The inaugural season of Hearthstone Grandmasters ended with a bang as Chris "Fenomeno" Tsakopoulos, Kim "Surrender" Jung-soo, and Francisco "PNC" Leimontas punched their ticket to the Global Finals at BlizzCon. Although it was an exciting season, we have certainly learned some things and will be changing certain aspects of the program moving forward. We continue to listen and gather feedback from players worldwide, and we’re excited to share today some of the changes we’ll be implementing for Season 2.
For starters, we are retiring the Specialist format for Grandmasters Season 2 and will be replacing it with best-of-three Conquest featuring a Shield Phase.
How it Works
- The two battling players bring four decks, each from a unique class.
- The match starts with a Shield Phase where both players will choose one of their own decks to “protect” that cannot be banned.
- Each player will then ban one of their opponents’ decks, removing it from the pool.
- Each player then selects which of their eligible decks they would like to play first, then begin their first game of the match.
- After the first game has concluded, the winning deck is removed from the pool before both players pick which of their remaining decks they would like to play next.
- If after the second game one player is 2-0, then the match is over!
- If the score is 1-1, then the winning deck from the second game is removed from the pool and both players will choose their third and final deck to decide the series.
For Masters Qualifiers
We sent out a survey to all players who have participated in a Masters Qualifier (you can find a link to the survey in the #player_announcements channel of the Masters Qualifiers Discord) to help us gather feedback related to that program including the tournament format, schedule, event types, and the frequency of events. We will be using those responses to inform changes to the Masters Qualifiers and the Masters Tour after Season 2 of Grandmasters begins. We want to hear your thoughts!
Quality of Life Changes
We’re mixing up the Divisions in each region for Grandmasters Season 2, swapping the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th place finishers from Season 1 in each region. Beyond that, we’re implementing the following quality of life changes:
- Including the 4th place player from each division in the end-of-season playoffs.
- Changing the semifinals of both Grandmasters playoffs and Masters Tour events to best-of-five.
- Standardizing the deck submission times across all three regions.
- Setting the match schedule to 16 matches each day (instead of 15 Friday, 15 Saturday, 18 Sunday).
You can find more information about these changes on our Rules & Policies page.
We have heard and appreciate the feedback regarding the desire for increased mobility into Hearthstone Grandmasters. With Grandmasters, we wanted to ensure that players and organizations could commit to the program knowing exactly what their chances of relegation were. We did not have relegation for Season 1 and set the maximum relegation to two players per region for Season 2. For Grandmasters in 2020, we will look to change relegation further to increase the maximum number of relegation/promotion spots per season.
We will have details on changes to relegation/promotion, changes to the tournament structure in 2020, and more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, keep it tuned right here to PlayHearthstone.com/esports for our coverage of Masters Tour Seoul!