There are five factions of dragons in the World of Warcraft. Some, like the Red Dragonflight, are friendly and attempt to help the dwellers of Azeroth. Others will try to make you part of a BBQ. In fact, most have gone crazy or are outright evil. The Blue Dragonflight is led by Malygos, who is waging his own war in Northrend- as if fighting The Lich King wasn’t enough for our heroes. You’ve already faced one of the Black Dragonflight in the Onyxia’s Lair raid deck, and I hope you scored some top-notch loot as a reward for your bravery.
Then there is the Bronze Dragonflight: the faction of dragons who guard space and time. Norzdomu, their leader, has both a power and a curse: he knows when and how he will die. Until that time comes, he cannot perish. Parties and raids can head to the Caverns of Time in Tanaris to assist the Bronze Dragonflight, as a mysterious faction has appeared and is attempting to reshape the timeline. As time travelers, players can revisit some of the most important events in the Warcraft timeline and live it.
I’ll be your Bronze Dragonflight for today. You can hop on my back like Atreyu in the Neverending Story. We’ll fly all the way back to 2006 and move forward as we visit some of the biggest landmarks in the World of Warcraft TCG and Minis games.
If you can remember dueling foes in real life for Heroes of Azeroth packs and driving all around town just to find a place with a booster box, you’re true old school. The set sold out instantly and went through a second printing. Chromie was a top-dollar epic, and every Alliance rush deck could be heard calling out for a hero- not just any hero- by the name of Leeroy Jenkins. Other familiar faces from Warchief Thrall to King Magni Bronzebeard could be found in packs, but most people were looking for the Saltwater Snapjaw loot card. It may move as slow as a turtle, but nothing blings out a twink or bank alt like rolling around on a turtle. Before the year closed out, Germany’s Oliver Schmid became the first Dream Machine Champion (later to be renamed the Darkmoon Faire Championship) with his control Shaman deck featuring Searing Totem.
At that same event, the final So Cal Gen Con, you could see the first raid deck in Onyxia’s Lair in action. Players lined up across 4 days just to get a peek at the team-based format and a chance to slay the dragon. Slaying dragons: that is why we play games, isn’t it? Only one team would slay the dragon that weekend. Onyxia’s Lair hit huge in early 2007 with such Constructed staples as Nemesis Skullcap and Ancient Cornerstone Grimoire.
Through the Dark Portal was the hit follow-up set to Heroes of Azeroth, taking players out of the relative safety of Azeroth and into the dangerous Outlands. To help players in the war against the forces of the Legion and Illidan Stormrage, the Horde allied with the Blood Elves and the Alliance allied with the Draenei. Now the Horde could use Paladin abilities, and the Alliance could build Shaman decks. Phadalus the Enlightened first emerged as a deck that had true legs; it was popular throughout the year as it opened the season with a second-place finish to TAWC's Cruelty deck piloted by Tim Batow.
The Molten Core raid deck certainly helped with the push for Phadalus to reign supreme as it introduced Perdition’s Blade to the game- a dagger that is still played in top-tier decks today. As Onyxia was a single boss event, The Molten Core was a multi-boss event featuring two ways to play. Players could take out bosses as they pleased to ease into the event, or they could attempt every boss in the “full clear” mode. Yes, there are some so foolhardy, but with loots like Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros and Striker’s Mark, it’s too much loot to simply pass up! Players could also crack all the loot cards from Through the Dark Portal in The Molten Core Raid Decks, including the uncommon loot King Mukla that gave players Bananas the monkey!
The summer saw Fires of Outland define the loot card in the Spectral Tiger. Players attending the set’s Sneak Preview could hear the shrieks echo the halls as gamers opened up the legendary loot card. To this day, it is the most valuable card in the TCG and fetches a price near four-figures. During that summer, Gen Con hosted the first U.S. Nationals and Brad Watson, perhaps the game’s most prolific player, bested over 400 other players with his Red Warrior control deck featuring Dual Wield.
Tis’ the season! With the holiday season upon us, UDE released Feast of Winter Veil Collector’s Set. All of your favorite MMO personalities and quests were available in this holiday gift. Each box came with The Abominable Greench, Hardpacked Snowball, PX-238 Winter Wondervolt, and a bevy of other WoW TCG cards.
Finally, the first block came to an end. March of the Legion, featuring the ominous Fel Reaver on the booster box, reminded players that this world in which we play is a war zone. The World Championships echoed that as France’s Guillaume Matignon went on a draft day tear to squeak in at 8th place for the Top 8 playoffs and won $100,000 on a rainy San Diego Sunday with his Narthadus Red Paladin deck- an archetype still popular today.
The Spectral Tiger loot card made a return with the Magtheridon’s Lair raid deck, the extremely rare mount hiding in random treasure packs. It was a raid experience that mixed the two themes of single-boss and multi-boss strategies. Hoping to stop the creation of Fel Orcs by slaying the source- Magtheridon and his blood- heroes could loot gear from the fallen pit lord like Aegis of the Vindicator.
Servants of the Betrayer, which UDE sold out of within weeks, gave players the X-51 Nether Rocket loot card, the first flying mount available through the TCG. It also introduced the idea of “what if your favorite hero chose a different path?” We’re all confronted with choices in our lives, and the heroes of the TCG are no different. Each hero had a loyal copy and a Traitor copy, with that hero trading his or her traditional talent spec for the power of cards like Sudden Death and Gut Shot. The Traitor heroes Kil’zin of the Bloodscalp and Vorna the Wretched would later prove that there’s real power to the dark side.
Hunt for Illidan’s feature card is oddly a hero. “Black Ice” Fizzlefreeze became an immediate tournament powerhouse, taking second at the 2009 North American Continental Championship, winning Darkmoon Faire New Jersey, and consistently placing in the Top 8 of events throughout the year.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? Illidan has had a pretty rough existence. Losing his love to his brother, being imprisoned, becoming a demon, having his eyes gouged out- the man isn’t exactly a beaming ray of sunshine. Now you dare enter his temple?! Those who dare enter Illidan’s fortress can pick up the Master Hero Illidan Stormrage and their Traitor heroes can become the Traitor himself!
Just like the Feast of Winter Veil Collector’s Set the year before, players were transported to a whole different Darkmoon Faire than they were used to. Silas Darkmoon invites you to join the fun on the cover of The Darkmoon Faire collector’s set, and gave the game its first location in the set’s namesake: The Darkmoon Faire. Along with that, players also picked up the portent-reading Sayge. As a huge body who can steal the Mage interrupt abilities, he gave decks like “Black Ice” Fizzlefreeze fits.
Sayge was certainly a star at the 2009 World Championships in Paris, France. In the finals it was Traitor vs. Traitor, France’s Laurent Pagorek with Vorna the Wretched vs. the U.S.A.’s Jim Fleckenstein with Kil’zin of the Bloodscalp. Though the matchup favored the Shaman on paper, Pagorek won 2 of the first 3 games. Down to his last out, Fleckenstein rallied with Sayge stealing multiple Fizzles from Pagorek to win the final two games and wear the crown of World Champion.
Drums of War introduced the third block of the World of Warcraft TCG as players bid adieu to the Burning Crusade block. The epic Weldon Barov quickly became the chase epic in the set, and players could also get their hands on the loot card The Red Bearon mount to ride or Owned! flag to stick in their fallen PvP foes. The flag gives your opponent a thumbs down, but the item itself gets two big thumbs up from the battleground grinders and arena gladiators!
While technically in the 2009 season, Darkmoon Faire Anaheim in November of 2008 debuted the World of Warcraft Minis Core Set in its first Darkmoon Faire Championship. Mimicking the PvP and battlegrounds scenarios that you’ll find in the MMO, party leaders hand select their army to go head-to-head against opponents either in free-for-all combat or in objective scenarios. Corle Huffman used legendary Archmage Arugal to mop up Winterspring to become the first DMF Minis Champion, and he’d do it again in San Francisco in early 2009. And yes, you can find the same loot cards in Minis booster packs and starter sets just like you do in the TCG packs!
The season is nearly half over, and we’ve seen two more sets come to store shelves. Blood of Gladiators is the debut set for the Arena keyword. Arena allies work together to become greater than the sum of their parts, buffing each other and taking down enemies with deadly precision one would expect from professional fighters.
Players received a first sneak peek at Spoils of War for the first WoW Minis expansion during Darkmoon Faire Charlotte weekend, and the room was buzzing with excitement as players marveled at the improved build quality of the figures themselves, the new Action Bar cards, Equipment cards, and loots! Spoils of War is set for a full release in just a few days, so mark May 5th on your calendar!
Even with nearly three full years of sets and products in the books for the World of Warcraft games, the games show no signs of stagnation or slowing down. Wrath of the Lich King’s release shattered record books for Blizzard Entertainment and video gaming as a whole, much due to the introduction of the incredible Death Knight class. From the corpses of those slain by the Forsaken, the Death Knights in the TCG will be released this June. The plate-wearing, disease-spreading hybrid class will be the tenth class in both the Minis and TCG games. Plus, as always, we have infinite more loots to slip into packs of our WoW Minis and WoW TCG product. Who knows what items will be available in the future? All I know is that our WoW MMO characters want them ASAP!
I also hope you keep an open calendar. We have Battlegrounds, Regionals, Realm Qualifiers, Darkmoon Faires, Nationals, Continentals, and Realm Championships, as well as the World Championship this October in Austin, TX. We have many more mind-blowing computers and ear-shattering entertainment centers to give away. And hey, if you’re a Realm Championship winner and traveling on UDE’s cash ($2,500 of it to be exact), it’s just that much better!
I hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane with the Bronze Dragonflight, and if you want to pick up some of the history that has made this game, the Upper Deck Store is currently holding a “Best Of” sale. Aside from that, I hope you’re as excited as I am for the conclusion of the 2009 season and what’s coming up in 2010! See you out there on the battlegrounds!