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Ruby Highlights from Lorcana Ursula's Return

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Ruby remains a top tier ink in Lorcana going into set 4. Amethyst/Ruby Bounce Control hasn't gone anywhere, much to the dismay of a crowd eager to see a new meta. Ruby/Sapphire Pawpsicle has slowly inched its way up to top tier again after a long slog in tier 2. Even the Amber/Ruby Mufasa Midrange deck that was an ideal matchup against our meta leader has stabilized comfortably at larger events. With that in mind, let's dive into some of the new and exciting cards from Ursula's Return.

One of the key learning moments while piloting Amethyst/Ruby Bounce Control is sitting at the mirror match. These matchups are largely solitaire games, where the optimal move is usually focusing on your board and getting your bounce engine rolling. Wasting ink on removal doesn't progress your lore, and it sets your opponent back a fairly negligible amount. Until now. Welcome to the Ruby pool Sisu - Empowered Sibling. With I GOT THIS! you have a massive amount of removal that hits so many of the key characters in the mirror match. Thankfully, I GOT THIS! is also a great effect for so many other decks that rely on a wide range of characters. On top of that, Sisu comes in with a massive 3-lore per turn Quest and can withstand some attacks with a 4 Willpower. The 8-ink cost seems okay to afford, especially with Pawpsicle Control, because you're going to play Sisu to close out the game. The bigger drawback of this card is its lack of ink-ability, where holding one in your hand becomes a dead card for several turns. With Shift this becomes a bit less of an issue, especially with Sisu - Emboldened Warrior also debuting in this set.

Perhaps the most surprising card I'm excited about in the new Ruby suite is even more removal! Be King Undisputed is a cheap, 4-ink song that gets around some of Lorcana's biggest survival mechanics. Be King Undisputed is inspired by the effect on certain characters that force your opponent to banish one of their characters. With some good planning and the right timing, you can take down some of the most dangerous threats across the table. The fact that this is a song makes it even more valuable, allowing you to get removal while saving your valuable ink to get board presence. I have no doubts that this will see play in most of the Ruby meta decks this season.

Don't let the 2 cost fool you, Flynn Rider - Frenemy is a game ending menace. Like other components of the Amethyst/Ruby Bounce Control, Flynn doesn't need to do anything but sit on your side of the board and look pretty to race your opponent. Keeping Flynn in your hand for a late game play can create some powerful tension. He won't see much play in Bounce Control since he's unlikely to trigger without a strong friend, but some deck somewhere will utilize him. I'm eager to see deck techs slot him in with Pawpsicle or Mufasa Midrange - but this is the sort of Ruby card I need right now. It's powerful lore gain without being too specific, but designed in a way to not fit into the meta king. Whoever out there finds a way to bring this Frenemy to competitive play, let me know so I can buy you lunch. Another new card, less exciting on his own, that I'd love to see in this deck is also Lumiere - Fiery Friend. Static bonuses like this might be what it takes to make sure that Flynn triggers - and playing this with other static bonuses creates a healthy stack to make sure your characters are bigger than your opponents. This also brings us back to Sisu - Emboldened Warrior, who makes a big splash of Strength in the right circumstances, even if you don't control those circumstances. This seems like a great pairing for sealed and draft events, but not something that would be relevant in tournament play.

Easily my most anticipated character from Ursula's Return is the new Mulan - Elite Archer. Even though her Shift value only gets her out a turn before expected, she comes in with a bang. Going from a cheaper Mulan to this tank not only brings an amazing ability with TRIPLE SHOT but also maximizes her Strength with a bonus from STRAIGHT SHOOTER. Elite Archer is here to control your opponent's board and is lucky to be in Ruby with effects that can ready her so she can challenge again.

Now that we've talked about some of the characters and actions from the new set, we've seen a trend. The new Ruby cards care a lot about their Strength value. This is great for removal and the control archetypes that we're seeing ripple through the meta. That theme comes to a head with Ruby's new rare location; Snuggly Duckling - Disreputable Pub. At first glance the Snuggly Duckling might not look so appealing since it has no lore. But with a 9 Willpower, this location will stick around and gain you lore with its special effect. Strong characters who challenge will generate lore - this feels like the natural evolution of character effects from The First Chapter like Aladdin - Heroic Outlaw. The catch is that your challenging character doesn't need to survive, they only need to meet the criteria of 3 or 6+ Strength.

Have fun with the new Ruby cards and the new releases in Ursula's Return. You can check out all the fun we're having talking about the new set and the new cooperative mode of the game in our other articles. Good luck on release week, may the pulls be ever in your favor. Share your new pulls with me on Twitter or @wlsobel.


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