Fans and players, you better be ready for something big! The ‘world champion’ title and $1 million prize pool will belong to the winning player in the 2016 Hearthstone World Championship! The road to victory is not going to be easy, however. Sixteen extraordinary players from around the world will have to battle long and hard to win the world title, with a series of Ranked play offs, onsite and online major tournaments and Hearthstone cups that help the players to gain points and secure a place in season championships with a potential advantage of winning an extra $100,000! This is the all new Hearthstone Championship Tour 2016.
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Fresh perspective in 2016 – The Championship Tour
Considering the feedbacks from last year’s tournaments, some changes have been made in 2016:
- For Hearthstone World Championship Invitees, more local champions are considered. They will duel in four matches that include 3 season championships and a Regional Last Call Invitational.
- In the 2016 Hearthstone World Championship, playing fair is valued. Even invited players with their spot reserved need to play as open players.
- The prize money is better than ever! The final title will award $1 million and there is an additional $100,000 for the winners of Season Championships in America, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
- Fans will be happy to know that there will be a number of onsite events for them to cheer their favorite teams on.
- Players compete for points in this World Championship, and accumulated points matter. Accumulating points means more chances of joining the battle at any time.
- There is an interesting way to balance the point distribution to ensure fairness in the game. In any given tournament, top pros will be gaining fewer scores whereas the lower placing players will earn more. In Ranked play, the same rules apply for every player with a Legend Rank in an eligible season.
- Another interesting thing about the 2016 World title is that there is a lot of room for event organizers to come up with creative and fair formats for the matches and tournaments. And there will be a lot of improved formatting from one championship seasons to the next.
The first event for earning points in the 2016 Hearthstone Championship Tour begins from:
- Venue: Dreamhack events 2015
The pros can accumulate points encore through Ranked play offs that starts in December.
The Tournament format
As mentioned earlier this season, the format for each of the tournaments is going to be different. Fans can know more about the next tournaments’ formats after every event. However, a ‘ban’ feature will be included in the winter championships with a changed conquest format. For season preliminaries and championships, every player will have to present four decks of unique classes. During the best-of-5 matches, the competitors will be informed by the players about the 4 classes, and the admin will be informed about the opponent’s classes that are going to be banned. With the rest of the three decks, the players will battle in a standard conquest structure.
- The points for the 2016 Hearthstone Championship tour can be accumulated in two ways by the players: The Ranked Play seasons and Blizzard-Sanctioned matches.
- Players can get more points when they perform better.
- In each of the Championship Seasons, 128 of the regional top point earners will receive an invite for the regional season preliminaries.
- Points will start to decay only to start accumulating and decide the lead players for the coming Season Preliminaries.
- For Regional Last Call Invitational that is going to be played just before the Hearthstone Championship, 8 players will be zeroed in based on the performance of the players.
- Any event where the players earn points needs to follow the approved Criteria, and the details and information about such events will be reviewed for acceptance by the Blizzard Esports team.
- Events that earn points will be featured on Playhearthstone.com in the ‘upcoming events’ blog.
Refer to the below information for the eligibility criteria:
|Ranked Play||Hearthstone Cups||Hearthstone Majors||Championships|
|(1st) 15 points||(1st) 3 points||(1st) 15 points||(1st) 30 points|
|(2nd-10th) 12 points||(2nd) 2 points||(2nd) 10 points||(2nd) 20 points|
|(11th-25th) 10 points||(3rd-4th) 1 point||(3rd-4th) 5 points||(3rd-4th) 15 points|
|(26th-50th) 8 points||(5th-8th) 2 points||(5th-8th) 10 points|
|(51st-100th) 5 points||(9th-16th) 3 points|
|(Legend) 1 point||(17th-64th) 2 points|
|(Competed in Prelims) 1 point|
Fireside Gathering matches
- A handful of Blizzard-Sanctioned Hearthstone matches will be conducted at Fireside Gathering events.
- The tavern heroes of the matches will get a spot in region’s Season Preliminaries where they will get to battle the 128 Ranking invitees.
Americas (North America and Latin America) and Europe
- Season Preliminaries that are going to start before the Regional Season Championships will witness 128 top point earners for each region, with the Tavern Hero representatives of each host Fireside Gathering.
- Fans may be thrilled to know that, in a double elimination format, the preliminaries will take place on many Fireside Gathering onsite locations at the same time.
- Players are free to play in any location, however, each of the pros will be put against their rivals based on seeding no matter from where the players are playing.
- In the season prelims, 8 toppers will get their travel costs covered, and all the players should participate in these live events to take part in the tournament.
The regions that are covered under Asia-Pacific are as follows:
- Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
- Each of the five regions will feature a regional qualifier.
- For the winners of the local events in Korea and Taiwan, an extra seed will be given.
- Any player that earns the highest points in Asia-Pacific will be awarded with the 8th
More information on the local prelims can be found on the localized blog.
- Top 8 players from the Region’s Season Preliminaries will contest for the $100,000 prize money.
- The players will be put in two groups of four each to fight in a Dual-Tournament group stage.
- 2 of the top players from each group will go ahead to clash in a four-player-single-elimination bracket to decide Region’s the Season Champion.
- In season championships and last call invitational, the travel costs are taken care of.
- 3 players from each region will gain a direct entry into the worlds.
- 8 of the regional toppers will fight in their region’s Last Call Invitational to gain a place in the finals and finally to win the $1 million prize pool.
- Hearthstone World Championship 2016 Tournament Overview
For any player participating in Season Championship, Last Call Invitational, Season Prelims or Fireside Gathering Matches, it is important to be a resident of the country within their home regions. All the participants will have to verify the proof of residency along with their Battle.net account.
Some interesting factors of the 2016 Hearthstone Championship Tour
- There are no deadlines for majors or cups for point eligibility.
- Not less than 32 participants must fight a tournament for the events to get points
- Though organizers can reserve spots for some players, there would be no unfair byes.
- There is a minimum player registration cap of at least 128 players even when the organizer reserves spots.
- Any player from the published regions can participate. When a player from a particular region gets an invite to play in the play offs, the rest of the players from his region can be permitted to play in an open signup part of the event.
- Organizers are advised to structure the tournament format in an unbiased way. To get points, formats need to be in a pre-approved form. Any variations will be checked by the reviewers (firstname.lastname@example.org). The format could have any of these: Last Hero standing, best-of-5, Conquest or 4 Hero 1 ban conquest.
- Tournament formats could have any of these: Group play, Single/Double elimination, Swiss, Round-Robin and combinations of the above rounds.
- Events should steer clear of any advertisement or logos associated with profanity, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling sites or anything that affects the reputations of Blizzard’s business.
- The event organizer needs to use battle tags with bracket system wherein the results can be seen by blizzard.
- Fans who want to know about China’s inclusion to play in the tournament can check the official Hearthstone website when the information is made available.
- If a player is in a foreign country, s/he can compete based on his Battle.net account’s country of residence.
- Only the newly introduced Standard Format will be played during the HS Championship Tour – read more about the new Hearthstone formats in 2016
About the Author: Amna El Tawil is a news reporter and a technology blogger. For the past five years, she has worked for major publications and TV networks in the Middle East, covering one of region’s hotspots. When Amna is not chasing after the truth amidst gas canisters, she can be found cheering her favorite football team on, or unwinding with some online gaming.