It's finally time to discover what Blizzard has in store for the new year in competitive Hearthstone.
This time, in order to improve things, Hearthstone Esports sought to expand the qualification system, and better the frequency of rewards at a high level.
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. Blizzard is addressing this in three ways for Hearthstone Esports in 2021. Here's what they had to say:
- 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, the total pool of highly competitive Hearthstone players at each Masters Tour will be expanded to 400.
Qualifier 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, March 12 -14!"
Here are some of the ways you can snag an invite to Masters Tour Ironforge:
- Win one of 120 online Masters Qualifiers between January 28, 2021 and February 28, 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 Blizzard still cannot travel around the world for the Masters Tour, to ensure the most fair schedules they 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.
Hearthstone Esports is also partnering up with ESL on the operations and broadcast for 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!"
Original content by Jean-Vincent "Durvil" Cannata.
Information related to the rewards track and how achievements are managed in the next Hearthstone expansion has been detailed on Reddit. Here's a summary.