Clash Royale Control Witch F2P Deck Guide
Clash Royale Control Witch F2P Deck Guide (Arena 5) by _BeerAndCheese_
Hello my fellow freeloaders! I’d like to share a deck with you that has done very well for me, getting me solidly into Arena 5 (1500 and hopefully still climbing!) as a newly formed level 5 player, after quickly shooting through to arena 4 as a level 3 (stalled a bit as a tried different things and leveled cards). This deck is a control deck that is focused on the Witch (my first epic) – it focuses on making efficient trades and gaining an elixer advantage over your opponent, until you are able to use that advantage to push out of control and win the game with. The deck and play-style requires a lot of thinking – you need to keep track of what cards your opponent has, the rotation of their cards, and be able to estimate fairly accurately their elixer. Every card played must be preceded by the thought, “what is the best way to deal with this situation?”. Every card in this deck is in it to counter something – we want to be able to respond effectively with absolutely anything our opponent does. It takes a bit of practice, but once you find the rhythm, I find it a very satisfying and fun way to play! So let’s dive into the nitty gritty and get into the cards already. I’ll denote the level of each of my cards in parenthesis, to let you know where my cards are at. (If you wish to skim, hopefully I formatted ok for you to do so – it’s kind of a wall of text here)
The Deck (average elix cost: 3.8)
Witch (2) – the mainstay of my deck. The Witch is ideal for playing our control style. While she can be easily countered, she also performs very well behind a turret against a large amount of cards. Her skeles are great at stalling out pushes, forcing enemy cards to waste DPS on them (like against Musket), distracting (like against Giant Skeles, or better yet Princes), or even just straight dishing out a little extra damage (Giants). You name it, Witch is pretty good at defending it with her summons and AoE attacks that can target both air and ground. By slowing pushes against you in this manner, you can more easily get elixer you might need to counter that push harder, and then have a nice little counter-wave going the other direction that your opponent can no longer easily deal with. If she is played around counters appropriately, she also makes a very formidable attacker, with her skeles giving her more tankiness and DPS than what you read off the card. She is what gets your snowball of death rolling!
Giant (3) – another mainstay of the deck. IMO Witch decks pretty much require Giants if you want the full potential of her. A big guy that takes the focus off your other units behind him, this lets you get your deathball nice and big behind the beef. In emergency he’s actually ok as a buffer for a tower, particularly (well, maybe only) at X2 elixer. Slam him down, and while he’s being hit start throwing stuff out to kill their stuff. Not the best use of him but it can save your butt when things get hairy (the game, not your butt). A lot of players like to throw giant down at their main castle nearly every single time – if you have the elix advantage and aren’t too concerned about being wrecked in the other lane, start your DPSer (Witch or Musket) down there instead. Drop the Giant on the bridge when the time is appropriate. I like doing this because once you see a Giant lumbering in the back, it’s very easy to plan your card and elixer usage to take it out in the most efficient way possible, and may slow your own attack down so much that you won’t take advantage of your elixer gains. Don’t make things easier for your opponent for no reason!
Musketeer (3) – I used her for the longest time until Arena 4 at Crown level 3, when I subbed her out to try other things. I hit a wall, put her back, and immediately started gaining trophies again. Musket fills a number of roles for us. Behind a Giant (or even alongside a Witch), Musket can pump out a scary amount of damage on a turret, taking it down if ignored, giving us another way to push to win besides relying on just the Witch + Giant combo, and is less weak to AoE. She pumps out incredible DPS, and her range makes her great at taking out defensive turrets we would otherwise struggle with. Perhaps the biggest thing? She can kill those damnable baby dragons, and can do it pretty quickly. You will learn to hate baby dragons, defensively they absolutely wreck a lot of our deck – you will learn to love watching them get shot. Might even clap with glee (I do).
Minion Horde (5) – also known as “The Shredder”. Unless you know your opponent can’t play arrows or even fireball (don’t run it for some reason, or you know they don’t have it drawn/they are out of elix), this card should be played almost exclusively as defense. It’s a great “holy mother of shit that has to die now” card. Arrows absolutely demolish them and can do the same to your elixer advantage, but with practice this can be played around. Witches with a swarm of gobs is an attractive target to bait it out, or if they are predicting your minion usage (good players do do it), switch up the timing on your placements.
Spear Gobs (5) – a good, cheap unit that can be used to distract, take out air, simply to cycle out (don’t hesitate to drop them on the bridge during the “stare-down” beginning of a game – if your opponent does not respond, free chip damage on tower! If they do, they’ll likely start pushing and you can begin the counter!), or that can rush forward to support your deathball. If you haven’t noticed, our three main tower takers are all quite slow – this is intentional, as again it allows us to slowly build the deathball. Either squad of gobs can then use their speed to join the deathball at any time you choose.
Gobs (5) – these are in for much the same reason as the Spears, sans the anti-air. I didn’t have both gobs for the longest time, thinking it unnecessary; boy was I wrong. A LOT of decks contain some kind of rushing unit that demolishes towers (cough Prince), and gobs are fantastic for taking them out. You should almost never use both gob squads to join the deathball, instead keeping one in your pocket to save a desperation tower charge from your opponent. 1 elix Skeles work as an alternative, being cheaper and better specifically against the Prince or for other distractions (remember to drop towards the middle, not directly in front of tower!). However, they are beyond worthless for any attack, whereas gobs can actually threaten a lot of sneaky damage.
Tesla (5) – I found it’s very good to have one building of some kind in a deck, and Tesla is by far my favorite, particularly because it’s the only one that will work against baby asshole (Inferno doesn’t count, come on now), and it will work well. Tesla should almost always be your first play if it’s in hand (exception being against hutters). It works great as a distraction like any building, and helps significantly when building the deathball. Just a great all-around building. It too should almost always be placed in the middle, away from the river, but I have used it aggressively near bridges to support an offensive, or even to plunk in enemy territory and build around to keep up the pressure. Do this when you are certain of your advantage and need that extra umph to get up and over the bridge, otherwise this can backfire and leave you exceedingly vulnerable.
Arrows (5) – we want elixer advantage, and this is one of the best cards in the game for attaining that, particularly in lower trophy ranges. This doesn’t mean use it willy-nilly – you must be judicious in it’s use. Good players will try to bait it out all the time (I’ve run into decks running skele army, minion horde, AND gob barrel). When you do use it, you must be fast with it to get maximum value. While it obviously trades amazingly with minion horde, sometimes it is not worth it to use it as the damage can be done before the arrows land. Especially when your witch is already dealing with the minions. If you are pushing for a win, don’t be afraid to throw it on some trash to clear the way to your victory, even if it won’t give you that elixer advantage.
So there you have it. All cards that nearly any player should have (besides the Witch epic, of course). If you care to read further, I’ll include the cards I’ve tried in my tweaking, and the reasoning for leaving them out or trying to jam them in, as well as general types of play you will run into.
Bomber – this deck does tend to struggle against barbs, which you will have to learn to deal with (gotta wait em out a lot of the time unfortunately). Bomber does do a great job with helping clear out the barbs. However despite that, I found that I struggled immensely against air units (many of which are extremely popular). While the bomber does clear out barbs and other masses well, it could never kill barbs fast enough to even save whatever they were dropped on top of, which is what I needed for them for anyway. Defending against barbs in my own turf isn’t a problem anyway. I also had a more difficult time against beef targets, simply because 3 elixer is a fair investment and bomber does little to nothing after defending 90% of the time. The deck is already just fine against masses otherwise, so the 3 elix cost just wasn’t efficient enough for me.
Barbs – don’t get me wrong, it’s a great card. Just not in this deck. A common tactic against Witches is to deploy anything AoE – something that also wrecks barbs. It just makes you way too weak to it and you’ll see yourself start losing games.
Archer – a solid card, you can put this in in favor of the spears. The big two things is it survives arrows (unless your opponents tend to have higher level arrows that one-shot your Archers anyway, then just go spears), and it’s better at taking out baby dragons, as the range is longer and the DPS higher. Still, archers have a lot more trouble joining a ball than spears, and 2 elixer is just so good….if you find you need stronger single DPS, sub it in for spears. I would not recommend doing both as it is redundant. I do think that spears is in general better, but play what you have to in the meta you are in.
Hog – I was so excited to finally unlock hog! I had it in immediately. Unfortunately, I discovered very quickly that hogs+giant just plain sucks (absolutely destroys your Hog pathing, also say HI to barbs all the damn time). Additionally, while it was great at sneaking out close wins, or for taking my opponents off guard, it just runs counter to what the deck likes to do – counter opposing army, and deathball. Hog isn’t particularly good at either. Musket achieves essentially what hog does in our deck, and does it after killing stuff on our side. Hogs are just too combo dependent, and we have nothing to combo it with.
Fireball – now that I’m in arena 5, I may switch arrows to fireball – it still trades even or better with a lot of things here, plus helps with barbs. It’s tough to let go for those crazy efficient arrows though, and my level 2 fireball isn’t going to do much against the level 8 barbs running rough shod everywhere anyway. So arrows it is for now!
Tombstone – amazing at destroying Prince, kind of a dead card outside that. Gobs does pretty much the same thing, while also contributing to your game. All of our cards can do at least a couple things well, tombstone does one, albeit ridiculous well. Just not enough for us.
Baby Dragon – more likely than not, I would use baby dragon….IF I HAD ONE (insert appropriate picture here because I’m lazy). I could actually see it working very well instead of Witch. Other possible sub is in for Horde – you’d be weaker to single large targets, but the rest of your cards should be able to come together to still deal with it just fine, with the addition of being cheaper, being better at everything else, and being less vulnerable to arrows. This card is fuckin good folks, it sets the gold standard in control defense for it’s versatility and efficiency.
WHAT DO AGAINST:
Hutters – seems like a lot of people on the sub struggle with these guys, but honestly they can be quite easy to wreck. In the opener, wait about a second, second and a half before doing anything (always do this, just don’t sit there if they play something before you) – a hutter WILL almost always place a hut down. Immediately put Giant plus Witch in the other lane, plus even more stuff if you want. Switch to Giant plus Musket later in the game if they have good AoE to deal with the Witch. Remember, when they place a hut, your attack gains that much elixer over their defense. Press that advantage! Whatever you do, do NOT fight in their hut lane if you can help it – your deathball is really freaking good at plugging up the bridge and letting their huts auto build a deathball of their own, and they will win. Pressure the other lane, take the tower, win the game.
Spammers – a rare beast, but you will see them from time to time. These tend to be cheap decks that suddenly form a giant army out of nowhere, and often times run something like a Prince for a surprise lethal. These games are mostly about keeping calm, and be judicious with your arrows, but be fast with them! Your opponent will do everything they can to bait it out, and will usually also run a gob barrel (by timing it right, you can use regular gobs to absorb most of the aggro and kill the spawned gobs). Keep track of what they have and what they play, because of the versatility of our deck, they won’t be able to counter everything by just throwing stuff out. This is a rare game where you might not even want to tesla, as it won’t do a whole lot other than kill a few skeles or gobs. Don’t rely on your Giant to lead pushes, instead use your Witch and Spears, and be ready to use Horde to help clear out the garbage (again, watch out for arrows).
Beaters – the beat down decks, which look to get on your tower and just plain beat the crap out of it. These decks tend to build around things like Giant Skele, Prince, Hog, Loon, anything like that. These decks tend to have a very specific win condition and combo. Keep that combo in mind always, and be ready to counter it perfectly when the time comes for them to play it! Warning: these will always have spells ready to clear the way for their guys. Don’t crowd your guys together or on the tower when defending! This is a very common type of deck, and fortunately our deck is great at combating it! Our Witch, Tesla, and both squads of gobs are all great to mess up pathing and distract, and after their load is blown, they are immediately forced on the defensive, something they are not great at.
Controllers – do you like long awkward pauses to start your games? Great, enjoy playing against other control decks! Not much to say, just try to outvalue your opponent as much as possible. These games will come down to technical skill – whoever is better at responding efficiently, counting cards, and tracking elixers, will win. As long as you are better at these things, you’ll always win! Easy, right? A number of control type decks like having a surprise damage combo finisher, so watch for that. Once you wipe it, go on the offensive and win.
So that’s pretty much it! Feel free to ask questions, I’d be happy to answer.
TLDR of deck: Witch, Giant, Musket, Spears, Gobs, Horde, Tesla, Arrows
Two things I want to add:
1) As you play other control decks, you’ll quickly realize the only win condition is during the sub 1 minute mark/overtime. You must remain diligent on the defensive and slow play to get in 2 witches on your side of the map. At that point, with a dragon or giant in the lead, there’s no answer that he can offer once you build up that momentum.
2) Level up your arrows ASAP to 6! There are so many people who have higher level cards than me but if you outplay them, it’s not that big of a deal. HOWEVER with minion horde level 8, you NEED arrows level 6 to counter. These breaking points will not allow you to trade efficiently and therefore a much bigger deal than other cards.