We're now a full month into 2023. It feels like time is already going by too fast for its own good and it feels like we're merely footsteps away from the announcement of the final mini-set for Year of the Hydra.

Conversation this week is going to be talking about the simple things in life. Or at least in Hearthstone.

Rogue-Like Rogues

Our first order of business is to congratulate the winner of the previous Card Design Competition, which happens to be me winning with my Dungeoneer Casori!

I will be in charge of the theme next week, so be prepared for that!

Sweetness In Simplicity

I'll be taking this opportunity to talk about something that actually happens to be quite relevant with our recently starting season and that is card design in Hearthstone and how keeping things simple can often be the best course of action.

Of course it's cool to make some really flashy Legendaries with a lot of text that do crazy things, but what's also important about card games is that the simple cards are often the ones that are the most important. Sometimes you may make a card that's quite basic in terms of text, but its elegancy and/or flavor ends up striking perfectly with other people. Often do I see people who are new to creating their own Hearthstone cards add way too many effects with no connection to either the other effects or the card's flavor. While it's fun to put multiple effects on a card, this often comes at the cost of its elegancy if the two effects don't have any interaction with each other. To illustrate this point, let's look at two Legendary cards in the game: Kalecgos and Valdris Felgorge.

Kalecgos Card ImageValdris Felgorge Card Image

Kalecgos has two effects. He makes your first spell each turn completely free and also Discovers a spell for you. This ends up being a perfect implementation of having two effects since they both elegantly work with each other. His Discover effect simply gives you an extra option to use his free spellcasting effect on and this even means that he can be played even you don't happen to have any spells in your hand.

Valdris Felgorge is another example of how two effects perfectly work with each other. When played, he permanently increases your maximum hand size to 12 for the rest of the game, and since this means you'll always have some hand space available when played, he'll also draw you some cards.

Although Valdris's effect to increase your hand size is one that shocked the Hearthstone playerbase with how much mechanical space it has pushed for the game's standards, the effect in concept is not particularly complicated and in fact other card games have had effects of changing hand sizes to be a mainstay. In the spite of the fact that these cards are simple though, it also goes to show how being simple is not synonymous with being boring. Both of these cards feel perfectly like Legendary cards in spite of their simple premise, and they're both examples of how elegantly multi-effect cards are made.

Now one could make the argument about how both of these cards are Legendaries and appropriately so, and how that ties into public response of them. While this is a valid point to make, it's not quite the full story. This translates perfectly into our most recent competitions too. Exotic Pet Dealer by Nobudy and Blackgill Cultist by Wailor which both tied for the win at Competition 6.01, and Nutty Buddy by Me0203 which won at Competition 6.02, are Rares and Commons which ended up winning the vote for best cards of the competition.

They're not super flashy Legendaries or anything, but they're cards that feel like realistic cards that manage to be simple in nature while also enticing enough to win over the minds of the voters. These cards are all made under some mechanical restrictions, and you know what they say about limitations breeding creativity? That applies perfectly to these mechanics-driven competitions.

Of course, some more complicated cards that do more out-of-the-box things are perfectly acceptable, and when pulled off well, will create fan-favorite cards that absolutely everyone will love. But at the same time, it's important to remember where the root of card games (especially Hearthstone in particular) comes from. I do realize the irony of writing this as I just recently won with a card with 4 lines of text and one that dynamically changes itself, but doesn't mean that cards can't be simple if they do that. It just means that you needed that much text space to write out what you wanted to do.

Deep In The Deck

We still have time in our current WCDC to partake, although we have to dig a little deep to get there - the banner below will take you to our competition where we're making cards that shuffle cards into a deck or has an interaction with doing so.