The Year of the Dragon has finally landed! Rise of Shadows is here, and in it, Rafaam and his fellow E.V.I.L schemers are out to take Dalaran for all that it’s worth. But of course, the defenders of the great magical city are not going to take this lying down.
With so many new cards and the most powerful year ever rotating out of Standard, the game is set to see more change than it has in years. As we get into the first set of the Year of the Dragon, I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about some card art I enjoy most from the Rise of Shadows expansion. Without further ado, here are 5 pieces from Rise of Shadows that I think are cool.
Forbidden Words – Artist: J. Axer
Let’s start off with a bang: Forbidden Words featuring Madame Lazul and her reptile companion.
I like the use of softness and tone to frame the faces and draw the eye further into key focal areas. The snake’s body is devoid of detail and almost blends completely into the background. The softness of the snake mixes perfectly with the tonal shift to Madame Lazul’s hair, fading out everything else, further emphasizing the detailed faces—similar to how your vision would change if you were being entranced.
The two defined areas in this piece are the faces of Madame Lazul and her loyal pet. Lazul is dark and ominous with red orbs peering through sunken eyes. The colour shift from black to red to yellow is mesmerizing. The snake’s eyes echo hers, but its face is plastered with a wry grin. It knows your peril… and relishes it. With gaze held and finger to lips, Madame Lazul is telling you to be quiet, and she means it. This piece immediately puts you on the back foot. Madame Lazul is full of menace and is very serious—a rarity for Hearthstone art.
Scargil – Artist: Alex Horley
This expansion has made me hyped for something that I have never enjoyed: Murlocs. My WoW character suffered so many low level Murloc-inflicted deaths that I still get flashbacks to being swarmed by fishy mobs en masse.
However, with this set, there are a lot of cool cards that have proven Murloc Shaman has a lot of potential, and I am looking forward to playing some Murloc Zoo Shaman with my Morgl hero portrait and Scargil in the fray!
The crackling hands and the background horde of angry Murlocs make this piece something special. The pose of Scargil is the classic build up pose used to show warriors getting ready for battle. Tense shoulders and rippling anatomy building into crackling hands literally leak power in the form of elemental lightning.
The colour use is on point for Shamans. Heavy blues and greens with a minor use of oranges and purple for highlighting. The only clean white is emanating from the hands, serving as the display of power and the light for this piece.
Arcane Servant – Artist: Wayne Wu
Elementals don’t usually look like this. Mostly they are shown as being made of whatever element they represent. To be fair, a few have light muscle tones, but this one is ripped!
I think the main aspect of this piece that separates it from other elemental work is the colour palette. Moving away from traditional elemental colours of reds, browns and greens, this piece features pinks and pastels highlighted by light greys with the lightest of faint blues—an excellent decision that helps give this piece menace. Actually, the colours are beyond solid. They are heavy.
After seeing so many elementals illustrated throughout Hearthstone’s history, it’s great that we can still get unique takes on these minions. This is obviously an elemental, yet it is quite distinctive.
Ursatron – Artist: Zoltan Baros
Ursatron is the most gentle, loveable death machine defending Dalaran. Depicting Mechs as strong, metallic weapons of power and destruction is easy. Depicting Mechs as strong, metallic loveable companions is hard. Boras has accomplished something very difficult in this piece by giving this mech softness and compassion.
The background is subtly not a typical animal’s forest but rather the city of Dalaran. Thanks to the tones of greens and yellow, when viewed out of focus it is reminiscent of a forest. This background is a city, home to a Mech bear, a lovable metal Mech of death. Godzilla Winnie-the-Pooh.
Ursatron looks huge (obviously, because it’s bear size) and is expertly rendered so as to show the construction used various metals. It looks solid and robust like one would expect from a robot bear, but there is a vulnerability in the face. It has personality—a softness.
This is a Mech that shows a massive amount of unexpected character. It invokes a sense of caring or being safe-guarded against harm. It’s these deep meanings that really impress me.
Shimmerfly – Artist: Cecil He
Of course I had to mention Shimmerfly, but do I really need to say anything? Let’s just take a minute and look at this one together.
Just…beautiful. The Blink Fox of this set without a doubt.
That will do it for now! I hope you enjoyed these 5 pieces from Rise of Shadows. Comment below to tell me which pieces are your favorites from this set.
I hope you are doing well on the new ladder. Good luck at the Inn, and watch out for those E.V.I.L doers!