Previously available only to pre-purchasers of the next expansion set, Hearthstone‘s auto-battler mode, appropriately named Hearthstone Battlegrounds, is now in open beta for everyone to try. Players who have pre-purchased Descent of Dragons will get a few bonuses, such as the ability to choose from three heroes instead of two and visual emotes.

I tried a match just now and came in fourth out of eight, with my Lich King murloc strat starting well but flaming out in the later rounds. The only other auto-battler I’ve played is Dota Underlords, and I’ll say that Battlegrounds is both quicker, in the sense that my match only took me about 15 minutes, and slower, in that I’ve got more time in-between rounds to set up my strategies. Both of those feel much better to me.

Overall, there are 24 heroes to choose from, each with their own special talents, and it plays like you’d expect an auto-battler to: You recruit minions, promote them when you get duplicates, level up your selections, and then send them off to fight your opponents. The last player standing out of eight is the winner, though Blizzard is leaving open the possibility of matches involving more participants.

Learn more about the new mode on the Hearthstone site.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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