Activision Blizzard has unveiled details for a new competitive Hearthstone program dubbed Hearthstone Masters. The new series is part of the company’s continuous effort to develop the competitive scene around its popular online card game.
Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers
The first stop in the new endeavor will be the Hearthstone Master Qualifiers, an entry-level competition for hungry fans looking to prove themselves. Open to all players, the Qualifiers consist of 30 tournaments per week during the Masters Tour qualifying season. The competitions will be run through Battlefy, a platform founded in 2013 that helps members organize tournaments. The platform has powered over 100,000 events featuring various top-tier games.
Qualifier winners will be awarded not only Hearthstone card packs but also a spot at the corresponding Masters Tour event. This represents the second stage of the overall competition.
Players can also secure spots for tour events by excelling in the Standard Ranked Play Ladder. The top 200 gamers will be invited to participate in a Ranked Ladder Qualifier, a competitive iteration that follows the same rules as a Master Qualifiers. The only exception is that the top four players will get an invite to the subsequent Masters Tour event.
Players will also be able to qualify by 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, or finishing out Year of the Raven with at least 120 Hearthstone Competitive Points.
The first Qualifier is scheduled for March 5. Find further details on the Hearthstone website.
Hearthstone Masters Tour and Grandmasters
Welcoming a collection of Qualifier winners, the Masters Tour will represent the next step in competitive Hearthstone play. The first tour event will take place in Las Vegas on June 14-16. Hosted at the LINQ Hotel, the event will feature Swiss and elimination rounds and a prize pool of $250,000.
There’s another interesting element at play here too. Hearthstone fans will get the chance to crowd-fund the overall prize pool of events. By purchasing in-game items, Blizzard will launch a limited-time-only esports bundle. Then, a portion of the sales will be distributed across the base prize pools of each of the three 2019 Hearthstone Masters Tour events. The move follows other popular events that utilize in-game item purchases to grow their prize pools, like Dota 2’s Compendium for The International, for example.
After the battles in Las Vegas are over, the tournament series will move to Asia and Europe before continuing to other destinations in 2020. Details are still forthcoming.
The announcement also briefly mentions the Hearthstone Grandmasters, an even more prestigious event. We know little about it at this time.
Hearthstone esports and beyond
Blizzard has been on point with delivering plans for further development of Hearthstone’s competitive scene. The Hearthstones Masters announcement follows recent news about the upcoming Hearthstone Championship Tour, an event already celebrating its third season.