Interview with mthja, captain of GankStars Clash Royale team

Esports organization GankStars has been making headlines as of late with the announcement of their participation in the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio and Jeff “Suijeneris” Chau joining as the new COO.  With its roots as a mobile esports organization, it was little surprise that GankStars also finally announced their official entry into the Clash Royale team with a roster 5 players that should be familiar to those following the competitive scene: mthjaLoayThatOneGuy-marcus-35, and Trainer Chris.  Mathieu “mthja” Jans, having long been recognized as one of the top players in the game with high placements in events such as 2017 Gamergy Masters and 2017 ESWC Summer, will act as the team captain of this new team.  We had a chance to speak with mthja to learn more about this new team:

MoEsport: So first off, tell me how the GankStars team came to formation! Many of you have been very active in the competitive scene since the early beginnings – why decide to form a team now?

mthja: Well, after I decided to leave Team Queso behind, the options for new teams were overwhelming.  I had always been into Counter Strike, so initially I started to contact big esports organizations such as Fnatic and Cloud9. I ended up reaching out to Suijeneris who I thought was still with Immortals, and was told that he had just become COO of GankStars.  He told me about the organization’s interest in Clash Royale, and wanted me to form a team.  As for the other team members, I simply reached out to the players I deemed worth for the team, and that’s how we got together.

MoEsport: What does it mean for you to be a “team” in Clash Royale? Unlike CS:GO and other MOBA games, Clash Royale’s competitive scene is 1v1. How are you working with the other players to prepare for competitive play?

mthja: We prepare a lot of our games together, though as a team we haven’t had the chance to play in leagues such as CRL and RPL yet.  We currently spend a lot of time to go over games and decks together.  An example would be Loay: he is currently participating in the CCGS, and we have been helping him by giving him tips on bans and deck picks. 

MoEsport: Speaking of bans, this was something that was only recently introduced to CCGS (outside of China). What are your personal thoughts on bans, and the current competitive format in Clash Royale overall?

mthja: I think in general bans are a good addition to Clash Royale, though I don’t think they should be mandatory in tournament play. The game works just fine without them. Bans do make the game more strategic, though I don’t agree with the CCGS ban format of blind banning. In comparison, I do like the RPL ban format where you ban cards based of the last round of play.  But overall, I would say bans are a good addition.

MoEsport: While many top players are now affiliated with teams such as GankStars, Nova, Queso and Hammers, there’s still relatively little official recognition from the Clash Royale/Supercell team. Personally I feel teams will continue to become a bigger part of the Clash Royale competitive scene as teams provide players with the support they need to take their play to the next level.  As team captain, what do you think needs to be done to give teams more exposure in the professional competitive scene?

mthja: Currently, one of the biggest needs for a recognized team is to either win a league or have a player do well at a live event.  You can also simply recruit players that have a lot of existing media following to grow your team.  For a team to be successful, you don’t necessarily have to have the “best team”; having a strong social media following (Twitter, Twitch, Youtube, etc.) is just as important.

MoEsport: And we can expect the GankStars Clash Royale team to start producing content like Youtube videos or Twitch streams?

mthja: GankStars recently partnered with Ultimate, and they have a gaming facility focused on content creation based in LA. With the players’ motivation to stream and produce videos, GankStars can produce quality videos not only for standard gameplay but also extras such as behind the scenes of a live event or possibly a team montage. With all the partners that are working with GankStars, there are a lot of possibilities for producing great content. 

MoEsport: Finally, what would you say is your #1 goal with the GankStars team moving forward? And is the team looking to recruit more players?

mthja: Our number 1 goal with GankStars is to have the best players on board for our team, not only in regards to skill but also attitude and passion for our goals. To me, the organization is about being a “family”, helping each other and having a relaxing atmosphere. And yes, we are currently recruiting: there is a form up on my Twitter page for players to apply for a tryout. We will be selecting 2 players to add to our roster, and hopefully do well in future events and leagues. We are also looking for a general manager for the Clash Royale team to manage things such as tryouts and stay in contact with admins during our leagues and other competitions.

1 Comment

  1. alj

    When are u going to choose new cr member? Also are u going to make Gankstars clan in cr?

    Reply

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