Clash Royale, the popular mobile card strategy game lately has been part of heated arguments between two sects of gamers particularly in the Indian gaming community mainly due to its inclusion in one of India’s top tiered esport tournaments — The ESL India Premiership.

A few members from the Clash Royale Indian community, have openly expressed their opinion against alter egos bashing the game these players have spent months perfecting. But, sadly they have failed to gather that much-needed support and encouragement by the growing yet slightly inactive clash community in India. Which makes me come to my point.

Are the alter egos right? Should Clash Royale, a “Pay to win” mobile game have not been included in the ESL India Premiership?

I hope, I’m able to expand your understanding of this discussion with the experience that i have gained being an active part of the Esports community in India for almost a year now.

Clash Royale was formally added to the ESL India Premiership in the Summer of 2016, just after the completion of ESL India’s first LAN event. The ESL India Premiership 2016 Challenger #1. It replaced Hearthstone, another card strategy game, joining the premiership as the third feature along with Dota 2 and Counter-Strike : Global Offensive. The decision to drop hearthstone from the Premiership was made due to the fact that it failed to rile up the existing Hearthstone community in India. It failed to pull in reasonable numbers for registrations and attract viewership for the organizations twitch channel. Clash Royale, on the other hand, was quick to catch up. Within 5 days of the announcement for registrations, the game managed to attract more than 100 registrations, almost 50 more than what its predecessor started with. With each subsequent tournament, the number kept on increasing and currently, at the time of writing this, stands at a whopping 630 registrations.

That was the history bit, but now about the game. According to me, there are about 7 things which make a video game an esport and surprisingly, Clash Royale manages to make an appearance in all 7 of my points. Let me show you, how.

  1. It’s easy to grasp…

The beauty of Clash Royale, as a video game lies in its simplicity. There are two opposing King towers in the Arena, with each side having two archer towers to defend against their opponent. The objective of the game, use everything at your disposal to bring down the most number of towers in under 3 minutes. Yes, that’s it. A game lasts only three minutes!

2. But, deeper than it looks.

This point is quite obvious. If a game doesn’t have depth, it’s unlikely to attract a dedicated audience. Clash Royale offers a variety of cards which you use in sync with other cards to cohesively take out the enemy towers. Advanced techniques such as positioning and aggro require a lot of skill, in turn pushing hardcore players to practice until they are good enough to reliably execute them.

3. Light but firmly balanced.

Well, apart from the recently launched Nightwitch card which, sooner or later is gonna end up being nerfed, the game is quite evenly balanced. This adds to the diversity of strategies which can be executed making each game fun to watch and even more fun to play.

4. It’s free to play.

Much of Clash Royale’s popularity in India can be attributed to it being free to start, available across a variety of mobile devices and not really that graphic intensive and with the rise of the internet, that number has been growing exponentially. But on the other hand, the game quietly needs a rather hefty investment of either time or money to build a competitive deck. Legendary cards aren’t easy to get.

5. It does an effective job of building up the tension.

How many times have I seen — nail biting finishes, quick counters, and unfortunate mistakes all leading to one’s untimely defeat or victory? The beauty of a story lies in that watercooler moment afterward. It’s like “Hey, I was watching this match, and something amazing happened”. I think that’s what gives an esport or rather any form of entertainment that hook. As usual, the narrative trumps all.

6. It has a strong community.

Though much can be said about the Clash Royale community in India, it’ll be right when i say it that the community in India compared to the rest of the world is quite inactive. Clash Royale, worldwide attracts a lot of attention with a wide variety of content by the community in the form of guides, strategies, articles, podcasts, Youtube videos and streams. Also, the fact that you can communicate with your opponent only by the means of emotes does a subtle job of reducing toxicity which we see quite prevalent in other games, we Indians spend most of the time playing 😛

7. And finally, it needs a big prize pool.

As the game, gets bigger and bigger it attracts a lot of sponsors, which in turn results in larger prize pools and basically, you get the idea. ESL India Premiership 2017 boasts of a 6,13,800 INR prize pool, making it one of the largest prize pools in the history of gaming in the Indian subcontinent.

I hope some of your most pressing questions pertaining to the inclusion of Clash Royale in the ESL India Premiership have been answered with what I have written above. I personally believe that Clash Royale is the messiah that will spread esports down to the very grassroots of India owing to this game’s incredible ease of access to Mobile users.So hop on you naysayers, support the game. Support the growth of esport in India. Till next time.

Written by Rishab Vohra