With the game now officially out, the question is which of the three Disney Lorcana starter decks you should settle for. As the name would suggest, these are the easiest way to get going with Disney Lorcana in general... but because all of them have very different playstyles that'll suit different kinds of person, it pays to get a heads-up on what they can do before making a decision.
Because I've been hands-on with the game for a while now (you can check out what I think in my Disney Lorcana first impressions piece), I've got some advice on which of the Disney Lorcana starter decks will suit you below. I've also included strategies on how to use these starter sets, allowing you to get a leg up in what is quickly becoming one of the best card games of 2023.
Best Disney Lorcana starter decks - at a glance
Best for beginners
Trying to get into trading card games for the first time, or put off by the complexities of Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon? This is the starter deck for you. It keeps things simple and doesn't overwhelm with complex strategies, letting you find your feet at your own pace. Its focus on fast deployment makes it great for aggressive players too.
Best for tactical players
Want to run rings around your opponents and frustrate their plans at every turn? Of all the Disney Lorcana starter decks, this fits that mold the best. It's reliant on clever effects that'll stymie rivals wherever possible... but requires a little more skill to use. It's great for established TCG players.
Best for defensive players
Prefer to take things slow and steady? If you like to build a strong foundation that's difficult to stop once it's rolling, this is a solid choice. Its cards are incredibly powerful, and even though some clever deployment is needed to kick things off, they hit the hardest of all the Disney Lorcana starter decks.
Best Disney Lorcana starter deck for beginners
Of all the Disney Lorcana starter decks, this one - starring Moana and Mickey Mouse - is the ideal place to begin if you're new to trading card games in general. It offers a gentle way in and drip-feeds some of the core mechanics that'll be essential for more competitive play.
Don't think it isn't a good fit for more experienced players too, though; it's all about getting cards onto the table as quickly as possible, allowing you to keep your opponent busy while building a headstart. That makes it a great fit for aggressive players who like to dive into the action right away.
How it works
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Your aim with this particular Disney Lorcana starter deck will be to get cheap cards onto the table as quickly as possible, allowing you to 'Quest' (e.g. earn points) from the get-go. Although those characters are easy for your opponents to banish, the number you can deploy at a pittance should keep them busy enough that they'll struggle to gather points themselves. Stitch, New Dog and Pascal, Rapunzel's Companion are great examples of this. They can only take one or two hits each and aren't very good for attacking (or 'Challenging') your opponent's cards, but they cost a mere one Ink to deploy, meaning you can drop them on turn one. What's more, Pascal has the 'Evasive' quality which means only cards that have Evasive as well can take him off the board.
While this is going on, you should be building up to more powerful characters like Mickey Mouse, Wayward Sorcerer and Moana, Of Motunui. These have some incredibly useful abilities that'll cement your lead and have rivals cursing your name. More specifically, the former can get Magic Broom, Bucket Brigade cards onto the table for less but also allows them to be put back into your hand when they're defeated. Meanwhile, the latter 'readies' Princess cards that have been used in the same turn whenever she Quests. This means they can't be attacked by your rivals, essentially allowing you to earn points before retreating to safety. So long as you keep cards that can remove damage from these characters on standby (like Dinglehopper, Hakuna Matata, or Cinderella, Gentle and Kind) you should be able to keep the gravy train rolling until victory is yours.
Using Dr. Facilier, Agent Provocateur is another essential tactic. This card is expensive to use, but it lets you return a defeated character to your hand. To find him, use Friends on the Other Side or Maleficent, Sorceress to draw more cards from your deck and get through the chaff.
Best Disney Lorcana starter deck for tacticians
If you prefer to control the board with cunning rather than brute force, this Aladdin and Cruella De Vil-led Disney Lorcana starter deck will be your jam. It features an array of cards which can frustrate your opponent's plans, boost your characters, or outright steal points. Although you won't then receive those points, it's a great way of holding rivals back and chipping away at their lead. Or playing mind games with them, if that's your sort of thing…
Even though beginners can still make good use of this deck, it needs timing and a good understanding of your cards to excel. That means it's best for more experienced TCG players.
How it works
This deck is all about being - and you'll need to excuse my language here - a total dickhead. Many of its cards remove points from your opponent's score, and some do this just by being played. In other words, it's perfect if you want to set your rival's plans on fire (and probably cackle like a Disney villain while you do).
After sending out cheap cards to get you onto the board (like Sergeant Tibbs, Courageous Cat or Aladdin, Prince Ali), try to buff them whenever possible with items and characters such as Megara, Pulling the Strings. If you have them, you can then use Stampede to deal damage on already-damaged enemy characters or Iago, Loud-Mouthed Parrot to force opponents into attacking you. This keeps them on the back-foot and dancing to your tune until you're ready to deploy characters with 'Evasive' (meaning they can't be challenged unless the other card has Evasive too). In this deck that's Peter Pan, Never Landing and Pongo, Ol' Rascal, and if the player doesn't have anything that can challenge them, they're able to vacuum up points unimpeded.
That's where the real fun begins. Once your rival has earned some points for themselves, break out Aladdin, Street Rat and Rapunzel, Letting Down Her Hair as the ultimate middle-finger. Every time these cards are played, your opponent loses a point. Throw in Steal From the Rich (which forces everyone else to lose one point every time your cards Quest) or cards that return characters to a player's hand / banish them entirely and you've got the most aggravating strategy in all of Lorcana. Seriously, I can't stress enough how annoying this Disney Lorcana starter deck would be to play against if used correctly.
Cruella De Vil, Miserable as Usual and Aladdin, Heroic Outlaw are the cherries on this particularly infuriating cake. When Cruella is banished, a chosen character (like her, or even an opponent's card) can be returned to the owner's hand. At the other end of the scale, Aladdin gets you two points (and removes two points from every other player) whenever he defeats another character. So long as you can keep him protected, or can bring him back with Cruella's ability, he can truly tip the scales… or serve as a lightning rod for your opponent's ire while your other cards mop up.
Best Disney Lorcana starter deck for defensive players
Are you the sort of player who prefers to gather resources that'll earn you the hardest hitters? This Disney Lorcana starter deck will be up your street. Despite its best cards being expensive, they pack an enormous punch and are very difficult to get rid of once they're on the table.
Just be aware that you'll need to make good use of your other cards to hold on that long - if you're not careful, your opponent can tear ahead. That's why Sapphire & Steel is more accessible than Emerald and Ruby, but still requires greater finesse than Amber & Amethyst does.
How it works
With this deck, you've got to hold the line until your cavalry arrives a few rounds into the game. Cards like Maui, Demigod and Simba, Returned King are utterly devastating and should prove very difficult to get rid of, but reaching a point where you can use them without falling behind needs some juggling first.
To begin with, you'll have to build up your Ink stock fast. Gramma Tala, Storyteller and Mickey Mouse, Detective are brilliant at this. Where one becomes Ink when banished, the other lets you take the top card of your deck and turn it into Ink right away (One Jump Ahead does the same thing). This helps you to rack up resources at an accelerated rate, thus allowing you to call in your big guns sooner.
The tricky bit will be keeping other players tied up while you get your ducks in a row. Using Fire the Cannons! and Smash fits that bill nicely, mostly because they deal damage to other cards for a relatively low cost. Grab Your Sword is similar, albeit pricier, due to the fact that it lets you deal two damage to each opposing character in one fell swoop. Low-cost characters (Captain Hook, Forceful Duelist and Goons, Maleficent's Underlings) can do much the same thing, running interference as you prepare.
Once those all-powerful cards are in play, it's time to make sure they stay there. Hercules, True Hero is a helpful character to have in this instance because rivals must attack him first, and Coconut Basket or Magic Golden Flower let you heal damage.
Aurora is the true MVP of this collection, though. One of her cards casts 'Ward' over the rest of your active characters, meaning they can't be hit with the likes of banishing actions. Another reduces the attack power of a card by two when it's played, helping you avoid reprisal when challenging other players (every time you attack, you also take damage).
It's been a busy year for card games; along with a Pokemon TCG release, Magic: The Gathering launched its new set based in Tolkien's beloved universe. It's well worth taking a look at - in fact, MTG Lord of the Rings helped me rediscover the wonder of Middle-earth.