Chinese Hearthstone Players Were Not Told Tournament Format in Advance

The Hearthstone Championship Tour Spring 2017 tournament took place this weekend in Shanghai. Sixteen players from around the world competed over three days to win first place and $60,000. Four of those players were from China—Dogggg, JasonZhou, Trunks, and xHope. All but Trunks went 0-2, and Trunks fared only marginally better with 1-2. None of them made it to quarterfinals. However, according to a Weibo post by Dogggg, it seems the Chinese players were not made aware of the tournament’s format until after they had submitted their deck lists. They were under the impression the tournament was 5 ban 1, meaning they could bring 5 decks and their opponent would ban 1 at each round. When they heard rumors that the tournament might actually be 4 ban 1, they sent an email to Blizzard but received no response. It wasn’t until they had already submitted their deck lists that they received a notification saying the tournament was 4 ban 1 and they had 24 hours to re-submit the lists. The players from other regions were told a week before.

Dogggg says the effect that the circumstances had on them was quite large, and that their practice had been rendered “meaningless”. Believing that you would have five decks available to you, and then being forced to whittle it down to four in less than 24 hours is devastating for a player who has been trying to prepare for an international tournament. Decks are constructed and chosen very carefully, with potential opponents in mind, and strategies are put in place for the best utilization of the five decks in combination. Unfortunately, the Chinese players had to change it all, and Dogggg writes that only one of his original five decks made it into his final four.

He admits that it could be the fault of the Chinese players. He says the format wasn’t written anywhere on the official webpage, but a Weibo follower of his points out that it had been on the English site in an April news post. Another user asked why a Chinese player would check the US site for information, especially when it gives outdated information on the Chinese region. Dogggg responded by saying that in April there was no news on Shanghai yet. He insists that a timely email should have clearly stated that it would be best of 5 and not best of 7 so that there wouldn’t be this problem.

His full complaint reads:

It’s not coming out after losing to give excuses, but there’s something we didn’t mention before.
Less than 24 hours before the deadline for submitting decks, the Chinese division received a notification that the format was 4 ban 1 instead of 5 ban 1, like we thought, meaning that most of our preparatory practice was meaningless, because I had been taking into account the style of my possible 3 opponents. Of my original 5 decks I only kept 1. A few days beforehand, we heard that maybe it would be 4 ban 1, but Blizzard didn’t answer us, the official website didn’t have any related news, and it wasn’t until the last moment that we received the notification.
[The players from other divisions were told a week before.]
The impact of this matter is certainly big, I don’t know if the responsibility is on our players.
I didn’t bring the best set of decks, but I also don’t think my lineup, in my group, was a total unplayable disadvantage. (This may not be the same as other people?) Looking back at the two days of competition, I tried my best but still lost 0-2. Some of the choices and minion placements I made in the game could have been done better, if I played better would I have had a chance? More often you do your best but in the end, you don’t have a chance. On the first day it seemed like I was playing against a perfect computer (my opponent had perfect card draws), and that feels worse than making mistakes and having the audience curse me. In fact, long before the tournament I thought I’d have a 40% chance, and even after the group placements I thought I’d at least have a 25% chance… I never thought I’d lose so straightforwardly.

(July 10 Update): JasonZhou writes an impassioned indictment of Blizzard about the unfair treatment of Chinese players at the 2017 Spring Hearthstone Championship Tour.


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