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Secrets of Success: Interviewing Lorcana Deck-building Expert LorcanaDecklists

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With Into the Inklands fresh in our hands, the Lorcana metagame is buzzing with new possibilities! To tap into this potential, I had the privilege of interviewing Steve Maurice, better known as LorcanaDecklists, a true innovator known for their powerful decks across a wide array of ink combinations. Whether you crave a midrange strategy or a thrilling aggro rush, this talented builder has something to offer players of all levels. In our conversation, we explored their journey into Lorcana, their meticulous deck-building process, and secrets for conquering tournaments. Get ready to level up your Lorcana game!

The Interview

Stefen: Let's start off with a brief introduction. Tell us a bit about who you are and what brought you to Lorcana.

LD: Hey! My name is Steve Maurice, and I'm a lifelong TCG player based in the UK. Today I'm best known to people in the Lorcana community as LorcanaDecklists on Twitter and Pixelborn - or just LD for short! I've played a huge range of games over the years, but the ones I've spent most time with are MTG and Hearthstone. When the pandemic hit and in-person TCG events stopped, I pretty much dropped MTG entirely, but I found that I really missed the social aspect of TCGs. So, when Lorcana was announced, it looked like the perfect opportunity to get into that again, and start over with a completely fresh game. Plus new game environments are generally where I thrive. I love working out different ways to approach games, and helping others navigate new sets and metagames.

Stefen: Thanks for that intro Steve. I can agree that Lorcana's launch was a fresh breath of air across the current TCG landscape. Although I'm not as much of a Disney fan as my wife and children are, I have to admit it's been fun to show them the cards I'm currently playing with.

How has the experience of building decks in Lorcana been different to the other games you've played before?

LD: Firstly, the way that mulligans work in Lorcana is very forgiving and leads to really high consistency in your opening hands. That enables you to build around specific lines and sequences more than you can in other games. It also means that once you know what your opponent is playing, you have a good chance of seeing your best cards for that matchup. That's a big reason why reactive strategies have consistently outperformed proactive ones in this game.

The other difference that took a while to get my head around is putting the right volume of inkable and uninkable cards into your deck. Some of my very early deck drafts have an embarrassingly high number of uninkable cards in them. But now I always try to keep my uninkable count between 12 and 16 in most cases.

Stefen: I know what you mean. I think it took most players a while to settle on the right ratio of inkable cards in their decks.

While we're talking about your first experiences with the game, How was your initial reception on The First Chapter? What were some of the archetypes you found success with?

LD: I enjoyed The First Chapter right from the [sic] off. Of course, we had a very long spoiler season as the first cards got revealed, so it was fun to watch all of the pieces fall into place and imagine what high-performing decks might look like. Some of the deck archetypes that are still very strong today emerged almost immediately. Amethyst's strong card draw meshed nicely with Ruby's removal, creating the format's control deck of choice. And Amber's great singer characters lined up well with Steel's powerful songs, to create the first steelsong decks. Those stood out as the strongest competitive options on paper, but myself and a few others tried hard to push fair amber midrange decks, some with Ruby and some with Sapphire. After going through a bunch of midrange deck iterations, I slowly realized that there was probably room for at least one super-aggressive deck in the format. That remained my main line of thinking going into set 2, where I'd ultimately find a lot of success with aggro deck variants.

Stefen: Ahh yes, I was particularly a fan of the Ruby Amethyst aggro build with Arthur over control. With Into the Inklands now, do you think aggro builds have a place in the current format?

LD: Unfortunately, the outlook isn't great for aggro decks right now. Their greatest weakness has always been steel decks, which have occasionally dipped down in the metagame. But right now, they're absolutely everywhere. You can play Amethyst/Steel and go down the Jafar combo route, play Sapphire/Steel and ramp your ink quickly while drawing tons of cards, play Emerald/Steel and start double-casting your removal actions with Ursula, or just play a classic Amber Steel-song list. That's a very long-winded way of saying that right now, Steel is unavoidable. All of those decks have their own unique identity, which is great for the metagame in general. But it's bad news for aggro decks.

Stefen: Agreed. Seeing the Amber Steel deck win the Thea Pack tournament was quite refreshing coming from the first set with Amber Steel being my favorite deck.

With local store championships and other larger OP tournaments down the pipeline, what would you recommend building or brewing around?

LD: A general point of advice for players would be to not get too obsessed over the changes in online results/tournaments week-to-week. The metagame at the top of the Pixelborn ladder for example gets a little bit insular, and will change a lot faster and more frequently than your local in-store metagames. So, with that in mind, I think there's space to brew and build around a lot of different things. If you're facing a lot of control decks like Ruby/Amethyst, there's space to go under them with aggro or something new like Emerald/Amethyst tempo. If you're against a lot of the steel midrange variants I mentioned before, you can go over them with something super greedy like Sapphire/Ruby ramp. But in most stores you're likely to face a wide range of decks, some known meta decks and some fresh homebrews. In environments like that I favor very consistent, reactive decks like Ruby/Amethyst control, Emerald/Steel or Amber/Steel, all of which are great at adapting to different opponents. So, when someone shows up with something you haven't prepared to play against, you'll still have a great shot at winning.

Stefen: This is some really great insight. Thanks!

All right, let's have a fun one. With your experience in other TCGs, what do you think Lorcana is missing or would benefit from?

LD: Well, prior to set 3 I was really hoping for some targeted discard abilities to help us play around board sweepers like Be Prepared. But now that we've got those, I think the game feels reasonably complete. One thing that I'd really like to see is a character (or characters) that's immune to non-creature damage. We have Ward to prevent targeted removal, but I think it would be healthy to have options that dodge steel's damage-based removal. That would need to be implemented in a balanced way, but that would be healthy for the game.

Stefen: Yeah, Ravensburger will definitely need to be a bit creative to pull something like that off. I'm personally hoping for some interaction with the inkwell, either by yourself or your opponent. Ways to play cards from the inkwell would particularly be interesting. I played another TCG ages ago that would have Plot Twist (equivalent to Actions) and Locations. Then there were Plot Twists that could disrupt other opponent's ongoing Plot Twists and Locations as well.

All right Steve, where can we find you on the internet?

LD: You can find me over on Twitter/X at @Lorcanadecks and I've just started putting together some videos which you can find at youtube.com/@LDLorcana.

Stefen: Any final thoughts you'd like to share with the audience?

LD: I think now is an amazing time to get into Lorcana. There's an incredible community building around the game, and there's space for every kind of TCG player to come together and enjoy it. With the Organized Play program about to start, if you've been on the fence about jumping into Lorcana competitively, now is absolutely the right time to do that. But even if you're just considering playing it as your first TCG and taking a more casual approach to the game, it's a really good time to be involved. I think TCGs are at their best when casual and competitive players can co-exist in the same spaces and enjoy the same game in different ways. That's generally pretty hard to achieve, but with Lorcana, Ravensburger seems to be getting the balance right. Whether you want to master a new game, or just build a deck around your favorite Disney characters, there really is something for everyone, which gives me great hope for the game's future

Conclusion

Overall, Steve shares some great insight for the wide audience of Lorcana. One key takeaway I'd like to focus on in particular is his advice for preparing for local store championship events. A lot of times we can obsess over large online tournaments. However, this is a case where everyone has access to all the cards. Your local environment may vary based on those players skill level as well as their access to cards. So, make sure to consider that information as well when it comes to building for locals.

Make sure to follow LD on his socials mentioned above for more great insight. I look forward to finding more Lorcana experts to showcase in the future.

This article was 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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