A new Specialist format has been announced for Hearthstone esports, which will replace the long-established Conquest format.
Specialist will see competitors in official Hearthstone tournaments choosing a single class and then submitting three decks for that class.
One such deck will be designated as the participant's primary deck, while the others are considered secondary and tertiary. These latter decks may only differ from the primary deck by a total of five cards.
The first game of each match will be played using the primary deck, and players can choose to continue with it for subsequent matches, or pick either their secondary or tertiary deck. Players will not be made aware of their opponent's choice to switch or not.
The news comes alongside the official retirement of the Conquest format, which saw players fielding multiple class decks along with a ban system to eliminate particularly undesirable match-ups.
The new Specialist format will be in place for the upcoming Masters esports programme which was also outlined in yesterday evening's blog post.
The Masters tournament will consist of three phases. The first - Masters Qualifiers - will be open to all players, and there'll be around 30 tournaments during each week of the qualifying season. Tournaments will be hosted on the Battlefy service.
The best qualifying players will then move to the Masters Tour phase, with this year's event scheduled to take place in Las Vegas between 14th and 16th June. A $250,000 prize pool will be on offer during this stage.
Finally, there's the Hearthstone Grandmasters stage. Precise details of how this will work are still under wraps, but we know that consistent performance in Masters Tour events will form part of the qualification process.
A new esports fan system will also come into effect soon, allowing players to support the tournament series in exchange for special in-game items. An esports bundle will be added to the in-game shop in a future update.
As soon as we have more information on Hearthstone's esports plans for 2019, we'll add a post to the homepage.