As the night falls and the shadows crawl, we are here again for another Fan Community Spotlight where we've turned the lights out for this one. 2 weeks from now will be the halfway point between Halloween of last year and the Halloween of this year, so it almost feels perfect to look at a set of cards with a darker, more hair-raising tone to it (totally planned it). Today, I've got Shatterstar1998 as my partner in crime to talk about his Detective class. Last time I featured Shatter on this series was nearly a year and a half ago when I showcased his Astromancer class, so it feels really good to see him back on the spotlight. The Fan Community Spotlight, that is (okay, that was a bad joke).
Of note is that this is actually the first class I've covered on this series that utilizes the "Initiate style" founded and populated by Demon Hunter of using a special set to jumpstart the class, as opposed to the "traditional style" of making the class with the interpretation that it existed since the very beginning of the game and making cards for all the previous sets. This class is riddled with several references to famous detectives, detective stories, and authors of such stories. Grab your magnifying glass and keep a sharp eye out, and you may find them.
As a Detective, your base hero is Margaret Christie (a reference to Agatha Christie, an English author known for her detective stories and Miss Marple, one of her characters). While an original character, she has proper lore in the world of Warcraft (pun not intended) of hailing from Gilneas and being of the most renowned detectives across the entire plane of Azeroth.
Your base Hero Power in the class is Detective Training which adds a 0/2 Apprentice to your hand with Taunt that costs 1 mana. Upgraded, it becomes Detective Drilling which adds a 0/4 Apprentice to your hand instead. Both Hero Powers also reveal the Apprentice. This may not seem significant at the moment, particularly because you'd already be able to tell that they have an Apprentice in their hand anyway, but there are a number of ways that this mechanic becomes important later on. Just like Demon Hunter, the Hero Power costs 1 mana which has opened up a lot of potential design space.
But as a detective, there's always trouble and you're always on the case! Case and Solve are new mechanics exclusive to the Detective class. Case cards are spell cards that has a passive effect that is always active until the case is solved when either player fulfills the Solve condition.
Now we know the case, but the cards themselves remain a mystery. Let's take it over to Shatterstar to uncover what lies ahead.
Give us an overview of the class. What does it do good at? Where does it falter? What cards give us the best first view of the class?
Shatterstar: "The Detective is, of course, featuring the fantasy or being a Detective. You can revealing and getting information from you or your opponent's hand, gathering all the seeming insignificant clues and pieces to assemble a powerful combo, or training a mass amount of seemingly ordinary group of Apprentice or sidekicks to inherited your legacy and continue your investigation.
- Revealing cards: Playing as a Detectives mean that you will get into the enemy's business. But the investigation business also require absolute transparency for those evidences to hold up in court. Cards and effects that reveal cards and gain benefit from those effects will be prominent in the class. Note that a card after being revealed to the enemy will kept being revealed, which mean that reveal effect will not land on a card already revealed (which is the main reason why I put that word on the Hero Power).
- 0-Attack and 0-cost cards: Who doesn't love a zero to hero story? Unlike the other classes who require being gifted in some kind of magic or physical prowess, the Detective love their puny 0-Attack minions / Apprentices and 0-cost cards (some minions are even both) and will have prominent synergies to them.
- All for One: The class's main tribal synergy will not just specialize in two or three types, but all of them! Yes, the class's tribal cards will reward you for having as much as possible number of tribal minions in your deck!
- Crimes and Police: Crimes are of course an important part of the career of a detective, but they cannot do everything by themselves without a legal system as well as the police forces (or some equivalent of it in the Warcraft universe). The class will have cards reference both of these in addition to the usual detective work.
- Token spawning: Margaret Christie is famous for talent of training and attracting new recruits. The Hero Power as well as a high amount of cards in the class will allow them to easily hoard and spam out tokens.
- Survivability: Detectives don't get to the bottom of the truth by being easily taken out. The class will have excellent, cost-efficient healing and Taunt.
- Combos: A detective strike when they have all the evidences and can make a case undoubtable. The playstyle of revealing cards and the high amount of cheap, 0 cost cards naturally benefit a combo playstyle. And the class would have the survivability to back it up.
- Card draw and generation: With a Hero Power that generate a very useful token for both the control / combo playstyle and the token playstyle, the class will back it up with a decent amount of draw / tutor options to draw into their win condition / important buffs
- Turn 4-6: Detectives either strike first when the criminals are still at the crime scene or they need time to gather evidences. The class have little to no active play in these mana slot. Their play in these turns are either reactive (weapon, board clear, removal) or leveraging the the token you spawned earlier to help dealing with the opponent. This translate to an inability to play a midrange deck and an extreme weakness in these turn if not played smartly and rationing out your Apprentices
- Disruption effect: Since most important combo pieces you want to put in your deck needed (or heavily encouraged) to actively revealing cards in your hand to your opponent, you will be extra vulnerable to disruption effects. Your opponent will know a good time to play that Dirty Rat or Unseen Saboteur that can potentially destroy your entire combo.
- Amalgam Sidekick showcase the class's fondness for 0-cost cards and a powerful piece to activate your Menagerie synergies
- Self Defense Training is an important buff for class, as well as showcase the class's main board swarming mechanic that focus on 0-cost and 0-Attack minions.
- An Evidence is Announced showcase the class's keyword Case and Solve. The card also give an indication that the revealing card mechanic have pay off and not just flavor for your Hero Power."
What initially gave you the idea to make a Detective class?
Shatterstar: "The class's initial idea is hearing the development plan for the Witchwood expansion (called Murder on the Gilnean Express) originally being based on the novel Murder on the Orient Express, one of my favorite detective piece of fiction of all times. I've been wanting to find the right set of mechanic to bring the fantasy of being a Detective to light. Covid 19 lockdown has giving me more free time than usual to comb through all of my old idea and find which ones work and which ones don't."
This is actually the very first class I've covered that uses the Initiate style (ala Demon Hunter) instead of the traditional style of making every set. Aside from obviously the number of cards, how does your plan for the class change as you use this style?
Shatterstar: "I must say one of the biggest change that this style allow me is to actually put combo pieces in the class. I've been struggling with the old model since the evergreen Basic and Classic set would prove to be problematic on which combo pieces I would put in to ensure the class's viability. You can only put in so many win conditions before they get repetitive years after years. Just look at what happen to Divine Spirit / Inner Fire or Freeze Mage."
Case/Solve is a very flavorful keyword. What gave you the idea to use this mechanic and how do you use it in your class?
Shatterstar: "Case / Solve actually came pretty late in the class's development. My original idea was to have the class's keyword focus solely on revealing cards pay off. But people I harassed ahem sent DM to all agreed that the old keyword is too restricting and monotomous, since all the other class's exclusive keywords (Combo, Choose One, Overload, Outcast) are all pretty generic and allow for multiple applications. I've been licking my wound and shelf the class until I realized that the Secret mechanic is basically the reverse of the class's flavor. So I just reversed the mechanic and put it as the class's exclusive keyword."
Are there any other cards you wish to highlight for any particular reason?
- "Occult Speaker is one of the most important piece for the class's new archetype: Deathrattle Detective. I had some plan to focus on the Deathrattle mechanic for the class since its inception (because Detective, of course, deal with dead body alot) but never find the space or flavor to slot in.
- Whistleblowing and Criminal Reforming are two of the cards I am proudest to make. They are very powerful / useful (but not too much so that expansion cards can't compete with) and filled to the brim with flavor and backstory for my hero and what kind of a person she is."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us?
- "The class was originally called the Reporter. But I ended up changing to the Detective since the name is significantly easier to find artwork for.
- I didn't even know about the existence of the Dresden File until I am searching for a magical detective series for my Scholomance set. Originally the class would have an Outland set, but then I scrapped the Outland set because the Outland set seems tailored made for the introduction of Demon Hunter."
How long have you been making your own cards? What design philosophies do you have that you wish to share and spread to new creators?
Shatterstar: "I started making card for a long time ago. I started with designing cards on Hearthpwn's Weekly card competition for my favorite classes Rogue and Priest, then starting to branching out to other classes and Neutral cards. I participated a couple of big competition on Hearthpwn until I honed my creative skill enough to create the Detective class.
I want to say to new creators is that you have to have a solid idea of what your creation is, be it a mechanic or a flavor. A lot of big competitions I participated in I faltered in the later stages because of the lack of a bigger picture. Weekly Card Design competition is great for practicing this, as you can slot in your mechanic or flavor into already established one by the developers."
Do you have anything else you want to share with us?
Shatterstar: "Finding image for my hero is a pain. From the start I want my hero to be a woman (because there's only 2 base free female hero out of 10 classes) and someone who is older (or else the theme of training Apprentices and the huge number of Cases in the Dossier set wouldn't make sense). And I don't want to make her an elf (since the flavor of Elves in WoW aren't really friendly to the Detective or finding artwork) as well as not a magical hero (since the class is more of a scrappy everyman class like Rogue or Hunter). This is the reason why the class's 1000 win portrait is an alternative version of the hero and not just a "more badass" version of her."
This will be it for this week. We've uncovered quite a few cards here, but I cannot accompany you for the rest of the case, for that is something you'll have to do by yourself. But I can tell you where the rest of it will take place. You can continue on your journey to find out everything about this class by clicking on the banner below.