Welcome once again to another edition of the Archivist's Lore, where we set ourselves to the challenge of looking at the lore and backstory behind the characters in a set of legendary cards and comparing how well their card effects match. Today our focus is Stormwind, a somewhat unique case since many of the characters we’ll be looking at are on their second or even third incarnation in a legendary card. With these cards we’ll also be looking at what aspect of the character is being depicted in their Stormwind versions compared to their previous incarnations. Keep in mind that legendary cards featuring Hearthstone-original characters will not be covered here.

Flightmaster Dungar Card Image

Flightmaster Dungar is the main gryphon handler and flightmaster in Stormwind. In WoW, flightmasters are characters you can use to access flight paths, or automatic transportation to a set of destinations in the world. There are many flightmasters in the world, and many of them have their own unique mount styles depending on faction. The Alliance’s main form of flight transportation has long been gryphons, and it is the responsibility of people like Dungar to keep them stabled and ready for any adventurers who might need this aerial taxi service.

Dungar might not have much lore as an individual character, but his card effect matches his job in WoW, and the concept of flight paths in the game, very well. Not only do you have a choice of destinations when you play him, but the choices you are given, Westfall, Ironforge and the Plaguelands, all match places you can fly to from Stormwind. Even better, the locations that are further away and take the longest to fly to are represented in the game by taking more turns to accomplish.

Final Verdict: Amazing flavor match that captures an entire mechanic in WoW perfectly.

Auctioneer Jaxon Card Image

Auctioneer Jaxon is another legendary minion who’s character doesn't have much story to speak of, but is also representing an entire WoW game mechanic. The auction houses in WoW are in-game platforms where players sell items to each other by putting up a buyout price and leaving them up for other players to bid on. These auction houses are a huge part of the in-game economy and auctioneer characters like Jaxon are the ones who manage it all in-lore. Jaxon can be found in the Stormwind Trade District Auction House and is married to an officer on the Stormwind Guard. Every hour, her son Xander would bring his mother a cup of coffee to help keep her alert at her 24-7 hour job. During the Third Invasion of the Burning Legion, Jaxon was one of many people replaced with a demonic construction called a homunculus for infiltration purposes, meaning she was likely killed in the process.

This card doesn't really focus on specific flavor outside of it’s emphasis on the Trade mechanic, which is United in Stormwind’s keyword tribute to the Auction House system. Presumably, Jaxon is so good at her job that she’s helping you to get better deals of your choice instead of just whatever trades you can scrounge up.

Final Verdict: Jaxon’s card doesn't have much to do with any specific characters as it is an extension of the Trade mechanic into a focused legendary. Any other auctioneer NPC from the game could have been used in her place and the effect would still be the same, but since none of these characters have much story, that’s not really a problem.

Lady Prestor Card Image

Lady Prestor is the black dragon Onyxia in her human disguise. As Lady Prestor, Onyxia infiltrated the court of Stormwind through her supposed aristocratic connections and became a top “advisor” to King Varian Wrynn. The black dragons believed the humans of Stormwind and the Alliance were the greatest threat to the existence of their corrupted dragonflight, so she did everything she could to sow strife in the kingdom and thwart military efforts that would have strengthened the Alliance and discovered the lair of the black dragons. Her attempts to manipulate and control the king were hampered by his love for his son Anduin, so she concocted a plot to have the king kidnapped and split into two beings. One Varian she could control as her puppet and the other stronger one would be killed. Her plans were interrupted, however, and the strong Varian escaped. In spite of everything Onyxia did to hunt him down and control the kingdom herself, she was at last exposed and slain by both versions of Varian as they worked to save Anduin from her.

Lady Prestor wasn’t the only human guise of a black dragon, Onyxia had many servants and guards who had also taken on human guise and carried out her will. When Onyxia was revealed in her true form, so were all her servants as they attacked their exposes. This is the element of the character represented in the Lady Prestor Legendary card. While there could have been other more deck-manipulating elements used to represent how she tried to control the kingdom, this effect is very passable and does a great job at demonstrating who she really is for people who aren’t yet aware whey they play the card.

Final Verdict: A good flavor card that captures a key moment on Stormwind’s history and highlights another new aspect of a character who had already been legendary before.

Varian, King of Stormwind Card Image

Speaking of new incarnations of characters who have already been legendary cards, this version of Varian Wrynn serves much the same purpose. As stated previously, Varian was split into two personalities and bodies by Onyxia/Lady Prestor. The first half embodied his strong will and fighting skills, while the other half was his indulgent and frivolousness side who could be easily swayed. While Onyxia planned to kill Varian’s strong half, he fell into the sea instead and ended up washing ashore where he became a gladiator under the name Lo’gosh with no memory of who he really was.

Varian’s weak half eventually came back to Stormwind, but cared only for the pleasures of the court instead of fair ruling, and was also infatuated with Lady Prestor. Eventually, both halves of Varian met up and argued over who was the true king, but were forced to work together when Lady Prestor’s true form was revealed and she kidnapped Anduin. Jaina Proudmoore gave each Varian an ancient elven blade. One was named Shalla'tor and the other was Ellemayne. During the fight against the dragon, her magic accidentally fused both Varian’s back together into one man, and fused the swords into a single blade that would be called Shalamayne. The sword had the ability to be split back into two blades for duel wielding and served as Varian’s weapon of choice for the rest of his life.

Unfortunately, from a card perspective, this Legendary minion does little, if anything, to capture this split-nature aspect of Varian or his sword. Rather, it would seem the king is merely here to make an appearance with some very basic keyword abilities that could be argued to represent his skill in combat and warfare.

Final Verdict: A missed opportunity for some new and clever card effects that could have taken advantage of this unique part in Varian’s story and wasn’t touched on in his first card.

Highlord Fordragon Card Image

Highlord Fordragon is our last entry for a character involved in the Varian/Lady Prestor story. This is Bolvar Fordragon’s third appearance as a legendary card in Hearthstone, with the first appearing in Goblins Vs Gnomes where he was depicted in his role as a military leader fighting The Lich King in Northrend, and the second appearing in Knights of the Frozen Throne where he was depicted at the point of sacrificing himself by taking on the role of the Lich King to contain the undead. Here, we see him before any of that happened, when he was merely the Regent Lord of Stormwind, a close friend to Varian, and a second father figure to Anduin.

When Varian was reported to have vanished, his son Anduin was hastily crowned king in an effort to keep order and prematurely end any claims for the throne that would add to any existing chaos in Stormwind. However, since Anduin was still a very young child at this point, Bolvar Fordragon was appointed as the regent lord and Supreme Commander of Stormwind's forces on his behalf. When Varian’s weak half returned and reclaimed his throne, both Bolvar and Anduin noticed something was off about the man they both knew so well, and Bolvar began to investigate the true circumstances of the king’s disappearance. Both of their suspicions were confirmed when Varian’s other half returned and Lady Prestor revealed her true dragon form.

Bolvar’s effect is decent, if not spectacular, representation of Bolvar’s status as a paladin— though the use of divine shield—and his leadership role at this point in his story-- though his relation to other minions on the board and buffing the hand.

Final Verdict: There is nothing very specific to Bolvar about this card’s effects, but it provides a nice representation to another character involved in this central story United in Stormwind partly revolves around.

Lothar Card Image

Now it’s time to talk about Anduin. No, not Anduin Wrynn, Varian’s son. I’m talking about the original Anduin, Anduin Lothar. Lothar was a knight of Stormwind and a close friend of Varian’s father, King Llane Wrynn, and Medivh. Lothar was also the last pureblood decedent of the ancient human kingdom of Arathi. After years of service in the Stormwind Army, he ended up leading the kingdom’s forces against mysterious new creatures called orcs who had suddenly appeared. This first conflict of humans and orcs would become known as the First War and would see King Llane slain by Garona Halforcen with Kingsbane. Taking up the mantle of leadership, Anduin Lothar became the Knight-Champion of Stormwind and Regent Lord to a young prince Varian Wrynn. Lothar looked after the prince and kept him safe throughout the First and Second wars. At the age of 57, the old knight fell in battle against the orc warchief Orgrim Doomhammer, but his valor and leadership would inspire the Alliance to push back against the Horde to victory, and inspire Varian to name his own son after the man who had cared for him like a second father during the darkest time of his life.

Lothar’s card may not be much to write home about in terms of gameplay or uniqueness, but it does represent his skill in battle cleaving through enemies and getting stronger with each one he takes down.

Final Verdict: Lothar is an amazing historical character from the history of the Alliance and Stormwind who deserves a much more memorial card.

Darkbishop Benedictus Card Image

Once a pure and holy man, Darkbishop Benedictus was corrupted by members of the old god-worshiping Twilight's Hammer cult into a mad zealot of the void. A student of Archbishop Alonsus Faol and his successor as the leader of the Church of the Holy Light, he helped in the construction of Stormwind’s own Cathedral of the Light. Benedictus’ faith in the goodness of the Light was tested during the First and Second Wars against the Horde. Still, in the face of much suffering, he managed to remain unshaken in his beliefs and strived to perform his duties for the good of people in need of healing and guidance. When the Third War came, however, the unimaginable evil and destruction of the Scourge and Burning Legion plunged the holy man into severe doubt. “If the Light was so good”, he wondered, “why did it let all of this happen?”

The Twilight’s Hammer cult, always seeking powerful new members in influential positions, learned of the archbishop's struggle and sought to give him the push he needed to go down the path of darkness. Disguising themselves as faithful followers of the Light who were in need of guidance themselves, they told Benedictus about the “horrible rumors” of a dark power called the void that would never abandon its servants. These whispers prompted Benedictus to experiment with forbidden shadow magic, which in turn opened his mind to the old gods as they flooded his dreams with visions. In these visions, the old gods twisted the truths of the Light, portraying it as a tyrannical force that demanded perfect order and would toss its worshipers away like useless tools when it no longer had need of them. They also showed the bishop a vision of the end of all things, the Hour of Twilight, which Benedictus saw not as the apocalypse, but as a chance to break free from the Holy Light's tyranny and create a new world where he would be the master of his own destiny. He came to believe the Old Gods and the powers of the Void to be the natural state of the universe and all his previous work fighting for the Light to be a futile struggle against the inevitable. Benedictus pledged his life to serving the Void and joined the Twilight's Hammer while publicly keeping the façade of his previous holy self. Although now a being of darkness, he retained his ability to wield holy magic through sheer willpower in order to keep up the guise and keep his influence for the opportunity to recruit other disillusioned believers into the cult. During the Cataclysm, he served Deathwing under the name of The Twilight Father, even becoming the leader of the cult after Cho'gall's death. He was at last slain by adventurers in the great battle against Deathwing at Wyrmrest Temple.

Darkbishop Benedictus’ card is amazing from a flavor perspective, as he is the perfect character to represent a transformation of the healing ability of the priest class hero power into a dark force of destruction. Showcasing the shadow spell school of cards, he grants power to those who prove their faith in the Void, just as he did for the recruits he brought into the cult.

Final Verdict: This card hits the nail right on the head when it comes to matching story and mechanics. There is little more to say.

Grand Magus Antonidas Card Image

Grand Magus Antonidas is yet another reprint of an existing legendary for United in Stormwind. Ruler of the magical city-state of Dalaran and mentor to Jaina Proudmoore, Antonidas was a child prodigy in magic who quickly rose through the ranks among the Kirin Tor mages of the city. After Stormwind was destroyed by the orcish Horde in the First War, he was one of the leaders of human kingdoms who gathered together at the Council of Lordaeron and pledged Dalaran’s support to the Alliance. He was killed by the death knight Arthas and Kel'Thuzad after trying to prevent them from stealing Medivh’s spellbook and the Skull of Gul’dan.

While a very significant character in the lore of the Alliance, Antonidas’ presences in this set is slightly confusing since he had little to nothing to do with Stormwind directly, but mainly had recorded dealings with the other human kingdom of Lordaeron. Additionally, he died long before the main events took place around which United in Stormwind is set. Still, his return is a strong presence for other members of the original Alliance. His fire spell effect is a decent representation of his great skill with magic, but nothing we didn’t already have in his original card.

Final Verdict: He’s cool, but what is he doing here exactly?

Sheldras Moontree Card Image Bolner Hammerbeak Card Image

Sheldras Moontree and Bolner Hammerbeak are class trainers from Stormwind. That is, characters who players used to go to in order to learn new abilities after leveling up. Moontree is a night elf druid trainer and could be found in the park. After the park was destroy by Deathwing, he could later be found at the memorial built over the ruins called Lion’s Rest. Hammerbeak is a wildhammer dwarf shaman trainer. Wildhammer dwarves are knowing for their gryphon mounts and use of shamanism. True to dwarven nature, he resided at the Golden Keg tavern.

Neither of these characters has any personal story, as their only purpose in the game was a functional one, but flavor-wise they were meant to be masters of their class who could teach students with enough potential. Their card effects are on the generic side and mainly serve as vehicles for card mechanic synergies over anything else.

Final verdict: Eh, I guess a bit of filler doesn't hurt. It’s not like there were a ton of druids and mages in Stormwind for them to pick from, and it’s nice to see class trainers with a bit of representation.

Jace Darkweaver Card Image

Like in many sets, United in Stormwind made it difficult for the demon hunter class to find established class characters that fit with the theme. Jace Darkweaver is not a resident of Stormwind, but a high-ranking member of the Illidari who specializes in fel magic and demonic technology. A former mage before his transformation into a demon hunter, Jace has vast knowledge of the arcane, and still manages to use it at times. Still, his main mastery is fel magic, as its chaotic nature makes retaining arcane magic very difficult. Analytical and intelligent, he’s the perfect member of the demon hunter team to be depicted as a master of the fel spell school in his card.

Final Verdict: Little if anything to do with the main theme of the set, but a very fitting card for the character itself.

Anetheron Card Image

Anetheron is a nathrezim, or dreadlord, who served as an emissary from the demon general Archimonde to Tichondrius, one the dreadlords in charge of keeping The Lich King in line. While Tichondrius had begun to suspect the Lich King has ulterior motives and might event attempt to betray the Burning Legion, he told Anetheron to tell his master that things were still going according to plan and well within his control. After Archimonde was summoned to Azeroth by Kel’thuzad using the Book of Medivh stolen from Dalaran, Anetheron arrived with his master as a bodyguard. The demon served as a leader of the undead Scourge armies at the Battle of Hyjal against the combined forces of the Alliance, Horde and night elves. He was also capable of summoning infernals to his side as a means of clearing the way of enemies for his master, but he was ultimately defeated. However, as with all demons, he reformed in the Twisting Nether and returned again at various times in a service capacity to the Burning Legion in there various attempts at invading Azeroth. It has been theorized that, given the ultimate deaths of his superiors and the unknown length of time demonic regeneration takes, Anetheron may have ascended to a more singular leadership position among the dreadlords.

While a minor character in lore, Anetheron serves as a major antagonist to Hearthstone-original character Kurtrus Ashfallen as the demon hunter has a personal vendetta against the demon for the direct murder of his family. His summoning is also the goal of the warlock Tamsin Roame, who wishes to use him to destroy Stormwind. This was actually a very smart choice on the designer’s part, as they could take an established character from the lore, but create their own probable Hearthstone story involving him without causing any story contradictions. While his card effect has nothing to do with what little lore he has, he serves his role nicely as a bridge between WoW and Hearthstone storytelling.

Final Verdict: The card effect has nothing to do with the character, but it’s still nice to see him here as part of a realistic “what if” story that Hearthstone loves doing so much.

This concludes another edition of Archivist’s Lore regarding the bigwigs, unknowns and random sprinkles of United in Stormwind. Which legendary is your favorite? Has it changed at all from learning their stories? Let us know in the comments below.