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Tavern Brawl - promo.png The subject of this article is part of the
Tavern Brawl game mode.

A Less Friendly Game of Chess.png

"Things have gotten a little underhanded at Medivh's Magical Chessboard. Bring 6 unique cards and hide them under the table, they could swing the match in your favor!"

A Less Friendly Game of Chess is a Tavern Brawl. It debuted on June 27, 2018.

Based on the Chess encounter from One Night in Karazhan and on the previous brawl A Friendly Game of Chess, all matches in the Brawl are played on the Karazhan battlefield.


Tavern Brawl Start End
159 June 27, 2018 July 1, 2018
216 July 31, 2019 August 7, 2019
292 January 13, 2021 January 20, 2021


This Brawl sees players recreating the Chess encounter from One Night in Karazhan. At the start of each Brawl the players are randomly assigned to play either the White or Black King heroes, each with only 20 Health. Both use identical premade decks of 15 special cards and 6 cards chosen by the player, as well as the Castle Hero Power, matching the encounter's Normal mode version. With most minions unable to attack directly - instead dealing damage automatically - players will have to think carefully in order to triumph in this Brawl.


White King(42262).png
Black King(42263).png

Hero Powers[]


Special cards[]

White King[]

White Pawn(42243).png
White Bishop(42246).png
White Rook(42245).png
White Knight(42249).png
White Queen(42250).png

Black King[]

Black Pawn(42242).png
Black Bishop(42247).png
Black Rook(42244).png
Black Knight(42248).png
Black Queen(42251).png



  • As of the third reprisal, the player going second has The Coin shuffled into their deck and replaced with another card.


Both decks are identical (colours aside), and are composed of only 15 cards and other 6 cards chosen by the player, matching the number of pieces in an actual game of chess (heroes included).

Class Card Quantity
Boss White Pawn/Black Pawn 8
Boss White Bishop/Black Bishop 2
Boss White Rook/Black Rook 2
Boss White Knight/Black Knight 2
Boss White Queen/Black Queen 1


For the most part, the strategy of this brawl matches that of A Friendly Game of Chess, with the best planning and smart board positioning determining the winner. However, the six extra cards both players bring can seriously shift the game.

Minions you bring will not have the rules of chess pieces, letting them freely attack any enemy minion or the opponent's hero. For this reason, Rush and Charge minions are fairly valuable. Taunt minions may also be a good pick - they won't stop chess pieces, but will still prevent your opponent's normal minions from attacking anything else.

There are a few good archetypes of cards to bring. Board clear cards like Twisting Nether and Plague of Death can be surprise recovery tools, letting you get back on even footing if you fall behind on the board. Cards with on-damage triggers or Enrage effects such as Armorsmith, Frothing Berserker, Gurubashi Berserker, and Gahz'rilla can be highly valuable, since your opponent will be forced to attack and power the minions up. Health gain is also very strong, particularly armor gain, since damage from chess pieces usually happens in very small increments over time. Consider using cards like Shield Block and Oaken Summons.

Be aware that buffs are not good cards to use. The chess pieces deal a fixed amount of damage with their Auto-Attacks, not an amount based on their stats.


Both heroes' emotes match those from the original Chess encounter.

White King
Type Emote
Thanks How very kind.
Well played Checkmate.
Greetings Care for a game?
Wow Ah, exceptional.
Oops Oh, a blunder.
Threaten I see a mate in 4.
Concede Checkmate...
Opening remark En garde!
Thinking [1] Rook to A3...
Thinking [2] Knight to F6...
Thinking [3] Queen to E5... No, no...
Black King

Due to his original role as the enemy boss, many of the Black King's emotes are written as if in direct response to the matching emotes of the White King. The Black King also lacks Thinking and Concede emotes, for the same reason.

Type Emote
Thanks Any time.
Well played Not yet.
Greetings Always.
Wow Naturally.
Oops Or a trap?
Threaten I see one in 3.
Concede <No emote>
Opening remark None shall pass!


White King
Type Emote
Sorry A necessary sacrifice.
Black King
Type Emote
Sorry An unfortunate development.