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Exploring Lorcana's Into the Inklands - Amber

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Into the Inklands brings with it a major shake-up to the game. Not just with the addition of Locations that changes the way of thinking - but an additional 204 cards. For the next week or so join Stefan and I diving into all the new cards. Today we're looking at all the new Amber cards.

Piglet - Pooh Pirate Captain

It's fair to say Amber/Amethyst HyperAggro is always in the meta eye. With 8 copies of 1-ink, 2-lore characters surrounded by draw and support the math be mathin'. Other decks received a lot of tools in Rise of the Floodborn but here we can see some love for the fastest deck alive. Piglet - Pooh Pirate Captain is simple, elegant, and absolute gas for the HyperAggro deck. Inkable? Check. Cheap? Check. 3 lore? Outstanding! I'm stunned this card wasn't Legendary, but happy that copies will be easier to come by. This is the Amber card I'm looking forward to the most because it can slot into most aggro or midrange decks no matter the composition just for the 3 lore swing.

Dalmatian Aggro

There are so many dogs in this set. The main combo here is between Pongo - Determined Father and Perdita - Devoted Mother. Pongo lets you grab additional characters from the top of your deck while Perdita helps you amass the army for free. In other games there are plenty of Swarm-like strategies. Some let you generate tokens of characters and others might duplicate characters. Our equivalent might finally come alive here with the endless amount of Dalmatian Puppy - Tail Wagger you can play with this interaction. On their own Pongo and Perdita can generate significant card advantage and board presence which makes them prime for this sort of deck. I have yet to find a meta deck to slot them into, but they're both useful to find and play some of the cards from HyperAggro.

Bernard - Brand-New Agent

If you're interested in whacky antics look no further than Bernard - Brand-New Agent. Grabbing 2 lore a turn with a powerful 5 Willpower is nothing to shy away from, but I'll Check it Out is one of the neatest abilities so far. It allows you to protect a vital character or combo piece and creates a large target for your opponent to get distracted with. I look forward to deck-builders smarter than me coming up with interesting and clever interactions with Bernard.

Baloo - von Bruinwald XIII

Just like Bernard, there are a lot of cool interactions with Baloo - von Bruinwald XIII. Even though he's uninkable he provides a raw 2 lore when he dies. This makes him especially valuable in some Amber/Ruby decks like Mufasa Midrange. You gain even more value with Be Prepared, Mufasa will grab you a new character and Baloo gets you closer to victory. In Amethyst there are effects to sneak Baloo into play and immediately banish him. This underutilizes Baloo's high Willpower and Bodyguard combo - so we'll see where the meta takes him.

Chernabog - Evildoer

With the looting style draw in Steel this massive character should be relatively simple to play early. Don't let the 10-ink cost scare you, there are easy ways to play this for free and knock out some of your opponents' characters and get some lore on the way. Don't forget that in Amber we also have access to Zero to Hero which will help get this bad boy (pun intended) out even faster. On top of that, you'll recycle your discard pile to get back all the fun things you discarded from earlier. Those digging cards also help make sure you see your Chernabog early and often. Overall, I'm excited to see what a stat-fueled monster like this does with the meta, or if the big numbers aren't enough to satisfy the higher functioning players.

Locations

Let's talk about the Pride Lands - Pride Rock of it all. There's been a trickle of royalty characters coming out since launch. We're all familiar with the Disney princess, and the Moana from The First Chapter that readies your princesses. Pride Lands might be the first card to incentivize this royalty interaction, especially since most of these cards are in Amber. The 7 Willpower helps Pride Lands stick around, and giving other characters increased Willpower will help your Kings and Princes stick around further to take full advantage of the ink discount. Playing two characters alone will break even on the 2-ink movement cost. On the other hand, there's Tiana's Place - Jazz Restaurant with a massive 8 Willpower and the ability to keep your characters from a challenge. Your opponent will need to break through the palace before getting to your valuable characters. Never Land - Mermaid Lagoon is the vanilla Location of the trio, but it's also the only one of the Locations here that are inkable. All-in-all these are interesting effects that you can utilize, but they may not see play given how expensive and uninkable they are. I'd love to see Pride Lands get some action, but it seems too specific.

Summary

Amber continually introduces whole themes. Last set we got the Seven Dwarfs and this set we got the Dalmations. You can build a deck just inside these themes. The rest of what Amber introduces feels all over the place and chaotic in comparison, but those cards are bangers that will definitely find their way into decks at the kitchen table, and hopefully some of them will find their way into the meta.


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