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Hearthstone (HS) is an online turn-based collectible card game from Blizzard Entertainment released in 2014, operating through Blizzard’s Battle.net service. Hearthstone can be played on PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices and has been one of the factors to its huge success as a digital turn-based card game. What’s more, its accessibility in that users can play against each other on different devices is also a great feature. If you want to add a tournament or team to the filter, go in to the match and select favourite.
The game involves two players going head-to-head with each player starting with 30 cards. Hearthstone is using all its content and story from Blizzards World of Warcraft, having playable hero’s like Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rouge, Shaman, Warlock and Warrior, the transition from playing World of Warcraft to Hearthstone makes for an easy and natural transition if you’re already familiar with WoW. The aim of the game is for each player to use various strengths of cards to inflict damage on the opponent. The first player to reduce their opponent’s health to 0 wins.
Surprisingly, HS featured as an esports event in November 2013, several months before the game was launched to the public.
The first tournament known as The Innkeeper’s Invitational took place at Blizzcon and was won by Artosis (Daniel Stemkoski).
The annual Hearthstone Championship was announced in April 2014 and the first event which offered a prize pool of $250,000, till this day, this tournament is considered one of the biggest for HS.
This year the event will have a new tournament structure and the prize pool will be worth over $4,000,000. Hearthstone tournaments have had an exciting past and look forward to delivering even more excitement in the future. Stay tuned with esportsguide to keep up to date with all live and upcoming matches.
A Brief Background
Hearthstone is an online digital collectible card game published and developed by Blizzard Entertainment that builds on the lore and characters from their very popular Warcraft series. The game was released in 2014 and has since become very popular. It’s definitely one of the largest digital card games, with an impressive amount of 100 million active players as of november 2018.
The game is free to download and play, but it also supports microtransactions which allows the player to purchase a new pack of cards that are randomly generated, much like buying a trading card pack in real life. These packs can also be purchased with the in-game gold currency that’s earned by playing the game.
Two players face off in turn-based combat, and each player begins with 30 cards in their deck, plus a selected hero that each have unique powers. The goal of the game is to break through your opponents’ defense and destroy their hero.
In order to do this you need to have arsenal of four different card types. These are: Minions, hero cards, spells and weapons. All cards are also ordered in rarity, from legendary (which is the rarest), followed by epic, rare and common. Players then deal their cards with different strategies and counter attacks to finally defeat their opponents’ heroes to go for the win.
How to Play
Before each match you select one of nine available classes and you also select one of your decks to bring into the match. There’s a couple of default-built decks that are provided by the game from the start, but to progress and become a better player it’s highly recommended to find a play-style that suits you and from that build a deck that synergises with it.
You build decks by spending gold that you earn from card packs with randomly generated cards, or you can also use the microtransaction store to buy packs without the need of spending in-game gold. Some of these cards are specific to a class, but there’s also a good amount of cards that are available for all classes.
At the beginning of each match, there’s a coin toss that decides which player will go first. The starting player is then shown 3 cards from their deck, and the player can then decide to keep these as starting cards or replace them individually.
The player that goes second has to do the same, but instead of 3 cards the second player will start with 4 cards and also receives a special card called “The coin” which can be played at any time to grant one extra mana crystal which is the resource used to play cards or cast spells.
Each player starts with one mana crystal, and after every turn, the player gains one additional crystal with the maximum being 10. Mana crystals are then used each turn to play your cards or use your heroes’ ability. You also draw one new card from the top of your deck in the beginning of each round.
The more powerful the cards are, the more mana crystals they require. So in early game you’ll have to play less powerful cards, as that is all you have resources for. You can move your mouse over your own or your opponents’ cards to be able to read more information, refer to the mana cost and more.
Each round has a timer of 75 seconds in which you need to decide your next move. You can place minions and hero cards on the table, or you can use your hero’s ability or play a card with spells or weapons that act as enhancements.
When you are done with your placement of cards or have chosen which cards to attack, you can either press attack or end turn depending on your play to set it in action. Attacking every round is certainly not something that you have to do, so take your time each round to confirm whether an offense is the right move.
After a couple of rounds, the table will in most cases have a couple of minion cards on each players side, and often you’d want to take care of minions and hero cards that are on the table before you start going for the health points on your opponent’s hero. This is to avoid letting your enemy build up arsenal of active cards on the table which later can reign destruction on your defense and/or your hero.
When it comes to minions and hero cards they all have different attack/defense stats. These are shown in numbers on the bottom left (attack) and bottom right (defense) corners of the cards. For example if one of your minions have 5/2, and you attack another minion that have 2/4 both cards will die since the attacker with 5 attack kills the card with 4 defense, but at the same time the defending card does 2 attack back on the attacker which had 2 in defense, meaning that the cards “traded” and both are sent to their owners graveyard.
When you attack, you don’t need to attack minions first, it’s all up to you. If you feel like you have a minion with high attack that you don’t want to go to waste (and perhaps die if lined up against a minion), you could attack the opponent’s hero directly. Then you can deal the damage to the players’ total health points.
If the game is drawn out without anyone successfully breaking the others defense ,you might run out of cards to pick up from your deck. This does not make you lose, but in the beginning of each round where you otherwise would draw a card, you will instead take 1 damage from fatigue. This damage is initially only 1 health point, but for every round in which you can’t draw a card this is increased by 1. This is obviously something you’d want to avoid.
Each game will go on until someone’s health is depleted, or if one of the players concede. It can also end in a draw, and this happens if both players reaches 0 health points at the same time. This will give both players the defeat screen, but no ranking will be lost.
How to Watch
Hearthstone has in a short time gained big traction within the esport scene, with both the Major League Gaming and Electronic Sports League hosting big events and tournaments for the game. The games developer Blizzard Entertainment also announced the World Championship back in 2014 which is held during their huge conference Blizzcon. Since 2014 there’s been a World Championship for 5 years with increasing prize-pools.
Blizzard Entertainment have their own official twitch channel, where they broadcast a lot of different tournaments and events on, so make sure to follow that channel to stay updated and have access to watch games almost every day. The Electronic Sports League also have a twitch channel that’s worth checking out.
- https://www.twitch.tv/playhearthstone – Blizzards official Hearthstone twitch channel
- https://www.twitch.tv/esl_hearthstone – The Electronic Sports League channel
You can read more info about this game in the Hearthstone Guide.