Hearthstone's latest Tavern Brawl introduces co-op gameplay

Hearthstone Unite Against Mechazod

Tavern Brawl, as Blizzard explained in June, is a Hearthstone game mode that changes rules each week, and those rules often have a pretty dramatic effect. The mode is largely played for funsies (and a free card pack each week), but also provides the perfect place for Blizzard to try out new ideas.

This week's event is especially unusual, because for the first time ever it will feature co-op play against a malevolent AI (and World of Warcraft construct) named Gearmaster Mechazod. "Unite Against Mechazod" will have pairs of players equipped with pre-made decks take turns against the AI. Each turn, Mechazod will switch from one side of the board to the other, and defeating him will require very careful play: If either player is defeated, both players lose.

"Gearmaster Mechazod is ready for you!" Blizzard wrote. "He’s got an arsenal of gnasty gnomish inventions and he’s going to use every tool at his greasy fingertips to wreck you and your partner."

Our resident wizard poker junkie, Tim Clark, actually got to try this brawl out with a bunch of pros at a semi-secret Blizzard event just over a month ago. He says: "It's a ton of fun, although what made it more enjoyable was being in the same room with the other player so you're able to discuss strategy and timings. The decks are packed with buff cards which help you juice up and protect each other's minions. Trying to communicate what you want to happen using just the 'I'm sorry' and 'hello' emotes might prove tricky, but this is definitely one of the best Tavern Brawls to date."

The good news is that if you do get defeated by the enormo-health robot, you'll still earn this week's gratis Tavern Brawl pack. The bad news, of course, is that you'll still be a loser. But the potentially best news of all is that this Tavern Brawl could signal the coming launch of a full-time co-op mode. Rumors of such a thing floated up on Reddit back in August, but Blizzard has thus far remained steadfastly mum on it. If the silence breaks, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, you'll get at least five days of co-op action against the mechanized menace, beginning—assuming the "usual Tavern Brawl time" cited by Blizzard holds true—tomorrow.

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.