Hearthstone’s newest patch, 18.0.2, brought vital balance updates to its Battlegrounds mode. The patch removed two contentious minions in the form of Megasaur, due to its ability to make Murlocs nearly unbeatable in the late game, and Arcane Cannon since going first or second drastically changed its usefulness. The update also nerfed popular heroes and minions, like Eudora and Nat Pagle, as well as buffed underperforming heroes and cards, like the Lich King, Reno, and certain Beasts.
With all of these balance adjustments, here’s what you need to know to succeed in Hearthstone’s Battlegrounds mode in Patch 18.0.2.
Hero tier implications and how to play them
One of the major changes that came with 18.0.2 was the balance attempts toward three heroes. Eudora is no longer the undisputed best hero in the game. Now that she requires an extra dig, this means she can no longer dig starting from turn one (outside of a token start) without taking immense damage. Eudora will now need to play a standard game, weaving in her Hero Power every turn, starting on turn two.
Besides hitting her power turn later than usual, it’s less likely that she can get more than one or two golden minions out of her Hero Power due to the extra required dig.
Now that the Lich King’s Hero Power is free, the Lich King is a powerful option that nearly guarantees a victory for almost every early-game fight. The only other heroes that can possibly contest the Lich King are ones with early-game tempo Hero Powers, like Yogg-Saron and Rafaam. Due to this, the Lich King has a higher chance of leveling aggressively if you pick up key Deathrattles, like Spawn of N’zoth and Kaboom Bot.
Reno Jackson also joins the Lich King with a buffed Hero Power made free. Now that Reno Jackson can spend less gold making a minion golden, you can reliably make any high-tier minion you find that gives you a scaling direction golden. The playstyle for Reno hasn’t changed too much: You want to find strong pairs that you can hold onto until you find its triple. Once you find a triple, you can level up to Tavern Tier Four and then combine the pair into a triple to get a tier-five minion. Some key minions to make golden are Brann Bronzebeard, which enables buffs for multiple types and Menagerie, Baron Rivendare for Deathrattles, or Cap’n Hoggar for Pirates.
Murloc stocks down in the late game, Beast stocks on the rise everywhere
Now that Gentle Megasaur has been removed from the pool, Murlocs are no longer the end all be all late game that players try to pivot into with their Divine Shields and Poisonous bodies. While this nerf is a substantial blow to the archetype, the buff to Primalfin Lookout keeps Murlocs competitive in the early and mid game. Since Primalfin can be found a tier earlier, this means Murlocs can cycle through buffs much faster. While Primalfin needs you to be a higher Tavern Tier to find King Bagurgle and Amalgadon now (level five and six respectively), this can easily be achieved once your board has been buffed enough with Brann Bronzebeard.
The Beast minion type got a major overhaul. While a minor focus was nerfed Beasts (like Rabid Saurolisk and Monstrous Macaw) getting their stats buffed, the main appeal of this rework was the tier reworks. While the Rat Pack tier nerf is a major blow to early beasts, Pack Leader being found a tier earlier allows players to scale their Beasts earlier than expected, making Beast boards more aggressive. Mama Bear now being a tier-five unit with 4/4 stats and +4/+4 buffs continues the trend of buffing Beasts outside of combat sooner than expected. While the ceiling of Beast scaling is lower now (compared to Mama Bear +5/+5 in stats in the past), Beasts can hit their slightly lower ceiling much faster.
This means that pivoting in the late game to different strategies has been severely weakened in this patch. Committing and building your boards to be stronger is recommended. With all of the cards that were reworked and included in recent patches, like Menagerie Cup, Mug, and Amalgadon, keeping your board varied in Menagerie-based strategies is also a viable option alongside hoarding just one minion type.