More Grand Tournament cards, from Wilfred Fizzlebang to Justicar Trueheart
As Hearthstone's latest expansion, The Grant Tournament, begins to come together we're seeing some powerful legendaries, some useful commons, and even a brand new mech. Want a new hero power, or Silver Hand Recruits when you don't even play Paladin? These are the cards you've been waiting for.
With even more cards to review, Luke and Callum continue to review their feasibility in both arena and constructed. Will any of these next 16 change Hearthstone forever? (Make sure to check out the first part in the series here.)
Arena: A 2/3 that does one damage to a random enemy when played is kinda like a worse Knife Juggler. Knife Juggler can be a really good card in arena, so I think Flame Juggler is a decent pick. And hey! At least you’re guaranteed some value.
Constructed: So this will never make it into any aggressive zoo or tempo deck. Knife Juggler and Flamewaker both do a lot more. However! We do live in a world where Priests sometimes play Gilblin Stalkers because they don’t have any other worthy two-drops. Playing this with a 50/50 chance to pick off a Leper Gnome or Clockwork Gnome or half a Haunted Creeper isn’t bad. Certainly not an overwhelmingly strong pick, but you might actually see it in some control decks.
Arena: Two drops are always important in arena, and a 2/3 stat line is always a decent body. The effect is nice and could be useful, but this is likely going to be picked on stats alone in arena. It's a common, so will likely appear more than Knife Juggler too.
Constructed: In constructed deck, however, the card isn't so good. No one plays Elven Archers anymore, with good reason, and this is worse because the damage is not targeted. Definitely pass when there are far better two drops available.
North Sea Kraken
Arena: Reminds me a lot of Force Tank MAX, another giant common released to fill out the GVG set. The Force Tank was good in arena, because big guys are generally pretty good in arena, and the Kraken’s Fire Elemental effect makes it worthy.
Constructed: There are far, far better nine drops. Like, say, Ysera, or Alexstrasza, or Nefarian. In fact, you’d take eight drops like Ragnaros over this. The North Sea Kraken doesn’t make the cut in constructed, but then again, it was never intended to.
Arena: This will definitely get picked in arena. Big beefy nine drop with a cool effect that could very well be useful in a lot of situations. I'd prefer five damage over four, but that's probably a little too strong. As it is, it kills a Harrison Jones or Azure Drake.
Constructed: So this might not appeal to hardcores like myself or Luke who have a large crop of legendaries available, but we have to remember that we aren't representative of all players. There are a lot of players out there who don't have legendaries and for a long time have lacked strong late game minions. Force Tank MAX helped with that, and so does North Sea Kraken.
Arena: I don’t know how good this will be in arena, but I’m leaning towards bad. Getting zero-cost cards from your hero power is obviously very powerful, but a six mana 4/4 is pretty big tempo hit, especially considering how you’re going to be playing it on turn eight. A lot of the cards in your arena draft will be mediocre, and nobody likes getting zero mana Ironfur Grizzlies.
Constructed: I’ve seen some people down on this card and I don’t fully understand it. Yeah playing it on turn eight sucks, and there is a chance you’ll get, say, a zero-mana Mortal Coil, but I think people are focusing too much on the negative potentials. The chance of getting a zero mana Mountain Giant, Molten Giant, Jaraxxus, Mal’Ganis, or Malygos outweighs the disaster ratio. Even if you get something mid-rangey, like an Antique Healbot, that’s still pretty great! You’re going to play whatever you draw on the same turn you drop Wilfred, and that’s better than people think. I think Fizzlebang makes the cut.
Arena: I'll say it till I'm blue in the face, but rating legendaries in arena is relatively pointless because of how infrequently they come up. This card is decent. If it appears and doesn't have a better card alongside it you won't feel too bad about taking it.
Constructed: This card could be good if you can get it to stick to the board and I think people will definitely experiment with it. What I'm not sure of just yet: Can you swap out decent threat cards for this, like a Sylvanas or a Loatheb?
Arena: Buffing your hero power in the generally long arena games is a good deal. Justicar isn’t high-tier, but just think of how differently arena games will go with a two-damage ping?
Constructed: Hard to say. The Justicar switches out your hero power with a better version, but some are better than others. Rogue, for instance, gets the short end of the stick with a 2/2 dagger instead of a 1/2, which simply isn’t a noticeable enough difference. (Or maybe it’ll end up being a game changer, who really knows.) Shaman gets to choose which totem they summon, which might be garbage, but the idea of slamming taunt totems over and over again might be alright. The classes that jump out to me the most are Warrior and Paladin. After playing Justicar, Warrior will get to armor up for four armor with hero power, which might make Control Warrior semi-invincible. Paladins will get to summon two 1/1 Recruits, which will make for some easy Quartermaster combos. Who knows right? This card could change the game in so many different ways, but I definitely think it gets sporadic use in certain decks.
Arena: Same principle on legendaries in arena as with ol' Wilfred, but I will say the new hero power is probably more powerful in arena, particularly in certain classes. The potential for topdecking and fatigue-length games is higher in arena, so having an in-built tempo advantage every turn could give you a great advantage.
Constructed: Again, I probably give this a similar review to Wilfred Fizzlebang. Potentially useful, but would take up the slot of a lot of really strong power cards. It also dies to a worryingly large amount of things at three health.
Arena: Hot garbage. You realize this is a 1/3 weapon for four mana that gets buffed to a 2/3 when you press your button next. That’s a 2/3 weapon for six mana. That’s a Stormforged Axe for six mana. Yeah you can keep buffing it until it’s a 30/3 weapon, all you have to do is make sure your opponent is sleeping.
Constructed: There’s just no reason to run this over Assassin’s Blade. Assassin’s Blade is a 3/4 for five mana. That’s only one mana more! I honestly have no idea what Blizzard was thinking with this one. It could’ve easily cost 3, or maybe even 2, and it still wouldn’t be all that great.
Arena: This card is a joke. It really is. If you play this on turn four, by turn five it has one less attack and two less durability than Assassin's Blade. The stat line is just awful.
Constructed: Can't really say much more, except that there is clearly only one motivation behind this card's design: It's an homage to the original Rogue hero power, which would create the 1/2 weapon or give it +1 attack.
Arena: There’s always a chance you’ll have a couple stray mechs in your arena draft, and this super fundamental buff comes without a significant stat hit. I think the Clockwork Knight will be about average in most cases.
Constructed: Glad to see that Blizzard isn’t abandoning their tribal types, if only because it promises more murlocs in the future. This is okay, it’s pretty mid-rangey which puts it at odds at most of the zoo/tempo mech decks we see, but that doesn’t make it bad. However it does seem likely that Clockwork Knight will get lumped in with Upgraded Repair Bot, Screwjank Clunker, and other 4-6 cost cards that simply don’t do enough. Is buffing a Piloted Shredder to a 5/4 a big deal? I don’t think so.
Arena: Decent stat line for five mana that will probably see it picked in arena, probably in the top four or five neutral commons in the slot. The effect could be useful too.
Constructed: Mech Mage is enjoying something of a resurgence in constructed, and this could well prove a worthy addition ahead of things like Piloted Sky Golem. If you don't have Loatheb then it's a good substitute for that too.
Arena: It’s sorta like a bigger Lightwarden, and Lightwarden is pretty great in Priest arenas. I think Holy Champion will be a pretty good pick.
Constructed: I think if Priest gets enough additional hero power synergy that Holy Champion could be powerful. You play it on turn four, kill a two drop, heal it to a 5/5 or 5/4, maybe you give it a Power Word: Shield. That’s effective! It’ll be even better if Priest can consistently get a lot of Inspire value off of Lesser Heal. I think this could make the cut.
Arena: Decent stat line in arena, so sure. Why not?
Constructed: Probably not good enough, for the same reason Burly Rockjaw Trogg isn't playable in constructed. Too slow in the all-important four-drop slot.
Arena: Four mana for a 5/4 is good, but the ability to hero power for three damage instead of one is a big deal. There’s a lot of inherent value with the Combatant, and frankly, I think it might even be better than Druid of the Claw. Also, unlike a lot of other Inspire cards, this isn’t something you necessarily need to hold until you can hero power on the same turn because the body is good enough on its own.
Constructed: There’s some noise about the Savage Combatant having the beast tribal type and that it could encourage the fabled rise of Beast Druid. You lump a couple of these with Druids of the Claw and Flame, and maybe that long gestating five mana 7/7 tempo swing of Druid of the Fang could finally come to pass. I don’t know about that, but I do think the Combatant is good enough on its own to get serious consideration in a lot of decks. The idea of being able to Innervate this guy out on turn one or two could win you a lot of games.
The only thing? It dies to Shredder. But your hero power would also kill Shredder. We shall see.
Arena: This feels along the lines of Goblin Blastmage, one of the stronger cards to come out in Goblins vs. Gnomes. It's not terrible, but the effect isn't instant if you play it before turn six, so it's nowhere near as strong. Likely to not be among the strongest rares you're offered in a draft.
Constructed: As I said above, the effect not being any kind of instant battlecry is a real hinderance, and that's something I think I'll be saying over and over as Blizzard tries its hardest to get the Inspire mechanic over.
Arena: I know I’m supposed to be the optimistic one, but man is this card awful. Just total garbage. I’d take a Mogu’shan Warden over this piece of crap. Hell, I might even prefer a Doomsayer!
Constructed: Maybe we one day will live in a world where control decks rule the world and it’s possible to time-out your opponents through trench warfare. We’re talking grinding hero powers and trudging healing and thirty minute games.
We do not live in that world, instead we live in a world where Grim Patron can combo off your Tournament Medic three times.
Completely unplayable, but maybe not completely unplayable forever.
Arena: Maybe not utter garbage in arena, marginally. Games are slower and health can be far more important over the long term, with less easy removal to take it out. Remember that one time Vitality Totem let your opponent kill you in the most painfully slow game possible?
Constructed: Again, probably not the four drop you want in your constructed deck. Not likely to replace things like Antique Healbot or Earthen Ring as healing options either.
Arena: Weapons are generally good in arena, and a bad version of Fiery War Axe is still valuable. Is it better than Ogre Warmaul? I don’t know.
Constructed: Meh. Fiery War Axe is already King’s Defender for one less mana with slightly less upside. You already have Death’s Bite which does so much more, so I can’t find a place for King’s Defender. Is it really worth the risk of replacing Fiery War Axe if all you might be getting is +1 durability?
Arena: Again this is a rare, so you're not going to have to pick this against another weapon. Even despite that, for me this is the worst weapon Warriors have been given to date. Warriors are weak in arena anyway, and picking this is going to make it worse for you.
Constructed: This is really terrible. In most Warrior decks cycling through your Fiery War Axes in the early game to get into your Death's Bites at the right time is important, as holding on to a Death's Bite for the perfect moment to use the deathrattle is crucial in things like Patron. Holding on to your Fiery War Axe for one turn more is never something I've heard someone ask for.
Arena: A 2/5 for three is exceedingly good value, which is why you see a lot of Druids running Druids of the Flame these days. Yeah the Inspire mechanic will be kinda counterintuitive, but you should be able to avoid that most of the time. Coliseum Manager will be a decent pick.
Constructed: This minion saps itself when you hero power, so I guess the dream would be attacking a 4/3 minion, hero powering the remaining 4/1, and playing the Manager again as a fresh 2/5. That’s a very particular set of circumstances. The body and cost are both useful, but I think it might be a little too unreliable.
Arena: This is just bad. Why would you give your opponent a free sap? Madness!
Constructed: Nope, still terrible. I don't understand what this is supposed to do. Unless Blizzard adds some cards which interact with this, I can't see this ever being played.
Arena: One of two low-mana legendaries announced thus far. Eydis Darkbane is a three mana 3/4, and that’s all that matters. Yes there are some constructed implications but we’ll get to that below. 3/4 is good for three mana. It’s a Spider Tank. It’s far from the most exciting legendary but it will get the job done, much in the same way Gruul will.
Constructed: So if you target this thing with a spell, you do three damage to a random enemy. The place that makes the most sense for this thing might be Paladin, because you drop it on turn three, hit it with a Blessing of Kings or Hand of Protection on turn four, and have a pretty good shot at a two-for-one. Does that make sense? Mid-range Paladins have been running Kings lately, so I think it’s at least worth an experiment.
Arena: At worst, it's a spider tank. If the other legendaries you're being offered are garbage, then go for it.
Constructed: So this could be completely nuts. Tempo Mage and other spare part-heavy decks mayhem, or even Priest or aggro Paladin? Definitely one that will be experimented with.
Arena: Literally the exact same blurb as above.
Constructed: For Lightbane, the other low-cost 3/4 legendary, I think the natural home might be Priest. This is a board control card, and there’s never been a successful Aggro Priest archetype in the history of Hearthstone. You drop this, hit it with a Power Word: Shield, and you’ve got a 3/6 with Divine Shield. Knock the top off a Shredder and give it Velen’s Chosen, and you’ve got a 5/10 with spell power and divine shield. I think you’ll definitely see people give Fjola a chance.
Arena: The less-good of the Lightbane sisters, she probably has a complex about it. So be nice. Unlikely to be the best of your three picks in arena, so skip.
Constructed: Definitely less good than her sister, though possibly still valuable. We've been crying out for early game legendaries for a long time, but this might not be the card we were looking for.
Silver Hand Reagent
Arena: A 3/3 for three mana isn’t great, but producing an additional 1/1 tokens with each hero power is solid. If this thing sticks around for a couple turns you’re guaranteed some good value. I wouldn’t be thrilled, but I’d draft it.
Constructed: I don’t know if there’s any class this makes sense for except Paladin, who obviously is already capable of producing Recruits with its hero power. But consider this: Silver Hand Reagent, Hero Power, Quartermaster. Yeah that’s a 10-mana combo but it gives you three 3/3s and a 2/5. That isn’t bad, and it assumes you haven’t been able to develop the Reagent earlier. I think this card definitely earns some experimentation, but I don’t know if it ends up making the cut.
Arena: This card isn't terrible value if you're able to get the hero power off, but so many times this will just die to a Bloodfen Raptor and be a waste of mana.
Constructed: So the most comparable card to this in constructed is Aldor Peacekeeper, the three mana 3/3 that is in practically every midrange and control Paladin deck. Once again, I find myself criticizing inspire for being too slow compared to battlecry effects. For an inspire card to be better in practice it has to have an effect that is better than a battlecry, but in theory that would be broken for a card that's too strong, because it can be used multiple times. Overall, I think that is a pretty accurate summation of the problems with inspire in constructed.
Arena: A 2/3 for two is fine, but using your hero power twice a turn isn’t as great as it looks. What’s the upside to that? You get to pay four mana for two 1/1s. If you’re using four mana that wastefully you’re going to be losing a lot of Hearthstone games.
Constructed: The idea here is you combo this with other unreleased cards like Maiden of the Lake or Justicar Trueheart. Like, if you use the Commander ability with Trueheart’s upgraded hero power, you’ll be able to put a total of four guys on the board by pressing your button twice. That’s strong, especially if comboed with the aforementioned Quartermaster, and especially if you’re working with a Maiden discount. The Commander on its own isn’t good enough, but there may be some pretty strong decks lurking in the synergy.
Arena: An epic that is reasonable value on stats alone, which is actually rarer than you think. Epics can be pretty bad in arena. The effect might be relevant at some point, but the stats alone make it better than a lot of your potential epic picks.
Constructed: This card is all about the hero power synergy, with cards like Maiden of the Lake. If you want to try and make those combos work, good luck, but I'm not holding my breath for them having any kind of massive meta-breaking impact.
Arena: Outstanding pun. But I don’t think this is that good. Shielded Minibot is a good card specifically because you can play it on turn two and get even trades. The stealth and divine shield are both nice, but you’re taking a pretty significant tempo hit playing this on turn three. We won’t know for sure until we get to mess with it, but I think this card forces you into some uneven trades.
Constructed: Finally a card for my long-gestating Anima Golem deck! I’m going to prove all you haters wrong!
No, this isn’t good. Seriously why would you ever play this over Shade?
Arena: No thanks. Poorer stats than a large number of two drops, let alone three drops.
Constructed: For three mana with stealth, you can have a Shade of Naxxramas which can grow in stats, or a Jungle Panther with four attack. The divine shield isn't that relevant when you can only hit for two each time.
Screengrab via Play Hearthstone/YouTube