So at this trophy level the vast majority of your opponents are going to be utilizing primarily one of the two following win conditions (and sometimes both together): Hog Rider or Royal Giant. Occasionally you’ll meet some fringey strategies like Giant Skelly Arrow bait, Three Musketeers, or the classic P.E.K.K.A Double Prince. However based on the meta perhaps the most important thing to learn is methods of countering the Royal Giant. It is very important that troops and buildings are placed properly to counter this guy, and slight misplacements can prove extremely costly. Also you need to recognize certain patterns in play and decks so you know what to expect. If your opponent plays something like Goblins or Skeletons far in the back, have your Hog counter ready at a moment’s notice in case he’s setting up for that. There are a lot of fast-twitch reactions in this game and the first step to mastering those is being able to read an opponent’s play, it sounds like a simple skill but a lot of players have trouble with this.
In the crucial 2800-3000 range where a lot of players get stuck, most opponents will be at level 9 and 10. Commons are usually 9-10, Rares 6-7, Epics 4-5, and Legendaries 1-2. This makes it extremely difficult for new level 9 players and lower to compete up here, but it is possible to make it legendary arena even as a level 7 so don’t give up hope.
In this section I’m going to go over what I believe are the 3 most potent strategies at this trophy level, and then I’ll list out the specific deck I used from the archetype to get over 3000 trophies. Now, I would never recommend jumping right into ladder with a deck you’re unfamiliar with especially if you’re close to 3000 right now. Take it into games with your clanmates, preferably ones at a similar level and trophy level as you but just games in general can help you to get a hang of the flow of things.
Deck 1: Hog Rider + Valkyrie + Freeze
Many of you have likely seen a whole bunch of a sorta similar Hog Cycle strategy that utilizes Zap and Fireball over Freeze and Arrows, but frankly I think Freeze is just too potent of a defensive weapon in this meta being an excellent answer to a Royal Giant that’s rumbling into your base. The Valkyrie+Freeze combo is one of the most effective clearing options in all of Clash Royale and is something you want to practice nailing quite often if you want to play this deck. Freeze can be a very punishing card to misplay, so I recommend training a lot in games with clanmates before betting precious trophies on it. Below I’ll list out the final five cards I decided on to complete my decklist but there are a lot of combinations of cards that can go with this main core.
Goblins: An extremely potent tool to pair offensively with Hog Rider. Additionally they play a pivotal role on defensive being able to DPS down an enemy Hog, distract a Prince, or help take out a Royal Giant. Can be excellent combo’d with Freeze on defense being able to help you make great elixir trades like wiping out 3 Musketeers quickly. You can also easily use Goblins to help your Hog bypass buildings!
Even if there’s no building down I often attempt to perform the Pig Push in games when dropping Hog Gobs just so I can get in more practice doing it.
Elixir Collector: Just an excellent card in cheaper Hog Rider decks because it lets you cycle back to your Hog repeatedly and keep the pressure on especially in double Elixir time. It’s also just the best possible card to ever have in an opening hand in Clash Royale because you are rewarded far more for playing defensively than offensively as a result of the free value from your towers. Playing Collector as an opening allows you to be proactive without granting your opponent the opportunity to gain that free value over you. However you always want to wait for 9.5-10 elixir before placing it in case your opponent tries an aggressive Hog push to punish you. If they try it after you’ve waited until 10 you’ll still be able to counter the majority of the push. In mid to late game you again don’t want to be placing these willy-nilly while low on elixir, it’s best placed during gaps in action when both players are simply refilling. In emergencies you can play this as a distraction to protect your tower, but the vast majority of the time you want these behind your towers to ensure value. The health buff made it a lot less effective to constantly have your Collectors in the middle.
Arrows: I would also consider Fireball a strong option here, but I usually only consider that for decks that have a weakness to cards like Wizard or Three Musketeers, which is not the case here. Arrows is great because it still one shots Minion Horde (a card this deck fears) while having a much wider radius to hit more stuff and a cheaper cost to be more flexible. The damage can also help you finish off a tower for a clutch win, as Hog strategies have a tendency to be able to whittle a tower down but can sometimes have trouble finishing off that final damage because the opponent stacks buildings to defend.
Musketeer: I’ve used Spear Goblins, Fire Spirits, and Skeletons in this slot and found them all to be quite good. Musketeer is currently my favorite in this slot though. Part of what makes her so excellent is her deceptively high health. You often use Musketeer on defense to powerful effect and then have a high DPS threat marching towards their base as a huge threat to a tower as well. Few cards can provide this kind of consistent offensive and defensive value. An extremely common push you’ll make is Valkyrie with Musketeer in the back. It’s a relatively cheap commitment that nearly always takes some of the opponent’s troops out while also getting chip damage on a tower. Since this is a relatively cheap deck that also has Elixir Collector, you’ll be able to pump these out a lot and it can become very difficult for an opponent to answer. Be careful about stacking too many other things together in Fireball range of your Musketeer, because she’s one of the juicier targets around for it.
Minion Horde: A very powerful card both offensively and defensively especially with Freeze. I can’t even count how many times an opponent was relying on Zap plus their Tower to answer an oncoming Minion Horde only to have me Freeze. This usually results in a tower nearly dying completely because if even 3 of these get to a tower with a few seconds of Freeze up they are going to absolutely shred it. As everyone knows this card is among the best for shredding tanks/Barbarians or quickly killing a Hog Rider.
Deck 2: Royal Giant + basically anything
I think a lot of us are aware of how powerful Royal Giant is right now. There are a whole bunch of combinations you can play around him that are extremely good. My personal favorite is Chief Pat’s version (check out some of his videos with this deck to get a more visual idea of how it’s played). I’ll talk a little bit about why I like each of his card choices:
Goblin Hut: A card that kind of had faded out of the meta for a while. Spawner decks were losing popularity and nobody really used Goblin Hut in any other kinds of decks. However with Royal Giant being so potent now we actually have a great use for the card. You usually want one of these on one lane at almost all times. It forces opponents to play pretty awkwardly because the constant chip damage from each Goblin does start to add up and the threat of a Royal Giant dropping on that lane makes mounting a push on the opposite lane a bit of a risk. Late game I’m sure we’ve all seen what can happen when multiple huts start to pile up, and often the army of Spear Goblins are part of what helps you finish the game off.
Elixir Collector: Not much to say about this one. This deck is extremely hard to beat when you have Collectors down and can cycle back to your Royal Giant consistently while Spear Goblins keep spawning.
Barbarians: A great card to pair with your own Royal Giant or use against an enemy Royal Giant. A deck that wants to play very slowly and chip away like this one needs a solid defensive anchor and this card serves that purpose, being a great play against all kinds of stuff like Hogs, Princes, Pekkas, etc.
Spear Goblins: We already have a bunch spawning from the Huts but we just need more I guess. I think Goblins could feasibly go here as well honestly but I haven’t tested that a lot. These are obviously great, not much to say here.
Arrows and Fireball: Just pairing these together, having both is nice because it gives you a lot more leeway in how you can use your removal. If you have to Arrows a pesky Princess you’re a lot less vulnerable to a sudden Minion Horde dropping because you have Fireball in hand. More importantly though these play an important role in your win condition. Most often you’re just playing to chip away at one tower and win in overtime, and launching Fireball+Arrows throughout your cycle is a common way to finish things off. Know how much damage these do to towers, and if you forget just hold your thumb on the icon in your hand and a little window will pop up showing you the numbers.
Cannon: I said this earlier but a very important technique to learn is to drop the Cannon at the right time against a Royal Giant. You want the Giant to be getting hit by the tower but NOT focusing the tower, and you also want the Cannon to be in range to shoot at the Royal Giant. This is a fairly precise window so I suggest practicing it, but the consequences of missing can be pretty devastating especially if you’re too late and the Giant targets your tower. Other than that this card is also great against Hogs. Sometimes you can have a building stack that forces an opponent to get through a Cannon AND your Goblin Hut for example, which can make it extremely difficult for Royal Giants/Hogs to get through to your tower.
Deck 3: Giant Balloon
This is definitely one of the most used decks these days. It is very easy to use and free to play. Basically, everything you need to do is to use your Giant as a meat shield for your Balloon and protect the Balloon, protecting it by using anything in your hand to get it to the opponent’s Tower. In order to read more about this deck, I strongly recommend you take a look at this guide.
Some other tips for you
- While building your deck, you should focus on countering the most common strategies at your current Arena. For example, in Arena 8, most players are using Hog Rider and Royal Giant, that’s why I am using the Inferno Tower and Mini P.E.K.K.A.
- Sometimes, it’s better to sacrifice your Tower HP, especially If you are not playing Elixir Collector. If you can have a big push after taking 500 damage, don’t worry about losing a bit of tower HP.
- Don’t ever waste your Elixir, especially when the 11th Elixir trick has been removed now. Dropping your Spear Goblins on the bridge to deal a few hundred damage is better than wasting 1-2 Elixir. Of course, make sure that you are not going to waste your only defensive card.
- Know when you should counter push, when you should do base racing. I think you should take a look at this guide for more details.
- Miner is definitely the best card for pushing trophies at this time. If you have him, congrats! Take a look atthis deck for easy trophies!
- Don’t hesitate to play for a tie. Sometimes, your opponents can counter your deck perfectly. You can’t move, can’t push, can’t do anything but defend. Do your best to defend. It’s better than losing 25 trophies.
If you practice one of the two decks above enough they are more than capable of hitting Legendary Arena. However there are plenty of other decks that can do it too, so at the end of the day what matters most is knowing your deck inside and out and having acceptable card levels (good luck hitting 3k with a deck using level 1 Pekka/Prince for example). I hope this post helps some people when considering the meta and some of the better decks to use. Just don’t tilt and tell yourself this game isn’t going anywhere and a loss of trophies today isn’t impossible to make up.