Updated Sept. 17 for the Dancin’ Deryl Buff.
After the Quilboar nerfs in the recent 20.2.2 Hearthstone update, the old “mech heroes” came back to power. For those unfamiliar with the term, “Mech Heroes” describes heroes that thrive on their mid-game tempo to cruise into the top four spots consistently, such as Kael’Thas, or Edwin Vancleef. Right now, Dancin’ Deryl should be in your arsenal of heroes to consistently climb in Battlegrounds. Especially in the lower ranks of Battlegrounds, the mid-game strength of Dancin’ Deryl is vital. In the current meta, you can use Dancin Deryl’ to the Leaderboards.
Don’t believe it? I recently used Dancin’ Deryl as one of my primary heroes, reaching an 80% Top-four rate with Dancin’ Deryl on my way to the Leaderboards. That climb led to me updating the guide to Dancin’ Deryl, one of my all-time favorite Battlegrounds heroes.
For more of HZ’s articles, find his latest covering Guff Runetotem below.
How does Hat Trick work?
With the latest Battlegrounds patch, 21.0.3, Dancin’ Deryl got a major upgrade. After a small fall from grace, Hat Trick! now provides a third hat after each minion you sell.
Each time you sell (any) minion back to Bob’s Tavern, Dancin’ Deryl throws three* hats at the minions currently in Bob’s Tavern. Every hat given by Dancin’ Deryl grants a permanent health and attack buff to the minion that wears it, which is lost if you sell that minion. If there is more than one minion left in the Tavern, the hats go to random targets.
Even if you have a shop full of minions, there are no restrictions on how many hats each minion gets. For example, if there are five minions, and you sell two of your minions, it is (while very unlikely) possible that one minion receives all of the hats.
How do you best use Hat Trick to your advantage?
With Dancin’ Deryl, your goal is to remove “Random” from Hat Trick. The most common strategy, commonly referred to as “Dancing,” buys all but one unit from Bob’s Tavern. After which, the player sells the minions, tokens, and other things that they might have saved up, allowing Dancin’ Deryl to “dance” on a specific minion, granting it a massive health and attack buff.
In most situations, buying a unit from Bob’s Tavern costs three gold and sells back for one gold. Using the baseline of two gold for two hats, we can say that each of Dancin’ Deryl’s gold is worth one hat, or a +1 health and +1 attack buff. Therefore, spending our gold on rerolling or imperfect use of gold costs you stats. Gold being equal to stats is very important to consider, especially in the earlier rounds. Often you aren’t quite happy with the minions in Bob’s Tavern. That creates a situation where you have to balance losing stats with what you get from the chance at a better Dancing target or simply finding better minions to buy.
Dancing on the right target – What minions you are looking for with Dancin’ Deryl.
The best Dancing targets for Dancin’ Deryl are units that use the extra stats better than other minions. By default, any minion with Divine Shield is much better than most minions in Battlegrounds. Stats are extremely effective with Divine Shield since the first attack that minion deals or receives doesn’t damage your unit.
Another great example of a good Dancing target is Cave Hydra. Cleave is one of the strongest effects in Battlegrounds, and it scales very well with additional stats. However, the drawback here is that Cave Hydra is a Tavern-four unit, and therefore much tougher to find as it won’t be available to you until later in the game, and fewer copies exist overall.
However, finding a Divine Shield minion isn’t always an option. Sometimes you don’t have another option but to Dance on something suboptimal. However, within the “suboptimal” category are several options that are much better than the alternative “vanilla” units. One option is to find a unit that scales throughout the game, such as Rabid Saurolisk or Hangry Dragon. The other option is to settle for any Mech unit and to find an Annoy-o-Module to attach to it to grant the Mech Divine Shield.
If you happen to come across one of the following, they are also worthwhile substitute options for Dancin’ Deryl.
- Wildfire Elemental
- Selfless Hero
- Rat Pack
What you need to pull off a Dance with Dancin’ Deryl.
There are two different stages of the game you will find yourself Dancing in. The first is at Tavern-tier two or three and requires a minimum of eight gold. The first strategy is simple and works like this:
- Buy two (or three if you are at nine or more gold) of the minions from Bob’s Tavern that you – Don’t – want to give buffs.
- (Optional) Sell one minion or token to the store, buy the remaining unit you DO NOT want to buff.
- Sell the minions you want to get rid of, and give as many hats as you can to the Dancing target. Ideally, you complete selling your units with three or seven gold.
- (Three gold) Buy the Dancing target with the buffs.
(Seven Gold) Buy the Dancing target, reroll once, and buy another unit.
The difference between Three and Seven gold comes from how many turns you have saved up minions. The three-gold option is most common from a one-turn Dance, as you can perform all these actions in a single turn from eight gold onward. The one-turn Dance is mainly reserved for when you are looking for improvements right away. Whether you are at a lower life total than you want to be, or if you Danced in the previous turn and found yourself with a good opportunity to Dance again right away. More on Dancin’ Deryl’s curve later on.
The Tribes & minions required for success on Dancin’ Deryl.
For Dancin’ Deryl, by far the most important tribe is Mech. Mechs give Deryl access to two of the strongest units for Hat Trick. These two mechs are Deflect-o-Bot and Annoy-o-Module. Besides Mechs, other tribes that Dancin’ Deryl synergizes well with include Dragons, for units such as Bronze Warden and Hangry Dragon. The Dragon Tribe also gives you access to Drakonid Enforcer, a minion that synergizes well with the Divine Shield units we are looking to pick up throughout the game.
Murlocs, Beasts, and Elementals are nice to find in your Dancin’ Deryl game as well, due to their access to “Token Minions.” Token minions such as Alleycat, Murloc Tidehunter, and Sellemental work well with Hat Trick as they give you +4/+4 buff in stats at only a one-gold cost. To make it simple, you can consider picking Dancin’ Deryl if Mechs and at least one token-Tribe are in the game.
Quilboars and Hat Trick
Quilboars, the tribe addition to Battlegrounds, is not the best fit for Dancin’ Deryl. As Deryl has a high opportunity cost to rerolling (+1/+1 stats, as mentioned earlier), it is often difficult to commit the resources needed to create a Quilboar composition. That isn’t to say you never end up playing a standard Quilboar composition. On occasion, Bob just leads you down that path, but you should force/commit to the build far less than with other traditional heroes due to Hat Trick’s inherent game plan.
However, there are two units worth talking about for Dancin’ Deryl. The first is Tough Tusk, which in some situations acts as a Divine Shield unit if you happen to have a good source of Blood Gem generation. While that isn’t a likely scenario due to Deryl’s Dance preparation of buying minions, it’s worth remembering when the opportunity presents itself. Once every while, that might help you reach a higher place than you otherwise might have.
The other unit of note is Bonker. Bonker is a solid unit to Dance on in the mid-game, as it is one of the few options that can attack twice and generate additional stats throughout the game. Each time Bonker gets to attack, he generates a Blood Gem, which you can use on any unit for a +1 Health and +1 Attack buff. The extra benefit of Bonker is enabling you to Dance on a Tough Tusk later in the game when you find yourself without a better target to Dance.
So, how should you approach a game of Deryl?
The key aspect to remember is that you just don’t scale into the late game. So, approach the game with that in mind. Play more aggressively, try and deal damage to your opponents early, and take advantage of when your opponents raise their Tavern. As Dancin’ Deryl doesn’t look to scale, raising your Tavern is much less beneficial. Past Tavern-three, where we get most of our key units and the optimal setup for Hat Trick, we simply don’t need to raise it anymore. Because of that, you don’t raise your Tavern past Tavern-four in the vast majority of games.
Something that gained a lot of popularity in the Quilboar meta is leveling up to Tavern-three early. That, however, is not something Dancin’ Deryl can afford. If you do, you won’t have the economy required to pull off a Dance before you lose too much Health, making it nearly impossible to reach the 2nd place that you try to reach.
A handholding guide to Dancin’ Deryl’s curve.
Once you get more comfortable with Dancin’ Deryl, you can make exceptions to the path below. To get started learning the hero, however, it is much easier to follow the early rounds of this game plan.
- (Three gold) Buy any minion. Token minions, as explained in the Tribes & minions section, are highly preferred.
- Tavern up to Tavern-two.
(2.B Situational: If you started without a Token minion on Turn one, it is recommended you Freeze a Token with a strong minion on round two if the opportunity presents itself.)
- (Five gold) Almost always sell one (Sell first) and then buy the best two minions after seeing your Hat Trick’s land.
(3.B Situational: If your shop is incredibly bad, you either reroll twice and buy the strongest minion you can find. Or you can take the big risk of raising your Tavern to three, which should truly be your last resort.)
- Pick up your two best minions. It’s worth freezing here if you are offered an additional token minion alongside the two you picked up.
- (Seven gold) Tavern up to Tavern-three. Buy a minion (any), preferably a token minion if available.
- At eight gold, you have a lot to consider.
- Dance: You can go off and Dance if you find a good enough target.
- Rerolling: You can spend two gold on rerolls and buy the two best options. That is by far the most common option to pursue, as it maximizes your chances of having a solid turn seven (nine gold), which is arguably the most important turn of your entire game as Dancin’ Deryl.
- Settling: You can buy a weak option, sell it, and buy the two best options in your current shop. (Only if you find two very strong minions in your first Tavern-three shop that aren’t worth Dancing on.)
- Last resort: If you didn’t start round one with a Token minion, you could consider selling your weakest minion and buying three minions from your current shop to create the strongest board possible for this round. However, if you don’t find a proper Dance target the following turn, you drastically fall behind on where you need to be.
- At the nine gold turn, you have two primary options:
- Ideally, you find a workable Dance target, and you go off to set yourself up for the coming rounds.
- If you don’t find the right target, sometimes you don’t have another option but to go for Tavern-four to try and maximize your chances for the following turn. The extra turn with an extremely weak board, however, comes with a near-guaranteed loss. Keep that in mind when making the turn seven decision, as sometimes you can’t afford to lose any more health. That also means you, on rare occasions, get forced into Dancing on a less-than-ideal target.
For more Battlegrounds content, take a look at HZ’s guide to Deathwing, another underrated hero in the current meta. More questions? Find HZ and the other Battlegrounds writers in the community Discord!