The folks at Blizzard have gotten off to a quick start in revealing the 132 cards that will take up Hearthstone's upcoming Grand Tournament expansion. Shacknews' detailed look into these cards began yesterday and you can catch up with that analysis here. Today, our analysis continues.
(4) Poisoned Blade (1/3) - Your hero power gives this weapon +1 attack instead of replacing it
This is another card that's meant to enhance Hero Powers, with this one designed for the Rogue. Unfortunately, Valeera doesn't exactly have the benefit of a Coldarra Drake to help her abuse her power, unless she somehow steal one by using Gang Up or Faceless Manipulator. If a Rogue can somehow pull that off, using the Maiden of the Lake combo opens Poisoned Blade up for some decent possibilities.
Of course, there's already a much faster way to enhance this card's strength and that's through low-cost cards like Deadly Poison, Tinker's Sharpsword Oil, or Goblin Auto-Barber. A good Oil Rogue will have no use for this card, making it something of an odd addition.
(5) Thunder Bluff Valiant (3/6) - Inspire: Give your Totems +2 Attack
On top of enhancing the use of Hero Powers, the Grand Tournament also appears to be expanding the Shaman's existing number of Totems. Thunder Bluff Valiant will look to make better use of those Totems, giving some of them the power to defend themselves, if need be. They can be good for taking out lower-attack minions, especially if the Healing Totem is out to help them recover.
Thunder Bluff Valiant is a good card to play alongside the Shaman's many functional Totems, like Vitality Totem, Mana Tide Totem, or Flametongue Totem. Depending on how many Totems are active, this minion would be ideal to play alongside Bloodlust as a potential finisher.
(6) Ball of Spiders - Summon three 1/1 Webspinners
Remember yesterday's diatribe on Lock and Load, about how the Hunter seems to get the best spells? This is not one of them. Ball of Spiders is a costly spell for little return, given that Webspinners can come fairly cheap.
Unfortunately, there are far too many drawbacks and not enough punch to waste a potential Turn 6 play on this spell. The most obvious counter would be a Priest playing Mass Dispel, leaving the Webspinners without their Deathrattle and one very sad Hunter. The biggest synergy possibility for this spell is Feign Death, but at that point, it would be simpler to just summon two Webspinners on their own, with the latter play only costing 4 mana. The Hunter has a lot of overpowered cards, but this will not be one of them.
(4) Draenei Totemcarver (4/4) - Battlecry: Gain +1/+1 for each friendly Totem
This is another minion meant to take advantage of the Shaman's Totems. This should encourage more Shamans to not be shy about using Mana Tide Totem or Vitality Totem, since they can lead to a powerful 6/6 minion at Turn 4. Of course, smart opponents will deal with Totems off the bat, but it can be easy to ignore any Totem with a 0/2 or 0/3 stat early in the game (unless it's a pesky Flametongue Totem).
Even its base stats of 4/4 are pretty decent for a 4-cost minion, but on its own, Draenei may be overshadowed by some other high-value minions of the same cost. Piloted Shredder and Fireguard Destroyer immediately come to mind. Unless the Totems are there to back it up, Draenei may very well be a dud, unless it's used as a Turn 10 play by setting up three other Totems (Hero Power, Flametongue, Vitality) first to beef it up to 7/7.
(3) Effigy - Secret: When a friendly minion dies, summon a random minion with the same Cost
This is an interesting Secret, essentially giving your minion a pseudo-Deathrattle effect that pays off better than a Piloted Shredder or Piloted Sky Golem. In fact, using this spell with any of those mechs can call in double minions upon their demise. Instead of returning a minion of 2-less cost, it returns an exact same cost minion. An 8 will call an 8, a 1 will call a 1, and so on.
So the argument then becomes, why use this over Duplicate? The answer depends on how much faith a player is willing to put into Hearthstone's RNG game. Effigy has the potential to call in some powerful Taunt or Deathrattle minions off the bat. It also has the potential to call in some undesirables, like lower Health/Attack Battlecry minions whose effects won't trigger. Effigy can be a high-risk, high-reward play with higher-cost minions. Imagine taking out a Ragnaros, only for Effigy to summon in Kel'thuzad... who would then resurrect that same Ragnaros? That result is not common, but it is theoretically possible.
One thing's for sure. Like Duplicate, this is not a Secret to played in conjunction with Spellbender. Woe to the player that does.
(2) Fallen Hero (3/2) - Your Hero Power deals 1 extra damage
Now here's an intriguing minion that will make some good use of the Hero Power focus. Fallen Hero's low cost will greatly tempt Mages to use it early on to deal with enemy minions. That's all well and good, but its 3/2 stats mean it won't survive for very long.
No, this is definitely a card where it'll pay to have the Coldarra Drake/Maiden of the Lake combo on the board. If those two survive to the next turn, Fallen Hero can be summoned for 2 mana and the remaining 8 can be used to dish out 2-damage Fireblast shots directly to the face. That'll be good for a whopping 16 damage! But as discussed with many of the Mage combinations yesterday, the play is largely dependent on keeping both Coldarra Drake and Maiden of the Lake alive, which is easier said than done.
(6) Kodorider (3/5) - Inspire: Summon a 3/5 War Kodo
This is another minion that utilizes the Inspire mechanic, which activates its effect upon the use of Hero Powers. Doing so will summon a War Kodo of equal 3/5 stats. This sounds fairly dangerous and could work as a poor man's Hogger. Although one area where it does one-up the beast is the Kodorider and War Kodo's 3/5 stats ensure they can survive a Turn 7 Flamestrike.
There's not much other upside beyond that, though. Kodorider will act as more of a late-game play, when opponents' methods of removal have been exhausted on other "must remove" Legendaries. However, Priests and Paladins may find some good use for this minion if they can bolster its stats with cards like Divine Spirit or Blessing of Kings. At that point, Kodorider can be a dangerous foe and a valuable addition for those two classes.
(3) Tuskarr Totemic (3/2) - Battlecry: Summon ANY random Totem
The use of the word "ANY" is meant to make Tuskarr Totemic sound appealing, but don't necessarily let this fool you. There's just as much chance to draw any of the Hero Power Totems as there is to draw something useful like a Vitality Totem or a Flametongue Totem. And at 3/2 stats, Tuskarr looks pretty weak.
However, Tuskarr will place nice with fellow debuting Shaman minions Thunder Bluff Valiant and Draenei Totemcarver, so there's that. Don't necessarily look for Tuskarr to help out early on, because those stats just won't hold up. He might be more helpful in late stages when Shamans need to fill the board before letting loose with a Bloodlust spell.
(2) Totem Golem (3/4) - Overload: (1)
A cross between a mini-Millhouse Manastorm (only without the insane drawback) and a mini-Fireguard Destroyer, Totem Golem can be a major boost to any Shaman deck with massive early-game stats. Normally, players would have to wait until at least Turn 3 before playing a card like Spider Tank or Dark Cultist. Even with its Overload drawback, this is a fine Turn 2 play.
Its classification as a Totem also makes it interesting. A player could then use Turn 3 to summon a Totem (Flametongue, if you really want to be a jerk) and call in Draenei Totemcarver on Turn 4 to get a 6/6 minion on the board early. A few things would have to swing the right way, but Shaman has the making for some early game devastation if this card is used the right way.
There's still plenty more to go with the reveals for Hearthstone's Grand Tournament expansion. Shacknews will continue its ongoing analysis of these new cards as they're released, so stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.