Clash Royale Elixir Advantage Guide

Clash Royale Elixir Advantage Guide by The RumHam

The Most Important Concept in Clash Royale

This article is about Elixir Advantage, a strategic understanding of the game’s resources. You are probably doing some things in this article already, with or without realizing it, in both good and bad ways. Being more conscious of the trades you are making will make you a better player and ultimately win you more games.

The concept of Elixir Advantage is that both players (assuming equal level armies) will receive the same amount of Elixir throughout the course of the game. Player’s cards will mostly go back and forth killing each other in the center of the board, with towers cleaning up the rest. It’s not easy to destroy a tower, and with units defending it is pretty much impossible.

The best way to destroy a tower is to do so while it’s not defended. One way is to simply bait or trick a tower into being undefended to steal it (Goblin Barrel, Prince, etc). However, if you can kill high Elixir cost cards with low Elixir cost cards, then you will have extra Elixir to cast cards that your opponent simply cannot afford to defend against.

A common example would be Arrows to Goblin Barrel. Arrows will kill the Goblins, and if you time it right your tower will only take the 30 damage from the Barrel itself. That’s your 3 Elixir for their 4 Elixir, a gain of 1 Elixir for you. Do that enough times in a game and you’ve essentially earned a ‘free’ card to knock down towers. There are a variety of ways to spend your Elixir, but as a general rule 5 Elixir undefended is enough to destroy a tower (Prince, Giant, Balloon, etc).

Make enough Elixir-gaining trades to generate an advantage of just enough Elixir to destroy a tower, then win. That’s generating Elixir Advantage, and it’s the most reliable way to win games in Clash Royale.


  • Never waste Elixir, never sit at 10 Elixir
  • It only takes 5 Elixir difference to win or lose the game
  • Play a mix of Proactive and Reactive cards, aiming to make Elixir-positive trades
  • Win the game because you have ‘free’ units from Elixir-positive trades
  • Troops grinding down the Health of Towers is “cashing in” excess Elixir towards a win

Proactive and Reactive cards Your Proactive Cards should be cards that are hard to make Elixir-positive trades against that can also threaten Crown Towers. The rule of thumb for Proactive cards is: “Both players are ticking up towards 10 Elixir and nothing is on the field, I need to play something out of my hand before I hit 10 Elixir, the best choice would be ______”. The cards you feel most comfortable playing blind are your Proactive cards. Units that die to Towers without doing damage are effectively wasted Elixir, and that’s Rule #1:

  • Playing Minions proactively = Bad, dies to the Tower without dealing much damage
  • Playing Skeleton Army = Bad, too many easy counters to it that will kill the Army and survive, essentially wasting 4 Elixir
  • Playing a Baby Dragon = Good, no easy counter and will deal 400+ damage to Towers
  • Other Good Proactives: Knight, Valkyrie, Giant, Skeleton Giant, P.E.K.K.A.

Play your situational Proactives when you are willing to risk they don’t have a good Reactive Card

  • Prince, Balloon, Minion Swarm, and Hog Rider fall into this category
  • If you see counters to these cards, you can’t play them until the counter is played first
  • The difference between them holding Tombstone for your Prince or not will decide the game. 3 Tombstones to your 3 Princes = minus-6 Mana, you are actively killing your own Tower when you repeatedly make poor trades.

Reactive cards in your deck are there to make a positive Elixir trade with opposing cards. You probably don’t bother to cast Arrows on 1 Elixir Skeletons, but are all too happy to hit a Minion Swarm or Skeleton Army. The upside of Reactive cards is they are almost always going to swing the game in your favor when played.

The downside of Reactive cards is that sometimes you encounter decks where the card has no easy targets, and sits in your hand unused. With only 4 cards in your hand, a deck full of Reactive cards with no targets will quickly find itself constrained on options and forced into Elixir-negative trades. This is why you can’t just play all Reactive cards and expect to win.

Know Your Reactive Cards and their Matchups

Elixir costs matter, for example:

  • Arrows > Goblin Barrel, Minion Swarm, Skeleton Army
  • Arrows = Minions
  • Arrows < Goblin Spearmen

(you are spending 3 Elixir to kill 2 Elixir that was going to die to your Tower anyways)

  • Matchups matter, especially at close level:
  • Arrows will kill Goblin Spearman and Minions, but NOT Archers
  • Rockets kill equal level Goblin Huts and Elixir Collectors, hitting 2 is a big Elixir gain
  • Tombstones will kill equal level Princes, Hog Riders, & Giants
  • Freeze does not hit spawns from frozen Tombstones or newly summoned troops
  • Skeleton Army does NOT counter Witch or Wizard, they have AoE attacks
  • Lightning kills equal level Witches, Musketeers, and Wizards

Trading Health vs. Elixir vs. Time – Making Good Trades

It’s important to never lose sight of the end goal. The goal is to win the game by having more Crowns with 0:01 on the clock, and winning a game 1-0 is the same as winning it 3-0. A common mistake I see is players overcommit to a defense to prevent ALL damage to their own Towers. Your Crown Towers are big boys, they can take care of themselves in a fight. You don’t need to Arrows a pack of 3 Minions, the Tower will take care of them, at the cost of Health over Time.

So far, we’ve talked about Elixir as the main resource in the game. The other two resources are Health (of your Towers) and Time (until the game ends). It’s impossible to evaluate the Elixir cost without considering it’s impact on the other two. Skeletons will kill a Giant (a gain of 4 Elixir!), but if the Giant destroys a Tower first, was it worth it? Maybe, if that 4 Elixir you saved takes their Tower, but you can only make that call knowing much Time is left in the game.

When Troops die to Towers, that is a player cashing in Elixir for enemy Health. The winner of the game is the person who can deal ~2000 damage to one or more lanes before the game is over. Note that the only Health point that counts is the last one. Towers don’t weaken or get worse with damage, a Tower with 1 HP will win the game as much as a Tower with full HP. Develop a feel for when you are comfortable taking a few hundred damage on a high Health tower instead of Elixir to defend a push that would take care of itself. That Elixir could be spent on Proactive cards!

These are the sorts of evaluations you will have to make dozens of times in a single game of Clash Royale and will mean the difference between winning and losing. A common trick is playing a Prince in the opposite lane you are getting pushed in, as a proposal of “Spend Elixir away from your push or lose a Tower – pick one” – should you defend or not? You could answer that play multiple different ways with the same deck depending on the state of Crown Towers and how much time is left, for example:

  • Full Towers on both sides: Defend the push, you have lots of Time to finish off the Tower
  • Overtime: Finish the push, the Prince takes too much Time to solo kill a Tower


It’s a lot to digest, but this article covers every important concept you need to balance in your head while playing Clash Royale:

  • Elixir Advantage, Making Elixir-positive trades
  • Balancing your deck with Proactive or Reactive cards
  • Knowing when you should spend Elixir or Health or Time
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