Blizzard's formula for successful is preety easy to understand. The massive publisher/developer usually bets on established concepts, but redefines and simplifies them, without losing depth. That was the secret to achieve great success in various genres, but the best example for this philosophy is Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The free-to-play card game continues to gather players on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, PC), and it's massive popularity has allowed the team to launch frequent content for the game, as was now the case of The Grand Tournament.
This expansion follows in the footsteps of Goblins vs Gnomes, not the paid adventures like Curse of Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain. The Grand Tournament is an injection of 132 cards in the game, which can be bought in packages, or created with crystal powder (gained by destroying other cards). In a game where balance is essential, and where there are several well-established tactics, this addition marks a drastic change, and its true impact will only dawn on us down the line, as players get more creative. These 132 new cards also introduce players to two new game mechanics - Inspire and Joust.
Inspire is a new effect in some minions, which is activated whenever the player uses the Hero Power. A good example of this effect is the minion Kodoraider. With this card on the board, if the player uses his ability, he will also summon a War Kodo 3/5 to his side of the battle. Other examples of Inspire include increased attack power or even the return of the minion to the player's hand.
Joust is a new mechanic that creates a duel of minions - still in the deck - from each player. If the player who played the card that activated the Joust has the minion with the higher value, he will be awarded. For example, when the Master Jouster comes into play, it compares a minion from each player. If the player who posted Master Jouster comes up with the most expensive minion, Master Jouster also gets Taunt and Divine Shield.
With 132 new cards, it is almost impossible to predict their true impact in such a short time (the expansion was launched on August 24), but there are already several powerful decks, created by some of the best players of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Using the Hearthstonetopdecks, we collected some of our favourites, and even published a deck of our own for the Warrior, our most played class.
Druid Cards: Innervate (2), Living Roots (1), Darnassus Aspirant (2), Wild Growth (2), Wrath (2), Savage Roar (2), Keeper of the Grove (2), Swipe (2), Druid of the Claw (2), Force of Nature (2), Ancient of Lore (2)
Neutral Cards:Chillwing Yeti (2), Piloted Shredder (2), Azure Drake (2), Loatheb (1), Emperor Thaurissan (1), Dr. Boom (1)
Hunter Cards: Hunter's Mark (1), Webspinner (2), Bear Trap (1), Freezing Trap (2), King's Elekk (2), Quick Shot (1), Animal Companion (2), Eaglehorn Bow (2), Kill Command (2), Unleash the Hounds (1), Houndmaster (2), Savannah Highmane (2)
Neutral Cards: Haunted Creeper (2), Ironbeak Owl (1), Mad Scientist (2), Piloted Shredder (2), Loatheb (1), Stranglethorn Tiger (1), Dr Boom (1)
Author: Brian Kibler
Mage Cards: Frostbolt (2), Arcane Intellect (2), Duplicate (2), Effigy (1), Ice Block (1), Polymorph (2), Flamestrike (1)
Neutral Cards: Explosive Sheep (1), Mad Scientist (2), Blackwing Technician (1), Illuminator (2), Twilight Drake (2), Twilight Guardian (2), Antique Healbot (1), Blackwing Corruptor (2), Sludge Belcher (1), Emperor Thaurissan (1), Chillmaw (1), Rend Blackhand (1), Alexstrasza (1), Nefarian (1)
Paladin Cards: Equality (1), Shielded Minibot (2), Aldor Peacekeeper (2), Muster for Battle (2), Consecration (2), Murlock Knight (2), Truesilver Champion (2), Quartermaster (2), Tirion Fordring (1)
Neutral Cards: Zombie Chow (2), Garrison Commander (2), Ironbeak Owl (1), Big Gamer Hunter (1), Defender of Argus (1), Gormok the Impaler (1), Piloted Shredder (2), Sludge Belcher (2), Justicar Trueheart (1), Dr. Boom (1)
Priest Cards: Circle of Healing (2), Northshire Cleric (2), Power World: Shield (2), Twilight Whelp (2), Shrinkmeiter (2), Wyrmrest Agent (2), Shadow Word: Death (2), Auchenai Soulpriest (2), Holy Nova (1), Vol'jin (1), Cabal Shadow Priest (2)
Neutral Cards: Blackwing Technician (2), Injured Blademaster, Twilight Guardian (2), Azure Drake (1), Sylvannas Windrunner (1), Chillmaw (1), Ysera (1)
Rogue Cards: Backstab (2), Buccaneer (2), Deadly Poison (2), Blade Flurry (1), Eviscerate (2), One-eyed Cheat (2), Burgle (1), SI:7 Agent (2), Shady Dealer (2), Assassin's Blade (1), Sprint (1)
Neutral Cards: Southsea Deckhand (2), Bloodsail Raider (2), Southsea Captain (2), Dread Corsair (2), Captain Greenskin (1), Skycap'n Kragg (1)
Shaman Cards: Totemic Might (1), Flametongue Totem (2), Totem Golem (2), Feral Spirit (2), Hex (2), Lightning Storm (2), Tuskarr Totemic (2), Thunderbluff Valiant (2), Fire Elemental (2), Al'akir The Windlord (1)
Neutral Cards: Zombie Chow (2), Haunted Creeper (2), Defender of Argus (1), Piloted Shredder (2), Azure Drake (2), Dr. Boom (1)
Warlock Cards: Mortal Coil (2), Soulfire (1), Darkbomb (2), Imp Gang Boss (2), Helfire (1), Imp-losion (2), Shadowflame (1)
Neutral Cards: Abusive Sergeant (1), Ironbeak Owl (1), Bid Game Hunter (2), Blackwing Technician (1), Defender of Argus (1), Refreshment Vendor (1), Twilight Drake (2), Twilight Guardian (2), Antique Healbot (2), Azure Drake (2), Blackwing Corruptor (2), Emperor Thaurissan (1), Malygos (1)
Author: Ricardo Esteves
Warrior Cards: Execute (1), Shield Slam (2), Fiery War Axe (2), Alexstrasza Champion (2), Bash (2), Shield Block (2), Death's Bite (2), Shieldmaiden (1), Crush (1), Rend Blackhand (1), Alexstrasza (1), Varian Wrynn (1)
Neutral Cards: Blackwing Technician (2), Azure Drake (2), Blackwing Corruptor (2), Emperor Thaurissan (1),Chillmaw (1), Rend Blackhand (1), Alexstrasza (1), Nefarian (1), Ysera (1)
If you have not had the opportunity to do so, you can also read our guide for Blackrock Mountain. Below you can also watch an interview with two members of the development team at Blizzard talking about The Grand Tournament.