Future of Hearthstone Esports – 2022 Events and 2023 Plans

Hearthstone might not be the most popular esports game, but it still has a dedicated community and lots of high-skilled competitors. Blizzard just shared their plans for the rest of 2022, and honestly, it looks like the last 3 months will be quite packed.

On the Standard side, we still have one Masters Tour, Masters Fall Championship and then – finally – World Championship in December. Battlegrounds is even busier, but with a bit smaller events – there are still four Lobby Legends planned for the upcoming months. In other words, we will have a new HS esports event every few weeks until the end of the year.

But what about next year? Given that we haven’t heard anything about Hearthstone’s 2023 esports, many pro players started getting a little bit worried about the future.

It’s worth noting that back in 2020, Blizzard signed a deal with Google that “forced” all of the major, official Blizzard tournaments away from Twitch and into YouTube (including Hearthstone). Many people cite that as the beginning of Hearthstone esports’ downfall, as the tournaments lost close to 80% of the viewership over the following year. However, that deal is expiring soon – at the beginning of 2023. It means that, unless Blizzard extends it, Team 5 will be free to stream Hearthstone tournaments back on Twitch. Lobby Legends are already streaming on  Twitch, but I think that’s because Battlegrounds wasn’t part of that Google deal (probably because it just released in Beta and there were no tournament plans for it yet).

However, given that Hearthstone esports isn’t exactly pulling massive audiences, some were afraid of Blizzard simply shutting the whole thing down. Luckily, Hearthstone’s esports product manager Abar has confirmed that it isn’t the case and they will continue into 2023 – and yes, that includes next year’s World Championship. While we know that Grandmasters will be gone (maybe for good), if there’s a World Championship, it most likely means that Masters Tours are safe too, unless they plan to completely change their approach.

What do you think about it? Do you watch Hearthstone esports? Do you think that returning to Twitch would make a meaningful difference to viewership? If you don’t watch it on YouTube, would you start if it was streaming on Twitch too? I think that going back to Twitch would be the best way to at least attempt “saving” Hearthstone esports, but I’m pretty sure that it will never get back the viewership it had before moving to YouTube.

Update: It looks like ESL deal for running HS esports was separate from the Google deal that forced HS esports into YouTube. I edited the post to clarify that. Both of them are ending very soon, though, so the return to Twitch might be a thing.


A Hearthstone player and writer from Poland, Stonekeep has been in a love-hate relationship with Hearthstone since Closed Beta. Over that time, he has achieved many high Legend climbs and infinite Arena runs. He's the current admin of Hearthstone Top Decks.

Check out Stonekeep on Twitter!

Leave a Reply


  1. HeyRicardo
    September 16, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    Watching on youtube is more convenient and flexible, you can pause, resume, go back where you want, come back to live time. Probably it’s coincidence and the loss of audience is due to other reasons (rng, discover, whatever..), that’s would also support the expectations that even back on twitch the audience would not be as before. If you like the game you keep following unless you are not comfortable with youtube player, which doesn’t seem the case to me.

    • Stonekeep - Site Admin
      September 19, 2022 at 9:50 am

      The thing is, YT is not as a popular of a streaming platform as Twitch. Most of people don’t sit on YT to watch gaming streams, even more so 3 years ago. Recommendations algorithm is also mostly based on videos and not streams, many people don’t even know that there’s a whole category for gaming streams. So if you’re looking for something to watch, you can easily stumble upon HS tournament on Twitch, but not necessarily on YT. People who knew that they were happening and were heavily invested into esports could switch relatively easily, but people who were watching more casually often didn’t even know that there’s a tournament happening. And most of the HS community was present on Twitch, not on YT.

      That’s the biggest thing that hurt HS esports during the switch IMO. YT stream also wasn’t perfect ~3 years ago and while yes, pausing and rewinding is a GREAT feature (you can also do it on Twitch but you have to go to the saved videos which is a pain in the neck), the stream was often buggy and choppy for many people. I remember a lot of negative quality or sound-related feedback when they first switched to YT.

      But ignoring all of that, the best thing is that without the contract, they can stream on both Twitch and YT. If someone prefers one platform over the other,

  2. Solojazz
    September 15, 2022 at 4:55 pm

    Its nice to see the competitive circuit sticking around. The highly competitive players’ knowledge and deck building bring so much value to the greater Hearthstone community .