It looks like autobattler fever isn't done just yet. Blizzard is putting its hat in the ring with a new game mode for Hearthstone called Hearthstone Battlegrounds, a puzzling half-step into the world of automated battling.
An eight-player mode that Blizzard says is directly inspired by the growth of the autobattler genre, Hearthstone Battlegrounds looks something like a mix between a real-time deckbuilding game and regular Hearthstone. You can make out some star ranks and card battling, as well as abilities like bombs being lobbed across the board.
Hearthstone does seem like a natural fit for an autobattler, since the genre's conventions of building up synergies through repeated drafts isn't too different from a deck-building game. But Battlegrounds also looks to try and keep step with Hearthstone, even living inside the client like Teamfight Tactics does with League of Legends.
In a blog post, Blizzard also confirmed a few more details about Battlegrounds. It seems to carry many of the conventions of autobattlers, from combining identical cards to level them up, to rerolling and leveling up your "tavern" to find rarer, more powerful cards. Battlegrounds' twist looks to be Heroes, which will add twists to your game plan like buffing up cards or spending cash to add new attributes to existing minions.
We'll see more when the game goes live next Tuesday for BlizzCon 2019 virtual ticket owners and those who have pre-ordered Hearthstone's next expansion. Either way, Battlegrounds is launching into a fairly crowded marketplace; Riot Games and Valve have already staked out pretty hefty claims with Teamfight Tactics and Dota Underlords. Both also recently launched major, game-changing updates. We'll see if Blizzard is the kind of company that can make a dent in the autobattler genre.