Last month, Blizzard announced the first world championships for Hearthstone, its collectible card game that’s been surging in popularity thanks to a recent release on iPad. That tournament already promised to be the biggest tournament the game’s ever seen, but today Blizzard upped the ante with announcement of a massive prize pool: $250,000.
The tournament, taking place at Blizzard’s annual convention BlizzCon in Anaheim, California on Nov. 7-8, will pit 16 of the world’s best Hearthstone players—chosen through regional qualifiers—against one another in a tournament the magnitude of which the game has never seen.
The news comes on the heels of the announcement that DreamHack, the world’s largest and longest-running LAN festival, would be hosting a $25,000 Hearthstone tournament at their summer event in Jönköping, Sweden from June 14-16, furthering the idea that Blizzard’s collectable card game might not just be a success for its popularity as a PC and mobile title, but as one of the most-talked-about esports of the year.
Those looking to walk away with their part of the $250,000 prize pool can begin their journey on Blizzard’s own Hearthstone ladder, the system which sorts and matches players for games based on skill. The top 16 ranked competitive players from each month-long season from April to August will be seeded to into a regional qualifier tournament depending on their location. Blizzard also plans on looking those who perform well in third-party tournaments, perhaps events like DreamHack, for additional invites into the regional qualifiers.
So dust off those iPads and start honing your chops. Blizzard’s free to play games is prone to be one of the most lucrative esports of the year for those competing at the highest levels.