A common problem that struggling players have is figuring out for what cards they should be looking. One of my tips on how to improve in Battlegrounds is knowing what minions you should be searching for so you know how to spend your gold. But before you can do that, you have to know the optimal builds that can win you the game. Here are the optimal end game builds as of Battlegrounds patch 20.8.0. The article you are reading now is part of our Compositions series for Battlegrounds. Find our guides to all other compositions here.
Menagerie in Battlegrounds is a unique archetype as it covers basically every build with more than one minion type. There are various ways to build it while simultaneously utilizing the same few tools in different combinations. The outline below will be broad, but it should help you understand how to utilize and play the Menagerie Warband whenever you find yourself with one.
The other off-tribe Warbands we cover in this guide include Poison, Divine Shields, and the Taunt build.
Note: Amalgadon is the best minion in the game because it can scale high, get divine shield, and poison. But do be careful with it’s battlecry, if you fail, it can set you back really hard. It’s only consistent if Mechs and Murlocs are in the lobby.
Editor’s note: The Battlegrounds Revamp largely invalidated the Warbands included here. Find the updated Warbands of Patch 21.2 in our full catalog of Composition articles here.
When do you commit to a Menagerie Build?
The most common situation I pursue a Menagerie Build is when I find a Brann Bronzebeard or Lightfang Enforcer in Bob’s Tavern or as discover from a tavern-four triple up. However, it’s important not to always play for Menagerie whenever either of these pops up—your Warband’s tribes matter. If you, for example, have a board of murlocs, it may make more sense to follow a different path instead. Another great minion to combine or play alone in a Menagerie team is Mythrax the Unraveler. However, to play Mythrax Menagerie without the other two, you need minions of different tribes that are very strong on their own.
The importance of the available tribes for Menagerie
The available tribes in Battlegrounds matter a lot for the strength of your Menagerie Warband. For example, Pirates and Demons don’t scale well with your Menagerie Warband due to their lack of a specific effect like Poison, Cleave, or Divine Shield. On the other hand, The Mechs Tribe stands out as one of the strongest since it has access to both Cleave and Divine Shield.
However, if you find yourself with the Lightfang Enforcer build, you can’t be too picky about which tribes you pick up. Sometimes finding additional tribes matters more than which units of the tribe they are since Lightfang Enforcer doesn’t save up buffs from tribes you don’t have.
One of the most difficult aspects of learning to maximize Menagerie is balancing the available minions now and the ones you want in an ideal world. For example, a Cave Hydra is insane in a menagerie Warband, but if it takes you four more turns to find one, is it better than scaling your Kindly Grandmother now? That balance is a constant struggle and something that gets easier the more you try it, but there isn’t a definitive answer for it just yet.
The strengths and weaknesses of Menagerie
One strength of the Menagerie Warband is its ability to scale faster and more consistently than almost any single tribe in Battlegrounds. Another is its flexibility since you can include almost any minion in your Warband to make it work. The final benefit you shouldn’t forget is just how well Amalgadon functions in a Menagerie composition. Finding one or more Amalgadon’s significantly improves your chances of winning your lobby, as it gets benefits from every single buffing effect.
However, there are also downsides. A major one is that the tavern five minion pool is incredibly diluted currently. The diluting makes it much tougher to consistently find the composition dictators, Brann Bronzebeard, Lightfang Enforcer, and Mythrax the Unraveler to get started with your Menagerie team. However, one solution is to find Faceless Taverngoers since it allows you to triple your scaling enablers much more often.
Another weakness of Menagerie is that you lose the benefit of Taunt since you have to Taunt all your minions with Defender of Argus to maximize the benefit of Strongshell Scavenger. The main danger of not utilizing Taunt to your advantage is that Cleave attacks are much more dangerous for your Warband.
How should I assemble my Menagerie Warband?
Starting your Menagerie Warband:
Pick 2 out of the three between Brann Bronzebeard, Mythrax the Unraveler, and Lightfang Enforcer. If you choose Brann, keep one space empty for battlecries. Then get four or five different tribe minions.
A common late-game build for a Menagerie Warband:
Amalgadon | Brann Bronzebeard | four different tribe minions with all of them taunted
Amalgadon | Mythrax the Unraveler | Brann Bronzebeard or Lightfang Enforcer | three or four different tribe minions
What does the ideal Menagerie Team look like?
Amalgadon | Amalgadon | Foe Reaper or Cave Hydra | Bronze Warden or Crackling Cyclone | Any other tribe minion | Brann Bronzebeard or Lightfang Enforcer.
When to build a Taunt composition in Battlegrounds
I would go for Taunt build if I find myself having early Qiraji Harbingers and Champion of Y’Shaarj. It’s a lot more difficult if certain tribes such as Demons and Mechs are not in the game, so I have to keep that in mind if I want to pursue a Taunt build. Right now, Taunt minions are pretty powerful with its mid-game spike and Arm of the Empire scaling, which allows it to deal a lot of damage before other players can start scaling from cards like Kalecgos or Nomi.
If you are desperate for a win condition, taunt build can secure you a couple of wins from unsuspecting opponents. There is natural synergy there with demons and mechs, so if you have not found a proper win condition yet, try mixing taunt cards with other tribes, and that should allow you to survive a couple more rounds.
Something worth pointing out is that Champion of Y’Shaarj isn’t the make or break of the build; it’s Qiraji Harbinger. You can win plenty of games through the amount of power that Qiraji Harbinger gives. Champion of Y’Shaarj and the other cards are just a way for you to deal with builds that have big minions that can take all of the hits taunt builds usually have.
The strengths and weaknesses of the Taunt Warbands
One of the Taunt Warbands’ important strengths is its potency in the mid-game. Between our most important minion Qiraji Harbinger, and enablers like Defender of Argus, our composition is both strong and flexible for quite some time. Another benefit of our mid-game strength is not raising our tavern past tier four for a long time. The reason for that is that most of the units we need to find are at tavern four, which allows us to use an additional turn to scale our board.
However, with every Warband, there are downsides to playing the Taunt compositions. A big one is the need to find a Champion of Y’shaarj early in the game if you want to use it in your Warband. Another is the need to properly balance your team’s strength since you want your taunts to die for Qiraji Harbinger and to attack with their buff from Arm of Empire. The final weakness is that sometimes your minions just aren’t big enough into scaled Elementals or even the Demon compositions.
Understanding the minions of the Taunt Warband
Like I mentioned before, several minions are must-haves for the Taunt Warband. These include Qiraji Harbinger, Arm of Empire, and Champion of Y’shaarj. However, one we haven’t mentioned yet which is Strongshell Scavenger. Strongshell Scavenger is the strongest buff available to us when playing the Taunt Warband, as most of our minions are either Taunt minions or receive Taunt from Defender of Argus. Other examples of units you should look out for are Voidlord and Annoy-o-Tron, due to their inherent synergy with our gameplan.
Starting your Taunt Warband:
Acolyte of C’Thun | Acolyte of C’Thun | Tormented Ritualist | Qiraji Harbinger | Champion of Y’Shaarj | Arm of the Empire | Arm of the Empire
The common late-game Build:
Acolyte of C’Thun | Voidlord | Voidlord | Security Rover | Golden Arm of the Empire | Golden Qiraji Harbinger | Golden Champion of Y’Shaarj
My ideal Taunt Warband:
Golden Champion of Y’Shaarj | Taunted Selfless Hero | Voidlord | Voidlord | Divine Shield Security Rover | Golden Qiraji Harbinger | Arm of the Empire or another Qiraji Harbinger
When to play a Divine Shield Warband?
I tend to play for Divine Shield builds if I have a hero power that helps me scale up divine shield minions such as Dancin’ Daryl, Edwin Vancleef, Ragnaros, or Rakanishu. Another situation would be if I need the immediate power now and have the ability to pivot into another build later. I can’t see myself getting first with Divine Shield composition, but if I can get third or manage to pivot into a stronger build, I consider that a success.
Divine Shield build is, by definition, a desperation build. You have to finish everyone off quickly and early, as you will not win against their scaling. If you have low health, then every fight will be a struggle. Just do whatever you need to survive. If you have high health, take risks and try to find another build.
Understanding the units of the Divine Shield Warband.
The key cards to playing the Divine Shield Warband are quite obvious. The units that are strong on their own, Deflect-o-Bot, Crackling Cyclone, Bronze Warden, Bolvar, Fireblood, and Darkonid Enforcer, stand out above the rest for the team. The other star is Annoy-o-Tron, a card that makes any mech into a powerful unit for our Warband.
Other minions like Selfless Hero and the combination of Defender of Argus and Strongshell Scavenger also synergize well with the Divine Shield Warband whenever you get the opportunity to pick them up.
Starting your Divine Shield Warband:
Deflect-o-Bot | Deflect-o-Bot | Bronze Warden | Bolvar, Fireblood | Drakonid Enforcer | Majordomo Executus | Micro Mummy
A common late-game build for Divine Shields:
Late game build: Deflect-o-Bot | Deflect-o-Bot | Bronze Warden | Golden Bolvar, Fireblood | Golden Drakonid Enforcer | Majordomo Executus | Iron Sensei
My ideal Warband for Divine Shields:
Deflect-o-Bot | Deflect-o-Bot | Amalgadon | Amalgadon | Golden Bolvar, Fireblood | Nadina, the Red | Golden Drakonid Enforcer
The final composition, committing to Poison.
The most common situation where you end up with a “poison” Warband is in situations where you have one significantly stronger minion, with the rest of your Warband lacking a bit. Whenever that occurs, I start to pick up Poison minions, or when Murlocs are an available Tribe, I pick up Murlocs alongside Toxfins. In most situations, the advantage of that is that the weak poison minions still trade 1-for-1 with your opponent throughout the mid-game. Selfless Hero empowers the effect of Poison by granting them Divine Shield, which allows your Poison minions to take out two opponents on occasion.
While Poison is certainly a less conventional Warband, it’s surprisingly strong if you pivot to it in the right situations. Many of the strongest compositions in Battlegrounds like Dragons, Elementals, Demons, Murlocs, Pirates, and the Bird Beast composition rely on pure stats to succeed, against which we do particularly well.
However, that strength comes at the cost of losing to a lot of different units and effects. For example, Unstable Ghoul disrupts most of our gameplan, reducing our chances of winning drastically. Another example is the effect of Cleave. Cleave often takes out multiple of our units in one attack, causing you to lose the round.
The important units of the Poison composition in Battlegrounds.
There are three common ways for us to get Poison active in our Warband. The first two, Maexxna, and Deadly Spore, give us access to Poison right when we pick them up. The other option is to grant Poison to our Murlocs by using the before mentioned Toxfin. Like mentioned before, the Poison Warband’s true enabler is Selfless Hero and his companion Baron Rivendare. Without them, the Poison Warband wouldn’t be nearly strong enough to succeed.
A minion that goes along with that gameplan quite well is Monstrous Macaw, which is an additional way of generating Divine Shields for your Poison minions through Selfless Hero.
Starting your Poison Warband:
Monstrous Macaw | Selfless Hero | Poisoned Murlocs x 2 | Maexxna | Deadly Spore | Deadly Spore
A common late-game build for Divine Shield Poisons:
Golden Selfless Hero | Poisoned Murlocs x 2 | Maexxna | Deadly Spore | Baron Rivendare | Amalgadon
My ideal build for Poison & Divine Shields:
Golden Selfless Hero | Maexxna | Poisoned Murloc | Poisoned Murloc | Amalgadon | Amalgadon | Baron Rivendare