Your first choice in a Hearthstone Battlegrounds game is your hero, and who you pick will have a big effect on how you play. Some Hero Powers push you toward collecting minions of a certain type, others work best when you diversify, and a few can be put to work supporting multiple strategies.
You're given two hero options to choose from at the start of a game, but if you're willing to splurge on a Descent of Dragons preorder, you can unlock a third hero option. Don’t worry about it too much though, as all heroes can win games.
This article was updated on January 16, 2020 to add in new heroes, remove those that were rotated out, and adjust the ordering. We'll continue to adjust this list as we get more data on each hero and Blizzard makes balance updates.
Tier A: You cannot possibly go wrong with these heroes
Hero Power (1): At the start of next combat, deal 1 damage to all enemy minions.
Nefarian is the ruler of the late game. His Hero Power deals one damage to all enemy minions, and all the most powerful late-game armies make heavy use of Divine Shields to protect their key minions. Nefarian lets you ignore all those shields, at least until your opponent's minions re-shield any of them. Because Nefarian’s Hero Power costs only one mana, it can easily be used in the mid-game as well for a small power boost while working your way towards the top.
Hero Power (1): Next combat, add a plain copy of the first minion you kill to your hand.
The supreme archaeologist’s Hero Power makes him an instant-pick as it gives you a minion for just 1 coin. Not only does this strengthen your early game, but it makes it easy to accumulate 3 of the same minion, granting you a powerful triple card.
Passive Hero Power: After you sell a minion, randomly give two minions in Bob's Tavern +1/+1.
Dancin’ Deryl gives a glimpse into the hectic reroll turns from other auto battlers: after you sell a minion, it gives random minions in Bob’s Tavern two +1/+1 buffs. What you want to do with Deryl is to buy a bunch of minions, set up a Tavern where you have only one or two minions left, and frantically sell everything from your hand to create giant behemoths. I just made a 22/24 Cave Hydra; how high can you go?
Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End
Hero Power (2): Hire a random minion in Bob's Tavern and give it +1/+1.
Yogg-Saron is the only Hero who can recruit a minion for two gold, and it even gives that minion a +1/+1 buff. The catch? It’s a random minion from the Tavern. So sorry you got that Wrath Weaver instead of the Junkbot. Yogg-Saron is called Hope’s End, after all.
Hero Power (1): Give a minion +1/+1 for each minion you’ve bought this turn.
Use Edwin VanCleef’s Hero Power as early as possible while you build a sturdy board. Then by late game you'll have the potential to be hitting as high as +4/+4 on a minion each turn. Having a consistent buff on a minion every round should see your minions surviving late rounds.
Tier B: Not too shabby
Hero Power (1): Your next Battlecry this turn triggers twice.
Shudderwock specializes in staying on Tavern Tier two and creating gigantic Pogo-Hoppers. Double battlecries also open up the potential for very chunky minions in the late-game and building a wide board is now more viable when choosing cards that summon additional minions.
A. F. Kay
Passive Hero Power: Skip your first two turns. Start with two minions from Tavern Tier 3.
If you forgot to brew a cup of coffee before the game, A. F. Kay is the Hero for you. You literally cannot do anything for the first two turns. However, on turn three you get a pair of free Discover spells that give you a tier three and tier four minion. Most of the time you can choose some powerful minions that will guide your strategy for the remainder of the game. Then, you can start to rush up the Tavern Tiers while your powerful minions flatten the opposition for the next couple of turns.
Hero Power (1): Refresh Bob's Tavern. Include a minion from a higher Tavern Tier.
Toki's Hero Power refreshes the Tavern and adds an additional minion from the next Tavern Tier. You should be using this every turn, but it is especially powerful in the late game, where you have guaranteed access to tier 6 minions. You can still get offered Sneed’s Old Shredder instead of that Mama Bear, but chance is always going to hurt you sometimes.
Passive Hero Power: At the end of your turn, Frozen minions get +1/+1.
The key to playing Sindragosa is to keep your Tavern frozen for the first few turns. I don’t know why minions grow stronger when you put them on ice, but it does the trick for a powerful early game when you pick them up from the freezer on turns three and four.
Passive Hero Power: Start the game with a 1/1 Amalgam that has all minion types.
The Curator is easy to play and deceptively powerful. It starts with a 1/1 Amalgam. That’s it. That’s all that its Hero Power does. No big deal, huh? In practice, this means that its early board advantage often wins the early turns, and because the Amalgam has all minion types, it can be buffed by pretty much everything, and at the end of the game it can be a 40/40 minion with Taunt, Divine Shield, and Poisonous. It just kills people.
The Great Akazamzarak
Hero Power (2): Discover a Secret. Put it into the battlefield.
Akazamzarak can protect your minions and even your life with Secrets. Yes, Ice Block is back! Unused Secrets remain in play, so an early Ice Block can ensure an additional turn later in the game, and in the meanwhile, you can seek out various tricks to gain the upper hand in battles.
The Rat King
Passive Hero Power: Whenever you buy a Beast/Mech/Murloc/Demon, give it +1/+1. Swaps type each turn.
When The Rat King decides to give you buffs for the minion types you see in Bob’s Tavern, it is awesome. When you refresh the Tavern several times and still find nothing that works with your Hero Power, it feels slightly worse. The most powerful minion buffs in the game come with some uncertainty attached.
Tier C: These heroes work at least some of the time
Passive Hero Power: Reduce the Cost of Tavern Tiers by (1).
As Bartendotron, you want to get to where the good stuff is, and quickly. Climbing up the Tavern Tiers just a turn ahead of the competition means that you get to call dibs on the best minions, or at least the opportunity to roll for the best minions first.
Hero Power (0): Remove a friendly minion to give adjacent minions +1/+1.
Sylvanas’ Hero Power is free, although you’ll only want to use it when you plan on removing a minion from the board anyway. As a late arrival to the Battlegrounds party, it’s unfortunate she doesn’t offer as much value as some of the other heroes.
Hero Power (0): Take 2 damage and add a Gold Coin to your hand.
Baz’hial can make gold out of thin air! Unfortunately, most Baz’hial players accidentally kill themselves while doing so. Free gold can win games, though. No risk, no reward.
The Lich King
Hero Power (1): At the start of next combat, give your right-most minion Reborn.
Become the Jailor of the Damned. Give a growing threat or a key Deathrattle minion Reborn. Watch as the opponent tries to kill it, just for it to come back again. Profit.
Note that buffed minions aren't going to come back in their buffed state: they'll be reborn as if a new version of that minion were played. You can't just get two 50/50 Poisonous Amalgams from the deal, so focus on minions that'll make your opponent's life difficult at their base stats.
Passive Hero Power: When you upgrade Bob’s Tavern get a ‘Recruitment Map’
Elise’s Recruitment Map is a three-gold card that discovers a minion from the Tavern Tier you just upgraded to. On higher Tavern Tiers, it is more than ten times better at finding key minions than refreshing your Tavern. Elise just knows how to lure minions.
Hero Power (1): Give a random friendly Mech, Demon, Murloc and Beast +2 Attack.
Her hero power changes are notably positive, having shifted from giving a minion +1 health to +2 attack. This more aggressive approach makes early minions feel more competitive before upgrading to the next tier. Cards like Rat Pack spring to mind for early value before fully fleshing out your Menagerie composition later on.
Passive Hero Power: Start with 50 Health instead of 40.
Patchwerk might not be the smartest hero around, but it is big and bulky. It starts with 60 Health, whereas other heroes have 40 Health. This means that Patchwerk can go for greedy strategies that would be risky for less robust heroes: upgrading Tavern Tiers faster than others or investing in Demons that deal damage to your hero and grow in power while doing so.
Tier D: You know, you can win games without the Hero Power too
Ragnaros the Firelord
Hero Power (2): At the start of next combat, deal 8 damage to two random enemy minions.
By fire be purged! Ragnaros is actually pretty good when his aim is true and he snipes key minions from the opponent. Bye bye, Mama Bear and Junkbot! It’s just too bad that his aim is all over the place.
George the Fallen
Hero Power (4): Give a friendly minion Divine Shield.
George can protect your key minions with Divine Shield, and each Divine Shield he casts is permanent, so you can spread them over your entire army over time. At four gold each, that is over a very, very long time.
Patches the Pirate
Hero Power (1): At the start of next combat, deal 4 damage to two random enemy minions.
Patches has been reintroduced into the Battlegrounds hero pool after his lukewarm reception and poor performance last year. His return marks a buff to his hero power, which now deals 4 damage, up from 3.
Unfortunately, Patches hasn’t returned with the swashbuckling entrance Battlegrounds players have been hoping for. His additional damage marginally strengthens his early game presence, but he still struggles to keep up in the mid and late portions of the game.
Hero Power (1): Give a random friendly minion +3 Health.
You don’t have to be mad to pick Pyramad, you just have to be tired of winning easily. To be fair, the Health buff can win some mid-game turns, but it becomes less powerful as the game goes on and other players' boards are sporting ultra-buffed minions, too.
Sir Finley Mrrgglton
Hero Power (1): Give a random friendly minion +1/+1. After you sell a minion, refresh this.
Sir Finley has the dubious honor of being the weakest explorer. It is difficult to refresh the Hero Power early in the game, when it would be at its strongest, and later on it is often just easier to cycle through multiple Battlecry minions.
Hero Power (2): Give your Demons +1/+1.
As an Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion, it is your job to make other players respect Demons again. It works fine, when you are able to find a good horde of Demons early in the game and keep buffing them up. If your army consists of some stray cats and a Murloc, you’re in for a rough time.
Passive Hero Power: Mechs in Bob's Tavern have +1 Attack.
Millificent Manastorm grants all Mechs in Bob’s Tavern a +1/+1 buff. Because there are plenty of Mechs available and they are one of the easiest minion types to build an army with—almost all of their good stuff comes in at Tavern tiers three and four—Millificent can usually just steamroll into a top-4 finish.
Cobalt Guardians, Junkbots, Security Rovers, and Magnetic Mech buffs form the core of Millificent’s army. Mechs are not the most powerful late-game army, but they can dominate the mid-game so hard that they just win before anyone can build a stronger late-game composition.
Out of rotation heroes
These heroes are not currently in play, but may return at some point.
Passive Hero Power: After you play a Battlecry minion, give a random friendly minion +1/+1.
There is a new king in town! Well, he is the brother of a king at least. Brann is a steamroller from start to finish, because early Battlecry minions can get the buff from the Hero Power on themselves, and late in the game every buff minion is even more effective than usual with Brann.
Trade Prince Gallywix
Hero Power (1): Add a Gold Coin to your hand.
The ability to save gold for future turns can mean early Tavern Tier upgrades or additional refreshes. It can be difficult to find the right time to save though.
Hero Power (1): At the start of next combat, give your left-most minion +10 Attack.
Putricide had a great plan: Make the first hit a big one and smash through the opponent’s defenses! Unfortunately, he forgot that Divine Shields are really popular in Battlegrounds, and that makes him the worst hero in the game.
Passive Hero Power: Whenever you buy a Beast, add a Banana to your hand.
King Mukla receives a zero-cost Banana that gives a minion +1/+1 every time you buy a Beast. These Bananas can then be used immediately, or they can be saved for later to buff up key minions, such as Scavenging Hyena or Cave Hydra. Beasts are harder to make work than Mechs, but if you can make it all the way to tier 6 and Mama Bear, they are great in the late game.
Hero Power (1): At the start of next combat, give your minions "Deathrattle: Summon a 1/1 Murloc."
Many 1/1 tokens are useful in the game, for example as fodder to make Junkbot or Scavenging Hyena grow. Unfortunately, Murlocs cannot make anything grow, and as such they are the least useful minion type to have as tokens.