UPDATE: Blizzard has just confirmed that Hearthstone's Grand Tournament expansion will be released on August 24th.
ORIGINAL STORY:Any time a new Hearthstone expansion starts to loom large on the horizon, it feels as though the game slows down to something of a crawl. The metagame stagnates, few new decks see the light of day, and many simply log in to complete their daily quests and bank their Gold. All in all, it seems as though the community takes a little break from the game as it waits for a fresh batch of cards to land and disrupt everything we thought we knew so well.
Inevitably, that leads to plenty of spare time that can be used to speculate on when exactly the new expansion will be released. Popular Hearthstone streamer Kripparian has an interesting theory about the release date for The Grand Tournament this time around, based on a little tinkering with the settings of the operating system you're running Hearthstone on.
Here's how it's reported to work. If you take Blizzard up on its Grand Tournament pre-purchase offer of 50 card packs at a reduced price, you'll see a new icon appear in the Open Cards section of the interface. This icon represents the 50 card packs you've picked up in advance, with a note that they'll unlock at some point in August.
Kripparian claims that moving the system clock forward to the 24th August or beyond removes that icon, suggesting that this is the date the new expansion will be released. Crucially, we haven't been able to verify this change for ourselves, but other players have confirmed Kripparian's findings, and it's possible the issue has been patched out of the game since the community stumbled upon the news.
This wouldn't be the first time that techniques like this have worked either. As Kripparian explains, Blizzard does have some form when it comes to letting the windows system clock affect game functions in the past. Back in the bad old days of the Diablo 3 auction house, you could advance the clock to end auctions early if you'd been undercut - a big advantage given the real money on the table. Those who pre-ordered Hearthstone's Naxxramas Adventure were even able to to play a little of the content ahead of launch by changing the system clock.
Does the 24th August seem like a safe bet for the release of the Grand Tournament? Let us know in the comments section. In the meantime, you can hear the details of Kripparian's theory in full by watching the video below.