This week saw the release of The Grand Tournament, the latest card expansion set for Hearthstone. I, along with many other players, were skeptical of many of the cards in the set. It’s really difficult to properly estimate a card’s power until you can actually play it in game. The following five cards are what I believe to be the sleeper hits of The Grand Tournament, and to spoil it ahead of time, three of the cards are Priest cards because it’s my favorite class, and I feel like Priest became much more solid after this set.
One of my favorite tribals in Hearthstone is the murloc tribe because it reminds me a lot of sliver decks, which is my favorite deck type in Magic: The Gathering. At first glance, Murloc Knight seems like a clunky card. A four mana 3/4 isn’t very powerful when played on turn four. However, when played on turn 6 with an immediate hero power, it generates a good amount of value with the random murloc it summons. Funny enough, it’s possible to summon another Murloc Knight with its effect. If you manage to summon another Murloc Knight or a Murloc Warleader, the game is basically over if the opponent can’t remove the cards. This card is surprisingly versatile, and I’ve seen it played in Murloc Paladin decks, the new Secret Paladin deck, and even regular Midrange Paladin.
Holy Champion is probably my favorite card of this set and is definitely one of the most underrated. Having base stats of 3/5 as a four mana card is very average, but the card text is very powerful. It’s incredibly easy for Priest to heal targets, so if your opponent doesn’t respect Holy Champion, they can find themselves getting hit for 7+ damage per turn. The card powers up even if your hero is healed along with enemy minions and heroes, so things such as the Shaman’s healing totem and Antique Healbot become liabilities. I’ve had very many games where Holy Champion either acts as a soft taunt to bait removal spells because people are scared of it, or, if left unchecked, becomes a needed source of burst damage for every deck archtype of Priest.
When this card was first announced, I thought it was a weak card and so did many other players. However, after playing many games of Dragon Priest, I immediately changed my mind and realized this is possibly the single most important card in Dragon Priest because it completely shuts down aggressive decks. In the majority of my Dragon Priest matches, a turn 1 Twilight Welp into turn 2 Wyrmrest Agent shuts down any sort of aggression my opponent attempts. Historically, Priests lacked good cards to play on turn 2, and Wyrmrest Agent fills that gap. I feel completely helpless when my opponent plays this card against me because it’s really tough to remove a 4 health without blowing a removal spell on it or using a silence. This makes matchups like Hunter very easy with Dragon Priest.
I remember thinking in the initial reveal of this card that while the upgraded hero power would be neat, the stats were pretty poor for a 6 mana card. This seems like the general sentiment of players because I haven’t seen the card much, but when I do, it’s painful to play against. I mostly see this card run in Paladin and Warrior, and the upgraded Paladin hero power summons two 1/1 tokens while Warrior gains 4 armor instead of 2. Justicar Trueheart feels the most useful in these two classes because Paladin ends up flooding the board incredibly hard with 1/1 tokens while Warrior gains too much armor and grinds you out. I’m interested to see how other classes will utilize this card because it ended up exceeding my expectations.
To the average player, Flash Heal looks very bland and unimpressive. For 1 mana, you you get to heal 5 health. What’s so special or fancy about that? As a Priest player, I’ve always felt that Priest lacked big targeted heals despite being a class that’s based around healing. Your only real options prior to Flash Heal were Light of the Naaru and Circle of Healing. From my experience with Flash Heal in Control Priest, it’s an absurdly powerful card. With Auchenai Soulpriest on the board, it becomes a 1 mana card that deals 5 damage to whatever you want, so you can easily remove common 5 health minions like Sludge Belcher or Emperor Thaurissan. With two in hand and Soulpriest on the board, it becomes a 6 mana total 10 damage burst combo. If you think about it, it’s actually cheaper than the Hunter’s Kill Command combo because the cheapest variation of that combo costs 7 mana to do 10 damage (Webspinner + KC x 2). Flash Heal also lets you heal your big minions such as Sylvanas after they trade into other ones to keep them on the board longer. Overall, it’s a versatile and powerful card that makes Control Priest feel much better.
I’m very happy with how The Grand Tournament turned out. While I’m still not sold on Jousting, the Inspire mechanic and the variety of new cards that have entered the game have provided a much needed breath of fresh air into the meta. I’m sure Patron Warrior will still be the best deck until its inevitable nerf, but I’m glad decks such as Priest and Shaman have been revitalized, and dragon decks overall have become solid decks.