Have you been stressed recently? Perhaps it's time to take up some time to meditate. Today on Fan Community Spotlight is a time where we do exactly that. We will be meditating and harmonizing with Pokeniner's Monk class. Having started up Skyrim again recently, I've done some meditating on the words of power with Paarthurnax, so this is weirdly fitting timing. But from one fantasy franchise to another, the Monk is an iconic Warcraft race characterized for its fighting style, usage of Chi energy, and their brewing abilities among several other aspects. Does learning the ways of the Monk include improving your alcohol tolerance? I certainly hope so.
Despite the fact that the question of adding a Monk class to the game has been a question widely asked for essentially the entirety of Hearthstone's lifespan (even more so when Demon Hunter was added to the game in Ashes of Outland), and as a result has been one of the most archetypal classes for card makers to build, this is actually the first time the class has been featured on the series in the entirety I've been doing it (though one of my very first FCS's featured what is essentially a Monk class in spirit, it does not refer to it as Monk by name).
As a Monk, your base hero is Lorewalker Cho. Weirdly enough, this makes it the second class on this series in a row to feature a character with their own Legendary card from the game's launch. Using Chen Stormstout as your hero for Monk is perfectly acceptable, but very predictable so this may be a refreshing deviation for some. Although Lorewalker Cho has historically been used for the silliness between friends, we can, just like Gelbin Mekkatorque, do the character some more justice.
Your base Hero Power is Effuse (ignore the Common rarity gem), which is a unique Hero Power in that it does nothing on its own and instead requires you to use it a certain amount of times to get a larger effect. I thought I saw every Hero Power design before, but there is evidently more room to play around with than I anticipated. Upgraded, it becomes Radiate drawing an extra card per trigger.
Unlike most custom classes, this one doesn't feature its own class-specific mechanic. If you've wanted to create a class of your own but hit a roadblock when you couldn't think of a good keyword, then let this be a lesson that you don't need one to make a good class. After all, only 4 of the 10 classes in the game feature their own keyword. Something that tends to be common with custom Monk classes is a "Chi" mechanic acting as an alternate mana-like resource to provide bonus effects, and while this is a perfectly fine mechanic to experiment with, the balance is often very difficult to achieve. Once again, this deviation from the normal design may prove to be a breath of fresh air to some.
Speaking of fresh air, now we call Pokeniner to the center of attention where we will relax, unwind, and learn exactly how this class came to be.
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?
Pokeniner: "Monks are notable for being characters of deep philosophy and expressing balance through their combat. I also wanted to capture that journey Monks find in looking for that endgoal. I do this by showing their strengths. Exploring their deck through card draw (this shows in the Hero Power), exchanging blows to the enemy field through forced attacks, and being patient with bounce/handbuff effects. One thing I knew I wanted for the class was no direct damage, Monks are very unorthodox in their combat and magic compared to other classes that use thing like the Arcane. They also have limited control to their attacks sometimes as most Monks tend to eh-hem open the bottle too often. The main strategy you need to find with your forced attacks is optimizing the opportunities and trade for board-control. In this way, the class can be mainly a Midrange/Control class."
What initially gave you the idea to make a Monk class, as well as the specific new mechanics that are at play here?
Pokeniner: "It was really just a whim of a thing. I saw the long list of Monk custom classes on Hearthcards and noticed how there was a lot of flavor and effort, but most of them were abandoned projects. I felt like my take on the wise and drunken martial artist feel of the class would be a fun challenge and eventually got me wrapped up in doing more and more for the class. I originally was exploring the class through the past expansions, but later realized that it'd probably much better and easier for me to keep a good focus and theme if they started in the Year of the Gryphon. There's a few cards that got left behind in that process."
Were these mechanics designed first and the rest of the class around that, or were they made to go with what was already built?
Pokeniner: "I built the flavor of the class first and then made the cards around them. Monk felt like a class I needed to have a major identity set if I wanted to get anywhere with it. After the identity and mechanics were set that rest of the class's cards were easy to make and theme together."
Are there any other cards you wish to point out for any reason?
Pokeniner: "Definately. One card I made in Stormwind was Aysa, and her effect seemed a little out of left field compared to the rest of the expansion, but this was to help push an archetype that was setup in the Core set. From the Barrens set, the class was given 2 main focuses to play around, but I wanted to give that small set of the HP players they're own useful card they get to use and play around with."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us, or perhaps a sneak peak of what's next to come?
Pokeniner: "One of the cool behind scenes that grew into a theme with Monks was "minion slapping." This is similar to Unstoppable Force on Rokara (although these were made before said card). The theme was a major flavor success (Trading fists was a beautiful touch) and I'm looking forward to making some more of them as the class continues to grew over the expansions. As of now, there's nothing going on behind the scenes at the moment as I'm currently up to date with the Year of the Gryphon. I might look into making some cool side projects with other Custom classes in the future though...looks at Demonxz95, Mr. Stupid, and VexMagic"
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
Pokeniner: "Nothing else at the moment. Over the course the next few weeks I'll be waiting for the next mini-set and be supporting other creators with their projects as well as keeping my college life in check. So if there's no instant news of Monk cards when the mini-set pops up, don't worry I'll be working on it as much as I can."
We've reached the end of this installment, and now that we understand how this class was made, perhaps your understanding of how to make your own class has improved? I can go as long as I want with pretentious words of wisdom, but if you're interesting in checking out more of the class, you can click the banner below to see the entire project as is.