In May 2022 the Naga tribe was introduced to HS Battlegrounds. From the start, the tribe was completely OP with decent early-game units what and crazy late-game scaling. Since then they’ve been nerfed twice, lowering both the initial stats and scaling potential of some minions. In this post I’ll help you build a Naga board optimized for scaling, using the tools of numerical analysis.
The growth engine
This scaling is thanks to growth engines that interact with spells and the new spellcraft mechanic. There are many Naga that scale when you play spells, but not all of them are equally effective. Here are the scaling Nagas ordered by decreasing order of effectiveness:
- Tidemistress Athissa, is not as OP as it used to be, but still very strong. If you get 5 procs (a quite conservative amount, 4 Spellcrafts on board and cycling 2 extra spells), that is +18/+18 on your board, more than a golden Ligthfang with 4 tribes or a Charly and a Pumba. Note that Athissa procs on all spells, including coins, blood gems and discovers from triples. We’ll compare the other minions to Athissa.
- Critter Wrangler, half the scaling of Athissa on Spellcrafts, none on other spells. All in all, this will be ~40% as effective as Athissa, depending on whether Quilboar are on the lobby and the number of triples you get.
- Eventide Brute (after you cast a spell, gain +1/+1). ~33% of Athissa’s scaling and it gets all the buffs, making it more vulnerable to poison/Leeroy.
- Lava Lurker (the 1st Spellcraft spell cast on this each turn is permanent). The best spell you can use on it is Shoal Commander’s one, which gives it +7/+7 assuming you have 7 Nagas. If you optimize your setup for the Lurker and get 1 golden Lurker and 2 golden Commanders, you could get +28/+28 scaling per turn, which is still below the conservative estimate for Athissa. All in all, Lava Lurker can help you in the mid-game, but it falls short as a scaling engine.
- Corrupted Myrmidon (Start of combat: double this minion’s stats). It doesn’t grow on its own but utilizes buffs better than other minions. Assuming you get all Athissa procs on it, you’ll get an extra ~25% plus you can double the stats from gems. If you have Critter Wrangler instead, you’ll double its efficiency on spells from hand. Another bonus is that it gives you a lot of tempo if you already have some Spellcrafts to buff it. As with Eventide Brute, concentrating buffs on this will make you susceptible to poison and Leeroy.
The clear winner by a wide margin is Athissa. In its absence, you can try to survive with a combination of Wranglers, Brutes, Corrupted Myrmidons and Lava Lurker.
There are 7 Spellcraft minions, 6 of which are Naga and the other one gives you Nagas. Let’s analyze them:
- Orgozoa, the Tender is not a Naga, but procs Athissa and also gives you more Nagas to round up your composition or proc Athissa again. Once you have 4 Naga on the board, this gives you the best scaling since it can discover more spells for extra procs.
- Glowscale is great for combat, giving you the ability to DS your biggest minion.
- Other Spellcraft minions. They offer a moderate amount of stats and taunt/windfury. They can be useful in helping you survive while you get your growth engine, but won’t help you scale as much as Orgozoa and their buffs aren’t as significant as DS in the late game. The best of them in terms of stats is Shoal Commander. However, even if you get a golden Commander, it will give be +14/+14 in combat stats which can be easily outclassed by one or two turns of scaling with Athissa. The only case when it’s relevant and even necessary is when you include Lava Lurker on your composition.
The ideal composition
Once we know the pieces of the puzzle, it’s time to think about the best way to assemble it. How many Spellcraft minions should we get? Is Lava Lurker worth it?
To analyze the composition, I’ve simulated the number of +1/+1 buffs we get for many different board combinations. These simulations make the following assumptions:
- We have 6 “stable” minions that you are growing and 1 flex slot that you use to rotate spells
- 3 played spells per turn from the shop (Spellcraft, coins, gems, discovers)
- 80% of the spells are Spellcraft, and 20% are other types
- We have a maximum of 1 Corrupted Myrmidon (or a golden one), which gets an equivalent of an extra 80% of the Critter Wrangler procs (you may put DS on other minions our use the discover from Orgozoa) and 20% of the Athissa procs
- We have a maximum of 1 Lava Lurker (or a golden one) and it gets +7/+7 each turn (+14/+14 if golden), equivalent to having 1 Shoal Commander (2 if golden) and 7 Naga on board
With this in mind, we can calculate the number of procs as follows:
Spells cast = Other spells + Spellcraft minions
Athissa procs = Spells cast * (3 * Athissa + 6 * golden Athissa)
Critter Wrangler procs = 80% * Spells cast * 80% * (1.5 * Critter Wrangler + 3 * golden Critter Wrangler)
Eventide Brute procs = Spells cast * (Eventide Brute + 2 * Golden Brute)
Corrupted Myrmidon procs = (20% * Athissa procs + Critter Wrangler procs) * (Corrupted Myrmidon + 1.5 * Golden Corrupted Myrmidon)
Lava Lurker procs = 7 * Lava Lurker + 14 * Golden Lava Lurker
Procs = Athissa + Critter Wrangler + Eventide Brute + Corrupted Myrmidon + Lava Lurker
The best composition gets an equivalent of 104 +1/+1 procs per turn and consists of 2 golden Athissa, 2 golden Critter Wrangler, 1 golden Myrmidon and 1 Spellcraft minions.
The best composition without golden Athissa gets an equivalent of 79 +1/+1 procs and consists of 3 golden Wranglers, 1 golden Corrupted Myrmidon and 2 Spellcraft minion.
The best composition without any golden minions gets an equivalent of 46 +1/+1 procs and consists of 2 Athissa, 1 Critter Wrangler, 1 Corrupted Myrmidon and 2 Spellcraft minions.
I’ve measured the importance of each minion by calculating the average number of appearances on the top 10 compositions for each scenario. All copies are golden unless forbidden by the scenario:
|All compositions||No golden Athissa||No golden minions|
|Avg. procs per turn||97||74||44|
I’ve made this spreadsheet calculator to calculate the number of procs you’d get based on your composition. It’s read-only so it remains the same, but you can copy it to another spreadsheet and use it if you want.
The flex slot
As suggested above, the flex slot is used to rotate minions that give you spells (Spellcraft, Seashell Collector, Quilboar). However, at the end of the turn, you should be playing a minion on that slot.
If you feel like the combat will be easy, you can try to get an extra spell for the next round by playing a Spellcraft minion or a Quilboar that gets gems on combat. If you play a Spellcraft minion, you should do so after playing all your spells so it doesn’t “steal” any procs.
If you’re pressured, try to get a Leeroy, Mantid Queen, Ghastcoiler or Selfless Hero to strengthen your board.
This article just covers the ideal composition in a void, but on a BG game, you need to survive while you build your comp. In some cases, it will be impossible to build full scaling and you’ll keep your early Lurker or Brute on the board, that’s completely fine.
I’ve done the math on scaling for Naga comps, here are the main take aways:
- Get as many copies of Athissa as you can
- Critter Wrangler is a great minion to complement Athissa
- A Corrupted Myrmidon (especially golden), is a great receptor of Athissa and Wrangler buffs
- Lava Lurker (if you have Shoal Commander) and Eventide Brute are also viable
- Get between 1 and 3 Spellcraft minions on the board, Orgozoa and Glowscale are the best
- Round up your comp with another Spellcraft for a bit more scaling or another useful unit if under pressure