Clash Royale Meta Analysis In Each Arena Level

Clash Royale Meta Analysis In Each Arena Level by AnotherThroneAway

I’ve found that I enjoy this game a lot more when I think hard about what arena I’m actually in. That is, playing to the meta of my trophy level. And then, to tech against it. For me, this is the road to a low-sodium play experience.

At least until 2500, every couple hundred trophies, you face a new meta, because either new cards are available, or card levels are reaching a critical mass. Now, I’m around 2500, so I won’t speak for beyond that, but I want to offer some thoughts on how to tech in the various trophy blocks until that point.

Arena 1: 0-400 trophies

Mostly, you’ll see tank + dps pushes, with Giant, Knight, Valk or Baby Dragon up front, and Archers, Spears, Muskets, Witch and Bomber trailing behind, doing the bulk of the damage. Your best bet is to wait until the push crosses the river, then drop high dps units on their dps followers—Bomber, knight, Skele Army and goblins work well; Valkyrie works best. Against the tank, you want high dps-per-elixir creatures like Goblins, Mini Pekka, Spear Gobs or Prince.

The other type of attack you’ll see pretty often is Prince or Mini PEKKA together or with some midget friends. At this level, goblins and Skele Army are your best friend against them, because Prince and PEKKA don’t do well against many targets. If you have no other choice, drop a Giant and follow with some DPS as soon as you have the elixir for it. Spear gobs or Archers are great for this. Remember to drop them near the middle of your village green, to draw the hapless Prince and his robot pal into the crossfire.

So if you’re in this block, your best tech options are:

  • Valkyrie
  • Skeleton Army
  • Goblins

Arena 2a: 400-600 trophies

When you get to a new arena, the first thing that happens is you see people using new cards when they shouldn’t yet (because their levels are too low), and people wisely relying on their commons and already-leveled rares. Then, commons will get leveled first, so you’ll have to deal with them primarily in the first half of each arena block.

So in the first half of the Bone Pit, you’ll see two of CR’s most infamous midget squads: Skeletons and Minions. Skeletons are only worrisome on offense if they trail a fast or tanky unit. In this case, your tech options are splash damage with Bomber or Valk or Baby Dragon. At this stage, Skeles are rarely employed for their (primary?) purpose: baiting units into a kill zone. Partly because people don’t know to do that, and partly because the defensive towers aren’t around yet that really amp up that strat. As for Minions, mostly you’ll see them thrown into pushes or used to take out your lone-wolf attackers. The tech against this is Spear Goblins and Archers, but mostly Baby Dragon.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Baby Dragon
  • Archers
  • Spear Goblins

Arena 2b: 600-800 trophies

Now you start hitting more grown up versions of Tombstone and Bomb Tower, plus a higher chance of lvl 1-2 Giant Skeleton and Balloon. More than anything else, the meta gets warped by the bomb towers. Suddenly, you’re facing a defensive structure that can nullify a big chunk of your deck, so you MUST TECH APPROPRIATELY.

Tombstone will wreck your mini pekka and Prince (super secret tech: remove them from your deck for now), and Bomb tower will turn your goblins, Archers, Skele armies, and bombers into quivering piles of giblets. Hopefully you’ve gotten Baby Dragon by now, because that is THE best way to take down a Bomb Tower. If not, then Minions do the trick just fine (they’re just more likely to be disrupted before their work is done). Otherwise, the best bet is to tech in Giant and send it on a suicide mission against the Bomb T while you push the other lane and go for their tower proper.

You don’t need to tech against Giant Skeleton; you just need to learn how to distract it long enough that it dies somewhere other than against your tower. Balloon just means to need to tech one additional flier or ranged in your deck, and/or keep those units in your hand for defense. Since you just got Minions, probably that’s your man/men/things. But Archers and Spear Gobs are great, too.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Minions
  • Baby Dragon
  • Giant

Arena 3a: 800-1000 trophies

Barbarians at the gates! Yes, you’re finally going to be getting down and rugby with everybody favorite line-backers. But you’re also going to bask in all the cannon balls and X-bolts you could ever want, in the face. As soon as you hit 800 trophies, expect to see Barbarians in every deck, Cannons all over the board, and the occasional Barb Hut, and X-bow.

Teching against Barbarians is easy: fliers or Bomber. Once again, Baby Dragon is amazing here, as it can often hit all four Barbs. Same with Bomber (which is about the only time bomber is amazing). Bomb tower is also death to Barbs. Cannon is a great reactive defensive card, and will be leading your Giants and Balloons astray like the good iron-flinging meat-shield it is. Consider dropping Giant from your deck, and keeping Balloon only if you want to use them to take out bomb towers/cannons. Thankfully, Minions eat cannons for breakfast, and Musketeers can outrange them.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Bomber
  • Bomb Tower
  • Musketeer
  • Minions
  • Baby Dragon

Arena 3b: 1000-1100 trophies

You’re going to face some X-bow decks. It sucks, but there it is. Thankfully, their range is crap, now, and it can be an easy way to gain elixir advantage because X-bow is no longer worth the 6cc investment. The trick with X-bow at this stage is to make sure it doesn’t lock onto your towers. Try to give it something like Giant or Valk to pew-pew while you push at it with Minions, DB, Spear goblins, and other high-dps, high mobility units. If you have rocket, and can’t reach the X-bow, don’t be shy; give it the ol’ Dr. Strangelove treatment.

There’s no real tech against rocket, other than keeping your buildings spread apart, and remembering not to let your towers get within Dresden range.

Barbarians and Barbarian Huts—hut decks—will be the big meta elephant in this trophy zone. You’ll quickly grow to love/hate swarm decks, as Goblin Huts and Barbarian Huts proliferate like so many poison mushrooms (shame you don’t have poison yet). Your best best is to Rocket or Balloon the Barb Huts, make use of Fireball to draw down a bunch of HP bars at once, and…drumroll…Bomb Tower! Seriously, I know it ain’t the most fun card in the world, but you’re going to want to tech Bomb Tower at this point. When teching Bomb tower, remember that you are now weak to air units, and should therefore make sure to also include another cheap ranged (archers or spears) or Minions or Muskets.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Bomb Tower
  • Rocket
  • Bomber
  • Fireball

Arena 4a: 1100-1250 trophies

HOG RIDDAAASHIT! Yeah, now you’re in the big-boy CR range. Minion Hordes are going to screw you and all the grandchildren your king will never have. Mohawked nihilists on wild pigs are going to ruin your day/tower. And you’ll get your first tastes of Freeze and Dirty Uncle PEKKA. Prepare your anus.

Or get to techin’. Minion dies to Arrows, end of story. The sequel to that story: Baby Dragon approaching a Minion Horde = dead Minion Horde. Tesla towers are the other common, and you’ll see them lots, but there’s no real tech against them. They’re pretty weak these days, though, so just try to get them trained on a tank while your dps units poke them to dust. The Hog Riders you see here will be low level, so all you need to do is keep a high-DPS-to-cost unit in your hand to drop in front of your tower. Goblins, Skeletons, Mini PEKKA, Barbarians and Minions are all fine choices. As for PEKKA, just kite it away from your towers, and range it down.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Arrows (IS A MUST)

Arena 4b: 1250-1400 trophies

Now the Hog Riders are ripening, and your world will never be the same. This card is going to get nerfed, and we all know it. But for now, it’s beast, and for the rest of this CR patch you will want to at least CONSIDER teching against this loudmouthed little pig-porker.

First and foremost: Cannon! This is your #1 defense against Hogs. Don’t play them defensively unless you’re at full elixir. Play them slightly off-center in your village green the moment you see the mohawk. You want to get as much tower pew on it as you can. Also, you’ll probably lose the cannon regardless, but dropping another damage unit to hit the Hog while its hitting your cannon is a good move. Skeletons are perfect for this, Goblins are near-mint. Barring that, dropping Barbarians in a ring around the Hog will murder it to death. Tombstone is also great against Hog Rider (and Princes). The only downside is that it’s probably not as flexible as Cannon.

Don’t worry about Inferno Tower, they’re pretty shite at this point. If you do see one, fling a Minion Horde at it and go about your day. Since minion Horde is also good against Hog, you’ll want to be teching this anyway.

As for Freeze and PEKKA…. Sigh. Another OP card we all know is getting nerfed. With freeze, your best best is a counter-freeze. Simple, clean, and mildly satisfying. Otherwise, you will see it paired with Hog (and to a lesser extent Balloon) damn near constantly. The trick, then, is to rely on cheap units with high DPS, and Cannon of course. Drop goblins/spears/skeletons/archers etc, wait for the freeze, then drop goblins/spears/skeletons/archers.

As for PEKKA, as mentioned above, just distract the big robotic boobless wonder and DPS it down as best you can. Cannons are useful, Minion Horde is a godsend, Barbs are strong, Musketeers, and of course Inferno Tower…it’s more about tactics and positioning than specific defenses.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Cannon / Tombstone
  • Minion Horde
  • Barbarians
  • Skeletons
  • Goblins in all flavors

Arena 5: 1400-1700 trophies

Not a lot changes here. You’ll see Wizards backing up tanks and insta-gibbing your Minions. You’ll get zapped a few times and shrug accordingly. In the 1400-1500 range, the Wizards won’t do much, and Zap won’t even kill your Goblins. With Wizards, just keep your unit groups far away if possible. Wizard saw what Baby Dragon does to Minion Hordes, and multiplied it by FIREBALL!!. Annoying. Anyway, focus fire them when you can. Muskets are great for this, Princes and Mini Pekkas and Knights are good, but a lot of times you’ll rely on the most classic tactic of all: get the wizard targeting something beefy, and poke it with spear and arrows.

Mirror is a non-issue (and an overall questionable card). Poison is pretty weak at low levels, and you can’t really tech against it anyway. Just try not to drop units in the soup. Zap is an amazing card, and will turn your Minion Horde into Tower food. In general, this trophy block is very hazardous to Minion Hordes. But, since Minion Horde is flirting with OP, and still tech-hot from the previous arena, it’s likely you’ll still prefer to have it in your deck. Though trading it out for Minion is a good idea, because Wizard and Zap wreck them equally, so as long as you’re being super careful about placement, you may as well go with the cheaper, better cycling version.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Musketeer
  • Mini PEKKA
  • Knight

Arena 6: 1700-2000 trophies

Mortar decks, hooray! Again, this entire arena should be seen as one block, because not many cards are added, and because the rare and epic are both pretty similarly powerful at level 1. Unfortunately, all three cards are good, and at least two of them will piss you off hardcore unless you tech a bit.

Mortars first. These are actually sort of hard to tech against, but there are some ways to do it. Firstly, the opponent will almost always put them right next to the river, so they bombard one of your towers. They’re often coupled with Cannon or Bomb tower for defense, with Barbarians, Spears, Goblins etc for riot control on the bridge. In my opinion, once again it’s Baby Dragon to the rescue. Usually, they have poor anti-flying defense, and are holding arrows for Minion Horde. But arrows doesn’t do diddly to Baby, and the only real danger is spear gobs/archers, or the wee dragon getting hung up on something tanky that isn’t named Mortar. That’s where Valkyrie comes in. She shreds linebackers, and spins circles around Mortar and Cannon when you can drop her that close to them. Giant is also strong here. And a Cannon played right at the water’s edge will be a big problem for the Mortar player.

The best defense against Elixir Collector is Elixir Collector. Or Rockets and Fireballs IF you can get some collateral damage on some units or towers. Otherwise, when they drop Collector, that’s your cue to drop your threat / build your push, since you’re 5 elixir up on them…for now. Unless you want to be an evil villain, then you could include Rocket.

Golem is just a cuddly ol’ bitch. Hands down, the best tech is Cannon, because you want to lead it away from your tower, and Cannon is the cheapest, most dps-efficient way to do that. Again, like Hog, place the Cannon slightly off center o your village green, so it paths as far as possible from a tower. Unlike with Giant and PEKKA, midget troops don’t do well against him because of the blast radius when he undergoes granitic mitosis. Inferno is a godsend here, but you still may not want to tech it, depending on how dominant Hut and Hog decks are. On the other hand, PEKKA is also probably a problem for you at this point, so an Inferno + Cannon combo can be a fierce foundation for your deck.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Baby Dragon
  • Minions/Horde
  • Valkyrie
  • Inferno Tower

Arena 7a: 2000-2200

Oddly enough, the cards in Arena 7 don’t do much to affect the meta. 3 Musketeers will probably take a game or two off you, but rarely in this range. Dark Prince will shake things up, but he’s just a weaker, AoE Prince, which you’ve been handling for the entire game, now. Minion Horde is good here. Just don’t drop any groups of units in front of a charging Dark Prince.

Unfortunately, this is where Mortar starts to hit lvl 7-8, and, as of current patch, up to a third of the decks you see might be Mortar or Mortar/Rocket. So tech accordingly. You’ll also be seeing a lot of PEKKA decks, now that people are getting their lvl 2 PEKKAs. Some Golems too for the same reason, but not nearly as commonly. You’ll also see your first blushes with Double Prince™ brand bullshit. Thankfully, the PEKKA+Princex2 isn’t all that strong until the second half of the 2000s.

You’re also going to be dealing with a stronger form of Hog+Freeze, since it may include Zap, and all levels will be about equal with the rest of their cards.

In this block, your best tech options:

  • Inferno tower
  • Cannon
  • Minion Horde
  • Baby Dragon
  • Valkyrie

Arena 7b: 2200-2500

Greetings, and welcome to the paywall! Or anyway, this is the range where you begin to see players who obviously paid some serious money. Lvl 4 epics, level 9 commons, and almost half your games will see a legendary waddling its stupid way across the board.

The upside of this trophy block is that you’ll see lots of variety. The downside is that it’s actually a bit tough to tech against because of it. Above 3000, there’s less variety, so teching is a little easier, actually. But for now, you’re mainly going to want to tech against the decks that ANGER you most. Yup, now, imo, we’re in Personal Vendetta territory. It’s harder to predict what you’ll go up against, partly because if people get a lvl 4 Epic, they’re probably going to build around it. And partly because they have all previous options available to them.

I will say that you’ll still be seeing lots of PEKKAs, Princes, Mortars, Hogs, Freeze, Wizards, Bomb Towers, Minion Hordes, Elixir Collectors, and other assorted irritants.

Which is why I think, at this point, you should focus on quality-of-life gameplay. You want to be having fun, still, but you will increasingly face wallet warriors, decks you weren’t prepared for, etc. The goal—since this is a video game—should be to have fun while staying at or above a 50% win rate. There’s only so much you can do about the latter, so focus on the former. In my experience, that means teching against the decks or cards that toggle your rage.

Hate Mortar? Tech Dragon, Cannon and Valk.

Hate Rocket? Build a beatdown deck.

Hate Hog/Freeze? Tech Cannon, Freeze, Minions, Spear gobs.

Hate hut decks? Tech Bomb Tower, Lightning, Rocket, Fireball, Wizard

Hate PEKKA / Golem? Tech Inferno Tower, Barbarians, Tombstone, Spear gobs

Hate Princess? Arrows.

Hate X-bow? Well, lucky you; nobody plays that anymore.

Thanks for reading, you guys, and I hope you’ll think hard about what meta you are in, and how to tech against it to reduce the NaCl factor and have more success. Please let me know if I missed anything, or if you want to argue against a certain point.

And if all else fails, play Royal Giant, so that every five games, you can brag about winning with Royal Giant.

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