Hearthstone Replaces Specialist Format With B03 Conquest

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Changes being done to Grandmasters format.
Changes being done to Grandmasters format. Blizzard

Hearthstone announced that it is retiring the Specialist format for Grandmasters Season 2. This change comes with the end of Hearthstone Grandmasters inaugural season. According to Blizzard, while the season was indeed exciting, there was information learned that resulted in changing certain aspects of the program.

Replacing the Specialist format is the B03 Conquest, which features a Shield Phase. So how does it work? The new format works like this:

  • The two battling players bring four decks, each from a unique class.
  • The match starts with a Shield Phase where both players choose one of their own decks to “protect” that cannot be banned.
  • Each player will then ban one of their opponents’ decks, removing it from the pool.
  • Each player then selects which of their eligible decks they would like to play first, then begins their first game of the match.
  • After the first game has concluded, the winning deck is removed from the pool before both players pick which of their remaining decks they would like to play next.
  • If after the second game one player is 2-0, then the match is over!
  • If the score is 1-1, then the winning deck from the second game is removed from the pool and both players will choose their third and final deck to decide the series.

Quality of Life Change

Blizzard also announced that they are mixing the Divisions for each region during the Grandmasters Season 2. In particular, Blizzard is swapping the first, third, fifth, and seventh place finishers from Season 1 for each region. Beyond that, these changes are going to be implemented:

  • Including the fourth place player from each division in the end-of-season playoffs.
  • Changing the semifinals of both Grandmasters playoffs and Masters Tour events to best-of-five.
  • Standardizing the deck submission times across all three regions.
  • Setting the match schedule to 16 matches each day (instead of 15 Friday, 15 Saturday, 18 Sunday).

You can view more information on the changes here.


Changes are going to be implemented for mobility as well. According to Blizzard, they received feedback with regards to the need for increased mobility into Hearthstone Grandmasters. With Grandmasters, it was important that both players and organization are able to commit to the program knowing exactly what their chances of relegation are. There was no relegation for Season 1 and for Season 2, the maximum relegation is set to two players per region. Blizzard said it is going to reveal more details on this concern in the coming weeks.

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