Lorcana: How To Play Disney's Trading Card Game

13 April 2023
Playing the new Disney card game

The worlds of TCG players looking for another way to spend all their money, and the Disney fandoms collide once again to discover how exactly the new Lorcana trading card game is played. 

For those of you not yet in the know (where have you been?), Disney Lorcana is an immersive trading card game combining the most famous characters from across the Disney universe. Set in the rich and magical world of Lorcana, you play as an Illumineer, who is tasked with assembling a team of Disney characters. You’ll wield six magical inks to summon glimmers of these characters.

There has been huge speculation about how the game would work in practice, with many assumptions coming from those who are familiar with other TCGs. Would the coloured ‘inks’ be the same as mana types in Magic: The Gathering? Would a Disney game really ask you to knock players out in a classic head to head style, or chase some other goal, like Keyforge? Yet, it turns out while Lorcana has some similarities with other trading cards games, its own system is a very inventive and streamlined race.

Players are attempting to collect 20 Lore – a kind of victory point – to win the game. The only thing stopping them playing cards and gaining lore by exerting them is the other player.  Combat is as expected, with players being able to target other characters who are already exerted for the round, removing them from future turns if their attack value is greater than the defence value. Players track damage with tokens.

The most exciting part of the new system is the ‘ink’ system – comparable to mana of other games. Here, instead of having its own card type, ‘ink’, the game’s currency, can be created from any card with the ink marking around its cost. Players play these (usually character cards) face down, and they become one useable ink for paying for future cards. This makes the choice of dropping a card to be ink or keeping it in your hand to play later a delicious choice to make!

This mix of a points race of KeyForge, card removal as currency like Flesh and Blood, and ‘solving’ the ‘mana problem’ that is at the heart of games like Magic: The Gathering, we’ve got a slick and fast playing game on our hands.

We can’t wait to get hold of our own cards to start building our own decks.


Once players have a deck, either one of the pre-constructed decks to coincide with launch (18th August 2023), or one of their own making, they sit down and draw seven cards into their hands.

The first player can then play a card, use a character ability that does require exertion, use an item ability or – if a character has been on the board for one turn – quest, challenge or use an ability that requires them to exert.

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Exerting a card is noted by turning it on its side. Exerted cards can’t challenge or quest again.

Questing gives the player the number of lore points written on the card. Getting to 20 lore points will win you the game, but questing leaves your card open for an attack on the next round.

Challenging sees the attacking player exert their card and target an exerted card on the other side. Both cards take and receive damage. If the defence score of a card is met, it is discarded as it is defeated.

Item cards can be used on the turn they are played, and stay on your board between the characters and the ink. 

Actions are usual one-off effects that are then discarded. Similarly, Songs offer a variety of effects, but have their cost removed if you have a character on the board of the right ink cost to play them.

And that’s pretty much all you need to know!



Whether you’re building a deck for fun at the kitchen table, or an upcoming competitive Lorcana event, there’s some rules we all need to follow. 

Every Lorcana Deck must…

  • Have 60 cards in it
  • Only have four copies of an individual card (you can have different Glimmers of the same character, just not the same card. (I.e. you can have Elsa Snow Queen four times, and Elsa Queen Regent four times too)
  • Your deck can only contain one or two inks

We think the ink limitations is really to stop the game being totally broken by playing only the best cards from each ink set.


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