This weekend I tuned in to watch the Hearthstone Grandmasters Tournament live on Twitch. I havent seen any recent pro HS tournaments so i decided to watch and being an avid and constant viewers of all HS tournaments.
What I saw was quite interesting. Let's break it down :
Before this new format, we had the Conquest format, which was filled with a variety of different decks. In the old format, players would bring 4 different decks from 4 different classes. There was a ban phase in the beginning, where each player banned a deck from their opponents lineups to not be able to use in that game. After this, the players would play a best of 5 having to win a game which each deck that was brought.
So out with the old, and in with the new, drum roll please..
Now we have a new format called Specialist, where the players will each bring 3 decks, but all of the same class. They will have their primary, secondary and tertiary deck. Out of their 3 decks, all but 5 cards will be different, keeping 25 cards the same through all 3 of their same class decks. All players are required to play game 1 with their primary deck.
Now that we explained the formats, let's get into what we think about the new specialist format.
I must admit that it is quite strange to do such a drastic makeover to the hearthstone tournament format. First off, specialist format takes away any strategy in constructing a lineup for the tournament. Basically instead of bringing a variety of decks, OTK, Aggressive and control, now it's only 1 style, 1 class. I liked the idea of building 4 different classes decks and having to win with each, strategically.. lineups consisted of each of these styles to counter other styles their opponent no matter what your opponent was playing.
For instance, if game 1 I chose my control deck and my opponent played a aggresive deck, that game was in my favor and vice versa for the next game. This meant that almost every game could be winnable for each player no matter what decks they chose to bring and play.
Now with the new format if I bring a control deck whereas my opponent brings an aggressive deck, every game would be in my favor as a control deck. Giving my opponent 5 cards to change in their aggro deck to try to best my control. This will prove to be difficult, 5 cards will not be a huge factor to try and use an aggro deck to beat control. This new format lacks creativity in deck building and quite boring to be on the viewing end of the tournament.
As I'm watching through the tournament yesterday, almost every game was Warrior vs Warrior. The majority of these games took forever to complete one! It was the same cards over and over just in different orders and sequences. Granted I did see some mages vs warriors but all repetitive and bland games.
It makes me wonder what Blizzard was thinking introducing this format to begin with. Was this a quick way of adding a sideboard to the tournament style? A Sideboard was an extra set of cards you had on standby in MTG to add or remove from your deck to counter other decks you played against after the game was over. Was it to try and make the games faster going from a Best of 5 to a best of 3? If this was the reasoning I must admit it backfired. Not only do games take longer (control warrior vs control warrior) but, They are alot less interesting to watch.
I for one dont want to sit for hours on end watching the same games and decks with minor changes to it each time.
So there it is, my breakdown of the new format for tournaments. Most importantly I am wondering what you guys thought?
Is this the best format for tournaments? Was it more exciting for you all to watch as opposed to the old format? How can we make it better? Does it need to change or are you fine with where the format is? Would or can you sit through a whole tournament in this style? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.