Hello everybody, and welcome to another Fan Community Spotlight. As we all know at this point, Forged in the Barrens will be releasing with a brand new Core set which will rotate cards in and out every year made up of some old favorites from the past and some brand new cards.

In response to this announcement, it was only natural that people would try to make their own Core sets too. I've showcased some Core sets on this series before, two Priest ones and one of the entire Basic and Classic set which was split up into 6 articles. This time, we're looking at an entire Core set designed until the parameters and mindset of the new Core set which differs from the old version. Today, I've got Cydonianknight with me to talk about their interpretation of what this year's Core set should be. This entire Core set will actually be covered in this one article as it is grouped up and made quite a bit differently than the old Core sets.

So, let us ride with Cydonianknight through the veins of history and see how they made this Core set for the future.

This wouldn't be an FCS without a few of your own cards. What was your thought process behind each of them?

Cydonianknight: "Well, I knew going into the making of this core set that I would only make about 3 cards, all being Rogue secret-based cards. My first thought usually is to create cards around the art I find online and after searching ‘WoW Rogue Art’, I found these three art pieces which just drew me in and I designed from there. As it’s a core set, I felt the cards needed to be relatively simplistic and play off of common Rogue themes in Hearthstone. Hiding Place was the first one I made, I like secrets that make you and your opponent think about positioning. Which minions do you most want to have Stealth and additional Attack and conversely for your opponent.

Patient Stab was next and I started with the secret destroying a random undamaged enemy minion, but that felt way overtuned for 2 Mana. I decided that 5 damage felt like the right place to scale it back to but obviously, it’s all theory on whether that’s still too powerful or not. Surprise Attacker was the last one and this was just a simple case of fairly derivative card design. I wanted something that felt familiar and very like Rogues, then I came across a card called Parachute Brigand and worked from there until I got the wording right."

The fact there's only 3 custom cards in this Core set is very unusual. What was this decision based off of?

Cydonianknight: "Yeah it is a bit weird having not created much at all of this myself I must admit. I went for this approach because I felt that a lot of what I wanted to cover in this core set had been printed before, so there wasn’t really a compelling reason to design loads of entirely new cards when I basically have this treasure trove of past cards to pull from.

However, one thing I did want to bring to this core set is secret support for Rogue in Standard. The last time Rogue secrets were in rotation (Kobolds & Catacombs) they were bereft of support or synergies and I was honestly quite annoyed by that. So following some discussions in the comments of the Core Set prediction article a couple days ago, I figured the best route to go for Rogue secret support in Standard was by creating a couple new secrets and synergies considering Cheat Death may have been problematic with Shadowjeweler Hanar and Sudden Betrayal is just a bit boring in my opinion. I did end up bringing back Evasion though, which I do really like thematically as a card."

Evasion Card Image

What new identities are you trying to push with this new Core set?

Cydonianknight: "With a fairly limited number of cards, I initially struggled to find the right combinations of cards to form cohesive identities for each class. Early on in the day, Priest ended up with a set that leaned way too heavily into the shadow theme so I scaled that back a bit and brought in a few more light-themed cards like Holy Champion and Light of the Naaru. The classes I would say I’m most happy with how they turned out are ones where I ended up with 2 or 3 very clearly defined archetypes within them. Out of them all I’d say Paladin with the Divine Shield, SHR and Secret synergies and Shaman with the Totem, Elemental and Spell/Overload strategies are particular favourites of mine."

Holy Champion Card ImageLight of the Naaru Card Image

Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share?

Cydonianknight: "Interestingly, at one point there were more Journey to Un’Goro cards than Basic and Classic cards. It is one of my favourite expansions but it did start to feel like an overbearing presence in the core set. There still is quite a large JtU presence in the set, but honestly cards like Tar Creeper, Kalimos, Primal Lord, and Shadow Visions are some of my favourites of all time so they had to be included from my perspective."

Tar Creeper Card ImageKalimos, Primal Lord Card ImageShadow Visions Card Image

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

Cydonianknight: "I have a couple of design philosophies that I try to stick to. I haven’t published a proper custom Hearthstone set before but I’ve made plenty of cards in private (I might update and share one of these projects in the future). One of these philosophies is that classes should not have weaknesses, they should instead just have strengths and limitations. A class should be able to do quite a few things really well, and then some others slightly worse but it should never be left completely without a certain tool. For instance, I am massively against having card draw as a class weakness, therefore I tried to ensure all classes had at least one playable way to draw cards either through their own cards, or the neutral set.

I also kind of have a “Chekhov’s Gun” approach to card sets, where you should be able to make a decent case for why every single card in the set would see play in at least one viable deck. I do like a good meme-card now and again, but I don’t necessarily believe that a core set is the best place to put one."

Do you have anything else you wish to share?

Cydonianknight: "Honestly, this was really fun to make. There’s a lot of consideration for synergies and putting old cards into a new context that makes for a challenging thought exercise. I obviously only worked with knowledge of the Year of the Phoenix cards, and not the ones coming in the Year of the Gryphon. Super excited to see the rest of the actual core set and Forged in the Barrens and see if I possibly got anything correct!"

Here we are at the end. This was a shorter installment than usual, but it's still a VERY interesting one to talk about. This is of course just a tiny fraction of the whole Core set. If you want to see the entire 235-card Core set, click the banner below and let us know what you think in the comments.