Hearthstone Battlegrounds Hero Ranking (Open Beta)




This is Part 2 in a series of blog posts to cover the new Hearthstone Battlegrounds mode. If you missed Part 1, CLICK ON THIS HERE LINK. Good? Good. All right, and here we go! Follow me as I take a deep dive into the Hero options for Hearthstone Battlegrounds, their powers, best strategies, and things I think would improve the hero.

Updated 11/19/19 with New Changes: I've updated the below lists with the new heroes and removed the old heroes. As I have yet to play the new heroes, my initial thoughts on them may change, but I will update as things develop!

The Heroes!

A. F. KayA. F. Kay

Passive Hero Power: Skip your first two turns. Start with a minion from Tavern Tier 3 and 4.

A. F. Kay is a really strong hero pick because of her hero power. Skipping your first two turns seems like a rough way to start a game, but when you take into consideration that you will be fighting only two opponents those first turns, who may be able to do, worst case scenario, 3-4 damage to your hero each turn, that isn’t a bad sacrifice to make when you will then get to start turn 3 with a Tier 3 and Tier 4 minion, which you get to choose using the Discover mechanic. Most other players won’t be able to have a Tier 3 minion until Turn 4 or 5, and even later for Tier 4, depending on the hero. You get a huge boost up and most opponents won’t be able to match you that early in the game. If you are able to synergize your turn 3 card picks, you can end up with an extremely strong board and deal a lot of damage to your opponents before they can catch up to you.

Strategically, my advice is to build your board around those Tier 3 and Tier 4 cards so that they don’t go to waste, and upgrade your Tavern as quickly as possible.

I would rank A. F. Kay an Always Pick.


BartendotronBartendotron

Passive Hero Power: Reduce the Cost of Tavern Tiers by (1).

Another mana cheating hero, Bartendotron can be very strong mid-game as you are able to increase your Tavern Tier ahead of your opponents. This gives you more powerful minions and more selection sooner in the game compared to your opponents. With this hero, strategy boils down to using your gold wisely, as it is with most heroes.

I would rank Bartendotron a Maybe Pick.

HS_BGB_BlogUpdate_BrannBronzebeard_enUS_760x760.pngBrann Bronzebeard - NEW 11/19/19

Passive Hero Power: After you play a Battlecry minion, give a random friendly minion +1/+1.

This one is not as strong as other buffing heroes, with a heavy reliance on the Battlecry mechanic, but there is potential for a strong board if you focus on Battlecry buffs. Mechs, Murlocs, and Demons will do well with this hero. Beasts have far fewer Battlecry cards.

I would rank Brann Bronzebeard Maybe Pick.


Dancin' DerylDancin’ Deryl

Passive Hero Power: After you sell a minion, randomly give two minions in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1.

I’ve found Dancin’ Deryl to be a strong hero pick early to mid-game, with his effectiveness tapering off late game. You have to sell minions to make his hero power worth anything, so you’ll want to pick minions with battlecries that summon other minions early on, so that you can then sell the spares to beef up the minions in the tavern. The difficulty with this hero is that his power is entirely dependent on RNG, which only gets worse the higher your Tavern Tier, when there are more minions for his hero power to affect, increasing the likelihood that the minion you want to buy won’t get the buff. Even with the heavy dependence on RNG, I still choose Dancin’ Deryl over several of the other heroes because of his strong early game.

I would rank Dancin’ Deryl a Maybe Pick.



HS_BGB_BlogUpdate_EliseStarseeker_enUS_760x760.pngElise Starseeker - NEW 11/19/19

Passive Hero Power: When you upgrade Bob's Tavern, get a Recruitment Map.

Having yet to play this hero, at first glance, her hero power seems fairly strong. Every time you upgrade your tavern you are able to recruit a minion from the new tier. Instead of needing to upgrade your tavern for X Gold, refresh the Tavern for 1 Gold, and then maybe be able to purchase a new tier minion for 3 Gold, you get to save yourself the refresh and discover a higher tier minion for 3 Gold instead.


I would rank Elise Starseeker Strong Pick.


George the FallenGeorge the Fallen

Hero Power: Give a Friendly minion Divine Shield. Costs 4 Gold.

Oh, George… I really like the idea behind this hero as Divine Shield is a very powerful mechanic, but with a hero power that costs 4 gold , the effectiveness just isn’t there, in my opinion. There are enough minions in the tavern that already have Divine Shield that this seems ineffective, especially for such a high cost. Lowering the cost would make the hero stronger, but lowering it too much would make him overpowered because of how effective the mechanic is. A cost of 3 gold would probably be the most fair, but it would still be a high enough cost to be next to unusable and still maintain your board and upgrade your tavern. Reducing the cost to 2 gold or less would make it too powerful. The only suggestion I could make here would be to reduce the cost but limit the lasting power. As it stands now, the Divine Shield applied by this hero power is permanent. If it was reduced to cost 1 gold but only last 1 turn, that would limit its overall power but make it more usable than it is now.

I would rank George the Fallen as a Low Pick.


Infinite TokiInfinite Toki

Hero Power: Refresh Bob’s Tavern. Add a minion from a higher Tavern Tier. Costs 2 Gold.

The Hearthstone team increased the cost of Toki’s hero power from 1 Gold in closed beta, because the original cost made her a little too effective at getting minions in higher tiers early game. Even so, I think she is a really strong pick. Being able to select a minion from a higher tier increases your odds of winning each bout of combat, and potentially strengthening the synergy of your board. For strategy, I would consider purchasing minions as normal and upgrading the tavern to Tier 3 before you really start taking advantage of it. Use the power if you have 2 Gold left after purchasing or upgrading and freeze the tavern if the higher Tier pick works for your board, but be ready to ditch your current synergy for a better one if the right minion comes along.

I would rank Infinite Toki as a Strong Pick.

(Also, she is my favorite.)


Lord JaraxxusLord Jaraxxus

Hero Power: Give your Demons +1/+1. Costs 2 Gold.

In the right Battleground, Jaraxxus can be extremely strong, as long as you’re not needing to compete with other heroes for Demon minions. Originally, his hero power cost 3 Gold, which was too high to be very effective. At 2 Gold, it feels comparable to some of the other buffing heroes. The biggest downside to Jaraxxus is that you may be playing in a Battleground with someone else who is hoarding Demons, making it more difficult to improve your board with upgraded minions and higher tier choices.

I would rank Lord Jaraxxus as a Maybe Pick.


NefarianNefarian

Hero Power: At the start of next combat, deal 1 damage to all enemy minions. Costs 1 Gold.

I have seen a lot of players rank Nefarian rather highly in their overall hero ranking for Battlegrounds, but I have yet to see him be as effective as everyone else seems to. His hero power is really strong early game because of the number of minions with only 1 Health, but his effectiveness tapers off mid to late game. His biggest strength late game is the ability to eliminate Divine Shield from your opponent’s minions for only 1 Gold.

I would rank Nefarian a Maybe Pick.



Patches the PiratePatches the Pirate


Hero Power: At the start of next combat, deal 3 damage to two random enemy minions. Costs 1 Gold.

Patches can be very strong early to mid-game. Many minions at the beginning of the game have less than 3 Health, so it makes for a good way to clear the board early so that you can win the match. Unfortunately, it quickly loses effectiveness. You may be able to eliminate Divine Shield on a minion or two, or manage to a minion that hasn’t received any buffs, but it’s not strong enough to be notable.

I would rate Patches the Pirate as a Low Pick.


PatchwerkPatchwerk

Passive Hero Power: Start with 60 Health instead of 40.

I have seen Patchwerk in several Top 4 finishes. The extra 20 Health makes a big difference, 50% more than his opponents. He doesn’t have any built-in strategies that synergize with his hero power.

I would rank Patchwerk a Strong Pick.



Professor PutricideProfessor Putricide

Hero Power: At the start of next combat, give your left-most minion +10 Attack. Costs 1 Gold.

Putricide has a very situational hero power. Sometimes, it can be good, when paired with the Tier 4 Cave Hydra (Also damages the minions next to whomever this attacks.) and Tier 6 Foe Reaper, same effect, but those are late game cards, and there is no guarantee that you will be able to get either of those cards during a Battlegrounds run.

I would rank Professor Putricide a Do Not Pick.


PyramadPyramad

Hero Power: Give a random friendly minion +2 Health. Costs 1 Gold.

This hero power can be decent in early game, but it loses effectiveness very quickly.

I would rank Pyramad a Do Not Pick.



Queen WagtoggleQueen Wagtoggle

Hero Power: Give a random friendly Mech, Demon, Murloc, and Beast +1 Health. Costs 1 Gold.

This hero power is a little bit more effective than Pyramad’s above, and can be useful early to mid-game, depending on your board makeup, but again, it loses effectiveness later game. That said, I have seen her finish Top 4 multiple times.

I would rank Queen Wagtoggle a Low Pick.


Ragnaros the FirelordRagnaros the Firelord

Hero Power: At the start of next combat, deal 8 damage to two random enemy minions. Costs 2 Gold.

Ragnaros has a hero power than can be effective early game and sometimes late game, depending on your opponents’ board makeup. Being able to deal 8 damage to two minions will wipe out early boards, and later on, you may just be able to knock out some strong minions, or at least weaken them greatly, as long as they do not have Divine Shield. There are better heroes, but if you end up with a poor selection to choose from, Ragnaros is a decent pick.

I would rank Ragnaros a Maybe Pick.


ShudderwockShudderwock

Hero Power: Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice. Costs 2 Gold.

Shudderwock can be decently effective early to mid-game with extra minions summoned through Tier 1 cards like Alleycat (Battlecry: Summon a 1/1 Cat.) and Murloc Tidehunter (Battlecry: Summon a 1/1 Murloc Scout.), especially, if you manage to synergize early with either Beasts or Murlocs. Shudderwock is going to be strong with buffs as well, and if you can manage to combo the hero power with the right cards, like Tier 2 Pogo-Hopper (Battlecry: Gain +2/+2 for each other Pogo-Hopper you played this game.) or Tier 5 Annihilan Battlemaster (Battlecry: Gain +1 Health for each damage your hero has taken.), you can create some monstrously beefy minions. Murlocs are probably strongest with this hero, next being Mechs and Demons. Beasts don’t have enough Battlecry cards to be effective.

I would rank Shudderwock a Maybe Pick.


HS_BGB_BlogUpdate_Sindragosa_enUS_760x760.png Sindragosa - NEW 11/19/19

Passive Hero Power: At the end of your turn, Frozen minions get +1/+1.

I am writing this before actually playing this hero, but her hero power feels really strong both early and late game. Being able to buff the entire Tavern board at the end of a turn makes freezing extra worth it when you can't buy a certain minion this turn. And in early game, you can buff your lower tier minions turn to turn. I see a lot of play from her in the future.

I would rank Sindragosa an Always Pick.

HS_BGB_BlogUpdate_SirFinleyMrrgglton_enUS_760x760.png Sir Finley Mrrgglton- NEW 11/19/19

Hero Power: Give a random friendly minion +1/+1. After you sell a minion, refresh this. Costs 1 Gold.

This hero power is really interesting because it's the first one to be added that has a refresh property. This seems to mimic the original King Mukla power (When you sell a Beast, gain a Banana.) with slightly more RNG. I will be interested to see how this plays out in future games. 

I would rank Sir Finley Mrrgglton a Maybe Pick.


The CuratorThe Curator

Passive Hero Power: Start the game with a 1/1 Amalgam that has all minion types.

I have seen the Curator at the top of a lot of lists for ranking the Battlegrounds heroes, and I don’t understand why. It’s not a bad hero! But it’s far from the best in my opinion. The 1/1 Amalgam is nice at the start of the game, but without any activated abilities, it’s just a minion you can pump stats into, similar to the Nightmare Amalgam. You can give it Taunt, Poisonous, Divine Shield, and add some Magnetic Mech minions to it, like the Tier 3 Replicating Menace (Magnetic, Deathrattle: Summon three 1/1 Microbots.), but it isn’t upgradeable in any way, and a lot of the time, there will be a better minion choice for its position, especially late game. I’ve seen the Curator finish Top 4 on several occasions, but I don’t think the hero power contributed very much.

I would rank The Curator a Maybe Pick.


The Great AkazamzarakThe Great Akazamzarak

Hero Power: Discover a Secret. Put it into the battlefield. Costs 2 Gold.

This hero is surprisingly strong for one simple reason: Ice Block (Secret: When your hero takes fatal damage, prevent it and become Immune this turn.). For 2 Gold each turn, you have a very good chance of getting Ice Block as one of your Secrets, guaranteeing survival in late game. I’ve finished 2nd a few times with this hero, in very close matches because I was able to get two Ice Block Secrets with his hero power. Strategy for this hero is simple: play normally, but whenever you have extra Gold, use the hero power for the chance to get Ice Block. Some of the other Secrets are effective as well, bringing back minions after they are destroyed, which can be key to some fights.

I would rank Akazamzarak a Strong Pick.


The Lich KingThe Lich King

Hero Power: At the start of next combat, give your right-most minion Reborn. Costs 1 Gold.

I don’t understand how the Lich King is one of the worst heroes in Battlegrounds, but here we are. His Reborn ability can be very strong early game, but not so much later game. With the way that combat happens (minions attacking from left to right), if you are running Beasts, Mechs, or Demons you tend to want to put your continuous effect minions at the end of the lineup so that they can have the most impact in a match, your Mama Bears, Scavenging Hyenas, Khadgars, Pack Leaders, Soul Jugglers, Junkbots, and so on. Usually, by the time that minion dies, all of your other minions have died too. Even if they come back with the Reborn mechanic, they come back with one health, lose all their self-buffs, and without the rest of the board to support their mechanics, they’re boiled down to a basic minion with one health left. The exception to this is if you can manage to stick a Nightmare Amalgam with Taunt, Divine Shield, Poisonous, and Deathrattle there. You can take out several of your opponents’ minions with that alone, since it will need to be hit a minimum of four times to die completely. In my opinion, that is the only strategy that will work with this hero, and I don’t know if it’s 100% worth the choice, unless you have no other options during hero selection.

I would rank The Lich King a Low Pick.


The Rat KingThe Rat King

Passive Hero Power: Whenever you buy a Beast/Murloc/Mech/Demon, give it +1/+2. Swaps type each turn.

The Rat King is a very strong hero thanks to the extra health its buff gives minions. I rarely see the Rat King finish less than Top 4, and more often, they finish in Top 2. You can get some very strong minions early game, and as you are able to better synergize your buys, when you upgrade minions, those buffs carry over. Your strategy is likely to shift depending on what your hero power is currently targeting and what you are able to buy, but if you focus on buying the same minion type throughout the game, if only some of your minions get that +1/+2 buff, it’s worth it. The benefit to keeping your board stocked with multiple minion types is that this hero power synergizes nicely with several of the buffing Battlecry minions, like Tier 2 Zoobot (Battlecry: Give a random friendly Beast, Dragon, and Murloc +1/+1.) and Tier 5 Lightfang Enforcer (At the end of your turn, give a random friendly Mech, Murloc, Demon, and Beast +2/+2.).

I would rank The Rat King a Strong Pick.


Trade Prince GallywixTrade Prince Gallywix

Hero Power: Add a Gold Coin to your hand. Costs 1 Gold.

Another surprisingly strong hero pick, Gallywix lets you keep unspent gold for later when you might really benefit from having an extra coin (or five) in the late game. I managed to finish 1st in a Battlegrounds match with Gallywix because of the ability to upgrade my Tavern sooner and buy more minions when with another hero, I wouldn’t have been able to.

I would rank Gallywix a Strong Pick.


Yogg-Saron, Hope's EndYogg-Saron, Hope’s End

Hero Power: Hire a random minion in Bob’s Tavern and give it +1/+1. Costs 2 Gold.

Yogg-Saron is another hero that can both buff his Tavern purchases and manipulate his Gold supply. Being able to purchase a minion for 1 Gold less than normal, and then buff that minion for +1/+1 is really strong early game, and can help boost your board in mid to late game, if the RNG is in a giving mood. I have finished in the Top 4 every time I’ve used Yogg-Saron, and often Top 2.

I would rank Yogg-Saron a Strong Pick.


Battlegrounds Hero Ranking

Okay, so that’s the summaries for each of the heroes, but what about my final ranking?

Behold!

Make your own Tier List at Tiermaker!

Always Picks

   1. A. F. Kay
   2. Sindragosa (Previously Millificent Manastorm)

Strong Picks

   3. Elise Starseeker (Previously King Mukla)
   4. Patchwerk
   5. The Rat King
   6. Akazamzarak
   7. Yogg-Saron
   8. Infinite Toki
   9. Gallywix

Maybe Picks

   10. Sir Finley Mrrgglton
   11. Bartendotron (Down 1)
   12. Dancin’ Deryl (Down 1, Previously Lich Baz'hial)
   13. Lord Jaraxxus
   14. Brann Bronzebeard
   15. Ragnaros (Down 1)
   16. The Curator (Down 1)
   17. Nefarian (Down 1)
   18. Shudderwock (Down 1)

Low Picks

   19. George the Fallen (Down 1)
   20. Queen Wagtoggle (Down 1)
   21. Patches the Pirate (Down 1)
   22. The Lich King (Down 1)

Never Pick

   23. Pyramad (Down 1)
   24. Professor Putricide (Down 1, Previously Giantfin)

I want to end this with the caveat that I have seen every single one of these heroes complete in the Top 4 of a Battleground. Your success and position are going to depend on your board more than your hero power, but some heroes are better suited to building winning boards than others.

I should also note that I have given the option at the beginning of the game to choose between the three worst choices listed here. The RNG gods are fickle masters.

For other ranking lists (that I distinctly disagree with), check out Icy Veins, Hearthstone Top Decks, and HearthPwn. I find it really interesting to see what other people think about the heroes, even if they’re obviously wrong.

Good luck out there!

Hey, good to see you again! Step on up.


All images (c) Blizzard Entertainment

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