Hearthstone Battlegrounds Mechanics Guide

Last updated on Nov 13, 2019 at 23:42 by Kat 1 comment

This guide will take you, step by step, through the entire process of playing a game Hearthstone Battlegrounds. Every possible action in a round will be detailed to ensure you know everything there is to do.

This guide is part of our larger Battlegrounds Guide.


Picking a Hero

After queueing into Hearthstone Battlegrounds, you will be matched with 7 other players to play against. The first thing you will need to do is pick a Hero to play as. You will be asked to pick 1 of 3 different Heroes, similar to Hearthstone's Arena mode. Each Hero has their own Hero Power that will influence your game. There are a total of 24 different Heores available and every player is offered a choice of 3 different Heroes to pick from, this results in all Heroes being available every game.

The only thing that separates each Hero is their Hero Power, which have a range of different effects. Some Heroes will come with Passive Hero Powers that will influence the game in some way, whereas others come with more traditional active Hero Powers that can be used once per turn, for a cost.

For more information about the available heroes, please refer to our tier list.


Starting a Round — Recruit Phase

Once all players have picked a Hero, you will be sent to the tavern for the recruit phase of the game and the beginning first round.

At the start of the first round, you will be given 3 gold, which functions exactly the same as Mana in a normal Hearthstone game. Gold can be spent on a variety of actions at the start of the round. Each subsequent round will replenish your gold and increase your maximum gold by 1, up to a maximum of 10. Any unspent gold at the end of a round will lost, so make sure to spend as much as possible!


Purchasing Minions

While in the tavern, you will see an assortment of random minions on the opposite side of the board. These minions can be purchased for your own use dragging them from the opposite side of the board and dropping them onto your Hero's portrait. Doing this will add the minion's card to your hand and cost you 3 gold. Minions purchased will remain in your hand until they are played, or upgraded, and will not be removed from your hand at the start of a new round.

For more information about the available minions, please refer to our Minion tier list. We also have a guide on minions and cards specific to Battlegrounds.


Refreshing Your Tavern

If you are not happy with the minions you can purchase in the tavern, you may wish to to refresh the minions on offer. Refreshing minions will remove any minions that are currently being offered and replacing them with new ones. If any minions have been purchased, there will also be another minion offered in their place.

There is no hard limit as to how many times you can refresh minions in a turn, however, it costs 1 gold to do each time, so think carefully before doing so.


Freezing Minions

At the start of each round, all minions in your tavern are refreshed by default. However, you may encounter situations where there minions from the previous round that you wanted to buy, but could not afford. In these situations you have the option to freeze the board. Freezing the board will ensure all purchasable minions will persist between rounds, allowing you to save them for the following round, however, you will lose out on the potential of being offered better minions.


Playing Minions

Any minions you have added to your hand can be freely played onto the board with no additional cost attached. However, once played, they cannot be returned to your hand.

Minions played typically follow Hearthstone's normal rules. For example, Battlecries like Screwjank Clunker can be used to buff friendly minions, as can Magnetic effects like Replicating Menace. Similarly, cards like Brann Bronzebeard being on the board will enhance Battlecry effects further.

When minions are played, they cannot be returned to your hand, but they can be rearranged as you see fit. Rearranging minions can be done by dragging a minion in play around on your board and can be used for various tactical benefits like placing a Dire Wolf Alpha next to a Rat Pack to gain an additional minion from the Deathrattle effect.


Selling Minions

Once you place a minion onto the board there is no way to return it to your hand, so choose carefully as you may fill up your board and prevent a stronger minion from being played. If this happens, you may be forced to sell a minion.

Selling minions follows a similar system to purchasing them, to sell a minion similar drag a minion from your board and drop it onto Bob the Bartender's portrait to sell it. Selling a minion will provide you with 1 gold that can be spent immediately. All minions will sell for the same cost regardless of how strong they are, this includes tokens summoned from cards like Alleycat and Murloc Tidehunter.


Buffing Minions

An important part of Hearthstone Battlegrounds is buffing your minions. Minions can be buffed in a range of different ways, some of which are treated differently to traditional Hearthstone games.

Any buffs applied to minions during the Recruit Phase will permanently buff them. This includes Battlecry effects and buffs from Hero Powers and minions that trigger when a minion is played or summoned. Even if the minions responsible for the buff is sold, all buffs will be retained.

Conversely, any buffs that are applied while minions are fighting are completely temporary and will be reverted at the start of each round. This includes Deathrattles and on-death effects like Junkbot and Scavenging Hyena.

The last kind of buff comes from aura effects like Dire Wolf Alpha and Siegebreaker. Buffs from these minions are applied during the Recruit Phase of the game. However, as the effects are tied to the minion, the buffs are removed when the minion dies or is sold.


Tavern Tiers

Each every minion available in Battlegrounds has a specific tier assigned to it, represented by a number of stars in the upper left corner of its card, where a Mana cost would normally be.

When refreshing the minions in your Tavern, only minions up to and including your currently current Tavern Tier will appear under normal conditions. This means that in order for higher tier minions to spawn, you will need to upgrade your tavern.

When starting the game, you will initially begin at Tavern Tier 1. In order to upgrade your tavern you will need to pay a cost in gold in order to upgrade it. Upgrading your tavern can be expensive and very risky as a result as it will take away from the gold you have to buy minions to improve your board. However, at the start of each round, the cost of upgrading your tavern will reduce by 1. This means that the longer you wait to upgrade your tavern the cheaper, and safer, it will be.


Upgrading Minions

Hearthstone Battlegrounds features a minion upgrade system very similar to that found in other autobattlers. If you are fortunate enough to possess 3 of the same minion, your minion will automatically upgrade and provide a range of benefits.

When purchasing the 3rd copy of a minion, all 3 minions, wherever they are, will combine and return to your hand as a single, golden, minion. By default golden minions will have double the stats and effects of their non-golden counter parts. For example, a golden Imp Gang Boss would be upgraded to 4/8 stats and would summon 2/2 imps each time it is damaged. As a further bonus, it will retain all buffs applied to any non-golden minions used to create it.

Golden minions are the only upgrade possible for minions and they cannot be upgraded further, even if you managed to get 3 golden copies of the same minion.


Playing Spells

At the beginning of turns 4, 8, 12, and 16 you will be offered the chance to discover a spell from a selection of 3. The spells are unique to Battlegrounds and will be added to your hand in the form of a 0-Cost card, that can be played at a time of your choosing and will not expire at the end of your turn.

Spells are divided into 4 different tiers, and every 4 turns you will be Discovering spells from one tier higher than the last. Ranging from small buffs like giving your minions +1/+1 in Tier 1 up to effects like being able to immediately turn a minion, in the Tavern, golden at Tier 4.

For more information about the available spells, please refer to our Spell tier list.


Using Your Hero Power

The range of Hero Powers available in Hearthstone Battleground and is very broad. However, they can be split into 3 main categories, see our Hero Tier List for more information:

  • Passive
  • Tavern
  • Battle

Passive Hero Powers will usually give you a passive bonus, usually at the start of the game. This can include things like starting with minions or additional Health, or providing buffs to minions when you purchase them.

Tavern Hero Powers are active Hero Powers that will cost you gold to use and will aid you in the tavern phase of the game. This can include buffing your minions, giving you minions at a discount, or even giving access to higher tier minions.

Battle Hero Powers also cost gold to use and will give you a temporary bonus during your next Battle. Effects include damaging enemy minions in various ways and giving temporary buffs to your minions. As these Hero Powers do not provide a lasting effect, it is inadvisable to use them every turn.


Battling Opponents

During the Recruit Phase of the game, you will be able to see the next opponent you are due to play against, highlighted as red in the side bar. After the Recruit Phase ends, players will pair off and do battle with their opponents.

Battles take place following a set of rules, with an added level of a randomness. Player's minion will attack a random enemy minion, attacking from left to right and alternating the player who attacks after each attack. Minions will prioritise targets with Taunt first, unless they have an effect that bypasses it, but targets are otherwise completely random. This process will continue until at least one player in the battle has no minions left on the board.

For more information on the battle itself and how to win, please refer to our strategy guide.


Calculating Damage

Once one player in a Battle has no minions left, the damage calculation takes place. Damage is calculated by totalling the tier of every minion that survives onto the board and adding it to the tavern tier of the player who wins the battle, dealing the combined total in damage to the enemy. Any non-purchasable minions that survive are counted as tier 1 and there are no damage bonuses given to upgraded golden minions.

After damage has been calculated and applied, all surviving players return to the Recruit Phase with the minions returned to the state they were before the Battle Phase.



  • 13 Nov. 2019: Guide added.
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