Let's be honest: Grandmasters — the new closed league from Hearthstone competitive scene — are criticized from everywhere. The community state that matches are boring to watch, some professional players are gradually leaving their spot, and even some casters started to complain about it.
Why such controversy? How a system that was supposed to bring stability to the Hearthstone competitive scene could fail so hard?
In early 2019, Blizzard decided to change the Grandmasters format from Conquest in Bo5 to Specialist in Bo3. This first move was supposed to bring more competitiveness within the circuit, however, some Masters and Grandmasters were still selected because they were popular content creators — and not because they had success in several tournaments.
This could have been forgotten, but Blizzard dropped a massive bomb when they announced that Grandmasters only would be available to qualify for Blizzcon Worlds. Pro-players that weren't part of Grandmasters started to complain as their dream to compete against the best 15 players of the world was suddenly taken away from them.
Quickly, both the community and pro-players started to complain about the Specialist format, highlighting the boring mirror games and the apparent lack of diversity among decklists. However, it took one season to Blizzard to realize the Specialist format was a mistake and to revert it to Conquest starting with Season 2.
The new format also add a "shield" phase, which allows players to protect one of their decks before their opponent starts banning. However, pro-players still complain since this new format is basically a Bo1 against non-protected classes.
Players are getting bored
Overall, the biggest complaint is related to the quality of games. A lot of pro-players that aren't part of the league actually criticize the apparent lack of commitment from some Grandmasters. During his last match against Bozzzton on Friday, Seiko realized one of the biggest misplays of his entire career: he let his Shirvallaj on the board without putting her back in his deck, thus ensuring his own loss.
Why did he miss that? Well, Seiko was playing trying to qualify for a Dota Autochess tournament on his phone at the same time.
The entire community seems outraged by such behavior: Seiko earns at least $500 for each match he plays — and thousands of players would have sacrificed a lot of things to play at his place. This whole event is perceived as a disrespectful behavior towards both viewers and other players.
According to Invenglobal, Seiko actually asked Blizzard if he could play both tournaments at the same moment — and it seems they didn't say no...
Blizzard officially stated that their answer was badly interpreted by the German player. According to them, Grandmasters schedule can't be changed, and he had to handle the problem with the organizers of his other tournament.
One month before the Master Tour Bucharest, critics are raining onto Hearthstone competitive scene. Will Blizzard change the format once again? Will the current season be affected by such controversy? The question still remains...
The last major competitive event of the year for this new Hearthstone Esport 2019 format - the European Masters Tour - will be held in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. A simple way to reconnect with the very beginning of the competitive game scene.