Ursula’s Return Set Review: Ruby

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 Ruby 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 Ruby cards from Ursula's Return.

Ruby has so far excelled in control archetypes. With lots of removal options and the only true board reset in the game, it is no real surprise that Ruby control decks are powerful. But maybe we will see some new archetypes take hold this set? Or will we still be controlling our way to victory in Ursula's Return? Let's 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 Ruby Cards

Beast - Wounded

Ruby is getting more self-damage mechanics this set and wounded Beast here is one of them. He comes onto the board as a 2/2 that quests for 2, but can be healed up to a 2/6. We've seen Mother Gothel - Withered and Wicked work really well paired with Rapunzel - Gifted with Healing and this Beast should do the same.

His downside is that he's a very weak body prior to being healed and can be taken out by a lot of the removal in the game. But given enough of these self-damage characters, the Amber/Ruby deck should always have a target for their Rapunzel, so he just adds more consistency to that deck. And maybe now we could even see a Ruby/Amethyst damage moving deck becoming viable? That remains to be seen, but I love that we are getting more support for these archetypes coming into the game. This card won't go into every Ruby deck but the decks that value self-damage will absolutely use him.

Rating: 3/5

Benja - Bold Uniter

Benja is a reprint of Scar - Fiery Usurper. That card didn't see any play, even in the days of a very limited card pool, so this one stands no chance now that there are four times the cards in the game.

Rating: 1/5

Fa Zhou - Father of Mulan

As a 0/4 that literally can't challenge, Fa Zhou is not a good card. Yes, he also works as a way to ready your Mulans, some of which can be quite powerful when challenging multiple times in a turn. But you probably would rather use the generic readying effects in a deck, instead of this very specific one.

But this card is very thematic and represents a perfect translation of character from the movie to character card in Lorcana. Sometimes, it is okay to have a flavor win, even if the card itself is bad. This looks like one of those times.

Rating: 1/5

Flynn Rider - Frenemy

This Flynn is an interesting card. As a 2/2 for 2 that quests for 1, you are getting mid stats. But his ability allows him to gain you potentially 4 lore a turn. That's a lot. But to do so, you need to keep a relatively high Strength character in play with this Flynn. That's difficult to do while still fighting for the board against your opponent. You will want to use your high Strength characters in challenges and then they may not be around any more to proc this ability. Interesting build-around card, but I don't know how viable it will be.

Rating: 2/5

Goofy - Super Goof

Super Goof to the rescue! I love this card. Not only because I think it's good but also it's just hilarious and awesome. Rush characters are good. Rush characters that gain us lore when challenging are even better. This will nearly always gain you 2 lore, since you probably aren't going to be playing it unless you have a target for it. And, with 4 Willpower, it very well may survive to challenge again. This gaining you 4 lore and removing two things is definitely possible.

Biggest downside of Goofy is his 2 Strength. Coming out on turn 4 with only 2 Strength, there might not be anything left that he can take out. But if you can find ways to increase his Strength, he can be a real threat. All in all, he seems like a nice removal option that also progresses your win condition and I suspect that he will see play. Never underestimate the power of a Goof.

Rating: 4/5

Hercules - Clumsy Kid

Another Rush card for Ruby, this Hercules is a color swapped Rafiki - Mysterious Sage. Once upon a time, in the pre-Fox era, Rafiki was a good card that saw a lot of play. And, I think, if you are playing Ruby without Amethyst, this Hercules is definitely going to be a consideration. A 3/3 Rush for 3 is good, but as an uninkable, you will have to weigh whether you can include him in your deck or not. Solid card though.

Rating: 3/5

Hercules - Daring Demigod

Yet another Rush card, here is the grown-up version of the Hercules we just looked at. So this card is obviously best compared to Maui - Hero to All. We already know Maui is an excellent card, so how does this Hercules stack up? You are trading 2 Willpower and inkability, for +1 Strength. Not sure that is the most worthwhile tradeoff, but Maui is kinda broken. Basically, you'll run this Hercules if you feel like you want 5 or more copies of Maui. But you're probably never taking him in lieu of his fellow demigod.

Rating: 3/5

Khan - Beloved Steed

Khan makes his appearance in Lorcana as this 2-cost 3/2/1 vanilla card. Yeah, not much to say here.

Rating: 1/5

Li Shang - General's Son

Another 1-cost 2/2, which is probably the most common stat line in the game right now. This one will only see play if the Floodborn Li Shang sees play, so let's move onto that card...

Rating: 2/5

Li Shang - Valour's General

Here is the Floodborn Li Shang and it is Ruby's discard Shift mechanic Floodborn. This one is probably the easiest discard to achieve, as you may not reliably have an action card or song card in your hand to pay the Shift cost, but you will nearly always have another character. So Shifting him out shouldn't be too difficult. But is it worth it?

Again, paying multiple cards for the Shift is pricy, but this Li Shang is cheap enough that you might not even want to Shift him a lot of the time. As a 3/2 with only 1 lore, it is a pretty underwhelming body for the cost though. His ability buffs all characters with 4 Strength or more to give them an extra lore. I feel like for this to be good, you really need things that buff the Strength of your whole board of characters. Even getting just +1 Strength on things would help a lot. It would give this Li Shang himself an extra lore even.

But then to get real good value out of this card, you need Li Shang, plus a wide board plus some sort of Strength buff. That's a lot of setup and even after you get it all online, you are going to likely be very susceptible to board clears. I don't know about this one. It's a very specific deck that it goes into and I just don't see that deck being very good.

Rating: 2/5

Lumiere - Fiery Friend

Here's the card that wants to go into the Floodborn Li Shang deck. But even outside that deck, this card could be decent. Adding +1 Strength to everything really helps you make some favorable trades. Madam Mim - Fox swinging for 5 is good, Maui - Hero to All being able to take out The Queen's Castle - Mirror Chamber in one shot is even better. This card is reminiscent of Grand Duke - Advisor to the King, but strictly better. And Duke did see some play at one point, so this Lumiere could find a home in some Ruby decks. Not bad.

Rating: 3/5

Mulan - Elite Archer

This Floodborn Mulan is one of Ruby's Legendaries this set and it looks like it could be a powerful one. It has a base cost of 6 and a Shift cost of 5, which is only a 1 ink discount, but you will still want to Shift her out much of the time because of her other two abilities. If you Shift her into play, she gets +3 Strength for the turn. That is very relevant because whenever she deals damage to a character in a challenge on your turn, she can then deal that same amount of damage to 2 other characters.

So when Shifting her out, you can attack right away with 5 Strength and then deal 5 more damage to two other characters. 15 damage to three different characters? That is super strong and will be a board clear, most of the time. She gets significantly less powerful after that initial turn though. But given that you just likely cleared all of their stuff, you probably are going to be questing with her in any subsequent turns any way.

I think if we want to compare her to an already existing card, the closest one would be Tinker Bell - Giant Fairy. And that has been a very good card for a long time. So this Mulan definitely seems like it will be strong and I have to imagine it will find a home in some Ruby midrange decks. Super powerful board control tool.

Rating: 4/5

Mulan - Enemy of Entanglement

This Mulan is one for an "actions matter" deck, although that deck has been really bad for a while now. If you play one action, she becomes a 3/3 for 2 cost, which is good. But I don't think you can rely on that too much. If this sees play, it will be solely as a Shift target for the Floodborn Mulan.

Rating: 2/5

Mulan - Injured Soldier

Here is another piece for the self-damage deck (as well as another possible Shift target). I think this Mulan could be good. A 2/3 for 1 is pretty nice, but you will need to follow her up with some healing. But if you are playing a healing deck, you can potentially heal her on 2, challenge something and have her survive, then heal her again on 3, challenge or quest with her, etc. etc. Yeah, this self-damage deck may just become a thing.

Rating: 3/5

Namaari - Heir of Fang

Namaari has Mulan - Elite Archer's ability, but can only target one other character. This is still quite strong, especially in the early game, where dealing 4 damage spread across two characters is relevant. And if you can buff her Strength with Lumiere - Fiery Friend or something, she can really dole out some punishment. Unlike Mulan though, she doesn't get to attack immediately since she can't be Shifted out. Ultimately, this may end up making her too slow to see consistent play, even though she is, in a vacuum, a solid card.

Rating: 3/5

Nessus - River Guardian

A big dumb idiot card with art to match. 7/5 is a lot of stats for 6 cost, but you don't want to play vanilla characters in your constructed decks. Big draft bomb though.

Rating: 1/5

Noi - Acrobatic Baby

This is one nimble baby! Gaining immunity every time you play an action is nice, but realistically this means Noi gets one free trade before then getting removed on your opponent's turn. And you had to spend an action to activate her ability in the first place. So it's not really a "free" trade, per se. As I've said, "action matters" decks just have not been good enough and they really need some very pushed cards to get it there. This isn't doing it.

Rating: 2/5

Pegasus - Flying Steed

Ruby gets a Pegasus card in this 2-drop 3/1 with Evasive. I like that all the Pegasus cards have Evasive. I don't like the stat line on this one though. It is Sir Hiss - Aggravating Asp in Ruby. And Sir Hiss didn't see any play, even in a meta where Minnie Mouse - Stylish Surfer was rampant. I think the only place you'd want this is in a Ruby/Emerald deck, as an extra Shift target for Pegasus - Cloud Racer. Even there though, it's maybe not necessary.

Rating: 2/5

Raya

This Raya Super Rare card is a payoff and finisher in the self-damage deck. I guess this is the card that makes On Your Feet! Now! make sense. But I don't think that is going to be a two-card combo you want to rely on. Better to just play the self-damage characters and then follow them up with a Raya challenge.

How good will that be? I still think just using the self-damage characters as enablers for your healing synergy is probably better. If we get more lore gain effects that trigger off of damaged characters, maybe we can start to build a deck around this. Or if this had Rush or could Shift out, I'd also like it a bit more. As it is, it's slow and hard to setup, so I don't think it sees play.

Rating: 2/5

Raya - Guardian of the Dragon Gem

Another Raya card coming in this new set is this common Raya, which is a 4-cost 3/3/2, and has a readying ability. We've seen readying abilities sneak into a few decks in previous metas, but hasn't been as prevalent recently. And the condition of having to have a character at a location just makes Raya here feel like a worse Lefou - Instigator. Love the art on this card, but unfortunately I don't think it's very good.

Rating: 2/5

Sisu - Daring Visitor

This Sisu card is the Emerald killer. Her on play ability deals with Cursed Merfolk - Ursula's Handiwork and Flynn Rider - Charming Rogue perfectly and then leaves behind a body that can take care of Pegasus - Gift for Hercules. This card alone will tremendously help Ruby/Sapphire Control against the various Emerald decks it struggles with right now.

But her ability also hits a lot of other relevant 1 Strength characters in various inks, such as Rapunzel - Gifted with Healing, Hiram Flaversham - Toymaker, Ursula - Vanessa and Minnie Mouse - Stylish Surfer. Removal on a stick has been very good in Lorcana so far and this Sisu will certainly continue that trend. Get ready to have to make deck building decisions based on whether or not something has 1 Strength as this card looks to be meta-defining.

Rating: 5/5

Sisu - Emboldened Warrior

Another Sisu card and this one also looks like it will be quite good. For 3 ink, you get a 1/4 that can quest for 2 but which gains Strength based on how many cards in your opponent's hands. First of all, this card will be an absolute MONSTER in 4 player games. Just casually playing, like, a 15 Strength character on turn 3 is hilarious.

But even in 1v1 games, this card will be very good. When you get it down on curve, it will likely have 5 or 6 Strength. That's going to be able to deal with anything your opponent can play at that point in the game. Now, she obviously gets much worse as the game goes on. And she crucially loses Strength every time your opponent plays a card, so they can manipulate her Strength to take the best possible trade for themselves on their turn.

So she's not amazing all the time, but the amount of stats she puts out on curve is hard to ignore. I think this one will see play, for sure.

Rating: 4/5

Sisu - Empowered Sibling

The final Sisu of this set is this Legendary Floodborn Sisu, which is 5/4 for 8-cost that quests for 3 and can Shift for 6. And when you play her, she banishes all opposing characters with 2 Strength or less. As we've mentioned when talking about the other Sisu, there are already a lot of meta-relevant characters with 1 Strength so hitting stuff with 2 should be good. But her coming down on turn 6 or even later, does make it a lot less likely she will hit much.

This Sisu is a bit like Under The Sea on a body. I'd much rather have the body than this effect on a song, to be honest. Especially as an uninkable card. You can always just play the Sisu without getting any value from her on-play ability, as she is still a threat on the board that quests for a lot.

I think since the other Sisus are so strong, this one may make some lists as a 1 or 2-of. She especially works well Shifted onto Sisu - Emboldened Warrior, as it loses Strength and becomes much less useful by turn 6. Ruby does have a lot of board control tools though, so this could easily end up being more of a flex card than a meta staple.

Rating: 3/5

Tong - Survivor

Tong is a 3/6 4-cost with Reckless that is also uninkable. There are two other characters being released in this set that have the exact same stats and cost but which do not have Reckless and which are inkable. Uh, ok then.

Rating: 1/5

Tuk Tuk - Lively Partner

Tuk Tuk is 3-cost 2/3/1 with Evasive (man, we are getting a lot of Evasives this set, it seems). When you play him, you can move him and one of your other characters to a location for free and the other character gets plus +2 Strength. That is a ton of value. If you are moving to a location with a move cost of 2 and we value +2 Strength at say, 1 ink, that is 5 extra ink of value when playing Tuk Tuk.

But he may fall victim to the same issue that Jim Hawkins - Space Traveler fell too. Which is that locations just aren't very good. If and when we get enough good locations, these two cards will really help make a deck built around locations very good. But right now, I don't think he sees play.

Rating: 2/5

A Pirate's Life

A Pirate's Life is Ruby's Sing Together card. It is the cheapest sing together song we've seen, which should make it pretty easy to play. It's also inkable, which is nice. The only issue is... it does nothing. Well, basically nothing. Yes, you can swing 4 lore in your favor when you play this. But you aren't affecting the board in any way or gaining card advantage or doing anything to make things difficult for your opponent. You are just adjusting the clocks slightly.

For that reason, I don't think it is very good. We want to include cards in our deck that help us fight for board or win the resource battle. This does neither and so isn't worth the deck spot.

Rating: 2/5

Be King Undisputed

Now here is a song which effects the board. It is the Lady Tremaine - Imperious Queen ability on a song. That's powerful, for sure. Not least of all because it gets around Ward. Lady Tremaine has been seeing less play recently, but this ability on a song means it can be played much sooner to deal with cards like Prince John - Greediest of All immediately. Any sort of hard removal has to be respected (saluted), especially ones that can be played for free. Very good card.

Rating: 4/5

Brawl

Brawl is even more hard removal in Ruby. This one isn't a song though, which definitely makes it worse. At least it can be inked. Paying 3 ink feels a bit expensive for this effect, however, considering that Kit Cloudkicker - Tough Guy costs 3 and comes with a 2/2 body attached. Of course, bounce and banish are different but they serve a somewhat similar purpose.

Considering this is situational removal and it isn't a song and it doesn't come on a body, I'm not as high on it as other forms of removal. But it's still borderline playable, in my opinion.

Rating: 3/5

Imperial Proclamation

This is some perfectly on-brand ink acceleration for Ruby. Something that lets you cheat out bigger stuff every time you challenge is cool. And the fact that it works every time you challenge and that each Proclamation you have in play would stack with itself means the ink discounts can really add up.

As a 1-cost item, it's cheap to play, inkable if you don't want it, and can let you push a lot of tempo each turn. Lantern has seen quite a bit of play and as long as you are challenging each turn at least once, this is a cheaper Lantern. Yeah, I quite like this card and think it could be very good.

Rating: 4/5

Medallion Weights

Medallion Weights is another card draw item for Ruby. We've seen cards similar to this before in Sumerian Talisman and Dinner Bell. Neither of those have been good and I'm not loving the look of this one either. I really don't like the items that require you to pay ink to play them AND to activate their ability. That ability better be very good (like on Lucky Dime) or it's just not worth it.

Rating: 2/5

The Plank

I like the idea behind this card: you can make the Hero walk the plank to their doom! Unfortunately, paying 5 ink total to banish a character is just Dragon Fire, except this one is limited to only Heroes. And the second effect is definitely not worth 5 ink. Another flavor win but on a bad card.

Rating: 1/5

Vitalisphere

Vitalisphere is kind of a cheaper version of White Rabbit's Pocket Watch. It's single use only though. However, it does give a Strength buff in addition to Rush. Again, not a huge fan of items we have to pay twice to use. Ultimately, I think this is probably too low impact to run but could see play in a deck with Mulan - Elite Archer as a fallback to when you can't Shift her out.

Rating: 2/5

Snuggly Duckling - Disreputable Pub

Snuggly Duckling is a 2-cost location with a whopping 9 Willpower. And while it doesn't have any passive lore, it can still be a huge lore gainer thanks to its ability. Whenever a character with 3 Strength or more challenges something while here, you can gain 1 lore, and if they have 6 Strength or more, you gain 3 lore instead. This can work really well with a card like Scar - Vicious Cheater, letting us clear a bunch of characters and gain a ton of lore in one turn.

This is definitely a location you want to build around. If you can make things cheaper to move here and constantly be challenging from here, the lore can really start to add up. I don't know if a deck like that will be good, in fact, it probably won't be. But I'm excited to give it a try.

Rating: 3/5

Training Grounds - Impossible Pillar

Training Grounds is another location with no passive lore. That's already not great. And then we are looking at an effect that you have to spend an ink on every time you want to use it? And it only buffs a character with +1 Strength? Yeah, that is definitely not worth it.

Rating: 1/5


That's a wrap for Ruby. It seems like Ruby's best cards continue to be the ones that let them control the board. But I do like seeing more support for the self-damage decks and "challenging matters" decks. I think those last two archetypes could become meta relevant this set. Or at least they are getting there.

Next, we'll take a look at Sapphire.

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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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