Fireside Lore: Secret identities of 15 Hearthstone minion cards

There’s never a shortage of minion cards in Hearthstone. Throughout various expansions and adventure modes, some original characters like Sir Finley Mrrgglton get ported back to WoW, while Ragnaros, Lightlord represents an alternate version of the firelord. For the most part, though, you’ve probably fought against or alongside these minion cards in Azeroth as well as passed them by as NPCs in many towns.

What’s interesting is that many minions in Hearthstone have their names stripped away. It’s probably a compromise the developer had to deal with because giving them proper names means making them legendary cards.

In the first installment of Fireside Lore, we delved into 15 Hearthstone cards, which used to have their own names and personalities in the Warcraft universe but turned into nameless, run-of-the-mill minions.

▷ Acolyte of Pain

▲ Artist: Dave Kendall

Thanks to the potential for multiple card draws, Acolyte of Pain is used in multiple decks and is actually modeled after Mor’zul Bloodbringer.

He used to give out a quest for obtaining the Warlock class mount, Dreadsteed in Burning Steppes. In order to get the mount, players had to run through multiple hoops, traversing Felwood, Winterspring, and Scholomance. Now the Dreadsteed quest is gone, you can find him in the Warlock class order hall.

It’s a bit ironic that Mor’zul, who seemed like a sadist inflicting pain on players, is now a de-facto masochist who enjoys receiving pain while drawing you cards.

▲ Warlock class mount, Dreadsteed, is also a card in Hearthstone.

▷ Ancient Mage

▲ Artist: Howard Lyon

This minion actually appeared on Warcraft TCG as an armor card named Belt of the Archmage. His real identity is Ansirem Runeweaver from the Kirin Tor’s Council of Six.

He’s a renowned archmage and even has a castle named after him, not to mention a long history dating back to vanilla WoW. Runeweaver is somewhat a conservative voice of the council, disapproving of the Horde’s coming to Dalaran and initially being against accepting Aethas Sunreaver after Rhonin was killed by Garrosh’s mana bomb attack on Theramore.

▲ Ansirem Runeweaver in his natural habitat of Council of Six in Dalaran.

Perhaps that’s why this card has “ancient” in its name, reflecting the history of Runeweaver and the traditional ideals that he holds.

▷ Armorsmith

▲ Artist: Greg Hildebrandt

Though we don’t see this card as often since the recent meta change, Armorsmith has been a staple in all control warrior decks. You still can find her in Dalaran, though.

If you took leatherworking as a profession, Diane Cannings may ring a bell for those with an uncanny memory, as she taught you how to make things out of animal hides.

Her being a leather armor expert begs the question: why do warriors need leather when they can wear plate?

▲ Where's a blacksmith when you need one?

▷ Cruel Taskmaster

▲ Artist: Phroilan Gardner

Cruel Taskmaster, who even slaps Grommash Hellscream back to work, is actually a Horde NPC named Blood Guard Gulmok from the Burning Crusade era.

Gulmok resides in Shadowmoon Valley and gives out various quests mostly about killing Infernals and collecting intel on the Burning Legion’s sinister plans.

Players are supposed to be heroes or commanders in WoW, but they’re merely exploitable workers from a quest NPC’s perspective. Better get back to grinding.

▲ So-called "heroes" are just a means to an end for quest NPCs.

▷ Dalaran Mage

▲ Artist: Jim Nelson

As the name implies, you can find the Dalaran Mage in Dalaran.

His real name is Babagahnoosh the Grumpy, and he assists other adventurers in pointing to major points of interest and useful NPCs in the city.

Just as the Kobold Geomancer is rarely used because of Bloodmage Thalnos, most people don’t realize the service Babagahnoosh offers because of the Dalaran guards. Why did they have to put a male human guide, who is much more clickable, right next to the poor gnome?

▷ Dark Iron Dwarf

▲ Artist: Scott Hampton

An NPC named Overseer Oilfist in the Burning Steppes has been ported over to Hearthstone as the Dark Iron Dwarf.

Just like they do now, many players toiled away at reputation grinds to get access to profession recipes. Specifically, the Thorium Brotherhood used to be a must-have rep for crafting fire-resist gear required for major raids like Onyxia, Molten Core, and Blackwing Lair.

Maybe the card’s effect of granting +2 attack is the culmination of the pent-up anger that accumulated from having to go through these brutal grinds.

▷ Faceless Manipulator

▲ Artist: Raymond Swanland

“Faceless” prefixes are often seen with monsters which have ties to the Old Gods. Faceless Manipulator is modeled after Commander Ulthok from Throne of the Tides, a 5-man dungeon in Cataclysm. Ulthok was known for dishing out burst damage and sometimes killing the tank, if he wasn’t used to the boss’s pattern.

As the expansion ran its cycle, though, many players skipped past him or were more afraid of trash mobs between bosses. Talk about lack of respect!

▲ Ulthok is one of the bosses in Throne of the Tides.

▷ Darkscale Healer

▲ Artist: Jesper Ejsing

The Darkscale Healer’s real name is Lady Sira’kess in Vashj’ir. What’s interesting is that she’s blue in her Warcraft TCG illustration but is red-ish in the game. Could it be camouflage?

▷ Frost Elemental

▲ Artist: Dan Scott

Alterac Valley is a battleground that many people play to this date. In vanilla WoW, it wasn’t uncommon to see a single session of Alterac Valley last hours on end, locked in a fierce 40-man vs 40-man battle. You could collect certain resources from the battleground to summon a powerful ally: namely, Archdruid Renferal for the Alliance and Lokholar the Ice Lord for the Horde.

Frost Elemental uses the same image as Lokholar’s. Players can turn the tide of battle with the Ice Lord, thanks to his large health pool and damage output.

▲ You won't see Lokholar much these days when it's all rushdown. In Hearthstone as well...

One caveat is that his AI isn’t the brightest, and a simple pull from a hunter could render him useless by baiting him into the room with enemy commanders. That’s about the same effectiveness Frost Elemental has in Hearthstone, so I guess it makes sense.

▷ Mind Control Tech

▲ Artist: Leo Che

Many people refer to him by his abbreviation, MCT, who shares the same image as Crusade Engineer Spitzpatrick in Icecrown.

The funky head piece he’s wearing is an engineering item called Gnomish Mind Control Cap, which can control a humanoid target for 30 seconds. In turn-based Hearthstone, however, the effect has been changed to gain a permanent control of a random enemy minion.

Other Argent Crusade NPCs have transferred over to Hearthstone aside from the Grand Tournament set, so it might be fun to look for those when you play the game next time.

▲ In Icrecrown, you can also find Father Gustav, the model for Holy Light.

▷ Ogre Magi

▲ Artist: James Ryman

Ogre magi have appeared as far back as in the Warcraft 2 era, but Hearthstone’s iteration uses Mogor in Nagrand from Burning Crusade.

Mogor is the final boss in the Ring of Blood quest line, located in the north of Nagrand. The quest was very popular because downing Mogor rewarded a pretty decent weapon for the level.

Though no one calls him by his name in Hearthstone, he should find solace in the fact that he got his own legendary card named after him in the Goblins vs Gnomes set.

▲ In Warlords, you can see what Mogor looked like before he was transformed by Gul'dan.

▷ Pit Lord

▲ Artist: Glenn Rane

Pit Lord is a card you never want to use unless you get it off of Bane of Doom. His artwork is a match from Magtheridon in Warcraft 3.

Magtheridon had an eventful life; he was defeated by Illidan in Black Temple, was captured by orcs to be used as a source of demon blood, and was finally put down for good by players. Nothing in his life seemed to have gone his way, but it couldn’t be helped as all pit lords including Mannoroth, Brutallus, and Azgalor have met similar ends by heroes.

▲ Player: Look, a pit lord. It's a great source of loot.

▷ Shattered Sun Cleric

▲ Artist: Doug Alexander

There’s a rich story behind the art of the Shattered Sun Cleric. The warrior in question is Lady Liadrin at the end of Burning Crusade, who currently leads the Blood Elven army.

Lady Liadrin became the first Blood Knight to lead the Blood Knight order and drew holy energy from a captured naaru called M’uru to use paladin power. However, after prince Kael’thas Sunstrider betrayed his own race and stole M’uru, Lady Liadrin realized the error in her ways. She goes to Shattrath City to meet A’dal to atone for her sins and learns the true way of Light after talking to him, rather than exploiting a naaru to suck energy.

▲ Shattered Sun Offensive is formed at Shattrath.

At this point, she tears apart the Blood Knight banner and joins forces with Draenei paladins to reclaim the Sunwell Plateau where the demon Kil’jaeden, whom Kael’thas calls master, resides. And the new banner she represents is the Shattered Sun Offensive.

Her will is also conveyed in the card’s summon quote, which says, “We must cleanse the Sunwell.” Although the card doesn’t have a name, things could’ve been worse, considering she’s an alternate hero for paladin in Hearthstone.

▲ What she lost in beauty, she gained in status.

▷ Southsea Captain

▲ Artist: Ken Steacy

Though the Southsea Captain didn’t see much play back when we only had the Classic set, it’s much easier to see him these days, thanks to the popularity of pirate warriors. He shares the same artwork as Fleet Master Seahorn in Gadgetzen.

He’s actually a part of the Blackwater Raiders, a faction at war with the Bloodsail Buccaneers, but gives +1/+1 to all pirates regardless of factions in Hearthstone.

▷ Youthful Brewmaster

▲ Artist: Wei Wang

Youthful Brewmaster borrows from Blizzard artist Wei Wang’s rendition of Chen Stormstout.

Chen’s class, Pandaren Brewmaster, used to be notorious for its Drunken Haze – Breath of Fire combo, and it’s fitting since the card has become a nuisance as a quest rogue’s key combo card.

I still wonder though: how “youthful” is Chen when he has wandered across Azeroth with his niece Li Li for all this time?

▲ Who you calling me old? Don't make me bring you PANDA-monium.


That’s all for Hearthstone cards that lost their names. There are more cards which endured a similar fate from other sets besides Classic; there are also those that became completely other characters, but I’ll save those for another time.

Hope to see you guys in the next Fireside Lore!

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