Hearthstone Challenger Tournament FAQ (North America)

The ESL Challenger Cup is an open tournament providing all Hearthstone players the opportunity to participate in the game’s competitive scene. Each season will last 8 to 9 weeks, where participants will have the opportunity to qualify for our ESL Legendary Series ($35,000 prize pool), AND earn points towards qualifying for the Blizzards World Championship!

1. Participating in the ESL

How do I join?
You will need to create an ESL account, entering relevant Hearthstone contact and client information where your opponents will be able to add you, and where we will be able to place you in our brackets.

Where can I go if I need help?
You may go to the Cup page for that week and join the chat (IRC) where you will receive announcements and immediate assistance from tournament administrators.

The cup has begun! What do I do?
You will be linked to the brackets page by an admin in the IRC once the Challenger Cup begins, where you may find your opponent for each round of your participation. You may also find your opponent in the "matches" area at the bottom right of your page, or the Brackets tab on the ESL website.

2. Sign-up and Check-in

When should I be online?
Check-in for each Challenger Cup will begin a half hour before the tournament is scheduled to start, and will last for 20 minutes. The tournament usually begins at 5PM EDT, but changes will sometimes be necessary, and updated via the info section of that week's Challenger Cup. In case of updates, an email to ALL signed up contestants will be sent the day before the cup begins providing details. All registered participants MUST check-in to be placed in the tournament, otherwise they will be ineligible to compete.

When's the latest I can sign in?
The latest a registered contestant can check-in to guarantee a placement in the tournament is a half hour before the Challenger Cup starts.

How long will this go for?
Typically 9 to 10 hours, but will vary depending on the format and bracket structure. Your average bo5 round will take about an hour and 10 minutes.

3. Basic Tournament Rules

What is the basic structure of the tournament?
The Challenger Cup is a Best of 5 games, double elimination format. This means that if you lose a round, you will not be eliminated, but moved to the losers bracket for the tournament. The first contestant to win 3 games in the round will advance to the next round. Every contestant will be allowed to lose one round and can still compete.

Will I be forced to change my hero if I lose?
No, the losing contestant in the Conquest format can choose to play the same deck or another. The winning contestant must change decks, to win a match a player must win with all 3 classes/decks..

Does that mean I can I exit the match and change cards in my decks during the round?
No, the Challenger Cup will not be permitting the use of side-boarding. This means that once a challenge is ready to begin, both players must enter the challenge with pre-made decks.

What if an opponent exits a challenge or breaks another tournament rule during a match?
Screenshot the incident and let us know through our support section for this tournament. This will usually result in the disconnecting contestant losing one game in the round. The “winning” player will change their deck per Conquest rules. A notice can be sent through a ticket or through our tournament chat (IRC) where you can get in touch with an admin..

How do I find my opponent/report my match result?
Your opponent will be found in the brackets, with their battlenet tag visible by clicking on the VS button of that match and located under your opponent’s name on the match page, OR in your opponent’s ESL profile under “game accounts”. Matches are reported by clicking on the VS button, where you will be able to put in your results. Winners AND losers must report match results. Screenshots must be taken after each game result for the match in case of a player dispute.

4. Waiting For Your Opponent

I am not paired up with an opponent on round 1. What happened?
You were given a “bye”, which means you were not paired with an opponent for round 1. Be patient as ESL Administrators will be advancing contestants with byes into round 2 manually. Larger tournaments will mean this will take longer. Come to us on IRC if we have not moved you forward within 20 minutes of the cup’s start.

What if I’m paired up with an opponent and they have not responded to my friend request?
If after the first 15 minutes your opponent has not responded to your friend request report a no-show in match results on your match page. You must upload screenshots to the match media of your attempts to connect with your opponent or their absence in your friends list on the client, then file a 3-0 score in your favor.

It’s not round 1, but my opponent has not responded to my friend request or I have not been paired up with one in a long time. What should I do?
ESL Administrators will be on IRC (the tournament “chat” window), which can be found on the #esl.hearthstone channel. Depending on the flow of the tournament, they will let you know how much time you should wait before reporting a no-show. Please go through the same procedure as above.

5. Disconnects and Game Glitches

My opponent or I have disconnected from the game, what do we do?
The player who disconnected during a game will automatically lose that game, but will be allowed to continue the match. The same conditions apply to losing games via disconnect as they would losing to an opponent.

What if a glitch occurs and messes with the game?
Both players should restart the game with the same classes and decks. In case your opponent contests the glitch and chooses to interpret the result as a disconnect, take screenshots and document the details of the glitch and either make a match statement on your match page or contact the admins via a support ticket or the IRC Chat. Depending on the information provided, we will be able to make a ruling without a game loss.

My opponent just left the match, what should I do?
Let admin know immediately and they will either be given a game or round loss per admin ruling.

6. Qualifying for the ESL Legendary Series and Getting Blizzard World Championship Points.

What do I get for placing top 6 in a weekly Challenger Cup?
The top 6 will be invited to participate in the next weeks ESL Legendary Series. The top 4 will also be awarded World Championship Points (10/5/1/1 to 1st/2nd/3rd/4th).

What is the ESL Legendary Series?
It is the highest level of competitive Hearthstone provided by ESL, and will be hosted bi-weekly (alternating with the Challenger Series) with a mix of invited pros and Challenger Cup qualified players. Every week after each Challenger Cup, the Legendary Series will be broadcasted and ran until one winner will get $1,500 and a guaranteed spot in the LAN finals. Eight contestants from the Legendary Series and 8 from the Last Chance Open will be invited to the 16-player LAN finals tournament hosted by ESL with a prize pool of $25,000. You can catch all the action on www.twitch.tv/esl_hearthstone