Mikey Mouse Club #9 – Into the Inklands Preview!

It’s hard to believe it, but here we are looking at the third Lorcana set approaching on the horizon- Febuary 23rd for the FLGS drop, a couple of weeks later for Targets and so forth. We are heading Into The Inklands with the next 204 cards and with the inventory issues mostly sorted it looks like it’s going to be clear sailing. Presales are up all over the place and at – get this – reasonable prices, some even under retail. I can’t help but feel some trepidation that this could very well be this game’s Fallen Empires moment (longtime Magic players, you feel me) but I’m not here to be miserable as usual, darling. I’m here to tell you that this set looks very, very exciting – including the product lineup which will offer new starter decks and accessories featuring Scrooge McDuck, Robin Hood, Moana, and Stitch as well as a slightly revamped Trove offering with slightly less janky bonuses and a new Gift Set for anyone that likes those stupid oversized and useless novelty cards.

<FryMeme.jpeg> (Ravensburger)

But the most important thing to me is who’s gonna be in it because I have a list of characters I want to see in it, and so far neither Kurt Russell’s Dexter Riley from The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes nor The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh have made the cut, I suppose because they aren’t animated. Regardless I am extremely excited to see that this time out Ravensburger has roped in Atlantis, TaleSpin, and DuckTales with some expansion into The Rescuers (who debuted with the Sardine Can in Rise of the Floodborn) and Treasure Planet (last seen by way of John Silver in The First Chapter). As a 20+ year veteran Treasure Planet enjoyer and as the guy that wears the Treasure Planet shirt to League, I’m very pleased to see this criminally underrated Disney picture better represented. I’m also loving the DuckTales addition as Scrooge McDuck is a top five character for me and the inclusion of TV characters suggests that we could see Darkwing Duck, Gummi Bears, Rescue Rangers and – dare I say it – Gargoyles in future sets. Or possibly teased in this one as they’ve done with Wreck-It-Ralph in the last release.

When, Ravensburger? (Disney Wiki/D23)

Instead of awesome and slightly obscure live action characters that no one but me really cares about, there’s more Moana, more Stitch, more Peter Pan, more Prince Eric (!), more previously debuted characters. Even though my daughter complains about the repetition I think this is fine especially given the cool concepts that the designers have come up for some of the alternate versions of them and I’ve come to really appreciate the imagination in some of these like the amazing Cinderella – Stouthearted. I’m especially on the lookout for a Floodborn Ariel – come on Ravensburger, it’s time. Give us a mighty and terrible Queen of the Seas that ain’t gonna take no guff from her dad or an octopus witch. We can expect to see new Storyborn, Dreamborn, and Floodborn iterations of many of our favorite characters, edging us ever closer to theme decks that allow us to focus on specific films or characters.

But the biggest shiny and new is Locations, an entirely new card type that will introduce completely new strategic considerations and deckbuilding options. These sideways cards cost ink like usual and are put into your play area. They automatically generate Lore every turn, and can be Challenged and Banished like a character although they do not act as one. Characters can move to, from, and between Locations for an ink cost, and of course some Locations have special effects that affect characters at them. It’s funny because quite literally two days before the first location and the mechanic was revealed in the Lorcana Discord, I told my kids “I bet they are going to add Locations sometime in the future”. And here we are.

They do love their cats up there at Fang. (Ravensburger)

My kids both expressed some trepidation about the Locations overcomplicating the game and although I think their concerns hold some water especially for newcomers. But the flipside is that the added tactical depth of moving characters around to locations for effects introduces a new wrinkle to resource management and increased opportunities to find synergy between effects. This oughta shut up the clowns who have gone on about how the game is “too simplistic” or “dumbed down”.

A larger concern is if Locations will turn out to destabilize the game’s power curve. Will they introduce a degree of power creep? Will Location-less decks be less viable? Will decks overly stocked with Locations benefit from having automatic Lore production? Will the new set offer enough direct removal for these possible game-winners? Only time will tell. Having played the game quite a lot since release, I’m nothing short of stoked to get this new mechanic into some decks and I’m looking forward to seeing how it increases the depth of the game.

Sharkey is getting a new pirate pal with Piglet. (Ravensburger)

As for specific cards, most of the standard rares were leaked right after Rise of the Floodborn was released and they look great, but I’ll not repost the spoilers here in case you want to be surprised. Ravensburger has been releasing the usual flow of previews, showing that T=there’s a lot of the mechanically ho-hum fare that will be more useful in draft environments, a couple of character-specific things, and some cards that on paper look shockingly good. But remember- Belle, Hidden Archer looked incredible until we realized that nobody is ever going to actually attack her. And what’s this I hear about a deck with 99 puppy cards?

Next time: The cards I’m most excited about from Into the Inklands.

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