This guide is for intermediate Clash Royale players, that is players between 1100 and 1700 trophies. You reach arena 4, Pekka’s Playhouse at 1100 trophies, and arena 5, Spell Valley at 1400 trophies. There are 6 new cards available at arena 4 and 3 more available at arena 5, especially the hog rider and wizard card is really good.
As with the beginners guide to Clash Royale, we will begin discussing deck building and which cards you should use. I’ll write about some good specific decks as well, but it’s good to think about what cards are the best first.
All throughout this website I will use the same roles for cards in Clash Royale, with most cards usually being able to fill several roles. I group the cards into these groups to be able to discuss deck building in general and not just specific decks. Most players don’t have access to all the cards, and it’s important to create the best possible deck out of the cards you have.
I have listed the cards in the different groups in order of how good I think they are, starting from top left. Only cards from arena 1 to 5 are included. Many cards are left out, those are the cards I consider to be really bad and never use in any of my decks.
Tank cards give you one troop or defensive building with high HP, we’re talking 800 and above. These are necessary to tank damage and protect your lower HP troops.
Single DPS cards.
Single DPS cards give you troops or buildings that have high single target damage. These are important for taking down your opponents tanks and towers. The following cards fill this role.
Splash cards inflict splash damage to large hordes or your opponent’s troops. This role can be filled by both spells and troops.
Air target cards.
These are cards that either give you troops, spells or buildings that can target air units. Especially at higher arena levels a lot of flying troops are used, and it’s important to have cards to deal with that.
These cards give you troops that fly, which is really nice as only air target cards can hit them.
The advantage with spell cards is that you can chose to cast them anywhere on the map, so they are great to deal with troublesome situations quickly.
These cards give you defensive buildings you use to defend your towers.
Building the deck.
The more of these cards you have, the more possible decks you can build. In general I recommend following this rule when building your deck, as it makes for a flexible balanced deck:
2 tank, 2 single DPS, 3 splash, 3 air target, 1 flying, 1 spell and 1 defensive.
The reason why this is more than 8 cards is because many cards will fill several roles. For instance arrows is both a spell and a splash card and the prince is both a tank and a single DPS card.
In addition to chasing cards from the different groups, you also have to think about the synergy between the specific cards you chose. Below I’ll go over some of my favourite decks for arena 4 and 5, if you’re missing some of the cards you can use another card that fills the same role. Baby Dragon could for example be switched out with Valkyrie as they are both tanks who do splash damage.
The X-Bow deck.
The X-Bow is one of the best cards in Clash Royale, and a lot of decks are built specifically around this card. This is my version of the X-Bow deck, and it works really well all the way up to arena 6.
The first card you need is obviously the X-Bow. The goal is to place this near the bridge so it can take out your opponents crown tower. The X-Bow can easily take out the tower by itself if it’s left alone, and many opponents really struggle dealing with the X-Bow.
Playing the X-Bow is usually a good starting play, you can do a lot of damage if your opponent is not ready to deal with it. Later in game you usually want something to back up the X-bow with, for example arrows or tombstone.
The tombstone is another important card in this deck, you use that to counter your opponent’s tower killing troops. It’s also used to distract Balloons and X-Bows.
Arrows fit in almost every deck, and also in this one, the splash damage is important, especially for protecting your X-Bow.
Baby Dragon is an awesome card, you can send it down a lane by itself and it is very hard to counter efficiently. It can also be used to tank for weaker units.
Valkyrie fills a similar role as baby dragon, you can use it both for splash damage and for sending it down a lane by itself to do decent damage. She also excels at counting witches.
Minion Horde is used to stop opponents tanks and tower killing troops, swarming big units work really well. It’s nice to have a flying card here as there are less troops that can damage flying troops.
Goblin hut is used to keep pressure in one lane as well a way to distract opponent’s troops. The knight is included just for value, lots of hp and damage for low elixir cost.
Clash Royale game tactics.
In the beginners guide we went over the following 6 rules:
- Think before playing any card.
- React to your opponents move.
- Don’t waste elixir.
- Always keep a splash card ready.
- Sometimes let your tower take damage.
- Be patient.
All of this is still valid at higher levels, especially reacting to your opponent and not wasting elixir. If you don’t counter your opponent correctly at higher levels and keep wasting elixir, you will have almost no chance of winning, even if your deck is better.
Know when to push both lanes.
Knowing when to push both lanes is getting more important at higher arena levels. This is quite tricky as you might get run over by your opponent’s push if you play some troops in the other lane. Often you are in a situation where you opponent is playing lots of troop buildings in one lane, then it might be correct to push in the other lane and just barely defend the incoming troops from his troop buildings.
In general when you notice that your opponent has spent all his elixir on a push that you can defend without spending all of yours, throwing a tank/DPS card like prince in the other lane is a good choice. Keep punishing your opponent for his mistakes.
Know how many troops to send into a push.
Often you find yourself in situations where you have a couple of troops crossing the river on their way to your opponents tower and you’re not sure if you should spend your elixir sending more troops after them. In these situations stop for a few seconds and think about what cards your opponent can throw against you.
How much elixir does he have? Does he have a chance to take out one of your towers with a huge push if you overcommit here? Often the best choice is to let the units that have crossed the bridge die without taking out the tower, unless you’re certain that sending more troops after them would take the tower out for sure. It’s a disaster if you commit without killing the tower and your opponent instead takes out yours.
Sacrificing your tower.
In some situations it’s correct to loose your tower if you have more to win by spending your troops elsewhere. Towers are strong and will keep a lot of troops busy, this might enable you to take out their kings tower or another of their towers to still end up ahead. Also, if your far behind making a risky play like this is often correct, which brings us to the next point.
Play the loser’s game.
In most games it’s unclear who is the better player, and in these situations it’s correct to play what is called the loser’s game. Charles Ellis wrote the now famous essay The Loser’s Game in 1946, where he compares tennis to investing. The analogy holds true for a game like Clash Royale as well. If you want to get ahead focus on avoiding mistakes instead of making fancy plays. The winner of the game will most often be the player who makes the fewest mistakes.
The only time you should make fancy plays and take huge risks is when you are already far behind, for example if you’re behind with one crown and time is running out. I know it’s more fun to play the winner’s game and try to make your fancy plays work, but usually it will lead you into trouble and lose you the game to someone playing solid.
If you have any comments or questions please let me know by posting below, this guide is a work in progress and I will update it frequently.