Although the Grand Tournament is scheduled to release later this month, Blizzard didn’t neglect hearthstone in its volley of announcements this morning at Gamescom.

In addition to a slew of new cards, executive producer Hamilton Chu and senior game designer Mike Donais announced a second new mechanic for _hearthstone and a new reward system for Ranked Play.

Joust!

A familiar mode of battle in any Grand Tournament, the Joust mechanic adds some gaming to your game. Minions and spells with the Joust mechanic get a little meta in your meta, creating a small contest of wills within the larger battle.

When a Joust is triggered - usually via a battlecry mechanic, but occasionally through deathrattle -  one random minion from each deck is revealed. If the Jouster’s revealed minion has the higher mana cost, then the Joust is successful and the stated effect is applied.

Highest Rank Bonus to Address Ladder Concerns

Currently, Ranked Play only offers two rewards - a card back at level 20, and a card back for reaching Legendary. A longstanding complaint among the _hearthstone community is that the reward is not equal to the risk, meaning many players only play long enough to get their level 20 card back or until they’ve reached the edge of their comfort zone, then refuse to take another step.

 

Reward for Rank 17                                                           Reward for Rank 5
 

It seems the Joust mechanic will encourage the use of higher cost minions to offset the chance of one’s opponent winning the Joust. And the Highest Rank Bonus may well encourage more and more players to continue working their way up the ladder, allowing in turn for a greater pool of players to compete against. These are just two more examples of how The Grand Tournament is poised to take the current state of the game and flip-turn it upside down.

The Grand Tournament is hearthstone’s second major expansion. It’s due out later this month.

Do you think Joust will provide an answer to low-cost minion decks like Face Hunter and Zoolock? Will the Highest Rank Bonus encourage you to play the ladder beyond your comfort zone? Tell us what you think of these latest announcements in the comments below!

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