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An Introduction to the Battleground Mode in Hearthstone

This is an article on Hearthstone, a mobile game developed by Blizzard and first released in…wait, that can’t be right?…huh…yeah…2014, meaning it’s pretty long in the tooth, particularly for a mobile game.

As I’m writing this up, I’m realizing that absolutely nobody will be interested in an article on an old mobile game, not even immediate members of the Nerds on Earth family, particularly my dad who has always thought I was wasting my life by playing too many video games while I should be playing outside. But I’m not a quitter, dad.

Besides, Hearthstone has a new mode called Battleground and it’s so entertaining and engaging that it is absolutely article worthy. So, here we go.

Hearthstone Battleground Mode

Firstly, if you aren’t playing Hearthstone, give it a download. It’s just about the best 10-minute time filler you can get. More on the game here. But we’re here because of the Battleground mode and the fact that my dad was right, I don’t like playing outside, I’d rather write this up behind a keyboard as an avid indoors man is wont to do.

hearthstone battleground hero select screen
Hero selection screen in Hearthstone Battleground mode.

When you first start Battleground, you’ll be given 4 options for a hero. Since there are 24 (and growing) options, you’ll find plenty of variety from game to game. Each hero provides a special power. If it’s available, I choose Nozdormu because it gives a free minion refresh each round. More on that as we go.

There is a lot going on in the above photo. At the top, you see the Bartender. The Bartender provides you options of minions you can purchase if you have gold.

  • To the right of the Bartender is the refresh, but you’ll notice it costs you 1 gold.
  • Each minion you purchase is 3 gold.
  • Selling a minion back to the Bartender earns you 1 gold in return.
  • To the left of the Bartender levels up the minions available to you. It goes to level 6 and it gets one gold cheaper each round.

My first purchase was a “Murloc,” who you can see has an attack of 2 and a defense of 3.

Along the left hand side are the 8 players who are battling it out. You get paired up each round in a round robin style. As players are eliminated, the bracket gets smaller.

The above photo is a couple rounds in. You can see I’ve purchased two more minions, both 2-attack, 1-defense pirates.

Various minion types are available to you and you want to get similar types to capitalize on their synergies with one another. By this point I’m thinking I might go all-in on pirates.

The minion types:

  • Beasts – Many of these minions have the deathrattle keyword, which means they summon more beasts when they die.
  • Mechs – Some mechs have deathrattle but they really shine with the divine shield keyword, which effectively gives them one hit worth of armor.
  • Demons – These minions may eat down your overall health in return for powerful upgrades. It’s a push-pull.
  • Pirates – These are the newest minions types and early gameplay has them cycling through quickly as their means of synergizing.
  • Murlocs – These can become powerful in late game due to the poisonous keyword.
  • Dragons – These minions have some fire breathers and some with the taunt keyword.

I got a few more pirates. But notice that although I was out of coins, I “froze” the Bartender’s minions so they’d be available the next round. I have two of the 2-attack and 1-armor pirates and the Bartender has a third.

If you get 3 of the same type, you earn a “golden.” A golden minion does three things: 1. It doubles base numbers, 2. it keeps all stat upgrades, and 3. it gives you the ability to choose a new minion from one per higher. Collecting Goldens is how you can begin to ramp you warband.

Rats! My neighbor came to the door to borrow a socket set. That meant I lost two whole rounds of purchasing, which put me way behind. Notice I only have 4 health left?
This screencap shows me after just getting a victory. I’ll be doing 18 damage against that player’s 27 remaining health. That’s not enough for me to knock him out of the game!
My death screen.

Battlegrounds is a wonderful mode in Hearthstone, proving that even after 6 years, the developers at Blizzard have some tricks up their sleeve.

Pirates are a brand new faction, so content is staying fresh. Like all Blizzard games, everything runs smooth and has an excellent level of polish.

I whole-heartedly encourage you to give it a go. And if you are a long-time Hearthstone player, make sure you give this new mode a try. Info on getting the game is here.

hearthstone battleground victory screen 1st place
I leave you with this, a screencap from my next game. See what could’ve been done if my neighbor hadn’t needed that socket set?
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