Hearthstone Battlegrounds Basics guide by Mewwy
Hearthstone Battlegrounds is a fun and exciting game mode that many players are starting to enjoy. While simple to start, you might not know what you are supposed to do. Between minions, tavern tiers, gold, freezing, tribes, and heroes, It’s a lot to take in, which is not quickly obvious to many players. If you’re looking for a good starting point – look no further because here is an easy and simple to understand guide to get started in Battlegrounds.
The basics of starting a game of Hearthstone Battlegrounds
Gold is the primary resource in Battlegrounds and is, in many ways, its most important to understand mechanics.
You start from 3 gold, and it increases each turn with a cap of 10.
The game starts with your favorite bald-headed, bartender Bob offering three minions to you. Most minions have certain advantages and disadvantages to picking them. Ignoring any nuances from hero choice, the order you should prioritize your initial minion pick is as follows.
- Token generator (Sellemental, Murloc Tidehunter Alley Cat)
- Strong minions (Rockpool Hunter, Dragonspawn Lieutenant, Scallywag, Red Whelp, Vulgar Homunculus)
However, some of the other minions have additional benefits, which make them worth prioritizing over the strong minions, with certain pairs or three-unit choices. For example, Wrath Weaver is worth considering if you find one or more strong demons to go alongside it in the opening round.
Refreshing Anomaly, on the other hand, grants you a free reroll that you can save until you use it. One particularly strong turn to use the free reroll is on turn seven, where you upgrade to tavern three & look for a tier-three minion to go alongside it.
The strength of Token Generators in Hearthstone Battlegrounds
Token generators may not be the strongest in the first two turns, but you can sell a token by the third turn and purchase two minions or do an early tavern upgrade. The majority of heroes gladly would take any of these minions over any other just for that extra minion advantage in the mid-game.
You purchase the strong minions for the high chance that you won’t take any damage in the upcoming two fights. You often do not want to pick the other cards unless you have a synergy going on or whenever Bob decides you have won enough for today and gives you no other choice.
I hope you picked a good first minion and won the first fight. Now, it is turn two, and you got four gold. What should you do now?
The first key decision in Hearthstone Battlegrounds
At this point, you might be thinking that you will spend your next round of gold on buying another minion to strengthen your Warband further. However, most of the time, you’re better off leveling your Tavern Tier to two instead. The reason for this is that Tier one minions are generally quite bad. Except for Wrath Weaver, Tier one’s are mostly incapable of scaling into the late game, and their stat lines match up poorly against most of the stronger tier two minions in a fight.
While most heroes level to tier two, several heroes use something called the Rafaam-curve instead, named after Arch-Villain Rafaam. You use the Rafaam-Curvet buying pattern when you want to use a single gold every turn to activate your Hero Power.
The following heroes:
Captain Eudora, Captain Hooktusk, Dinotamer Brann, King Mukla, Lord Barov, Lord Jaraxxus (If you have a demon on turn one), Maiev Shadowsong, Pyramid, and Queen Wagtoggle all join this little club of smashing your hero power button as much as you can. While I won’t go too in-depth in this guide, just remember that these heroes want to always save a piece of gold for their ability.
Turn five – Hearthstone Battlegrounds
Turn five is an odd turn – you only have five gold, so you’re one gold short of straight-up buying two minions. Unless you’re doing the Rafaam-curve, the most common practice is to sell your minion or the token you bought at tier one and buy the two best Tier-two minions from Bob’s Tavern. You’re generally looking for things with strong stat lines, like Imprisoner, or strong effects, like Kaboom Bot or Spawn of N’zoth.
However, there are games you will bust – perhaps Bob only offers you more weak Tier one’s again. In this situation, you have two choices:
- Sell your minion or token to upgrade directly to Tier three. At this point, upgrading costs six gold, so by selling a minion, you can skip Tier two entirely! It is a very risky play, as you will certainly lose this round and often the next one too. However, it can be the best option if you were going to lose anyway from poor minion choices, as it puts you ahead of everyone on Tavern Tiers, giving you better minions to pick in the next turn.
- Reroll once or twice for better minions: The reroll option is usually not recommended as it’s the least efficient way to use up your gold, but it’s a much safer play than directly upgrading. Like Ragnaros the Firelord, some heroes require both winning early battles and not losing too much health early on. Because of that, option one is not an option for Ragnaros the Firelord specifically.
Turn six & seven looking for pairs and synergy
Turn six is when you start looking for two things: Pairs and Synergies.
It’s not common for Bob to offer you pairs, but it’s a great idea to pick up a strong pair when you see one. Triples are an important way to get the lead on your opponents, as it gives you an improved version of the minion you tripled, and lets you get a minion from the next tier.
If you don’t see a pair, the best thing to do is to find synergy. Metaltooth Leaper with a Harvest Golem is a strong pair, as is an Imprisoner buffed by a Nathrezim Overseer. I like to count up how much stats I’ll gain by buying a specific minion. Doing this lets you easily evaluate minions’ worth that gives stats to others, like Spawn of N’zoth.
Turn seven is mostly straight forward. You upgrade to tier three if you haven’t yet and buy one of Bob’s minions. If the choices he gives you are weak and you still have one of your token generators, you have the option to reroll and hope for a better minion. If you bought a Refreshing Anomaly at turn one, then now would be the best time to reroll for a better minion.
Rarely, you do not upgrade on this turn. Doing so holds you back severely unless you have certain hero-specific strategies in mind.
Turn eight is where the game gets complicated – Hearthstone Battlegrounds
Assuming you have five to seven minions right now, you got many things to keep in mind; the Hearthstone Battlegrounds Basics guide helps you make the right decisions. Do you have a hero power that costs any gold? If so, turn eight is a great turn to use it! If you don’t have to press the button, you still have a few choices.
Selling one minion and buying three is usually done when Bob gives you two good choices or when one of the choices is a triple and the other minions aren’t so bad. By buying two useful minions, you can bank one more minion and use it for gold in a later turn. If one of the minions is a triple, you can freeze it for the next turn instead of buying it to get a Tier five minion, as they are often the most crucial minions in your build.
Rerolling or going for a tripple
Rerolling once or twice when looking for solid minions is usually done when your initial choices aren’t good. Look for strong minions like Bronze Guardian or powerful synergies like an Imprisoner + Soul Juggler, but make sure you still buy at least two minions – something is still better than nothing. Some Tier three’s scale up into the end game reasonably well, like Soul Juggler with demons or the pirate Salty Looter, so keep an eye out for them if you’ve already started building around those tribes.
Using up all your gold to upgrade doesn’t happen often. You do it if you got a triple ready, you want that tier five, the choices Bob gives you besides the triple are bad, and you have enough health to spend to get hit (somewhere above 26 health). While its a rare option, it is worth considering.
Reaching ten gold – Making decisions.
Generally, you’ll be tiering up and buying one minion this turn – either from Tier three or four, depending on whether you saved a minion to sell for a reroll.
But what if you’re doing poorly? If you’ve been unlucky so far, you might find yourself very low on health – below 20, and even worse, you might be fighting someone who’s been doing great! Consider staying at Tier three instead, buying minions to strengthen your board instead of spending it on upgrading your tavern. The strategy to stay at the lower tier is especially important if you’re playing a hero like Ragnaros or Bigglesworth, whose abilities depend on staying alive as long as possible. Heroes who gain power from the act of purchasing minions, such as Edwin VanCleef or Dancin’ Deryl, are also worthy considerations for this line of play.
So this entire time, I’ve been advising that you buy pairs. If your luck is good, you should be able to have tripled into a tier five minion to give you a game plan. But if you never got a triple or tier five was a bust, it’s not all bad news. You can still stay strong with certain tier four minions and maintain a powerful board that way. Eventually, you could find a triple and tier up to find a tier six instead.
But that begs the question. What minions should you buy?
Picking which minions to buy.
From three to eight gold, you do not really have a choice on what to pick. You pick the best minion with the highest stats that can fight. Simple enough, but once you have more gold at hand, levels on your tier, and more choices to pick from, you may be overwhelmed on what to do.
A typical board turn eight board state.
Let’s take turn eight as an example. Since it’s the first turn you have the maximum amount of gold to work with:
Your first instinct might be to pick another pair if it’s a strong pair, like the Deflect-o-Bot. Doing so is fine, as you can start looking for the triple while maintaining a reasonable level of strength. However, not all pairs are made equal. In this example, the Dragonspawn Lieutenants on the right have already lost their relevance in combat at this point in the game. You have to start replacing your weakest minions with Tier three & four minions, or your Warband becomes unable to compete with the rest of the tavern.
What if Bob isn’t giving you what you want?
If Bob refuses to give you your triples, start removing your weakest minions and instead look for synergies. In this case, you might want to start looking for mech synergies, as you can form a much stronger pair with two Deflect-o-Bots and the majority of the board is already mech-based. But again, don’t reroll too much – you can also just pick up Tier four minions with strong stats like Savannah Highmane if Bob doesn’t offer you any good synergies either.
Remember that it’s not always possible to get to first place – a top four in this game counts as a victory. Lasting longer in the lobby by picking up individually strong minions is better than dying outright desperately trying to find a triple or synergy. Your Warband might end up looking a bit confused and directionless, but as long as you can outlast half the lobby, that’s a victory!
Figuring out a win condition in Hearthstone Battlegrounds
If you manage to get a triple, you have to consider what win condition you can do. Generally, you want to look for the minions that could help you scale to the late game or one that synergizes with the type of minions you have been buying. I’ll elaborate more on this in a future article, but try to find a minion that gives you a win condition.
Alright, you know what you’re looking for, you know what you need to do to win, and all that fancy stuff. But did you figure out what your goal is for this lobby yet?
What is your goal in mind in this lobby?
You probably think that your goal is to get to first place and win the lobby. Imagine this: you’re the lucky guy that got a triple at turn eight, found a Nomi, Kitchen Nightmare, and every elemental in the game just showed up for Nomi’s godawful cooking. It’s turn eleven, and you are buying elements that have +20/+20 buff on their stats. You are probably on your way to winning 1st in your lobby. The same goes if you find any early win condition that I previously mentioned. Take advantage of that minion, find any further synergies, and work your way to the top.
Example of a game that’s aiming for the top four rather than first place.
Changing your goals – Hearthstone Battlegrounds Basics
But what if you can’t do that? You’re on tier four, you had no triples, you have almost no health, and you know that leveling up to tier five will kill you because you didn’t use your gold for minions. You got to try your best to survive with what you got. What are your heroes’ strengths, what minions do you have, and what does your opponent have?
Generally, it’s best to invest in divine shield minions as they essentially have two lives. Give them all of the buffs you can and create your strength from there. It is possible to make it to fourth or even third with cards like Majordomo Executus, Bolvar Fireblood, Drakonid Enforcer, Menagerie Jug, Mechano-Egg, or even just poisoned Murlocs.
As I mentioned before, you have to realize that your goal isn’t always to make it to first place. Sometimes you just need to survive to Top four – or at least as long as possible. Knowing when to play for survival and when to play for victory is a key quality to succeed in Battlegrounds, and it’s something you’ll learn through experience.
The same game a few turns later – while I couldn’t win, I transitioned into something that managed to last until 3rd place.
Some Closing Thoughts:
I hope this was a helpful guide to all of you. Battlegrounds is a great game, but I know many players get lost on how to play it exactly, so I hope this makes a clear strategy on what you can do with your turns.
Remember that this is only a beginner’s primer. Every hero plays differently, and certain heroes will value some minions or strategies over others, even if it requires some thinking outside of the box. That’s for another time, though – so good luck, get out there, and stay away from Bob’s spicy pretzel mustard.
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