Lessons from three years of ‘Clash Royale’

Supercell’s mega-hit Clash Royale on iOS recently overtook the record previously held by Snake on Nokia5110 as the mobile game I have played for the most number of consecutive months. It is gorgeous, fast-paced, social, efficient and hella-strategic.

The developers have done an extraordinary job of keeping things current and ensuring the game play does not stall to a crawl in the higher levels. It is free on the App Store and does allow for in-app purchases which I have managed to avoid entirely, thanks to impressive levels of self-restraint.

The developers have done an extraordinary job of keeping things current and ensuring the game play does not stall to a crawl in the higher levels.

Get into a great clan

I am a member of Aussie Rogues and my enjoyment for the game jumped when I joined. The clan’s rules are really simple, which I love when it comes to most things in my busy life:

  • Don’t be rude or swear
  • Donate at least 100x cards per week
  • Do not waste your Clan War ticket

That’s it. Simple. The folks who run the clan are fair and involved. They welcome everyone and keep us competitive and avoid things going stale.

Clash Royale just keeps innovating and improving while I keep coming back for more. (Credit: Supercell website)

Spend your gold to level up your favourite cards

I believe the game is so exceptionally balanced that you could be competitive with nearly any collection of diverse cards with enough practice. I just love the Hog Rider, I want to have beers with that dude, so I maxed him out first, which means upgraded a card to level 13 as per the deck pic below. I said “deck” pic, get your mind out of the gutter.

You will find that your favourite cards will consistently find their way into more of your decks than others. Ice Golem, really? So it makes sense to spend your gold on upgrading the cards you use more often as quickly as possible. I ran with Inferno Dragon during the early days and combined with Rage and a Minion Horde it would destroy opposition towers as though Khaleesi was riding on its back. Epic!

Rage is the game’s best card

As the game itself explains “spending elixir efficiently is the key to victory” and the tightest arm-wrestle battles come down to a slight edge at certain key moments. When you feel you have your opponent against the ropes there is no better way to stand on their throat and crush their hopes than by spending just two elixir drops on a Rage spell. It allows you to place a daunting ring of hate anywhere on the arena that essentially has the effect of giving all your units a massive shot of cartoon adrenaline! Rage makes the game even more fun, like adding Fruit Tingles to a nice glass of cold Coke.

Some players think cards other than Rage are the best in the game, these people are wrong.

When you feel you have your opponent against the ropes there is no better way to stand on their throat and crush their hopes than by spending just two elixir drops on a Rage spell.

Keep opening those chests

Always check those Daily Gifts and Quests to open up chests. It can feel like a chore sometimes, but it is a worthwhile exercise. The contents of chests will largely contribute to you building up your available cards and also gold and gems too. Whenever I login to the game, I dive into the little chest icon and collect everything without even thinking.

As an added tip, open up the smaller three-hour chests first during the waking hours to maintain some vacancy rate among your chest slots, saving the larger eight and twelve-hour chests until you are sleep. Oh that’s another good tip, don’t forget you still need to sleep IRL.


Rage is the best card in Clash Royale, trust me (Credit: Dad Downunder via iPhone)

Have a deck with variety

We have all experimented with various brainwaves like that one deck of all airborne units or combining the most expensive cards with the cheapest. My son and I tried a deck with only legendaries. Pfft, good luck, go nuts. But what you end up coming back to is an unpredictable mix of strengths that helps get out of the stickiest situations. You need to be capable of combating your enemy’s cunning offensive plans, no matter what cards they might involve.

Starting over is fun

Some decks I played non-stop for weeks on end, probably months. I remember I had the below deck for longer than any other, I still have it saved in one of my five slots:

  • Inferno Dragon
  • Minion Horde
  • Bats
  • Fire Spirits
  • Rage
  • Fireball
  • Hog Rider
  • [Utility] – Many different cards over time, currently Goblin Gang but I’m not happy. Email me with your suggestions.

And as much as I loved (love) that deck, at some point I decided to build a brand new one with none of those cards allowed, OK I still added Rage. Probably not the best use of gold or time in terms of progressing through the game, but it was fun again, similar but unfamiliar – like when I drive in the US.

  • Giant Skeleton
  • Dart Goblin
  • Rage
  • Clone
  • Arrows
  • Valkerie
  • Freeze
  • Mini Pekka

Note: I admit I was wrong about Valkerie, I questioned her value for a long time, but she is a beast.

My current deck, with some of my other high-level cards peeking up from below. (Credit: Dad Downunder via iPhone)

Think creatively when defending

There is more than one way to skin a Pekka. In some instances you cannot play a card that effectively overpowers your opponent. If a Wizard is marching into your zone, it can be time consuming to try and take him down with a various Dragon for example, his fireballs will have done their damage. Nearly all cards can be distracted in one way or another, even those Royal Hogs. Watch how your opponent annoys you, like playing a Hog Rider to distract your Prince or even a Tombstone to draw the attention of your impending Balloon. Quick decisions are key and knowing what will nullify incoming attacks is a weapon in itself.

Play to the end

You never know when the person you are playing against is going to need to immediately shut down the game at their end, or indeed their entire phone. There have been countless times when I have been busted mid-match by a colleague walking into my office or Mrs DD knocking on the dunny door asking if I am OK. And sometimes the traffic light turns green at the worst possible time.

It is crazy how long this quaint little game has held my attention. It is out of character for me to stick with one game for as long as I have with Clash Royale. I have described it in social circles as modern day chess, high praise. It is well worth a look.

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