“A year ago I’d have never thought this would happen. It’s been an amazing experience – I’ve met new friends, I’ve learned independence and many new things, and I’ve had an amazing time at this event,” Daniel “Saint Belikin” Rean, a 16-year-old player for Team Queso told Esports Insider at the Clash Royale League World Finals.
On December 1st in the Makuhari Messe convention centre in Tokyo, Japan, the six best teams in the entirety of Clash Royale faced off against each other. Representing different regions and countries, there truly were competitors of every walk of life in attendance.
Helsinki-based Supercell developed and introduced a professional Clash Royale League on August 20th, with 44 teams in four regions battling it out over the following couple of months. The top teams from Europe, North America, Latin America, China, Japan, and Korea all battled it out for the Golden Crown trophy and the title of the first-ever Clash Royale League World Champions.
Five games took place over the one-day event, with the typical overarching esports narrative of Asian teams being superior proving to be true in this particular title. In the semi-finals stood teams from the three Asian countries and Latin America.
In the end, a convincing 3-1 victory over Vivo Keyd saw Chinese squad Nova Esports emerge victorious to lift the trophy in front of the 1,000 fans who purchased a ticket.
The Clash Royale League has been a life-changing initiative for many of the players involved, with some competitors as young as 16 moving to Los Angeles to train, compete, and live alongside their teammates. Attending Tokyo to compete in a World Championship was just the icing on the cake.
Before the very first season got underway, many of the high-profile teams who had committed to the league needed to find players. Supercell hosted the Clash Royale League Challenge: a clear path-to-pro that enabled anybody over the age of 16 to try their hand at playing on a professional basis. This was quickly whittled down until a select few players remained, soon after joining some of the biggest names in esports: Cloud9, Team SoloMid, Team Liquid, and 100 Thieves, for example.
“I enjoyed playing mobile games as I had lots of free time at school,” Saint Belikin continued. “I didn’t have a computer so I ended up playing Clash Royale.”
It was as simple as that. Saint Belikin proved himself after watching the Crown Championship in London, UK last year, realising he had what it took to get to the very top. However – as is the norm in esports – retirement ages are young amidst parent and educational pressures, playing opportunities can disappear as quickly as they appear, and people discover what they truly want to pursue as a career. This means stints in esports can be volatile and almost certainly unpredictable.
“I don’t think my time in Clash Royale esports will last more than four or five years, so it’s something that I’m doing while I can do it,” Saint Belikin admitted. For now though, he’s just doing his best in Clash Royale as it continues to truly work out the best format for its game and mobile esports in general.
As a whole, the audience proved there was a hunger for esports action played on mobile phones, the teams proved they had the dedication and passion to rival any sports club, and Supercell itself proved that it was committed to fostering a competitive scene for its hit title.
There hasn’t been an official announcement regarding a second season of the Clash Royale League, but with the World Finals amassing a total time of 2,332,935 hours watched and an average viewership of 541,165 (according to Esports Charts), things look bright for the competition.