The Grand Tournament, or TGT, released this week for Hearthstone. While I was disappointed that no free packs came with the release a la GvG, I am still excited for the jolt to the metagame the expansion will (hopefully) provide. While many have been writing up the “top ten cards” of the new expansion, I wanted to take a different approach. This list will focus on which cards have the potential to really shape or create new archetypes and decks. While these cards may also turn out to be strong by themselves, the value presented here are those cards that are really begging for some eager deck builders to really use them to their full potential. This list is not in any particular order and thus #1 is not “the best” just the first for discussion.
#1 Varian Wrynn
Varian costs a hefty 10 mana, but also may lock up the game. For 10 mana you get a 7/7, much worse than Boom, but instead of the bots, you get to draw 3 and autoplay any minions. That could be a Ysera, Rag, and Gromm. Not bad for 10 mana. While Varian is not for every warrior deck (like Patron), he clearly shines in the traditional Control Warrior build. Even if he’s not hitting the big creatures to lay on the board, he’s adding gas to the Warrior’s hand. Given the hefty mana cost, its likely that Varian will influence an even more top heavy Control Warrior that may also abuse the Joust mechanic with cards like Master Jouster. Combined with Brawl and Warrior’s weapon suite, there is a big potential for a possible new brew that could see some play.
Mysterious Challenger will certainly require an entire new deck for its use, as Paladin secrets have not been explored in competitive play. That mostly has to do with the fact that Paladin secrets are generally lackluster. Avenge can be good for buffing Recruits, but the other secrets are generally weak. However, by pulling up to six different secrets immediately, the Challenger can garner extreme value, not to mention the 6/6 body (which dodges BGH). By having so many secrets out at once, its harder for opponents to play around all the combinations, and many players are not yet familiar with the secrets. The downside, as many mage secret decks have dealt with, is drawing the secrets and having them sit in your hand. Paladin secrets are only 1 mana, but are weak to play from your hand. Nonetheless, Mysterious Challenger opens up a whole new playstyle and shell for Paladins to play with.
Can Twilight Guardian be the final piece to the elusive Dragon puzzle? Since the Blackrock expansion, players have been searching for the magic formula to make dragons work. With high mana costs and the lack of a proper shell to really abuse their strengths, Dragon’s have been fringe decks at best (such as Brian Kibler’s Dragon Mage). However, I believe the Guardian will provide a critical piece to make certain decks, like Dragon Priest or Dragon Mage, truly viable. Guardian gives another Dragon-type activator for Corruptor and Technician, while providing a solid body with Taunt. Setting up a defense and increasing synergy lower on the mana curve is the cure Dragon decks have been begging for. With Guardian, I think Dragon decks will finally be moving up ladder.
If Justicar Trueheart were a class card, it would not be on this list. Given that it is a neutral legendary, it opens up multiple deck building possibilities. Warriors can really abuse armor and Paladins can flood the board with Recruits. Warlocks can continue to have the best hero power. Another key aspect is the permanent power change. This card could have easily only replaced the power while in play like many other TGT cards. The permanent switch means a deck only needs to dig for the Justicar, and then ride out the benefit for the rest of the game. With the slew of Inspire cards, Justicar adds further synergy to any decks relying on a hero power to help fuel their gameplan – such as new totem Shaman decks. Speaking of which….
The viability of Elemental Destruction remains to be seen, but boy does it give Shaman a new deck building idea. This card is likely to wipe the board when played, and can do so as early as Turn 3. The overload drawback can be absorbed through careful planning, or unlocked with a Lava Shock. Savjz has been working a Malygos Combo Shaman deck on Twitch lately, and Elemental Destruction has been a key piece in dealing with the swell of aggro decks on ladder. While traditionally Shaman has been a midrange and minion based build, Elemental Destruction really lets Shaman explore a better long game approach, with burst, combo, or even Dragons becoming a possibility.
As I mentioned above, I don’t vouch that these cards are the top cards to craft for the new expansion. These cards just have tremendous upside in forming the foundation for a new generation of decks for next season’s metagame. What cards do you think will have a big impact? Which of these will be total duds? Comment below.