Battlegrounds is a different game mode in Hearthstone that completely changes the way you play the game. You could even say that it’s a new game built into Hearthstone. The general idea behind it was to take the popular Auto Battler genre and translate it into Hearthstone. It doesn’t play like most “Auto Chess” games, and it still feels a lot like Hearthstone, but that might be an advantage!
Players currently have access to 53 Heroes: the pool changes from time to time with some Heroes being changed, new Heroes being added, and some of the old ones being removed in balance patches. While they do not affect the minions offered, each Hero comes with a different Hero Power – a special ability that is either completely passive or an active ability that you can use once per visit to the Tavern (between combat phases). Some of them are stronger in the early game, whereas some have good late-game scaling, so you can adapt your strategy to the Hero you’ve picked. However, sometimes the right strategy is to ignore your Hero Power altogether and go with strong minions that are offered to you: use your Hero Power to your advantage when you can, but also be ready to choose a different route when you are not offered minions that have synergy with your Hero Power.
When you start a match, you get two Hero choices and pick one. No two players will ever share the same Hero – no one will be offered duplicates. The number of Heroes you can choose from goes up to four if you purchase the Battlegrounds Perks that unlock additional statistics, emotes, and Hero picks. The Battlegrounds Perks are currently available for either in-game gold or for real money.
Some Heroes are stronger than others, even significantly so. Nonetheless, it is possible to win games even on leaderboard ranks with any Hero. If you’re having fun with a specific Hero, don’t worry about its tier. That said, this tier list guide can help you choose your Hero based on how useful various Hero Powers are in general. We’ve categorized Heroes into four tiers. Click on each one of them to learn more – including how they look like, what their Hero Power is why they are put into a given tier / what kind of strategy they usually run.
- Maiev Shadowsong
- The Great Akazamzarak
- Forest Warden Omu
- Ragnaros the Firelord
- George the Fallen
- Arch-Villain Rafaam
- Jandice Barov
- Millhouse Manastorm
- The Lich King
- Al’Akir the Windlord
- Sir Finley Mrrgglton
- Dancin’ Deryl
- Patches the Pirate
- Lord Barov
- Silas Darkmoon
- Zephrys, the Great
- Kael’thas Sunstrider
- Edwin VanCleef
- Reno Jackson
- Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End
- Lord Jaraxxus
- Captain Eudora
- Skycap’n Kragg
- King Mukla
- Infinite Toki
- Tess Greymane
- Aranna Starseeker
- Mr. Bigglesworth
- Elise Starseeker
- Millificent Manastorm
- The Rat King
- Lich Baz’hial
- The Curator
- A. F. Kay
- Illidan Stormrage
- Dinotamer Brann
- Fungalmancer Flurgl
Tier 1: The Best of the Best
These Heroes are extremely strong. Their Hero Powers will be a major asset to you in practically every game you play with them.
C’Thun’s Hero Power gives a random friendly minion +1/+1 at the end of your turn for each time you have used it in the game. The first time you use it, it is just a +1/+1 buff, the second time it gives two +1/+1 buffs, the third time it gives three +1/+1 buffs, and so on.
When playing as C’Thun, you want to make the most out of your Hero Power, so you should not even buy a minion on turn one and opt to use the Hero Power instead, and not upgrade your Tavern on turn two and use your Hero Power there as well. Just use your Hero Power every turn. This way you will be able to get a lot of buffs on your board during the game, although you cannot control exactly which minions will get them.
The best compositions for C’Thun are menagerie warbands, where you can pick strong minions from various tribes and add a Lightfang Enforcer on top for even more stat buffs.
Maiev can buy minions for just one gold and with a +1 Attack buff to boot! Alas, there is a catch. When you use your Hero Power on a minion in the Tavern, it becomes dormant for two turns. After two turns, you get the minion with the +1 Attack buff. Dormant minions do not take up space in the Tavern (unless you are on Tier 6 and have two Dormant minions), so you want to buy a lot of them, starting from turn two where you should buy a minion and set aside another instead of leveling up your Tavern. Many Maiev players use the Hero Power already on turn one, and it is a strong strategy, especially if you can find a token-generator to pay for it on your first turn.
The Great Akazamzarak
The Great Akazamzarak brings a unique Hearthstone mechanic into Battlegrounds: Secrets. Every time you use Akazamzarak’s Hero Power, you get to discover a Secret and put it in play. If the Secret is not triggered during a battle, it carries over to the next turn. Because battles tend to be back-and-forth affairs, most Secrets are triggered immediately in the next battle, but sometimes you can set things up so that you get to keep them for longer.
Notably, Akazamzarak can discover Ice Block, which only triggers when you take lethal damage, preventing the damage. This can help you buy time and go for greedier strategies if you discover it early in the game. Note that you can only Discover Ice Block once per game. Another key Secret is Competitive Spirit: it gives all your minions +1/+1 permanently after the next battle, which can result in huge tempo gains. You can also get other powerful Secrets, such as Splitting Image (creates a copy of your minion when one is attacked, only triggers if you have enough board space for an additional minion) and Autodefense Matrix (gives your minion Divine Shield when one is attacked).
Forest Warden Omu
Forest Warden Omu gains additional Gold whenever you upgrade your Tavern. This means that you can adopt a much more aggressive leveling plan than most other Heroes, and this advantage just keeps growing with each early upgrade. You should upgrade your Tavern already on the second turn, and you can hit Tavern Tier three a turn ahead of others on turn four, Tier four on turn six, and Tier five as early as turn seven (at nine Gold, the turn when others usually reach Tier four). Early leveling means early access to powerful minions, and that is where Omu shines.
Ragnaros the Firelord
Ragnaros’ Hero Power does nothing until you have killed 25 minions. After that, your left-most and right-most minions gain a permanent +3/+3 buff every turn.
Just try to buy the strongest minions you can early in the game to get kills on the opponents’ minions so that you complete Sulfuras as quickly as possible and start getting that +3/+3 buff on your left- and right-most minions every turn. Then start growing your minions: a damage-dealer, maybe with Divine Shield, on the left and a big Taunt on the right can carry you through the game.
George the Fallen
George the Fallen has a strong Hero Power: it can grant minions Divine Shields at will, and Divine Shields applied in the Tavern are permanent and carry over to future turns. Improving the survivability of your key minions, such as Poisonous Murlocs, Cave Hydra, or Baron Rivendare, and getting to do that for multiple minions can result in some very strong boards.
George’s Hero Power has been buffed multiple times, and now it costs only two Gold to use. In practice, your first opportunity to use it is on turn three (at five Gold), and your second chance is on turn six (at eight Gold). Later in the game, it can be used on almost every turn.
Arch-Villain Rafaam is a master at acquiring useful minions – by copying them from other players! At one gold, these are basically free minions, because you can sell any that you don’t like for the same price. Because players tend to have useful minions on their board, the overall quality of the copies can be high: Spawns of N’Zoth and Nadina the Reds are up for grabs, and you can sometimes even get to triples without recruiting a single copy from the Tavern. Any triples you get are automatically converted when you enter the Tavern, so keep that in mind if you ever want to keep a pair of regular minions.
When playing as Rafaam, you should usually buy a minion and Hero Power on turn two instead of upgrading your Tavern. You may even want to delay your first Tavern upgrade all the way to turn four and follow it up with rapid upgrades on the following turns as well. Keep an eye on your opponent though! A.F.Kay and C’Thun have no minions on turn two, so you cannot steal anything, and some powerful early-game Heroes may have too much power on the board for you to kill anything, in which case you also do not get a free minion.
You can use Jandice’s Hero Power to send Battlecry minions back to the Tavern to rebuy them and get their effect again or you can send back any minion that you are about to sell anyway for a chance to get a minion you want for free. You can also switch your tokens for stronger minions early in the game, starting from turn one, or you can triple your tokens from a single token-generator by sending the main minion back and having it create more tokens for you.
Any minions that you send back to the Tavern retain their buffs, so you can, for example, play an Annihilan Battlemaster multiple times to give it multiple Health buffs.
Note that you do not get the Battlecry effects of minions that are swapped in, so remember to buy any Battlecry minions you want the regular way.
You want to use Jandice’s Hero Power on most turns, there are seldom occasions where you cannot gain some advantage from using it.
Millhouse’s Hero Power changes the entire economy of the game. His refreshes cost two gold, but he can buy minions for only two gold. However, his Tavern upgrades cost one more gold. This means that if you find a token generator on turn one, you can immediately sell the token to buy another minion. Because the Tavern Tiers are more expensive for Millhouse, you have to stay on Tavern Tier one for an extra turn and use your second turn for a double buy.
Millhouse can generate a lot of tempo early on, and this often carries him throughout the game. After building a strong early board, you can quickly upgrade your Tavern and catch up with others on turn five (seven Gold, upgrading to Tavern tier three), overtake them on turn six (eight Gold, upgrading to Tavern tier four), and sometimes even get further ahead on turn seven (nine Gold, upgrading to Tavern tier five).
The Lich King
The Lich King can help protect your key minions. You generally want to give Reborn either to an important Deathrattle minion or to a key minion that you want to protect from accidental early death. Note that minions are reborn without any buffs, but golden copies do reborn as the golden versions. Minions that best benefit from Reborn includes key pieces such as Goldrinn and Nadina the Red.
The Lich King’s Hero Power has been buffed multiple times, and now that it is completely free, The Lich King is finally a top tier Hero. You should use his Hero Power every turn: after all, it costs nothing to do so!
Al’Akir’s passive Hero Power gives your left-most minion a huge buff at the start of each combat: Windfury, Divine Shield, and Taunt. This is a major advantage early in the game and also affects your late-game compositions: Al’Akir loves Monstrous Macaw, Poisonous minions, and Wrath Weaver. The bigger your left-most minion, the better.
Tier 2: Very Strong Heroes
These Heroes are very strong, but their Hero Powers are slightly less powerful than those of the Tier 1 Heroes. Early tempo and snowballing to victory has proven to be extremely important in Battlegrounds, and these Heroes sometimes lack the means to make the most out of those opportunities. They have major strengths, and when they can play with those, they can easily win games.
Sir Finley Mrrgglton
Sir Finley Mrrgglton does not have a Hero Power of his own: instead, you get to Discover a Hero Power at the start of the game. Think of this as a second chance to pick a Hero. There are several strong Heroes in the game, so if you’re offered one of them, go ahead and pick it, but if the options given to you originally are mediocre, choose Finley to get another chance.
As a further upside, you get to see what minions you are offered on turn one before you choose your Hero Power. This enables you to only pick Chenvaala’s Hero Power if there is a Sellemental available, for example.
Greybough’s Hero Power passively buffs all the minions that you summon during combat. This makes early-game Deathrattle and Reborn minions extremely strong for the Hero, and opening up with a Scallywag can result in several early wins.
Unfortunately, Greybough struggles with late-game transitions: buffing up your in-combat summons is not strong in most late-game compositions. Deathrattle Pirates with Scallywag and Baron Rivendare is the easiest late-game composition available to you and given the current strength of Pirates, your most likely path to success.
Dancin’ Deryl is one of the most difficult Heroes to play and can be almost impossible to manage on some mobile phones. It has the potential to give substantial buffs to minions, but you need to master the art of Deryl’s dance to land the buffs effectively. You can use token generators such as Alleycat and Murloc Tidehunter to give you more minions to sell (yes, the tokens count as full minions too) and you can buy minions from the Tavern just to resell them back so that there are fewer options left to help you land the buffs on just the right minion.
Despite the wording on the Hero Power, both +1/+1 buffs can land on the same minion, so your goal is to leave only one minion in the Tavern, and buff it up a lot in a single turn. Deflect-o-Bot, Bronze Warden, and Cave Hydra are some of the most powerful buff targets for Deryl.
Patches the Pirate
Patches’ Hero Power generates additional Pirates for you, and it gets cheaper the more Pirates you buy from the Tavern. Because you can generate Pirates out of thin air, Patches benefits considerably from forcing Pirates. As Patches, you want to follow the usual tier progression (upgrade on turn two and then on turn five) and use your Hero Power on most turns starting from turn three (five Gold).
If you manage to find a Pirate on both turn one and turn two, you can also Hero Power on turn two to add a third Pirate to your board and delay upgrading your Tavern to turn three.
Are you feeling lucky? As Lord Barov, you want to use your Hero Power every turn from turn two, and if you can correctly predict the winner of combat, you get a significant tempo boost. If you guess wrong, you gain nothing. If there’s a tie, you get your one Gold back. On average, you earn half a coin per turn, and good streaks can win games.
When you play as Silas Darkmoon, some of the minions in the Tavern will glow with Darkmoon tickets. When you acquire your third ticket, you get a free spell to Discover a minion from the Tavern Tier you were when you bought the final minion. This puts Silas players into a conundrum: every third ticket you get is essentially a free minion, but if you chase tickets too hard, you may lose tempo early on and lose the game before those minions get to help you.
Try to complete your tickets on your Tavern upgrade turns: for example, if you can buy your third ticket on turn 5 (at seven Gold), you can first upgrade to Tavern Tier 3 and then immediately get a tier-three Discover on top.
Deathwing wreaks havoc and brings destruction wherever it goes. Its passive Hero Power gives +2 Attack to all minions, including your opponent’s minions. The key to succeeding with Deathwing is to have more bodies on the board than your opponent: a single Rat Pack early in the game can be devastating because it starts out as a 4/2 minion and summons four 3/1 tokens when it is killed. There are very few armies that can survive such an onslaught. Conversely, if your opponent uses a Rat Pack against you when you are Deathwing, you will have a hard time.
Of course, you cannot always find a Rat Pack. In that case, any Divine Shield minions or Deathrattle minions that summon tokens will do, just make sure to get a bunch of bodies on the board. Deathwing works especially well with Divine Shield Dragons and Mechs in the late game. Those are also the best strategies against it because the attack buff applies to both armies: it is a rare Hero that you can actually build against when you see one in your lobby. Even so, the Deathwing player will always build an army that takes advantage of the Hero Power, whereas the opponents cannot always do the same.
Zephrys, the Great
Zephrys never has to worry about finding the third piece to fill a triple: his Hero Power turns a pair of minions into a Golden minion that comes into your hand so you can play it and get the Discover effect as usual.
You follow the regular Tavern tier progression and usually use your Hero Power on turn seven (at nine Gold) after leveling up to Tavern tier four for your first triple.
Tickatus’ Hero Power is a copy of the Darkmoon Prizes event: you Discover a prize spell every four turns (at six Gold, ten Gold, and so on), and the spells get progressively more powerful as the game goes on.
While the Darkmoon Prizes include some powerful spells, such as a +1/+1 buff to all of your current minions and Ice Block, the pool is large enough that you can be left with no major improvements, which makes Tickatus inconsistent.
Kael’thas has a passive Hero Power that buffs every third minion you buy. Usually, Kael’thas follows the standard tier progression and upgrades the Tavern on turns two and five in the early game. What you need to pay attention to are your spheres and which minions end up with a buff. With Kael’thas, you almost always sell your initial minion on turn three to buy two minions, the latter of which will get a +2/+2 buff. This is Kael’thas’s power turn and should help you to win the battles on subsequent turns.
Try to buy important minions with the buff and temporary minions and possible Battlecry effect minions when you do not have the buff available.
Edwin VanCleef provides you with a powerful and cheap buff. The more minions you buy in a turn, the bigger the buff becomes. Edwin’s Hero Power is a targeted ability, and that makes it especially useful because you can buff any minions, including ones that are usually difficult to improve. This can be used to protect your key assets, such as Baron Rivendare, or buff up a cleave minion (Foe Reaper 4000 or Cave Hydra). The buff is permanent, so you can build up your key minions to some big numbers over time.
Reno Jackson is here and he wants to make you rich by giving you a Golden minion. Reno’s Hero Power can be used only once per game, so you need to carefully consider when is the best time to use it. When you use the Hero Power on a minion, that minion becomes a Golden version of itself. This only affects the minion on the board, you do not get the Discover effect that you usually get when playing a Golden minion from hand.
The main ways to use the Hero Power are to commit early to a powerful mid-game minion, usually Wrath Weaver, or to wait until you get a powerful effect-based late-game minion, such as Baron Rivendare, Lightfang Enforcer, Kalecgos, or Mama Bear. If you are able to discover such a minion from a triple early on, the power spike from making it Golden can carry you all the way to victory.
It can be hard to find a good target for Reno’s Hero Power. Sometimes you get a suitable effect-based minion early on and just roll on with it, but sometimes your minions are more stats-based and not particularly good targets for improvement.
Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End
Yogg-Saron can recruit a minion for a mere two gold: sure, it is a random minion from the line in front of you, but it comes with a buff, which is a big deal in the early game.
With Yogg, you can refresh your Tavern on turn one to look for more powerful minions because you will almost always grab one with your Hero Power. Then, you can grab two minions on turn three when you have access to five gold. Other Heroes need a token to sell or waste gold on refreshing the Tavern or using their Hero Power on that turn, while you can always get more bodies on the board. These powerful turns often secure an extremely strong early game for Yogg-Saron.
Lord Jaraxxus’ Bloodfury is a powerful effect: you can buff your board by up to +7/+7 overall, and that is no joke. His Hero Power has been buffed multiple times, and now at one mana, it is finally strong enough to make Jaraxxus truly competitive. Its main limitation is that it only applies to Demons, and that is a minor issue because you have to force Demons as Jaraxxus. However, the ease at which Jaraxxus turns even weak Demons into powerhouses means that you can safely go for it.
If you find Demons or a Wrath Weaver and a Demon on turn one and turn two, you should buy them and use your Hero Power on turn two instead of upgrading your Tavern to get a major board advantage. Sometimes you can delay your first Tavern upgrade all the way to turn four (six Gold) to get your Demon army and buffs rolling.
Tier 3: There Is Still Some Power Here
These Heroes have some major strengths under the right circumstances, but their overall power level cannot quite match that of the higher tier Heroes. Either they are situational or just generally less powerful, but their Hero Powers can and do win games.
Rakanishu’s Hero Power can buff up your minions, but you need to get your Tavern upgraded to fully benefit from the effect.
The first opportunity you have to use Rakanishu’s Hero Power is on turn three (at five Gold), where it can smoothen your curve instead of a sell into double buy. Your next opportunity to use it is usually on turn six (at eight Gold). From there, you can use it on most turns.
Captain Eudora’s Hero Power gives you a shortcut to golden minions. After you have used your Hero Power five times, you receive a random golden minion from your Tavern Tier or lower. The golden minion is added to your hand, so when you play it, you get the usual higher-tier discover as you do with regular golden minions. The Hero Power is then set back to five digs, so you can find even more golden minions later in the game.
With Eudora, you want to use your Hero Power every turn starting from turn two. If you are offered Deck Swabbie or a token generator (Alleycat, Murloc Tidehunter) on turn one, you want to buy them because they allow you to both upgrade your Tavern and use your Hero Power on turn two. Try to get your Tavern Tiers up while using your Hero Power to get the best possible discovers from your golden minions.
Sindragosa is at its strongest in the early game. For the first few turns, you should simply stay frosty. Sure, you buy a minion on the first turn, but you also want to freeze the others. If you keep freezing the minions you are offered, you can buy the two that have been there since the beginning with a +4/+2 buff on both on the third turn, and you can buy even more buffed minions on the fourth turn. After those turns, Sindragosa’s Hero Power becomes almost useless, but minion stats are important early in the game, and Sindragosa has a small window of opportunity to rule the battles and work on a late-game transition.
Nozdormu has an extremely powerful passive Hero Power: your first Refresh each turn is free. This means that you can refresh the initial offering on the first turn to look for a token generator to get a good start. It also means that on key turns where you would usually buy a minion and upgrade your Tavern, you can upgrade the Tavern first and refresh on the new tier and then buy a minion. You are also faster at finding triples to make golden minions because you can look for them an additional time every turn. In practice, it is almost as if you had one additional gold available every single turn!
Skycap’n Kragg’s Hero Power can be used only once per game, and the longer you wait, the bigger swing you can get from it. This means that Kragg is a weak Hero early in the game and will struggle to answer the boards of other Heroes who are more tuned for early aggression. Try to buy effective minions and upgrade your Tavern along with the usual progression: tier two on turn two, tier three on turn five, and so on.
The most effective moment to use your Hero Power is typically on turn eight (at ten Gold): you can upgrade your Tavern to tier five, use your Hero Power, and get some fresh minions on the same turn, and this power spike can carry you to victory. Sometimes you can upgrade to Tavern tier four early and use your Hero Power to reach Tavern Tier five already on turn seven (at nine Gold).
King Mukla can buff up his minions, but you also donate buffs to all of your opponents. For one Gold, you can generate two Bananas (zero-cost cards that give a +1/+1 buff to a minion) for yourself and one for all of your opponents. However, you get to use your Bananas immediately, whereas your opponents can use theirs only on the following turn, which gives you a tempo advantage, and you also have a one-in-three chance to get a Big Banana that gives a +2/+2 buff to a minion instead of a regular one.
You generally want to start using your Hero Power on turn three and use it regularly from there.
Infinite Toki can grant you a huge advantage with her Hero Power: when you refresh the Tavern with your Hero Power, one of the minions you are offered is guaranteed to be from the next tier. Late in the game, you can get guaranteed Tavern Tier 6 minions on Tavern Tier 5. This is especially significant because you are usually not guaranteed to see any minions from your highest available tier! Even a tier 6 Tavern does not guarantee that you see any tier 6 minions.
Nonetheless, Toki is not a guaranteed success. If you make it to the late game and get to start rolling those tier 6 minions, there is a good chance that you can find Amalgadon or Kalecgos, for example. However, in the early game, there are lots of minions that are not worth buying even if they are from a higher tier, so you may not gain any advantage from the Hero Power. When stars align just right, Toki can be unstoppable, but she is weak in the early game, and that can prove to be fatal.
Tess Greymane is comfortable picking a popular composition: for one Gold, you can refresh your Tavern with all the minions from your last opponent’s warband – including minions from higher tiers than you have access to!
You want to use as popular of a composition as possible so that you can pick good additions to your army after each battle. The more players are aware of what others are doing and try to avoid overlapping compositions, the weaker Tess becomes, as then you cannot piggyback off what others are using.
Tess is stronger than usual early in a new patch when people often try to force the new minions and it is easier to pick up suitable minions for your composition with your Hero Power.
Aranna Starseeker can get a wide selection of minions to choose from, but only after refreshing her Tavern five times. To make good use of her Hero Power, you need to stay on Tavern tier two longer than usual and build up Golden Wrath Weaver, Selfless Hero, Party Elemental, or the like from your extended minion selection.
Patchwerk has a larger Health pool than other Heroes, and this allows you to play a more greedy game early on and develop towards your late-game win condition faster. However, damage scales up very high in Battlegrounds, so if you’re weaker than others in the late game, your 15 Health advantage barely buys you a single extra turn.
Mr. Bigglesworth is a great late-game Hero. As other players start dying, Mr. Bigglesworth receives a major power boost from discovering their old minions. The problem is getting to the late-game without any early-game abilities. You need to play good, basic Battlegrounds and bide your time. Go for popular, buff-based compositions to maximize your odds of finding a suitable improvement to your army: Dragons, Menagerie, and Elementals are often good alternatives. Mr. Bigglesworth is at his best early in new patches when people often try to force the newly-added minions and you can more consistently get upgrades as they fall.
The Hero Power of Y’Shaarj summons a minion from your Tavern tier to your warband at the start of combat (that goes away at the end of the round) and you get a copy of it to your hand. As an upside, this is a guaranteed way to get high-tier minions: once your Tavern is on tier six, you can roll for a random tier-six minion every round. As a downside, you need to leave board space for the minion if you want to use your Hero Power, and then your opponent will always get to attack first, as they have more minions on the board at the start of combat.
As Y’Shaarj, you want to pursue an aggressive leveling strategy to start rolling for those sweet tier-five minions with your Hero Power: ideally, you upgrade to Tavern Tier 3 on turn four (six Gold), Tier 4 on turn six (eight Gold), and Tier 5 on turn seven (nine Gold).
N’Zoth starts the game with a 1/1 Fish that gains the Deathrattles of friendly minions as they die in combat for the duration of that combat round. While there are late-game applications to this in some Baron Rivendare Deathrattle compositions and in some Scallywag and Dread Admiral Eliza Pirate compositions, the main advantage N’Zoth has is actually in the early game: when you only have a couple of minions on the board, duplicating a Deathrattle can be the difference between winning and losing a battle.
Sure, if you get Baron Rivendare or Dread Admiral Eliza and can set up a nice Deathrattle board for the late game, go for it, but also keep an eye out for other interesting compositions, make use of your Fish for early tempo, and be ready to sell it to make room for something like an Elemental warband.
The Recruitment Map created by Elise’s Hero Power is a three-gold spell to Discover a minion from the Tavern Tier you just upgraded to: when you upgrade to Tier 2, you get a spell to Discover a Tier 2 minion, Tier 3 gives a spell to Discover a Tier 3 minion, and so on.
Elise has proven to be difficult to balance. The Recruitment Map used to cost two gold, at which time Elise was able to progress through the Tavern Tiers faster, which made her the best Hero in the game, but a three-cost Recruitment Map means that Elise is now stuck with the usual progression and is far weaker.
Alexstrasza’s Hero Power allows you to discover two Dragons the moment you hit Tavern tier 5. These Dragons can come from any tier, so sometimes you are offered low-tier minions only, and sometimes you pick up Razorgore and Kalecgos. You get the minions for free, so upgrading to Tavern tier 5 is a major priority for Alexstrasza: you do not need to have any leftover gold to upgrade your board on that turn, because you will get two minions anyway. Alexstrasza aims to upgrade to Tavern tier 4 on turn six (at eight Gold) at the latest and immediately follow that up by going to Tier 5 on turn seven (at nine Gold).
Alexstrasza is, unfortunately, inconsistent. At worst, the two Dragons you get are useless for your army and only worth the two gold you get from selling them. At best, the two Dragons win you the game. You should usually force Dragons as Alexstrasza because it improves your odds to find a triple from the Discovered Dragons even if you cannot pick up Kalecgos directly.
Ysera’s Hero Power passively adds an additional Dragon minion from the tiers that are available to you to your Tavern every time it is refreshed. Therefore, on a Tier one Tavern, your additional minion is always either a Dragonspawn Lieutenant or a Red Whelp, Tier two adds Glyph Guardian and Steward of Time as options, and so on. There is a rather funny meme strategy with Ysera, where you stay on Tier one and try to get as many Red Whelps as you can so that your board just shoots everything down right away. Fortunately, while it is probably impossible to finish last with that line of play, it does not guarantee a top-four finish either, so it is generally not worth it.
Ysera’s Hero Power does not guarantee high-tier Dragons, but it increases your odds of finding good dragons and finding triples, so you should usually force Dragons when playing as Ysera.
Millificent’s Hero Power adds +1/+1 to your Mechs. You often want to Magnetize to buff up your Mechs, and Millificent adds another +1/+1 on each Magnetization as well. While Millificent works best with Mechs, you can also use your buffed up Mechs as your early-game army and transition into another late-game composition, especially Menagerie, if you’re not offered key Mechs such as Deflect-o-Bot.
The Rat King
The Rat King offers some of the most powerful passive stat bonuses available in the game. However, there is a catch: the tribe that gets the bonus swaps randomly each turn.
Even the very first turn can go multiple ways: because you cannot afford to refresh the minions offered on turn one, you either get a +2/+2 buffed minion for a strong early game, or you get no benefit whatsoever. There is a lot of strategy involved with optimizing your gains from The Rat King, but there is also plenty of variance.
Pyramad’s +4 Health buff to a random minion can increase the survivability of your minions dramatically, and you can start using it immediately on turn two and delay your Tavern upgrade by a turn or even two turns. This early tempo can then help you transition to your late-game army with plenty of health to spare.
Tier 4: Life Could Be Better
These Heroes have some glaring weaknesses or lack of power. Even they can win high-MMR games in the right circumstances, but you need to work hard for it, and sometimes simply ignore their Hero Power altogether.
Malygos allows you to reroll one minion each turn for free. This is especially powerful in the late game because there are fewer high-tier minions in the game, so you are more likely to find a specific minion. However, it helps you right from the start: you can look for a token generator on turn one, and when you reach Tavern Tier two you can reroll whatever tier two minion you are offered to look for an improvement. This goes on every turn: you can refresh tier-three minions to look for a Deflect-o-Bot, tier fours to find that Cave Hydra, and tier fives to seek out Nomi or Baron Rivendare. You have a better chance to find what you need throughout the game at no extra cost.
Malygos’s Hero Power can also be used on the minions in your army, not just the ones for sale in the Tavern. For example, you can try to turn a Battlecry minion that you just played into something more powerful when it is on the board.
Lich Baz’hial’s Hero Power gives you Coins in hand and allows you to store your gold for future use. Baz’hial’s Hero Power does not cost any gold itself but instead deals two points of damage to you upon use. You want to grab a Coin every turn for the first five or six turns and use them quickly to gain a tempo advantage.
Baz’hial is a high-risk, high-reward Hero. Just a few uses of the Hero Power drain a significant portion of your Health, so you need to find good minions quickly as you cannot afford to lose battles in the mid-game. On the other hand, a strong board that wins battles can put you far ahead of the opposition. As Baz’hial, you usually want to rush up the Tavern Tiers to build a strong Dragon, Beast, or Demon army.
In theory, Chenvaala can advance through Tavern tiers fast because its Hero Power reduces the cost of the upgrade for every three Elementals played. With an early Sellemental, you can activate the Hero Power early and sometimes get to Tavern Tier 3 already on turn four (at six Gold). However, you need to force Elementals to benefit from the Hero Power, and that can sometimes be difficult.
Shudderwock can double up powerful buff Battlecries, especially Murloc buffs and Amalgadon’s adaptation, later in the game. Because the effect costs only one gold, you can easily start weaving it into your turns already in the mid-game.
Note that the Hero Power does not stack with the effect of Brann Bronzebeard, it is the exact same effect. Therefore, every Hero has some access to Shudderwock’s ability, and Brann does not need a separate activation each time, although it takes up board space. You cannot always find Brann though, whereas Shudderwock can always activate its power on demand.
The Curator gains an immediate advantage early in the game from having a 1/2 Amalgam as a starting minion. This means that it can often win early turns by virtue of having that extra body on the board. However, its advantage is not limited to early turns, because the Amalgam has all minion types and can be buffed by anything.
The Curator’s Amalgam is the only minion in addition to the tier-six Amalgadon that can reliably be buffed into a huge Poisonous (with Murlocs in the game) minion with Taunt and Divine Shield (with Mechs in the game), even if it only starts with 1/2 stats.
The Curator’s success largely depends on how well it can take advantage of its free Amalgam: if it finds a buff-based composition, it can run away with the game. If buffs are scarce, the Amalgam quickly becomes useless and you can expect a mediocre game.
A. F. Kay
A. F. Kay cannot buy any minions on the first two turns and has to just passively wait and take the damage without a board of her own. The only thing you can do is to freeze the minions offered to you in the Tavern, which you should do if any token generators are being offered because then you can buy a minion, sell the token, and upgrade your Tavern on turn three.
Turn three is a power spike for the Hero, because she gets to Discover two minions for free, and those minions are from Tavern Tier 3. Being the first Hero to find Deflect-o-Bot, Salty Looter, Bronze Warden, or Hangry Dragon can be game-winning, but failure to roll good minions from the Discovers can set you up for a rough game.
Illidan’s Hero Power changes the attack order at the start of a battle: your left-most minion will attack first followed by your right-most minion. These attacks will always take place before the opponent can do anything. The regular attacks will start after that with your left-most minion attacking again as your first minion if it survived the bonus attack (and possibly the opponent’s first attack, if they got to go “first”).
Illidan enjoys minions that want to attack (Monstrous Macaw, Scallywag), die (Goldrinn), or have Divine Shield (Crackling Cyclone, Amalgadon). In the late game, a Deathrattle Beast army with Illidan would typically include Monstrous Macaw as the left-most minion to activate Goldrinn early and Goldrinn or another Monstrous Macaw as the right-most minion to activate Goldrinn again right at the start of the battle. Alternatively, a Dragon army with Amalgadon on the left and Nadina the Red on the right can be very powerful when playing as Illidan.
Dinotamer Brann’s Hero Power refreshes the Tavern with Battlecry minions and that helps Brann find some compositions more easily than your average Hero: most notably, Brann is quite adept at finding Murlocs thanks to many of them having Battlecry effects and Brann can also support a Kalecgos Dragon army especially well. Demons have also become viable for Brann with the addition of Soul Devourer to the minion pool. Unfortunately, Brann’s Hero Power is almost useless for most other warbands.
The key to success with Flurgl is, unsurprisingly, Murlocs. If you can find Murlocs, you can cycle through them to find triples, which in turn allows you to discover even more useful minions. Note that the Murloc that is added to the Tavern by the Hero Power is from the same Tavern Tier or lower than the Murloc you sell.
Flurgl is hit or miss: forcing Murlocs is currently the only viable strategy for the Hero, so how good you are at finding them determines your fate.
February 24, 2021
- Updated for the 19.6 content patch.
- Captain Hooktusk has been temporarily removed from the Hero pool.
- Hero changes: Y’Shaarj adds a copy of the summoned minion to your hand, Elise Starseeker‘s Recruitment Map costs three Gold, King Mukla‘s Big Banana dro rate has been increased to 1/3, and The Great Akazamzarak can only Discover Ice Block once per game.
- Elistra the Immortal has been removed from the minion pool and multiple minions have been buffed.
- The Darkmoon event has ended, making Tickatus the only Hero with access to the special prizes.
January 27, 2021
- Updated for the 19.4 content patch.
- New Heroes added: Tickatus and Greybough.
- New Demon minions added.
December 21, 2020
- Updated for the 19.2 content patch.
- New Heroes added: C’Thun, N’Zoth, and Y’Shaarj.
- Galakrond has been removed from the Hero pool.
- Sir Finley Mrrgglton and The Great Akazamzarak have returned to the Hero pool.
- Several minions added, most notably various Taunt and Menagerie synergy minions.
- Heroes buffed: Silas Darkmoon, Zephrys the Great, and Patches the Pirate.
November 8, 2020
- Updated for the 18.6.1 balance patch.
- Nefarian has been removed from the Hero pool.
- 11 minions were changed, including buffs to Demons and Pirates and a nerf to Elementals.
- Heroes that were buffed: Queen Wagtoggle, The Curator, Captain Hooktusk, The Rat King, Rakanishu, George the Fallen, Ysera, The Great Akazamzarak (temporarily removed because of issues), Galakrond, Tess Greymane, Elise Starseeker, and Lord Barov.
- Zephrys, the Great is now available to all players.
October 19, 2020
- Updated for the post-Elementals 18.4.2 balance patch.
- Bartendotron has been removed from the Hero pool.
- Heroes that were nerfed: Ragnaros the Firelord and Maiev Shadowsong.
- Heroes that were buffed: Patchwerk, Chenvaala, Sindragosa, and King Mukla.
- Several changes to minions, most notably the removal of Pogo-Hopper from the minion pool.