March, 2014. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft had just been released to the world and the best 4-drop in the game was Chillwind Yeti, a card added to a player’s collection after unlocking the Warrior class from the game tutorial (times were simpler then).
At this point in the meta the difference between 4 and 5 health was huge, thus situating the 4/5 card in a distinct sweet-spot: a big body that could trade favorably against smaller minions and any other 4-drop; draw focus from targeted removals like Polymorph and Assassinate; elude Shadow Word: Death, survive Flamestrike and also threaten face with 4 damage that couldn’t be ignored.
Chillwind Yeti had a palpable ferocity to match its stature. It pounded onto the board, let out a lion’s roar to rival any Savannah Highmane’s. And it looked like a bad-ass too.
Behold: a giant, swole-up, demon-horned Wendigo with fur as ice-blue as the frozen cave walls winding in its wake. Leaping out at the card frame with its grizzly, steam-colored beard billowing and enormous, razor-clawed fingers moments away from tearing off your throat.
Or so we thought. A closer look at the full artwork reveals a much different story. A far more pitiable one. As it turns out, the Chillwind Yeti isn’t leaping at the camera ready to rip off someone’s face…
He’s fleeing for his life.
Art credit: Mauro Cascioli. You sadist.
Even more disheartening than the warlock about to cast some horrible, soul-draining, mind-muddling bewitchment on our focal point Yeti however is the scene taking place in the background. Another Chillwind Yeti — perhaps a colleague, a friend, a next of kin or a lover to the one on our card — yowling in unmitigated terror, oversized hand half-raised to fend with futility at the merciless whip-cracks of the warlock’s succubus minion.
One look at the poor bastard’s face says it all:
Damn. And you just know that succubus, indifferent to whether or not the Yeti can fathom her sardonic-tongued insults, is saying stuff like “Don’t touch what you can’t afford” and “I hope it was good for you” the entire time she’s literally and figuratively whipping the soul out of that poor, whimpering Yeti. Also, she’s probably spanking her own ass too.
To this day the Chillwind Yeti remains one of my favorite cards in Hearthstone. In his heyday, he secured me many a clutch victory. I’d love to include him in a throwback Basic Deck and see how far I can take him on the Ladder for kicks and giggles. But I just… can’t. Like a once cherished liquor I drank way too much of one night and whose mere odor now causes me to dry-heave — I no longer have the stomach for it. Not since I got woke to the full card art; saw the pure anguish and misery in the fleeing Yetis’ eyes. These are feelings I just can’t unfeel anymore. The Chillwind Yeti deserve better.
By the time you’ve finished reading this Hearthstone memoir — I pray you too will see the light.
Next: Surprising Hearthstone Art: Fen Creeper.