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Disney Lorcana Shift rules explained

The Disney Lorcana Shift mechanic helps you play top-tier TCG cards quickly, but it’s worth checking you know exactly how it works.

Disney Lorcana shift rules - Ravensburger art of Aladdin

If you’ve been playing Disney Lorcana, you’ve likely seen the Lorcana Shift keyword on several cards. Ravensburger has been kind enough to summarize its rules on the trading cards themselves, but sometimes you need more than a handful of words to grasp something. How exactly does Shift work in Disney Lorcana?

We’ve put together a Lorcana rules guide to help you understand Shift a little better. If you need any other explainers before we begin, though, be sure to check out our other tutorials and helping-handers. We can teach you everything from how to play Lorcana online to what Lorcana colors and Lorcana rarity symbols mean.

Here’s the official Disney Lorcana Shift rules:

Disney Lorcana Shift rules - Ravensburger image of two Stitch Lorcana cards

What is Lorcana Shift?

Some Lorcana cards have the ‘Shift’ ability in their text box, followed by a number. This number is the amount of ink you must pay to activate Shift. Do so, and you can play that card on top of any already-played card on your side of the field. The only catch is that both cards (the one on the board and the one in your hand) must have the same name.

This name doesn’t have to be an exact match – only the core name in large text matters. So, for example, you could pay Stitch, Rockstar’s Shift cost and play the card on top of Stitch, Carefree Surfer.

On the surface, Shift sounds fairly simple to use. But Lorcana fans had enough rules questions that Ravensburger had to put out a chunky FAQ on the subject. Here are all those questions answered, and more:

What happens to the card underneath?

Once you Shift a character onto another of the same name, they effectively become the same card. Since you can no longer see the card on the bottom of the pile, its stats and abilities no longer apply. Your new Stitch can’t use the abilities of the old Stitch, for example. Similarly, only the new card’s Strength and Willpower matter.

Disney Lorcana Shift rules - image of a Ravensburger Aurora TCG card being placed on top of another one

What carries over from the old card?

The old card isn’t entirely erased, though. Ravensburger says “any states the previous character had do carry over”. This includes:

  • Damage counters
  • Whether the card was exerted or not
  • Whether the card can quest or challenge
  • Whether the card’s ink has dried (and it can be used that turn)
  • Effects applied by other cards

The new card inherits all of these things from the character it Shifted onto. Immediately taking damage is no fun, but it can be very helpful to Shift onto a card whose ink has already dried.

What happens when one card is removed?

Since both cards have merged into one, they’re both affected by any removal. If one card is banished, the other goes in the banish pile with its partner. Return one card to your hand, and the other comes along for the ride.

What about Just in Time?

Lorcana’s FAQs mention one specific Lorcana card by name – the action card, Just In Time. This allows you to play a character that costs five ink or less for free, and it does interact with Shift mechanics.

According to Ravensburger, “as long as the actual cost of the character is five or less, Just in Time will make the card free to play”. This means that, as long as the normal ink cost of your card is five or under, you can Shift it onto an existing card for free. That’s a free card that, potentially, doesn’t have to wait for its ink to dry.

Can you Shift onto Shifted cards?

It’s perfectly possible to Shift a new card onto a card you previously played with Shift. There aren’t currently too many benefits to doing so, but there may come a game where it’s worth your while.

Disney Lorcana Shift rules - Ravensburger image of two Aladdin Lorcana cards

Why is Lorcana Shift worth using?

The main benefit of the Shift mechanic is speed. The Shift cost of a character is often slightly cheaper than its regular cost, so (as long as you’re willing to ‘lose’ a card you’ve already played) you can get your big hitters on the board much sooner if they’re Shifted.

Shift also lets you bypass conditions like wet ink. Any character action that requires you to exert a card needs dry ink – meaning that card has been on the board since the start of that turn. Shifting onto a character with dry ink means you can start using your new character’s abilities straight away.

For more rules, here’s each of the Lorcana card types explained. We can also keep you up to date with the latest on Lorcana sets – and the most expensive Lorcana cards to watch.