Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's... a dragon!
Hello everybody. We're taking it to the skies this time for Fan Community Spotlight where we are looking at a dragon-focused class. No, it's not Beat's Dragoon Class for the third time (though that will probably happen at some point next year). Instead, we have a new dragon class joining the fray of fan-made classes. This week, we took a look at the Scaleborn class created by BasilAnguis. So, if you didn't know this yet, dragons are indeed born with scales. After all, it's right there in the name.
This class uses the Initiate-style format, containing what is called the "Scion Set" which acts as the equivalent to DH's Initiate Set. The class is still in early development, and only the Scion and Basic sets are finished at the moment, and the set this class would come out does not appear to be given out yet, but this is still a very interesting project that you should check out. Just like the previous class featured on this series, the Tactician, this class does not contain its own class-exclusive keyword. Instead, this position appears to be stood in by a "Heritage" mechanic which is explained down below.
As a Scaleborn, your base hero is Jor Rosk. Jor is a Scaleborn, which in terms of the class's lore, is a person of draconic heritage and possesses a deep internal understanding and affinity for dragons. And from this bit of lore alone, it sounds like Basil has been playing a lot of Skyrim lately. Is Jor Rosk secretly supposed to be the Dragonborn?
Your base Hero Power is Draconic Heritage, a 1-mana Hero Power that adds one of 5 random "Heritage" cards to your hand. Heritage cards are uncollectible 1-mana spells which each give the next minion you play this game a different keyword. These effects stack with multiple Heritage cards played, and the minion is not limited to being played on the same turn as the Heritage cards. The Heritage cards are not referred to as such by name, but multiple cards in the class have synergy with this set of cards. No upgraded Hero Power is given, though it can be assumed that it would add two random Heritage cards to your hand instead of just one.
As mentioned before, there is no new keyword for the set. The Heritage cards effectively act as a stand-in for this position given that they are roughly as relevant to the class as a class keyword would be. Now that we know a little bit about the Scaleborn class though, it's time to talk to Basil to get a deeper understanding of the class and found out how exactly it got to where it is right now.
Give us an overview of the class. What does it do good at? Where does it falter? Which cards give us the best first view of the class?
BasilAnguis: "The Scaleborn is mainly a class about board control. Fighting to keep your stuff alive and kill the enemy minions as effectively as possible, but through direct combat mostly. No constant board clears like Priest or Warlock have. To achieve this fantasy, the main focus of the class is attacking with minions. It can generate both large boards of small stuff, and a few big sticky minions, and attacking with them has synergy with your cards. Egg Clutch, Heat of Battle and Protective Mother are examples of attack synergy. They also show a core theme of the class: family. A Scaleborn is born of dragons, and inherits some of their powers. This flavor is ingrained in the class identity, playing with the idea of Heritages and ancestry. Other notable strengths of the class are card draw, versatility and sustain through lifesteal.
Weaknesses come mainly from RNG. Hero power does not guarantee any Heritage, you cannot reliably get lifesteal or poisonous over and over. The Heritages also cost mana, you must play them in advance. Board clears are another low point. Besides the legendary, they are rather weak in damage and need you to have a wide board already. Scaleborn is not a control class, and the late game lacks high threats. No direct finisher either.
Some cards that showcase the class i believe are Rival Sibling, Yara and Balgruf and Heat of Battle."
How long have you been making your own cards?
BasilAnguis: "I have participated in weekly comps for... i think 4 or 5 years now. Started on Hearthpwn, continued here."
What initially gave you the idea to make a Scaleborn class?
BasilAnguis: "I like making classes the most, i find it way more interesting than single prompt cards. I started making this class in preparation for future Custom Class Competitions, to have something to start with. As for the class theme itself, i just love dragons. I'm a fan of anthropomorphic animals, made 2 other classes based on lizards and rats so now it's time for dragons to shine!
Dragons in Hearthstone have always been top heavy, big legendaries or control oriented. I wanted something more dynamic, more ferocious. Took inspiration from demon hunter's small minion cards with all the 1/1 illidaries with rush, but i though "what if they are dragons instead?"
The family theme came more from trying to find something unique. Dragon classes have been done before, i needed some flavor. With some inspiration from Skyrim and Pathfinder's draconic bloodline, i found the idea."
Are there any other cards you wish to point out for any reason?
BasilAnguis: "Yes, so many haha. But i'll refrain myself from showing the whole set.
My favorite card by far is Chromatic Breath. Works perfectly with the class fantasy, foreshadows Chromatus the Perfect as a card and allows for great decision making, giving you a tool for any situation.
Family Squabble is another one which i am proud of. You can use it both like a variant of Ramming Speed (by playing it before you attack with anything, 2 enemy minions smash together) or as a pseudo Windfury (by attacking with a minion once then playing it, your minion smashes the last enemy minion that attacked). It forces the enemy to think what order they should attack with.
Finally, Family Fortune. The bigger your family the richer you are right? Using Heritages on a 0 attack minion may seem weird but give it Divine Shield and Taunt and it becomes a decent defender."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us, or perhaps a sneak peak of what's next to come?
BasilAnguis: "Well, sadly, right now no. Trying to find ideas how Scaleborns might fit into the Barrens or the Core set."
What design philosophies do you have that you wish to share and spread to new creators?
BasilAnguis: "Hearthstone style is not the end all be all standard for custom cards! I am so tired of people saying "this art doesn't fit Hearthstone" or "this class doesn't have warcraft elements". It's custom, it can be whatever you want it to be! i don't like it that people restrain themselves to the cartoony child friendly aesthetic of Hearthstone. I understand it for one of cards like we do in weekly comps, but in bigger ones like custom classes or expansions, the sky is the limit, not the edges of the Warcraft universe!"
Do you have anything else you want to share with us?
BasilAnguis: "Be kind, and peaceful with each other. Whether in game or in real life.
Also, when are big comps coming to Out of Cards? :D"
We have reached our destination and the dragon has landed. You are now at the end of this week's Fan Community Spotlight and we have landed at the banner which you can click to check out more of the class if what you see here interests you.