Originally known as Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Hearthstone is a free to play online collectable card video game developed by gaming giants Blizzard Entertainment. Players can cast spells or summon minions to attack their opponent, and the ultimate aim of the game is to reduce your opponent’s health to zero.
Hearthstone is, therefore, by its nature a very competitive game and a healthy competitive scene has grown up around it. On the back of that has come betting on the outcome of different events and right here we’ll show you where to bet on Hearthstone online.
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How Does Competitive Hearthstone Work?
As we’ve already discussed, Hearthstone is a turn-based online collectable card video game whereby two players pit their own constructed decks and an accompanying hero against one another. In doing so they can summon minions and cast spells in order to try and weaken the health of their opponent and ultimately win their match. There is a little bit more to competitive gameplay than that, however.
Conquest or Last Hero Standing Match Formats
There are two main Hearthstone match formats used in tournament play, which are known as Conquest and Last Hero Standing. Last Hero Standing used to be essentially the only format used in competitive play but tournaments are now almost as likely to adopt Conquest as their chosen format, so it is important to understand both.
In Last Hero Standing format matches each Hearthstone player brings one deck of three different classes (three decks in total) to a match and the match begins with each players chosen first deck going head to head. Once a player’s first deck is defeated, however, they must then switch to their second whilst their opponent continues to play with their first. A Last Hero Standing match is decided, therefore, when a player no longer has a deck left to play with and their opponent is determined the winner.
Conquest format matched are slightly but crucially different, in that it is the winner of the match’s first battle who is then forced to switch to their second deck, whilst the loser can choose whether to change or not. In this format, it is once a player wins with all three of their decks that they are determined the ultimate winner of the match.
Swiss or Single Elimination Tournament Formats
As well as being differentiated by their choice of match format, Hearthstone tournaments as a whole can also take one of two main forms. The two most common formats of tournament are known as Swiss tournaments or single eliminations tournaments, and which is chosen for an event generally depends upon the size of the field entering the event.
Swiss tournaments involve a tournament’s field of players having their next opponents decided by their win loss record in the tournament. After an initially randomly drawn first round of matches, for instance, winning teams will be drawn against one another and losing teams against one another for the next round of matches. The tournament then continues with teams only ever facing opponents with a matching record. After a pre-determined number of games, a certain number of teams with the best records then progress to a single elimination stage of the tournament.
Single elimination tournaments (and the latter stage of Swiss tournaments) are far simpler. Teams involved in the competition are drawn against one another in straightforward knockout matches where the winners progress in the tournament and the losers are knocked out.
What Are the Big Events?
Whilst Blizzard Entertainment’s initial aim in creating Hearthstone was to produce a fast-paced accessible game rather than a competitive eSport, a number of notable Hearthstone tournaments have since sprung up.
In November 2013, Blizzard Entertainment themselves arranged and hosted an invitational style Hearthstone competition named the Innkeeper’s Invitational. Following the success of that event, a number of other organisations and companies followed suit, establishing events even while the game was still in a closed beta test. One of the most notable of those was the so-called Collegiate Hearthstone Open, run by the eSports Association TeSPA for any and all North American college students and featuring $5,000 scholarships as prizes.
The Hearthstone World Championship
Following the popularity of early Hearthstone competitions, Blizzard established the Hearthstone World Championship as the game’s premier tournament back in 2014. The tournament features players from each of the game’s four regions around the world, each of which run their own regional qualifiers to decide their representatives. The World Championship field, therefore, is made up of four players from each of the regions for a total of 16 of the world’s best players.
In 2014 those players competed for a share of a $250,000 prize pool, by 2016 that amount was earnt by the tournament winner alone and in 2017, the tournament’s total prize pool is set to be a cool $1 million.
What Bet Types are Available?
As should have already become apparent in reading this page, Hearthstone is a popular but still relatively young game. It was only fully launched, after all, in 2014 and the fact that the game is still largely in its competitive infancy is unfortunately reflected by the range of markets offered by the online bookmakers which do cover Hearthstone at all. In fact, generally speaking, as things stand you will only normally find the following two types of bet available.
Tournament Winner Bets – For the bigger Hearthstone tournaments and events, such as the Hearthstone World Championship, some bookmakers will run an outright market for the overall winner of the event.
Match Winner Bets – During the same kinds of event as mentioned above, bookmakers will also sometimes allow punters to bet on which player they believe will win each match as the tournament progress. At certain betting sites it may even be possible to build accumulators out of Hearthstone match winner selections.