We’ve known big changes were on the way for the HearthStone Esports infrastructure for quite some time now, and despite Blizzard still keeping an in-game tournament mode absent for this long – it does not mean that they haven’t been working to improve the competitive side of HearthStone behind the scenes.
After promising more news on the future of HearthStone Esports via social media this week, today, Blizzard has finally unveiled some of the BIGGEST changes that was on the way for the competitive HearthStone scene that we have perhaps ever seen.
First and foremost is the announcement of the HearthStone Masters, which is set to be a series of tournaments both open qualifiers, as well as an overall tour. Now, these tournaments are aimed to be accessible to all players, with up to 30 tournaments being run each week during a Masters Tour qualifying season. Yes, that is A LOT of tournaments. These many events are set to be held on Battlefy, a website which has in fact been partnered with Blizzard for sometime now. In addition to the Masters Qualifier events, Blizzard will also be opting in players who manage to reach the top 200 “Legend” rank on HearthStone in their given region. The way this works is these players will be invited into a special “Ranked Ladder Qualifier” which acts just about the same as a normal Master’s Qualifier. However, the top four finishers of a Ranked Ladder Qualifier will earn a spot at the next HearthStone Master’s Tour event. There are various other way’s player’s can qualify for the Master’s Tour such as the way’s listed below:
- Winning an online Masters Qualifier
- Placing in the top four of a Ranked Ladder Qualifier
- Securing an invitation through licensed third-party tournaments
- Finishing as a top-performer at a previous Masters Tour event
- Qualifying through the China Gold Series
- Finishing out Year of the Raven with at least 120 Hearthstone Competitive Points
The next step from the Masters Qualifier events is the Masters Tour itself, which winners of qualifiers will earn a spot into, as previously stated. These will be offline events, with the first being held in Las Vegas at the LINQ hotel from June 14th-16th. This tournament will feature a $250k base prize pool, with in-game crowdfunding option bundles coming at some point, which is a pretty big deal!
Of course, all of these huge new changes and additions to the HearthStone Esports scene would not be complete without a new format, yes, something we’ve been told was coming for quite sometime and now it’s finally almost here! Starting with the new HearthStone year, Blizzard will be welcoming a brand new format called the “Specialist Format”, into the scene, which is set to replace the conquest format, at least for this upcoming HearthStone year. Here’s how it works –
- Players submit three decks from the same class.
- Players designate one deck as a primary deck, then the other two as secondary and tertiary.
- Secondary and tertiary decks may have up to 5 cards different from the primary deck. For the purposes of this modification, two duplicate cards in the primary deck list count as two cards.
- Players must play game one of each match with their primary deck.
- At the beginning of game two and onward, players may decide to keep playing their primary deck, or switch to their secondary or tertiary decks.
- Deck decisions for games two and three, if necessary, are performed at the start of each game simultaneously and in secret from the opposing player.
- All Masters Qualifier and Ranked Ladder Qualifier matches will be best-of-three. All matches at Masters Tour events will be best-of-three as well, with the exception of a best-of-five finals.
Quite a shake-up, huh? Yeah, we think so too.
Already, fans have made their voices heard regarding the upcoming changes – of course, there is a possibility some things may be tweaked here and there till the 2019-2020 season officially kicks off this April, so keep that in mind. Personally, I’m very hype for the changes, and am looking forward to a year of change within HearthStone Esports. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or via social media!