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Hearthstone patch 22.2 will launch on Jan. 25 and feature the new Battlegrounds Buddy System, Duels updates and more.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Buddy System

The Hearthstone Battlegrounds Buddy System will introduce special minions that are unique to each hero. Each Battlegrounds Buddy can be played like a normal minion, but they cannot be purchased from the shop. In this game mode, a hero gets a “Buddy Meter” that fills up during the combat phase.

According to the announcement, this meter can fill up whenever a player deals damage to enemies, win or tie a combat phase or pop Divine Shields. A bonus can be gained each turn depending on the number of minions that a player has at the start of combat. There’s also a limit on how much the meter can be filled in a round.

The update for the Hearthstone Battlegrounds Buddy System will take place within the Fractured in Alterac Valley expansion
The update will take place within the Fractured in Alterac Valley expansion. | Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone players can earn Battlegrounds Buddies at three different rates. Buddies at lower Tavern Tiers are more easily obtainable compared to the ones at the higher tiers.

There are two sections featured on the Buddy Meter. When the first section gets filled, a player receives one copy of their hero’s Battlegrounds Buddy added to their hand. Filling up the second section awards the player with two more copies. After both sections of the Buddy Meter get filled, the meter breaks and can no longer be used for the remainder of the match.

Currently, there are 75 Battlegrounds Buddies that can be viewed by checking out their corresponding hero.

New Battlegrounds heroes

As for other Hearthstone Battlegrounds updates, the Armor System will be deactivated while the Buddy System gets tested out. The announcement noted plans to re-activate the Armor System in a future patch. Meanwhile, players get 10 extra seconds when choosing a hero in order to give them time to learn about the Buddy System.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Buddy System Bru’kan in Hearthstone Battlegrounds
Bru’kan in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. | Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

Additionally, the cost to upgrade to Tavern Tier 5 in Hearthstone Battlegrounds will be increased by two gold. New heroes in this game mode will include Bru’kan, Drek’Thar, Vanndar Stormpike and Tavish Stormpike.

Updated heroes will be Alexstrasza, Ysera and George the Fallen. Kael’thas, Silas Darkmoon and Chenvaala will be temporarily disabled as the Hearthstone developers address a bug. As for a minion update, Annihilan Battlemaster will get new text to more accurately describe how it works.

Tavish Stormpike in Hearthstone Battlegrounds
Tavish Stormpike in Hearthstone Battlegrounds. | Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

Duels updates

Also on Jan. 25, the current Duels season will come to an end. This means the rankings will get reset. Achievements in this game mode will become specific to heroes. Moreover, new card buckets will be included in order to support the new heroes.

The new heroes will be Vanndar Stormpike and Drek’Thar, who will both have special treasures and be neutral heroes. Drek’Thar and Vanndar Stormpike will each get three unlockable hero powers and six signature treasures.

Diablo artwork
Diablo artwork. | Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

Meanwhile, Diablo will be removed from the hero pool. “Diablo has been defeated in Duels, but can a Prime Evil ever be so easily vanquished?! We expect Diablo to return one day, it’s only a question of time, and he may have one more trick for you when he does,” the Hearthstone developers revealed.

As for other Duels updates, a bunch of hero powers will receive changes.

Hearthstone Mercenaries Training Grounds

For players who enjoy Hearthstone Mercenaries, the Training Grounds will be a new area that lets Mercenaries passively gain experience. This will occur as players complete Bounties with other characters, play different game modes and while they rest. The Training Grounds will cost 100 gold to create and 200 to upgrade.

Mercenaries village
Mercenaries village. | Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

New characters will include Balinda Stonehearth, Captain Galvangar, Wrathion, Lokholar and Sinestra. These new characters will be introduced alongside their new equipment.

Players can also look forward to an upcoming zone in Mercenaries: Alterac Valley. The Battle for Alterac Valley will bring in six new bounties featuring Ravak Grimtotem, Louis Philips, Captain Galvanger, Popsicooler, Drek’Thar and Lokholar the Ice Lord.

Tavish Stormpike artwork
Tavish Stormpike artwork. | Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

Tavish versus Rokara Tavern Brawl and more

The Tavish versus Rokara Tavern Brawl will make an appearance as well. As either Tavish or Rokara, a player will choose a companion and experience unique dialogue. This Tavern Brawl will launch on Jan. 26.

Meanwhile, Book of Mercenaries Tavish will launch on Feb. 1, and Hearthstone’s Lunar New Year celebration will showcase a new card back available on Jan. 25 alongside quests and more.

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