Southern Regional Senior Collin McHugh Competes in ‘Clash Royale’ World Championship

Dec 06, 2017
Photo by: YouTube screenshot/David Biggy Southern Regional senior Collin McHugh, seen here in this screenshot during the Dec. 3 online broadcast, competes in the Clash Royale Crown Championship World Finals in London’s Copper Box Arena.

The Copper Box Arena in London hasn’t been used much since being one of the primary indoor venues during the 2012 Olympics. But on Dec. 3 it was the scene of the first Clash Royale Crown Championship World Finals, and Southern Regional High School senior Collin McHugh wasn’t part of the audience but instead one of the top 16 players in the world competing for the golden crown and top cash prize of $150,000.

Going by the simple moniker CMcHugh, Collin recently became one of the top players in the world after finishing as the runner-up to MusicMaster in the North American Grand Finals. As runner-up, Collin was selected for the field in the World Finals, the culmination of the Clash Royale fall season, which began months ago with some 28 million players from 187 countries.

Along with CMcHugh and MusicMaster, the other U.S. representative was ColtonW83. The rest of the field included Germany’s Berin, China’s Winds and Quiet, France’s Loupanji, Vietnam’s Tali, Israel’s ElecTrify, Taiwan’s YaoYao, Korea’s X-Bow Master and Geltube, Mexico’s Adrian Piedra and SergioRamos, and Japan’s Fuchi and Amaterasu.

Launched by electronic-gaming company Supercell in March 2016, Clash Royale is a video game that combines elements from collectible card, tower defense and multiplayer online battle arena games. Players are ranked by their experience level and trophy count. They level up by gaining experience points through donating and/or upgrading cards and completing achievements. The highest possible step is level 13.

Represented by decks of eight cards dubbed common, rare, epic and legendary, the object of the game is to use playable units, buildings and spells to attack an opponent’s units, spells and towers while defending one’s towers.

With a one-and-done, bracket-style format for the World Finals, the players went against each in a best-of-three match, with the winner moving on to the next round. Leading up to the first round of the tourney – which was broadcast live in nine languages on YouTube – co-host and analyst BBXH said the opening-round contest between McHugh and ElecTrify was her favorite matchup.

“I know CMcHugh like the back of my hand,” she said. “I’ve hosted and casted so many of his matches and tournaments. He’s got quite the resume, probably one of the longest of the players here today. He’s a very precise player. And he’s a patient player as well, and you have to be patient in this game to play well. He’s the veteran. ElecTrify is kind of the rookie, only in the sense of the competitive scene. But he’s certainly not a rookie to Clash Royale, and he’s more of an aggressive player, so they’re kind of opposites.”

And their battle indeed was epic. In the first game, ElecTrify needed just over a minute’s worth of overtime – a regular game is three minutes, with an additional three minutes of sudden-death OT, if necessary – to grab a 1-0 lead in the series. In the second game, McHugh defended and countered well and again forced overtime, but ultimately ElecTrify broke down McHugh’s defense and swiped the victory 24 seconds into the extra session. Although eliminated, McHugh went home with a cool $7,500 in purse winnings.

Since playing the game from its inception, McHugh has won dozens of tournaments and quickly became one of the top players in the western hemisphere, ranking among the top five throughout the past year and a half. At Southern Regional, Collin just completed his senior season with the boys soccer program. He also competes for the track and field team.

— David Biggy

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