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HearthstoneNov 25, 2020 4:00 pm CT

What are Hearthstone Tavern Brawls and why should you play them?

Hearthstone is a game with a dizzying amount of modes and options. You’ve got your standard match, played either as a Ranked Ladder match or as an unranked Casual match. In addition, there’s a bevy of single player Adventures. Battlegrounds and Arena are draft modes, while Duels combine aspects of Arena and your standard Ladder match.

Finally, you’ve got Brawls which are something altogether different.

What is a Brawl?

Each Brawl has its own unique set of rules to really turn the game we know on its head. Sometimes it’s restrictions on deck building. Other times, you’re dealing with a new mechanic. Many Brawls feature some level of randomness to further spice up the action and get players to think on their feet. Each one lasts only one week, with a new Brawl debuting at noon Eastern on Wednesday, so if you don’t like this week’s zaniness, there will be another to try soon. Popular Brawls — whether popular with the developers or players — will get recycled from time to time. Tavern Brawls are not unlocked until the player reaches level 20 with at least one class — including Demon Hunter class, which is level 20 after completing the prologue.

Most Brawls are standard Player versus Player, with the ultimate goal of to reducing your opponent’s life total down to zero before they do the same to you. However, over the years we’ve seen several Cooperative Brawls like the Return of Mechazod where you have to work with your ‘opponent’ to take down a minion.

Brawls provide a laboratory of sorts for the developers to try out new ideas, too. Over the history of Hearthstone, Brawl mechanics have gone on to be cards or even new keywords. We see this in the Madness at the Darkmoon Faire set. The Haunted Carousel Tavern Brawl became the mechanic for the Silas Darkmoon card.

Brawls are great for casual players

Brawls are the best content for new players, or casual players with a smaller card collection. Often, the deck is provided for you, rendering the size of your card collection irrelevant. There’s no cost to play Brawl — except for the rare Heroic Brawl — so you don’t need to use your precious gold to try your hand at it.

Brawls use a match maker rating (MMR). This rating is not visible anywhere to the player, but allows the game to match players against others of similar skill level and card collection size, making things fair and interesting for both casual players and more competitive players who want a chance to wind down after hitting another high on the Ladder.

Why should you play Brawls?

Each Brawl has a reward for your first win. The most common is a pack of five random cards with one guaranteed to be at least a Rare or better. Most of the time it’s a Classic pack but on occasion you’ll get a pack for an upcoming expansion. Classic packs are a great way to fill in your collection, and even if you have all the Classic cards, it’s good for Arcane Dust. Brawls have their own set of Achievements, and some even count toward the completion of daily and weekly quests.

Each week, Blizzard Watch will cover the Brawl like we did this past week. We’ll explain the mechanic, and give you some pointers on to win — even if the best strategy just boils down to keep queuing and hope for favorable RNG. When deck building is part of the Brawl, we’ll provide a helpful list of good decks to use.

Brawls can be a lot of fun, and can be a good way to farm up some experience. They can help you learn the interactions of cards you don’t have, and make you better at the other modes of the game. Even if you don’t play Hearthstone much, it’s good to check out each weeks’ Brawl to see if its something you might enjoy.

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