Mikey Mouse Club #20 – I Got Yer Be Prepared Right Here

I learned a few things at the recent Lorcana Set Championship events. One is that I absolutely do not want to sit and play Lorcana for eight hours straight, no matter how much I like the game. Another is that ultra-competitive TCGbros are likely going to ruin this wonderful game. But most importantly, that competitive events with high stakes (well, a $20 playmat and a .01 card that have $500 and $300 aftermarket values) are not for me. I came away from the event demoralized after being hit over and over again with Be Prepared and really kind of questioning whether I wanted to continue with the game or not.

But my daughter really wanted to go to League the following Sunday so I thought “Okay, I’ll go but I’mma make a really, really nasty removal/control deck.” No funny business. No complicated combos. No fun theme. Just something to erase stuff from the board. I was thinking about how many times I had been Be Prepared-ed and Madam Medusa-ed by the meta-topping Ruby Sapphire deck I had to play against so many times and I thought I’d try playing something similar.

But I went with Ruby Steel since steel has even more direct damage and removal options and I named it after a Nitzer Ebb song that I’m obsessed with right now.


I showed this list to a friend and he said. “I don’t know what this is supposed to do.” So I explained to him that this was my Darkside heel turn, that it was just meant to be an absolute spoiler deck designed to frustrate. Discard had been sort of my main jam for a while, but now I was going to let the opponent actually put some things out before they go to the discard pile. Direct removal and heavy hitters along with Shere Khan and Robin Hood to pick up some lore for fighting and some choice, powerful Legendaries like Sad Beast give this deck some real firepower. There’s some serious challenging power in this deck; I had to wrest control of the 2-drop Simbas from my daughter and promise to pick up more off TCGPlayer.com for next week.

Turnout was low for our League since another store championship was going on elsewhere. But it was a fun crowd, there was plenty of chit chat and friendly conversation which included commiserating over the “intense” events of the past couple of weekends. There was one new player whom I was concerned about- he had a certain intensity and way of carrying himself that suggested one of those ultra-competitive TCGbros. I figured he’d probably win the whole day and I’d likely not play him anyway.

So round one of match one, I lost to an opponent that leveraged a bunch of Cogsworths to protect her characters and I never drew a single Be Prepared. But then I won the next two, absolutely hammering her board with challenges and removal. The second match I won 2-0 over an interesting Emerald Sapphire build that just couldn’t get it together versus my intense scorched earth policy. So that put me in the final match with this new guy.

He decided to stuff his face with a Subway sandwich right at game time so I was already getting some bad manners vibes. He was running an Amber Sapphire build that was kind of a hybrid between a dwarves thing and the Pawpsicle/Hiram deck. In both games he got ahead early- getting up to 17 lore- but in both once my deck hit its wicked stride I was simply deleting everything he played. At one point, I played Be Prepared late game and he immediately refilled with four characters. Which I think promptly Be Prepared again. He did it again, and I dropped Grab Your Sword. Judicious play of Madam Medusas and Lady Tremaines kept the board clear. I thought the games were really good- they were tense and had lots of compelling strategic decisions and I felt challenged in a good way.

My opponent however, apparently did not. Upon losing, he gave me the GG and handshake but then proceeded to make comments like “Anyone can win with a $500 deck” (actually it rates at $425 per Dreamborn). The sour grapes kept coming, and the otherwise friendly vibe of the league day was ruined.

But here’s the thing that I didn’t want to tell this dude as I basked in the glory of my first ever apparently undeserved 3-0 finish. I get it. Having dealt with this kind of aggressive removal so much the week prior, I understood why he was so frustrated. Because Be Prepared, in particular, is a problem.

Many in the Lorcana community will argue otherwise; that the name of the card tells you how to handle it. In short, if you are against Ruby, you have to know that turn 7 is Be Prepared. Almost like clockwork. And there are decent counters to it- like Ursula, Deceiver who plays early enough to strip it out of hand. After one Be Prepared, my opponent was able to rearm with cheap Dwarves so it wasn’t exactly an apocalypse – at least the first one wasn’t. It’s an extremely powerful card with a high price and it’s uninkable and can’t be sung by most singers. Locations aren’t affected by it. And to be honest, many times playing it is a M-A-D (mutually assured destruction) decision. So it seems pretty balanced over all.

However, the rules surrounding how many of the card you can have in the deck are not and that in fact puts it wildly out of balance with the rest of the game and it absolutely dominates the Ruby meta. Its effect is so intense as a mid to late game reset button that it is actually somewhat ludicrous that you can have up to four of these cards in your deck. One, it becomes a strategic concern and a tactical play. With more than one, it becomes a little silly. And if you are playing Ruby and not including at least two Be Prepareds…you are officially Doing It Wrong.

The problem is that it is such a hard back-to-one that late in the game and there is no restriction on getting hit with it three more times other thank luck of the draw. It moves from “good play” to “wow, that is super annoying”. And not in a fun way, as my opponent would have told you.


Simply put, Be Prepared is a case study in why a card should be restricted. That’s right, not banned. There never should have been a situation where four of these hell-cards were allowed in a deck. I really wish that Ravensburger and the Lorcana team had the foresight to include a symbol or text on the cards that could only be included in decks at a limited number because eventually that is going to have to happen. Just like it did with MTG, when certain cards and combos radically skewed the gameplay.

And I’m totally fine with restriction only at an organized play or tournament level- casual, it’s up to you. But Ravensburger is eventually going to have to either put in some restrictions or patch things up with other cards- and that will lead to possibly undesirable nerfing and power creep. Be Prepared would absolutely be first on my list of cards that need to be restricted and I’d bet that many readers would agree, if not slating A Whole New World (Lorcana’s version of Wheel of Fortune) ahead of it.

Next Week- Let’s get to restrictin’!