Limited Formats in Lorcana: How to play Booster Draft and Sealed Deck

Disney Lorcana has been out for about half a year now, and recent reprints have made the product more available to everyone. I’ve enjoyed the game thus far, in particular the Limited formats where you build a deck from booster packs you receive at an event.

I’ve done very well in my Limited tournaments thus far, and in this article I will share some of my insights with you. After a brief explanation of Sealed Deck and Booster Draft, I’ll go over various packs from The First Chapter and Rise of the Floodborn booster packs and explain which cards stand out to me the most.

What is Limited in Lorcana? Booster Draft and Sealed Deck explained

"Limited" is a term for any format where you don't play a prebuilt deck. Instead, you'll build your deck from the booster packs you receive at the event. These formats reward players for their card evaluation and deck construction skills. Based on Ravensburger’s official rules, there are two main ways to play Limited Lorcana.

Lorcana Sealed Deck: Basic rules

You are provided with six booster packs to use as your individual card pool, from which you build a 40-card deck using any number of different inks (rather than only two inks). You'll open 72 cards in total across your six packs, select 40 of them, and then play games against opponents who have also built Sealed decks. This game mode is ideal for newer players, and it provides a fun way to play with the cards when you want to open packs anyway. Many stores hold Sealed Deck events whenever a new set is released. 

Lorcana Booster Draft: Basic rules

Players are given four booster packs each, and they pass cards to each other while picking the ones they want. From the drafted cards, they build a 40-card deck using any number of different inks (rather than only two inks). Generally speaking, you will draft at a table with eight players, seated in a circle. Everyone simultaneously opens a 12-card booster pack, selects a card from it, and adds it to their pool. You then pass the remaining 11 cards to the person on your left, take a card from the 11-card pack you received from the person on your right, and continue passing and picking until everyone has picked 12 cards.

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Afterwards, everyone opens their second pack, picks a card from it, passes it to their neighbor, and so on. The direction in which you pass cards changes with every pack, so you pass the first pack to the left, the second pack to the right, the third pack to the left, and the fourth pack to the right. After those four packs, everyone will have drafted 48 cards. Each player selects 40 of them as their deck, and then it's time to battle.

A general piece of advice is to aim for a smooth distribution of cards from each ink cost, ensuring you can consistently use all of your ink to affect the board in the early turns. Most of my 40-card Limited decks have used the following ink curve, with 4-8 non-inkable cards in total:

One-drops: 3-6
Two-drops: 6-9
Three-drops: 6-9
Four-drops: 5-7
Five-drops: 5-7
Six-drops and higher: 3-6
Action cards: 3-6

Learning Lorcana Booster Draft: What's the first pick?

With this introduction out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some packs and discuss which cards I would be most excited to first-pick in Draft or open in Sealed!

10 first-pick, first-packs from The First Chapter

If I would open this pack in draft, then I would take Hades - Infernal Schemer. The best cards in Limited are generally high-cost characters with abilities that help you maintain a favorable board state, provide additional cards or remove opposing characters. When such characters have good raw stats, as is the case for Hades - Infernal Schemer, then they can be called a “bomb” in Limited.

Lorcana beginner's guide: How to become a better player

Mufasa - King of the Pride Lands and Mulan - Imperial Soldier are slightly worse than Hades, but I would still be very happy to open them. Generally speaking, I want to take five-drops and six-drops highly because they tend to be relatively sparse and hard to come by. To achieve my desired ink curve, it’s essential to prioritize the expensive characters in a draft, and both Mufasa and Mulan are excellent. However, I would still favor Hades because his removal ability is a game-changer.

My pick: Hades - Infernal Schemer

Not every rare, super rare or legendary card is a bomb. Cards have to be evaluated on their own merit in Limited, so build-around items or actions are less valuable than in Constructed. In Constructed, I loved playing A Whole New World in an Amber-Steel deck at the TCGPlayer Lorcana Invitational, where it was shining, shimmering and splendid, but in Limited you’re restricted to the cards in your pool. Hence, finding the right singers and symmetry-breaking curve is far more difficult. Likewise, Musketeer Tabard needs too much support. As the final death knell, they’re both uninkable. A card that is both situational and uninkable should be avoided in Limited.

Instead, I would take Maximus - Relentless Pursuer, which I pegged as one of the better uncommons in the set. Usually, it allows you to take down an opposing exerted character without losing anything on your side. I also highly rate Philoctetes - Trainer of Heroes, whose ability to trade up against a three-willpower three-drop makes it one of the more desirable two-drops. Any cheap characters that can yield card advantage or ink advantage are high picks in my book.

My pick: Maximus - Relentless Pursuer

Tinker Bell - Giant Fairy is a bomb, so it’s an easy first pick. If the card was not in the pack, then I would consider Mickey Mouse - Steamboat Pilot or Mickey Mouse - Detective. Mickey Mouse – Detective provides card advantage and ramp, allowing me to ramp into powerful characters ahead of my opponent. Mickey Mouse - Steamboat Pilot has my favorite statline for a three-drop, as a 3/4 can often set up multiple favorable challenges in the early-to-midgame.

In my mind, both Mickeys are on a similar power level for Limited. First-pick, first-pack, I would speculate on Mickey Mouse – Detective and then prioritize six-drops and seven-drops even more highly, but later in the draft it would depend on the cards I have picked thus far. If I hadn’t been able to pick up multiple powerful cards to ramp into, then I would favor Mickey Mouse - Steamboat Pilot. This is a good example of how card evaluation can be fluid in a draft.

My pick: Tinker Bell - Giant Fairy

Mickey Mouse - Wayward Sorcerer is playable, and we can probably wheel Magic Broom - Bucket Brigade from this pack. But you can’t rely on being passed enough Brooms to make Mickey Mouse - Wayward Sorcerer worthwhile, and those Brooms would be relatively weak draws in games where you don’t have the Wayward Sorcerer to guide them. Generally speaking, I try to focus on individually powerful cards in Limited rather than trying to assemble synergies like I would in Constructed.

Instead, I’d go for Hades – Lord of the Underworld or Goofy – Daredevil. Hades guarantees card advantage, ensuring that you don’t run out of cards to play or ink. He’ll also return any bombs that your opponent may have been able to banish. Goofy features evasive, which is probably the most valuable keyword in Limited because it breaks board stalls. He also has enough strength and willpower to challenge a mid-sized character before questing for two every turn. Both Hades and Goofy are solid options; I have a small preference for Hades - Lord of the Underworld, but it’s really close.

My pick: Hades - Lord of the Underworld

I had to laugh when I opened this pack - that’s a lot of Hooks! I didn’t even know you could open a foil and a non-foil version of the same rare, but apparently it’s possible. Unfortunately, Captain Hook - Ruthless Pirate is mediocre: his willpower is relatively low for a seven-drop, so he will usually trade for two smaller characters, yielding an ink-negative trade. Still playable, but not a first-pick quality card.

Instead, I would take Mad Hatter - Gracious Host, which I pegged as one of the best uncommons in the set. Mad Hatter sets up a fast lore clock, always provides value and has enough willpower to survive a challenge by a smaller character. Elsa - Snow Queen is not far behind, though, as her ability to freeze the opponent’s board shouldn’t be underestimated.

My pick: Mad Hatter - Gracious Host

Wow, this pack has two bombs! This is exactly the type of booster that you would be thrilled to open for Sealed Deck, even more so than Draft. Between Dr. Facilier - Agent Provocateur and The Queen - Wicked and Vain, I’d probably choose the inkable five-drop, favoring the card that can come down and provide value even earlier, but it’s really close and I would be happy to open either of them.

While this pack has several great cards, let me take the chance to caution against most of the actions and items in The First Chapter. For example, I would never take Healing Glow and White Rabbit's Pocket Watch highly, and I would often choose not to add them to my Limited deck. Their effects are marginal and are often not worth a full card. They never provide lore either, making them terrible top-decks when you’re at 18 or 19 lore and just need that final push. I've had more success by including additional characters, which increase the chance of curving out perfectly and are generally better draws in the late game. 

My Pick: The Queen - Wicked and Vain

The two best cards in the booster for Limited are Simba - Protective Cub and Aladdin - Heroic Outlaw, and I believe the pick is pretty close between the two. Aladdin feels like a bomb that immediately swings the lore race in your favor, but only if you can shift him onto a smaller version and challenge right away. Otherwise, your opponent can often dance around his relatively low willpower. Simba, the other main option in the pack, is one of the best commons in the set. His bodyguard ability denies the opponent the opportunity to make favorable challenges and provides a layer of protection for your win conditions. Perhaps this is a personal preference, as I enjoy playing aggressive strategies in general, but I think Aladdin - Heroic Outlaw falls just short of bomb status, and I’d favor the option costing less ink.

In terms of a card to avoid, I would like to point out Ransack. It results in card disadvantage, leaving you with one fewer card in hand than before you played it, without adding anything to the board. There are very few scenarios where I’d want to play the action, so it’s best used as ink and preferably not included in your deck at all.

My Pick: Simba - Protective Cub

This pick is between Te Ka - Heartless and Friends on the Other Side. Friends on the Other Side is an easy way to obtain card advantage, making it one of the better commons. However, I generally prefer to draft high-quality characters, and Te Ka - Heartless is like an Aladdin - Heroic Outlaw for one fewer ink. The difference between six and seven ink can be pronounced when you’re on the play and curve out with a one-drop on turn one, a two-drop on turn two and so on. With such a perfect curve-out, you can only reach six ink on the play before running out of cards. So, seven ink is a lot more than six ink in Limited. Since Te Ka - Heartless has the perfect cost as a curve-topper, it’s on the verge of bomb territory, and it would be my pick out of this pack.

I want to give a special shout-out to the foil Tamatoa - So Shiny! It’s not a consideration for my Limited deck because it’s hard to draft enough items, but the card stands out because the foiling matches its name perfectly. Indeed, foils are often referred to as “shiny”, and this Tamatoa is literally so shiny!

My Pick: Te Ka - Heartless

Mickey Mouse – Brave Little Tailor can be a sweet build-around finisher for a deck with a lot of ramp, card draw and other expensive cards, but reaching eight ink can be tough. Especially if your curve typically ends at six, you may have to throw two additional cards into your inkwell just for the ability to play a single card, which is a steep cost. Unless you have the right support, you’re often better off to stop your curve at six (or maybe seven if you have some seven-drop bombs) and leave the eight-drop out of the deck.

Instead, I’d take Elsa - Snow Queen or Flynn Rider - Charming Rogue. Both are top-tier uncommons that make combat difficult for your opponents. First-pick, first-pack, I would slightly favor Elsa, but it’s close. Later in the draft, I would base my decision largely on the curve I have thus far, keeping in mind that I want six to nine two-drops and six to nine three-drops in my deck. If I had drafted more playable three-drops than playable two-drops when I’d have to make the decision, then I would pick Flynn Rider instead.

My Pick: Elsa - Snow Queen

Stitch - Carefree Surfer is a bomb. Even though seven is a lot more than six, the combination of eight willpower and two free cards makes the price well worth it. It’s an easy first pick.

If the card was not in the pack, then I would consider Tinker Bell - Most Helpful. Evasive remains excellent, especially in Limited. All too often, neither player can profitably quest because their characters would get challenged by larger ones right away. But evasive characters break that stalemate, especially when they quest for two per turn. In addition, Tinker Bell - Most Helpful offers a useful effect when you play her. As a bonus trick, if you give an opposing bodyguard evasive, then your non-evasive characters can ignore the bodyguard’s protection for a turn! Nevertheless, I’m not passing the legendary.

My Pick: Stitch - Carefree Surfer

10 first-pick, first-packs from Rise of the Floodborn

In my opinion, Fairy Godmother - Mystic Armorer is the best card in the set for Limited, so I would be thrilled to open this booster. The best cards in Limited are generally five-ink or six-ink characters with good raw stats and dominant abilities. Fairy Godmother checks all those boxes, featuring a huge effect that allows you to win combat and remove opposing characters. She would be called a “bomb” in Limited.

If Fairy Godmother would not be in the pack, then I would take Rabbit - Reluctant Host or Virina - Fang Chief. They’re not quite bombs, but they will often be able to trade for two opposing three-drops, allowing you to get ahead on both cards and ink. As I generally want more five-drops and six-drops in my deck than the amount available in the packs, I value and pick them highly. I’d slightly prefer the sixth willpower of Rabbit over the fifth strength of Virina, but they’re no match for the legendary.

My pick: Fairy Godmother - Mystic Armorer

Not every rare, super rare or legendary card is a bomb. Cards have to be evaluated on their own merit in Limited, so synergy-based cards are less valuable than in Constructed. In Constructed, you might build around Cinderella - Ballroom Sensation with a critical mass of actions, leveraging her singer ability. In Limited, however, you’re restricted to the cards in your pool, and finding enough playable action cards is far more difficult. Most of the time, Cinderella will be worse than the common Flynn Rider - Confident Vagabond in the same pack. The other rare in the booster, Weight Set, is hard to reliably trigger on-curve as well, so I wouldn’t take it either.

Instead, I would choose Pacha - Village Leader, which is one of the best uncommons. As a 4/8, it’s basically a Rabbit - Reluctant Host with two additional points of willpower, allowing it to trade for even more characters or quest with relative impunity. Since Rise of the Floodborn features zero six-drops at common, the desirable ones are at an even higher premium if you would like to fill out your curve.

My pick: Pacha - Village Leader

This pack is filled to the brim with evasive characters. There are four in total, which comes close to the total numbers you might have in a 40-card deck. Evasive is arguably the most important ability in Limited because it breaks board stalls. All too often, players can’t profitably quest with their non-evasive characters because it would grant their opponent an easy way to challenge them. Especially when facing the likes of Fairy Godmother - Mystic Armorer or Pacha - Village Leader, a difficult-to-answer evasive character can make all the difference, allowing you to race towards 20 unopposed.

When evaluating evasive characters, I am mainly interested in the amount of lore they can provide. Strength and willpower is more important for non-evasive characters, which tend to get involved in challenges more often. With that in mind, the pick is between Minnie Mouse - Stylish Surfer and Flynn Rider - His Own Biggest Fan. Of the two, Flynn has a higher ceiling - he’s formidable when the opponent curves out perfectly with a character on every turn, emptying their hand by turn six. But he also has a higher floor. Flynn can be kind of weak when you’re on the play, when the opponent has a slower start, or when the opponent uses card draw effects. Sometimes, he won’t be able to quest for any lore at all, and you can’t even use him as ink. Taking all this into account, I have a small preference for Minnie as the more reliable option.

My pick: Minnie Mouse - Stylish Surfer

The praise I harped onto evasive characters, especially ones that quest for two, also applies to Peter Pan's Shadow - Not Sewn On. He can even take down an opposing 2/2 the turn he comes down, so he’d be my pick out of this pack. Beyond that, this booster provides the perfect collection of cards to highlight my philosophy in Limited.

Generally speaking, I want to build my Limited decks to consistently curve out with a two-drop like Cruella De Vil - Fashionable Cruiser on turn two, a three-drop like Piglet - Very Small Animal on turn three, a four-drop like Beast - Forbidding Recluse on turn four, and five-drop like Winnie the Pooh - Hunny Wizard on turn five. All of them are well-statted commons. Whether my characters then challenge, quest or do nothing depends on the board state, but I always like to use all of my ink in the early turns on characters - they give you gameplay options and allow you to get ahead. On turn six, as I’m about to run out of cards, I then aim to focus on card advantage with Hypnotize or keep up with expensive characters like Fairy Godmother - Here to Help. 

What I don’t want to be doing in Limited is to fill my deck with actions or items that fail to affect the board in a card-neutral way, especially when they’re uninkable. Zero to Hero and Launch represent card disadvantage, so I generally leave them out of my deck. Dinner Bell wouldn’t make most of my Sealed Decks either, as it’s only useful in the very late game. I don’t mind situational cards, but cards that are both situational and uninkable are to be avoided. Fortunately, Peter Pan’s Shadow will always be a great card to play on turn four.

My pick: Peter Pan's Shadow - Not Sewn On

Kronk - Junior Chipmunk is a bomb reminiscent of Tinker Bell - Giant Fairy, making it very difficult for your opponent to quest without losing half their board. I’d be very happy to add it to my Limited pool.

If Kronk wouldn’t be in the pack, then my top options would be Grumpy - Bad-Tempered, Felicia - Always Hungry, Grand Pabbie - Oldest and Wisest and Rapunzel - Sunshine. In my view, all of them are on a similar power level, and the choice between them would typically come down to curve considerations. However, I would be greatly unhappy if I had to start my draft with any of them. Fortunately, the rare is excellent.

My pick: Kronk - Junior Chipmunk

In Limited, the five-ink Queen of Hearts - Sensing Weakness is the best uncommon in Rise of the Floodborn. She provides an enormous amount of card advantage that can win the game by itself, and it’s fair to call her a “bomb”. I would take her over every other common and uncommon.

The only remaining question is whether any of the higher-rarity cards are superior, and the answer for this booster is no. Hiram Flaversham - Toymaker can be great in a deck with multiple copies of Pawpsicle, but that’s more something for Constructed than for Limited. Grand Pabbie - Oldest and Wisest provides a decent combination of stats and abilities, but he requires healing synergy and is slightly overcosted at seven ink. Finally, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo has the problem of being uninkable and situational.

My pick: Queen of Hearts - Sensing Weakness

In Constructed, Pinocchio - Star Attraction is a centerpiece in a deck that wants to convert its resources into lore as quickly as possible. In Limited, however, most games are midrange mirrors. This means that your role has to be more fluid. When you’re behind, you need to challenge rather than quest, in which case a non-inkable character with only one strength won’t be of much help.

To me, the booster contains four Limited standouts. The Queen - Regal Monarch has my preferred stats for a one-drop, and you have to take such one-drops highly if you want to curve out. Cruella De Vil - Perfectly Wretched provides relevant effects for a five-drop, even though she’s a bit flimsy with only three willpower. Fidget - Ratigan's Henchman has evasive, which is an ability that you can never go wrong with. All of these would be decent pickups, but ultimately I would choose Yzma - Without Beauty Sleep. Yzma has my favorite statline for a three-drop, as a 3/4 can often set up multiple favorable challenges in the early-to-midgame, allowing me to dominate the board.

My pick: Yzma - Without Beauty Sleep

Sweet, a good rare and a legendary! Before getting to these higher-rarity cards, let’s take a brief moment to analyze the uncommon two-drops: Blue Fairy - Rewarding Good Deeds and Snow White - Unexpected Houseguest. Snow White could be great in a deck filled with Seven Dwarfs, but the average Rise of the Floodborn booster contains approximately 0.5 Seven Dwarfs, which means that a typical Sealed Deck only has three of them. Since she is uninkable and has poor stats on her own, I would largely ignore Snow White. Blue Fairy, on the other hand, is better because she is inkable, evasive and feeds into a theme with more support: there are approximately 0.7 Floodborn per booster. So Blue Fairy is not a bad card to have in your deck, although the higher-rarity cards are still better.

Shere Khan - Menacing Predator has serviceable stats for a three-drop and can provide an enormous lore boost that occasionally wins games. However, this lore boost is mainly relevant when a game is at parity - it doesn’t immediately help when you’re behind (and need board presence more than lore) or ahead (and want to quest with your characters). 

Mufasa - Betrayed Leader has an ability that will help no matter the board state, making him useful in a wider variety of games, as long as you have a character-heavy deck. Fortunately, most of my Limited decks are comprised mostly of characters, and the average card on top of my deck would be a three-drop. I think of Mufasa as two 3/3 characters in one, which is a good deal, and sometimes he’s even better. You can’t really go wrong with either Shere Kahn or Mufasa, but I have a small preference for the five-ink legendary.

My pick: Mufasa - Betrayed Leader

This pack has several strong commons, as well as a super rare that is close to bomb status: Dr. Facilier - Fortune Teller. The seven-drop can single handedly win the lore race and is guaranteed to have a large effect on the game. However, seven ink is a steep cost, especially since many Limited decks prefer to stop at five ink. Rise of the Floodborn features multiple discard effects and zero six-plus drops at common, which means that many curves effectively end at five. Unless you have multiple six-plus drops and/or card draw spells, having to ink two additional cards to play a single seven-drop is a risky proposition. But when you play him, he’ll have a massive impact.

Weighing the ups and downs, I value Dr. Facilier about as highly as the top commons in the set, including Merlin - Crab and Ray - Easygoing Firefly. I’m particularly fond of Merlin - Crab, as the three-drop helps banish opposing characters in an efficient way, disrupting your opponent's development. It provides interaction and card advantage all in one, which is a highly desirable combination, and it’s included in a three-drop that has reasonable stats by itself. It’s a close call, but in the end I’d opt for the common.

My pick: Merlin - Crab

Prince John - Greediest of All is another card that is better suited for Constructed because a typical Limited pool contains only a single discard effect. Namaari - Morning Mist is far better, featuring the desirable bodyguard ability, and I would instantly pick her if she were inkable or if this were any other set. Rise of the Floodborn, however, has a huge amount of uninkables four-drops, and I'm weary to run more than two uninkables of any given cost. If you draw multiple uninkable four-drops, then you're committed to playing both of them, which puts you off-curve and usually wastes ink. Due to the large quantity of uninkable four-drops in this set, I pick them slightly lower in draft than their raw power level might suggest.

Instead, I’d go for the unassuming Sleepy - Nodding Off. Two strength and three willpower is the perfect statline for a two-ink character - the second point of power means that they can defeat many early-game characters in a challenge, whereas the third point of willpower allows them to survive many such challenges themselves. This makes a 2/3 good whether you're on the offense or defense, which is the hallmark of a good Limited card. Sleepy’s downside of entering exerted is negligible when you play him on turn two, while his extra point of lore and Seven Dwarfs status comes up frequently. He’s one of my favorite two-drops in the set.

My pick: Sleepy - Nodding Off

Booster Draft and Sealed Deck in Lorcana: Conclusion

In Limited, I focus on maintaining a favorable board state. I prioritize powerful five-drop and six-drop characters, but I also value cheaper characters with great stats, evasive and/or potential for card advantage. Although this article has focused on packs from The First Chapter and Rise of the Floodborn, I expect that my insights also apply to any future sets, and I hope it has given you a better understanding of what to focus on in Limited tournaments.

In any case, when you crack Lorcana packs, it’s wise to protect your cards with the right deck boxes and sleeves. The Lorcana-branded deck boxes and sleeves can show off your love for your favorite Disney characters, but they are unfortunately not very durable. By contrast, the high-quality Katana sleeves and Sidewinder deck boxes have always served me well. They are my favorite Ultimate Guard products, and I wholeheartedly recommend them to all card game players!

Autor: Frank Karsten

Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame, Member of Team CFBUltimateGuard

Frank Karsten has played in nearly 80 Pro Tours, which puts him in the top five most experienced players of all time. After getting inducted into the Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2009, he finished his PhD in game theory and stochastic processes, then returned to the game of Magic. In the decade since, Frank found competitive success again, mostly with synergy-driven decks like Affinity or aggro cards like Embercleave. He also joined Wizards of the Coast's event coverage team. But he's perhaps best known for applying his mathematical background to Magic-related problems, ranging from mana base construction to metagame analysis."