John McIntyre, Hearthstone Battlegrounds Lead Designer, posted a thread on Twitter asking players to send in their questions for a Q&A session with the Battlegrounds team. Of course, we couldn't not talk about this and provide you with a recap - Twitter isn't great at keeping things sane and easy to find anyway. Below you will find all the answers we felt worth highlighting, and then a full transcript of the Q&A if you want to see everything with full context.

Q&A Participants

There were a few different folks who came out to play during the Q&A. Here's who they are and what they do on the team, so go give them a follow and send them your, constructive, Battlegrounds feedback.

Yes, not everyone is strictly on Battlegrounds, but they had good stuff to say!


  • It is possible we could see a seasonal rotation of Battlegrounds heroes.
  • There might be a "Wild" version of Battlegrounds, that would have all the heroes in it should they do rotations.
  • They are not yet ready to talk about seasonal Battlegrounds rewards.
  • Although it is not being worked on right now, they'd like to better communicate and celebrate player skill through something more than just your displayed number.
  • Accessibility is still something they are considering in their daily conversations.
    • They know they are not yet delivering on it.
    • APM-heavy designs isn't something they want to become more prevalent, but we'll likely always have some.
    • Early versions of Spellcraft required more APM and thus less accessible, so they do have some wins.
    • They would rather see APM-heavy design come from hero choice, to let players opt-out of it instead of from minions.
  • They are currently working on a squelch feature for Battlegrounds.


  • They start working on major Battlegrounds content updates around a year before we see them.
    • There are many different people that need to be involved - design, art, vfx, sound, and they all influence off each other.
    • Later on, they will rebalance these major patches closer to their release when they understand the current meta.
  • The ".6" balance patches are worked on closer to their release because they are intended to keep the meta fresh.
  • Balance hotfixes are usually created a few days or a week before they are released.


  • They have been working on new achievements.
    • "They aren't as spicy or directional as the 60/60 Tabbycat".


  • No minions will ever be 100% safe from rotating out of the pool.
  • Some designs are quite safe though, such as Baron Rivendare who makes many comps viable.
    • Leapfrogger gets a strong interaction which in turn lets Deathrattle Beasts flourish.
    • Exodia Pirates, Omega Buster Mechs and even Zapp becomes weaker without Baron in the game.
    • "It is nice that Baron connects all these strategies so that when you buy a Baron, many paths open to you."
    • "That makes Baron an important minion. We can't remove it without lots of other design changes, unlike removing a card like Uther"
  • If they do remove an important minion from the game though, it can be a positive because it lets them explore new designs.
  • Soul Devourer worked with Brann Bronzebeard in that it would double the stats given.
    • Internally they had to agree to not use it anymore until it was fixed because minion stats were so high.
  • There was a Tier 6 Naga at one point with "Spellcraft: Make a minion Golden until next turn."
    • It ended up not making the cut because it was too scary with permanency effects.
  • Famished Felbat returns the consumed minion to the pool.
    • A good rule of thumb is: If the minion is totally gone, it went back to the pool.
  • They liked Budding Greenthumb and we might see it return one day.
  • They remain curious about what other types of Poisonous designs could exist in Battlegrounds.
  • Silverback Patriarch was added for fun. They don't think he'll be around for long.
  • They are not happy with any redesigns yet for Stormscale Siren.
  • "We knew Evolving Chromawing and Kooky Chemist were a powerful combination, but it was difficult to assess how consistent that strategy would be on live. We decided to risk launching it, and when we realized it was over the line we made a change."
  • They want enough Tier 1 minions to give players variety, but not too many making it difficult to find higher tier minions in the pool.
  • Currently, there are 15 copies of each Tier 1 minion in the pool. This was decreased after they added a 3rd minion to a few of the tribes.


  • They will continue updating heroes.
  • Guff's Hero Power used to let him tie his next combat. It had a limited number of uses.
    • The gameplay ended up just being power-leveling Guff and they found it wasn't a very dynamic way to encourage it.
  • It is unlikely they would change the Hero Pool because removing heroes from play when players buy skins can feel bad.
  • Having so many heroes also keeps games diverse.
  • They would rather update weaker or less fun heroes, while keeping the spirit of that hero, instead of removing them.


  • We will likely see Buddies back in Battlegrounds.
  • When they return, they'll probably only be available for a short period of time, 4-8 weeks.

Strikes ("Finishers")

  • They had not intended for "Finishers" to get a laugh from the community.
    • "If it were just childish goofs, that might be fine, but some people (especially women) felt strongly that it would lead to harassment, so it had to change."
    • This is why they are now called "Strikes".

Full Battlegrounds Q&A

Quote From Blizzard

AMA. The Battlegrounds team will respond to questions in this thread tomorrow, the 30th, from 4:30-5:30 PT. Get your questions in now!

@JohnEvMcIntyre Which Battlegrounds designer would win in an all-out free-for-all fist-fight?

@MyntyPhresh @JohnEvMcIntyre Dom seems scrappy. (Source)

@Songbird_HS @JohnEvMcIntyre But John's got that signature McIntyre Uppercut

@MyntyPhresh @JohnEvMcIntyre He was also raised in the wilderness of northern California where there are a shocking amount of scary critters. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Which bartender is the most likely to have killed Sire Denathrius (Source)

@GallonHS The one you least expect. If I say their name you'll expect it, making them not the killer. It's a paradox.

@JohnEvMcIntyre @GallonHS John did it

@MyntyPhresh @JohnEvMcIntyre Yeah I feel like this is something a murderer would say (Source)

@GallonHS @MyntyPhresh @JohnEvMcIntyre Very suspicious imo (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre How did the team feel when people started laughing at the term "finishers"? Also will we ever get Tirion back as a hero?

@adam_noodelman @JohnEvMcIntyre It obviously wasn’t what we wanted, I’ll tell you that much. It’s expensive to change the name on something like that. If it were just childish goofs, that might be fine, but some people (especially women) felt strongly that it would lead to harassment, so it had to change. (Source)

@adam_noodelman @JohnEvMcIntyre “Strikes” are more accurate anyway, since they don’t only play when you “finish” your opponent, so that was a double win. (Source)

@hsdecktech @JohnEvMcIntyre What makes it so expensive to make that kind of change?

@adam_noodelman @JohnEvMcIntyre I don’t know all the details of the business-side, but I can take a stab: some is the cost of the brainstorming the new name, some is the cost of redoing any assets using the name, and some is lost value of getting people used to one name and then making that name disappear. (Source)

@adam_noodelman @JohnEvMcIntyre I assume there’s also costs for like you pay to run an ad that says one name for a while and then you have to swap it with a different version of that ad, and you probably eat some cost from that. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre what is the most divisive non-hearthstone topic that the bgs team has ever discussed? what were the two sides?

@RidiculousHat Silverback Patriarch. Not a Hearthstone topic because Silverback is life. @LoewenMitchell and I are on the correct side. @Songbird_HS and @GallonHS are on the wrong side.

@JohnEvMcIntyre @RidiculousHat @LoewenMitchell @GallonHS I dare you to try to win an argument against @GallonHS. It simply can't be done. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre @RidiculousHat @LoewenMitchell @Songbird_HS L+silverback patriarch fell off+ gnomeregan infantry+ratio (Source)

@RidiculousHat @JohnEvMcIntyre (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Favorite boba???

@pkmn661 Haven't had any since we left office over two years ago :'( but I will have to get some when we go back. I like Thai Bubble Tea. (Source)

@pkmn661 @JohnEvMcIntyre My go-to is Mango Green Tea QQ (Source)

Thank you for all the questions, we tried to get to as many as possible. I love chatting about Battlegrounds! If you thought this was valuable let us know and maybe we will do this another time? (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre do you think there are any minions that are safe from rotation forever? or perhaps will we see a day when we have to figure out a macaw comp without baron?

@keefkowfoot Nothing is safe but some designs are safer than others. I sometimes think of the game as a web with intersections being minions and strands between them being the interactions between minions. Leapfrogger shares a strong strand with Baron, making it viable. (1/6) (Source)

@keefkowfoot Leapfrogger being strong makes other Deathrattle Beasts viable such as Rat Pack or Sewer Rat. Remove Baron from the game and a lot of Beasts become indirectly weaker. (2/6) (Source)

@keefkowfoot We could replace Baron with another card like "Your Deathrattle minions have +10/+10 and Taunt." and that might keep Beasts healthy, but what about the other strands Baron has? Exodia Pirates, Omega Buster Mechs and even Zapp becomes weaker. (3/6) (Source)

@keefkowfoot We could find Pirate and Mech designs that keep those other comps viable but it is nice that Baron connects all these strategies so that when you buy a Baron, many paths open to you. This creates options which leads to decisions which leads to gameplay. (4/6) (Source)

@keefkowfoot That makes Baron an important minion. We can't remove it without lots of other design changes, unlike removing a card like Uther. That doesn't mean we'd never remove him. If we did, it opens up room for new comps making the game feel different, which is healthy. (5/6) (Source)

@keefkowfoot We just need new designs in place with enough strands connecting cards together and keeping the web solid. Thanks for the question! (6/6) (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Which are some of the funniest meme ideas you played with that almost made it into the game? Which idea made it further into the process then the team would have expected.

@MinderRoots Soul Devourer used to work with Brann allowing you to double stats by playing Soul Devourers on Soul Devourers. It was the highest stats I've ever seen. After one game we had to all agree not abuse it with Brann. (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre Silverback Patriarch…wait (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Will more existing heroes see large reworks like pyramad’s or guff’s that, while not changing their core concept, make their playstyle align more with what competitive strategies want? I think Vanndar, Drek’thar, and Tavish could use sizable touch-ups to make up for no buddies.

@SewerMan20 We want to continue updating heroes. People providing feedback on what heroes they would like to see changes to is very useful. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre What are some of the most mechanically crazy ideas that were suggested for units, heroes, or other, that were deemed too crazy or inconvenient to implement into the game? There's always a couple of these, and they're fun to hear about.

@carryberto Guff once had a pacifist limited use hero power that allowed him to tie his next combat. While it reads exciting, the gameplay was just power leveling and we felt there were enough designs that encouraged power leveling in more dynamic ways. (Source)

@carryberto @JohnEvMcIntyre We had a Tier 6 Naga with "Spellcraft: Make a minion Golden until next turn." It proved too scary with permanency effects. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Will buddys ever come back for an extrnded period od time (not just a special event)

@JohnHEXA1 It's likely they'll make a return one day but probably only for 4-8 weeks to keep the meta fresh. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Stealth when?

@nivstein We'll probably just sneak it in. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre I LOVE this most recent patch and the direction the team is taking!!! Props for -Fixing lag -Buffing heroes -Bringing back prizes Questions: Is the idea of "removing heroes" from time to time still a consideration or are we mainly gonna focus on buffing the unplayable ones?

@Ranlit_HS (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Is there any chance for a full set overhaul in the future akin to tft sets?

@derajn We are more likely to make changes in piecemeal such as with the United in Stormwind update that introduced the Avenge keyword. We like when updates put the game in a state where players have some cards/strategies they are familiar with but also new ones to try out (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Did the team considered adjusting the size of the hero pool. We mostly have gotten addition in recent times. Many players I talked to liked the idea of removing many of the more "boring" heros in order to allow the more interesting ones to shine more.

@MinderRoots (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Have you considered how many heroes are to many to have? Variety is great, but going 30+ games without being offered certain favorites can be sad. If we reach a critical mass, would there be a chance for seasons to have limited/rotating hero pools?

@bofur_hs We discuss this a lot. We've sold hero skins to our players and I think it is important to respect the money they have invested in the game. For some players, removing/rotating a hero that they bought a skin for feels bad. (1/4) (Source)

@bofur_hs Right now there is a lot of variety in heroes shown, while that means you are unlikely to find a specific hero, it also means that you aren't facing the same heroes as often. This keeps lobbies more diverse. (2/4) (Source)

@bofur_hs Rather than removing weaker or less fun heroes, I want us to be making redesigns to existing heroes, while still keeping the spirit of that hero. Pyramad is a good example of this. (3/4) (Source)

@bofur_hs We have discussed ideas around a "Wild" Battlegrounds mode where these heroes can exist but there are no plans to work on it right now. A seasonal rotation of heroes, as you mentioned, is something I'd like to think more about. (4/4) (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Why is the BGs team so cool? :O

@Mathamagicia We have great partners across the HS team. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre I love the playing for the Battleground achievements and always work to earn the 1st place with new Hero. Any thought to adding new unique Acheivemnts like the 60/60 Tabbycat? What can you tell us about upcoming BG season rewards? Thanks!

@ben_heathstone We have been working on some new achievements but they aren't as spicy or directional as the 60/60 Tabbycat. We're not ready to talk about BG season rewards yet. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Could the team explain how the usual BG Patch circle looks like from within the Team? Is the content in the patches prepared way in advance or is it rather finished shortly before release?

@JohnEvMcIntyre Are the plans for adding ranks like Bronz/Silver/Legend to BGs in addition to the current external MMR number.

@MinderRoots I'd love to better communicate and celebrate player skill through something beyond just a number. While it is on my wish list, it is not something we are working on. (Source)

@MinderRoots We work very far in advance on our major updates. There are a lot of dependencies. Design influences card art, which influences vfx, which influences sound, ect. To have a polished experience, we start our major content updates just under a year ahead. 1/2 (Source)

@MinderRoots We revisit these patches later for balance playtesting, when we know the meta better. Our .6 shakeup patches are intended to keep the meta fresh so they are worked on closer to launch than our major releases. Balance hotfix patches are usually made a few days, up to a week before (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre Content begins prep far in advance which helps us in QA begin test design surrounding the design reqs. QA begins testing after design and implementation but begins prep for the testing before that, testing and debugging can continue right up to the release candidate for a patch. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre When will you add more puffin and puffin-related cards?

@puffinplays When we have a design worthy of the majesty that is puffin. (Source)

@puffinplays @JohnEvMcIntyre As soon as you come back to us (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Can you each make a tier list?

@pocky_plays @JohnEvMcIntyre Tiers are unordered. Pescatarian so burgers/wings are auto-F tier. (Source)

@pocky_plays @JohnEvMcIntyre (Source)

@pocky_plays @JohnEvMcIntyre Probably something like this? My list is weird because 1) Canadian, and 2) I haven't been able to have dairy in a looong time so I'm going off of memory for a few of these. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre How does the normal debugging process look like? From our perspective a bug is reported and then gets addressed in one of the coming patches. How does this process look like for the people actually fixing them? What kind of bugs/balance issues do justify a hotfix?

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre When it comes to justifying a hotfix, it often depends if one was already planned. We know there will sometimes be bugs, and preemptively schedule hotfixes so that we're ready… (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre But if a new bug is found right as a hotfix is going out, it's harder to restart the whole process with a new one, so it will typically get punted to the next one… (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre There's also a difference between server and client patches. We don't want to force everyone to download an update for every single patch if certain bugs can just be fixed on the server side. So when a client bug comes up, it can take longer until the next client hotfix. (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre Pt. 2 - Next our engineers begin trying to fix it. Depending on the priority of the fix it will get merged into an upcoming patch. For live issues (aka escapes) we follow a similar process except the reports are sent both internally and externally. (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre Typically we'll find a bug during test execution or playtesting. This will get reported to the QA team through various avenues such as email, slack, or a scream from the other side of the office. Once we have the bug we try to reproduce it, either way it will get logged in Jira. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre To what degree is accessability a consideration when it comes to design? Like: Lots of people love apm mechanics, but not everyone is physically capable to execute them. Do you try to limit those mechanics/find a good balance or is that not a topic at all?

@nijakaie @JohnEvMcIntyre Accessibility is important to us and we know we are not delivering on it yet as well as we should be. It is still a consideration in our daily conversations… (Source)

@nijakaie @JohnEvMcIntyre There are some designs that never see the light of day because we don't want APM to become more prevalent, and we do try to limit it in the designs that do. E.g. some early versions of Spellcraft were significantly less accessible. (Source)

@nijakaie @JohnEvMcIntyre When it comes to infinite APM mechanics, we would eventually like it to be more of an "opt-in" experience, like at hero select, rather than being a common primary strategy (e.g. you triple into Hoggarr and feel forced into the APM comp)… (Source)

@nijakaie @JohnEvMcIntyre Since some people love APM, as you said, we don't want to fully remove it. In any case, we don't have concrete plans for that yet. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre To this day I don’t know if Famished Felbat removes minions from the pool. I can’t figure out how to check either! Does it? How can we determine things like this on our own?

@dokas @JohnEvMcIntyre Famished Felbat returns the consumed minion to the pool. A good rule of thumb is: If the minion is totally gone, it went back to the pool. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Which are the aspects about the BG gameplay experience each team member enjoys the most? Is anybody within the BG especially know for being a huge fan of a specific combination of cards/Comp?

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre My (personal) favorite part of the BG gameplay experience is coming up with new interactions. When you see a new card and mentally run through every existing card to come up with 100 new synergies, that's super exciting to me. Master Nguyen and Tentacle of C'Thun are 2 favorites (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre I really like being adaptive when playing BGs, and trying to change your strategy based on what you're offered and what your opponents are doing. Comp wise I love menagerie, but I have a soft spot for Naga since it's the first minion type I helped design. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Why is Pogo a no-go?

@MarkMcKz @JohnEvMcIntyre Pogo has very high potential on Jandice and pretty low potential otherwise. In cases like that, it's difficult to maintain a balance where it is exciting/playable in more than 5% of games but not overpowered in those 5% of games. However, we might be exploring similar designs (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Which are changes/bug fixes that seem really easy for us players to implement but turned out to incredible complex for the team internally?

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre There are lots of reasons why a bug might end up being more complex than expected. Sometimes there are so many tricky interactions to test that even after we have believe a bug has been fixed, QA tests it and finds that the "fix" caused a different issue… (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre and we're set back a day or more. (This was the case with the old Whelp Smuggler bug.) Other times, addressing a bug means changing some core rules to the game, so we have to be more thorough about getting that right without disrupting other parts of the game… (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre (This was the case when the trigger order of Freezing Trap and Explosive Trap was accidentally changed: It was a result of a core trigger rule that was changed for Baby Krush.) Other times, there are limitations that we don't typically have to account for… (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre (This was the case with the original Leapfrogger crashes: Doubling Deathrattles can grow numbers very quickly. Large numbers are ok. Large numbers of entities are not. So we had to re-implement it in a clever way.) (Source)

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre Sometimes a bug will occur in live, we'll have footage of the bug and we still can't reproduce it internally doing exactly what happened in the video, so we'll have to rely on server logs, telemetry, etc. to get a repro. These ones can be as frustrating for us in QA as players! (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre I don’t like seeing opponent’s emote even in BGs. 🙃 Any chance to add an option to not seeing opponent’s emote? 🤐

@ben_heathstone @JohnEvMcIntyre We are currently working on a squelch feature for Battlegrounds! (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Ok I will make my question MEGA short. Are you hiring?

@Rosazusa @JohnEvMcIntyre Yup! Check these out: (Source)

@LoewenMitchell @JohnEvMcIntyre Sry for making the question too short lol. I mean are the BGs team hiring? Seems there is no posted position for BGs. Thanks!

@Rosazusa @JohnEvMcIntyre There might not be any right now, but any open BG positions will be listed there (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre When is Diablo coming back? 👹👹👹

@ZeddyHS @JohnEvMcIntyre When you least expect it (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre When did Kurtis first find his love for interior decorating?

@ben_heathstone @JohnEvMcIntyre @themattlondon ? (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Can I ask the team how good they are at the game? I’m always curious to know if the devs for games are masters of it, or if they also struggle with the MMR climb. 😂

@KaysaCat @JohnEvMcIntyre Our team has players both with very high MMRs and lower MMRs. Both types of players give valuable perspectives on how the game feels, but when making balance decisions we take extra consideration of our higher MMR designers. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre I would be curious to know what the thought process was behind removing Greenthumb. I always thought of it as the ultimate BG card. Scales and rewards building around it while not being oppressive and fun. It was also a nice comeback card.

@HsZorgo @JohnEvMcIntyre We also like Greenthumb, but it feels like the kind of design that can come and go. It might come back one day (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre I personally really liked Toxfin as a card. Could the team talk a bit about why Toxfin was removed and Sefin was added (and stuck around) from a design point of view?

@MinderRoots @JohnEvMcIntyre We feel like they are two different ways of giving poison to your board. One aligned with the new keyword at the time (Avenge), and the other aligns with Murloc's Battlecry identity. I think both serve the role well, and we're curious what other poisonous designs could exist. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre What was your reasoning for adding silverback to battlegrounds? Also do you still wanna bring Siren back in some way? Lastly did the team foresee the chromawing kooky strats as problematic (or do you even think it is problematic)?

@Jeppe15 @JohnEvMcIntyre Silverback was added for fun and because he's great stats for the cost! He likely won't be around for long though. We've tried a few redesigns for Siren (e.g. Start of Combat, no spell triggers, etc.) but we aren't happy with any of them yet. (Source)

@Jeppe15 @JohnEvMcIntyre We knew Chromawing and Kooky Chemist were a powerful combination, but it was difficult to assess how consistent that strategy would be on live. We decided to risk launching it, and when we realized it was over the line we made a change. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre How does one decide, from a design perspective, that the tier 1 minion pool needs to go from 16 copies of each minion to 15? Such changes seem so random and tiny, so I am super curious the reasoning.

@WuSage3 @JohnEvMcIntyre We want there to be enough different T1 minions that there is variety in what minions are offered to you each game, but we don't want there to be so many in the pool that players have difficulty finding higher tier minions. (Source)

@WuSage3 @JohnEvMcIntyre Since we added a 3rd minion to a few minion types (Beasts, Elementals), we decided to decrease the copies to 15 so that T1s don't make up too much of the total minion pool. (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Guff misses his buddy. Can I have mine back please? 😊

@GuffRunetotem @JohnEvMcIntyre I'll be your buddy, Guff 🥰 (Source)

@JohnEvMcIntyre Is the battlegrounds team secretly mad that the original way hearthstone is played is called “hearthstone” instead of something else like the rest of the ways of playing HS got other names

@JaredPullet @JohnEvMcIntyre I think it’s the opposite. We spent a lot of time trying to come up with a separate name for the mode and the team working on Hearthstone (the mode) since all of us in t5 work on Hearthstone. But some also work on the mode Hearthstone. Easier to be on the Battlegrounds team. (Source)