The Grand Tournament has finally been released, and new decks are popping up all over the ranked ladder. Prior to the launch, I wrote about the different tribes in Hearthstone, and took a look at what they had to gain from TGT. Now that we have all the cards available to us, I wanted to revisit the Tribes and see which ones benefited the most from the new set.
I recognize that 5 days isn’t enough time to understand all that TGT has brought to the table, but I do believe we can make some general assumptions about what will be competitive. My ratings will be based on how good the tribes were in ranked prior to TGT compared to how I see them going forward.
Trending: Slightly Down
Mechs were starting to see a resurgence prior to the release of TGT. Specifically, Mech Mage with Fel Reaver was starting to become very popular on Ladder. The only card that they gained from TGT is Clockwork Knight. I tested Clockwork Knight for a good bit in place of Fel Reaver to mixed results after launch. My feeling is that it will end up seeing some play, but it will end up being about as good as Upgraded Repair Bot. It’s just another Mech card that unlike Fel Reaver, requires another Mech in play to be effective. I expect to continue to see Mechs on the ranked ladder, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them outshined by Tempo Mage and Totem Shaman now.
My evaluation of the Murloc deck prior to TGT was that it hadn’t been viable in ranked since early Hearthstone. My opinion hasn’t changed much after TGT either. Murloc Knight was the only Murloc included in TGT and it’s one of my top cards of the set. However, it’s quite powerful on it’s own, and does not require or encourage a dedicated Murloc deck in order to be effective. Murloc Knight has the potential to be a one card Murloc deck if you manage to keep him on the board for a few turns. For this article, the evaluation is not about Murloc Knight, but Murlocs as a whole, and I don’t believe we will see a competitive dedicated Murloc deck anytime soon.
Pirates got a bit more support from TGT than Mechs or Murlocs. Specifically they gained Skycap’n Kragg, Shady Dealer, and Buccaneer. Skycap’n Kragg is a card that I believe to be 1 mana overcosted. It seems reasonable to expect that you might have 1 Pirate in play before playing Kragg, and if he cost 6 instead of 7 then he would be in line with the stats of something like Druid of the Claw. Until more Pirates come out in future sets, I don’t expect to see a lot of Skycap’n Kragg.
Shady Dealer is a strong card on turn 3, but the problem is you don’t really want to play any Pirates before that except for Buccaneer. The fact that he is not a Pirate himself doesn’t really help his cause either. Buccaneer is an interesting card and I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up in many non-Pirate weapon based Rogue decks. Overall, the problem Pirates had before TGT was that there just weren’t enough good Pirates, and even though they got a few more, it still isn’t enough to make them a viable choice for ladder right now.
Trending: Slightly Up
Demons were already in a great spot on the ranked ladder with Zoo and Handlock utilizing a shell revolved around Voidcaller. TGT brought even more Demons and new Demon strategies to explore. A lot of people wrote off Dreadsteed immediately when they saw it, but many popular streamers have discovered that it is more useful than initially thought. The combos and potential with Dreadsteed are interesting, and it will be exciting to see if anyone finds a way to break it.
The other thing TGT brought Demons was the “Whenever you discard a card,...” mechanic. I tried the super aggressive version of the deck with Tiny Knight of Evil and Fist of Jaraxxus, and was surprised at how effective it was. It’s still not really consistent, and I think they could use some more of those effects before the deck really shines. The fact that it got me playing cards like Soulfire and Succubus again is pretty cool though, and I think it will be a deck people continue to explore. Wrathguard is also a solid card for aggressive decks. It can be a bad topdeck if you get to the late game, but it needed that downside for a strong 2 drop. Overall, Demons were a great tribe, that got slightly better with interesting new options.
Trending: Up for Hunter, Neutral for Druid
Beasts were already in a good place in Midrange Hunter, but TGT added more options for a really focused Beast deck with King’s Elekk and Ram Wrangler. The option for card draw in the 2 slot is very powerful, and the fact that it’s a beast makes King’s Elekk a very strong card. Ram Wrangler can flat out win games with the right outcome. I’m not sold on Stablemaster and Ball of Spiders, but they seem like fun cards. The deck didn’t really need much help, but it gained more options which is always good.
Beast Druid gained some support cards as well as more neutral beast options. It’s clear that Blizzard wants Beast Druid to be a thing, but I’m not sold that it’s improved enough to warrant play. Savage Combatant and Druid of the Saber could be strong enough to see play outside of a Beast deck. I don’t think Knight of the Wild, Wildwalker, and GvG’s Druid of the Fang are good enough support cards to encourage players to play Beast Druid competitively yet, but they are a decent start for the archetype to emerge in the future.
Trending: Way Up
Might as well change the name of TGT to Rise of the Dragons. In the short amount of time since release, I’ve come across Dragon Mage, Dragon Warrior, Dragon Priest, Dragon Paladin, and Malygos Warlock on the ranked ladder. The foundation for the Dragon Tribe was laid out in Blackrock Mountain, but it wasn’t quite there because Dragon decks had a tough time dealing with Aggro. To help with that problem, TGT brought Twilight Guardian, Wyrmrest Agent, Alexstrasza’s Champion, and Chillmaw.
Twilight Guardian has been highly regarded as one of the top cards of the set, and for good reason. Dragon decks had missed that big early game Taunt minion to help them get to the later turns where they can drop the rest of the Dragons. Underplayed cards like Dragonkin Sorcerer, Twilight Whelp, and Rend Blackhand are now starting to see play. I think it’s awesome that Blizzard recognized the specific weakness that Dragon decks had and addressed it. Do I think Dragon decks will dominate going forward? Not necessarily, but I think they are constructed viable for sure, and I expect pros to work on hammering out the refined lists for Dragons in the coming weeks.
To be fair, Totem decks had no where to go but up. I believe that all 4 Totem support cards: Totem Golem, Draenei Totemcarver, Thunder Bluff Valiant, and Tuskarr Totemic are all good enough to see constructed play. I’m cautiously optimistic that these cards will lead to a return of the Shaman class in competitive play. These cards are certainly powerful though, with the potential for some ridiculous openings to games. An unchecked Thunder Bluff Valiant can just win games, and at 3/6 stats it’s very difficult to remove. I’m excited for the competitive future of the Shaman class, and Totem Midrange decks seem like a good start to that.
I think TGT is a better set then some people were saying and provided support to most of the Tribes in Hearthstone. It’s hard to improve every Tribe and introduce new mechanics with 132 cards, but Blizzard at least attempted to give each Tribe something. I can’t wait to see where the metagame goes from here. Thanks for reading!