Hearthstone announces "Battlegrounds", Blizzard's take on auto chess games

Hearthstone made a surprise announcement at BlizzCon: it's introducing another game mode. The last game mode, Tavern Brawl, was added in 2015, but the developers saw an opportunity in the autobattler genre. Hearthstone Battlegrounds will be Blizzard's adaptation on the Dota 2 mod Auto Chess, which skyrocketed to popularity early this year and has led to games like Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords.

For BlizzCon attendees, BlizzCon Virtual Ticket holders or those who pre-purchase the Descent of Dragons expansion, Battlegrounds will have an Early Access week starting on November 5th. Afterwards an Open Beta starts, where everyone can join in on the fun.



So how will this new game mode work? There are 24 different playable Heroes in Battlegrounds, that each have their own Hero Power. Players then recruit minions through coins they earn as the match progresses, empowering their lineup along the way. If you acquire three of the same minion, it is upgraded to a more powerful golden version.

You're playing against seven other players at the same time, though you only fight 1v1 during the combat rounds. Your lineup faces your opponent's, and minions attack in turn, starting with the left-most one. The targets are chosen at random, unless there is an enemy minion with Taunt in the way: it'll always be struck. At the end of the combat round, the player who has units left standing deals the remaining damage directly to the opponent.

Battlegrounds is free to play, but there is additional content for those who want to whip out their wallet. By acquiring packs from the latest expansion you can get access to much more content. At 10 packs,  detailed statistics of your endeavors in Battlegrounds will be visible. 20 packs provide you with three heroes at the start of the game, instead of two. Get 30 packs and a set of Battleground-exclusive emotes are added to your arsenal.

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