When we first played Disney Lorcana earlier this year, it felt like the perfect groundwork for a new trading card game. The starter decks for debut set The First Chapter each had their own ways to win, whether by rushing to get the most lore, holding back your opponents or getting lots of ink down for big characters. We could see the potential for complexity as cards interacted with each other - but with only two hundred to pick from, there was always going to be a limit on how many cards could affect another.
Second set Rise of the Floodborn, which releases in local game shops this Friday, feels like the other half to The First Chapter, complementing and building upon the original set to bring me right back to my Lorcana obsession.
Last week we travelled up to the offices of Lorcana publisher Ravensburger for a preview of the set. I got to try out the Amethyst and Steel starter deck featuring Merlin and Tiana. I already loved steel - mostly for big Tinker Bell - and enjoyed pairing it with emerald in my own decks, which is a fun ink colour for anyone who doesn’t like being challenged.
What particularly stood out for me in this new set are the amethyst cards. Characters from Disney’s The Sword in the Stone make a major appearance; when you manage to put them all together in a deck you can see the exciting new synergies emerging in Rise of the Floodborn.
From just one game, I could already feel how this new Lorcana set builds upon the first.
Madam Mim, Fox’s Chasing the Rabbit ability allowed me to return a character from the board to my hand, which meant I could bring back damaged ones or trigger powerful effects from cards entering the battlefield over and over - when Merlin, Goat, which gains a lore each time it enters and leaves the battlefield, turns up you can see where the game really starts. Merlin came in clutch during play a good few times in his many forms inspired by the fight between him and Madam Mim. Rabbit Merlin lets you draw a card when it enters and leaves while crab Merlin gives Challenger to another character. I never even played human Merlin!
From just one game, I could already feel how this new Lorcana set builds upon the first. Each time we pulled a card I started thinking of ways they could boost others, slotting into the decks I’ve been building and inspiring new ones. As we cracked into some boosters and started seeing formidable new characters we really began to realise the potential.
I could list every new card I love - like Alice, Growing Girl, who lends the Support keyword to your other characters and gains four lore when you reach ten strength, or Sisu, Divine Water Dragon, who allows you to draw a new card every time you quest - but in general all of the new cards in Rise of the Floodborn feel like a shift in power and ability.
The new cards interact with each other in ways they didn’t previously in The First Chapter. You can play card after card that each boost and affect each other, rather than just getting a few big characters out that do one big thing. Text on cards from the first set now feel even stronger as they have more to interact with, including abilities that specifically call out card types such as Princess, Queen or, in Mickey’s case, Magic Brooms.
Anyone that was wanting a little more complexity in Lorcana will be able to find it now in Rise of the Floodborn.
Anyone that was wanting a little more complexity in Lorcana will be able to find it now in Rise of the Floodborn. It’s obviously still not competing with Magic: The Gathering's high level of play, but that’s a lot of the charm of the Disney TCG. There aren’t endless keywords and cards to work out; Lorcana is just growing and it’s exciting to get to follow its journey. Building a Lorcana deck is much less intimidating but still rewarding; I’m already itching to open some boosters and start creating.
Rise of the Floodborn doesn’t just build on the first set of cards in terms of quantity, either. We have new keywords and ideas, such as new keyword Resist, which allows you to reduce incoming damage - something that I can see being equally amazing and annoying, depending on which side of the board you’re sitting. All of this means Rise of the Floodborn feels like a glimpse into the future of what Lorcana can be.
Of course, I can’t discuss a new Lorcana set without highlighting one of the biggest selling points for the Disney card game, and Rise of the Floodborn specifically: the art. The recreations of classic Disney characters and films have all been beautiful so far. However, it’s the Floodborn cards that I really love. These types of cards reimagine characters in a totally new light, sometimes at odds with their original design or personality.
In The First Chapter we saw a giant Tinker Bell, Hades as a god on Olympus and Stitch performing live as a rock star. They not only build upon the Disney universe we already know and love, but branch off into their own world.
It’s no surprise that in Rise of the Floodborn we get to see even more of these imaginative redesigns. Cinderella, Stouthearted is a knight in full armour with adorable heart detailing, Gaston becomes an Intellectual Powerhouse as he maps out a plan and one of my absolute favourites shows Winnie the Pooh as a magical Honey Wizard.
The art recaptures that magic of the films for me; they’re inspiring, imaginative and playful.
The Floodborn and other types of cards feed into the wider story unfolding through Lorcana and I can’t wait to see what’s next. The art recaptures that magic of the films for me; they’re inspiring, imaginative and playful, making me want to pore over every detail and dream up scenarios of what these characters get up to. (I’m also secretly hoping for a princess film about a knight now, but one step at a time.)
If you already loved Lorcana, Rise of the Floodborn will only build upon that. If you’ve been unsure whether to play, let this set be your introduction. Whether you love Disney or TCGs, or fall somewhere in between, I highly recommend picking up a starter deck, booster or even just browsing the cards on the Lorcana app. I’m sure you’ll feel that Disney magic, too.