Last week, the Pokemon TCG Scarlet & Violet base set product line was finally revealed, and as expected, the entire brand will see a significant price hike. Citing global inflation and supply chain issues, The Pokemon Company has elected to increase the MSRP of everything from individual packs to Elite Trainer Boxes. While it doesn’t come as a surprise, it undoubtedly has some players reevaluating how invested they should be in the TCG going forward.
In what might be one of the smartest PR moves of all time, Ravensburger decided to unveil all of the products for its upcoming trading card game, Disney Lorcana, just days after the Scarlet & Violet reveal. While we don’t yet know any of the prices, it’s clear that Lorcana is hoping to attract Pokemon players by replicating the PTCG product line almost exactly.
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The Disney Lorcana base set, called The First Chapter, will feature over 200 Disney-themed cards. Individual booster packs contain 12 cards, and there are a variety of different bundled products available that come with multiple packs and extras, like deck boxes, tokens, and promo cards. The Illumineer’s Trove contains eight packs, two deck boxes, a storage box, and a players guide, while the Gift Set comes with two promo cards (Mulan and Hades), two oversized promos, tokens, and four booster packs. There will also be a variety of starter decks available, which comes with a pre-constructed 60-card deck so you can get started playing right away.
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These are pretty standard offerings for any trading card game, but it’s impossible to ignore the specific similarities to Pokemon. A 200-card set is inline with the Pokemon average, and while booster packs contain two more cards than a Pokemon pack, it’s worth mentioning that there’s only one kind of pack, unlike Magic which offers four different types of boosters. The Illumineer’s Trove is almost exactly the same thing as Pokemon’s Elite Trainer Box (including coming with more accessories than Magic’s own Bundle boxes, which are incredibly sparse in comparison), and the Starter Decks are just like Pokemon’s battle and theme decks.
I don’t anticipate Lorcana’s gameplay will draw much from Pokemon, considering it’s using a more Magic-esque color system, but Ravensburger was smart to borrow ideas from the Pokemon TCG product line. It’s easy to figure out where to start and what to buy, but there’s enough variety here that both players and collectors have plenty of choices. Things like box set promos and novelty oversized cards are good incentives for collectors, and the Starter Decks make it so much more approachable for kids and new TCG players.
It’s no surprise that Ravensburger would want to target Pokemon players. Not only do they skew younger, they both excel at pulling in an audience that already loves the characters and stories they represent. The Pokemon TCG’s greatest strength is turning plain character models from the games into brilliant works of art. Pokemon cards are marketed to Pokemon appreciators, and it’s clear that Lorcana is taking the same approach with Disney. Whether or not the game is any good still matters, but there’s no doubt Lorcana will be an instant hit based on the art and IP alone, and the simplicity of the product line supports that idea perfectly.
It will be interesting to see if Lorcana can avoid the Pokemon TCG pitfalls. One of the things about Pokemon that frustrates collectors is the insurmountable number of rare cards and chase variants. Hunting for specific cards in packs has become untenable since Pokemon sets swelled to over 200, often with 30 or more secret rare cards, and serious players and collectors often opt to just buy their desired cards in singles these days rather than invest in hundreds of packs. We know Lorcana will feature three tiers of rare cards – rare, super rare, and legendary rare – but what remains to be seen is what kind of investment you’ll need to make to fill out a master set.
In any event, this is a strong start for Disney Lorcana’s first set. There’s just enough collector material and product variety here without overwhelming new players with things to buy, and starter decks will make great gifts for young kids just starting out in the hobby. It’s also worth acknowledging Ravensbuger’s pledge to get product to local game stores a week ahead of big box retailers. It demonstrates a commitment to its core audience of hobbyists and competitive players, as well as support for brick-and-mortar gaming – which needs all the support it can get. Everything we’ve seen indicates that Ravensburger is making all the right moves with Lorcana. August 18 can’t come soon enough.