Disney Lorcana brings the House of Mouse’s roster of cartoon characters and classic movies to a new trading card game, offering up a competitive showdown filled with familiar faces from Mickey Mouse to The Lion King’s Simba. With the card game putting a slightly different spin on the likes of Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon, it’s well worth learning how to play Disney Lorcana before you jump into your first match.
Lorcana puts players in the roles of Illumineers, magical sorcerers with the power to summon Disney characters and items - known in this world as glimmers - using enchanted ink. Rather than fighting to destroy their opponent’s life total, the players are instead racing to collect valuable pieces of lore ahead of their rival.
How to play Disney Lorcana
- What is Disney Lorcana?
- How to build a Disney Lorcana deck
- Disney Lorcana setup explained
- Disney Lorcana rules
- How to win Disney Lorcana
- Can you play Disney Lorcana with more than 2 players?
Disney Lorcana features familiar and fresh takes on classic characters from across Disney’s many animated films, mixing beloved characters with a new fantasy style as they don flashy new threads, venture into new worlds, and wield swords and sorcery. Expect to see everyone from classics like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella pop up, alongside recent favourites such as Lilo and Stitch, Elsa and Ana, and Moana.
With the ability to combine all these characters, magical items and abilities - not to mention iconic songs from Disney movies - into one deck in order to best your opponent, knowing the basics of how to play Disney Lorcana is vital in perfecting your deck and leading you to victory. Here we’ll be introducing you to Disney Lorcana’s rules and teaching you how to build your first deck so you can get started.
What is Disney Lorcana?
Disney Lorcana is a trading card game featuring familiar characters from Disney movies. Similar to trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon, Disney Lorcana allows two players to create a custom deck of cards before battling their decks to see who emerges the winner.
Instead of reducing their opponent’s health to zero, in Disney Lorcana both players are racing to be the first to reach 20 lore, acquired by questing with cards and using certain abilities.
While the standard game is designed for two players to play head-to-head, Disney Lorcana can also be played with more people.
How to build a Disney Lorcana deck
To build a Disney Lorcana deck, there are some rules that players must abide by.
A Disney Lorcana deck must have at least 60 cards, and no single card can appear more than four times. This applies only to cards with the same name, not just the same character. For example, you could have four copies of Mickey Mouse, Wayward Sorcerer and four copies of Mickey Mouse, Brave Little Tailor if you really love the Disney mascot.
In addition, your Disney Lorcana deck must only have cards from one or two different ink types. A card’s ink type can be found between its text box and the name of the card, and is indicated by the symbol on the left-hand end of the colour band, as well as by the colour of the band itself.
There are six types of ink: Amber, Emerald, Sapphire, Amethyst, Ruby and Steel.
For the full deck building rules and advice on which ink colours to use, head on over to our complete guide on how to build a Lorcana deck
Disney Lorcana setup explained
In order to set up Disney Lorcana, both players should first shuffle their deck and set their lore tracker - which measures how close they are to victory - to zero. You can use the lore tracker included with the Disney Lorcana starter decks, the game’s official companion app or simply another way of counting to 20, such as a dice or piece of paper. You will also need tokens to measure damage.
Each player should draw seven cards from the top of their deck into their hand.
Decide the first player at random. For example, by rolling a die or flipping a coin.
After looking at their cards, the players - starting with the first player - can choose to return any number of cards from their hand to the bottom of their deck (without revealing them) and redraw the same number of cards to leave them with a hand of seven. Then, reshuffle your whole deck. This can only be done once per game, and is usually helpful if you draw a hand without many inkwell icons (which are used to play cards and use abilities) or containing too many expensive cards for the start of the game.
After that, you’re ready to play!
Disney Lorcana rules
In Disney Lorcana, players take alternating turns, beginning with the first player. Each player’s turn has two phases - the Beginning Phase and the Main Phase - and must be completed in full before play passes to the next player.
The Beginning Phase in Disney Lorcana has three basic steps that sees the player refreshing any cards used on their last turn, activating any additional effects and drawing an additional card. (The first player does not draw a card on their first turn.)
- Ready: The player readies any exerted cards (denoted by being rotated 90 degrees sideways, similar to tapping in Magic: The Gathering) by turning them upright again. Exerted cards cannot be used again until they are readied.
- Set: The player activates any Beginning Phase effects by following the instructions on the relevant cards.
- Draw: The player draws the top card of their deck into their hand. This step is skipped by the first player during the first turn of the game.
The Main Phase is where most of Disney Lorcana’s action happens. Players play and activate cards in order to gain the lore needed to propel them toward victory, challenge their opponent’s characters to slow their progress and use other abilities, usually by paying ink from their inkwell.
How does Ink work in Disney Lorcana?
In Disney Lorcana, ink is the main resource used to play cards and activate certain abilities. It’s similar to mana in Magic: The Gathering. You can see how much a card costs to play in the top-left corner of the card - it’s the number inside the hexagon.
If the number has a gold circle around the hexagon (it looks a bit like the James Bond gun barrel) the card can alternatively be placed in your inkwell to use the card as ink to play other cards. A card must have this gold circle to be used as ink.
Once per turn, each player can place one card facedown into their inkwell. They must show the card to their opponent before adding it to the inkwell. Every card placed into the inkwell is worth 1 ink, no matter how much it costs to play.
When a card is added to the inkwell, it stays there for the rest of the game - meaning you can’t use any of the text or abilities on the front of the card once it’s turned into ink.
To spend ink when playing cards or activating abilities, exert the number of cards equal to the ink cost (by turning them 90 degrees sideways). These cannot be used as ink again until they are readied at the start of your next turn.
Main Phase actions in Disney Lorcana
During their Main Phase, each player can perform any number of actions, any number of times, as long as they have the ink and readied cards to do so. There is no particular order in which actions must be performed, and the same action can be used multiple times.
The Main Phase actions in Disney Lorcana are:
- Play a card
- Use a character ability
- Use an item ability
Playing a card in Disney Lorcana
Play a card by paying its cost in ink (by exerting cards in your inkwell) and place it face-up on the table.
There are three main types of card in Disney Lorcana: characters, items and actions. Songs are a special type of action card with an alternative cost, explained below.
Characters enter the field in the ready position - meaning they are orientated upright - but cannot be used or exerted until the following turn. This is similar to summoning sickness in Magic: The Gathering - in Lorcana, it’s said that their ink is still drying.
Item cards are placed above your inkwell when played, and can be used immediately.
Action cards activate instantly when played, triggering any effects as per the text on the card. Once an action card has been used, it goes into the player’s discard pile face-up.
If a card’s text contradicts the basic Disney Lorcana rules, follow the card’s rules.
How do song cards work in Disney Lorcana?
Songs are a special type of action card that activate just like a standard action card, causing their effects immediately before going in the discard pile. However, they have an alternate cost in addition to ink; a song can be played for free by exerting a character with the listed ink cost (or higher). For example, the song card One Jump Ahead can be played for free by exerting a character with an ink cost of 2 or more.
Because song cards require exerting characters, characters who have been played that turn cannot be used to play song cards.
Using character and item abilities
Characters and items may have specific abilities listed on their cards. These abilities can be used during the controlling player’s turn.
Use an ability by playing its cost, if necessary. Ability costs can include ink (paid by exerting cards in your inkwell), exerted cards (paid by, well, exerting cards) or something else explained on the card itself. Some cards may have a cost that includes a mixture of ink, exerted cards and something else - the cost must be paid in full to use the ability.
As before, characters who have been played on the same turn cannot be used for their ability (or anything else). Items, however, can be used as soon as you play them. Action abilities trigger immediately before being placed in the discard pile.
If a card’s ability affects cards “in play”, this only includes character and item cards currently on the table. Each player’s deck, discard pile, hand of cards and inkwell do not count as “in play” and therefore can’t be affected by abilities unless the card’s text specifically says so.
Some cards may also have passive abilities indicated by specific keywords, such as “Rush” - which allows a character to challenge on the same turn they’re played. These take effect as explained by the text on the card.
Questing with a character is one of the main ways of gaining lore - needed to progress you toward victory.
To quest, exert a character on the field (turning them to the side). This gains you lore equal to the lore value listed on the card. (Add it to your lore tracker.) A card’s lore value can be found on the right-hand side of its text field, indicated by the number of diamond icons.
As a reminder, characters who have been played on the same turn cannot be used for any ability - including questing.
How challenges work in Disney Lorcana
Challenges in Disney Lorcana are similar to battles in other trading card games, such as Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon.
While players can’t damage each other directly, they can attack their opponent’s characters in order to slow their acquisition of lore (needed to win the game) and remove powerful effects from the field.
To challenge, exert one of your characters by turning them sideways. The character must not have been played on that turn.
The character can challenge any of your opponent’s exerted characters. A card must already be exerted in order to be challenged, meaning you can’t challenge characters played on your opponent’s last turn. (As they enter the field in the ready position.)
Each card - both the challenger and the card being challenged - then deal damage to each other, equal to their strength value. A card’s strength can be found on the right-hand side of the card in a star icon (next to its willpower value in a shield icon).
Add damage tokens equal to the damage received to each character. If a card receives damage equal to or greater than their willpower - listed in the shield icon next to their strength - they are banished and placed in their player’s discard pile. Damage remains on characters between turns.
How to win Disney Lorcana
In order to win Disney Lorcana, players must be the first to reach 20 lore (or more).
As soon as one player has acquired 20 or more lore points - typically obtained by questing using their character cards - they win.
A player can also be eliminated by running out of cards; if a player exhausts their deck and is unable to draw a card when they need to (for example, at the start of their turn), they lose.
Can you play Disney Lorcana with more than 2 players?
Disney Lorcana can be played by more than two players using the same standard rules as above, with two small additions:
Instead of play passing back and forth between two players, play circles around the table in clockwise order. After a player finishes their turn, the person to their left goes next.
When an ability affects more than one player, the players take it in turns to trigger its effects, starting with the current player and proceeding clockwise (so the person to your left goes after you).
Buy Disney Lorcana products on Zatu (UK).