Blizzard Entertainment dropped a new set of changes coming to the Hearthstone Masters Tour and Qualifiers moving forward. The short version, before you ask, is that it looks liek the rest of 2021 will remain an online event globally with no plans yet to do in-person events. That said, they are changing things up so that the schedule is focused more on accomplishments and less on juist pulling off key victories. As well as making the tournaments less grueling for those participating in them. We have the full rundown from the organizers below as these changes will take effect immediately.
Hearthstone Qualifiers Winrate Invites – Masters Tours Stormwind & Undercity
For the final two Qualifiers seasons of the year, we are adjusting how players earn invites. Winning a Masters Tour Qualifier will still earn you an automatic invite, but to reward consistency players will now earn Masters Tour invites based on overall match win rates throughout a Qualifiers season instead of the current top 8 placements system. Beginning with the Qualifiers for Masters Tour Stormwind, the top 50 highest win percentage players that competed in at least 20 Qualifiers without placing first will receive a corresponding Masters Tour invite. This is up from an average of 30 invites for four-time top 8 finishers.
The number of Qualifiers players were having to compete in was proving too high. On average, players consistently achieving top-8-based invites were playing around 47 separate Qualifiers to earn a Masters Tour spot. That love and passion for Hearthstone is something we celebrate, but we believe we can reward deserving players without asking them to make that kind of time commitment. Our aim is to allow players the opportunity to better balance participation in qualifiers alongside other goals, whether that be content creation, going for top ladder finishes, or pursuing their ambitions outside of Hearthstone.
Masters Tour Updates
For the final three Masters Tours of the year, we are implementing two key changes to improve the overall broadcast and competitive experience for players and viewers.
Moving forward, players will need to compete on camera during broadcast matches. Any player who is not willing or able to turn their camera on for a broadcast match will receive a game loss for that round. Ultimately, players appearing on camera significantly improve the fan experience while allowing players to connect with fans on a more personal level. While cameras are mandatory, we understand the need for potential exceptions. To avoid a game loss, any player hoping to not use a camera on broadcast must contact admins before a Masters Tour to allow time for a ruling on an exemption from the webcam rule.
EIGHT SWISS ROUNDS
Masters Tours will now feature eight swiss rounds instead of nine. Four rounds of swiss will be played on day one, four rounds will be played on day two, with a round of top 16 and all top 8 matches broadcast live on day 3. Our goal here is to reduce the physical fatigue players have experienced during long days of swiss play while also creating a cleaner cutoff for reaching the top 16 than a nine swiss round model offers. The awarding of points toward Grandmasters qualification will be adjusted to account for the one fewer swiss round.