Dreamhack Atlanta 2017 — Hearthstone Grand Prix

Welcome to Dreamhack Atlanta!

I attended the 1st Dreamhack Atlanta, an event that I really hope becomes an annual event. I had a great time and met some great people. I got to watch some high level Hearthstone live.

Dreamhack calls itself the World’s Largest Digital Festival. When I hear Dreamhack, I think of it as a gamer convention and I typically associate it with Hearthstone because it’s the only game featured at the events that I am interested in. At the Dreamhack events, one of the many tournaments included is the Hearthstone Grand Prix. Well, Hearthstone is really just a small part of what Dreamhack is. I didn’t realize this until this past weekend.

For the 1st time, Atlanta was the host of a Dreamhack and since Atlanta is just a 3.5 to 4 hour drive for me, I wasn’t going to miss the chance to attend. I cleared my schedule Friday July 21st through Sunday July 23rd and made my way to Atlanta, a city I lived in until 1980.

Dreamhack Atlanta

DreamHack Atlanta is DreamHack’s third visit into America, hosted at the Georgia World Congress Center. This venue is in the heart of the city and features connected hotel, businesses, and an incredible amount of space for future DHATL shows to expand on.
DreamHack is a meeting place for gamers, and the primary content is always centered around the massive LAN party. Gamers are able to bring their own gaming rigs along their friends to set up for gaming nonstop for 3 days. Alongside this visitors will be able to check out world class esport tournaments happening over the weekend, as well as a huge variety of other activities including checking out the DreamExpo, Cosplay, picking up some DreamHack merchandise and organizing among community whatever else they may want to do!

Dreamhack Atlanta Tournaments

Dreamhack Atlanta hosted a ton of tournaments, big and small. The featured tournaments were for H1Z1 ($250k prize pool), Halo Championship Series ($200K), Dreamleague, a DOTA tourney ($175k), Dreamhack Open, a CS:GO tourney ($100k), Dreamhack Championship, a Rocket League tourney ($50k), Dreamhack Grand Prix, the Hearthstone tournament I attended for ($25k), Dreamhack Smash, Streetfighter, Injustice 2, and Tekken 7. There were other open events, side events, LAN tourneys, and even tabletop gaming tournaments. These were going on all 3 days simultaneously. It was quite crazy. Of course, I was only interested in Hearthstone and there was the Grand Prix and a $1500 side event. I participated in the side event.

LAN Party

The event was open 24 hours for people with a BYOC badge for a huge LAN party. I bought a BYOC badge, but I was rarely at my table. I just got the ticket to be able to come and go as I pleased. I ended up staying on site until 1am Friday night, but left by 10pm on Saturday. There were people who played day and night though, crazy. Some of the young people in my area actually slept of the floor of the BYOC area.

Dreamhack Grand Prix

The reason I attended Dreamhack Atlanta was for the Hearthstone Grand Prix. Here’s a little info about the Dreamhack Grand Prix.

Hearthstone has gathered over 50 million players since launching in 2014, and DreamHack was among the first major third-party organizers to host live tournaments for the game. 2016 was a big year, with more than 800 players competing in the DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix circuit, and over $100,000 USD prize money up for grabs. The circuit garnered over 7 million live views online, and has become one of the most prestigious tournaments for competitive Hearthstone players to win.
In 2017, DreamHack will continue to expand the DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix circuit, hosting tournaments at more events than ever. The DreamHack Hearthstone Grand Prix will be featured at seven DreamHack events — each stop hosting a major open Swiss tournament for everyone willing to compete, before the 16 top players move onto a single-elimination stage. There will be a minimum of 200 competitor slots per tournament, each with a total prize pool of $25,000. As if that wasn’t enough, each stop will also feature side events with special prizes and a $1,500 prize pool at stake for players who don’t make it through the grueling Swiss stages of the main tournament. In total, $185,500 will be awarded to competitive Hearthstone players at DreamHack events throughout the year!

There are several reasons I went to Dreamhack Atlanta!

  1. To watch great Hearthstone tournament play.
  2. To meet the hosts from the Coin Concede, Hero Power, and Hearthcoach podcasts I listen to.
  3. To meet fellow listeners of the podcasts above.
  4. To compete in the Hearthstone side event.
  5. Finally, to have a chance to meet some of the pro Hearthstone players I enjoy watching on Twitch.

I accomplished all of these goals and more!

Watching some games

1st Goal. Watch great Hearthstone tournament play. Here’s the full player list, but it was not completely accurate. I could have done this at home, but it was really cool being able to be there for sure. The Hearthstone Grand Prix was won by DrJikininki. I am a fan of Ant and was hoping he would have made it to the top 16, but he didn’t make it out of swiss unfortunately. I really wish VLPS would have attended, but he didn’t. VLPS was one of the guys I used to watch everyday back in 2015 and I still catch him streaming today. Obviously, I was really hoping that Appa would have made it further in the tourney, but he was eliminated early too. Some of my other favorites, Muzzy, Shoop, and TerranceM didn’t make it into the top 16 either which was disappointing, but it still turned out to be a great tourney. I was happy that Chakki, JustSaiyan, and Naiman made it to the elimination rounds.

[gallery link=”file” size=”publisher-sm” ids=”41921,41922,41925"]

2nd Goal. Meet the hosts. I met Cora and Appa, who are hosts for my favorite podcast, Coin Concede. I met and hung out with Avanties, Virsica, and Zerotio from the Hero Power podcast. Cora is one of the Casters for Hearthstone tournaments as well, so it was a bonus meeting for me. She is one of my favorite casters right now. I also got to meet Dan and Frid from Hearthcoach podcast.

ApexPredator

The 3rd goal of meeting fellow listeners of the podcast communities I am a part of was great as well. Apexpredator and BlueSpartan are Coin Concede discord regulars and it was great meeting them as well. I also met YellowDart, who lives in Atltanta and also completed in the Grand Prix. YellowDart is the creator of a discord that some of us used leading up to Dreamhack Atlanta to discuss the event.

4th Goal. Play in the side event. I didn’t expect to do well and I didn’t. I lost all 3 matches, but I had fun and won at least one game in each match. It was more about saying I did it than winning. Some of the cool people I met this weekend did well and it was won by a pro that I enjoyed hanging out with during the event, RadamD. 5 of the top 8 in the side event were people I hung out with at some point during the weekend, RadamD (Pro), Teebs (Pro), Luker (Pro), Blake Hall, and Teroz (Swedish Pro). I was really happy to see those guys do well after getting to know them some. Blake Hall was a local player from the Atlanta area.

[gallery size=”publisher-sm” bgs_gallery_image_size=”small” link=”file” ids=”41931,41932,41933,41934,41935,41936,41937,41938,41940"]

The 5th goal was also accomplished. I was able to snap some photos of some of the big name pros. I was able to chat with a few, even though I feel as if I annoyed a couple of them. Finally, the most important thing I had to do…give Ant a hug. Ant wanted hugs. Ant got hugs. He told everyone on stream that if we were in Atlanta, to come give him a hug. I got some great insight from a few of the pros like RadamD, Luker, Teebs, Naiman, Teroz, and even JustSaiyan.

I was also able to get backstage for a few minutes, escorted by Falcone, one of the other casters from the other side of the pond. It was great meeting Cora, Falcone, and Lorinda. They do a great job casting all these Hearthstone events.

DreamExpo

In addition to all the other events going on at Dreamhack Atlanta, there was also an Expo with over 20 booths with a variety of game related products or services. Some of the booths I spent time (and even money) at were the Monster Energy, Cougar Gaming, SCUF Gaming, HyperX, Hi-Rez, and Astro Gaming booths.

Monster Energy had a large lounge area where they were giving away energy drinks all weekend. The only drawback was that you had to stay in the lounge while consuming the drink, unless you were staff or press. I fell in love with an orange, sugar-free variety that tastes just like Mountain Dew Kickstart orange.

My Corsair gaming headset stopped working on Friday so I wanted to buy a new one and I narrowed it down between HyperX, Cougar, and Astro. I ultimately decided on the HyperX’s Cloud Silver. In fact, I bought an entirely new setup from HyperX at a really good price. I got their mouse, keyboard, headset, and mouse pad. The Keyboard is the Alloy Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Cherry red switches that, according to Amazon, isn’t even available yet. I am very happy with my purchase.

I also spent some money at the SKUF gaming booth. SKUF makes high-end, very expensive, controllers for Xbox and PS4. My wife asked me to bring back something for my son, Brett. He’s a 15-year-old, avid console gamer and he has a couple of SKUF controllers for his Xbox One already. I couldn’t find anything but free hats and stuff for him so I decided to get him a Luminosity SKUF Impact controller for his PS4. He loves it already.

It wasn’t advertised, but Hi-Rez had a booth too. They weren’t there much, but I did catch a couple of people there twice. I was hoping to run into Adanas, the PR guy I worked with when I ran SmiteTactics.info for a short time, but he was home sick. I did run into a couple Hi-Rez employees in the lobby, including Scott Lussier, the lead designer for Smite Tactics (now called Hand of the Gods). He never really interacted with me when I ran the site, so I doubt he remembered me or my site. I liked the game, but really didn’t have time to play more than Hearthstone and Gwent so I figured I’d come back and give it a try again in the future.

Cosplay

There were quite a few people walking around in costumes, but not as many as I expected to see. I was playing in a tournament when the main stage Cosplay awards were going on so I didn’t really get to see them all. I was disappointed that I missed it. I can’t even find any photos of videos about Dreamhack Atlanta’s Cosplay competition.

Overall Impressions

Overall the event seemed to be run well. Security seemed good and I didn’t see any real issues.

The only real negative from Dreakhack Atlanta was on Friday. I planned to stream some laddering in between Grand Prix matches, but the internet for the entire venue was down for what seemed like forever. The BYOC area was out for 3–4 hours. This was the only real-time I planned to spend at my BYOC table. I was unable to do any of this on Friday. After we finally got internet back in the BYOC area, the speeds at my table were horrible. Speedtest.net reported that I was only getting 4MB down. Others around me seemed to be playing their FPS games OK though. Hearthstone was choppy for me.

I was a little disappointed with the Hearthstone turnout. I heard theories that Blizzard’s presence at Comic Con San Diego had something to do with that. It seems that there was a Frozen Throne party that occurred at this event.

I met all the goals that I planned to accomplish at the event. I met a lot of great people. I had a blast watching Hearthstone.It was a fun weekend.

I hope this event become an annual event in Atlanta. I had a blast overall.

What is Dreamhack?

DreamHack is the world’s largest digital festival and holds the official world record as world’s largest LAN party in the Guinness Book of Records. During 2009 DreamHack reached over 200.000 unique visitors with our live activities around the World. DreamHack holds several festivals each year, BYOC Qualifiers and expos. The Spring Season ends with the Season Finals at DreamHack Summer and the Fall Season ends with DreamHack Winter. The major festivals take place during 4 days, 24–7. All of DreamHack’s festivals are alcohol and drug free and open to all ages.
DreamHack is focused on everything you can do with computers, Internet and digital entertainment and culture. DreamHack is a lot of gaming, communication, programming, designing, music composing and whatever you can imagine! We organize a lot of large tournaments and compos and also a great Expo with company’s like ASUS, Telia, Intel, Blizzard and many of the Swedish universities to name a few.
Like on all festivals we also offers a great selection of food end beverages, many restaurants and kiosks are open 24/7. On top of that there is several of hundreds hours of live entertainment on our stages ranging from music to magic and much much more.
DreamHack is filled with activities and surprises and friends around the clock!
The LAN
DreamHack is the undisputed world largest LAN and at our last Guinness world record there was 10 455 connected computers to our network. The blazing fast Internet connection is provided from our strategic partner Telia who will deliver at least 20 Gbit for DreamHack Winter 2010.
DreamExpo
In our DreamExpo you will find many of the largest an most innovative company’s showing of the latest hardware, gaming gear, games and gadgets often with great fun and activities like shoot outs, giveaways an mush more. Meet developers, pro gamers, politicians, teachers and often even celebrities. All in the DreamExpo in hall B.
Esport
DreamHack arranges a lot of Esport tournaments for all audiences ranging from casual and fun to real hard core attracting professional players. All major genres like Team FPS, Duel FPS, Racing, Fighting, Sports, Music and strategic games are featured. Most of the tournaments are open for everybody and often starts in the BYOC area then moves on to a tournament area. The final for the main games is played in front of thousand of people on the main stage or DreamArena Extreme.
Many of our partners, exhibitors and community friends arrange side tournaments with great prizes.
DreamStore
DreamStore is DreamHacks festival store organized together with Webhallen with great offers on hardware, software, games, gadgets and game gear. The official DH T-Shirt is a must buy! All major brands are represented. Its not uncommon that product launches are made during our big festivals at Elmia in Jönköping.
Kreativ
DreamHack Kreativ is the offspring to the Scene and offers a wide range of compos for all interested in being creative with computers, video camera, photo camera, and more. The great DreamHack Audience is the judge of the compitition. Be sure to check out Kreativ and turn in your work in time!
Performances
During the festival we produce several of hundreds of live entertainment on our many stages. DreamArena offers the worlds best esport and lectures from game developers, politicians and other Internet or media personalities. The main stage offers live music, crazy competitions and also a lot of content from our partners. Most of the content is live streamed by us or members of the media.
A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.