Clash Royale players got their first taste of competitive tournament play at the first official Clash Royale tournament, taking place live in Helsinki and streamed on Youtube and Twitch. 200 players participated in the qualifying round of the tournament, pitting well known streamers/top players such as Chief Pat, Molt, and NickatNyte against your average player from Finland. In the interest of time, the qualifying format of the tournament was swift by flawed: the 200 participants played against each other in a client specifically built for the tournament. The players would randomly match up against each other in friendly battles and accumulating trophies with each victory. The top 8 players on the trophy rankings once the 1.5 hour limit has been reached would earn a ticket to play in the quarterfinals.
To many’s surprise, none of the aforementioned players made it out of the qualifying round. In fact, only two players that many would already be familiar with – Clash with Ash and long time #1 ranked player 鍾培生 Derek Cheung – made it into the quarterfinals. Casual players may jump the gun and say that these “top players” are only high in the rankings because they spent a lot of money in the game, and this proves that their skills do not stack up against your everyday player; but do keep in mind that the gameplay balance with tournament caps is significantly different than what top players are used to with their tower and card levels (something that Bosshogg pointed out during our panel discussion last week).
The semi-finals (which can still be watched from here) then featured 4 players that no one outside of their own clan mates would have heard of: steroidi69, Naazime, elfe, and Jason. Steroidi69 (great IGN by the way!) became an instant villain in the tournament, as he was the only player utilizing the much-hated Mortar deck, and having great success with it in the quarterfinals against Clash with Ash. Meanwhile, F1nland Assault’s Jason instantly became a crowd favorite by sweeping Derek Cheung 3-0, knocking the top player out of the tournament. Derek is known as a versatile player that has experimented with many different deck types, but no matter how he switched up his cards, he had no answer for Jason’s Elixir Collector/Giant deck.
Steroidi69 encountered a little more trouble in the semi-finals against Naazime, whose deck was built around deterring the Mortar with Goblin/Barbarian Huts. After losing the 1st match, Steroidi69 switched to a Hog Freeze deck and found success trading with his opponent. The semi-finals match went down to the 5th and final match, where one costly misplayed spell by Naazime gave Steroidi69 the opening he needed to finish off the match. Meanwhile, Jason stuck to his guns, never switching his deck once and demolished elfe 3-0 in the other semi-finals.
The finals match-up between Steroidi69 and Jason was anti-climatic, as Jason absolutely dominated the match from start to finish. The pressure was clearly getting to Steroidi69 during the critical match, as he was making numerous card placement mistakes – something that you can absolutely not do against Jason and his Giants. Aside from generating a gradual Elixir advantage with his “pumps”, Jason’s Giant/Barbarian combo found a lot of success, as the combined HP of the 2 cards made it very difficult for opponents to defend against the onslaught with taking at least some crown tower damage. Jason would eventually 3-crown Steroidi69 in his final match, finishing off the tournament with a perfect 9-0 record and taking home the 10,000 Euros 1st place prize – not bad for playing a couple of hours of Clash Royale!
The tournament provided viewers a first glimpse of what the upcoming live spectator mode will look like (HINT: be on the lookout for a major MoEsport tournament once this is live!). Instead of being able to see the hands that both players currently have, viewers will instead see a running list of cards in each players’ deck as they are revealed through play. While this does add to the thrill of watching (ie. not knowing what the 8th card someone has until he has played it), it makes spectating-through-learning more difficult as it’ll be more difficult to see why players chose to play one card over another. For example, how would we know that playing Hog Rider as the first card is the best play without knowing what else the player has in his hand?
Also worth noting from the tournament is that the newly announced tournament cap levels (Common lvl: 9, Rare lvl: 7, Epic lvl: 4) were not applied to this tournament. Amazingly, Jason’s deck did not feature any Epic or Legendary cards, which would likely mean that the deck will continue to be successful with the higher card level. In contrast, many of the decks commonly seen in Legendary level play such as P.E.K.K.A/Prince/Dark Prince and Balloon/Hog Freeze were nowhere to be found. MoEsport will be looking closely into the tournament format in the coming weeks, and provide the latest information on decks and strategies as the next update approaches. In the meantime, the deck list from all of the semi-final and final matches can be found here.