Welcome back to another installment of Fan Community Spotlight, the series where I showcase creations made by our Hearthstone fan community. In this installment, we’re looking at another custom class - the Chef class by CheeseEtc, who holds the record for most CDC wins on HearthPwn with a whopping 17! Incidentally, this is another class we're shining the spotlight on which comes from the "Deathwing Needs a Friendwing" competition. The first class we highlighted was Maxlot's Summoner class. Cheese ended up taking the Silver Medal overall out of 108 entries.
Your base Hero is Warchef Gordo (a pretty sweet pun if you ask me). Your base Hero Power is Cook, which deals 2 damage to a random enemy. With Justicar Trueheart or Baku the Mooneater, this can be upgraded into Overcook, dealing 3 damage to a random enemy instead of 2.
Our custom mechanic for today is Roast. Cards with Roast will burn a card from your deck (which ends up working perfectly mechanically and flavorfully with Chef Nomi, despite being created before that card. Just make sure you don’t accidentally Roast Chef Nomi himself). Sometimes they might specify certain parameters; in which case, it will burn a card in your deck that fits those parameters. Otherwise, it might be something which does not specify any parameters, which will burn the top card(s) of your deck...
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Tell us a little bit about the class. What does it do? Where does it excel? How does it falter? Pick out some cards that best describe your class.
"Well, I'm going to c/p what I explained in my class thread":
- "Roast" & Deck manipulation - Effects that remove, add cards into your deck, or depends on deck size;
- Scattered damage, in particular, good AOEs for the early and late game. The Hero Power also follows this logic;
- Double-edged buffs and removals that can be useful on either your minions or enemy ones depending on the circumstances;
- Big Heals and synergies with them.
- Good board control through disruption of the opponent's board (rather than a reinforcement of yours);
- Lots of Tempo options through "soft removals", good early-game minions and the Hero Power;
- High survivability and, counterintuitively, resistance to fatigue due to having a lot of cards that can shuffle into your deck to compensate for the Roast mechanic.
- Lack of unconditionally good midrange minions, or minions that can only be used either for defense or offense, but not both;
- No combos. The Roast mechanic doesn't fit very well with a combo playstyle that relies on specific cards...
How much experience do you have making custom Hearthstone cards?
"My "career" started in 2015, during Season 2 of Hearthpwn's WCDCs. Since then I entered nearly all competitions up until now, both regular WCDCs and special competitions alike.
I designed Chef for the 4th class competition on Hearthpwn. I also participated in the two previous class comps but didn't get past phase I in any of them.
- My entry for the first one was a class based on Skies of Arcadia (an obscure Dreamcast RPG but still the best game I've ever played to this day) and what would later become the "Tar" mechanic (gaining attack on your opponent's turn). The cards used in-game screenshots. I didn't get a single vote. In retrospect, the problems were obvious: that game was a very obscure one, the tar mechanic is too restrictive, and I used in-game screenshots...
- My entry for the second one was the Sapper class, based as you would expect on shuffling bad stuff into your opponent's deck. That class was better, and I could have done some things with it, but I guess the cards I showcased weren't appealing.
Then I made Chef and finished second. Quite the progression!"
What initially gave you the idea to make a Chef class? What gave you the purpose of the Roast mechanic, and how to work it into your class the way that you did?
"I will answer those two questions together because they are linked.
I was looking for a mechanic that was under-exploited in the game, but that had potential. I settled on the "remove from your deck" AKA Burn mechanic. At the time there were only 3 cards that used it (Fel Reaver, Keening Banshee, and Gnomeferatu), and only in a straightforward way. I knew there were other possible uses for this effect - Deck thinning for example.
Once I found the central mechanic for my class, I had to find the flavour. My first iteration for the class was the Machinist, and the burning of cards represented the burning of fuel.
(Yes, Unorthodox Miner was already a card in my Sapper class, recycling is good for the environment kids)
Then, someone (Vilegloom) commented in the discussion thread that there were already a lot of technology-based classes in the competition. If I did yet another one, I would have stood out.
So I skimmed through all classes and professions that exist in the Warcraft universe to find something truly original in which I could fit the Burn mechanic in a non-weird way. And there was indeed one burn-friendly profession that exists in the Warcraft universe (and IRL too for that matter)... Cooking! Eureka! Then I just renamed the Burn mechanic into Roast and voilà!
Changing the flavour was the best decision I made for the class. I honestly think it's the only reason I even made it to the finals. All other classes had serious flavour, while I made wacky stuff like Omelette Chef or Ragnaros, Kitchenlord. Even the cards with the most boring effects become cool with the right flavour.
What's more, cooking as a theme is very broad, which means I could find an adequate subtheme for every expansion. Old Gods? Tentacle meals! Un'goro? Dinosaur meat with Elemental seasoning! KFT? Ice cream and butchered meat!"
The class competition we were in skipped a few sets. Do you think you'll ever finish the missing sets?
"Unfortunately no. I don't have as much free time as I had before. I did RoS and SoU recently, but that's only because I was remaking the thread on Hearthpwn so I thought I'd do those two sets in the process. I might still tweak some cards like I did for the DK (see below), but don't expect massive changes.
However, I have other projects in the pipeline.
First, I must finish my Alchemist class, which I submitted for CCC#5. I was unfortunately eliminated before the final phase. Alchemist is more "normal" than Chef but both classes are similar in terms of flavour. Both use recipes and cauldrons after all!
Then, I'm working on a custom overhaul of Hearthstone's core sets (Basic and Classic). My experience with custom classes made me think a lot about class identity. I want to apply the experience I gained to existing classes to see what I will come up with (probably not "card generation is a shaman weakness"). I'm not completely remaking the sets from scratch, I will just substitute some cards, buff/nerf others, and in some instances make new custom cards which I think would be interesting as core cards. It's still very difficult because the core sets must:
- Illustrate all aspects of class identity in the simplest and most versatile way possible.
- Be perfectly balanced. They must be decent enough to make each class viable each expansion. But they must not be too good, otherwise, they will overshadow expansion cards. Especially tough for neutral cards."
Do you have anything behind the scenes you'd like to share?
"Yes, the unused card art I made for "Flamewaiter" (a portmanteau of Flamewaker and waiter) which I, unfortunately, had to scrap because I didn't have room for it. It was supposed to go alongside the similarly themed Ragnaros, Kitchenlord (shown above).
As you can tell, I'm a master of MS Paint and Google Images.
Another anecdote. My Chef class has been integrated into an HS mod for custom classes. That's when people discovered that the original version of my DK was ultra cancer. Basically, its Battlecry roasts your entire deck, and its original HP shuffled any card you play into your deck so you could play the same card over and over again... like Reno Jackson for instance! So I decided to nerf it. The new version only discovers a card you roasted so it's harder to make it consistent."
What's the most essential piece of advice you would give to people new to the fan creation community?
"Never give up. It took me more than two seasons to win my first WCDC and two class competitions to make it past phase 1. Listen to other people's feedback, and ask yourself what makes a good custom card good.
I would say that what characterizes the best cards is, in that order:
- Perfect concordance between flavour and effect and to a lesser extent the originality of the effect. Cards with an interesting effect gameplay-wise will go unnoticed if they have no flavor. Reciprocally, pure meme cards that neglect the effect aren't good.
- Gameplay value of the cards. Is the effect original? Would it bring something to the game if it existed? I noticed that cards that support fun but currently non-viable archetypes (e.g. Discolock) are generally well-received.
- Whether the flavour fits in the Warcraft universe on which Hearthstone is based. If you don't play WoW, you can learn more about it on wowpedia.org.
Finally, never make a Pepe card. NEVER!"
Do you have anything else you'd like to share?
"Skies of Arcadia best game ever."
That concludes this installment of Fan Community Spotlight! So what are your thoughts on CheeseEtc's Chef class? What card(s) caught your eye the most to you? Tell us down below in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Fan Community Spotlight, where even more amazing fan-made content will grace the front page.