We've got FCS this week.
At the Battlegrounds.
Obsessed with their strength.
They're about gaining Attack.
To brutalize foes.
There is a threshold.
They reach the magic number.
To reach their peak strength.
Three heroes enter.
But only one takes the gold.
Tonight at the grounds.
Enjoy the haikus?
Are they relevant to this?
The answer is no.
Now we interview.
The man behind the power.
Of this week's showcase.
Best of all, readers.
I can stop speaking haiku.
What a sweet relief.
What is the inspiration for making the Naga tribe? What are some distinct characteristics about the tribe?
Cydoniankinght: "Well this tribe came out of desperation to be honest. When the Quilboars were announced I had a Kobold tribe that I was about 80% of the way through working on. The similarities between the Kobolds and the Quilboars were staggering as they had essentially the same central mechanic (Blood Gems vs Candles) and even some of the supporting minions had nearly identical effects.
I was looking for other races in WoW/Hearthstone that had enough art to make a tribe (roughly 20-25 pieces if you include heroes and hero powers). Nagas, Nerubians and Undead came up as ideas but both the Nerubians and Undead felt pretty route 1, so I went ahead with Nagas.
The main mechanic of the set is the Attack thresholds, which I think is such a cool way to trigger effects, particularly in Battlegrounds where buffing your stuff is the name of the game. The simplest card to demonstrate this is probably the Starving Seahunter, but also Knight of the Conch is such a hilarious flavour idea to me, the fact there’s some slithery Naga who worships a conch just tickles me.
There isn’t just one-time triggers though, we’ve also got cards like the Swamplands Stalker who has a repeatable effect, similar to Captain Flat Tusk of the Quilboar tribe. I also had to make a Naga Witch, where all the numbers are 5 (except the Tavern Tier whoops) so in comes Naga Tide Witch to bring your early game Nagas up to scratch or even trigger a couple of your Attack thresholds instantly.
There is also a very small theme of Golden minions within the tribe. Originally, I had the K&C version of Zola in the tribe, but after some feedback I decided to change her completely for the purposes of Battlegrounds as she was deemed too broken in her original state. The new version allows for some mana-cheating when it comes to tripling your minions, which, depending on your luck could save you zero gold or it could save you like 15 gold. The other minion that follows the Golden theme is the Goldscale Temptress who gives a decent buff to regular minions, but she likes gold more, so golden minions receive a much bigger buff."
We've got another 3 heroes this time. How about you give us a rundown of each one?
Cydonianknight: "Lord Slitherspear is interesting because he doesn’t really interact with my tribe at all mechanically. I basically just wanted to transplant his Heroic Mode boss Hero Power from League of Explorers over to Battlegrounds. It sort of acts like Jade Golems in that you start with a measly 1/1 Naga, but then you get +1/+1 each time so your final Naga could be like a 16/16 (not in today’s meta though, probably a 9/9).
Shalja, is where we start to get to the heroes that synergise with the tribe. She’s all the Nagas could want really, a constant source of Attack gain throughout the whole game, that gets significantly better after 4 uses. Even though she’s weak, I liked the idea of Aranna becoming a Demon Hunter in Battlegrounds, so I did the same flavourwise for Shalja.
Finally, we don’t strictly have a new hero, seeing as Vashj was removed many moons ago but the Hero Power is totally new. She plays like a much more narrow Galakrond but is able to target Nagas in both your board and Bob’s Tavern. She also allows them to retain any stats they gained, which may trigger Attack thresholds if you are lucky enough to pull one. Personally, she’s my favourite of the three heroes, and I honestly don’t know if she’s awful or broken, I’m glad she won’t be middling either way though."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share?
Cydonianknight: "As weird as it sounds, there isn’t just one first step when doing a tribe like this, there’s quite a few to do to hit the ground running. I tend to prioritise art gathering to see if I actually am able to construct the amount of cards I need. Alongside that though, thinking about how the flavour of Nagas would inform the central and side mechanic is pretty key as well. The flavour I settled for was of the Nagas getting hungrier over time until they lash out, hence the Attack thresholds being the ‘lashing out’ point of this hunger.
Another thing to prioritise is, if there are legendary characters within your tribe, which ones are going to be heroes and which ones are going to be cards? I came so close to making Azshara a hero, but since she’s not in Hearthstone yet, I decided to keep her as a big Tier 6 unit instead.
I guess the main takeaway is that, despite being really small projects, don’t underestimate the steps that you have to take. Planning is key and make the important decisions before you actually start making cards, otherwise you might figure out later you either can’t or don’t want to make the set."
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
Cydonianknight: "I have got another project coming, I don’t know when it’s gonna be ready but I’m about halfway through card production at this point. I can reveal it’s not gonna be another Battlegrounds tribe, it will instead be an expansion. As a little teaser of the expansion: The setting is totally original but still on Azeroth, and the cards break rules left, right and centre."
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Until the next one.
When I have another set.
Hope to see you there.