Montage vs. Harusol

It’s been a long time since anything happened in Hearthstone that was truly worthy of my aesthetic critique, but apparently this past weekend there was an International Women’s Invitational in China, with the kind of mind-blowing Asian aesthetics that’s even been missing from most OGN Hearthstone broadcasts since their invitational like 18 months ago.

In my professional opinion, everything about this broadcast was perfect except for the fact that the English re-cast was just Dtwo all by himself, admittedly “not the best at filling time” and also he doesn’t know Chinese.

Montage Interview

The set is pure perfection. The swirly flowers made of light, the rainbow card backs, the gorgeous overlay color-coordinated with the amazing princess decor, the slightly-bush-league tablecloth choices . . . not to mention the hair, makeup and wardrobe. Something about girls in white dresses puts me in mind of my grandma’s high school graduation picture. Yeah ok, maybe it’s a little bit of a long time to sit in stools like that, but they look so good! One thing that Western men never seem to understand is that sometimes beauty requires sacrifice, and tf is the point of being on TV if you’re not going to look fucking gorgeous? My biggest dream in life is to appear on Asian television so I can dolled up by a wardrobe department like this one.

overlay Aubrie and Chandyland

Some people know (but many people don’t) that the reason I disappeared from the Hearthstone scene was due to the rampant misogyny that goes largely unchallenged. From abuse directed at myself personally by fellow fans and players, to the ongoing sexual assault of Hafu through imgur link sharing, to the magicamy witch hunt, at a certain point I simply became too tired to engage in the conversation and not strong enough to even watch tournaments, because the cesspool was always there, ready to drag me back down into anger and despair.

So of course, a women’s invitational is precisely the kind of show to bring me back. In this year of our lord 2015, getting discriminated groups in front of the camera, and giving people chances they deserve but have been denied, is the only thing Hearthstone invitationals are really good for. If ImbaTV is going to both do that and put Aubrie in an amazing fluffy dress, I am here for it.


Apparently, there is some outrage going around about the beauty and joy of this production, from killjoys like Callum Leslie at the Daily Dot. There is a certain type of feminism that Mr. Leslie appears to ascribe to which keeps many base assumptions of the patriarchy intact: that the aesthetics of femininity connote weakness, and that the way to bring equality to women is to make them act like men. Although I’m sure that Callum believes himself to be “one of the good ones” since he isn’t crying reverse sexism over this tournament’s very existence, I find his assertion that “these women are not presented seriously” just because they’re wearing pretty dresses to be frankly sexist, as well as culturally chauvinist; the production team is employing the aesthetics of the Asian variety show rather than whatever Western esports faux-medieval thing that I guess Callum prefers. Frankly I don’t find it all that “serious” when Frodan dresses up like a vampire or a Mexican, but nobody is afraid those dumb outfits will mean the end of all-male esports events.

If you want to know my dream for female esports, look at the promo found at the very beginning of this VOD.

Just look at these two gorgeous women, like some fucking witches gathering at a coffee shop coven:


But nope . . . they’re getting their iPads. Time to play Hearthstone! Mage v. mage, grill v. grill, this is serious business:


This game is mine! Watch me clear your board with this sick arcane missile:




Hearthstone has two choices: To make itself more friendly to women, or to force women to change in order to survive. My experience has been the latter for quite some time now, but whoever came up with this promo seems to still believe in the former, and I love them for it.

Hearthstone Cards by Race & Gender

Hearthstone Cards by Race & Gender

I did most of the legwork for this spreadsheet of every Hearthstone card by race & gender a couple months ago and forgot about it, thought it was past time to polish it up and get it out there before Naxx!


A couple notes on some judgement calls I made:

  • In the case of minions, if there are multiple characters pictured on the card, I described only the minion named on the card. For example, Hound Master is accompanied by a dog, but listed under Worgen.
  • If a spell card showed both the caster of the spell and the victim, I described only the caster. (For example, Cold Blood depicts a human who has killed an orc, and is listed under “human.”) If only one character was pictured on a spell card, whether they were casting a spell or having the spell cast on them, they are described.
  • If a spell summons a token, and the spell and token have different art, they are separate entries. (For example, Feral Spirits and Spirit Wolves.) If the spell and the token have the same art, the token shouldn’t have its own entry. (For example, Polymorph and Sheep.)
  • A lot of people on Reddit are disputing my use of the word “Forsaken” to describe undead characters who may or may not be followers of Sylvanas. I chose to use the word to describe Sylvanas, as well as all the characters who would use the same models as playable Forsaken in WoW, because I’m primarily concerned with visuals as evidence. “Undead” would technically include Scourge, Abominations, Ghouls, etc, who I wanted to keep distinct.

A couple quick conclusions, as I lack the know-how or time to do any real statistics on the matter:

  • Humans are horribly overrepresented, but you could headcanon some of them as worgens if you really wanted. Like, maybe Questing Adventurer, he looks a little Gilnean.
  • You can really see the long lead time in Hearthstone development by how underrepresented the three newest playable races are: there’s only three each for Worgen and Pandarens, and out of six goblins, none look especially Bilgewater.
  • Some races that people complain are underrepesented, like the Tauren, show up in a lot of spells. Gnomes, on the other hand, are quite a few minions but next to no spells.
  • Blood Elf females outnumber Blood Elf males.
  • Night Elf female minions outnumber Night Elf male minions.
  • There are no female Worgen or Pandaren in the game art at all. (I did not count tutorial-only token minions.)
  • There is no female dwarf or troll minion, but they do show up in some spell art. Thanks to some eagle-eyed commenters in this Reddit thread who were kind enough to point out my more egregious errors! Including that Bloodsail Raider is obviously a dwarf.  
My new podcast!

My new podcast!

Just keeping the old blog up-to-date on my newest projects! Me and Zenstyle (Rob Wing) have got a fun new podcast over at observermodeshow.com, we talk about the more serious Hearthstone as television stuff, the players’ brands and personalities, and we also have a fashion segment. Episode 1 was awesome, Episode 2 was a little rough, but we are LEARNING and will IMPROVE OVER TIME. And, as with almost all my Hearthstone content, nobody’s putting out there what I’m putting out there, so if you like my sense of humor, you’ll probably like this show too.

Hearthstone Fashion Police

Hearthstone Fashion Police

As fun as it is to write long-form “fashion coverage,” let’s be real, at a lot of these Hearthstone events there’s only one or two interesting outfits. So I’ve started up hearthstonefashion.tumblr.com. Long-form writing (fashion-related or otherwise) will still be hosted here but linked there, because Tumblr is not great for essays.

But Gnimsh has promised to actually “think” about his outfit for summer Dreamhack so, who knows guys, my jokes going viral might actually have an impact in the world? A girl can dream Kappa

The Fashions of Dreamhack Bucharest

The Fashions of Dreamhack Bucharest

Dima Radu "RDU," Octavian Morosan "Kripparrian," Dan Chou "Frodan"

“Let’s take a look at RDU’s shirt, see how it differs from a normal shirt.” —Kripparian, 2014

While dorks dressing themselves can never quite live up to the beautiful spectacle of nerds who are dressed by Korean television producers, I felt it was my duty as the foremost leading world expert on Hearthstone fashion to bring you some hard-hitting coverage of last weekend’s open tournament at Dreamhack Bucharest, delayed somewhat by the late release of the official English VODs.

The looks sported by both players and casters fall into three main categories:

  1. Guys who care how they look
  2. Guys who just wear whatever
  3. Guys who don’t have a choice in what to wear

RDU, pictured above at left, is the rare overlap between categories 1 and 3; though he has to wear his team jersey to the event, he’s wearing green pants because why the fuck not I guess. (He’s also kiiind of a cutie.) (Frodan, far right, is the archetypal 1; while Kripparian, in the middle, is basically the epitome of 2.)

More examples of each type of player, game spoilers, and thirstier jokes, below the jump.

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Which Hearthstones are fun to watch, and why? Part one of many

Which Hearthstones are fun to watch, and why? Part one of many


WORNING: SPOILERS for ESGN Fight Night Season 5 & 6, Dreamhack Bucharest

What, exactly, makes Hearthstone so compelling to watch? Blizzard has consistently stated that they were completely surprised by the success of Hearthstone streaming so early in the beta, as well as how popular it quickly became in the esports scene, but considering how well the game has done just from grassroots interest and community tournaments, the upcoming Blizzard-sponsored world championships are pretty unsurprising to me, and should be tons of fun to watch.

One thing that, for me, separates Hearthstone from other esports is just how simple it is to follow the gameplay. Mechanics are straightforward enough that even if you’ve never played the game, a stream or casted match is easy to follow. (At least as far as I remember; disclaimer, I have been playing Hearthstone since the second closed beta invite wave.) And watching someone else play can really teach you how to be a better player, as opposed to a game like StarCraft which as far as I can tell is all about memorizing build orders and maximizing your APMs. Or League of Legends which I understand is about buying boots?

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In case you’ve ever wondered what the “in stitches” in my blog name is about . . .

In case you’ve ever wondered what the “in stitches” in my blog name is about . . .


About a squillion years ago I did these cross-stitches as part of a contest for a now-defunct show.

Thought I might as well try and sell the patterns! They’re only available bundled because Etsy takes a cut per sale. And the reason I’m selling patterns instead of selling things I’ve stitched is, well . . . you won’t be saying “shut up and take my money!” once you’ve seen how much I would need to charge you for one of these things.

If I ever design any other patterns, or make any nerdy handmade goods for sale online, you can bet they’ll be available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/eleanorinstitches