We are Mighty Morphin’ Into the Inklands – A Deeper Dive Into This Week’s Into the Inklands Cards – Part 1

With new Disney Lorcana sets launching every three months, it can be a daunting task to evaluate cards as they drop, especially when the full set is not yet revealed. To mitigate that shock, we plan to look at the new cards that drop each week to prepare you for release day.

Reveal season is so exciting for Disney Lorcana.  With new sets launching every three months, it can be a daunting task to evaluate cards as they drop, especially when the full set is not revealed until usually a week before LGS launch.  To mitigate that shock, I plan to look at the new cards that drop each week to prepare you for February 23. When we start to get more “giant card dumps” (which should start when Into the Inklands is added to the official app) I may update these more frequently.

New cards continually introduce fresh dynamics to the game and “Into the Inklands” is no exception, with the new Locations card type. As we start to get more actual Locations, and the cards that interact with them, revealed, their full impact is beginning to be better understood.

Before Friday we were shown 12 new cards this week, with a whole SLEW of them on Friday which I will cover in an article tomorrow!

De Vil Manor – Cruella’s Estate, Never Land – Mermaid Lagoon: Basic Locations Rise up!

De Vil Manor - Cruella’s Estate and Never Land - Mermaid Lagoon are basically the same card and will form the basic level Location in the set. Time will tell if each ink color will get one Location similar to this (I am assuming “yes”) so let’s look at them. Aggressively, this is a large Willpower, versatile threat that will allow you to gain Lore right away. The fact that Locations are unaffected by Grab Your Sword- or Be Prepared-type effects means that your opponent needs to have diversified answers to diversified threats. 

Now, can powerful challengers with Rush still get at these threats? Sure, but at the cost at leaving them vulnerable by punching way below their cost. These character threats normally two-for-one anyway, so taking out a location and then leaving vulnerable to then take out whatever you opponent choses is essentially the same thing. Locations are obviously small combo enablers, but as the seemingly baseline locations, I can see these seeing play in many types of decks. 

Agrabah - Marketplace: More basics?

Agrabah - Marketplace is likely the stat line for a two Lore location at three cost, one to move to, five Willpower, and two Lore. Similar to the one cost locations above, you are setting up a larger lore gain with the more varied threat level of Locations. Everything said above for the one cost locations applies here, but I feel the higher cost will be more dependent on how varied of a threat that Locations give you to deal with. Having a second Lore is clearly increasing the cost of locations by “two” so it will depend on how much this affects the ability to close out games with Locations as a “win condition” compared to simply having some in play.

Motunui – Island Paradise: You’re a Tala, You’re a Tala!

Motunui - Island Paradise is a very powerful location that sets up a true decision point for your opponent. The fact that it has five Willpower and one Lore means that it does advance your win condition while also giving your characters in play a powerful ability. The best thing is that your characters do not need to “hang out” at Motunui (unless they have some in-born reason or benefit to being at a location long term) until you want to get benefit from the ability.

A key point about Lorcana is that while card advantage is important, the ability to challenge or remove characters directly means that characters typically have a “shelf life” for relevance. This is very important when looking at Shift characters, and one of the key reasons you often cannot look at losing a Shift character as “losing card advantage”… if the original form of the character was already outclassed on board and you could get more benefit by Shifting, then it is often the correct play regardless of the potential outcome. Motunui - Island Paradise performs a similar effect to Shifting (stay with me here, lol).

For the one move cost, you can get additional benefit from having your understated characters “run into” larger characters. Think of this typical scenario: it is turn three, you have a 2/2 with one Lore character in play still and your opponent has some 3/3 in play. If you quest, chances are you will gain a Lore and then turn into a virtual Fire the Cannons for that 3/3. What if you could pay one ink, then quest, and if your opponent makes the same challenge you get that character now as Ink? 

Yes, you have to pay two ink up front to get Motunui into play, but the one to move a character there to “become” a Gramma Tala - Storyteller clone seems like a pretty low cost to pay to gain such an advantage for losing characters. 

If it is turn six and you are expecting a Be Prepared, move some characters to Motunui and gain a bunch of additional Ink.  Same thing against a Grab Your Sword turn as well.

Can your opponent just run into Motunui?  Sure, but that is why I would be moving to this location when I know I will be challenging into something for value.  Even so it may be worth “feinting” your opponent by paying the move cost and then you force a decision on your opponent.

I’d argue that Motunui - Island Paradise is the most powerful location revealed so far, with a combination of in-born Lore and powerful ability for characters to call it home.

Aurelian Gyrosensor – Schrodinger’s Top of Deck?

Cards like Aurelian Gyrosensor are skill testers... and it fails. This card has zero impact on the board and can often times have zero effect on your draw either. This is not an “inkable 001-067” as it does not actually dig you any deeper and requires a character you want to quest with to get ANY value out of it. Sure, it’s a cheap item, but it has zero effect on the game. I am willing to be wrong, but even if you have powerful cards that force you to know the top of your deck, there are more powerful and flexible cards you can use to do that, with upside. I do not understand the upside of this card at all: if you like the card on top, great, you now “know” its there and you can plan for it... but
you should be planning for any card to be on top, not just the one it actually is. This card is a skill tester, and it fails.

99 Puppies – Aggro finisher?

99 Puppies is an expensive and uninkable finisher for Amber-based aggro decks. Oftentimes aggro decks will run out of steam around turn five, and playing a card that allows you to simply keep questing when you know you are going to lose the characters should have use. Potentially just gaining three to four Lore to close out a game before the control or mid-range decks can take the game away from you may be able to turn losses into wins. I do not think you can ever afford to run more than two of these in a deck, since most aggressive decks are full of low cost uninkables already and the count is getting high, but this is exactly the type of card you WANT to run as an uninkable:  narrow, powerful uses that should win the game when played.

And Then Along Came Zeus – Too much of a good thing?

And Then Along Came Zeus is a card I am fully prepared to wrong on, but my initial impression is this is a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None.” Is it powerful? Yes. Is it flexible? Yes. It is not free, however, and even if you are singing it, you need to be gaining a powerful advantage because Steel is already full of uninkables you need to run. Pinpoint removal is ultimately just a one for one, and if you sing this you may be losing tempo without a follow up play.

I feel you are just paying a high deck building cost for the flexibility this card offers, and you would likely have to cut a more powerful uninkable to play it. If Locations become very popular, you may need the flexibility, so I ultimately assume this card will have a place, I just think it is very inefficient, even as a Song. Five damage does not even deal with Locations “on curve” and only ones that are banished cost below four (so far). So, unless you are singing this, are you even making up enough tempo? 

I do think And Then Along Came Zeus is a powerful combination with Rapunzel - Gifted with Healing and Hades - Lord of the Underworld who are played more for their “when played” utility than challenging strength. The issue just remains: is this worth the uninkable slot?

This Song is NOT a coming out party for Sebastian - Court Composer. He is still a two Willpower character for two ink, who will be shot down by Let the Storm Rage On left and right... but maybe a better-statted Singer 4 will emerge?

The Sorcerer’s Tower – Wondrous Workplace – Sweeping up the Competition

The Sorcerer’s Tower – Wondrous Workplace certainly puts you in a direction! Giving all characters an extra Lore while there is a powerful effect, but the two move cost is steep... unless you are a Broom!

With no passive Lore, but seven Willpower, you can rely on the Sorcerer’s Tower to be the centerpiece of Broom decks (with 001-051) since it requires a lot of effort and time for your opponent to get it off the field. Right now both types of Magic Brooms (Magic Broom - Bucket Brigade and Magic Broom - Industrial Model) are generally under-statted cards but have strong combo potential with Sorcerer Mickey. Now, however, you are looking at each of them having TWO Lore, which actually puts them AHEAD of the curve (a 2/2/2 for two ink with an ability and a 2/3/2 with Resist 1 for three are both excellent stat lines) and that is before you can play them cheaper and recur them with 001-051.

Does this require a lot of set up? Sure, but you are building towards a powerful mid to late game synergy in the ink color full of card draw. I think this also may signify ANOTHER Broom coming to the table in Into the Inklands as well.

It is possible this card is too narrow, but the pieces are there to dominate the board with cleaning supplies!

Simba – Rightful King– so close..

Simba – Rightful King has a decent stat line for a five cost character, but without Rush, I just do not think he can be the protective presence he pretends to be. He may force your opponent to keep certain characters from acting on their turn, for fear of shutting down an opposing character from challenging. 

The problem is without Rush his ability is simply too telegraphed, and unless you are targeting an opposing character with Reckless, it is not like you are preventing them from questing, just challenging your characters. Does this mean it may have a home in aggressive strategies? Maybe, but I really think Simba needs 001-068 to really be effective. I am not sure the payoff is there, but I do like adding to the puzzle of “banishing opposing characters on your turn.”

Della Duck – Unstoppable Mom – Almost..

Similar to the Simba card above, Della Duck - Unstoppable Mom (who is apparently the mother of the triplets, so Donald Duck’s sister..) is this close to being playable. In the end I think the uninkable nature of this well-statted card is going to keep it down.

If you are going to have a powerful uninkable, Reckless card you need to gain card advantage every time. Given the existence of Madam Mim - Snake I just cannot see you wanting to answer an inkable threat with an uninkable answer. Can she gain card advantage over the Amber/Steel army of smaller characters? Sure. But they are not the main threat nowadays. 3/3 is the stat line that you want to be, but not at the cost of being both uninkable and Reckless.

Jim Hawkins - Vanilla Explorer

Jim Hawkins - Thrill Seeker may signal a Floodborn Jim in this set, but even if he does exist, having two willpower on your Shift target is not a good idea. The 3/2 stat line has proven to be underwhelming.  The art is nice though!

Morph – Space Goo - Floodborns, Rise Up!

Ever since Morph - Space Goo was leaked early on, he has had massive hype. The ability to be any Shiftable character on turn two is very powerful, but he is offset by having an utterly terrible stat line. 

Let’s start with Morph’s potential. Here are the Shift characters you want to Shift on turn three that currently do not have lower drops to Shift onto:

You also can use Morph and an on-ink color back up for your other lower cost Shift targets, the problem is that Emerald has very few in-color targets. I think using him as a “universal backup” to other Floodborns is another way of using him, and not actually being all-in on Morph surviving on board as the only Shift target, always, just the one that may be in play at the time.

The main issue with Morph is that he is banished by a stiff wind. You only really need a one turn window before Shifting into viable Floodborns so low stats for being challenged should not be a concern: this character should honestly never be questing or challenging on his own (even on an empty board). In the current meta, the Willpower threshold has shifted from two to three to survive the plethora of out of hand damage from the likes of Teeth and Ambitions, Let the Storm Rage On, 001-197, and an early Grab Your Sword.    

The popularity of these removal based actions is the main reason why I do not think you can RELY on Morph - Space Goo as your starting point for a Shift 3 based deck (cough:Belle - Hidden Archer:cough), but you can play the universal shiftable characters you always would and just tell your opponent “deal with this 2/1 or sometime soon my board is going to massively increase in power.”

Low cost, powerful removal is going to be as ubiquitous in each new set as powerful Floodborn characters, and Morph is always going to live in the world of that balance.

Conclusion

Phew, that was just Sunday through Thursday! Come back this weekend to read my thoughts on the 14 (?!) cards revealed just on Friday alone!

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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