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Hearthstone Battlegrounds swapping four new heroes in as part of a re-balance

(Image credit: Blizzard)
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Blizzard's autobattler Hearthstone Battlegrounds (opens in new tab) now has a quartet of new heroes for players to choose from, each with their own unique hero power, courtesy of a new update (opens in new tab) that went live today. The patch also makes a handful of balance changes and bug fixes, adjusts the points allocations for wins, and provides a preview of more changes planned for next month.

First things first, the new arrivals, and what they bring to the brawl:

  • Sindragosa – Stay Frosty: At the end of your turn, Frozen minions get +1/+1.

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Elise Starseeker – Lead Explorer: When you upgrade Bob’s Tavern get a Recruitment Map.

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Brann Bronzebeard – Battle Brand: When you play a Battlecry minion, give a random friendly minion +1/+1.

(Image credit: Blizzard)
  • Sir Finley Mrrgglton – Power Up!: Give a random friendly minion +1/+1. After you sell a minion, refresh this.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Alas, there's only so much room at the table, and to make space for this new group Blizzard has bid farewell to King Mukla, Giantfin, Millificent Manastorm, and Lich Baz'hial—although Blizzard said that they might make a return at some point in the future. Interestingly, the heroes being cut are two of the best and two of the worst according to current performance, so Blizzard is clearly looking to create a move level playing field.

The ranking system (ie your MMR) has been adjusted so that a first-place finish in your first game will now earn 190 ranking points, rather than 240 as it was previously, while first-place finishes in your 150th game or later will be worth 95 points instead of 24. A handful of minions have also been tweaked:

  • Primalfin Lookout: Moved from Tavern Tier 5 to Tavern Tier 4
  • Voidlord: Moved from Tavern Tier 6 to Tavern Tier 5
  • Junkbot: Moved from Tavern Tier 4 to Tavern Tier 5
  • Coldlight Seer: Moved from Tavern Tier 3 to Tavern Tier 2

"We wanted to buff both Demons and Murlocs, so we moved those minions down a Tavern Tier. Junkbot was a bit too strong for Tavern Tier 4 and often made it so mech players never had a good reason to upgrade to Tavern Tier 5," Blizzard explained. "With these changes, we think the minion types are closer together in power level."

Four seems to be a theme with this update: Four new heroes in, four old heroes out, four minions changed, and four bugs fixed.

  • Infested Wolf: The Triple version of Infested Wolf has been moved from Tavern Tier 2 to Tavern Tier 3, consistent with its base form.
  • Rat Pack: The Triple version of Rat Pack has been moved from Tavern Tier 3 to Tavern Tier 2, consistent with its base form.
  • Plant tokens spawned from Adapt effects are now Tavern Tier 1.
  • Snake tokens spawned from Snake Trap are now Tavern Tier 1.

The next update, planned for early December, will continue to make balance changes to heroes and minions based on their performance, and will see further hero rotations, including some "recognizable faces" that Blizzard hopes to bring into the game next month. Two new minions are in the works, King Bagurgle and Floating Watcher, and the first iteration of player stats will hopefully be deployed in December too.

Speaking of updates, the next Hearthstone expansion, Descent of Dragons (opens in new tab)—which actually gave us the new Battlegrounds mode—will add 135 new cards to the game on December 10. Here's our ongoing list of every new card we've seen so far (opens in new tab)

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.