Good news for Hearthstone esports fans – Blizzard has finally shared some information about 2021’s events! You can find more info below, but here’s a quick summary:
- There will be six Masters Tour events in 2021, each named after a major city in Warcraft lore. They will still be happening in three different time zones across the globe (two events in Pacific, Central European and Korean time zones).
- All events will be online-only due to ongoing pandemic.
- The closest tournament is Masters Tour Ironforge, coming March 12-14.
- There will be more opportunities to qualify – e.g. we will now have 120 qualifier tournaments each season and you now only need to get Top 8 four times as opposed to five to get in.
- Each will have around 400 players, which is more than previously (last few Tours had ~300 players each).
- Grandmasters will return with 2 seasons in 2021, more details will be released soon.
- Blizzard has partnered with ESL for the Esports broadcasts for the next 2 years. We still don’t know what difference it will make, though.
Preparing for the next year of competitive Hearthstone, we’ve listened to player feedback from all levels of competitive Hearthstone and are thrilled to announce improvements to Hearthstone Masters as well as details for the first Masters Tour of 2021!
As the primary entry point into the Masters program for most of our players, we have been looking at ways to not only expand the Qualifiers system but to better reward high-level consistency.
While assessing how to best improve the Qualifiers, one piece of community feedback has consistently stood out: expanding opportunities to earn invites to each Masters Tour. We are addressing this in three ways for Hearthstone Esports in 2021.
- First, we are returning to 120 individual Qualifier events each season.
- Second, we are lowering the number of Top-8 finishes required to earn an invite—from five down to four. In reviewing previous Qualifier placements, we have found that players making Top 8 four times are skilled enough to get the necessary fifth Top 8 placement but were often held back due to being unable to get into another Qualifier.
- Third, the top 32 players at each Masters Tour who do not already have an invite to the next event will receive an invite to the following Masters Tour. We have been averaging only around 16 invites each Masters Tour in rewarding players with a 7-2 or better finish, as often top players had already earned an invite through Grandmasters or from a previous Masters Tour. This small change will reward high-level players while also opening up more invites from Qualifiers that those competitors would have been competing for.
With more overall events, more players earning invites from Top 8 placements, and more players being rewarded for high-level performances, we will expand the total pool of highly competitive Hearthstone players at each Masters Tour to 400. Qualifiers registration for the first Masters Tour of 2021 is now open!
Due to the ongoing global pandemic, we will be holding all six Masters Tours of 2021 online. Each Masters Tour will feature a $250,000 (USD) prize pool divided among the top 200 players based on final standings. As players won’t be able to travel from around the globe to compete together, we are taking the locations for the 2021 Masters Tour back to Hearthstone’s roots, so hop on the Deeprun Tram to battle against 400 players in Masters Tours themed all-across Azeroth, beginning with Masters Tour Ironforge, March 12 -14!
Here are some of the ways you can snag an invite to Masters Tour Ironforge:
- Win one of 120 online Masters Qualifiers between January 28, 2021 and February 28, 2021 on Battlefy.
- Finished with at least a 7-2 record at Masters Tour Online: Montreal or Masters Tour Online: Madrid.
- Place within the Top 8 of a Masters Qualifier for Masters Tour Ironforge four times.
- Place Top 32 Legend on the in-game Ladder in January (see official Masters Qualifiers rules for details).
- Be a Hearthstone Grandmaster.
While we still cannot travel around the world for the Masters Tour, to ensure the most fair schedules we are setting two events in time zones within each region to ensure no players are given any undue advantage. Here are the locations and dates for all Masters Tour events in 2021:
After listening to additional player feedback from all levels of Hearthstone Masters, the final Masters Tour change for 2021 is the new Masters Tour Points system. We are converting Grandmasters invites from total cash earnings to total points. Players now receive points based on number of wins at each Masters Tour, with additional points awarded to players within each Top 8.
Invites to Grandmasters 2021 Season 2 will be based on the top points-earners from each region for Masters Tour Asia-Pacific, Montreal, Madrid, Ironforge, Ogrimmar, and Dalaran. You can follow along with the current top 25 for each region on the new Road to Grandmasters page on the Hearthstone Esports website.
We are also excited to announce that we are partnering up with ESL on the operations and broadcast for Hearthstone Esports the next two years.
Hearthstone Grandmasters will return in 2021 for two more intense seasons! We are still working on finalizing improvements and will share details soon. Good luck, have fun, and we’ll see you in the Tavern!