Disney Lorcana’s rules are now available to everyone. Learn to play below with our easy-to-follow rules breakdown. Starting questing, challenging, and using magic ink with your favorite Disney characters today!
How To Play Lorcana
Games are played with two or more players – each with a deck of 60 or more cards from up to two ink colors. You can buy pre-built starter decks. These have everything you need to play, including rules, a playmat, a lore tracker token, damage tokens, and a booster pack of 12 extra cards.
You can play Lorcana with a friend, at your local game store, or in multiplayer games with 3, 4, or more players. The rules are simple to pick up even for people completely new to card games.
However, if you practice and learn how best to play the cards in your deck – you’ll win more often. Experienced card game players are really enjoying the depth of the game. As more cards get released, more new mechanics and characters will be revealed…
How To Win Lorcana – Get To 20 Lore First
The aim of the game is to gather 20 Lore – a magical resource containing Disney stories. To do this you as an Illumineer will use magical ink to cast glimmers of Disney characters, items, songs, and actions.
The first player to get to 20 Lore wins the game!
You gather lore with your characters, who each have a Lore value. When they quest they gain Lore. However, questing stops them from taking other actions that turn and leaves them open to being targeted by your opponent…
How To Lose Lorcana – Run Out Of Cards!
If you must draw a card and you don’t have any cards remaining in your deck – you lose! This could happen either at the start of your turn or when an ability makes you draw.
You don’t lose if you have no cards in your deck, only when you go to draw a card but can’t. So if you draw the last card in your deck at the start of your turn – you still have time to win.
Card First – Rules Second
One thing to note about Lorcana is that if a card’s ability or rules text goes against the rules – do what the card says. That means powerful card abilities let you do things you normally wouldn’t be able to!
Games are played as best of three – though for casual play you don’t have to do this. The latest official timer is 50 minutes for three games.
Setup is as follows:
- Shuffle your deck and place it face down
- Set your lore tracker to 0. You can use the Lorcana app, a token on the playmat, a 20-sided dice, or pen and paper
- Determine the first player by flipping a coin, rolling a die, or so on. The winner of the flip gets to choose who goes first. On the second or third game, the loser gets to choose who goes first without a coin flip
- Draw 7 cards for your starting hand. You can only look at the cards in your hand
- If you don’t like the cards you draw in your starting hand, you can mulligan one time to put some back and draw others
Psst… the quickstart rules and videos have choosing turn order and drawing the wrong way around – look here
Alter Your Starting Hand – Mulligan
After drawing the seven cards to their hand, each player gets one chance to alter them. This is called a “mulligan” in card games.
The first player mulligans first, then the next player – going clockwise. Most people just mulligan at the same time but those are the official rules. Remember: You decide who goes first before drawing and before doing a mulligan.
You put as many as you want of the seven cards in your hand to the bottom of your deck without showing them. You don’t have to mulligan, you could just put one back, or all seven cards.
You then draw the same number of new cards as you put down from the top of your deck – so you go back to seven cards.
If you put two cards back, you draw two more from the top of the deck. You can only do this once each, and you have to mulligan all of the cards at the same time.
After this, shuffle your deck again – including the cards you put back. People commonly mulligan to get more inkable cards, or put high-cost cards back to try and pull low-cost cards to play on the first few turns.
You can skip this step for your first EVER game. When you’re first learning how to play Lorcana you probably won’t know what to mulligan for. Play a full game first to see how it goes. In every game you play after you will always get a chance to mulligan.
Lorcana Game Table Layout
Your side of the table should look something like the image below – you’re sitting at the bottom. You can use the playmat from the starter decks, which has zones marked out and can be used with the deck and discard on the left or right side.
You can also buy really nice official playmats with beautiful Lorcana art. These don’t have zones marked. You don’t need a playmat, but it helps protect your cards.
Your lore tracker (or a D20 die, or the app) can go anywhere that all players can see. Damage tokens or any markers you use for abilities should go off to the side. Some people use standard six-sided dice to show damage or status effects.
Your play area on top is where characters and items go. The inkwell at the bottom is where you will place ink. You’ll see some of these cards are stood up (ready) and some are sideways (exerted) – this is important and explained later.
The discard pile should be under the deck so it’s clear the cards aren’t in the play area. Having your cards well laid out makes it easy for your opponent to see what you can and can’t do. They can then plan for their turn – and you for yours.
Lorcana Game Phases
You start in the Beginning Phase and do the same things in the same order every time. Then in the Main Phase, you can take any actions you’d like at any point. There is no end step, you just pass to the next player.
You must always take the following actions, and do them in this order: –
- READY – Ready your exerted cards by turning them upright
- SET – Check for effects that happen at the start of your turn and follow their instructions
- DRAW – Draw a card from the top of your deck. The first player skips this step on their first turn
It’s important that the player going first doesn’t draw a card on their first turn. The next players(s) do. Going first gives an advantage, so not being able to draw a card evens things out somewhat. Then you move to the Main Phase.
You can take as many actions as you like from the list below in the main phase as long as you can pay the ink for them. You can have different characters do the same thing, you can play multiple of the same card, and you can choose any order you’d like.
The only exception is adding a card to your inkwell – which you can normally do just once per turn. You can only do these things on your turn – unless a card specifically states otherwise.
- Add a card to your inkwell – Only once per turn
- Play a card – Characters, actions, songs, or items
- Use an item’s ability
- Play a character ability that doesn’t require
Also, with a character that was in play at the start of the Beginning Phase and is Ready, they can:
- Quest -OR-
- Challenge an exerted character -OR-
- Sing a Song card -OR-
- Use an ability that requires it to be exerted
Every type of card and action can only be played once per card – unless noted. If you have multiple of the same card, they count as different cards. You also don’t have to do anything in your main phase.
When you have finished taking the actions you want in the Main Phase, pass the turn to the next player by letting them know it’s their turn. In multiplayer games, players take turns going clockwise (to the left). Try not to take too long on your turn.
Basic Card Game Etiquette
When you play a card, you should read any abilities it has and let the opponent see the card. It’s good sportsmanship to say the ability even if it’s not active straight away. Do the same when using abilities and actions.
When your character takes an action like questing, challenging, or singing a song – say what is happening. Declare who is challenging who, who is singing the song for what value, or say “Mickey is questing for 2” or similar.
If you didn’t understand an effect or want to check a card again, you are absolutely allowed to ask to check the card. If you are in doubt about what something does, double-check, ask another close by player, or call over a judge.
Most of these are part of official rules. They’re also good practice so you and your opponent can spot mistakes – even experienced players make mistakes. If you’ve accidentally done something wrong or see something wrong, just point it out and figure out a way to roll it back or fix it.
Exerting Cards (Tap)
To exert a card you turn it sideways. When a card is exerted it can’t be used again on this turn.
Many abilities have an exert symbol on them, meaning they should be exerted as part of the ability cost. It’s called “tapping” in other card games.
In Lorcana, exert is used in lots of ways: –
- You exert characters when you quest, challenge, or sing
- You exert ink when you use it to pay a card’s ink cost
- Some items get exerted as a cost when they are used
- Some cards or characters have abilities that require them to be exerted to use them
- Certain actions and abilities can exert other player’s cards
When a card is exerted, they can’t take any other actions – unless they are readied by an effect. Also, only exerted characters can be chosen for a challenge. Choosing when to exert your characters is a key skill in Lorcana.
Readying Cards (Untap)
At the start of your turn, the first step in the Beginning phase is Ready – when you ready all of your cards. Do this by turning them back the right way up. Some abilities also let you ready your or other players’ cards to take more actions or stop them from being challenged.
Ink + The Inkwell – Lorcana’s Resource
The resource used to pay the cost of a card is called ink. Ink cost is noted inside the hexagon symbol at the top left of the cards. In a card’s abilities, the same ink symbol is used to show how much ink must be spent to use it.
Once per turn, you can turn a card from your hand into ink. We’ll call this inking, or adding to your inkwell.
Only cards that have the inkwell symbol around the ink icon can be put into your inkwell to be used as ink. Any card type with the symbol can be inked. If you have no cards with the symbol in your hand, you won’t be able to add ink to your inkwell.
Try and ink one card every turn for your first five or six rounds. If you don’t, you won’t be able to cast high-cost cards later. Make careful decisions about what cards you put into your inkwell – you can’t get them back!
Having some cards inkable and some not is a way of giving powerful cards a slight drawback. It also gives cards multiple uses and means you will nearly always be able to gain one ink resource per turn. Try to keep the amount of non-inkable cards in your deck to less than 15.
Putting Cards Into Your Inkwell
First, show the card to your opponent so they can see that it has the inkwell symbol. Then, put it facedown into the inkwell at the bottom of your playmat or right in front of you.
You are meant to say the entire card game and make sure the opponent knows the card is inkable. Once that card is facedown, it can only be used as ink.
The back of every Lorcana card shows the six magical inks swirling toward the center. In the middle, we can see a piece of Lore being created using magical ink. Can you spot the hidden mickey?
- Each card in the inkwell only counts as one ink
- It doesn’t matter what ink color the card was before, it is now just ink that can be used to cast any card from any ink color
- None of its costs or abilities matter anymore
- The ink stays in your inkwell unless specifically moved by an effect or card
- Once cards are in the inkwell, neither player can look at them to check what they were
To use ink to pay for cards, you exert it by turning it sideways. You can only exert each ink once per turn, so turning it sideways to exert it shows it has been used. You ready your ink and other cards at the start of your next turn in the Ready step of the beginning phase.
In Lorcana there are four different card types: characters, items, actions, and songs. They all have different rules and uses – but a similar, easy-to-read layout. This diagram of a typical Lorcana card helps to show what each part of the card means: –
Only character cards have strength, willpower, and lore values. Item cards also have a gold border around their art. You can learn more ability Lorcana Rarity Symbols here.
Use our full Lorcana card database to search, filter, and find every single Lorcana card
Playing A Character Card
Most of the cards in The First Chapter are characters. There are all types of different characters and types with different abilities, ink costs, and stats. You’ll find well-known characters from many Disney Animated film classics and some in re-imagined and powerful forms!
To play a character card from your hand, you must pay its ink cost. The ink icon in the top left of the card has a number. You pay that much ink to play the character by exerting (turning sideways) that much ink in your inkwell.
Then, you put the character from your hand onto your side of the table. Characters come into play Ready and face up. Put them near the top of your play area – above your inkwell cards. You can play as many character cards as you want if you can pay the ink.
The higher the ink cost of a character, the more powerful they are. That means at the start of the game you will be playing fairly weak characters – with the game ramping up in difficulty and choices as you go on.
Character + Card Limits
You can play lots of different types of the same character in your deck. You could have three or four different versions of Mickey! You can also have more than one of the same character out on the playing field at any time.
All players can use the same cards and characters in their decks. You might both play using the exact same deck. Or you might choose to build a deck of heroes against a deck of villains from a favorite Disney movie.
The only limit is that you can only have four of each version (or full name) of a card in your deck – unless otherwise stated. This applies to all card types, not just characters.
You might get a character in a standard, foil, or enchanted versions. These still all count as the same version of a card as they have the same full name. So you can’t have more than four because they’re shiny.
You could have four Elsa Ice Surfer, four Elsa Queen Regent, four Elsa Spirit Of Winter, and four Elsa Snow Queen if you wanted. In theory, all sixteen of them could all be out on the field at the same time. As long as you can pay the ink (and find the table space) go for it!
View all Character cards in Lorcana
Classifications – Storyborn, Villian, Hero, Tigger
Every card has a list of classifications under their name and version. These tell us what group of characters they belong to. They include all types of traits about a character like if they’re a Hero or Villian, a Sorcerer or a Dragon, and way more.
There are three important classifications that tell us where that character came from: –
- Storyborn are classic Disney characters from a Disney original animation
- Dreamborn are alternate versions dreamed up by an Illumineer like you!
- Floodborn are powerful re-imaginations of characters who were affected by a mysterious ink flood. Their name bar is flooded with ink to show this
Some abilities only work on characters with a certain classification. If the card says “Princess characters” it means all cards with the Princess classification. Sometimes there is only one…
Read more about the different types of characters in Lorcana Card Types Explained
Wait For The Ink To Dry
Characters can’t do anything that requires them to exert on their first turn as their ink still needs to dry
That means they can’t do any of these actions on their first turn: –
- Sing a Song
- Use an ability that requires them to exert
Characters can still be targeted by card effects and actions on their first turn. They can also be challenged (but not start a challenge) on their first turn if something exerts them, or if a card can target readied characters.
Top Tip: You can keep track of a newly played character by placing it just below where you’d normally place your characters in the play area. This is a helpful visual reminder for you and your opponent. On your next turn, move the card up to the top of the board.
If a card somehow gets exerted and then readied again on its first turn – its ink still isn’t dry and it still can’t use abilities until the next turn. On the character’s second turn on the board, they can take any action available to them.
There are some specific times that cards can be exerted or used on their first turn. Many of these are explained further down in the article: –
- Card abilities and effects that don’t have an exert cost are active immediately
- When you Shift a character onto another, the shifted character gains the status of the card below. That means if the first character’s ink had dried already, the new Shifted character on top can take actions
- The Rush keyword ability lets characters challenge the turn they are played
- The Bodyguard keyword ability lets you play the new character as exerted. This allows Bodyguard to be effective immediately
Note: A ruling has confirmed that you may not exert a still-drying character as a cost for an effect, when the cost has the symbol. This is the case with Binding Contract.
Stitch – Rock Star has two interesting abilities. The first is Shift, which is explained more below. Shifted characters can take actions on their first turn, but only if the card underneath has had its ink dry already.
The second ability lets you immediately exert any character you play that costs 2 or less ink. You could play Stitch – Rock Star, then play two Stitch – New Dog characters, exerting them both to get 2 more cards!
Peter Pan Fearless Fighter has Rush, which means he can challenge on his first turn. He can’t do any other action on this first turn – just challenge. Next turn, he can take any action.
Hercules – True Hero has Bodyguard. If he is exerted, your opponent’s character must challenge him (not your other cards) if they choose to challenge. When you play him, you can put him out already exerted so this effect works straight away.
Questing To Gain Lore
When a character’s ink has dried, they can take a few different actions. Questing is the main way that you gain lore, and eventually win the game!
To quest with a character first declare the character that is questing and how much they quest for. Exert them by turning them sideways. Say the previous Lore total, add the Lore gained to your Lore counter, and declare the new total.
Once they’re exerted, they can’t quest again, challenge, sing, or take any actions that require exerting them – unless they are readied by another effect.
Mickey Mouse Brave Little Tailor has a massive four Lore. When you exert him to quest, you add four Lore to your total. You’d only need to quest with him five times to win a game!
Typically you’ll use a mix of characters with different Lore to win. Having lots of low Lore characters means it’s hard to counter all of them, having high Lore characters means more Lore gained – but losing them is a big blow.
While gaining Lore is mostly done by questing, there are other ways. Choosing when to quest and what characters to quest with is really important as once they’re exerted – they are open to being challenged.
Characters can challenge other character cards to try and banish them to the discard pile. Only exerted characters can be challenged, which means you have to think carefully about questing.
To challenge you exert your character and target the opponent’s exerted character. You then both do damage using the card’s strength vs each card’s willpower.
The strength score of the character is the amount of damage the character deals. The willpower icon is how much damage it takes before the character is banished. In challenges, both characters damage each other according to the strength icon.
You can keep track of damage taken to your willpower using dice or the damage counters that are included in starter decks. Once the amount of damage tokens on a character reaches the same number as the willpower : that character is banished.
- A 3 4 The Wardrobe Belle’s Confidant challenges a 2 3 Elsa Snow Queen
- Elsa must be exerted to be challenged, so she probably quested or challenged in her last turn
- The Wardrobe is first exerted to show they are challenging
- The Wardrobe does three damage to Elsa, and Elsa does 2 damage to Wardrobe
- 2 damage counters are added to The Wardrobe
- Their willpower is 4 so they still have 2 to go. They don’t have any other damage from previous challenges, so they are not banished but are exerted from challenging
- 3 damage counters are added to Elsa. As Elsa only has 3 willpower, she is banished
A few quick clarifications: –
- Characters challenge one vs one, one at a time
- Challenging the same with two or more of yours is OK. It might take a few small characters to our a big one – but could be worth it
- Lore that a character gained is not lost when they are banished. You only lose Lore with specific effects from cards
- You can’t challenge item cards
- The inkwell symbol only matters for inking – not challenging or questing
Banish + Discard Pile
Any card that is banished or discarded is put into your discard pile.
This is a pile you keep just under your deck, with the cards face up. You or your opponent can look in both discards at any time you want. This helps to check what cards are used and what might be left.
Characters and items can be banished. Some abilities require you to banish your own cards. There is even a card that banishes all characters on both players’ fields!
Cards that are banished can’t be played again unless brought back from the banish area by an effect. There are many abilities that can return cards from your discard to your deck or hand.
Many cards have text on them that lets you use special abilities. There are all types of cool effects with helpful or clever uses. The best way of understanding the card is to read it and be very strict about the wording.
Abilities are the juicy part of the gameplay, with lots of different strategies and uses. That also means they can be complicated. Some of the vast range of abilities include effects like: –
- Banish a character or item
- Damage or heal a character
- Draw cards, or look at the top few cards of your deck
- Gain Lore or steal your opponent’s Lore
- Exert an opponent’s character or ready one of yours
There are many more, and different ink colors tend to have more of certain abilities. It’s not just characters – actions, items, and songs all have abilities too. More on those soon.
You can only use abilities and keywords on your turn – not your opponent’s – unless specifically stated. Some of your abilities might trigger on an opponent’s turn because of an action they took.
Abilities also have different ways of being activated, while some are passive and the ability always works. Some happen immediately when you play a card, others only work when a specific event triggers them.
Some abilities have a unique name in white text on a brown border. Their name is often inspired by something that happens in their original Disney movie appearance. Others have a bold Keyword with explainer text (in parentheses and italics to explain the effect.)
Paying For Abilities
To use abilities you’ll often have to pay a cost. The cost comes right before a dash “-” and every part of the cost must be paid to use it.
means exert this card (or another if specified). X means pay this much ink by exerting ink cards in your inkwell. If a card says , 3 you need to exert the card and pay three ink for the ability.
For example, The Queen Wicked and Vain has the ability: “I SUMMON THEE – Draw a card.”
To use this ability, you must exert her – then you can draw one card from your deck. Drawing cards is always helpful and gives you more options.
Elsa Snow Queen has a similar ability: “FREEZE – Exert chosen opposing character.”
That means you can exert Elsa in order to exert an opposing character. That means they’re now open to challenge with your other characters.
Remember, characters can’t use abilities that require them to be exerted if it is their first turn on the board. This isn’t the case for other types of cards, or abilities that are passive.
Some characters’ abilities happen immediately when they are played – like Moana Chosen by the Ocean. When you play her, you can choose to banish (or choose not to) a chosen character called Te Kā.
If there isn’t a Te Kā character on the board when she is played, the ability doesn’t trigger. It also doesn’t trigger if one is played after. It only happens when the card says it happens: “When you play this character“.
Some happen every time a certain thing happens. Mad Hatter Gracious Host gets to draw a card every time he is challenged. If he doesn’t get banished, you heal him up, and he gets challenged – you draw every time he is challenged.
“When challenged”, “when challenging”, and “in a challenge” are three different bits of rules text that all apply to different situations. The first applies only when another character challenges yours, the second when your character challenges another, and the third is any time they are in a challenge.
Some abilities happen just once. Gramma Tala Storyteller might get banished early, but she gets you an extra ink for next turn when that happens. Note that she goes into the inkwell facedown and exerted so the ink can’t be used this turn.
Abilities and keywords can be quite hard to read if you’re new to card games. Once you’ve read this we recommend checking out our full guide on How To Use Abilities In Lorcana
Keyword abilities are common abilities seen on many different cards. They will be used on cards in later set releases too
They have the name of the Keyword in bold and the rule (explained in italics between parentheses). Eventually, keyword abilities become so commonly used that the cards will only have the bold Keyword printed on them – you’ll have to remember or look up the effect.
Keywords are mostly straightforward to read and use. They work the same as a normal ability, and the rules text on the card should explain how to use them. These are from the first two sets, though there will be more: –
There is one keyword that is a key part of Disney Lorcana rules and gameplay and needs a little more explanation below…
You can look at every Keyword, how they work, when to use them, and find common questions in our full article – Lorcana Keywords Guide
Characters with the Shift keyword can be played as normal by paying their ink cost. You can also choose to Shift them on top of another character for the Shift cost.
This allows you to play a powerful character cheaper. The card literally goes on top of the other card and they become a single character in a stack.
You can only Shift onto the card named in the rules box and you must pay the cost. Here is the Shift rule text from Aladdin Heroic Outlaw: Shift 5 (You may pay 5 to play this on top of one of your characters named Aladdin.)
That means he can be shifted onto any Aladdin character, regardless of their cost, ink, or version. You could even shift onto another Shift character.
Shift’s Benefits & Drawbacks
The new Shifted character keeps all of the previous character’s status effects – like damage counters, buffs, and whether its ink has dried or not. You don’t get to keep the abilities or stats of the character underneath.
That means a newly Shifted character can take actions straight away if the card underneath was played in previous turns. It also means that if the first character is exerted or damaged, the Shifted card on top will also be.
The lower card in the stack is basically useless. It stays under the Shifted card and doesn’t count as a separate character for rules purposes. Only the rules, stats, and abilities of the top card matter.
When the new Shifted character is exiled, both cards go to the discard. If it is returned to your hard, both go to your hand as separate cards and can then be played again as individual cards. If they are turned into ink – both of the cards become separate inks!
Character abilities that require them to be exerted basically mean they can only be used once. Only cards that are ready can use abilities or take actions. BUT if that character or card gets readied by another card effect – they can be exerted again.
That means cards could use the exert ability again – if you can pay any ink cost it might have. It also means characters can sing, challenge, or quest again.
Remember, characters played this turn still can’t use exert abilities or actions. Its ink still has to dry even if it gets exerted and readied on its first turn
Getting to use an ability or action twice in one turn is very powerful. Cards that can ready other cards often have limits built in.
Fan The Flames can ready any character but then that character can’t quest for the rest of this turn (even if it gets exerted and readied again by a different ability).
Ariel Whoseit Collector can be readied every time you play an item. She can do any action over and over with enough items and spare ink.
Scar Shameless Firebrand can ready an unlimited amount of your characters that cost 3 or less. With the right setup, that could be game-winning.
Items are played for their ink cost and put on the field above the inkwell. They come out ready and face up. They have unique abilities and can often be used turn after turn. You can play multiple items a turn if you can pay the ink.
Item cards stay on the field until discarded or banished by their cost or another card’s ability. They can’t be targeted in challenges, and don’t have Lore, strength, or willpower stats.
Their abilities can be used immediately – unlike characters. Many items’ abilities require them to be exerted or have some cost. Like characters, they can’t be used after exerting and get readied at the start of each player’s turn.
Dinglehopper sits on the field and can heal 1 damage just by being exerted. Musketeer Tabard only has to be paid for once, and its ability is always active. Beast’s Mirror is quite expensive to play at 2 ink and use at the cost of 3 more ink and being exerted – but really helps when your options are limited with no cards in hand.
View all Item cards in Lorcana
Action cards are one-time-use cards that work instantly. You pay the cost, show the card to your opponent and let them read it, then you use its ability and put it into the discard pile. You can play as many action cards as you want if you can pay the ink.
View all Action cards in Lorcana
Song cards feature real songs and lyrics from Disney classics. Songs are also actions so can be paid for as normal – or sung by a character for free! They work like Actions so you must show your opponent, use the ability, then discard them.
View all Song cards in Lorcana
Who Can Sing Songs?
If you choose to play a song as action, just pay its ink cost as normal. It works straight away, exactly like an action card. You can play or sing multiple different songs as long as you can pay the ink.
If you want to sing a song, choose any character on your board as long as they meet all three conditions: –
- Their ink cost meets the cost noted on the song text OR they have the Singer keyword of the correct number
- They are ready (not exerted)
- Their ink has dried (must not have been played this turn)
Then, exert that character. Play the song just like a normal action, except you don’t have to pay the song’s cost.
Some cards have the Singer keyword with a number. Characters with this can sing songs as if their ink cost was higher. Sebastian Court Composer might only have a 2 ink cost, but he can sing songs as if he had 4.
On the other hand, Ariel On Human Legs can’t sing at all…
Characters singing songs don’t have to be the same ink color as the song. Any character of the right ink cost can sing the song – even if they’re from different films. You are strongly encouraged to also sing the song yourself!
If you want to learn more about card types, read Lorcana Card Types Explained – Glimmers, Characters, Items, Actions + Songs
Lorcana Rules Summarized
The main rules of the game are: –
- Each player starts with seven cards and can choose to put some back and draw that many more
- Each player draws one card per turn, but not the first player on their first turn
- You can only play cards on your turn – unless noted
- Once per turn, you can turn one of the cards in your hand into ink, which is the resource used to play cards
- Only cards with the inkwell symbol around their cost can be inked
- These ink cards go into your inkwell by being put face down in front of you
- To play a character you pay the ink cost in the top left
- Characters can’t quest, challenge, sing, or use exert abilities on their first turn
- To gather Lore you exert a character card to have them quest and they gain the amount of Lore shown on the bottom right of the card
- The icon is for strength, and the icon is called willpower
- To challenge an opponent’s character, you exert one of your characters
- You can only challenge an exerted opponent character
- You both do damage to each other based on the strength of each character
- You add tokens to represent damage, and when the damage reaches the willpower number of a character, they are banished
- You play items to the board for their ink cost and can use them immediately if you can pay extra costs on the card. They can’t be challenged
- You play actions and songs immediately by paying their ink cost, then discard them
- You can sing a song for free by exerting a character with dried ink that meets the song text ink cost
- At the start of your turn you ready all of your ink, characters, and items
- The first player to gain 20 Lore wins immediately!
This is the format for Core Constructed. There are others like Booster Draft and Sealed Deck which change up the amount of cards, inks, and copies of each card allowed.
- A deck must have at least 60 cards in it – there isn’t an upper limit
- Your deck can only have 4 copies of any single card. However, you can have more than four cards of the same name, but not more than four of the same version
- You can only have cards from up to two different ink colors. So ruby and sapphire for instance. You can just use one ink color, you don’t have to use two
- You don’t need an equal number of cards for each color for two ink decks
A few of the most common questions are answered here, a full Lorcana FAQ and Lorcana card FAQ will come in separate articles.
There is no hand size limit in Lorcana. There is also no limit to the number of cards in your inkwell or characters on the board. A card’s Lore can’t go below 0 – we think it’s the same for other stats but it’s not been confirmed.
Characters can challenge with 0 strength if you want. There are no cards that can be played on your opponent’s turn – yet. The oversize cards in the Gift Set aren’t tournament legal 🙁
You don’t have to reveal your ink colors or deck before playing. We don’t know if note-taking is ok yet. We also don’t know much about tournament rules yet. As of now, there isn’t a full Lorcana competitive rule set or tournament rule PDF available.
Mulliganing and Choosing Who Goes First – Wrong?
The quickstart rules and the quickstart videos unhelpfully state that players draw cards and mulligan before choosing who goes first. It has been confirmed that this is incorrect in a Q and A session on Twitter.
Players choose who goes first, draw, then mulligan.
Can You Look At The Other Player’s Cards?
No, you can’t look at cards in other players’ hands unless they play them. It’s fine to look at your opponent’s cards when they’re played, just ask first before you pick them up. Be gentle!
You can look at your opponent’s discard pile, as well as your own. You can’t look at cards in any inkwell once they’re put there.
Is There A Stack? When Do Abilities Resolve?
No, there isn’t a stack in Lorcana like in Magic: The Gathering and other card games. If an ability triggers another ability, the first effect takes place in full before the other.
The player whose turn it is gets to choose how their abilities trigger first, then the next player triggers theirs in their choice of order.
Abilities that do things to both players are carried out by the active player first. Both need to draw cards but have no cards in your deck? The active player loses.
Cards that let you play cards for less ink to play all say “pay x less “. It means you pay less ink to play it, it doesn’t reduce the ink cost value of the card. So for other effects, their ink cost is still what is on the card.
You can use these effects to reduce the cost to Shift character cards. You could also use Just In Time to play or shift a character onto another, as long as their ink cost is 5 or under in both cases.
Do Card Abilities Stack?
Yes. Stack means a different thing here than the above question. What it means is if you have two cards that do the same thing from a trigger – like Lantern – they can both be used and both work. So two Lanterns can reduce cost twice on one character if both are exerted.
How Does Targeting Work?
When an ability says to “choose” a card, it only means cards on the board. It can’t target cards in the discard, deck, or inkwell – unless the card says specifically otherwise.
If the card just says “choose” it can choose you or your opponent’s cards.
Do You Have To Do Things Listed In Abilities?
As a general rule, you must do exactly what a card says unless the rule text says “may“. That means you can choose not to. Card rules are very specific and should be played exactly as they are written.
We recommend reading our long-form Guide to Lorcana card text rules which goes very in-depth into card wording.
Disney Lorcana Quick Start Rules Download
Tap or click to open the images below, then double-click or double-tap to zoom in, then you can scroll around the whole image. You can also download the Disney Lorcana quick start rules PDF here from the official site.
Be aware that the part about drawing first and when to mulligan is wrong – see above.
You can play with more than two players! You just start with one player and move to the left (clockwise). Whenever an ability requires more than one player to do something at the same time, start with the player whose turn it is, then proceed to the left until each affected player has done their action.
Organized Play & Lorcana League
Lorcana is meant to be played with others. Ravensburger have an official Organized Play program available at local game stores where Lorcana is sold. Lorcana League is the official weekly event with seasons, promos, and lots of options for players.
It is set up to be more welcome and friendly than some other games. You get points for attending, bringing friends, teaching others how to play Lorcana, and more! You gain extra points from winning, but it’s set up to be more about having fun playing the game.
Ready to put your deck to the test? Read our Full Guide to Lorcana Card Sleeves + Top Sleeves For Lorcana
We hope you’ve found the on how to play Lorcana article helpful. We started it out as a quick overview but found more and more questions we wanted answers to. As a result, it’s a pretty comprehensive Lorcana rules guide.
If you’ve found any mistakes, rulings that have changed, spelling errors, or just want to ask a question – please leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you shortly!