The folks at Blizzard have been on a steady pace in revealing the 132 cards that will take up Hearthstone's upcoming Grand Tournament expansion. Shacknews' detailed look into these cards began just a few weeks ago and today, our analysis continues.
Be sure to catch up with our previous breakdowns:
- Part 1 - Frost Giant, Lowly Squire, Skycap'n Kragg, Maiden of the Lake, Coldarra Drake, Lock and Load, Nexus-Champion Saraad
- Part 2 - Poisoned Blade, Thunder Bluff Valiant, Ball of Spiders, Draenei Totemcarver, Effigy, Fallen Hero, Kodorider, Tuskarr Totemic, Totem Golem
- Part 3 - Justicar Trueheart, Wilfred Fizzlebang, Sacred Warrior, King's Defender, North Sea Kraken
- Part 4 - Coliseum Manager, Flame Juggler, Clockwork Knight, Savage Combatant, Silent Knight
- Part 5 - Eydis Darkbane, Fjola Lightbane, Argent Watchman, Spellslinger, Demonfuse
(3) Argent Horserider (2/1) - Divine Shield, Charge
Hey, Knife Juggler, put this apple on your head!
Argent Horserider doesn't have particularly good stats, but his cost and stats make him an ideal counter to the Turn 2 Knife Juggler. The issue here, however, is that there are certainly plenty of Knife Juggler counters already out there. Even if it's a kamikaze play, Bluegill Warrior is still the best bet for this scenario. Other classes also have cheaper 2-mana spells to deal with the Juggler, so that's another strike against this minion.
There just aren't very many uses for this guy. With low health and limited uses, the synergy potential just isn't there. He's an expensive play for not much return.
(5) Flame Lance - Deal 8 damage to a minion
Well, now! Here's a Mage spell that'll probably find its way into most decks. Flame Lance is a no-nonsense 8 damage to any minion. For 5 mana, that's a relatively cheap cost to remove a majority of individual minions, even some legendaries.
It's a toss-up as to whether this is more valuable than the same-cost Dragon's Breath, but both spells are invaluable to any Mage deck. It'll be mostly useless to Freeze Mages that emphasize on aiming for the face, but it's ideal for just about any other Mage strategy.
There isn't a whole lot else to say about this spell, just because it's decidedly no-frills, but it's definitely one that any Mage player will want to check out.
(2) Darnassus Aspirant (2/3) - Battlecry: Gain an empty mana crystal. Deathrattle: Destroy a mana crystal.
Well, here you go, Druids. It's pretty much Wild Growth, the minion. Darnassus Aspirant is a boon if kept alive, but at the very least, it provides an immediate threat that opponents must deal with immediately.
With 2/3 stats, Darnassus Aspirant is a fine Turn 2 play. Druids will especially want to buff it as soon as possible, possibly by following up that Turn 2 move with a quick Innervate and Mark of the Wild. The opponent will either waste a spell to deal with the buffed minion or attempt to silence it, at which point that extra mana crystal becomes yours to keep.
Even if its effect is temporary, a 2/3 minion for such a low cost is certainly worth taking a chance on. Just don't play it in the late stages of a game, where losing a mana crystal can become costly.
(2) Wrathguard (4/3) - Whenever this minion takes damage, also deal that amount to your hero.
Alright, Warlock, how badly do you want a high-powered minion at the start of the game?
On paper, Wrathguard could be a sick Turn 1 play when used in conjunction with the second-turn Coin and a way to come at an opponent quickly.
On the other hand, that effect is nasty. Cheap 2-mana spells like Frostbolt or Wrath can take it off the board in an instant, while also striking the face for a quick three damage. Worse yet, this is not a minion that needs to be buffed with spells like Demonheart or Demonfuse, because it only creates the potential for even greater pain.
That means this minion is best suited for spells that don't technically deal out damage. Using Wrathguard in conjunction with Shadowflame can provide a 6-mana makeshift Flamestrike that can potentially clear the enemy board. Add a Power Overwhelming to that equation and clearing the board is almost a certainty. Wrathguard is a decoy, but not something that's worth sending into the trenches, because of its tremendous potential to backfire.
(5) Shado-Pan Cavalry (3/7) - Combo: +3 Attack
Blackrock Mountain gave the Shaman a tough mid-level tank in the form of Fireguard Destroyer, but now it appears that the Rogue is ready to bring her own mid-level tough guy. Shado-Pan Cavalry only becomes a 6/7 minion when used in a combo, but given how often Rogue can dish out 0-mana spells, this will hardly be a concern.
Oil Rogues may very well be frothing to get their hands on this minion, since it sets the table nicely for a Tinker's Sharpsword Oil combo that turns Shado-Pan Cavalry into a 9/7 minion on a potential Turn 6 play. Rogues already don't mess around, but this minion will further ensure that their games end quickly and efficiently.
(3) Master of Ceremonies (4/2) - Battlecry: If you have a minion with Spell Damage, gain +2/+2
That gives Master of Ceremonies a nice home in Freeze Mage decks that try and beef up their magic strength as much as possible. With no shortage of magic-boosting minions, a pair of Master of Ceremonies can offer cheap 6/4 backup and force opponents into wasting precious spells. Better yet, if played in conjunction with those pesky freeze spells, this minion can go straight for the face without any resistance.
Of course, while 6/4 stats are fairly intimidating, they're not impossible to deal with. Low-cost spells like Kill Command, Flamecannon, or Crackle can still ruin this minion's day. Just be sure to have a backup plan in place for later in the game if any of those spells need to be burned early just to deal with Master of Ceremonies.
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.