Everything you need to know about Blizzcon Opening Week

HotS Championship

Blizzcon itself doesn’t start for another week and a half, but the event’s competitive component is getting underway as you read this. Starting today and ending on the 31st of October, Blizzcon Opening Week will see the first stages played in the Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft II and World of Warcraft world championships. If you’re planning to play close attention to Blizzard esports at Blizzcon, this is where you should start. Even though the League of Legends Worlds grand final dominates the esports calendar for the next couple of days, you shouldn’t ignore the talent on display in Burbank, California this week.


Hearthstone Logo

Where to watch: Official Twitch stream

Key times: Group stages run from 28th-31st October, starting at 9:00 AM PDT/16:00 PM GMT every day.

The road to this year’s Hearthstone World Championships has been long, and if we’re being honest, convoluted. Players accumulated points across a combination of ladder finishes and qualifying tournaments, and were then whittling down at four regional finals to leave us here, on the verge of the group stages. The 16 remaining players will be split into four groups, with two advancing from each. Look for strong showings from current European champion Thijs and his teammate Lifecoach. In terms of dark horses, keep an eye on Nias who’s been flying under the Radar, while Jab, Ostkaka and Hotform all feel like they could be due a breakout tournament in the same way that Firebat was last year.

Pinpingho versus Americas champion Purple in Group D should be an interesting clash of two excellent deck builders, while Lifecoach vs Kranich sees an early match between two potential heavyweights in Group B. The full bracket can be found here, and further details on the World Championships here.

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm Logo

Where to watch: Official Twitch stream

Key times: Group stages will be played on 28th October, starting at 13:30 PDT/20:30 GMT.

This is the first Heroes of the Storm World Championship and, as such, it's the first time lots of these teams will have faced off against each other. This an exciting time for a young esport: the meta is developing and teams are still finding their feet. We'll have to wait until the main event at Blizzcon to see the most hotly-anticipated matchups—particularly a potential rematch between Cloud9 and TempoStorm—but the group stages will make for a fascinating look at how international styles fit together.

In particular, Na'Vi vs. Brave Heart will be worth watching as the European champions are currently on a massive winning streak—can China upset them? Find more info on the groups on the official site, but bear in mind that the schedule appears to be down at the moment.

StarCraft II

StarCraftII Logo

Where to watch: Official Twitch stream

Key times/matches: The round of 16 will be played on November 1st starting at 10:00 PDT/17:00 GMT.

Once the unchallenged ruler of PC esports, StarCraft II’s light has dimmed a little thanks to the rise of the MOBA. Regardless, this is the grandfather of competitive gaming for a reason and nothing boasts a higher skill ceiling. The WCS is a chance to see this beautiful game played at the very highest level. It can be hard to follow, particularly if you’ve never played it, but the 1 vs. 1 format helps as does the game’s long history of high-quality commentary.

If you only tune in for one game, make it Life vs. Lilbow. Lilbow is the only non-South Korean player in contention, and his first round matchup is against last year’s champion, Life. If Lilbow makes it through this best-of-five, it’ll be a huge upset. Otherwise, you can watch WCS top-rank talent on display in herO vs. FanTaSy. Check Liquipedia for an up-to-date bracket.

World of Warcraft

WoW Logo

Where to watch: Official Twitch stream

Key times/matches: Groups played October 30th-31st, starting at 13:30 PDT/20:30 GMT.

The WoW Arena World Championship will undergo a two-day group stage this weekend. Teams to watch include SK Gaming and Skilled Capped EU (formerly Solari Blue and Solari Red respectively) whose contest for the European Championship was one of the closest matches played in any game at Road to Blizzcon last month. Hometown heroes TempoStorm are likely to be fan favourites given their storming performance at the Americas Championship. Check out more info on all the teams on the official site.

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