Hearthstone, Blizzard’s free-to-play collectible card game for the PC, is quickly becoming the hottest new esport. DreamHack, the Sweden-based computer festival, will host a $10,000 Hearthstone tournament at its event in Bucharest April 26 and 27, making it the second high-profile tournament for the game in as many months.
The NESCAFÉ Hearthstone competition is the second live tournament since the game’s official release in March. The event is open to the first 128 players to register for it. The top Hearthstoner will take home $4,000.
The news comes a day after Blizzard released the iPad version of the game in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The game should be available on the iPad in other regions soon. But if you can’t wait, enterprising fans have already figured out how to unlock the game anywhere by simply changing your address in your Apple ID account.
This isn’t Hearthstone’s first rodeo. In November, Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski, a popular Starcraft 2, personality, won the first Hearthstone tournament, an eight-man invite event at Blizzcon during the game’s beta. At IEM Katowice last month, Stemkowski fell to Polish player Marcin “Gnimsh” Filipowicz in the final.
The Blizzcon event last year, launched while the game was still in beta, answered many questions regarding Hearthstone’s compatibility with esports. The tournament was entertaining, with the game’s simplicity backed by enough depth to keep things exciting. Since then, Blizzard has focused on balancing the metagame to produce a better variety of competitive decks. The DreamHack event will be yet another early, major showcase to put their efforts to the test.
Similar to Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone is a collectible card game that pits two players against each other in a battle of strategy and deck construction. Players must build decks from a selection of cards opened from packs bought with in-game currency. That currency is earned by winning matches and completing quests, and can be purchased with real money.
While the Dreamhack tournament may be open to the first 128 registrants, take care: anecdotally it costs around $200 to buy your way into a top tier competitive deck, though you can take a large chunk out of that price by simply playing the game. It’s still a far cry from the $300 to $700 you’ll shell out in Magic: The Gathering, but enough to ward off casual competition.
Dreamhack Bucharest will also feature a $25,000 Starcraft 2 tournament as part of Blizzard’s World Championship Series.