Mikey Mouse Club #26 – How The South Was Won

The first ever Lorcana Challenge event was held here in my hometown, Atlanta, May 25th and 26th and apparently it went down like gangbusters. I wouldn’t know because I was with my family out at the Grand Canyon, which I can assure you was much more fun than wrestling against the sweats, tryhards, Mr. Suitcases, and TCGbros to make top cut and win a playmat to flip on eBay. Friendly reminder, The Mikey Mouse Club is a casual Lorcana column so all of that uber-competitive nonsense isn’t something you’ll find me commenting favorably on because I just don’t really engage with it, especially after the bad taste that the store tournaments a couple of months ago left me with. But I do keep up with what’s going on, what’s happening in the meta, and what’s winning games because it can be interesting when something goes against the grain.

Joshua Paultre’s winning Amber/Amethyst deck from Atlanta didn’t impress me much at first glance because I immediately saw some of the most overplayed and personally most despised cards in the game – namely that %@#$#@ Madam Mim, Fox and Merlin $#$@$@#$, goat. In fact, almost the whole Amethyst suite probably looked exactly like any number of other hundreds of decks running Amethyst in Atlanta. Mind you, this event took place before Emerald Steel took over the meta on the wings of Diablo so there was mostly a lot of purple cards in play. Now, what interested me on further inspection was that he included some cards you don’t see as much from Amber in particular, along with a couple of more popular, very powerful cards.


In the one drop slot, Josh was running Pascals, which has been a decent choice from The First Chapter on as it’s a cheap, easy evasive that has a remarkable tendency to stay on the board longer than expected. It’s also an easy ink choice late game. Chernobog’s Followers is a cheeky choice, and since Chernobog is an Amber card, it’s one of those color linkages that bears paying attention to. This is one of those cards that meta players favor because it replaces itself, drawing a card if you banish them after they quest. You can usually do this turn 2. Cinderella, Ballroom Sensation looks like a solid pick for singing but…there’s not a single song in the deck! This raised an eyebrow, until I noticed what was going on here. Stand by.

At two ink, Piglet, Pooh Pirate Captain is another consistent choice especially in a deck running Pascals as he gets to quest for 3 if two other characters on the board. He’s a standard 2/2/2/1 character except for that great ability. Kuzco, Wanted Llama is another “replaces itself” and I’ve been really surprised at how many times this card has seen play in front of me. It’s the kind of common card that is really more effective than many legendaries. Madam Mim, Snake can be used to eat Kuzco for both an upgrade to a 3/3/3/1 character and a card draw.

Madam Mim, Fox is pretty much the standard 3 drop Amethyst card and I wonder if it’s a rule for you to include four of them. This is a card that I think should be restricted because frankly it’s bull#@$@. In this deck she is a cheap Rusher, can eat Kuzco (and get a card, natch), and bounces things back and forth to hand (like Merlin). Standard, annoying AF stuff here. Whatever. But Fairy Godmother, Pure Heart is an inspired choice. Just Leave it To Me reads “When you play a character named Cinderella, you may exert chosen character”. Remember those Cinderellas with no songs to sing? This is why. Paired with that Madam Mim rushing, no unwarded character is safe. Especially with Merlin, Crab also along to provide support.

In slot 4 is the standard Merlin, Rabbit so there’s more card draw and more bouncing and of course Merlin, Goat which is another card that ought to be restricted as it is simply too easy to gain too much Lore without Questing, which is one of the core mechanisms of the game. Rapunzel, Gifted With Healing is where the deck starts to get super expensive but it’s even more card draw and healing opportunities. I’m not 100% sure I’d run this card a) because it’s flipping expensive and the list includes 4 and b) There’s a lot of lower Willpower characters so it may not be a consistent payout. But hey, this is a tournament winning deck so what do I know? Peter Pan’s Shadow is uninkable but adds value as an Evasive counter that Quests for 2 midgame and also gives that $@#$@% Madam Mim Evasive.

5 ink finds two great, great choices. One is Mufasa, Betrayed Leader which you see a lot in the “Mufasa Highroller” archetype where folks try to topdeck huge characters. But here, it’s a way to accelerate getting bodies into the field which can be essential midgame, especially after a Be Prepared reset in the Ruby matchup. I was a little worried about Mufasa triggering a Madam Mim and an undesirable bounce, but this is a “may” ability and you can choose to just keep her in your hand. But it could trigger a Cinderella/Fairy Godmother combo. Or put out a $#@$@ Merlin $#@$@ Goat. Maybe even that big 10 Chernabog if the Heart of the Cards is with you. Fairy Godmother, Mystic Armor is the only Floodborn in the deck and she shifts at 2 onto her predecessor and gives a whopping Challenger +3 when she quests via Forget the Coach, Here’s a Sword. This is a great control play that makes even Pascal a serious threat. It makes Madam $#@$% Mim a killing machine.

Perdita, Devoted Mother is the only 6 ink card but it’s another inspired choice. Come Along, Children plays a character with cost 2 or less from discard for free when she’s played (either hardcast or through Mufasa) and when she quests. Pascal, Chernobog’s Followers, Piglet, Cinderella, Madam Mim Snake, and Kuzco are all eligible. And all have tremendous value either alone or in combination with other cards. And again, this is a subtle way to counteract the Be Prepared apocalypse.

A single Enchanted Chernobog rounds out the deck- what a flex. He’s also an unlikely choice in most “competitive” decks due to his cost and possibly inconsistent effects. But here it makes total sense. There’s a ton of card draw in this deck, and well, you can’t play ‘em all. But The Power Of Evil discounts Chernabog by 1 ink for every card you discard. But he could also be Mufasa’d into play. And then when he hits the table, everything in discard goes back into the deck so all those Kuzcos, Chernobog’s Followers, Merlins, and everything else gets another chance. In some ways, this is a “win more” kind of card and I’d be interested to see if it really panned out or even saw play. It’s definitely a mulligan card and I certainly wouldn’t run more than 1 but it’s also the kind of card that could lead to a spectacular finish.

What I like about this deck is that it mixes up some obvious choices with some unique twists to produce consistent, repeatable results and smart combinatorial plays. It has an answer for most of the strategies considered competitive- it’s absolutely going to run over discard decks provided you can get out in front of the grind-down and start drawing cards. It goes head to head with control-focused Ruby decks. Pawpsicle/item abuse is probably too slow against it. Steelsong’s vulnerabilities are laid bare by a touch of aggro. There’s also a focus here I admire- there are songs, items, or locations and really there’s no attempt to counter those things either. In some ways, this is a very back to basics kind of deck that, aside from cards from subsequent sets, feels like a highly evolved First Chapter deck. I think Josh really tapped into the core mechanisms and chose a set of cards that strongly leverages those to take the win.

Next time: Who is Bucky Diablo?

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