First Look at Hearthstone Masters in 2021!
Blizzard just posted about the coming year in Masters Tour, both qualifying and participating. Read all about it inside!
EDIT: There was also news that the Hearthstone Esports are going to be run by ESL the next 2 years. You will likely have heard of ESL through their brands ESL and Dreamhack. Read their press statement at the bottom of this article!
Quote from Blizzard
Preparing for the next year of competitive Hearthstone, we’ve listened to player feedback from all levels of competitive Hearthstone and are thrilled to announce improvements to Hearthstone Masters as well as details for the first Masters Tour of 2021!
As the primary entry point into the Masters program for most of our players, we have been looking at ways to not only expand the Qualifiers system but to better reward high-level consistency.
While assessing how to best improve the Qualifiers, one piece of community feedback has consistently stood out: expanding opportunities to earn invites to each Masters Tour. We are addressing this in three ways for Hearthstone Esports in 2021.
- First, we are returning to 120 individual Qualifier events each season.
- Second, we are lowering the number of Top-8 finishes required to earn an invite—from five down to four. In reviewing previous Qualifier placements, we have found that players making Top 8 four times are skilled enough to get the necessary fifth Top 8 placement but were often held back due to being unable to get into another Qualifier.
- Third, the top 32 players at each Masters Tour who do not already have an invite to the next event will receive an invite to the following Masters Tour. We have been averaging only around 16 invites each Masters Tour in rewarding players with a 7-2 or better finish, as often top players had already earned an invite through Grandmasters or from a previous Masters Tour. This small change will reward high-level players while also opening up more invites from Qualifiers that those competitors would have been competing for.
With more overall events, more players earning invites from Top 8 placements, and more players being rewarded for high-level performances, we will expand the total pool of highly competitive Hearthstone players at each Masters Tour to 400. Qualifiers registration for the first Masters Tour of 2021 is now open!
Due to the ongoing global pandemic, we will be holding all six Masters Tours of 2021 online. Each Masters Tour will feature a $250,000 (USD) prize pool divided among the top 200 players based on final standings. As players won’t be able to travel from around the globe to compete together, we are taking the locations for the 2021 Masters Tour back to Hearthstone’s roots, so hop on the Deeprun Tram to battle against 400 players in Masters Tours themed all-across Azeroth, beginning with Masters Tour Ironforge, February 26 – 28!
Here are some of the ways you can snag an invite to Masters Tour Ironforge:
- Win one of 120 online Masters Qualifiers between January 7, 2021 and February 14, 2021 on Battlefy.
- Finished with at least a 7-2 record at Masters Tour Online: Montreal or Masters Tour Online: Madrid.
- Place within the Top 8 of a Masters Qualifier for Masters Tour Ironforge four times.
- Place Top 32 Legend on the in-game Ladder in January (see official Masters Qualifiers rules for details).
- Be a Hearthstone Grandmaster.
While we still cannot travel around the world for the Masters Tour, to ensure the most fair schedules we are setting two events in time zones within each region to ensure no players are given any undue advantage. Here are the locations and dates for all Masters Tour events in 2021:
After listening to additional player feedback from all levels of Hearthstone Masters, the final Masters Tour change for 2021 is the new Masters Tour Points system. We are converting Grandmasters invites from total cash earnings to total points. Players now receive points based on number of wins at each Masters Tour, with additional points awarded to players within each Top 8.
Invites to Grandmasters 2021 Season 2 will be based on the top points-earners from each region for Masters Tour Asia-Pacific, Montreal, Madrid, Ironforge, Ogrimmar, and Dalaran. You can follow along with the current top 25 for each region on the new Road to Grandmasters page on the Hearthstone Esports website.
We are also excited to announce that we are partnering up with ESL on the operations and broadcast for Hearthstone Esports the next two years.
Hearthstone Grandmasters will return in 2021 for two more intense seasons! We are still working on finalizing improvements and will share details soon. Good luck, have fun, and we’ll see you in the Tavern!
Quote from ESL
Cologne/Stockholm, January 22, 2021:
ESL Gaming, the world’s largest esports company, has today revealed that it has entered a two year partnership with Blizzard Entertainment to operate the Blizzard owned esports ecosystem for the Hearthstone® game title.
As part of another landmark publishing deal for ESL, the partnership will impact on some of the largest Hearthstone® tournaments like the Grandmasters and the Hearthstone Masters Tours and will entail a total prize pool of 3,000,000 USD per calendar year.
This announcement follows ESL’s existing partnership with Blizzard around StarCraft II® and Warcraft III® and strengthens the connection between the two brands. Alongside the operation of the main ecosystem, the partnership gives ESL the opportunity to introduce ESL and DreamHack branded competitions in partnership with Blizzard over 2021 and 2022.
“We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with Blizzard through this two year Hearthstone® partnership” said Michael Van Driel, Senior Vice President Game Management at ESL Gaming. “Operating the game ecosystem is a great move for ESL and Hearthstone® , fans around the world can look forward to an exciting two years ahead.”