I’m playing as Captain Eudora who digs and discovers a gold minion every four digs. Early game was Pirates, but I got lucky and ended up with a board that housed a gold Cave Hydra, a gold Goldrinn, a gold Big Mamma, a gold Maexxna, and a gold Ghastcoiler. I’m just bragging a bit. I guess it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention that my buddy Zach helped me get to this point by calling out recommendations over my shoulder.
Battlegrounds, introduced in November of 2019 quickly became the game that engulfed the minds of me and all my close friends. It’s a game mode that ruined Hearthstone’s standard mode for me, because it’s just way more a game of chance. Like poker, there’s variance. With the latest patch introducing the sixth minion type, Pirates, the game has continued to evolve–– into better or worse is unclear, but blizzard has kept it interesting. Battlegrounds gameplay differs by forcing you to purchase cards as you go. Bob the bartender presents three cards to choose from, then goes up by one every other tier. The game depends on the cards you’re allotted. Like poker, the victory feels like a mixture of playing intelligently, and getting lucky by the draw.
The minion types include Murlocs, Demons, Mechs, Beasts–– Dragons were added in February, and now Pirates. Because the minion types are abundant now, the minions offered each game are only 5 of the 6, and the heroes available reflect the minions available during your game. This allows a higher chance for players to find synergies and triples. As new minion types arrive over time, more practice will be necessary to develop strategies and be able to roll with whatever lands on the board.
Pirates bring an interesting game, adding a new dynamic to the economy by utilizing cards that focus on how you spend or receive bonus gold. They aren’t the strongest early game, and it’s far easier to buff up other minion types for late game, but Pirates thrive somewhere in between. It’s in tiers two through four that Pirates have minions that buff or are buffed by other Pirates. Tier five and six Pirates are wild, but the real trick is to manipulate gold and turn over cards quickly so you can keep buffing.
The New Heroes
Most of the Pirates game lands on the new heroes. Captain Eudora’s hero power which I’ve discussed above, can very much put you at an advantage, depending on how quickly you tier and how lucky you are with what you dig up. If you use the power frequently, you’re likely to land some very exciting draws, and coupled with Goldgrubber, you can end up with a fat board.
Skycap’n Kragg adds a gold coin to a bank, which can either put you ahead of the other players early on or can help you make wildly valuable splurges near the end of the game.
Patches the Pirate is a pirate parrrrty! He gets a pirate with his hero power, then whenever he buys a pirate, his hero power gets discounted. The most important part though, is that you can still get those discounts even after you’ve used your power, so racking up pirates and turning them into a party is stupid advantagous.
Aranna Starseeker gets a seven minion display every seven rolls. Assuming you roll as much as possible early game, you can end up finding triples and discovering synergies far quicker than your opponents. This is a difficult power to manage however, because you still have to budget gold for tiering and purchasing minions, and seven is not a small amount of gold. To benefit the most from Starseeker, it’s best to be stingy with your purchases and only go for high quality minions you can triple while tiering as much as possible when it’s as affordable as possible.
Captain Hooktusk allows you to discover a minion from a tier lower after discarding one from your board. This is good because discards in battlegrounds are frequent and getting a minion everytime you discard makes it easy to force a strategy, or just flat out trade cards for better ones. Hooktusk is by far one of the strongest heroes because she stays OP throughout the entire game.
What We’ve Learned by Watching the New Updates
Blizzard’s strategy for keeping their card game entertaining is working. Because the game’s functioning depends heavily on the cards available, and the cards available completely change the game. If the strategy pool grows every few months and the tools needed to win evolve then Blizzard can count on people being lured back in time and time again. What would be fun, is if Blizzard considered changing the stakes from time to time, but we’ll see how things go. I’ll stay peeled to the game to bring you updates on where Battlegrounds takes us, in the meantime, you now have an understanding of how Pirates impact your game.
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Angel Damion Robles