Maintaining a 4.69 weighted GPA and playing varsity sports doesn’t leave a lot of time for other hobbies, much less a global Clash of Clans esports career. But somehow, Maxwell DeArmey makes it all fit.
“I don’t know how [Max] does it—the way he balances both his academics and his esports,” said senior Ethan Lamar. “When you think about other professional video game players, the first thing I think of is a dropout of school kind of thing. But Max is the complete opposite of that.”
DeArmey began playing Clash of Clans around 2014, after his brother and father got him into the game. He joined the competitive scene about a year and a half ago, once he was eligible for competitions.
“He’s one of the smartest people I know,” Lamar said. “His time management skills and the sacrifices that he makes. He’s very strategic, and he’s both a brilliant student and an even better Clash of Clans player.”
Clash of Clans is a strategy-based mobile game where the main goal is to upgrade the player’s village (also known as a base). To upgrade, players need resources, which they can acquire by attacking others’ villages. Players form clans with friends and go to war against other clans for extra resources. The esports community focuses on this combat aspect of the game. A typical esports competition is one in which a clan (team) of five people competes in an organized 45-minute war against another team.
DeArmey’s team has done well in many tournaments. But for DeArmey, the highlight of his career was last August, when his team took second place in a global competition, the Snapdragon Pro Series.
“We qualified for a tournament in Poland,” DeArmey said. “Our whole team got flown out there.”
It was his first time leaving the country and his first time meeting all of his teammates in person.
At the time, DeArmey’s team was called Chasmac Gaming, the name coming from the organization that had sponsored them. This season their team name is Aphelion Nebula. “They pay us monthly salaries, help fund certain things in-game, and give us jerseys. So it’s pretty nice,” DeArmey said.
“I was able to get my mom paid for, ‘cause I wasn’t 18 at the time, and my brother got paid for as a manager, so my whole family got to go for free,” he said.
This past spring break, DeArmey’s team took first place in the 2023 North American Snapdragon Pro Series tournament in San Diego. DeArmey doesn’t talk much about his gaming at school, but when science teacher Shaun Thompson heard about it, he wasn’t surprised by his success.
“Max is very humble,” Thompson said, “but he’s a really good student and a good athlete, and this is another really cool aspect that I don’t think some people know about him.”
Thompson has taught DeArmey in his biology and AP Environmental Science classes, as well as having coached him on track for four years.
“Max is very quiet, but he’s a big leader,” Thompson said. “A lot of people on the team respect him. He helps get things done and encourages everyone, and he’s always at practice setting that example. I’ve seen him work hard on the track and in the classroom, so it does not surprise me that in his other passions he works hard, too.”