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Exploring Lorcana's Into the Inklands - Steel


For my first article in a collaborative series with another great Illumineer, WordsWriteWill, we dive deep into Lorcana's newest set, Into the Inklands to highlight cards with great potential. I figured I'd start with one of my favorite inks, which is Steel.

From The First Chapter, Steel has been known as a good ink for dealing direct damage to characters and easily dealing with item threats. Into the Inklands turns things up a notch by keeping the key characteristics that make up the Ink profile and sending it into overdrive.

High Profile Additions

Sheriff of Nottingham plays well into Steel as it's known for discarding cards through other characters, such as Simba - Future King, Cinderella - Knight in Training, and Tinker Bell - Tiny Tactician. Given that it's a four-cost character, you can definitely follow it up with A Whole New World for some major targeted damage on the opponent's board without having to directly challenge an opponent's character with one of yours. This can be a huge tempo swing against aggro decks, which Steel tends to do quite well against.

Also, we've seen some early play-testing of a OTK style deck that takes Beast - Relentless from Rise of the Floodborn, and The Bayou - Mysterious Swamp for some insane tempo swing controlling the board state and gaining a huge lore advantage in the process.

On turn six, you can play Beast - Relentless. This is the first step of the combo

On turn seven, you can play Sheriff of Nottingham and The Bayou - Mysterious Swamp. Then, spend one ink to send Beast to The Bayou.

The sequencing is as followed:

  1. Beast quests for 2 lore.
  2. This triggers The Bayou, causing you to draw and discard a card.
  3. Discarding the card triggers Sheriff of Nottingham, allowing you to choose an opposing character and dealing 1 damage to them.
  4. This readies Beast again, allowing you to start the sequence again.

In some play-testing, I've seen this combo well into double digit lore gains in one turn. The last time I've seen something like this is in a Sapphire/Steel ramp deck with Belle - Strange but Special deck towards the end of the game. Having this happen as soon as turn seven definitely brings some serious concern to the opposing player. Ironically, Steel seems to have the answers to deal with this combo by means of targeted character and location removal, as well as Resist.

And Then Along Came Zeus

The song And Then Along Came Zeus is a welcome addition to Steel to deal with characters and locations. Being un-inkable is the only setback as dealing 5 damage to a location can outright banish 7 locations without any additional support, with one of those locations being They Bayou. The 5 damage also handles Sheriff of Nottingham - Corrupt Official if the opponent was forced to play it earlier. Outside of dealing with those examples, 5 damage is a respectable amount of damage to handle other opposing threats without sacrificing one of your characters to deal the damage through challenging.

Potential for New Decks

John Silver seems to take advantage of having Locations in play by granting additional Resist and Lore per location. This scales pretty well heading into mid-game. If your location count and John Silver goes unchecked, they can easily gain steady lore to close out a game. I'm really looking forward towards the creativity other Illumineers have when assembling a pirate deck using this card, as well as other pirates from both Steel and Ruby.

Mickey Mouse on paper looks pretty busted. However, looking at its other characteristics, you can see the challenges when it comes to balancing the value. The good thing is that Steel has a few characters with bodyguards. That with applying Ward from Sapphire Ink could give this card a bit more staying power. I'm curious to see where this card will stand in a few weeks.

Robin Hood fits the Steel profile perfectly as it is a great Floodborn character with an affordable Shift cost for some amazing value. Catching an opponent off guard with the ability to challenge and gain 2 lore is a great turn three move. With the ability The Good of Others, it can easily replace itself once banished, allowing you to look for more options to play later.

Into the Inklands brought us some great answers for some current problems, but does it create new ones with it? I'm curious about the validity and consistency of the Beast "OTK" Combo deck. Something tells me we'll see a lot more steel during this set's meta as Steel seems to be the aggressor and answer to some early play-testing. However, I know for sure that I will definitely be playing something with Steel. The question is what?

I've been Stefen and I hope you've enjoyed this article, brought to you by CoolStuffInc, your number one place TCG singles for Lorcana, and many other popular TCGs. See you out in the Inklands!

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