Clan Masters (#11): Nova
By Sida Li on March 3, 2017 at 3:02 PM ET
Image credits: Clash Royale game (background) / Lootcakes LLC (character)
Prepare for a deep dive with Nova, one of the game's most dominant and ambitious clan families!
With 'Clan Masters', our goal is to get personal - with the top performing clans in Clash Royale and CoC! Each edition we an interview a highly successful clan to reveal their unique personalities, tactics, motivations and opinions on the game. For information on our criteria and how to get your own clan interviewed, please click here.
If you've paid any attention to Clash Royale's global leaderboards over the past several months, you've probably noticed a recurring dynamic. A clan family called Nova - and its flagship clan Nova eSports - have taken up (what seems like) permanent residence at the top of the charts. In our recurring series Top Clans of Clash Royale (latest edition here), Nova clans have occupied nearly 30% of all top 5 ranks since the series began eleven months ago. Further, Nova eSports has held the #1 rank 5 out of 11 times.
Apart from their dedication to leaderboard supremacy, Nova is also devoting substantial energy and resources to tournament play, serving as both competitors and event organizers. And most recently, the group has made a push into live streaming and content creation, making deals with the likes of Godson.
In this latest edition of Clan Masters, we caught up with the ubiquitous Nova to give you a closer look at their operations and ambitions to build a global eSports brand.
Questions were answered by three of Nova's top managers: Trevor, Matthew, and Richard.
1. Describe your clan in three adjectives!
2. Tell us about the founding of your clan family. Who founded it, when and why?
Nova was founded by Anthony, better known as AY (a businessman from Hong Kong). He has been involved in CR since [its] soft launch. In fact, he had the first max account in CR history. Originally he was involved with clans such as InTheLight, HKEsports, H.2.O, & Yota Phone. Eventually he realized he had built up enough relationships and resources to build his own clan, and chose to name it after his pre-existing business, Nova. But Nova then looked very different from the Nova of today; they were predominately Chinese, and were simply called Nova, with a few feeder clans, such as SuperNova. In the summer of 2016 a few people from outside China got involved from a player perspective, and eventually moved up into management positions.
The management team then decided to expand Nova into other countries, those originally being Canada, USA, UK, & Brazil, with the main Nova clan in the International region. In September, AY and the management team decided that they wanted to expand beyond being an in-game clan, and began establishing a true eSports company. September 2016 was the official launch of the clan and business you know today as Nova eSports.
Since the creation of Nova eSports, the in-game growth of the family has accelerated in unprecedented ways and Nova now holds the top ranking clans in a large portion of the major CR markets. Nova has also founded a league, and has been well represented at a number of live events.
Nova eSports started out as a hobby for 1 man and it grew into the biggest organization in Clash Royale. Nova aims to achieve success not only for its players, but also for the Clash Royale community as a whole. Through tournaments, leagues, sponsorships, and strong representation in the community, the goal for Nova is to push CR to being a long-lasting game that breaks into the eSports market.
3. Describe your leadership structure, both at the family level and individual clan levels. Who are the key decision makers?
Due to the uniqueness of being a business and the size of Nova’s in-game ventures, management and structure is very important. Nova has a structure hierarchy that starts at the top with the owner AY. [Below AY we have] the business manager and corporate team, which include Francis (Bobo), Martin, Natalie, & Maren. From here it splits off into 2 subsections: the Chinese side and the international side. The Chinese side is managed by AY himself along with his Chinese General Managers, Even & Michael (CC). Then they have 5 other loyal Chinese pro players who help manage all of the Chinese clans and businesses.
The International team is larger, and is run by a team of well known, loyal and committed members of Nova and the CR community. Trevor is the General Manager of the International branch, [which consists of] his partner Matthew, and the management team of Richard, Luis & Adam. This is the group that is in charge of the business & community related aspects of Nova, as well as the public relations. To assist the management team in day-to-day operations, there is a team of leaders who include: Jay-Jessie, Jay-Lin and Hayden. There is also a group of managers and clan leaders, approximately 30 people who are experienced and respected in the local communities they service.
Nova eSports is a very large, yet organized, disciplined, and well-structured organization. Communication is a key part of keeping stability, and it takes a lot of great people to make it all work.
4. When and why did Nova decide to enter the eSports scene? Can you tell us about any upcoming tournaments or other eSports news involving Nova that the community should know about?
Nova started as a hobby and passion, and in September 2016 [the clan] decided to take gaming - specifically CR - more seriously. That is when we decided to enter the eSports scene.
Nova runs a league called Clan Royalty: Championship Series, also known as CRCS. Season 1 recently wrapped up (with Nova placing 1st out of 128 other teams). Season 2 is in the works, finances have been secured, and it’s just the logistics and planning that has to happen. The hope is that Season 2 will begin by March or April.
Nova is also planning to run a HUGE live event in Hong Kong or Macau in August. Funds have been secured for this - we are just waiting for Supercell’s approval and support.
5. Win trading is a controversial topic within the Clash Royale community. What is Nova’s official stance on win trading? Talk about your recent efforts to address win trading within the Nova clan family.
For the past 3 months Nova has tried to set an example for the rest of the community and [we] feel it is our responsibility to lead the community in the right direction. We do not approve of win trading and don’t see a reason for it to happen. Our recent efforts include having our players connect FB to their accounts so the public can watch, as well as having their battle logs available on social media.
Above all else Nova recognizes the importance of integrity and fairness in competitive play, and plans to do everything possible to encourage those key principles moving forward.
LC NOTE: For additional insight, see Clash with Ash’s interview with Trevor, conducted in December.
6. Nova seems to be getting more involved with streaming, and with bringing content creators into the fold. Can you tell us more about those efforts?
Content creation is a key piece of the foundation for any eSports organization. Recently we have become affiliated with a lot of content creators (streamers & YouTubers). This gives the community more access to Nova, and helps give Nova a stronger public voice. It also allows us to make some fantastic partnerships that we’re looking to announce in the coming weeks, as well as to help the community by giving the content creators access to the resources Nova has to offer.
LC NOTE: Check out some of the Nova-affiliated content creators below.
7. Describe your clan's overall trophy pushing approach. What do you use to communicate (in-game chat, other chat apps, forums, etc)? Do you coordinate your pushes, or do you let each member do his/her own thing?
Nova is a China-based company, so the means of communication is done mostly through an application called WeChat. This is an international communication app that allows us to text and call all around the world for free. We use WeChat over apps like Line because of the Internet bans in China, which don’t allow people in mainland China to use them. WeChat is available around the world, and most importantly in China also. For our competitive side we have also began using Discord, which really allows members to engage with each other on a more personal level.
Nova is the top trophy pushing clan in the game. Trophies mean a lot to us because it helps advertise our brand. It costs approximately $15,000-$20,000 USD to max an account, giving us the card levels to compete on ladder. We’ve invested a lot of funds into having max level accounts in order to push trophies every season. [At the] end of season, we put all of the top ranked Nova accounts into Nova eSports to compete with the other top clans for the Global #1 ranking.
LC NOTE: Want more insights on what it takes to play on the global leaderboards? Clash with Ash recently conducted a gameplay review & interview with one of Nova’s top players, GuaNek.
8. Take us through your typical member recruitment process. What do you look for in a new member? Does the recruitment approach differ between Nova eSports and the regional Nova clans? Got any tips for players who are interested to join?
Member recruitment in Nova is typically done through a referral process. Usually it’s who you know that helps. Being a contributing member of the community is important too. Competitive events and leagues help in making you a recognizable figure in the community. It’s also important to recognize that we do a lot of our recruiting for dual purposes; trophy pushing and competitive play are 2 major focuses for Nova, and naturally they go hand-in-hand. We recruit the players who are highly skilled that can do well on ladder and represent us in competitive play.
Outside of the referral process, players can always request to join Nova clans the same as any other clan. If your trophies match the requirements and you are a good clan member then you are welcome in the Nova family.
9. Describe your clan's most victorious moment or achievement, and your clan’s most disappointing or embarrassing moment. Did you learn anything from these moments?
Nova’s most victorious moments and achievements are giving people the opportunity to do things they could never do on their own. Top skilled players who deserve the best tools for the job, but cannot afford them, are given to them through sponsorships by Nova. Giving back to the community, and rewarding the most skilled and dedicated players is something we pride ourselves on.
We recently had a performance in CRL Season 2 that we really weren’t happy with, and due to some challenges we unfortunately had to forfeit a number of games. At that time, our main focus was ladder play, not competitive play. We didn’t have strong dedicated people who consistently showed up or assigned team leadership to create and maintain structure and accountability.
Near the end of CRL Season 2, we decided to focus more on competitive play. Richard and Belkin stepped into the role of manager and captain, and started implementing structure. We got committed players and finished 5th after some hardships throughout the season. After CRL Season 2, we continued to create a competitive team environment and shifted our focus here.
In the end we finished top 5, which is nothing to balk at, but it definitely isn't the result we were looking for. In some ways though we’re happy that it went that way, as it provided us with a great learning experience and truly showed us what areas we need to focus on for next season. We’re confident now that with the right systems and players in place, we’ll come back as a dominant force in the competitive scene. [We’ve] already begun to see renewed success with our first place finish in CRCS this past month. We’ve since created an entire competitive department and hope to build off of our success.
10. What are your opinions about the game's current features and functionality? Is there anything you’d like changed, added, or removed?
The game as a whole feels like it is going in the right direction. If there were 2 things I would change it would be:
- The cost to max out an account is way too high. If they reduced the cost and made Epic & Legendary chests available to buy in the store, then the game would naturally become more competitive. The cost would be reduced, and people could max Epic and Legendary cards by buying the Epic and Legendary chests, similar to Giant Chests.
- Improve the in-game tournament feature. Before, tournaments were huge community events. You could advertise a week in advance and the community would be excited for the entire week leading up to it. Tournaments used to have a euphoria to them; that is now lost. The card distribution is poor now, and the top players and streamers don’t do them anymore because they are viewed as a waste of time. It would bring another competitive element to the game, and top tier players would be excited and willing to compete in them. It would help streamers, and would bring back the feeling of a greater community event again.
11. Do you have a message you'd like to send to other clans? To potential recruits? To anyone else in the Clash Royale community?
I encourage everyone to get involved in the competitive scene. MLG has recently added a team ladder competition, and there are always leagues for teams and individual competitions. Support the live and online events, and really push the competitive scene of this game we all love. If this game becomes an official eSport it will give it longevity, and keep the game fresh. Support the streamers on Twitch and the YouTubers, and help keep this game healthy, and something that will be around forever.
12. Other than Nova, which Clash Royale clan(s) do you admire the most, and why?
People we admire:
A) Reddit Alpha
B) Elite Gaming
They are staples in the competitive community, with strong leaders/leadership and have a group of highly respected, dedicated, mature and respectful players.
Note: Quoted stats are current as of the interview date.
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