This is an orientation to the Heroes of the Storm HGC NA Open Division. If you are like me and are interested in the amateur scene but just aren't sure where to look, this article should give you the info and links you need. This article is accurate as of March 9, 2018.
NA OPEN GAMES RESUME MARCH 19, 2018!
First things first. Do not go to Blizzard's official HGC website to try to find information. They have a little blurb on their “About Page” at the bottom and some out-of-date standings, but that's about it. If you google it, be aware that the first few results could send you to GosuGamers who ran it in 2017. This is the official 2018 announcement: https://heroeshype.com/opendivision/
In January 2018 Blizzard partnered with HeroesHype to run the 2018 HGC Open Division for both phases for North America (NA) and Europe (EU). HeroesHype has, and still does, run its own amateur series, but don't get it mixed up with the HeroesHype amateur series. (I will have a separate article later about other amateur tournaments and leagues that you may be interested in.)
Phase one of NA Open Division consists of seven 2-day tournaments (aka cups) from January 29 through March 27, 2018. These cups are best of 3 rounds and played on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Go to the NA Open Division website and click the Rules tab. Section 2.4 describes the points awarded based on the place a team finishes each cup. First place is awarded 120 points and $600, second gets 90 points and $300, third gets 75 points and $100, fourth gets 60 points, fifth through 8th get 40 points, and 9th through 16th get 10 points.
Phase one ends with a 3-day playoff tournament from April 2 to April 4, 2018. The top eight teams of Phase 1 will play in a double elimination bracket and the first and second place winners of this tournament get to play in the Crucible.
The top two teams of the NA Open Division will be eligible to play the bottom two teams of the profession HGC NA league. In the past, the top Open Division team chose to play the worst (8th ranked) team in pro play because the odds were greater of winning. Open Division teams that beat pro teams in the Crucible get a spot in the professional division. Phase 1's Crucible will be April 30 to May 7, 2018.