The Grand Tournament: Hearthstone’s Second Expansion

“Parp!” is often used as onomatopoeia for a trumpet blast, but to me it’ll always be a blow-off. Imagine this post begins with whichever textual approximation of trumpeting you prefer, a grand festive blast. Point is: Blizzard have announced the second expansion for Hearthstone [official site], and it is a cause for trumpeting.

The Grand Tournament will arrive in August with 132 new cards as man and orc, murloc knight and parrot-riding pirate, all come together to show off in front of the Argent Crusade. It’ll be free, of course, in the usual Hearthstone ways.

Some of The Grand Tourney’s new cards – Blizzard have already revealed a few – have a new minion ability, Inspire. This activates after you use your Hero Power, triggering effects like giving the minion +1 attack or adding a random spell to your hand.

It’ll have a new board too.

How do you get these new cards? Packs will be on sale for either virtuacash or real money, as ever. They’ll also be available as Arena rewards. The Arena currently awards only packs from the first expansion, Goblins vs Gnomes, but with the launch of The Grand Tourney it’ll start randomly offering a Tourney, GvG, or Classic pack.

Blizzard are also waving around a pre-order offer, selling 50 packs for £34.99/€44,99/$49.99. Pre-ordering is a mug’s game, but mugs probably already know they’ll be plonking down £35 on Hearthstone packs no matter what.

30 Comments

  1. Thankmar says:

    Is it just me or gets the humor thing in Wacraft titles more and more annoying? Look, orcs with fangs and men with gigantic armor, but with confetti! *sigh*

    • Cyroch says:

      I feel the same way. I used to like Warcraft lore. Decently deep high fantasy with some humor but also some pretty dark stories. Lately, it seems to drift more and more in the lololol we so funny and colourful spectrum

      • Captain Joyless says:

        This is an… interesting opinion. From what I could see it was never more than a watered-down ripoff of Warhammer.

        • Dilapinated says:

          The Warhammer universe itself was a watered-down ripoff of things that came before it, however.

          • Dawngreeter says:

            And things that came before are essentially watered-down ripoffs of things that came before the things that came before them.

          • pipman3000 says:

            my favorite thing about fantasy warhammer is how every human factions’ name is the nearly the same as their real life counterparts but with a few letters changed or switched around.

          • hennedo says:

            Ezra Pound’s translation of the Old English poem “Seafarer” laments this same process:
            “There come now no kings nor Cæsars
            Nor gold-giving lords like those gone.”
            But he holds out hope in the tumult of our own limited and painful existence:
            “Moaneth alway my mind’s lust
            That I fare forth, that I afar hence
            Seek out a foreign fastness.”
            It is in the journey that we can find some cold comfort for our own fallen statures. So, to those critiquing Blizzard, I say, “Let Blizzard roam. Those who sing the songs of what has gone before at the expense of what is to come share only a false and flaccid reflection of the greatness they praise. It is in the active process of seeking that we find our worth.”

    • Jayson82 says:

      The art work reminds me of Josh Kirbys diskworld covers.

    • Nevard says:

      If you want to see Blizzard taking their inherently silly setting too seriously and trying to wring drama out of it, look at World of Warcraft.
      Hearthstone has been silly from its inception and always will be. They aren’t ever going to try and tell an epic tale of romance and deceit through the medium of a collectable card game.

      • Aetylus says:

        Yup – Difference between hairy man in armour at 0.37 in the trailer and hairy man in armour at 0.38 in the trailer pretty well sums up the difference between WoW and Hearthstone

    • jjujubird says:

      This is one of the reasons I hated Wildstar. HEY GUISE LOOK THIS GAME IS SO CARTOONY AND ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS! AND WE’RE SO EXCITED ABOUT IT WE’RE GOING TO SHOVE IT IN YOUR FACE EVERY 2 SECONDS!

  2. AngoraFish says:

    I’m starting to save my gold from now. With a bit of luck I should have a couple of thousand in the bank by release date.

    On a related note, Taven Brawl is a lot of fun this week. Finally I get to use all my cards at the upper end of the mana curve!

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      Carra says:

      I hate the tavern brawl this week, it’s basically “he who has most legendaries wins”.

      • MisterFurious says:

        Like this: link to youtube.com

      • AngoraFish says:

        Aren’t you just describing Hearthstone generally?

        But anyway -> pick everything you have that allows you to draw extra cards, play extra minions or steal the opponent’s minions (use search). Fill the remainder of your deck with taunts, preferably including Belcher, and one or two removal. Don’t focus on just your best 7-10 mana cards, you’re aiming to be able to play at least 2 cards per turn. Win. My current deck only has three legendaries (+1 Naxxramas legendary), 16/30 are commons or basics. Priest is good > Mind Control, Thoughtsteal, Lord Steal, Mind Blast, Shadow Word Death.

    • Owl Mark says:

      Current brawl is not for me as I have few legendaries which suck. Better luck next week I guess.

    • marlowespade says:

      Actually, I’ve been winning the brawls this week with my Rogue deck that has no legendaries at all – 10 mana pays for a LOT of combos in one turn. :)

  3. TillEulenspiegel says:

    I really hope there’s some yet-to-be-announced changes to the quest and/or ranked play system. It would fit thematically with the expansion.

    Also yay, more powerful cards that are absurdly random. Ysera is a good example of randomness done well: at the end of your turn, you draw from a small pool of very good cards. But when your pool is every single spell in the game, or every 2-cost minion, it’s a nightmare not just for competitive play, but also for balance when designing future cards.

  4. Incanus says:

    No thanks. I prefer to play games where everybody can play with the same pool of cards/options without grinding each day or paying, Blizzard. Bybye!

    • Ergonomic Cat says:

      You might not want tinted future stories about Hearthstone, then. It’s a CCG, where one of the big pieces of the model is collectibility. The first C actually means “collectible” in this case! You’ll probably want to mostly read articles about games that aren’t Hearthstone!

    • Xzi says:

      That game does not exist. Every CCG/TCG requires either playing a lot of games to get to know people and trade with them, or paying a lot of money to get all the cards you need for the deck(s) you want. Blizzard didn’t suddenly change up the formula with Hearthstone. It’s been the same formula for ages.

      • Kitsunin says:

        You can still order a huge box with loads and loads of used TCG cards for like $30. It might be tough to make a competitive deck out of what you get but if you made something and play casually with more experienced people, you’d likely find that with some help you can make some pretty good decks for casual play, with such a very low investment. ‘Aint no equivalent playing Hearthstone, even if you’ve got a pathetic collection and all you want is to chill and have fun, you’re gonna be getting facerolled by Zoolocks all over the place.

        I had fun when I first played, but as the collection grows and grows, being a newbie player becomes more and more frustrating, as there are ever more ways for decks to be refined by those with large collections, and therefore evermore advantages the people with massive collections have over those with small collections. The same might be true of real TCGs, but the personal aspect helps to overcome that, as people either help you or gimp themselves (e.g. using untested decks when playing against newer people) to keep things relatively fun.

        • MisterFurious says:

          The biggest mistake Blizzard made with Hearthstone is not allowing players to trade with each other. It’s just too difficult to make a decent deck in this game and it gets worse with each expansion. If people could trade with one another, it would be far easier. That dust system isn’t good enough.

        • Xzi says:

          IMO Hearthstone is pretty fair. All I had to do to get most of the available cards was start playing when it released. $30 will get you pretty damn far if you need a shortcut, too.

          • Kitsunin says:

            It was pretty fair, but if you stopped playing before getting a good collection together, being competitive with even just the two sets + the two bonus sets is a nearly insurmountable task. $30 will get you 60 cards, that’s not very good at all (odds are you won’t get a single legendary, for instance, and every competitive deck I know of benefits greatly from at least one legendary), and is still pretty far from enough to compete.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Oops! Dunno why I thought it’d only get you $60 cards, I was staring at the wiki page too, weird. 110 cards actually isn’t too bad. It’s enough cards to probably craft a copycat competitive deck, which is probably a pretty good start. I dunno, there are still just soo many cards to keep up with.

    • yeastcapp says:

      Who grinds in Hearthstone? I’m free to play, been playing since the start, and have never ‘grinder’. Every match is fun. Unless you’re going for legend, I guess.

  5. bc672 says:

    Hoping all this Hearthstone love will lead into a Warcraft 4. As much as I love CCGs (I grew up with Pokemon, it’s my Kryptonite), strategy games are my bread and butter.

    • Xzi says:

      Agreed. Warcraft 3/TFT is one of my favorite games of all time. Not just for the enjoyable campaign and competitive online play, but for all the creativity that went in to custom maps as well. All my friends were in to it, too. The few years after its release were some of the best in my life.

      I have a feeling Warcraft 4 won’t be coming for a long time, however. I’m not sure current Blizzard can make it the game it deserves to be, either.