Inspired: Breaking down the Hearthstone 'Grand Tournament' cards (Part 15)

Hearthstone went on a huge card reveal bender on Friday and Shacknews is taking this week to catch up on the newest Grand Tournament expansion cards. Today, we look at the latest cards for the Mage and the Priest.

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Just when it appeared that Shacknews had caught up with the newest Hearthstone Grand Tournament expansion cards, Blizzard went on a tear over the weekend, revealing the expansion's final cards. With dozens of new cards revealed, Shacknews is continuing to break each and every one of them down. And the best way to break them down is by individual class before moving forth with the final batch of neutral cards. So today, we're checking out the latest expansion cards for the Mage and the Priest.

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
  • Part 6 - Argent Horserider, Flame Lance, Darnassus Aspirant, Wrathguard, Shado-Pan Cavalry, Master of Ceremonies
  • Part 7 - Master Jouster, Tuskarr Jouster, Argent Lance, Armored Warhorse, The Skeleton Knight
  • Part 8 - Ancestral Knowledge, Bolster, Burgle, Injured Kvaldir, Mukla's Champion, Gormok the Impaler
  • Part 9 - Warhorse Trainer, Flash Heal, Living Roots, Fist of Jaraxxus, Charged Hammer, Alexstrasza's Champion
  • Part 10 - Druid of the Saber, Crowd Favorite, Bash, Brave Hunter, Gadgetzan Jouster, Eadric the Pure
  • Part 11 - Anub'arak, Aviana, Grand Crusader, Confuse, Tournament Medic, Astral Communion
  • Part 12 - Lance Bearer, Cutpurse, Dreadsteed, Icehowl, Sea Reaver, Healing Wave
  • Part 13 - Garrison Commander, Light's Champion, Ram Wrangler, Varian Wrynn, Rhonin
  • Part 14 - Mulch, Knight of the Wild, Wildwalker, Acidmaw, Dreadscale, Stablemaster, Powershot, King's Elekk, Bear Trap


(1) Arcane Blast - Deal 2 damage to a minion. This spell gets double bonus from Spell Damage

Here's a handy new spell for the Mage. At worst, a 1-mana spell that deals two damage is the rough equivalent of Arcane Shot or Holy Smite. This has a lot of good uses for early turns.

It's effect makes it even more enticing. A double boost from Spell Damage minions means it could deal a total of four damage, at worst. That means this will play well with Bloodmage Thalnos and Kobold Geomancer. Mage already has a lot of good options for board control and this will fit those decks quite nicely.


(3) Polymorph: Boar - Transform a minion into a 4/2 Boar with Charge

This is an interesting spell in that it's the first to provide the Mage with a second Polymorph option. While the original Polymorph spell is meant purely for defensive purposes to get legendaries and problematic Deathrattle minions out of the way, this new spell has a little more versatility.

The first practical application is board control, as any opposing minion with four or less health can get taken out immediately with the Boar's Charge ability. If you need a quick minion to transform, just make a couple of quick ones with Mirror Image, a play that will ultimately cost the same as an original Polyomrph spell. As for the idea of removing legendaries or problematic Deathrattle minions, that's still in play. Just make sure you have another minion ready to take it out when you make that transformation.


(4) Dalaran Aspirant (3/5) - Inspire: Gain Spell Damage +1

This minion could rapidly get out of control if left out for too long. Dalaran Aspirant's 3/5 stats are helpful in the sense that he won't be an easy out when played on Turn 4. And if the opponent doesn't take care of him, he could be real trouble down the line.

As far as a late-play minion goes, if you can keep the Coldarra Drake/Maiden of the Lake combo alive long enough to take advantage of them, playing Dalaran Aspirant and going nuts with the Mage's Hero Power could make him into something of a makeshift Malygos. This minion will also play very well with the Arcane Blast spell from earlier, especially since that spell's effect will double for every time Dalaran Aspirant's power is boosted.


(1) Power Word: Glory - Choose a minion. Whenever it attacks, restore 4 Health to your hero

A common Paladin play involves using Blessing of Wisdom on an opposing minion. The idea is, if you have to take the hit, you may as well get something out of it. Now the Priest has a similar play available to him.

If tied to a friendly minion, the Priest can quickly make up any health deficit. Tie it to something hiding behind a Taunt minion and take a chance, but at the very least, there's an opening for health recovery on at least one turn. The more intriguing play involves attaching it to a mid-level enemy minion. Put it on something with three attack or so to force the opponent to either silence it or find a way to destroy it to avoid inadvertantly offering a benefit. Power Word: Glory has some applications and it'll be interesting to watch creative Priests find a way to make opponents miserable with it.


(2) Convert - Put a copy of an enemy minion into your hand

The Priest is not short on ways to use your own power against you. This newest spell offers up a twist on the Mind Vision concept by taking an enemy minion that's already on the board and putting it in your hand. Here's the kicker. The word "random" is nowhere to be found, so pick the most imposing threat and put it in your own hand. That obviously includes legends like Ragnaros and the like.

In fact, why not combine this spell with Faceless Manipulator? At 7 mana, you can play a copy of the opposing minion now and use Convert to save a second one for later. Convert is just another way to make yourself your own worst enemy and it shouldn't be long before opponents are finding new ways to beat themselves.


(2) Wyrmrest Agent (1/4) - Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, gain +1 Attack and Taunt

Dragon Priests have started becoming more common since the Blackrock Mountain adventure was released, especially since the Priest can often find great ways to complement Chromaggus, Nefarian, and Ysera. So here's one more.

Wyrnrest Agent's effect will offer up a 2/4 Taunt minion on Turn 2 if any of these dragons are in-hand, which is a fantastic second turn play. If that follows a Turn 1 Twilight Whelp, then the Priest is in pretty good shape. Wyrmrest Agent should find a very good home with the other numerous minions that rely on having Dragons available, like Blackwing Technician or Blackwing Corruptor.


(4) Spawn of Shadows (5/4) - Inspire: Deal 4 damage to each hero

Spawn of Shadows sounds like a dangerous proposition on the surface. Using the Priest's heal will immediately be undone by this minion's effect. Worse yet, if the Heal isn't available because of the effect of something like Shadowform or Auchenai Soulpriest, this minion arguably becomes more trouble than it's worth, unless there's a backup plan in place.

Fortunately, there are ways to offset this effect damaging the Priest too much. Remember Power Word: Glory? This would be a great opportunity to use it to help offset the personal damage from the Inspire effect. If your own tail is covered, the Inspire effect could slowly chip away at an opponent and make Spawn of Shadows a nuisance. Just remember that if you're using this combination, leave Auchenai Soulpriest on the sidelines.


(3) Shadowfiend (3/3) - Whenever you draw a card, reduce its Cost by (1)

It's a long wait until Emperor Thaurissan can be played, so why not try a lite substitute? While on the field, Shadowfiend can discount any card drawn by 1 mana, which can lead to some Turn 8 Nefarian and Turn 9 Mind Control plays.

The best way to ensure at least one discounted card? Play this alongside Power Word: Shield. There's also the option of using card draw minions, like Loot Hoarder or Coldlight Oracle to get some quick, cheap cards. This should set the table for Emperor Thaurissan, who can help reduce card costs further.


(7) Confessor Paletress (5/4) - Inspire: Summon a random Legendary minion

At a cost of 7-mana, these 5/4 stats are going to impress no one. But let's face it, this card isn't about its stats, it's about its effect. Using the Priest's Heal (or even its Shadowform) Hero Power will immediately call a new Legendary to the field. That's a frightening idea, especially if she winds up summoning Kel'Thuzad and essentially clinching the game in the process.

Now the decision must be made on whether to pack this or Sneed's Old Shredder. Both of these minions have their uses and are both desirable for calling down a random Legendary. But while Sneed's has some pretty awesome 5/7 stats, the summoned Legendary can't co-exist alongside it, since it only comes as a Deathrattle. A Deathrattle that can, in fact, be silence. Confessor Paletress, on the other hand, is good for summoning at least one Legendary if played on Turn 9.

But regardless, your game is now in the hand of random chance and a random Legendary doesn't sound nearly as sexy as it used to, considering how many mid-tier Legendaries are being added with the Grand Tournament. It's now a lot easier to summon a 3-mana Legendary and come out worse for the wear, especially since Confessor Paletress' stats can't exactly compensate for a bad draw. For that reason, Prophet Velen should remain the Priest Legendary of choice.


There's still a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the Grand Tournament expansion. Shacknews will continue its ongoing analysis of these new cards all this week. Come back tomorrow when we take a look at the newest cards for the Rogue and the Paladin.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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