Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Practical Type of Guide

Officially announced just a couple weeks ago at BlizzCon 2019, Hearthstone Battlegrounds is Blizzard’s “brand-new auto-battling game mode” that brings you and 7 other players together to fight in over a series of duels to come out as a champion.

While the title remains in beta until December, it has launched with 24 different heroes (each with a unique hero power) and just over 80 different cards (representing Demons, Beasts, Mechs and Murlocs - plus a few vanilla class cards).

A Practical Type of Guide

While the mode has a tutorial (and gives you a “free” win for your effort), there’s a boatload of things you’ll learn as you play more and more matches. And though I’d suggest the barrier to entry is low, it doesn’t hurt to have a helping hand or two - that’s where this Practical Type of Guide comes into play.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll continue to add to this guide to help new entrants step foot into the Battlegrounds. If I learn something new, or more likely make a blundering mistake, I’ll make sure to share it with everyone.

And hopefully… you’ll come back and share your knowledge too!

Getting Started


Game Play Basics

Choose Your Hero

When you first fire up the game mode, you’ll be given a choice 1 of 2 heroes (out of a possible 24) - presuming it doesn’t change after it comes out of beta, there’s an “upgrade” that will let you eventually choose 1 of 3.

Each hero has a unique ability, such as King Mukla which passively gives you a Banana every time you play a Beast minion, or Nefarian who deals 1 damage to all enemy minions for a cost of 1 coin.

The Tavern

Unlike your usual process of deck-building in Hearthstone, where you assemble a deck based on cards you’ve acquired over the course of time (or a blend of monetary investment and prayer to RNGesus), you instead get a chance to visit Bob’s Tavern to get “your” pick of what’s being served.

While you may still find a quick prayer to RNGesus is in order, prior to the start of each round you get to visit Bob the Bartender and grab a minion in exchange for 3 coins - conveniently the number of coins you’ll start with (unless you pick A. F. Kay - more on her later).

After each round, you’ll gain an additional coin which you can decide to spend on another minion (if you have at least 3), or instead use it on 1 or more of the following:

  • Board Refresh (1 coin) - Bob will line up a different set of minions. Each refresh sets you back a coin.
  • Hero Abilities (1-4 coins) - most heroes have an ability that you can invest coins in to buff your minions, discover & cast secrets, or deal damage to opposition minions.

You can also spend coins to improve your Tavern, which gets you access to better minions from Bob and has him provide you an additional minion choice with each upgrade. The Tavern upgrade cost starts at five coins (unless your hero is Bartendotron) and is reduced in cost by 1 coin after each round, until you perform an upgrade, at which point the cost goes back up.

What if you’re out of coins and see a minion in the Tavern that will rock your world? No worries, you can Freeze the Board for free and ensure those same minions show up next time you swing through the Tavern.

And if you happen to have a minion that no longer tickles your fancy, you can sell it back to Bob for 1 coin (which also puts it back into the universal pool of minions).

The Triple

In baseball, this is one base short of a homerun. In Battlegrounds, this is what happens once you’ve recuruited three identical minions.

The three minions will automatically be combined into a singular super version of themselves - keeping previous buffs and effects - and as a reward, you’ll also be granted a card that will discover a free minion 1 level ABOVE your current Tavern level.

Minion Management

Once you’ve acquired a minion or two, and before the start of the next battle, you can arrange each minion by dragging it from your hand on to the board.

By default, your minions will always attack left to right. Their target? A random opposition minion as determined by RNG… unless a Taunt minion is on the other side - Taunt minions always get attacked first.

While you have no ability to manipulate the outcome of a match while it’s in progress, your choice in minion positioning can make the difference between a win or a loss - there’s strategy in which minions (and their effects like Deathrattle or Poisonous) you have on the left side.

Into the Fray

Two heroes enter, only one leaves victorious (unless there’s a draw). After your minions have fought each other, the hero with minions left-over is declared the winner, and damage is dealt to the losing hero.

So how is that damage calculated?

Your hero deals damage equivalent to the level of your tavern. Your damage is then increased by the level of each remaining minion. Your tavern is level 3 and you have 2 first-level minions left on the board? You’re going to dish out 5 damage to the loser.

The winner is guaranteed to hang out with Bob in the tavern, while the loser can swing through for another go so long as they still have health. Don’t have health? Take your placement, lick your wounds, and get yourself into a new fight.

Player Ranking

Each player will enter Hearthstone Battlegrounds with a ranking of 4000. If they place in the top-4 of any battle, they’ll see their rank increase. If they finish in the bottom-4, they’ll see it drop.


Heroes & Minions

A. F. Kay

Power [P]: Skip your first two turns. Start with a minion from Tavern Tier 3 & 4.
Notes: While you’ll take a little pain early on, the improved minions you get on turn three (and the opportunity to upgrade the tavern too) give her some early to mid-game push.


Power [P]: Reduce the Cost of Tavern Tiers by (1).
Notes: This guy is all about getting to the end-game quick. Considering the pool of minions is finite, Bartendotron helps you grab the best ones earlier than the rest - assuming you’re not dead before that.

Brann Bronzbeared

Power [P]: After you play a Battlecry minion, give a random friendly minion +1/+1.
Notes: Yay! A battle cry board for someone other than Shudderwock. And maybe another hero that can see value in a Pogo-Hopper
Added Nov. 19

Dancin’ Deryl

Power [P]: After you sell a minion, randomly give two minions in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1.
Notes: Grab a few Murloc Tidehunters, sell the Tidehunter and Scout for TWO +1/+1 buffs to TWO cards, profit.

Elise Starseeker

Power [P]: When you upgrade Bob’s Tavern get a ‘Recruitment Map.’
Notes: Essentially you get a chance to discover a minion at your tier for the cost of 3 coins every time you upgrade the Tavern. Considering how you can use Tavern upgrades as a way to combo a triple, this could really turn the table in your favour.
Added Nov. 19

George the Fallen

Power [4]: Give a friendly minion Divine Shield.
Notes: With the right board, and likely one full of Mechs, it’s possible George can get you a win or two. But the hero power cost being as significant as it is, means you need to have your board setup early or hope you get to the end-game.

Infinite Toki

Power [2]: Refresh Bob’s Tavern. Add a minion from a higher Tavern Tier.
Notes: If you can get through the early stages of the game, this hero power (while still somewhat of a tossup) can be a difference maker getting those higher tier cards earlier than others.

Lord Jaraxxus

Power [2]: Give your Demons +1/+1.
Notes: Build a demon deck. Enough said.


Power [1]: At the start of next combat, deal 1 damage to all enemy minions.
Notes: Not only does his hero power help in the early going against some of the 1-health beasts, mechs & murlocs you’ll see, it also helps late game when the board is full of Divine Shields.

Patches the Pirate

Power [1]: At the start of next combat, deal 3 damage to two random enemy minions.
Notes: Good in the early game, somewhat okay at maybe dealing with Divine Shield decks, but you’re likely just building a board with Patches.


Power [P]: Start with 60 Health instead of 40.
Notes: Throw caution to the wind and go with a demon board early on with Patchwerk. You’re essentially given 20 free health to toss aside, so grabbing a Wrath Weaver or two early on is golden.

Professor Putricide

Power [1]: At the start of next combat, give your left-most minion +10 Attack.
Notes: Assuming you can get the first play, his hero power can be deadly when used on a Cave Hydra or Foe Reaper 4000. Beyond that, it’s nice to get started with a bang… right?


Power [1]: Give a random friendly minion +2 Health.
Notes: Similar to Queen Wagtoggle below, it’s always nice to give your minions a little extra health. Problem is it’s just one at a time and that +2 doesn’t mean much late game.

Queen Wagtoggle

Power [1]: Give a random friendly Mech, Demon, Murloc and Beast +1 Health.
Notes: A little extra health is nice, and if you’re running a board with a variety of types, even better. Problem is… you’re likely not running a board with a variety of types.

Ragnaros the Firelord

Power [2]: At the start of next combat, deal 8 damage to two random enemy minions.
Notes: In the early game, his hero power is a probable win. In the late game, well… maybe you’ll luck out and not hit those Divine Shields, or Spawn of N’Zoth cards.


Power [2]: Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice.
Notes: You want Pogo-Hoppers. Pretty much the only hero that does.


Power [P]: At the end of your turn, Frozen minions get +1/+1.
Notes: See something? Want something? Make sure to freeze something before you get into combat. That +1/+1 buff can really add up!
Added Nov. 19

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

Power [1]: Give a random friendly minion +1/+1. After you sell a minion, refresh this.
Notes: Good golly could this guy use a low-cost murloc board to potentially turn a minion into an early game God!
Added Nov. 19

The Curator

Power [P]: Start the game with a 1/1 Amalgam that has all minion types.
Notes: While the 1/1 Amalgam on the surface may seem “meh,” the fact it can be buffed in any situation makes it OP late game if you keep it on the board.

The Great Akazamzarak

Power [2]: Discover a Secret. Put it into the battlefield.
Notes: I like this guy. Sure his secrets are more frustrating than anything else, yet getting immune on fatal damage in the late game can help you get past that “kryptonite hero” and hope someone else can do the work for you. Haven’t won a game with him yet, but have a crap tonne of second-place finishes.

The Lich King

Power [1]: At the start of next combat, give your right-most minion Reborn.
Notes: Throw some chaos type taunt minion on the right side - poisonous, deals damage to enemy minions, etc. - and give it reborn. Feel the frustration flow through the veins of the enemy.

The Rat King

Power [P]: Whenever you buy a specific minion type, give it +1/+2. The type cycles each turn.
Notes: Depending on the board you build, and a little RNG being in your favour in the Tavern, this hero power can help you build a very powerful board in the early game and more strategically buff later tier cards in the end game.

Trade Prince Gallywix

Power [1]: Add a Gold Coin to your hand.
Notes: It’s nice to have an extra coin or two, especially considering you can’t carry unspent ones over, but the way RNG works doesn’t really make that hero power worth as much as others.

Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End

Power [2]: Hire a random minion in Bob’s Tavern and give it +1/+1.
Notes: Do you embrace chaos theory? Yogg-Saron is just the hero for you.

Retired Heroes

  • King Mukla (Nov. 19) - the fact that multiple people were boasting about perfect wins with Mukla is an indicator that his +1/+1 buff card obtained every time you grab a beast from Bob was a little much.
  • Giantfin (Nov. 19) - you get a murloc, you get a murloc, you all get murlocs. Problem is the 1/1 nature of them didn’t do a whole lot in between games, and were likely not enough to get you glory in the late game either.
  • Milificent Manastorm (Nov. 19) - her +1/+1 boost to all Mech’s in Bob’s Tavern made her instantly OP in a mech build.
  • Lich Baz’hial (Nov. 19) - this hero was just weird. The hero power was more miss than hit, your health limited your ability to use it anyway, and even if you did the cards you could get for that extra coin didn’t seem worth health penalty.
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More to come soon! [PLACEHOLDER]

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Even More to Come Soon! [PLACEHOLDER]

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What a WIP!

I’ve really come to enjoy this new mode. It’s simple and takes away the stress (And cost) of deck creation.

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Exactly. It may frustrate the hardcore theory crafters, but I love how simple it is to dive in and play.

And FINALLY got another win.

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November 19, 2019 Updates

For those who need the TL;DR version:

  • Four new heroes - Sindragosa, Elise Starseeker, Brann Bronzebeard, Sir Finley Mrrgglton
  • Four retired heroes - King Mukla, Giantfin, Milificent Manastorm, Lich Baz’hial
  • Minion balance updates - Primalfin Lookout, Voidlord, & Coldlight Seer move down a tier; Junkbot moves up a tier.
  • Ranking system adjustments
  • Bug fixes

They also add that further minion and hero balancing will take place, though nothing is yet solidified. We also will see a rotation of heroes in and out of the game mode, with more changes happening in December.

Guide Update

  • Added updates & notes to Heroes & Minions. Will add further notes on specific minion types in the near future.

I really like all the heroes coming in. I see that later you’ll be able to select from 4, which means they will have quite a few overall.

Every wonder what a Shifter Zerus triple gets you?

Uh… yeah…

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So basically, don’t ever do that.

Prior to watching the video, I did wonder what would come of it and simply didn’t have the desire to prove it out.

December 5, 2019 Updates

For those who need the TL;DR version (because the post waits until the end to share Battlegrounds updates):

  • Three new heroes - Edwin Vancleef, Sylvanas Windrunner, Arch-Villian Rafaam
  • Five retired heroes - Patches the Pirate, Bartendotron, Pyramad, Professor Putricide, Trade Prince Gallywix
  • Two heroes returning - Millificent Manastorm, Lich Baz’hial
  • Two new minions - Floating Watcher (3), King Bagurgle (5)
  • Balance change to Lightfang Enforcer
  • Balance changes to six heroes - Millificent Manastorm, Patchwerk, A.F. Kay, The Rat King, Lich Baz’hial, The Great Akazamzarak
  • Addition of Advanced Stats if you own 10+ Descent of Dragons card packs.

The big changes here are the return of some “rebuilt” heroes, the retirement of a few others, and the addition of three more. The intent is to continue to cycle heroes in and out of rotation to keep things fresh. We also see two additional minions added to the game, which introduces more variety to the “meta.”

Guide Update

  • To be completed this weekend.
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Great, now I have to concede every match where I don’t get to play her.