Hearthstone’s Grand Tournament Expansion Now Live

The new battlefield.

It’s only a game, yeah? Important to keep perspective, innit? While Warcraft-y things go all po-faced with lore and guff, Blizzard’s Hearthstone [official site] just wants to lark about, drink, and engage in a little friendly rivalry. Blizzard have just launched the free-to-play collectible card game’s second expansion, named The Grand Tournament.

The Big Knockout introduces 132 new cards themed around The Merrye Olde Showdowne, as you can see in this here card listing.

Some of those include a new card ability, named inspire. Blizzard explain it thusly:

“Minions with the inspire keyword possess a special ability that may only be activated by using your Hero Power. Deploy them in force to gain tremendous value, or drop them at just the right time to give your play the perfect boost. Can you really inspire an ogre? Absolutely! It just takes finesse (or a ham).”

Handy stuff, I’m sure.

As ever, you can get your hands on Grand Tournament card packs with either in-game virtuacash or Blizzard’s premium money. They’ll also be available as Arena rewards, as Arena battles can now reward either Classic, Goblins vs Gnomes, or Grand Tournament packs – weighted towards The Grand Tournament.


  1. BluePencil says:

    Two of the big Hearthstone names (Kripp and Trump) seem thoroughly unimpressed by the new cards. One argument runs that many inspire cards need to be judged as if they cost 2 more mana than advertised due to the necessity of using the hero power and this renders such cards too slow to challenge existing decks.

    • captainparty says:

      Wasn’t it already established that this expansion wasn’t offering much for the competitive players but was going to have a lot of fun cards for casuals to use?

    • RogueJello says:

      Seems like it’s easier as a big name to be unimpressed with things, rather than get excited, and be proven wrong.

    • Canazza says:

      Trump loves Justicar Trueheart. He doesn’t think it’s a good card, but he loves it. His little face lit up whenever he pushed the button and got TWO guys from his hero power.

  2. Nasarius says:

    Well, it’s theoretically live. For now, it’s impossible to log in to the EU servers. Maybe I should be grateful I’ve never had a job involving large scale load-balancing.

    Compared to GvG, this expansion seems a little underwhelming. There’s a handful of legendaries which will upgrade current decks (most notably control warrior), and I’m looking forward to decks built around Beneath the Grounds and Astral Communion. I think at least one of those will be viable and really fun.

    That’s about it. I’m skeptical of totem shaman, and I doubt taunt warrior will work at all. And there’s not enough to make huge Inspire combos work consistently. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see anything that’s going to dislodge the current aggro meta with a side of Patron warrior.

    • Sir_Deimos says:

      As a casual player that doesn’t really care about the meta-game aspect of it, I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far. Maybe the new cards won’t impact “the best” strategies, but 1) It’s way too early to tell, and 2) Many players aren’t just trying to min-max every deck.

      I saved up all my gold since the announcement so I could play around with the new cards, and just trying to find combos that work together is more fun than “This would never win in a tournament.”

      • Epsilon82 says:

        Yeah, I think is at its best when you can just play with people you know whose sole purpose isn’t to grind out as much gold as possible as quickly as possible to get enough packs and dust to build the prefabbed “killer deck” to reach the top of the ladder. The win-at-all-costs mentality just doesn’t really seem compatible with Hearthstone’s design sensibilities. I guess it’s more approachable than something like Magic, where the cost of domination is obviously much higher.

        My girlfriend (who’s not a “gamer” by any stretch) is completely addicted to Hearthstone, and I don’t think she’s an outlier. She seems like exactly who Blizzard (and the industry at large) is trying to reach. But she’s been getting pretty frustrated lately with the prevalence of certain decks that she runs into once she reaches a certain point in the middle tier of the ladder. She builds all of her decks by hand with virtually no knowledge of the metagame; the idea of looking up decks is like “cheating” to her.

        I’m planning on getting into the game myself soon, if nothing else because I’m sure it will be fun for both of us to be able to just duel each other and screw around with different fun card combos without worrying about how “competitive” they will really be.

        In the meantime, I am head-over-heels addicted to Gwent in The Witcher 3, which I decided to give a shot to in New Game Plus after basically ignoring it on my first (110 hour) playthrough. I think playing lots of Gwent and collecting all the cards will be a nice little primer for getting into a more meaty game like Hearthstone a bit later.

      • Koozer says:

        “Many players aren’t just trying to min-max every deck.”

        Where are these players? I’m still facing the exact same copy/paste face hunter and mech mage as before the expansion. It’s at the point where there’s no point building anything but an anti-aggro deck full of AoE and early game minions.

    • Carra says:

      5 hours later, still impossible to log in. Well, managed to log in around 20.30 but seeing how it took 2 mins to buy and open a single pack I decided to try it later…

    • Saii says:

      Trump was doing well with the Shaman totems last night, but variance variance…

  3. lowprices says:

    Gosh, it sure would be nice to log on, play some Hearthstone and get to grips with the shiny new cards I preordered like a chump. Sadly, Blizzard seem to be continuing their flawless run of releasing an expansion but being incapable of dealing with the extra traffic that releasing an expansion brings.

    There’s probably a lesson for me here, but I’m too grumpy to bother learning it.

    • trn says:

      Lesson is: This isn’t the Blizzard of the ’90s.

      • Montegomery says:

        Yeah, because Battle.net never had lag problems in the late 90s/early 00s, never.

        • EhexT says:

          The difference is back then you could play your singleplayer modes singleplayer even without Battle.net watching. What an incredible concept I know.

    • gunny1993 says:

      It’s probably a pretty clever financial decision, I’m sure they could spend a bunch getting or renting more server to cope with the strain, but that strain is only going to exist for a few days or weeks until it falls back down to normal levels and you’ve wasted a tonne of money on servers that are no longer needed.

      I mean, they’re rich as fuck, but you don’t get RAF by spending money