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Columns: Here's What's Awesome About Hearthstone's Grand Tournament

By Michael Bitton on July 29, 2015

Here's What's Awesome About Hearthstone's Grand Tournament

Blizzard recently announced The Grand Tournament as the latest expansion for Hearthstone and there’s a lot to be excited about. Following Blizzard’s all but confirmed expansion-adventure mode-expansion cadence, The Grand Tournament is the second pack-based expansion set for Hearthstone, which means players can look forward to a lot of new cards (132, to be exact!) when the expansion releases later next month.

With less than 25 cards revealed so far, we don’t have the full picture just yet, but what we have seen gives a good idea on what to expect. Let’s break down some of the most exciting aspects of what we know about The Grand Tournament so far.


New Keyword: Inspire

Some cards in The Grand Tournament will feature the new keyword Inspire, which triggers an additional effect when you use your hero power. It’s been interesting watching this one play out in the community over the past week. Reception has bounced back and forth between excitement over the possibilities and apprehension over the keyword due to the requirement of using one’s hero power.

Typically, hero power usage is a last recourse when you’ve got nothing else to play on a given turn. Playing a spell, weapon, or creature is almost always the better choice. This means that all Inspire cards should be considered to cost two additional mana (to account for the hero power use) and that puts a lot of pressure on the cards to deliver value for their effects.

I want to believe that the keyword will end up more viable than it appears right now once we have the full picture, but I admit it’s easy to be cynical. Cards like Justicar Trueheart, which replace your hero power with a “better” one, could be incredibly fun to use if the rest of the Inspire cards make liberal usage of one’s hero power a viable option. Combining Trueheart with the Mage’s Fallen Hero and the neutral Garrison Commander would get you a two mana, three damage Fireblast that can be used twice a turn. Sure, it’s a dream scenario, but as more of these cards come out, we may see all manner of interesting combinations that could potentially shake up the meta and create entirely new deck archetypes. It may be easy to be cynical about Inspire given the reality of deck construction in Hearthstone, but I don’t think Blizzard would make a new keyword the center of the second expansion something merely for fun or casual decks. Once we know more, I feel it will all make sense.


I set myself up for disappointment every time, but I still cling to hope that pirates and/or dragons will get some love with each new card set announcement. Goblins vs. Gnomes got me prematurely excited for pirates and Blackrock Mountain had the same effect for dragons. Both are better now, but still not really viable. I’m hoping to one day be able to field ladder worthy decks based on these tribes, and The Grand Tournament reignites that hope for me when I see cards like Coldarra Drake and Skycap’n Kragg. Neither of these cards are surefire wins on their own, but they each show that Blizzard is willing to continue to expand on these tribes and that means we are potentially closer to seeing new cards that make them viable. I’m crossing my fingers that this will be the expansion to do it!


As an unexpected bonus, Shaman totems are now their own tribe and some of the new Shaman cards are likely to go a long way towards giving the class a much needed and overdue power boost.  Totem Golem is a disgustingly awesome two drop and Tuskarr Totemic is a great three drop with potential for great value if you pop out a Manatide or Flametongue Totem. Thunderbluff Valiant seems like it would end up being a “win more” card, but I think it has a good chance in finding a place in Shaman decks if the totem tribe ends up being worthwhile. If totems become a thing, expect to see Totemic Might come out of retirement. I’m not much of a Shaman player, but all of these new options have me excited to give the class a shot when the expansion goes live.

Are you excited for The Grand Tournament? What are you hoping to see the expansion deliver?

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager.