… and a new format for Hearthstone esports.
Hearthstone esports is going to become more sustainable and accessible than ever as Blizzard officially announces the Hearthstone Masters. The new program will feature three tiers, but full details have only been revealed for the first two.
The Hearthstone Masters’ entry-level competition is Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers, which will be open to all eligible players. Hosted through Battlefy, Blizzard will hold 30 tournaments each week during a Masters Tour qualifying season, where the winners will earn an invite to qualifier’s corresponding Masters Tour event, which is the second tier of the Hearthstone Masters.
Top-performing competitors in the Masters Qualifiers will also obtain Hearthstone card packs. There’s also an alternative way to qualify to the second tier, as players who end the month in the Top 200 Standard Ranked Play Ladder will be invited to participate in a Ranked Ladder Qualifier. Each Ranked Ladder Qualifier follows the same rules of an open-entry Masters Qualifier, except that the top four finishers will automatically earn a spot at the next Hearthstone Masters Tour event.
The second tier of the program; the Hearthstone Masters Tour will be holding its first tournament at the LINQ Hotel in Las Vegas from 14 to 16 June 2019. It will feature a $250,000 prize pool, which could potentially increase as a portion of all sales a limited-time-only esports bundle will be distributed to the base prize pools of all three planned Hearthstone Masters Tour tournaments in 2019.
The next two Hearthstone Masters Tour events are scheduled to be in Asia and Europe. Players can qualify for the second-tier tournaments by:
- 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 third and final tier of the Hearthstone Masters program is the Hearthstone Grandmasters. The only detail revealed about this so far is that players can qualify by consistently finishing top placements at Masters Tour tournaments.
Last but not least, Blizzard has revealed that the 2019 Hearthstone World Championship on 25 April 2019 will be the last to use the Conquest format. A new format called Specialist will be replacing it starting later this year. Here’s how the new Specialist format 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 best-of-five finals.
If you’d rather watch a video, check out the brief explanation of the new Specialist format below.