Blizzard has always had the tradition to honor every HS World Champion with a tribute card.
We've had 8 World Champions so far, and here are all their tribute cards!
Firebat - 2014 World Champion
The first HS World Champion ever and today's Grandmaster received his tribute card in Whispers of the Old Gods: we dare to say that this one is probably the most fitting adaptation and the easiest to catch.
Ostkaka - 2015 World Champions
Quite difficult to get due to language barriers, but 2015 World Champion Ostkaka is Swedish and his name in his native language means "cheesecake". In fact, this minion's flavor text is "Now that's a world champion cheesecake!". Quite the pun there.
Pavel - 2016 World Champion
Pavel got Chittering Tunneler as his tribute card: the hint is again in the minion's flavor text - Ear to the ground, he carefully interpreted the chittering noises: “You wanna cast a spell? I wanna cast a spell!” - which is Babbling Book's entry line. While it may seem very odd, there's obviously an explanation: during the quarterfinals of the 2016 World Championship, Amnesiac got Pavel on the ropes with a solid 3-0 in his favor, but in the end the soon-to-be champion was able to pull of a reverse sweep (3-4), earn the right to play in the semifinals and, eventually, win the whole tournament. Here's a clip that will help you understand what you're talking about.
Tom60229 - 2017 World Champion
Probably the most difficult to get, but other than the slight reference in "phanTOM", Tom60229 actually got to voice act the minion's lines.
Hunterace - 2018 World Champion
After a crazy match against Viper, Hunterace conquered his place in the hall of champions: he had to wait sometime before getting his tribute card, but Scholomance Academy finally brought it to him (and all of us of course). Definitely one of the most fitting adaptations so far: the recent introduction of Demon Hunter in Hearthstone made it possible to merge in a single unit both existing hunters and create a really flavorful representation of the champion's name.
If we needed any other proof outside of it being his own card reveal, the flavor text for Ace Hunter Kreen is on point.
This grandmaster marksman loves winning tournaments and eating a bit of ice cream.
Well played, Blizz!
VKLiooon - 2019 World Champion
The first woman ever to earn the title of World Champion got her tribute card in Ashes of Outland; Both the player and the card share the same animal as their subject. Worth noting is that the minion's art definitely jumps to the eye for being far more realistic than the usual HS style, but that is not a flaw at all!
The card was revealed on March 23, 2020, and was revealed by Liooon herself with very fitting flavor text.
Never underestimate a lioness when her pride is on the line.
Glory - 2020 World Champion
Among all the cards revealed in Fractured in Alterac Valley's final dump, Glory Chaser is one of the few hidden gems, and for a particular reason. In fact, Hearthstone developer Gallon confirmed that this card is Glory's tribute, and that the player has a chance of doubling down, given that they're qualified for Worlds 2021 too!
Quote From Gallon
Posesi - 2021 World Champion
Beating the best, being the best, and brainwashing the rest.
Quote From Gallon
Our card for last year's Hearthstone World Champion, @posesi8! Fun fact about this one, the flavor text for it was made by none other than @Abar_HS. Congratulations again on the victory!
Interested in Easter eggs in Hearthstone? We rounded up our favorites here: make sure to check them out!
That's actually really cool, I only ever knew about the Firebat one.
It also somewhat explains why they chose a female lion for Mok'nathal (based on the fact that usually, when it comes to fiction, male lions are preferred because of the iconic mane).
Alright, time to become World Champion so we can finally get a poop elemental in the game.
I don't care how much time it will take you: I would double craft it in golden.
I support your world championship efforts! Don't forget about us when you're at the top :D
I still utilize Priest of the Feast in my highlander build. It is one of the cards that I can reliably say is a staple with my wild priest decks.
This is really cool. I wonder to what extent the champions have any input into what kind of card they get. However, I'm still wondering what the connection is for some of them. You didn't explain what Chittering Tunneler has to do with the name "Pavel", and even after looking at the linked video, I still don't understand the reference. I might have pointed out the "Lion" in VKLioon as well. I know it seems obvious, but I legit didn't notice it at first and was wondering for several minutes why you didn't explain that name like you did Firebat.
Babbling Book is so associated with Pavel in the minds of Hearthstone players that it was nicknamed and subsequently always referred to as Paveling Book after his championship win.
I admit I considered Pavel's reference so obvious that I didn't bother explaining it too much, but I guess what is crystal clear to me may not be the same for other people. Definitely a mistake on my side: will fix it immediately.
I just don't get the link between Mok'Nathal Lion and the champion. I mean, it's a lion ok, but was it it made on purpose? What am I missing?
Cool article btw.
According to Corasongbird, it was intended.
Yeah, that is basically it. It is definitely a bit disappointing given that other champions share a deeper bond with their cards (Firebat and Fiery Bat and Hunterace and Ace Hunter Kreen), but that's what we got...
Thanks for this post! Wondering about the rest was the first thing I thought when I saw Hunterace's card today. Second was how long will it take you create this post.
This is the content I come here for! Thank you :)
Great summary of the champions' cards--short, sweet, and to the point.
That pavel tribute is still probably the most mishandled of them all. Considering that both his and Tom's tribute cards are practically impossible to discern, its just a shame honestly.
Tom's probably the hardest to create a card out of, not helped by the numbers behind his name, but you'd think his card would've been a rogue card considering thats how he won the world champ in the first place. Same with pavel. It took like 2 years before it was confirmed, I think, that Chittering Tunneler was a tribute card.
Hunterace and Ostkaka's cards is still the best looking both in theme and art, in my opinion anyway.
Phantom Militia is a better tribute in Chinese, where it's name is pronounced similarly to Tom's and Tom even provides the voice acting.
Honestly, if I hadn't stumbled across this article, I might never have guessed that Tom's card is Phantom Militia, which I was spamming in quest warrior 2 years back.
Tom's card could have been a mech with all those numbers behind his name