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A Look Back on Lorcana's Rise of the Floodborn

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Recently we've been looking forward to Into the Inklands, which is Lorcana's third set. While it's really exciting, I thought it would give us some good perspective to look back and see ultimately what led us to this point today.

Understanding the Current State of Things

Let's address the current elephant in the room, which is Amethyst/Ruby. It's evident through multiple tournament events that yet again, it's the deck to be (or beat, based on your perspective.) The situation didn't get any better with the Rise of the Floodborn giving the deck some key parts of its current success:

Amethyst/Ruby's new additions, also known as the bounce package

The deck became faster, leaner, and more consistent, with consistency being the keyword. This deck's only real weakness is the ratio of un-inkable to inkable cards. This is why discard decks favor this matchup because the deck really struggles on what to play vs what to ink. Otherwise, the deck remains fairly consistent from mid-game and beyond. This advantage unfortunately didn't translate well into other ink pairings, so let's review some of those down below.

Amber/Steel Songs Keep on Rolling

I played Amber/Steel songs religiously during The First Chapter. For the most part, the deck had the tools to keep up toe to toe with Amethyst/Ruby, but really lost its consistency with relying on some new tools from Rise of the Floodborn:

Steel song flutes became a thing by giving Amber/Steel an ability to gain lore through an item, a first for Lorcana.

Sleepy's Flute was kind of the answer for dealing with a post Be Prepared board. Amethyst/Ruby currently has no answers for items, so the more Flutes in play, the better. Packed with characters that could sing songs above their ink cost thanks to their Singer ability, all you needed to do was play one song per turn to get anywhere from 1-4 lore. While that's not as swingy as questing with a bunch of 2-3 lore characters, the importance is that Amber/Steel had answers for dealing with dead hands thanks to A Whole New World, character removal thanks to Grab Your Swords, Let the Storm Rage On, and Strength of a Raging Fire. I truly miss this deck and look forward to some new additions from Into the Inklands, such as Bare Necessities:

The Bare Necessities will put threats, such as Be Prepared in check during the right time. This being a song is a huge benefit to Amber/Steel.

Emerald/Steel Destroying Hands

One deck that seems to have done well toward the end of this set's release has been Emerald/Steel discard. This deck benefits from these great cards from Rise of the Floodborn:

Bucky and Prince John are practically required for this deck to stay online while gaining crazy card advantage from discarding the opponent's hand, playing Floodborn characters to trigger Bucky. Finally, Flynn Rider - His Own Biggest Fan to close out games gaining an astonishing 4 lore per quick once an opponent's hand has been completely depleted.

It's a shame this deck didn't have much legs without two of it's pinnacle cards, being Bucky and Price John. The deck can still run, but it won't be as effective as it needs to be to close out the game. One can hope that cards from Into the Inklands can make this deck more consistent:

Ursula - Deciever can cause trouble when dealing with Amber/Steel or Amethyst/Ruby decks. Discarding critical songs at the right time could be the tempo swing needed to end the game in your favor.

Sapphire/Steel is as Cold as Ice

Sapphire/Steel grew in popularity as an answer to both Amethyst/Ruby and Amber/Steel songs. The deck maintained a strong control presence from mid-game and on, steadily gaining tempo and dealing with critical turns by playing A Whole New World at the right time, disrupting an opponent's hand.

Cogsworth granting Resist to other characters handles problems such as Grab Your Swords and Let the Storm Rage On. Beast applies a bit of questing pressure as well as granting some draw during the mid-game. Hiram Flaversham helps by banishing cheap items, such as Pawpsicle, to draw additional cards. This gives a ton of hand advantage at both pre and post Be Prepared to deal with it or negate it all together.

I really think this ink pair is almost there, and can really stand to benefit from new cards from Into the Inklands, such as:

Tinker Bell - Very Clever Fairy helps turn your Pawpsicles into ink to use for future turns. With the additional ramp, that means playing bombs such as Hades to help turn the tides a bit if you're behind on tempo.

Conclusion

The Rise of the Floodborn release was bittersweet, as it was a great refresh that gave other ink pairings some of the tools they needed to deal with a strong Amethyst/Ruby presence, However, giving the deck to beat even more tools probably gave more challenges than Ravensburger anticipated, due to the strong synergies with bouncing Merlin - Goat and Merlin - Rabbit to gain more lore and card advantage, respectively. With the challenges Lorcana players are facing, I'm sure we'll see support for ink pairings that have been less favorable through the first two sets. I just don't think we're going to see it as soon as we thought we would with Into the Inklands coming out in less than two weeks. New cards are always exciting, and one can only hope we see more creativity in broadening the meta for players looking to explore outside of the always consistent Amethyst/Ruby decks.

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