Ultimate Guide to Improving your Skills in Clash Royale

Hey, Nitrome95 here with a special 2k word guide for my tenth article! Before I get into the guide, I want to thank you all for the support on this website. Because of you guys, my mortar video hit 500 views! That’s crazy! Continue to support my channel, [Kairos] Nit Clash Royale, so I can continue to grow and share my knowledge to other clashers.

This will be a very big picture guide that will cover lots of vague topics that you can use to improve your skills in general. Shout outs to Esopa for a lot of this information. You can check out his channel here. He is a very underrated youtuber that is one of the best Clash Royale players IMO.

So when approaching improvement in the game, there are many misconceptions to HOW to. Many players assume that just because they know that they have to improve that they know how to improve. So without further ado, let’s get into the guide.

Ultimate Guide to Improving your Skills in Clash Royale

Watching Your Replays

This is the one that I don’t see many people take advantage of. Supercell was gracious enough to record all of your Clash Royale battles. You should watch these to see what you can do to improve. Now, I’m not asking you to carefully dissect every bit of the match, but you shouldn’t be playing the match in fast forward. Now, I don’t care if you’re still salty from that close loss or that you went against an overleveled royal giant. You should still find a way to outplay your opponent, not make excuses. You should be mindfully watching several things:

#1 The Elixir Bars

Ask yourself if it was you or your opponent that had the Elixir advantage for the majority of the match. Chances are if you didn’t, you lost the match. Check where you could have capitalized on your opponent’s mistakes.

For example, your opponent over defends your Elite Barbarians with minion horde and knight. If you did not capitalize on your opponent being low on elixir, that might be something you should improve on in the future.

At the same time you should be checking when you overextended on elixir. Maybe where you went for a Fireball on an Elixir Collector when you didn’t have the Elixir advantage. Or where you Fireballed a Skeleton Army when your arrows were in your hand. Typically, overextending on elixir costs you games, especially when facing skilled opponents.

The last thing you should be focusing on with Elixir Bars is leaking Elixir. You should not be holding on to 10 elixir for more than 2 seconds. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at an elixir disadvantage.

#2 Card Rotation

As you may already know, the cards you receive are in a fixed pattern. The 4 cards that are in your hand are “in rotation”. The other 4 cards that are not in your hand are “out of rotation”. In a replay, you can see both your and your opponent’s hands, while in a match you can only see yours.

From there, you should ask yourself if you capitalized on a card being out of rotation. Maybe their only counter to your win condition was used on an unnecessary card and you did not blitz them with your win condition. Or maybe your opponent put you in a bad rotation where your counter to their win condition was never in your hand.

Whatever the mistake, pinpoint it and make a note of it next match.

#3 Tempo

Tempo is how aggressively or passive you and your opponent were. This coincides a bit with elixir and card rotation, as both determine how aggressively or passively you should be playing.

Time should also be a factor whether you should be more passive or aggressive.

For example, it would be a bad idea to try to heavily defend when you need to take down 700 HP from an enemy tower in 30 seconds. The same goes on the other side of the spectrum; you should not be making risky prediction plays when you have the tower lead.

Understanding tempo allows you to make comebacks more often, as you will be able to make split second risk-reward ratio decisions.

Here’s a real example from one of my matches.

I was experimenting with a Mortar Elite Barbarian Deck in a classic challenge and ended up facing a Royal Giant- a Mortar’s worst enemy. I was down a tower with one minute left and I still needed to take down 1300 hp from the opponent’s tower. Since siege loses so much of its power once you lose a tower, I needed to play super aggressive. I traded 1000 HP from my second tower for the opponent’s tower right before overtime started. With 3 minutes of overtime, I had lots of time and not much HP on my tower left, so I played very patiently and waited to build an elixir advantage. I was able to slowly chip his tower down to 1000 and he got my tower down REALLY low. He logged my tower, only to realize my tower had 3 HP! I knew I had to make the victory happen before he placed 4 cards, so I threw down everything with the elixir advantage I had built. I ended up winning with my hands still shaking from the adrenaline.

My understanding of the three things I analyzed from my replays allowed me to clutch the win.

What Do You Need To Improve On?

Also keep in mind the bad tendencies that you resort to. Often times in the heat of the battle, we revert to what is comfortable. Sometimes, however, these habits are bad, so it is important to find these mistakes and correct them.

The Three Battles

Even though watching replays is an important skill, this game is not for spectators(!). You should be exercising practical skills in a PRACTICAL situation. The question becomes what game mode should you use: Friendly Battles, the Ladder (trophies), or Tournaments. This all depends on what you are trying to practice.

Friendly Battles

This mode is for learning how to play your deck. There is no risk or reward to battling here, so it is a great place to start. Just ask someone that is better or of equal level than you in the clan to battle and that’s it. You can also use this mode to practice against different deck archetypes that you are struggling with.

The problem is that you will tend to battle the same person again and again, which is not necessarily good. What may happen is that you become accustomed to the habits and faults of your opponent. In a real match, you have to analyze your opponent in the first 2 minutes of the match so that you can make the plays that count in double elixir time. You may end up falling into bad habits that way.

Ladder

This advice does not apply if:

  1. You are not lvl 9
  2. You do not have tourney standard cards
  3. You have max cards

Don’t hate on me for saying this, but trophies don’t matter. Yup, that’s right. They don’t matter. Ladder is inherently unfair because card levels are uneven. Because of that, there are so many factors that you don’t know. For example, you have no way of knowing how much damage your opponent’s zap does because no one in their right mind would memorize the stats of zap from lvls 1-13. That being said, you should memorize how much a zap does a tourney standard.

In ladder, you should be focusing on your fundamentals, such as:

Basic Knowledge

This is the easy stuff, like a giant is a tank, a mini pekka is a glass cannon, a match lasts for 3 minutes, a golem targets only buildings, how to form a push, a counterpush, dual lane pressure (a bit more advanced).

Placement

This is the optimal placements for different troops, like the different functionalities of a 4-2 vs a 4-3 building plant. Or like where to put a tombstone in different situations. You need to know this.

Your Deck

This one I can’t stress enough. You have no know the ins and outs of your deck. The true pros only have to glance at their hand to know how they are going to react to an opponent’s push. This should be second nature, so that you can focus on your opponent’s strategies.

Basic Tech

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Something like a pig push to bypass buildings, or the ability to have a royal giant retarget your defense using zap. Nothing too micro.

Warmup

Think of ladder as a quick play mode. You definitely do not want to play a grand challenge as your first match of the day. Use this to make sure you are in the mental state needed for higher level play.

Don’t worry if you lose in ladder, the main focus should be to improve your basics of the game.

Tournament

This is where it really counts, whether it be challenges or standard tournaments. This is like the clan wars of Clash of Clans. If you are a serious war addict, you know what I mean. The skills used here are only used by a small percentage of players. The tournament feature does need to be revised for optimal play, but it is definetly more competitive than ladder. You should focus on more advanced techniques where you and your opponent are at an equal playing field (unless you are lacking legendaries). For example:

Counting Elixir

Tracking how far, or behind you are on elixir, making sure you don’t overextend.

Card Rotation

Tracking what cards your opponent has and forcing your opponents to make awkward plays.

Specific Knowledge

You should know how much damage all of your spells do at tournament standards. You should also know the specific interactions with different cards in your decks compared to other cards in the current meta.

Advanced Tech

The nitty gritty tricks, like knowing the difference between True Red and True Blue, and how to adapt your play style based on which one you are.

Hotkeying

If you are serious about Clash Royale, I highly suggest playing on your computer so that you can queue up your cards with different keys.

Timing

This one is tough. You have to always mix up your timing so that your opponent will have a hard time doing predictive fireballs, as well as reading your opponent’s timing. You will want to optimize timing to get the most value out of the troop. An earlier post once said that the best timing the latest moment before it is too late (that doesn’t mean you should procrastinate XD). That is the one general rule you should go by.

Predictions

By incorporating all your advanced knowledge, you are able to predict when,where, and what your opponent will do. I wrote a guide  showing how to do it.

And More…

I am definitely not the best player in the world at Clash Royale, so I don’t know everything about the games. Watch advanced streamers and Youtubers to further your knowledge.

How Not To Improve

Now that I’ve gone through how you SHOULD improve, I will explain how you SHOULD NOT improve. These are common misconceptions that the community has.

Playing Ladder

Sure, ladder is great, but it can only take you so far. If you covet ladder too much, you run the risk of getting too caught up in levels. The game mode is unfair, so it is not a big deal if you lose there.

Micro vs Macro

I know a lot of people that focus on all of these small, tiny details, while failing to realize the big picture. Having tunnel vision makes you get too caught up in the gameplay and not in things like time, card rotation, and elixir lead. At the same time, thinking too vaguely causes you to lose focus on how to play optimally. You may take a few hundred hitpoints here and there, shrug it off, until you realize your tower is down! The macro, however, is more important than micro.

Fundamentals

I see a lot of beginner players make this mistake. They want to jump into all of the advanced tech to be like the “top players” without realizing that you need to have a good understanding of the game first.

Mainstream Youtubers

Besides Clash With Ash, Ash (Clashnerd) and Orange Juice, don’t trust mainstream Youtubers to help you get better at the game, ESPECIALLY SSundee (ugh, his playstyle along with his p2w is horrible). Go for guys like Esopa who really have an understanding of the game. Clash With Ash brings a lot of these guys for interviews so that’s a good place to start.

Salting

Honestly, I don’t really understand why people get salty; I’ve never been really that mad at the game. Just remember that you will never be able to improve if you keep getting mad at yourself and the opponent. Practice means mistakes along the way.

Conclusion

Wow! This guide is REALLY long (2255 words to be exact but who’s counting anyway? :P). I can’t stress enough about how you have to learn how to improve so that you head in the right direction. If you are a casual player, that’s fine too; this game does a great job attracting different types of people. But for the serious player, this is the mindset you should be adopting (to some extent). Comment below if you have any questions.