Games this Week… Hearthstone (16.4)

Hearthstone patched this week with new minions and heroes for Battlegrounds mode, adding long-awaited Dragons to the field. I’ve played a few rounds with the new heroes and minions, and it’s significantly changed up the meta, which is exciting. Though, right now, everyone is vying to try the new Dragon-type minions, so it’s an extra tough competition right now.

New Battlegrounds Heroes


Hero Power: Replace a minion in Bob’s Tavern with a minion from a higher Tavern Tier. Costs 1 Gold.

I played a game with this hero earlier today, and right now, I feel that this is a very strong hero power. It’s better than Toki’s Time-Turner ability that allows you to refresh the tavern, adding a minion of a higher tavern tier to the board, because Galakrond’s ability allows you to choose which minion you want to upgrade. It’s a lot like the Shaman’s Evolve mechanic in regular gameplay. Now, it’s hit or miss on whether or not what you upgrade to will actually be worth taking, but it’s very strong early game, and has the potential to be a good gamble late game.

I’d rate Galakrond a Strong Pick.


Hero Power: Passive. ALL minions have +3 Attack.

This is a really interesting hero because the Attack bonus doesn’t just work on your minions, but your opponents as well, buffing both sides of the field. I’ve seen this hero do really well with Beasts, thanks to cards like Rat Pack, because you could potentially summon five 4/1 Rats from a basic Rat Pack, which is HUGE. Combo that with Pack Leader to give them another +3 Attack as they are summoned, and Mama Bear for an additional +5/+5, and you’re looking at a board of 12/6 Rats. WHAT. I had fun playing this one when I got the chance, though I went with Dragons instead of Beasts.

I’d rate Deathwing an Always Pick.


Hero Power: Refresh and add a Dragon to Bob’s Tavern. Costs 1 Gold.

This is another interesting one, though I haven’t had the chance to play this hero yet. The ability to make guarantee at least one Dragon each turn can be really strong if you are running Dragons, which you would want to with this hero. If you’re not running Dragons, there are still some Dragon cards that are beneficial regardless of the makeup of the rest of your board, so I feel like this is still a pretty strong pick. I’d like to play it to see if my theories are correct.

I’d rate Ysera a Maybe Pick.


Hero Power: Passive. Your first Refresh each turn costs (0).

Yet another hero power based on the Refresh mechanic. I haven’t had the chance to play Nozdormu, so I can’t really say the effectiveness of the hero power, but being able to save 1 Gold each turn on a Refresh means more buying power, which is never a bad thing.

I’d rate Nozdormu a Maybe Pick.



Hero Power: Replace a minion with a random one of the same Tavern Tier. Costs 0.

I haven’t had a chance to play Malygos yet, but the hero power is very similar to Galakrond. Same with Galakrond, because of the dependency on RNG, it’s a middling strength hero power, and without the added benefit of being a tier upgrade as well. That said, it’s a free hero power, so it has that going for it.

I’d rate Malygos a Maybe Pick.


Hero Power: Passive. After you upgrade Bob’s Tavern to Tavern Tier 5, Discover two Dragons.

Compared to all the other new heroes, this hero power probably feels the weakest. It takes a long time to get to Tier 5. And because I haven’t played this hero yet, I’m not sure if the Dragons you are able to discover will be of Tier 5, or if it is random. If they are Tier 5, then this is a very strong late game move. If it’s random though, meaning you could potentially get minions from Tier 1 to Tier 6, then it’s very average, with the potential to really REALLY suck.

For now, I’ll rate Alexstrasza a Maybe Pick, only because I haven’t played as her yet.

Reno JacksonReno Jackson

Hero Power: Make a friendly minion Golden (Once per game). Costs 4 Gold.

Another interesting hero power, and with the potentially to be very strong late game. Pick the right minion, and this could be a major clutch power.

I’d rate Reno a Strong Pick.

New Battlegrounds Minions

Red Whelp

Tier 1

Dragonspawn Lieutenant. Dragon. 2/3 Taunt.

Very strong first tier pick.

Red Whelp. Dragon. 1/2. Start of Combat: Deal 1 Damage per friendly Dragon to one random enemy minion.

This is such a strong minion for early game, and has the potential to be strong later game as well, especially if you are running Dragons and you manage to triple it into a golden version. You could potentially do 7 Damage to 2 minions at the beginning of the round.

Waxrider TogwaggleTier 2

Glyph Guardian. Dragon. 2/4. Whenever this attacks, double its Attack.

A strong pick for Tier 2. The higher health helps with survivability early game, but it really needs additional buffs to be truly effective, and it can be useless against a minion with Divine Shield. The golden version triples the attack.

Steward of Time. Dragon. 2/4. When you sell this minion, give all minions in Bob’s Tavern +1/+1.

This is a really interesting minion in that its true value is in selling it. Time it right, and you can purchase multiple buffed minions in a single turn.

Waxrider Togwaggle. No Type. 1/2. Whenever a friendly Dragon kills an enemy, gain +2/+2.

This is so strong compared with cards like Red Whelp and Herald of Flame (below). Every time a minion dies by taking damage from one of your Dragon minions, this dude gets a pretty significant buff. He gets really big really fast. The golden version upgrades to a +4/+4 buff.

Unstable Ghoul. No Type. 1/3. Taunt. Deathrattle: Deal 1 damage to all minions.

I think this can be a very good pick early game, when lots of people have minions with only 1 Health, but it loses effectiveness quickly, and you have the potential to screw yourself over early game.

Bronze WardenTier 3

Bronze Warden. Dragon. 2/1. Divine Shield. Reborn.

This is actually a really strong minion choice, despite the low stats. If you are able to buff this guy at all, or triple it into the golden version, you can end up doing a lot of damage with this guy. Divine Shield and Reborn means it is going to do its damage up to four times before dying, depending on what you are playing against.

Hangry Dragon. Dragon. 4/5. At the start of your turn, gain +2/+2 if you won the last combat.

This is a really interesting card because of when and how it gets its buff. If you win a round of combat, it gives itself +2/+2 once you’re in Bob’s Tavern. If you’re winning, it’s a really strong card. If you’re losing, not so much. But if you get two of these guys on your board, and you’re on a winning streak, they can get really big. And the buffs don’t go away. They keep stacking turn after turn as long as you continue to win. Then, if you are able to triple it, it keeps all those buffs and now gains +4/+4 with every win.

Herald of FlameTier 4

Drakonid Enforcer. Dragon. 3/6. After a friendly minion loses Divine Shield, gain +2/+2.

Another self-buffing card, but this one could work well in multiple decks. It combos nicely with Bronze Warden, Selfless Hero, Bolvar Fordragon, and the new Holy Mackerel (below). If you can combo those cards with other Divine Shield minions, you’ll end up with a VERY strong board.

Herald of Flame. Dragon. 5/4. Overkill: Deal 3 damage to the left-most enemy minion.

This is such a good card. There is a high potential for triggering the Overkill mechanic with its 5 Attack, and if the RNG is with you, you can potentially take out multiple minions with this guy. I’ve seen it take out a taunt minion, and then blast three minions in quick succession with its Overkill, which the 3 Damage can also trigger. The tripled golden version is just that much stronger. A really good choice, whether you are running Dragons or not.

Cobalt Scalebane. Dragon. 5/5. At the end of your turn, give another random friendly minion +3 Attack.

This was a fantastic card when it was in standard, and it’s equally great in Battlegrounds. The +3 Attack buff remains from round to round, so you can really buff up your side of the board over time, and it’s 5/5 stats mean it has good survivability on its own.

Razorgore, the UntamedTier 5

Murozond. Dragon. 5/5. Battlecry: Add a minion from your last opponent’s warband to your hand.

This is another interesting card, as you have the potential to add a really strong card from your previous opponent’s board to your own.  I haven’t personally seen this card in action, so I can’t say how effective it is, but you would be relying on RNG to decide which minion you get. Also, I’m not sure if you get an exact copy, buffs and all, or if it’s only a basic copy.

Twilight Emisarry. Dragon. 6/8. Taunt. Battlecry: Give a friendly Dragon +3/+3.

A strong pick for Dragons!

Razorgore, the Untamed. Dragon. 2/4. At the end of your turn, gain +1/+1 for each Dragon you have.

If you’re running Dragons, this card gets really strong, really fast.

Imp MamaTier 6

Holy Mackerel. Murloc. 8/4. After another friendly minion loses Divine Shield, gain Divine Shield.

Holy Mackerel indeed. This is a great way to buff cards like Bolvar Fordragon and Drakonid Enforcer.

Imp Mama. Demon. 6/8. Whenever this minion takes damage, summon a random Demon and give it Taunt.

This card is AMAZING. I’ve not had it on my own board yet, but I have played against it, and it is such a strong card. I’ve been absolutely clobbered any time I’ve gone against it.

Kalecgos, Arcane Aspect. Dragon. 2/8. After you play a minion with Battlecry, give your Dragons +1/+1.

I haven’t seen this card in action yet, but I feel like it has limited value. By the time you reach Tier 6, the likelihood of using Battlecry minions goes significantly down. I’m not sure Tier 6 is appropriate.

Nadina the Red. No Type. 7/4. Deathrattle: Give your Dragons Divine Shield.

I can see this card being very useful if you are running Drakonid Enforcer and Bolvar Fordragon together. I’ve not seen it in play yet, so I’ll have to test my theory at some point.

Battlegrounds Balance Changes

George the Fallen. Hero Power: Give a friendly minion Divine Shield.

Hero Power cost has been reduced from 4 Gold to 3 Gold. This will make him significantly stronger, especially with all the new Divine Shield mechanic minions introduced in this patch.

Sneed’s Old Shredder. Mech. 5/7. Deathrattle: Summon a random Legendary minion.

Moved from Tier 6 to Tier 5. This seems like a fair adjustment. His Deathrattle still relies too much on RNG, so you’re likely to get a 1/1 from it, which seems to happen to me a lot more often than probability dictates.

Mama Bear. Beast. 5/5. Whenever you summon a Beast, give it +5/+5.

Old: Beast. 4/4. Whenever you summon a Beast, give it +4/+4. This change takes Mama Bear back to her original stats and ability.

Tavern Tier 6

Starting cost of Tavern Tier 6 has been reduced to 10 Gold (down from 11). I’m interested to see how this plays out! It’s always been really difficult to make the jump from Tavern Tier 5 to Tavern Tier 6.

Dev Insight: Tavern Tier 6 has a lot of exciting minions and we’d like players to have more of an opportunity to reach it than they have. We’re also trying to make Tavern Tier 6 more interesting by adding some of these powerful new minions.

Removed Heroes

Professor Putricide.
Dev Insight: We’d like to go back to the drawing board with Professor Putricide. We’re going to disable him for now to make way for our new Heroes, but you’ll likely see him return in the future with some changes.

Removed Minions

  • Shielded Minibot
  • Annoy-o-Tron
  • Mounted Raptor
  • Phalanx Commander
  • Psych-o-Tron
  • Tortollan Shellraiser
  • Piloted Sky Golem
  • Festeroot Hulk
  • Boogeymonster
  • Sated Threshadon
These feel like some interesting choices. I’m curious to see how it changes the meta.

Dev Insight: We're removing some minions to help make room for the new minions. We also want to balance out the minion pool a bit. For example, there were way more Mechs in Battlegrounds than any other minion type. We're also removing some of the minions that aren't performing very well and ones that have generally been less exciting to play with.


I’m having fun with the changes introduced in this patch and can’t wait to play some more!