Hearthstone’s HCT circuit has been growing steadily for five years now. From the humble beginnings in 2014 and the first world champion in James “Firebat” Kostesich, Blizzard’s card game has reached the point of million-dollar prize pools. In 2019, the company has even bigger plans.
More than $4 million in prize pools will be on the line for Hearthstone next year. This brings not only an increase of $1.2 compared to last year’s winnings, but also an improved league system moving forward.
HCT 2019 will feature a tiered format with well-defined ladder of ascension. Players will start at the online, region-unlocked qualifiers. Starting in spring, these open tournaments will choose the best players to advance to the next stage: the live global tournaments. There will be three such invitationals throughout the year, each with $250,000 prize pool. High placement there then qualifiers the player to the final stage: Premier Play.
The Premier Hearthstone competition will feature a “seasonal round-robin online competition, split into regional divisions”. More details on how it will all function and be tied together are to come soon, Blizzard say.
Perhaps an equally big change is the retiring of the Conquest format. Introduced in 2015, Conquest was designed to bring diversity to Hearthstone matches. As opposed to the more traditional Last Hero Standing, Conquest required a player to win with each of his decks once. The discussion whether Conquest’s diversity was really a healthy one and whether Last Hero Standing’s winning-deck-stays formula was better has been an ongoing one in the community. For better or worse, though, Conquest is now gone, to be replaced by a new, yet to be revealed format.
There is still a date missing for the closing event of HCT 2018, however. What we know is that it will be in spring time and will once again feature $1 million up for grabs.