Following the recent Hearthstone Masters Qualifier, Blizzard conducted surveys with the players. Based on the feedback received, the Hearthstone esports team has announced big changes to both Masters Qualifiers and Masters Tour events. The changes will come into effect at the beginning of the ladder that commenced on October 1 and the Masters Qualifiers on October 3.
According to Blizzard, “We’ve surveyed a number of Masters Qualifier players to get a better understanding of pain points in the current structure of the program. Today, we’re ready to share the changes we’ll be making to improve Masters Qualifiers and Masters Tour events.”
Blizzard states that one of the most prominent pieces of feedback received was that Masters Qualifiers take too long. Single elimination tournaments are currently taking six hours on average, compared to 12 hours when using Swiss Rounds. Thus, all Masters Qualifiers will be changed to single elimination.
Also, based on feedback from players in Masters Tour, the format for Masters Tour will be changed starting at the Bucharest event. The new format will be “Conquest, best-of-five, 4 decks with a ban format.” This change will increase the average time to complete a round.
As such, the number of Swiss rounds in each Masters Tour will go down to 9 from 12.
An overview of all changes are;
- Masters Qualifiers and Ladder
- Masters Tour Qualifiers will use the Conquest, best-of-three, three-decks-with-a-ban format
- Masters Qualifiers will be expanded to a maximum capacity of 512 players
- To reduce lengths of tournaments, we will be changing all Masters Qualifiers to the single-elimination tournament format
- If a player makes Top 8 at least six times in a qualifying season currently, they will earn an invite. To make this qualification path easier, we’re reducing this number down to five
- We will be going back to only awarding the first-place competitor in Masters Qualifiers with an invite to its corresponding Masters Tour event
- We are adding more pack prizing to Masters Qualifiers
- We will be giving direct invites for Masters Tour events to the Top 16 not-yet-invited ladder players from each region at the end of every month, totalling 96 invites per qualifying period.
- Masters Tour
- We will be changing the format for the Masters Tour to Conquest, best-of-five, four-decks-with-a-ban format, starting with Masters Tour Bucharest
- We are scaling back the number of Swiss rounds each Masters Tour has from the current 12 down to nine, and will be moving to a single-elimination bracket for the Top 8 of Masters Tour events
- New Breakdown of Invites
- With the ladder playing a larger role in qualifying paths for Masters Tours, we wanted to take inventory of each of the paths into a Masters Tour. Our goal is to offer approximately 350 invites into each event. Here is the new breakdown for how Masters Tour Invitations will be distributed:
- 48 invites to Grandmasters
- 96 invites to Ladder Finishes
- 120 invites to Masters Tour Qualifiers
- 32 invites to players who finish 7-2 or better in a Masters Tour*
- 30 invites to players from the China Gold Series
- 12 invites to players who earn 5 Top 8 finishes in one qualifying period*
- 12 invites to third-party tournament organisers for their events*
Blizzard has also announced it is reworking tournament prize packs. The new prize pack breakdown is as follows;
|Finish||Prizes||Packs Per Prize Finish|
|Total Packs Given||566|
The changes detailed above are only a summary of the changes being made. Blizzard encourages everyone to review the official rules. Details on the next Masters Tour will be announced soon.