Hearthstone Masters is here!
As of last year, Blizzard announced that they were going to make an effort to improve the card-based game Hearthstone into a more sustainable and entertaining esport – not that the game doesn’t have plenty of fans already, and players too, but there is always room to grow… especially for an esport backed by Blizzard!
Now, finally, Blizzard revealed the exact form their efforts to improve Hearthstone as an esport have taken. The name of it? Hearthstone Masters!
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The new event series is going to launch with qualifiers, of course – the Masters qualifiers are the entry tier and will be open to any eligible player that wants to try their skills. During a Masters Your qualifying season, Blizzard will run about 30 tournaments hosted via Battlefy, allowing players to compete at a time that works for them, in order to eliminate time zone issues, for example. They simply play the game, submit screenshots of the Victory/Defeat screen and follow a few more guidelines in order to prove the match was fought fairly.
Battlefy is a platform that Blizzard has been using for years, so it makes sense for them to choose it for this part of the tournament series as well – winning one of the qualifiers will earn you an invite to the corresponding Masters Tour event, which would be the second tier of the new series.
In addition, they also receive 20 card packs, with lower ranking players from the qualifiers receiving up to 20 as well. If you want to qualify for the second tier event but can’t or don’t want to participate in the Masters qualifiers, there IS another way – Each month, the top finishers in the Standard Ranked Play ladder will also receive invitations – more specifically, the Top 200 will be invited to a Ranked Ladder Qualifier, following the same rules as the regular ones, except that the top four instead of just the winner are going to earn a spot at the next event.
The first open qualifier is already set and scheduled – it is going to begin on March 5th. Registration is already open, and will be open two weeks before each subsequent qualifier for the season, giving players a chance to participate in the matches.
As for the actual Masters event, the first one is going to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada, between June 14th and 16th. It’ll take place at the LINQ hotel there – for competitors with previous tournament experience, not a lot will change – picture tables will be wired with ethernet for players to prove their mettle against each other.
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Swiss eliminations are going to pave the way for one talented mind to win the grand prize from a prize pool of a quarter of a million dollars. In addition to that, the winner also gets to call themselves a Hearthstone Grandmaster, and receive an invitation straight to the next Masters tour event (sans qualifiers).
After the stop in Vegas, the tour will move on to Asia and Europe, and next year it will visit even more different destinations. For now, the schedule is limit though – the locations and dates for further stops of the tour will be announced at least two weeks before the beginning of each qualifying season, giving players months in order to prepare for the event.
As for the whole Grandmasters thing – Blizzard hasn’t announced the full details on that yet, just that one of the ways to achieve it will be to win at the Masters tour events, so stay tuned for further updates and more info along the way!