Hearthstone Battlegrounds Update (16.0)

Hearthstone dropped a new patch update yesterday (16.0), for the upcoming Descent of Dragons expansion (which drops next week; super excited about that), plus new stuff for Battlegrounds!

Instead of updating the same post over and over, I’m going to move forward with new posts for the updates, as it will be easier to manage, and I won’t need to delete old stuff to make room for new stuff.

So here we go!

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Updates

New Heroes

  • Edwin Vancleef

Hero Power: Give a minion +1/+1 for each minion you’ve bought this turn. Costs 1 Gold.

I’ve only played one game with this hero since the update dropped, but he has very strong, consistent buffing power. The later the game, the better the buffs, as you are able to purchase more minions. It’s one of the few heroes that gets better late game.

I would rank Edwin Vancleef an Always Pick.

  • Sylvanas Windrunner

Hero Power: Remove a friendly minion to give adjacent minions +1/+1. Costs 0 Gold.

I played a game with this hero this morning, and I struggled to make good use of the hero power while also simultaneously shaping my board with good synergy. The zero cost for the hero power helps, but you do have to destroy minions to take advantage of it. This works well with early game minions who summon other minions with their battlecry, and later game, with battlecry minions like Defender of Argus (Battlecry: give adjacent minions +1/+1 and Taunt) and Toxfin (Battlecry: Give a friendly Murloc Poisonous) who can be effective, but aren’t high stat minions really worth hanging onto. I will need to play more with this hero to really gauge its winnability. I think it has potential, but I haven’t figured out the how of it yet.

I would rank Sylvanas Windrunner a Maybe Pick

  • Arch-Villain Rafaam

Hero Power: Next combat, add a plain copy (unbuffed, non-golden) of the first minion you kill to your hand. Costs 1 Gold.

I have yet to play as this hero, but from playing against it, its hero power feels very strong. The ability to add minions to your hand for 1 Gold each round is extremely powerful early game, as you build your board up, and even late game, I think it has good power, especially if you face the same opponent multiple times. The chances of gaining a triple rise dramatically when you can copy your opponents’ minions turn to turn. I would love to actually get this hero to test my theories about it.

I would rank Arch-Villain Rafaam a Strong Pick (for now).

Heroes Leaving Battlegrounds:

  • Patches the Pirate – I’m not very sad about this one leaving. It wasn’t strong enough to warrant picking most rounds.
  • Bartendotron – I find it interesting that Bartendotron is leaving. Despite my early estimations that mana manipulation would be a strong contender in the format, he’s been very middle of the road, not quite strong enough to win 1st, but usually landing Top 4. Perhaps they removed it because it was too meh?
  • Pyramad – Another awful hero gone! No more having to pick between Pyramad, Putricide, and Patches in the same game! (Which has happened to me MULTIPLE times)
  • Professor Putricide – GOODBYE
  • Trade Prince Gallywix – I am actually sad about Trade Prince Gallywix leaving. I’m not sure if he wasn’t getting much play, or if he was too strong, or not strong enough? I really liked playing as this hero. His ability to hoard gold made him very flexible in the Tavern phase and building the board up.

Heroes Returning (with changes)

  • Millificent Manastorm! – I’m happy to see her return, and with the balance changes they’ve made (see below), I look forward to seeing how she affects the meta now.
  • Lich Baz’hial! – Another one I’m happy to see come back. With Gallywix leaving, Baz’hial now has a monopoly on gold production, and with the balance changes (see below), this hero is much stronger than before.

New Minions

  • King Bagurgle (5-Tier)
    • 6 Attack. 3 Health.
    • Battlecry and Deathrattle: Give your other Murlocs +2/+2
    • Strong addition to Murlocs, making them much more viable late game.
  • Floating Watcher (3-Tier)
    • 4 Attack. 4 Health.
    • Whenever your hero takes damage on your turn, gain +2/+2.
    • Strong addition to demons, especially paired with Vulgar Homunculus and Wrath Weaver.

Balance Changes


  • Lightfang Enforcer – now reads: At the end of your turn, give a friendly Mech, Beast, Murloc, and Demon +2/+1 (changed from +2/+2).
This feels like a fair balance adjustment. Players with larger health pools are often the winners in each matchup. This helps prevent too much health buffing on one side of the board.


  • Millicent Manastorm – Hero Power: All Mechs in Bob’s Tavern get +1 Attack. (changed from +1/+1)
Again, lower health pools for minions should keep this hero from dominating early to mid game. I don’t think it will have a huge impact on late game.

  • Patchwerk – Passive Hero Power: Starts at 50 Health. (changed from 60 Health)
This weakens Patchwerk as a hero, but I would still say he’s worth picking over several of the other heroes. That extra 10 Health makes his survivability better than almost all the other heroes.

  • A. F. Kay – Passive Hero Power: Skip your first 2 turns. Start with two minions from Tavern Tier 3. (changed from a minion from Tavern Tier 3 and Tavern Tier 4)
This should prevent A.F. Kay from dominating so strongly mid-game with a Tier 4 minion, though I still think she is a very strong choice against most of the other heroes.

  • The Rat King – Passive Hero Power: Whenever you Hire a Beast/Murloc/Mech/Demon give it +1/+1. Swaps type each turn. (changed from +1/+2)
Again with the health nerf. Interested to see how this changes the overall meta.

  • Lich Baz’hial – Hero Power: Get a Coin and take 2 Damage. (changed from 3 damage)
This is the only non-nerf balance change for heroes! I liked Lich Baz’hial before, so now that they’re stronger, I’m looking forward to playing as this hero more.

  • The Great Akazamzarak – Hero Power: Discover a Secret. (changes: now harder to get Ice Block consecutively, removed Hand of Salvation as a possible secret.)
Ice Block is what makes Akazamzarak a good choice. Less frequent Ice Blocks means lower survivability, but even getting just one in a run of Battlegrounds is worth it. Hand of Salvation (Secret: When your second minion dies in a turn, return it to life.) leaving is not a huge deal. It made for a bit of redundancy in some of the Secret picks when paired with Redemption (Secret: When a friendly minion dies, return it to life with 1 Health), so I’m not sad to see it go.

Advanced Stats

Gain access to detailed stats about your Battleground performance (accessible in the Battlegrounds queue screen

Advanced Stats are now live for players with 10 or more Descent of Dragons Card Packs, and will retroactively include data from matches played since November 5th. I love stats, so I’m happy to have this feature now.


I’m really pleased with a lot of these changes. I feel like the balancing is fair and will make hero selection feel more competitive instead of there being an obvious choice over two poor ones. I’m looking forward to seeing the meta shift more as strategies change. Murlocs are now a viable synergy choice with the addition of King Bagurgle, though you will want to upgrade your tavern as quickly as possible to take advantage of it.

See you at the tavern!