Mikey Mouse Club #5 – Unhand Him, By Order of the Princess!

With the introduction of the Rise of the Floodborn set, the scope of Lorcana’s deckbuilding possibilities has expanded tremendously. In many ways, the new set effectively completes what was started by The First Chapter. There were almost hints of what kinds of decks and concepts might be possible, but some archetypes didn’t have enough cards or weren’t viable. I heroically tried to go the distance running a Sapphire Steel ramp deck but in the local Atlanta meta it just did not fly no matter how many Belle Strange and Specials I bought at three times their current TCGPlayer.com market value. Oh, I could pump the Inkwell up to overflowing early enough, but without solid card draw options I was dead in the water by turn five in many games.
So this time out, I reflected on the kinds of decks I liked to run in Magic back when I was more interested in constructed than drafting. I was (and am) very much a black/blue player- I like upset decks, denial decks, anything that reduces the other player’s options. After surveying the Rise of the Floodborn cards I decided to go with an Emerald Steel deck that would make George Lucas proud – it’s all about amputating the opponent’s hand. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this bright idea as the discard deck has emerged as a top archetype. This is what I’m running at our league.
Some of the best Lorcana decks have a core A-plan strategy and then a B plan fall-back if “A” doesn’t pan out due to draws or removal. With my deck the idea is to simply run the other player out of cards as quickly as possible and stick them with topdecking for the back half of the game. With their hand emptied, I drop Flynn Rider – His Own Biggest Fan in to quest for four lore. He’s a stupidly overpowered card, costing 4 (uninkable) and he shifts for 2 onto 8 possible targets in this deck- the 1-ink Flynn Rider – Confident Vagabond and the classic 2-ink Flynn Rider – Charming Rogue that also offers a discard effect when challenged.
We Three Flynns of Tangled are…(Ravensburger)
But to get Flynn to do his Flynning, I lean heavily on two key action cards- Sudden Chill and Hypnotize. Sudden Chill can be sung by 2-ink characters (such as Confident Vagabond) and Hypnotize offers a card draw in addition to the discard. I leverage 4 Prince Johns to earn a card draw every time an opponent draws a card, sometimes resulting in tremendous hand advantage. Daisy Duck is Flynn’s accomplice, questing for 2 lore and forcing a discard. Lucifer – Cunning Cat is a 5-cost uninkable but he can net two discards if you catch an opponent unable to satisfy him with the optional 1 action card discard. And if I’ve got Flynn ready to shift but I need someone to do a “last mile discard”, I can deply Bucky – Squirrel Squeak Tutor as he issues a discard when a Floodborn character shifts.
Come on you, weren’t gonna play those cards anyway…(Ravensburger)
That’s the A plan. The B plan is really more of a midgame control option. To support this, Cinderella – Knight in Training comes in at 2 ink and earns her “Simbarella” nickname by providing a scry before hopefully shifting into Cinderella – Stouthearted as a possible closer. That 7-ink monster is difficult to shift and exerts a terrifying degree of board control. Pete – Bad Guy is one of my most beloved cards in the set and I’ve had some good luck with him in this deck as he can turn into a 4-lore quester in reaction to playing two action cards in a turn- such as Sudden Chill and Hypnotize. He’s almost a plan C, but with only running 2 it’s really more of a Hail Mary.
Now, where this deck struggles is in the early game. Rush decks such as that #$%#$% Amber Amethyst thing where Lilo, Maleficient and Pinocchio blitzkrieg you will ruin this build. So that’s why it’s critical to have some shotgun-style removal for when the opponent goes wide. I do this with no less than 4 You’re your Sword and The First Chapter MVP Tinker Bell – Giant Fairy (who shifts onto Tinker Bell – Most Helpful). Decks that provide massive card draw such as that %#$%# Pawpsicle-based Ruby Sapphire monstrosity that is so popular right now can wreck it, so I’m running Benja as a tech against any item-based decks that I might encounter. A Whole New World is a straight up counter to the discard strategy, but I often find that I’m in a better position after someone else plays it and there’s not an answer for it in this build.
Last but certainly not least, I run two “Emo Beasts” – Beast – Tragic Hero. This stupidly expensive card ($34 market value as of this writing) is a brilliant piece of design that speaks to how thoughtfully composed some of these cards are. Beast does not support the discard or control strategies at all, really. But his ability is so good I can not imagine running a Steel-based deck without him. When undamaged, you get to draw two cards at the beginning of your turn. This is huge – everyone was running Friends On the Other Side, Ursula’s Cauldron, and anything else they could to draw cards in The First Chapter. But here, Beast just hands you cards. When he takes damage, he becomes an absolute killing machine with +4 strength, able to kill almost anything in the game. So even Beast – Tragic Hero has a B plan.
Beast posted up in his castle blasting Smashing Pumpkins “Disarm”. (Ravensburger)
Now, you might be asking “Where is Belle – Hidden Archer”. This card was the first shown for the new set and it got everyone talking because its ability seemed outrageous- if Belle is challenged, the opponent discards their entire hand. The problem is that the card isn’t very good. Nobody ever challenges Belle. They Dragon Fire her or spend all their Fire the Cannons and Smashes on removing her. The only way she can work is if she’s the only character you have out and the opponent is desperate to stop her 3 lore quest or if you use something to impart Reckless on an opposing character and force an attack. Too much setup. Plus, her Emerald shift target is badly designed- Belle – Bookworm quests for 3 when the opponent’s hand is empty, which means that there’s no incentive to play Hidden archer for her effect.
As for options, I really like the idea of using The Queen – Disguised Peddler to discard Flynn for four lore, I think that could be an effective  “A.5” plan. Ring the Bell is a solid removal option in Emerald, and with the spread damage of Grab Your sword and Tinkerbell there’s plenty of targets. Pack Tactics, which gives you a lore for each damaged character, may also be a good option. There’s always Captain Hook, Experienced Duelist for the tried and true turn one control play and the new Enchantress – Unexpected Judge sets up a durable 2 lore quester on turn 2 if you are worried about falling behind before the midgame.
That’s what’s in my Sisu deckbox right now, and it’s been performing pretty well. When the other player doesn’t have any cards, it’s a lot easier to win. With the third set, Into the Inklands just announced, I’ll be interested to see if I remain interested in this archetype or if the introduction of locations brings some new, compelling ideas to the deckbuilding options.
Next time: How Lorcana tells stories
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