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Battlegrounds

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For the cosmetic maps games are played on, see Battlefield.
Battlegrounds menu

Battlegrounds is a game mode where eight players face off in 1v1 rounds, with the goal to be the last player standing. Each round consists of two phases. The Tavern Phase lets players purchase and sell minions, upgrade the tavern, use their hero power, and rearrange their minions' attack order. Combat Phase has minions automatically attacking the opponents' until one player (or both) has no minions remaining, at which point the victor attacks the loser directly.

Unlike other play modes, Battlegrounds has a set of cards totally unique to itself (although many are functionally identical to collectible cards) as well as a pool of specialized heroes. All Battlegrounds cards are available from the beginning.

Battlegrounds is significantly different from all other play modes in Hearthstone, featuring completely different mechanics from anything previously seen. There is no mana: instead, the only resource is Coins (similar to the Bartender Bob, Bartendotron, and Bazaar Bob encounters from previous Single-player adventures). All minions cost 3 Coins, with the power of minions instead dictated by their Tavern Tier, taking the usual place of mana on the card interface. Minions do not attack the opponent directly - rather, surviving minions add Tavern Tier to the hero's attack once the round is over.

Battlegrounds was first revealed at BlizzCon 2019 on November 1, where attendees could try out the new game mode first-hand. Shortly after BlizzCon, closed beta started on November 5 and Battlegrounds was available for free to all players who attended BlizzCon, purchased a BlizzCon virtual ticket, or pre-purchased the new expansion Descent of Dragons. During the week that followed, players who watched participating Hearthstone streamers on Twitch could earn a Twitch drop for Battlegrounds Early Access and start playing with the game mode as well, in closed beta. Open beta soon followed a week later at 10am PT on November 12, opening for free to the public for all players.[1]

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

A Battlegrounds minion. Note the Tier rating in place of a mana cost.

Battlegrounds has a large selection of different heroes available, all of which have vastly different hero powers and strategies therein. At the beginning of the match, each player is offered one of two (or three in case you have already obtained 20 Descent of Dragons packs) heroes to choose from.

Replacing the usual History bar, a sidebar displaying every hero in the match as well as their rough health amount is visible at all times. Heroes are arranged from most to least health descending, with the players in the top four spots numbered and the player in first given a crown. Hovering over any icon will give you detailed information about that player, including the player's username, their hero power, Tavern Tier, and summary of who they fought last round and how much damage was dealt (either receiving or attacking on that player's end). Additionally, your next and current opponent has a glowing red border and is slightly ajar from the other icons.

Minion abilities

Most abilities functionally exactly like they do in the base game, including aura effects like Baron Rivendare and Brann Bronzebeard working just like you'd expect. Minion abilities are active during both the Tavern Phase and Combat Phase. There are a few minor changes though.

  • Windfury causes the minion to attack twice in each sequence.
  • Taunt forces all minions to attack it first. If there are multiple Taunt minions, targets are chosen randomly between them. Very few cards can ignore Taunt.
  • Random Summon effects can only create minions from the Battlegrounds mode. However, cost-related effects like Piloted Sky Golem and Piloted Shredder will only create minions that have the stated mana cost in their original forms. All minions exculsive to Battlegrounds do have mana cost too, but they cannot be seen in-game.

Tavern Phase[edit | edit source]

A break-down of the Tavern Phase interface.

The Tavern Phase is the most important part of Battlegrounds. Rather than building a deck of cards, Bob's Tavern allows players to manipulate the game by purchasing, selling, and rearranging minions in play. At the beginning of the game, you only have 3 Coins to spend, but you gain one each round up to a maximum of ten. Just like Mana Crystals, Coins are not conserved between rounds, so it's wise to maximize your spending each visit to the tavern.

All enchantments received by minions in the Tavern Phase are permanent, encouraging the player to invest in buffs to build their best minions up.

Each Tavern Phase lasts a limited amount of time, with the exact figure replacing the End Turn button. The first round is 30 seconds, and it increases each round, capping off at 60 seconds. This period is unavoidable, so you should try to maximize the time you have.

Recruiting

Upon entering the Tavern, Bob will have a group of minions lined up ready to be purchased. Minions can be purchased by dragging the minion over your hero or into your hand. Each minion costs 3 Coins (no matter their Tavern Tier), so choose wisely. Available minions automatically reset at the start of each round.

Once a minion is purchased, it is added to your hand and can be played at any time for free as long as you have the board space. You can have a maximum of seven minions at a time. Minions in play cannot be returned to your hand however, only removed by being sold or fused into Triple Cards.

You can access higher-tier minions by upgrading your Tavern Tier. The minions that are offered to you in Bob's Tavern comes from a pool of shared minions, shared by all players. All minions that are at or below your Tavern Tier level are considered to be in your own personal pool of minions, and minions are offered to you randomly from this pool. Consequently, if another player buys a minion that you can buy (and the player is also still alive), you will have less chance of being offered that specific minion because there is one less in the pool.[2]

The following is a table of the number of copies of each minion associated with each Tavern Tier:[2]

Tavern Tier Copies of each minion
1 18
2 15
3 13
4 11
5 9
6 6
Rearranging and Selling

Minions in play can be freely rearranged by dragging them to another position on the board. This is important, since it determines the order in which minions attack and also allows positional effects like Dire Wolf Alpha and Defender of Argus to be made the most use of.

If you no longer want a minion, you can sell it to Bob by picking it up and dragging it over him. Minions are sold for 1 Coin. Mainly, this is a way to extend your Coins to buy new minions you might not otherwise be able to afford. This can be also useful for cycling a powerful Battlecry with a weak body like Strongshell Scavenger, or creating money from tokens like a Murloc Scout created by Murloc Tidehunter. It's also essential for ensuring you have enough board space for better minions as you continue to upgrade your Tavern.

Triple Cards

When you have two minions of a kind, purchasing a third will fuse them into a powerful Triple Card. Triple Cards retain any Enchantments the minions previously did, as well as feature doubled stats and occasionally stronger abilities, on top of cosmetically being Golden. Triple Cards are added to your hand from the battlefield, allowing you to reuse their Battlecries. Additionally, playing a Triple Card will add a Triple Reward spell to your hand, which allows you to Discover a minion from the Tavern Tier above you (or from Tier 6 if you are Tier 6). Minions do not need to be in play to become Triple Cards; storing them in your hand will still activate the fusion.

Even token minions have Triple Card versions, with all the aforementioned rules and benefits. Sometimes it's a good idea to hold on to tokens early, giving you a free higher tier minion.

Tavern Upgrades
Battlegrounds Upgrade.png

At any time, you can upgrade your Tavern to the next tier. This will improve the quality of minions offered and occasionally increase the number of minions for sale. Taverns start at tier 1 and can be upgraded to tier 6. Your current Tavern Tier is displayed on a small flag next to Bob, and is visible to all players when you are hovered over. Upgrading will also notify every other player which tier you currently are.

Upgrading starts at 5 Coins, and each upgrade costs more than the last. However, at the start of each round you remain on the same tier, the cost of upgrading reduces by 1. It's a good idea to upgrade as frequently as you can, to avoid falling behind as other players gain more and more powerful boards.

Tavern Tier Base Cost
2 5
3 7
4 8
5 9
6 11
Refreshing
Battlegrounds Refresh.png

If you don't like what Bob has to offer, you can spend 1 Coin to Refresh the board. This can be done as many times per turn as you have Coins to spend. Refreshing is also the fastest way to get minions from your next Tavern Tier, since they won't automatically update on purchase.

Freezing
Battlegrounds Freeze.png

See something you like but don't have the Coins for it? You can use the Freeze button to save whatever board Bob has for next round. Freeze can be toggled on and off for free, saving any minions on the board for next round. This can be very helpful for completing a Triple Card, or snagging a powerful minion.

Generally if you have nothing else to do, you should spend the rest of your Coins on Refresh, to see if you get a good minion to Freeze.

Hero Powers

Active Hero powers are available during this phase, and can be used by paying their requested Coin cost. They essentially act as another ability that can be used. They often have powerful effects, but cannot win games on their own. Knowing whether to spend Coins on them or to Refresh for better minions is a skill unto itself.

Spells

Occasionally, hero powers and cards will give you spells you can cast. Like everything, spells can only be played in this phase, and directly impact the battlefield as a one-time effect. They sometimes have an associated Coin cost.

Combat Phase[edit | edit source]

Minions attack automatically.

In the Combat Phase, you enter combat with another player, facing off against their board. There is no player input on this part of the game, simply letting numbers, strategy, and a bit of luck play out. Unlike the Tavern Phase, buffs received in this mode are lost once the combat is over.

Hero Powers

Before attacking begins, any Hero Powers that trigger on the next Combat are activated. This can have a serious impact on the board state.

Attacking

One player is randomly selected to attack first.[3] Minions attack automatically, starting in sequence from the leftmost minion to the rightmost for each player, then repeating. This continues until one or both players have all minions destroyed. All attacks are chosen randomly however, adding a degree of luck to the outcome of each battle.

Damage

At the end of combat, the player with surviving minions (if any) deals damage to their opponent. Damage dealt is equal to their current Tavern Tier, as well as the combined tier of all their surviving minions. Particularly devastating rounds near the end of game can deal 20 or more damage at once.

Should the round end in a draw, neither player will deal damage.

Kel'Thuzad

When there are an uneven number of players, one player will face off against Kel'Thuzad. Kel'Thuzad takes the board of a previously defeated player, but has 0 actual health. Generally, this fight is much easier than normal since the opponent will have had no ability to further alter their board. However, you can still take damage and even lose, so be somewhat careful.

Resetting

At the end of each Combat Phase, each board is returned in the same position they started in, with all minions restored to life and all tokens removed. Any permanent Enchantments from previous Tavern Phases are also retained.

Rating[edit | edit source]

Please add any available information to this section.
Victory!

The rating system in Battlegrounds is your matchmaking rating, or MMR for short. It goes up if you placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, all of which count as a win in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. The higher your MMR is, the more skilled your opponents will be. The lower it is, the less skilled they will be.

Battlegrounds MMR is calculated using a rating system different from an ELO or a Glicko rating system. After each match, a player's rating gets updated based on a combination of things: the player's rating, the opponents' ratings, the player's place of finish, the player's predicted win chance, the player's variance, and other factors. Below 6500 rating, there is also a positive progression adjustment boost for each game a player plays, based on the player's current rating. This means that every game a player below 6500 rating plays will award a small boost to the player's MMR rating.

There were no plans to reset MMR,[4] but a "normalization pass" might be done in the future to adjust players above 5,500 rating down to 5,500.[5]

  • For the official explanation of how MMR is calculated in Battlegrounds, please check out the official blog post.
  • For the accidental change to the MMR system that occurred on December 5, 2019, please check out the official forum post.

Heroes[edit | edit source]

Each player is given a choice between two (or three in case you have already obtained 20 Descent of Dragons packs) of unique heroes to choose from at the start of the game. The playable heroes of Battlegrounds are composed of various legendary minions, bosses and recurring characters throughout Hearthstone's history. They all start with 40 health (except Patchwerk, who starts with 50 instead) and are all neutral. Despite their original incarnations being voiced, their Battlegrounds counterparts do not make sounds at all.

Only 24 heroes exist at a time, meaning each hero in the pool will be available in every game. Heroes rotate in and out of the game. Any retired hero may be reintroduced into Battlegrounds in another patch.

Current Heroes[edit | edit source]

Hero Hero Power
A. F. Kay Procrastinate: Skip your first two turns. Start with two minions from Tavern Tier 3. (Passive)
Arch-Villain Rafaam I’ll Take That!: Next combat, add a plain copy of the first minion you kill to your hand. (1 Coin)
Brann Bronezbeard Battle Brand: After you play a Battlecry minion, give a random friendly minion +1/+1. (Passive)
Edwin Vancleef Sharpen Blades: Give a minion +1/+1 for each minion you’ve bought this turn. (1 Coin)
Elise Starseeker Lead Explorer: When you upgrade Bob's Tavern, get a 'Recruitment Map'. (Passive)
Dancin' Deryl Hat Trick: After you sell a minion, randomly give two minions in Bob's Tavern +1/+1. (Passive)
George the Fallen Boon of Light: Give a friendly minion Divine Shield. (4 Coins)
Infinite Toki Temporal Tavern: Refresh Bob's Tavern. Add a minion from a higher Tavern Tier. (2 Coins)
Lich Baz'hial Graveyard Shift: Take 2 damage and add a Gold Coin to your hand. (0 Coins)
Lord Jaraxxus Bloodfury: Give your Demons +1/+1. (2 Coins)
Millificent Manastorm Tinker: Mechs in Bob's Tavern have +1 Attack. (Passive)
Nefarian Nefarious Fire: At the start of next combat, deal 1 damage to all enemy minions. (1 Coin)
Patchwerk All Patched Up: Start with 50 Health instead of 40. (Passive)
Queen Wagtoggle Wax Warband: Give a random friendly Mech, Demon, Murloc and Beast +1 Health. (1 Coin)
Ragnaros the Firelord DIE, INSECTS!: At the start of next combat, deal 8 damage to two random enemy minions. (2 Coins)
Shudderwock Burbling: Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice. (2 Coins)
Sindragosa Stay Frosty: At the end of your turn, Frozen minions get +1/+1. (Passive)
Sir Finley Mrrgglton Power Up!: Give a random friendly minion +1/+1. After you sell a minion, refresh this. (1 Coin)
Sylvanas Windrunner Banshee's Blessing: Remove a friendly minion to give adjacent minions +1/+1. (0 Coin)
The Curator Menagerist: Start with a 1/1 Amalgam that has all minion types. (Passive)
The Great Akazamzarak Prestidigitation: Discover a Secret. Put it onto the battlefield. (2 Coins)
The Lich King Reborn Rites: At the start of next combat, give your right-most minion Reborn. (1 Coin)
The Rat King King of Beasts: Whenever you buy a Beast, give it +1/+1. Swaps every turn. (Passive)

King of Mechs: Whenever you buy a Mech, give it +1/+1. Swaps every turn. (Passive)

King of Murlocs: Whenever you buy a Murloc, give it +1/+1. Swaps every turn. (Passive)

King of Demons: Whenever you buy a Demon, give it +1/+1. Swaps every turn. (Passive)

Yogg'Saron, Hope's End Puzzle Box: Hire a random minion in Bob's Tavern and give it +1/+1. (2 Coins)

Retired Heroes[edit | edit source]

Hero Hero Power
Bartendotron Skilled Bartender: Reduce the cost of Tavern Tiers by (1). (Passive)
Giantfin Murloc King: At the start of next combat, give your minions "Deathrattle: Summon a 1/1 Murloc". (1 Coin)
King Mukla Bananarama: Whenever you buy a Beast, add a Banana to your hand. (Passive)
Patches the Pirate Fire the Cannons!: At the start of next combat, deal 3 damage to two random enemy minions. (1 Coin)
Professor Putricide Rage Potion: At the start of next combat, give your left-most minions +10 Attack. (1 Coin)
Pyramad Brick by Brick: Give a random friendly minion +2 Health. (1 Coin)
Trade Prince Gallywix Smart Savings: Add a Gold Coin to your hand. (1 Coin)

Minions[edit | edit source]

Battlegrounds' card pool has been condensed to include only simple minions, typically composed of basic abilities and tribe synergy. The only tribes present are the Beast, Demon, Mech and Murloc tribes. They cannot be manually directed to attack nor can they attack heroes, instead they fight during the Combat Phase.

Tier 1[edit | edit source]

None Beast Demon Mech Murloc
Righteous Protector Alleycat Voidwalker Mecharoo Murloc Tidecaller
Selfless Hero Dire Wolf Alpha Vulgar Homunculus Micro Machine Murloc Tidehunter
Wrath Weaver Rockpool Hunter

All unpurchasable minions (tokens created by minion effects and hero powers) are also Tier 1.

Tier 2[edit | edit source]

None Beast Demon Mech Murloc
Spawn of N'Zoth Kindly Grandmother Nathrezim Overseer Pogo-Hopper Murloc Warleader
Nightmare Amalgam Mounted Raptor Annoy-o-Tron Old Murk-Eye
Rat Pack Harvest Golem Coldlight Seer
Scavenging Hyena Kaboom Bot
Metaltooth Leaper
Shielded Minibot
Zoobot

Tier 3[edit | edit source]

None Beast Demon Mech Murloc
Crowd Favorite Infested Wolf Imp Gang Boss Cobalt Guardian
Crystalweaver Floating Watcher Piloted Shredder
Houndmaster Psych-o-Tron
Khadgar Replicating Menace
Pack Leader Screwjank Clunker
Phalanx Commander
Shifter Zerus
Soul Juggler
Tortollan Shellraiser

Tier 4[edit | edit source]

None Beast Demon Mech Murloc
Defender of Argus Cave Hydra Siegebreaker Iron Sensei Toxfin
Bolvar, Fireblood The Beast Annoy-o-Module Primalfin Lookout
Festeroot Hulk Security Rover
Menagerie Magician Piloted Sky Golem
Virmen Sensei

Tier 5[edit | edit source]

None Beast Demon Mech Murloc
Baron Rivendare Goldrinn, the Great Wolf Annihilan Battlemaster Mechano-Egg King Bagurgle
Brann Bronzebeard Ironhide Direhorn Mal'Ganis Junkbot
Lightfang Enforcer Sated Threshadon Voidlord
Strongshell Scavenger Savannah Highmane
The Boogeymonster

Tier 6[edit | edit source]

None Beast Demon Mech Murloc
Kangor's Apprentice Gentle Megasaur Foe Reaper 4000
Zapp Slywick Ghastcoiler Sneed's Old Shredder
Maexxna
Mama Bear

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Gentle Megasaur has only 8 of the 10 normal Adapt options. Shrouding Mist (Stealth until your next turn) and Liquid Membrane (Can’t be targeted by spells or Hero Powers) are not offered.[6]
  • Minions used to magnetize onto other minions will return to the pool when the minion they were magnetized onto is sold.[6]
  • Golden minions count as all 3 minions from the pool. When a golden minion is sold, the 3 minions that created it go back into the pool, along with all magnetized minions.[6]
  • All minions gained from Discover effects are removed from the pool,[7] which implies that Discover pools are limited to the shared pool.[8]
  • Primalfin Lookout cannot Discover itself.[8]
  • Sneed's Old Shredder cannot generate itself from its Deathrattle.[9]
  • Shifter Zerus can transform into any Battlegrounds minion. It doesn't pull from the shared pool.[6]
  • Making a golden Shifter Zerus is possible, but only if the three Shifter Zeruses have not shifted yet. A golden Shifter Zerus will shift into a random golden version of a Battlegrounds minion at the start of each of the player's turns.[6]
  • Making a golden minion using a shifted copy of Shifter Zerus is possible, but the shifted copy must be played as the regular minion in order for the three minions to combine.
    • Example: A Shifter Zerus in hand has been shifted into Mama Bear. There is another Mama Bear in hand, and a Mama Bear for sale in Bob's Tavern. Buying the Mama Bear from the tavern will not create a triple, until the Shifter Zerus copy is played as a Mama Bear onto the field.

Emotes[edit | edit source]

Rather than use the traditional emote system, players can choose six special emotes. These display the selected face on the opponent sidebar and is visible to all players.

Battlegrounds Emotes.png


Videos[edit | edit source]

Patch changes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Blizzard Entertainment (November 5, 2019). Hearthstone Update – November 5 – Preparing for Descent of Dragons!. Retrieved on 2019-11-12.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mike Donais on reddit. (November 6, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-11-10.
  3. "It random."Mike Donais on reddit. (November 27, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-11-28.
  4. Mike Donais on reddit. (November 6, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-11-25.
  5. Chris Sierra (December 5, 2019). BATTLEGROUNDS MMR UPDATES. Retrieved on 2019-12-06.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Imicek (November 15, 2019). Descent of Dragons, Battlegrounds & More - Community Q&A. Retrieved on 2019-11-25.
  7. Mike Donais on reddit. (November 6, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-11-25.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Stephen Chang on Twitter. (2019-11-30). 
  9. Stephen Chang on Twitter. (2019-12-03). 
  10. Blizzard Entertainment (November 19, 2019). Hearthstone Battlegrounds Update: November 19. Retrieved on 2019-11-24.

External links[edit | edit source]