Competitive Hearth$tone and female only tournaments

The WESG USA and Canadian qualifiers were about to begin. I already knew that there were female only tournaments for Counterstrike because I am an old Stephanie ” missharvey ” Harvey fan. But to my surprise, there was also a Hearthstone female only tournament. An even bigger surprise was that only seven Canadian women had signed up for it. Although I had only played Hearthstone in its beta, I eagerly signed up for the tournament seeing that half the contestants were likely to win a cash prize at the Canadian finals.

Womens Hearthstone WESG Qualifier A

I plugged my cards into Hearthpwn, a third-party deck building app and wished for the best. As many Hearthstone players know, no matter how smart and cunning you are, the quality of your cards play a just as important role. Would I be able to win against anyone without spending any money on cards? LOL 😭

My first match in the WESG qualifiers lasted over half an hour to my surprise. At times I thought the game would even be winnable until my opponent pulled out Healing Rain (Restores 12 health randomly divided amongst friendly characters and only costs 3 mana!!!!!!!) … TWICE! Haha this is the spiciness I expect of real Hearthstone players. After my first loss I fell into lower bracket, won a game by forfeit and then lost in a super speedy match in less than 15 minutes.

hearthstone WESG Canada qualifiers women

Overall in my short one afternoon competitive HS career, I can say that it is a thrilling esport but I am saddened that despite the game being very accessible to play casually, it demands a financial commitment unlike most FPS and MOBA titles.

What I love about competitive Overwatch is that every player, no matter their skills, are given the exact same tools and abilities to play the game. No matter how many hours you’ve played, no matter how many dollars you’ve spent on loot boxes, everyone has an equal chance.

I think it would be awesome to have a Hearthstone tournament similar to Magic the Gathering’s sealed deck format, where players purchase 6 sealed packs and create their deck on the spot. Everything lies in the hands of luck and wit. Does this format or something similar already exist in Hearthstone?

Now back to what I said about this being one of the most accessible games out there right now. Hearthstone can be played on a low end PC, tablet or mobile phone so just about anyone can start playing for free. So why is there:

1. A female only tournament in a game of the mind (and wallet huehuehue)?

2. Why have only 7 women and 1 curious noob (me) signed up to represent Canada?

I do believe that female only tournaments with the idea to promote women in esports can be beneficial by shining a spotlight on female talent to encourage young girls to start playing as well. However, I would add that female only leagues with the sole purpose of dividing by gender to have a women play with women will not advance the skillsets of these players. Example: there should never be a women only Overwatch League. Like ever.

Female only tournaments should be a celebration of women getting together to play show matches and get more women interested to join in.

So why such a small turnout for such a big country?

There didn’t seem to be any advertisement whatsoever on WESG’s part. I only came across it by looking at women’s Counterstrike brackets (only 3 teams were in the qualifier themselves). Hopefully, next year and the years to come, WESG and other companies that plan to host female only tournaments will go that extra mile and do their tournaments justice by promoting it. WESG is offering great cash prizes that any esports enthusiast would love to compete for, but unfortunately, only a handful showed up to the party.