After much speculation and the constant tease of an August release, Blizzard has confirmed that Hearthstone‘s latest expansion will launch next Monday, August 24th.
The Grand Tournament is based around what happened after the fall of the Lich King in World of Warcraft‘s second expansion. The expansion contains a total of 132 new cards, including class cards which are sure to shake up the meta. There’s a new themed game board as well.
Two mechanics have been added with the Grand Tournament. The first to be revealed was Inspire, which triggers a positive effect for either your minions or you as a player whenever you use your Hero Power. Blizzard felt that the Hero Power was being sidelined into a “use if you have no other options” role in the game, and wanted to bring it back the center. Inspire does just that, and many of the new cards make use of it.
The second mechanic is Joust. Both players reveal a random card from their library, if the player that played the Joust card has the card with the higher mana cost revealed then a variation of positive effects can occur, depending on the card.
The Grand Tournament marks the second expansion since Hearthstone‘s release last year. Goblins vs Gnomes was the first major expansion, and there have also been two mini expansions: adventure modes The Curse of Naxxramas and Blackrock Mountain.
More recently, Blizzard added the Tavern Brawl mode, where the rules change each week. Tavern Brawl is designed for more casual play, with wins and losses not counting towards your overall monthly ranking.
For those that can’t wait until next Monday to see the cards, with the release of patch 3.0 today players can view all the cards in their card collection and even check out the new board in game. This week’s Tavern Brawl sees you given a random Hero to play as and a pre-built deck to battle with. Grand Tournament cards feature heavily.
Dale Morgan reviewed Hearthstone for Continue Play upon its release and utterly loved it, awarding Blizzard’s card battler our highest accolade: 10/10.
“The little details that Blizzard has put in seem minor on the face of it – click on aspects of the playing field and you’ll trigger little animations and sound effects – but they all add up to a glorious whole,” Dale wrote in his Hearthstone review. “Hearthstone may see Blizzard aiming at a more casual market, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. This is an utterly fantastic game that exudes polish from every digital pore.”
Hearthstone has been a resounding success thus far, and many publishers have been keen to replicate its success by announcing their own games. Most recently, Activision announced a new Skylanders card battler. The twist in Skylanders Battlecast is that you can add cards to your digital deck by unlocking them via real card packs.
With over 30 million players, we can be sure to see more Hearthstone expansions in the future. In the meantime, you can check out the official trailer for The Grand Tournament below.