Hearthstone Battlegrounds is the latest entry in the auto battler genre, and is the latest mode to be included in Blizzard’s collectible card game. Here’s what you need to know.
Welcome to the Battlegrounds
Hearthstone Battlegrounds follows the core gameplay mechanics seen in most other auto battlers, such as Auto Chess, Teamfight Tactics, and Dota Underlords, while adding its own Hearthstone-inspired flavor.
Eight players will face off in duels using units on their board until the lone winner is left standing. Similar to Dota Underlords’ Underlord mechanics, Hearthstone Battlers will feature an array of familiar Hearthstone heroes for players to select that offer unique ways to strengthen your board and take on opponents.
While other auto battlers make use of animated models to represent a player’s units, Hearthstone Battlegrounds uses Hearthstone’s card visuals instead. The game mode also replaces the signature auto battler chessboard-like grid with Hearthstone’s own game board, which only accommodates a single horizontal line for your units.
How to Play
Once you enter a match of Hearthstone Battlegrounds, you’ll be presented with an array of available heroes. It’s best to plan your strategy around which heroes are available to you at the start of the game, as each one will change the way you recruit, battle, and strategize against your opponents.
There are 24 heroes available at Hearthstone Battlegrounds’ launch to lead your army of minions, including fan favorites such as Arthas the Lich King and Ragnaros the Fire Lord.
You can check here for the full list of available heroes and minions.
In typical Autobattler fashion, players are presented with a selection of minion cards at the start of each round. You’ll be granted an increasing amount of gold as the game progresses to build up your arsenal of minions and help you construct the best board possible.
There are six tiers of minions to choose from, with each belonging to one of four types — namely Beast, Demon, Mech, and Murloc.
In order to buy a minion, simply drag it to your hero — with each minion costing three gold. You can also spend one gold to refresh the current lineup of minions if none of the available ones fit your fancy.
If you’re low on gold but a minion you’ve been looking for is available, you can freeze the current selection for free until the next round when you have enough gold. Alternatively, you can sell minions you’re willing to part with for one gold each, which frees up space in your hand and helps expand your coffers.
Once you have three copies of the same minion, they will automatically combine into a more powerful golden version that has increased stats and effects. Creating a triple also grants players a reward card in their hand that lets them discover a free Minion from the next highest Tavern level.
Speaking of Tavern levels, you must also spend gold to level up your Tavern to gain access to more powerful minions and increase the damage that you deal to your opponents. The cost of upgrading your Tavern Tier increases every time you upgrade to the next level, but choosing to forego upgrading your Tavern Tier will reduce the cost by one gold the next time.
Once you’ve recruited your minions, simply drag them from your hand onto the board, much as you would in a traditional Hearthstone match, to ready them for the combat phase. You can also alter their positioning by simply dragging your selected card into its desired place.
During combat, minions on the left will attack first, but they will randomly attack enemy minions unless there is a Taunt minion in play, which will always be attacked first.
Pay close attention to your Minion’s board positions to make the most of their effects. For example, poisonous minions destroy any minion they deal damage to, while Divine Shield will block the first source of damage they receive.
Tavern and combat phases will repeat as you and your opponents power up and face off until only one is left standing.
Enter the Battlegrounds
Hearthstone Battlegrounds’ Open Beta is live now, though it is currently only supported on mobile devices with more than 2GB of RAM.
The game mode is accessible through a new “Modes” button from the Hearthstone main screen, which will also include the Arena. Your current skill rank is also visible before you head into a match.
A player’s skill rank is adjusted up or down once a match concludes, with adjustments dependent on their match performance. The amount of rank points you will lose or gain is determined by which place you were in when you were knocked out, as well as the skill rank of your opponents. Reaching the top 4 in a match will generally increase a player’s skill rating, while ending in the bottom 4 will lower it.
A leaderboard displaying the top Hearthstone Battlegrounds players will also be made available on the official Hearthstone website soon.