In this article I will be presenting 7 tips on how to approach Master Qualifiers and maximize your chances for qualifying to a Master Tour!
After going through the grind myself and qualifying for both Vegas and Seoul Master Tours, I decided to share some tips for players struggling to get there. Whether you are a full time grinder or just an occasional participant of Master Qualifiers you are bound to find some of the following advises useful!
1) Sign up on time!!
First of all, you can’t compete if you don’t have a spot in the tournament! Sounds obvious, but with spots filling up rapidly you would be surprised on how easy it is to fail to sign up quickly enough, ending up on the waiting list. An easy way to work around this situation is to set a reminder on your phone and to make sure you sign up within the first couple hours of the registration period.
2) Balance Quality with Quantity
This one is mainly for full time grinders. If you are focusing on qualifying for Masters Tours and you are playing on one server only, then you should generally try to compete on as many as you can. However, players (like myself), playing on all three servers need to find a delicate balance.
You want to participate in a lot of qualifiers to maximize your chances, but you still need to be able to perform close to 100% while doing so. With that in mind, you should not sacrifice sleep or rest in general to play in as many qualifiers as physically possible, since that will inevitably hurt the quality of your plays and will actually lower your overall chances of qualifying.
3) Maintain a healthy mentality
Playing 16 hour long qualifiers for a long period of time can take a huge toll on your mental health, especially when it feels like you are doing everything right and only lose due to your opponent’s having the perfect draws or the exact outcomes of random effects they needed.
Unfortunately, competing while feeling frustrated or demoralized will have a significant effect on your decision making, even if you don’t realize it. In these situations it is very helpful to look at the big picture instead of isolated results. Every qualifier you participate is basically generating expected value, a lot like playing poker or blackjack, increasing the chances you eventually qualify.
However, to maximize your expected value you need to make sure you are playing at, or near, your best form. That means well rested, calm and concentrated. This approach can also help you objectively analyze your losses and isolate mistakes from lowrolls, so that you avoid repeating them.
4) Prepare against the expected field
This should be obvious, but there is still a great number of players that tend to stick to their comfort picks, even when they are not performing well.
Using meta reports, along with scouting past qualifiers for lineup representation to get ahead of the meta is vital. This will enable you to get more favourable matchups, or even to counter the most popular lineup. Don’t be afraid to experiment with lineups out of your comfort zone that are strong against the expected field. After all, the good thing about multiple qualifiers is that even if your read is off you can just try again in the next one.
5) Don’t test your lineup on ladder!
Even though testing your decks on ladder is fast and can have some merit you should generally take ladder stats with a grain of salt, especially when testing decks for a different format. Ladder is basically a best out of 1, quite different from a best out of 3 Specialist, the Master Qualifiers tournament format. Therefore it can often be misleading when judging matchups.
A common example is Cyclone Mage vs Shark Rogue. In ladder, Mages tend to have very good results against Rogues, because Rogues don’t usually run anti-Mage techs in their primary-ladder deck. However, the tables are turned in a specialist format tournament, since the secondary deck of Tempo Rogues, running cards like Faerie Dragon and Walk the Plank, is able to sweep Mage even from a 0-1 spot.
Instead of relying on ladder to test your lineups, it would be a lot more efficient and accurate to practice playing Specialist best out of 3’s against a teammate or a friend. Ideally, you could even participate in third party tournaments, online or Lan. Playing for real stakes, even small ones, will undoubtedly simulate a Master Qualifier more accurately than ladder.
6) Drink water, don’t drink coffee!
Coffee lovers, before rioting hear me out!
Master qualifiers can last over 16 hours from start to finish. If you are playing multiple in succession then your hearthstone session might even last longer than that. Keeping that in mind, drinking a lot coffee, though it might give you a temporary boost of energy, will eventually leave you drained and exhausted. The more coffee or heavily caffeinated drinks you have the harder the after affect will hit.
Therefore, make sure to limit coffee to your absolute minimum while drinking lots of water to stay hydrated.
7) Rest between rounds
Depending on the meta, waiting time between rounds can vary and reach up to 2 hours, or even more. Relaxing and resting during that time is essential. Don’t play ladder, in fact don’t play hearthstone at all. Ideally, you can move away from your computer and maybe even take some fresh air. You don’t have to worry about the next round starting, since joining the discord server as an active player will enable check in notifications!
Summing up, the road to Master Tours can be tough, but hopefully these tips will help make the grind easier!