How to Figure Out Your Opponent’s Strategy After The First Moves

In Clash Royale, one of the most important skills is figuring out what your opponent’s win condition is, after the first moves. If you can determine your opponent’s strategy early, you will have such a huge advantage.

The tips I am going to show you in this guide can be only applied If your opponent makes the first move (If you place your cards down first, your opponent will likely respond your cards and not reveal his strategy.


How to figure out your opponent’s strategy after the first moves

First off, this is the TL;DR version of this guide, In case you don’t want to read the entire wall of text. Cards which are marked with * are overlaps between the cards and the strategy they indicate.

Hog CycleHog Rider, Mini P.E.K.K.A*, Goblins (dropped in the back), Ice Spirit*, Skeletons*
TrifectaHog Rider, Valkyrie (dropped in the back and followed by Musketeer), Musketeer (supporting Valkyrie), Skeletons*
Miner CycleMiner, Mini P.E.K.K.A, Spear Goblins, Goblins*, Ice Wizard*, Poison*, Furnace, Ice Spirit*, Guards*
PayfectaMiner, Princess, Ice Wizard, Furnace, Guards*
P.E.K.K.A Double PrinceP.E.K.K.A, Prince, Dark Prince, Fire Spirits*, Elixir Collector*
Giant BeatdownGiant (placed in the back), Musketeer*, Bomber, Poison*, 3 Musketeers, Fire Spirits*
Giant SparkyGiant (placed in the back), Fire Spirits*, Elixir Collector*, Bomber*, Wizard*, Furnace
Royal Giant BeatdownRoyal Giant, Valkyrie*, Mini P.E.K.K.A*, Ice Wizard
Giant BalloonGiant (placed at the bridge), Balloon, Elixir Collector*
Golem BeatdownGolem, Elixir Collector*, Minions, Poison*, Fire Spirits*, Wizard*
SpawnerHuts, Tombstone*, Spear Goblins, Goblins*
Siege DecksDefensive building at the rider, X-Bow, Mortar, Elixir Collector*, Tombstone*
Extremely bad starting handsArrows, Lightning, Fireball, Rage, Zap, Freeze, Poison, The Log


Arrows: Your opponents at here are likely very new players so this rarely happens. Also, it doesn’t give any information on their strategies.

Bomber: Bomber is often placed behind the Giant push or Prince Push. Not many players use Bomber in Hog Decks because of its Elixir cost (comparing to other support cards). Sometimes, we can see Bomber in Royal and P.E.K.K.A decks. Truly this guy’s userate is not really high at this time.

Archers are often used to support tankers such as Giant, Golem, Royal Giant, … and to defend. Archers are very common support troops and they can reveal nearly nothing about your opponent. However, they are a part of the super popular “Jason Deck“.

Knight is the mini-rank which can be placed in almost any deck. He works very well in decks which use mini pushes to get chip damage on Towers. Just don’t ignore him in any way. A lone Knight can deal hundreds of damage on your Tower and it is even worse If there are a couple of troops supporting him.

Fireball: Usually, only inexperienced players use Fireball at the first moves. Also, this reveals nothing about their strategies, as this card can be placed in almost any deck. You can read everything about strategies with Fireball at here.

Mini P.E.K.K.A is extremely versatile and can be placed in almost any deck. At this time, we can usually face Mini P.E.K.K.A in Trifecta Deck and Miner Cycle Deck. It truly doesn’t give much information about your opponent’s deck.

Musketeer can be used in loads of decks such as Giant Decks, Royal Giant Decks, Hog Rider Decks, … Many players like using this card in conjunction with the 3 Musketeers card so please beware. Your opponent will always try to protect her with a tank.

Giant is one of the best tankers in Clash Royale because of his damage, HP and Elixir cost. He will protect high DPS troops behind while dealing tons of damage to opponent’s Tower. Players usually use Giant in Jason’s Deck, Spawner Decks, 3 Musketeer Decks, Giant Balloon Deck, Spark Deck and one of the most popular deck at this time is the Giant Poison Deck. If your opponent places his Giant right at the bridge, he will be most likely throwing a Balloon right after that. If Giant is placed in the far back, it will be either 3 Musketeer, Sparky or Musketeer behind him.

Prince can do tons of damage while charging and can solo kill your Tower very quickly If you don’t pay enough attention. He is usually protected by a splash damage support troop, which can remove all distractions.  Prince is usually used in P.E.K.K.A Double Prince Deck and Hog Prince Deck.

Baby Dragon is another versatile card which can be used on both offense and defense. It’s pretty hard to find out what strategy your opponent based on the Baby Dragon. At high Arenas, it could be Lava Hound deck.

Skeleton Army is mainly used on offense to deal with Prince, Hog Rider, Royal Giant, P.E.K.K.A, … People rarely use it on offense because it can be easily countered. If your opponent use SA on offense, he is likely a newbie. In high Arena, some players use Skeleton Army in Arrows-bait decks, which force you to defend with Arrows/Zap first then they will throw Goblin Barrel on your Tower.

Witch is mostly placed after a tank because of her low HP and high DPS coming from her Skeletons. People usually use her in Hut Decks, Giant Decks and Royal Giant Decks.


Spear Goblins: Cheap supports which can be placed behind tanks in almost any deck. This card can’t reveal anything about your opponent’s strategy.

Goblins: Same as above. Goblins are usually used in Hog Rider Decks and Miner Decks.

Goblin Hut: This card is usually used in Spawner Decks and some Royal Giant Decks.

Valkyrie is very popular these days and can be placed in loads of decks. In high Arenas, you can usually see her in Trifecta Deck, Royal Giant Decks and Mini P.E.K.K.A Valkyrie Deck.

Lightning: Truly, most players who start with Lightning are inexperienced players. This indicates that your opponent doesn’t know how to play his deck properly.

Goblin Barrel is usually used to bait out Arrows or Zap in high Arenas. This card can deal tons of damage If ignored. In some decks, your opponent drops his Giant/Giant Skeleton right at the bridge to soak damage and distract your Tower, then throw the Barrel right on top of your Tower.


Skeletons:  This card is mainly used on defense and can be placed in almost any deck, from low cost Deck to high cost Deck. However, people often use it in cheap Hog Rider Decks and cheap Miner Decks.

Minions: Same as above. This card doesn’t reveal much about your opponent’s deck.

Tombstone sometimes can be used as a part of the Spawner Decks. Since it’s essentially a defensive building, it doesn’t reveal much about your opponent’s strategy.

Bomb Tower is essentially a defensive building. It doesn’t reveal anything about your opponent’s strategy.

Giant Skeleton can be used on both offense and defense. It is pretty hard to figure out your opponent’s strategy based on this card. But, after I posted

Balloon is a slow card which has very high damage, just behind the Sparky. At this time, most Balloons are used in Giant Balloon Decks and Lavaloon Decks.


Cannon is essentially a defensive building card which reveals nearly nothing about your opponent’s strategy.

Barbarians are usually used on defense due to their slow movement speed. Same as above, it reveals nearly nothing about your opponent’s deck.


Rocket is usually used in Rocket Decks and it is usually the main damage dealer of the deck.

Barbarian Hut is used in Spawner Decks most of the time. Sometimes people use it in Royal Giant Decks too.

Rage is usually used in 3 Musketeer Decks, Giant/Musketeer Decks and Giant Witch Deck. It is literally one of the worst opening cards. If your opponent drops it first, that would be a mistake. Otherwise, he is trying to give you free trophies.

X-Bow is usually used in X-Bow Decks. I rarely see people using it as the REAL defensive building. Your opponent will try to place it right at the bridge and protect it with other defensive buildings.


Tesla, Inferno Tower: They are defensive buildings and of course it can’t reveal anything about the deck it is placed in.

Minion Horde is sometimes used to bait out Arrows. Be careful If your opponent plays this card first at the first moves.

Hog Rider can be used in either Hog Decks or Royal Giant Hog Rider Deck.

Freeze is not used a lot as before. You can see Freeze in Hog Rider Freeze Deck and  Goblin Barrel Freeze Deck.

P.E.K.K.A is usually coupled with double Prince. Otherwise, P.E.K.K.K.A Poison with the support from Wizard is also pretty popular these days.

Lava Hound is used in Lava Hound Decks of course.


Zap is very common. It can be seen in almost any deck and it can’t reveal anything about your opponent’s strategy. Also, If your opponent starts the battle with the Zap, trust me, we don’t know what he is thinking about.

Fire Spirits: This card is used a lot these days as it can 1 hit Goblins and Minions. I agree that it can be placed in all decks but at this time I usually see people using it in Hog Rider Decks, Miner Decks, Mini P.E.K.K.A Decks and Royal Giant Decks. Anyway it’s still very hard to find out your opponent’s deck based on Fire Spirits.

Furnace is very popular these days in Arena 9. People are using it in Miner Cycle Decks, Hog Rider Decks and Giant Poison Decks.

Wizard is usually used to support Giant, Golem, Royal Giant and Sparky.

Poison is now used in lots of decks: Hog Rider Decks, Mini P.E.K.K.A and Valkyrie Decks, Miner Cycle Decks and Giant Poison Decks.

Mirror: This card can’t be played as an opening card so I am going to skip this.

Ice Wizard is super useful can can be used in almost any deck. He reveal nearly nothing about your opponent.


Mortar: If your opponent places it down right at the bridge, he is running a Siege deck. If he places in front of the King’s Tower, He will likely place a Royal Giant right after that (The Mortar will protect the Royal Giant).

Elixir Collector: Truly this card can’t reveal much about your opponent’s strategy. We can use it in both high Elixir and low Elixir cost deck.

Golem: Your opponent is running Golem deck, of course. Prepare to deal with tons of cheap troops behind him. If you have Hog Rider or Prince in your hand, consider placing it as soon as possible to force your opponent to defend.

The Log: It can’t reveal anything about your opponent’s deck.

Sparky: Your opponent is running a Sparky Deck and he will be about to place a Giant/Royal Giant right in front of the Sparky. There are also some Siege Decks out there which use Sparky to protect X-Bow/Mortar.

Miner: Your opponent is using Payfecta/Miner Decks.


Royal Giant: Your opponent is running a Royal Giant Deck, of course. It’s better to take a look at these Royal Giant Decks to figure out the best ways to deal with them.

3 Musketeers: If your opponent split them up, he is likely running a Giant Musketeers Deck. Otherwise, he will be trying to put a P.E.K.K.A/Golem in front of them. Usually people don’t place it down first due to the very high Elixir cost. This is also an surprising card which is usually used at the x2 Elixir time.

Dark Prince is almost always running with the Prince in the P.E.K.K.A Double Prince or Double Prince Deck. I rarely see people using this guy without the Prince.

Guards and Princess can’t reveal anything about your opponent’s deck since they are essentially support cards.


Ice Spirit is usually used in Hog Rider Cycle Deck and Sparky Decks these days. Anyway it still can’t say a lot about your opponent’s deck as it is very versatile and can be placed in loads of decks.

Bowler is usually used to protect Giant, Sparky, P.E.K.K.A and Golem. I posted a great Bowler deck a few days ago, you can take a look at here for more details.

Lumberjack’s use is pretty similar to the Rage Spell. People usually couple him with Giant, Witch and 3 Musketeers.

Shared by MWolverine63.


    I use a custom deck so no one knows what it is: Dark Prince Goblin Barrel Freeze

    • Ishmam

      Well now I know 🙂


        well time for me to change my deck xD

    • Will Potter

      Sounds interesting. Can you share it? 😀


        dark prince (4) (can be replaced with valk and knight)
        goblin barrel (2)
        freeze (2)
        barbarians (9)
        minion horde (9 almost 10)
        inferno (6)
        fireball (6)
        zap (9)
        ok so the strategy is to play defense for the first 2 minutes and occasionally throw a goblin barrel. try to count ur opponent’s spells. at the 1:00 mark bait out arrows, fireball, zap with minion horde and barbs. then throw your goblin barrel + freeze or dark prince + goblin barrel. Dark prince will take shots from arena tower causing goblin barrel to wreak havoc on it

  • Zigge

    I also use a custom and none discoveres my win condition until it’s over 😛

  • CRwithzws

    If you see a arrow used in legendary arena, you will know that they want you to win but you can tell that they are running air decks or giant balloons.

    • Will Potter

      LOL yea. Trick or treat!

  • Blaze Stone

    Hey can anyone tell me how to use the log. I have miner and after two days from the update I got the log from a magical. I tried it in different decks but miner and log don’t sync together. So can anyone tell me its proper use and some strategies? I am a lvl10 player around 2700 trophies; just gotta upgrade my wizard and mini pekka to lvl7 to push higher.


      replace log with zap unless you want the stun effect

      • Terry Bert

        Log is just crap, It doesn’t hit air, Zap is still better

        • Will Potter

          Zap should be Legendary! LOL

    • Blaxeturner

      If you practice enough with your friends, you can make a deadly xbow deck.

    • Will Potter

      Basically you want something fast to support your Miner, but The Log isn’t

    • Xx bismuth xX

      The way to use The Log is to counter troops remember-it can be used to kill pushes by killing every troop exept the tank and can make awesome elixir trades like logging a princess for +1 elixir

  • Tyrant

    I start by playing my Giant in the back in most cases as a GiLoon user, so i guess I can trick people into thinking I have a GiWitch or GiSparky deck.

    • Terry Bert

      Lol but build up is annoying they can just rush other lane, But just dropping both of them at bridge is killer

      • Tyrant

        I usually do that after it’s revealed or when I’m down a tower.

    • Will Potter

      How is it going? xD

      • Tyrant

        So so. I’m not using the deck right now, but I usually build up with the support, and then I drop the balloon. I also do the usual placement of the combo too.

        • Will Potter

          Okay I see. Good luck with it further buddy!

          • Tyrant

            Just pushed to 2900 with it. I tried using a RG deck to push to legends but fell to 2.8k. making use of aerial bypass tile (the one behind the stone on far ends of the river) had helped me out so much. It should be mentioned in all Balloon deck guides.

          • Will Potter

            Thank you a lot man 😀

          • S28Destro

            I submitted a deck for you guys but it did not tell me if it was actually sent ot not so i dont know if you got it

          • Will Potter

            Usually, there isn’t any problem at all so no worries buddy :).

  • llSmokyll

    “Cards which are marked with * are overlaps between the cards and the strategy they indicate.”

    Can someone explain it to me? I’m not understanding the list very well 🙁

    • Will Potter

      Those cards may reveal the correct strategy :D.

  • Xx bismuth xX

    Very informative! Keep the good work up!

    • Will Potter

      Thank you a lot buddy!
      I really appreciate it 😀

      • Xx bismuth xX

        I have a really good deck idea but unfortunately it requires 1-2 legendaries(The Log is replaceable)so I can’t do it because a don’t have a legendary(if somone posts it because it is good then say it was from me okay? And here is the deck:Lumberjack,prince,barbarians,The log,spear goblins,any spell,any building,fire spirits.thanks for reading this comment and if you have questions for this deck please ask…and I almost forgot to tell u how this deck works:first you defend until you have in your four slots lumberjack,the log,prince and fire spirits.then wait for your opponent to lunch an attack and let the tower kill the tank and use the log on support troops and then on the other lane drop prince lumberjack and fire spirit if u have enough elixir(remember to drop lumberjack before the prince so the prince will push it and the tower will kill the lumberjack raging the prince and if the opponent counter use any spell but your opponent will most likely not counter due to being out of elixir at the start of your push due to pushing on the other lane first and having the log ruin their push)also side note:the log can be replaced by mirror(to mirror fire spirit but it is less efficient but cost the same +1 elixir because it was mirrored the deck is called: LUMBERPRINCE!

  • Blaxeturner

    Lightning does not show inexperience. Starting off with Lightning can be an immediate positive elixir trade. Lightning will finish off almost all support troops while also damaging towers severely or emptying elixir pumps. A common start of the game begins with an elixir collector and a princess. A lightning that costs 6 elixir would take out 3 elixir princess and 5 elixir collector while also dealing massive damage to the tower. This is a +2 elixir trade.

    • Will Potter

      I am assuming that the opponent makes the first move 😀

    • Will Potter

      Anyway thank you a lot for sharing this buddy!

  • Terry Bert

    I use fireball as first move so, What if I have nothing else to play doesn’t mean anything

    • Terry Bert

      It doesn’t mean jack

  • MarkGab Quijano

    Can you please post counters for such combinations? Thank you.

    • Will Potter

      Gonna do that my friend!

  • Mosť Wanteđ

    Is my deck good?? I use

    Ice Wizard
    Inferno Tower

    I Reached 3264 with all common 10 and rares level 7 …

    • Will Potter

      Looks great buddy! Hope you can push further with it!

  • Will Potter

    Thank you very much Edison!

  • Alex Wen

    What kind of deck is this?
    mini PEKKA
    baby dragon
    minion horde
    spear gobs
    ice wizard
    Any suggestions?
    I have lvl 9 commons lvl 6 hog, lvl 7 rares, lvl 3 baby dragon, and lvl 1 ice wizard and I’m at about 2650-2700 trophies.
    And is this deck good???

    • Will Potter

      Yea I think your deck is pretty decent. Try to replace Arrows with Zap If you want. Good luck!

  • Scrublord

    anyone notice the triple K on the pekka in the arena 4 section? Coincidence? I think not.