Hello everyone, and welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight. While Legends of Runeterra is still in the process of revealing cards for its fourth set, and we're still waiting on word for the Hearthstone mini-set to be attached to Madness at the Darkmoon Faire, I've got another set here to talk about. Not an official one, but one that should hopefully satiate the desire for new cards at least a little bit.
Today, we've got LutriSpellcaster here for the second time on this series to talk about a new expansion with 145 cards (making this the largest set covered on this series at the time of writing), Portal to Méa. I'm actually not sure if the font used in the thumbnail of these articles can support accent marks or not, so, uh, here's to hoping it can. Of note here is that while does set does have influence from canonical WoW lore, it creates its own world outside of Azeroth and its own lore out of what exists. Although this project was largely made by LutriSpellcaster solo, there are a few other names attached to this project. This article however will only interview LutriSpellcaster. If you're familiar with the game Faeria (which I admittedly am not), then you might recognize some of the artwork in this set as well.
This set contains a new keyword in the form of Foresee N. When you play a card with Foresee, you will look at the top N cards of your deck, and then put them in the same order. Although this is not the first time this effect has appeared on a set in this series, it is the first time that the effect has been made into a keyword and used as a main mechanical theme of an expansion. Reborn also makes appearances in this set as well.
And now it's time for the interview.
What exactly is this set about?
LutriSpellcaster: "Azeroth has long been in a great war between two major factions, the Horde and the Alliance. In recent years things have escalated to where many in Azeroth can no longer survive. They call upon Netherspite and Chronormu to create a portal to a new land, away from the conflict. That is where they find Méa. A land rich with wildlife and resources, where the water gives many soothsaying powers."
One notable aspect of this set is the creation of the land of Méa. What went into the worldbuilding when you were creating this new location?
LutriSpellcaster: "I'm not someone who know's WoW lore very well at all, but I did have this amazing dump of art from Faeria, so thought I should create a new land away from Azeroth to put the art I had to full use. The worldbuilding was rather simple from the art I had at hand, lots of Tiki people (like that of Tiki Tribesman among others), beasts, elementals and general towns."
Where does the Foresee mechanic come from?
LutriSpellcaster: "The Foresee mechanic actually came from someone (I honestly can't remember who) reviewing a card with the "Look at the top three cards of your deck" idea. They stated that the effect has been used to death, but there are many ways to add extra things onto it to make it more interesting. This inspired the creation of the mechanic. One example they gave was the inspiration for Anthagra's ability."
Of note is the return of Reborn in this set? What's the significance here?
LutriSpellcaster: "I love Reborn and Dormant as mechanics, they're so versatile with a lot of great flavour. Reborn in particular is a mechanic that works so well with other existing hearthstone concepts and so if I were to make any expansion specific mechanic evergreen it would be reborn. I did intially intend to have a few more cards with the mechanic, but Captain of the Guard ended up being one of only very few, which I guess is something that happens with evergreen mechanics made since 2014."
An interesting mechanic is the interaction with Basic minions. How did this come into fruition?
LutriSpellcaster: "Basic minions kind of comes with the flavour of bringing Azeroth to Mea and so forcing players to use Basic minions in their deck really brings that flavour across. It wasn't in the first draft and only actually happened because of Netherspite, a very new card to the set. After making the legendary dragon, I realised that the basic set really is as bad as everyone else makes it out to be, so to support it I made some other boring neutral cards more interesting by adding to the mechanic. Dragon Stallion is a good example as it used to just be a 6/6/5 Rush."
There are quite a few creative designs in this set? What are your favorite cards here?
LutriSpellcaster: "My favourite card that I've ever made is Barren-Sky Vulture. A simple, flavourful card made for aggro decks that care about board presence. It can't be played in a deck that just goes face, you have to really put it in the right one. Other highlights for me are Eyeris, All Seeing, one of the first I made for the expansion and Savanna Explorer, my personal favourite Foresee card."
Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?
LutriSpellcaster: "This was my first expansion and was made not long after I joined the chs discord. I started it in March of this year and technically finished it in three weeks. However, after a few months of looking back on it, I found that a lot of the designs didn't quite match up with what I wanted the quality to be, and there weren't enough cards that I was really happy with. So in this last month or two I changed some cards, with some classes getting a complete rehaul and added Demon Hunter (hence why it's 145 not 135).
Again, I'd like to thank the many people who helped me to get here, especially during the first draft. Steli, Wassculaire, Spaceturtle and Aflag are but naming a few."
We have made it to the end. This is just a small taste of the full 145 card. If you want to explore the rest of Méa, then visit the expansion thread which contains all of the cards. Let us know what you think of the set in the comments below, and I'll see you all in the next one.