Main storylines heading into first season of Hearthstone Grandmasters 2020

A big name makes an even bigger return.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone’s finest players are set to return for the 2020 competitive year on Friday, April 17. A total of 48 players from the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and European regions will compete for $500,000 and spots in the World Championship later this year.

Here’s everything to get excited about for the start of the 2020 competitive Hearthstone year.

An entirely new class dives into competitive for the first time

The newest class, Demon Hunter, is enabled for players to use in their lineups. Expect to see a lot of Illidan Stormrage as well. Despite the emergency nerf that four of his cards got on the second day of the Ashes of Outland expansion, Demon Hunter still has had a commanding presence on Hearthstone’s ranked ladder. From aggressive strategies to an OTK combo using Kael’thas Sunstrider and Inner Demon, the rookie class will definitely be making waves in the competitive scene.

Players searching for decks to play after Demon Hunter’s nerfs should look to Grandmasters for optimal lists and top-level plays.

Evolving and swapping formats

Players who were involved in the competitive scene at any level may have preferences for which format they enjoyed competing in, although most would agree that Specialist wasn’t heavily favored.

Each set of weeks, Blizzard will be swapping between Hearthstone’s previous popular formats: Last Hero Standing and Conquest.

During the first three weeks of Grandmasters, Swiss Play will be the competitive format players need to work on to improve their place in the standings. Within Swiss Play, the gameplay format will change each week.

  • Week one: Conquest with one ban
  • Week two: Four-deck Last Hero Standing with one ban
  • Week three: 10-deck Conquest with six bans

After the first three weeks, the next four weeks will go into a round-robin format where players from two separate divisions, based on their standings from the first three weeks, will compete against each other. The top eight point earners will go into Division A, while the rest head into Division B. The gameplay format for these will consistently be best-of-five Conquest with four decks and one ban.

The return of Blitzchung

While there are many popular players returning to compete in the 2020 competitive Hearthstone season—including the first world champion Firebat and one of Europe’s finest hunterace—the name that will likely turn the most heads is Blitzchung.

Banned last October for saying the slogan of the Hong Kong protest movement on stream during a post-game interview, Blitzchung returns to the competitive Hearthstone scene after Blizzard reduced his year-long ban to six months. Blizzard’s handling of the situation even garnered attention from high-ranking political figures when the controversy surrounding the ban spread across the globe. 

All eyes will be on Blitzchung since he was two wins away from qualifying for the next stage in last year’s round-robin in the previous Grandmasters season.

You can watch the competition each Friday through Sunday on Hearthstone’s YouTube channel starting April 17.