Disney Lorcana has been sweeping through friendly local games stores and generating a lot of hype, laying a very solid foundation for the card game. Although people are currently struggling to get their hands on it due to the demand, it seems to have enchanted players far and wide with its take on a classic trading card game.
That excitement is only due to grow with the release of second set Rise of the Floodborn later this year, promising new cards, new gameplay elements and a deeper dive into Lorcana’s in-game story in the form of its Floodborn cards.
You could be forgiven for not being up to speed with Lorcana’s lore or not having even realised that there was a story, as the details so far are relatively few and far between. We’re here to guide you through everything we know about Lorcana’s story so far - along with some theories of our own as to where it might be headed next in Rise of the Floodborn and beyond.
It all begins with people from our world being transported to another plane, the realm of Lorcana as seen in the game’s first story trailer.
We meet what seems to be an important and central character. We don’t have a name for her yet, but we know she’s a creative of some kind. She’s at some sort of poetry reading night and seems relatively unsatisfied with her life, performing to a half-empty room of uninterested watchers.
She’s also dressed in a pretty slay outfit, all purple and black goth vibes - which, yes, is important. In Lorcana there are six colours of ink; the one this character seems to be most associated with is Amethyst, the purple ink colour.
After leaving the poetry night, she’s whisked away to another realm through a magical glowing sigil on the ground, the same one we can see on the back of every Lorcana card: a four-pointed star in a swirling circle.
When she opens her eyes on the other side of this portal to another world, she’s in what we know to be called the Great Illuminary. This is the central mechanism of the Illumineers: the roles we the players fill when we’re playing the card game of Lorcana. This giant device in a swirling, space-like void is how the glimmers, the versions of Disney characters that we see on the cards, are brought into existence.
Already, from this very first introductory clip, we can see a little hint as to what might be going on behind the scenes in Lorcana’s story. If you were distracted by the bright flashy visuals of this pretty structure you might have missed a very key detail in the background of this shot of our protagonist arriving in the Illuminary.
What’s happening here? This room seems to be entirely flooded with a purple liquid, to the point where it’s got bits of the room floating in it - including giant books and even columns that presumably are supposed to be supporting the building we’re in.
If we look back to the first trailer for Lorcana we get another view of what appears to be the same character, or at least someone dressed in an almost identical outfit with short purple hair, a purple skirt and thigh-high boots. We see them use a big device inside the Illuminary to magically draw and then bring to life a version of Mickey Mouse. This Mickey - who is actually one of the cards in the game, Mickey Mouse, Wayward Sorcerer - looks like some kind of sinister sorcerer and implies a link to Amethyst ink, the colour of the card.
Cut to story trailer number two. We’re introduced to some new characters after a magical white line guides our protagonist through this new space. Again, these two new characters are very much colour-coded to some of the inks in the game; this time, clear colour pairs with one character dressed head to toe in red and blue, linking him to Ruby and Sapphire, and the other in yellow and green, linking them to Amber and Emerald. It’s worth noting that in Lorcana's rules, a standard Lorcana deck can only include a max of two colours, so maybe our Illumineers are intrinsically linked to two of the inks. This first character also has some kind of weird device on his arm that seems to contain red and blue ink, further cementing this theory.
After a huge mechanism in the rafters appears to channel some kind of energy - which the official website describes as light from a story star, each one containing fragments of Disney stories - through the Illuminary, our characters are once again guided into a new chamber. This is the same one we saw in that first-ever trailer, with the book in the centre that summoned forth our sorcerer Mickey.
Our main character picks up what we know (thanks to the official story blurb) to be an inkcaster, a sort of magical staff for bringing these Disney characters to life. Hers is shaped like a giant fountain pen, which matches her love of writing, while the green and yellow character seems to have some kind of guitar-shaped caster on their back as well, suggesting that they’re some sort of musician. (Side note: it appears that this character is also canonically trans from the badge on their vest, which is very cool and I like it.)
We see our main character performing another inkcast, making what’s officially known as a glimmer, to summon Hercules (specifically, the hero’s appearance from steel card Hercules, True Hero) into her world. Then something mysterious happens to finish off the latest story trailer we’ve seen (at the time of writing).
Without anyone in the team interacting with it, the machine at the centre of the Illuminary begins to charge up and a burst of light ends the video. Just before the screen fades to white, our main character appears to be doing something with her inkcaster as she lifts it into the air with both hands. Is it in response? In defence? I’m not sure! Whatever happens, it seemed as though the machine was doing something of its own accord, without anyone actually activating it.
Before we move on, it’s worth noting one key detail from the story page on Lorcana’s official website. After providing a written version of our intro to the Great Illuminary and how creating glimmers works, we get this final line: “Soon, other Illumineers across the globe will be called to the aid of Lorcana. You’ll summon glimmers to quest with you as you search for missing lore in a race against time. Only together can you protect this wondrous realm from threats.”
“Race against time”? “Missing lore”? And “threats” is such a vague term. Just what is going on? It might seem like that’s all the answers we’ll get, but there’s a lot more information than that if you know where to look. So let’s start looking at the cards themselves.
Our story begins with a strange similarity between two fairly common cards that you’ll be familiar with from Lorcana’s starter decks for The First Chapter.
Let’s begin with Mickey Mouse, Detective, who gives us our most obvious and straightforward clue - which a detective is wont to do. The flavour text on this card gives us an almost direct narration of the events depicted in its artwork: “Wherever the seaweed had come from, Mickey was sure of one thing: something fishy was going on.”
So our first clue is this strange and ink-dripping seaweed, with a pinky-purple colour to it. Looking at this card in isolation might seem rather mundane, if a little random. But when you combine it with our next card, Duke of Weselton, Opportunistic Official, we see something that confirms our suspicions that something is going on.
The Duke is also investigating a mysterious purple seaweed, a seaweed that is also surrounded by ink. This time it’s not just a puddle; the whole surrounding area seems to be dripping with the stuff and those with a keen eye will see that this isn’t a locale from Frozen - the Disney movie in which the Duke appears - but is happening directly inside the Grand Illuminary.
We can make a direct comparison of the background architecture to that of Mickey Mouse, True Friend, whose flavour text says he greats newcomers to the Illuminary: “As long as he's around, newcomers to the Great Illuminary will always get a warm welcome.” The Great Illuminary also features quite clearly in the background of his art. He wasn’t around to greet our main character in the trailer, indicating that something might be a little off.
So, we have the core of our mystery: a strange seaweed accompanied by ink in places it shouldn’t be. As we know, ink has a lot of power in the world of Lorcana. You’ll also notice a slight difference between Duke of Weselton, Opportunistic Official and Mickey Mouse, Detective in their cards’ keywords. The Duke is listed as “Storyborn”, whereas Mickey has the “Dreamborn” tag. A “-born” keyword is a tag that all cards in the set have some variant of, so let’s talk about those variants.
There are currently three types of “-born” that a glimmer can be. Storyborn means that basically nothing has changed between their appearance in the original Disney stories and the glimmer that an Illumineer has created. Mickey Mouse, True Friend is just, well, Mickey Mouse. That’s it! That’s the type that Frozen’s Duke of Weselton has as well, which shows us that Illumineers can summon stock characters from Disney stories to do some work for them. Here they’ve got the conniving Duke to use his snooping skills to investigate in the Illuminary.
The next type is the Dreamborn. These show the advantage of recruiting those with vivid imaginations to be Illumineers. When an Illumineer dreams up a new version of an established character - for example, this detective Mickey Mouse - their creation is known as a Dreamborn. It’s a brand new version of the character, unique to the imaginations of our Illumineers. They might dream up a surfer Stitch, a Jafar at full sorcerous power or Goofy as a daredevil stuntman.
The third type of character is likely at the heart of our mystery. Those are the Floodborn. As per Lorcana’s lore, the Floodborn are a mysterious type of glimmer that pop into existence of their own accord due to a cataclysmic event known as The Flood. We currently know very little about The Flood and the origin of the Floodborn; it’s been hinted by Lorcana co-designer Ryan Miller that we’ll be learning a lot more about them in the second card set, Rise of the Floodborn.
The Floodborn seem to be the most weird and wonderful of all the characters on offer, with a giant Tinker Bell, a Hades that seems to have ousted Zeus from his throne and some kind of outlaw Aladdin. (Who, by the way, is ridiculously powerful in-game.)
Our job, with the small snippets of story we can gleam from the cards, is to work out what the Flood is, where it came from, why it happened and what comes next for our Illumineers.
To move on from our initial clues on Mickey Mouse, Detective and Duke of Weselton, Opportunistic Official, we have some bad news for the Illuminary itself. It’s already looking to be in a pretty sorry state in the background of the Duke’s card, with dripping ink and even a claw mark in one of the columns.
One look at the Minnie Mouse, Always Classy card shows that it can get a whole lot worse. The background shows the Illuminary shattered into pieces. The columns are smashed to bits and the magical light that seems to be generated in the Illuminary is bursting through the walls and floor. It seems to suggest that the Illuminary is either in disrepair or completely destroyed.
Not to mention: if the glimmers are only summoned by the Illumineers, then why did they bring this fashionista to what appears to be a disaster? I’m not sure she’s helping, and it might suggest that there’s something making glimmers outside of the Illumineers’ control. That could be what we were seeing at the end of that last story trailer.
There are only a couple of other Lorcana cards in The First Chapter that show the Illuminary in the background of their art. In the Emerald card pool we see Aladdin’s Genie and Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell being summoned as their normal selves.
It could be said that Tinker Bell, Most Helpful is living up to her name to assist the Illumineers with the clean-up operation - yet in the background of her art, the Illuminary seems to be already in a pretty good state with no visible damage or mess. It’s tough to say the order of events on these cards but I’m inclined to believe that Tink here shows up before the damage is done, unless she’s done a really fantastic clean-up job with the aid of the Genie.
The cards in Amethyst show a very different story. Remember that Mickey Mouse from the very first trailer? In his card art you’ll see that the wayward sorcerer appears to be leading his horde of brooms - a reference to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia - to carry buckets of some purple liquid through the halls of the Illuminary.
We can confirm it is the Illuminary by looking at the card for Magic Broom, Bucket Brigade, which shows us a close-up of the same scene with flavour text saying: “In the immense story-forge known as the Great Illuminary, there is always work to be done.”
We also get a really good look at this strange purple liquid they’re carrying. It appears to be a sort of burning purple fire that drips like water, matching the colour pattern and shape language of Amethyst ink. Mickey Mouse, Wayward Sorcerer himself wears the sigil for Amethyst ink on the belt buckle of his robes.
There are two ways we can read this. Mickey is transporting copious amounts of what we can assume is Amethyst ink either to somewhere or from somewhere. Is he perhaps cleaning the purple spill we saw in that first story trailer? Or maybe even causing it?
I’m inclined to say it’s the latter. Look at the art in Mickey Mouse, Wayward Sorcerer. Wherever the brooms are taking that purple fire from, it’s elevated, up a ramp. If Mickey and his brooms are cleaning up the massive spill, why is this part of the Illuminary not also flooded? It’s below where the spill would be.
If we also look at the first trailer released for Lorcana, in which this sorcerer Mickey is being summoned, we can see something pretty sinister happening at the same time as great big tendrils of black ink seem to swirl from the sky above to envelop the Great Illuminary.
Is this an evil Mickey Mouse? Did he cause The Flood?
To get more information, we need to leave the Great Illuminary, which is apparently in tatters anyway. By moving over to the Sapphire card selection of The First Chapter we get a good view of what’s going on, presumably after the destruction.
It seems our Illumineers are trying to either repair the Illuminary or find some kind of replacement for its central mechanism. A glimmer of Belle from Beauty and the Beast on her Belle, Inventive Engineer card is constructing some new device that appears to match the Illuminary’s construction. This device seems to be portable; it’s got an almost pistol-like grip with a trigger that activates the device. That might hint that we’re right in thinking the Illuminary is in a state of disrepair if the Illumineers are in need of something mobile to do their glimmer creation. That, or they’ve got a journey to make.
There’s another engineer card in this first set, with Belle’s father Maurice, World-Famous Inventor also working on some contraption in his Sapphire card. It seems like our blue and red ink-leaning Illumineer is a bit of an engineer or technologist, which would explain why his inkcaster seems the most gadgety of the lot.
Maurice appears to be working on the spinning device at the centre of the Illuminary’s gadget, which presumably channels the star power that brings the glimmers to life when fused with ink. What’s really interesting is the origin of that device.
If we take a look at Ariel, Whoseit Collector, we can see a very similar-looking device nestled amongst the gubbins that Ariel treasures from the surface world.
When looking at the art on Flotsam and Jetsam, the hench-eels of The Little Mermaid villain Ursula, we can see that it was actually stolen from Ariel. We see Jetsam snooping around Ariel’s cave with the quote “We can help you get anything you want…”, with his accomplice Flotsam physically stealing this spinning armillary sphere looking device with the quote, “We know someone who can help you… for a price”.
It’s important to note that those aren’t just quotes from the film. The divider above the cards’ flavour text has a little fountain pen icon at its leftmost point, denoting that this text was written by Lorcana’s designers, otherwise we would have seen a little book symbol for direct quotes taken from the movie.
Uh-oh. Ursula is one of Disney’s most iconic villains, and if our main characters have entered into some sort of deal with her, that could spell trouble. Not to mention that black ink and seaweed being one of our core clues for what’s going on seems like a pretty telltale sign that Ursula is at the very least involved.
It’s not just Ursula we have to worry about, with a quick glance at the keywords for each colour set showing us that Amethyst characters might be the most villainous of the lot. Emerald and Ruby have the most villain-keyworded cards outside of Amethyst, with six cards each. In comparison, Amethyst has a whopping ten. Not to mention that one of them is, of course, Ursula: the sea witch known to give you a deal that’s more than you bargained for.
What’s even more interesting is that whilst our Mickey Mouse, Wayward Sorcerer doesn’t have the villain tag, which might have been a bit of a giveaway, he is the only Mickey Mouse card in the entire set that doesn’t have the “Hero” tag. So we can assume that this glimmer of Mickey is, at the very least, morally grey.
Are the Amethyst glimmers working on some kind of hostile takeover? Is our main character at the centre of it all? It all just seems a little bit suspicious. Not to mention that everything that seems connected to this mysterious flood event is wrapped in a purple hue, with even a purple sea-dwelling villain potentially pulling the strings in the background.
Trying to figure this by looking over cards and piecing things together is difficult. With cards sat in isolation, it's hard to work out what sort of order of events they're laid out in. Because of that, when a character looks like they're up to no good, they could actually just be helping out after the fact - as with the sorcerer Mickey.
Another thing worth pointing out is that there is a bit of a disparity between these two purple characters that appear in the trailers. While the character in the second trailer has a very similar outfit to the one that we inevitably see in the first story trailer, it's not one-to-one; she's got this jacket on, her hair's a little bit different and she also just seems smaller if you look at her in comparison to the size of the inkcaster that she's holding.
That could suggest that it's a different person. Maybe it's like a younger version of the purple character that we meet. Maybe it's even a little sister, or something like that. I get the feeling that the idea of this purple character being the centre is maybe supposed to be a little bit of a red herring because of this other scene.
There are also a lot of other seemingly unconnected versions of things happening in cards that appear to link to that central seaweed mystery. For example, all of these Dreamborn characters, presumably, were made for a reason. If you look at Mickey Mouse, True Friend in the Amber colour, he greets new Lumineers - he has a purpose.
Then if you look at the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey on Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Pilot, his flavour text suggests that he's a Charon-like figure who provides transportation through the Inklands that surround the Great Illuminary in Lorcana’s world: “On rivers throughout the Inklands, the little steamboat’s whistle answers the cheery tunes of its pilot.”
Can you physically enter the story worlds that we're pulling these glimmers from? I'm not sure. The only sort of view of Lorcana’s world we’ve had so far is this Illuminary which appears to be in space. So it’s not clear if there’s a physical place we can walk around.
Presumably, you can also take things out of those worlds due to the appearance of the magical object in Ariel’s artwork, along with item cards such as the Stolen Scimitar and the Scepter of Arendelle. It’s not yet clear if those objects are being inkcasted - as with glimmers - or physically retrieved from those worlds.
The main character is suggested to have an Amethyst and Steel combination. She summons the glimmer of Hercules, True Hero, which is a steel card. She's wearing purple and she's got lots of silver jewellery, so maybe that's her colour combination. But if she’s just locked to those two colours forever, is the random blue person only able to summon red and blue?
Perhaps that's why we can only build decks in two colours. Maybe that's just a gameplay thing and I'm reading too much into it.
Also, why is there a Brave Little Tailor Mickey Mouse? He appears on multiple cards; in the artwork for the Cut to the Chase action card, which readies someone up, he's approaching what looks like a castle. You can actually see there's a silhouette in the tower, too. Is that Pete? It looks like Pete! Is he going to be in the next set?
There's a lot happening, and it's tough to say what it all means. From my perspective, I get the feeling that while she’s been introduced as a suggested protagonist, I actually think that the girl in the purple goth outfit could perhaps be our main villain. Or not necessarily evil, but is screwing things up. Because when she arrived there was the big purple flood - did that bring her in? Are the massive amounts of Amethys knocking around upsetting the balance between the power of the inks? Did her earlier self do something and she has forgotten that?
While you could just read the Wayward Sorcerer Mickey as just cleaning up the spill, he definitely has a real sinister vibe to him. It does feel like he's either being controlled by or is one of our big villains.It would be a very brave and interesting choice for Disney to choose their mascot to be the main archenemy of the first few sets. So hats off, potentially.
Also, there are gems everywhere! Everyone seems to have these big gems. Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Pilot has like a big green gem in the centre of the wheel. If you look at the Shield of Virtue, that's not how it looks in the film Sleeping Beauty - there aren't three gems on it. It's just a shield, but now there are three gems on it for some reason. Minnie Mouse, Princess also has a gem. Prince Ali seems to have gems, too - or is that just a stylistic thing?
There's only one way to truly find out what’s going on - and that's to dive into the next Lorcana set, which is due out next month. With Rise of the Floodborn, we’ll hopefully find out where this is all going. Perhaps we’re completely off the mark - after all, we're just interpreting flat pieces of art and a sentence or two of text - but one way or another, it’ll be exciting to find out where Lorcana’s story is headed.