Now that the dust has cleared and Rise of the Floodborn is maturing, the best cards (at least in my opinion) are starting to rise to the surface. And no, Tuk Tuk, Pacha, and Rabbit are not among them. Neither is Belle, Hidden Archer because she actually isn’t very good. Not only has the meta hit its stride, but the scope of possible deckbuilding archetypes has increased tremendously. And, the play value of The First Chapter cards has shifted with the introduction of 204 new cards. Here’s my take on the ten best cards – at least for right now!
The Queen, Commanding Presence – a starter deck card that was commanding $30 and up before general release, her majesty is unusually hard-hitting for Amber. She can hit the table on turn 2, shifting onto a 1-drop The Queen, Regal Monarch. From there on she is an absolute menace, granting another character +4 strength and reducing an opposing character’s strength by 2. Suddenly Lilo, Making a Wish becomes a deadly threat. And The Queen herself is 4/3, exerting very strong early game board control.
Sleepy’s Flute– A card that everybody slept on, this Amber item was going for about a quarter until it started turning up in winning decks and its value shot up. It’s as simple as can be. When you play a song, tap this 2 ink/uninkable to gain a lore. This is a natural fit for the Steelsong archetype, and if you manage to get two or more to the table it can be a game winner.
Arthur, Wizard’s Apprentice – Bounce is huge in this set and it’s almost all in Amethyst. The Sword in the Stone characters are all part of the suite and I think that Arthur is the most effective and compelling of the lot. When he quests, his Student ability allows you to return another character to your hadn to gain 2 lore. Naturally, you want this to be the Merlin, Goat which also gives you a lore for leaving the table. Then you play said Merlin, Goat again and get another lore and set the combo up again. This was another card that doubled in value when folks realized its potential.
Yzma, Scary Beyond All Reason – A versatile bounce option that shifts for 4, this Yzma’s Cruel Irony is a surprisingly versatile play. When she comes into play, you shuffle a chosen character into that players deck. So it’s functional removal. However, the character’s player draws 2 cards so there’s either a tradeoff for the removal or you can use it on one of your own cards (such as that Merlin, Goat) for a clutch draw. I completely overlooked this card until a friend sang its praises, and now I’m a believer.
Beast, Relentless – The Emerald “Murderbeast” as I call him is a terror- if you can keep him healthy. With a 4/5 statline, his Second Wind ability readies him any time an opposing character takes damage. Which means he readies when challenges, and then can quest for two. Or, he can take out another character. Combine this monster with ping damage (from Plasma Blaster, Fire the Cannons, Hans Thirteenth in Line, etc.) and he can truly live up to the “Relentless” appellation. I debated on including this one as it’s barely in any of the big meta decks, but I think there’s huge potential here if someone can make it consistently effective.
Flynn Rider, His Own Biggest Fan – My absolute favorite Lorcana card. I am big into the discard deck archetype, and this is the coolest card to make the most of that strategy. He shifts easily onto the 1 or 2 drop Flynns. He has four printed Lore but loses one for each card in the opponent’s hand. So you run their hand out with Hypnotizes and Sudden Chills, and by then you have one or two Flynns questing for four each. And – get this – this bastard is Evasive too. It takes some setup, but it’s oh so satisfying to pilot through a losing 10-0 game that suddenly finds you at lethal in two turns.
Pawpsicle – You knew it was coming. Probably the best item in Rise of the Floodborn, and definitely the most annoying. But it is sort of the card of the set for a lot of players. It’s a 1 drop item that has a huge degree of synergy in Sapphire right now. Jumbo Pop lets you a draw card and That’s Redwood gives you 2 healing. The trick is using Nick Wild, Judy Hopps, and Hiram Flaversham to keep the Pawpsicles rotating in and out of play to draw a stupid amount cards. And then you can use a Launch action to throw the damn thing at a character for five damage. I’m not going to throw the “OP” flag out here but it is definitely a more than meets the eye card.
Beast, Tragic Hero – One of the best illustrations in the game adorns this excellent card with a wonderful implementation of theme. “Emo Beast” as he’s been called lets you drawn an extra card each turn, which is huge. But that’s only when he’s not damaged. When he takes damage, It’s Better This Way turns him into a rampaging 7/5 character capable of taking down almost anything in the game (Goofy, Knight for a Day notwithstanding). The neat thing about this card is that it forces your opponent to make a choice if they don’t have direct removal- they either let you draw cards, or they throw everything at it to keep it from banishing everything on the field.
Cinderella, Stouthearted – Resist is one of the set’s new mechanics and nobody does it better than this armored-up princess tank. There’s a great shift target in Steel for her (Cinderella, Knight in Training) but once she’s out, she can be quite tough to take down as she soaks +2 damage. Plus, readied character’s aren’t safe- when a song is played, she can attack them, making her a great removal option in Steelsong. She’s also just a really cool concept, and I love how there’s a Fairy Godmother armorer that synchs up with her over in Amethyst.
Teeth and Ambitions – One of the more technical cards coming out of Ruby, this is a utility play and a good example of a more advanced card that many might overlook or deliberately ignore. It’s a 2-cost song, meaning it plays early, and it does two damage to an opposing character and two to one of yours. This may appear to be a bad trade-off, but it’s cheap (free if you sing it) and it can set up a Rapunzel, Gifted with Healing for card draw or put some lore onto Donald Duck, Not Again. Or you can just eat the damage with one of Ruby’s many high willpower characters.
Rise of the Flodborn has turned out to be a very compelling set- and the meta continues to evolve. Ask any player and they very likely might provide an entirely different list of “best” cards in the set. Right now everybody is all about the whole Mufasa High Roller thing and it’s great except that I didn’t buy a playset back when nobody cared about Mufasa and they were like $3 rares. I’m finding that my discard deck holds it own in the meta and I’m anxious to see what Into the Inklands is going to bring to the table.
Next time: The Official Mikey Mouse Club Into the Inklands Preview