Hearthstone Battlegrounds, the new mode for the popular CCG, takes on the auto battler genre and games like DOTA Auto Chess and Teamfight Tactics.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds doesn’t follow the same formula as other games in the genre, though. It forgoes the chessboard-inspired playing field in favor of the original Hearthstone setup. There are no units on the board – just cards. Think of it as Hearthstone’s own unique twist on the auto battler basic mechanics.

The most glaring difference between Battlegrounds and, let’s say Teamfight Tactics, is that Battlegrounds has turn-based combat. Your minions attack in turns, from left to right. And since they always choose their target randomly, you are in for surprising results even if both sides use a similar deck.

It’s a variety you’re going to want since, at the moment, there are only four classes to choose from: Beasts, Demons, Mechs, and Murlocs. With only these four classes, there’s not a lot to play around with, so the random element in battles helps to add some excitement. Battlegrounds is currently in beta, so I’m hoping for more classes in the full release.

Hero selection helps spice things up a little more. You get three heroes to choose from, and just like in a regular game of Hearthstone, they each have their own perks and abilities. Some heroes even class-specific perks, so they might play differently each time you use them or fight against them. Some heroes can also make you skip the first two rounds, but then boost your level above that of everyone else in the fight.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds 8 players

Another twist Battlefield adds to the formula how it uses gold. You can buy every unit for three gold, but you can only merge three of the same type into an upgraded version.

However, unlike other auto battler games, there’s no point saving gold, as you currency resets at the beginning of each turn. Each turn you get a set amount of gold, until it slowly builds up to a cap of 10. With so little gold, it can be tricky to prioritize the right things. There are so many things you can do with your gold: playing and buying cards, refreshing card selections, hero abilities, and leveling up. It can get stressful.

Luckily, you can always try and recuperate some of your expenses by selling cards you no longer want or need. I suggest you start each turn by selling everything you don’t need and then spend that gold on whatever you can. Finishing a turn with any amount of gold in your bank is pure waste.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds gameplay

Hearthstone Battleground is the excuse you’ve been waiting for to reinstall Hearthstone. Matches are quick and mostly friendly, but still competitive enough to stretch that itch.

Blizzard’s entry into the auto battler is challenging and rewarding for both veteran players and new ones, and it’s already available to all in open beta.

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