Hello everybody and welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight.
Where has this series been? The previous FCS was nearly 2 months ago and the one before that was more than 2 months before that one, and the one before that came out exactly one month prior which have been the longest gaps in the history of me writing for this column for just over 4 years.
The answer to that question is one that I eluded to in my previous FCS in which there was simply a lack of projects for me to cover. People have now seemed to have gotten back up and running in the midst of projects, but the combination of there simply being no projects to do and some real life matters that are happening right now at the time that this article will go up meant that I simply didn't have mush room to do any proper writing for this series. Can't really do anything for this series when there's both no material to cover and no time to scour for anything.
However, I have managed to get together an interview for a project on a class. At the time of writing this installment, the class is still in very early development with only a few sets being done, but the beautiful thing about writing FCS's on classes is that classes tend to be updated continuously and after about a year or so, there will be a significant amount of new material to cover. This is rarely the case with expansions which tend to be a one-and-done type of deal with very few exceptions.
The class in question I have to show for you today is the Fungalmancer class created by Nobody. No, that does not mean that the class was just created by an AI (although that might be an experiment for someone to try out later), but rather that Nobody is the name of the creator. Nobody has been a colleague of mine in the custom Hearthstone scene for quite some time now and has previously appeared on an installment that interviewed two people as part of a group project. This time though, we're flying solo... with me... if you count that.
As a Fungalmancer, your base hero is Flurgul in his days as a fungalmancer before he eventually moved to the barrens and became a firemancer. If you're going to be working with mushrooms, I suppose it fits the job description to not be bothered by the less-than-clean parts of nature, and that seems to fit the bill for Flurgl.
Your basic Hero Power is Spread Spores which gives a minion +1/+1 for 1 mana. This is a popular, although also controversial, Hero Power design. It's simple and effective but also has a limitation of requiring you to control a minion, hence the cheaper cost compared to other Hero Powers that represent the same amount of value like Fireblast, Dire Shapeshift, or Reinforce. The 1-Cost Hero Power of Demon Hunter has given some new design space to the design of Hero Powers which was previously one of the biggest roadblocks to creating a custom class.
Speaking of Demon Hunter and roadblocks, this class interestingly uses a hybrid of starting from the Basic set when the game launched as well as also giving them its own set of introductory cards in a small set called "Mushroom Madness" following the same design as Demon Hunter's Initiate set and Death Knight's Path of Arthas set. Nowadays, the norm for custom classes to use the DH/DK approach, but before those classes existed, the route of going through all sets was your only option. You almost never see it today though, which is why it immediately stuck out to me that the class opts for this approach and combines it with the DH/DK approach.
The class also comes with its own keyword. Hypnotic is a minion-only keyword that gives the minion in question a random bonus effect, but your opponent can't see it until they try to interact with the minion in question. Not all the bonus effects from other 'bonus effect' cards like The One-Amalgam Band are present here though. The only bonus effects that can be generated here are Windfury, Divine Shield, Poisonous, Lifesteal, and Reborn. The keyword is gained at random, but it will not attempt to give a keyword that the minion already has. Additionally, if it gains Reborn, then the resurrected copy won't be able to gain Reborn again when it's summoned.
Seeing as how the class is getting cards for the all the sets, this also means that Lifesteal and Reborn would retroactively have been added as keywords in the sets before Knights of the Frozen Throne and Saviors of Uldum respectively, and Demon Hunter wouldn't technically be the first class with a 1-Cost Hero Power. It seems that Fungalmancers also double as Time Travelers and are muddling with the timeline. Speaking of Time Traveler, you can follow my progress on that class and I should have it updated back to date in the relatively near future.
Now that my shameless plug is out of the way, let's get to what you actually clicked on this article for. The mushroom-lover class made by a pretty fun guy.
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?
Nobody: "Fungalmancer was made with enchantments in mind. They are great at swarming (spore flavour and all) and deal a lot with various types of enchantments (mostly stat buffs). They're also a Secret class (1 mana Secrets like Paladin), but do not have weapons. They do not do particularly well at protecting their own face as well, with minimal Taunt and no healing (outside of a Hypnotic Lifesteal role)."
What initially gave you the idea to make a Fungalmancer class, as well as the specific new mechanics that are at play here?
Nobody: "I got the idea to make this class when I got my Midjourney subscription. I had recognized that AI (specifically this one) was pretty good at making Hearthstone art, so I utilized it in all of the cards made so far. With that in mind, I created the class keyword and decided to make them an echantment-based class."
Are there any other cards you wish to point out for any reason?
Nobody: "One card I really liked the final design of was Springy Abode, the Epic Secret from the base set. At first glance, it may be very scary, but it's very simple to play around. Whatever action causes the targeting (be it attack or battlecry), the swap will take place and the action will follow through. Another is Hermit Rasfan, the Goblins vs Gnomes Legendary. His effect works great with the Spare Part package Fungalmancer gets in that expansion, as well as any other buffs you happen to gather (that didn't start in your deck, of course). The extra target(s) would be different from your original - so using this with only one minion on board may end up screwing you over!"
It's become the norm for custom classes to go the Demon Hunter/Death Knight route of choosing an expansion to start from. What made you choose the original method of doing all the sets?
Nobody: "I've always liked the idea of new Hearthstone classes getting cards from each older expansion. Unfortunately, that would take too many resources and isn't a good moneygrabber for Blizzard (since older cards are less relevant than standard cards today), so it's understandable that it never happened. However, I have the time and will to do the same for my class, so I figured it wouldn't hurt."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us, or perhaps a sneak peak of what's next to come?
Nobody: "Unfortunately I don't have anything behind-the-scenes to share because majority of what I do on the project is publically shared in the #custom-projects forum on the Custom Hearthstone discord. I am also not currently working on the next expansion, although I will very soon."
How long have you been making your own cards? What design philosophies do you have that you wish to share and spread to new creators?
Nobody: "I've been making cards for about 7 years now. Most of the time, I like finding the art of my card before I even think up ideas. From the art, I choose the name, class, and expansion, then I move on to ideas that would make sense with the flavour I'm going for. Although maybe a pretty obvious tip, but always look at your cards as if you'd be able to play it today. Make sure it fits well in the Hearthstone universe, and would be realistically playable in some fashion."
That's all for this installment of Fan Community Spotlight. I should hopefully be back with more of these a bit more regularly. In the mean time, you can click the banner down below to view the whole class, and I'll be back for more later down the line when the class gets more cards added.
(You might get a notice telling you that the class contains "adult imagery". This is just Imgur being stupid. The post is completely fine.)