Ursula’s Return Set Review: Amber

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

Introduction

Ursula's Return is the fourth set of Disney Lorcana. With 200 plus new cards coming into the game, the meta is sure to be shaken up. But which of these cards are worth their salt and which are just fool's gold? We will be attempting to answer that question for all the cards in the new set in our series of set review posts. In this post, I will be reviewing all the Amber cards from Ursula's Return.

Amber was one of the strongest colors in the early days of Lorcana. But it hasn't had the best cards released recently. It is still heavily reliant on its Singer cards to be meta-relevant. Will that still be the case in Ursula's Return? Or might there be some other Amber themes finally breaking through into the metagame? Read on to find out.


Ursula's Return 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.


Ursula's Return Amber Cards

Agustin Madrigal - Clumsy Dad

Kicking things off here with a vanilla card. As a 2/2/1 for 1 ink, Agustin Madrigal has a stat line we've seen a bunch. The stats alone are not good enough to want to run it, so unless you are using it as a Shift target or it has some typal synergy, you aren't going to put it into your deck. Agustin does have the latter, as he has the Madrigal tag and there is a Madrigal deck that is being introduced in this set. Problem is I don't think it will be very good, so this card won't see competitive play.

Rating: 1/5

Alma Madrigal - Family Matriarch

Another one for the Madrigal deck and only for the Madrigal deck. Alma Madrigal is an uninkable 3-cost 1/3/2 that has the ability "When you play this character, look through your deck. You may reveal a Madrigal character card and then shuffle your deck and put that card on top of your deck."

So she adds a bit of tutoring to Lorcana. Tutoring is a term that originates in Magic and is the name for the ability to search through your deck to find a specific card. Alma lets you dig through your deck to find other Madrigals. She doesn't actually draw you the card though, which is a bummer.

I love seeing a tutor card in Lorcana, and hopefully this means we get more of them in the future, but this card on its own is underwhelming.

Rating: 2/5

Ariel - Singing Mermaid

We are getting a new Singer Ariel in this set. As a 3/3/2 for 4 ink, her stats are just ok, but she also has Singer 7. Prior to this set, that'd make her able to sing every song in the game, but they've released a few expensive new songs this set with the new Sing Together mechanic. Still, she can sing almost everything in the game and gets you most of the way there on the Sing Together songs. Plus she works as a Shift target for a new Floodborn Ariel in Steel.

The question is: do you really need this Ariel when Ariel - Spectacular Singer exists? Five is a much more important singing breakpoint and the Spectacular Singer also comes with some conditional card draw. I think this Ariel is obviously not as good as Spectacular Singer, but Spectacular Singer is a five out of five card, so there is still room for this card to be decent and potentially playable. It really depends on if the Sing Together songs are playable or not.

Rating: 3/5

Cinderella - Melody Weaver

Amber's first Legendary is this Cinderella. If Singer 7 wasn't good enough for you, you can have a Singer 9. Singing for nine is a lot. That covers almost all the Sing Together songs and, of course, all the normal songs. She also has a secondary ability that gives all other Princess characters +1 lore whenever she sings. This ability won't be relevant most of the time, as there still isn't enough support for a full Princess deck.

Similarly, her stats aren't really what you want when playing a 5-drop. So we are mostly evaluating her as a Singer 9 character. Again, I think if Sing Together songs are worth running, then you are going to want big Singers to help play them out consistently. My feeling is that most Sing Togethers will be too expensive and clunky to fit into refined lists, so overall, I think this Legendary Cinderella is fairly mid.

Rating: 3/5

Cogsworth - Majordomo

Cogsworth is a 4-cost 3/3/1, which is a very bad stat line for the cost. He would need a strong ability to be playable. Unfortunately, his ability is only okay. Removing Strength for a full turn is a way to protect your board, but Bodyguard or just straight up removing your opponent's characters would be better. This does nothing, for example, to protect against Rush characters. The ability is also very slow, triggering on quest and not on play. The art on this card is a lot of fun, but otherwise, I don't think it's great.

Rating: 2/5

Daisy Duck - Lovely Lady

Daisy Duck is the first 1/3/1 for 1 ink in Amber. This is a stat line that does see play on occasion. It allows you to pretty much guarantee you'll have a bounce target on turn 2 or to have something you can hit with Teeth and Ambitions. So whether this card sees play will be meta dependent, but it's definitely a useful option for Amber decks.

Rating: 3/5

Daisy Duck - Musketeer Spy

This Daisy Duck card looks very similar to Friar Tuck - Priest of Nottingham. Same cost and Strength/Willpower, just losing one lore. But with Daisy here, you don't need to worry about having less cards than your opponent to trigger the discard. That's probably worth missing out on the one lore. It is, for example, the perfect follow-up to a turn 3 Prince John - Greediest of All. I think this card will definitely see play.

Rating: 4/5

Donald Duck - Musketeer Soldier

Donald Duck is an Amber Bodyguard that reminds me of Simba - Protective Cub. His stats are identical, but he costs one more ink. But he comes with an ability that lets you give a character 1 extra lore the turn he is played. This is great for aggro decks, allowing you to continue to pile on the pressure while still playing a Bodyguard to help protect your early game questers. Donald can also be used as "surprise" lore from hand, which can get you over the top when trying to close out a game, and that your opponent may not be accounting for. And the art on this is fantastic. Overall, a really great card.

Rating: 4/5

Felix Madrigal - Fun-Loving Family Man

Felix is another vanilla Madrigal. We've seen this stat line in Amber before with Piglet - Very Small Animal. That card saw next to no play and neither will this one.

Rating: 1/5

Gaston - Despicable Dealer

Gaston is a Super Rare which looks similar to Doc - Leader of the Seven Dwarfs. You are losing one lore but gain an extra Willpower and, more importantly, get to discount the next character you play by 2 ink, instead of 1 ink. That's a big discount. But whether this card sees play or not relies on the curve of playing Gaston on three and then getting to play a 6-drop on turn four.

The question is what 6-drop do we want to cheat out? Doc mostly only sees play as a way to cheat out Mufasa - Betrayed Leader a turn earlier. At the moment, I don't think there is a 6-drop you really want to get out on turn 4. Not enough to want to run this uninkable card that isn't gaining you lore when activating its ability, at any rate. For that reason, I'm not sure this card sees play right now. But it's definitely one to keep an eye on.

Rating: 3/5

Golden Harp - Enchanter of the Land

Just look at the stat line on this card:. two Lore for only 1 cost... and it's inkable... AND it has four Willpower! That's insane. But that ability brings it back down to Earth. You literally can't play this on turn 1, as it just banishes itself at the end of the turn. So the earliest you can get it down and have it survive is turn 2. But that requires either playing a 1-drop on turn 1 and singing with it on 2 or playing a 1-cost song alongside this. You'll need a good opening hand to pull this off.

It pairs really well with Cinderella - Ballroom Sensation, for obvious reasons. There will be some really explosive starts with this and Cinderella, where Cindy sings removal songs to protect your Harp from your opponent's characters and from herself. However, the condition of having to sing a song every turn to keep this up might be too steep a cost to make it really consistent. But I'm going to give it a try, for sure.

Rating: 3/5

Goofy - Musketeer Swordsman

We are getting more Musketeer support in Amber with this Goofy. While his ability doesn't specifically work only with Musketeers, many of the Musketeer characters have Bodyguard. But he can also work in a Bodyguard focused deck or just a deck that happens to run a bunch of Bodyguards.

The thing is, how is this ability helping him? Yes, you can challenge multiple times a turn, but with only 3 Strength and 4 Willpower, Goofy's not going to be taking out much or surviving many challenges. I guess you could just ready him to keep him alive longer? But you are already playing a Bodyguard character, which naturally protects Goofy anyway, so readying him seems superfluous. And then to top it all off he's uninkable. Yeah, I just don't see it.

Rating: 2/5

Julieta Madrigal - Excellent Cook

Julieta looks like a budget Rapunzel - Gifted with Healing. And that's honestly fine! Healing something, getting a bit of card draw and getting another body down on board is solid. Julieta is, in particular, a good on-curve, follow-up to Mother Gothel - Withered and Wicked. She can also just be used to heal something like a Prince Eric - Dashing and Brave after it takes out your opponent's 1 or 2-drop, keeping him around to challenge something else. Early game tempo is very important in Lorcana and getting a bit of healing to help control the board and keep our characters around for longer can be huge. I think this card will definitely see play.

Rating: 4/5

Max - Loyal Sheepdog

Max is a good boy. Max is cheaper when you have his owner in play. Max has a solid body but unfortunately only quests for 1 lore. If there were a 1-cost Prince Eric, Max would be an even gooder boy. Max is still a good boy just not the goodest boy.

Rating: 2/5

Mickey Mouse - Leader of the Band

Mickey Mouse is a way to give characters Support that wouldn't normally have them. There can be some niche applications to that, such as triggering Pete - Bad Guy's secondary condition without having to play actions. But, in general, Support is a pretty low-impact keyword so this Mickey isn't very exciting.

Rating: 2/5

Mickey Mouse - Musketeer Captain

Mickey Musketeer Captain is Amber's other Legendary this set. He's a Floodborn that costs 7 and can Shift out for 5. And if you do Shift him out, you trigger his ability, which allows you to draw a card for each character with Bodyguard you have in play. This notably includes Mickey himself, so you'll always draw at least one card off of him. But the potential for two or three cards drawn is there. And as a 3/6 that quests for 2 lore, he's not a bad Bodyguard character to play for 5 ink.

The main issue with this Mickey is he is way, way worse if you can't Shift him out. Not only does he cost a massive seven ink, but you don't even get the card draw. So you are relying on sticking a Mickey to the board to get some value out of him. And if you can't do that reliably, you aren't even able to just ink this Mickey and pursue a different game plan, you are stuck with him in your hand. That makes him pretty hard to justify running more than 1 or 2 copies of in a deck, unless you have a ton of other Mickeys as targets and Bodyguards to proc the draws.

I think this card could see play if/when a Bodyguard deck really takes off. Getting two, three or even more cards off of this would be massive. But currently, I don't think Mickey will be consistent enough to warrant inclusion in a deck that otherwise isn't built around Bodyguards.

Rating: 3/5

Minnie Mouse - Musketeer Champion

Minnie Mouse gets a Musketeer card and it's maybe the best one yet. It doesn't actually synergize with the Musketeer deck though, but is just a generically good card. It's World's Greatest Criminal Mind on a stick. That stick is a 1/5 Bodyguard that quests for 2 lore and costs 5 ink.

World's Greatest Criminal Mind has seen only a small amount of play but sticking it onto a body makes it better. Being able to remove an opponent's character while you play one of yours is generally very good (see: Madame Medusa - The Boss). To be fair, Medusa has plenty of targets for her ability, while there are definitely less that Minnie can hit. But there are some important ones, such as Tamatoa - So Shiny! or Cinderella - Stouthearted. There is also always the option of buffing an opposing character's Strength with Support to make it targetable by Minnie.

The thing is every character that has some form of hard removal on an "enter the battlefield" ability has seen play and I expect that this Minnie will be no exception. Very good card.

Rating: 4/5

Mirabel Madrigal - Gift of the Family

Mirabel Madrigal is the enabler for the Madrigal deck. Whenever she quests, all your other Madrigal characters get +1 lore for the turn. So how many Madrigals can you expect to have on board with her at a time? More than two seems unrealistic, so this is basically a 5-cost character that quests for 4 lore. I mean, that's decent, but it's obviously very conditional. Oh, plus she has Support, although it isn't really relevant and is more of a flavor thing.

Obviously, you are only running Mirabel in a Madrigal deck and, as I've already noted, I don't think that deck is going to be competitive. So, realistically, Mirabel is not going to see play.

Rating: 2/5

Mirabel Madrigal - Prophecy Finder

The other Mirabel in this set is this 2-cost 2/2 that quest for 1 and has Support. Support is not worth the loss of stats over a vanilla of this cost. You aren't playing this outside of a Madrigal deck and even there it's not doing much. Maybe if we get a Floodborn Mirabel at some point, she could find a use. Until then, hard pass.

Rating: 1/5

Pluto - Rescue Dog

A new Pluto in Amber is this 5-cost 4/5/2 who can heal another character for 3 when you play him. Unlike Julieta though, you don't get a card draw when you heal. Also healing on turn 5 is not as useful as it is on turn 3. For those reasons, I don't see Pluto being that great a card.

Rating: 2/5

Prince Eric - Seafaring Prince

Prince Eric is an Amber Hercules - Divine Hero. Once upon a time, that Hercules saw some play but it has since been overshadowed by more powerful cards. A 3/3 for 3 Bodyguard just isn't good enough any more. Only thing that makes this card somewhat playable is the existence of the new Floodborn Prince Eric...

Rating: 2/5

Prince Eric - Ursula's Groom

And here is that new Floodborn Prince Eric. As a Shift 4, he does follow on from the Bodyguard Prince Eric on turn 3 nicely. But is it worth? A 5/5 that quests for 2 and costs 4 ink is not that good. It's slightly better than a vanilla like Eli La Bouff - Big Daddy. Now to be fair he does have an ability, which is if you have an Ursula in play, Eric gets +2 Willpower and Bodyguard. The awkward thing is he does not have Bodyguard when played, so you can't actually exert him when you play him. And if your opponent removes the Ursula, he loses the extra health and Bodyguard. Overall, I'm not super impressed with this card.

Rating: 2/5

Stitch - Alien Dancer

Another Amber Stitch card in Alien Dancer. Yeah, it's just a vanilla, but it's another Shift target for Stitch - Rock Star that also works when you get Rock Star out on the board. For those reasons, it could see some play.

Rating: 3/5

Ursula - Eric's Bride

This Floodborn Ursula showcases the new Shift mechanic, which has you discarding cards from your hand as a Shift cost. While paying 0 ink to play a character is obviously very strong, you are paying in card advantage. And discarding a song is particularly punishing. But Ursula's ability mitigates the card disadvantage by forcing your opponent to discard a card as well. She is especially good to shift onto Ursula - Deceiver. Force them to discard an action with the first Ursula, then shift out Eric's Bride onto Ursula Deceiver and get rid of another action, or even an item or location.

I think of all the Floodborn's with the new Shift mechanic, Ursula is the best one and the one most likely to see a lot of play. This is down to there already being very good Ursulas for her to Shift onto and having the card disadvantage mitigated with her ability. An Amber/Emerald discard deck could be very good in the next set and this card will be a key piece of that deck.

Rating: 4/5

Ursula - Vanessa

Another Ursula card for Amber and this one also has her in human form. She's a 2 cost 1/4 that quest for 1, but importantly has Singer 4. Singer 4 hasn't been the best singer breakpoint, as most good songs are either 3-cost or 5-cost, but with the new Sing Together songs, it may become more important. It also just has a massive amount of Willpower compared to the other Singer 4 cards. Having 4 Willpower on a 2-drop that has the Singer keyword is very powerful. It will nearly always survive a turn to be able to sing. This card is so much better than Sebastian - Court Composer it's not even funny. I just don't see any world where this card doesn't see play.

Rating: 4/5

Bruno's Return

This is Part of Your World and Healing Glow smashed together into one card. Neither of those cards are seeing any play right now and I don't think putting them together into one, uninkable card will change that.

Rating: 1/5

First Aid

First Aid is an area-of-effect heal. That's really only good with Grand Pabbie - Oldest and Wisest. But Grand Pabbie decks haven't been good enough yet. And this low-impact, situational card isn't going to be enough to get them there.

Rating: 1/5

Look At This Family

Look at This Family is Amber's Sing Together card. The Sing Together mechanic allows you to exert any number of your characters with a total cost equal to or higher than the song's cost to sing the song. And what does the song do? It lets you look at the top 5 cards of your deck and reveal up to two character cards and add them to your hand. Card draw is always good and being able to target those draws to cards that you want and/or need is even better. Now, it is limited to characters only but unless your deck is really, really item or action heavy, you should always have two characters to choose from.

The question becomes how easy or difficult will it be to sing for seven? And I think, in Amber especially, it should not be that hard. You have so many Singer cards to choose from that will get you most of the way there. Or even all the way there. And, unlike most of the other Sing Together cards, this one is inkable. So if you aren't able to get enough Singers or other characters to stick on the board to sing this, you can always ink it.

I think of all the Sing Together songs, this is the one most likely to see consistent play. Mainly because of Amber's access to Singers and the fact that it is inkable, so it will never be a dead card in your hand. I can see this finding a home in a Steelsong deck, to help you find your Beast - Tragic Heros or Ariel - Spectacular Singers to keep the draws coming. I like it.

Rating: 4/5

Lost In The Woods

Lost in the Woods is basically Kida - Protector of Atlantis's ability, but as a song. You are mostly wanting to use it to protect your board from challenges on your opponent's turn. The big problem with this sort of plan is it doesn't protect your board from opposing Rush characters or Floodborn's getting Shifted out. And what are there a lot of in the meta? Rush characters and Shifted Floodborns. So yeah, I don't think this will make the cut.

Rating: 2/5

Sign The Scroll

Sign the Scroll, perhaps appropriately, feels like a bad deal. Paying 3 to force your opponent to discard one card is really bad when Sudden Chill does the same thing for 2 ink... or free when you can sing it. And this card is uninkable to boot. The best use for it would be to just use it as a lore gain card by holding it and playing it only when your opponent has an empty hand. But if you are desperate for some alternate lore gain options, you are probably better off with Sleepy's Flute. Poor, unfortunate scroll.

Rating: 1/5

Miracle Candle

Another alternate lore gain option in Amber and, while this one is not as bad as Sign the Scroll, it's still not great. You are paying 2 ink and then banishing the item to gain 2 lore. But you have to have 3 characters in play, which isn't always easy. You can also remove 2 damage from a location, but that feels like it will almost never be relevant. How often are you going to have location with damage on it, at least 3 characters in play and 2 ink to spare to play this? Not very often, I'll tell you that.

So you are basically only playing this for the extra lore gain and, again, you are probably better off just running Sleepy's Flute and a bunch of good songs.

Rating: 1/5

Record Player

Record Player, like Sleepy's Flute, triggers whenever you play a song. After playing a song, you can give a character -2 Strength until the start of your next turn. Unlike Flute, this can trigger multiple times a turn, which means you can reduce a character with a lot of Strength down to zero, potentially. The Record Player also has the secondary ability of giving your Stitch characters +1 cost when singing songs. This is a nice little side benefit, but probably not the main reason you want to be playing this item.

I like things that trigger off of songs, since we already know songs are powerful and will see a lot of play. The thing is taking a turn off to play this item puts you far behind in early game tempo and the effect isn't going to catch you up enough to make it worth it. If we get a way to cheat out items in Amber, this is one that could be a good option. But until then, I don't think it is good enough.

Rating: 2/5

Atlantica - Concert Hall

Atlantica is a location that can basically make any of your characters a Singer card. The problem is you have to pay 2 ink to move the character to the location first. So you are paying a 3 ink up front cost in total to give one character Singer. That's a steep cost. Not to mention, the location does not have any passive lore gain. So far, locations without passive lore gain have not seen any competitive play. Clearly a location without lore needs to be very powerful to be worth running and this one doesn't look like it will measure up.

Rating: 2/5

The Underworld - River Styx

The Underworld is another 6 Willpower location with a movement cost of 2 ink. This one at least has some passive lore gain, though. Its ability is Part of Your World and you must pay the 3 ink cost for it. So 2 ink to play, 2 ink to move a character there AND 3 ink to trigger the effect? That's super expensive. It used to be you only had to pay Charon one coin to cross the river Styx, but now you are looking at 7 ink? I'll just wander on this side of the river for 100 years, thanks.

Rating: 1/5


And that's it for Amber in Ursula's Return. Overall, I feel like it's another underwhelming set of cards for the ink color, to be honest. The Madrigals are fun and flavorful but the deck is not going to be competitive. Same with most of the Musketeer stuff. Their healing cards, with the exception of Julieta, are not that exciting. And the character recursion stuff continues to be very highly costed.

The new Singers could be good though, especially with the Sing Together cards coming into the game. Amber is still the only color with Singer, which should keep it relevant for now, especially if the Sing Together songs are good. But other than that, not too much to get excited about.

Up next, we'll take a look at 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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