Hearthstone has just released their second expansion, The Grand Tournament, a 132 card update that seeks to bolster Hero Powers and introduce the Inspire mechanic. It’s a much needed to boost to the core game mechanic after the offering of new characters only provided a cosmetic change, and didn’t offer different hero power options for the classes. Inspire hopes to squeeze a little extra boost from hero powers, while some cards look to increase the base effectiveness of the power itself:
Inspire seems like a mixed bag. It would take 8 mana to both summon the Kodorider and then trigger its ability, all to get two 3/5s with no other special attributes. That’s about average value for mana paid, but is it worth taking up a whole turn just to put that on the board? It would require a minimal board state from one’s opponent and assurances that they’ve used up any of the higher end board wipes such as Flamestrike (with a pump like Bloodmage Thalnos). While the higher end cards may be too reliant on existing combo pieces being on the board, some of the cheaper Inspire creatures have real potential.
Nexus-Champion Saraad has the potential to be as bonkers as Unstable Portal, with the bonus of fitting comfortably in anyone’s deck with a cost of five. Its most playable on turn seven or later, but getting a 4/5, using a Hero Power and gaining card advantage with a random spell is well worth it. Lowly Squire and Silver Hand Regent would pair exceedingly well in a Paladin deck. Both of them in an opening hand to start the game could give the player a board state of a 2/2, a 1/1 and a 3/3 once the Regent gets played. Six total power on the board, with three available to swing by turn 3 is always a good thing, and tough to remove with any spell that costs three or less. Definitely a great way to cheat some early board wipes out of an opponent, before bringing in a more powerful combo like Muster For Battle + Quartermaster.
They’d even work well for classes that have a minor removal function as their Hero Power. Having a 2/2 ready to swing while using a power to kill the opponent’s one drop is a good start. Not to mention it can work with the Hero Power to trade with something bigger (all the better if they used their Coin to bring it out).
Of course, with all this talk of getting the most out of Hero Powers, there’s one legendary elephant in the room that needs to be addressed:
Justicar Trueheart‘s boost to the Hero Power is fantastic. For most classes, its a direct doubling of their original ability. However, things get a little interesting for Warlock and Shaman. Warlock doesn’t have to worry about losing life anymore, and having a “free” draw in the late stages of the game could truly turn the tide. Especially when that free draw hits with Wilfred Fizzlebang on the board. Shaman’s boost may not have a jaw-dropping combo, but being able to choose between a Spell Damage +1 buff or a healer seems helpful in its own right.
So the boost is potent, but is the card itself mana efficient? In most situations, it would take until turn 8 to play Trueheart and use the improved Hero Power. While the ability will stand for the rest of the game, a 6/3 creature is a tad uninspiring. Most cheap removal can get rid of it, but by turn 8 a player can put enough on the board to counteract the boost.
While it may not be enough to win a game on its own, Trueheart does present an ideal set-up to arguably the most overpowered card in the set: Frost Giant.
All images courtesy Blizzard‘s Hearthstone Spoiler.
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