Ursula’s Return Set Review: Sapphire

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 Sapphire 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 Sapphire cards from Ursula's Return.

Sapphire has relied a lot on its item synergies to carry it in the meta. We've seen the item control decks become some of the best decks in the meta, thanks to cards like Lucky Dime and Pawpsicle. But might we see some other Sapphire decks making waves in Ursula's Return? 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 Sapphire Cards

Anna - Braving the Storm

Anna is a two drop with a 1/4 stat line, that if you can keep a Hero character in play wih her, quests for 2 lore. 4 Willpower is a lot, Anna is going to be tough to remove. And you should be able to keep a Hero character in play more often than not, there are a lot of Hero cards in Lorcana. Solid card, not just for the Hero deck, but really any aggressive strategy.

Rating: 4/5

Anna - True-Hearted

Another solid Anna card for a Hero-focused deck. This Anna buffs your other Hero characters with +1 lore whenever she quests. Again, there are a lot of Hero cards in Lorcana, so you could definitely hit two or three other characters with her ability, essentially making her a 4-drop that quests for 4 or 5 lore.

The Hero deck could be good enough to see play and this plus the other Anna should fit right into it as important cards in that deck. I like her.

Rating: 4/5

Ariel - Treasure Collector

Ariel, as a 6-drop that quests for 3 lore and has Ward, is already pretty appealing. But she gets a bonus if you have more items in play than your opponent and can then quest for 5 lore. That is pretty spicy. Especially in a deck with Lucky Dime, where you can expect to play her and Dime her for an instant 5 lore. And then the following turn, unless your opponent has a way to deal with her some how (not easy because of Ward), you will be gaining another 10 lore!

As a Sapphire deck, you can almost guarantee you'll have more items in play than your opponent. Mostly because Sapphire decks are the only ones running more than, like, one item. So this Ariel should pretty consistently have 5 lore the turn she comes into play. Except for those times when you are facing off against another Sapphire item deck, then you will have to judge when best to play her for maximum effect.

I think this Ariel goes right into the Ruby/Sapphire Control decks as a win condition paired with Lucky Dime. She is uninkable, which is her one major drawback, but that is even less of a problem in a deck with Fishbone Quill. All around, Ariel is a fantastic payoff for item decks.

Rating: 5/5

Aurora - Lore Guardian

This Aurora is Aurora - Dreaming Guardian but for your items. This can be useful if you really have an item you want to protect, like Lucky Dime. But it's not guaranteed protection, since your opponent can always just banish Aurora first and then play their item removal card.

Her second ability allows you to exert one of your items to look at the top card of your deck and either keep it on top or move it to the bottom. This offers a slight improvement to your future draws and, if you are exerting an item such as Pawpsicle, which has no exert effect anyway, costs you literally nothing. It's just a nice little bonus for having this Aurora in play.

As a 3/3 for 4 that quests for 2, she has a decent stat line. Her Shift 2 is nice, you would love to play her for 2 ink consistently, but the lack of good Aurora Shift targets is a problem. There are no 1-drop Auroras to let you play this on curve. The best we can do is play a 2-drop Aurora and then Shift this Aurora on 3. That means you will be floating 1 ink often, but maybe you can fit in a 1-cost card like Pawpsicle or Develop Your Brain on that turn as well. But I do think, more often than not, you will just pay 4 ink for her.

Ultimately, I think she's just an okay card. The abilities she offers are nice, but not essential for item decks. Unless item hate gets really out of control in the meta, you are probably okay with having an item banished every now and then. Decent card, I just don't know if it does enough to warrant inclusion.

Rating: 3/5

Aurora - Tranquil Princess

This Aurora reminds me of Duke Weaselton - Small-Time Crook, except you are trading 1 lore for an extra Willpower. That's not a deal I want to make. Ward is a keyword that works best on high lore characters, ensuring that you nearly always get to quest with them once. Having it on this 2-drop that only quests for 1 isn't too helpful. I think this Aurora only sees play as a potential Shift target for the Floodborn Auroras in the game and I'm not too confident those will see play either.

Rating: 2/5

Dang Hu - Talon Chief

Dang Hu offers support (heh) for a Villain deck. There aren't as many Villains as there are Heroes though, so it's already an uphill climb for the Villain deck. And Support is probably the worst keyword in the game, so I'm not super excited about this card.

Rating: 2/5

Fa Li - Mulan's Mother

Fa Li is a 1/3/1 for 1 ink in Sapphire. Sapphire hasn't had one of these vanilla characters yet. This stat line on a vanilla is probably the one that has seen the most competitive play, so it's nice to see it finally make it to Sapphire.

Rating: 3/5

Flounder - Collector's Companion

We've seen a few of these types of characters that get cheaper when you have another named character in play. They generally haven't been good or consistent enough to see play. And I don't think this Flounder will either. If we had a 1-drop Ariel that allowed us to curve into this Flounder consistently on turn 2, maybe. Even then though, a 2/2/2 for 2 ink is already a thing in the game and those cards don't see any play. Is adding Support to that really going to put it over the top? I don't think so.

Rating: 1/5

Hades - Meticulous Plotter

This vanilla Hades comes with a decent body for 4 ink but only questing for one is not great. You ideally want to start ramping up your lore gain by turn 4 with things that can quest for 2 or more, at least.

Perhaps the most notable part of this card is the flavor text, which seems to imply that Hades is being setup as the big bad of future sets. So maybe we get a powerful Floodborn Hades in the next set and then this becomes its Shift target? That could push it to playability.

Rating: 2/5

Hans - Noble Scoundrel

Hans joins Merlin - Goat as the only characters that can instantly gain you 1 lore with their on play ability. That is a powerful effect and one which Lorcana has been sorely lacking. You do need to have a Princess or Queen in play for it to trigger though, so you'll have to ensure you have enough of them in your deck for this to reliably proc. Once he's on the board, he also quests for 2 as well. So you can expect to get 3 lore out of him most times, which is very good for a 3-drop.

He's not as good as the Goat, obviously, but I do think he is a strong consideration for aggressive Sapphire decks that are looking for ways to close out games. Maybe you even play him together in a deck with Goat, since he's also a card you'd be happy to bounce and play again? I like this card and hope we see even more of these effects in future sets.

Rating: 4/5

Iduna - Caring Mother

I never knew Elsa and Anna's mother had a name, was it ever mentioned in the movies? Either way, this card has an effect we have seen a few times before and Gramma Tala - Storyteller has been the only one of these to see play. That's because she comes out early, when ramp is at its most powerful.

And even Gramma Tala is seeing less play these days, with most ramp decks just going with the One Jump Ahead and Fishbone Quill combo. Ultimately, this card is basically James - Role Model with slightly worse stats but which is inkable. Is inkability the thing that was holding James back? I doubt it.

Rating: 2/5

John Silver - Terror of the Empire

John Silver always wins the award for most tags on his cards. Too bad only a few are ever relevant. This John Silver is awful on his own. You don't want to spend 8 ink playing a do-nothing character. But may actually be worth consideration in a Pirate deck with Jolly Roger - Hook's Ship. An 8/8 with Rush is pretty formidable. But nah, probably still too expensive.

Rating: 2/5

Olaf - Carrot Enthusiast

Well this card has to be in the running for best art in this set. Look at Olaf carrying his carrots on his sled body! So this is Sapphire's alternate Shift card for this set, with Olaf being shiftable by discarding an item card. Again, with these alternate Shift cards, you are paying a lot in card advantage to play them, so you really want to make sure it is worth it. It needs to give you some immediate impact to make the Shifting valuable.

With Olaf that immediate impact would be questing with him and then buffing all your other characters with his Strength. He has a sort of Support AoE effect, giving not just one character his Strength when he quests, but all your other characters. This can be pretty good even with his 1 base Strength, becoming a Lumiere - Fiery Friend every time he quests. But if you can buff his Strength up, he can really juice up your board.

His best home is going to be paired with Ruby in the "strength matters" deck, for sure. I may have underestimated how many pieces that deck is getting and it just may end up being a viable deck in the Return meta. If so, this Olaf will definitely slot right in there. Imagine questing with this Olaf with a Lumiere on board as well; all of a sudden you are giving +3 Strength to the rest of your characters. That's a lot of carrots! Fun card and definitely strong in the right deck.

Rating: 4/5

Olaf - Trusting Companion

This Olaf would be a Shift target for the Floodborn one, but like I mentioned, you may not even want to Shift that one out most of the time. So how does this Olaf stack up as an individual card? Well, it's a 1-drop that trades 1 Willpower for Support. In a "strength matters" deck, this might be relevant. But most of the time, you'd probably rather have the extra Willpower so your 1-drop can survive the 2 damage removal cards. So yeah, I don't love this card but it may still slot into the "strength matters" deck.

Rating: 2/5

Pascal - Inquisitive Pet

Sapphire gets a Pascal card that is mostly there to combo with the Rapunzel card from this set. On its own, you are trading 1 stat off of a vanilla card for his ability, which lets you rearrange the top 3 cards of your deck. This is not really worth losing the stats, in my opinion. It's not giving you any card advantage, just giving you a bit of knowledge of what your future draws will look like.

It is worth a mention that this card pairs well with Bruno Madrigal - Undetected Uncle. If you are wanting to build a Bruno deck, Amethyst/Sapphire may be a decent option.

So Pascal is below average on its own and mostly exists to support other cards, like Bruno or Rapunzel. And we don't want to run below average cards simply to make other cards slightly better. For that reason, I don't think this Pascal sees any play.

Rating: 2/5

Prince Phillip - Gallant Defender

Prince Phillip is support for Support. As I noted, Support has so far been the weakest keyword in Lorcana. So giving it a bit of a boost is useful. And I like the synergy of giving your characters chosen for Support some Resist. When you give something extra Strength you usually want to be challenging with it, so giving it Resist as well, so it potentially survives that challenge, is perfect.

With Prince Phillip having Support himself, you can essentially read his ability as "give another character +1 Strength and +1 Resist whenever this character quests". So he's pretty good on his own, on top of making all your other Support characters better. And he has a solid 2 lore, so you definitely want to quest with him more often than not. The card seems decent and I think it could see some play.

Rating: 3/5

Rapunzel - Appreciative Artist

Rapunzel on her own is a vanilla 3/5 that quests for 3 lore, which is worse than Maleficent - Uninvited. But if you have a Pascal in play, she gains Ward. Ward is obviously good on high lore characters, but it being conditional means she will just be a worse vanilla a lot of the times you have to play her. I'm not sold on this one. Love the art though.

Rating: 2/5

Scuttle - Expert On Humans

Scuttle looks like the Ariel - Spectacular Singer for items. Obviously, Ariel is better since Songs are better and she can then sing what she draws you. But for item decks, this card is perfect. It lets you find Fishbone Quill on curve. Or just dig for Pawpsicle to get your Hiram draw engine online. This card is very good in item decks.

Rating: 4/5

Sisu - Wise Friend

Sisu gets a pretty boring vanilla card in Sapphire this set. 6/6 for 6 is decent stats at least. It's nice that it dodges And Then Along Came Zeus. But in constructed decks you typically need more than just stats. And this Sisu annoyingly doesn't even curve out into the Floodborn Sisu, which wants to Shift on turn 6. Not good enough, unfortunately.

Rating: 2/5

The Queen - Diviner

The Queen is one of Sapphire's Legendaries this set and she provides even more draw for item decks. Not only can she find and draw you an item, but provided it is 3 ink or less, you can play it for free. Draw and free tempo in one card is a nice deal.

She is a bit slow, as you will need to have her survive a turn before you can use her ability. But the payoff is definitely powerful. She's a bit like Ursula - Deceiver of All, where you get an extra 3 ink worth of value for free from her ability, except it is for items. Items are generally worse than songs, but you do get the draw from her, whereas you need the song in hand for Ursula to be good.

Overall, I don't think she's as powerful as Ursula, simply because songs are just so good. But she will be quite good in item decks, ensuring you find the items you need and giving you some tempo on top of it. Very good card.

Rating: 4/5

Transformed Chef - Castle Stove

Sapphire has always had a sub-theme of healing, although this set they did not get too many healing cards. Transformed Chef is one of only two Sapphire healing cards from this set, a 3/3 for 4 that quests for 2 and heals for 2 when you play it. That's... fine, I guess. Healing without some sort of benefit attached has not been good enough though. I don't think this guy sees play.

Rating: 2/5

Triton - Champion of Atlantica

This Legendary Triton is the first of a trio of Triton's coming to Sapphire in Ursula's Return. He is a 9-cost Floodborn, that you can Shift out for 6, and comes with beefy 7/9/3 body. His ability, however, despite the name, is less imposing.

Reducing the Strength of all opposing characters is good, but the condition of having to have a location in play is going to be an issue. Most meta decks are barely finding room for locations, maybe they are running 3-4 total, so it's rare that you would have more than one location out at a time.

You will have to build your deck around this effect to take advantage of it. I just don't know if there are enough good locations worth running, really. I think in time, we may get there, but right now this Legendary feels very mid.

Rating: 3/5

Triton - Discerning King

Now this is an interesting Triton card. A 3/3 for 3 is fine, although only 1 lore. But you probably won't be questing with him very often because you want to use his ability, exerting him and banishing one of your items to gain 3 lore. Being able to banish your Pawpsicles or Fishbone Quills and gain 3 lore is very powerful.

Is it better than banishing those items with Hiram for the card draw though? Probably not. But in a deck with enough items, you can potentially do both. Another point against Triton compared to Hiram, is he is uninkable. But I suppose the deck he goes into will nearly always have Fishbone Quill, so maybe it is fine.

I think while, ultimately, Triton's effect is powerful, it might not make the cut in refined Sapphire lists. Lucky Dime is probably going to be a better lore gainer and finisher for the Sapphire item decks, most of the time. But still a cool card and might see some experimentation.

Rating: 3/5

Triton - Young Prince

The last Triton from this set is this young version of the character. As a 3/4/1 for 4 you are getting a stat line that is slightly below rate, but does come with two abilities. The first is one we have seen quite a bit, allowing him to take out opposing Evasives while not being Evasive himself. We've even seen this on another Sapphire card with similar stats in Flintheart Glomgold - Lone Cheater. To be honest, I forget that was even card, which should tell you how much play it is seeing.

So this Triton will need to be carried by his second ability. And I don't know if it is going to do it. It's obviously pushing for a location heavy deck, just like the Floodborn Triton. But like I mentioned when looking at the Legendary, I don't think we have the locations needed for that deck yet. So this card feels overwhelming, overall.

Rating: 2/5

Tuk Tuk - Curious Partner

Cutest card? Cutest card. But you won't be seeing this adorable face very much, as it's attached to a vanilla 2/3 card. Tuk Tuk may be fine as a draft filler card, but it is definitely not constructed worthy.

Rating: 1/5

Dig A Little Deeper

Dig A Little Deeper is Sapphire's Sing Together song card. And it's a pricy one, at 8 cost, which is a scary number to see when the card is uninkable. Although I think uninkables are generally less of a problem in an ink that has access to Fishbone Quill.

So what do you get for your 8 ink (or your 8 ink worth of characters exerted)? You get to look at the top 7 cards of your deck and add any 2 into your hand. That's obviously very good. We like to draw cards. Friends On The Other Side still sees tons of play as a basic "draw 2 cards" song. And this one has the added benefit of being able to choose what 2 cards you want.

But is that benefit worth 5 extra ink? I'm not sure. Especially in a color that already has the best draw engine in the game in Pawpsicle and Hiram Flaversham - Toymaker.

It is important to note here that Ravensburger recently confirmed that the Sing Together songs work with Ursula - Deceiver of All. Meaning if you use Ursula as one of your characters to sing with, you will get to play the song again for free. I don't think I need to tell you that that is crazy good value. That confirmation does make all the Sing Together songs better, if you can pair them with Emerald.

I don't know if that deck exists right now with Sapphire. You would need some more synergy to make a complete deck there. And with other draw options in the ink, this song might just be too expensive and clunky to really find a home in the bulk of Sapphire decks. Very powerful effect, but not too sold on its viability.

Rating: 3/5

Glean

Glean is a 1-cost action that can work as item removal against your opponent, albeit at a cost of giving them some lore, or as some lore gain for yourself. You can play a cheap item and then use this to banish it and gain 2 lore. That's probably not going to be worth it though. And hopefully you would have access to better item removal options that aren't also helping advance your opponent's win condition. Hard pass for me.

Rating: 2/5

Seldom All They Seem

Seldom All They Seem is a song that lets us value trade with one of our characters, challenging and banishing the while keeping our own character alive. It's also something that can be paired with Sisu - Daring Visitor or Kit Cloudkicker - Tough Guy to help us deal with characters with higher Strength. That's probably the best use for it, honestly. And even then I'm not thrilled about having to pay a card for this effect. It is some gorgeous art though.

Rating: 2/5

Treasures Untold

This is Tamatoa - So Shiny!'s enter the battlefield effect on a song, but it lets you bring 2 items back to your hand, instead of one. At a whopping 6 ink, however, this card feels wildly overcosted. I would rather play Tamatoa for 2 ink more. Yeah, you get one item less back from your discard, but you get a huge body that is a threat on board and can quest for tons of lore.

I suppose if there is ever a deck which absolutely has to have multiple items in play at a time as a part of its win condition, and you need to account for people removing them, this song could be a way to ensure you can always bring them back. But it is just so expensive.

Rating: 2/5

Field of Ice

Field of Ice is cool flavor, laying down a sheet of ice that makes it harder for your foes to accurately attack you. I just wish that it was persistent, instead of only lasting for a turn. But maybe that would make it too good. As it is, I don't think the effect is worth it though.

Rating: 2/5

Great Stone Dragon

I've seen many people comparing this item to Fishbone Quill. Both cost 3 ink, are inkable, and let us ramp an extra ink once per turn. This one has the upside of not costing us a card from hand, which is nice. But you do need to have characters in your discard for this effect to be possible. Generally not difficult to do but you may eventually start running out.

The main issue is it is a lot slower than Quill. Since it enters play exerted, you can't use it for ramp until turn 4. So you are ramping from 4 ink on turn 4 to 6 ink on turn 5. If you played Quill on curve instead and used it each turn, you'd be at 8 ink on turn 5, a two ink difference.

Unless your deck is really struggling for card draw, I think you'd rather have Fishbone Quill as your ramp item of choice.

Rating: 2/5

Ice Block

Another combat trick card, similar to 004-164, this one instead comes on an item. And I like it much better as an item, to be honest. Yes, you can only reduce the Strength by 1, but that is still enough to move important characters into range of your Strength-based removal.

More importantly, it is repeatable each turn, so you are paying a card for the effect but it can provide persistent value throughout the game, instead of being a one-time-use thing. And once we have gotten some value out of it, we can always trade it in for some card draw with Hiram Flaversham - Toymaker. I think this card could see some play.

Rating: 3/5

Ariel's Grotto - A Secret Place

Ariel's Grotto is a 2-cost location with 7 Willpower which has no base passive lore. But it gains 2 lore if you have 3 or more items in play. As a Sapphire deck with access to cheap items like Pawpsicle and Ice Block, getting three items in play is certainly achievable.

McDuck Manor - Scrooge's Mansion is already seeing play in the Ruby/Sapphire Pawpsicle deck, which also plays a lot of items, simply because it has 2 lore and doesn't immediately die to Maui - Hero to All. This does the same thing but is two ink cheaper. I can definitely see this slotting into those decks in place of McDuck Manor. Wow, an actually playable location, you love to see it!

Rating: 4/5

Winter Camp - Medical Tent

Could we get two playable locations in Sapphire? Medical Tent is a 3-cost location with 8 Willpower and 1 passive lore. OK, passive lore is good to see. But its ability is not the best. Whenever a character quests while at the location, you can heal them for 2 damage and if they're a Hero you can heal them for 4.

Setting aside the whole Hero synergy, getting any sort of heal here is going to be really hard to pull off most of the time. You have to challenge in one turn, take some damage, have your character somehow not get banished on your opponent's turn, and then move them here and quest on your following turn for the heal to finally do something. This is slow, slow, slow. I guess two playable locations was too much to ask for.

Rating: 1/5


And that's it for Sapphire. Overall, I think Sapphire got some pretty good cards. More support for the item-based synergies should definitely help those decks continue to compete in the meta. And there are a bunch of cards here that could be important pieces to a "strength matters" deck.

I'm also liking that the Hero tag is finally becoming relevant. I'm really excited to try out a Hero deck using some of these new cards. Steel also got some very interesting Hero synergy cards, which could make this deck into a contender.

Speaking of which, Steel will be our next and final review!

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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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