshua Sweet has the perfect distribution of stats for a Bodyguard character: high Willpower and a decent amount of lore. Strength is much less relevant on Bodyguards. We've already seen that The Prince - Never Gives Up is favored over Hercules - True Hero, mostly for those reasons. I think The Doctor here could see some play as a good way to protect your board of low-cost characters while potentially gaining you a bit of lore as well. And he also may go into the full Bodyguard deck that is being pushed this set. Solid card.

Rating: 3/5

Kida - Atlantean

Kida - Atlantean is a vanilla 1-cost 2/2/1. 2/2s have fallen out of favor in the meta, because of the existence of Let the Storm Rage On and Teeth and Ambitions. So I don't expect this will see play except as a Shift target for the Floodborn Kida.

Rating: 2/5

Kida - Protector of Atlantis

The Floodborn Kida is a Legendary with a powerful enter the board effect. We like enter the board effects, we want cards that do something as soon as they enter play. This Kida asks as a peacemaker, reducing the Strength of all characters on board by 3 for a full turn, including herself. This works well in aggressive strategies, effectively giving your characters a free turn to quest without fear of being banished in a challenge.

The main problem with Kida is she only effects characters already on board. She doesn't protect your characters from being banished by Rush characters, as they will enter the board with their full Strength. Nor does she stop damage based removal. And what are we seeing a lot of in the Lorcana meta right now? Rush characters and damage based removal. I don't think she's a bad card, by any means. A 3/5/2 with Shift 3 is already decent and her ability is very powerful, just less useful in the current meta. But if the meta shifts enough with the release of Into the Inklands, she could be a key card in the right deck.

I especially think she could be useful for protecting locations, which Bodyguard characters cannot do. And I do think an aggro deck with cheap locations that generate passive lore for you might be good enough to see play. So perhaps she finds a home in that deck? Or maybe the control decks are knocked down a peg or two by other cards which gives aggressive and midrange decks more of a foothold in the meta? All in all, I think she is a good card, she will just need to find the right deck and that deck will need to be viable in the upcoming meta.

Rating: 3/5

Lucky - The 15th Puppy

Lucky wants to go in the 101 Dalmatian deck, which is really just an aggro deck with a lot of 2 cost or less characters. As I mentioned, you don't want to play Dalmatian Puppy - Tail Wagger in this deck, you want to play cards like Lilo - Making a Wish or Simba - Protective Cub or Cinderella - Ballroom Sensation. Y'know, actually good cards that happen to cost 2 or less. In that deck, he is a powerful source of both card advantage and lore gain. Potentially drawing three from him is very good. Gaining 4+ lore off of him in a turn is also very good.

The main problem with Lucky is he is slow. Getting value out of him requires him to stick around on the board for a turn and, at only 3 Willpower, that is going to be tough. Cards like Smash and And Then Along Came Zeus deal with him easily. There will be many times you will play him, he will immediately be banished and then you're screwed. There are better draw options for aggro decks, such as A Whole New World or Rapunzel - Gifted with Healing. And while the lore gain is nice, it's also quite conditional and feels a bit "win more"-y to me. If you already have five characters on board ready to quest, you are probably pretty far ahead as it is.

Rating: 2/5

Minnie Mouse - Musical Artist

Minnie Mouse is a new Singer character for Amber. Singer is a powerful keyword but Minnie is the first Singer we've seen that only gives you a 1 ink ramp to your songs, instead of the usual two. For this reason, I don't think you are playing her over Cinderella - Ballroom Sensation. Unless you are hoping to take advantage of her Entourage ability. But healing effects, especially conditional ones, have not been very good and I don't see that changing.

Rating: 2/5

Miss Bianca - Rescue Aid Society Agent

Miss Bianca is just a reskinned Sebastian - Court Composer. Singer 4 hasn't been hugely relevant up to this point, but with And Then Along Came Zeus that may change. If so, you can take your pick of running either Sebastian or Miss Bianca. I don't think you would want to run both, but I could be wrong.

Rating: 3/5

Mr. Snoops - Inept Businessman

A big, dumb idiot character gets a big, dumb idiot card. Mr. Snoops is not what you want in your constructed deck. Could be okay in a limited format though.

Rating: 1/5

Nani - Protective Sister

Nani is a Goofy - Musketeer that trades the healing ability for one extra lore. Goofy's ability has never really been relevant, so I'm happy to make that trade. Solid card for aggro decks and Bodyguard decks.

Rating: 3/5

Orville - Flying Ace

Orville is a color-swapped Tamatoa - Drab Little Crab. He's a vanilla. He won't see play outside of limited formats.

Rating: 1/5

Patch - Intimidating Pup

Patch reminds me of Aurora - Briar Rose except slower. Now, to be fair, Patch's Strength reduction lasts to the start of your next turn, so you can use it defensively to protect your board and not just to give yourself a slightly favorable trade. But again, this card is slow, since you can't activate his ability the turn he is played. He might be a bit better than the Aurora, but not much.

Rating: 2/5

Perdita - Devoted Mother

Perdita is the second of Amber's Legendary cards this set. Much like Kida, she also wants to go into an aggressive deck. Her ability lets you keep flooding the board with more characters. Since you can play them from your discard, her ability essentially reads as "draw a card that costs 2 or less and play it for free". That's very good.

Now her cost and uninkability does balance her out somewhat. Paying 6 for a 1/6/2 is a steep price, but you have to consider you are getting a 2-drop out with her for free and getting to draw it from your discard, so that is at least 3 ink worth of value right there. A 3 cost 1/6/2 sounds much better.

Overall, I expect this will be a strong card for aggressive, go-wide decks.

Rating: 4/5

Piglet - Pooh Pirate Captain

Piglet - Pooh Pirate Captain

Another card for aggro decks, Piglet - Pooh Pirate Captain can be a a 2-cost 3-lore character, if you have a big enough board. That is a nice payoff for a deck strategy that wants to go wide. It works very well on curve too. Play a 1-drop on 1, play Piglet on turn 2, then on turn 3 play a 3-drop and quest with Piglet for 3 lore. Or, if your 1-drop was cleared already, you could play two characters on 3 and still be able to quest for 3 with Piglet. I think he's going to be a nice inclusion in Amber aggro decks.

Rating: 4/5

Pluto - Determined Defender

Pluto finally gets a card in Disney Lorcana. Well, he actually gets several this set, but this one is a Floodborn Pluto that has Shift 5 and Bodyguard, as well as a self-healing ability. 8 Willpower is a lot on a Bodyguard character, he doesn't die to the ever-present Maui - Hero to All, which makes this Pluto a nice top-end card for aggro decks. He's improved even more because his natural Shift target is also a very good card.

Rating: 4/5

Pluto - Friendly Pooch

Pluto - Friendly Pooch is a 1-cost card that makes for a decent Shift target for the Floodborn Pluto. But that's not all he is good for. His Good Dog ability gives you access to ink acceleration very early in the game. In aggressive decks, he can enable some really fast starts, letting you play a 1-drop and a 2-drop on turn 2, or even three 1-drops, giving you four characters on board ON TURN 2.

You can also use him to ramp into bigger characters early, by chaining his ability to get out something like Doc - Leader of the Seven Dwarfs on turn 2 and then using both their abilities on turn 3 to play a 5-drop.

A very powerful 1-drop card that has potential to find a home in a lot of decks. Expect to see this good boy a lot.

Rating: 5/5

Pongo - Determined Father

Pongo is a new card draw option for Amber decks. His Twilight Bark ability can draw you an extra card each turn, with the caveats that it has to be a character card and you have to pay 2 ink to use it. I think, ultimately, that is going to be too expensive and too inefficient as a card draw engine. So I don't think this card sees play.

Rating: 2/5

Queen of Hearts - Wonderland Empress

Queen of Hearts slots nicely into a hypothetical Amber Villain deck. The problem is that deck remains hypothetical, as it just does not have enough pieces yet to be viable. This is a step in the right direction, but I believe it needs more still before it can break into the meta.

Rating: 2/5

Rolly - Hungry Pup

Rolly is a classic "french vanilla" card. Very baseline stats on a card with just a sole keyword. And Support is probably the worst keyword in the game. No thanks.

Rating: 1/5

Tinker Bell - Generous Fairy

This Tinker Bell card is Be Our Guest on a stick. Be Our Guest is a decent card, the question is would you rather be able to sing it for free with one of your Singer cards? Or have it attached to a weak body that costs 4 ink and is uninkable? I think you choose the former every time. It's not a bottom-of-the-barrel card, since you may want both in your deck if you just really want the ability to find a specific character regularly, but this Tink card is certainly the worse option of the two.

Rating: 2/5

Wendy Darling - Talented Sailor

This is the first time we have seen 2-lore on a 2-cost, 3 Willpower character. This distribution of stats is perfect for aggressive decks. (I'm sensing a theme here in Amber this set...) Costs 2, quests for 2 and doesn't die to Let the Storm Rage On, Teeth and Ambitions or Grab Your Sword? Sign me up.

Rating: 4/5

99 Puppies

99 Puppies is a finisher action for aggressive and go-wide strategies. And it can represent a lot of lore in those decks. The issue I have with it is, at 5 ink, it is very expensive. And it is uninkable, which means it will sit in your hand a lot of the time while you try to build up a board large enough for it to give you some value. If it were inkable or if it cost, say, 3 ink, I think it could have been playable. As it is, I don't see it.

Rating: 2/5

Boss's Orders

A color swapped Work Together. That card has never seen play and neither will this. You don't want to spend a card on an ability that is this low impact.

Rating: 1/5

Heal What Has Been Hurt

This is similar to Healing Glow but it's a song and it cycles itself. For those reasons, it is much better than Healing Glow. I don't know if that makes it good, but it's not awful. Maybe you run a couple of these in a healing focused deck?

Rating: 2/5

Quick Patch

Speaking of Healing Glow, this is basically Healing Glow but for locations. This is another card that is just way too narrow and low impact to see play.

Rating: 1/5

The Bare Necessities

This card may not look like much, but my prediction is it will be meta-defining. The ability to see your opponent's hand and force them to discard a non-character card is very strong. Especially as an aggro deck going up against control decks. Want to see what cards you need to play around from your opponent? Just play this and you get to see their whole hand. Oh, and what's that in their hand? A Grab Your Sword you were hoping to wipe my board with? You can kiss that card goodbye.

This can also deal with items and locations. If you are facing a deck that has those types of cards as key build-arounds, you can just completely shut them down. All this and it is a song, so you can play it for free as early as turn 2. Cinderella - Ballroom Sensation into singing this, removing your opponent's best non-character card, and then playing a 2-drop is going to be a very common start for any Amber deck.

This card will not only see a ton of play, it's very presence will force other decks to adapt and evolve to be able to get around this powerful effect. That's the very definition of a meta-defining card.

Rating: 5/5

Cleansing Rainwater

This is basically Hakuna Matata but as an item. Songs are better than items and yet even still Hakuna Matata saw no play. So this card has no shot. Amazing art though.

Rating: 1/5

Heart of Atlantis

Heart of Atlantis is Lantern times 2. Double the cost, double the effect. But really you want this sort of effect available as early as possible. Having to wait until turn 4 to get this online is a real bummer. Maybe there's a deck out there that looks to run all the ink acceleration effects and get them all out and start going crazy with cheap, beefy characters? Eh, sounds like more of a meme than a dream to me.

Rating: 2/5

Wildcat's Wrench

This is essentially Quick Patch as an item. It being a repeatable effect does make it slightly better than Quick Patch but you still don't want to spend a card on this.

Rating: 1/5

Never Land - Mermaid Lagoon

Finally we get to look at our first location card, the new card type from Into the Inklands. This one is just a vanilla 1-cost with 4 Willpower, a movement cost of 1 and 1 Lore. Vanilla locations aren't the most exciting, but I do think that if any are going to see play, it's the 1-cost locations. In an aggro deck, you can look at this as essentially a 0/4/1 for 1 ink and, when viewed through that lens, it isn't bad. With that Willpower, it will be hard to remove and it will just passively generate lore for you each turn, until your opponent finally decides to deal with it.

Rating: 3/5

Pride Lands - Pride Rock

Pride Rock is the first card we have seen in Lorcana that grants additional Willpower to characters. That alone makes it intriguing, and then on top of that you get a permanent ink cost reduction while you have a Prince or King character at the location? Now we are talking. Paying 2 to move a character there is a bit pricy, but you can make some of that tempo back through the Lion Home ability. As long as you can play 2 characters out with that ink reduction, you've essentially moved the character there "for free". Any more than that is a nice bonus. I think this location has the potential to be a mainstay in Amber decks and it will only get better as more Prince and King characters get added to the game.

Rating: 4/5

Tiana's Palace - Jazz Restaurant

Tiana's Palace - Jazz Restaurant is a 3-cost location with 8 Willpower that has a very powerful effect of blocking all challenges for characters at the location. In that sense, it's almost like a 0/8 Bodyguard since your opponent has to banish the location before they can challenge your other characters. Except, there is the movement cost to consider. Having to pay 2 ink for each character you want to protect with Tiana's Palace is very pricy. Now, you can get around that by using some movement cost reducers like Voyage or Map of Treasure Planet, but that is just more setup required to get any sort of value out of this card. Maybe there's a deck where this all comes together and you can easily get characters onto Tiana's Palace consistently, but I tend to think it's going to be too clunky most of the time.

Rating: 2/5


And that wraps it up for the Amber cards in Into the Inklands. They seem to have gotten a lot of cards that work in aggressive strategies. Aggro decks have typically struggled in Lorcana, but maybe with enough powerful cards they can gain a foothold in the meta? I do think cards like The Bare Necessities and possibly locations in general, will help with that. We shall see how things play out soon enough!

Next up, Amethyst!

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An avid player of card games since he got hooked on the Star Wars CCG back in his teens, Phil "gutshot" Bicking is excited to share his years of expertise to players of Lorcana.

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