How Stormwind’s Questline Cards Tell the Story of the Mercenaries

After a successful Year of the Dragon featuring the conflict between the League of Explorers and the League of E.V.I.L. back in 2019, Team 5 decided to return to a year-long narrative with the Year of the Gryphon.

The story of the ten so-called Mercenaries kicked off with the Horde-centric Forged in the Barrens expansion and continues with the release of United in Stormwind, set in the heart of the Alliance faction. As we all know, the Book of Mercenaries single-player campaigns have been the driving force of story-telling this year. Similar to the Book of Heroes series, it tries to shed light on the origin stories of Hearthstone’s important characters.

However, the single-player campaign isn’t the only story-telling vehicle in United in Stormwind! With the introduction of the Questline cards, Team 5’s narrative department found yet another way to direct the player’s attention to the present storyline of the expansion.

In order to not miss any juicy Hearthstone lore details, we will take a good look at all the Mercenaries stories told through Stormwind’s Questline cards!

Demon Hunter

The latest edition of Book of Mercenaries told us everything we need to know about Kurtrus’ origins – and more!

Many years ago, a dreadlord named Anetheron destroyed the night elf’s home and killed his family. That is why he swore allegiance to Illidan and became a demon hunter. However, the betrayer didn’t help him in his demon-hunting crusade and thus has been on his own ever since.

On his way through the Barrens, he meets a human paladin named Cariel Roame. While Kurtrus’ mission is to seek and destroy his ultimate nemesis Anetheron, Cariel needs to find her lost sister Tamsin. Long story short, the duo eventually finds Cariel’s sister – a Forsaken warlock ready to summon, as we learned by looking at Tamsin’s Questline card, ANETHERON!



The last fight ends with Cariel trying to defend her gone-mad sister – an action she paid with her life for. Eventually, Tamsin gets away.

So what happens in the art of Kurtrus’ questline cards?

First off, we can see that he seems to get his final revenge by confronting Anetheron. It also looks like he closes the portal which the nathrezim came through – maybe even the portal that Tamsin initially opened? Anyway – in the end, Kurtrus becomes a Demonslayer, so we can assume that Anetheron has been put to eternal rest.


In Guff’s Book of Mercenary chapter, we learned one and one thing only about our favorite tauren: Typical for his profession, he feels deeply connected with nature. And while Guff’s card series definitely doesn’t feature epic dreadlord duels, his Questline story showcases a great example of his love for plants and animals!



The story told through the card art starts out as per usual. Guff gets lost in the beautiful parks of Stormwind. Together with the friendly totem on his back, he encounters a pack of squirrels. We can’t say for sure what causes all this, but eventually, Guff has to defend his animal friends. Typical for squirrels, the whole situation seems to escalate, and suddenly Guff, transformed in bear form, fights off several Alliance soldiers.

Why did Guff get lost in the park? Who attacked the squirrels? And what is the NAME of this incredibly cute totem on Guff’s back? It almost seems like Guff’s questline raises more questions than it answers!


Through Tavish’s questline, we can finally see what’s actually going on in the city of Stormwind: Somehow, someway, a demonic invasion is happening! As his duty, Tavish looks to defend the Dwarven District of Stormwind against observers, succubi, doomguards and infernals.


But where do those demons come from?

We can safely assume that Tamsin and the potential portal she has opened to summon Anetheron is certainly one of the main reasons.

Never in the history of Warcraft has the Burning Legion succeeded in taking over one of the capitals of this world – and that might just change in Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion!


Meanwhile, Varden Dawngrasp, the Mage mercenary, seems to enjoy their time in the Stockades, Stormwind’s well-known prison tract. The most interesting bit of information is shown in the art of the first Questline card “Sorcerer’s Gambit”, where we can see Scabbs, the Rogue mercenary, hiding behind Varden.


By the looks of it, and after analyzing the Rogue questline, the mercenary Scabbs switched sides and was locked up in the Stockades for something we don’t know anything about.

With the third and fourth part of the questline, things evolve quite quickly: After summoning a portal in Stormwind’s portal room, Varden suddenly seems to be located in the blood-elven capital of Silvermoon. Whid did they open a portal to that place? What happens to their team of Horde adventurers? And where is Scabbs?


Similar to Tavish, Cariel does what Alliance soldiers do best: They defend what is theirs! Over the course of three cards, we see her recruiting Stormwind’s soldiers, fighting infernals, and, ultimately, her own sister Tamsin Roame.



As we already know from Kurtrus’ Book of Mercenaries, Cariel seems to fall in battle against him. However, the questline now shows that she turns against her own sister!

We don’t know exactly how she will fall in battle, but the holy aura of Cariel in her final Lightborn “form” shown on the last questline card implies that she will be revived somehow.


While Stormwind is under demonic attack, Xyrella doesn’t lose sight of her “main quest” to find more naaru shards.



Interestingly enough, the “Seek Guidance” part of the questline is supported by United in Stormwind’s trailer. In one of its scenes, we see Xyrella being blessed by High Priestess Laurena, a high-ranked cleric of the Holy Church of the Light.

Empowered by the Light itself, Xyrella eventually rids a void shard she has found of its corruption.

The year-long storyline started with Xyrella’s Book of Mercenaries campaign. She seems to reach her goal to collect more naaru shards in order to help her sick daughter – however, we don’t find ourselves in happy ending territory just yet.


As already mentioned in the Mage questline, Scabbs, the Rogue mercenary, looks to be in quite a sticky situation.

Given his background with SI:7, the Alliance’s secret service, he seems to be one of the very few mercenaries that is not on the hunt for more naaru shards. In fact, it is quite obvious what is going on in card 2 and 3 of the questline:



In Warcraft lore it is Katrana Prestor, better known as Onyxia, Deathwing’s daughter, who once tried to infiltrate Stormwind from within. She split King Varian’s personality in half, tried to get rid of his son Anduin, and almost succeeded in overthrowing Stormwind’s monarchy.

In Hearthstone’s lore it is Scabbs that seems to get behind this secret – through a sealed letter. The third card obviously shows Katrana in the background, as Scabbs is being dragged to the cells.

Does the general storyline of Varden rescuing Scabbs in the Stockades make more sense now? Not really, given that they’re from different factions, but at least we know why Scabbs is in there!


All of those overarching story elements (no pun intended) are nothing for our senior shaman Bru’kan.



While others unearth political plots or familial differences, the shaman mercenary brings down the elemental law upon Stormwind, its soldiers, and the Burning Legion.

Looking at his final form as a Stormcaller, Bru’kan seems to play a starring role in holding back the demonic invasion and the Alliance attackers. Sadly, outside of the artwork for his Questline looking really cool, it doesn’t tell us much more.


Tamsin seems to be the root cause of, well, basically everything that’s happening in United in Stormwind.



As we know by now, she has stolen the Demon Seed, a powerful artifact that the Burning Blade clan protected for decades. Because of the connections between the Burning Blade and the Shadow Council, a sect of warlocks, Tamsin might have acquired enough knowledge to learn that the Demon Seed could hold enough power to open a portal into another dimension – or at least the questline cards imply that.

The story of our Forsaken warlock seems to be the main driving force of the upcoming expansion, and that for a reason: The conflicts with her sister and Kurtrus alone would be enough to justify her starring role – but the fact that she lets the Burning Legion enter a capital city of Azeroth turns Tamsin’s story into a true headline.


At first sight, Rokara’s questline doesn’t seem to be in line with the other mercenaries. Many community members already stated that fact when her edition of Book of Mercenaries was published.



So why does Rokara now decides that it’d be a good time to attack the Alliance – and all of that, on a ship?!

Well, looking back at her storybook, one thing is certain: Rokara is a proud member of the Horde. Once she learned her final lesson from Garrosh in the last fight of her campaign, he tells her to wait for her next mission – and that mission could be to attack the Alliance!

She surely doesn’t want to be like Garrosh, we already know that. But to bring honor to the Horde by securing the docks of Stormwind? That would be a Horde thing to do more than any actions done by our Horde mercenaries so far!


Julian "Tharid" Bischoff, a dinosaur in the fast-changing world of esports and self-proclaimed Warcraft expert, already created Hearthstone-related content for Red Bull, ESL and Hearthhead.

Check out Tharid on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. Alglyphic
    July 31, 2021 at 2:49 am

    From the four adventures we HAVE seen in Book of Mercenaries, it’s clear that Team 5 has some idea of how the mercs’ narratives are going to go down – and is moving onto continuing, if not tying up some of the looser ends. (Spoiler warning, in case it wasn’t clear!)

    Guff and Rokara’s quests don’t go much further beyond what’s already established in the Book: they’re both young members of the Horde, full of heart for what they believe in, and the Book of Mercenaries tied it all up pretty nicely.

    Varden’s questline continues from their fate at the hand of Xyrella’s group in Kurtrus’ chapter: after being forced to cover for Kazakus’ escape. Based on ripped audio files of the end of Varden’s questline, Varden has returned to Silvermoon in search of “answers”, likely to investigate the true nature of the naaru shards.

    At the end of Xyrella’s adventure, both Scabbs and Tavish realise that they’ve both been hired by Katrana Prestor, but it looks like only Scabbs is following up on that lead. If not for Tharid mentioning it I wouldn’t have noticed Scabbs’ cameo in the Mage questline. He does declare “I can’t sit here! Stormwind needs me!” as his Summoning quote, so it sounds like he’s able to do something about his dire straits.

    Did Cariel fall in battle to Kurtrus? It certainly seemed like it in Kurtrus’ adventure; Cariel has no death quote, no aftermath, although seeing her leading her group in the United in Stormwind trailer makes me think otherwise. “The Fallen”, I imagine, would refer to the 1-drops and comrades she’s had to lead and lose in the demonic invasion. As I mentioned in the page for Rise to the Occasion, it looks like the Roame sibling rivalry is about to reach a tragic conclusion.

    What about Bru’kan? Tharid suggests that he’s holding back both the demonic invasion AND the Alliance attackers, but I’m not so sure – my lack of WoW familiarity aside, it looks like Bru’kan is sharing a vessel with Stormwind soldiers, based on the hammers they’re wielding. We know from Rokara’s adventure that Bru’kan is a stronger shaman than he lets on, he believes in compassion and finding your own way, even respecting Rokara when she extends this philosophy to enemies of the Horde. Bru’kan’s flavour text also reads: “Bru’kan, his body weathered and weary, felt his time nearing its end. Teaching brave champions like Rokara gives him hope for a greater future.” Is Bru’kan’s commanding of the elements a sign of him putting aside the differences between the Alliance and the Horde, and “uniting” them against a larger threat? Is Bru’kan going to go out with an elemental bang? Who knows, but seeing both his protege and himself on boats for their questline art, perhaps Bru’kan is once again demonstrating that he knows more than he lets on. Maybe he has one final lesson for Rokara yet…

  2. Generalflagada
    July 30, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    Well since scabb is now title the spymaster,
    Maybe he tried to flee with dawngrasp to contact the uncrown
    or just flee to plan his next action (next expansion) and the uncrown contact him

    • Generalflagada
      July 30, 2021 at 8:33 pm

      Oooor lot less epic
      He is hiding himself for the next expansion to deal with katrana/onixia

  3. HakanBeal
    July 30, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Thank you very much Tharid. I have just read an awesome article yet again.
    Keep up the good work!

  4. Zthomasc
    July 30, 2021 at 11:25 am

    I noticed the use of their/they in Varden Dawngrasp section and I still don’t know if it’s a he or she.

    • Tharid - Author
      July 30, 2021 at 11:42 am

      Varden Dawngrasp is confirmed to be a non-binary character, hence the selection of pronouns.

      • HakanBeal
        July 30, 2021 at 12:01 pm

        but you must select a gender between male or female in world of warcraft character creation at the beginning as a player, right? I do not know if it is changed, I did not play the game for ages. While you can not create a character with the type which is just done by designers of mercenaries without explanation.

        • Tharid - Author
          July 30, 2021 at 12:19 pm

          You can’t play a fire elemental in World of Warcraft, and yet Ragnaros as a story-related character exists in Hearthstone, right? Hearthstone’s character development has never been tied to World of Warcraft’s character creation (and its boundaries).

          Representation is important – in real life and games alike! I don’t think Team 5 owes us an explanation as of why certain characters are of a certain gender, just like you don’t need to explain to me if and why you are male, female, or something in- or out-between (spoiler: there would be no explanation anyway, right?).

          • Irish Seadog
            July 30, 2021 at 3:01 pm

            Whilst, as you say, explanations aren’t necessary, the flavour text for Varden’s card does provide some interesting context for their identity.

      • Zthomasc
        July 30, 2021 at 12:25 pm

        Thanks for the explanation. I didn’t know.

  5. Tharid - Author
    July 30, 2021 at 11:14 am

    Personal note: While I don’t really like Rokara’s questline, I absolutely LOVE that they brought in the Juggernaut, a nod to Warcraft III’s orc naval unit. So much flavour! 🙂