If you are in the mood for some old school Hearthstone vibes with a good dose of nostalgia thrown in, we've got a somewhat unexpected esports event happening this Monday and Tuesday (as of right now). And there are several factors that make it stand out.
First off, it's not being organized by Blizzard per se, and it is limited to North America players only. The format is that of an Invitational of sorts, so don't necessarily expect the highest competitive quality (although there is a number of renowned card slingers involved who know how to play at the top level). As noted above, the tournament is kicking off the week rather than taking place over the weekend, which is unusual enough (and for some people might have to mean catching VODs later over a live broadcast). Finally, it's all going to be about that Hearthstone Classic mode - remember, it's been a thing for half a year now? Without that Demon Hunter class, very fast pace, large mana discounts, and several other aspects of the game we are quite used to nowadays.
Who Is Behind It?
It's likely many people haven't heard about the Global Esports Federation or its Global Esports Games project before, so a short introduction might be in order. Let's just say it's all a very ambitious coalition of brands, developers, publishers, and strategic partners in service of a worldwide esports movement. The mission statement is a proud one, and there are a lot more details to be found on their respective sites. Including further plans that span various game communities.
For this particular Hearthstone event, they are partnering with FACEIT platform:
The Global Esports Federation and FACEIT, the world’s leading competitive online gaming platform and tournament organizer, are excited to reveal the full talent line-up and format for the first event on the Global Esports Tour (GET) in Los Angeles, the home of one of FACEIT’s headquarters. The tournament will take place on Monday and Tuesday, September 27 & 28, 2021 and will be played on Hearthstone® Classic Mode, in a new school vs. old school head-to-head competition.
If collecting Hearthstone packs is your thing, we are afraid there aren't any to be had simply for tuning in to the broadcast. It's mostly for one's own interest and pleasure; especially if you are more or less an avid old school fan. If you've been following the game from the early years, this trip to the past should offer some warm fuzzy feelings. And if you consider yourself to still be relatively new, it could be interesting to hang out with the "OG" crowd.
The Teams and Players
For Hearthstone's faithful, most (if not all) of these names should come across as very familiar indeed - even if some of them aren't that active within the scene anymore. It looks like reliving past Classic glories has been a tempting enough proposition to bring them back for a guest spot:
Four teams consisting of North America’s finest players have been invited to compete in a best of seven, double elimination conquest format. Each team will be made up of three players. Teams will bring six decks, each from a unique class.
The teams and players confirmed are as follows:
Best of 7 is definitely not something we see much of nowadays, so it's safe to say the sets might be taking a while to play out. Another curious aspect of this particular setup is that we might be able to listen in on the players as they consult their teammates while figuring out certain tricky turns.
Joining the talent line-up and providing their expert commentary and analysis will be pro gamer and game designer turned broadcaster, Brian Kibler, strategy game expert Nathan ‘Admirable’ Zamora, and Cloud9 player Cong “StrifeCro” Shu.
It's been a longer while since we've had a chance to see and listen to Admirable as far as Hearthstone broadcasts are concerned. Brian Kibler is still occasionally involved as a host for official showcases, but we rarely get to see him behind the casting desk anymore. For any fans of either of these individuals, it's quite a rare treat.
StrifeCro, on the other hand, has been a very renowned competitor back in the day (and one of the initial Grandmasters). We can expect some valuable insights.
It's a Rare Live Event
Over the past couple years, we've all become used to seeing various esports events taking place in the digital realm, out of necessity and for the safety of everyone involved. So in a way this is another callback to what at times feels like a distant past - an actual studio and everything that brings with it (it's not a proper Hearthstone broadcast without some technical difficulties). No large audience or anything of the like, however, for obvious reasons. If you've missed this kind of 'real world' experience, it might be refreshing to be able to relive it all again; if only for a short while.
While this is meant to be a Classic Hearthstone experience, it doesn't mean we are going to see the same exact strategies and decks as all those years ago when the game was brand new. Given some of the modern sensibilities and experiences, there's been a few curious developments within the format since. Still, we should never underestimate a proper Chillwind Yeti on curve.
The action should be happening as we speak: the broadcast was set to kick off on Monday, September 27, 2021, at 10am PT (7 pm CET, 1 pm EST), with the Grand Final taking place at 4pm PT on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. If you'd like to follow along or catch relevant VODs after the fact, just click on any of the links below.
Global Esports Federation Twitch Channel
Global Esports Federation YouTube Channel
FACEIT Twitch Channel
- FACEIT YouTube Channel
What do you think, does this seem like a fun idea? Have you missed that Classic Hearthstone experience, including some of these old school players and casters? Do you plan to tune in now or later to remember when Big Game Hunter was a thing to be feared?