As the Hearthstone World Championship draws near, Blizzard has announced the schedule including group and bracket stages, the former of which will occur prior to BlizzCon. In addition, the prize pool of $1 million will be split among the 16 competitors with the winner walking away with $250,000.
Some changes have been made since last year to better reward consistency and decrease the effects of RNG. The tournament has switched to a best-of-seven format - rather than Bo5 - and the group stage, where two players will advance to BlizzCon from, will now be double elimination.
And while the prize pool hasn't grown in recent years, it's nice to see efforts from Blizzard to improve the competitive scene. We certainly expect a lot of development before next year's competition, but in the meantime players seem pretty happy with the reveal.
"Super happy with the bo7 format," says G2's Thijs, winner of the European Spring Championship. His teammate RDU also commented saying, "Very good prize distribution and format, trying my best to qualify for this."
Though it's unlikely that the final set of 2016 releases before BlizzCon, we're hopeful that some more time with the latest cards brings more variety to the competition. As it stands, Shaman, Warrior, and Druid have a stranglehold on the meta and that's caused things to be a bit stale.
The Hearthstone World Championship will begin with a group stage throughout Opening Week. Each group will consist of four competitors, one from each of our regions: Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and China. These competitors have qualified through Seasonal Championships from their respective regions, and the groups will be seeded based on the HCT Points total for each participant.
Matches will be played out using the following format:
Each match will be best-of-seven using the Conquest format with one ban. Each player will bring five decks to play with for each match, and they and their opponent will be able to ban one of each other’s decks. Players will then compete with the remaining decks.
The group stage will be double-elimination with two competitors advancing from each group to play in the bracket stage.
The bracket stage will be single-elimination and will be played out at BlizzCon.
As previously announced, BlizzCon Opening Week will take place between October 26–30, starting at 9 a.m. PDT each day and encompassing the group stage. Each day will feature four matches, with one match from each group.
Day 1 (October 26) – Match 1
Day 2 (October 27) – Match 2
Day 3 (October 28) – Winners’ Match
Day 4 (October 29) – Elimination Match
Day 5 (October 30) – Decider Match
The bracket stage will take place at BlizzCon on November 4–5 according to the following schedule (the full schedule will be released at a later time):
Day 1 (November 4) – Quarterfinals
Day 2 (November 5) – Semifinals and Grand Finals
The $1 million Hearthstone World Championship will be divided as follows: