Welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight, where the League of Explorers and Rafaam clash once again. We've got LutriSpellcaster (who might be better known as "Meepazor" depending on your environment) here for a 49-card mini set (the title says 48, but it is actually 49) called Rafaam vs Explorers 3, continuing where Year of the Dragon leaves off. No good or evil classes this time around. The set has no new mechanics, and is instead an expansion based mainly around the idea of the story (that is the best way I can describe it).

Let's see where Lutri takes us on this journey with the League.

What exactly is this mini-set about?

LutriSpellcaster: "This mini-set is continuation of the story left off in the Year of the Dragon. Rafaam [Final Scheme] is using armies of mechs, dragons and murlocs as a final attempt to take over Azeroth as the other ways didn’t work for him. In the adventure that would come with this you’d follow the League of Explorers as they try to fight them off. Each class is either assigned a minion type or is on the side of the League."

How long have you been making your own cards?

LutriSpellcaster: "I have been making cards seriously since December 2019 when I joined the discord. Although I had been making custom mtg cards for about a year before that."

Was the idea to bring Rafaam and the League back again to continue off of where Year of the Dragon ended off, or simply because they're some of the most popular Hearthstone-original characters in the franchise? Or is it perhaps something else entirely?

LutriSpellcaster: "Actually the idea was I wanted to make a set in 24 hours, so asked some people in the discord for set suggestions and then posted the first draft of this ~20 hours later. I believe it was Arigh who suggested this particular set. The first card was Ladybird Mark Two and the last was Bronze Skyrazor which was finalised a week later."

What important changes are worth noting when you make a mini-set as opposed to a full-size one?

LutriSpellcaster: "Often with large sets the three main issues are keeping inspiration, creating enough interesting cards and art. With a mini-set its a lot easier to make the cards in a shorter time frame while keeping them interesting. Also, it’s a lot easier to find a 48-card set full of art than 135. Smaller sets also allow you to make more interesting cards at lower rarities, because in a smaller set each card does need to be cooler to warrant its inclusion."

Are there any other cards you wish to showcase for any reason?

LutriSpellcaster: "I think my favourite card from the set is Pure Dragonfire with the implicit requirement of needing to control a dragon to cast it. It also combos well with Crystal Dragon as the spell would effectively have lifesteal. Also the art on the spell is really cool."

Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?

LutriSpellcaster: "The main thing behind the scenes was the fact that the first draft was made in 12 hours making it the second set I’ve made in less than a day. The other, however, sucked and so cannot be found anywhere."

What design philosophies do you have? What advice do you wish to spread to future creators?

LutriSpellcaster: "The main design philosophy I feel more people should embrace is just because the design space is there, it doesn’t mean you have to fill it (looking at the plethora of “perfect card” and “librams” that you see people making). Make your own design space, if someone says you can’t do something, challenge them. Stand behind your card even if it breaks some conventional rules (or struggles with mobile UI)."

Do you have anything else you wish to share?

LutriSpellcaster: "Just that nearly all of the art was made for Fan Art Competitions run by Hearthstone artist Anton Zemskov and the various artists can be found on the Imgur in my original post."

That's just a small taste of the set, so be sure to check the full set for more awesome cards! Let us know what you think in the comments, and I'll see you next time.