As Magic: the Gathering’s 30th anniversary draws ever closer, there’s no worry for the world’s most popular trading card game. Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! occupy their own enjoyable niches. However, nothing comes close to MTG. Unfortunately for Wizards of the Coast, however, there is a new competitor that could take MTG’s crown. Enter Disney and its newly announced trading card game, Lorcana.
Created in partnership with board game manufacturer Ravensburger, Disney’s upcoming Lorcana TCG may be a force to be reckoned with. As one of the world’s biggest media companies, Disney has countless iconic characters to include in its new game. Currently, Disney’s Lorcana is planned to release in the Fall of 2023. Disney Lorcana is expected to receive four annual expansion sets post-launch, similar to MTG.
So far, Disney and Ravensburger haven’t announced any details about the game’s mechanics. Despite this, Ravensburger’s CEO, Filip Francke, claims that Disney Lorcana will be a “game-changer in the billion-dollar-plus trading card game market.” As a product that is set to include “more original Disney artwork than any other single product ever created,” according to Disney’s Vice President of Product Design, John Balen, that lofty feat might just be possible.
Balen went on to state that Disney Lorcana will be an experience “for fans of all ages to take home.” This means that the TCG will be approachable to newcomers while offering strategic depth to experienced players. According to a report from Polygon, the game will feature a “modern storybook” art style. Alongside artwork “inspired by the storybook openings of classic Disney films,” the Lorcana TCG will also feature foil treatments.
While little details are known about Lorcana currently, Disney is expected to reveal more during D23. Scheduled to begin on the 9th of September, this fan-focused event will show a first look at the game’s cards.
Should Magic be Worried?
As one of the biggest media companies in the world, whose roster of characters includes Marvel, Star Wars, and The Simpsons, Disney could undoubtedly make fierce competition for Wizards of the Coast. Despite their potential, we shouldn’t imagine Wizards has much reason to be quaking in their boots just yet. As a brand new TCG, Disney’s Lorcana has its work cut out to establish itself as an enjoyable game. While the immense catalog of characters will ensure marketability, converting MTG, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! fans still won’t be easy.
Ultimately, while the character roster may draw attention, the long-term success of Disney Lorcana will depend on its mechanical strength. Until more is revealed during the D23 expo, we won’t know precisely what Lorcana’s depth is like. The available information, however, points towards MTG being an essential inspiration for Disney. In the Lorcana logo, for instance, you may notice five streaks of elemental color. This hints at a five-color mana base similar to Magic’s. With Lorcana being aided in design by Ryan Miller, a Wizards of the Coast veteran, this inspiration isn’t entirely surprising.
Thankfully, when it comes to setting, Disney Lorcana diverges from the planar design of MTG. Rather than being set across multiple worlds, Lorcana is instead set in “The Great Illuminary.” As Miller explained to Polygon, “it is a treasury of all the Disney songs and stories ever made — all the characters — and it’s where they’re kind of recorded. The players take on the role of an Illumineer — this powerful sorcerer that can bring these characters to life off the page. [Players will be] bringing a band of their favorite Disney characters together to adventure in this world.”
While Disney’s Lorcana may take time to establish itself as a direct competitor to MTG, it does have some immediate ramifications. Namely, it’s likely that any chance of a Universes Beyond Disney crossover has just been annihilated. This will be a shame to those excited at the possibility of a Star Wars Universes Beyond set. For better or worse, however, Magic may still venture into space and sci-fi tropes in a future set.
While Disney crossovers may be off the table, Universes Beyond still has plenty of compelling crossover opportunities. For instance, Wizards has already announced Warhammer Commander decks, the Tales of Middle-Earth Draft set, and a partnership with Doctor Who. Following these crossover products, Wizards of the Coast has an endless supply of suggestions to work through, so don’t expect Universes Beyond to disappear anytime soon.