Hearthstone Battlegrounds – A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Hearthstone Battlegrounds serves as the perfect entry point for those looking to explore the Hearthstone universe. In contrast to the Constructed mode, which demands acquiring card packs, crafting cards, and mastering deck building and play, Battlegrounds provides an open door for anyone to jump right in, no prerequisites required. You simply hit “play,” and you’re off!

Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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Is the idea of diving into the game without the need for a card collection appealing to you? If it is, whether you’re new to the game and interested in giving this mode a shot or if you’re already a player seeking to enhance your chances of victory, we’re here to offer you a concise guide on how to get started with Hearthstone Battlegrounds. We’ll cover the fundamentals you need to grasp so you can confidently navigate this exciting mode without feeling lost in the battlefield.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds: An Introduction to the Auto Battler Gameplay Loop

Hearthstone Battlegrounds is an auto battler, a subgenre of games where players buy and sell units, or in this case, minions, who then engage in battles without direct player input.

The core gameplay loop revolves around two main phases:

  1. Tavern Phase: During this phase, you make decisions about which minions to buy or sell and how to position them on your board.
  2. Combat Phase: In this phase, you watch as your minions battle against an opponent’s minions. Combat is automated, with minions attacking from left to right and choosing targets randomly. The player with more minions generally goes first, with the order being random if minion counts are equal. The outcome of this battle damages your opponent’s health.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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There are eight players in each game, and each player starts with 40 health (plus some Armor in some cases for balance). Winning a round of combat deals damage to your opponent’s health based on the combined strength of surviving minions. The more minions that survive, especially higher-tier ones, the more damage is inflicted.

Players get kicked out of the game when they get knocked down to zero health. In some cases, you may face AI-controlled “ghosts” of eliminated players during battles. Achieving a top-4 finish is considered a win in Battlegrounds, which is significant as many quests and achievements depend on this outcome. So, “Win a game of Battlegrounds” effectively means “finish in the top 4 of a game of Battlegrounds.” This core gameplay loop forms the foundation of the Battlegrounds experience, with additional features and strategies layered on top.

Choosing Your Hero in Hearthstone Battlegrounds

At the beginning of each Hearthstone Battlegrounds match, players must select a hero to play as. This decision is crucial as each hero possesses a unique hero power that significantly influences their approach to the game.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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For newcomers to the game, it’s recommended to carefully read the description of each hero power and choose the one that seems the most enjoyable and straightforward to use. Initially, focus on selecting a hero power that suits your playstyle and preferences. As you gain more experience, you’ll come to appreciate the distinctiveness of each hero and how their unique powers can impact the course of the game. These hero powers add depth and variety to the gameplay, making each match a unique experience.

Understanding Minions: The Key to Victory in Hearthstone Battlegrounds

In Hearthstone Battlegrounds, minions are the linchpin of your strategy, as they are the tools you employ to secure victories in battles. Minions are creatures placed on the game board, and they have two primary values displayed at the bottom of their cards: Attack and Health. Attack represents the amount of damage a minion deals when it attacks another unit, while Health denotes how much damage it can sustain before being defeated.

It’s essential to note that minion damage and defeat in combat are not permanent outcomes. After each combat phase, minions are restored to their original states, ready for the next battle.

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To acquire minions, you typically buy them during your Tavern phase. Each minion in the tavern costs three gold and can be sold back for one gold, with a few exceptions that are rare and not a primary concern for beginners.

Upon purchasing a minion, it enters your hand, and you must play it onto the game board, similar to how you play cards in regular Hearthstone. When you have multiple minions, you can reposition them on the board by dragging them around. This repositioning is crucial because minions attack in order from left to right, allowing you to strategically determine which minions attack first.

Keep in mind that your board has limited space, allowing up to seven minions to be deployed at once. You may eventually need to sell weaker minions to make room for stronger ones as you progress through the game.

Managing In-Game Gold: The Key Resource in Hearthstone Battlegrounds

In Hearthstone Battlegrounds, in-game gold is the primary resource used for acquiring minions and upgrading your Tavern. It’s crucial to distinguish this in-game gold from the currency used outside of the match to purchase Hearthstone card packs.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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You begin the game with three gold, which is sufficient to purchase one minion. However, your gold increases by one with each new Tavern phase, reaching a maximum of ten on turn eight and in subsequent turns. Additionally, there are specific effects, whether from minions or other sources, that can generate additional gold for you.

It’s essential to spend all of your gold each turn because your gold balance resets at the start of every turn. Any leftover gold is permanently lost, representing a missed opportunity to invest in more power, which can hinder your progress in the long run. Understanding and effectively managing your in-game economy is one of the most critical aspects of success in Hearthstone Battlegrounds, a concept that becomes increasingly apparent as you continue to play.

Understanding Minion Abilities in Hearthstone Battlegrounds

In the world of Hearthstone Battlegrounds, minions come with various abilities that can significantly impact your gameplay. These abilities can be classified into several categories, and understanding them is crucial for success. Let’s break down these abilities in simple terms:

Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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  1. Battlecry Abilities: These powers activate when you play the minion at the Tavern. They’re one-time effects that typically buff other minions or alter your game strategy in some way.
  2. Deathrattle Abilities: These abilities trigger during combat when the minion is defeated. They often have a substantial impact, such as summoning new minions, granting buffs to your board, or dealing damage to your opponents.
  3. Discover Effects: When you encounter a Discover effect, you’ll choose one option from three presented to you at the Tavern. This choice adds a minion to your hand, allowing you to customize your strategy.
  4. Divine Shield: Think of this as a one-time shield against damage during combat. If a minion with Divine Shield is hit, the shield absorbs the damage, keeping the minion unharmed. However, it can only block one attack per combat.
  5. Frenzy Effects: These abilities activate in combat when the minion takes damage but survives. They can only occur once per combat round. If the minion endures more damage during the same battle, the Frenzy effect won’t trigger again.
  6. Magnetic: When a minion has Magnetic, it can attach itself to a Mech minion, transferring its stats to the Mech. The Magnetic minion is lost, but it strengthens the Mech.
  7. Poisonous: This is a lethal effect. If a minion with Poisonous deals damage to another minion, the target instantly perishes, regardless of its remaining health. However, Divine Shield can protect against Poisonous but only once.
  8. Reborn: When a minion with Reborn dies, it revives with one health, but the Reborn keyword is not reapplied. This revival can potentially trigger any Deathrattle effects it had when it initially died.
  9. Spellcraft: Exclusive to Naga minions, Spellcraft adds spells to your hand during the Tavern phase. These spells regenerate each turn as long as you have the Spellcraft minion on your board.
  10. Taunt: Minions with Taunt force opponents to target them first in combat. They act as a protective barrier for the rest of your board, though some rare minions can bypass Taunt.
  11. Windfury: Windfury grants a minion two attacks in quick succession, with the second immediately following the first. Some minions even possess Mega-Windfury, allowing up to four attacks at once.

While these are the fundamental keywords, keep in mind that many minions have unique abilities expressed in their card text. Learning these abilities as you play is essential, but most are straightforward to understand. Happy battling!


Managing Your Minion Selection in the Tavern Phase

In the Tavern phase of your game, if you’re not happy with the minions available to you, you have a couple of options. One is to click on the Refresh button located at the top right of the screen. However, it’s important to note that each Refresh costs one gold, so it’s wise to use this option sparingly.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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Especially in the early stages of the game, it’s generally better to invest your gold in any available minions rather than spending it on frequent Refreshes. As the game progresses and your board becomes more satisfactory, Refreshing becomes more valuable when you’re seeking specific minions to purchase.

Sometimes, you might spot a minion you want to buy but lack the gold at the moment. In such a situation, you can use the other button located at the top right of the screen, known as the Freeze button. This action ensures that when you return to the Tavern phase, those desired minions will still be there, giving you another chance to purchase them.

The key advantage of freezing minions is that it doesn’t cost any gold. Plus, you have the flexibility to unfreeze them if you change your mind. Just click the button again to make those minions available for purchase once more.

Understanding Minion Tiers and Tavern Upgrades

Minions come in different Tiers, ranging from one to six, which you can easily identify by the stars displayed on the top left of each minion card. This star rating is a fundamental indicator of their strength. For instance, a Tier 1 minion is a basic unit for early-game damage, while a Tier 6 minion can be a game-changer, capable of securing numerous victories on its own.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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To access higher Tier minions, you must upgrade your Tavern. A Tier 2 Tavern, for instance, offers Tier 2 minions alongside Tier 1 ones. This pattern continues, meaning you’ll eventually need to reach Tavern Tier 6 to have the chance to purchase Tier 6 minions.

Upgrading your Tavern comes with a gold cost, which can be quite steep initially. However, this cost decreases by one gold each turn, making it more affordable over time. Deciding when to upgrade your Tavern is a critical strategic decision in the game. If you upgrade too early, you might gain access to powerful minions before your opponents but at the expense of a substantial gold investment. This early upgrade could put you at a disadvantage in the current game. So, it’s essential to assess the risk versus reward based on the current game situation, a skill that improves with experience.


Each minion in the game has a limited number of copies available, and this number decreases as the Tier increases. When you purchase a minion, you remove it from the pool, affecting all players. This has significant strategic implications. For example, if you notice that several other players are building Dragon-based compositions, it might become challenging to find Dragons to buy. In such cases, it’s smart to consider alternative minion compositions. Keep in mind that selling a minion puts it back into the pool for all players, allowing others to potentially acquire it.

The Power of Minion Triples and Tavern Tiers

In the game, you’ll notice that you have the option to purchase multiple copies of the same minion. However, when you’re on the verge of buying the third copy of a minion, that particular copy will start to glow. This glowing effect signifies that you’re about to achieve a “triple.” When you obtain all three copies of a minion, they merge into a single golden minion. These golden minions are typically twice as powerful as their regular counterparts, and the best part is that they only take up one space on your board!

Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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But there’s more to it than just added power. When you place a golden minion on your board, you gain the opportunity to “Discover” a minion from a Tavern Tier higher than your current one. For example, if you achieve a triple at Tavern Tier 4, you’ll get the chance to choose one additional minion from the higher Tier 5. This feature is essential for strengthening your board as the game progresses and is a goal you should always strive for.

So, remember, chasing those minion triples not only beefs up your minions but also grants you access to higher-tier minions, giving you a crucial advantage in building a formidable team.

Understanding Minion Types and Their Unique Traits

In the game, minions come in various types, which are indicated at the bottom of their cards. Currently, there are nine minion types: Beast, Demon, Dragon, Elemental, Mech, Murloc, Naga, Pirate, and Quilboar. Each type has its own distinctive characteristics and strategies:

Hearthstone Battlegrounds - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
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  1. Beasts: These minions often rely on the Deathrattle keyword, summoning more Beasts or buffing existing ones, sometimes doing both at once.
  2. Demons: Demons thrive by consuming other minions in the Tavern to grow stronger. They also gain strength as they summon more demons during combat and can randomly damage enemy minions as friendly demons fall.
  3. Dragons: Dragons tend to become significantly more powerful as the game progresses. During combat, they can deal damage to enemies before attacking, and they are known for having Divine Shields and permanent buffs.
  4. Elementals: If you’re looking for big stats, Elementals are your go-to type. Each summoned Elemental tends to boost the stats of the next one, creating formidable Attack and Health levels. They also love Windfury attacks.
  5. Mechs: Mechs excel at summoning other Mechs during combat while providing buffs. They are also renowned for their frequent use of Divine Shields, making them durable on the battlefield.
  6. Murlocs: Murlocs specialize in Poisonous attacks, capable of taking down large enemy minions. If left unchecked, they can also buff themselves significantly.
  7. Naga: Naga thrive on spells and gain power through the Spellcraft keyword, adding various effects and buffs to your warband during combat.
  8. Pirates: Pirates are all about gold. Playing them significantly impacts your in-game economy, earning you extra gold and buffing your minions with each purchase. They can also enhance your entire board before every attack.
  9. Quilboar: Quilboar are masters of Blood Gems, which are buffs you can cast yourself. They can generate these buffs both in combat and during the Tavern phase. Be cautious of their Divine Shields and Windfury attacks.

Minions of the same type often have synergies that make them more effective when grouped together. Many players aim to build a “composition” or “comp” by sticking to a single type for their entire board. This synergy exponentially increases their efficiency. For example, if a player focuses on Murlocs, they’re said to be playing a “Murloc comp.” There are also “Menagerie” comps, which aim to have one minion of each type, but they are more challenging to execute effectively.

It’s important to note that not all minion types will be available in every game. During the hero selection phase at the start of a game, you’ll be informed which types are present or absent. This information is vital because certain types can counter others, adding depth to your strategy. As you play more, you’ll learn about these synergies and counters, enhancing your gameplay.

Seasonal Events in Hearthstone Battlegrounds

Hearthstone Battlegrounds operates in seasons, and periodically, Seasonal events shake up the gameplay experience. These events bring exciting changes and challenges to the game, and so far, we’ve seen three types of events: Darkmoon Prizes, Buddies, and Quests. In the current Season 2, Quests are the active event.

Quests: A Season 2 Feature

During the Quests event, players encounter a unique twist in their games. On the fourth turn, three Quests are presented to all players, and each player must select one. These Quests come with a set of objectives that players need to complete during the course of the game. These objectives can be diverse, ranging from tasks like “summon 20 minions” to “have your friendly Taunt minions attacked 12 times.”

Crucially, each Quest is paired with a specific reward. These rewards can be game-changing, granting significant advantages. For example, a Quest might reward you with “your minions have +5 attack,” or “you only need two copies of a minion to make it golden.” However, it’s worth noting that the more potent rewards tend to require more challenging objectives to be fulfilled.


So, in Season 2’s Quests event, players face the strategic decision of selecting a Quest that aligns with their gameplay style and then embarking on a mission to meet its objectives. These Quests not only add depth and excitement to the game but also introduce new layers of strategy and planning as you work towards those rewarding benefits.

Guidance for New Hearthstone Battlegrounds Players

For those who are just embarking on their Hearthstone Battlegrounds journey, here are some essential tips to get you started. Keep in mind that advanced players might deviate from these guidelines, but understanding the basics is crucial before you explore more advanced strategies. And remember, practice is key!

  1. Positioning for Success: Initially, it’s helpful to arrange your minions so that your strongest ones are on the left. This ensures they attack first. However, as you gain experience, you’ll discover exceptions to this rule.
  2. Timely Tavern Upgrades: Don’t wait too long before leveling up your tavern. A good rule of thumb is that if you can upgrade your tavern and still have three gold left (enough to buy a minion), it’s time to level up. This helps you access more powerful minions.
  3. Flexibility is Key: Avoid trying to force a specific minion composition if you can’t find the necessary pieces. Many beginners make the mistake of fixating on a particular build. In the early game, focus on buying the strongest available minions rather than forcing synergies. Keep your options open.
  4. Master Your Hero: Stick with the same hero as much as possible. Different heroes have unique abilities and strategies. Consistency helps you become skilled in using your hero’s abilities effectively, such as knowing when to use your Hero Power or when to raise your Tavern Tier.
  5. Embrace the Forgiving Nature: Battlegrounds is a more forgiving mode compared to Constructed. In this lobby of eight players, you’ll find less anxiety because success isn’t solely about winning or losing. Even finishing in the top 4 counts as a win. Winning can range from dominating your opponents to barely scraping by and finishing fourth against stronger players.

By following these basic tips and getting plenty of practice, you’ll be on your way to mastering Hearthstone Battlegrounds and enjoying the strategic depth it offers.

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