Battlegrounds is the newest game mode for Hearthstone and currently in a closed beta for everyone who attended BlizzCon 2019, bought a virtual ticket, or pre-purchased the Descent of Dragons expansion. Unfortunately, not all Heroes are created equal, so here are the worst that could use a helping hand to become relevant in the meta as the game finally launches next week.
Everyone else will have access to the open beta in only a few days beginning on November 12, and below is a tier list of all the Heroes currently available to make sure you hit the ground running when the game goes live for everyone.
11. Patches the Pirate
Fire the Cannons reads, “Hero Power: At the start of next combat, deal 3 damage to two random enemy minions. Unless you have some miraculous way of capitalizing off of a strong early game, this power will be virtually useless by turn four or five. Ragnaros is far better if you have the choice, despite being twice the cost to activate the ability.
10. The Rat King
King of Beasts reads, “Passive Hero Power: Whenever you buy a Beast, give it +1/+2. Swaps type each turn”, with the other variants becoming King of Murlocs, Demons, or Mechs. Talk about relying on a literal zoo of minions to be effective. The obvious downside here is that RNG is a big factor, and one may be tempted to make a poor purchase decision to acquire a small buff. Still, a bit of luck can help develop a strong early and mid game, but the late game suffers and requires significant luck to keep any momentum.
9. Professor Putricide
Rage Potion reads, “Hero Power: At the start of next combat, give your left-most minion +10 Attack.” Here we have another Hero that in theory looks like it could make a big impact but does not. At all stages in the game it is more beneficial to have higher-health minions who can survive a bout to trade 2-1 in the next turn, and so this type of a hero power requires divine shield or to have the hydra effect of hitting the adjacent opponents as well to be useful. However, even by the late game there are ways of making massive creatures, and an additional ten damage is often unnecessary.
8. Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End
Puzzle Box reads, “Hero Power: Hire a random minion in Bob’s Tavern and give it +1/+1”. The problem here is that sometimes Yogg will high roll and you will be sitting pretty with a turn six minion on turn two, but there is zero consistency here. The possibility of a snowball will certainly attract newer players to the genre, but the lows will often be enough to turn away skilled players.
With that said, Yogg is one of the most fun to play simply for the randomness of it all, though players should go in with the mindset of fun first and winning a possible though improbably side effect.
7. The Curator
Menagerist reads, “Passive Hero Power: Start the game with a 1/1 Amalgam that has all minion types. This Hero allows a player to use early buffs in a more efficient way than others, and this means that every tribe card will work to this effect. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Curator, but it does require some more planning than other Hero choices. Like some of these lower-tier options, the benefit of the Hero power does not go the distance and is virtually useless by the mid to late game.
Pyramad Brick by Brick reads, “Hero Power: Give a random friendly minion +2 Health”. Health bonuses are extremely important in the Battlegrounds game mode, but the design choice to make the target random as opposed to targeted makes this far less useful. At best one can hope to buff a preferred target in the early game, but later on the value dwindles as other Heroes have better late game development.
5. Lord Jaraxxus
Bloodfury reads, “Hero Power: Give your Demons +1/+1”, and if we had to give a Hero the award for best flavor according to their lore, Lord Jaraxxus wins by a landslide. Leaning hard into a specific tribe should be a viable strategy, but the two biggest problems are that demons simply are not that powerful, and other cards that synergize here are not demons at all, such as Soul Juggler. One could forgo that card for pure Demonic synergy, but again, the lack of strong demon cards does not make the trade-off a viable option. Still, demons seem to be a better choice than Murlocs with Giantfin.
Murloc King reads, “Hero Power: At the start of next combat, give your minions ‘Deathrattle: Summon a 1/1 Murloc.’” The potential strength of Giantfin relies completely on the power of Murloc synergy, and since the tribe is weak, so is this Hero. In the early game it is misleading to see Murlocs popping out after a trade, but in the mid and late game they are ineffective compared to the strong and often ridiculous boards that can develop.
3. Lich Baz’hial
Graveyard Shift reads, “Hero Power: Take 3 damage and add a Gold Coin to your hand”, and one might at first consider the advantage like the Warlock Hero Power, Life Tap. Unfortunately, three life for a single coin is too steep a price to pay. A player would need a fair but of luck to survive long enough to put that gold to use. However, it would not be surprising to see veteran players make big plays with this Hero under rare circumstances, but overall there are far better options available.
Skilled Bartender reads: “Passive Hero Power: reduce the Cost of Tavern Tiers by (1)” can be a bit of a trap for newer players and even veterans of Hearthstone because it reads like an effect that would provide a continuous tempo advantage. In Standard, Wild, and Arena this would be a great effect each turn, but there are other Hero Powers that provide greater value over the course of the game. Bartendotron might provide a small advantage for the first few turns, but after that it falls behind.
1. King Mulka
Who would have guessed that the King would rank so low? His Hero Power Bananarama reads “Passive Hero Power: Whenever you sell a Beast, add a Banana to your hand.” This is highly situational and overall not a Hero that newer players should select. This is especially true because Beast synergy is lacking in this game mode compared to other tribes, making it weaker than if the condition had instead been to sell a card of a different tribe. However, this does not make the Hero Power useless, only far less practical than abilities possessed by other Heroes.