Clash Royale: In-Depth Look at Training Camp Cards: Strategies and Counters

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Supercell’s newest game: Clash Royale has rapidly become the hottest mobile game on the ios and Android platforms. Like Supercell’s previous games, Clash Royale is a game that anyone can play as it’s easy to learn, yet hard to master, providing the game with a healthy coalition of casual and competitive players. They didn’t create microtransctions, but Supercell definitely mastered the ingenious marketing strategy, as all of their games take full advantage of this 21st century business model. And in Clash Royale, it’s no different, as the game is heavily inundated with pay-to-play aspects that make it hard for the free-to-play player base to succeed. So that’s why I’ve decided to create some in-depth guides to help those who don’t want to shell out money to the 5.5 billion dollar juggernaut, and would prefer to play the game as F2P model.  While it’s not the most difficult thing to do, getting through the first couple of Arenas can be tricky if you don’t have the proper deck or strategy to compete with. That’s why in this article, I highlight some core strategies to consider while explaining the uses and how to counter all the early game cards.

Common:

gjsArchers: For 3-elixir, this is a fairly cheap unit that is balanced all around. It has a modest health pool, does modest damage, and travels at a modest speed. The best offensive use for this card is placing it behind a Tank: Giant/Giant Skeleton when attempting to siege the opponent. Defensively, this is a versatile card that can take out any unit if placed correctly. Counters to this card are any unit that can get close enough to attack but especially the Prince and Baby Dragon.

zdrBomber: Again, this is another balanced, 3-elixir costed card. This isn’t a great offensive card, but if in the situation, it’s best behind a melee unit with an anti-air card next to it. The Bomber should be treated as a situational defensive card, as its best used when going up against large mobs of ground units thanks to its strong AoE capabilities. It completely annihilates Skeleton Army and is great against the Witch if coalesced with a melee unit. One vs one, this is a very weak card and will lose almost every matchup. The strongest early game counters are Prince, Knight, Mini P.E.K.K.A, Baby Dragon, Musketeer, and Valkyrie.

qsKnight: 3-elixir is the epitome of average and the Knight is no different from the others. It is probably the most versatile early game card as it can be effectively used in a myriad of situations. Offensively the Knight is at its strongest when sieging; it provides great damage absorption for ranged units while also being able to put up modest damage. By itself, it’s not a strong card and in a one vs one situation it usually fails, but when used in coalition with ranged cards, it provides one of the best early game combinations. The same can be said when the Knight is used defensively: it provides a body that can absorb damage. Almost every card can counter the Knight, so that’s why it’s so imperative to use it in combination with other cards. Ultimately, it’s a good card for the first few Arenas, but I wouldn’t waste many resources on upgrading it because it starts to become obsolete around Arena 3-4.

jysArrows: Because this spell is only 3-elixir, it provides great flexibility and can be used in a couple different scenarios. Primarily, this is the best “break glass in case of emergency” card, in that it can provide security when a base begins to become overrun by an opponent. Offensively, it’s best used against hordes of weaker minions or when trying to finish off an enemies weakened tower during overtime/sudden death.

Rare:

xpkMini P.E.K.K.A: Out of all the early game cards, the Mini P.E.K.K.A, by far, does the most damage. It has about the same amount of life points as the Knight and for 4-elixir, it is still relatively inexpensive. It’s not the best card at absorbing damage, but in conjunction with other high life point cards, it can really flourish and take down a tower in a matter of seconds. In defensive situations, taking down high life point units like the Prince,Giant, and Skeleton Giant is this cards strongest trait. Not only can it quickly counter a card like the Giant, but it can then go on to do additional damage to other units or towers, making its 4-elixir cost a bargain and providing the user of the Mini P.E.K.K.Awith a large tempo swing. Countering the Mini P.E.K.K.A in the early arenas is not the easiest thing to do without ownership of a plethora of cards. Well positioned Archers,Musketeer, and Spear Goblins can take out the Mini P.E.K.K.A while under siege but ultimately, if that’s the case, the Mini P.E.K.K.A has probably already done its job and inflicted massive damage on your towers. Unfortunately, the best 1-card solutions to countering it are all Epic rarity cards; the Baby Dragon, Skeleton Army, Witch, can all easily counter the Mini P.E.K.K.A but are not easily accessible cards for those who are using free-to-play accounts. Overall, the Mini P.E.K.K.A is one of the best early game units because of its versatility and damage output and it should be placed in anybody’s deck that owns this card.

hqsMusketeer: The strongest aspect about Musketeer is that it has the longest range out of any troop card in first few arenas. For only 4-elixir, theMusketeer provides excellent siege damage and defensive capabilities because of its large damage out-put (most out of any ranged unit) and modest health pool for a ranged unit. In offensive scenarios, theMusketeer is best used behind a melee unit, but even by itself, it can inflict respectable damage against the opponent’s tower before it dies. Defensively, theMusketeer can take out several high profile targets. If placed correctly (far away from opposing unit), the Musketeer can easily take out valuable units like the Mini P.E.K.K.A, Prince, and especially the Baby Dragon. Countering the Musketeer isn’t too difficult because it’s a single unit, and as long as it can be overwhelmed with numbers (multiple unit cards), it will quickly fall. Overall, the advance range of the Musketeer is best suited for countering specific units and assisting with sieging.

jrGiant: At 5-elixir, the Giant needs to be used situationally and sparingly because of its high cost and how easily it can be countered. On offense, it can be used as opener in conjunction with a ranged unit. The downside to this is that if it is countered, the opposing side is left open to attack and you are left with no elixir. In the first couple of Arenas it’s pretty safe to open with this combination, but as you progress into the later stages the Giantcan only be used to finish off opposing towers. Defensively, the Giant is best used as a counter attack. When the opponent starts to gain tempo, placing a well-timed Giantbehind your tower can quickly shift tempo in your favor. Placing the Giant behind a tower will give you additional time to set up a counter attack because as the Giant begins to take damage you should have enough elixir to support it with the appropriate units for a counter-push. Everything can counter the Giant because it does not attack troops; although, the Mini P.E.K.K.A and the Prince are the best cards for taking it down quickly because of their large damage output. Ultimately, the Giant is the mac daddy of damage absorption and the primary source of siege damage in the first couple of Arenas.

hqsFireball: Like Arrows, the Fireball, is best used in emergency defensive situations or opportunistic offensive situations. It does significantly more damage than Arrows, allowing it to take down stronger troops and finish off towers faster. Unfortunately, the Fireball has a smaller radius than the Arrows and it costs 1-more elixir, making it less expendable/versatile. One of the best uses for the Fireball is to take out buildings like the Goblin Hut and Barbarian Hut because even if it doesn’t eliminate the building, it will still greatly stymie the total production of units the building creates.
Epic:

wzPrince: This is the one card that I desperately wish I had. The Prince is a high-life point character that can do massive damage to ground troops and enemy towers. By itself, the Prince is capable of quickly taking down an opponent’s tower, making it one of the most dangerous cards in the first few stages of Clash Royale. Its unique ability is charge, which increases the units speed and doubles its damage when in charge mode (initiates charge mode after a few seconds of not being attacked) allowing it to 1-hit kill almost any opposing unit. Because it’s 5-elixir, the Prince needs to be used wisely and the best strategy I’ve seen to date is when it’s dropped on the opposite side that the opponent has wasted resources on. This allows the Prince to quickly get to the opponent’s tower unhindered and unleash devastating damage. Defense is not the Prince’s strong suit due not being able to take advantage of its special ability, so only use the Prince as last resort in defensive situations. The best counters to the Prince are multiple unit cards and aerial units. A combination of Archers and Goblins are a great counter or even just a preemptive Minions card will do the trick.

bblBaby Dragon: Obtaining a Baby Dragon makes owning a Bomber andValkyrie obsolete. For 4-elixir, the Baby Dragon has the largest aerial health-pool and puts up a massive amount of AoE damage. There really isn’t a bad time to drop a Baby Dragon, as the card is equal parts good when it comes to offensive and defensive efficiency. Offensively, it’s amazing at protecting weaker units while also being able to Tank a little thanks to its higher health. Defensively, it’s capable of clearing entire lanes by itself and is a great counter to cards like Mini P.E.K.K.A and Prince. The best counter to the Baby Dragon is the Musketeer, as it negates the Baby Dragon’s AoE capabilities and can solo kill the dragon itself.

kljdSkeleton Army: Probably the weakest Epic card available out of the original four. Offensively it can do work by shielding stronger minions with the sheer numbers. Defensively, this is a great card to counter heavy hitters like the Mini P.E.K.K.A and Prince. Any AoE card like the Valkyrie,Bomber, Arrows and Baby Dragon can easily decimate the Skeleton Army making it too easy to counter and probably not the best choice when trying to craft a deck. A good early game placement for this card is behind your tower, smack in the middle, as it divides the troops and half and can help push either side.

nwWitch: This was the Epic I was initially awarded with, and to be honest, it’s mediocre for its cost. One of the best assets the Witch possesses is an excellent offensive opener. The ability to attack both ground and air make it a valuable offensive weapon and the Skeletons it spawns provide excellent fodder for protecting the Witch. Defensively, the Witch is mediocre, it doesn’t do enough damage to quickly eliminate enemy troops, but does do a good job negating damage from high dps units like the Mini P.E.K.K.A. Countering theWitch isn’t that difficult, multiple unit troops or cards like the Valkyrie and Musketeerare capable of soloing it.

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