Hello riuh'eor ng welcome l' ehyeahog fan community spotlight. Today, c''ve got mrrhapsody llll c' ephaii ep last being llll fahf series little ep 2 y'or'nanahh mgepyarog, mgng h' llll ah c' ephaii l' yog ai mgepnah class, shapeshifter. Hnahh ah already ahazath ye'bthnk Iiahe c' notice, like fahf text
Pardon me, it seems that the Shapeshifter has even managed to scramble around my introductory statement. Today, we've got MrRhapsody back with us again. Doesn't feel like long since he was last here, right? He was last featured on the series a little under 2 months ago to talk about Rock in Azeroth, a heavy metal themed custom expansion. We're back this time to talk about a new custom class, the Shapeshifter. This class uses the Initiate-style format, but rather than launching with the first set of the current year at the time of creation or a completely new fan-made expansion, this class would launch in The Witchwood. This creates an interesting change in design. How would you imagine a new class if it was introduced in an existing expansion (likely the first set of the year)?
As a Shapeshifer, your base hero is Nayda Darklight. Or at least, that's what we call her. As she can change her appearance to anything on a whim, no one knows her real form or her name. For all we know, that could be changing as well. Her ultimate goal in life is to become an Old God. I'm not exactly sure what that job would entail, but clearly she's passionate about it.
Your base Hero Power is Change Form which will transform a friendly minion into a 2/2 Shade. Might seem a bit situational on base level, but it works in conjunction with another mechanic we will be showcasing shortly. When upgraded, it becomes Mighty Morphing which results in giving you a 3/3 Shade instead of a 2/2 one and it also has the side-effect of giving everyone an unfightable urge to sing the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme song whenever they read its name.
To go with the fact that we have a transforming Hero Power and a main character that transforms, we have a new keyworded mechanic that works with our ability to transform. Morph is a minion-specific keyword and cards with it will activate a special ability after it is transformed.
In addition to Morph, we also have two other unique mechanics in the class. Costless cards and "Form" cards.
Costless cards are cards that initially start with a question mark as their Cost. They can't be played while their Cost is in its question mark state, but this Cost can be set to a number by playing specific cards that affect Costless cards. "Form" cards are non-Legendary hero cards that work like regular hero cards in that they grant you Armor, a new Hero Power and have a special effect when played. Unlike the traditional Legendary hero cards, the form you assume from "Form" cards are temporary and you will revert to your normal form after you lose all of your Armor.
Now it's time to get into the interview before the entire article shapeshifts. The clock on your device you're using to read this article has already changed shape by 2 or 3 minutes in the time it took for you to read this opening section.
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?
MrRhapsody: "The Shapeshifter is a class specialized in form manipulation in general, their abilities are alternated version of shifting traits of all classes and races, like the ability to change the form of other being from mages and shamans and the abilities to change their own form like Dragons, Faceless and Druids do.
The main theme of the class is transformations, and their exclusive Keyword, Morph, was created to make that clear, it triggers after the minion transforms (Ex: Formless Caller), and the class has a lot of ways to make it trigger, like the Hero Power, or Novice Shifter for example.
A powerful Shapeshifter can shape everything to their liking, like their minions, their form, and even their opponent's cards. Thanks to those traits, they excel at putting pressure by transforming their minions into bigger threats with cards like Gósh-toçu and Frenzied Transformation, disrupting the opponent's plan with their Randomorph and Dogmorph, destroying the opponent's minions without dealing damage with Unstable Morpher and Turn to Dust, and even adapt to any situation thanks to their Shapeless cards and Forms, like the Shapeless Tome and the Dragon Form.
But on the other hand, they are very bad at dealing area damage and generating resources like Priests and Mages. They also struggle a bit to finish games, draw cards and reach the late game, but they can manage to do so if they build their deck around those strategies, and they usually do so by using the unique (and quite controversial) Form and Costless mechanic."
What initially gave you the idea to make a Shapeshifter class, as well as the specific new mechanics that are at play here?
MrRhapsody: "The idea came from a random brainstorm a had a long time ago, when I was messing with the idea of making a custom class. My main option was to make a Nightblade class, who was a half Mage half Rogue who fought using secrets and tricks, but the thing is, Mage and Rogue already do that, so I ended up scrapping the class. But I was still tempted to make a class specialized in tricks, confusion, infiltration and clean death, and when I was planning the last cards of the Rock in Azeroth expansion, I've randomly decided to make a class and some cards around that concept, and then I ended up with 1/3 of the Shapeshifter's cards done in one day out of instinct. Drakonic Mistress and Faceless Destroyer was one of the first cards.
And now, a "quick" summary of the mechanics of the class.
Let's start with Morph, the keyword was created mostly to add more flavor to the class and to make the Hero Power not useless in the late game. The first cards created with this mechanic was Drakonic Mistress and Sneaky Morpher.
Then we have the Shapeless cards, who change their form each turn in your hand, and was created to improve the versatile side of the class and to add even more flavor to it. But as we're all aware, cards with this mechanic like Shifter Zerus and Shifting Scroll sucks hard, so in order to make Shapeless cards "playable", I've made them transform into very specific cards who'll make an impact on the game, the main example of this is the Shapeless Tome and the Shapeless Snack.
And now we have the polemic Forms, who are non legendaries temporary hero cards, who lasts until you lose your Armor, but can be extended if you managed to save some Armor from a previous form. The story of this mechanic is quite funny, the idea came from the combination of two factors, the first one was a scrapped card from my future expansion, who was a Neutral hero Card who only lasted until you lose the Armor (or your Mana in some versions). Even though I've liked the concept, that shit was IMPOSSIBLE to balance, so the card was scrapped, but the concept was stored. The other factor was a joke article posted here about a fake leak of the last expansion of the year of the dragon made by Shadows. In this fake set called War of the Dark, the main attractive was the shitload of non legendaries hero cards in it, and while it was just a joke, I was looking at it and wondering "… Why not?", and by combining those two factors, I've created the Epic Dragon Form, the Rare Murloc form and the Common Water Form (the last two got replaced by Rock Form and Sword Form).
For last, we have the most controversial mechanic of the class, the Costless cards. I don't quite remember how I got into that mechanic, all I remember is that I wanted to make mana manipulation a theme of the class, like in that Tavern Brawl where the cards swapped costs each turn, and after some brainstorm I ended up with the Costless mechanic, cards who cost around 4.5 Mana who can only be played if another card puts a cost on it. Although the mechanic is quite "hipster", I think it ended adding a lot of uniqueness and identity to the class, something that I don't think Demon Hunter truly has. The main core of the Costless archetype is Newborn Faceless, Possessed Spellcaster, Dark Neophite, Faceless Goliath and Shadow Drake."
Were these mechanics designed first and the rest of the class around that, or were they made to go with what was already built?
MrRhapsody: "We can say that both statements are true. At the start of the creation, I was focusing in making the cards and use some of their abilities to create the themes, flavors and archetypes of the class, the mechanics were "shaped" (eh?) alongside the first 1/3 of the cards created. So the first 1/3 cards who first used the mechanics and supported the archetypes was created alongside them, and the other others 2/3 were created around the mechanics and archetypes (Morph, Forms, Shapeless, Costless, Taunt, Dragons, Handbuffs, etc.)"
Are there any other cards you wish to point out for any reason?
MrRhapsody: "There are some cards I wanted to showcase and discuss here, but I'm afraid this is getting too long, so I'll just say that my favorite cards who didn't get mentioned is Power Surger, Bioengineer Shululu, Suspicious Statue, Krul and Lika, and Barrens Infiltrator."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us, or perhaps a sneak peak of what's next to come?
MrRhapsody: "Behind the scenes, I can say that Rastakhan's Rumble and Scholomance took half of the design process, those sets and the Atom Form card were a pain in the ass to create and balance. And about sneak peaks, regarding the Shapeshifter class? I'm afraid there's not…BUT! Regarding the Year of the Wolf, I'm proud to say that the second expansion is on the oven, I have half of the Warlock, Hunter, Rogue and Warrior sets complete, here's some spoiler free cards. I'll try to finish it before Elden Ring comes out, or I might not finish it at all XD."
Do you have anything else you want to share with us?
MrRhapsody: "I wasn't planning to update the class with future expansion's, but the creation process in general was so easy, quick and fun that I might reconsider. And about the Year of the Wolf, I got some feedback regarding power level on the last set (specially some harsher ones on the Custom Hearthstone Discord), and want to say that I understood that I exaggerated a bit, three years of playing only Wild kinda messed with my power level perception a bit, I'll try to lower the power level of the cards down for the next one while still making them interesting and worth "playing". That is all, thanks for the spotlight, and thank you for reading, I'll be back before January 21 (I hope…)."
And now we have arrived at the end. If what you see of the class in the article looks interesting to you, then you can check out the entire class by clicking the banner below. Hurry and click it before it changes shape! Just like this series will be doing in the next installment. *cue fading into shadowy mist*