After a streak of thematic competitions, a mechanical one returns this week! I think it'll be interesting to compare how much people enjoy these kinds of competitions to thematic ones - after all, we want you all to be as excited to enter as we are.

This week, our Conversation talks about the dos and don'ts of making a Year.

Fresh Meat

Congratulations are in order for the winner of the latest WCDC! Well done to Arkasaur and their Blood in the Water!

We look forward to seeing what they come up with for next week's theme!

Hogging the Spotlight

The latest Fan Community Spotlight turns our attention to the forests of Elwynn, where some dastardly minions are up to Gnoll good - it's KingKuba's "Escape From Elwynn"!

Not only does this expansion feature a brand new tribe and keyword, but it's also the first part of a Hearthstone Year - the Year of the Lion. Having tinkered with the idea of creating a full year's worth of cards in the past myself, I know just how daunting a task it can be; I wish KingKuba the best in their continued efforts!

One thing I learned from designing my own year - and my advice not just to KingKuba but to anyone looking at a large project like this - is that there's a tricky balance that needs to be struck between stringing your expansions together, and keeping them distinct. When I designed mine, I strayed too far into the distinct expansions category, in my mind. There were no cards in later expansions that obviously supported an archetype from a previous one, and no obvious plants in earlier expansions for a mechanic in a later one. I'd designed three (unfinished) expansions, each with their own interesting ideas, but they could have slotted into any year as any expansion.

Equally, you don't necessarily need to go full Year of the Dragon. Don't force yourself to carry storylines and entire mechanics across the year if you think it detracts from the overall experience. Those kinds of year can certainly work - I personally loved the Year of the Dragon's overarching story, and applaud anyone trying to replicate that vision - but it isn't necessary to have a great year. Smaller callbacks, minor hints, lesser mechanical tie-ins - these can all be enough to give everyone the sense of connection a year needs.

Here's the teaser for the full year - see if you can guess where they'll be taking us next!

And of course, I can't leave off without showing off a few of my favourite cards from the expansion either. Make sure you click the link above for the interview and a link to the full set!

Spell It Out

Of course, we end with the WCDC this week! It's time for another spelling lesson, though this one is at least formally taught at Scholomance, so you know it's legit. Click the banner to find out more!