The first Mercs of 2022 are here– dig in for strategy and insights on all the new Mercenaries at your fingertips. From Balinda to Lokholar.

Patch 22.2 introduced the newest wave of Mercenaries since Valeera– including some of the best Mercs yet!

If you haven’t seen the other guides, you can find them here: Casters, Fighters, and Protectors. We’re going to do a “Guide per Batch” from now on, so welcome to the latest Mullahoo Mercenaries Guide, with a focus on Mercenaries PvP!

The Patch 22.2 Mercenaries Guide

Mercenaries PvP

Balinda Stonehearth

Best Equipment: Lesser Water Elemental (Task 2) or Stormpike’s Salvation (Heroic Drek’thar)

Coin Farms: Popsicooler (5.4) and Drek’thar (5.6)

Equipment #3 Unlock: Heroic Drek’thar (5.6)

Balinda is yet another Legendary Fighter, the third in a row now, but she’s easily the most interesting and diverse. Did you know her Lesser Fire Elemental has an attack and a spell? Did you know her Frost Burn ability secretly has a Fire or Frost spell type depending on which one you pick? She’s full of spicy goodness, and it doesn’t stop there.

Balinda sets a great precedent for the “hybrid” Mercenary– Frost, Fire, Humans, and multiple variations of them are all playable! And with three unique Equipment to boot, she feels very strong but very balanced.

The Lesser Water Elemental in particular does some crazy stuff– it just straight up denies a slow action on the first turn! That’s so good! An Equipment that represents a bizarre form of Counter-spell right off the bat might be one of the most powerful pieces of gear yet.

The breakout comp with Balinda would probably have to be alongside Valeera and Varden. Together this trio ends up going for a nasty Cold Snap on Turn 2 at 2 Speed and then never lets go. Perhaps this is just another reason to tweak Valeera, but Balinda will be earning her place in the meta regardless.

Coins Spend-Path:

  • Step 1: For most builds, Flame Dart 2+ (50C+) will be your focus
  • Step 2: Lesser Water Elemental (100C+) can do some truly absurd things, and is the better Summon
  • Step 3: Frost Burn 2+ (50C+) fills out every build– if you’re Fire, just pick Fire Damage, etc.

Coins Priority: [Introducing a new area of the guide! The once-known “Task Priority” is being replaced with “Coins Priority” since Equipment unlock so easily now (Level 30, Task 2, a Heroic).

This new system can be interpreted as “how many Coins make this viable for Mercenaries PvP?” High Priority Mercs demand that all three abilities be maxed, Medium need two, and Low Priority Mercs need only one.]

Balinda in this case is a weird Medium-High Priority for Coins. The Medium rating is based on the fact that, depending on which way you want to play her, you don’t need much.

However, Balinda can be played in a ton of different comps– to try them all, you’ll need a lot of Coins. Want to play the cool Balinda-Valeera-Varden comp? You really only need Flame Dart and Lesser Water Elemental ranked up. Want to try Fire-Holy? You might need Frost Dart and Stormpike’s Salvation ready to go on top of Frost Burn.

Balinda rarely uses every ability in one comp, but can flex into many. Pick one and stick to it for now to minimize the Coins you’ll need to grind.

Mercenaries Guide

Captain Galvangar

Best Equipment: Fury of the Frostwolf (Level 30)

Coin Farms: Galvangar (5.3)

Equipment #3 Unlock: Heroic Galvangar (5.3)

Read that Frightening Shout ability again! Hooo boy– “+3 Cooldown” might as well say “Stick pieces of paper on your screen, you can’t click these anymore!

This new precedent for disruption really intrigues me, and here we’ve got an absolutely pushed version of that design. Vanessa VanCleef has already been power-crept away– she would add +1 Cooldown to a random ability one target didn’t use. Galvangar triples the damage and triple applies a debuff that’s three times as strong!

On top of that, Galvangar has a really insane Attack Boosting Equipment in Fury of the Frostwolf. Orc comps were already loving the stat-stacking, and Galvangar slides right in to juice up his punch buddies. Randomly countering Healing on his second ability is just gravy, and I’m pretty sure “gravy punch” is a cocktail in Orgrimmar dive bars.

Galvangar took the back seat in the opening weeks of his release while everyone hurriedly leveled Lokholar, but I definitely expect Galvangar to become an opening player in some very viable strategies. Keep your eyes peeled for a Mercenaries Guide that praises our Captain in the future!

“Galvangar took the back seat in the opening weeks of his release while everyone hurriedly leveled Lokholar, but I definitely expect Galvangar to become an opening player in some very viable strategies.

Coins Spend-Path:

  • Step .5: Fatal Strike 2 (50C)– this is just to speed up your early “Fatal Strike Damage” Task
  • Step 1: Frightening Shout 2 and 3 (175C)
  • Steps 2 and 3: Level Fury of the Frostwolf (100C+) and Rending Cleave to a sizable Bleed (175C+)

Coins Priority: High– Galvangar is a good example of “everything just needs to be Maxed Out.” You won’t really use Fatal Strike very often, mostly just for the healing debuff to cancel a specific turn. But you’ll wish it was maxed when you do. The Orcs want Big Number on every button they hit, and Galvangar will unironically use every one of his abilities. That’s great!

Mercenaries Guide

Wrathion

Best Equipment: Black Dragon Scales (Task 2) // Horn of Wrathion (Heroic Louis Phillips)

Coin Farms: Louis Phillips (5.2)

Equipment #3 Unlock: Heroic Louis Phillips (5.2)

Easily the least-played Merc out of the bunch (so far), Wrathion suffers from some awkward issues. Fighters are absolutely bananas right now– Valeera, Sinestra, Diablo, Illidan, the list goes on. Competing with those Mercs is tough, and Wrathion is just barely under the cut. The random damage via Tail Swipe and “Let your opponent Not Take Damage If They Want” on Creeping Madness really aren’t lines of text you like to see. To have had a stronger story in this Mercenaries Guide, Wrathion needed a better cooldown on True Form.

The payoff is sick, don’t get me wrong– turning into a Dragon and “healing” for sometimes more than 40 is cool! But the reward is really just Health and a medium bonus ability, Fel Reign. Dealing 3 Fel Damage four times to all the bad guys is strong, but a very slow setup. In such a hyper-punishing meta I don’t know if you can wait two whole turns just to wait another to make it reign.

Sinestra likely does everything Wrathion wants to do but better. The best bets to make Wrathion uniquely powerful would likely be to combine him with Vol’jin, Jaraxxus, or in some wild 5-Dragon comp.

Coins Spend-Path:

  • Step 1: Tail Swipe 2 and 3 (175C)
  • Step 2: Start bumping up Black Dragon Scales (100C+)
  • Step 3: Figure out where the heck he fits!

Coins Priority: Medium– There are definitely at least three things that Wrathion needs: Tail Swipe, True Form, and then either your Equipment or Creeping Madness. The latter might be criminally underrated, since Attacking means taking Retaliation damage that helps stack Bonus Health for your Dragon Mode. Is Wrathion actually a super frustrating opening Fighter like Tirion that you kind of don’t want to kill, but have to eventually? His story will likely develop the slowest of this bunch from this particular Mercenaries Guide.

Mercenaries PvP

Sinestra

Best Equipment: Mana Brooch (Task 2)

Coin Farms: Ravak (5.1)

Equipment #3 Unlock: Heroic Ravak (5.1)

Look at the numbers on this lady! Going from the early days of 20 being “a gigantic number,” we now see multiple instances of A Lot More Than 20 on Sinestra’s kit. Somehow to simultaneously everyone and no one’s surprise, her second and third ability combine into a pretty disgusting loop:

  • Set up Twilight Extinction, heal for a tiny bit, it goes on cooldown.
  • Super Fast Mana Barrier, heal for 60 and get a Super Cornelius Passive, detonate their board for 30.
  • Your next ability is slow– who cares! Twilight Extinction is back up and you do it all over again.

This ultimately creates a one-Merc “Diablo-Cairne-Stomp-Package”– except AoE for 30 every other turn is even better and she protects herself without The Cow. These are honestly the types of packages we here at the Mercenaries Guide Emporium need to see more of! It opens up space on the bench for more interesting Mercenaries PvP, and Sinestra is a really strong example.

Coins Spend-Path:

  • Step 1: Twilight Extinction 2 and 3 (175C)
  • Step 2: Mana Barrier 2 and 3 (175C)
  • Step 3: Focus on getting these to Rank 5 and stacking Mana Brooch (100C+)

Coins Priority: Medium-Low– Sinestra is definitely going to look like a Two Button Pony, rotating between Extinction and Barrier. She honestly doesn’t even need her Equipment, though it’ll probably feel like playing Cornelius without his Task 7 Equipment. Still, she borders on only needing a “measly” 900 Coins (450 per ability) to become competitive with maxed second and third buttons.

Lokholar

Lokholar the Ice Lord

Best Equipment: Frigid Winds (Task 2)

Coin Farms: Lokholar (5.5)

Equipment #3 Unlock: Heroic Lokholar (5.5)

Lokholar was the very first focus as soon as this wave of Mercs was spoiled. The Ice Lord seemed literally custom-built to tackle the Valeera menace: he could hit Stealthed targets, punished Going Fast very heavily with his Frigid Winds Equipment, and was a Protector for double damage!

And it turned out– the predictions were right! Lokholar cranked up to a goofy 70% win rate in the first few days of release as Valeeras dropped like flies. But then the synergies came rolling in, and Jaina-Varden Lokholar found a place as a very powerful Full Frost comp for Mercenaries PvP.

Now he has already begun to stabilize as a powerful player in the meta but not nearly as oppressive as he initially seemed. A powerful Protector showed up? The Casters came out in full force… to be met with more Fighters, and the cycle continues. Nature is healing.

Coins Spend-Path:

  • Step 1: Hail Storm 2 and 3 (175C)
  • Step 2 Frigid Winds 2 and 3 (250C)
  • Step 3: Finish both of these, and then start leveling Frost Shock to counterplay Super Slow strategies

Coins Priority: Low– The best part about Lokholar is that you only need one ability, Hail Storm, and one Equipment, Frigid Winds, to go take him into the Fighting Pit! In what felt like a pretty clean “hey, start here!” seeded into this batch of Mercs, Lokholar sets a great precedent for a viable, semi-niche Merc that’s easy to farm on Day 1.

Technically, one might expect people to play Lokholar first, then Sinestra, then Wrathion, then Balinda, then Galvangar, if our Priority directly correlates with how long it takes them to enter the battlefields!

Frost Shock is for sick next-level plays when your opponents realize that they can go Slow on turn one to punish Frigid Winds. The Ice Lord then goes even slower and blasts cheeky Valeeras for 44, since Lok is last to act! But be warned: if your opponent doesn’t go for that line and you do, thinking they will, it might get disastrous real quick!

The Training Grounds and Final Thoughts

Patch 22.2 also introduced the Training Grounds, a new system to passively level up to two Mercs (even while you play them!). At a steep 300 Gold to fully access both Experience Chairs, this is another in a long line of “mandatory” upgrades. But in around 60 hours of real time, you can bring a Level 1 Merc to Level 30!

For new players, this is great– saving hours of grinding for a couple hundred Gold is good. For established players, it’ll still be a good way to quickly and idly catch up on those Mercs you never got around to.

“If I had to designate a priority for your grind, I’d suggest Sinestra > Lokholar > Balinda > Galvangar > Wrathion”

Mullahoo

Someday we might have a new resource to spend instead of Gold, but it isn’t here yet. A quality-of-life patch is expected in the near future, but no one knows what that really entails.

At the end of the day this latest batch is the best yet for Mercenaries PvP– a lot of playables, good counters, and novel designs. If we can keep this up, Mercenaries PvP will be entering a golden age very, very soon. If I had to designate a priority for your grind, I’d suggest Sinestra > Lokholar > Balinda > Galvangar > Wrathion. It’s my Mercenaries Guide after all.

For more Hearthstone news, guides, and all things Esports, stay tuned to esports.gg and good luck grinding!

Steven Mullahoo -

Steven Mullahoo

| Twitter: @MullahooTTV | Twitch: Mullahoo

Steven “Mullahoo” Mullahoo is a Hearthstone coach, commentator, writer, streamer, and explorer. This Rogue main has been all over the fantastic world-- Mullahoo started the competitive Magic: the Gathering team at Tufts University, coached high school League of Legends teams, and played in not one but four Quidditch World Cups. Creator of the animated series, Scoop Universe, Mullahoo can be found hunting waterfalls as a cartoon geologist in the Northeast.