Season One of this year's Grandmasters starts tomorrow. The tournament features a drastically revamped format that we've recapped below. 48 players will compete -- including 7 brand new Grandmasters for a total of eight weeks. Prizing for the Season includes $500,000 and of course the right to compete at this year's Hearthstone World Championship. All the competition can be viewed over at the Hearthstone YouTube Channel.
- Venue: Online
- Dates: Friday, Saturday, Sunday - April 17th - June 7th
- Americas: Dan "Frodan" Chou and TJ "Azumo" Sanders
- Asia-Pacific: Jia “Jia” Dee and Darroch “Darroch” Brown
- Europe: Simon “Sottle” Welch and Alex “Raven” Baguley
- Prize Pool: $500,000 USD
- Stream Times: Broadcasts begin at 2AM PT/5AM ET/11AM CEST w/ the Asia-Pacific Region
As we previously mentioned, the 2020 Grandmasters features massive changes to last year's format. The first three weeks will be made up of Swiss Rounds. We've broke down the entire Season below.
Weeks 1-3: Swiss/Group Stages
- Each Region will compete in 7 rounds of Swiss off stream earlier in the week.
- The Top 8 finishers from each Region will play in a dual tournament format Friday-Saturday, with the Top-4 being played Sunday.
- Format changes each week:
- Wk. 1: Conquest w/ 1 Ban
- Wk. 2: Four Deck Last Hero Standing w/ 1 Ban
- Wk. 3: Ten Deck Conquest w/ 6 Bans
Week 4-7: Round Robin
- After the first three weeks, players will be split into two divisions per Region based on point accumulations. Division A will consist of the Top 8, while Division B will consist of 9-16.
- The two divisions will compete in Round Robin style play over the four weeks. Standings from this four week period will determine playoff participants.
- Format for the Round Robin will be Five Deck Conquest w/ 1 Ban.
Week 8: Season One Playoffs
- Top 6 from Division A automatically advance to the Playoff portion.
- Top 4 from Division B compete in a "play-in" Round with the winners joining the Division A winners.
- The bottom 3 players from each Region will be relegated from Grandmasters.
- The winner of each Region's Playoff advances to the World Championship.
New Grand Masters
Last season saw the relegation of a number of the lowest placed Grand Masters at the end of the season. They have been replaced for the new season by the following players:
Ever since joining Team Mexico in the 2017 Hearthstone Global Games, Empanizado has been a staple of the Latin American competitive scene. Later that year, he went on to reach Top 8 at the HCT Summer Championship, only falling to Surrender who went on to win the event. After qualifying for Masters Tour Seoul in 2019, the community held a fundraiser to cover his costs to travel to the event. He rewarded this effort by finishing in 11th place, picking up $3500 and qualifying for Bucharest in the process. In Romania he once again finished in the top 32, which was enough to convert his strong results - and the LatAM community spirit - into a spot in the Americas Grandmasters.
Lnguagehackr first joined the competitive scene in 2016. He had a strong desire to be a professional player, however because of studies for his degree at that time he had to operate on a reduced schedule. As such, it wasn’t until his win at the 2018 HCT Fall Championship that he established himself as a top global player. Despite falling in the 2019 Hearthstone World Championship in the Quarterfinals, Lnguagehackr maintained strong consistency last year in the Masters Tours. He was invited to Grandmasters after placing 24th at Masters Tour Las Vegas, 47th at Masters Tour Seoul, and 11th at Masters Tour Bucharest.
PapaJason has built a strong community around his stream. His positive attitude and strong play have led to him being one of the players that the viewers often ask to see more of in big events. He made his competitive debut in the 2018 HCT scene, competing in HCT Season 1 - Americas and ultimately placing 10th at HCT Philadelphia. He played in every Masters Tour in 2019, and started the ball rolling by qualifying for Las Vegas, where he finished 12th. He added some money to this in Bucharest to earn his invitation to the Grandmasters Americas division. This will make sure Jason’s fans get a whole lot more of him in 2020.
Following a Top 8 placement at the SEA Majors 2016, Kin0531 made a name for himself in the Asia-Pacific competitive scene with a string of Top 20 finishes in the 2018 Hearthstone Championship Tour. He also took home the gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games, the only Olympic sanctioned Hearthstone event in history. His quest to join the most recent top-tier of Hearthstone competition started strong after finishing 19th at Masters Tour Las Vegas, but it was his 2nd place finish at Masters Tour Bucharest that solidified his spot in the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters.
A relative newcomer to competitive Hearthstone, posesi first made a splash after placing 3rd at the 2018 World Electronic Sports Games (WESG). He later went on to place 17th in the Asia-Pacific region in 2018 HCT - Season 1. In 2019, he established himself as a front-runner for an invite to Grandmasters after placing 4th at Masters Tour Las Vegas. Despite an early elimination from Masters Tour Seoul, his strong standing of 21st at Masters Tour Bucharest secured him a spot in the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters.
The only Masters Tour champion in 2019 who was not already a Grandmaster, Felkeine secured his spot after claiming victory at Masters Tour Seoul. He initially joined the competitive scene in 2017 with strong showings in Arma Cups and the 2017 Hearthstone Team League. Since his win in Seoul, Felkeine has set the stage for a dominant French competitive scene at Masters Tours, even continuing his streak with yet another Top 4 showing at Masters Tour Arlington.
Furthering the emergence of a dominant French community, Zhym secured his spot in Grandmasters after coming in 2nd at Masters Tour Seoul to fellow French competitor and new Grandmaster, Felkeine. Despite being a relative newcomer to the competitive scene, he quickly made his mark by qualifying for the HCT 2018 Season 1 European Playoffs. 2019 proved a strong year for Zhym as he followed up his 2nd place in Seoul with another 2nd place at the Konix All Stars Playoffs.