Hearthstone Battlegrounds is upon us, and while we see lots of similarities in terms of card text and tribes, Hearthstone’s new game mode plays out very differently! Besides knowledge about Heroes and their strengths and weaknesses, it is of utmost importance to know about the ins and outs of Battleground’s strongest unit compositions and their synergies.
In this guide we want to showcase some of the best, as well as most creative Battleground setups!
Where regular Hearthstone fails, Battlegrounds perfectly transports the charming Mech tribe: Magnetism, summons, as well as Divine Shield and recycling mechanisms!
After a first glimpse at the usual Mech end game setup, one thing stands out: Besides Nightmare Amalgam, no early game units can be found. That alone makes playing a full Mech composition harder as you need to be more greedy in regards to your Tavern Tier. Yes, Micro Machine or Mecharoo can hold the base over the first few turns, but fall behind really fast.
That is one of the reasons why Nightmare Amalgam is a much more important composition piece in comparison to other setups. Rolling into it paves the way for going full Mech, while offering enough stats and tribe flexibility to synergize with other units on the board.
If you happen to encounter Cobalt Guardian and Psycho-o-Torn in the shop, your decision has already been made. These value powerhouses have insane late game potential thanks to its effects. Both units profit from Magnetic minions like Replicating Menace, making it on of the more important buffers for the Mech tribe.
The same goes for Annoy-o-Module. Equipping your heavy-hitters with Taunt as well as Divine Shield not only adds tons of battle value but also protects your precious back line. One part of this back line is Security Rover. Again, Mech summons synergize heavily with Cobalt Guardian, and 2/3 Taunt minions can buy enough time for your win condition to build up.
And that win condition is called Junkbot. Put it on the far right of your board, and you will see a rusty Mech turn into a large piece of metal who will be ready to wipe the opponent’s composition. This unit is so good, it even makes perfect sense to put another copy of it right next to your first one!
Anything besides this core composition is just a bonus. Piloted Sky Golem showcases stellar value trading in the mid to late game, and Foe Reaper 4000 does for Mech comps what Cave Hydra does for Beasts. Kangor’s Apprentice as your last minions can yield excellent results as well; however, you need to be certain of its positioning, so that it triggers its Deathrattle effect at the right time!
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Beast compositions may be the most powerful and thus popular builds in the short beta period of Battlegrounds. They rely on powerful summons and highly synergetic board buffs.Similar to regular Hearthstone, Scavenging Hyena can do terrible things to your opponent if left unchecked. Thanks to the attack priority, it’s a common tactic to position Scavenging Hyena on the right-most position on your board; that way it gets buffed up throughout the fight.
An early Hyena paired up with Alleycat or Kindly Grandmother should be enough to get you to Tavern Tier 3 without much effort. Try to pick up an early Rat Pack as well, because you want to include the most ridiculous Tier 2 unit into your team as early as possible.
Cave Hydra may not look strong on paper, but cleave damage becomes more and more important throughout the course of the game, especially against units protected by Divine Shield. That is why you want to place your Cave Hydra on the left-most position so that it can attack first and crack the Divine Shield front line. Everyone’s favorite three-headed beast is also a prime target for any Beast-related buff.
As soon as you get Goldrinn, the Great Wolf, Beast business gets serious. On a full Beast board, Goldrinn’s Deathrattle effect adds a gargantuan total of 48 stat points, making it the most effective buff unit in the game. Similar to Cave Hydra, you want Goldrinn to land its hit early for maximum effeciency.
The last member of the perfect Beast pack is, of course, Mama Bear. Despite the recent nerf, the end game buff machine needs to find its way onto your board. Even if you don’t run a full Beast composition, 10 stats per summoned Beast can turn any fight in your favor. The synergy between Mama Bear and Rat Pack is not only obvious but also the most powerful one in all of Battlegrounds.
Beast boards have no weakness after they hit their mid game power spike. However, Divine Shield and Poisonous is its natural enemy, and compositions without Cave Hydra can fail miserably against heavy-shielded opponents.
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The Demon tribe offers one thing that other tribes can’t provide: Insane and super-early snowball potential. Thanks to Wrath Weaver’s own buff mechanic, early game Demons like Voidwalker and Vulgar Homunculus gain massive value. Nathrezim Overseer helps to keep up the board pressure in the mid game while providing a solid 2/4 body.
Finding Nightmare Amalgam and Soul Juggler should be your top priority if you want to run a Demon line-up. Again, Tier 1 and 2 Demons not only buff up Wrath Weaver but also fuel Soul Juggler’s active ability which, depending on your Demon count, sums up to double digits worth of direct board damage.
Siegebreaker offers a great body and active +1 Attack aura which justifies keeping one or two low-tier Demons on the board until you find your end game units. That can become quite problematic, as both Mal’Ganis and Annihilan Battlemaster are Tier 5 units.
Try to roll Mal’Ganis by playing a golden unit on Tavern Tier 4; if you’re lucky you will be able to buff your Wrath Weaver into the high heavens. If you don’t find Mal’Ganis, you should instead try to beef up your Nightmare Amalgam. The fact that it represents all Battleground tribes makes this unit a must in basically every tribe-heavy composition.
The final puzzle piece of your Demon line-up is Annihilan Battlemaster, a unit that can pick up Wrath Weaver’s snowball potential and double it with ease. The synergy with Mal’Ganis offers ridiculous amounts of Health buffs for this pitlord, and Defender of Argus’ Taunt buff completes your beautiful Demon composition.
Your last board slot could be really anything that hits hard, preferably a unit out of the Tier 6 pool. Voidlord may be the obvious choice, but in the end it’s just 12 points of raw stats, and the Deathrattle effect doesn’t really affect the board by a whole lot. That changes after playing a golden Voidlord, of course!
As you might have realized, Demons have one big drawback: They heavily rely on Wrath Weaver, and that will only be enabled if you sacrifice loads of your own Health. If you can manage to find your high-value mid game solutions combined with one or the other golden low-tier Demon, you should be able to recover from your Health losses. If played right, Demon compositions surely have potential to bring the most stats to a fresh fight in the late game of any tribe-heavy setup.
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Murlocs may be the one tribe in Battlegrounds that compares to actual Hearthstone gameplays. Its early game is explosive, and its snowball potential can easily carry you into the later stages of the game without major sacrifices.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can play Murlocs only in the early stages of a match. It may be more complex, but it’s also more rewarding than any other tribe composition!
The key to Murloc success is synergy and buff effects. Besides the usual snowball mechanics involving Murloc Tidecaller’s self buff and buffs from Rockpool Hunter and Coldlight Seer, you need to aggressively play for general buffs as well. Zoobot, Menagerie Magician and even Defender of Argus or Strongshell Scavenger carry your Murlocs into the later stages of the game.
Similar to other comps, Nightmare Amalgam is a must in a Murloc team. Even more than that, you should run two copies of it to maximize its flexibility in the early and mid game. Murloc Warleader may look weak once you hit late game; however, it still packs a good punch and can bring up to +12 attack to all Murlocs, and that includes possible summons.
The true end game jackpot for Murlocs is Gentle Megasaur. If you manage to discover Divine Shield or Poisonous for all Murlocs on the board, even the most beefy Mech compositions barely stand a chance against your buffed up board.
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Similar to other autobattlers, Battlegrounds also offers a “pick one of each” style of composition. In Hearthstone’s case, the term “Menagerie” has been established, and it’s one of the most versatile and powerful setups you can assemble. Unlike other compositions, the decision to play a Menagerie board should be made in the later stages of the game.
To be precise, a unit called Lightfang Enforcer plays the key role in any Menagerie setup. This worgen paladin adds a whooping 16 stats on the board if you play a minion of each of the four tribes, and not only once but every single round! The fact that it only carries a weak 2/2 body doesn’t change the insane power level of this unit – it pays off after just one or two rounds, and then starts snowballing your board.
And not only that: Lightfang Enforcer also offers tons of flexibility when it comes to your personal Menagerie composition. Many weak units get surprisingly strong over time if they bring the right stats.
Cards like Zoobot and Menagerie Warden can do a decent job at buffing up your Menagerie as well in case you aren’t able to find a Lightfang Enforcer early enough; in this case, good old Brann Bronzebeard could become your best friend!
However, that should really only happen if you can’t seem to find an early entry into one of the other heavy tribe compositions. The ability to identify these situations shows your strength as a Battlegrounds player and enables you to play Menagerie comps much more often, even if you don’t get Lightfang Enforcer as soon as you hit Tavern Tier 5. If you find him early, however, it might be worth it to quickly switch to this composition in order to ensure a strong late game.
In the end, the Menagerie player needs a lot of confidence and creativity which will be rewarded with wins through unique compositions! Don’t forget your Nightmare Amalgams though.
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Similar to the Menagerie comp, the Battlecry setup mostly revolves around one unit: Crowd Favorite. Together with an early Brann Bronzebeard and some Nightmare Amalgams, you can easily exploit all the different Battlecry effects while buffing up your main threat. However, Crowd favorite falls off in the late game compared to other units, and you usually want to go for Menagerie setup to take most advantage of your buffs anyway… so once you find Lightfang, you usually make a transition anyway.
Compared to other active effects, Divine Shield can not only be used to bolster your tribe compositions, but also can be played in its own setup. Your key unit is Bolvar, Fireblood, who gains +2 Attack each time a minion loses Divine Shield. Put that together with multiple Cobalt Guardians and a couple of Divine Shield Mechs, and you have yourself a very fun way to play around the most popular strategies.
Deathrattle / Summon
Battlegrounds wouldn’t be a Hearthstone mode if Khadgar didn’t have a word to say in it! In fact, Deathrattle Summon compositions featuring the all-star archmage can easily keep up with other tribe-heavy boards in the early and mid game (as long as you get a few minions that can summon other units – Security Rover is an MVP, for example). But don’t forget to transition out of it when you’re ahead, because this comp doesn’t have a great late game scaling!