What’s It Going To Take To Disrupt Ruby/Amethyst Supremacy In Lorcana?

Lorcana’s second set is turning out to be, perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot like the first. We’re four weeks into the Rise of the Floodborn meta, things are starting to settle, and a familiar narrative is emerging. While some new decks were early standouts as players experimented with all the new cards, and for a moment it really seemed like discard might be up to something, it seems all roads lead back to Ruby/Amethyst in the end.


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I called the meta for Ruby/Amethyst, AKA Elsa Control, pretty early in set one; a call that was met with some controversy. Amber/Steel “Steelsong” had not been fully realized at the time, and while that archetype did find plenty of success, it’s undeniable which deck dominated The First Chapter’s meta. The only reason players started to move away from Ruby/Amethyst towards the end of the season was because mirror matches were so grueling, and best-of-threes too often ended in ties. With the introduction of cards like Merlin, Goat and Sorcerer’s Spellbook, that’s far less of a problem than before.

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The big change between now and The First Chapter is that Ruby/Amethyst isn’t a singular archetype anymore. The Elsa Control deck is better than ever with new early game control tools like Madam Mim, Fox and Teeth and Ambitions, while Lady Tremaine, Imperious Queen helps lock down the board even harder. But this deck is still vulnerable to aggressive decks, and the best answer to it right now might actually be Ruby/Amethyst aggro, a deck that can earn lore quickly with cheap characters, then bounce them back to your hand with characters like Madam Mim and Arthur to protect them from retribution. My local meta has quickly settled into a battle of Ruby/Amethyst decks – control, aggro, and a spectrum of hybrid versions. That’s anecdotal, but this weekend’s Pixelborn tournament showed the same trend. All four top decks were some version of these two colors.

Thankfully, beyond that, the meta is more varied today than it was. There’s Pawpsicle, which got some early attention, and those three different discard decks: an Amber/Emerald and two Emerald/Steel, one with Bucky and a Floodborn focus and one without. Steelsong is back and has a Flute variant now. There’s a new hyper-aggro Amber/Amethyst, and an Amber/Ruby Mufasa deck that’s starting to get some buzz. People are trying to find a place for Beast, Relentless in an Emerald/Steel midrange deck, and I’m certain there’s still sides of Sapphire ramp that haven’t been put to use yet.

The Four Horseman of the Ruby/Amethyst Apocalypse

There’s a lot of decks you can play right now, but none of them are as consistent or successful as Ruby/Amethyst. Steelsong is still finding top placements at local tournaments – but it’s easy to see why Ru/Am is so hard to challenge. Deckbuilding guru Steadfast put it pretty succinctly: Ruby deals with your opponent’s side of the board, while Amethyst generates all the lore you need to win. It’s a vicious combo that can earn points while suppressing the opponent’s efforts, and there are very few answers to a deck that can sort of do everything.

I had hoped Rise of the Floodborn would push this deck down, but it’s only made it more powerful. Looking ahead to Into the Inklands, though, the answer to Ruby/Amethyst seems a lot clearer. The introduction of Locations could throw a huge wrench in this deck’s strategy, and – not to be too optimistic – could be the thing that finally puts the control strategy in check.

Almost all of Elsa Control’s tools are designed to wipe opposing characters from the board, or otherwise stop them from questing. Maleficent, Monstrous Dragon; Elsa, Spirit of Winter; Yzma, Scary Beyond Reason; Namaari, Nemesis; Dragon Fire, Be Prepared, and Lady Tremaine are all removal tools in the Ruby/Amethyst tool box, but all of these cards target characters, not Locations. With their ability to earn lore passively if left unanswered, Locations are a high priority for removal, and the current decks aren’t equipped to do that.

Locations were just revealed, check out this article for the lowdown on how the new card type works.

Of course, it stands to reason that there will be new answers to Location in Into the Inklands. Rush characters like Maui, Hero to All; Madam Mim, Fox; and Felicia, Always Hungry will be more important than ever next season, but we’ll almost certainly see new Location removal tools too, and they’ll likely be Ruby cards. We’re going to need more than just Locations if we’re ever going to see this color combo curbed.

Characters with Ward are important tools for countering Control’s removal, as they’re only vulnerable to AoE actions like Be Prepared. There were only four in the first set with it, but we got seven more in Rise of the Floodborn. More Ward means better odds a card will stick, so this might naturally bring Control decks in line as the game develops. I’m also interested in seeing more characters with abilities that respond directly to the things Ruby/Amethyst excels at. Abilities that activate when your opponent has more cards than you, or fewer characters on the board, or more ink in their well than you could all help create useful counter strategies to Ruby/Amethyst that we don’t yet have.

Whatever the answer is, we’ve got at least a couple of months before we find out. While I think Ruby/Amethyst is dominant, I still encourage experimentation in RotF, and I’m looking for better answers to it myself. The meta is still evolving, certainly, but even if Ruby/Amethyst isn’t totally unbeatable, the suffer-factor of playing against it is still the biggest issue. We need something that can finally put control on the back foot. Hopefully Locations are the answer, and Into the Inklands doesn’t give this archetype yet another buff, instead.

Next: Lorcana’s Into The Inklands Already Has A Stronger Theme Than Rise Of The Floodborn

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