It’s now EASY being Green: Emerald starts out strong in Inklands

Into the Inklands just hit stores last Friday, but that did not stop stores from already having major events with the new set being legal. Now, granted not everyone in the event had access to the entire card pool on day one, limited by how much they could acquire in a day or so, but that does not mean that we should ignore the results that exist.

The biggest stand out on the weekend for me was not only the appearance, but I dare say the dominance of Emerald decks on the weekend. While the potential of Ursula - Deceiver and Ursula - Deceiver of All was there, their ability to combat the existing control archetypes and anchor Emerald based tempo strategies early on, was impressive. Oftentimes in new metagames you see aggressive decks rise to the top, but rarely do you see them have this many new cards in them, and slant more towards a tempo strategy. It is one thing to update existing archetypes with new cards: it is another to take a lowly played entire ink to glory at multiple recorded events!

Emerald Steel Tempo

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The first deck I want to look at is the Emerald/Steel deck piloted by "Lorcana Bro" at Evolutions Trading $1k in Texas. In the last metagame, whenever you saw "Emerald/Steel" it was heavily discard focused. While this deck still has four copies of Bucky - Squirrel Squeak Tutor, it is more of a disruptive tempo element than the main focal point of stripping your opponent of options.

The rest of the deck is simply pure tempo. You have all the powerful removal songs, but it's the plethora of high value songs for Ursula that really brings the deck to the forefront. If your opponent allows Ursula to sing, basically ever, they are going to be on the short end of the stick. You could potentially be banishing or bouncing multiple characters, and definitely drawing multiple cards. I would not go so far as to say she is a "banish on sight or the game is over" but activating her ability multiple times a game is sure to end the game in her controller's favor!

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The rest of the deck is just chock full of new cards from Into the Inklands. And Along Came Zeus serves a key purpose of taking care of late game threats before they can take over a game. It is interesting to see Jafar - Dreadnought in here without a smaller Jafar to Shift onto, mostly to be able to sing this powerful, new song, but it can gain value from Bucky's discard as well.

Morph - Space Goo allows you to transition your early game to more of a mid-game, with the ability to Shift so many of the high value Steel targets. Imagine a line of Morph on two, Ursula on three, and Morph still being around on four to become a Tinker Bell - Giant Fairy, Hercules - Divine Hero, Robin Hood - Champion of Sherwood, or Beast - Tragic Hero. Even if you feel the pathway is not clear for Morph, you can still play the aforementioned Bucky, smaller Ursula, or even continue the Robin Hood line on the first few turns.

This deck does not simply have one path to victory and I am sure there are subtle ways of improving it as the format develops. Should Smash be here for the mirror? What about using Locations like The Bayou - Mysterious Swamp? You can really abuse your mulligan and look for the other lines instead of sticking to simply one way of playing the game. You likely want Ursula - Deceiver of All in any hand, but even without her, you can go with a giant Robin Hood on three as well!

Incredible Shift lines into incredible Song lines have proven to be how you stay on top in competitive Lorcana since The First Chapter meta. The dominance of Amber/Steel was built upon these lines, and its seems like Emerald/Steel is poised to continue that trend.

Emerald Amethyst Tempo

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Classifying Emerald/Steel as Tempo is almost unfair compared to Emerald/Amethyst, which is a Tempo player's dream! You are basically combining all the best elements of the new Emerald cards, and instead of playing answers in Steel removal actions/songs, you are continuing to play threats like the well-known Merlin/Madam Mim packages.

What's interesting here is that while Ursula is important, she really only needs to sing either song in the deck once and the game is just over. Drawing FOUR CARDS from Friends on the Other Side[card] or bouncing two opposing characters with [card]Mother Knows Best is simply game winning, when your first couple of turns were spent playing high lore characters like Cursed Merfolk - Ursula's Handiwork and Flynn Rider - Charming Rogue. Also remember that when Ursula sings it is turn four, and this deck then drops haymakers from the last meta in the various incarnations of Merlin (or even like a Fox back into a Cursed Merfolk..). Your ability to use all your ink each and every turn to the fastest and most efficient lore gaining or card drawing characters is what makes this deck start in a high gear and never leave it.

All of this, and this deck uses the best location in the game: The Queen's Castle - Mirror Chamber. This location is why the deck can afford to run so many low drop characters, because they will eventually become card draw engines for you as they hang out at the Castle. Keeping the opponent's board clear on a crucial turn where you take some time off to move everyone to the castle is pretty easy, and even if they have some Rush characters coming in to deal with the Castle, you have so much Lore still on the table, and the location has SEVEN Willpower: a tall order to deal with in one turn regardless (sorry, not sorry, Maui!)

Did you really think you had seen the last of Merlin - Goat ending games by being bounced back to hand constantly? Would you like to do that more efficiently and faster than it was done with Amethyst/Ruby? Then pairing Amethyst with Emerald may be what you should be playing to start this season!

Have these decks "solved the meta?" Of course not, we are one week in. It is refreshing, however, to see an oft-forgotten color in Emerald be able to come out as the early winner in the Into the Inklands meta going forward. It is healthy for Lorcana that each ink finds a place of prominence in the competitive scene, and it is amazing what just a small injection of power can do for an entire ink color!

AUStarwars
AUStarwars

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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