Hearthstone Battlegrounds early access is here, but not for everyone just yet

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Hearthstone Battlegrounds was announced at BlizzCon and will go into open beta on November 12, but it's in early access right now. If you attended BlizzCon in person, purchased a virtual ticket, pre-purchased a Descent of Dragons card bundle, or join Twitch and watch any stream under the Hearthstone category, you can enjoy the game's early access. 

Battlegrounds is a new, eight player auto-battling game mode for Hearthstone that's somewhat similar to DOTA Auto Chest or Teamfight Tactics. You aren't building a deck of cards, but an "ever-evolving board of Minions" according to the Hearthstone Battlegrounds official press release. You begin each match by choosing a hero who will stick with you for the entire game before heading off to Bob's Tavern to get some recruits. Members of your squad can be adjusted throughout the course of the game - feel free to buff, upgrade, or replace them as you see fit before setting up your board. 

Combat will send you into one-on-one battles against seven other players, with your Minions battling to the death. The Minions will take turns attacking, starting from the one furthest left and after each battle (if you aren't knocked out) you'll get a chance to return to the Tavern to make necessary adjustments before forging onward to determine who will be the best of eight.

Don't worry if this brief explanation doesn't help you, however, as the game includes a full tutorial. As mentioned earlier, you can get your hands on Hearthstone Battlegrounds a week ahead of the open beta if you attended BlizzCon physically or virtually, if you've pre-purchased one of two Descent of Dragons card bundles, or via Twitch. Log in or sign up to Twitch, link your Battle.net account in the settings menu, and ensure Twitch drops. Then simply watch a stream in the Hearthstone category and enjoy your early access. 

Get your gaming PC in order so you can be the best on the Battlegrounds with our guide to Black Friday gaming PC deals. 

Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.