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HearthstoneJun 8, 2020 4:30 pm CT

Pirates have invaded Hearthstone Battlegrounds, and new Pirate heroes are coming soon

Avast ye, scallywags! Hearthstone’s patch 17.4 releases tomorrow, bringing several new changes. Over the next few weeks, we will see a new event, the Felfire Festival, the release of a brand new single player adventure — and more.

But the biggest shake-up the game receives with this new influx of content is a Battlegrounds update, which include balance changes, the release of several new heroes, and a whole new tribe of minions!

New minion tribe: Pirate

When Dragons were added, Battlegrounds received some much-needed fresh air to breathe. But months have passed, and we’ve been impatiently waiting for the next tribe. Well, good news, everyone: it finally arrived!

This update brings seventeen new minions, with interesting effects unlike anything we’ve seen before in this game mode. That’s a lot, and you can check all of them at the official blog, but we would like to highlight some of our favorites:

  • Deck Swabbie: [Tier 1, Pirate] 2 Attack, 2 HealthBattlecry: Reduce the cost of upgrading Bob’s Tavern by (1).
    • Dang. This seems like an extremely powerful early-game minion. Reducing the cost of your Tavern upgrades early on can put you at a huge advantage. I feel like this minion is too powerful, from initial impressions. Time will tell.
  • Arcane Cannon: [Tier 2] 2 Attack, 2 Health. — Can’t attack. After an adjacent minion attacks, deal 2 damage to an enemy minion.
    • A minion that can’t attack, but deals damage as long as its neighbors attack, brings a very interesting new type of strategy to your composition. Keeping it protected for as long as possible, and getting those free “pings,” seems like a powerful early game strategy, potentially.
  • Monstrous Macaw: [Tier 2, Beast] 3 Attack, 2 Health — After this attacks, trigger a random friendly minion’s Deathrattle.
    • Another new minion that seems like it can be powerful under the right circumstances. Placing it before a good Deathrattle minion like Spawn of N’zoth can work as a mini-Rivendare early on.
  • Freedealing Gambler: [Tier 2, Pirate] 3 Attack, 3 Health. — This minion sells for 3 Gold.
    • This is an interesting effect, that makes the process of buying and selling minions a little less mindless. You could buy this Pirate as a “bank,” getting the full purchase price back later on, when something better is offered to you. Definitely a cool concept.

While the biggest Battlegrounds changes — and much of the rest of the patch’s content — will only come later on, the minions should go live tomorrow.

Three brand new heroes and one returning hero

Unlike the new minions, these new heroes will only be officially released on the 23rd — unless you have the Tavern Pass. Without further ado, let’s jump right at the interesting part: who the Pirate heroes are, what their hero powers are, and how good we think they’ll end up being!

  • Captain Eudora: Buried Treasure [Cost 1] — Dig for a Golden minion! (requires four uses, then it resets)
    • Honestly, this is the kind of hero power that I don’t like: it’s too RNG-reliant. It seems like it will be a bad hero power most of the time — most golden minions are not very powerful. Reno Jackson, whose hero power allows him to make any minion golden once a game, can attest to this: he is not among the strongest heroes out there. Most tier lists place him somewhere at the bottom.
    • What works in Eudora’s favor, however, is the fact that you can use this hero power four times, for increased chances of hitting a jackpot. If you get that golden Soul Juggler early on, and have enough demons at your disposal, you could end up with a game-winning build.
  • Skycap’n Kragg: Piggybank [Cost 0] — Gain 1 Gold this turn. Increases each turn. (Once per game.)

    • The longer you wait to use this hero power, the stronger it becomes. But once you use it and get your free gold, it’s gone for good. This seems like it will be a very interesting (and skill-testing) hero power: getting any amount of extra gold in the early game can put you ahead of the competition. Or you could save it for a huge turn with a ton of extra gold later on.
  • Captain Hooktusk: Trash for Treasure [Cost 0] — Remove a friendly minion. Discover one from a lower Tavern Tier.

    • This is another skill-testing hero power, from the look of it. You could use it to “fix” your build, for those times when you don’t have many good options and end up having to buy minions who are less than ideal. Sure, the new minion you get is from a lower tier — but at least this hero power costs zero, so you can constantly re-roll until you find something good, RNG-willing.
  • Patches the Pirate: Pirate Parrrrty! [Cost 4] — Get a Pirate. After you buy a Pirate, your next Hero Power costs (1) less.
    • Patches returns, completely different from his previous form, which had him hitting random minions with his cannons. His new hero power allows him to get a pirate (seemingly at random) that costs more than a regular minion — at first. Each time you use this power, its cost is reduced by one.
    • We have no way to test this yet, but it seems to means that, eventually, Patches can add a random Pirate to his hand for free every turn. At the very least, that’s one extra gold per turn if the pirate isn’t useful and gets sold. Seems like a solid hero power, with potential to be extremely useful depending on how powerful Pirates are as a whole.

Rotating tribes every game

This is, perhaps, the biggest change Battlegrounds has received since its inception — and the one with the biggest potential to have a positive effect in the long-term health of the game. Starting tomorrow, every game you play will only have five of the six available tribes (Beasts, Demons, Dragons, Mechs, Murlocs, Pirates). That information will be visible when you’re selecting your hero, as well as as during the game. In addition, heroes who rely heavily on a specific tribe — such as Jaraxxus, whose hero power buffs Demons — will not be offered if their tribe is not present in that game.

This is huge. A common complaint among people who play Battlegrounds a lot is that the games tend to feel a little too similar to one another after some time. The same strategies develop on nearly every game, and it can often boil down to who has RNG in their favor, being able to grab those same strong minions before everyone else.

Well, not anymore! Not every game will boil down to Murlocs anymore!

And speaking of game-deciding Murlocs…

Holy Mackerel has been removed!

Praise Yogg! The Wicked Witch is dead!

Seriously. Screw that guy. So many games of Battlegrounds over the past few weeks/months have been decided solely by which player was able to grab two Mackerels and give them Poisonous before everyone else. Good riddance!

And a few more changes beside…

And besides all of that — which is already a lot — there have also been a few other changes, such as the removal of Professor Putricide from the pool of heroes and a small adjustment to Rat King, who no longer always starts the game buffing Beasts: now, a random tribe will be decided from the very beginning.

All in all, this patch has managed to make me very excited about playing Battlegrounds again. Well done, Blizzard!

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