From August through November, it’s a big time for Hearthstone fans and players of all skill and dedication levels. During this four month stretch, the Hearthstone Championship Tour takes the world by storm, leaving everyone wondering who will survive the round, who will be knocked out and of course, who will end up center stage at Blizzcon for the World Championship match, competing for a hunk of a $1 million prize pool.
However, that’s all going to change come 2017.
Quite a few tweaks, big and small, will be going into affect for next year’s HCT and overall make an impressive impact to the potential match ups, quality of rounds and variety offered throughout the Tour.
Seasonal Championship Change Up
With the hopes of “more global clashes throughout the year”, Blizzard decided to transform the Seasonal Championships into global events. Different regions will offer up their venues, bringing together four representatives from each. Asia-Pacific, China, Europe and America are the stars of the show, selected via Swiss Tournament-format regional Season Playoffs. By applying this change, in-person attendance will increase and, as Blizzard is hoping, will raise the amount of region vs region moments and highlights within the Tour.
Now if anyone out there is like me, you may not be aware of what the term “Swiss” means when applied to the HCT. The Swiss format refers to the decks pit against each other and their comparative strengths, weaknesses, etc. This boils down to balanced decks paired together who are of similar record between wins and losses. What does this boil down to? No one will have obvious weakness, no one will be able to absolutely obliterate anyone else and matches are much more technical and precise with each move.
This is a format that many pros prefer as this protects them from hurting badly after a single loss. Which is great for anyone competing in the HCT since not only will qualifying be much more competitive, but the prize pool is increasing significantly. And I for one wouldn’t want to lose out just for getting trumped once, so its easy to see why any combatants would rather have Swiss in effect.
Words From Blizzard; The World Championship Needs a New Home?
“We’d like to keep the tournament meta fresh and exciting, and we will work toward aligning the HCT tournaments with our Standard Year and its associated content releases. What this means for next year is that each of the global Season Championships will take place during its own content cycle,” Blizzard detailed. “This also means that the next World Championship will take place at the end the upcoming Standard year in early 2018.”
Given this information, HCT finals will not be able to take over BlizzCon, which to many is an unfortunate plot twist. However Blizzard would not want to take Hearthstone out of its home turf entirely and are talking about a competitive event being included in the schedule. A huge relief for fans, competitors and con-goers alike.
Even More Changes!
- Big bucks for competitors just got bigger! Over $2 million prize pool will be up for grabs comes 2017! $1 million for the World Championships, $250,000 for each Seasonal Championship and “at least” $20,000 in prizes for each Season Playoff.
- The Hearthstone Global Games releases. Those with the top points scored in competitive along with three fan-voted players are pitted against each other ina weekly global league.
- Hearthstone Inn-vitationals will be showcased as well in “a variety of fun Hearthstone formats”. This will range in players from previous tournament winners, streams and even celebrities!
Ringing in the new year will be big for Blizzard and the millions out there whose gaming lives have been touched by Hearthstone. Here’s to a successful change of pace, exciting future battles and epic victories!