Captain Hooktusk Battlegrounds Guide
Battlegrounds Hearthstone Hero Guide

Everything you need to know about Captain Hooktusk

Captain Hooktusk is among the strongest heroes in Battlegrounds patch 20.2.2. Learn all about her unique play-style with our latest guide.

Captain Hooktusk is back to her throne of being one of the best heroes in Battlegrounds as of Patch 20.2.2. After her numerous changes, we are now at the fourth iteration of her hero power.

The strength of Trash for Treasure is its ability to create value and potential triples. The key to this hero power is using it on Murloc Tidehunter and Alleycat tokens and finding either another one of those minions or value cards such as Sellemental, Deck Swabbie, or Sun-Bacon Relaxer. Its other strength is being able to find triples from the small minion pool of tavern-tier one. Demons are one of Hooktusk’s best tribes simply because of her ability to find Wrath Weavers and triple them easily.

Looking for something different? Why not read Mewwy’s guide to Xyrella, or HZs guide to Guff Runetotem instead. Two of the most powerful heroes that got added to Battlegrounds in the 20.2.2 expansion.

What tribes are most important for Captain Hooktusks’ success and how to utilize each

Captain Hooktusk performs best with the following tribes. Murlocs and Beasts are the obvious two, with Demons, Elementals, Pirates, and Quilboars having some of the most desirable outcomes with Trash for Treasure. 

The Murloc and Beast tribe are vital to playing Captain Hooktusk due to their so-called “token” minions. Murloc Tidehunter and Alleycat both create an additional target for Trash for Treasure and assist you in finding triples much more consistently in the early game. 

Another benefit these minions allow for is a strong turn one. By using Trash for Treasure on your first turn, you get the chance at becoming stronger than the majority of Battlegrounds heroes in the first one to three turns. 

The strength of Pirates for Captain Hooktusk

As you discover these minions with your hero power, you also have the option of not playing a unit like Deck Swabbie on your first turn. (Note: That only applies in situations where you already utilized your hero power) Sometimes you get the option to discover Deck Swabbie multiple times from Trash for Treasure, which allows you to get ahead in the tavern-tier or to have more gold available to you throughout the game. 

Captain Hooktusk also benefits from the Pirate tribe through the Dread Admiral Eliza build, which utilizes Scallywag. Finding Scallywag is sometimes difficult due to many available units when you reach Tavern-five and above—because of that, utilizing Trash for Treasure here again makes your game plan more consistent. 

The Tavern-tier one strength of Demons, Quilboar, and Elementals.

Demons, Quilboar, and Elementals all have a similarity. Each of these tribes has one or more uniquely powerful tier-one units. Since Trash for Treasure allows you to target tier-one units to create new tier-one units, you get to utilize each of these extremely efficiently. For example, the Demon Tribe has Wrath Weaver, arguably one of the best one-drops in the game. But that isn’t all, as both Vulgar Homonculus and Fiendish Servant are also tier-one units, both of which enable future discoveries and grow your Wrath Weavers. 

Another example would be the Quilboar tribe. Whether you are simply building mid-range Quilboar or if you find yourself with an Aggem Thorncurse build, you want to use Trash for Treasure to create additional Razorfen Geomancer or Sun-Bacon Relaxer’s to increase your supply of Blood Gems. 

Elementals are one of the “weaker” Tribes, but it is always nice to find additional Sellemental or even Refreshing Anomaly. Generating additional income is immensely powerful in Battlegrounds and should never be underestimated. 

Getting started with Captain Hooktusk, the early rounds.

Turn one is very important for Captain Hooktusk, so prepare to make these decisions before getting into a game. The two best units to find, as mentioned before, are Murloc Tidecaller and Alleycat. Finding either of these is ideal but not always an option. If you happen to miss out, look for minions with a helpful Battlecry such as Deck Swabbie, Razorfen Geomancer, or Refreshing Elemental. Unless you happen to find a Sellemental as your best choice, you should always utilize Trash for Treasure to improve your overall chances at finding an Alleycat or Murloc Tidehunter. 

On turn two, you have two options. Either follow the standard Battlegrounds leveling curve by spending your gold on raising your Tavern and utilizing Trash for Treasure to improve your overall board. The other option is preferred if you find an Alleycat or Murloc Tidehunter in your shop. Buy them, and forgo the tavern upgrade if you don’t have the gold. 

It gets a bit complicated to articulate what you are supposed to do next. As a rule of thumb, you want to reach Tavern-tier three by turn five. Depending on your gold at turn six, you can reach tier four early by using all of your gold next turn. In Patch 20.2.2., if you are waiting to triple a minion, you should wait until you reach Tavern-tier five and try to find a win condition by discovering a tier six.

The midgame with Captain Hooktusk.

As with all heroes, there are a near-infinite number of options in the midgame. To decide your best approach to the game, you need to understand how well you are doing in your current lobby. To assess your strength, here are a few questions you should ask yourself throughout the midgame. 

  • How much health do I have left? 

Think about it, can you take the time to look for a higher tavern minion, or should you try and find tier-four minions to preserve your health.

  • If I triple my units right now to find a higher tavern-tier minion the following turn after raising my Tavern, do I take a lot of damage? Am I strong enough to survive the attack(s)? 

Another way to think about this is deciding how much health you are willing to sacrifice to find a higher tavern unit. Are you at near forty life? Then it’s probably safe to take some massive risks. Are you at 25 or less? Then you might not have that same luxury. 

  • How good are the Tavern five or Six units for me right now? 

Look at your current board, are there any units that move you to a winning position. Then separate the minions you are thinking of into two groups, the one(s) that allow you to take first place and the ones which allow you to reach the top four spots comfortably. Now think about what would happen if you don’t find these units. Do you have any comeback plan, or is the game over if you miss? Understanding this risk and reward balance is one of the toughest aspects of Battlegrounds and something you will get better at with time. 

A handholding guide to Captain Hooktusk’s turns one to seven. 

Some of you won’t be needing this level of simplicity and handholding in your guide to Captain Hooktusk. If that is you, feel free to skip ahead to the composition guide below. 

Now let’s go through Captain Hooktusk’s curve. To the best of my ability, here are the three main lines of play Captain Hooktusk takes throughout a game of Battlegrounds. The three main build paths include Captain Hooktusks ideal build path, the common build path, and a delayed-token generator curve. None of these lines assume you find a Deck Swabbie as one of your options, as Deck Swabbie drastically changes your options throughout the game. With a near-endless number of different options, it would simply be too difficult to put those into words. 

The Ideal curve for Captain Hooktusk.

  1. Buy Murloc Tidecaller, Trash for Treasure(ToT) on Murloc Scout, and discover a strong one-drop. (Options include: Sun-Bacon Relaxer, Alleycat, Sellemental, Refreshing Anomaly, Deck Swabbie, or another Murloc Tidecaller.)
  2. Upgrade Tavern to Tier-two. ToT, the worst unit on board for mild improvement. 
  3. Sell your worst unit; buy the two strongest available. ToT the worst minion unless it is a part of a pair or when your entire remaining board is relatively strong. 
  4. Buy the two best minions again. Keep in mind pairs, as they are very important for Captain Hooktusk. ToT your worst minion if needed. Don’t if they are a pair, or if your board are all relatively strong.
  5. (Seven Gold) Tavern up to Tavern Three. If you find a triple here, try and hold it if it is possible to get a better reward in a later turn. 
  6. Turn six and seven are incredibly complex. However, if you believe you are strong enough relative to the remainder of your lobby, consider raising your tavern to Tavern-four. Doing so does (almost) guarantee you take a hit in situations your opponent doesn’t tavern up alongside you, causing you to lose eight to ten health. The alternative is to improve your board state further and tavern up in the following turn. 
  7. If we have a triple prepared here from before, go ahead and tavern up to Tavern-five to find a tier-six unit. Even if this causes you to be down a minion, you are probably better off getting the tier-six for the coming turns. The alternative is to simply improve your Warband as much as possible to try and find a workable Tavern-four team until you find a way to pivot to the end-game. 

The common curve for Captain Hooktusk:

  1. Without a token-start on turn one, simply buy the best available minion following the list from earlier, and use Trash for Treasure(ToT) to attempt to find one. If your best option is a Sellemental, hold it for later.
  2. Keep an eye out for Murloc Tidecaller or Alleycat, then Tavern to Two. If you happen to find one, follow the turn-two token curve instead found below. If you have Sellemental, simply hold. Use ToT if it improves your chances of finding a token minion or stronger overall minion.
  3. Sell your minion; buy the best two available minions. If you bought Sellemental earlier, sell Sellemental, ToT the Water Droplet, and purchase your two best options. Suppose Bob is out to get you and offers you nothing of value, upgrade to Tavern-three. Doing so is quite risky, but sometimes you have no other options. 
  4. Buy the best two minions available. Pairs often have priority, but some power units aren’t worth passing up. Great examples include Bronzewarden or Deflect-o-bot when Dragons or Mechs are in the game. 
  5. (Seven Gold) Upgrade to Tavern-three. (Unless you did before if so, buy the best units to fill your board.) Hold onto your triple if you happen to find one here. If not, buy the strongest unit to go alongside raising your tavern. ToT your worst minion if you have options for improvement.
  6. Turns six and seven depend a lot on your position in the lobby. If you are having trouble surviving, stay on tavern-three and improve your Warband to preserve health. The alternative, when you have a triple ready to go, raise your Tavern and hold your triple until you can discover a tavern five or six in the following turn(s). 
  7. If you remained on tavern-three, you now need to upgrade to start finding stronger scaling units. If you upgraded before, improve your board, or triple into a Tavern-five or Tavern-six unit. 

The backup strategy for Captain Hooktusk, finding a token on the Second turn. 

  1. As always, buy the strongest unit you can. The backup strategy starts on turn two, where you find a token after your first buying turn. 
  2. Turn two, buy the token unit. Use Trash for Treasure(ToT) on the generated token and look for additional tokens, Sellementals, or a Deck Swabbie. If you find one, sell as many minions as you need to and upgrade your Tavern. Doing so allows you to catch up to the Ideal Captain Hooktusk curve above. If you don’t have that luxury, proceed to turn three.
  3. First, use your ability ToT on your worst unit. If you find a Deck Swabbie, you can upgrade while purchasing an additional minion. That also works if you find a Deck Swabbie in Bob’s Tavern. After this, always upgrade to Tavern-two. Sell a minion if it allows you to upgrade your board. Or sell it to find a pair to prepare for later. 
  4. Buy the two best units in Bob’s Tavern. Use ToT if necessary. 
  5. (Seven Gold) Upgrade to Tavern-three, sell a minion to buy a stronger one (if needed). Use ToT on your worst unit if you can benefit from it.
  6. Turn six is the time to make your board as strong as possible. Buy strong units, switch out others, do whatever you need to do. Alternatively, if you have a triple prepared, raise your Tavern to Tavern-four. 
  7. Here you either have the option to raise your tavern to Tavern-five if you have a triple ready to go. Or, in situations without a triple or a game plan, buy the strongest Warband you can, and hope for a way out. Sometimes it just works out in a way where you need to mitigate your losses, a vital aspect of Battlegrounds.

How Captain Hooktusk can use the Shinese Curve.

Follow the Shinese Curve only when Murlocs, Alleycat, Elementals are available. A nice addition is the Mech Tribe, but that isn’t a prerequisite.

  1. Buy a token generator or any good 1 drop. Hero power if necessary.
  2. Buy a token generator. Hero power the token. If you are lucky and have multiple tokens or sellementals, use those to buy another minion but do not break up your pair. If you cannot find good token generators, Wrath Weaver + Demons, or Acolyte of C’Thun and Micro Machine helps you keep up your strength.
  3. Buy good tier 1’s. Pairs or strong minions. Hero power if necessary, but try not to triple so early if it results in a loss of tempo.
  4. Buy two minions. Delay any triples if possibly. Save up as much gold as you can. Hero power if necessary
  5. Upgrade to T2. Sell one minion. Upgrade to T3. Hero power if necessary.
  6. Upgrade to T4. Triple if you can. If you believe you are strong enough to not take enough damage with one tier 5, then save any other triples for a tier 6 next turn.

The best uses for Trash for Treasure in various Battlegrounds compositions

Since there are a near-endless number of uses for Trash for Treasure, here is a cheat sheet you can use to get an idea of how you best use Trash for Treasure for your current build when playing Captain Hooktusk. For the sake of not making the article the length of your college books, let’s only cover the common and strong builds in Battlegrounds, in addition to the ones Captain Hooktusk uniquely excels. 

One vital tip I want to share before the cheat sheet: – ALWAYS – use Trash for Treasure(ToT) if you are simply selling your minion for the turn. The most common situation here is in turns you Tavern up, where you don’t have much use for ToT anyway. If you use ToT on a unit, you at least give yourself the option to get a unit of some benefit. 

Brann Bronzebeard Murlocs Warband: 

The moment you find Brann Bronzebeard, use Trash for Treasure on units from Tavern-tier four or five. Doing so allows you to find your best unit, Primalfin Lookout or Toxfin, from excess Tavern five units. Or to find buffs such as Coldlight Seer and Felfin Navigator from tier three. 

The Bird Beast (Monstrous Macaw) build:

While Captain Hooktusk is more limited in options here, ToT has a great use on temporary cards like Defender of Argus, Vermin Sensei, Menagerie Jug, or even Savannah Highmane to find additional Monstrous Macaw.


Deflect-o-Bot and Mechs Warband:

A common pick-up for the Deflect-o-Bot Warband is the buff card Screwjank Clunker. One of the best uses for ToT in the composition synergizes with that by giving you a chance at finding Metaltooth Leapers to continue buffing your units. Another option is in situations where you triple for a Tavern-five minion, and it is of no use. Using ToT allows you to find many strong Tavern-four units, such as Annoy-o-Module, Security Rover, Mechano-Egg, Groundshaker, Bolfar, Fireblood, Drakonid Enforcer, and Qiraji Harbinger.


Wrath Weaver Demons: 

As mentioned earlier, one of the best uses for ToT is to find demons for your Wrath Weaver composition. Using your ability on tier one or two units gives you a high chance at finding Demons due to the overall small number of available tavern-one minions in Battlegrounds. 

Always look for Wrath Weavers until you have a golden one, then find all the Demons you need to keep your board growing. 

As previously stated, using your hero power on tier one or two minions has a better chance at finding a demon minion due to the small minion pool of tier one. Keep looking for Wrath Weaver until you triple him, then afterward doing it to find demons such as Vulgar Homunculus (assuming you have Mal’Ganis) or Fiendish Servant to keep Wrath Weaver buffed up. 

Nomi, Kitchen Nightmare & Elementals: 

Captain Hooktusk synergizes quite well in the mid-game with both primary Elemental builds. However, the Nomi, Kitchen Nightmare build performs far better with ToT than the Lil’Rag version of the Tribe. The main reason is that you frequently get low-tier Elementals from your ability, which simply aren’t as impactful for Lil’Rag Elemental Warbands. 

On the other hand, Nomi utilizes these same small elementals extremely well. The main unit you are looking for is Sellemental, which generates an additional gold and buffs the elementals in Bob’s Tavern twice. 

Dread Admiral Eliza & Scallywag Warband:

As mentioned before, Pirates has quite some good options for Trash for Treasure. Besides finding Scallywag or Deck Swabbie’s, the main use is on the Tavern-three buffing Pirates, Southsea Strongarm and Bloodsail Cannoneer. If you use ToT on these, you have a decent chance at finding Freedealing Gamblers, which generate additional economy. If you happen to miss, the Tavern-two’s can become chances at more Scallywag or Deck Swabbies instead.

Kalecgos Dragons: 

Once you have Kalegos and an ensemble of dragons, use your hero power to look out for battlecries. Depending on the tribes available, when you hero power a battlecry minion, choose which tier has the most battlecries. As these numbers are different in every game, we’ll update this post with a link to our upcoming minion information guide in the future.

The Aggem Menagerie Warband: 

The Aggem Menagerie Warband, similar to Groundshaker or standard Quillboar build, really needs Blood Gems to work. Hero powering Tier one & two minions to find Sun-Bacon Relaxer or even Razorfen Geomancer makes your build steadily stronger than your opponents. In an ideal situation, you purchase Razorgen Geomancer and then ToT it to find Sun-Bacon Relaxer to find three Gems for only two gold. 

The Brann Bronzebeard Menagerie Warband: 

The old-school Brann Bronzebeard Menagerie Warband focuses on finding strong Battlecry units such as Menagerie Jug. Using ToT on tavern five minions like Tavern Tempest or Murozond works best, as they cost less gold to discover. (Or free, if you have Brann Bronzebeard already.)

Even if you happen to miss the Menagerie Jug, there are many valuable Tavern-four minions worth picking up. These include Vermin Sensei, Annoy-o-Module, Primalfin Lookout, Toxfin, and Defender of Argus for the buff/utility aspect. Other minions like Cave Hydra, Ring Matron, Wildfire Elemental, Mechano-Egg, or even Bonker are possible upgrades you can find for the early stages of your Menagerie team as well. 

Closing thoughts for our favorite Captain

Overall, Captain Hooktusk is an extremely versatile hero, with Trash for Treasure simply being an incredible ability. Captain Hooktusk’s ability to find triples allows her to synergize with nearly every Tribe in Battlegrounds, particularly those with strong Tavern-six units such as Quilboars, Dragons, Pirates, and even Elementals. It is important to remember that you NEED the Beast and Murloc tribe for the optimal Captain Hooktusk game. While it is technically playable without, it very significantly hurts the winrate of the hero overall. 

Mechs may not be as effective on Captain Hooktusk due to her inability to create her own stat buffs, but that should not discourage you from playing Mechs if Bob offers the right cards for you to start the build. Her hero power is versatile enough that is can still help out by searching for key cards.

Try and use this guide to understand how Captain Hooktusk works and why she is just so effective right now. I hope to see you all climb, get better, and stay away from Bob’s disgusting pretzel mustard.

For more of Mewwy’s Battlegrounds content, follow on Twitch, Twitter, or join our discord! The Captain Hooktusk guide is part of AceGameGuides’ Battlegrounds heroes series. Find more of our recent coverage on heroes including Deathwing, C’thun, and Maiev Shadowsong. For something different, find our latest guide to Dancin’ Deryl, a hero returning to popularity in patch 20.2.2.

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