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Disney Lorcana Rules – How To Play Lorcana – FULL Beginner’s Guide

Disney Lorcana Rules

Learn to play Disney Lorcana with our easy-to-follow rules breakdown. Start 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 using up to two ink colors. You can make your own or 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 sets and cards are released, more new mechanics and characters are revealed…


How To Win Lorcana – Get To 20 Lore First

The aim of the game is to gather 20 Lore – which are parts of stories collected in the Great Illuminary. To do this you as an Illumineer will use magical ink to cast glimmers of Disney characters, items, songs, locations, 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!

Setting Up

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. For each game after the first, the loser of the previous 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… older quickstart rules/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.

If you chose to mulligan, shuffle your deck again – including the cards you put back. People commonly mulligan to get more inkable cards, or put high-ink cards back to try and pull low-ink 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. Many people use standard six-sided dice to show damage or status effects.

How To Play Lorcana - Disney Lorcana Rules - Table Set Up
How to set up your play area for Disney Lorcana

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.

Beginning Phase

You must always take the following actions, and do them in this order: –

  1. READY – Ready your exerted cards by turning them upright
  2. SET – Check for effects that happen at the start of your turn and follow their instructions. Locations gain their Lore value
  3. 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.

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, locations, actions, songs, or items
  • Use an item or location’s ability
  • Play a character ability that doesn’t require
  • Move a character to a Location

Also, with a character that was in play at the start of the Beginning Phase and is Ready, they can:

  • Quest -OR-
  • Challenge a location, or 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.

Taking Turns

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.

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 ink when you use it to pay a card’s ink cost
  • You exert characters when you quest, challenge, or sing
  • 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.

Learn To Play Lorcana Rules Ready and Exerted

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 ink symbol at the top left of the cards. In a card’s abilities, the same ink 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 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 inkwell symbol in your hand, you won’t be able to add ink to your inkwell.

How To Play Lorcana Lorcana Rules Inkwell Symbol Inkable Not Inkable
The inkwell symbol on the left – No inkwell symbol on the right

Try and ink one card every turn for your first five or six rounds. If you don’t, you won’t be able to play 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, say that name and show the card to your opponent so they can see it has the inkwell inkwell symbol. Then, put it facedown into the inkwell at the bottom of your playmat. Once that card is facedown, you can’t look at it again, and it can only be used as ink.

  • 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
Lorcana Rules - Inkwell
Lorcana Rules – Resources -The Inkwell and exerting Ink

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.

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?

Card Types

In Lorcana there are five different card types: characters, locations, 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: –

Disney Lorcana Card Parts Labelled
How To Play Lorcana – Lorcana Card Diagram Labeled

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.

Location cards are a little different. In your hand you can see the ink and inkwell symbol. When you play them, they go onto the board sideways in “landscape”. They have Willpower, but no strength. There is also a Move cost on the left, and

Disney Lorcana Locations Labelled
Disney Lorcana Locations Labelled

Use our full Lorcana card database to search, filter, and find every single Lorcana card

Playing A Character Card

There are all types of characters 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 card from your hand, you must pay its ink cost. The ink ink icon in the top left of the card has a number. You pay that much ink to play the card by exerting (turning sideways) that much ink in your inkwell.

Then, you put the card 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.

So if you want to play a Minnie Mouse Always Classy you need to pay one ink. If you want to play a Mufasa King of the Pride Lands, you’ll need to pay six 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

The only limit is that you can have a maximum of 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 can play many different versions of the same character in your deck. You can also have more than one of the same character out on the playing field at any time.

Players can use the same cards and characters in their decks. You could play using the exact same decks. Or, you could play a deck of heroes against a deck of villains from a favorite Disney movie.

Cards come in standard, foil, or enchanted versions. There are even promo versions of cards. 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. 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.

For characters, there are three important classifications that tell us where they 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.

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. This is only for characters, not the other card types.

That means characters can’t do any of these actions on their first turn: –

  • Quest
  • Challenge
  • 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 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: Keep track of a newly played character by placing it just below where you’d normally place your cards 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.

Learn To Play Lorcana - Ink Dry

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. They’re explained more in-depth later, but here are some examples: –

  • Card abilities and effects that don’t have an exert cost are active immediately – this includes Location abilities
  • 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 (not quest or use abilities) the turn they are played
  • The Bodyguard keyword ability lets you play the new character as exerted. This allows Bodyguard to be effective immediately

You can’t exert a still-drying character as a cost for an effect when the cost has the symbol. For example, both Pluto – Friendly Pooch and Robin Hood – Capable Fighter can’t use their abilities on the turn they are played.

Peter Pan Fearless Fighter has Rush, which means he can challenge on his first turn. When his ink has dried on the next turn, he can take any action as normal.

Hercules – True Hero has Bodyguard. If he is exerted, your opponent’s character must challenge him (not your other characters) if they choose to challenge a character. When you play him, you can put him out already exerted so this effect works straight away.

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!

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. Exert them by turning them sideways. Say the previous Lore total, add the character’s Lore 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. You can’t exert a character to use their ability and quest at the same time.

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!

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. Characters with good abilities generally have less Lore.

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 characters and locations 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 strength score of the character is the amount of damage the character deals. The willpower defense icon is how much damage it takes before the character or location is banished. In challenges, both characters damage each other according to the strength strength icon.

Locations don’t have any strength, just willpower. So a character can challenge and damage them without taking damage in return. Locations can always be challenged, and you don’t need to wait for them to be exerted – as they can’t!

You can keep track of damage taken to your willpower defense 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 defense: that character is banished.

Example Challenge

  • A 3 strength 4 defense The Wardrobe Belle’s Confidant challenges a 2 strength 3 defense 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 defense 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: –

  • Challenges happen one vs one, one at a time
  • Challenging the same card with two or more of yours is OK. It might take a few small characters to take down 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 discard piles at any time you want. This helps to check what cards they’ve used and what might be left.

Characters, locations, 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 ink means pay this much ink by exerting ink cards in your inkwell. If a card says , 3 ink 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: –

  • Bodyguard
  • Challenger
  • Evasive
  • Reckless
  • Resist
  • Singer
  • Shift
  • Support
  • Rush
  • Ward

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 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 cheaply and earlier than expected. The card literally goes on top of the other card and they become a single character in a stack. Some Shift effects require you to pay ink, some require you to discard cards, or pay another cost.

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 ink 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 him onto another already Shifted 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 – all of the cards in that character stack become separate inks!

Reusing Abilities

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 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 ink 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.

Freeze has the same ability as Elsa Snow Queen. Dragon Fire is really powerful but costs a lot. Do It Again! could return another Do It Again! if you wanted to.

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 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 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!

Sing Together

There are some new song cards with Sing Together, a new keyword that allows multiple characters to band together and sing songs. Simply exert characters matching the ink cost of that song.

To sing a 10-cost Sing Together song you could: exert ten 1-cost characters, or one 10-cost character, or one 3-cost and one 5-cost. This only works on songs with this special mechanic. Players in a team can also band together on these songs.

Singer works on these too, so two Ariel – Spectacular Singer could sing Second Star to the Right together.

If you want to learn more about card types, read Lorcana Card Types Explained – Glimmers, Characters, Items, Actions, Locations, + Songs


We’ve written a more in-depth guide to locations in Disney Lorcana here. Here’s a quick summary, we’ll be back to expand this a bit more here shortly.

  • Locations are paid for or inked like normal cards
  • They come onto the board sideways / in landscape
  • Same deck/play rules: Four of in a deck, no limit on how many can be in play
  • They go on your side of the board, and are for you and your characters only
  • They can be challenged, and are banished as normal
  • You can move characters to locations for the move cost
  • Characters can move between locations, but not out of them
  • A character can only be in one location at a time
  • There is no limit to the amount of characters in a location
  • They gain lore equal to their lore lore value at the start of each turn in the Set step after readying, just before drawing. Not all locations have lore
  • They do this instead of questing, which they can’t do
  • Characters at locations can get benefits from a location’s abilities, but not all of them have abilities

Key Differences To Other Card Types

  • Locations don’t need to dry – because they can’t challenge or quest
  • They also don’t get exerted. Which means…
  • Locations can be challenged immediately and don’t need to be exerted
  • They gain lore passively at the start of the next turn after they are played
  • Characters can only leave locations to move to another OR
  • If the location is banished/removed, the character stays on the board and isn’t in the location anymore

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 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 ink cost in the top left
  • Characters can’t quest, challenge, sing, or use exert abilities on their first turn
  • To gather Lore lore you exert a character card to have them quest and they gain the amount of Lore lore shown on the bottom right of the card
  • The strength icon is for strength, and the defense icon is called willpower
  • To challenge an opponent’s character, you exert one of your characters
  • You can only challenge an opponent’s characters when they are exerted
  • You both do damage to each other based on the strength strength of each character
  • You add tokens to represent damage, and when the damage reaches the willpower defense number of the card, they are banished
  • Locations come onto the board sideways and can be moved to or challenged straight away
  • Locations gain lore at the start of your turn in the set step, they don’t quest
  • Move characters to locations by paying the move cost for each character moved
  • Characters can always move to your locations if you can pay – ignoring ready/exerted/dry
  • One location per character but no limit to characters in a location
  • You can’t move characters out of locations, but can move between them if you pay each time
  • 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!

Basic Card Game Etiquette

There are a few unwritten rules for TCG (trading card game) matches. Some are actual rules you will need to follow in tournament.

  • Be Nice! Say hi, chat a bit, “good luck” before and “good game” after
  • Shuffle a few times, then offer your deck to your opponent for them to “cut” or shuffle
  • Announce all your actions, be clear about what you are doing
  • You are always allowed to read cards – but…
  • Ask before touching other people’s cards, and treat them carefully
  • Have a clear and obvious board
  • Say the full name of the card you ink and show it very clearly
  • Don’t stack your ink, lay it out so it’s easy to count
  • Feel free to ask questions if you don’t understand something
  • Mistakes happen – If you see or make one, say so
  • You can allow “takebacks” of mistakes or small misplays but you don’t have to
  • If in doubt – Ask a judge or another friendly player
  • Try not to distract people – Loud shuffling, talking to other players
  • Remember: It’s a game, games are meant to be fun!

Deck Building

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.

Lorcana Basics

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, Strength, Willpower, or Move cost can’t go below 0.

Characters with 0 strength can still challenge. 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. You are allowed to note lore totals, but no other written notes are allowed. Comprehensive rules and tournament rules are available here.

Mulliganing and Choosing Who Goes First – Wrong?

Earlier quickstart rules and the original quickstart videos unhelpfully stated that players draw cards and mulligan before choosing who goes first. It was confirmed that this is incorrect in a Q and A session on Twitter, and in the full rules.

The correct game start is: players choose who goes first, then 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. There is a bag. 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.

Do Card Abilities Stack?

Yes, but stack means a different thing here than the above question. If you have two cards that do the same thing from a trigger – like Lanternthey can both be used and both work. So two Lanterns can reduce cost twice on one character if both are exerted.

Cost Reduction

Cards that let you play cards for less ink to play all say “pay x less ink“. 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 printed on the card.

You can use these effects to reduce the cost to Shift character cards.

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. In rules terms, a character is a character card in the play zone, the same goes for other card types.

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.

An example of a card effect you might not want to use but must would be Merlin – Crab. If your opponent removes him from play and he’s the only character on your board, he must give a chosen character Challenger +3. So you’d have to choose an opponent’s character.

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

You can download the latest Disney Lorcana quick start rules PDF here from the official site. It was recently updated to explain locations and a few other things better. Check the resources page for other rules documents.

The comprehensive rules (check resources for the latest version), tournament rules, play correction guidelines, set notes, and deck registration sheets can also be found there. Set Championships and Challenge events may have their own tournament rules documents.

Multiplayer Games!

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!

22 thoughts on “Disney Lorcana Rules – How To Play Lorcana – FULL Beginner’s Guide”

  1. Great information. Rules question: Can I have my Dr. Facilier Charlatan on the board, then play a Just In Time Action card, and with that play Dr. Facilier Agent Provocateur for its Shift 5 cost? Seems like a legit/intended line of play to me. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. I saw that the rules statedthat actions can’t be used on an enemy turn and that you’ve answered such, but can abilities from creatures or items be used on an opponents turn? I assume no, but wanted to verify.

    • No, you can’t use abilities on your opponent’s turn. There might be cards that can but there are none now, unless specifically stated on the card like something triggering when an opponent does an action.

  3. If you play all cards in your hand during a turn, do you pick up more from your deck or just continue to draw one card at the beginning of each turn?

    • You don’t pick up any extra cards when you run out, just the one at the start of your turn as normal. You’ll often run out of cards if you don’t have cards that draw more in your deck.

    • Yes, ink drying only stops that character from doing certain things. They can still be targeted by actions and effects.

      They can also be challenged if a card can challenge ready characters or something exerts them.

  4. Can you please clarify that Binding Contract’s ability has a cost to tap itself and to tap one of your own characters, it does not *give an ability to your character*. Similar to (or exactly like) Relic of Legends in Magic The Gathering, the creature you tap to pay the cost does NOT have to have been in play for a turn. “”Summoning sickness”” does not prevent tapping a creature to pay for the cost of Binding Contract / Relic of Legends.

    100% of people I ask agree (we’re 25 year Magic players), but we would really like an official ruling so that there’s no doubt.

    • We’d also love an official reply but we are a fan-run site!

      Edit: It seems like the official ruling on this is that Binding Contract actually was is NOT to be able to exert a drying character of yours. Apparently this is due to the symbol being present in the cost.

  5. I see that it says there isn’t a stack per say and that the triggers need to finish in their entirety but also says that the controlling player controls the order in which the abilities trigger but if you have the beast that has an ability of when an opposing character takes damage you ready the beast if you had a card like big tinker bell that pings a hypothetical 3 characters on your opponent’s field the beast will attempt to ready itself 3 times each ready is it’s own trigger which will finish in its entirety could you “respond” by questing before the next “ready” resolves?

    • No. You can’t start another action until an effect has fully resolved. If an effect triggers another effect, that would interrupt and need to be resolved – but you can’t start another action like questing/challenging midway through an effect.

  6. Is there a way that i can get this exact write up on PDF and the how to play also? to have at hand while playing. We find our self’s constantly looking on line for what a card does or certain rules that apply during game play.

  7. Can there be negative defense after a challenge and then you use an item to refill health or does the character immediately become banished?

  8. Will there be an explanation about Location Cards? Also, can I assume there is no way to take away a player’s Lore?


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