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 50 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 Tavern Pass that unlocks additional statistics, emotes, and Hero picks. The Tavern Pass is 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 Lich King
- Forest Warden Omu
- Arch-Villain Rafaam
- Millhouse Manastorm
- Al’Akir the Windlord
- Ragnaros the Firelord
- Jandice Barov
- Dancin’ Deryl
- Kael’thas Sunstrider
- Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End
- Sir Finley Mrrgglton
- Reno Jackson
- Skycap’n Kragg
- Millificent Manastorm
- Lord Jaraxxus
- Edwin VanCleef
- Captain Hooktusk
- King Mukla
- Lord Barov
- Infinite Toki
- Mr. Bigglesworth
- The Rat King
- Elise Starseeker
- Captain Eudora
- Tess Greymane
- The Curator
- A. F. Kay
- Fungalmancer Flurgl
- George the Fallen
- Lich Baz’hial
- Dinotamer Brann
- Illidan Stormrage
- Aranna Starseeker
- Patches the Pirate
- The Great Akazamzarak
- Queen Wagtoggle
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.
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 while the results are still inconclusive, it also looks like a valid strategy.
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 Gentle Djinni, 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!
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.
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 Goldrinns 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. Sometimes you may 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 has 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.
Millhouse Manastorm has seen it all: Millhouse was the worst Hero in the game when he was introduced to the mode, and then he rapidly jumped to become the best Hero in the game when he was buffed, and then he was sent to the middle of the pack with a nerf. He’s been around.
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. The more expensive refreshes make it harder for Millhouse to find missing key pieces, so your discoveries from triples are crucial to building a strong army composition.
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.
Ragnaros the Firelord
It seems that every time new Heroes are added to Battlegrounds, there is a new record on how strong the best one of them is. Pre-nerf Ragnaros was the strongest Hero in the history of the game, and it remains a strong contender even after the nerf. Currently, Ragnaros’ Hero Power does nothing until you have killed 25 minions. After that, you 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.
Jandice Barov was not nerfed directly, but the loss of Pogo-Hopper completely changed the strategy of the Hero. Jandice can swap a friendly minion with a random one in Bob’s Tavern, and the best use of her ability was to send a Pogo-Hopper back to the tavern to buy it again and play it again for more stat buffs. However, it turns out that Jandice’s Hero Power is strong with other strategies as well.
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.
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.
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.
Kael’thas has a passive Hero Power that buffs every third minion you buy. Usually, Kael’thas follows 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.
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.
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, Beasts, and Baron Rivendare Deathrattle armies 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 afford to do the same.
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!
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.
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 Soul Juggler, or to wait until you get a powerful effect-based late-game minion, such as Baron Rivendare, Gentle Djinni, 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.
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).
Mechs are a strong tribe, and 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 if you’re not offered key Mechs such as Deflect-o-Bot.
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.
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: with more health, they survive the battle better and can continue to influence it until the very end. The buff is permanent, so you can build up your key minions to some big numbers over time.
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.
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 minions. Either they are situational or just generally less powerful, but their Hero Powers can and do win games.
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 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.
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.
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.
Captain Hooktusk dominated the field in an unprecedented fashion upon her arrival, but she was hit with multiple nerfs and the loss of discover from her Hero Power turned her into a low-tier hero. With Hooktusk’s Hero Power, you can remove a friendly minion once per turn to get a random a minion from the previous Tavern Tier. When you use your Hero Power on a tier-one minion, you get another tier-one minion to replace it.
The current tier-one minion pool does not support staying low, so Captain Hooktusk will level up her Tavern in the usual fashion and work towards some Dragon, Beast, or Elemental composition. Sometimes you can find multiple Wrath Weavers early and may succeed with Demons as well.
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 20% chance to get a Big Banana that gives a +2/+2 buff to a minion instead of a regular one.
Deck Swabbie or a token generator can help you get some early Bananas for a good start to the game.
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.
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. On average, you earn half a coin per turn, which is not strong enough to make Lord Barov a real contender, but good streaks can help him win games.
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.
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 just 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 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 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 it offers bonuses to swaps randomly each turn. Without Nightmare Amalgam, which always received the buff, it has become more difficult to reach the full potential of The Rat King, as menagerie compositions are fairly weak right now. You can still benefit from the Hero Power with single-tribe strategies, but for the most part, the Hero Power buffs up your early- and mid-game and helps you reach your end-game composition in good health.
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 +1/+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.
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.
It is a common misconception to compare this to refreshing your Tavern. In fact, Discovering a minion from a specific Tier is immensely more powerful than refreshing your Tavern, because you are not guaranteed to see minions from a specific Tier, much less three of them at once. Discovering gets even better the higher the Tier: on Tier 6, a single Discover is more likely to find a specific Tier 6 minion than more than a dozen refreshes.
The key to success with Elise is to use your Discover spells to find strong minions that you can build your strategy around.
Captain Eudora’s Hero Power gives you a shortcut to golden minions. After you have used the 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, including the first one. If you are offered Deck Swabbie or a token generator (Alleycat, Murloc Tidehunter) on turn one, you can consider buying 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.
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 three 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.
Tess Greymane is comfortable picking a popular composition: for one Gold, you can refresh your Tavern with minions from your last opponent’s warband, so 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.
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.
The Curator gains an immediate advantage early in the game from having a 1/1 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 minion with Taunt and Divine Shield, even if it only starts with 1/1 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. The Tier 3 minion pool has grown weaker over time, which has led to A. F. Kay falling down the ranks.
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.
Flurgl started out as the weakest of all Heroes, but the addition of Felfin Navigator to the minion pool has helped the poor Murloc somewhat. 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.
George the Fallen
George the Fallen has a strong late-game 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.
The downside of George’s Hero Power is that it costs three gold. This makes it unusable for much of the game, and mostly a late-game asset. If you can make it to the late game, you have an edge, but you get no help on the way there.
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 Murloc, Elemental, or Dragon army.
Dinotamer Brann was completely reworked, and he is not particularly powerful in his current form. 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.
Rakanishu’s Hero Power can buff up your minions, but the effect is random and weak in the early game, which results in a weak Hero. Even late in the game, the fact that you cannot control which minion receives the buff makes Rakanishu’s Hero Power sub-par. Once you reach Tavern tier four or five, it starts to help, but even at that point, you cannot afford to use the Hero Power every turn while trying to improve your warband at the same time.
Ysera’s Hero Power passively adds an additional Dragon minion from the tiers that are available to you to your Tavern at the start of your turn. 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.
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), 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 as the right-most minion to activate it again right at the start of the battle. Alternatively, an Elemental army with Crackling Cyclone on the left and Amalgadon on the right can be very powerful when playing as Illidan.
Aranna Starseeker’s entry to the game has been less than stellar: she is one of the weakest heroes in the game even after getting buffed. Aranna’s Hero Power simply does not pack enough punch: after you have refreshed your Tavern five times, you will always be offered seven minions there regardless of your Tavern Tier. However, you cannot afford to just refresh the Tavern early in the game or you lose too much tempo and die, so you need to follow the usual upgrade progression and weave in the refreshes in the mid-game. Once you get through that, you will have a larger selection of minions available to you every turn, but that improved chance to pick up key pieces and triples has not been enough to make Aranna a winning Hero.
Patches the Pirate
Patches the Pirate returned with the Pirate patch, but the Hero has been reworked completely from what it was in the original version of the game: Patches’ Hero Power now generates additional Pirates for you instead of dealing damage during battle. Because you can generate Pirates out of thin air, Patches benefits considerably from forcing Pirates. However, if you have a hard time finding any Pirates from the Tavern, you may also need to ignore the Hero Power altogether because you need some initial Pirates to discount the Hero Power.
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. 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).
As the power level of the game has increased, the usefulness of Secrets has waned and The Great Akazamzarak has fallen in ranks. Even Ice Block can barely inch you into the top four.
Nefarian’s Hero Power deals one point of area-of-effect damage to all enemy minions for one gold. It can be good in the late game if you face multiple minions with Divine Shields because it can take all of those away from the opponent. Because it costs only one gold, it is also easy to weave into various turns in the mid-game to give you an edge to conserve your Health for later. Unfortunately, Nefarian lacks early tempo and his Hero Power is no longer great in the late game either because many Divine Shields in late-game armies are generated during the battle and not static.
Galakrond can get you to some big minions earlier than usual: level up a minion in the Tavern, it becomes frozen, and you can level it up again next turn. Furthermore, if you do not like a tier 6 minion that is offered to you, you can simply change it to a different one with the Hero Power. However, Galakrond only truly comes online fairly late in the game, because the minion pools on lower tiers are so big that it is difficult to find anything specific. For a meta where you need to be strong right from the start, Galakrond is a bit slow.
As Galakrond, you usually want to Hero Power and buy a minion on turn two instead of leveling up your Tavern. You can even consider using your Hero Power on turn one, especially if you find a token to pay for it.
Queen Wagtoggle can add a lot of Attack power to your board quickly: her Hero power gives a random friendly minion of each tribe +2 Attack. This works especially well with minions with cleave (Foe Reaper 4000 and Cave Hydra) as well as with Divine Shield armies. Look for minions that benefit from Attack and do not care as much about their Health. Unfortunately for Queen Wagtoggle, the current meta favors minions with a lot of Health and her Attack buffs are hardly enough to push through that.
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.
October 3, 2020
- Updated for the Elementals content patch.
- New Heroes added to the Hero pool: Ragnaros the Firelord, Chenvaala, Rakanishu, and Al’Akir the Windlord.
September 12, 2020
- Major update to catch up with the new patch.
June 23, 2020
- New Hero added to the Hero pool: Aranna Starseeker
- Multiple Hero buffs: Lord Jaraxxus‘s Hero Power costs one (down from two), Reno Jackson‘s Hero Power costs two (down from three), Millificent Manastorm‘s original Hero Power has been restored (+1/+1 to Mechs), and Maiev Shadowsong‘s Imprison no longer takes up space from the Tavern (unless you’re at Tier 6 and have two Dormant minions in play, then it will reduce the Tavern by one minion)
June 12, 2020
- Pirates have arrived! Tribe rotation added: one tribe will be excluded from each game at random. Heroes directly related to that tribe will also be absent.
- New Heroes added to the Hero pool: Captain Eudora, Skycap’n Kragg, and Captain Hooktusk
- Patches the Pirate returns to the Hero pool with a new Hero Power.
- Professor Putricide removed from the Hero pool.
- The Rat King‘s and Queen Wagtoggle‘s Hero Powers now include Pirates. The Rat King no longer always starts with Beasts.
May 19, 2020
- New Heroes added to the Hero pool: Illidan Stormrage, Kael’thas Sunstrider, Maiev Shadowsong, and Lady Vashj
- Millhouse Manastorm‘s passive Hero Power now also makes Tavern Tiers cost one more.
March 22, 2020
- New Hero added to the Hero pool: Fungalmancer Flurgl
- Professor Putricide and Sir Finley Mrrgglton added back to the Hero pool with new Hero Powers. Putricide can now target his +10 attack buff, and Finley Discovers a Hero Power from one of the other Heroes in the Hero pool at the start of the game.
- The Lich King can now choose the target of his Hero Power.
- Ysera‘s Hero Power is now Passive: At the start of your turn, add a Dragon to Bob’s Tavern.
- Pyramad‘s Hero Power now adds +4 Health, up from +3 Health.
- Millhouse Manastorm now starts with 3 Gold, up from 2 Gold.
- The Rat King has been un-nerfed back to a +1/+2 bonus.
- Millificient Manastorm now gives Mechs in Bob’s Tavern +2 Attack, up from +1 Attack.
- Deathwing has been nerfed from +3 Attack to +2 Attack.
- Reno Jackson‘s Hero Power now costs 3 Gold, down from 4 Gold.
- Queen Wagtoggle has been seen again.
- Ragnaros, Sylvanas, and Patches were removed from the Hero pool.
February 29, 2020
- Major content patch!
- Several new Heroes were added to the Hero pool: Galakrond, Deathwing, Ysera, Nozdormu, Malygos, Alexstrasza, and Reno Jackson.
- George the Fallen‘s Hero power cost was reduced from 4 to 3.
- Professor Putricide was finally removed from the Hero pool. There have also been no signs of Trade Prince Gallywix and Queen Wagtoggle after the patch.
- Dragons were added as a new tribe and 18 new minions were added. Ten minions were removed. Mama Bear was buffed.
January 25, 2020
- Tirion Fordring and Millhouse Manastorm were added to the Hero pool.
- Sir Finley Mrrgglton was removed from the Hero pool.
- Professor Putricide and Trade Prince Gallywix were accidentally returned to the Hero pool. Blizzard has stated that they will take action in the matter soon.
- The repeated buffs to Demons have finally made them a desirable tribe, which affects multiple Heroes.
January 14, 2020
- Patches the Pirate (buffed from 3 damage to two random enemy minions to 4 damage to two random enemy minions) and Pyramad (buffed from +2 Health to a random friendly minion to +3 Health to a random friendly minion) returned to the Hero pool.
- Shudderwock – Hero Power cost reduced from 2 to 1.
- Queen Wagtoggle – Hero Power changed from +1 Health to a random friendly Mech, Demon, Murloc, or Beast to +2 Attack to a random friendly Mech, Demon, Murloc, or Beast. Queen Wagtoggle is finally out of the bottom tier.
- Infinite Toki – Hero Power cost reduced from 2 to 1. The higher tier minion now replaces one of the regular minions instead of being added on top. Toki is back in contention again after being at the bottom after the previous nerf.
- Overall, the balance patches seem to have the desired effect: there are fewer Heroes down in tier 4 than on any other tier, and more and more Heroes end up in the mediocre group in tier 3.
December 22, 2019
- Brann Bronzebeard was removed from the Hero pool.
- Bartendotron returned to the Hero pool.
- The removal of Nightmare Amalgam resulted in a meta shift: huge menagerie boards are much more difficult to build, so Heroes who can provide major buffs to their minions became better, as average minion size in the late game became smaller. Multiple Heroes changed tiers and Dancin’ Deryl finally reached T1.
December 6, 2019
- Edwin Vancleef, Sylvanas Windrunner, and Arch-Villain Rafaam were added to the Hero pool
- Patches the Pirate, Bartendotron, Pyramad, Professor Putricide, and Trade Prince Gallywix were removed from the Hero pool
- Millificent Manastorm (nerfed from +1/+1 to Mechs to +1 Attack to Mechs) and Lich Baz’hial (buffed from 3 damage for a Coin to 2 damage for a Coin) were returned to the Hero pool
- Patchwerk – Starts at 50 Health (was 60). Moved from T1 to T2.
- A. F. Kay – Discovers two tier 3 minions (was one tier 3 and one tier 4). Stays in T1.
- The Rat King – Hero power buffs a specific tribe that changes each turn by +1/+1 (was +1/+2). Moved from T1 to T2.
- The Great Akazamzarak – Harder to discover consecutive Ice Blocks, Hand of Salvation removed. Stays in T3.
November 20, 2019
- Millificent Manastorm, King Mukla, Lich Baz’hial, and Giantfin were removed from the Hero pool. They may return later, possibly with some changes.
- Brann Bronzebeard, Elise Starseeker, Sindragosa, and Sir Finley Mrrgglton were added to the Hero pool.
November 11, 2019
- Infinite Toki – Hero Power now costs 2 instead of 1, but summons an extra minion of higher tier instead of replacing the last one.
- King Mukla – Hero Power now gives a Banana when you buy a Beast, not when you sell one.
- Lord Jaraxxus – Hero Power now costs 2, down from 3.