As a part of the Hearthstone Esports team’s three-tier competitive system, Hearthstone Grandmasters will begin in less than two weeks. Grandmasters is the highest tier of Hearthstone play, and will try to create household names out of the best players in the game. In our Hearthstone Grandmasters 2019 Preview, we will look at how the league will function and the path to winning the Grandmasters Championship.
The Grandmasters system divides the three main regions into groups of 16 players each. These groups of 16 are then divided into two groups of eight for normal rounds of play. The eight players will play two rounds of Round Robin play, meaning they play the other seven players two times each.
Once Round Robin Play is completed, the top three records from each group of eight will advance to a top six playoff. The winners of each group are automatically placed into the semifinals while the second and third players of each group must first play a quarterfinal game.
These small playoffs will remain in the normal best-of-three Specialist format. Only the final to determine the region’s winner for the season will be different, being a best-of-five set. Then the winner will advance to the Grandmasters Championship. The Championship is where the final eight regional winners will meet to determine one champion.
Players in Each Region
Each of the regions has 16 players that have been selected by three main categories. There are five top prize money earners, nine top points earners and two spots for “legends” or historically good figures in Hearthstone.
First are the representatives for the Asia-Pacific Region:
Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung, Wu “BloodTrail” Zong-Chang, Kim “che0nsu” Cheon Su, Jang “Dawn” Hyun Jae, Cho “Flurry” Hyun Soo, Dylan “FroStee” O’Mallon, Kenta “glory” Sato, Yashima “Alutemu” Nozomi, Pathra “Pathra” Cadness, Dasol “Ryvius” Sim, Tsao “SamuelTsao” Tsu Lin, Liu “Shaxy” Wei-Chieh, Euneil “Staz” Javiñas, Kim “Surrender” Jung-soo, Chen “tom60229” Wei Lin and Tyler ‘Tyler‘ Hoang Nguyen.
Then there are the inaugural European representatives:
Casper “Hunterace” Notto, Linh “Seiko” Nguyen, Chris “Fenomeno” Tsakopoulos, Jaromír “Jarla” Vyskočil, Kevin “Casie” Eberlein, George “BoarControl” Webb, Elias “Bozzzton” Sibelius, Joffrey “Swidz” Cunat, Thijs “Thijs” Molendijk, Pavel “Pavel” Beltukov, Jon “Orange” Westberg, Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh, Raphael “Bunnyhoppor” Peltzer, Vladislav “SilverName” Sinotov, Radu “Rdu” Dima and Torben “Viper” Wahl
Lastly, the players from the Americas Region:
David “justsaiyan” Shan, Muzahidul “Muzzy” Islam, Jerome “Monsanto” Faucher, Eddie “Eddie” Lui, Brian “bloodyface” Eason, William “Amnesiac” Barton, Francisco “PNC” Leimontas, Lucas “Rase” Guerra, Frank “Fr0zen” Zhang, James “Firebat” Kostesich, Ryan “Purple” Murphy-Root , David “Dog” Caero, Cong “StrifeCro” Shu, Paul “Zalae” Nemeth, Facundo “Nalguidan” Pruzzo and Fei “ETC” Liang
As stated previously, all of the regions will play two seasons. Each season’s winner will send a player to the Grandmaster Championship. This will also include China, who we will be unable to follow during the seasons. A total of eight players will come together to determine an effective World Champion.
The final eight will be divided into two groups of four to determine a playoff for the title. The top two from each group will determine the final four through best-of-three Specialist sets. Once again, only the Grand Final will be a best-of-five set.
All of the players will battle it out weekly and on stream for all to see. It somewhat serves as a way of Hearthstone Esports to provide fans with filler content between the Masters events. The players still do have a stake in the games, however. The bottom two players from each region will be relegated after the end of the first two seasons.
This format is a real curveball from the prior years of competitive Hearthstone. It has made playing at the highest level extremely difficult for anyone who isn’t a part of the inaugural class. The system could also be boring and confusing for viewers. We will have to let time tell how successful this new format will be.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.