Top 10’s: Best Entrance Animations of All Time
It’s time for a little fun. Amid the wave of Heroic Tavern Brawl (which was just as awesome as I imagined it would be) and new set hype (hyyyppeee), I thought it would be good to step back from all the seriousness and look at the lighter side of Hearthstone. So, instead of one of my usual competitive-related Top 10’s, I wanted to look at something a little more laid back in entrance animations. While Hearthstone’s mechanics and strategy are no doubt its biggest pull, the bright colors and awesome animations go a long way. Today I am going back through the different cards Blizzard has given us over the years and break down what I consider to be the coolest entrances in the game. These are the cards you can’t wait to play. The ones that make you stop for a moment and really say “wow” when they enter. Yes, this top 10 is really only regulated to a certain set of legendaries, but that doesn’t change simply just how cool some of these cards are.
The first mention is Brann Bronzebeard. There are many ways to enter the battlefield, and swinging in on a vine definitely ranks among the top. While this animation is not particularly flashy over overwrought (one of the reasons it didn’t reach any higher) it is still a very memorable card that oozes with flavor. Not only does the entrance look cool, but it also really gives you an idea that Brann is out in the jungle looking for treasure (or battlecries).
An old staple, Prophet Velen‘s awesome animation is a good example of pure class. The triangles of light do not take over the screen, nor do they try to do too much. Rather, they show off the 7/7’s awesome power and bring all of the focus down to him. That, paired with his awesome speech, really pushes him up. However, like Brann, the lack of splash keeps him from being higher.
While his actual entrance is not unique, Lord Jaraxxus‘s ability to come into the game and take over your hero is one of the most awesome things Hearthstone has ever done. It is an awesome moment that really makes you go “holy %*@% that’s cool” when you first see it. Honestly, this makes the list for nostalgia purposes alone. However, as there really is not specific entrance animation to speak of, I cannot put the demon lord into the top 10.
The Top 10
One of my favorite things in Hearthstone is when an animation actually manages to embody a card, and that is exactly what happens with Nefarian. The nine-drop doesn’t just enter the game, he flies above the board and then slams down and takes your opponent’s spells. The shadow moving across the board gives the first hint of him coming to into the game, and it is a great call back to the great dragons of lore. That type of animation is very rare, but I would love to see more of it. The only reason nef begins the list with such a cool animation is because it’s a little short for my taste. You don’t quite get to enjoy the shadow (or the anticipation) as much as you would if he made a few more passes before coming in.
Beginning our list is the warchief himself, Vol'jin. While many cards have cool ways to enter the board, I believe you need to really look at the whole package when properly evaluating them. That being said, the combination of dark voodoo magic and the haunting drum beat come together to create an awesome effect that other cards simply don’t have. Most of the minions in this game (and this list) come into play with a single object or in a set way, but melting out of the darkness is a different game altogether. The only reason this doesn’t make it higher is because his animation happens too quickly and disappears if you hold him too long. I would have really liked Blizz to play with this more.
As flashy as the above entrances are, neither of them have quite the impact that Neptulon does. It is one thing to come down onto the board (like so many cards do) but it is a different thing entirely to actually go through it. True to his name, the murloc-lover erupts from the depths, spraying water and fish across the board as he bursts into play. When you put down a big legendary you want it to show your opponent’s its power and you want it to be impressive. These are the most sought-after cards in the game, and they should reflect that. Neuptulon nails that essence perfectly.
7. Elise Starseeker
Elise Starseeker comes into the list at number seven simply because of just how unique she is. While there are many no-doubt-about-it cool entrance animations in this game, a lot of them are kind of the same. You get a minion, it explodes or drops down in a ball of fire or similar effect. That’s cool, but it can wear on you if you see it too much. Elise breaks that trend by giving you an explorer travelling across a map in search of treasure. Not only does the animation take over the board, but it exactly matches the card and what she’s trying to do. That type of flavor is what takes a card from cool to amazing. The only reason she stays at seven is because the lack of color really dulls the entire process down.
6. Ragnaros the Firelord
One of the true classics, Ragnaros the Firelord did not always have his awesome entrance animation. Even so, that does not stop it from becoming number six on our list. Much like Neptulon, the eight drop exploding from the depths beneath the board is one of the most awesome ways to enter a game. However, he gets to slot a few rings higher because coming up in a ball of fire, spewing molten lava across the board, is much cooler than emerging from the depths (in my opinion). This is a card you’re immediately scared of when he hits the board, and the animation reflects that fear perfectly. It also pairs extremely well with his effect, erupting in lava and then shooting it across the board.
5. Emperor Thaurissan
By the power of Ragnaros, I have the poweeer! Hate all you want on Emperor Thaurissan‘s ability, but coming down like a bolt of lightning on your own hammer is one of the sickest entrances of all time. There is just something so incredibly cool and powerful about it that you have to stop and take notice. Its elegant and simple in one sense, but also very striking at the same time. In addition, the color scheme just oozes the magma lord he embodies and is a great complement to his art. For that, he has one of the most incredible ways to come onto the board ever.
4. Bolvar Fordragon
I’d be willing to be that without that GIF not one of you would be able to recount Bolvar’s awesome entrance. Not only did the five drop barely see any play, but you also needed to buff him up to a good attack to see the lion roar. However, that doesn’t mean he didn’t know how to shake things up. This card’s entrance is like Prophet Velen ‘s on steroids. Not only do you get the lights that bring focus to the character, but you also get the paladin print over his body matched with a terrifying roar. This is just what a legendary should be: pure power that also encapsulates his own class perfectly.
3. Elite Tauren Chieftain
If this was beta, Elite Tauren Chieftain would have been higher on this list. However, it has been over two years since we first got a glimpse of ETC’s awesome rock entrance, and times have changed. That does not mean the five drop got any less awesome, it just means that it doesn’t quite have the “wow” factor it once did. Even so, there is no denying just how amazing this entrance is. You get front seats to a whole rock show that takes over the board entire board and signals that the 5/5 is coming down. The flashing E.T.C on the screen mixed with the guitar solo puts you right in his world and lets you know something big is about to happen.
2. Golden Monkey
Not a collectible card you say? I say, who cares? There are many awesome openings in this game, but almost all of them pale in comparison to the Golden freaking Monkey. This card could have just had one part of its animation and it would have been fine, but the fact that it has multiple stages is unreal. Not only do you get the giant golden, red-eyed monkey staring at you from the middle of the board, but you also get fire-breathing over both your hand and deck as the ancient statute changes your cards into legendaries. I already spoke of animation reflecting power, and there is almost nothing that beats the monkey. Honestly, there could be a case for this to be number one. It oozes with flavor, drips power, and rewards you for going on the search. However, I just don’t think it’s as scary as a charging T-rex.
1. King Krush
Come on. No matter how cool some of the above animations are, they just don’t have the seer awesome factor that King Krush does. For me, this card is the whole package. You get an animation that perfectly encapsulates the card in a truly amazing way. What’s the best way to show that something scary is coming? How about a set of terrifying footsteps that shake the board right before the 8/8 slams down and charges for face? The entrance, mixed with King Krush’s ability, truly shows a card that runs from off the screen and right into your opponent’s face. The dinosaur may never see competitive play, but he makes damn well sure you’ll know if he ever does. An easy choice for my number one.
That may be one of the most fun lists I’ve ever put together. Not only did we get to explore some cool animations, but it was fun looking at the other aspects of the game. Hearthstone is a card game, which means the focus is always going to be centered around strategy and moving up the ladder. However, there are many things that make it so fun, and the animations are definitely one of them. I would love to see cooler ones in the future, and I hope Blizzard really expands on this idea in the coming expansion. Thanks for reading!