Welcome to the 2020 Retrospective of Fan Community Spotlight. I started this series back on August of 2019 and it's crazy to think that it's been a full year and a third since I started doing this. Saying 2020 was a crazy year would be the biggest understatement uttered by any human being that has ever lived in the entire history of the world's existence. It was a rough year for all of us on a personal level and the huge amount of events that occurred (too many to count), but it was a good year of Out of Cards and for the games we cover on this website. The news of the fan community this year was pretty huge as well, namely with Demon Hunter being added to the game, which changed the way that people made custom classes entirely after staying the same since the community existed. Compare this to the 2019 Retrospective and you can see how much the world of fan creations has evolved this year. If you were involved in a project found in that year's retrospective, perhaps you might look back at it and see how your design philosophies have changed. Years later, you might end up doing the same thing at this one.
A lot happened this year. There were a total of 31 Fan Community Spotlights this year (including this one). Some of the most notable news include:
- The beginning of the WCDC. We're currently almost done with season 2!
- Demon Hunter, Hearthstone's first class new class since launch. Changes the game for class creators.
- HearthCards reached 10 million cards this year!
Fan Community Spotlight #11 - Linkblade91's "The Trials Within Us"
The first FCS of the year took us to a set called The Trials Within Us, made by Linkblade91 (who would later score an impressive 4 victories during season 1 of the WCDCs). The set is flavorfully themed around The Burdens of Shaohao, and mechanically focuses on specific challenges that each class faces. The set features a new mechanic known as Trials, which are effects that give you a permanent benefit, but they also come with a permanent drawback, giving you a challenge (or a "trial" if you will) to overcome.
Fan Community Spotlight #12 - Phoenix's "Syndicate of the Mourning Sun"
This installment interviewed Phoenixfeather (or simply shortened to "Phoenix") on a set they made known as Syndicate of the Mourning Sun. This is a set about a mysterious crime syndication altering the world behind our backs where each class represents a certain crime. But what's a crime without a Plot? Plot is the new mechanic in this set, in which after you play a card with Plot, it has an effect X turns later.
Fan Community Spotlight #13 - ShadowsOfSense's Core Priest Set
Shortly before the real rework of Priest's Core Set, I had showcased two reworkings of the Priest core set on Fan Community Spotlight. The first of which was made by Hearthstone community manager, and fellow fan-made content curator, ShadowsOfSense. Both of them ultimately attempt to accomplish the same task, but go about doing it in two different ways.
WCDC Season 1 Begins
Having been a much requested feature of the site since its inception, the first season of the WCDCs launched. The first prompt was titled "How to Train Year Dragon", which was themed around using one of the mechanics featured in the Year of the Dragon. The winning card was Cavern Explorer, made by Shivershine, who will forever live in glory as the winner of the first competition.
Card Design Conversation Launches!
Fan Community Spotlight #14 - Clukudurk's "Gunslingers of Westfall"
This expansion takes us to the wild, wild west. This expansion is full of tropes found in various media of the wild west, and fans of the genre will feel a sense of "familiarity" with several of the cards. The set features a new mechanic known as Disguised. Disguised minions are not visible to the opponent until they take or deal damage.
I had ShadowsOfSense take over me for this one as I was involved in the creative process for some of the cards in this expansion, and it wouldn't have felt right for me to interview someone on the expansion's development when I had already experienced it.
Fan Community Spotlight #15 - CheeseEtc's Core Priest Set
2 weeks after Shadows' rework of Priest's Core Set, I interviewed CheeseEtc (or simply "Cheese") on their interpretation of Priest's Core Set. This version varies in quite a way different ways than Shadows' set. Cheese is currently working on a rework of the entire Core Set, which I will be sure to showcase on this series when it's finished.
The set has since been updated since I wrote the article. The cards shown here are from the version of the set from when I interviewed Cheese and some of the set has changed since.
Polygon Leaks Demon Hunter - Hearthstone's First New Class
The guys over at Polygon leaked 19 cards (7 from the Basic set, and 12 from the Initiate set) as seen above (although Battlefiend, Twin Slice, and Glaivebound Adept saw changes since), as well as the name for Ashes of Outland.
Although the announcement of a new class has no direct correlation to FC content, this was a monumental piece of news for people who enjoyed creating their own classes. Previously, the only method was to create the class with the interpretation that it existed from the very start of the game. With an existing precedent now in the game, there is also the method of creating an Initiate set thematically fitting with the first set of the year (also containing cards of that class). Both are now valid methods! One other aspect of Demon Hunter to note is the 1 mana Hero Power when previously all fan-made classes would be required to have a 2 mana one to be consistent with the other classes. The existence of Demon Hunter has significantly changed the game for people who make their own cards in general.
Fan Community Spotlight #16 - Beat's Dragoon Class
This FCS looked at a fan-made class known as the Dragoon class made by Beatdoof (or simply shortened to "Beat"). The class features the new Supremacy keyword, triggering when a card with the keyword kills a minion on your turn (no excess damage required!), and the class is all about... Dragons. Dragons? DRAGONS!!!
Fan Community Spotlight #17 - Zozoth's "Deepsea Imperium"
I interviewed Zozoth for two back-to-back installments on Fan Community Spotlight, focusing on a full year of theirs. Deepsea Imperium is the first set of that year, and takes us under the ocean with the Naga, the water lords, and some Legendary tridents! The set features the Empower keyword, which allows you to spend X extra mana for a bonus. A common keyword design for many custom sets.
Remember the old weapon frames? Dark times indeed.
Fan Community Spotlight #18 - Zozoth's "Crusade of Light"
Fan Community Spotlight #19 - ZardozSpeakz's "Invasion of the Legion"
This installment focused on Invasion of the Legion, a set about The Burning Legion and their trek into the Outlands. If this sounds like Ashes of Outland, that's because this set is essentially Ashes of Outland before Ashes of Outland happened in the game. There are lot of thematic and mechanical similarities between the two sets, and even features Demon Hunters as a special appearance (although not as a 10th class as is what would've happened in the actual game). The set features Burning as a new mechanic, causing something to take 1 damage and activate an additional effect.
Fan Community Spotlight #20 - Demonxz95's Time Traveler Class
The 20th installment of Fan Community Spotlight would feature the tables turning around. While normally I would interview creators on their sets, this time I was the one interviewed for my custom class that I've been continually updating for 3 years now, the Time Traveler. This is a class that (as the name would suggest), is all about time and manipulation thereof. The class features the new Quick-Time mechanic, which activates if you play the card on the same turn it's added to your hand.
Shadows' took over me again for this one, as it would've obviously been very weird to interview myself.
Fan Community Spotlight #21 - RenoLord's "Pirates of Vash'jir"
This installment looked at another aquatic-themed expansion, Pirates of Vash'jir by RenoLord. This expansion is (naturally) about Pirates, and features the return of Patches as a new card. It also features a hero card for Mage, a Legendary weapon for Priest, a Quest for Demon Hunter (being one of the earliest fan-made sets to feature Demon Hunter cards), and the new Sink mechanic.
Fan Community Spotlight #22 - Phoenix's "Ascella Academy"
2 months before Scholomance Academy happened, I interviewed Phoenix for the second time this year on a school-themed set known as Ascella Academy. Just like the real Scholomance Academy expansion, this set is full of several class school tropes, and is given its own unique Hearthstone flavor. Of note here is the new Conjure mechanic, which adds a copy (or copies) of a specified card (or type of card) to your hand, but you lose it at the end of the turn if you don't use it.
Party Planning 101 - Special Competition Celebrating Out of Cards' First Birthday
To celebrate the first birthday of Out of Cards (which was on May 28th of the year), we ran a special birthday-themed side competition (in addition to our regular one) from June 1st to June 7th where competitors made birthday-themed cards. All finalists received 15 days of Out of Cards Premium, and the overall winner received 30 days of Out of Cards Premium and 15 packs of an expansion of their choice. The winning card was 'Ordinary' Present made by KANSAS.
Fan Community Spotlight #23 - MrRhapsody's "Dragonslayers"
This Fan Community Spotlight took a look at a short 39-card mini set known as the Dragonslayers. This set also has a unique formula in that instead of using every class, this set focuses entirely on Hunter, Mage, and Paladin, with some Neutrals in there as well. This set gives those three classes some Dragon synergy in a different fashion than the typical "if you're holding a Dragon" mechanic.
HearthCards Reaches 10 Million Hearthstone Cards Made
We reached a monumental milestone this year of 10 million cards made in HearthCards. To celebrate this milestone, we asked the community to personify themselves as a Hearthstone card and post it. Members who did this received the "Card Designer Enthusiast" profile title. We also found out some very interesting statistics of the total all-time HearthCards gallery.
We also held a special competition to celebrate as well, Written in the Cards. To celebrate the creation of cards, your card must also create a card! The winning card was Yrel, Light of Hope made by Linkblade91.
Fan Community Spotlight #24 - Pokeniner's "Return to Gadgetzan's Streets"
In this installment, we looked at Pokeniner's set, Return to Gadgetzan's Streets. In this set, we returned to the crime-infested streets of Gadgetzan, but it's a little bit different this time around as neither the Grimy Goons, nor the Kabal, nor the Jade Lotus run the streets anymore. Instead, the streets are filled with three new gangs, the Elemental Mining Coalition, The Dragon's Guild, and the Exotic Beast Trade Federation. If you need to learn the gangs, then you'll be delighted to know that Learn is the new keyword in this set which adds a card to your hand from the card's associated gang.
WCDC Season 1 Ends!/Fan Community Spotlight #25 - WCDC Season 1 Recap
After 4 and a half months, the first season of the WCDCs finally came to an end. Above this text are all of the winners from the 20 main competitions that happened. During the course of the season, Party Planning 101 and Written in the Cards also took place. I wrote a special Fan Community Spotlight for it which also goes into finer details of a few things that happened in the season.
Fan Community Spotlight #26 - Linkblade91's Alraune Class
I interviewed Linkblade91 (for the second time this year), on a class of his known as The Alraune. Alraunes are essentially sexy plant women, but for the sake of Hearthstone, the sexuality aspect is not a main focus of the class as designed. Notably, this is the first fan-made class I showcased which does not feature its own fan-made keyword. As an Alraune, you harness the power of nature to face your foes and defend your territory.
Fan Community Spotlight #27 - Neoguli's Core Set Reworks - Part 1 (Warlock and Druid)
Fan Community Spotlight #28 - Neoguli's Core Set Reworks - Part 2 (Paladin and Warrior)
The second of four articles on Neoguli's Core Set reworks focused on Paladin and Warrior. These two are particular notably contain several existing cards that were changed rather than being outright replaced. Coincidentally, the pairing of classes here as well as the next two articles, would be class pairings in Scholomance Academy.
Fan Community Spotlight #29 - Neoguli's Core Set Reworks - Part 3 (Rogue and Mage)
WCDC Season 2 Begins!
After a nearly 2-month long gap, the WCDCs returned for season 2. The first prompt of the season was titled First Day of School, and required us to make a Common 1-Cost class minion for Scholomance. The winning card of the competition was Archwitch's Apprentice designed by Anchorm4n.
Fan Community Spotlight #30 - Neoguli's Core Set Reworks - Part 4 (Demon Hunter and Hunter)
The fourth article in this multi-article installment of the series focused on Neoguli's Core Set reworks of both of the hunters! This one in particular is notably interesting as Demon Hunter does not have a proper Basic or Classic set at the time of writing this article, although they will be receiving one later down the road. In other words, their Basic set is essentially a completely fresh interpretation rather than a reworking of an existing one.
Fan Community Spotlight #31 - The FriendlyEnemy's "The Arcane Arcade"
This FCS focused on a set from a gaming-themed set by TheFriendlyEnemy called The Arcane Arcade. In this set, Whizbang has opened a new arcade in the city of Dalaran and EVERYONE is coming over to get their game on. This set contains a lot of cards that reference several recognizable video games and various gaming tropes. It also features a new mechanic called Streak. Cards with Streak play themselves again on your next turn if you fulfill a specific requirement by then, and you can keep this up as long as you stay in the zone and keep fulfilling that requirement.
Fan Community Spotlight #32 - KingKuba's "Escape from Elwynn"
This installment looked at a set by KingKuba called Escape from Elwynn. This set takes place in the Elwynn Forest, notably inhabited by Hogger who is escaping prison and breaking all of his prison pals out to cause chaos in Stormwind. Escape is the new mechanic in this set where if the top card of your deck has Escape, you can look at it, and pay 1 mana to draw it. Of note here is that this is the first set on this series to introduce a new tribe to the game (in this case, the Gnolls), as well as the first one to have a cinematic trailer. We've also got a Legendary Priest weapon and three Priest Secrets in this set.
Fan Community Spotlight #33 - LutriSpellcaster's "Rafamm vs Explorers 3"
Here, I interviewed LutriSpellcaster (also known as "Meepazor" depending on your communities) on a 49-card mini-set of theirs called Rafaam vs Explorers 3. This set continues after Year of the Dragon, where the League of Explorers are once again setting out to defeat Rafaam on his final scheme.
Fan Community Spotlight #34 - MrRhapsody's "Dawn of the Apocalypse"
This installment covered a set by MrRhapsody called Dawn of the Apocalypse. This set is about the end of the world, specifically capturing a number of different ways the world could hypothetically end (which is then tied into classes), and the Catastrophes that come with it. Catastrophes are spells for each class which come in three different levels (1-Cost, 5-Cost, and 10-Cost) which scale up the higher it costs.
Trick and Treat - Special Hallow's End Comp
During our Oozefest event, we held a special Halloween-themed side comp where all participants would receive Candy to buy items from our shop. This particular comp is unique in that there were actually 3 different prompts that you could use for your card: A card with Echo (or "Repeatable this turn"), a card that transforms something (whether it be itself or something else), or a card that brings back dead minions. The winning card of this competition was Shifting Nethergate designed by MathU.
Fan Community Spotlight #35 - Neoguli's Core Set Reworks - Part 5 (Shaman and Priest)
After a month-long gap between part 4 and this part, I returned to cover the remaining two classes in Neoguli's Core Set reworks, Shaman and Priest, where both classes have seen a bit of a change in their core strengths and weaknesses. The only thing after this is the Neutrals.
Fan Community Spotlight #36 - Pokeniner's "Rise of the Murlocs"
Fan Community Spotlight #37 - Neoguli's Core Set Reworks - Part 6 (Neutrals)
Fan Community Spotlight #38 - Woop's "Stroll into the Wild West"
We head on over to the wild, wild west for a second expansion this year on FCS. This time though, I'm actually in my normal spot conducting the interviews (lmao). The set in question is Stroll into the Wild West. Polish off your cowboy boots and your Colt 45, because you'll be using a lot of bullets this time around for Chamber! Chamber is the new mechanic in this set that gives you a bonus if you play it as the Xth card on your turn.
Fan Community Spotlight #39 - LutriSpellcaster's "Portal to Méa"
The conflicts of the Horde and the Alliance over on Azeroth has gotten so severe that the very existence of Azeroth is at stake. Netherspite and Chronormu are called to create a portal to Méa, a new original land that takes place in the Warcraft universe, but away from Azeroth. This expansion introduces Foresee N as a new mechanic. When you play a card with Foresee, you will look at the top N cards of your deck, and then put them back on top in the same order. Some cards however will allow you to do more with the cards you see than just looking at them. Reborn also appears in this set as well.
Fan Community Spotlight #40 - Community Built Set - "Liftoff!"
For the final regular FCS of this year, we truly went out of this world! This FCS takes on a group project called Liftoff! The project is one that I was part of, and because of that, got ShadowsofSense to fill in for me. A total of 5 people were interviewed. Liftoff is a set themed in outer space full of star-filled cosmic sights and entities. Two different keyworded mechanics are introduced in this set, Launch which is a one-time trigger when a minion attacks, and Observe which looks at 3 cards in your deck within a specified set or parameters and you choose to put one on top.
And on that note, our Christmas comp is still in voting phase, so get out there and vote if you haven't.
I thank you all reading for being part of this journey, and I look forward to what 2021 has to offer. Happy new year, everybody!