The team scene of Chinese Hearthstone is unrecognizable ahead of new team league season
Seven major teams disbandments have left the field open for new brands to emerge.
A dark trend began in Chinese Hearthstone shortly before Christmas last year as premier esports organization OMG left the scene. Between then and now, in the short span of just three months, six more teams would abandon Hearthstone. This outflow included not just the dissolution of old-timers such as TongFu and World Elite, but also teams endemic to Hearthstone like Team Celestial, founded by 2014 World Championship runner-up and Godfather of Chinese Hearthstone Xieyu “TiddlerCelestial” Wang, and Yolo Miracle (later eStar), three-times team league champions.
This wave of team disbandments was not exclusive to China. In fact, western Hearthstone welcomed it earlier in the year as brands such as Hearthlytics and Natus Vincere and more recently Counter Logic Gaming also cut their ties with Blizzard’s card game.
Still, this posed a question what would the next season of Team Story Cup—China’s premier team league—look like. The season was confirmed earlier in 2017 with the majority of brands already on the way out and the third season ending without the planned international battle that should’ve seen foreign teams fly to China to fight the best local teams for additional prize pool.
According to the manager of the former Team Celestial, a total of nine teams will take part in HTS Season 4 after all. Rich esports brands like Invictus Gaming and Newbee are still willing to invest in the scene and will be the teams to watch. No longer under the eStar hat, Yolo Miracle has been reformed under its old name and will contest a fourth team league title, while newly founded OM and Yingdi will test Hearthstone waters for the first time.
The league is to have a prize pool of approximately $84,000.