Interview with Jason: Winner of the 1st Official Clash Royale Tournament

The 1st Official Clash Royale Tournament in Helsinki this past weekend was a big hit, with the Youtube stream attracting over 1.4 million views.  The 200 participants in the tournament included some of the top 100 players in the trophy rankings, but under a level playing field (all cards and crown towers capped at same level), it was an unknown player who came out on top: the man simply known as “Jason”.  After qualifying into the final tournament bracket, Jason went undefeated for the rest of the tournament, upsetting long time #1 ranked player Derek Cheung 鍾培生 and dominating Mortar-player steroidi69 en route to the championship and 10,000 Euro 1st place prize.  In an exclusive interview with MoEsport, Jason reflects back on his experience in the tournament, and shares his thoughts on what might be next on his agenda. 

MoEsport: So let’s go back to before all this tournament craziness happened: How did you get into Clash Royale, and what compelled you to enter the Helsinki Tournament?

Jason: I heard about Clash Royale on our Clash of Clans Line group, right after it came out.  At that point I had pretty much retired from Clash of Clans, and I liked Supercell, so I thought I’d give the new game a go.  As for the tournament, I was at a Nordic Clan War and Clash Con, and met really nice people there, so I thought “why not again”?  When the introduction started at the event venue I was really surprised that ESL (Electronic Sports League) was a part of this, plus the prize money.  I was only expecting this to be a small casual fun tournament!

MoEsport: I wasn’t aware that ESL was a part of the tournament!  There’s definitely been a movement towards competitive gaming on mobile, and that’s actually the whole premise behind MoEsport.

Jason: You know the guy who was doing the interviews on stage?  That was Sean Charles, he does a lot of hosting for ESL.  I was just staring at him when I saw him across the stage room during the qualifiers that wasn’t streamed.  I watch a lot of eSports and have seen him host a lot of the events, so it was weird seeing him there!

MoEsport: Well luckily that wasn’t too much of a distraction for you!  So take us back to the qualifiers then.  It sounded like it was an 1.5 hour intense free-for-all.  Was it complete silence in the room?  Or were people generally pretty chill?

Jason: I don’t remember that much from the qualifiers actually, I was so focused on my tablet!  It was pretty quiet, but people were still pretty chill.  I chatted with a few of my clan mates during those 90 minutes.

MoEsport: I guess most people were taking in the experience more than trying to optimize their strategy for getting into the Top 8 then.  But you did of course get into the Top 8.  Did you have any strategy in mind during the qualifiers?  Or you just stuck to what you were good at and kept going?

Jason: We had a tournament build app on our own devices for the qualifiers, so we had all the cards unlocked.  I tried using some Legendaries since I didn’t have them myself but that didn’t work very well.  I also tried one of my backup decks but didn’t do too well with that either, so I decided to just use my main deck.  I started off pretty poorly, winning only 1 of my first 3 matches.  After that, I went on a streak and got into the top 4.  After losing like 80 trophies in just 2 matches, I kept attacking and attacking to try to get back into the Top 8.   I think there was about 6 minutes left when I finally got into Top 5 or 6.

At that point I decided to stop playing and see if it would be enough, and when time ran out I was in the 6th spot.  After time ran out though I was dropped down to 9th place (as some matches ended after the time expired).  They did not tell us whether results from matches that started before time ran out would count, or if they would freeze the results once time had expired.  I was really nervous waiting for the results.

MoEsport: One of the talks of the tournament was the fact that you stuck to your one deck throughout the championship rounds, going undefeated against very tough opponents.  Was your strategy just to stuck with what was working, and play to your style?

Jason: Yeah, I stayed with that deck because I’m really comfortable with it.  I didn’t really care about the results so I just kept going with it.  I knew other players could make counter decks for it, but I really didn’t care; I was out there just for fun!  We were only allowed to make changes to decks during and after qualifiers, and after the quarterfinals and semifinals.  There’s no way to know if your opponent will play the same way, or if he had made changes.

MoEsport: Personally I feel that speaks a lot about the skill level required to play this game, the fact that you were able to win despite playing against decks that were designed to counter yours.  A lot of top players who watched you play can tell that you deployed your cards very well and generally played mistake free.  Based on your experience with this tournament, do you think Clash Royale has potential to be an eSports game?

Jason: I definitely think there is potential for it since there is skill required to play.  And I have to say that after watching my games and analyzing them, I really did make a few mistakes.  Some of the mistakes might have seem bad from hearing the crowd’s reaction, but there were reasons for some of the “mistakes”.  During the games I did notice small misplays on placements, but those were slips because my hands were really numb.  My hands don’t shake (when I’m nervous), they go numb.

MoEsport: I can only imagine the pressure!  Still it seems that you dealt with it better than some of the other players, who we can clearly see making costly mistakes likely because of the pressure.  The first win against Derek must have been a confidence booster?

Jason: I was really relieved after the first win.  I actually got a tip from one of the guys from our Red Team (qualified players were split into Blue and Red, and we were on separate Arenas) that Derek might play fast cycle decks.  The guy who gave the tip was none other than Clash with Ash 🙂

MoEsport: It definitely helps to know what was coming, but Derek tried different decks for all three matches, and you were able to counter each time – that was no easy feat against one of the best players in the game!

Jason: Yeah when I watched the games he looked surprised as well.  But I was pretty confident with my deck and my play.

MoEsport: The tournament had the Live Broadcast mode update already, but the newly announced tournament caps were not in place yet.  Do you think the new caps would change the types of cards/decks used in the tournament significantly?  Your deck were mostly Common and Rare cards so it doesn’t seem like they would be affected as much.

Jason: I only heard about the new tournament caps after the tournament ended!  During the qualifiers I was talking to my clan mates, and we were discussing about what would be the best cards to use.  I said that Rares and Commons are stronger than Epics at that level.  I’m so used to playing at high trophies at low (crown tower and card) levels, so I had a pretty good feeling about the strengths of the cards.  Winning against Level 3 Epics at a Level 8 tower is a lot easier than against Level 5 Epics!

MoEsport: I’m in the same boat as you for this one.  I’m also a level 9 Tower playing against level 5 Epics all the time… Wrapping things up then, what’s next for you in terms of Clash Royale and/or Competitive Play?  And how do you plan to spend the 10k Euro?  

Jason: There it is, the 10k questions *laughs* I was thinking about a new couch, and saving the rest for now.  And what’s next for me is still open, I’m still thinking about it.  People are asking me to stream or make Youtube videos, but I don’t have the set up for streaming or video recording, so I can’t do that on my own.  I also have one other thing that I may possibly explore; would be cool, but yeah there are a couple of things to consider.

MoEsport: Any last words you want to share with our readers?

Jason: I have to say that what made this the best day for me was the crowd.  It was just overwhelming to see so many people cheering for me live, on Twitch chat, Reddit, and Facebook.  Right after I won against Derek, people in the audience just started chanting my name!

I would also like to give special mentions to Clash with Ash.  He was supporting me backstage and cheering me on during the matches.  And also to Sean Charles, he was a really nice guy as well backstage.  Definitely some of the best guys I have ever met.

MoEsport: I was definitely cheering you on as well!  Going 9-0 in the first ever official tournament, beating the #1 player, it couldn’t have been scripted better.  You deserve the spotlight!  Thanks for sharing your experience with us Jason, sounded absolutely amazing and we can only hope that there’ll be more like it in the future!

Jason: I am never going to forget that day.  And yeah I really hope more people will get to experience what I had experience as well!


You can follow the latest from Jason at his official Twitter account @Jason_Royale

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