Hearthstone Mercenaries PvP Guide – How to Unlock PvP, Why You Want to PvP and How Is PvP Different from PvE (Updated)

This guide was first written at Mercenaries launch when we didn’t know much about the game mode yet – we’ve just updated it with all the recent knowledge.

There is a lot to do in the single-player Hearthstone Mercenaries PvE experience, but the game mode also includes a robust PvP system. In this guide, we will show you how to access the PvP mode, what rewards there are for PvP, and how PvP battles differ from your regular bounty runs against the computer.

How to Unlock Mercenaries PvP

Hearthstone Mercenaries PvP battles are found in the Fighting Pit in your Village. To build a Fighting Pit, you must complete the Barak Kodobane (level 13) bounty in the Barrens. It also costs 100 Gold – the same Gold you use to buy card packs – to build a Fighting Pit.

Mercenaries PvP Rewards

PvP in Hearthstone Mercenaries can be ruthless: if you lose a battle, you get nothing. No progress, no Coins, no experience for your party.

However, if you win a battle, your team receives a fair bit more experience than you would from running bounties. For example, winning your first battle with a full level 1 team instantly levels the entire team to level 5. Overall, your Mercenaries can expect to level up slightly faster through PvP than through PvE, even though losses give you nothing. Nonetheless, you should usually level up mainly through PvE to complete more tasks for your Mercenaries to gear them up.

You also get reward chests full of coins when you win PvP battles. These chests contain around 100 Mercenary Coins each, so they are around twice as good as the chests you get from bounties. You get a chest for your first win every day, then another chest after two more wins, and so on, until you get a chest for every five wins. Therefore, winning at least one PvP battle every day gives you the best rewards. After opening your first chest, the second one gives you only 1/2 of the rewards per win, the third one 1/3, and so on.

You also get rewards for improving your PvP rating each season, starting at 1000 rating:

  • 1000 rating: 25 Coins for 3 random Mercenaries
  • 2000 rating: 25 Coins for 4 random Mercenaries
  • 3000 rating: 25 Coins for 5 random Mercenaries
  • 4000 rating: 50 Coins for 5 random Mercenaries
  • 5000 rating: 50 Coins for 5 random Mercenaries, 1 Mercenaries Pack
  • 6000 rating: 50 Coins for 6 random Mercenaries, 1 Mercenaries Pack
  • 7500 rating: 50 Coins for 7 random Mercenaries, 1 Mercenaries Pack
  • 10000 rating: 50 Coins for 8 random Mercenaries, 2 Mercenaries Packs
  • 12000 rating: 50 Coins for 10 random Mercenaries, 5 Mercenaries Packs

Mercenaries PvP Matchmaking

Hearthstone Mercenaries has the most complex matchmaking system Blizzard has made so far. In your regular Hearthstone game modes, opponents are chosen based on matchmaking rating (skill), and nothing else. In Mercenaries, your party plays a major role in any success you can have. Accordingly, the matchmaking system takes into account your rating, but also the levels of your Mercenaries, their abilities and equipment, and their roles. If the system cannot find a good match for you, it will pit you against an AI team that should provide an appropriate challenge. In practice, the AI opponents can be defeated far more often than not, but they are not complete pushovers.

Once your rating reaches 7000, you will no longer meet any AI opponents. Entering PvP with a full team of level 30 Mercenaries also significantly increases your odds of finding a human opponent even at low ratings.

This matchmaking system makes it possible to enter PvP with any team to start getting some of those daily win chests. You don’t need a maxed-out team in order to try yourself against other players (or the AI).

Note that the importance of your Mercenary abilities is much smaller when you enter PvP with a full max-level team. Max-level PvP matchmaking is more focused on your rating than on your team. This means that it can actually be more difficult to enter PvP with a fresh level 30 team than with a leveling team, as other max-level teams are likely to have at least some upgraded abilities.

Mercenaries PvP Battles in Practice

There are some important differences between PvP battles and PvE battles.

In a PvP battle, both players have a team of six Mercenaries, of which three are in the battle at the same time. The other three start on the bench and are brought in as replacements when Mercenaries on the field fall. The battle is over when all of the Mercenaries on one of the teams have been defeated.

Apart from some specific abilities (such as Brightwing’s Phase Shift), you cannot switch Mercenaries between the board and the bench. You have to wait until a Mercenary is defeated to bring in a replacement from the bench.

At the start of the battle, both players choose their starting lineup without knowing the starting lineup of their opponent. You do not know which Mercenaries are in your opponent’s team, either. However, you get a basic role rundown, which can help you decide which Mercenaries to start with. You can see the roles in the opposing team on the right side of the board. In this example, the opposing team consists of one protector and five casters, so they are quite weak to fighters, no matter which Mercenaries they start with!

During the battle, you see the roles of the Mercenaries remaining on your opponent’s bench. This can help you evaluate which replacements your opponent is likely to play next, and plan your own accordingly.

In a PvE battle, you can see what abilities your opponent has queued, so you can calculate exactly what will happen each turn (apart from abilities that happen at the same speed or have some inherent random effects). In a PvP battle, you cannot see what your opponent is about to do, so you need to predict their actions and choose your own actions accordingly. Unfortunately, the native user interface does not show you the abilities your opponent’s Mercenaries have, so you would need to know the abilities of all Mercenaries by heart to make informed choices.

Deck trackers added a list of Mercenary abilities to their interfaces already on the first day, so if you use a deck tracker, you can more easily have a rough idea of what your opponent can do. You still cannot see the exact levels of their abilities even with a deck tracker, so for abilities that become faster as they are upgraded, you do not know exactly what speed they are used with.

Combos are useful in a PvE battle, but they are even more important in PvP. Therefore, it is even more important to know timing details. In particular, while the order of abilities of the same speed between you and your opponent is random, the order of abilities of the same speed within your own team is not! When you choose two abilities of the same speed for a battle round, they are used in the order that you choose them. The ability that you choose first will happen first. This can be vital to pulling off big combos.

Mercenaries PvP Meta

When fully upgraded, each Mercenary can play one of three builds, depending on the equipment you use. With 51 Mercenaries in the game at launch, each of which can be played in three different ways, there are more than 9 trillion possible party combinations of fully maxed Mercenaries in the game! There are lots of parties you can build around various synergies: tribe, spell school, or other mechanics. The synergy between your Mercenaries is the key to building successful PvP teams.

The early Mercenaries meta has proven to be extremely flexible. New Mercenaries have entered the top-level competition every day for the first two weeks. You can find some of the top party comps in our compilation post!

There are notable differences in Mercenary performance between PvP and PvE. For example, Cariel Roame is a strong defensive Mercenary in PvE who can protect the other members of your party. In PvP, her protection capabilities are far weaker as human opponents will ruthlessly target the weak spots in your party composition with abilities that are hard to negate with a simple Taunt.

Likewise, Mercenaries who can manipulate the speed of abilities are extremely powerful in PvP, far more so than in PvE: if your Mercenaries get to do their things first, you can often cripple the opponent before they have a chance to respond. Cairne Bloodhoof and Varden Dawngrasp are prime examples of this: they are rarely needed for PvE bounties but can turn a PvP battle on its head.

Old Guardian

Ville "Old Guardian" Kilkku is a writer and video creator focused on analytic, educational Hearthstone, and building innovative Standard format decks. Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/OldGuardian Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/old_guardian

Check out Old Guardian on Twitter or on their Website!

Leave a Reply


  1. Wolfur
    October 29, 2021 at 5:40 am

    Once your rating reaches 7000, you will no longer meet any AI opponents.

    This changed yesterday I think. Even at 6600 all of sudden I can’t get any AI anymore.

  2. 2asandab
    October 28, 2021 at 7:11 am

    I try for 1-3 wins a day with this. IMO the random coin bounties are not as efficient as running the PVE bounties where you can have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting for the win.

    I already have enough useless Orc coins.

    Speaking of which, yesterday, PVP’d with an Orc party against my Nature build and absolutly smoked them 6-

  3. Butterkase
    October 13, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    If you play PvE with some Lvl 30 Mercs already, your Lvl 1 Mercs will also jump to Lvl 5 after a win. For example you have one Lvl 30 Merc and 5 Lvl 1 Mercs, its the same story as PvP. This only works if you if you do the Lvl 20- Lvl 30 PvE content, so you will need at least one advanced Lvl 30 Merc, so that you have a chance winning the match. So if I want to Lvl new Mercs, I usually go with 2-3 Lvl 30 Mercs and 3-4 Lvl 1 Mercs.

    • Ginnel
      October 14, 2021 at 1:06 am

      Exactly, for PvP it might be worth taking a party of 6 level 1’s to level them all up to 5 after one battle against an NPC. But otherwise it’s equally as easy to level up 5 level 1 guys with a level 30 on the level 13 bounty.

      • Ginnel
        October 14, 2021 at 1:07 am

        Forgot to mention the coins are alright for the dailies with just one battle and the rating rewards get you legendary coins.