Disney Lorcana Designer Steve Warner Talks Metagame, Card Rarity, and Mufasa’s Death in New Interview

Shannen Ace

Disney Lorcana Designer Steve Warner Talks Metagame, Card Rarity, and Mufasa’s Death in New Interview

Disney Lorcana Co-Designer Steve Warner recently spoke to IGN over email, giving Illumineers a peek behind the curtain at how the game is created. IGN asked Warner about fan decks, the relationship between card power and rarity, and how Mufasa’s famous death scene became a beloved game mechanic.

Mickey Lorcana card in front of Fab 50 statue and Cinderella Castle

When Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter was released, the “metagame” quickly formed around two fan-made decks: Ruby/Amethyst Control and Steel/Amber Steelsong. IGN asked Warner, “Was that about what you expected or did it come as a surprise?”

“There are always going to be things that catch my eye,” Warner said, “but I think we had a good idea of how things would play out and what ink combinations might become popular, thanks to our dedicated testing team. We were not surprised that Ariel – Spectacular Singer combined well with other steel songs like Grab Your Sword. Once a set is fully released, far more people are playing it than we can match. I do think there is still a lot to explore, but I’m not surprised with how things turned out.”

lorcana be prepared a whole new world

IGN also brought up the game-changing song cards Be Prepared (which banishes all characters on the board and is used in Ruby/Amethyst Control) and A Whole New World (which forces each player to discard their entire hand and draw 7 new cards, and is used in Steel/Amber Steelsong). As IGN points out, similar cards have been banned in other trading card games.

“We expect people to find a way for powerful cards to work in their favor,” Warner said, “it just makes strategic sense for players to determine how best to play their deck when building it – that’s part of the fun. We tested those cards quite a bit and felt like we landed on a design that plays well both on a card level and in the game overall.

Regarding the new Resist mechanic added with Rise of the Floodborn, Warner said, “Resist is a mechanic we introduced to change the board up a bit with a slight adjustment to a card. Suddenly, it is a lot harder for Illumineers [players] to remove a bodyguard like The Prince–Never Gives Up by simply challenging it.”

“Players will have to consider the new mechanic when building their decks,” he continued, “whether that’s by adding cards that deal directly with Resist, or strength-boost cards or something else. As decks and strategies change to account for the new mechanic, it could also change a number of other aspects of the game.”

lorcana beast hardheaded wolfsbane

IGN brought up the six Beast cards in Disney Lorcana, three of which are the Legendary rarity. “How do you go about selecting which characters get cards,” IGN asked, “and what’s your stance on using characters multiple times?”

“Characters are normally chosen to align with featured franchises,” Warner said, “and it’s important to us that we build game mechanics that fit each character’s story and personality. We are totally fine with using a character more than once as long as it makes sense and aligns with the character, especially since we have multiple ink and glimmer types to play with. In the case of Beast, his journey of self-discovery is one that really allows him to fit the game in a lot of different ways and places.”

When it comes to card rarity, Warner says it comes down to mechanics. “[W]e try to make sure the more complex cards or cards with extreme strength or willpower or are out of the inks’ norms are higher rarity,” he said. “For example, Stitch–Abomination is a rare card because while it doesn’t have any text, Ruby doesn’t normally have higher willpower than their strength.”

Legendary cards are the rarest in the game except for the special Enchanted cards. Warner says a Legendary card is “defined by their powerful abilities and effects, and that’s something we take into consideration when creating them.”

mufasa betrayed leader

Mufasa – Betrayed Leader is an example of a Legendary card. The card depicts Mufasa moments before he is trampled to death and has a unique ability called The Sun Will Set: “When this character is banished, you may reveal the top card of your deck. If it’s a character card, you may play that character for free and they enter play exerted. Otherwise, put it on the top of your deck.”

A new metagame deck called “Mufasa Roulette” sees players crafting a deck of nothing (or almost nothing) but character cards so that when Mufasa is banished, they always have a replacement character.

Warner said of the card and its ability, “Being able to bring another character out onto the field to replace Mufasa is not only a great ability, but also fits the character thematically by symbolizing the rise of a new leader in his place.”

While Mufasa’s death is a tragic part of “The Lion King,” it leads to Simba taking his place as leader of the Pride Lands.

disney lorcana into the inklands first cards

A few weeks ago, Ravensburger announced the third chapter of Disney Lorcana: Into the Inklands.

“I’m excited for players to see and experience that new dynamic,” Warner said of the next set. “Beyond that, I can’t say much about what we have planned, though it will continue to involve Organized Play and additional franchises. The guiding star for us will always be keeping the game fun and simple to learn. The experience so far has been amazing. I can’t wait to see what people think of what we have coming in the future.”

Read the full interview on IGN.

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