After 3 years, Hearthstone says goodbye to Grandmasters. Why does the program not align with Hearthstone goals, and what to expect for 2022?

Hearthstone Grandmasters will come to an end in 2022. The program started in 2019 with the idea to create a highly engaged competitive system. Despite the many format changes and improvements, the Hearthstone Esports team decided to sunset Grandmasters in 2022. Esports.gg talked with Abar, Hearthstone Esports Lead, to bring you the reasons behind the change and how the transition will be.

The end of Hearthstone Grandmasters

During the Hearthstone World Championship, the Esports team announced the 2022 plans for the competitive scene. Among them, one of the most relevant is the end of Hearthstone Grandmasters by the end of next year.

EsportsGG had an exclusive interview with Alex “Abar” Barhorst, Hearthstone Esports Product Manager, and asked about the reasons behind this change. With the idea of creating as many possible opportunities for players wanting to compete, Abar reflects on Hearthstone Grandmasters:

“We had a lot of fun over the years with Grandmasters. (…) In many ways is sad to see it go, but at the same time, I’m really excited about what I think our new system has in store. More opportunities for more players to be able to participate and feel rewarded meaningfully for their participation in Hearthstone Esports.”

Abar to Esports.gg about the sunset of Hearthstone Grandmasters

Much of the critiques from the community were, precisely, that Hearthstone Grandmaster was an elitist system. With only four promotion spots on the line per region, many competitive players felt left out and simply abandoned the game. Abar, who joined the Hearthstone Esports team only six months ago, seems to have listened to all that feedback. Now he is putting wheels in motion to address the long-dated problems.

How will Hearthstone Grandmasters fade out?

Hearthstone Grandmasters won’t be gone from one day to another. In 2022 there will be a transition in which the program will still have two seasons, but with reduced competition. Even though Grandmasters doesn’t align with Heathstone Esports’ goals for the future, taking it down all at once would have left many players who invested much of their time in promoting to GM hopeless.

Addressing one of the main problems Grandmaster players complained about, the burn-out, the prime Hearthstone league will feature four-week long seasons. This massive change halves the competition length. Season 1 will run during February and March and will still feature 48 Grandmasters. Like in previous years, the 48 players will be competing divided into three regions for a World Championship spot each.

Despite the similarities to previous seasons, the first Grandmaster season of 2022 will see a massive relegation. Only the top 4 competitors from each region will advance to play another season. The final season will be Grandmasters: Last Call and will feature the top 4 players of each region during Season 1. The top four players with the most Masters Tour Points in the last six major events will complete the league.

Hearthstone Grandmasters' last year
Hearthstone Grandmasters’ last year

Contrary to what we are used to, Grandmasters: Last Call will not have any regional division. This last Grandmasters season will also be four-week long, and it will grant only one spot to the 2022 Hearthstone World Championship. Finally, the dream of seeing which region is the best will be fulfilled.

The official announcement didn’t reveal any details about the competition format yet. It seems we will need to wait until February for the specifics of the last year of Hearthstone Grandmasters.

Hearthstone Esports 2022 Plans: Extended World Championship & Battlegrounds

In addition to the sunset of Grandmasters, the Hearthstone Esports team announced that the new competitive ecosystem will feature an extended 16-player World Championship for 2022. Moreover, there will be some major changes in the road to Worlds. Masters Tour will grant 8 World Championship spots through Seasonal Championships. If you want to learn more about it, make sure to check our detailed article on the plan for Hearthstone Esports 2022.

Last but definitely not least, Battlegrounds is finally becoming a Hearthstone Esports. After much success in invitational events, the Battleground community will now be a part of the competitive ecosystem with $500.000 in prizes for 2022. If you are a fan of the auto battler, we have prepared a guide for you about this Battlegrounds Lobby Legends huge news.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg as we cover the 2021 Hearthstone World Championship, bringing you the latest news and updates. See you next time, in the tavern.

Manuel

Manuel "Rane" Delgado

Writer of the Month: August | Twitter: @RaneTDF

Manuel “Rane” Delgado is an experienced Hearthstone caster, content creator, and tournament organizer from Argentina. He started his career on Esports casting his own tournaments, now he currently casts the Hearthstone Esports circuit for the LATAM region, among other content creation and tournament organization.