- For the cosmetic maps games are played on, see Battlefield.
Battlegrounds is a game mode where eight players face off in 1v1 rounds, with the goal to be the last player standing. Each round consists of two phases. The Recruit Phase lets players purchase and sell minions, upgrade the tavern, use their hero power, and rearrange their minions' attack order. Combat Phase has minions automatically attacking the opponents' until one player (or both) has no minions remaining, at which point the victor attacks the loser directly.
Unlike other play modes, Battlegrounds has a set of cards totally unique to itself (although many are functionally identical to collectible cards) as well as a pool of specialized heroes. All Battlegrounds cards are available from the beginning.
Battlegrounds is significantly different from all other play modes in Hearthstone, featuring completely different mechanics from anything previously seen. There is no mana: instead, the only resource is Coins (similar to the Bartender Bob, Bartendotron, and Bazaar Bob encounters from previous Single-player adventures). All minions cost 3 Coins, with the power of minions instead dictated by their Tavern Tier, shown in the usual place of mana on the card interface. This is a purple square on the upper-left with 1-6 gold stars. Minions do not attack the opponent directly - rather, surviving minions add Tavern Tier to the hero's attack once the round is over.
Battlegrounds was first revealed at BlizzCon 2019 on November 1, where attendees could try out the new game mode first-hand. Shortly after BlizzCon, closed beta started on November 5 and Battlegrounds was available for free to all players who attended BlizzCon, purchased a BlizzCon virtual ticket, or pre-purchased the new expansion Descent of Dragons. During the week that followed, players who watched participating Hearthstone streamers on Twitch could earn a Twitch drop for Battlegrounds Early Access and start playing with the game mode as well, in closed beta. Open beta soon followed a week later at 10am PT on November 12, opening for free to the public for all players.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Matchmaking
- 3 Cards
- 4 Notes
- 5 Battlegrounds Perks
- 6 Known bugs
- 7 Gallery
- 8 Videos
- 9 Soundtrack
- 10 Patch changes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Battlegrounds has a large selection of different heroes available, all of which have vastly different hero powers and strategies therein. At the beginning of the match, each player is offered two (or four if you have Battlegrounds Perks) heroes to choose from. The large pool of heroes ensures that no given hero is offered to more than one player in the same match.
Replacing the usual History bar, a sidebar displaying every hero in the match as well as their rough health amount is visible at all times. Heroes are arranged from most to least health descending, with the players in the top four spots numbered and the player in first given a crown. Hovering over any icon will give you detailed information about that player, including the player's username, their hero power, Tavern Tier, how many of the majority minion Tribe they have in their lineup, as well as a summary of who they fought in the last two rounds and how much damage was dealt (either receiving or attacking on that player's end). Additionally, your next and current opponent has a glowing red border and is slightly ajar from the other icons.
- Minion abilities
Most abilities functionally exactly like they do in the base game, including aura effects like Baron Rivendare and Brann Bronzebeard working just like you'd expect. Minion abilities are active during both the Recruit Phase and Combat Phase. There are a few minor changes though.
- Windfury causes the minion to attack twice in each sequence.
- Taunt forces all minions to attack it first. If there are multiple Taunt minions, targets are chosen randomly between them. Very few cards can ignore Taunt.
- Random Summon effects can only create minions from the Battlegrounds mode. However, cost-related effects like Piloted Sky Golem and Piloted Shredder will only create minions that have the stated mana cost in their original forms. All minions exclusive to Battlegrounds do have a mana cost, but it cannot be seen in-game.
- For example, Zapp Slywick's mana cost is 8.
The Recruit Phase is the most important part of Battlegrounds. Rather than building a deck of cards, Bob's Tavern allows players to manipulate the game by purchasing, selling, and rearranging minions in play. At the beginning of the game, you only have 3 Coins to spend, but you gain one each round up to a maximum of ten. Just like Mana Crystals, Coins are not conserved between rounds, so it's best to spend all Coins each time you visit the tavern.
All enchantments received by minions in the Recruit Phase are permanent, encouraging the player to invest in buffs to build their best minions up.
Each Recruit Phase lasts a limited amount of time, with the exact figure replacing the End Turn button. The first round is 60 seconds (time starting at hero choice lasts for 15 seconds, then 12-13 seconds of intro animation before giving control over to the player), and it increases each round by 15 seconds, capping off at 120 seconds. This period is unavoidable, so you should try to maximize the time you have. Note that the Recruit Phase timer begins at the start of the Combat Phase, meaning shorter combats will give you more time to recruit.
The matchups for the next Combat Phase is decided at the start of the Recruit Phase, and your next opponent's portrait on the left will be enlarged and highlighted.
Upon entering the Tavern, Bob will have a group of minions lined up ready to be purchased. Minions can be purchased by dragging the minion over your hero or into your hand. Each minion costs 3 Coins (no matter their Tavern Tier), so choose wisely. Available minions automatically reset at the start of each round.
Once a minion is purchased, it is added to your hand and can be played at any time for free as long as you have the board space. You can have a maximum of seven minions at a time. Minions in play cannot be returned to your hand however, only removed by being sold or fused into Triple Cards.
You can access higher-tier minions by upgrading your Tavern Tier. The minions that are offered to you in Bob's Tavern comes from a pool of shared minions, shared by all players. All minions that are at or below your Tavern Tier level are available to be offered to you in Bob's Tavern, with the minions being randomly selected from the shared pool. Because the minion pool is shared, if another player buys a minion that you can buy (and the player is also still alive), you will have less chance of being offered that specific minion when Bob's Tavern is re-rolled, because there is one less in the pool.
The following is a table of the number of copies of each minion associated with each Tavern Tier:
|Tavern Tier||Copies of each minion|
Minions in play can be freely rearranged by dragging them to another position on the board. This is important since it determines the order in which minions attack and also allows positional effects like Dire Wolf Alpha and Defender of Argus to be made the most use of.
If you no longer want a minion, you can sell it to Bob by picking it up and dragging it over him. All minions are sold for 1 Coin, including tokens.
Mainly, this is a way to extend your Coins to buy new minions you might not otherwise be able to afford. Selling should only be done when the coins gained make the difference between a new purchase, otherwise the income is lost by next round.
This can be also useful for cycling a powerful Battlecry with a weak body like Strongshell Scavenger, or creating money from tokens like a Murloc Scout created by Murloc Tidehunter. It's also essential for ensuring you have enough board space for better minions as you continue to upgrade your Tavern.
- Triple Cards
When you have two minions of a kind, obtaining a third will fuse them into a powerful Triple Card. Triple Cards retain any Enchantments the minions previously did, as well as feature doubled stats and occasionally stronger abilities, on top of cosmetically being Golden. Triple Cards are added to your hand from the battlefield, allowing you to reuse their Battlecries. Additionally, playing a Triple Card will add a Triple Reward spell to your hand, which allows you to Discover a minion from the Tavern Tier above you (or from Tier 6 if you are Tier 6). Minions do not need to be in play to become Triple Cards; storing them in your hand will still activate the fusion.
Whenever a player makes a Triple Card, a notification is shown to everyone at the sidebar.
Even token minions have Triple Card versions, with all the aforementioned rules and benefits. Sometimes it's a good idea to hold on to tokens early, giving you a free higher tier minion.
Card fusions into Triple Cards happen as soon as three of the same minion exist on your side of the battlefield or hand. The fusion may take place in between phases, and fusions can even take place multiple times in a phase. This can be seen distinctly due to Brann Bronzebeard and Khadgar. When playing a Murloc Tidehunter with Brann, Khadgar, and two other minions on the battlefield the following will occur:
- A Murloc Scout is summoned from the Tidehunter
- Khadgar summons another one
- Brann triggers the battlecry again
- A third Murloc Scout is summoned
- Due to there being 3 Murloc Scouts on the board, the fuse into a Triple Card
- Khadgar summons another Murloc Scout
- Tavern Upgrades
At any time, you can upgrade your Tavern to the next tier. This will improve the quality of minions offered and occasionally increase the number of minions for sale. The number of minions offered to the player starts in 3 and is increases by 1 at tiers 2, 4 and 6. Taverns start at tier 1 and can be upgraded to tier 6. Your current Tavern Tier is displayed on a small flag next to Bob, and is visible to all players when you hover over. Upgrading will also notify every other player which tier you currently are.
Upgrading starts at 5 Coins, and each upgrade costs more than the last. However, at the start of each round, you remain on the same tier, the cost of upgrading reduces by 1. It's a good idea to upgrade as frequently as you can, to avoid falling behind as other players gain more and more powerful boards.
|Tavern Tier||Base Cost|
If you don't like what Bob has to offer, you can spend 1 Coin to Refresh the board. This can be done as many times per turn as you have Coins to spend. Refreshing is also the fastest way to get minions from your next Tavern Tier, since they won't automatically update on purchase.
See something you like but don't have the Coins for it? You can use the Freeze button to save whatever board Bob has for the next round. Freeze can be toggled on and off for free 5 times during each Recruit Phase, saving any minions on the board for the next round. This can be very helpful for completing a Triple Card or snagging a powerful minion.
When you freeze an incomplete board, due to you having bought one or more of them, or when upgrading the tavern to a tier that increases the number of minions offered, new minions will be added to the ones you froze at the next recruiting phase.
Generally, if you have nothing else to do, you should spend the rest of your Coins on Refresh, to see if you get a good minion to Freeze.
- Hero Powers
Active Hero powers are available during this phase and can be used by paying their requested Coin cost. They essentially act as another ability that can be used and often have powerful effects but cannot win games on their own. Knowing whether to spend Coins on them or to Refresh for better minions is a skill unto itself.
Occasionally, hero powers and cards will give you spells you can cast. Like everything, spells can only be played in this phase, and directly impact the battlefield as a one-time effect. They sometimes have an associated Coin cost.
In the Combat Phase, you enter combat with another player, facing off against their board. There is no player input on this part of the game, simply letting numbers, strategy, and a bit of luck play out. Unlike the Recruit Phase, buffs received in this mode are lost once the combat is over. The Combat Phase does not actually last any time. When a Recruit Phase ends, the next one immediately begins. If a player disconnects and reconnects, they may skip the Combat Phase and immediately enter the next Recruit Phase. This also means that if a player dies in the Combat Phase, their deaths are processed immediately after the previous Recruit Phase. If a player lives through the Combat phase but concedes during it, their death will be processed after every player who died through attacks in the same phase, meaning that the conceding player, in this case, will place higher than all players who died through attacks in the same phase.
- Hero Powers
Before attacking begins, any Hero Powers that trigger on the next Combat are activated. This can have a serious impact on the board state.
The player with the greater number of minions attacks first. If the number of minions is equal for both players, one of the players is randomly selected to attack first. Minions attack automatically, starting in sequence from the leftmost minion to the rightmost for each player, then repeating. Minions that are newly summoned (e.g. from Deathrattles) participate in this left-to-right attacking. All attack targets are chosen randomly unless the other player has Taunts, in which case minions attack the Taunts first. This random nature of attacks adds a degree of luck to the outcome of each battle. This continues until one or both players have all minions destroyed.
If a minion is supposed to attack but has 0 attack, it skips its attack.
At the end of combat, the player with surviving minions (if any) deals damage to their opponent. Damage dealt is equal to their current Tavern Tier, plus the combined tiers of all their surviving minions (tokens are always tier 1). Particularly devastating rounds near the end of the game can deal 20 or more damage at once.
Should the round end in a draw, which occurs if no minions survive for either player, no player deals damage. The round will also end in a draw if both players only control 0-attack minions. This can happen as soon as the round begins.
When there is an uneven number of players, one player will face off against a dummy hero Kel'Thuzad. Kel'Thuzad takes the board and tavern tier of a previously defeated player but has 0 actual health. Generally, this fight is much easier than normal since the opponent will have had no ability to further alter their board. However, you can still take damage and even lose, so be somewhat careful. Kel'Thuzad will only take the board of the player who died the most recently when a player is assigned to fight him at the beginning of the Recruit Phase. However, if a player concedes during a phase, Kel'Thuzad will also take that board and continue the battle with the player assigned at the start of the phase.
At the end of each Combat Phase, each board is returned in the same position they started in, with all minions restored to life and all tokens created during combat removed. Any permanent Enchantments from previous Recruit Phases are also retained.
The rating system in Battlegrounds is based on your matchmaking rating or MMR for short. It goes up if you placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, all of which counts as a win in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. The higher your MMR is, the more skilled your opponents will be. The lower it is, the less skilled they will be.
Battlegrounds MMR is calculated using a unique rating system. After each match, a player's rating gets updated based on a combination of things: the player's rating, the opponents' ratings, the player's place of finish, the player's predicted win chance, the player's variance, the consequences of a teamed group in the lobby, and other factors. Below 6500 rating, there is also a positive progression adjustment boost for each game a player plays, based on the player's current rating. This means that every game a player below 6500 rating plays will award a small boost to the player's MMR rating.
- For an explanation of how MMR is calculated in Battlegrounds, please check out the November 2019 blog post.
- For the accidental change to the MMR system that occurred on December 5, 2019, please check out the official forum post.
|<5000||62% of players|
Ayala explained that Battlegrounds ratings are split into two numbers: Matchmaking Rating, the rating that is used in matchmaking, and Visual Rating, the rating players see on their accounts. When reset happens, everyone's Visual Rating will go to 0 while everyone's hidden Matchmaking Rating will stay the same. After 30-60 games, these two ratings will become roughly aligned.
On September 10, 2020, Hearthstone Data Scientist Tian Ding further shared that being above 6000 rating is roughly equivalent to being in the top 30% of all active Battlegrounds players.
Live leaderboards for the top 200 players are displayed for the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions here: Official Top 200 Battlegrounds leaderboards.
Battlegrounds Parties is an added way to enjoy the game of Battlegrounds by allowing players to queue with more than 2 other friends. Previously, only up to 2 players could queue together to search for a Battlegrounds game. Parties was added to the game on September 8, 2020 with Patch 18.2.
With the release of Battlegrounds Parties, now up to 4 players are able to queue for a ranked Battlegrounds match together. However, once the group lobby exceeds 4 players, the game type automatically switches to a private Battlegrounds match for 5-8 players.
While it may be fun to queue with up to 4 friends in ranked Battlegrounds matches, there are some downsides for the solo player experience:
- A group of friends can coordinate to power level and/or minimize loss of hero health whenever they are matched together.
- The group is able to target solo players whom are dominating in a particular game.
- The group has access to info which solo players won't, such as exact warband compositions for many of the players, and a better prediction of the composition of the shared minion pool.
On September 10, 2020, Hearthstone Data Scientist Tian Ding shared some numbers revealing how group queue affects win rate against solo queue players:
- For an average player, their predicted win rate in a group queue against solo queue players is:
- +0.37% (2 players), +0.18% (3 players), +0.77% (4 players)
- For an active player in the top 30% (~6000 rating), their predicted win rate in a group queue against solo queue players is:
- +2.0% (2 players), +2.5% (3 players), +4.5% (4 players)
Upon release of Battlegrounds Parties, roughly ~75% of all games were solo queue games.
Each player is given a choice between two (or four in case you have obtained the Tavern Pass) of unique heroes to choose from at the start of the game. The playable heroes of Battlegrounds are composed of various legendary minions, bosses and recurring characters throughout Hearthstone's history. They all start with 40 health (except Patchwerk, who starts with 55 instead) and are all neutral. Despite their original incarnations being voiced, their Battlegrounds counterparts do not make sounds at all.
Currently, there are 64 heroes. Heroes rotate in and out of the game. Any retired hero may be reintroduced into Battlegrounds in another patch.
Recently released heroes are not available for picking if the player does not have Battlegrounds Perks. They are exclusive to Perks owners for the first two weeks of their release. Note that returning heroes with new Hero Powers are not restricted to Battlegrounds Perks, even though they are functionally new heroes. Also note that Sir Finley can Discover one of the restricted Battleground Perks Hero Powers, even if you don't own the Perks.
Minions by tier
Minions by pool
- Main article: Battlegrounds minion card list by pool
- Main article: Battlegrounds golden minion card list by pool
- Main article: Battlegrounds spell card list
- Main article: Battlegrounds removed card list
- Amalgadon has only 8 of the 10 normal Adapt options. Shrouding Mist (Stealth until your next turn) and Liquid Membrane (Can’t be targeted by spells or Hero Powers) are not offered.
- Minions used to magnetize onto other minions will return to the pool when the minion they were magnetized onto is sold.
- Golden minions count as all 3 minions from the pool. When a golden minion is sold, the 3 minions that created it go back into the pool, along with all magnetized minions.
- All minions gained from Discover effects are removed from the pool, which means Discover pools are limited to the shared pool.
- Sneed's Old Shredder, Ghastcoiler, and Gentle Djinni cannot summon themselves from their Deathrattles. Likewise, Imp Mama cannot summon itself when taking damage.
- Primalfin Lookout cannot Discover itself.. However, Nat Pagle, Extreme Angler can generate a random copy of itself from his card effect.
- Primalfin Lookout and Nat Pagle, Extreme Angler cannot Discover or generate a minion from a Tavern Tier higher than yours.
- Shifter Zerus can transform into any Battlegrounds minion, including Shifter Zerus. It doesn't pull from the shared pool.
- Making a golden Shifter Zerus is possible, but only if the three Shifter Zeruses have not shifted yet. A golden Shifter Zerus will shift into a random golden version of a Battlegrounds minion at the start of each of the player's turns.
- Making a golden minion using a shifted copy of Shifter Zerus is possible, but the shifted copy must be played as the regular minion in order for the three minions to combine.
- Example: A Shifter Zerus in hand has been shifted into Mama Bear. There is another Mama Bear in hand and a Mama Bear for sale in Bob's Tavern. Buying the Mama Bear from the tavern will not create a triple until the Shifter Zerus copy is played as a Mama Bear onto the field.
- A turn limit exists in Battlegrounds and functions exactly the same as in constructed. Players will gain or lose MMR according to their rank before the turn limit is reached.
- Players only receive their first Tavern Tier when all players finish choosing their hero. If a player concedes before that, they do not have a Tavern Tier.
- Players are assigned opponents for the first round when the game begins before the heroes are chosen.
- Players will not face the same player, or Kel'Thuzad, more than once in every 3 combat rounds (unless there are 2 players remaining).
- When hovering over opponents on the scoreboard, their majority minion type and the amount of that minion type will be displayed. For example, if the opponent has 3 Beasts, 2 Murlocs, and 1 Pirate, it will display "Beasts 3". If the opponent has the same number of minions from multiple minion types, the scoreboard will display "Mixed Minions".
- Since all minions are forced to attack randomly, they do not play their attack sounds. However, their attack sounds are in the game's files.
- For all Battlegrounds loading screen tips, see Tips#Battlegrounds.
Battlegrounds Perks are optional perks that players can purchase to improve their experience in Battlegrounds.
When Battlegrounds was officially released to the public on November 5, 2019, players could unlock Battlegrounds Perks by purchasing Descent of Dragons card packs. Players who had previously purchased Descent of Dragons card packs were also able to unlock these perks.
- 10 packs - Battlegrounds bonus stats unlocked
- 20 packs - Choose from 3 heroes, instead of the normal 2
- 30 packs - Visual emotes unlocked
On March 26, 2020, a newly introduced Tavern Pass was made available for purchase for 2500 gold or $19.99 USD which provided an update to the existing Battlegrounds Perks, alongside 4 free Arena tickets. From March 26 to April 7, players who purchased the Tavern Pass replaced their old perks with these new perks instantly upon purchase. Upon the release of Ashes of Outland on April 7, all old perks expired. The new perks lasted for the duration of the Ashes of Outland expansion. Halfway into the expansion, the Tavern Pass went on sale for 50% off, costing 1250 gold in the in-game Shop and $9.99 USD on the online Battle.net shop.
- Battlegrounds bonus stats
- Choose from 4 heroes, instead of the normal 2
- Visual emotes
- Early access to new Battlegrounds heroes (normally 2 weeks until everyone has access)
On August 6, 2020, the same Tavern Pass was made available for purchase again for 2500 gold or $19.99 USD, with the associated Battlegrounds Perks lasting for the duration of the Scholomance Academy expansion cycle.
Rather than the traditional emote system, players can choose six special emotes. These display the selected face on the opponent sidebar and is visible to all players.
- Minions that trigger when Divine Shield is lost (Bolvar, Fireblood, Drakonid Enforcer and Holy Mackerel could trigger their abilities while being offered in Bob's Tavern, which could be exploited to gain an advantage. Malygos, Galakrond and Maiev Shadowsong's Hero Powers could cause this bug to occur if they transformed a Divine Shield minion in the tavern, but all three were fixed.
- If a minion in Bob's Tavern is made Dormant due to Maiev Shadowsong's Imprison and her hand is full by the time the Dormant ends, the minion will die in Bob's Tavern and trigger its Deathrattle, causing every minion in the tavern to react.
- The Sky Pirate summoned by Scallywag can attack in Bob's Tavern if obtained through Arch-Villain Rafaam's I'll Take That! or Murozond (Battlegrounds)'s Battlecry, which also causes the minions in the tavern to react. This was fixed in Patch 188.8.131.52510.
- If a Yo-Ho-Ogre is attacked in the tavern by a Sky Pirate, it became unable to be bought (on Bob's side) or sold (on your side).
- When an enemy Reborn minion dies and you have minions that force themselves to attack (such as Sky Pirate or Yo-Ho-Ogre) while you have Khadgar on your board, Khadgar will duplicate the enemy minion when its Reborn activates. 
- A golden minion generated by Reno Jackson or Captain Eudora's Hero Powers could not be copied by Rafaam or Murozond.
- Golden Monstrous Macaw would not trigger an adjacent Arcane Cannon if the Macaw died in combat. This was fixed in Patch 184.108.40.206510.
- Despite Nightmare Amalgam being removed, it is still present in the tutorial, and buying it will cause the game to softlock. This also happened with Rat Pack after its Tavern Tier was changed in Patch 220.127.116.11359.
Speculated Future Additions
The tracks that play during the Recruit Phase are the music that plays in pirate taverns in World of Warcraft. The tracks that play during the Combat Phase originate from Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, including Human 2, Orc 4 and Orc 6, as well as the music from the introductory cutscene.
- Main article: Battlegrounds/Patch changes
Card changes are the alteration of cards from their previous designs. Hearthstone's designers prefer to avoid changing cards, but when the need arises, card changes will be implemented within patches.
- Blizzard Entertainment (November 5, 2019). Hearthstone Update – November 5 – Preparing for Descent of Dragons!. Retrieved on 2019-11-12.
- Mike Donais on Reddit. (November 6, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-11-10.
- Puffin on Twitter. (2020-03-02).
- Mike Donais on Reddit. (November 30, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-12-07.
- Blizzard Entertainment (2019-11-27). Developer Insights: Personal Rating in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. Retrieved on 2020-09-10.
- Mike Donais on reddit. (November 6, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-11-25.
- Chris Sierra (December 5, 2019). BATTLEGROUNDS MMR UPDATES. Retrieved on 2019-12-06.
- Dean Ayala on Twitter. (2020-03-08).
- Dean Ayala on reddit. (2020-09-09).
- Tian Ding (2020-09-10). Some Numbers for Battlegrounds Group Queue Win-rate. Reddit. Retrieved on 2020-09-11.
- Tian Ding on reddit. (2020-09-11). Retrieved on 2020-09-14.
- Imicek (November 15, 2019). Descent of Dragons, Battlegrounds & More - Community Q&A. Retrieved on 2019-11-25.
- Mike Donais on Reddit. (November 6, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-11-25.
- Mike Donais on Reddit. (November 27, 2019). Retrieved on 2019-12-07.
- Chadd Nervig on Twitter. (2020-02-28).
- Stephen Chang on Twitter. (2019-12-03).
- Blizzard Entertainment (2020-01-21). Galakrond’s Awakening – 16.2 Patch Notes – January 21. Retrieved on 2020-08-03.
- Hearthstone Top Decks https://www.hearthstonetopdecks.com/risky-skipper-will-get-a-pirate-tag-zephrys-changes-reno-jackson-and-new-amalgam-possibly-coming-to-battlegrounds/
- Official list of all heroes and cards in Battlegrounds
- Official Top 200 live leaderboards for Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions
- Official introductory blog post announcement