After having played through eight Hearthstone Masters Qualifiers now, I have become accustomed to the system and know what to expect for every tournament. There’s a number of people who still haven’t played in one yet for various reasons. Transitioning from regular Hearthstone play to competitive can be an intimidating step. Hopefully this information can help you be prepared for your first Masters Qualifier.
Decks and Cards
The first step of tournament preparation is deciding what deck you will play. First and foremost, is playing a deck that you are comfortable with playing. Knowing all of your matchups, key cards, and paths to victory with a deck are the most important factors.
From there, you must decide what you want your primary deck to contain. You are required to play this deck first in all matches under the Specialist format. Typically you will want to have the deck teched against Midrange and Deathrattle Hunter. Both of these archetypes make up around 40 to 50 percent of the field in most qualifiers.
After crafting your primary deck, you will have to decide the five card changes for your secondary and tertiary decks. Figuring out your bad matchups and teching appropriately for them is probably the best route.
Sometimes you need to add higher value and greedier cards to win against Odd Warriors and Control Mages. Sometimes you need cards like Nerubian Unravelers against decks that utilize expensive spells like Priest. One of the most important card effects in the qualifiers has been Silence. Both Ironbeak Owls and Spellbreakers have been invaluable to beating decks with Taunts and Deathrattles.
Working with Battlefy
Since the qualifiers are being nearly completely handled from the Battlefy site, familiarizing oneself with the site is extremely important. First, you need to figure out what days you are available to play in a qualifier. If you should play in all eight Swiss rounds of a qualifier, expect that it should take around nine hours. Winning a qualifier could take up to a full 12 hours.
Once you have decided what day you can play, sign up on Battlefy. You will need the deck codes handy for your decks, and a Discord account. While issues can be settled on the Battlefy site, Discord can be helpful for tournament notifications and additional questions for admins.
Don’t forget to screenshot the match after the conclusion of each game and whenever any bugs or disconnects occur. The players are responsible for providing proof to the admins of what occurred in the match since none of the admins will be watching your match.
Another trait one will need is patience. Battlefy has had a lot of issues and bugs itself in the early goings of the qualifiers. If something should happen to go awry, make sure to notify an admin right away by hitting the report match issue button or pinging them on Discord. If you raise the issue as soon as possible you are less likely to have your match skipped and more likely to be able to get the help you need.
Beyond looking at tournaments like a stat and rule book, there is the ever important human element. If you don’t feel well, you don’t play well. Make sure to get plenty of sleep the couple of nights before a tournament so that you are on top of your game.
Also, make sure you have something to do between rounds. If you aren’t playing something super slow like Odd Warrior, you typically have at least 30 minutes between each round of down time. A lot of players get nervous simply waiting for their next match without anything to do. You can practice on ladder, play a different game, catch up on your favorite shows, or anything that keeps you calm.
If you go the distance in a tournament, or decide to play multiple tournaments in a day, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Make sure you eat meals on your normal schedule, and stay hydrated. There is more than enough time between rounds to take care of these things, and they will be one less thing to distract you during your match.
It’s also important to keep a good perspective in mind. When looking at the scope of these qualifiers, only one out of 224 players will get a chance to go to Las Vegas. Not winning the tournament is okay, you’re in the same boat with 222 other people. There are also many more qualifiers and opportunities, so you can always come back and try again.
Sometimes you get unlucky. It could be bad draws, bad matchups, or an RNG element that results in your loss. Don’t let that get you down, evaluate whether or not you made the right play given the situation. Winning all starts with a positive attitude.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.