Best Clash Royale Decks (with Replacements)

This page contains the best Clash Royale Decks for Grand Challenges, Tournaments, Ladder (Trophy pushing), and all other game modes!

First, here are the latest deck guides on Clash World at the moment. For the top battle decks of the current meta, please scroll down to the next section of the page.

best clash royale decks

Best Clash Royale Decks of 2020: Pre-Clan-Wars II Edition

Updated according to August Balance Changes

P.E.K.K.A. Bridge Spam

Clash Royale P.E.K.K.AClash Royale BanditClash Royale Royal GhostClash Royale Battle Ram
Clash Royale MinionsClash Royale ZapClash Royale PoisonClash Royale Electro Wizard

copy deck

With the recent nerf to Bats, Spells, and Royal Delivery, Bridge Spam has bounced back into the meta.

Play offensively, and try to utilize the PEKKA for defense – which can be translated into a very quick offense. Battle Ram and Bandit are the two main pressure cards, so keep them in the cycle. Use Royal Ghost as mini-swarm-killer, anti-Princess, anti-glass cannon and all-round cycle card.

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Minions is good for quick Balloon/Lavahound/Horde defense. You can also split them in the back for a card cycle.

Electro Wizard is a great defense. Combined with Minions/PEKKA, nothing gets through to your towers!

Replacements: Minions can be replaced with Mega Minion for added DPS and survivability, or Magic Archer for better defense and anti-air. Electro Wizard can be replaced by Electro Dragon. The other cards are irreplaceable.

2.6 Hog Cycle

Clash Royale Hog RiderClash Royale fireballClash Royale ZapClash Royale Ice Golem
Clash Royale SkeletonClash Royale Ice SpiritClash Royale MusketeerClash Royale Cannon

copy deck

This is seriously one of the best decks out there – and I’m not surprised it lasted through the Freeze meta. A good 2.9 player can consistently push trophies, often around a hundred daily.

The trick is to be ruthlessly offensive, know your opponent’s cards and have a minimalistic defense – consisting literally of one glass cannon and one tank. Your main push must be Hog + Spell or Hog + Ice Golem + Ice Spirit.

Be careful of over-committing on offense, or you will lose towers. It’s easy to defend, as there is always something to put down – but once that Musketeer dies, you’re dead too. Cannon doesn’t do shit against flying troops, so try to save your Musketeer for the Balloon/Lava Hound.

Use Skeletons to stop the Prince and Mega Knights. You can kite them into the middle and finish them off with Ice Golem + Cannon.

Replacements: None. The cards in this deck are easy to obtain and level up.

Musicmaster’s X-Bow

Clash Royale elixir collectorClash Royale X-BowClash Royale Ice GolemClash Royale Skeleton
Clash Royale Ice SpiritClash Royale MusketeerClash Royale fireballClash Royale Tesla

copy deck

Strong defense, almost as good an offense. There are 2 ways you can play this great deck: either play a pseudo bait style by baiting Rocket/Fireball using Collector, or playing a deep defense, with a defensive X-Bow to support your offensive one.

Keep cycling cards until you figure out your opponent’s cards. If it’s a spell cycle, play Collector in front of the King Tower.

In most cases you wanna be defensive. The exception arises against Lava Hound and Gole – Always pressure with an X-bow in the opposite lane when they drop their tank in the back. Make sure not to over-commit when defending your X-bow so you have enough to defend their push.

Just like with 2.6 Hog cycle, be careful on defense or you’ll plummet down the ladder.

Replacements: Tesla/Cannon? I wouldn’t recommend this one, but it gives you a faster cycle at the cost of not being able to defend air. Musketeer can be swapped with Archers to make the deck even cheaper.

Classic Siege Barrel

Now we’ll move on to easier decks of our top decks here. Royal Giant is and has always been one of the best & easiest decks to play in the game.

You have a very strong defense against both ground and air, Royal Giant shuts down X-bows and Mortars with ease. The only real worries are Pekka, Golem and Hog Rider.

Against Pekka, pair your Royal Giant with Guards to protect him from the deadly blade.

Versus Golem, you have to, just like X-bow, punish their investment with a Royal Giant at the bridge in the opposite lane. Space out your units on defense to avoid giving them Lightning/Poison value.

Hog Rider is the most difficult matchup. It’s important to protect your furnace so it can survive for their next push, as they will be back to their hog before you have it back in cycle. Don’t play your lightning unless you can hit 3 of the following: Hog, Musketeer, Ice Golem, Cannon, Princess tower.

Electro Wizard can be replaced by Musketeer or Archers.

Golem Beatdown Deck

Clash Royale GolemClash Royale Barbarian BarrelClash Royale TornadoClash Royale Lightning
Clash Royale Baby DragonClash Royale Dark PrinceClash Royale Mega MinionClash Royale Lumberjack

Also on the easier side of decks. Your plan is simple, build up a big Golem push that your opponent cannot defend. Sounds simple, but once you drop that Golem, you’re completely dry on elixir, and your opponent is ready to punish you. You have two options, either defend their push or focus on your own, letting them take your tower down.

There are a lot of decisions that have to be made quickly now. Will your opponent’s push take your tower? Do you have enough elixir to defend it? Will you be able to commit to your own push if you do? Will your opponent be able to defend your push if you don’t defend?

It’s easiest if they drop a small push like a lone hog Rider or battle Ram, you can counter it with a tornado or Mega Minion then move on to steamroll your opponent. In fact, sacrificing tower health for an elixir advantage is crucial so you can play a large Golem push safely. If they, however, support their push with an Ice Golem in front or a Bandit behind, you should consider leaving it and instead focus on taking your opponent’s tower, and possibly 3-Crown them.

Lumberjack can be replaced by Night Witch.

Three Musketeers Deck

Clash Royale Minion HordeClash Royale Giant SnowballClash Royale Barbarian BarrelClash Royale elixir collector
Clash Royale BanditClash Royale Battle RamClash Royale Ice GolemClash Royale Three Musketeers

Three Musketeers are back! Sort of.

The deploy time nerf makes them almost useless on defense, center placed Musketeers are vulnerable to Fireball.

Start out the game with an Ice Golem in the back, then place a bandit in the other lane. Once you’re at full elixir you can put the Musketeers at the river. This will hopefully bait out their spell and allow you to pump up.

You can also start out more passive throwing small spells at towers and waiting for your opponent to make a move, or cycle to a pump.

Bandit can be replaced by Dark Prince.

P.E.K.K.A Bridge Spam Deck

Clash Royale P.E.K.K.AClash Royale Baby DragonClash Royale Dark PrinceClash Royale Magical Archer
Clash Royale Barbarian BarrelClash Royale Electro WizardClash Royale LightningClash Royale Giant Snowball

I wanna say this is one of the most intuitive Clash Royale decks to play.

There are three situations when you should consider pushing: when you’re ahead in elixir, as a punish play when your opponent invests in the back, or when you have leftover defending units.

Always save you Pekka for their tank, or for when they build up a big push. Against air decks you’ll rarely if ever be using it.

The most important thing to remember while playing this deck is to not over commit on offense. It’s a control-pressure deck, so you want to play defensive until you find an opportunity to push, kind of like you would with an X-bow deck.

Ram rider can be replaced by Battle Ram, Electro Wizard can be replaced by Musketeer.

Ram Rider Bridge Spam Deck

Clash Royale LumberjackClash Royale Barbarian BarrelClash Royale BanditClash Royale Giant Snowball
Clash Royale MusketeerClash Royale Ice GolemClash Royale MinionsClash Royale Ram Rider

This is a pressure-control-cycle Clash Royaledeck. With a 9 Elixir cycle, you can quickly get back to your ram rider and bandit.

It’s more offense-oriented with more bridge spam cards but a weaker defense.

Keep your Musketeer alive at all cost – it’s your highest range DPS and due to the long-range, she can sit in the middle of the arena, taking out pushes from all sides.

Ram rider is one of the most versatile cards in the game, being able to take out small swarms and immobilizing larger units both on offense and defense. Against balloon or Hog, you can defend with a Ram Rider and take no damage, while dealing great damage to your opponent’s tower.

Snowball and Ram Rider is one of the strongest offensive two-card combinations in the game. Snowball knocks their knight or Mini Pekka away, letting the Rider snare it in its place. Against swarms, Snowball can either completely take them out or render them vulnerable enough for the rider to finish them off.

The legendaries in this deck are necessary for it to work as intended.

Prince Rascals Bait Deck

Clash Royale Goblin GangClash Royale Dart GoblinClash Royale PrincessClash Royale The Log
Clash Royale Goblin BarrelClash Royale PrinceClash Royale RocketClash Royale Rascals

Bait has been in the meta for over 2 years but has taken multiple forms. This is the most evolved form. It features the Prince and Rascal as main defensive units and another method for baiting small spells. Although this deck struggles if your opponent is able to build up a large push, it is able to apply lots of pressure to prevent this.

One of the biggest things about playing this deck is not overcommitting. It will leave you very vulnerable, and falling behind on elixir is usually fatal due to the lack of counters against popular win conditions.

Closing out games can be difficult with this deck. Rocket serves as your finisher method for taking care of large groups of troops but must be used with precision.

The Log can be replaced by another small spell but is preferred. Princess is necessary for all of the best bait decks.

Lava Hound Deck

Clash Royale Baby DragonClash Royale Night WitchClash Royale PoisonClash Royale Barbarian Barrel
Clash Royale Inferno DragonClash Royale BarbariansClash Royale MinerClash Royale Lava Hound

Lava Hound can be played in many different ways. Popular decks include Lava Hound bait, LavaLoon, and LavaClone. They focus on either capitalizing on the Lava Pups spawned or creating powerful air pushes. Many feature a swarm card in the form of Guards, Barbarians, or Goblin Gang.

Each deck plays differently, but all are based on defending very carefully due to your limited defensive options, then capitalizing with a large Lava Hound push.

These decks do have some bad matchups and are meta-dependent, but can really rise to prominence in certain metas.

Lava Hound is obviously necessary, but Nightwitch and Inferno Dragon aren’t mainstays. Lava Hound Bait is a good budget option

deck building guide

How to build Clash Royale Decks Guide for Newbies

Hello everyone, it’s Trop (and Scarlett) although you might have known me by a different name if you were around for the Clash Royale Arena days.

There are plenty of great Clash Royale decks to go around and if you ever need one you can always pop onto the leaderboard, hit that copy button, and you’re good to go.

So why would you want to make your own Clash Royale deck?

There are a few answers to that question and at least one of them probably applies to you.

Allow me to list a few:

  1. You’ve already tried every meta deck and need something new to spice it up.
  2. You do try to make your own decks but they just…suck.
  3. You want to have the satisfaction of winning a challenge with something purely of your own creation (or want to be featured on famous websites/youtube channels).
  4. You want to have a better understanding of the game.

There are many more, but let’s get into the actual deck building while I still have your attention.

Choosing Win Conditions For Your Deck!

golem miner
Using Golem and Miner as Win Conditions

The very first thing you want to do when making a deck is to decide how you are going to win the game within 5 minutes.

  • Perhaps you will use a troop that you can consistently get onto the tower like the Miner.
  • Perhaps you will use some combos to maximize damage like balloon freeze.
  • Perhaps you want to make a Giant deathball of troops that obliterates the tower in one large push.

All of these and others are valid strategies, so let’s see what kind of win conditions we have available.

In general, I like to separate the win conditions of the game into two categories: Primary and secondary win conditions.

  • A primary win condition is one that will do the majority of the tower damage over the course of the game.
  • A secondary win condition is one that will be used to put pressure on the opponent or bait out counters for your other win condition if you have another.

The secondary win condition is especially important if the opponent has a hard counter to your primary win condition.

While spells can be win conditions, I will not include them in this section to reduce confusion.

When choosing win conditions, I would say that the best decks have 1 primary win condition and 1/2 secondary win condition. Having 2 secondary conditions which is usually some sort of cycle chip deck.

While you can definitely have 2 primary win conditions, it usually makes your deck too expensive or leaves you lacking in defense. You can also have 1 secondary win condition but you will lack offensive pressure and damage.

Primary Win Condition

Here are all the cards I consider to be primary win conditions from lowest to highest elixir cost:

Clash Royale Goblin BarrelGoblin Barrel – Generally used with other cards like Princess or Goblin Gang which die to light spells like Log or Zap.

elixir golemElixir Golem – generally used with cards that are very dangerous only when not alone such as night witch or healer; when played by itself it gives the opponent the advantage so it should never be unsupported

Clash Royale Battle RamBattle Ram – Typically only used in bridge spam decks with cards such as royal ghost, bandit, or dark prince; wins through ground superiority and punishment of elixir deficits (this applies to all bridge spam cards).

Clash Royale Hog RiderHog Rider – mainly used as a solo win condition but can work well with mortar; needs to have ways to eliminate counters so it will typically be paired with earthquake or fireball

Clash Royale Ram RiderRam Rider – typically only used in bridge spam decks as well and has the same synergies as the battle ram, but can be used similarly to the Hog Rider; also has decent defensive capabilities.

Clash Royale GraveyardGraveyard – only used in decks with 1 or more high HP units such as the Giant or the Knight in order to tank tower damage while Skeletons build up.

Clash Royale GiantGiant – struggles to get to the tower on its own but is powerful with glass cannon cards for support such as the Musketeer

Clash Royale Royal HogsRoyal Hogs – usually only played with cards that can bait Fireball or push more than one lane at the same time such as the Hunter, the Zappies, or the Three Musketeers

Clash Royale BalloonBalloon – Struggles to get to the tower when placed on its own if the opponent has an air-targeting troop in hand, so it’s usually played with cards which can tank the damage like the Ice Golem or the Miner

Clash Royale goblin giantGoblin Giant – Has the exact same role as the Giant but can better protect itself!

Clash Royale Royal Giant

Royal Giant – Struggles to get through buildings so a building destruction spell such as Lighting or Earthquake are necessary!

Clash Royale X-BowX-bow – Can be played defensively and offensively; all enemy ground troops must be killed before it can attack the opposing tower; also easily killed on its own, so cards which can protect it and preserve its HP like the Knight and the Ice Golem work well with it!

Clash Royale Lava HoundLava Hound – Can do a lot of damage on its own if left without a response; mainly relies on air superiority(having more air troops than they have counters to air troops) to reach the tower; support the Lavahound using cards like the Baby Dragon or the Mega Minion or tank damage for the Lavapups to do damage using cards like the Miner

Clash Royale GolemGolem – plays very similarly to the Giant, but Golem pushes have greater damage potential with the tradeoff of being left without much elixir to defend if a Golem is played
Three Musketeers – generally played with a hybrid of heavy spell bait and bridge spam with troops to tank damage for the Musketeers while their high dps shreds the opponents defense; the Elixir Collector and the Minion Horde are ideal spell bait for this card

Secondary Win Condition

Here are all the cards I consider to be secondary win conditions from lowest to highest elixir cost:

Clash Royale wall breakersWallbreakers – A very high-pressure light spell bait card; works very well with either the Miner or the Goblin Barrel along with other cheap bait cards like the Bats.

Clash Royale Skeleton BalloonSkeleton Barrel – A light spell bait card which also works well with the Miner, the Goblin Barrel, or other cheap bait cards to exhaust swarm counters.

 

Clash Royale MinerMiner – Provides consistent chip damage as well as a way to tank damage for any unit; similar to mini tanks like the Ice Golem and the Knight but the ability to be placed anywhere makes it much more offensive; can be placed in nearly any deck with few exceptions; synergizes exceptionally well with the Poison

Clash Royale Royal GhostRoyal Ghost – Can only be countered effectively by ground tanks and some ground swarms; he works well as a bridge spam card.

 

Clash Royale BanditBandit – High-pressure bridge spam card which can only be countered effectively by ground tanks and swarms and occasionally air troops placed early enough.

Clash Royale MortarMortar – A source of chip damage which is played defensively as often as it is played offensively; synergizes with win conditions which whittle down the tower over the course of the game such as the Hog Rider and the Miner.

To be continued…

How To Improve Your Decks

Covering your Deck’s weaknesses

The best way to find out your deck’s greatest weakness is while using the deck in battle. Play against many different decks and find out what card(s) your deck struggles with the most. It doesn’t always have to be a certain card, it could be an archetype.

Once you have that figured out the weakness, modify your deck to cover that weakness.

You could do this by replacing one card with something that fills a similar role but also covers your weakness. For example, if you struggle against Inferno Dragon, you can sub in Electro Wizard for Musketeer.

Sometimes you will have to adapt your playstyle if you struggle against a certain archetype or Deck.

Your substitutions don’t always work. Keep play testing your deck to find the most suitable cards to use.

Always remember: No Deck is perfect, but no matchup is unwinnable.

Choosing the right spells for your Deck

Spells are one of the most important parts of your deck. They define your attack and defense. They are used to fill in the weaknesses of your deck and fulfill certain card roles that your cards don’t.

Clash Royale Decks can use either 1 spell, 2 spells, or 3 spells.

Too many, or no spells can be bad for a deck.

1 Spell – With only one spell, you will need to use a versatile direct damage spell. Usually, it’s either Zap or Arrows. Having only one spell allows for the use of more troops but weakens your ability for direct damage and to damage your opponent’s troops with spells.

2 Spells – 2 Spells are the most common amount used in a deck. One spell is a high-damage spell while the other is a low-damage spell. This gives you a versatile spell arsenal.

3 Spells – Having 3 spells gives your deck a lot of spell versatility and allows you to control the battle more. You have 1 high-damage spell that you reserve for certain situations and 2 versatile spells to use on the fly.

Use spells that fill in weaknesses in your deck!

For example, if you are using a Golem deck, use a Lightning spell to be able to take out an Inferno Tower. If your deck lacks splash damage, use Fireball and or Zap/Log to make up for the lack of splash damage. If you are using a “special effect” spell (Rage, Freeze, Clone, etc.), use Arrows or Zap for a versatile spell or use two other spells to give you the ability to use a high-damage spell and low-damage spell in combination with your “special effect” spell.

Creating Synergy

What is synergy? Synergy is when the combined effects of cards are greater than the sum of their separate effects. Some examples are Tank + Graveyard, Miner + Minions, and Executioner + Tornado.

Your deck in Clash Royale doesn’t always need to have every single card synergize. Too much synergy can make your deck too offensive or too defensive. Most decks are built around 2 or 3 cards which synergize very well on offense. The other cards are made to support that synergy. Now, look at your deck. Does it have a combo that synergizes well? If not swap out cards to make a good synergy.

Decide if you want to use synergizing spells or synergizing troops, or both. The synergy of spells will help with fast decks and synergy of troops are more for counter pushing or building up a strong push.

Here are the most important things to consider for your synergy:

  • Are they both card countered by the same card?
  • Is there a better synergy?
  • What is the elixir cost? Is it too expensive?

If you notice any weaknesses, go through the process of eliminating that weakness by having other cards to support.

For example, LavaLoon is countered Minion horde, so consider using Arrows in your deck.

Role Fulfillment in Clash Royale Deck

What is role fulfillment? Role fulfillment is the purpose that a card is in a Clash Royale deck. A card can serve one purpose or more!

RoleExamples
Win ConditionClash Royale GolemClash Royale Hog RiderClash Royale X-Bow
Second Win ConditionClash Royale BanditClash Royale RocketClash Royale Goblin Hut
Offensive SupportClash Royale MinerClash Royale Clone SpellClash Royale Freeze
Main DefenseClash Royale BarbariansClash Royale Minion HordeClash Royale P.E.K.K.A
Defensive SupportClash Royale Ice WizardClash Royale TornadoClash Royale Flying Zappies
Removal SpellClash Royale fireballClash Royale LightningClash Royale Poison
Utility SpellClash Royale The LogClash Royale Barbarian BarrelClash Royale Zap
Passive BuildingClash Royale FurnaceClash Royale Goblin HutClash Royale Barbarian Hut
Defensive BuildingClash Royale Inferno TowerClash Royale CannonClash Royale Tesla
Cycle CardClash Royale SkeletonClash Royale Ice SpiritClash Royale Bats
Splash DamageClash Royale ExecutionerClash Royale ValkyrieClash Royale Baby Dragon
Point DamageClash Royale Mega MinionClash Royale Inferno DragonClash Royale P.E.K.K.A
Glass CannonClash Royale Dart GoblinClash Royale Flying MachineClash Royale Magical Archer
Mini TankClash Royale KnightClash Royale ValkyrieClash Royale Lumberjack

Sometimes decks will you many of the same types of cards. An example is Splashyard, which featured Baby Dragon, Bowler and Ice Wizard in combination with Tornado. This allowed for huge value on defense by clumping all units together and taking them all out at once with the splash units. Most Decks, however, will run cards that supplement each other but also have different use cases.

When assessing your deck, notice the roles that your cards have. Are you missing a role or do you have too many of one role? Use this knowledge to your advantage and see if different cards may work better.

Ladder vs. Challenge Decks?

People may classify decks as either Ladder or Challenge. What is it really that separates Ladder from Challenges?

The main difference is that Challenges are capped at level 9. This permits you to play most decks depending on your collection and also promotes more meta decks to be played. There will be much less off-meta decks, especially after a few wins. Check the decks on this page and ones on the leaderboards as suggestions, and know that your opponents will be frequently playing other top decks.

Also, some decks do better in challenges due to their ability to do well against in most matchups and have a high skill cap. This enables you to hit higher win levels.

Consider the Meta

The meta is an important thing to consider when assessing your deck.

What is the meta? The meta is the strategy that Clash Royale players have found to be the most effective throughout the balance changes. Some previous metas are Giant Poison, P.E.K.K.A Double Prince and Hog Trifecta.

The meta can sometimes vary between different trophy ranges. For example, in the trophy range of 3000-4000, elite barbs are used in almost every single match, while in the top 200, Elite Barbs are never used.

Since the meta is used very frequently, if your deck is weak to the meta, your deck won’t see much success. If you are in the trophy range of 3000-4000, use a deck that can counter Elite Barbs since they are seen everywhere.

You may also choose to use the meta. Since the meta is the most effective strategy, it’s the most like to get you wins, right? For the most part, you don’t wanna be modifying meta decks on your own. Usually, every card is there for a purpose, and swapping out a card might ruin a hard-to-spot synergy or even the gameplan as a whole.

Have Faith in Your Clash Royale Decks

The last thing I want to mention is to have faith in your deck. When you are using it, believe in yourself and have confidence.

Playing the same deck for a lengthy period lets you play it much better. While your playstyle improves, you will fix the weaknesses and mistakes that you normally make. Through much practice, you finally play the deck better than anyone else would.

The reason why changing decks can cause you to lose trophies is that you will still need the practice to master it. You will need to face many situations to figure out how to play in those situations.

Every card has many different uses beyond what you think you know. Using the same deck many, many times, allows you to discover secret tactics. When Three Musketeers first came out, nobody knew to split them. When people learned that and when cheaper mini tanks and cycle cards came out, it was finally worth playing Three Musketeers.

Of course, there are still disadvantages or specializing in one deck. Once that deck gets pushes out of the meta and starts to have little success, you will need to find a new deck when you have not practiced in any other archetypes. By playing a wide variety of decks in Clash Royale, you won’t specialize in any but will still be able to play well in every archetype.

-B-Yacht’CH (edit by zigge)

Hopefully, you have chosen the best Clash Royale decks for your play style after reading this page!

Don’t hesitate to comment and show us your favorite decks in the game.

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Excalibur
Hey guys, I absolutely love playing CR! I've been playing since soft launch, and I've pretty much seen it all - from the time of Pekka Double Prince to the Freeze meta. Please join the Discord server if you'd like to play with us!

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