Although details have not yet been announced, Hearthstone did give us a teaser for the final HCT World Championship to carry us into the new year (as a reminder, the Hearthstone Championship Tour will not exist under the new system next year).
The event will take place in Taipei, on April 25-28. Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, which is the home of last year’s World Champion, Tom60229. This makes us wonder if, perhaps, there will be a new tradition of the winner’s Country hosting the event for the following year. Who knows? There may even be a free invitation for a former champ to the following World Championships under the new system, giving them a “home field advantage.” That will almost certainly not happen this time, because this event is under the 2018 system, but the 2019 system appears more open to invitationals.
The choice of location is also interesting because it is home to players Roger and Shaxxy, both of whom were recently found to have been cheating in the Hearthstone Global Games, and yet were shortly thereafter invited to the recently-completed Hearthstone All-Star Invitational. Many players and personalities in the Hearthstone scene, including myself, were confused and frustrated by Blizzard’s decision to extend invitations to a prestigious and lucrative event to known cheaters. However, given this venue announcement, it might be that the decision might have been made in order to keep the deal for the World Championships venue from souring.
Finally, of interesting note, this event will almost certainly take place after the first set from next year is released (based on the current timetable, to which there have been no announced changes, that set should come in early April). With the first set of each year also comes rotation, so the Worlds metagame should be brand spanking new! In previous years, the event was done before the new set, making it more of a culmination of the past year than a springboard into the next one. There are pros and cons to each decision, but the upside of this one is that the event will be brimming with hype! It seems the upcoming esports plan is centered around building hype and entertainment, instead of necessarily focusing on tight technical play, so that seems in keeping with the trend. I, for one, will be excited to see how it turns out!
We will be sure to keep you updated on any future announcements regarding the venue, ticketing, and, of course, participants, as we learn them. Until then, Happy New Year!