The first official Clash Royale tournament in China took place this morning (US time) in Shanghai. The tournament essentially followed the same format as the tournament in Helsinki, but at a much larger scale: 400 players from across China who qualified for the event through the 100,000 player online tournament fought against each other in a 3 hour king-of-the-hill tournament, with the Top 8 players moving on to compete in the quarterfinals bracket.
The Top 8 featured a number of names that are familiar to players both in China and the rest of the world. TMD Aaron, winner of the first 1,000 player Tournament hosted by Galadon when the tournament mode was introduced, finished in the Top 8 alongside fellow clan mates and top 100 ladder players TMD YaoYao and TMD Cliff (according to the team, TMD stands for Team Massive Dragon). New eSports organization STK9 also had 3 members representing the quarterfinals, including top 2 qualifiers I Come From Wenzhou (来自温州的我) and Hunzhe (魂哲). MingSheng (鸣圣) from Hangkong Nova (航空 Nova), regarded as one of the game’s top players in China through winning the Clash Invitational in China, was easily the crowd favorite heading into the quarterfinals.
Tournament rules were slightly different than that of Helsinki: the quarterfinals and semifinals were a best-of-3 series, with only the finals being a best-of-5. Rather than submitting decks, players were seemingly allowed to make deck adjustments prior to each match, regardless of whether you had won or lost your last match. For fans following Clash Royale’s competitive scene, the meta displayed in the competition was eye-opening: almost all players elected to use Control decks (slow pace decks built around tanky tower attackers) built mainly around Giant (affectionately nicknamed “Fat Boy” by the shoutcasters), with only one game featuring a Beatdown deck (fast pace decks with low Elixir troops)!
The quarterfinals kicked off with an upset, with #8 seed Mr. Cheng (Mr. 成) taking down #1 seed and fellow clan mate I Come from Wenzhou. While both players utilized similar Giant decks, Mr. Cheng defended well against Wenzhou’s Three Musketeers, and took the series 2-0. Giant decks were once again the theme for the 2nd match-up between Mingsheng and Xiaolaochu (小老楚). After winning the first game, Mingsheng made a minor adjustment by opting to play Three Musketeers instead of Musketeers, which ended up backfiring on him. Mingsheng would revert back to using Musketeers in the third and deciding game and came out victorious in his series. In a similar Giant v.s. Giant match-up in the semi-finals, Mingsheng once again outdueled Mr. Cheng 2-1 to earn himself a spot in the Finals.
It is often said that players should stick to the deck that they are used to, and Hunzhe proved to be a perfect example of this as he stuck to using the classic Golem Elixir deck throughout this tournament! Despite the Golem earning a spot in our recent Worst Card Rankings, Hunzhe played his Golem deck to perfection against TMD Aaron’s unconventional Balloon Freeze deck. Perhaps buckling under the pressure, TMD Aaron mistimed a number of Freezes, allowing ample time for Hunzhe’s Minions/Princess/Crown Towers to take down the incoming Balloon while making strong pushed with Golem and Mini P.E.K.K.A – Hunzhe would go on to sweep his first series 2-0. TMD YaoYao and TMD Cliff proved to be arguably the most entertaining match-up of the tournament: after YaoYao losing his first game with his Hog Rider deck against Cliff’s Giant deck, YaoYao switched his deck to be exactly the same as Cliffs for the second game! Playing on exactly even terms, the Giant v.s. Giant duel then came down to pure skill and execution: YaoYao was able to take the second game, but Cliff managed to recover just in time to win the third and deciding game. Both Cliff and Hunzhe stayed with their respective decks (Giant v.s. Golem) for their semi-finals match-up, but Hunzhe once again executed his Golem pushes flawlessly to earn his spot in the Finals winning 2 games to 1.
With a first place prize of ~USD$58,000 on the line, the finals match-up was an intense and exciting affair between Mingsheng and Hunzhe. Mingsheng’s Giant deck was able to outduel Hunzhe’s Golem deck in Game 1, but Hunzhe made an adjustment for Game 2 that no one saw coming: his trusty Golem was now replaced by a Lava Hound! Catching Mingsheng off-guard, Hunzhe’s Lava Hound deck was able to help him take game 2. Not to be outdone, Mingsheng would also replace his Giant with…. his own Lava Hound! Hunzhe made the calculated mistake of switching back to his Golem deck, which gave Mingsheng’s Lava Hound deck an easy Game 3 win. Game 4 was decided almost as soon as it started: with Mingsheng playing Lava Hound as his first card, Hunzhe misplaced his Princess on the opposite side of the Arena, with the Lava Hound just out of reach! Already with an Elixir Collector on the battlefield, Hunzhe was left defenseless as the initial Lava Hound/Miner/Poison push left his Tower with only 433 HP. Mingsheng would continue to pick apart Hunzhe for the remainder of the game, eventually taken down 2 towers en route to winning the game and the championship!
With the tournament victory, Mingsheng wins not only the biggest cash prize in mobile eSports history (that we are aware of), but also a trip to the next ClashCon, which was revealed to be held in Los Angeles this year!! With this being the first year that Clash Royale will be a part of ClashCon (since the game just came out this year), we anticipate this ClashCon to be by far the biggest one yet – with what sounds like will be the biggest Clash Royale tournament to date! Congratulations to Mingsheng and Hangkong Nova, and we will look forward to seeing you compete again this October!
The entire deck list of the Final 8 participants can be found here.