Out of Cards just celebrated its second birthday two days ago, and we're still feeling the effects of party mode. What's a party without some music? A pretty lame one, I'll tell you that. That's why, during the Out of Cards birthday celebration, we've got a music-themed set. Music-themed sets are not a wholly unfounded concept for a custom expansion (in fact, one of the very first FCS's I ever made was a music set), but all the existing music-themed sets that exist tend to use multiple different music types and assign them by class. This set is different than all of the other music-themed sets out there in that it only focuses on one genre of music. It's time to start headbanging, turn the amps up to infinity, and throw the devil horns as we listen to some heavy metal!
The set that we are looking at for this week is Rock in Azeroth, which is a set entirely themed around heavy metal music. Each class represents a different subgenre of heavy metal. If you're unfamiliar with heavy metal, then you may be surprised at how diverse the genre actually is. This set was created by MrRhapsody, whom has been featured on this series twice before.
This set is actually a first on this series for several different aspects. This is the first set to feature its own Battle Pass, which gives players access to three new skins for Illidan and Malfurion, one new skin for Thrall, a custom Coin for the set, and a Diamond Kai'han, the Hallow.
In a hypothetical reality where this set actually existed, the set can be pre-ordered to receive 85 total packs of the set (80 normal and 5 Golden), a random Golden Legendary, a new card back, a random Golden Legendary, Battlegrounds perks, and a new Warlock hero named Mattheus Darkreign with art drawn by MrRhapsody. While this is not the first set I've covered to contain a pre-order bundle, it is the first to go fully in-depth with the idea with all the normal bells and whistles that come with pre-ordering a real set. It is also the first set to contain its own designs for the card packs and the card back.
In addition, this is also the first expansion on this series to contain its own mini-set attached to it. The set is 173 cards in total which actually makes it the largest set covered on this series so far other than the Core set reworks. If you notice two different watermarks of cards used in this article, then this is why. Cards with a Single Bar Note watermark are part of the main set, and cards with a G Clef Note watermark are part of the mini-set. This is also the first expansion on this series to contain its own Battlegrounds content containing 5 new Battlegrounds heroes and 1 card from this expansion entering the game mode.
The set contains two new keywords, Solo and Band Members. Minions with Solo will trigger a special effect at the end of your turn if you control no other minions (or in other words, are going solo). Band Members are a set of 2-Cost minions which are all 2 mana 2/3s that contain two keywords.
Now a lot of readers probably feel a bit overloaded with information at the moment, and I honestly don't blame you. The amount of effort put into this project cannot be put into words without doing it the proper justice that it deserves. The entire project took upwards of 5 months for MrRhapsody to complete and there's not exactly any signs of stopping as this is actually the first expansion of a whole custom year, the Year of the Wolf.
As the set is themed around heavy metal, there will naturally be a lot of references to the genre as a whole. If you're a metalhead yourself (like I am), then you'll be sure to crack a smile at how many references are made in the set. If you look at the whole set (which you absolutely must do), then a fun game to play might be to look through the entire set and see how many references you get.
Okay, NOW we're finally at the end of the introduction. Now is where we hand it off to MrRhapsody to talk about how this giant project came into fruition.
What exactly is this set about? What is the inspiration for the set theme?
MrRhapsody: "Rock in Azeroth is a custom set heavily inspired by Heavy Metal music and its sub-genres, like Power Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, etc. There's two new keywords: Solo (Ex: Yngwie the Swift, Novice Guitarist, Spirit Chusher) and Band Member (Ex: Show Opener, Mus'taine, the Vengeful). Also a "new" , mechanic which is Stages, spells that casts their effects at the start of your next (X) turns, (Ex: Headbanger's Stage and Fiery Stage). The main inspiration for the set was another custom set, The Arcane Arcade, a expansion inspired by the video-game universe. A bit after I finished my last set, Dawn of the Apocalypse, I was kinda done with custom cards in general, it was to much work and even then it ended up with mistakes, but then I was taking a look at the Arcane Arcade and I thought: "What if I make something like it, but in a Heavy Metal installment instead?" so I secretly started making custom cards again for my expansion during late November, but I also decided that it shouldn't be just another set, it should be something I could use to improve myself somehow so the work doesn't feel meaningless, like writting, drawing, design, etc. That's where I decided to make all the extra content, like flavour text, card art, logo,etc."
You've got quite a few rockin' new mechanics here. How did you get inspired to make them and to use them in the ways that you did?
MrRhapsody: "The main keyword, Solo, was a no brainer to me, it came naturally as breathing, contradicting what I said last time about " the community already thought of everything", I guess I was trying too hard to be inovate and forgot the simple nature of the game. It initially worked as a "conditional battlecry", like Combo or Choose One, but it got changed to a end of turn effect very early on the process, a remnant of this Solo version is Spiteful Guitarist. Band Members though, have a more insteresting story. It was a Warlock only thing at the start, and they were used as sacrifices for bonuses by cards like Dunkel Mistress and Virg Varkerness. For those who don't know, Virg was named after Varg Vikerness ( which I'm by no means a fan of the person nor their music), the founder of the Black Metal band Burzum who killed one of his band members…for real. I thought it would be interesting to interpreted that case in the Warlock cards, since sacrifices are one their themes, but I founded the Band Members cool enough to be a main thing of the expansion. And stages are just the "Spell Stone", "Studies" or "Dormant Demons" of the expansion, nothing too fancy."
This is the first expansion I'm showcasing with a mini-set attached to it. How does this change the normal design protocol for designing sets?
MrRhapsody: "It changes quite a lot, for the better, in my opinion, custom mini-set shouldn't follow the same purpose of the official mini-sets, which are shaking the meta and bring back mechanics, custom mini-sets should be like" The nice cards who couldn't be fitted into the main thing because of the 145 cards limits". That's what I had in mind when I was making the mini-set along side the main expansion, fitting the interesting cards without caring about the 145 cards limit and push archetypes a little more, and post it right away instead of wait a month or so to not lose relevance. I welcome you and every set makers to try it once, it's a pretty freeing experience. There's some other curiosites about the mini-set, I'll share them in a while."
One particular card I want to call attention to is The Sparkfender. Do you have any interesting stories regarding the development of this card?
MrRhapsody: "The Sparkfender is a neutral legendary weapon created to represent a guitar in the game, each durability represents a string, and since a lot of the spells of the set are named after a song, each time you cast a spell drawn by it, it's like you're playing guitar inside Hearthstone! And when the "strings" breaks, you break the guitar on the floor and everyone applauds, very flavourful right? The reason I created The Sparkfender was because I thought that the neutral set was a bit boring, and looking at older custom expansions, I noticed that people are pretty open minded about their cards, Secrets for Priest, Weapons for Mage, etc. And then I've decided to make a neutral weapon and spell, which is The Sparkfender and the Stage of Legends."
Are there any other cards you wish to showcase for any reason?
MrRhapsody: "there's some, let's talk about them:
-First there's my baby, Mattheus Darkreign, whose card art was made by me, and is supposed to be the opposite of Warlock's main theme (Black Metal, which I personally hate)
- The mini-set wasn't supposed to have class legendaries, it all changed with Andrematos, which was named after Andre Matos, one of my favorite Metal vocalist and former member of a band called, gues what? SHAMAN! He was a very good singer, who lefted his main band, Angra, due to some disagreements with his band members. Sadly, he was overtaken by stress and anxiety, and died due to a Heart Attack at the age of 47. This is a tribute card based on one of his most famous songs: Fairy Tail.
-There's also Evil Papagali, I love that card, it was supposed to be a Demon with the same artwork, but since no one would get the reference, I turned it into a Beast. Are you curious why? Search Massacration - Evil papagali on Youtube and you'll find out, just keep in mind that it's a song comedy song which is singed in, lets say, "Portuglish"
- And for last, Judas Priest, I waited years to make that pun, and that was the perfect time!"
Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?
MrRhapsody: "Rogue and Mage switched themes in the middle of the process
- After the switch, Mage was the only class to have a "At the start of your next (X) turns" mechanics, with Paul Me'under and Fiery Stage, but I thought that the Fiery Stage mechanic was interesting enough to be given to some other classes, thats were the Stages came from.
-Night Priestess Tarja inicially was a 8 mana 6/7 Solo: Deal damage to all enemy minions equal to the Health you've restored this turn. But when Xyrella got revealed, I got pissed and changed the text completly. It's was just too much coincidence: Priest card, Legendary, Draenei, Female, Converts Healing into damage, come on!
-Druid was a pain to design, their original theme was Wisps, but it got completly changed when I made a new version of Drai'man the Disturbed."
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
MrRhapsody: "There's a lot more content on the main thread of the expansion, I HIGHLY recomend everyone to take a lot at the whole thing. Also, two more things, first a spolier for my next expansion, what could it be? And between now and my next expansion I'll show you all my first custom Class! (which is not tied to the Year of the Wolf) Here's a card. "It deals damage equal to the cost, but it is COSTLESS! What the hell is going on? How do I play it", you'll find out soon, until there, thank you and everyone for the attention, see ya'll in a few months."
Just like a typical metal song, it's long and totally rockin' from start to finish, but we've made it to the end of the article. If you're still in the mood for some more string-shredding, stick-breaking, voice-cracking mayhem, then be sure to check out the entire set in the banner below and let us know what you think in the comments.