Into the Inklands Set Review: Ruby

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 Ruby 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 Ruby cards from Into the Inklands.

Ruby has been the yin to Amethyst's yang, the two inks teaming up to create the best deck in the game throughout much of Rise of the Floodborn. But they have been pretty reliant on Amethyst to maintain meta relevance. Yes, Amber/Ruby Mufasa decks came on strong at the end of the last meta, but Ruby still felt like a support color in that pairing too. Might Into the Inklands offer them more build-around cards that can open up new avenues for meta success? We shall see!


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 Ruby Cards

Ariel - Adventurous Collector

We start off Ruby with this Super Rare Ariel. At a 3-cost for 2/3/1 with Evasive, she is just okay. I would prefer her to have more lore, so she'd be an upgrade over Minnie Mouse - Stylish Surfer. As it is, she needs to be carried by her ability and, while Inspiring Voice is nice, it's not really carrying.

I mean giving a character Evasive until the start of your next turn is decent. I like that it can be used both offensively and defensively. But you have to be able to play a song to activate it and currently Ruby decks aren't running that many songs. Without the song, she is just a worse Minnie Mouse. If a new deck archetype emerges where Ruby wants to play a lot of songs, maybe she finds a home. But currently, I don't see a reason to want to run her.

Rating: 2/5

Billy Bones - Keeper of the Map

Billy Bones is a vanilla 6/5 for 5 ink. He's Maui - Hero to All without the Rush. Blech. Maybe in a pirate deck with Jolly Roger - Hook's Ship you would run him? But I doubt it. I'd still just rather run Maui, even in a deck otherwise full of pirates.

Rating: 1/5

Captain Hook - Master Swordsman

Now this Captain Hook is a Pirate I would want to play with Jolly Roger - Hook's Ship. His Nemesis ability is what we see on Scar - Vicious Cheater, which has been a good card in Ruby decks. This Hook is 2 ink cheaper and doesn't come with Rush, but that's why he needs to go into the Pirate deck. His second ability is very niche and won't really ever be relevant, but in the pirate deck, as a 5/4 for 5 with Rush and the ability to ready himself, he'll be solid.

Rating: 3/5

Della Duck - Unstoppable Mom

Della Duck is a 2-cost 3/3 with Reckless. She's comparable to Gaston - Arrogant Hunter but trades one Strength for one additional Willpower. She importantly survives Let the Storm Rage On and Teeth and Ambitions, which probably makes her a bit better than Gaston. She also can tank a Teeth and still swing into something, allowing her to take out something with 5 Willpower. If she was inkable, I'd like her a good bit more, but I still think she is decent.

Rating: 3/5

HeiHei - Accidental Explorer

Because of the aforementioned songs that deal 2 damage, 2 Willpower on a 2-drop is not good any more. Especially when they only quest for 1 lore. So this HeiHei has a steep hill to climb to playability. His Mindless Wandering ability offers some repeatable lore reduction but requires a location on board and the ability for you to move him there. And it's unfortunately not able to be triggered more than once per turn. That is probably ultimately a good thing since, with Map of Treasure Planet you could setup a scenario where you could set your opponent's lore to zero! So yeah, that would probably be too powerful. As is, this HeiHei is not good enough. Hilarious art though.

Rating: 2/5

Hydra - Deadly Serpent

Now this is a cool Legendary. This Hydra is a 6/5 for 6 ink that quests for 2 lore, which is fine, but his Watch the Teeth ability is very unique and interesting. It lets you deflect the damage dealt to him back onto another chosen character. This synergizes great with something like Teeth and Ambitions, turning that song into deal 4 damage to your opponent's characters, either all to one character or split into two 2 damage pings.

It's also very efficient as a board control tool. You can run it into one opposing character, and however much damage it takes in the crackback, you can deal to something else. It's a little like Tinker Bell - Giant Fairy, in that respect, able to remove up to two things when it challenges. But even better than Tink, this effect also triggers when it's your opponent's turn. You can quest with Hydra and then if your opponent clears it with, say, a Maui - Hero to All, it not only banishes Maui but lets you deal 6 damage to something else on board.

The two things holding this card back from being in the upper echelon of cards in this set are that it is uninkable and that it doesn't do anything the turn it is played. It can just be removed by a Dragon Fire or Let It Go and you don't gain any benefit from it. But I still think it is overall a strong card and will likely see play in midrange and control Ruby decks.

Rating: 4/5

Jim Hawkins - Space Traveler

Jim Hawkins makes his debut in Disney Lorcana in this Ruby Legendary card. And what a card it is. The amount of tempo you get when playing this card is unmatched. His This Is It! ability lets you play a location that costs 4 or less for free. So far, every location in the game costs 4 or less, so this basically reads "play a location for free". And then, on top of that, you get to move him to that location for free as well. That is an additional 5-7 ink of value you get FOR FREE when you play this Jim Hawkins.

Now you do need to have a location in your hand for his effect to do anything, but with some smart mulliganing and/or a good amount of draw, that should be consistently achievable on curve. And with all this inherent value baked into the card, you would expect a very weak body on him. But you are still getting a 4/4 body that quests for 2 lore, which is perfectly acceptable for a 5-drop.

The real exciting thing is the synergy Jim has with some of the locations in the game. Something like The Queen's Castle - Mirror Chamber works great with Jim, getting the location out for free and setting you up for an extra draw next turn. He's also great with RLS Legacy - Solar Galleon, giving him Evasive when you play him and then making it easier for you to get more characters onto the Legacy, making them all hard to deal with. And these are just the best combos coming in this set. As they print more locations, Jim just gets better and better.

The combination of these synergies on top of all the ink value you can generate with this card makes Jim a true stand-out Legendary from Into the Inklands.

Rating: 5/5

Jim Hawkins - Thrill Seeker

From a very exciting Jim Hawkins card to a very lame one. This Jim is just a 3/2 vanilla. Feels like he is a Shift target for a future Floodborn Jim Hawkins, but until we see that card, this one is unplayable.

Rating: 1/5

Kakamora - Menacing Sailor

This Kakamora card is comparable to Aladdin - Street Rat. It has one extra Strength over that Aladdin, but loses the inkability. I'm not sure that's a trade I want to make. So he's already a worse Aladdin and that Aladdin barely saw play and mostly only as a Shift target for Aladdin - Heroic Outlaw. This card has no Shift target, so why would you play it? It does have the Pirate tag, which could be relevant, but I think you can do better in your pirate deck.

Rating: 1/5

Madame Medusa - The Boss

Madame Medusa is more hard removal for Ruby. As an uninkable 6-cost that removes something from the board, she reminds me of Lady Tremaine - Imperious Queen. That Lady Tremaine obviously has the drawback of your opponent getting to choose what is removed, whereas with this Medusa you get to choose, provided the target has 3 or less Strength. But there are quite a lot of high priority targets with 3 or less Strength, including Beast - Tragic Hero and Ursula - Deceiver of All. You also can pair this Medusa with some Strength reducing effects, allowing her to target even more characters for removal.

The benefit of Tremaine's ability though is she gets around Ward and this card doesn't. Also, Madame Medusa has an additional 1 Strength over Lady Tremaine but quests for only 1 lore and I'd rather have the extra lore. So while this Medusa is probably worse than Lady Tremaine, Tremaine is a great card and there is room in decks for cards that are similar to Tremaine but not quite as good.

Rating: 4/5

Maui - Soaring Demigod

Maui is known as a shapeshifter in the Moana film, but so far we've only seen his human form in Lorcana. But in Into the Inklands, we are getting not one but two shapeshifted versions of Maui. Unfortunately, they are both pretty bad. Maui - Soaring Demigod is a 5/2 for 3 ink that has Reckless. Compared to Gaston - Arrogant Hunter you are paying one extra ink and getting only 1 additional Strength and losing its inkability. I don't like it.

Now Maui does have an ability, In Ma Belly, which allows him to gain a lore and lose the Reckless keyword whenever a HeiHei of yours quests. I love how flavorful and funny that is, but it's not making this card any better.

Rating: 1/5

Maui - Whale

This enormous Whale is the other shapeshifted Maui card. An 8/8/1 for 7 is already not good enough to see play so we would need some really strong abilities on this card for it to be good. Instead, we get a drawback that says this character can't ready at the start of your turn, and instead you have to pay 2 ink to ready him. What this functionally means is you can swing with this Maui once the turn after you play him, and then if you want to use him again at any point, you have to pay 2 ink. Or potentially use one of Ruby's other ready effects.

That's really, really slow. It's true that he can continue to ready himself over and over in a turn, challenging and banishing a bunch of characters. But you could just play Scar - Vicious Cheater that does this for free and comes with Rush. So yeah, this card will not be making a splash in the meta any time soon.

Rating: 1/5

Milo Thatch - Spirited Scholar

I don't know why they keep printing worse versions of Gaston - Arrogant Hunter this set, but here we are. This Milo is a Gaston without Reckless IF you can get him to a location. But since that usually costs you one ink, he's probably better compared to Lilo - Galactic Hero with one less lore. Either way, he's not looking great.

Rating: 1/5

Moana - Born Leader

The first Floodborn Moana in Lorcana is this Ruby Rare card, Moana - Born Leader. There are no cheap Moanas yet though, so you aren't going to be shifting her on curve unless you are playing Morph - Space Goo. Best to evaluate her at her base cost of 5 ink, which gets you a 4/4 body that quests for 2. That's just okay.

Her Welcome to My Boat ability is reminiscent of Moana - Of Motunui's ability, except it targets all other characters at a location instead of all other Princesses. The trouble is to really get value out of this you need a bunch of characters at a location and that requires a lot of resources to make happen. And then your payoff, because you can't double up on questing with those characters, is frankly pretty lackluster.

If you could double quest with her effect, this would have been a cool build-around card for a deck that tries to get a bunch of characters to a location and then burst for a lot of lore in a single turn. Instead, we got this underwhelming card that is too much work for not enough reward.

Rating: 2/5

Moana - Undeterred Voyager

Another Moana card, this one is just a french vanilla. A 3/4 for 4 with Evasive is a decent body, but at only 1 lore, you aren't going to be advancing your win condition all that much with her. She could see play as a counter to other Evasives in the meta, but something like Peter Pan's Shadow - Not Sewn On probably does that better.

Rating: 2/5

Nutsy - Vulture Henchman

A 2/3 vanilla card is not going to see play. This one has a small synergy with 003-126 but that's certainly not enough to make it playable.

Rating: 1/5

Peter Pan - Never Land Hero

Ruby gets a second 3-cost, Rush Peter Pan after Peter Pan - Fearless Fighter from set one. This card is probably better than that one (it is at least inkable and quests for 2 lore). But 1 Strength is not what you want to see on a Rush character. Yes, he can be a 3/3 Rush character if you have a Tinker Bell in play, but you can't rely on that.

Really what this card shows is how busted Madam Mim - Fox is. A nearly unconditional 4/3 Rush character for 3 and which is inkable is not going to be outclassed any time soon, so if you are looking for a 3-cost Rush character, just play her.

Rating: 2/5

Peter Pan - Pirate's Bane

We finally get what might actually be a good Peter Pan card in Ruby? Peter Pan - Pirate's Bane is a 6-cost 4/5 Evasive that quests for 2 lore. That alone is decent and as a Floodborn with Shift 4, you can get him out for only 4-cost, which is even better. The best Shift target is probably Peter Pan - Never Landing but if you want to stick to Ruby cards, it would be the Peter Pan we just looked at, Peter Pan - Never Land Hero.

The real value here comes from his You're Next! ability. It looks like there will be quite a few Pirates in the metagame that this Pan can deal with efficiently. These include Piglet - Pooh Pirate Captain, 003-184, John Silver - Greedy Treasure Seeker, 003-071, and, lastly, Pan's archrival and the card he is built to counter, Captain Hook - Master Swordsman. With this many priority targets for him to trade efficiently in to, on top of an already decently statted body, I feel like he is bound to see some play.

Rating: 3/5

Prince Eric - Expert Helmsman

Prince Eric - Expert Helmsman is one of Ruby's Super Rares this set and he is definitely an intriguing card. As a 4-cost 2/2/2, you certainly aren't playing him for the body. It is his Surprise Maneuver ability that really excites. The ability to banish any character is obviously very powerful. He is like a much better Cheshire Cat - Not All There. Cheshire's ability only triggers if he is banished in a challenge and only targets the character that banishes him. This ability happens whenever Prince Eric is banished, in a challenge or not, and lets you choose the target.

This can work in both control or aggressive decks. In an aggro deck, you can play Prince Eric as a lore generator and just force your opponent to deal with him, knowing that when they do you get to banish something of theirs. This can sometimes backfire on you though, if your opponent has an empty board or maybe just one or two cheap things in play.

A better use is probably putting this Prince Eric into your control deck alongside Teeth and Ambitions. Using Teeth on him allows you to banish any character of your opponent's plus deal 2 damage to something else. Yes, it is a 2-card combo, but as a control deck you should be working with a pretty full hand most of the time.

I hesitate to give Prince Eric a full 5/5, since he is uninkable and, if you aren't specifically using Teeth on him, your opponent can play around him somewhat. But his ability is quite strong, so I think he will certainly make an impact.

Rating: 4/5

Scroop - Backstabber

Unless I'm missing something, this card is just a conditional and thus a much worse Card Soldiers - Full Deck. He does have a bunch of tags on him, including Villain and Pirate, so maybe that makes him somewhat relevant somehow? I'm not buying it though. This card is garbage.

Rating: 1/5

Simba - Scrappy Cub

Simba is Ruby's version of Pinocchio - Star Attraction. Amethyst/Ruby aggro decks were already a thing, so I think you can just slot this scrappy cub into them and add even more consistency to your early game aggression. This card will be dealt with quite easily by Steel, which is looking more and more like the best color in Lorcana, so that tempers my excitement for him somewhat. But he's a very efficient aggro character, so I expect to still see him online and on tables, questing away.

Rating: 4/5

Slightly - Lost Boy

Yet another Evasive character for Ruby. A 4/3/1 Evasive for 4 is not good. A 4/3/1 Evasive for 3 is better though. But to consistently get that cost reduction you would need a good amount of Pans in your deck and there aren't really many I would consider worth playing. There are also none that cost 2, so you can never play Slightly on curve. You can do better, even in your full Evasive decks.

Rating: 2/5

Stitch - Little Rocket

Stitch - Little Rocket is a solid, little cheap Rush character. Compared to Queen of Hearts - Impulsive Ruler, you are upgrading to 3 Strength but losing 1 Willpower and the ability to ink it. But dealing 3 damage is much better than dealing 2, because of the important characters in the meta that have 3 Willpower. And this is the first time we've seen a "pay 2 and deal 3 damage" card in Lorcana. Previously all 3 damage Rush characters or actions were costing you 3 ink or more. So this is a very efficient, early game removal tool. Efficient enough that I think it will see play.

Rating: 3/5

Trigger - Not-So-Sharp Shooter

Trigger is a 3/1/1 for 2, which is terrible. He has a small ability that gives Nutsy - Vulture Henchman an additional lore but that is so niche as to be irrelevant. It's not even on curve! If Trigger were a 3-cost with better stats, maybe you could think about this pair, in limited or perhaps in a budget deck. But it is just so bad, you don't ever want to play this.

Rating: 1/5

Webby Vanderquack - Enthusiastic Duck

Webby Vanderquack is a 3/4/1 vanilla for 3 ink. We've seen this stat line before but this is the first time it has shown up in Ruby. It's not the worst stat line in the world, cards like this saw play back in the early days, but the game has moved on to better things now and so should you.

Rating: 1/5

Divebomb

Divebomb lets you banish one of your characters to banish chosen character with less Strength than that character. A decent removal option for... wait, your character also has to have Reckless? That seems like a needlessly restrictive condition. I guess you can banish your Maui to remove something like Cinderella - Stouthearted? It's so specific though. Divebomb is hyper-conditional removal in a color that already has way better options. Nope.

Rating: 1/5

I've Got a Dream

I've Got a Dream is a new Ruby song with a readying effect. You can ready chosen character at a location and they can't quest for the rest of the turn but you do gain the lore equal to that location's lore. The most lore we have on a location currently is 2. So this is, at best, sing or pay 2 ink to gain 2 lore while readying a character.

The ready effect can be useful but the lore gain is minimal and you also have to consider you need a location in play and to have a character moved there for this to even have a target. It will sometimes be literally unplayable, although I guess you can then just ink it? I dunno, seems too situational to me.

Rating: 2/5

On Your Feet! Now!

Another readying effect, this action readies your whole board but deals 1 damage to them in the process. At 4 ink, you are investing a lot into this effect and, since it is uninkable, you have to play this if you draw it. Or else it is just a dead card in your hand. Way too expensive and inflexible to see play.

Rating: 1/5

Voyage

Voyage is a 1-cost action that lets you move up to 2 characters to the same location for free. This can be a significant cost reduction, sometimes letting you perform movement that would normally cost you 4 or even 6 ink. But the fact that you have to expend a card to do it is a definite downside. Ideally, I would like to see something that isn't costing you card advantage, but, as far as movement enablers go, this is probably just good enough.

Rating: 3/5

Maui's Fish Hook

It's pretty obvious which character this item is meant to synergize with. And if you have a Maui in play, getting to give something Evasive or +3 Strength for free is not bad. But without a Maui on board, you are giving up a lot of tempo to activate the Shapeshift ability. And this is on top of the 3 ink you spent to play this item. Like many item cards, it's just too slow and expensive.

Rating: 2/5

Sumerian Talisman

Sumerian Talisman is a new draw item for Ruby. Ruby has traditionally struggled with card draw, typically leaning on Amethyst to fill in that hole. But the Talisman gives you a decent draw engine that wants you to engage in challenges. This fits the theme for Ruby established last set in cards like Shere Khan - Menacing Predator and Queen of Hearts - Sensing Weakness.

The problem is character-combat has been hard to build around as you are often playing from behind in that sense, always having to challenge characters that have already quested and gained the opponent some lore. The prevalence of action-based removal also means many of your characters may not even stick around long enough to do the challenging.

It does work well with Rush characters though, especially cheap ones like Stitch - Little Rocket and Queen of Hearts - Impulsive Ruler. Getting to use those cards as removal and then cycle them for draw is pretty powerful. All in all, I think this could find its way into Ruby decks that aren't paired with Amethyst, as a good-enough draw engine.

Rating: 3/5

Agrabah - Marketplace

Agrabah is Ruby's vanilla location. And with 2 lore on a 3-cost location it does seem appealing at first glance. But 5 Willpower is very susceptible to the new Steel song, And Then Along Came Zeus, as well as Ruby's own Maui - Hero to All. I think this location will just get taken out too easily the turn it is played and net you zero lore. You would be better off playing a location with more Willpower and less lore.

Rating: 2/5

Jolly Roger - Hook's Ship

Jolly Roger is the Pirate deck enabler. Costing only 1 ink, you'll hopefully be able to get this location down right at the start of the game and then all the pirates you play afterwards can move there for free and gain Rush. That is very powerful. This will be a priority removal target for you opponent and unfortunately, like we noted with Agrabah, 5 Willpower is susceptible to the main location removal options. But at only 1-cost, you are probably okay with it taking hits from more expensive cards.

I'm honestly not sure if a pirate deck will work or not. This definitely lets you control the board with your pirates, but you still may lose out to board wipes like Be Prepared. Time will tell if the deck can compete in the meta, but this card certainly will do a lot of work to get it there.

Rating: 4/5

RLS Legacy - Solar Galleon

RLS Legacy is an expensive location. It costs 4 ink to play, is uninkable, and costs 3 to move characters there. It does have a whopping 8 Willpower on it though and gains you 2 lore a turn. And the movement cost can be reduced by having a character there, making it cost only 1 ink. Gaining Evasive on your stuff is useful, both to take out opposing evasives and just to make them harder to deal with.

I think if you are playing this with Jim Hawkins - Space Traveler, it is pretty good. You get a big bodied location that gives you a lot of lore plus the Heave Together Now ability is activated immediately and it costs you nothing. But playing it on its own and then having to move something there at full cost? That's pricy.

As an uninkable that you really only want to play out with a Jim Hawkins, I don't know if you can afford to run 4 of these in your deck. Feels like more of a 2-of that you sometimes can play for a small board benefit and to generate you some passive lore.

Rating: 3/5


And that's a wrap on Ruby. Players who favor Ruby look to have scored some interesting options this set. The pirate deck may finally become a thing. And Jim Hawkins can enable you to play some very expensive and powerful locations for free.

Overall, I think Ruby is in a decent spot. They still are likely going to want for card draw, so will need to pair with other colors like Amber and Amethyst. But their plethora of removal options plus Evasive threats will ensure they remain relevant in the upcoming meta.

Next up, we will look at the Sapphire cards!

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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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