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Rating  11

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February 2, 2017

Table of Contents

The Grand Tournament – First Card Impressions Part 3

View list of cards released so far in this dedicated post.

Introduction


Hey all!

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.

Welcome to part 3 of my card review/predictions of the new Hearthstone expansion – The Grand Tournament. If you haven’t already, check out part 1  and part 2 for the cards released prior to August 1st.

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 3!

Joust


This is the second new mechanic introduced in the upcoming expansion. The first is Inspire which activates whenever you use your hero power. Read up on that one here: http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/19819220/the-grand-tournament-get-inspired-7-30-2015

Basically, the concept of Joust is that you reveal two minions (one from each deck) and the one with the highest mana cost *wins* the Joust and the card with the Joust Battlecry gets a bonus. Note that in the event of a tie, the Joust isn’t considered won and the effect doesn’t trigger.

The mechanic seems geared very much towards making decks more expensive and therefore more control oriented. As you will see from the cards with this effect, without the Joust bonus, these cards as a baseline are mediocre but when you win the joust, the effect can be pretty game changing.

The other bonus is being able to look at your opponents’ deck. That can be very useful in helping you decide how you choose to approach the game. See a Savannah Highmane from Hunter? The secret in play is most likely Freezing Trap as its a staple in Midrange Hunter. A Worgen Infiltrator would obviously signify the opposite. It also means that your cards are laid out on the table though so surprises are much harder to hide!

You know I was thinking about this, and all these Joust mechanics are Battlecries. Could this see the return of Nerub'ar Weblord? In aggro decks with Charge, this card could really scupper some of those decks dependent on joust to stave off aggro. Too far-fetched? Probably. But it’s cool that it could even be an option!

It’s a really cool mechanic and honestly I don’t know how good it’ll be right now. It’ll have to be a wait and see but I’m excited for the possibilities. Let’s look at the cards!

Neutral Cards


Master of Ceremonies

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Bad (Average in Shaman)
Overall: Bad

This card is unique but sadly not good. On the one hand, its base stats are a paltry 4/2 for 3 mana which is pretty weak. However, if you can trigger its Battlecry, it becomes a menacing 6/4 for just 3 mana. Those are some pretty nice stats but sadly it’s not quite enough. If Piloted Shredder continues to be the dominant mid-game threat of choice (and nothing revealed so far seems to be able to change that), this card, even with the bonus, trades poorly with it.

Considering you’ll want to play this on turn 3 as often as possible to get the large body out sooner, that also means that you will somehow have to play and keep alive a spell power minion prior to turn 3. As of now, there are only two neutral cards with spell power that cost less than 3 mana – Kobold Geomancer and Bloodmage Thalnos. Both have poor stats and are very difficult to keep alive. Shaman gets bonus points for having a hero power that has a chance of rolling a Wrath of Air Totem.

All in all, the requirements for getting the bonus off the Master of Ceremonies is too steep to justify including her in the deck when she ends up being a slightly larger minion that still trades poorly with Piloted Shredder.

In arena, she’s just as weak since a 4/2 body for 3 mana is below her competitors and getting the bonus is so much more difficult because the pool of spell power minions is relatively small. I wouldn’t draft her highly except perhaps in Shaman where you have a chance to get her out as a 6/4 more easily.

Crowd Favorite

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Average
Overall: Average

This is a pretty average card all around. A 4 mana 4/4 is extremely run of the mill and it needs to get at least one boost from its effect consistently in order to see play. +1/+1 isn’t a big reward for a  card that requires combo’ing to get above average stats. I compare it most closely to Questing Adventurer. This card is about the same value as that one. It has better initial stats, but the condition to boost it is more restrictive. Battlecries are plentiful in Hearthstone, but they are not as free flowing as you might think and most of the best ones are on pricier cards which means that this will have to survive a turn on the board before it can start accumulating boosts.

I don’t see this making a metagame impact the same way that Questing Adventurer falls flat. It could be good in gimmicky decks or maybe a Tavern Brawl, but in the current Hearthstone competitive metagame, this card will not be a factor and I don’t anticipate the meta changing drastically enough for this to see play.

In arena, this card is slightly better. However, a 4 mana 4/4 still isn’t good enough and with the draft sometimes forcing you away from synergy, this card is tough to recommend. That said, the Epic card pool is pretty uneven and this card is about average so will see play on occasion.

Skeleton Knight

Constructed: Terrible
Arena: Bad
Overall: Bad

This card is really bad and it’s a shame really because its effect is pretty cool. The biggest problem with Skeleton Knight is its base stats. A 6 mana 7/4 is vulnerable to just about everything. It trades poorly with Piloted Shredder which is a 4 drop. It dies instantly to Big Game Hunter and its not even guaranteed to return to your hand since the Deathrattle is a Joust.

If this had 5/5 in stats it might, might see play but with its current stat distribution, it’s simply unplayable in constructed.

In arena, this card is way below average for a legendary but it’s not quite in the absolute garbage tier which means it’ll get picked sometimes over the likes of Lorewalker Cho or Millhouse Manastorm.

Armored Warhorse

Constructed: Average
Arena: Average
Overall: Average

This is a very hard card to evaluate. On the one hand, it has weak pure stats as a 5/3 for 4 mana. On the other hand, in the right decks, this can deal serious damage and is a flat out better Reckless Rocketeer for just 4 mana. I can see this potentially finding a home in a Midrange Hunter deck that’s looking for a bit of reach. It helps that this card is classified as a beast as well, because it means that it gets additional Hunter synergy.

Another deck where it could see play is a beast Druid. That deck will likely have some pretty high cost minions that would give them the edge in a joust and they’d happily take a 5/3 with charge to either make a good trade or for lethal pushing with Savage Roar. I’m excited for this card because it’s powerful but I’m also content to give it time to be explored because its potential is very heavily tied to its jousting ability. Without Charge, this card is very weak and wouldn’t see play in any games.

A part of me is dreaming of ideal scenarios for this, but the other more rational side of me, is coming to terms with the fact that jousts are too unpredictable to be relied on and a card that’s so dependent on its jousting potential in order to be worth playing will most likely fall to the wayside. This is one of the only cards that I’m just going to sit right on the fence about. I need to see how this jousting mechanic works and how reliable it is to make a really good judgment. Maybe there’s a card out there that hasn’t been released yet that makes your minions always win jousts. That would catapult this card way up in value.

In arena, this card is average. Again, as mentioned, with Charge, this card is insane. But when you really need it to have Charge and you roll that Wisp you were forced to draft, this card can ruin you. I can imagine the joust outcomes for this card will cause some really frustrating (and entertaining) clips to surface. I’d tentatively draft one of these depending on how your curve looks.

Master Jouster

Constructed: Good
Arena: Good
Overall: Good

This card is a potential +1/+1 Sunwalker. I like this card more than the Warhorse overall even though I recognize that the Warhorse has a higher ceiling. The reason is that this card fits into current deck archetypes a lot more easily – slow control ones. Even if it doesn’t win the joust, a 6 mana 5/6 is fair stats. Not great but fair. 5/6 stats are actually pretty good at dealing with common 5 or 6 mana threats like Sludge Belcher, Emperor Thaurissan, Loatheb. Obviously, the card is much stronger when it gets Taunt and Divine Shield as well, but without it, it’s still a passable minion.

I can see this being run in a variety of slow decks with high cost minions like Paladin, Warrior and Druid. I imagine it’ll be pretty effective at its job and even when it fails to win a joust, a 5/6 body is fair. For that reason, I think this card is also going to be pretty strong in arena. We’ve seen how strong Guardian of Kings is just for its 5/6 body for 7 mana. This one could be better than that for cheaper.

I’m just a pretty big fan of 5/6 stats overall and I feel this card has serious potential to at least rival Sludge Belcher as your Taunt of choice in the right decks. It won’t be an auto-include like the Belcher, but it’ll be useful in the right scenarios. If that card that guarantees joust victories does surface, this card gets instantly better too of course.

Gadgetzan Jouster

Constructed: Average
Arena: Average
Overall: Average

I’d argue this card is not as good as Zombie Chow because healing your opponent for 5 health and the guaranteed 1 mana 2/3 is better than a chance, however small, of not winning the joust and being left with a 1/2. That said, if you build your deck right, this card will often be exactly what you want it to be and surpass Zombie Chow in value.

I can see this being teched into a variety of control decks from Warlock to Paladin to Priest if the joust mechanic is stable – but that’s a big if. We’ll see just how reliable the jousting mechanic is when the expansion is released. This card’s effectiveness hinges heavily on that. It doesn’t bode well for the card when it has anti-synergy with itself and I just don’t think a constructed deck is willing to take a chance on their early game where falling behind can result in defeat.

In arena, depending on your curve these can either be amazing 2/3s for 1 mana or disappointing 1/2s. I often draft higher curved arena decks nowadays with a few early game cards and I’d definitely consider this one as a 1-mana card worth picking up in the right decks. I can’t recommend it as great or even good because if you lose the joust, you’re left with a worse Goldshire Footman but when it works you have a card that is easily great.

Mukla’s Champion

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Bad
Overall: Bad

The card art depicts a monkey riding a hippo with a bamboo lance. How awesome is that?! But art aside, this card is unlikely to gather popularity. Its base stats are extremely disappointing as a 5 mana 4/3. That doesn’t inspire much confidence (pun intended) so the Inspire effect has to be game changing to be worth it and sadly I don’t think it is.

Giving +1/+1 to all minions is a 2 mana effect as seen from Power of the Wild. Being able to do that and use your hero power is powerful. This card though rightfully gets put firmly in the “win more” category since it’s a really weak card when you’re behind and that unfortunately is what I think will sink this card into unplayable territory in constructed.

In order to get real value with the Champion, you’ll have to play it on turn 7 with your hero power AND have at least 2 other minions out. If you have two minions alive on turn 7, chances are you’re in a pretty dominating position and have no need for this card. What’s more, with just 4/3 in stats, it’s incredibly difficult to keep this monkey alive to get additional value.

In arena, this card is better but only marginally so. If you happen to win the early game and get this card out uncontested, it can snowball you to victory very easily and the +1/+1 is excellent for helping your minions avoid mass area of effect damage spells like Flamestrike. It’s still below average though because if you’re not ahead this card is really bad since it can’t help you contest the board in anyway. I’d give this a tiny bit more value in Shaman and Paladin since they can generate tokens but otherwise I’d probably steer clear of this one.

Injured Kvaldir

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Bad
Overall: Bad

This might as well be a Priest card and it’s not a good one even in that class. The 1 mana equivalent of Injured Blademaster, Kvaldir has great 2/4 stats but sadly will rarely see that realized and instead is stuck as a 2/1 when it enters the field.

Priest is the only class that can reliably heal this card up and in the early game they just don’t have the mana to do it and keep up on board. A Priest would much prefer the reliability of Zombie Chow over this card and outside of maybe a dedicated Resurrect deck (which would probably not play this and try to resurrect something bigger anyway), this card won’t be seen in any other constructed deck.

In arena, this card is below average since it’ll be a 2/1 most of the time. Again, it gets slightly better value in Priest but only slightly and I’d draft this still below average. An overall forgettable card.

Gormok the Impaler

Constructed: Good
Arena: Good
Overall: Good

This is a frightening card. It looks scary, the art is scary and it promotes some of the most aggressive deck types out there. Zoo Warlock will love this card in tandem with their token creating Imp Gang Boss and Imp-losions. A coin Imp-losion (4 imps) into a Gormok is a very realistic prospect and that enables Zoo to deal 4 damage to a subsequent threat or just throw that damage to face. The fact that you can control when you play it is great too. It means that you can split your tokens then play it for value. If you can get 4 minions on board (not that hard in the right types of decks), it is a strictly better Bomb Lobber and incredible value.

The only thing holding this card back is its somewhat mediocre base stats of a 4 mana 4/4. In a topdeck scenario where you’re looking for just a bit of damage to finish with as your board dwindles, this card isn’t going to be good. But if played in the mid-game when you’re in the ascendancy, this card is amazing. This card will definitely see play in Zoo and probably faster token classes like Paladin or Shaman too. Watch out for this one. It’s not the flashiest card, but it’ll make a meta impact, I guarantee it.

In arena, this card is also pretty strong. Putting out four minions isn’t that difficult. Usually, players struggle to keep it under 4 to play around Mind Control Tech and AoE, but now, this card encourages it.  The ability to deal 4 damage straight from hand like a buffed Fire Elemental is fantastic and can be a huge tempo swing. It gets more value in token classes naturally. I’d pick this highly in arena. It’s sad that it’s a legendary so it won’t be seen too often and can often be dwarfed by insane late-game legendaries like Ragnaros the Firelord but don’t be afraid to pick this over some of the other less valuable legendaries.

Mage Cards


Flame Lance

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Average
Overall: Bad

You know, people are quick to say this card sucks. But the only thing that is holding it back is that it’s limited to minions. If Blizzard introduces a card that allows you to change the enemy hero to a minion or something similar, this could be pretty great. I feel like if they design something that helps this card out (if you overkill a minion, the damage that’s over-dealt to it hits face – very plausible) then this could be alright. I think it’s better than Dragon's Breath anyhow with the design space.

However, in the current set and with the cards that are thus far revealed, this card is almost a strictly worse and thus will not see play. Mage does not need more removal. Polymorph costs one less mana and has the added benefit of removing any opposing Deathrattles. The metagame is getting too fast anyhow for a card that takes up 5 mana to remove just one minion.

In arena, this card is marginally better. Removal is harder to come by, and this will all but guarantee removal on even the biggest minions like Boulderfist Ogre. For that purpose it does its job well and since arena is largely a board control based game mode, this card will get value even if it’s removing a 4 or 5 health minion.

Druid Cards


Darnassus Aspirant

Constructed: Good
Arena: Good
Overall: Good

This is a really cool card and one of my favorites revealed so far in the expansion. A 2 mana 2/3 is perfectly balanced and the great thing about this is the awesome Battlecry. This card essentially gives you +1 mana whenever it’s in play. The best part about it, is that you can prevent yourself from losing the crystal too if you have the right deck setup. Wailing Soul Druid has been on the cusp of being competitive. Hyped brought it to a tournament and got good results with it a few months ago and this card is a prime candidate for inclusion in that deck.

The other great thing about this card, is that losing the crystal doesn’t really set you back that far. If you think about it, you could play this on turn 2. If your opponent can’t remove it immediately, you can play a 4 drop on turn 3. Let’s say he removes it on turn 3, you then have 4 mana again the next turn. You save one mana and as a Druid probably curve out nicer with Piloted Shredder and Keeper of the Grove. Alternatively, if you want to trade this card in, you can use all your bonus mana first then trade it in and thus lose no momentum. It’s just all around excellent and I expect it to see play in constructed.

The other side of the coin is that this card is great for playing into Mirror Entity which Druid can struggle with against fast Tempo Mages. It’s also a slight and indirect nerf to Piloted Shredder, since its Deathrattle has a chance to spawn this. I’ve felt that Piloted Shredder is far and away the strongest 4-drop and any chance we can get to weaken it is welcome.

In arena, this card is excellent too. The same ramp effect holds true, and it fills an important role as a 2 mana 2/3 for early game. I’d draft it pretty highly overall. It’s a rare which means it won’t come up too often, but when it does I figure it’ll be pretty highly sought after.

Druid of the Saber

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Good
Overall: Average

This is a pretty flexible card but sadly not one that Druid wants in its constructed decks. We’ve seen the likes of Anodized Robo Cub fall short, and this card will likely do the same. Druid would much prefer to ramp in the early turns with Wild Growth or their new card Darnassus Aspirant (above) in the early turns than play something mediocre like this. It is essentially a Bluegill Warrior or a Gilblin Stalker and neither are really good fits in the traditional Midrange Druid deck.

Druid’s biggest strength is its ramp effects. The aggro variants with Hobgoblin or token variants have all but fallen off because other classes are capable of more consistent aggro with higher win rates. This card sadly fits in the aggro variants better which likely means it’ll fall by the wayside.

In arena though, this card is excellent the same way that Robo Cub is excellent. The Choose One mechanic is really strong in arena especially with above average effects like this card. It can either be used as a 2 mana removal or a Bloodfen Raptor with Stealth. The flexibility gives you greater control over how you develop your early board and is a great card to pick up for a Druid. I’d rank it above Robo Cub in a vacuum.

Aviana

Constructed: Good
Arena: Bad
Overall: Average

This is a powerful, powerful legendary. What an exciting card and a perfect way to build hype for the new expansion. It’s a 9 mana 5/5 which is effectively a turn 10 play. That seems super slow, but this is in a Druid deck where you can ramp up to high mana more quickly and more often. You can Innervate as well to get a large number of super high cost minions for one mana.

Of course, Aviana dictates that you play a slow Ramp Druid in order to get value from her effect. You’ll need to change your deck for her to really get value but we’ve seen these decks before. It wasn’t and isn’t that popular right now but it can be in the right metagame. Perhaps a joust Ramp Druid could see some success and convince people to play Aviana.

In arena, this card is much worse. The number of large cards you’d get to make her effect worthwhile is really small and unless you have a perfect deck for her with multiple huge minions, it won’t be able to get the same value as in a constructed deck.

Warlock Cards


Wrathguard

Constructed: Good
Arena: Good
Overall: Good

This card looks amazing at first, but I don’t think it’s quite top tier. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a good card, but I’m wary of labeling it as amazing because there’s a reason that the 2 mana 4/3s with drawbacks haven’t caught on. The drawbacks are often too steep and 4/3 in stats doesn’t give a 2 mana minion advantages that overcome their drawbacks. The big reason for this is the prevalence of 2 mana 3/2s which can trade evenly with them and even some 1-drops like Flame Imp.

The Wrathguard can be most closely compared with Succubus as a 4/3 Demon with a drawback. I’d argue the Wrathguard is superior to Succubus because additional damage to face is usually preferable to losing a whole card. The bad part about the Wrathguard is that it becomes a real liability as the game wears on and in a fast paced metagame, especially against Hunter, these will struggle. However, it definitely has a place against Midrange and Control decks where its drawback is less important and it can put on a significant amount of pressure.

We haven’t had confirmation of this, but presumably, overkilling this card will result in full damage to the opponent’s hero i.e. if you hit it with a Mountain Giant it’ll deal 8 damage to face. If it only takes as much damage as it has life, this card is a lot stronger of course and I’d have no hesitation in labeling it a great card. As for decks that it could be run in, Zoo would love to have a 4 attack minion on turn 2, and some aggressive variants of Demonlock can also afford to run these. I can’t see this being played in slower decks because of the drawback and also the potential of getting these out through Voidcaller which would be a tragedy over other high cost demons.

In arena, this card is great. Again, not top tier because it trades fair with 2 mana 3/2s but certainly well above average. I’d draft these very highly but probably still behind Flame Imp.

Rogue Cards


Shado-Pan Cavalry

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Good
Overall: Average

This card is cool but sadly not really what Rogue wants or needs. It seems Blizzard are keen to move Rogue away from combo and burst oriented decks to a more traditional minion based combat class. The problem with this card, is that it’s very difficult to justify including over its competitors. Rogue decks have a lot of competition in the 5-drop slot. They have Azure Drake, Sludge Belcher, Loatheb and other tech cards like Harrison Jones and Antique Healbot vying for spots. Even the superb Dark Iron Skulker has fallen by the wayside since the Rogue playstyle is much more effective in combos and bursts.

This card is essentially just a pile of stats. Granted, with a combo, this card is a Boulderfist Ogre for 1 mana less but that’s best case scenario. If you can’t combo this out, it becomes a fairly weak 5 mana 3/7. I just can’t see a niche for it right now. If Rogue wants to play with minions and board, I’d play Skulker and Shredders. If it wants help with a modern Oil Rogue playstyle, this card just flat out sucks in that deck and won’t see play.

The real niche for the Shado-Pan Cavalry is in arena where it can shine as an above average card. A 5 mana 3/7 alone is respectable, and if you can coin this out on turn 4, you have a super strong minion that trades well with almost anything in the game. I’d pick this very highly in arena especially if you have easy ways to combo this out with 1-drops or Backstab.

Burgle

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Bad
Overall: Bad

While this is a very flavorful card, it is not what Rogue needs or wants at all. The class thrives on mini combos and synergies, and this card is basically a worse version of Thoughtsteal. Rogue doesn’t really need card draw or additional reach. It has some of the best spells in the game for cycling purposes in Sprint and Fan of Knives and it also has Gang Up if it decides to play a long game to generate cards without inducing fatigue.

The unreliability of it really hurts its playability in constructed and I don’t expect it to see competitive play. Sadly this adds to the list of underwhelming Rogue cards so far. It seems Blizzard are keen to move the class away from combos and burst and shift it to a more minion focused playstyle but the cards it’s been given so far just don’t seem to have the impact on the board that Rogue needs since it’s such a naturally tempo oriented class. It needs more cards like SI:7 Agent which give good tempo and promote a proactive board approach. This card doesn’t do that and becomes a purely fun card.

In arena, this card is slightly better but not by much. Card draw in arena can be hard to come by and if you take a lot of tempo cards, you could end up needing draw. If your Sprints are missing, I’d pick one of these up but keep in mind that getting a good card out of the Burgle isn’t in your favor and that there are plenty of cards that are just straight up duds. Speaking of duds…

Anub’arak

Constructed: Terrible
Arena: Bad
Overall: Terrible

This is a real disappointment. Anub’arak is such an iconic Warcraft character and to make him basically an unplayable 9 mana minion sinks him. At first glance, it looks like outstanding value, but you really have to be living in a dream world if you think you can get value out of this and not have your face explode.

9 mana cards have to be absolutely outstanding to justify a spot in your deck. It has to either win you the game or apply game-ending pressure. Anub’arak just doesn’t do that. An 8/4 minion dies to just about anything, it’s extremely vulnerable to silence and hard removal, and it just doesn’t offer anything over its competitors. At that price you’re looking at the dragons Nefarian, Ysera and Alexstrasza. All three of those blow Anub’arak out of the water.

Even if the metagame slows to a crawl, this card can’t supplant the other 9 mana legendaries and won’t see play. It’s flat out terrible against aggro, and even against Control, they can often just ignore it and go for face. Without its Deathrattle, Anub’arak has no real value and with its Deathrattle it has no pressure. It’s a lose-lose. I’d let this beetle rot away.

In arena, this card is better but not great. For a 9 mana card you need something to lock down the game but Anub’arak can’t really do that. It puts 8 attack on board yes, but your opponent can most likely just ignore it and hit face and it won’t get any value and your health is likely to be put in pretty big danger.

Warrior Cards


Bash

Constructed: Good
Arena: Good
Overall: Good

This is a very solid card overall and one which I expect to see play in all game modes. At first glance, it looks a little over costed, but this time, I’m going to learn my lesson from Shieldmaiden and value that armor gain more. Dealing 3 damage is useful at any point in the game for removal and this one isn’t even limited to minions so it can be used to burst with as well. The armor gain is obviously useful since you gain that health even at full and it has additional synergy with Shield Slam.

Some people argue that Fiery War Axe makes this redundant, but I disagree. You don’t always draw those War Axes, and sometimes, you need damage to circumvent Taunt. We’ve all been in those irritating positions where the enemy’s Mana Wyrm is growing huge behind a pair of Mirror Images and hitherto, we’d have no choice but to waste weapon charges removing the Taunts. Now, with this card, we can kill the Wyrm AND keep destroying the Taunts while gaining a bit of armor.

Bash also opens up the door to a spell based or face Warrior deck that has yet to make a competitive impact. Face Warrior in particular has shown promise, but lacks a little bit of reach and maybe this card is just what it needs. Yes, it doesn’t fit in Patron Warrior well, but it helps the other Warrior archetypes and that gives it value.

In arena, this card will likely help pull Warrior out of the bottom tier of arena classes. It desperately needed a card like this as spell removal to compete in the early game, and this’ll be a pretty high pick overall. It’s not quite “great” because the armor synergy is hard to leverage but it certainly does a simple but important job well.

Bolster

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Terrible
Overall: Terrible

Why does Blizzard think that a Taunt Warrior is going to happen? First King’s Defender, now this card. Both are aimed to get bonuses based on Warrior having Taunt minions on board. The nature of Taunts is that they get killed. That’s why they have Taunt – to redirect attacks and take the damage. For this card to have any value, it needs to hit TWO Taunted minions. This just seems very unrealistic, and if it hits just one Taunted minion, it’s basically a Mark of the Wild with a condition. That card rarely ever sees play and this card won’t either unless Warrior somehow gets a card that can apply Taunt to their minions reliably.

I’m not going to rate it as terrible in constructed just yet because perhaps there is a card out there that has synergy with this. There’s also of course the possibility of combos with Enhance-o Mechano at a push, but the overwhelming sense from what we know so far is that this card sucks.

In arena, this is a slam dunk terrible card. Having such a situational effect (even worse than Rampage!) is horrible in a draft mode where you may or may not get any Taunts at all. I hate that this is a common card too and sadly this pushes Warrior’s stock down in arena again. I still think based on the released cards that it’ll continue to reign supreme as the worst class in arena.

Hunter Cards


Brave Archer

Constructed: Bad
Arena: Bad
Overall: Bad

Brave Archer is the next “empty your hand” mechanic card that Blizzard seems keen to push after Core Rager and Quick Shot. Sadly, like Core Rager, this card isn’t great and is only really viable in the most aggressive decks. Quick Shot’s value was that it was a 2 mana spell that dealt 3 damage. The additional effect is only a passing bonus that gets activated only occasionally.

This card on the other hand without the effect, is a one mana 2/1 with no additional flavor. The bad part about this card, is that it seemingly has contradictory value. On the one hand, you’ll want to play this as early as possible because it’s a 1-drop and loses value as the game goes on. On the other hand, playing this on turn 1 means that its additional effect cannot be utilized since there’s no way that you can empty your hand realistically before turn 4 or 5. The other 1-drops in Hunter are superior currently and this’ll have a hard time finding a place unless the Hunter decks become even faster and less mindful of synergies. I’m not going to rule it out entirely, because a scenario where you can place two of these on board then hero power deals 6 damage to your opponent and if they can somehow live another turn, another 6 which is pretty amazing. It’s just hard to envision a scenario where it’ll come off with any sort of consistency.

In arena, this card is pretty bad. 1 mana 2/1s are actually better than a lot of people give them credit for, but the best ones are those that have some sort of additional effect like Abusive Sergeant. The conditions for this card are pretty steep and it’s only really good in a top deck war where you’re ahead on board. I’d draft this below average.

Paladin Cards


Eadric the Pure

Constructed: Good
Arena: Great
Overall: Good

If you thought Aldor Peacekeeper was good, just look at this card!  This is the legendary that Paladin deserves (sorry Bolvar Fordragon). The Battlecry is what makes this card so strong. It is a Midrange and Control deck killer and that gives it a niche to fill which means it’ll almost certainly see play. Granted, a 7 mana 3/7 is pretty weak, but the Humility effect is so powerful that it’s worth playing.

This card can single-handedly crush Handlock and if it hits just two minions with its Battlecry it has gotten great value. The 3/7 stats are a little underwhelming but when the whole board facing you down has just one attack, having 3 attack isn’t that crippling. It won’t be played in every deck since it is a slow card, but in the decks that it is played, it will be extremely effective.

This could also signify the return of Stampeding Kodo since between two Aldor Peacekeepers and this, it’ll have a ton of nice targets. This is of course only if Midrange Paladin remains competitive and doesn’t get blown out by the new wave of aggro decks.

In arena, this card is strong. It’s among one of the top legendaries in the game since a global effect like that is so hard to get. I’d draft it in the top tier maybe just below the game changing ones like Ragnaros the Firelord or the other Paladin legendary Tirion Fordring.

Argent Lance

Constructed: Great
Arena: Great
Overall: Great

I honestly think this card might be the most useful one revealed in this expansion. Standalone it’s merely okay, but in Paladin this card is incredibly important. A 2 mana weapon is something that Paladin has needed for a long time to enable it to deal with early game aggression. 3 mana on the Coghammer and Muster for Battle just isn’t fast enough to deal with the coined Mad Scientists and Knife Jugglers. Paladin up til now has been forced to play Zombie Chow to contest the early game and this gives them a more efficient way to deal with early game pressure.

The hidden value in this card is the joust mechanic. I like this one a lot because the extra durability is really unimportant. Considering the density of Paladin weapons, you won’t likely be able to use all three charges anyway so the joust mechanic becomes a scouting tool and a pretty good one at that since it comes out early on 2 mana.

It won’t catch on right away, but trust me this card is very good and will slowly find its way into every Paladin deck – Midrange, Aggro, Control. It’s a bold statement, but having played Paladin a good amount, I feel that this card fills a hole in the class perfectly and that makes all the difference.

In arena, this card is a rare so won’t be too common but will instantly shoot to the top of the value charts. I’d pick this card over just about any rare card with the exception of Aldor Peacekeeper and Muster for Battle.

Tuskarr Jouster

Constructed: Average
Arena: Average
Overall: Average

I like this card well enough. Paladin is in a good place for its Midrange options and this adds another good piece. Because of their large selection of weapons, Paladin often takes some early damage which this card can heal off. It’s a good fit for Paladin because it doesn’t desperately need the heal. Handlock wouldn’t run this card because its heals are so crucial to staying alive. But in Paladin, even if it doesn’t get the heal, it’s a 5 mana 5/5 which can compete pretty well with the other minions that are unleashed at that mana cost. The heal is a nice bonus and can give some sustain.

It’s not a spectacular card by any means and the 5 mana slot is very competitive for Paladin. I wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t really take off, but I think it will be experimented with and probably find a place as a one-of in a slow control or midrange Paladin.

In arena, this card is average. 5 mana 5/5 is fair and the effect is decent. Face damage matters less in arena though so the Battlecry effect isn’t likely game deciding and that’s a good thing because it’s a joust and in arena it’s a total toss-up.

Shaman


Ancestral Knowledge

Constructed: Average
Arena: Average
Overall: Average

This card is good enough but not great. I wish the Overload was (1) not (2) but it still doesn’t take away from the fact this is a card that Shaman really needs. The biggest weakness of the Shaman class is the lack of reliable card draw. This card could spawn an exciting Malygos deck since it gives the deck improved card draw. We all know the incredible damage potential of a Malygos Shaman and this card gives it a way to draw into the combo more reliably.

In other archetypes, this might be run as a one-of but likely only in slow variants of Shaman since that Overload is pretty crippling. There’s really not that much to say about this. It’s Shaman’s version of Arcane Intellect. One mana cheaper but two Overload which makes the card just worse overall. Maybe we’ll see some Lava Shock value at some point down the line.

In arena, this card is average as well. Card draw is valuable so it has importance but the Overload makes this difficult to recommend over a solid arena body. It will definitely help in top deck wars though.

Conclusion


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the review. Feel free to leave comments and feedback. Am I wrong with Anub’arak and he’s actually infinite value and worth a spot? Who’s the sleeper card? My money’s on Argent Lance but there’s every chance I’m wrong. Let me know and we’ll talk about it!

See you soon for more card impression from The Grand Tournament!


About Camzeee

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.

If you’re interested in Arena, here’s my Arena Mastery link and my own personal 12-Win Arena Log where I record every card/deck I’ve made it to 12 wins with (80+). 

I offer Ranked Ladder and Arena coaching through HearthstoneCoaching.com (founded by Sheng). Visit the site if you’re interested in having me coach you!

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3 Comments

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  1. stilleternity says:

    Yeah Camzee, you seem to have the most spot-on evaluations of all the reviews of this batch of cards I’ve seen so far.

  2. jakdripr says:

    Yea I really wish ancestral knowledge was overload (1), but I guess that woulda made it better than arcane intellect and it seems mage always have to have the best spells. Still not bad though, I’m hoping it’s one of those cards that works better in practice than it does on paper because reliable card draw would go a long way to fixing shamans issues.

    • Stonekeep HSP says:

      2 + 1 overload wouldn’t be 100% better than Arcane Intellect. The total mana cost would be the same. It’s just that you have a let’s say stronger turn 5 at the cost of weaker turn 6.

      For example, if you’re left with 5 mana and the only thing you can do is draw cards – you don’t want to play anything else – paying 3 mana upfront would be stronger. But if you have some play this turn and require one more mana, this would be stronger.

      I think it would be perfectly balanced at 2 + 1 instead of 2 + 2.