The Esports Stadium Arlington, Texas, US, will see the first Hearthstone Masters tour of 2020 this weekend, January 31 to February 2. The Hearthstone Masters Tour Arlington will have 360 invited players, $250,000 in prize money, and see new Hearthstone content.
The tournament is the first to be broadcast exclusively through YouTube after Blizzard’s new deal with the platform. Publishers Blizzard are also offering fans the opportunity to crowdfund this year’s prize pool through their purchases of the Dragon Masters Bundle.
The Hearthstone Masters Tour Arlington
After the release of Chapter 2 of the Galakrond’s Awakening solo adventure, this weekend’s competitors will evaluate 19 new cards entering the tavern. The cards were announced last week, and competitors are able to change up their deck lists right up until the tournament starts.
The tournament will have a 4 deck, best-of-5 conquest format and players achieving a 7-2 result or higher will qualify for the Masters Tour Indonesia and the Masters Tour Jönköping. On day three of the tournament the top eight players will play out in a single elimination bracket to decide the winner.
Activision Blizzard and Hearthstone move to YouTube
Until now Activision Blizzard has had a deal with Twitch for the streaming of its Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Call of Duty tournaments and leagues. However, this past weekend Activision revealed it had signed an exclusive deal with Google, and YouTube will now stream these popular esports events.
The new deal was tweeted by YouTube’s head of gaming Ryan Wyatt who also says:
“With more than 200 million gamers a day watching more than 50 billion hours of gaming content per year, YouTube provides gamers and their passionate fans with the most popular video gaming platform in the world.”
He adds “as a former Call of Duty esports commentator myself, I couldn’t be more excited for Activision Blizzard to choose YouTube.”
The agreement will also see Google Cloud as the preferred provider for Activision Blizzards gaming infrastructure. Activision, as per a press release, were seeking low-latency player experiences choosing Google for its advanced analytics, AI capabilities, commitment to open-source software and its platform for “building future gaming innovations.”
Blizzard is prize pool crowdfunding with its new Dragon Masters Bundle
The renowned publisher has released its Hearthstone Dragon Masters Bundle. It will sell for $19.99 and half of the revenue from its sales, to a cap of $1.5 million, will go into the prize pool for Hearthstone Master’s tournaments across 2020.
The bundle includes 25 Year of the Dragon card packs as well as a random Descent of Dragons Legendary card. Blizzard says the bundle will be available for a limited time and will “directly boost the prize pool at all six 2020 Hearthstone Masters Tour events, up to a maximum of $1,500,000.”
The Dragon Masters Bundle, says Blizzard, is “giftable,” which means you can “add to your friend’s collection or get a new player started while supporting Hearthstone esports in the process.”
The Hearthstone Masters Tour Arlington kicks off this Friday, with five rounds of Swiss, and will be the first of six Masters tournaments this year. Blizzard has doubled the number of tournaments from 2019 which saw three held in Las Vegas, Seoul, and Bucharest. The expansion may be the reason behind Blizzard’s prize pool crowdfunding initiative. There will also be two seasons of Hearthstone Grandmasters in 2020, running for eight weeks each in April and August.
Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment