A Complete Beginner’s Guide For Disney Lorcana

Everything you need to learn how to play Lorcana – the hottest new trading card game!

Starting a new trading card game (TCG) can be a daunting task, but have no fear – all the resources you need to learn how to play Disney Lorcana are right here! Below you’ll find a step-by-step, how-to-play guide with both text instructions and video tutorials (courtesy of Ravensburger) that’ll have you slinging magical ink in no time!

Lorcana Card Types

  • Characters (glimmers)
    • Most common card type
    • Used to challenge, quest to gather lore
    • Cannot be exerted on first turn played
  • Items
    • Can be exerted on first turn played
    • Effects can be used more than once
  • Actions
    • One and done usage
    • Go to the banish pile after being played

Card Anatomy

  • Cost: Found in the top left, the cost is the amount of ink required to play cards.
    • Many cards can be converted into ink for your inkwell. This is denoted by an icon around the cost. Cards without this icon cannot be added to your inkwell unless specified by a card.

  • Strength & Willpower: Found on the middle right side of a character card, strength is the amount of damage a character inflicts during a challenge, while willpower is the damage threshold a card can endure before being banished. Strength is the number on the left, inside the spiked circle, while willpower is on the right inside the shield.

  • Classifications: Indicates card type. Characters have classes, while actions might be labeled as songs.

  • Ink: Denotes a card’s ‘color’. There are six total ink colors.
    • Sapphire
    • Amber
    • Steel
    • Ruby
    • Emerald
    • Amethyst
      • Heihei for example, is aligned with amber (yellow) ink.
      • Decks can contain only two ink types.
  • Abilities: Core functions of the card. Are often activated through exerting the card.

  • Lore Value: Amount of lore generated during a quest. Characters quest by exerting.

  • Set Information: Context about the card’s series, including artist details.
  • Rarity: From Common to Legendary, there are five main rarities, and one special sixth rarity for alternate-art Enchanted rares.
    • Heihei for example is common rarity.

Keywords & Mechanics

Lorcana’s many keywords and mechanics help players keep track of various interactions and navigate their way through games.


  • Banish: Cards leaving play are “banished” and placed into the discard pile.
  • Exert: The act of turning a card sideways to indicate usage.
  • Ready: The act of un-exerting a card. This takes place naturally at the start of each turn and can also be initiated by some abilities.
  • Quest: Characters quest by exerting. Their lore value is then added to your total lore count.
  • Ink: Ink is the resource that allows you to play cards. You can reveal an inkable card to your opponent and place it face down into your inkwell once each turn, although there are cards that break this rule. Once a card is placed into your inkwell, neither you or your opponent may look at again.


  • Evasive: Characters with evasive can only be challenged by other characters with evasive.
  • Shift: The shift ability lets you play a card with shift on top of another card with the same name. The new card on top gains all the qualities of the old card, including any damage, whether they are exerted, and if their ink is “wet” or “dry”. Cards that entered play that turn have wet ink and cannot exert, while dry ink means a card is ready to be exerted.
  • Rush: A character with rush may challenge the same turn in which they are played.
  • Challenger: Characters with challenger will gain a bonus to their strength stat when they challenge another character.
  • Ward: Characters with ward cannot be chosen by opponents except for being challenged.
  • Bodyguard: Characters with bodyguard can enter play exerted and require opposing characters to challenge them before challenging others.
  • Support: Characters with support can grant their strength to a fellow glimmer when questing.
  • Reckless: Characters with reckless cannot quest and must challenge if able.
  • Singer: Characters with singer are able to sing action song cards as if their ink cost is higher than it is. Ex. a three-cost character with singer 5 can singe a five-cost action song.

Setting Up A Game

At the start of each game, players will start by shuffling their 60+ card decks and then offering their opponent a chance to cut and/or shuffle. Players will next determine who goes first at random (flipping a coin, dice high-roll, odds or evens etc.), and then each draw seven cards and have the opportunity to mulligan. To mulligan, you’ll put any number of the seven cards on the bottom of your deck and then draw that many cards. After drawing your replacement cards, you’ll shuffle your deck (mulliganed cards included). Players can only mulligan once per game (up to three times in a Best-of-Three match).

Once the game has begun, players will race to obtain 20 lore, which is gathered by questing with your characters. The first player to reach 20 lore is the winner. You can also win a game if your opponent runs out of cards in their deck before you do.

Steps of a Game

Once each player has resolved their mulligans, the game begins. The player going second will draw a card at the start of their first turn to compensate for not going first.


Exerting is the act of turning a card sideways in order to signify it has been used. You’ll exert cards in your inkwell to pay the cost when playing characters, items, and actions. Your characters will exert when questing for lore, activating an ability, and when challenging other exerted characters. Item cards have an ability that can be activated by paying the cost and exerting it.

Ready, Set, Draw

In Lorcana, each turn begins with un-exerting each of your cards, including characters, items, and cards in your inkwell. This act is known as readying. Once readied, you’ll enter the set phase, where you’ll check for any actions that happen at the start of your turn. Lastly, you’ll draw a card to signify the start of your main phase.

Main Phase

Once in the main phase, the active player has the ability to execute the following actions in any order:

  • Convert a card to ink.
  • Play a character, item, or action
  • Utilize character and item abilities.
  • Quest for lore
  • Challenge opposing characters.

Disney Lorcana, The First Chapter is available now in local game stores, and September 1 in larger commercial retailers. Welcome to the world of Lorcana, Illumineer!