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With season one of Hearthstone Grandmasters having wrapped up recently, it was time for some change. In a blog post by Blizzard, information was revealed explaining the new Conquest (or Conquest-Shield) format and other changes to Hearthstone Grandmasters. The second season starts on Aug. 23.
The return to Conquest, but slightly different
The old format for Hearthstone Grandmasters, Specialist, was disliked by many. The meta was quite frustrating for spectators, and it really didn’t do any good for competitive Hearthstone. Thankfully, Blizzard listened to the community’s concerns and will be replacing the Specialist format for season two.
The format that will be used in season two is Conquest, but with something called a “Shield Phase.” During this Shield Phase, each player will be able to choose one of their own decks. The deck the player chooses will not be able to be banned for the upcoming match. The player and their opponent will then ban one of the remaining two decks of one another and begin to play the series. After a player has won with a deck, that deck will not be available anymore for the remainder of the series. The Conquest-Shield format used by Hearthstone Grandmasters will remain a best-of-three. The first player to win twice in a series will be the winner.
Following the survey sent out recently to all players who have participated in a masters qualifier, more changes will be made in the future. However, the changes will not be happening until after season two of Hearthstone Grandmasters has begun. At this point, it is expected that the Masters Qualifiers will use the best-of-three Specialist format, rather than the Conquest-Shield format.
Further changes to Hearthstone Grandmasters for season 2
For season one there have not been any relegations for Hearthstone Grandmasters, besides David “Dog” Caero stepping down and Edward “Gallon” Goodwin replacing him for season two. For season two onward, however, two players from each region will be up for relegation to allow new talent into the league. Further, Blizzard stated that they are looking into the possibility of making it easier to enter the league from 2020 onwards.
The final changes to the league will be the rotation of players through the divisions. The players placing 1st/3rd/5th/7th from each region will be swapped to the other division. Besides this, the broadcasting schedule will be changed slightly. In season one, the matches were divided over the days unequally (15 on Friday, 15 Saturday, 18 Sunday). This will now be changed to 15 matches on each game day. All games of season 2 will be broadcast on Twitch.