Hello everybody and welcome to the first Fan Community Spotlight of 2023. In fitting with the time of beginning anew (year that is), we have a custom Core set made my Mr.Stupid, which will actually be the second time he will have the first Fan Community Spotlight of any given year. This particular Core set is the Year of the Axolotl, which features a lot of exciting changes, additions, and even some entirely all-new cards. This Core Set is designed with a full set of 3 expansions in mind, all of which are currently in development. It also doesn't feature Death Knight due to the length in which the development process has taken place and keeping Death Knight out simplifies the progress.

So let us kick off the new year with a new custom Core year from Mr.Stupid whom is making his sixth appearance on this series and has also become a colleague of mine with a group of class creators.

What new identities or aspects are you trying to focus on with this new Core set?

Mr.Stupid: "For classes like Druid, Hunter, and Warrior, I wanted to really push what makes them really stand out, so I included stuff like Treants and Elementals for Druid to show off their connection to nature, Shots and Secrets for Hunter as they in my mind the gun slinging desperado class, and lastly Warrior got Armor and Weapons to show off their martial prowess.

Throughout all the classes though I wanted to have cards that exemplified their personalities while also giving support to archetypes throughout my custom year as without it, some of my more unique archetypes would have to have whole sets dedicated to them or would falter. I also brought back some older cards and gave them buffs or changes to breath new life into the cards."

There are a few entirely new cards here. Mind telling us about their design process?

Mr.Stupid: "I had two schools of thought for the custom cards I included into the core set. The first was to make more general cards that fit well in any deck as that is mostly what a core set is to do. Archmage Modera is a key example of this.

The second school of thought was slightly more quirky cards that work well in most decks, but excel in archetypes you will soon see. Meteor Shower is my way of giving Druid some more Arcane spells, especially ones that work well with spell damage.

Though between the two schools of thought, there was a small bit of my brain squeezing in a few jokes and references to my other work. Outlands Artificer to mention my class, and Axelotol for the whole year itself. More eagle eyed readers might catch a few more of the adorable aquatic abominations later on in my sets."

What are some particular additions or removals that you want to talk about?

Mr.Stupid: "As soon as I decided to make a whole year of sets, I wanted to have an overarching archetype spread across the three sets. After some deliberation, I landed on Shadow Shaman as that archetype. It made sense at the time as they already had two from Rumble, but with March of the Lich King giving me a set chock full of them, it only confirmed me putting both Big Bad Voodoo and Haunting Visions as Shaman’s two epics.

As for removals, while I didn’t set out to remove any class cards specifically, I did cut some just by due to Blizzard’s…..general messiness when it comes to how many cards per rarity were in each class. For convenience to myself and the project as a whole, I made it so each class got two epics and Legendaries, six commons and rares."

Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us? Or perhaps a peek at what's later to come in Year of the Axolotl?

Mr.Stupid: "While I’ll most likely go into detail about the differences between designing a single set and designing for a whole year of cards, I will say here that Blizzard has kept me on my toes as they introduce more and more mechanics and more importantly classes to keep up with. I had to make the tough choice of not including Death Knight in this project as the inclusion of an 11th class made a few sets of mine difficult. It’s a shame but I think things will be better off if the undead just stay home and away from the Axolotls.

And I do have some cards I wish to share for the sets to come. All three sets are still in development, but I can’t wait to show them off very soon."

Do you have anything else you want to share with us?

Mr.Stupid: "Before I go, I have one last thing to say. Thank you to my friends who have helped me with all the work done so far. From the core set today to the final set soon to come. Thank you all. Creativity Crate would be pretty empty without you. Thanks."

This is a shorter one to start off the new year, but I think that can be symbolic of how the new year can start off small and grow into something much larger later. After the celebration of starting 2023, it's nice to get ourselves back on ground level with something small, but charming.

If you're interested in seeing the entire Core set, then you'll want to click the banner below and see all the cards. Thank you for reading, and here's to a happy and eventful 2023.