Clash Royale Deck Building Guide — How to Advance in Arena

Are you enjoying Clash Royale, but you're ready to take your deck to the next level? Here's a guide to turn your deck into an arena-smashing powerhouse.

Are you enjoying Clash Royale, but you're ready to take your deck to the next level? Here's a guide to turn your deck into an arena-smashing powerhouse.

Clash Royale is Supercell’s follow-up to the incredibly popular Clash of Clans — and if anything, it’s even more addictive.  It’s pretty easy to get started, but since you’re playing against real people, the game gets difficult quickly, and it can be hard to advance in the arena if you don’t know what you’re doing.

To get you started, here’s a basic deck building guide to help you win and keep winning.

The Basics

The most important part of any Clash Royale deck is synergy — you want your cards to work together. How complicated that synergy is depends on your cards and your overall strategy, but at the very least, you need three things:

  • tough cards to stand in front
  • ranged units to do damage
  • some sort of utility if things go wrong

If you could build a deck with just knights, archers, and arrows, that actually wouldn’t be too bad — you won’t get to legendary arena with it, but it will get you started.

Understanding the balance between defense and offense is important as well. Sooner or later your enemy is going to break through, and the more answers you have, the more likely you are to be able to turn the tide and start a counter push. This means having splash damage to counter hordes, ranged attackers to shoot down flyers, and spells to blast buildings and enemies behind protection.

If you keep these principles in mind, you can’t really build a bad deck, but let’s get more specific about how to win in arena.

Building an Arena Deck

It’s unlikely that you are going to have all the cards that you need while you’re starting out (and if you’re free-to-play, probably ever), but there are lots of substitutions, and making your deck work is part of the fun. Here are some suggested cards for a strong, basic arena deck.

2-3 High HP Cards

These are your front line, and what will make the rest of your deck work, if you use them correctly. Cards like the Giant, the Knight, and the P.E.K.K.A. are all very good at providing a meatshield that your squishy units can fire from behind. You need a few of these, or else you’ll just get rolled over.

2-3 DPS Cards

These are your workhorses, and what will burn down your enemies’ tanks and towers if you protect them correctly. Cards like the Musketeer, Archers, and Spear Goblins will rack up tons of damage if left alone, making them extremely important to a winning strategy.

2-3 Splash Damage Cards

There may be some overlap here with the other categories, but don’t neglect your splash damage. Skeletons and goblins are everywhere, and you need something with cleanup power to keep from being swarmed. Cards like the Valkyrie, Baby Dragon, and Witch are key to stopping massive pushes of small minions.

1 AoE Spell

Especially as you advance in the arena ranks, you’re going to want to have an AoE spell to deal with unexpected swarms and minion spawners. Arrows is great for taking out lots of minions, but it does less damage to buildings. Fireball has a smaller AoE, but it does more damage and it’s strong against buildings. Choose one or the other to start.

1-2 Buildings

Buildings are important for stabilizing your side of the field and buying you time to react. A Goblin Hut or a Bomb Tower can make a big difference in allowing you time to react — make sure to include at least one of these, as it will help you build a stronger position.

Elixir Cost

Remember, you have to pay for all of this, so keep an eye on your elixir cost. The average cost of all your cards should be between 3.7 and 4.5 — anything lower and your weak units will get wiped out, anything higher and you’re liable to get overwhelmed while you wait for elixir to pay for your units.

Example Decks

What your deck looks like is going to rely a lot on what you get out of your chests, but here’s some basic layouts to get you started.

Low-cost Starter Deck

  • Archers
  • Knight
  • Giant
  • Goblins
  • Spear Goblins
  • Bomb Thrower
  • Goblin Hut
  • Arrows

Mid-range Deck

  • Baby Dragon
  • Giant
  • Skeleton Army
  • Prince
  • Musketeer
  • Arrows
  • Fireball
  • Inferno Tower

Thoughts? Comments? Have some deck building tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments, and good battling!

About the author

Robert Guthrie

Writer, freelancer, historian.