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Into the Inklands: Upgrading the Amber and Emerald Starter Deck

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"In the competitive landscape of Lorcana's Into the Inklands, the right deck adjustments can be the difference between victory and defeat. The Amber and Emerald starter deck combines quick lore accumulation through early aggressive questing, offering players a solid tempo advantage early into the match. Yet, every deck has room for improvement. This article will guide you through enhancing the Amber and Emerald deck, focusing on strategic card swaps and optimizations to enhance its performance. By analyzing its core strengths and identifying key areas for improvement, we aim to equip you with the insights needed to refine your deck for competitive play."

Deck Analysis: Strengths and Weaknesses

The Amber and Emerald starter deck is an inventive blend designed to harness the strategy of lore gain and strategic flexibility. This hybrid approach allows players to adapt to and counter various in-game scenarios effectively.

Strengths

Early and late game questing pressure: Central to the deck's strategy is its solid capability for swift lore gain, vital for closing out the game before your opponent even has a chance to reverse or maintain tempo. This rapid advancement is driven by key characters and locations that excel in lore generation. Characters such as "Wendy Darling - Talented Sailor" (2 ink for 2 lore a turn), "Robin Hood - Daydreamer" (6 ink for 4 lore a turn), and "Don Karnage - Prince of Pirates" (5 ink for 3 lore a turn) are instrumental in securing an early lore lead. Additionally, locations like "De Vil Manor - Cruella's Estate" and "Never Land - Mermaid Lagoon," each costing only 1 ink and generating 1 lore per turn while in play, can create significant tempo advantages when played early and left unchecked.

Weaknesses

Vulnerability to Counter-aggressive Strategies: The deck's sophisticated balance between lore accumulation and strategic versatility sometimes meets its match against highly aggressive opponents. Particularly, it struggles when opponents are willing to make unfavorable trades, leaving their characters on the board while efficiently banishing yours, often due to the lower attack power of key lore-gathering characters. This can rapidly diminish your board presence, making it challenging to maintain control or apply pressure. Additionally, the deck is susceptible to aggressive removal strategies in the early game. Opponents who deploy early removal effectively can disrupt the deck's setup, stalling lore gain and hamstringing your strategy. This vulnerability underscores the importance of adapting the deck to better withstand early aggression and preserve its key pieces.

Optimizing the Deck: Recommendations

For this deck, I think it's best to lean into the low to the ground, aggressive nature. We'll take the best cards from both inks with this strategy to put together something that is cohesive and consistent. We'll first fill out the rest of the cards to max out our playset of cards we want to keep in the deck. Given that this is also a starter, we're going to try to keep it budget friendly as well.

Notable Card Additions

Since we already have 3 copies, it made sense to add the 4th to complete the playset. You will be playing a lot of characters in this deck so being able to play them at a discount is extremely beneficial. Pluto - Determined Defender can shift on to Friendly Pooch for 5 ink, making it a bit harder to challenge your other characters thanks to Bodyguard.

Pooh Pirate Captain synergizes well with this deck since we're trying to maximize our board with characters. Getting an additional +2 lore when questing shouldn't be too difficult given that the majority of our deck is low cost characters.

Simba brings value since it can protect other high questing characters thanks to Bodyguard. If you can get him on the Pride Lands location which we've also included in the deck, you'll be able to play characters for one less ink.

Sleepy is a great 2 cost character that can quest for 2 lore. Entering play exerted shouldn't be too much of an issue with having 3 Willpower. It'll take your opponent a bit more effort to deal with it, allowing you to either benefit from it staying alive, or focusing on another line of play if it was banished.

Enchantress is another great cheap character that can quest for 2. Getting +2 strength when challenged means that it will most likely trade with your opponent's character.

Flynn Rider is a great 2 cost character that fills a lot of slots on what this deck is trying to do. It's cheap, quests for 2, and also has the Prince keyword, allowing further synergy with Pride Lands.

Ursula is a really strong card that gives you the opportunity to remove songs from your opponent's hand. This gives you a lot of information early on, which is why we've included 4 for consistency. When played properly, this character can be an absolute menace to.

Pongo gives us a little bit of card draw for 2 ink. With the majority of our deck being characters, this shouldn't be difficult to hit. I've increased it to a full playset.

Kit is another great Emerald card that can disrupt critical characters by bouncing them back to your opponent's hand as long as it has 2 strength. We've included a full playset.

Lucky is another avenue of card draw needed to replenish your hand after playing multiple characters. You should be hitting characters that costs 2 or less, allowing you to have additional cards for inking or playing on the field.

Pluto is a great defender given that it has 8 Willpower and Bodyguard, allowing you to quest with your other lower cost characters without the fear of them being challenged without dealing with Pluto himself. When shifted early on, this could spell trouble for your opponent.

99 Puppies is a great action card for closing out games. It grants 1 lore for each character that quests this turn. It's unexpected and each character on the board continues to add more and more value to it.

Card Removal

I removed a lot of cards that did not synergize with this strategy, such as the other locations or characters that benefit from locations. Pride Lands should be enough and we want to get Prince characters on the board for that effect which is more impactful.


Strategies

Given the nature of the deck, it's important for the right mulligan. We'd like to see either Simba or Flynn Rider in our opening hand, as well as Pride Lands. This allows us to enable the character discount once one of them is at Pride Lands. Next, we want to see really cheap characters and at least a Pongo or Lucky to get some card draw early on. Strike a Good Match can help by filtering through your deck for much needed cards faster. Depending on your opponent, you're going to want to try and play around removal, whether it's direct or through challenging. Aggro decks tend to have difficulty with Steel, so it will require a lot of strategic play on trying to get your opponent to play Grab Your Swords without overcommitting your board with characters. Pride Lands is a saving grace, but not by much since Steel also has access to direct removal for locations. Otherwise, this aggro deck tends to play well into control decks.

Conclusion

There you have it. This is how I would update the Amber/Emerald starter from Into the Inklands without breaking the bank. Some future upgrades that could be considered are some of the more expensive cards like Cursed Merfolk and Perdita.

I'm curious, what changes would you make based on your local meta? Would you try to stay low to the ground or would you consider adding the locations back in to support characters with location effects?

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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