Welcome to the 2021 Retrospective of Fan Community Spotlight. On the final Sunday of every year, I make an article recapping what happened on this series, competitions, and other significant milestones that happened. This year in Hearthstone was pretty significant for us. Being a very popular thing to theorize among FC designers, we received our first all-new Core set this year. Some card designs added to the game this year were also extremely significant pieces of news for people in the FC community, most notably Goliath, Sneed's Masterpiece and Wildheart Guff.
Including this one, we had a total of 40 Fan Community Spotlight articles (which is 9 more than last year). Notably, I managed to go through 26 consecutive weeks with a new year from FCS's 45-70. We also featured non-Hearthstone sets on the series for the first time, and even some new territory entirely from a custom game mode and a concept for an entire new game.
Fan Community Spotlight #42 - Frostivus' "A Boy And His Yeti" Custom Freljord Set
The first FCS of the year took was a special first as it wasn't focused on Hearthstone, but rather on Legends of Runeterra. This is a tiny Runeterra set made by Frostivus, a veteran of the custom Hearthstone scene. It only contains 18 cards, all of which are Frejlord, and follows the adventures of Nunu and Willump.
Fan Community Spotlight #43 - Topandito's Custom Takes on Poppy, Tristana, Ahri, and Sion
The second FCS after that was amazingly, the second Runeterra one in a row after the first one ever. This article is Topandito's take on cards for Poppy, Tristana, Ahri, and Sion. Poppy, Tristana, and Sion would later be added to the actual game this year in the set "Beyond the Bandlewood", and Ahri would be added in "Magic Misadventures".
WCDC Season 2 Ends!/Fan Community Spotlight #44 - Hearthstone Card Design Competition Season 2 Recap
Having begun back in August of 2020, the second season of our Hearthstone WCDCs concluded at the beginning of the year after 20 weeks of competitions.
Fan Community Spotlight #45 - LutriSpellcaster's "Founding of Karatoa" Custom Mini Set
This installment looked at a 53-Card Mini Set titled "Founding of Karatoa" created by LutriSpellcaster, although some people may know him better by the name of "Meepazor". The set notably uses the concept of tagged spells a few months before Forged in the Barrens would add them to the game (and thus, uses the minion tag design at the bottom instead of the spell tag design as the latter did not exist yet). While historically a popular concept for fan-made cards prior to Forged in the Barrens, this execution differs from previous existing interpretations of the concept as it uses the minion types as opposed to a spell of spell-specific ones.
Fan Community Spotlight #46 - DrNoOne's Custom Lich Class
This was the first installment of the year to center around a custom class, this being a Lich class created by DrNoOne. Dark and sinister, this class utilizes not one but two class-exclusive keywords: Phylactery and Blight. Phylactery is a weapon-specific keyword which functions as items to hold which have a specific Health value, which gets increased whenever a minion dies and can be spent as a resource for card effects. Blight is a mechanic that makes damage dealt by cards with it to reduce the maximum Health of whatever it damages.
Fan Community Spotlight #47 - Zozoth's "Maiden Voyage of the Exodar" Custom Set
Fan Community Spotlight #48 - Beat's Custom Dragoon Class II
Fan Community Spotlight #49 - Cydonianknight's Custom Core Set
With Hearthstone announcing its new revamped Core set at the time, several people would try to create their own ideal version of the Core set. This one was made by Cydonianknight, and this installment actually covers the entire Core set as opposed to previous installments which would only cover parts of it at a time. Only 3 entirely new cards appear in this Core set (shown above).
Fan Community Spotlight #50 - DeadlyTCG's Shurima Set: Part 1 (Main Set)
WCDC Season 3 Begins!
Season 3 of our Hearthstone Card Design Competitions initiated with the Colorful Casting competitions, which required us to make a card that synergized with a spell school. The competition was won by DestroyerR with Multi-Talent Magician.
Fan Community Spotlight #51 - Cydonianknight's Custom Treant Tribe for Battlegrounds
Fan Community Spotlight #52 - CheeseEtc's Custom Core Set
Fan Community Spotlight #53 - DeadlyTCG's Shurima Set: Part 2 (Extras)
This is a continuation of the Shurima set from 3 weeks prior, also by DeadlyTCG. Though not necessarily part of the main set covered then, the cards here feature all of the same mechanics as if they were part of the main set. This one features another new faction, The Void (as seen on Rek'sai above) and a few new mechanics.
Fan Community Spotlight #54 - Cydonianknight's Custom Ogre Tribe for Battlegrounds
The second of three custom Battlegrounds tribes made by Cydonianknight to be featured this year was the Ogre tribe. This tribe focuses on the failed Overkill mechanic from Rastakhan's Rumble, placed into an environment where it can be used more effectively. Also featured here is the theme of your Tavern Tier.
Fan Community Spotlight #55 - Shatterstar1998's Custom Detective Class
Grab out your magnifying glass because we've got some detective work to do in this installment. Here, we looked at a Detective class from Shatterstar1998. This class features the Case and Solve mechanic. Case cards are spell cards that remain active until the Solve condition is fulfilled. Some other key parts of the class include revealing cards, 0-Attack and 0-Cost synergies, multi-tribe support, and many more.
Fan Community Spotlight #56 - GrandInquisitor's Custom Tactician Class
Fan Community Spotlight #57 - Coolboypai's "Tomb of the Forgotten" Custom Set
This installment deviated from the usual coverings by looking at a very old set. Tomb of the Forgotten is a set that was made all the way back in 2016. The occasion for this would be the person responsible for the set is Coolboypai, whom is one of the most notable names in the custom Hearthstone scene and has been running the r/CustomHearthstone subreddit for 6 years. It's easy to forget how long Hearthstone has been around and seeing old projects like this can take you back to a time where things were a bit different.
Fan Community Spotlight #58 - RadioInactive "Scrapyard Showdown" Custom Set
Fan Community Spotlight #59 - Neoguli's Custom Witch Doctor Class
Here is an installment in which we took a look a Witch Doctor class, which was made by Neoguli. The Witch Doctor class has some things which are pretty cool, notably the Link mechanic which "links" two characters together and the two "linked" characters share effects. The card design takes some cues specifically from Shaman and Priest, using lots of voodoo magic. There's a lot of neat things to look at which is why you should look at this Witch Doctor class.
Fan Community Spotlight #60 - Cydonianknight's Custom Naga Tribe for Battlegrounds
Our third of three Battlegrounds tribes by Cydonianknight this year takes us to some aquatic territory as we take a look at the Naga tribe which focuses on growing stronger and stronger, and gleaming themselves with the touch of King Midas.
Oh yeah, and the intro is written entirely in haikus.
Fan Community Spotlight #61 - MrRhapsody's "Rock in Azeroth" Custom Set
Grab those amps, pick up those instruments, go on a tour and rock the world to shreds! For this installment, we took a look at MrRhapsody's set called "Rock in Azeroth", a set themed around heavy metal music and contains a medley of new mechanics. Solo is a minion-specific keyword that triggers at the end of your turn if the minion with Solo in question is the only one you control, and Band Members are a set of 2/2 Lackey-esque tokens that each do different things and synergize with certain cards.
The set also features a lot of things that are to this day, still yet to feature in any other installment: Its own Battle Pass, unique Coin, pre-order deal, and a Diamond card from the set.
Fan Community Spotlight #62 - Hearthphone, a Custom Expansion Created Through a "Telephone" Game
This installment looked at a set designed unlike anything before it. The "Hearthphone" set is a set designed by a total of 44 people consisting of 13 teams of 3 people and then a separate group of 5 whom were in charge of beginning the set. The 13 teams then each took turns designing cards for the competition, being told to make cards that follow specific guidelines and they could only see the cards made by the previous team as reference. A total of 6 people, all of them from different teams, appear in the interview.
The ending result is a set that, in addition to not having a proper name, has a very different feel than a set designed in the typical way. The set features the Inquiry keyword which is an effect with several different variations and has an effect that activates after playing a card of a specific type.
Fan Community Spotlight #63 - GunspireGunnerKass's Custom Core Set
This is another installment that focuses on a custom Core set, but this one is designed very differently than many other custom Core sets as this one is designed with future expansions in mind in the same vein as the Core set for Year of the Gryphon. This Core set notably makes a lot of design choices that other Core sets do not such as having a second Legendary card for each class, and adjusting the overall rarity adjudication of the entire set. It notably would also introduce multi-targeting through Mak'gora, a concept long challenged until finally being introduced into the game this year with Goliath, Sneed's Masterpiece.
Fan Community Spotlight #64 - Frostivus' "Aletta's Kitchen" Custom Game Mode
Taking a huge departure from what is normally covered on this series, this installment took a look at Aletta's Kitchen, a fully playable custom game mode for Hearthstone (and possibly the first one ever to reach a playable status) leaded by Frostivus. The game is playable through a website or through the mode's Discord server. While both of them are still up and functional, development of the game mode has been dormant for several months and we may never end up seeing another update again.
Fan Community Spotlight #65 - BasilAnguis's Custom Scaleborn Class
Fan Community Spotlight #66 - FenrirWulf's "Honor in Vainglory" Custom Set
Fan Community Spotlight #67 - Lokao's "Movie Night in Booty Bay" Custom Set
Lights! Camera! Action!
We're heading to the movies for this installment as we look at Lokao's set, Movie Night in Booty Bay. This is a set where every class is themed after a specific movie genre and the set as a whole is filled with various film tropes and references.
The set also contains the Script & Scene mechanic which function as Sidequests attached to a minion. A minion will have a Script (a task) and a Scene (the reward for completing the aforementioned task)
Fan Community Spotlight #68 - GrandInquisitor's "The Draenor Experience" Custom Set
For this installment, we're heading out to Draenor for a grand inquisition. The set in question is The Draenor Experience made by GrandInquisitor, whom also made the Tactician class we showed off a little less than 3 months before this set. Just like that class, this set lacks a custom keyword. Instead, what it brings is a new Wonder card type (using the "Location" HearthCards border) and the new Plant minion type. Wonders are cards which alter the very battlefield itself, lasting for 3 turns. Plants are a minion type which specialize in playing multiple Plants in the same turn or giving special bonuses to all future Plants you play for the rest of the game.
Fan Community Spotlight #69 - MrRhapsody's Custom Shapeshifter Class
The next class we looked at this year came was The Shapeshifter from MrRhapsody. The Shapeshifter is a class that specializes in changing the shapes of things, so expect a lot of transformation effects. This plays perfectly into the Morph mechanic which triggers an ability after a minion with Morph transforms.
WCDC Season 3 Ends/Fan Community Spotlight #70 - Hearthstone Weekly Card Design Competition Recap
Beginning in the middle of March of the year, season 3 of the WCDCs ends after 20 weeks of competitions. This article in particularly is also littered with interesting statistics about the event.
Fan Community Spotlight #71 - Grondaia's "HS Factor" Custom Set
Have you got talent? Grondaia's got the talent for making cards in this set, HS Factor. This is a set that is themed after talent show competition series. But what's a talent competition without... talent? That happens to be the keyword for the set which uses the fairly common "Sidequest on a minion" design.
My talent was that I somehow managed to go 26 consecutive weeks with a new installment until I got to this one.
Fan Community Spotlight #72 - Banterbox's "A Tale Untold" Custom Set
This installment takes a look at Banterbox's set, A Tale Untold. This set is a tribute to the Year of the Dragon, featuring many returning characters and overarching thematics from that year. It also features two new keywords, Trade and Devote. Cards with Trade will give you a card in exchange for giving up another cards. Devote is a special mechanic found on one Legendary minion per class, giving you a new Hero Power while you control that minion.
Fan Community Spotlight #73 - LutriSpellcaster's "Rise of Endwhere" Custom Set
We've got quite the story on our hands here. This is a set made by LutriSpellcaster/Meepazor set on Endwhere, an Azerothian city that has been lost to time only to rise once again. The set contains the new Power mechanic found on a set of weapons which allow you to target a minion for an effect and then it loses 1 Durability. Also featured here are the 5 Neutral Story cards, each of them progressing over multiple turns with new effects each phase.
Fan Community Spotlight #74 - Neoguli's "Cyber Zone" Custom Card Game
In a major deviation from what is normally covered on the series, here we have a completely custom card game! This is a project made by Neoguli titled "Cyber Zone" which aims to tie a bunch of elements from some popular game games, but completely flips the table with lots of influence from the Tower Defense genre of games.
Fan Community Spotlight #75 - Ramanujoke's Custom Wild Set
Here we have a full set of cards designed for Wild mode by Ramanujoke. This set doesn't use the same standard set structure and instead retroactively adds a bunch of different cards to Wild expansions. Commonly featured here are evergreen mechanics featured in sets before they were introduced, set-specific mechanics features outside of their set, and multi-class cards outside of Scholomance and also not using the pairings found there. If you know me, you know that I would normally be opposed to such deviations, but they are presented here in an environment that makes them seem completely believable.
WCDC Season 4 Begins
Season 4 of our Weekly Card Design Competitions kicked us off with Welcome Back Party, a competition that required us to make a Brewfest-themed cards. The competition was won by Neoguli with the card, Kabal Bartender.
Fan Community Spotlight #76 - Demonxz95's "Azeroth World Tour" Custom Set
We've been going at it for a long time, so that's why we're taking a vacation. We've won a stay at a relaxing resort and full trip across Azeroth in this set. Azeroth World Tour is an unfinished set of mine that features two new card types: Location cards, which are pretty standard custom card type among the community and works exactly how other incantations of the mechanic do, and Hero Power cards (using the "Backpack" card template) which are cards that replace your Hero Power for a set number of uses (found in the purple circle in the bottom-right).
Spirits of Competition - Special Hallow's End Comp
As part of Oozefest 2, we ran a special Hallow's End competition in which all participants would receive Candy for competing, with finalists and the winner receiving additional amounts. There were three different prompts that participants could tackle, Run Away (design a card which returns a minion to its owner's hand or deck), Over My Dead Body (design a card that interacts with Deathrattles), and Trick or Treat? (design a card that gives your opponent something harmful). The competition was won by Jump Scare designed by MrRhapsody.
Fan Community Spotlight #77 - Zozoth's Old God Mercenaries
It was Halloween when this installment came out, so it's only fitting for me to have a set of cards with some spooky thematics, and in the realm of Azeroth, the Old Gods are definitely up there. This is a significant installment as it's the first one to cover a piece of content for Mercenaries and quite possible the first piece of fan-made content for the mode of any type of large scale.
Goliath, Sneed's Masterpiece Revealed - Multi-Targeting Is Officially In The Game!
November 1st saw the reveal of Goliath, Sneed's Masterpiece for part of the The Deadmines mini-set. Although not directly related to any piece of FC content, this reveal was an extremely significant moment for card creators. After several years of being both supported and challenged by card creators, multi-targeting was finally implemented into the game with this game opening a new wave of design space.
Fan Community Spotlight #78 - Mr.Stupid's "High Seas of Kul'Tiras" Custom Set
We're setting off to the high seas for Mr.Stupid's nautical-themed expansion, High Seas of Kul'Tiras featuring an array of aquatic Beasts, Elementals, and of course, groups of Pirates. Also featured here is the Tide mechanic which changes the forms of cards in your hand as the tides ebb and flow. It also incidentally happens to have some semblance of a vacation theme similar to my set, Azeroth World Tour from only a few weeks before this.
Fan Community Spotlight #79 - Henlo & Psyclone's "Shahao's Sha-kedown" Custom Set
For this installment, we're off to the lands of Pandaria. More specifically, the Timeless Isles in which the August Celestials reside for "Shahao's Sha-kedown", a collaborative project made by Henlo and Psyclone. While Pandaran-themed sets have been a staple idea of fan-made Hearthstone sets ever since the concept of fan-made sets had even existed, they always manage to feel very different from each other while still using many of the same thematic elements, and this set is no exception. The Awaken mechanic is a take on the typical Sidequest mechanic, spun on its head by the fact that either player can complete the requirement but the reward will always be for the controller of the Awaken card.
Fan Community Spotlight #80 - VexMagic's Custom Illusionist Class
Come one, come all for a show of prestidigitation! This installment takes a look at The Illusionist, a work-in-progress class created by VexMagic. Although the class is still fairly early in development, it's a class that is definitely worth checking out. Featured in the class is the Encore mechanic which is a bonus effect if you've played a card with the same Cost as itself at some point during the game. This entire text is all but an illusion, so if you're able to read it, you must be some sort of magician.
At the time this article goes live, our Winter Veil competition is still running. The submission period is closed, but the voting stage is still running.