Blizzard just announced a surprise Hearthstone Battlegrounds Dragons update dropping later today with 18 new minions and seven new heroes - many of them Dragons, as you may have guessed.
Of the new minions, 12 are Dragons and a few others are draconic support cards, cementing Dragons as a full-fat tribe. Dragons have a lot of tribal synergy amongst themselves, and they'll also beef up the menagerie play style by adding a third buff target to Zoobot and Menagerie Magician. Here's the full list of new minions:
- Dragonspawn Lieutenant - Tier 1, 2/3 Dragon: Taunt
- Red Whelp - Tier 1, 1/2 Dragon: At the start of combat, deal one damage per friendly Dragon to one random enemy minion. (So if you had three Dragons total, you'd deal three damage to a random enemy minion.)
- Glyph Guardian - Tier 2, 2/4 Dragon: When this minion attacks, double its attack. (Note that this is when this minion attacks, not after it attacks.)
- Steward of Time - Tier 2, 2/4 Dragon: When you sell this minion, give all minions in Bob's Tavern +1/+1.
- Waxrider Togwaggle - Tier 2, 1/2: Whenever a friendly Dragon kills an enemy, gain +2/+2. (This includes enemy minions that attack into your Dragons and die.)
- Unstable Ghoul - Tier 2, 1/3: Taunt, Deathrattle: Deal one damage to all minions.
- Bronze Warden - Tier 3, 2/1 Dragon: Divine Shield, Reborn.
- Hangry Dragon - Tier 3, 4/4 Dragon: At the start of your turn, gain +2/+2 if you won the last combat.
- Drakonid Enforcer - Tier 4, 3/6 Dragon: After a friendly minion loses Divine Shield, gain +2/+2.
- Herald of Flame - Tier 4, 5/4 Dragon: Overkill: deal three damage to the leftmost enemy minion.
- Cobalt Scalebane - Tier 4, 5/5 Dragon: At the end of your turn, give another random friendly minion +3 attack.
- Murozond - Tier 5, 5/5 Dragon: Battlecry: Add a minion from your last opponent's board to your hand.
- Twilight Emissary - Tier 5, 6/8 Dragon: Taunt, Battlecry: Give a friendly Dragon +3/+3.
- Razorgore, the Untamed - Tier 5, 2/4 Dragon: At the end of your turn, gain +1/+1 for each Dragon you have.
- Holy Mackerel - Tier 6, 8/4 Murloc: After another friendly minion loses Divine Shield, gain Divine Shield.
- Imp Mama - Tier 6, 6/8 Demon: Whenever this minion takes damage, summon a random Demon and give it Taunt.
- Kalecgos, Arcane Aspect - Tier 6, 2/8 dragon: After you play a Battlecry minion, give your Dragons +1/+2.
- Nadina the Red - Tier 6, 7/4: Deathrattle: Give your Dragons Divine Shield.
You can view the full card gallery in Blizzard's blog post (opens in new tab). We played a few rounds of Battlegrounds using an early build of today's Dragons update, and while a few things have changed since our session, the dragon play style looks unchanged. In our experience, they feel a bit like Murlocs. They have a strong early game thanks to Red Whelp, a weak mid-game which is largely propped up by Waxrider Togwaggle (which will almost certainly be nerfed in the future, trust us), and some big bombs on five and six like Razorgore, the Untamed and Nadina the Red.
On top of adding new minions, today's update is also rebalancing and removing several others. Here's the full list of targets:
- Sneed's Old Shredder: moved from Tier 6 to Tier 5.
- Mama Bear: now a 5/5 that gives Beasts you summon +5/+5 (up from a 4/4 that gives +4/+4).
- Shielded Minibot: removed.
- Annoy-o-Tron: removed.
- Mounted Raptor: removed.
- Phalanx Commander: removed.
- Psych-o-Tron: removed.
- Tortollan Shellraiser: removed.
- Piloted Sky Golem: removed.
- Festeroot Hulk: removed.
- Boogeymonster: removed.
- Sated Threshadon: removed.
As you can see, an awful lot of Mechs are leaving the Battlegrounds. Blizzard says these card changes are meant to even out the distribution of minion tribes, as well as remove underperforming minions like Sated Threshadon and Mounted Raptor. I'm assuming the slight buff to Mama Bear is meant to offset the fact that Beasts, already a lower-ranking tribe, got nothing in this update.
Next up: new heroes. Most of these are also Dragons, but we've also got some major characters from the latest expansion, namely Galakrond and Reno Jackson. Here's the new hero lineup, complete with their hero powers.
- Galakrond - Galakrond's Greed (1 gold): Replace a minion in the Tavern with a random one from a higher tier.
- Deathwing - All Will Burn (passive): All minions have +3 attack.
- Ysera - Dream Portal (1 gold): Refresh the Tavern and add a dragon to it.
- Nozdormu - Clairvoyance (passive): Your first refresh each turn is free.
- Malygos - Arcane Alteration (0 gold): Replace a minion with a random one from the same tier.
- Alexstrazsa - Queen of Dragons (Passive): When you hit tier five, discover two Dragons.
- Reno Jackson - Gonna Be Rich (4 gold): make a friendly minion golden, but only once per game.
At first blush, Deathwing is surprisingly strong if you build for his hero power, Nozdormu delivers incredible value, and Alexstrasza is a lot like A.F.Kay in that she can sometimes high-roll and basically auto-win the game. Reno Jackson is also quite fun to play, as timing his one-shot hero power can totally swing games.
Lastly, a few balance changes and bug fixes. Professor Putricide has been removed from the hero pool to help make room for the newcomers, ahe starting cost of upgrading to tavern tier six has been reduced from 11 gold to 10 gold, and perhaps most importantly, the infamous Recruit button glitch which occasionally spoiled the outcome of fights has been fixed. Now get out there and force some Dragons.