Not all Hearthstone cards are created equal. This notion applies to the art which brings these virtual tools to life, as well. What you may not know about the card art in Hearthstone is that it’s all pulled from larger, full-art creations: what you see in the card’s oval window is only a small portion of the artist’s vision. Some of this art is even taken from Blizzard’s World of Warcraft trading card game, which saw modest popularity until the release of Hearthstone.
Luckily, full versions of the artwork exist.
That’s why Paste is taking a look at 25 of the game’s most stellar set pieces. We’re not judging the cards by their power levels, usability or rarity. Card art will take center stage in today’s rankings. Since art is subjective, we’re sure to disagree in a few places; nonetheless you should, of course, “Pull up a chair by the hearth!”
Spoiler alert: Sadly, Goldshire Footman still didn’t make the list.
NOTE: Given the wide array of cards in Hearthstone, we’re sticking to collectible-only cards; the art on adventure bosses, class heroes and such are not up for contention.
Jacob Saylor is a writer, video editor and presenter whose work has been seen around the games industry since 2010. He even runs a humble YouTube channel by the name of Chosen Totem. Find him on Twitter @Skulldrey.
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This card art makes me ask a lot of questions: who is this Draenei running from? Where is she going? Why does she look so surprised? Am I the police? Give me some answers!
Kabal Crystal Runner
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Sometimes, simple is simply better-such is the case with Saboteur, a card that leaves little to the imagination. This blood elf looks cool, has an awesome name and appears to be running at high speeds… what's not to like?
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If you're at all familiar with Warcraft lore, you'll know Cairne Bloodhoof is one of the most powerful players in Azeroth. The Bloodhoof leader is well-depicted in this card art, shown battle-bruised and ready for more punishment as one of the Horde's elite.
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Another important character from Warcraft lore is the evil trickster Mal'Ganis. His card art is equal parts inviting and dread-inducing, making him one of the game's more unique creations. He's definitely not the demon you want to meet in a dark alley.
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By-and-large one of the coolest card arts comes in the form of Defias Brotherhood kingpin Edwin VanCleef. He's a pirate who's got long, black hair and a stylish red bandana… I bet the ladies of Azeroth swoon at his presence; hell, maybe some of the men, too!
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Flamestrike is perhaps one of the most powerful spells in the game, and its art matches that ferocity. Many good players have lost to a well-timed Flamestrike. This card was made for trolls, and I suppose that makes sense given that the card art features a one.
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While DOOM! might be one of the worst cards in Hearthstone, its art is pretty rad. The art features a line of men about to be squashed by massive, lightning-imbued tentacle-arms. If that's not worthy of the name "DOOM!" then I don't know what is.
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Bolvar's art encompasses his persona in every shape and form. He's committed to fighting the scourge and saving humanity, willing to sacrifice his own life in the process. While his art is not particularly exciting, it's appropriate and form-fitting: sometimes that's more than enough.
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The mystery of what's about to be destroyed in this picture is all the reason needed to put it on our list. I feel bad for whatever's living underneath that fast-falling ball of light. That being said, the scene is absolutely beautiful. If I had to go before old age, this doesn't seem too bad.
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Lunar Visions is one of only two cards from the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion to make it on our list. The card art pulls from the Asian-inspired Pandarens, and features some really well-crafted uses of contrast. Plus, who can't smile at a levitating panda?