The majority of major tournaments, including those sanctioned by Blizzard to give out Hearthstone World Championship (HWC) points, include a large number of open qualifiers. And organizers are in the dark over whether excluding banned players invalidates the “open” nature of these qualifiers.
Representatives from some of the biggest HWC qualifying tournaments say that they have had no guidance from Blizzard on the issue—but that that wouldn’t stop them from excluding the players themselves.
“We have standard with basically all of our games if a player is banned from publisher tournaments they are also banned from ours in the respective title,” DreamHack esports manager Michael Van Driel told the Daily Dot.
Van Driel admitted that whether or not that affected the “open” status of the qualifiers was “kind of a grey area,” but added that DreamHack has consistently operated with a policy reserving the right to remove anyone from a DreamHack event.
Similarly, Viagame told the Daily Dot that it would not allow banned players to take part. Gfinity also removed one of the banned players, “Damnery,” from its Gfinity Summer Masters I qualifier tournament earlier today.
Other organizations have had direct contact with Blizzard, however, but wished to remain anonymous for this article. More importantly, they were explicitly told that tournament organizers are not required to enforce Blizzard’s competitive bans—though the organizations in question do not have any HWC qualifier tournaments currently scheduled.
We asked Blizzard whether or not excluding players jeopardized the status of these open qualifiers, but it did not respond by publication time.
Image via Blizzard