The third Disney Lorcana set, Into the Inklands, is fast approaching, and I’ve spent the last two weeks testing, tweaking, and theorizing two new starter decks: Amber/Emerald Dogged and Dynamic, and Ruby/Sapphire Plenty of Pluck. As usual, these starter decks are a great way to start your collection and familiarize yourself with all the new mechanics that Into the Inklands introduces, including locations, the game’s newest card type.
For some, these decks will be their first introduction to the game, while more experienced players may want to purchase a starter deck only if there are enough playable cards to use in more competitive decks. Rise of the Floodborn’s Amethyst/Steel starter deck included a number of cards that ended up being meta-defining; including staples like Madam Mim, Snake; Merlin, the Capricorn; a Merlin, Hare; and a Mrs. Mim, Fox; making it a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to launch a high-end deck. For Into the Inklands starters, the big question is whether or not they’ll have enough valid cards for the new meta.
If you already have an ink color you like and feel committed, you can’t go wrong by getting the deck that matches your base. Here I am looking at the value of the deck only from a color agnostic perspective.
Since we can’t predict the meta before the full Into the Inklands set is revealed, let’s start by looking at the rares. You get the same number of Rares and Super Rares in both decks. The Amber/Emerald deck will give you a single copy of Peter Pan, Lost Boy Leader each; Lucky, the 15th puppy; Helga Sinclair, Avenging Partner; Robin Hood, dreamer; and Pluto, the Steadfast Protector, as well as a rare Super: Pongo, the Steadfast Father. There are three Amber and three Emerald characters.
In the Ruby/Sapphire deck, you get one copy each of Maui’s Fish Hook; Simba, the Scrappy Cub; Moana, Born Leader; Huey, Smart Nephew; Gyro Gearloose, Gadget Whiz; and a super rare: Scrooge McDuck, the richest duck in the world. Three Ruby and three Sapphire, a 50/50 split, just like the other deck.
Disney Lorcana: Into The Inklands Ruby/Sapphire Starter Deck Guide
Ducktales and Moana come together in this combat-focused starter deck.
Having played with both decks and trying these cards in a few others, I can say that there are some quirks here. Starting with the Amber/Emerald deck, all three Amber cards look like they have the potential to see play this season. Lucky fits the aggro archetype perfectly and offers explosive potential to gain insight that can help close out games quickly, or alternatively draw high volume cards (up to four per turn!) to help your aggro deck avoid running out of gas.
I’m less sold on Pluto and Pongo due to their high cost and low Will, but they have broad enough utility that it seems likely they’ll at least see some experimentation in the early meta. On the Emerald side, Helga Sinclair strikes me as more playable, as a counter control card, and as a potential change target for the new Floodborn Helga, which I adore. These four cards alone make this deck quite interesting to deal with.
If you’re interested in knowing which of the two starting decks is more competitive on its own, the Amber/Emerald deck is much more stable. Like Chapter One’s Amber/Amethyst starter deck, this deck is built to spread out wide and throw the hand across the board, which will often lead to quick wins against slower, more focused decks. combination, Ruby/Sapphire.
On the Ruby/Sapphire side, there is a clear standout among the rares. Simba, Scrappy Cub is a two-cost 1/1 that requires three, as is Pinocchio, Star Attraction from Rise of the Floodborn. This card is a meta element in Amethyst aggro decks, and if Ruby Aggro becomes a thing this season, I can almost guarantee that Simba will be an essential card. If not, Amethyst’s bloat pack can still use it in a Ruby/Amethyst deck. Of any card in both decks, Simba could also end up as the most expensive single.
I don’t find the other rares to be particularly playable. Moana, Huey, Scrooge and Gyro are very situational, relying on locations, items or synergies with specific cards to find value. Maui’s Fish Hook will probably find a place in Ruby/Amethyst control, given that players are starting to use You Can Fly! recently to do Maui Evasive anyway. Ruby/Amethyst players have used a variety of tools to deal with Evasive targets, so Maui’s Fish Hook may be the only solution they’re looking for.
I don’t think either deck has anything as essential as the jump pack from the Rise of the Floodborn starter deck, but the Amber/Emerald deck has a bunch of nice cards that I think will be played. In addition to the rares, you also get three copies of Pluto, the Friendly Pooch; two Wendy Darling, Talented Sailor; two wild cats, mechanic; two Kit Cloudkicker, Tough Guy; two Don Karnage, Prince of Pirates cards and five total location cards. That’s 20 cards, or a third of the deck, that will likely find a place somewhere in the meta.
On the Ruby/Sapphire side, you get two Sumerian Talismans, which can be useful in a challenge-focused deck. There are also two copies of Voyage which will be important if the locations are strong, as well as a Vault Door, an item that gives locations and characters in them Resist +1. These five, plus the five locations, Simba and Maui’s Fish Hook make a total of 12 playable cards.
If I were to only buy one starter deck this expansion, it would be the Amber/Emerald deck by a wide margin. It has the most interesting rares and the widest range of playable cards between the two decks, and I suspect that in a month we’ll see a good portion of its cards appear in the meta. The Ruby/Sapphire deck has many cards that will work well in challenge-focused locations, items, and builds, but they are all unproven archetypes and may fall out of favor as the season goes on. They’re both fun decks and I recommend both if you just want a bunch of good Lorcana cards to play, but I’m convinced that the Amber/Emerald deck has the higher value overall.
Next up: Disney Lorcana: Into The Inklands – Amber/Emerald Starter Deck Guide