A series of qualifiers are already underway, with 32 invited Chinese players and 16 invited North American players taking part in standalone tournaments to determine who will advance to the event in China in December.
Players like World Championship runner-up Wang “TiddlerCelestial” Xieyu and Gold Series champion Zhang “lovelychook” Bohan are among the Chinese field, while top American players like world champion James “Firebat” Kostesich and Cong “StrifeCro” Shu will compete in a series of four man groups every day this week.
ESL will run the North American qualifier from its studios in Burbank, Calif.
Though a number of top names in Hearthstone will take part, the North American qualifier also includes a number of surprising choices. Ryan “Purpledrank” Murphy-Root will take part, despite signing with Archon as a coach rather than a player, and Matt “Dart” Orgel also makes the cut even though he recently admitted he “barely has time to play anymore.” Also on the list is World Championship quarter finalist Jeffrey “Tarei” Liu, who has barely made any competitive appearances since the World Championships last November.
WCA has also said that there will be invite-only qualifiers for other regions, as well as some element of open qualifiers that has yet to be announced.
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