Tune in to this weekend's Hearthstone World Championship! There's 2 free card packs up for grabs!
The much anticipated details for Hearthstone's 2022 esports season have been announced and we've got a great new year coming to competitive Hearthstone.
- Most tournaments will be held online-only in 2022.
- World Championship will feature 16 players instead of 8.
- 4 from Grandmasters (3 + 1 from Last Call).
- 4 from China Gold Series.
- 8 from Masters Tour season championships.
- Ladder will be a larger focus, allowing more players to qualify for each Masters Tour event (150 per tour).
- There will be 6 Masters Tour events.
- First 3 feed into "Masters Summer Championship".
- Last 3 feed into "Masters Fall Championship".
- Each championship features the top 16 players from their respective geographic Masters Tours.
- The Master Championship events may take place in-person.
- Hearthstone Grandmasters has been cancelled. (Details below)
- Battlegrounds gets its own competitive program - Lobby Legends.
- The events are global instead of regional.
- Day 1 is group play, with players receiving points each match based on standings.
- Top players from day 1 move on to the day 2 playoffs.
- More details to follow in the coming months.
- The total prizing for 2022 is 3 Million US Dollars.
Hearthstone Grandmasters Cancelled, Final Events in 2022
Hearthstone Grandmasters, introduced in 2019 and the subject of intense scrutiny from the competitive Hearthstone community, will breathe its last breath in early 2022. Blizzard has decided to can the program after two smaller seasons of Grandmasters as they have determined through community feedback that it no longer aligns with their goals. Blizzard plans to instead focus on the wider esports ecosystem for Hearthstone, which is a positive move to get more players involved - maybe we'll even see fewer players quit.
We will have two final seasons of Hearthstone Grandmasters next year, both using a 4 week format instead of the usual 8 weeks, and the second season will have a global region instead of splitting the regions apart into 3 distinct competitions.
- Grandmasters 2022 will seed 4 players into the 2022 Hearthstone World Championship.
- The winners of each regional Grandmasters event in Season 1 will go to the World Championship.
- Season 1 will see play in February and March next year.
- Season 2 will take the top 4 players from each region in Season 1 alongside the top 4 players by points from the last 3 Masters Tour 2021 events.
- Season 2 will have a single region format (global) so there will only be 16 players.
- The winner of Season 2 goes to the World Championship.
Once Season 1 and 2 have concluded, Grandmasters will have effectively been sunset and no longer be a focus of competitive Hearthstone.
Here's the full release from Blizzard.
As we enter 2022, the Hearthstone Esports team is reexamining how to best nurture the long-term sustainability of competitive Hearthstone and how best to support this incredible, and global, community. From an expanded World Championship to new seasonal Masters Tour tournaments, the sunsetting of Grandmasters, and the introduction of monthly Battlegrounds events, Hearthstone Esports is evolving, and we can’t wait to share the new ecosystem with you!
With so much going on or changing in 2022, here is a quick breakdown of what you can expect before jumping into the full announcement:
- 2022 World Championship will feature 16 players: four from Grandmasters, four from China, and eight from Masters Tours.
- Six Masters Tours culminating in two new Masters Seasonal Championships.
- Grandmasters final year, with a four-week season 1 that will feed into a reduced 16 player final season.
- Battlegrounds: Lobby Legends!
A key goal for this year is to expand opportunities for players to reach the World Championship. One piece of feedback we have heard from the community is players felt reaching the culminating tournament had become nearly unattainable, even for the best players. Many of the changes coming in 2022 feed directly into resolving this issue.
Toward this end, we are expanding to 16 players that will face off for their shot to join the Hall of Champions and the lion’s share of the $500,000 (USD) prize pool. Grandmasters will also no longer be the sole arbiter of invites. Throughout the year, four Grandmasters will advance to the World Championship, along with another four players from China, and the final eight spots will go to the best players across the Masters Tour through Season Championship events. Let’s go in-depth on how Grandmasters and the Masters Tour fit within this new World Championship structure!
Masters Tours & Masters Seasonal Championships
As the core competitive element to the esports scene, we are leveling up the stakes for the 2022 Masters Tour. To qualify for a Masters Tour, we have adjusted how invites are earned: Qualifiers in 2022 are being reduced to 60 per Masters Tour and played across three weekends for each Masters Tour. Ladder invites are expanding to 150 per Masters Tour. With ladder being a more convenient way to participate in Hearthstone Esports for many players, we believe this change will better serve competitors’ time commitment to the scene.
All six Masters Tours qualify toward one of two Seasonal Championships, with the first three tournaments feeding into the Masters Summer Championship and the final three feeding into the Masters Fall Championship. Each event will feature the top 16 players from their respective Masters Tours: the winner of each tournament and the top 13 with the most match wins across all three events. Players will be competing for their share of a $50,000 prize pool per event as well as invites to the World Championship, with the top four players at each Seasonal Championship advancing on. Players will be able to track their progress on the updated Masters Tour Points page.
The first Masters Tour of 2022 will take place February 18 – 20! We’ll share more details, including Qualifier, Ladder, and broadcast schedule for the remaining five Masters Tours, throughout 2022. For now, here are some of the ways you can snag an invite to the first Masters Tour of the year:
- Win one of 60 online Masters Qualifiers between January 7 and January 23 on ⦁ Battlefy.
- Have a Top 50-win rate over 10 Qualifiers without winning.
- Top 32 finishers at Masters Tour Undercity that don’t already have an invite.
- Place Top 50 Legend on the in-game Ladder in January within Americas, Asia-Pacific, or Europe ⦁ (see official Masters Qualifiers rules for details).
- Be a Hearthstone Grandmaster.
All 2022 Masters Tours will be held as online-only tournaments. We know how disappointed all our players are at not being able to experience these tournaments together in one place, and the entire Hearthstone Esports team shares that feeling. While the Masters Tours are going to remain online for now, we are targeting an in-person event for both the Masters Fall Championship and World Championship. Over the coming months we will have more news on the viability of these onsite events, and whatever we decide will be with the sole intention of ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of everyone involved.
Hearthstone Grandmasters was originally envisioned as the pinnacle of Hearthstone Esports. Over the last two years, we have listened to a lot of feedback from viewers, players of all levels, and the Grandmasters themselves. As we look toward the future of competitive Hearthstone, we have concluded that Grandmasters does not align with our goals for the program. Despite improving the program through numerous changes over the years, we have decided to sunset Grandmasters and devote greater focus on the wider ecosystem. Grandmasters will conclude with two final seasons in 2022.
Season 1, running this February and March, will consist of all 48 Grandmasters competing in a truncated four-week season. Similar to all previous seasons, the winner of each region will advance to the 2022 World Championship. Instead of relegating a few players while the rest advance to another season, only the top four from each region will advance to Season 2.
Season 2, Grandmasters: Last Call, will feature the top four of each Season 1 region, joined by the top four players by Masters Tour Points from the last three Masters Tours of 2021 and the first three of 2022. This group will form a singular 16-player global region. The final four-week season will feature high-stakes matches, with the winner advancing to the 2022 World Championship.
We’ll have more information on the specific format for Season 1 in February!
Distinct from the competitive constructed ecosystem, we are thrilled to introduce the new Battlegrounds: Lobby Legends! Throughout 2022, players will be able to compete for a share of a $500,000 (USD) prize pool spread across multiple one-off events. Lobby Legends is an opportunity for us to fully explore what works best for a new Battlegrounds program, and we are excited to find new ways to have fun with our broadcasts over the next year.
Each Lobby Legends will be a global event, featuring top Ladder players from Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and China. Day 1 will feature group play, with players receiving points each match based on final standing. The top players from each group will advance to a second-day playoff.
We’ll have details on specific events dates and qualifying schedules in the coming months!
Hearthstone esports should be a place where players can come together to bond over this game that we all love, and to celebrate each other’s passion and skill. Our intention with the 2022 changes is to better foster that spirit of community that drew so many of us to Hearthstone in the first place. We are excited to start the new year off with these changes, and hope you are as well! Please let us know your thoughts, feedback, and questions on Twitter #HSE2022. Together, we will have a fantastic year of competitive Hearthstone!