Hello everybody and welcome back to another Fan Community Spotlight. This week, I'm doing something slightly unusual which is that I'm actually showcasing an extremely old custom expansion. This set is called Tomb of the Forgotten and was made all the way back in 2016. This set is themed around the tombs found in Uldum and draws from a lot of ancient Egyptian inspiration. If this sounds like Saviors of Uldum, then this is basically an interpretation of a very similar theme from way back when.
But why have I chosen to look at an old expansion this week as opposed to a newer creation? That would be because I have a very special person with me in the hotspot to interview. This set was created by Coolboypai. If you don't know who he is, he is an extremely major figure in the custom card scene. He is one of the very first people to start designing their own cards and has been the owner of the r/CustomHearthstone subreddit for the past 6 years and still maintains it to this day. If you've read Dean Ayala's weekly Q&As, then chances are, you've probably seen him ask Dean a few questions and seen Dean's responses to his questions. Pai is the highest-profile guest I've featured on this series so far and it'll be hard to top.
Due to the age of this set, several of the cards in this set may look dated by today's standards, but depending on your viewpoint, you may look at both real and fan-made set from several years ago as ones that would eventually pave the way for how they are designed now. As a result of its age, the set only contains one Legendary card per class (as was the norm back then) as well as the fact that it has no new keyword. This is actually the very first full-size custom expansion I've looked at on this series that does not feature a new keyword. While adding a new keyword to every new set has been the norm for the past few years (effectively leading creators to do the same thing for their sets), this was not the case during the game's early years. Over the years, Pai has also drawn parallels of the set to both Journey to Un'Goro and Saviors of Uldum.
But this introductory segment has gone on long enough, and it's time we put Pai in the set to talk about this relic of a set.
Coolboypai: "Hello to everyone reading this. I’m Coolboypai, the guy that runs the r/CustomHearthstone community on Reddit as well as the one who posts the Top Cards of the Week. I hope I don’t bore you too much."
What exactly is this set about?
Coolboypai: "Tomb of the Forgotten was the first full-sized set I ever made back in 2016. Based in the city of Uldum, this set is all about ancient Egyptian culture, depicting its Gods, its animals, and the lifestyle of its people.
I have a great interest in ancient Egypt and thought it would be a wonderful theme to explore. Making a set based on it was something unique to share with people while also serving as a useful design exercise for myself. This set was designed with set dynamics in mind as well as being the hypothetical first set of the 2017 set rotation."
How long have you been making your own cards and how did you find yourself in the position of the community that you are at?
Coolboypai: "I’ve been making custom Hearthstone cards since I started playing in 2014. The community wasn’t really established then and I started off making humorous “un-cards”. My creative journey began earlier though with drawing and fan creations for other games (I have a few items in Adventurequest Worlds).
I found that Hearthstone was a good canvas to express creativity with and designed more cards. I became a moderator for the subreddit in 2015, eventually became the head moderator, and our lovely community has helped keep me going ever since."
This is an entire expansion without a new keyword, which is very unusual for a fan-made expansion. How does this change the way the set is built as a whole?
Coolboypai: "Discover and Deathrattle were obvious matches for the set’s theme given Egypt's relation with both the afterlife and archeology. At the time, Discover was a new and unexplored mechanic with a lot of potential. With the two keywords, there wasn’t a lot of room to effectively focus on a third one.
Limiting myself did prove to be both challenging and beneficial, having to use the keywords in new and interesting ways. For example, Storming Sheut didn’t Discover a certain type of card, but rather Discovered from a certain location. Having a focus on Deathrattles meant that I could create cards like Herald of Set that interacted with the mechanic in an appropriate meta."
Are there any other cards you wish to point out for any reason?
Coolboypai: "Some of the cards have aged decently while others haven’t haha. I'd like to share Anubis, Plaguebringer that was made afterwards, when Saviors of Uldum was announced. It was a remake of the original Anubis in my set showing how different Blizzard’s take on ancient Egyptian culture was from mine.
Another card worth sharing is the Sarcophagus of Osiris. Based on the myth of Osiris being cut into pieces (and the Yu-Gi-Oh card with the same origin), this was just a crazy card to imagine. Interesting to see how a similar card was put in game just last year."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us?
Coolboypai: "It was very important to me that each class felt distinct and that all the cards conveyed the set’s theme in some way. Warlocks featured the Egyptian trope of curses, Paladins portrayed the ancient Egyptian army, and Shaman represented the sandy desert. All the cards had art or names appropriate to the setting. I felt that these elements were important for a set, helping communicate cohesion between all of the cards."
What design philosophies do you have that you wish to share and spread to new creators?
Coolboypai: "Just start designing. There's nothing wrong with simple cards (they're my favourite), cards based on franchises you enjoy, or iteration of designs that you found interesting. Even without art, great designs can stem from an idea written with pencil and paper.
For experienced creators, I would recommend designing your own set, even just 50 cards. It's a completely different challenge than designing a single card in isolation but it's also very rewarding. It’s also a great opportunity to explore new (or old) mechanics, develop archetypes, and just make fun cycles."
Do you have anything else you want to share with us?
Coolboypai: "I hope that people enjoyed this blast from Custom Hearthstone’s past. There’s a lot of great cards, sets, and designers from over the years that are still worth checking out. If anyone at Blizzard is reading this, r/customhearthstone would really like a reveal card. :p"
This would be it for this week's blast from the past on Fan Community Set. This is only a very tiny tidbit of the set. If you're interested in looking at the entire set, then click the banner below where you will be taken to a thread with several different links (sections for each class) and see a relic of how fan-made Hearthstone sets have evolved over the years.