It shouldn’t be unfamiliar to most players by now, with the Hearthstone team hard at work with their Battlegrounds mode! Blizzard’s take on the auto chess/auto battler genre has seen plenty of refinement and changes by now. For the uninitiated, the auto battler genre is where your recruited units will automatically fight the opponent. Wins are gotten through strategic positioning, skills or levels of units and a healthy dose of luck.
Costs are fixed, with 3 gold needed for every minion no matter their rarity. Selling any of your minions will return 1 gold.
10 gold is the maximum amount you can have at any time. Just like your mana in the base game, it will increase one per turn until the maximum.
You can level up your tavern to access better minions at the cost of gold. The cost to upgrade your tavern will decrease every turn until you commit to the upgrade.
Games can start out slow, but it does make things easier to pick up nor does it overly punish players who are new to the mode, helping them learn until they get used to be able to make better plays.
Attacks are executed as follows:
- Minions attack one after another, from left to right in a I Go, You Go format
- Attacked targets will be random, unless there is a Taunt minion that will attract all attacks to it
- Once the last minion has attacked, it will begin anew with whatever is left alive
- Abilities can change the attack order
A player defeating all opposing minions will mean they win the round. Ties can also happen when both sides of the board are empty. With these basic rules, positioning is key so that you can get certain minions to die first to trigger their effects for your combos, if any.
ADVANTAGES OVER OTHER AUTO BATTLERS
There are several advantages Battlegrounds has over the others in the genre and can be more attractive to players unfamiliar with it, like:
- Only one “evolution” line: Games like Dota Underlords or Teamfight Tactics typically ask you to gather many copies of a unit, with trios to upgrade to 2-stars, then to 3-stars. Battlegrounds only requires three of a minion to upgrade to a gold version, a process which happens automatically once you purchase the relevant unit. Once you get the gold minion, you can also obtain a random minion out of 3 choices according to tavern level
- Other games have the ability to lock in your selection, and you can do the same here by freezing the board to purchase the units on your next turn
- You pick a hero which all have their own abilities, which uses gold or your own HP, depending on what ability you have. These heroes get their time in their spotlight accordingly whenever they’re buffed or adjusted as needed by the team
- There are a lot of strategies that you can play around with, with the following types of minions you can acquire:
- Regular minions
As with the base game, paying attention to a card’s Keywords is also important to see what strategy you can build around:
- Divine Shield
These little additions help Battlegrounds stand out from similar games, the randomness of obtaining minions made a little less tough with the board freezes, and minions you can obtain once you do get a triple. The hero abilities tie in to the ever familiar Hearthstone system, so those coming from the card game already have a bit of an idea of how to utilize their chosen hero.
Well, if you are already playing it regularly, you already know what you like best and have been crying over Divine Shield, Poisonous Murlocs at best. If you’ve been playing the base Hearthstone and haven’t tried Battlegrounds yet, there’s enough overlap that it can be easier for you to get into to give it a shot. It does its best to be the best of both worlds; namely Hearthstone plus auto-battler, and there’s plenty of room to say it’s one of, if not the, greatest auto-battler currently available. Matches don’t take overly long, so it’s good for a quick jump in. It’s also free, only requiring you to download Hearthstone, so there’s nothing for you to lose just by trying it out.