Welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight, where we have got Neoguli here for the third time (making him the first person to appear on this series three times) discuss another part of his core set reworks in part 3 of this multi-article installment. This time, we've got Rogue and Mage are our classes to focus on.
What cards did you cut and why?
Neoguli: "There are a total of 11 cards cut for Rogue and 7 for Mage, so it would be grueling to explain each card removed. Most felt bad or didn't fit into my strengths or weaknesses. But I can delve into some choices.
Rogue had so many underpowered, but also meta-defining cards for such a long time that other cards were restrained in how Blizzard can approach the creation of them. Edwin VanCleef is the biggest victim of this design limiting constraint, as you can't ever print too many cheap cards to not make him an oppressive minion in the early game. Preparation held a grip over the other side of design, where Blizzard couldn't really make powerful, high-cost spells due to the card's existence.
Some other cards for Rogue who may have not sucked as much design space, but also got into so many decks time and time again, such as SI:7 Agent, were also cut.
Mage has a good set overall, but it still needed some updating. Archmage Antonidas is no longer needed though, because Cost Reduction has been nerfed in the set and also set as something that should appear sparingly in Mage. Same could be said about Mana Wyrm."
Let's talk about the cards you made yourself for these classes.
Neoguli: "Simple Kill serves as a simple tool to destroy minions. It also adds card draw. It may be already powercreeping Assassinate, which is in the Basic set, but I'm fine with that. It was one of few cards I made as the part of the aftermath of my Rogue changes, because I consider it to be the worst rework.
Ruthless Tracker fills the hole left by rotating Edwin. This card is much healthier, as it only goes down in Cost instead of going up in stats.
Hail of Blades gives Rogue a bit more AoE. If you use Combo, you have now created yourself a Meteor.
Voracity adds card draw again, but it also adds consistency for your Combo cards, as you fetch them and already get their bonus effects.
Shadow Poison is my least favorite card of these, as I personally feel it limits design space by adding the copy of your weapon. But people say it's alright, so I may be exaggerating.
Storm of Ashes is a simple removal spell.
Frosty Fausting is a reference to a series of tournaments in the FGC scene, and the card itself promotes drawing cards to hold enemies. Note that it won't freeze already frozen enemies.
Magna Aegwynn can be considered a different Mana Cyclone, because she is more expensive, but adds all the spells you played instead of generating random ones, giving you some level of consistency. One of my favorite combos with her is with Ray of Frost."
One thing in particular that caught my eye were the new artworks for Water Elemental and Frost Nova. How did these come to be?
Neoguli: "I wanted to change their arts to match the artstyle Hearthstone has gone towards over the years. Frost Nova can stay the same, but my art caught my eye. Aside from it's art change, it also got more expensive, but got some card draw. And Water Elemental just looks more cartoonish, which fits the PEGI 7+ bill."
The change to Sorcerer's Apprentice is most notable as it completely destroys OTK Mage decks. Was that the main plan behind the change?
Neoguli: "Let's be honest that Sorcerer's Apprentice has proven to be disgusting over the years, especially by being part of one of the most corrosive decks to ever exist - Open the Waygate Mage. Even in Standard, a lot of you will still remember how oppressive Cyclone Mage was in Rise of Shadows.
I was initially trying to find a card to replace her, but I knew that HoF'ing her would still leave Wild players to deal with little abomination, so I changed her. She's no longer the main catalyst behind long chains of spell combos, but she's now an evergreen 1-drop for Tempo Mage, capable of giving you the ability to have a strong turn 1 play by playing her alongside a cheap spell like Mirror Image."
What identity were you going for with both classes?
Neoguli: "I changed Rogue to further embrace their selfish nature by making minions of their weaknesses. Rogues have been historically very strong when they had great early game minions. It also has less cost reduction overall to free up design space.
Mage stayed relatively the same, with cost reductions also being less prevalent. I guess it's been a bit of a trend for my reworks to reduce that effect to prevent massive, uninteractive combo chains. It's also a bit more vulnerable to early minion aggression due to my change to Frost Nova. But it's got some new tools, especially in card generation through Apexis Smuggler and Aegwynn."
And that would wrap it up for part 3 of Neoguli's core set reworks. Check out his Rogue and Mage core set and tell us what you think. Next time we do this, we'll be looking at hunters, both the normal and the demon variety.