Continuing on from part 1 of our Hearthstone Battlegrounds guide, this time we’ll visit minions – the other half of Battlegrounds play. Indeed, which hero you start out with is partly up to luck, and doesn’t matter as much as your minion strategy. Let’s dive right in:
Basic Minion Wisdom:
- You can chose to go tribal, semi-tribal, or just goodstuff. Respectively, you pay attention to tribal synergy, pay some attention but marshal a split strategy, or you pretty much ignore tribes.
- All three are viable strategies, but it’s important not to commit to the wrong one at the wrong time.
- Note the other heroes you’ll be facing. There is a limited minion pool, which means you’re all competing for the same bodies. Do you see Lord Jaraxxus, whose whole power depends on demons? Then it’s pretty lame to try to compete with him for demons, isn’t it?
- Likewise other heroes who have tribe-specific powers, or are even just suited to a tribe, are likely to cripple your strategy if you go for their tribe.
- Your early selections should depend on making it to the mid-game without taking too much damage.
- You can switch your board, always remember. Some heroes are good at mid-game flexibility. By late game, you have plenty of gold and can sell off half your board and replace it in one turn, if you’re fast.
- Positioning means a lot. Your minions fight from left to right. Your opponent attacks randomly except that their minions must attack your taunts first, with one exception noted later. So position will help you plan what dies first, and which effects trigger in what order.
- Remember, luck is always a factor. Sometimes you try to go for an open tribe, guess wrong, and just get run over. Sometimes you’re going for goodstuff and just crap out on Tavern refreshes. That’s Hearthstone!
- Tribal mechs – The strongest in the game currently. Mechs have everything: tokens, deathrattles, divine shields, taunts, buffs, and your choice of more aggressive or more defensive strategies. The downside is that at least three players go for mechs every game.
- Tribal beasts – Second-strongest tribe, but difficult to pull off. You’ll likely have at least one competitor. Beasts also depend heavily on a few key minions; if you don’t get them, you’re up the creek.
- Tribal demons – Demons are powerful, and easy to assemble, but they need commitment to the left-hand path from turn one. They’re also limited in what they can do, and they’re risky because they damage you as well.
- Tribal murlocs – Once strong, now nerfed to where it’s rare to see somebody run them. Murlocs have strength in numbers and hit hard, but they’re the most limited in their other talents, notably lacking taunts. The exception is poison, but getting that one poison murloc late game is clutch.
- Bi-tribal – This means a mixed strategy where you have some of each tribe. You can run all beasts, but have one big divine shield taunt mech to glue on magnetic minions when they pop up. Or go all-murlocs, but have a giant rat token taunt to back them.
- Goodstuff – Go for a mixture that ignores tribe, such as all-deathrattle, all-taunt, all battlefield pumps, and so on. Usually requires leveling fast and snagging the big stuff, or pressing your luck to find a combo piece. Zoo strategies fit here too, albeit not usually a focus.
Meet the Minions:
We are presenting these in the order of tier first, then tribe, then ranking them from strongest to weakest. The Hearthstone fandom wiki has a complete Battlegrounds entry now, for an in-depth view into rules and a full listing of both heroes and minions.
- Micro Machine – Worth getting early even if you aren’t tribal, since he’s a growing beatstick. You can always magnetize Annoy-o-Module onto him midgame for a devastating backup taunt.
- Mecharoo – Nigh worthless, even in triples.
- Alleycat – Good for the token and little else.
- Dire Wolf Alpha – Good early game to give your taunt one extra damage, but you will sell him later, even if you’re tribal beasts and get a triple on wolfies.
- Wrath Weaver – Running demons? You want this guy turn one, and hunt for a triple. Note that his damage to you doesn’t increase on tripling while his power grows.
- Vulgar Homunculus – Hands down the strongest turn one pick, demons or not. The two damage he does to you is an easy price to pay for his big-butt protection early game.
- Voidwalker – Scrawny and pathetic, but if you need demons, he’s there.
- Murloc Tidehunter – A great turn one pick, useful for the token alone even if you’re not sticking with murlocs.
- Rockpool Hunter – A decent first turn pick and better in multiples, since his 3 health still helps him stick.
- Murloc Tidecaller – Good if you’re committed to the tribe from turn one, worthless otherwise.
- Selfless Hero – A popular choice, giving divine shield to tribes who don’t normally have it. Triples bestow two shields on deathrattle.
- Righteous Protector – Wimpy, but triples or buffs on him will at least keep the heat off you while you build your true plan.
- Kaboom Bot – Relevant all game long and a solid pick for any strategy. A wildcard that will decide matches in triples, due to double-bombing.
- Harvest Golem – OK-ish minion for any board in the midgame, but not anybody’s favorite. Even among deathrattle token-droppers he falls behind fast.
- Annoy-o-Tron – Not nearly as strong as the later divine shield taunts, but he’ll do if you’re starving for taunts or mechs.
- Metaltooth Leaper – Absolutely necessary to mech strategies. Buy him, drop him, and refresh to buy him again!
- Shielded Minibot – A decent beater if you’re lining up buffs from Metaltooth Leaper, but nothing to get excited about.
- Pogo-Hopper – Just about impossible to pull off. Sometimes doable in combos with Brann Bronzebeard. Mech tribal ignores him.
- Scavenging Hyena – Key for beast tribal, and worthwhile even in bi-tribal with one buffed Rat Pack. You want triples badly, as nothing is as heartbreaking as him dying when he still had room to grow.
- Rat Pack – Anything you can do to buff him gives you a replenished board in late round. Popular choice even without beast synergy.
- Kindly Grandmother – The 3/2 he brings out makes him a solid pick in beast tribal as well.
- Mounted Raptor – Dead last. Be advised the token he drops on deathrattle is usually not a beast, so doesn’t work with tribal synergy.
- Nathrezim Overseer – Demon tribal, ’nuff said. Good all game long for demon buffs.
- Murloc Warleader – Your murloc tribal lord. You want triples, and you want to protect him with a taunt or two so he doesn’t die first.
- Old Murk-Eye – Also solid for murlocs, but remember he even gets a buff from your opponent’s murlocs. Don’t get too excited, as the most he’ll be unbuffed is a 15/4.
- Spawn of N’Zoth – Popular for every strategy at least as a mid-game buff until something better comes along. Place him to the far left so he hits and dies first, buffing the rest of your team.
- Zoobot – He’s here because even though he’s a mech, he wants a menagerie. Near-useless unless you’re desperate for a buff on a beast or murloc. Note that his ability to buff dragons is irrelevant in Battlegrounds. Even his upgrade, Menagerie Magician, is seldom seen.
- Replicating Menace – The magnetic ability sells this guy all day. In addition to adding +3/+1 to your favorite bot, he also drops tokens on deathrattle. Stick him on your divine shield taunt, they’ll be great friends.
- Psych-o-Tron – Even outside mech tribal, he’s a favorite taunt for taking the heat off the important guys.
- Cobalt Guardian – His 6 damage makes for a hard punch early game, and getting shield – even repeatedly from tokens – makes him a firm beatstick.
- Piloted Shredder – Decent token-dropper, better in triples, but quickly outshadowed by higher tiers.
- Screwjank Clunker – Last consideration if running mechs, usually bought, dropped for his buff, and sold off.
- Pack Leader – Very necessary to beast tribal midgame, but someday he hopes to be replaced by Mama Bear.
- Houndmaster – Beasts lack native taunts in Battlegrounds, so you’ll frequently want him just for his buff. Only keep him around if you have an empty slot though.
- Infested Wolf – Just not as good as the other deathrattle minion choices. Use if desperate for more tokens that Pack Leader can pump.
- The Beast – A trap card for unwitting newbs. The 3/3 he drops for your opponent can turn matches in your opponent’s favor. The 9/7 looks impressive, but he gets cut down surprisingly often.
- Soul Juggler – Your demon tribal lord, and a nasty one at that. Park him to the far right behind a wall of taunts, and he will snipe off opponent forces for you. A well-built demon board can make this guy trigger a dozen times per match.
- Crystalweaver – Sure, your demons would love a round of buffs! Drop for the battlecry and sell.
- Floating Watcher – A devastating beatstick when combo’ed with Wrath Weaver. Gets huge fast. Every demon tribal wants him.
- Imp Gang Boss – The more you buff him, the longer he will drop tokens who then die and trigger Soul Juggler. You can skip him if your board is already doing fine without him though.
- Coldlight Seer – So good in murloc tribal that they had to nerf him up from tier 2. You’ll note that health is often more useful than punch in Battlegrounds, because it’s all about making your minions survive.
- Khadgar – While you really want triples of him or a wall of taunt protection due to his 2/2 size, he is a popular choice in token-spitting boards and combos.
- Phalanx Commander – If you need a taunt lord, this guy is an option. He’s just not that good because he has to stick around to do his buff.
- Tortollan Shellraiser – A generic taunt that shows up on the boards of players sweating the midgame. Quickly outclassed by later tiers.
- Crowd Favorite – Ironically not played much. Sure he grows bigger, but by this tier you’re assembling a full board and he usually gets squeezed out for space. A maybe in Brann Bronzebeard combo.
- Shifter Zerus – What even is this? This is a last-chance desperation gambit if you’re shut out of good choices otherwise. Even then, buy him only as an afterthought when you have the extra gold and the rope is sizzling.
- Annoy-o-Module – The star of the magnetic show, this guy attaches to any mech to make them better.
- Mechano-Egg – Despite its 0 power, it’s a firm choice because your opponents will have to waste time punching it, and then it hatches an 8/8. Magnetize your Annoy-o-Module for an extra nasty Kinder Surprise.
- Security Rover – The mech peer of Imp Gang Boss, the 2/3 taunts he spits out are relevant all game. At 2/6 it usually fires a couple times on its own until late game, but can win you the game when buffed up.
- Piloted Sky Golem – The upgraded Piloted Shredder. Solid in the rank and file.
- Iron Sensei – The main thing wrong with this guy is that mechs are spoiled rotten for choice by tier 4, and his effect just isn’t that show-stopping. Worth a look if you care to buff him, magnetize onto him, or triple him, but otherwise you just have too many good mechs and not enough slots.
- Cave Hydra – Relevant all game long, he’s a great counter-strategy to opponents who hide a more valuable minion behind a big, dumb taunt. He’s also a 3-for-1 divine shield popper. Played even outside beast tribal, though of course mechs have an even better version.
- Virmen Sensei – Yawn, another day, another beast buffer. OK if it’s there, but nothing special.
- Siegebreaker – Pretty much everything you ask for in a lord, but impossible to protect since he’s also a taunt. Still, demon tribal buys him every chance they get.
- Toxfin – The most valuable murloc in Battlegrounds. Poison is powerful because it breaks through those late game big tough guys. If there’s an advancing murloc player in the rounds, other players will buy this guy just to keep it out of the murloc player’s hands.
- The Boogeymonster – Decent goodstuff choice, better with buffs or triples. Narrowly better than the other tepid choices at tier 4 neutrals.
- Defender of Argus – A welcome neutral that buffs and grants taunt to not one, but two minions of any kind. One of the few non-tribal buffers in Battlegrounds.
- Bolvar, Fireblood – In divine shield builds, he’ll be found lurking in the back corner while the rest of the board gets cleared. Best case scenario, he comes out as about a 13/7 divine shield, good against rank and file but not big enough to stop the huge monsters at higher tiers or better-developed boards.
- Festeroot Hulk – Just not that impressive. Maybe token builds can get some use out of him, but he’s frequently passed over by all but the desperate.
- Menagerie Magician – Again, he buffs dragons, which are non-existent in Battlegrounds. If you thought Zoobot was useless, here’s two of them!
- Junkbot – Because mechs aren’t overpowered enough already, they get their own Scavenging Hyena. With exactly the same strategy, you park him far right, let the other bots duke it out and spit tokens, and after the opponent fights through the taunts they have a giant bot to deal with.
- Goldrinn, the Great Wolf – The beast-only replacement for Spawn of N’Zoth, clutch for beast builds. You can also bestow him with taunt via Houndmaster to ensure he expires first.
- Savannah Highmane – Beast tribal wants him when he comes up, but he’s just a solid filler in the rank and file, not clutch.
- Ironhide Direhorn – Often whiffs, but when he does trigger, he backfills your board well. Prime candidate for buffs, naturally.
- Sated Threshadon – An awkward pick at this tier. Murlocs don’t want it because the lack of synergy isn’t worth the three tokens. Beast tribal has better options for tokens. Bi-tribal beast / murloc is rare, but the only home for this guy.
- Voidlord – A taunt who spits three taunts, just the thing to keep your Soul Juggler firing 3 damage per kill at the opponent’s board. Demon tribal never passes him up, and he’s good in other builds besides.
- Mal’Ganis – Very solid lord, and has the immune buff just in time so you can quit taking damage from your own tribe, which is starting to hurt by late game.
- Annihilan Battlemaster – A situational pick, depending on how far down in life you are. His huge butt will help him stay on board, but his 3 damage is puny without buffs.
- Primalfin Lookout – Only one thing counts to murlocs at this point: Getting as many Toxfin as humanly possible, and leveling up to get Gentle Megasaur. So that’s why he’s played.
- King Bagurgle – A speculative choice at this point, because your murlocs typically have plenty of buffs by now, but are hurting for other talents.
- Baron Rivendare – The top of the goodstuff lords. Deathrattles are all over Battlegrounds, so this guy is value city. Him plus the token pinatas wins games. Him plus Khadgar is a combo, which makes deathrattle-heavy boards develop some very interesting situations.
- Brann Bronzebeard – The trouble with him is that he comes late in the game where you have maybe a few triggers possible from him before the battle is over. Combo builds want him, most others are wasting their time getting him.
- Strongshell Scavenger – This late in the game, he’s not very popular, since +2 to taunts buff just isn’t that helpful now. He’s an opportunistic drop-and-sell, but not a priority.
- Lightfang Enforcer – Terrible. It bears mentioning here that zoo strategies used to be stronger in Battlegrounds, but the removal of Nightmare Amalgam nerfed them. Which leaves these multi-species buffs wandering around without a job. This guy demands four tribes, one of whom dare we say again still isn’t in Battlegrounds, while demanding to hang around on your board and not belonging to any tribes himself.
- Kangor’s Apprentice – Spawn two fresh Psych-o-Trons, anyone? Nuts in mech builds, even in bi-tribal. This boy is your top priority, bot lovers!
- Foe Reaper 4000 – The mech version of Cave Hydra, continuing mech’s theme of “anything beasts can do, we can do better.” Same strategy, you want him to take out the more clutch minions on either side of the taunt he’s forced to attack.
- Sneed’s Old Shredder – A wild card. Decent board filler, but at this point you’re agonizing over what to sacrifice to make space for better cards. Worthwhile in combos.
- Ghastcoiler – The best minion in Battlegrounds, bar none! No matter what your build or game plan is, you drop everything to grab this guy every time he pops up. Dropping deathrattles usually means those, in turn, will drop more tokens or even a Sneed’s Old Shredder.
- Mama Bear – The treasured holy grail of beast tribal lords. Other players will spite-buy minion just to keep your beast board from getting it.
- Maexxna – Often a late-game impulse buy when you’re up against the demon player with a bulky board. Sometimes worth buying even without beast synergy.
- Gentle Megasaur – The much-sought murloc finishing move. Adapting can get your fishies divine shield, taunt, or poison, all great strategic options.
- Zapp Slywick – A situational counter-strategy. This is the combo-fighter, since he ignores taunt, opting instead to take out your opponent’s Brann, Khadgar, Soul Juggler, and other pesky strategies. Whether he’s relevant late game depends on what your opponents are running.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Hearthstone Battlegrounds guide and found it useful! We will try to keep it updated as patches occur. Battlegrounds is a fun game mode, and one of the best innovations we’ve seen in digital collectible trading card games, so it’s well worth exploring this surprisingly deep format.