Hearthstone 2022 esports changes announced: $3m prize pool revealed, Hearthstone Grandmasters to be phased out

Hearthstone 2022 esports changes announced: $3m prize pool revealed, Hearthstone Grandmasters to be phased out

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Activision Blizzard has revealed its esports plans for Hearthstone in 2022, including format, schedule, tournaments and prizing.

$3m in prizes will be up for grabs overall throughout the year, across several tournaments, including an expanded World Championship to new seasonal Masters Tour tournaments, the sunsetting of Grandmasters, and the introduction of monthly Battlegrounds events.

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Hearthstone 2022 tournaments and prizing

Hearthstone 2022 World Championship

Activision Blizzard says a goal for this year is to expand opportunities for players to reach the World Championship.

The number of players that will face off for their shot to join the Hall of Champions and the lion’s share of the $500,000 prize pool will be increased to 16.

Grandmasters will also no longer be the sole arbiter of invites. Throughout the year, four Grandmasters will advance to the World Championship, along with another four players from China, and the final eight spots will go to the best players across the Masters Tour through Season Championship events.

2022 Hearthstone Masters Tours and Masters Seasonal Championships

To qualify for a 2022 Masters Tour, Acti Blizz has adjusted how invites are earned: Qualifiers in 2022 are being reduced to 60 per Masters Tour and played across three weekends for each Masters Tour. And Ladder invites are expanding to 150 per Masters Tour.

All six Masters Tours qualify toward one of two Seasonal Championships, with the first three tournaments feeding into the Masters Summer Championship and the final three feeding into the Masters Fall Championship.

Each event will feature the top 16 players from their respective Masters Tours: the winner of each tournament and the top 13 with the most match wins across all three events.

Players will be competing for their share of a $50,000 prize pool per event as well as invites to the World Championship, with the top four players at each Seasonal Championship advancing on. Players will be able to track their win-rate progress on the updated Masters Tour Points page.

“While the Masters Tours are going to remain online for now, we are targeting an in-person event for both the Masters Fall Championship and World Championship. Whatever we decide will be with the sole intention of ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone involved.”

Activision Blizzard

The first Masters Tour of 2022 will take place from February 18th to 20th. More info will follow, but here are some of ways players can receive an invite to the first Masters Tour of the year:

  • Win one of 60 online Masters qualifiers between January 7th and January 23rd 2022 on Battlefy’s Hearthstone page.
  • Have a top 50 win rate over 10 qualifiers without winning
  • Top 32 finishers at Masters Tour Undercity that don’t already have an invite
  • Place Top 50 Legend on the in-game Ladder in January 2022 within Americas, Asia-Pacific, or Europe (see official Masters Qualifiers rules for details).
  • Be a Hearthstone Grandmaster

All 2022 Masters Tours will be held as online-only tournaments.

“We know how disappointed all our players are at not being able to experience these tournaments together in one place, and the entire Hearthstone Esports team shares that feeling,” Activision Blizzard said in a press release.

“While the Masters Tours are going to remain online for now, we are targeting an in-person event for both the Masters Fall Championship and World Championship. Over the coming months we will have more news on the viability of these on-site events, and whatever we decide will be with the sole intention of ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone involved.”

2022 Hearthstone Grandmasters

Hearthstone Grandmasters was originally envisioned as the pinnacle of Hearthstone Esports. Over the last two years, Acti Blizz has listened to feedback from viewers, players of all levels, and the Grandmasters themselves.

“As we look toward the future of competitive Hearthstone, we have concluded that Grandmasters does not align with our goals for the program,” Acti Blizz said. “Despite improving the program through numerous changes over the years, we have decided to sunset Grandmasters and devote greater focus on the wider ecosystem. Grandmasters will conclude with two final seasons in 2022.”

Season 1, running in February and March 2022, will consist of all 48 Grandmasters competing in a truncated four-week season. Similar to all previous seasons, the winner of each region will advance to the 2022 World Championship. Instead of relegating a few players while the rest advance to another season, only the top four from each region will advance to Season 2.

Season 2, Grandmasters: Last Call, will feature the top four of each Season 1 region, joined by the top four players by Masters Tour Points from the last three Masters Tours of 2021 and the first three of 2022. This group will form a singular 16-player global region. The final four-week season will feature high-stakes matches, with the winner advancing to the 2022 World Championship.

2022 Hearthstone Battlegrounds esports

A new Battlegrounds: Lobby Legends has been announced. Throughout 2022, players will be able to compete for a share of a $500,000 prize pool spread across multiple one-off events.

Each Lobby Legends will be a global event, featuring top ladder players from Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and China. Day one will feature group play, with players receiving points each match based on final standing. The top players from each group will advance to a second-day playoff.

More info on dates and schedules will follow.

Last month, Riot’s Legends of Runeterra overtook Hearthstone in the UK iOS app store card game chart.

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