Today we sit down with Vicious Syndicate’s Roster (cgsongbird, Demigod, Shoop, and wwlos) and Player Coach (Deckizz) to discuss their thoughts on the most underrated, overrated, and favorite cards of The Grand Tournament. Agree with some of the choices? Disagree? Should we uninstall? Respect. Call us out in the comments and let us know your thoughts.
Vicious Syndicate is a Pro HS team made up of ESL Legendary Season 2 Finals players Demigod(Semifinalist) and wwlos(9-12), Shoop (Asus Rog Lan Qualifier Top16), Ladder/Arena Hero CGSongbird, and Player Coach ONOG Hero Deckizz.
Most Underrated TGT Card
While not exactly the most underrated card in the set I don’t believe that “King’s Elekk” is getting quite as much praise as it deserves. In my opinion this card is possibly one of the best five cards printed in this set. It is a high potential draw card that at worst becomes a Bloodfen Raptor. It is a great example of how all Joust abilities should be implemented (average if fails, awesome if succeeds). If you are running this card you should be winning most of your Jousts with a beefy Midrange/Control build, so we are going to look at it as a Bloodfen Raptor spent a crazy night in college with a Novice Engineer and created a beautiful Elephant named Elekk together. That describes one pretty awesome card. Moving on, one of the best aspects of playing the Joust mechanic is the ability to get a peek inside your opponents deck and to be able to do this on turn 2 can actually be pretty beneficial to an overall game plan. Everyone has always thought that Gnomish Experimenter would be pretty bonkers if the drawback was just a little less impactful, well this is the result. The upside of this card is so immensely high in a deck that can use all of its bonuses so well that I see this card making quite an impact in this game.
Spellslinger. Tempo Mage currently has weak turn 3 plays – you don’t want to drop naked Flamewaker, so without coin for a 4-drop, you need something to play with Sorcerer’s Apprentice. And in the same vein as Mechanical Yeti, Tempo Mage is much better suited to use a random spell than any opposing deck. The variance isn’t more of an issue than it is for Unstable Portal.
Because TGT introduces so many new mechanics and card interactions, picking one specific card that I think is underrated is a difficult task. Without testing these cards it’s difficult to predict what the next Dr. Boom or Emperor Thaurissan will be. Keeping this in mind, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I feel Mysterious Challenger is pretty underrated. Mysterious Challenger is a 6 mana 6/6 paladin class minion that has Battlecry: Put one of each secret from your deck into the battlefield. At first glance, this card appears to be a Mad Scientist on steroids. However, you have to figure in that paladin secrets are 1 mana and generally less impactful than hunter or mage secrets. While this makes the card weaker, the ability to pull out multiple secrets at one time, coupled with the fact that paladin secrets can interact with each other, leads me to believe that this card is actually quite strong. For instance, if you play Mysterious Challenger as the only minion on your board and it brings Noble Sacrifice and Avenge into play, your opponents next attack will trigger noble sacrifice, which will then trigger avenge on your Mysterious Challenger, making it a 6 mana 9/8 minion that stopped your opponents attack and successfully thinned your deck by two cards. The new paladin secret, Competitive Spirit, also could be a strong target for Mysterious Challenger, creating the possibility for immediate tempo on an established board. While it may not be a game defining card, I feel that Mysterious Challenger could potentially create a successful secrets paladin archetype that I’m excited to test myself. From an arena perspective, this card represents a solid late game body and the potential for some much needed tempo. I feel it will be one of the better paladin epic class choices behind Lay on Hands and Sword of Justice.
WrathGuard. WrathGuard is a 2 mana 4/3 warlock card with a downside of when the minion takes damage, do the same to the hero. Overall, this seems like the stats do not do enough in the current demon zoo. But however, this fits well into an aggressive zoo with no demon synergy, with doom guards at the high end. I do believe this type of deck will be strong in the meta.
Demigod was unable to write up his analysis, but we discussed his thoughts so I (wwlos) will be his voice in this article. First! Polymorph: Boar! Well I am not sure how underrated this card really is. I know a lot of people like this card but don’t really know how it fits in a particular deck. There is some dream like scenarios where you Boar a Mirror Image, or boar an opponents Rag and run your mad scientist into it. I personally wonder how often these situations will come to be. I think Demigod sees this card as a lighter cost Polymorph with a ton more upside. I can totally understand a sentiment like that. Other than mirror images though what minion are you trying to Boar on your side of the board? Do you run a card like Novice Engineer in your deck to try and get more value out of this card on your side of the field? I don’t know if that’s the game plan, but there is no denying the potential upside of this card. Mage does run plenty of cards (Scientist, Frostbolt, Flamecannon/most anything in mech mage) that can deal with the two damage if you use this on your opponents cards so I do feel like its worth its cost and will get value almost every game in some fashion. That being said there will be times this card is frustratingly dead in your hand, but oh well, SMOrc right?
Most Overrated TGT Card
I have gotten a lot of flack for being one of the only ones who doesn’t like this card very much. I do want preface this by saying I do think this card is okay, I just don’t think it’s as amazing as everyone else does. A lot of people have called this one of the best cards in the set and I just don’t understand it. Tuskarr Jouster is a sexy 5 Mana 5/5 with a pretty cool 7 heal if he wins his Joust. Wow a big body! A heal! Yipee! Well, I am not very excited. Healing is the one mechanic you cannot leave to chance in this game. One of the reasons I like Elekk so much is that even though losing his joust sort of stinks, but it’s not at all game losing. Tuskarr on the other hand is a totally different card then Elekk, if he is in your deck you are using him way more for the heal than the 5/5 stats. Playing this card out and losing the joust can be potentially game losing. Sure you win the Joust the majority of the time you might think, but for the 33%(estimate) chances you don’t are the extra 2/2 stats worth not just running Antique Healbot over it? I really don’t think I’m going to opt for the 2/2 stats over a for sure 8 heal, and I think more people will agree and realize this in time. That being said if you are running a Healadin deck similar to the one Demigod took to the semifinals of ESL Legendary Series Season 2 I think the more healing the better. It might be possible to fit a combination of this card and Healbots in your decks, you just have to be careful with how you allocate your deck slots in this position. Maybe this card is a 1 of in a lot of Paladin decks, I just know personally I will opt for the real deal in our friendly neighborhood Healbot, RNG be damned.
Dreadscale. I think given how hunter’s early game currently works (Webspinners and Creepers), people underestimate the difficulty of setting up Dreadscale as an effective play on curve that doesn’t wipe your own board as well. For late game plays, Unleash the Hounds seems more versatile, and the fact that Dreadscale is legendary makes it less versatile than the usual Juggler+Unleash combos. A drastic shift from current lists would be required to make this card good and not just clumsy.
I feel the most overrated card in the set at the moment is The Mistcaller. As the shaman class legendary for the set, The Mistcaller is a 6 mana cost 4/4 with the Battlecry: Give all minions in your hand and deck +1/+1. At first glance, this battlecry seems insane, and to a degree it is. To give every playable minion left in your hand and deck a +1/+1 buff represents permanent advantage over your opponent, and that is undeniably strong. However, we do have to recognize that The Mistcaller can’t be played until turn 6, making it a rather late game card with a weak body for the price. One way I see to beat his effect is to simply run an aggressive deck that will kill your opponent before he’s even relevant. The Mistcaller will give the shaman player an advantage over other control decks, but against aggro such as face hunter or eboladin, it will simply be too slow. While the idea behind the inspire mechanic is to ultimately slow down the meta by placing a higher value on the hero power, it could also potentially give aggressive decks the edge for a time while the new meta is being figured out. Therefore, while I do think this card will be excellent in the future, I don’t think it’s quite as strong as others believe. Midrange shaman is already slow and weak to aggressive decks, and the addition of The Mistcaller won’t fix that problem.
Mulch. This seems perfect. A removal spell for Druid! 3 mana destroy a minion and give the opponent a random minion. However, given the tempo of this card, it is not how Druid wins. Druid is meant to ramp up into big minions and once they over value the opponent, combo to finish. Given in this current meta, a direct removal spell is no help, also giving a chance for the opponent to stabilize with a good minion. Also, the optimal turns is to play minions on curve, hard to do it with a 3 mana card with it. I do expect bgh to still be played over this after time.
Demigod took the card I (wwlos again) was planning on possibly writing about, It’s a card I just went on a huge rant about in my card review on stream this week, Lock and Load. This card is hyped out of control with a lot of Pros calling it the most broken card in the set and possibly the game. Well I, and apparently Demigod as well, just don’t see it. When building a deck I feel it is necessary to really look into how much RNG is going to impact the particular strategy of said deck, Lock and Load is a card so riddle with RNG its reliability is all over the chart. Everyone looks at this card with the dream scenario in there head where they just keep getting spells back after use and they miracle there opponent out with insane skill. How often is this really going to happen with this card? How many times are each of you going to have to brick with these draws to have to realize this card is unreliable? I am pretty sure that AT LEAST 50% of the time Lock and Loads results, when played, will most likely end up disappointing you. Is the AT MOST other 50% of the time this card does decent to stellar make it worth running competitively? I personally don’t think so and neither does Demigod but we could be incredibly wrong in this, and I acknowledge that. I will say that the majority of my favorite cards are the ones that create other cards out of thin air (Ysera, Thoughsteal, Rhonin). In this way lock and load is pretty neat, because adding card to your deck is a great mechanic. I’ll end by reiterating that we could be super wrong about this card, I just believe most people will be disappointed with its reliability as time goes on.
Favorite TGT Cards
Rhonin is sooooo cool guys. Everyone is all fawning over Varian and I’m over here like give me those damn Missiles man that’s nine damage to my opponent’s board with an onslaught of combo potential! Give me, GIVE ME! The synergy and combo potential of those three spells attaches to a big ole body makes my mouth water. The cost of the card does kind of suck at 8 Mana when he really would probably maintain balance at 7 Mana. I have a feeling Blizzard knows what they are doing with this print though, because the potential for this beautiful man with beautiful hair is through the roof. I love cards that create cards out of thin air effectively making your deck bigger (Ysera, Thoughsteal), usually these cards are some of the better cards in the game, and here I don’t think much differently. While this card might not shine over the next few months, I think there will come a point where Spell Damage mage is a viable deck and this card will really contribute to such a build. Reddit and other posts have gone on and on about the potential combos with Malygos/Flamewaker/Antonidas/Ect., because there is nothing but pure potential out of a card constructed like this one. The easiest way to describe this card is pure awesomeness with potential to become one of the best cards in the game down the line, don’t sleep on him.
Grand Crusader. It’s mini-Nefarian, and Nefarian is a very strong card in the right decks – value-oriented lists with lots of survival mechanics. I don’t know whether it’s possible to build a deck defensive enough to support the tempo loss on turn 6 as opposed to turn 9, but I am hopeful.
Alright, now this is the best part. The whole idea behind The Grand Tournament is to give a fun, lighter mentality to a dark piece of WOW lore. While I do feel the inspire mechanic leaves much to be desired, I still really enjoy this set because it is so much fun. Not every card will be playable, but some of the random effects will make the game much more exciting. That being said, my favorite card is one of the competitive cards, but still holds some of those random elements that could really spice up slow Hearthstone games. I spent 6 months playing Control Warrior to get my golden warrior portrait before Blackrock Mountain came out, and after so many lengthy games you just need a break. Warrior is probably my favorite class, but the Control Warrior deck has remained largely the same since its creation. That being said, I feel it received a much-needed boost from TGT in the form of the new Warrior class legendary, and my favorite card coming out of The Grand Tournament, Varian Wrynn. Varian Wrynn is a 10 mana cost 7/7 with the battlecry: Draw 3 cards. Put any minions you drew directly into the battlefield. Damn. The potential that Varian Wrynn has is just incredible. The best scenario being you play him as a 7/7, and draw 3 cards such as Ysera, Ragnaros, and Deathwing. Game over. In one turn you filled your board with the 4 most influential cards in your deck and it’s unlikely that your opponent can remove it all. However, that is the absolute best case. The worst-case scenario is that you play a 7/7 and draw three spells. But is that really that bad? You still get a body that dies to Big Game Hunter, but you also refill your hand. In that case, it’s sort of reminiscent of Ancient of Lore which is a staple in every druid deck. Yes, 10 mana is very expensive, but even the worst case isn’t all that bad. More likely than not, you’ll play Varian Wrynn and maybe you’ll draw a Sludge Belcher, a weapon, and a spell. In that case, for 10 mana you got a 7/7 body and a 5 mana cost minion on the board in the same turn, plus you draw two cards. In the instance that you do draw Ragnaros or Ysera, this card will feel like the best card in the world. Those times you draw less impactful cards like Sludge Belcher or Shieldmaiden, it still feels pretty damn good. Any way you look at it, Varian Wrynn is a solid addition to the Control Warrior deck and I feel it will breathe some new life into a well-established deck, and that’s both exciting and fun. Kudos Blizzard, you did a good job with this one.
Tuskarr Totemic. This card is excellent in a fast tempo/midrange shaman. Even in control too. People see it as too much variance but the only poor one is the 1/1. Getting a 0/2 special totem is fine due to what shaman can do with no-attack minions. And 25% of the time, you’ll get a huge advantage with either Totem Golem, 3/4 or Mana Tide. Which helps this type of deck quite a lot.
Murloc Knight. Nuff Said.
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