Blizzard finally debuted much-anticipated alternate hero portraits for Hearthstone. Well, a new character portrait, at any rate.
Magni Bronzebeard, the dwarven king of the Bronzebeard Clan, will soon available as a skin for the Warrior class. Now, according to lore he’s been trapped in a stoneskin prison at the bottom of his mountain for the last five years—but please nobody mention that. Magni will be introduced for the warrior class, ostensibly because people are tired of playing as that duplicitous psychopath Garrosh Hellscream.
Other portraits will be available soon. They’re only a cosmetic difference, but they come with brand new emotes and a custom hero power animation.
This is a cool thing, I’m looking forward to hearing some new /threatens and /sorrys, which have always been like the third best thing about Hearthstone anyway. As the resident Warcraft lore nerd at the Daily Dot, I went ahead and picked alternate heroes I would like to see for the other eight classes. Are they worth $10? Well, that’s up for you to decide.
I thought long and hard of a non-human mage to take the slot from Jaina, but unfortunately Blizzard has done a pretty mediocre job developing wizards that aren’t members of the Kingdom of Stormwind. That’s okay, because Khadgar is a great choice. The dude has been a major part of Warcraft lore since he was introduced back in 1995, and he’s even seen a revitalization lately as the primary piece of World of Warcraft’s current Warlords of Draenor storyline. He’s also known for his eccentric, absent-minded demeanor, so the emotes should be great.
Potential Alternatives: Kael’Thas, Medivh, Rhonin
As I mentioned above, the motivation for introducing an alternative hero for warrior first is because Garrosh Hellscream is a treasonous prick who was righteously killed in the latest expansion. Uther Lightbringer, the hero for Paladin, is sort of the same way. He’s not a bad guy, not at all, but he’s been dead since Warcraft 3 and carries no water in modern times.
Lady Liadrin is a female blood knight who represents the Horde and is currently a major player in World of Warcraft’s politicking. She is also, without a doubt, the most likable Blood Elf to ever spend time in Azeroth. If Blizzard is looking to flip the gender and affiliation of their classes (and it should be,) Liadrin is a great choice.
The only thing? You’d have to turn the Silver Hand Recruits into Blood Knight Recruits.
Potential Alternatives: Arthas, Yrel, Renault Mograine
It’s almost impossible to pick an alternative druid who isn’t a Night Elf. The druid archetype has been synonymous with the Night Elves for the entirety of the Warcraft story bible. However, when World of Warcraft was announced, Blizzard realized it couldn’t restrict druidism to only one race, so it offered the mantle up to the Tauren and introduced Hamuul Runetotem.
Honestly Runetotem hasn’t served much purpose beyond a trainer and occasional questgiver in World of Warcraft, but he’s definitely a druid, and definitely not a Night Elf. In fact, this might be Hearthstone’s only chance to get a Tauren in as a hero portrait, so I’m all the way on the Runetotem train.
Possible Alternatives: Fandral Staghelm, Broll Bearmantle, Zen’tabra
Garona is one of those characters who’s always hung around the borders of Warcraft lore without ever getting her deserved day in the sun. She ran with Medivh for a bit, assassinated King Llane, and faded into obscurity for years. That’s a shame! We’re talking about a gut-ripping, half-orc spymistress. She should be on the same levels as, like, Thrall. Putting her in Hearthstone isn’t necessarily going to rejuvenate her, but she is probably still the most famous rogue in Warcraft history. More so than Valeera at least. Let’s make this happen, Blizzard!
Possible Alternatives: Vanessa VanCleef, Mathias Shaw, Maiev Shadowsong
It’s honestly surprising that Tyrande hasn’t made it into Hearthstone as a legendary yet. She is one of the most relevant lore characters in Warcraft, as well as the racial leader for the Night Elves. And honestly, until Anduin grew up, she was pretty much the only priest of note in the lore. Ideally, I’d like to pick a Horde character here, because Anduin is already a wimpy human, but as you might expect there aren’t many orcs or undead holding it down for the virtues of the holy light.
Also, Tyrande and Malfurion Stormrage are canonically lovers, so it’d be great to get some specific emotes for druid vs. priest matchups.
Possible Alternatives: Talonpriest Ishaal, Sen’jin, Archbishop Benedictus
Warlock – Cho’gall
Part of me wants to pick Wilfred Fizzlebang here, because he was the one responsible for summoning Lord Jaraxxus, leading to the greatest opening mantra in World of Warcraft boss fight history. Unfortunately Fizzlebang is only famous for getting eaten by a demon, and as good as the emotes might be, the warlock class deserves something more hefty.
Enter Cho’gall, the two-headed ogre summoner who’s been revived and retconned more times than Lex Luthor. Cho’gall is Gul’dan’s right hand man, so there’s already some internal Hearthstone synergy, but also he’s a big scary monster who can cast shadowbolt. That’s enough for me.
Possible Alternatives: Tichondrius, Jubeka Shadowbreaker, Kil’Jaedan
Alleira hasn’t been seen since the mid-’90s. Seriously. She was lost to time after the Warcraft 2 expansion. Blizzard has teased her eventual return for years, because she’s Sylvanas’ sister and could ostensibly plays a big role in the lore. Would it be anticlimactic if Alleria made her long-awaited return in a tavern card game? Yeah, maybe, but whatever! I’ll tell you right now that I’m willing to spend $10 to not play as Rexxar anymore.
Possible Alternatives: Nathanos Blightcaller, Halduron Brightwing, Shandris Feathermoon
There really haven’t been any notable shamans outside of the orcs, and that’s fair, because shamanism is kinda “their thing.” However there is Farseer Nobundo, the broken Draenei who threw in with the Alliance back in the Burning Crusade expansion. He only came into existence to justify Alliance players rolling shaman in the lore, and that’s totally fine. Nobundo is here to provide an alternate to the orcs. Then, now, forever.