TL;DR 2016 Hearthstone Championship Tour

With the first month of ranked ladder points down, the 2016 Hearthstone season is underway! For this season, Blizzard’s Hearthstone Team has come up with a new and updated format for how the Hearthstone Championship will play out. With 3 Season Championships, each boasting $100,000 prize pools, there seems to be more motivation than ever to grind ranked ladder and participate in every open cup possible.

Recently, a tweet came across my timeline highlighting this rule:

The rule-set has since been edited to be underlined, but prior to that, it was missed by quite a few players due to it being under the header it was under. To be fair, all players serious about competing should have read these rules thoroughly , overlooking a rule is not something that should be used to criticize Blizzard or be used as an excuse. However, I can understand why it was missed by many and want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Thus, I have decided to do a detailed TL;DR of the rules in hopes that something small like this does not get in the way of someone achieving their Hearthstone dreams.

Note: I will mainly be focusing on Americas (North America and Latin America) and Europe, sorry to the Asia-Pacific friends! They have localized blogs that have all the info you need!

2016 HWC Overview

To qualify for the Regional Championship, you must either win a Seasonal Championship or qualify through that region’s Last Call Invitational. Both of these tournaments’ participants will have travel expenses covered.

Seasonal Championships

One of the most distinctive differences in this year’s format is the introduction of Seasonal Championships. Last year, players fought for qualifying via their cumulative points earned from ranked ladder and open cups or major tournaments. This year however, Blizzard has decided to have 3 separate Seasonal Championships, with $100,000 prize pools each, to determine who advances to the Americas Regional Qualifier.

The following image shows all the different ways to earn points and how many points are awarded for that event:

For each Championship Season, the top 128 point earners of the region are invited to participate in the Season Preliminary Tournament. After each Season Preliminary, points will decay but can be earned again to determine the players for the next season. Select Blizzard-sanctioned Fireside Gathering winners (Tavern Heroes) will participate in addition to the top 128 point-earners of that season.

Season Preliminaries will be double-elimination and you are required to played at physical, on-site locations. There will be multiple Fireside Gatherings you can choose to attend, and since your opponent will be determined via seeding, whichever location you decide to play at will not affect your matches. The top 8 point earners of the season will have their travel expenses covered.

Winter Championship

  • 4 Decks 1 Ban, Best-of-5, Conquest Format*
  • 2 Groups, 4 players each in a dual-tournament group stage. Top 2 from each group advance to a 4-man single elimination bracket. (Same format as the Regional Championships of 2015)
  • Players must submit 4 decks for the Winter Preliminary and then again for the Winter Championship
  • Prior to the start of your match, each player will declare their 4 classes to their opponent, then inform the admin which class they want banned.

*Please note that the Spring Championship may not be in the same format.

Last Call Invitational

The Last Call Invitational will take place right before the Hearthstone World Championship and consist of the 8 players that have accumulated the most points over the entire year. The winner of the LCI will join the 3 Season Champions in the Hearthstone World Championships.

Miscellaneous Information

  • In order to compete in a Season Championship, Last Call Invitational, Season Preliminaries, or Fireside Gathering Tournament, all participants must be a resident of a country within the home regions for each event.
  • Players are only eligible to earn points once each week (Monday to Sunday) from their highest points-earning event. Meaning, if you win points from 2 different open cups within the same week, one awarding 3 points and the other 2, you can only earn 3 points that week.
  • Players can be invited to Hearthstone Majors but cannot be given unfair byes. They can only be seeded into the same round that other openly registered players are placed into.
  • If you have 2 different BattleTags, you can only compete with one account and only the points earned from that account will count.
  • You can participate in other regions Ranked Play but you will only earn the points from the best ranking in any of the region played. Example: Tatl plays on the Australian server and North American server, but he resides in Australia, thus he can only participate in the Australia-New Zealand Region tournaments. For January, he finished rank 5 in North America and rank 90 in Australia. This means that for January, he will earn the points from his rank 5 finish only, none from his rank 90 finish, and those rank 5 points will go towards the Australia/New Zealand server.
  • Onsite events will provide players with accounts that will include all currently available cards.

And with that, I’ve covered all the basics that a player needs to know for the upcoming seasons. Personally, I’m very excited about the way Blizzard has changed things up from last year and I look forward to seeing how they play out.

Good luck to everyone this year, I’ll be rooting for you ᕕ༼✿•̀︿•́༽ᕗ