Inspired: Breaking down the Hearthstone 'Grand Tournament' cards (Part 18: The rest of them)

There are only 18 cards left to cover in Hearthstone's Grand Tournament expansion and Shacknews is breezing through all of them today, just ahead of the expansion's release on Monday.

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It's been a fun journey, breaking down the new cards set to debut in Hearthstone's Grand Tournament expansion. But with the expansion now set to release on Monday, that means it's time to bring this feature home. So strap in and get ready. We're breaking down the remaining 18 neutral cards today.

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
  • Part 15 - Arcane Blast, Polymorph: Boar, Dalaran Aspirant, Power Word: Glory, Convert, Wyrmrest Agent, Spawn of Shadows, Shadowfiend, Confessor Paletress
  • Part 16 - Beneath the Grounds, Shady Dealer, Undercity Valiant, Buccaneer, Enter the Coliseum, Mysterious Challenger, Competitive Spirit
  • Part 17 - Dark Bargain, Void Crusher, Tiny Knight of Evil, Fearsome Doomguard, Magnataur Alpha, Sparring Partner, Orgrimmar Aspirant, Elemental Destruction, The Mistcaller


(1) Tournament Attendee - Taunt

Woof! Well, we certainly aren't off to a good start here. In terms of opening plays, Tournament Attendee stands to be among the weakest in the game. For one thing, a simple Stonetusk Boar can end its day before it even starts. You laugh, but how many Face Hunters have you bumped into that pack in these pests?

If you absolutely need a Taunt minion to start your game, consider Goldshire Footman. Better yet, just wait a turn and play the far superior Annoy-o-Tron. Leave Tournament Attendee in the stands where he belongs.


(3) Ice Rager (5/2)

If it wasn't already official before, it certainly is now. Magma Rager is now the single worst minion in the game. Even this card's flavor text pokes fun at it, noting that Ice Rager is "a lot cooler than Magma Rager." Puns!

What makes Ice Rager so special? Well, it doesn't go down to a Stonetusk Boar or a Hero Power, for one thing. But don't get me wrong. This is still a terrible play at 3 mana, given that 2 health isn't much harder to take down. There are far better options for this cost and Ice Rager doesn't come with any cool (alright, now they've got me doing it) classifications to exploit. It is what it is and what it is isn't very good.


(2) Boneguard Lieutenant (3/2) - Inspire: Gain + 1 Health

As far as 2-mana, 3/2 minions go, this is a surprisingly solid one. Those that have been playing this week's Tavern Brawl may have already noticed that Boneguard can be surprisingly useful. If not dealt with quickly, he can become enough of a tank that he can scrap low-level minions in a flash.

Priests, in particular, will definitely want to pair this guy with Power Word: Shield and go from there. That makes Boneguard Lieutenant a 3/4 at Turn 3 with the potential for even greater health later down the line if he isn't removed in short order.


(3) Dragonhawk Rider (3/3) - Inspire: Gain Windfury this turn

Well, it's certainly the thought that counts, but a menial 3/3 stats means that even if Dragonhawk Rider's effect does kick in, it may not necessarily do much good. A 3/3 is terrible for minion removal, especially since it isn't boosted in any way otherwise.

There's already a much better option available for the exact same cost and that's Raging Worgen. Raging Worgen's Enrage effect makes it the superior choice, giving it a boost for removing a low-attack minion. Stick with this guy over Dragonhawk Rider, especially if you're a Warrior that can buff it with cards like Inner Rage or Rampage.


(4) Evil Heckler (5/4) - Taunt

"Your mother was a murloc!"

Aside from being one of the more hilarious of the new minions to make its way into the Grand Tournament, Evil Heckler does serve another purpose. He makes Booty Bay Bodyguard completely obsolete, simply by virtue of his cheaper cost. He also one-ups Lost Tallstrider with his Taunt effect.

Evil Heckler doesn't have a lot of big synergy potential, but he's a solid Turn 4 play and can cause opponents to burn some removal spells early. With 5/4 stats, this guy's designed to hurt and I don't just mean your feelings.


(4) Refreshment Vendor (3/5) - Battlecry: Restore 4 Health to each hero

Armed with an array of turkey legs and funnel cakes, Refreshment Vendor's effect is designed to benefit both players by restoring health on both sides. Obviously, Face Hunters, Oil Rogues, Freeze Mages, and their ilk will have no need for such a thing, but other popular decks like Handlock may find some use for him.

The idea would obviously be to use Refreshment Vendor while stacking your hand, but before launching any sort of attack so that the opponent can't get any sort of benefit from his effect. As he stands, Refreshment Vendor is a perfectly acceptable 3/5 minion, though if you want those stats without the effect, maybe consider alternatives like Burly Rockjaw Trogg instead.


(4) Frigid Snobold (2/6) - Spell Damage +1

A 4-cost minion with six health is definitely one to take notice of. Frigid Snobold is obviously meant to last and that means he'll fit in well in a Priest deck, especially right before a Turn 5 Holy Nova. Better yet, Velen's Chosen can turn this guy into a 4/10, Spell Damage +2 menace. He'll also find a nice home, appropriately enough, with Freeze Mages that want to maximize their spell damage as much as possible.

Now whether you want to include Frigid Snobold over Ogre Magi is a matter of preference. I'll prefer the former, since the objective is to try and keep him standing for as long as possible to maximize his effect.


(5) Pit Fighter (5/6)

Not too much to say about this minion, other than he shares a name with a really terrible early 90s video game.

Even with his no-frills presentation, his 5/6 stats are certainly something to consider. However, he still lags behind some of his more enticing counterparts, like Sludge Belcher, in terms of viability. I can't envision this minion having a long shelf life, but stranger things have happened.


(5) Kvaldir Raider (4/4) - Inspire: Gain +2/+2

As it turns out, Floating Watcher was such a fun idea for a card that someone decided to take a fraction of its effect and apply it to a completely different minion. Players are starting to get to know Kvaldir Raider in this week's Tavern Brawl and he's actually proving to be quite useful.

As one might imagine, the Inspire effect makes Kvaldir Raider a versatile choice for just about any class and a dangerous minion if not dealt with immediately. Combine him with minions like Garrison Commander and Maiden of the Lake and he could get downright scary.


(7) Captured Jormungar (5/9)

Any minion with 9 health is worth at least a look, but it's the Beast designation that makes Captured Jormungar interesting. Its 5/9 stats pretty much make it Bizarro Core Hound and a mightier Oasis Snapjaw.

Captured Jormungar's 9 health means it will almost assuredly stay standing on the next turn, which will make it a delicious target for Houndmaster. It'll even play nice with some of the new Druid cards, like Wildwalker or Knight of the Wild. This may not necessarily be a beast worth packing into your deck, but if it comes out randomly from a card like Webspinner, then it's certainly a nice bonus.


(3) Fencing Coach (2/2) - Battlecry: The next time you use your Hero Power, it costs (2) less

Fencing Coach's Battlecry effect pretty much next the next Hero Power is on the house. That'll definitely go nicely with any number of Inspire minions, especially the aforementioned Kvaldir Raider. It'll especially go very well with Nexus-Champion Saraad, who can pretty much draw a free spell at Turn 5. In other words, don't sleep on Fencing Coach. His stats may be underwhelming, but a free Hero Power is nothing to sneeze at anymore.

Mages might even be able to maximize this effect a little more by playing Fallen Hero. Not only would players get a free Inspire effect from the Fencing Coach play, but the Mage can also potentially take down an opposing minion with a free 2-damage Hero Power.


(3) Saboteur (4/3) - Battlecry: Your opponent's Hero Power costs (5) more next turn

Next up is a far more situational minion. With Inspire minions set to explode in popularity with the onset of the Grand Tournament, the temptation is going to be there to try and fix a few red wagons with a minion like Saboteur. Much like Kezan Mysic, that's not necessarily recommended.

First off, carefully read the language of the effect. The opponent's Hero Power will cost more on the next turn, not the next use. That is a very important distinction. That means the opponent can simply worry about playing minions or spells and just skip the Hero Power for one turn. That doesn't do a whole lot of good. On top of that, if it's late in the game and the opponent is running low on cards, a 7-cost Hero Power isn't really going to deter them in any significant way. Saboteur is largely undone by the wording of his Battlecry and even with 4/3 stats, isn't really worth the effort.


(6) Mogor's Champion (8/5) - 50% chance to attack the wrong enemy

Mogor's Champion sounds like a fantastic play at 6-mana, just because of the sheer power of his eight attack value. However, that five health is a little undesirable, because it's just as likely that he'll barrel into the wrong target and wipe himself out.

On top of that, for a 6-mana play, why not simply go with Mogor himself? Mogor the Ogre carries a much better stat line and also has the advantage of giving everything else on the board the same disadvantage. It's a much more level playing field with Mogor, so let him do his own dirty work and leave the Champion at home.


(4) Twilight Guardian (2/6) - Battlecry: If you're holding a Dragon, gain +1 Attack and Taunt

With all the Inspire minions going around, it's easy to forget that Dragons are still the new hotness (Puns!) in Hearthstone. So here's another card that should prove fairly popular in Dragon decks. Dragon Priest and Dragon Paladins will more than likely have their deck stacked with the creatures, so Twilight Guardian almost assuredly gets a 3/6 stat line with Taunt.

The end result is a cheaper Fen Creeper, which isn't all that bad. The choice is ultimately between this guy and Hungry Dragon and the choice will ultimately be determined by how prepared you are to deal with Hungry Dragon's drawback. If you'd rather not deal with that, just go with Twilight Guardian.


(5) Recruiter (5/4) - Inspire: Add a 2/2 Squire to your hand

Nobody likes a pushy Recruiter. And besides that, why bother recruiting when you can have a 2/2 Squire right now by playing Silver Hand Knight for the exact same cost?

If you absolutely need a Squire, but still want all the fun of an Inspire effect, simply play Silver Hand Knight at Turn 5 and wait for Turn 6 to lay down Kodorider. Begin playing Hero Powers on the next turn and watch the War Kodos start rolling in. When those kinds of possibilities are on the table, the Recruiter just doesn't cut it.


(6) Sideshow Spelleater (6/5) - Battlecry: Copy your opponent's Hero Power

On the surface, Sideshow Spelleater's effect seems kind of silly. Why on earth would you want to copy an opposing Hero's power? Wouldn't you just pick that hero by that point? Then it hits you like one of Refreshing Vendor's pies to the face. Sideshow Spelleater isn't for those heroes.

You see, Sideshow Spelleater's effect works on all heroes, which includes both Lord Jaraxxus and Ragnaros the Firelord. That sounds like a nice novelty play, but it's very situational and shouldn't be relied on, especially for such an expensive cost. Sideshow Spelleater could be a fun minion to mess around with, but don't look for him to become all that common.


(6) Bolf Ramshield (3/9) - Whenever your hero takes damage, this minion takes it instead

Meet the Grand Tournament's designated punching bag. Bolf Ramshield is designed to absorb any punishment to the face, ideally giving players enough time to mount a comeback. This idea works in some ways, but mostly falters in others.

For one thing, Face Hunters won't bat an eye to this guy. As they continue aiming for the face with their Charge minions, Bolf will take all the punishment, but the charging minions will not. He doesn't work like Noble Sacrifice and if he goes down, those minions stay standing and still need to be dealt with. That same principle can be applied to Oil Rogues. At best, maybe this can buy the Mage enough time to draw a lucky Flamestrike and clear the board.

Speaking of the Mage, Bolf might sound like a great defense against Freeze Mages, but that's not a guarantee, either. Always assume a Mage has a Polymorph spell ready to ruin your day at a moment's notice.

Bolf is a risky play and one that may not be worth taking, especially since Turn 6 should be saved for something like Emperor Thaurissan.


(7) Chillmaw (6/6) - Taunt. Deathrattle: If you're holding a Dragon, deal 3 damage to all minions

Look out! It's Unstable Ghoul on steroids. Assuming your opponent doesn't have a Silence spell ready to counter, this should do a lot of damage to the opponent and should stop Face Hunters/Paladins/etc in their tracks. Dragon Priests and Dragon Paladins will gleefully pack this Legendary into their decks for those specific scenarios.

Just be careful about what's out there on your own side of the board. While Warriors like to pack in Unstable Ghoul as a potential setup for Grim Patron or a slew of Enrage minions, that won't be an option here, since Chillmaw's Deathrattle could potentially wipe them all out in one fell swoop. Be cautious in how you play this and consider Chillmaw to be more of a setup minion for the later rounds.


And that's it! We've covered all of the Hearthstone Grand Tournament cards that are set to be released this coming Monday. Thank you all for sticking with Shacknews on this long journey. Now all that's left is to prepare to enter the Grand Tournament next week.

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?

From The Chatty
    • reply
      August 21, 2015 11:17 AM

      Monday can't get here soon enough! (boy does that feel weird to say).

    • reply
      August 21, 2015 12:00 PM

      Tournament Attendee is indeed a "bad" card, but it's much better than a Golshire Footman. The same way a Mech deck runs Annoy-o-Tron, a face hunter could swap a Worgen Infiltrator for this to just provide a little protection for their Knife Juggler. The 2 damage makes it somewhat relevant. Face Hunters already run poorly stated minions like Wolfrider, and I see this is as having a similar function.

    • reply
      August 21, 2015 12:06 PM

      i can see ice rager getting play in warrior face decks. 3 mana 5/2 + 1 mana charge!

      • reply
        August 21, 2015 12:12 PM

        Do those decks even run Kor'kron Elite? Seems like expending an extra card for 1 damage is pretty bad.

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        August 21, 2015 12:18 PM

        Face Warrior is bad and will always be bad. The hero power is completely useless in that decktype.

        • reply
          August 21, 2015 12:43 PM

          yeah but it can be fun when it works. surprises the shit out of people

    • reply
      August 21, 2015 12:17 PM

      i pretty much hate the joust mechanic but inspire is lots of fun.

    • reply
      August 21, 2015 1:10 PM

      They added a new message when you hit 12 wins in arena

      http://chattypics.com/files/iPhoneUpload_sbzec7cuxy.jpg

    • reply
      August 21, 2015 2:21 PM

      I was really hoping for some changes to patron, it's staggering how bad people can play that deck and still win games.

      Shit like playing Frothings after using your second hit with bite, or after a rage or whirlwind.. it's fucking stupid how powerful that deck gets after Emp comes down if you have anything decent in hand.

    • reply
      August 21, 2015 4:38 PM

      how do i beat these gay paladin decks, face hunter straight up sucks dick against them