The Grand Tournament – First Card Impressions Part 4
View list of cards released so far in this dedicated post.
I’m Camzeee, a multi-legend ranked Hearthstone player and long-time contributor to HearthstonePlayers.com. I’m a Hearthstone Coach with hearthstonecoaching.com too so check that out if you’re looking for someone to help your game.
For each card, I’m going to rate it from a scale of Terrible, Bad, Average, Good and Great. It’s hard to predict just how well certain cards will do, but I’ve done them for the last expansion and also expanded my knowledge of Hearthstone a considerable bit so I’m willing to stick my neck out and make my predictions for how each card will perform.
Let’s get into part 4!
This card is weird. Isolating the Paladin class for the gifting of a new card is an interesting choice. If you look at it overall, this card is basically a 6 mana 5/5 that draws a random card. There are enough bad Paladin cards (any secret basically) that this card won’t be reliable enough to be run in a really competitive deck. There will definitely be times that it gives you an amazing card like Equality or Lay on Hands but that will be outweighed by the times you get Eye for an Eye or Repentance.
It’s hard to find a good place for this in any constructed deck. Sadly the unreliability of this makes it tough to recommend. Oddly enough, Priest I feel would benefit from Paladin cards the most. Humility, Aldor Peacekeeper and the new Paladin legendary synergize quite well with Shadow Word: Pain and Cabal Shadow Priest. The card buff cards like Blessing of Kings and Blessing of Might are also pretty great for Priest. It might see play there, but I wouldn’t count on it.
In arena, this card is pretty good. It gives an additional card, the raw stats are a passable 5/5 for 6 like Frost Elemental. It will do fine. It’s also an Epic which if you’ve been following my reviews, I rate as the most volatile rarity in the arena card pool. The stable body here is valuable and it will be picked up.
This card is really disappointing. It effectively combines Goldshire Footman and Abusive Sergeant for a mana more. That alone should give you everything you need to know about how useful this card will be. A 2 mana 1/2 is just dumpster stats and it trades poorly with anything else in its mana pool.
Giving your minion a permanent stat boost just isn’t all that useful compared to the one turn boost from Abusive Sergeant. That card just straight up outclasses this one since the stat buff is useful for trading up and a 2/1 body is more useful in the early game for trading AND it costs one less mana. This card will not make any impact in constructed play and that I know for certain.
In arena, this card is just as meh. Its weak stats on its own make it a poor play on turn 2 and it is a win more card that has even less versatility than the much maligned Raid Leader. I wouldn’t draft this over anything but the absolute bottom tier common cards on offer.
This card is strange but I think it’s actually quite good. At first glance, it looks underwhelming because it can’t hit face. However, because it’s a neutral minion and not like King Krush stuck in a class it doesn’t belong, it actually has some nice utility. People will complain that it’s weak to Big Game Hunter but it really isn’t because by the time you can BGH it, it’ll already have chunked itself for a bunch of health charging the biggest threat. An opponent using his BGH on this is getting reduced value and that means you’re free to play more 7+ attack minions.
The best class for a card like this is actually Druid. A big Ramp Druid led by Aviana, the new Druid legendary that makes all your minions cost (1), will find a use for this card. Since Druid lacks good single target removal, this card can be used effectively to kill high health minions not vulnerable to BGH like Kel'Thuzad or Archmage Antonidas. Druid also has a very flexible Silence in Keeper of the Grove for when you want to use this for face damage. I can see it working in that deck. Other decks might struggle to fit this in. Because it costs 9 mana, without Druid’s powerful ramp, this card will struggle to be relevant and will likely be a dead draw for most of the game.
In arena, this card is superb. In a mode so focused around board control and minion trades, this card will get a practically guaranteed two or three for one which makes it an excellent pickup. It’s too bad though that it’s a legendary, because you won’t get a chance to draft this very often.
This card is another in the long list of Priest cards that are too situational. Alone, this card does virtually nothing. If you’ve played the Curse of Naxxramas, this ability is basically the recurring effect in the fight against Thaddius. Play that fight again, and ask yourself how useful it is to be able to swap attack and health. I guarantee you it’s not as clean as you might envision. It has some synergy with aura giving effects such as Stormwind Champion, since a swap will change the base stats and then reapply the aura, but that’s such a specific situation that it’s hard to have it come off reliably.
What’s more, the card is strictly a win-more card. You need to be ahead on board in order for this to have a meaningful effect. Priest would prefer the body of the Crazed Alchemist over this card 90% of the time and even that card is seldom run. I can’t see this having a meta impact at all. Priest decks are already full of combo oriented pieces, many of which are incredibly powerful. This one is even more specific and very hard to leverage. I can’t see it making it in any deck and the ones that it does are going to be gimmick and non-competitive decks played for fun.
In arena, this card is beyond bad. I wouldn’t draft this over a Hungry Crab and that’s one of the worst epics in the game. Thankfully, this card has high rarity though, so Priest won’t often have this card mucking up their choices. Avoid.
Stop giving Priest situational cards, Blizzard! This card suffers the same fate as most of the other Priest cards revealed so far and that is they are way too combo oriented. Alone, this card is pretty worthless. Healing for 5 health is a pretty weak effect. It’s worse than Light of the Naaru in most instances and that card has been phased out of a lot of Priest lists. It has promising synergy with Auchenai Soulpriest but so do a lot of other Priest cards. Heck, Zombie Chow can be used similarly and that is the best 1-drop body in the game.
I can’t see this making a meaningful impact in constructed. Priest has some fantastic board clears and this card will presumably be put in the deck for removal purposes rather than the heal. If it wants face burst, it’ll use Mind Blast instead and if it wants better board control, Light of the Naaru is preferable. I can’t see this working.
In arena, this card is even worse. The lack of reliable synergy hurts this card and just as Holy Light is considered one of the worst arena cards, this card falls in a similar spot and will be one of the lowest priority cards to draft.
This card is pretty powerful and is reminiscent of Quartermaster. Buffing Silver Hand Recruits is a valuable ability in Paladin. This combos really well with Muster for Battle and the Paladin hero power. It’s feasible that you hero power on turn 2, and follow up with this card on 3 which enables a nice 2/1 trade into potentially a 3/2. Later in the game, it’s better to save it for when you can get at least two buffs on the recruits the turn you play it.
The good thing about this card as well, is that its effect is recurring. That means that it becomes a priority remove otherwise your hero power spawns 2/1s which is a fairly significant buff. It’s a strong card overall in constructed where you can put two Muster for Battles in and get good recruit synergy.
In arena, it’s similarly strong. Having this recurring effect is pretty powerful and it can also come in as a mini Raid Leader with better stats. I would draft it very highly but not quite on a par with some of the classic Paladin 4s.
This card is strange. You either get an Arcane Shot or the leftovers from a Haunted Creeper. In most instances, you’ll want to take the damage which makes this a pretty weak card. Druid especially would rather be ramping in the early game, and it also has the powerful and versatile Wrath which fits a similar role.
I can’t see this making an impact in the current Druid midrange metagame, but if the aggro token Druid becomes a reality, this could be a decent tech. But as of right now, this has no place in a constructed Druid deck.
In arena, this card is much better. 1 mana deal 2 damage spells are pretty useful generally and Druid could do with some early game removal. I’d draft this above average for sure but not quite in the top tier.
This is the mother of all gimmick cards. Discarding your entire hand is an insane drawback when you could play Nourish for just one more mana and have basically the same effect. However, it’s not without its merit since getting all your mana crystals opens up some really exciting plays. If you can Innervate this out on turn 1 or 2 then follow up with something huge like Ysera or a card like Ancient of Lore, you could go on to dominate the board. The only problem is, the first few cards you draw after Astral Communion are incredibly important. If you draw an Innervate for instance, your 10 mana is meaningless and you’re stuck doing nothing but hero power.
There will be some crazy games where someone makes this work and gets some awesome top decks after the Communion, but it’s so hard to pull off reliably that this card will not see play in any remotely competitive deck. I like that Blizzard is introducing some purely fun cards, and this is certainly one of them, but this won’t make a meaningful meta impact sadly.
In arena, this card is by FAR the worst card in the entire game at any mana cost and any rarity. Arena decks seldom get the card draw or large minions that are required to make this card work. Discarding your whole hand ruins you in almost any scenario and if this is the only card in your hand, you probably have enough mana anyway that this is pointless. I would pick any card over this in arena even Tree of Life.
Fist of Jaraxxus
This is a difficult card to evaluate. Nothing with a similar mechanic has been released so far and that makes it hard to judge. Basically, when you discard this card, it deals its 4 damage to a random enemy which includes the enemy hero. If you take some time to think about it, it has some really cool uses.
For instance, you could play this in a deck with Doomguard in a Zoo deck and when it comes time to discard, you could pretty reliably discard this card and deal 4 additional damage. However, it serves a very specific purpose and that is to sit in your hand until you can somehow discard it for its effect.
It’s a bad card when it’s used for its mana cost, and because of the random nature of discards, it just doesn’t have the consistency it needs. It’s also a terrible card to draw into and it won’t help you particularly when you’re behind. If you’re ahead, it’s a worse version of Flamecannon for double the mana cost – unplayable basically. I think ultimately that, more than the actual mechanic will be its undoing as a competitive card.
In arena, this card is much worse. The fact that you can’t reliably get discard cards means that this will usually have to be played from hand as a 4 mana card. That’s abysmal and it should never be drafted.
This card looks like absolute garbage but on second thought, it may actually have a niche to fill somewhere. It does not fit into any current constructed archetype and will need to be built around in order for it to be good. Aside from the obvious jokes about infinite value, this card is the ultimate in sticky threats. It gets destroyed by silence though and its body is an abysmal 4 mana 1/1. It won’t kill anything and its value has to be reaped over many turns. It does however have some great synergy with some unused Warlock cards. Buffs to demons like Demonfire or Demonwrath have a great target in Dreadsteed. I wish perhaps that the Deathrattle resummoned the Dreadsteed with any buffs it had when it died but that could be potentially game breaking.
All of this is very optimistic though, and more realistically, the Dreadsteed is just going to be a 1/1 token that gets ignored. For 4 mana, this card is just too low impact to be used in a fast paced metagame.
In arena though, I think this card is actually not terrible. Warlock essentially gets a free Mage hero power when this is on the board every turn. That can’t be underestimated, and even though this card will be dreadful to play on curve, in late game scenarios when you’re floating mana, this can be a perfectly acceptable card to play with a longer game in mind.
This is a very interesting card. If it’s not clear, its effect changes your hero power into one that deals 2 damage like Shadowform. This replaces the Shaman’s ability to create totems, which can be detrimental, but the upside of being able to deal 2 damage to anything is a far superior hero power anyway.
To activate its ability, you have to either use up all the charges of the weapon, or more realistically, replace the weapon entirely. The good news is, you can quite easily get at least a few charges out of this weapon before replacing it so it’s not completely deadweight. It’s also good that this doesn’t have Overload, because it allows you to play this on 4 and then follow it up with a Doomhammer.
I feel like this card has some potential, but it’s not immediately apparent. It naturally fits better into a control style Shaman rather than the tempo and fast variants since the value of the hero power is a long term benefit. Having to play a 2 attack weapon for 4 mana is also a rather steep price to pay and it doesn’t fit in the aggro and mech Shaman variants that have been the dominant playstyle for the class since Blackrock Mountain.
In arena, this card is strong. Weapons are great in arena mostly and this card has the added benefit of making your hero power game winning when you run out of charges. It isn’t top tier because it’s still a rather slow card, but it will win you longer games and that makes it valuable.
There’s a lot of excitement over this card, and I understand why but I also feel it’s misunderstood. Healing Wave is comparable to a Druid’s Healing Touch with a rather significant upside. The problem is, it leans on the unreliable Joust mechanic in order to get additional value. Without the additional value, it’s a strictly worse version of the Druid card, and that card is considered just about unplayable because it’s so anti-tempo.
Shamans have always had problems with healing, but Antique Healbot did a lot to stabilize on that front. Even with the Healbot addition, Shamans couldn’t hold on in the metagame, because health and sustain wasn’t ultimately Shaman’s problem. Getting back on board is Shaman’s greatest challenge and between its finicky board clear in Lightning Storm and the Overload mechanic, a Shaman who has lost the board in the mid-game is more or less shut out from victory. This card does not fix that problem. It just prolongs Shaman’s inevitable defeat in an attrition battle.
However, in and of itself, Healing Wave is a pretty good card in an aggro metagame and that means it’ll see play if Face Hunters and the like continue to plague the ladder. Note that it is a targeted heal, so you can use it to heal a minion although the additional joust effect won’t have additional value that way since there is no minion that can benefit from more than a 7 health heal most of the time.
In arena, this card is pretty awful. Self heal spells without card draw are mostly useless in arena because the game is decided on board control more often than not. This can result in some hilariously clutch saves but most often, it’ll be a dead card which makes it a pretty poor arena card.
We finally have proof that Alexstrasza is actually a Warrior card in disguise! But jokes aside, this is a pretty impressive card. It’s nice that it has good stats even without the card text, but the text makes it a pretty fantastic card.
Warrior especially has the sustain to play big dragons and this card allows it to have some strong early game to stay alive until it can play it. This card trades against all the 1-drops and all the other 2/3s favorably if it gets its Battlecry off. 3/2s are a straight trade which isn’t too bad either.
This card will need to find a home in a Dragon Warrior deck but we’ve seen subtle variations on it in the control archetype with varying degrees of success. This card is definitely a boost to it and I look forward to trying it out.
In arena, this card is slightly less valuable since dragon synergy is more difficult to get. However, even without the Battlecry, this card is still a very reliable 2/3 for Warrior and they’d be happy to draft it. Too bad this is a rare, because as a common, it would definitely help Warrior out in arena to counteract the abysmal Bolster which was added to the pool.
Flame Leviathan gets a younger brother, and this one is just as bad, probably worse. It’s strange that this isn’t a Pirate, but that aside, it’s a very plain Boulderfist Ogre sized body for 6 mana with an effect that can’t be controlled (as of right now). Because there has yet to be a card released that allows you to manipulate your deck order, this card’s effect can’t be controlled and that makes it a real liability even in an Enrage deck. I’m not going to rate it as terrible because of the possibility of a deck rearranger (in fact, I expect that to be introduced at some point in Hearthstone’s lifetime), but as of right now, it’s a bad card not playable in constructed.
Patron Warrior boards are often empty so this card just doesn’t have a use there, and even if it does get a decent Whirlwind off, it offers just a Boulderfist Ogre body which isn’t something Patron Warrior wants. Control Warriors meanwhile have more important minions to play in the 6-drop slot, so it won’t find a home there either. It might have a future in an Enrage oriented control style deck, but the lack of consistency hurts it and I don’t expect it to be relevant without that deck rearranging card present.
I’d rate it slightly higher in arena, because the Ogre is such a top card in that mode, but the downside is that its card text is almost certainly going to be a liability in a Warrior deck which means this is merely average to below average in the end. It’s an Epic card too which means it’ll see less play overall.
This card is tough to evaluate and that’s reflected in the discussion threads that I have seen about this card. On the one hand, a 2 mana 2/2 is a really weak body especially in the current metagame where 2/3s dominate. It won’t trade well in 90% of the games it’s in and that’s a big problem. On the other hand, its effect is really good if it can get it off since Rogue is the best user of The Coin.
What I feel will diminish this card’s playability is the limitation on how it gets The Coin. It cannot trade at all which means that it’s forced to hit face every turn. If there are Taunts in the way like Annoy-o-Tron this card will have next to no value. It also sports those terrible base stats of a 2 mana 2/2 which is so easily removed. It reminds me a lot of Pint-Sized Summoner which sees no constructed play and I imagine this will go the same way.
In arena, matching that Pint-Sized Summoner comparison, I feel it’ll be a fair card. It’s slightly better than Pint-Sized since The Coin is a combo enabler and helps out with spells as well, but it’s certainly not a game breaker. I would draft it higher than the Pint-Sized but no better than the average rare.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the review. Feel free to leave comments and feedback. Is Charged Hammer actually super strong and nobody knows? Maybe you think Cutpurse is actually an amazing card with Rogue’s combo mechanic. Let me know and we’ll talk about it!
See you soon for more card impression from The Grand Tournament!
I am a multi legend-ranked player with Level 60 heroes for every class. My favorite card in Hearthstone is Lord Jaraxxus (gold of course!) and I’m also an arena infinite player with over 800 arenas completed.