The Polygon Hearthstone Forums haven't been up to much lately, and considering the exciting expansion announced I figured I'd throw something together to gauge opinions on the new card set! Personally I am beyond excited to get into a new meta that (hopefully) leaving decks like Patron Warrior and Mid-Range Hunter in the dust. In the past weeks I've been laddering a bit with some unconventional deck lists to try and spice up what I find to be an otherwise obnoxious meta. All of that aside, I think it's always exciting to see new cards thrown into the mix and I'm eager to see how decks shake out when TGT goes live (Hooray for the revival of Shaman!)
So I guess we can discuss our likes/dislikes of revealed cards and I'll try to update this with new reveals when I can. www.thegrandtourney.com actually has a pretty cool way of voting to reveal cards, so you should check that out if you can.
Here are the cards released so far:
Obviously you can't truly evaluate cards without knowing every card to be released, but I'll throw out my initial impressions in general.
I have always loved Shaman. I think the main reason for this is I started playing a lot more in the post-GvG world of Hearthstone, a time in which Shaman has had some difficulty. I liked the idea of winning with a deck class that everybody thought was dead. Shaman is a hard class to play nowadays in a meta that steadily has picked up its pace since GvG. Shaman has some struggles recovering board control, so it's left out to dry against aggressive decks like Face Hunter, Mech Mage, Tempo Mage, Zoo, etc. Patron Warrior is a deck that is the exception to this idea of a fast meta, only because it is broken, but that's another story entirely. Shaman struggles to regain board against these agro decks that try to snowball into mid-late game before you can catch up. Shaman has one of the best AoEs to fight agro decks in Lightning Storm, but it's overload mechanic mixed in with the chance of getting some bad RNG still make it hard to recover with no board. This is where my excitement comes in with The Grand Tournament expansion.
Totem Golem is a card that fixes Shaman's problem by adding a legitimate value play early in the game. A 2 mana 3/4 is insane, which is obviously somewhat countered by the 1 mana overload, but playing a 2 mana card on turn 2 honestly isn't that big of a problem with a 3/4 already on board. Obviously this is subject to what will constitute a 3 drop in this new unseen meta, but so far it's a super powerful card, and it can only get better with this:
Tuskarr Totemic is not only a good tempo card, but also the best card name in the game. It just rolls so smooth off your tongue. And the double-r in "Tuskarr" is just beautiful. A mediocre body for a 3 mana card, Tuskarr's beauty is in his battlecry. Time will tell if Shaman will get new totem cards, but the fact that it's ANY totem is something that needs to be pointed out. Vitality Totem. Mana Totem. TOTEM GOLEM. Shaman has some great utility cards (much like the actual World of Warcraft class) that can help heal, draw, or maintain board control. Worst case you get maybe a free Healing Totem, or a Searing Totem. This adds more RNG to a class that can struggle with some bad rolls, Crackle and Lightning Storm for instance, but it's a worthwhile card to be played turn 3, and with the off chance you do summon a Totem Golem, you are in a very good position.
Personally I'm most excited about Shaman coming back into a viable class for competitive decks because I truly love the class. But there is obviously a huge mechanic coming into play when TGT goes live.
Chance are if you're even looking at this post, you know of the new mechanic, Inspire. I'm excited to see how this plays out, and it's honestly one of those things that can only be worked out through extensive play, and we will see it start to shine through weeks after TGT arrives. It brings the hero power mechanic from a "oh I have two mana left, lets hero power" into a much more combo oriented endeavor. There will be a lot of Inspire minions to come, but lets take a look at a Legendary card that not only encourages your hero power, but it actually changes it.
Justicar Trueheart is just one of those cards thrown into the game to really mix stuff up. The potential of this card is unknown, as it's a 6 drop with weak stats. It is something with 6 attack that needs to be dealt with, but can be dealt with with almost anything played turn 5. The Battlecry is a whole different story.
That picture is handy in showing you just how much impact this card has. It's a fair card because it's 6 mana, and competes with a lot of other great 6 mana cards (Sylvanas, Emperor, etc.). The main point I'd like to make is that this card doesn't require Trueheart to actually stay alive. Its effect remains well after it dies. So you get a decent damage threat that doesn't benefit your enemy from a Mind Control of Sylvanas steal. The top 4 hero abilities I'd say would be Priest, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior. A 4 heal on Priest makes cards like Kel'Thuzad and Ysera even harder to remove without direct spell removal, just strengthening the Priest Control. Shaman having the ability to choose the totem it summons is unreal good in about any deck variation. Warlock's improved Life Tap just helps Handlock sustain until late game. Warrior's 4 armor helps sustain and works well with cards like Shield Slam, which just fits even better into Control. These combined with other hero power reducing/multiple power use cards just set the scene for some crazy combination plays.
I'll try to throw in more cards as they are revealed, but if you have any comments feel free to chime in!