Clash Royale Deck Building Basics

Card Archetypes

Like we talked about in the Clash Royale Beginner’s Guide, there is a core Paper/Rock/Scissors structure to Card mechanics that creates ideal “counters” for each Card Archetype (Tank/Horde/Spell). Each type can be used offensively or defensively though, and there are special types and nuances to consider, so read on and we’ll break it all down.

Clash Royale Deck Targeting


The first thing you are going to need in any Clash Royale Deck is some Troops that can take a punch. There are a lot of harding hitting Troops and Spells out there, and most of the higher damage Troops can’t take much damage before they fold. In fact, many of them will die running at a Tower before they even land a blow. This is where your Tanks come in. Tanks attract “aggro” from Troops and Towers, until pretty quickly everything is shooting at them. This allows your other weaker Troops to either move up without being challenged, or better yet deal damage without taking any. Some Tanks like Giants can even add the benefit of gently pushing a mass of troops back as they march on towards a Building. Tanks come in “Strong” varieties (Giant, Giant Skeleton, P.E.K.K.A) and “Weak” varieties (Knight, Prince, Valkyrie, Mini P.E.K.K.A). Strong Tanks can asborb more damage, but tend to also deal out less damage and move more slowly. Weak Tanks absorb less damage, but often have hybrid attributes like high damage or fast movement which can make them more versatile.

  • On Offense – Pretty obviously, send out a Tank and drop weaker troops behind. Be sure to account for movement speed, so that weak troops don’t get ahead of the Tank.
  • On Defense – A Tank dropped in your home base, especially near the middle or to a far side, can draw troops together for a Spell or drag them away from a Tower (while the continue to get pelted).
  • Defending Against Strong Tanks – Strong Tanks are best dealt with using Hordes. Place Hordes “in the way” for Building targeting Strong Tanks, and off to one side for Ground targeters.
  • Defending Against Weak Tanks – In many cases Hordes are still be best option, but be wary of Area Damage from units like the Valkyrie. Air troops are the best bet in that case, and in general it pays to know the special abilities of Weak Tanks to choose a good counter.

Clash Royale Deck Horde

Hordes and DPS

Now that you’ve got some damage absorption, it is time to lay out some damage of your own. With the exception of a few Spell Cards, all Cards have a Damage stat (or “Area Damage” if applicable, more on that below). Troop Cards also have a Damage Per Second or “DPS” stat, to give you an idea of their continuous damage output. The highest DPS Cards in the game tend to be Hordes – groups of 3-6 Troops of a given type which are deployed together and move en masse. Most Hordes left unchecked can cripple or destroy a Tower, but the trick is keeping them unchecked. Alone, most Hordes will get torn up, so they need to be deployed in formation so that Tanks distract Towers and other Troops and let the Hordes do their work.

  • On Offense – Let your Tanks move up and get attention before committing your Horde troops to an attack. If an push is going especially well, consider sending reinforcing Horde troops to press the advantage, especially if they are fast moving.
  • On Defense – Big Hordes can effectively neutralize a Tank that has no back up, but they are worthless if Area Damage is in position. If you lack a counter-Tank, let your Towers gain “aggro” before you drop your Horde.
  • Defending Against Hordes – Area Damage is the best way obliterate a Horde in an instant. The Arrows Spell is a Horde-killing All Star with its cheap cost and effectiveness against a wide range of Horde troops. Lacking an Area Damage, it is sometimes worth sacrificing a Tank to buy time for your Towers to do work.

Read on for more analysis on Spells, Area Damage, Spawners, and Defensive Buildings – all key aspects of a strong Clash Royale Deck Build.

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