Update April 2017: These are still solid tips for improving your chances in Clash Royale!
Clash Royale is a real-time multiplayer game featuring all your favorite characters from Clash of Clans. Jump into intense three-minute battles against human opponents, where the goal is to destroy your opponent's three Crown Towers.
Lead your troops to victory and win trophies, war chests, and the fallen crowns of your opponents — all of which helps you to upgrade your cards and progress up the global standings ladder. Success requires way more skill than you might expect from a free-to-play Supercell game. Sure, you're still left waiting for chests to open, but the core gameplay will test your card knowledge and strategic timing.
Collect and level up your cards, build your battle decks, and devise strategies to take on the world one opponent at a time.
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1. The importance of joining a Clan
Once you reach King Level 3, you unlock the ability to join a clan. Joining a clan is a good idea for a multitude of reasons. For starters, you're able to request cards from your fellow clan members which helps you to level up your favourite cards a bit quicker than randomly waiting for them to appear in your Victory Chests. You're also able to gain gold and King level points faster by donating extra cards to your other clan mates. Leveling up your King Level increases your tower's HP, and you need gold to upgrade your cards (which also helps increase your King level), so it's quite advantageous to join up early and be an active member in your clan.
Then there's the social aspect of joining a clan. You can chat and trade strategies with your clanmates, and play friendly matches for free which can again help you better strategize your attacks and become a smarter player. Whether you're starting your own clan with some friends, or simply joining a random clan, the benefits you get from joining a clan are totally worth it. Just keep in mind that Clan leaders are looking for active members who donate cards as often as they request them. Don't be a selfish jerk and get yourself kicked out of a clan, as that's no fun for anyone.
2. Attacking in pairs
As you continue to play through Clash Royale, you'll quickly learn that it's a poor strategy to send one troop type in all alone on a rush. Your best bet is to wait for your elixir to charge up so that you're able to drop at least two troops at one time to maximize your effectiveness. For example, say you want to send in a Giant. If you pair him with a flying troop (Minions or a Baby Dragon), your opponent's troops will lock on and attack the Giant, allowing your air troops to offer support and pick off the ground troops.
Another great strategy for playing cards is to drop your troop at the back of the arena, and wait for them to work their way through your half of the arena. This is effective for a couple of reasons: firstly, it allows you to recharge your Elixir while your troop remains (mostly) safe from your opponent's attacks, it'll let you see how they react to the troop you drop, and as your first troop begins to cross the bridge, you'll want to drop your second troop (or more) to to join them on the rush.
3. Figure out your opponent's battle deck
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but in the opening minute of the battle, try to make a note of the cards in your opponent's battle deck, and especially make note if any patterns emerge.
For example, if you see them use a Fireball and arrow attack early on, you should note the risk to amass a large group of ground melee troops (Skeleton Army, Goblins etc.), and especially if you haven't seen one of those cards played in a while. Sound strategy would be to sit on those swarm cards until your opponent plays that long-ranged card with the massive area damage. Time it right, and you'll drop your troops at the perfect moment when your opponent is least-prepared to defend against them.
Same goes for defending. If you've got the perfect card to counter a Giant, Prince or other major damaging troop, you'll want hold off on using them until the timing is right.
Knowing this, it's important to really use those valuable counter cards at the right time. There's no worse feeling than dropping a Skeleton Army to rush on the right lane and then have your opponent drop a Giant on the left. Or to mistime an Arrows attack and then be unable to defend a low hitpoint surge from your opponent.
4. Learn from the best… and from your previous matches.
A cool but probably overlooked feature built into Clash Royale is TV Royale. You can watch replays of matches between the best players in the world. What makes this really valuable is that you get to see how to use and counter cards you may not encountered yet, and card combinations that you may have never considered.
There's also a number of prominent YouTubers creating some fantastic content around Clash Royale. This includes gluttonous videos of them unlocking thousands of dollars worth of Chests, as well as strategy videos that includes valuable gameplay footage and commentary. Here are three of the best YouTube channels to check out
Long-time YouTuber who used to focus almost exclusively on Clash of Clans, but has now expanded to cover Clash Royale as well.
Great channel for Clash Royale strategies and learning how to build — and defend against — specialized decks.
Gaming with Molt
One of the best players on the Global Ladder. An absolute must-watch if you're pretty serious about Clash Royale.
5. Building your decks
Once you've played through the game for a while, unlocking and levelling up cards as you go, you'll likely start finding your own strategies and card combinations you prefer to work with. As a general rule, you'll want every deck to include:
One low Elixir cost ground troops
(Skeletons, Knight, Goblins, Spear Goblins)
These can be used to throw down quick support for other troops, or used defensively to draw high-damaging troops (Mini P.E.K.K.A, Prince, Baby Dragon) off their lane. Given their low Elixir cost, they're also helpful for quickly cycling through your deck,
One ranged troop
(Archers, Spear Goblins, Musketeer, Princess)
Beyond giving you the ability to inflict damage from a distance, ranged troops are able to target air troops, so they can be an important troop for defending against Minions, Baby Dragons, and Balloons. If your opponent clues into the fact that you lack proper defenses through the air, they'll certainly capitalize on that.
One high-hitpoint troop
(Giant, Giant Skeleton, Golem, Royal Giant)
Sometimes you'll use them as a meat shield for your other troops during a rush, or defensively to draw troops away from attacking your Crown Tower. Either way you use them, they're great for absorbing attacks and if you're able to escort them to your opponents Crown Tower, they will deal major damage. Whereas the Giant only attacks buildings, troops like the Giant Skeleton and
One flying troop
(Baby Dragon, Minions, Minion Horde, Balloons)
You'll quickly find how important it is to use flying troops, if only to draw out and counter your opponent's flying troops. Early on, you'll probably want to roll with both the Baby Dragon and Minions given how effective they are against all types of ground troops, as well as buildings. Once you unlock Minion Horde and Balloon, that'll be another effective pairing, with the Minions able to swarm against ground and air troops, and the Balloon dealing massive damage to buildings. You don't necessarily need two, but it's typically good strategy to have air support for rushes/defense, and especially when you start using the Balloon.
One damage-causing Spell
(Fireball, Arrows, Rocket, Zap, Poison, Lightning, Goblin Barrel)
It's a big risk battling without a damage-causing spell. It leaves you wide-open to an opponent that likes to rush with low-hitpoint troops. Early on, you'll definitely want to roll with Arrows or Fireball, but as your card collection grows, you might be more inclined to use Zap, Goblin Barrel or Rocket instead. Either way, you'll want to be prepared in case your opponent tries to overrun you with hordes, or to slow a counter-attack. It's also important to have a way to consistently deal damage to the opponent's Crown Tower. If you've rushes have weakened their Crown Tower, and you just need to get in one more blow, you're able to cycle through your cards, get that spell and, potentially, clinch the match.
One troop for countering
(Valkyrie, Bomber, Wizard, Skeleton Army)
Depending on what cards you got, it's important to have a troop that's good at clearing out multiple troops, fast. Perhaps the best card for this is Valkyrie, which is the perfect troop for countering against the Skeleton Army or other low-hitpoint troops. Simply drop her right in the middle of the action and she'll clear things out quick. Bomber can also be used as an effective counter, but you'll want to spawn him a bit away from the action due to his low-hitpoint. The Wizard can also be a useful counter troop, as his splash damage is effective against multiple troops. Skeleton Army can also be a good card to have for countering against Giants and the like, but keep in mind that Arrows, Fireball or a Valkyrie could easily clear them out.
This strategy gives you two extra card slots for cards of your choice, which could be a faster or hard-hitting troop, such as a Prince, Mini P.E.K.K.A, Dark Prince or Hog Rider, or another card that falls under the categories above. It's entirely dependant on whatever strategy you want to try out, or which cards you prefer to play with.
6. Play it slow, or go for broke from the start.
When the battle first starts, and you're dealt your first four cards, you're immediately need to decide whether to go on the offensive right away, or wait for your opponent to make their first move.
Generally speaking, it's a good strategy to wait for full Elixir before making that first move. Then it all depends on which cards you have in your deck, and whether you're in a position to attack or if you're better off defending.
One basic deck that I've been using to great effect is: Minions, Spear Goblins, Goblins, Arrows, Valkyrie, Giant, Musketeer, and Skeleton Army. When the match starts, if I have a Giant, Goblins and either my Spear Goblins or Musketeer in my starting deal, I'm fairly confident in attacking early, and can usually take down a crown tower in the opening minute. The strategy I've found is to play your Giant, let him walk across the bridge (taking the focus of the Arena Tower and any troops my opponent drops to defend) then immediately dropping my Goblins behind him. They'll stay behind the Giant, protected, until the Giant stops at a building, and then sprint around him to jump in on the attack. Right after dropping the Goblins, I'll throw in my ranged troop, which will remain far back enough to clear out any defending troops, and then push forward to attack the Tower, which should be greatly weakened by the Giant/Goblins combo.
The benefit of this deck and strategy is that while you're playing your Giant, Goblins and ranged troop cards, you'll be rotating through the second half of your deck, which includes your defensive/counter cards (Arrows, Valkyrie, Skeleton Army). So not only have you brought the pain to your opponent right off the top and have them scrambling, you're also in a position to counter if they try to go after your crown tower on the other side.
7. Using Chest Tracker apps
If you want to play through the game without spending a dime but also want to plan out when you're going to receive Gold, Giant, Magical and Super Magical Chests — there's an app for that!
While it might seem random, there's actually an algorithm which determines the order of the chests you receive. Every 240 Chests, you get three Giant Chests, three Magical Chests, 54 Gold Chests and the remaining 190 in Silver Chests.
The Chest Tracker app helps you determine which Chests are coming up next. All you have to do is download the app and then sync up your chests with the chest tracker. This is best done by waiting until you receive a Giant or Magical Chest and then syncing the count to that chest. Depending on how long you've been playing the game, it might be difficult to find out EXACTLY where you are in the cycle, so your tracking of gold chests might be a bit off — but those aren't especially rare, and we're more interested in tracking those Giant and Magical Chests!
8. The best card in the game is Mastercard
The ability to pay your way to victory is just the sad reality about any of these freemium games. You can totally hold your own as you work your way through the early arenas, but if you want to be one of the very best in the world and battle in the Legendary arena, odds are you're going to need to drop some MAJOR cash to do so. We're talking thousands of dollars in the shop spent on gems to buy Super Magical Chests. Because believe it or not, there are people who have legitimately spent tens of thousands of dollars on this game to pay their way to the top. To even come close to their level playing for free would take months — if not years — of focused gameplay to even stand a snowflake's chance in hell against a wallet warrior.
Don't have thousands of dollars to drop on a mobile game? Few do. Fortunately, you can still get some enjoyment out of those who do by checking out the TV Royale tab and watching some matches from the very elite Clash Royale players. Watching these matches can provide you some insight into new strategies, and help you to better understand how to effectively use and defend against Epic and Legendary cards.
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