This week's Hearthstone Tavern Brawl features a match-up between two premium heroes – mage Medivh and hunter Alleria Windrunner – with decks that include cards from the upcoming new set, The Grand Tournament.
Several of the cards feature the new keyword, "Inspire," an effect that is activated every time a character uses his or her hero power, and what's clear after playing a few rounds is that this new effect is quite powerful, especially when combined with cards that modify the hero power's base abilities.
There are some interesting cards to play with, including new class-specific legendaries such as Acidmaw, whose aura effect states, "Whenever another minion takes damage, destroy it," and mage card Rhonin, whose deathrattle effect adds three copies of Arcane Missiles to your hand. Needless to say, it's pretty handy having nine damage up your sleeve for just three mana.
Decks also include epic cards such as the mage's Coldarra Drake, which lets you use your hero power any number of times per turn, and the hunter card Lock and Load, which adds a card to your hand for every hunter spell you cast that turn.
Some interesting new rare cards are also included in the decks, such as the hunter's Ram Wrangler, whose battlecry summons a random beast, and Fallen Hero, a mage card that adds one damage to the hero power effect. I also saw Polymorph Boar, which transforms a minion into a 4/2 Boar with charge – which I'm sure will be a fairly handy card to have to boost a weaker weenie in a fast-moving aggro deck (or, in a pinch, getting rid of an opponent's big minion).
Natural epics are also included in both decks. A very useful card seems to be Kodorider, whose inspire effect summons a 3/5 War Kodo – I pretty much won a game with that card, and Garrison Commander, which lets you use your hero power twice a turn. A slightly less useful card is Frost Giant, an 8/8 behemoth which costs 10 mana, but whose price of summoning is reduced by one mana every time you use your hero power. Perhaps useful for the late game, I don't think it'll see a huge amount of play in ranked decks – but perhaps will be handy in slower arena decks.
Ultimately, the new Tavern Brawl decks are a great way of previewing the new cards to get some proper, practical experience with their new effects. I imagine theorycrafters will put in a good amount of playtime this week to see just how these new cards work out in the wild.
The new 132-card Grand Tournament set launches next Monday, August 24th.