Since the official release of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, minions have had various activators such as Deathrattle or Battlecry. Now, two new activators are being added with the Grand Tournament expansion that's scheduled to release later this month. Of the 132 cards being added in the new expansion, many of them will either have the new activators or they will synergize with other minions who do.
Love it or hate it, the random (RNG) factor is alive and well in the Grand Tournament expansion. In fact, a good number of the new minions and cards rely heavily on RNG to get their full benefits. You always want to limit the amount of RNG when you play Hearthstone, but in some cases it's just unavoidable. Most players have accepted that as part of the game and hopefully that acceptance will continue with the new expansion.
Now without further ado, let's take a look at the new activators coming with the Grand Tournament expansion.
While most cards won't list "Joust" in the description, the new mechanic reveals one card from each deck. The card isn't played or shuffled in the deck, it simply allows both players to see one random card from each deck. If your revealed card costs more mana than your opponent's revealed card then you win the joust.
The Master Jouster minion is a great example of this. The minion costs 6 mana, with 5 attack and 6 health. At first glance it's a fairly average card. It's not great, but it isn't bad either. However, the Battlecry is a Joust (Reveal a minion in each deck. If yours costs more, gain Taunt and Divine Shield). If you win the joust then the Master Jouster suddenly becomes a better version of a Sunwalker, which is one of the best taunt minions in the game next to the Sludge Belcher.
Using the Master Jouster as an example, if you win the joust you get a very good taunt card. If you lose the joust you still have a decent minion on the board, you just don't get as much value out of it. Now, this was almost certainly a direct counter to aggro decks that rely on low cost minions and attack face to end a game as quickly as possible. It's unlikely a Face Hunter deck is going to win many jousts.
Inspired is a direct reference to your Hero Power. Any minion that has Inspire in their description activates when you use your Hero Power. This adds an interesting dynamic to the game because most Hero Powers are more of an afterthought than anything else. You don't generally plan a turn around using your Hero Power. You play your minions or spells, then if you have left over mana you Hero Power. There are some exceptions, especially when it comes to Mage or Hunter, but generally Hero Power is an afterthought.
With Inspire, your Hero Power becomes for more active in your thought process for reach turn. For example, the Nexus-Champion Saraad is a 5-mana, 4/5 with the description: Inspire: Add a random spell to your hand. That means every single time you use your Hero Power while the Nexus-Champion is in play, you gain a random spell.
It doesn't stop minions that have Inspire in their description. Because your Hero Power plays into your strategy much more with Inspire cards, there are now other cards and minions that impact your Hero Power. The Frost Giant is a great example of this. The description is: Costs (1) less for each time you used your Hero Power this game. Couple this with the Garrison Commander whose description is: You can use your Hero Power twice a turn, or even the Maiden of the Lake with the description: Your Hero Power costs (1).
As you can see, there are an endless number of strategies that can be employed when you start synergizing your cards around the Inspire activator. We can already imagine some deadly combinations and we only know a fraction of the cards that are being added in the upcoming expansion.
We'll have more on the Grand Tournament expansion in the coming weeks, but if you'd like to take a closer look at some of the more interesting cards that have been released, check out our feature on some cards strategies in the Grand Tournament!