What did Disney Lorcana borrow from Magic, Pokémon, and Hearthstone?

There is a saying in the trading card game communities: Read card explanation card. The same can be said about Disney Lorcana, the media giant’s latest venture into the world of TCG – especially considering that the game’s developer, Ravensburger, has yet to release official rules. The game won’t be available until 2023.

But during its Expo D23, Disney introduced seven new cards from the game, provides a first look at the characters, card design, and art style of Lorcana. With a keen eye – and some experience with other TCGs, like Magic: Gathering, Hearthstoneand even Gwent – you can see fingerprints of existing designs and popular mechanisms. Elsewhere, lingering questions will still need official confirmation from the game’s designers.

What we think we know so far

Based on the visible elements shared across the cards, including consistent features and slight differences between each card, we can make some educated guesses on the mechanics of game design. Proven play. Lorcana‘S the architect may have been affected by.


In the top left corner of each character card is a prominent number that feels similar to what other card games commonly call a minting cost. On Stitch it’s 6 and on Captain Hook it’s 1. Maleficent is 9, etc

A Maleficent card from Disney Lorcana.  The number 9 is in the top left corner.  Next to Maleficent's name, there is a 7 on a circle background and a 5 on a shield background.  A red banner under Maleficent's name that reads

A Captain Hook card in Disney Lorcana.  Number 1 in the top left corner.  Next to Captain Hook's name, there is a number 1 on a circular background and a number 2 on a shield background.  A gray banner under Captain Hook's name that reads

This can be the “cost” of moving characters from the player’s hand to the table during a game. And, while it remains to be seen what kind of resources the player will use to pay this cost, there is a remarkable quality that all the numbers share on the revealed cards – the resource system. original seems to be common.

Universal resources are not surprisingly common in top-level TCGs. In Magic: Gathering, the player utilizes a resource called “energy” that corresponds to the cards that are “mined” or flipped on their side. Mana is a color-specific resource and appears prominently on the cards themselves, thus determining the types of cards a player can play in the deck for a cohesive strategy.

If the top left number on these Disney character cards represents their casting costs, it could start to tell us a lot about the pace of the game. Another game that uses a single minting cost is from Blizzard Hearthstone. In Hearthstonemana is a renewable resource – at the beginning of each turn you automatically gain an extra amount of mana, which effectively prevents players from playing a card that expends four energy before the fourth turn.

A Cruella de Vil card from Disney Lorcana.  Number 2 in the top left corner.  Next to Cruella's name, there is a number 1 on a circular background and a number 3 on a shield background.  A green banner under Cruella's name that reads

If Lorcana Applying a similar system, we can see that the average play turns out to be relatively structured but snowballs over time. Multi-card play in a turn can be reserved for mid-game, when you can have a few double-priced cards on turn four, this provides the player with a strategic balance to play cheap cards early while buy time for bigger players like Maleficent. end the game in later rounds, when more energy is available.

Types of Cards

While the resource system looks pretty streamlined, we can see some form of built-in synergies between the cards. That’s because the cards seem to come in many different types, and those types can produce strategic benefits depending on how they’re used to create a given deck. We see these synergies appear on a thin line just below the title of each card.

A Mickey Mouse card from Disney Lorcana.  Number 8 in the top left corner.  Next to Mickey's name, there is a 5 on a circular background and a 5 on a shield background.  A red banner under Mickey's name that reads

Image: Ravensburger, Disney

Currently, out of the seven characters previewed, we see two repeat keywords – “plot” and “dream creature”, split equally between hero and villain.

Based on some precedent from other card games, these categories could mean future cards or rules that will provide benefits and synergies between characters who share certain types. . Perhaps we’ll see cards that make heroes on the board stronger, cards that make newborn cards in your hand cheaper to cast, or even rules that limit numbers. each character you can have in a deck.

Some cards have additional types in this design space, reminiscent of the types of creatures we see in Magic: The Gathering. Stitch is an alien and Captain Hook is a pirate, while Robin Hood doesn’t have the type of character – he’s just a hero in the series.

These creatures and card types hint at deck building opportunities, which players will find balance when developing new strategies in the game. If you enjoy playing with a particular Disney symbol, building a deck that supports that character’s different categories can lead to a winning strategy.


It looks like this game will have a fighting form, possibly with cards fighting each other like in Pokémon Trading Card Game. Some clues point to a combat feature, including a specific one that appears on every card we’ve seen, right to the right of the card’s name.

Two numbers appear side by side on Lorcana The character card looks very similar to the attack and defense stats we see on Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh creature. We also see reference to a feature called “Challenges,” which resembles a battle between two characters.

For example, Cruella de Vil has an ability that appears whenever she is challenged, while Captain Hook seems to gain power whenever he performs the challenge. Meanwhile, Mickey Mouse seems difficult to fully challenge, as his “Evasive” ability states that “only characters with Evasive can challenge this character.”

If combat is confirmed as the central feature of LorcanaExpect to see a lot of games that determine who is the most rock princess in the world of Disney.

What is still unknown?

Despite all the context clues that allow us to conjecture about the game, there are still many questions for Lorcana‘S designer before next year’s release. Between the game’s rule engine and other unusual card features, most of the system remains unknown.

Board Status

For starters, what does the game state look like? Since the characters will “challenge” each other, we can see the two central characters like monsters at work in the series. Pokémon TCG. Alternatively, the boards can be arranged by lanes, as in Adventure Time: Card Wars or Gwent. And of course there are board states like Magic and Hearthstone, where combat is not decided by the positions of the cards facing each other but by other, more complex rules.

For now, details about the board are not mentioned on the seven cards revealed, but this will be the basis to fully grasp the game.


What are those diamonds under attack and defense stats? Mickey has four, Elsa has two, but they all have at least one. Do these rare stats signal a chance to open a certain card in a sealed product, or are they built into the rule system? The possibilities are endless, but there don’t seem to be any other stats on the cards that differentiate between common and rare characters, so that’s probably as good a guess as any.


Finally, do the cards have some sort of color designation separate from their minting cost? On the seven characters there are six different colored bars where we see the hero, the villain, the plot and other character qualities.

Each of these color bars appears to have a correlated symbol, based on the shared symbol and color of Maleficent and Mickey Mouse. The other five cards have different symbols adjacent to their lineage, which can indicate more synergy in the game between cards that share the same symbol, or even rules that limit composition. Create a free deck for all.

According to Disney, the game is not expected to officially launch for about a year, with the fall of 2023 being the current release date.

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