I did a little experiment. I went to low ELO streamers and watched their games in real-time, trying to see the difference between their decisions and those of higher ELO. During this time, I gave them advice throughout the game then did a quick write-up on their performance.
Afterward, I’d switch to another stream and do the same thing. Then onto another. I did this enough times to realize there are common problems amongst players below 6000 ELO. I’m going to condense the advice I gave to those streamers and explain it all here.
Taking unnecessary risks for too little payoff.
Some players create risks for themselves for very little benefit. For example, I saw a player once have a full Warband but sold one of his weaker minions so that there was room for his Replicating Menace to have space to summon all of the 1/1 Microbots. One other example I saw is a player who bought Rockpool Hunter at turn one and didn’t play it until turn three, so he can buff the next Murloc he finds.
The benefit you think you are creating is not as beneficial as you think. A 1/1 Microbot is not going to win you a game over any other minion. The buff Rockpool Hunter may have provided does not make up for the lost rounds and health, especially when you consider that you may not be guaranteed to get a Murloc in the upcoming rounds.
Do not try to make room for your deathrattles. Just imagine how the fight will go and position your minions to the best of your ability.
Generally speaking, do not try to hold off on buffs, especially in the above situation. If you let yourself be a minion down because you held off playing a minion, you are just letting yourself lose in the next round. That said, there are some advanced situations where you do hold onto buff cards, but that is for another time.
Freezing at the wrong time.
Whenever I freeze for a minion, I have to ask myself four things:
- Why am I freezing for this?
- The minion cost three gold, and I lose a roll. Am I happy spending four gold on this minion?
- If I didn’t freeze but see this minion at the next recruitment phase, would I instantly buy it?
- Can I find something better?
Keep all of this in mind when freezing. I have seen players freeze a tier two filled board when they upgrade for tier three because they are too stuck thinking about what they see now and not what they could have in the future.
Forcing low-value triples & overvaluing pairs
One of the most common issues I noticed is that players would hold onto their tier one and tier two minions that they bought at the beginning of the game. They plan to continue replacing the other minions with stronger ones and pray to find the triple to get a tier five or tier six minion.
It feels bad to keep holding onto pairs forever and not being rewarded with a triple. That’s why I recommend that you stop holding onto a pair, around turn seven to nine, when these minions are no longer viable to fight. You cannot force the triple because you are just going to continue losing rounds. What I suggest instead is creating powerful mid-range builds such as Mechs or Taunt build to stay strong. Once you feel powerful enough, upgrade to tier five and find yourself a win condition.
Forcing a tribe or composition too early
Plenty of players do this, and it continues to baffle me. Just because you find a Party Elemental does not automatically mean you have to go elementals, just like once you find a Wrath Weaver does not mean you have to play demons. For example, I saw a player with a Murloc Tidehunter at turn three/five gold. They had a choice between a Rabid Saurolisk | Harvest Golem | Murloc Warleader | Unstable Ghoul. They decided to buy the Murloc Warleader and reroll twice.
Just like triples, you may not find every card you need in the game. You have to play what Bob gives you. The best choice in the above scenario was to sell the 1/1 Murloc and buy the Rabid Saurolisk, then the Harvest Golem. However, that doesn’t mean you should only buy Beasts, Mechs, or even deathrattles. For the first seven turns, you have to buy what is strong now and keep your options open for the next rounds.
Not understanding the importance of positioning
Generally speaking, you position your minions from the strongest attack to the weakest, with Taunt minions at the end. However, I have seen other players not consider effects such as divine shield or cleaves. If you have an opponent with a Divine Shield & Taunt minion, put your weakest minion in front to remove it. If you have an opponent with a cleave but have two taunt minions, position your Warband like this:
[Strongest minion/Bumper | Minion | Minion | High health or disposable minion | Taunt | Disposable minion or Selfless Hero | Taunt].
When possible, make sure both your taunts do not die, assuming they are strong to take multiple attacks.
If you have a minion with deathrattle such as Rat Pack or Tide Razor, there will be situations where it’s ideal to put them in the middle of your attack order instead of the end. Such as if Rat Pack needs to attack because it has high stats, or you need to put a minion between Mama Bear and the taunt to prevent cleaves. For Tide Razor, if you got an Eliza, it might be better to have it attack fourth so you can allow your pirates to create more Eliza procs. This assumes your other minions will mostly die and make space for your Tide Razor.
Upgrading at the wrong time and wasting gold in the process
I’m fairly certain most players understand when to upgrade within the first eight turns. If not, let me just summarize it quickly. Note that these are general advice; some heroes have their own special curve.
Standard Curve Heros:
Turn 1 (3 Gold): Buy
Turn 2 (4 Gold): Upgrade
Turn 3 (5 Gold): With token generator: Sell token buy two strong minions. Without token generator: Sell your tier-one minion and buy two strong minions. If all choices are bad: Sell your minion or token, upgrade to tier three.
Turn 4 (6 Gold): Buy two minions
Turn 5 (7 Gold): Upgrade, buy one minion
Turn 6 (8 Gold): Buy enough minions to fill your Warband. If you’re greedy, upgrade.
Turn 7 (9 Gold): Buy one minion, upgrade.
Rafaam Curve Heroes:
Turn 1 (3 Gold): Buy
Turn 2 (4 Gold): Buy another minion, hero power.
Turn 3 (5 Gold): Buy another minion, hero power.
Turn 4 (6 Gold): Buy another minion, upgrade, hero power.
Turn 5 (7 Gold): Upgrade, hero power.
Turn 6 (8 Gold): Buy enough minions to fill your Warband. If you’re greedy, upgrade & hero power.
Turn 7 (9 Gold): Buy one minion, upgrade, hero power.
A.F. Kay, C’Thun, Chenvaala, Infinite Toki, Millhouse Manastorm, Y’Shaarj, Yogg-Saron, Forest Warden Omu, Jandice Barov, and Lord Barov have their own special curve.
A few of these we have covered in the past, which you can find below.
- How to play turn three in Battlegrounds
- The basics of Jandice Barov
- How to play Lord Barov in Battlegrounds
While there are exceptions, this is the most optimal way to upgrade to tier four. Sometimes, players in the lower ELOs do not understand this and have awkward turns where their gold and upgrade costs do not properly align. The tricky part is when it is time to upgrade to tier five. Here are some general rules for upgrading to tier five:
- When you are strong enough not to lose the next round, and you want to start looking for your win condition.
- Or when you have enough gold to triple and upgrade on the same turn.
Upgrading to tier five is often difficult, especially when players in your lobby are playing for mid-range and tempo. Keeping these two rules in mind should allow you to safely upgrade the next time you play. Remember, depending on your build, that you may not even need to upgrade to tier five.
Not understanding the nuances of key units
Not understanding the nuances in minion abilities includes cards such as Brann Bronzebeard, Cap’n Hoggarr (+ Salty Looter), Selfless Hero, and Annihilan Battlemaster.
For Brann Bronzebeard, you have to realize the extent of his abilities. As a rule of thumb, he is only beneficial for Murlocs, Mechs, Elementals, and to a lesser extent for the Pirates or Taunt builds. What these tribes have in common are multi-target buffs, or for Elementals, gives the extra value that synergizes with Lil’ Rag. An important trick that many players don’t understand is that Brann Bronzebeard makes cards like Tavern Tempest and Murozond free because they will give you two extra cards. Unless you’re running out of time, there is no reason not to buy them and see what you can get. Sometimes you can even get more gold if they have cards such as Sellemental or Freeloading Gambler.
For Cap’n Hoggarr, when you have a golden version or two of him, you must always buy any pirate when you have a Salty Looter in your Warband. There is absolutely no reason not to. You’re going to buy the minion, get two gold, then sell it. That’s free stats for your Salty Looter.
Selfless Hero is arguably the second-best minion in the game after Amalgadon. If you need a minion to take hit by a cleave, be a bumper, or to give your minions another chance to attack, then buy a Selfless Hero. However, don’t fall into the trap of buying Selfless Hero too early; his true potential is in the mid to late-game stage, not in the early game.
Annihilan Battlemaster, and most other battlecry minions, is best tripled when you have two Battlemasters already in play. Do not buy the Battlemaster; play it, then buy two more. You will lose so many stats, as Annihilan Battlemaster’s power comes from his Battlecry, which grants him a lot of health.
Oh, and a small note: Sell Steward of Time when you see two minions you want to buy.
One more important thing you should understand is knowing which minions help you create a certain build. Please refer to our composition guides to know which minions are your key cards.
Lacking knowledge of how to play your current hero
There are way too many heroes that have their special way to play. I do suggest researching more on heroes on how they do their curves and turns. What their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to take advantage of their abilities. I hope down the line; we will have a guide for every hero. However, for now, we have a simple tips for all Battlegrounds heroes article, which should help you get started! Our most recent hero guide covers the Battlegrounds hero Deathwing.
The importance of Money Management
Do not waste gold. If you can help it, do not reroll. You need to frequently buy minions to keep your Warband strong. Replace your weaker minions with ones that can trade upward. Pick up strong pairs so you can find yourself a triple. Buy Menagerie Jugs or any other AoE buff cards constantly.
Do not waste gold on single targeted buffs unless you have a Brann or have leftover gold and need to spend it on something. If you already have a win condition, such as Mama Bear, do not start buying Brann Bronzebeard or Cap’n Hoggars. That is unless Bob just feeds you cards that can help you pivot into a better situation. If you get a turn where you are upgrading or making a triple, think about what your gold will look like, what minions you can sell, and how much gold you can work. If you have a hero power that costs gold, factor in how much gold you plan to spend before you can use your hero power. Do not make your Warband weaker just because you want to use your hero power.
Always think ahead.
Thinking ahead is just the most important tip I can give anyone. Think of the cards you need in the future. Think of who you will be fighting next and what card you can use to beat them. If they’re elementals, then try and find a Deadly Spore. If they’re mechs, try and find an Unstable Ghoul. Look at your Warband and think what cards can save you right now.
Maybe you’re Mechs, and you really want to find Metaltooth Leaper and Mechano Egg to go with your Deflect-o-Bots. You reroll five times and don’t find anything. Maybe it’s best you just settle for whichever strong minion they offer to replace your weakest minion. Even if it’s a small upgrade, it could be the difference between a 100% loss or having a 10% chance to win.
Ask yourself questions like:
-For what am I looking?
-If I upgrade now, will I still be in a good spot?
-How do I guarantee a top 4 victory?
-How do I beat the last few remaining players?
-What does my gold look like if I make these purchases?
-Do I really want to freeze for that?
-What minions do I sell?
-Would a Selfless Hero or Deadly Poison/Maexxna be better right now than this minion?
-Is this minion going to scale fast enough?
-Is this minion even helping me at all?
-Do I need to use my hero power at this turn?
-Is this triple a bait?
You could ask a million other questions, but stuff like this is what I ask myself. And that’s it, ten mistakes that under 6k players make. These questions are in no particular order and should all equally be aspects you can improve on yourself. I hope to see you all climb to a higher ladder rank, win more games, and stay away from Bob’s disgusting spicy pretzel mustard.
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