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"Clash Royale" Review and Tips

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Olly has a degree in French, has written for the University paper, and is an avid film, game, and exercise fan as well as a keen traveler.

The "Clash Royale" Homescreen

The "Clash Royale" Homescreen

Welcome to Clash Royale!

Clash Royale is the creation of Supercell, who brought you the immensely successful mobile game, Clash of Clans. Using many characters from Clash of Clans, they have created a unique experience in Clash Royale that is best described as a card battler.

In a nutshell, you pit your 8 cards against a real human opponents' 8 cards, with the aim to win by destroying one or all three of their towers. Whoever has destroyed more of the towers by the end of play (3 minutes as standard with extra time added if none have been destroyed) is the winner. It's perfectly designed to be played when you have a few minutes to spare and very well suited to the mobile platform.

Clash Royale is free to play with optional payments, but having spent a good 3 months with the game, I've not needed to shell out and I've reached Arena 7 with a good collection of Epic and Rare cards. Essentially, even though paying may help you get certain levels or types of cards quicker or open more chests, it doesn't impact heavily or make you feel like you're always the underdog.

Battlefield in the Game

Battlefield in the Game

How to Play

Time to clash! You have a selected card setup before you battle entirely chosen by you and this is saved before you battle so you don't need to keep inputting your choices before you play saving you time. Once battle starts you both start with the same amount of elixir (used to summon cards onto the battlefield) which slowly rises up to a maximum of ten during the battle. Management of elixir as well as what cards counter others is key to winning battles and progressing to the higher levels of the game. I'll give you some great tips at the end from my experience.

You control where you place the card, then it automatically attacks when other cards are within it's range. There are three types of cards essentially: Spell cards, Troop cards and Building cards. What makes the game so interesting is that you see cards used in all different ways and there is not just 'one' use for a card (although there are advised uses). For instance, Giant Skeleton is a great attack card. It has high health, good strength and when it explodes upon death it deals huge damage, but it's slow and easily distracted by other cards. Used in defence however, it can potentially destroy all opponents' cards near your area that are attacking it, and distract them from hitting your towers. Two great uses.


Every time you win a battle you'll receive a small amount of gold (used to buy cards from the in-game shop or upgrade levels of cards) and a randomly generated chest based on the current arena you have reached. Each chest has a level of rarity from Common – Super Magical Chest. The higher the rarity of chest, the better the cards you might get – more Rare's or Epic's (even a Legendary!). You upgrade your cards with the same type of card and some gold.

You can have up to four unopened chests at any one time and opening them takes time to open. You also get a free chest every 3 hours which is a separate entity from your four total chests from wins. On top of this, you also have a daily King's Chest and if you manage to destroy a total of 10 towers in a day, you can open this for gold and cards as well as gems (the in-game currency for opening chests quicker or buying chests outright) so there are lots of opportunities to collect cards and gold if you don't want to spend real money.

Opening chests is great fun and the surprise of what you might get makes it pretty compulsive. The feeling of drawing a Super Magical Chest and getting tons of gold and cards is very satisfying, and also very lucky.

Card Types and Examples

While I won't explore all of the cards of the game, (part of the fun is discovering them yourself) I'll go into detail of a handful that are important early on to either level up or keep in your deck long term.

Spell Cards

Arrows (Common, Elixir Cost - 3)

Arrows are a very popular card for most decks because of their low elixir cost and high effectiveness at dealing specifically with large groups of smaller or flying troops. At level 1 it deals 115 area damage and 46 damage to towers. A fairly weak spell card but as a lot of smaller troops have low health, it's definitely a great card to keep in your deck purely because it stops you being swamped by lots of small troops.

Fireball (Rare, Elixir Cost – 4)

Fireball is likely one of the early Rare's you'll receive in the opening parts of the game. It can be targeted at anything on the battlefield and is delivered pretty quickly so you don't have to worry about being too accurate with it. At level 1 it deals 325 area damage i.e. any troops, and delivers 130 damage to towers. As you can see, it's much more useful against troops rather than buildings because it delivers better damage. Handy to finish off a building, but superb against groups of troops like Barbarians or Minions. It can be used against ground troops and flying troops.

Troop Cards

Knight (Common, Elixir Cost – 3)

Knight is a bit of an underdog. Early on he will be one of your main melee attackers. He moves at a good speed and does average damage. At level 1 he deals 68 damage per second and has 600 health. If underestimated by opponents, he can do good damage to towers at a low elixir cost. However, compared to other melee attackers he isn't the strongest by far.

Giant (Rare, Elixir Cost – 5)

Giant was in my deck for a long time. He has very high health, deals good damage but only targets buildings and is very slow. At level 1 he deals 84 damage per second and has 2000 health. He is a great card for a few reasons. He soaks up a lot of damage and distracts a lot of other troops from hitting your weaker cards if in front of them. He does cost 5 elixir though which is half your entire bar so you have to be careful you don't use him at the wrong time. Place him at the back of your area so by the time he reaches halfway to opponents tower, you can put weaker cards behind him for a 'push' (a term in the game for a big attack). Ideal cards to go behind him are Spear Goblins or Bomber. Also, by using smaller, faster cards behind him, you can literally 'push' the Giant and make him move faster!

Building Cards

Building cards work a little differently than Spell or Troop cards. Each Building card has a unique usage lifetime (mostly 40 seconds) which means whenever you place it, a timer counts down and it's health bar diminishes. Even if nothing attacks it, after its usage lifetime, it will disappear.

Goblin Hut (Rare, Elixir Cost - 5)

Goblin Hut is either used a lot, or not at all. Some players build their decks with Goblin Hut as a key card. The Goblin Hut creates Spear Goblins every 4.9 seconds and it's usage lifetime is one minute. As the card is levelled, its health increases but also the level of the Spear Goblin that is produced. It costs half of your elixir bar, but remains for a decent amount of time producing additional troops. Most place this at the back of their arena to either distract the opponents' cards or to slowly chip away at one of the tower. If you're not careful, before you know it there may be two or three huts placed and you may get swamped with Spear Goblins.

Bomb Tower (Rare, Elixir Cost - 5)

Bomb Tower was another card in my deck until recently its lifetime usage went from 60 seconds to 40 seconds. As a defensive card it is still pretty strong. At level 1 it deals 100 area damage and has 900 health, but only targets ground troops. Flying enemies take it down pretty easily. This card is perfect against swarms of troops and against Hut card users. Solid defensive card and best placed in the middle of your side between the smaller towers.

There are tons more cards but I'll let you discover those on your own.


Clans and Achievements

You can earn achievements from some of your actions and progression, but they aren't that great in terms of the rewards you get for completing them and should be a few more in my view. Might be something that improves over time. You can also join a clan if you like and this helps in a few ways which I've explained in the Hints and Tips section.

Hints and Tips for New Players

  • Joining a clan is advised as not only can you chat with others, but you can donate unwanted cards and receive cards also from your clan friends. It's a good way to earn extra gold by donating and increasing your chosen cards. It also helps complete an achievement.
  • You don't need to destroy all the towers to win. Try destroying one tower and then defending. It's a tactic that can work well if your deck is suited.
  • Spell cards are useful but try and time them when you can get either troop/building damage together or a big group of troops have been grouped. Be patient and observe the opponent. Sometimes not using a certain card then surprising them near the end, can put them off guard.
  • In the last minute of the match, Elixir generation speed is doubled. That's a good time to use your higher costing cards as you're more likely to have an Elixir reserve even when they are deployed.
  • Don't worry too much if you haven't drawn many Rare or Epic cards. The level of the card is more important than the rarity and often you will see many Common cards with higher levels as they cost less, but still pack a punch.
  • The Elixir cost never changes when a card is upgraded. Keep this in mind when you decide to level cards. The higher the rarity, the higher the cost to level. Try and focus levelling the cards you use, not just levelling everything.
  • Crown Towers are very useful at taking down certain troops. If you think your Crown Tower can kill a troop, let it do it. Don't waste Elixir summoning troops if you don't need to.
  • Never hit the King's Tower before the smaller towers. By hitting the King's Tower, you wake up the king and he will then help shoot at incoming troops. This will make your life more difficult.
  • Building cards are good for defence, but don't forget they are also good for distracting heavy hitter cards like Pekka, Hog Rider or Dark Knight. Placing one in the middle may stop tower damage.
  • At the beginning of a match be patient. Wait until the Elixir bar reaches it's maximum then summon a troop if you like. Near the back of the field is more ideal to build up a collection of troops for a 'push'.
  • Don't spend lots of gold on one Epic card from the shop unless it means you can upgrade and will help your deck. Buy a few low cost cards or ones you don't see often.
  • Never put yourself in a position when you have no Elixir to use unless it's near the end of a match and you think you can win. If you have no Elixir, it's likely your opponent will realise, then you'll be defenceless to an attack.
  • When opening chests, open the lower timed chests in the day and then before you go to sleep open a Golden or Magical chest which have longer timers.
  • Finally, here is an example of my current deck. I think it's pretty solid and has a good average Elixir cost. I win about 70% of matches with this setup.

What Are Your Favorite Cards and Strategies?

Hope you enjoyed the Clash Royale Review and Tips. Feel free to comment with cards you like, strategies and anything game-related! Enjoy!

My Current "Clash Royale" Deck

My Current "Clash Royale" Deck

Question Time!


Chint on June 29, 2019:

this article really wonderful & informative about

Clash royale fan on July 09, 2016:

Thanks for the great tips