Hearthstone is a digital card game that has been out since 2014 and has continued to be a money-maker for Blizzard. However, the experience had felt stagnant for some fans in the past couple years. Battlegrounds, which debuted last November, gave the free-to-play game a new mode inspired by the auto chess genre. For many players (myself included), it is their new preferred way to play Hearthstone.
This Battlegrounds update revolves around a new minion tribe: Elementals. That means another group of cards you can hunt for alongside the Dragons, Pirates, Murlocs, Demons, and Mechs. The four new heroes will also shake Battlegrounds up. Ragnaros the Firelord (who was once a weak hero in the mode, but he comes back with a full rework) automatically gives your left and right most minions +4/+4 at the end of each turn. The catch is that you first have to kill 20 enemy minions to unlock this power.
Chenvaala reduces the cost of upgrading the Tavern by 2 gold after you play three Elementals. Rakanishu can spend 2 gold to give a minion stats equal to your current Tavern Tier. Akir the Windlord gives your left most minion Taunt, Windfury, and Divine Shield before battle.
Ratings and rankings
The Battlegrounds changes extend beyond heroes and minions. Blizzard is resetting the mode’s ratings system. The goal is to create a system more similar to what exists in the Ranked modes. All players will start with 0 rating, and placing in the top 4 of a Battlegrounds match will give increase their rating (up to 300 points per game). Once you reach 2000, you can start to lose points, although every increment of 500 will act as a ratings floor that you can’t drop under. So if you’re rank 3501, you can’t go below 3500.
There is also a new system to determine which players you’ll go up against.
“Matchmaking will now be done based on the player’s invisible internal rating, which we’ve been tracking since Battlegrounds launched,” Blizzard details. “Internal ratings for players will not be reset and will not be affected by the above modifications to external ratings. When your external rating is lower than your internal rating, you will gain rating faster.”
You can find a full list of the new cards and changes coming to Battlegrounds here.