Who's feeling a little bit evil today? I ask because this week's Fan Community Spotlight takes us back to a set where we unleash some dastardly plans. This is a mini-set for Rise of Shadows called The Dalaran Heist, not to be confused with the PvE adventure of the same name that is linked to the expansion. This mini-set was made by a person who goes by the name of Hii, appearing for the first time on the series.

Rise of Shadows is a fairly significant set for Hearthstone, as it was the set set of the Year of the Dragon, which brought a lot of new additions to Hearthstone. It was the first year to include an overarching story across the whole year, re-introduced Quests as a deciduous mechanic, some iconic characters made reappearances (some of them for the first time in several years), added mini-sets connecting to each expansion, and also introduced the Battlegrounds game mode to Hearthstone.

How did this Scheme happen? Let's talk to Hii to take a look.

What inspired you to create a mini-set of Rise of Shadows?

Hii: "So, quick intro about the miniset - The Dalaran Heist is a miniset based on the Dalaran Heist solo adventure. Lots of the cards there are bosses from the Dalaran Heist solo adventure, such as the Pushy Librarian, being Bookmaster Bae Chao, or the Path Guide, being Tala Stonerage. The card themselves have mechanics inspired from the original bosses. The Bookmaster’s hero power silenced any minion that came onto the field, and this was translated into silencing friendly minions to help support a silence priest deck better.

What inspired me to do a miniset was seeing a previous Whispers of the Old Gods miniset by Beat. I found it pretty cool, and thought, “What if I tried something like that?” I’m pretty new to card designing - in fact, I only started a couple months ago. I realised that trying a miniset would help me to try and get more comfortable with card designing, because there were already previous themes in place to align the set with, and thus it would help a novice get better.

Why Rise of Shadows, and why Dalaran Heist, specifically?

  1. I LOVED the solo adventure. I paid the 2800 gold for it, and even today, I still play the solo adventure.
  2. Rise of shadows was the time I really got into Hearthstone. I started in Boomsday, but it was only in Rise of Shadows that I really started consuming hearthstone content beyond the game. So there’s a nostalgia factor there too.
  3. Rafaam. I mean, who doesn’t love Rafaam? I wanted an excuse to make the Gauntlet of Origination, which is cool."

How did you want to design the mini-set in relation to the base set? What cards do you think best signify what the mini-set is about?

Hii: "A really big part of the miniset is about supporting both RoS and SoU archetypes. For example, we have the Pushy Librarian from before as a card to reliably silence your watchers, while still acting as a minion to contest the board. Energy Converter was a card created specifically to push bomb warrior away from the “sit there and watch your opponent die” kind of deck, because bomb warrior was one of the most hated decks in RoS. (For me, at least.)

The miniset does two things, like the original set:

  1. Showcase the citizens of Dalaran. The Fruit Vendor, who gives out apples for you to heal. The Trigger-Happy Guard, who just keeps shooting. I think it adds to the flavour of the whole set by giving you citizens who are gonna be piloted away on Dr Boom’s ship.
  2. Showcase the crime aspect, inline with the theme of the original Rise of Shadows. The single card to showcase here is Madame Goya, a crime boss from the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan who moved here for even more crime. Her whole idea was just extortion, and thus the idea is that she forces your opponent’s minions to become Lackeys in servitude of EVIL. (The initial version was actually darker, being that she would kidnap your opponent’s minions and force them to pay a ransom. Every turn, she would execute one of them permanently. Yeah. Not burning-your-father’s-memories-then-using-his-body-as-a-meat-puppet level dark, but still)"

Are there any other cards you wish to highlight for any particular reason?

Hii: "I’d like to highlight the Gauntlet of Origination, i.e. the weapon that Rafaam was after in the original League of Explorers. I consider it the second ultimate Timmy card, behind Kazakusan. In return for skipping turn 7, you can churn out a ton of value with not much added actions needed. Just play normally, and you’ll also get a bunch of extra stats every turn. Bonus points for running plot twist!

I’d also like to highlight something a miniset is typically incomplete without, a cycle. Once again, I wanted to highlight the crime aspect of the set. So I came up with the looter cycle. These cards summon a chest for your opponent, and in return for destroying it, you get bonus cards. Coins, Secrets, Arcane Shots, and Scrolls. It contributes to the whole flavour of “Take Dalaran for ALL that it’s GOT!” Although Rafaam was obviously a bit more literal with this."

Do you have anything behind the scenes that you wish to share?

Hii: "Kind of. I’m brainstorming set themes, and maybe settled on one, but not concrete yet."

What design philosophies do you have that you wish to share and spread to new creators? How long have you been making your own cards? Do you have anything else you wish to share?

Hii: "Well, frankly speaking, I’ve been designing cards for a grand total of 2-3 months, so I don’t think I have much wisdom to impart, lol. My design philosophies for a miniset would be to push the power of archetypes from Rise of Shadows a bit more in a way that maintains the original intention of the archetype. I think what’s very important, however, is getting feedback from those who are experienced, or at least more experienced than you. That feedback shaped the balance and design of a lot of cards in this miniset. The custom hearthstone discord is great for that.

Thanks for having me, and have fun looking through The Dalaran Heist!"

There we have it everybody. A fairly miniature installment for a fairly miniature set, but that's not even all to see. Click the banner below to see the entire set.