Hello everybody and welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight. This week, we're surveying the land and making a plan as we've got GrandInquisitor to talk about his Tactician class. While I have covered a class called the "Tactician" before, the two classes share very little in common and are only similar in name. Can't make the same plans every time after all. Gotta make sure no one expects the grand inquisition.

Just like the class we looked at last week, Shatterstar1998's Detective class, this is another class that utilizes the Initiate-style format. This class would be introduced along with Forged in the Barrens, or in other words, very recently. After all, when there's a conflict, planning your method of attack is key. The class will definitely be receiving updates for future sets meaning that I will likely revisit this class for another interview when more sets are out. If you play Legends of Runeterra, you may also recognize quite a few pieces of art used in this class.

All the information about the class can be found in the following links (which all lead to Imgur folders)

The Tactician

As a Tactician, your base hero is Lor'themar Theron, whom in World of Warcraft is the Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas kingdom and the ruler of the Blood Elf race all across Azeroth. The line that Blood Knight exclaims when he attacks, "For Lor'themar" refers to him.

Your base Hero Power is Conscription which doesn't do anything right away, but it will summon a 2/2 Sunreaver at the start of your next turn (although it won't be able to attack until the turn after that). When upgraded, it becomes Deployment which summons the 2/2 Sunreaver as soon as you press the button. The Sunreaver token can also be found on a number of cards in the class.

This class notably lacks a class-exclusive keyword. Although this isn't the first class I've covered to lack a keyword, this is a stark contrast to most custom classes in general which tend to have one.

And now it's time to talk to GrandInquisitor about the plan!

Give us an overview of the class. What is it do good at? Where does it falter? What cards give us the best preview of the class?

GrandInquisitor: "Tacticians survey the battlefield, and command large armies to strike the opponent and protect the back lines. While they cannot always single out an enemy to clear, they can use the resources available to them to sweep the battlefield and fortify their defenses.

This would be a class introduced alongside the Year of the Gryphon, following the Demon Hunter Initiate model from Year of the Phoenix. The main strengths of this class are its card draw (e.g. Quartermaster), its AoE (e.g. Scorched Earth), and its ability to consistently summon and buff minions (e.g. Skirmish, Ranger General Sylvanas). The main thing the class lacks is card generation and hard removal: what you build your deck with is what you get, and the best way to clear single minions is through Rush minions or some other form of damage based removal (e.g. Calculated Strike)."

How long have you been making your own cards?

GrandInquisitor: "I’ve been consistently making my own custom cards for fun since around when The Witchwood was released. I made cards before then during KnC, but that was mostly just my take on nerf suggestions and one misguided attempt at Freeze Shaman support. As far as my proper Custom Hearthstone career, I joined the r/CHS Discord around April 2019 and have since been working steadily to improve my knowledge of both card design and game design as a whole."

What initially gave you the idea to make a Tactician class?

GrandInquisitor: "Well the building blocks for Tactician actually came from another class I designed for another card game called Spellsource, which is a sort of open-source CCG made in collaboration with some other CHS people. It was called Rebel and it was built around being an Armor class (like Warrior or Druid) with potential for both aggro and control gameplay. Some cards like Scrounging Cadet and Recuperate were actually directly ported from Spellsource. Also with the release of Legends of Runeterra, I had a lot of good military art to work with from the Demacia and Noxus regions.

As far as the formation of the Hearthstone class, it was a reflection of taking what I’d learned through the CHS Discord and Spellsource and applying it using proper HS mechanics and flavor. The flavor is an emphasis on the military forces of the blood elves like the Sunreavers and the Farstriders, with the most notable commander Lor’themar Theron taking the helm as the Basic Hero. Mechanically it returns some not-often-used mechanics from HS’ past like the Paragon of Light effect with cards like Sunreaver Bloodhawk and a twist on the “take less damage” cards like Moonfang with something like Stalwart General."

This class notably has no class-exclusive keyword like most fan-made classes do. How does this affect the design process of the class?

GrandInquisitor: "Class keywords are a hard concept for me to design because it’s very challenging to think of a mechanic that A) hasn’t been done before on CHS, B) creates good and rewarding gameplay, and C) creates a fun design space for me to play with. A lot of custom keyword ideas I would want for this class had already been done better either by CHS people (e.g. Beat’s Supremacy) or by other card games (e.g. LoR’s Tough), though I did incorporate the latter into my class unkeyworded.

Instead, I decided to focus on a variety of mechanics that would make the class feel more unique, such as the aforementioned return of the Paragon of Light mechanic, and most notably with the starting Hero Power. The HP went through a number of design iterations, with one of the first ones I settled on being a togglable passive that would provide a position-based buff on your side of the board (e.g. your center-most minion has +1/+2). However this proved to be just way too much to work with for one basic HP, so eventually I settled on the current delayed summon effect; still a unique iteration of the usual summon HP and provided both good flavor (reinforcements don’t always come immediately) and good mechanical synergy with things like the aforementioned Sylvanas."

Are there any other cards you wish to point out for any reason?

GrandInquisitor: "Since this class was designed to be added alongside the Year of the Gryphon, allow me to introduce the backstory for my Mercenary: Lolina Roselight!

Lolina Roselight was once a renowned Silvermoon Tactician who, after assisting the Shattered Sun Offensive in defeating Kael'thas in Tempest Keep, retired from military life to run a caravansary out in the Barrens. However, her business had been failing due to reduced traffic following the Night of Falling Stars. Days later, she was visited by a mysterious troll named Kazakus. He knew of her reputation, and wanted her knowledge of the land and her strategic skills to help find some of the fallen shards, all for a more-than-modest paycheck. With her livelihood on the line, she and her caravans search the Barrens for the shards, all while questioning why Kazakus is willing to pay so much for them..."

Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us, or perhaps a sneak peak of what's next to come?

GrandInquisitor: "All I can say is I’ve got some good groundwork for some different archetypes this Standard year and I’m looking forward to introducing more support and payoffs for these archetypes. Also, stay tuned to see how Lolina’s character arc is resolved by the end of the Mercenary Saga!"

What design philosophies do you have that you wish to share and spread to new creators?

GrandInquisitor: "The big thing I can give to new designers is “Don’t be afraid to make overpowered cards.” Oftentimes I’ll see people making deliberately underpowered cards because they’re worried that they will break something, or that by making something powerful they will receive harsh criticism for it. I strongly assert that it is better, and often easier, to start with an overpowered/overtuned card and work back on the balance, than it is to bring an underpowered card up to standard. And of course, you cannot please everyone: just because you receive one piece of criticism does not mean that you must cater the card to a point where everyone will be happy with it, because that point will never be reached. Take the advice of others into consideration, but don’t let the opinions of others be the sole driving force for you and your designs."

Do you have anything else you want to share with us?

GrandInquisitor: "I believe a custom set is never truly 100% finished, so I’m open to feedback on the balance or design of each of my cards. I mostly hang out on the CHS Discord so if you have any feedback or ideas for future archetypes for the class, let me know over in the #custom-sets channel!"

And that's a wrap for this week. What did you think about the class, and are you excited to see more of it? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out the entire class found in these three links.