Hearthstone Battlegrounds is getting a Tavern Pass, but it's not a battle pass

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(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

It's been a big day for Hearthstone—a new year, a new expansion, and holy cow, the first-ever new class—but there are things happening in the world of Hearthstone Battlegrounds, too. The latest update tosses some Battlegrounds heroes out of the pool, invites a few others in, makes some balances updates, and adds a new Tavern Pass that provides access to a range of perks and bonus content.

The Tavern Pass goes for $20 or 2500 gold, and despite the name it is not a battle pass. Instead, purchasing it will get you 4 Arena Tickets (used to access Hearthstone Arena runs, they normally go for $2 or 150 gold), plus access to advanced stats, visual emotes, two more heroes to choose from at the start of a game, and early access to new Hearthstone Battlegrounds heroes when they become available.

Battlegrounds players can already acquire some perks, including a bonus stats screen and the ability to select from four heroes at the start of a match, by purchasing Descent of Dragons card packs. Anyone who's already unlocked perks will be given the equivalent new perk on March 26, but all perks earned by pack purchases (including the new ones) will expire when the next Hearthstone expansion, Ashes of Outland, goes live on April 7.

The update also removes Ragnaros, Sylvanas, and Patches from the hero pool, puts Sir Finley Mrrglton and Professor Putricide back into it, and adds a new hero, Fungalmancer Flurgl, whose "Gone Fishing" passive adds a random Murloc to Bob's Tavern every time you sell a Murloc.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

A handful of other cards have also been changed:

  • Spiteful Summoner: Mana cost reduced from 7 to 6.
  • Call of the Wild: Mana cost reduced from 9 to 8.
  • Lesser Emerald Spellstone: Mana cost reduced from 6 to 5.
  • Raza the Chained: Battlecry - If your deck has no duplicates, your Hero Power costs (0) this game (Previously cost 1)
  • Yogg-Saron, Hope's End: No longer stops casting when he leaves the board.
  • Sludge Slurper: Now 2 Attack / 1 Health (previously 1 Attack / 1 Health)

Further updates are planned for March 26, and the new ranked system will go live on April 1, and will hopefully not be a dumb joke. Full details are up at playhearthstone.com.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.