The Grand Tournament card analysis
What an announcement! There have been numerous predictions calling for an Argent Tournament. Some suggested the advent of a tournament mode but with Tavern Brawl having been released recently, I assumed that it would’ve been simply too soon for a new game mode. Anyway, just because the Lich King has been defeated doesn’t mean the Argent Tournament had to end. They’re simply hosting another event and calling all players to Northrend so they can compete in another bout.
The Grand Tournament comes with 132 cards and players can pre-purchase 50 card packs at a special one-time price of $49.99 and receive a unique card back from it. That offer doesn’t extend to gold unfortunately. Grand Tournament packs will be available as a reward in the arena. However, packs awarded from the arena will be randomly chosen between classic, Goblins vs Gnomes, and the Grand Tournament.
Let’s discuss the revealed cards and the new mechanic!
Inspire: Whenever you use your hero ability, this cards ability activates.
Neat mechanic! We’ll have even more options during our turns now. Players might find themselves in positions to see if they want to spend mana to play a card from their hand or to Inspire existing minions in play. The more minions you have with Inspire on the board, the more tempting it is to use your Hero Power. We’ll go through some of those cards in a moment.
When looking at the cards, think back to the article a few weeks ago about card evaluation in a vacuum. What cards help you if the board state is even? What helps you if you’re ahead or behind?
- Speaking of Inspire, here’s an example of it in action. Turn one, play the Lowly Squire. Turn two, use a Hero Power and the Squire now becomes a 2/2. Alas, the Lowly Squire does lose out to a Zombie Chow head to head.
- Poisoned Blade wasn’t initially part of the revealed cards from the Grand Tournament announcement but came out on the Brazilian Hearthstone stream. This is one of the rogue cards that has a theme along the lines of the Inspire mechanic. Veteran players might remember this as one of the old Rogue hero powers before it was changed to the current Dagger Mastery.
- It seems a new set can’t be released without a popular Hunter card. Webspinner for Naxxramas, Glaivezooka from Goblins vs Gnomes, Quick Shot from Blackrock Mountain, and now, Lock and Load. Popular in this sense doesn’t mean good but there’s certainly been much discussion around this. Lock and Load enables Hunter players to quickly unload and refill their hand. I can’t imagine playing this in a Face Hunter deck, but I can see it being included as a single card for Midrange Hunters. The class cards predominantly consist of damage removal spells or beasts. One of the weaknesses of the Hunter is their seeming inability to refill their hand (especially now that Starving Buzzard has fallen way out of favor), and this is a card that can potentially help address that. Play Lock and Load, drop a few traps, a Hunter’s Mark, and a Quick Shot then watch as your hand magically refills itself. Might even find a King Krush in there. But that’s the dream.
- Best way to look at Maiden of the Lake is to compare it to the king of 4 drops: Piloted Shredder. Would you run this neutral minion instead of a Shredder? The Maiden has a sizeable 6 health allowing it absorb a great deal of punishment. Certain Hero Powers will work well with the maiden. Heck, Priest players would love this card because a 1 mana healing hero power further increases the durability of minions. I’m not sure if I would use this card as a Druid player but it’ll take some play testing for me to see. The common rarity of the Maiden makes it accessible for many players and opens up options at every level.
- This card is going right into my Druid deck. Saraad has the potential to help you refill your hand throughout the game as you use your Hero Power. The question on his value is going to largely be what useful spells he will end up giving you, but there’s no way to know. There are plenty of spells in the game that can deal damage, so in an ideal world, Saraad will deliver you Lightning Bolts, Consecration, or a well-timed Flamestrike. Otherwise, he might send you Totemic Might instead.
- Crag looks like a fun card who can make an immediate impact the moment he hits play. Players who’ve been looking to really capitalize on a pirate themed deck have another card they can add. The question now, though, is what class would work the best with a pirate deck. We’ll have to examine this question another time but my first instinct says Paladin. Then again, paladins and piracy don’t mix.
- The Coldarra Drake on its own is a beefy minion. It rolls in with 6 damage and 6 health putting it just out of Big Game Hunter range. Not only can it take damage, it can dish it back out. The ability for it to give the Mage player an unlimited amount of Fireblasts can potentially swing games around. If the Drake is played on curve at turn 6, it give your opponent exactly one turn to do something about it, which they may not be in position to do. The following turn after, even with no plays in hand, the Mage can still use their hero power 3 times in succession to help further cement board control.
- My first thought to this was that Handlock had yet another giant they could add to their collection. Then I realized they don’t really need it. Realistically speaking, Warlock players will use their hero power maybe 4 – 5 times at most per game before their health starts getting compromised. On the other hand, between this and the aforementioned Coldarra Drake, maybe Mage Giants could make a come back.
- Yes, this Tuskarr can summon random totems including player generated totems and totem cards like Vitality Totem or Flametongue Totem. I’m not thrilled by this card by itself…
- … But when Tuskarr Totemic is subsequently followed up with a Draenei Totemcarver, the appeal goes up. I can see a turn 2 Hero Power totem, with a Tuskarr Totemic on turn 3, and a Draenei Totemcarver on turn 4 granting a formidable Shaman board. That assumes the other player doesn’t have a response to the earlier totems. Still, one of the criticisms I had with Shaman decks is that it didn’t have much in the way of cards to develop the early game.
- This is the secret version of Recombobulator. It does fit with the theme of Echo of Medivh and Mirror Entity in that it can generate extra minions on the board for you. The key to remember here is when the Effigy is played and what minions you have on the board matters. Think of Effigy as immediate removal insurance. It can grant a minion on the board Piloted Shredder-like abilities. Actually, play the Effigy on turn 3 and the trusty Shredder on turn 4. Even if the Shredder gets shredded, you get a slightly lesser minion from the Shredder and a roughly equal value minion from the Effigy.
- I predict the Totem Golem will become an immediate include in virtually every Shaman deck. The Overload isn’t as crippling on turn 3 because you can still use a Hero Power. But a 2 mana 3/4 can go to work owning the early game board.
- This is one of the Shaman cards that take advantage of Inspire. My only worry is that the 5 drop slot for Shaman might start getting a little crowded there. But now your totems that your opponent have been ignoring will start growing in threat level.
- Nice ability! I doubt the Fallen Hero will stay alive for very long unless the Mage can summon some Mirror Images to run interference. If that happens, the buffed Hero Power should provide some decent cover. Now if you happen to get this in play with the Coldarra Drake and the Maiden of the Lake, the game should be well in your hands. Warlock players, if you happen to pull this from a Piloted Shredder, your Hero Power will cause you to take 1 more damage when you draw a card.
- This is the Kodorider that just keeps on giving. Similar to the Thunder Bluff Valiant, I’m concerned that most decks might not have room for the Kodorider. This card won’t be able to trigger immediately on the same turn if its played on curve (on turn 6). You’re better off waiting until a little later in the game like turn 8. 8 mana for two 3/5s isn’t outright bad, but I imagine most of us would rather have a Ragnaros in play instead.
- I want to like this card, but I can’t. The Webspinners are neat, since they could potentially turn into 3 Savannah Highmanes (or 3 King Krush). I’d rather play the Highmane at turn 6 than the Ball of Spiders, that’s for sure. However, I do like this card for the arena.
All in all here, based on the cards we know, Shaman players are definitely receiving a bump in the card strength department. Maybe we’ll start seeing some more competitive Shaman decks in the future. Almost 20 cards have been released but we’re going to cover just the ones we know here for now.
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