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The Definitive Guide to Counter Deck Archetypes and Meta Decks


Hey, Nitrome95 here coming at you guys with another guide (comment below if you want to see decks for a specific archetype).

I figured that since I taught you guys how to play different archetypes in this guide, I decided that I would talk about how to counter them. Even though decks vary from one to the other, countering the opponent’s playstyle is the same.

I will also cover how to counter very popular combos (such as Golem Graveyard). Keep in mind that I will assume that you will have all of the cards in the game (I also will offer substitutions).

The Definitive Guide to Counter Deck Archetypes

Cycle Deck

If you are using a cheap deck as well, good luck because it’s going to be likely a tiring match. You will just have to just defend and counter push constantly until one opponent out-chips the other. If you have a high damage spell, make sure to always use it on the tower when possible. It will be either a spell battle or whoever makes a mistake first.

If you’re using a heavy deck, this is where it gets really tricky. Your opponent will constantly be pushing you with low elixir cards, forcing you to defend and not be able to build up elixir. You have to defend with as little elixir as possible, probably taking tower damage.

For example, if your opponent sends a Hog Rider Goblin Barrel push, put a Bowler in the back. Don’t be afraid to take some damage, as you will make a big, overwhelming push in the end.

Please take a look at here to see the best Cycle Decks on CRA.

Spell Bait

I can not stress this enough; only use your spells offensively! Unless it is an emergency, playing spells defensively is what your opponent wants you to do. They will slowly chip at your tower, and defend with swarmy troops easily. Especially if you have a big tank, save your Zap for the Inferno Tower that they will probably use. Once you save your spells for an offensive push, get good value out of them by hitting the horde troop and the Inferno Tower.

So you may be wondering how to defend against spell bait troops (Skeleton Army, Minion Horde, Goblin Barrel) without spells. Well, here’s a few tips that might help:

  1. A Valkyrie in front of the arena tower has enough range to hit 2 Goblins from the barrel at the same time.
  2. Ice Wizard and witch are not good against Skeleton Army and Minion Horde. They don’t do enough damage to one shot a Skeleton.
  3. A Bowler behind the tower can hit all three Goblins from a barrel with one shot.
  4. Ice Golem one shots Skeletons and severely weakens minions with its death damage.
  5. When placing an Ice Spirit to hit all of the Minion Horde, let the Ice Spirit tank one shot from the minion in the front, allowing all of the Minions to clump up near the Ice Spirit.
  6. Skeleton in the opposite lane kites Minion Horde.
  7. Tornado (I know it’s a spell but this trick is so cool) can drag the Miner and the Minion Horde together so that a splash unit can hit them all at once.
  8. (Only in the most extreme emergency) Golem’s death damage kills minions.
  9. Minions+Zap counters Minion Horde.
  10. Skeleton Army counters the Miner incoming, and goes on to severely weaken the enemy Skeleton Army.

Want to try some great spell decks? Here you go!


If you are playing a cheap deck, you will want to pressure the other lane with a Hog Rider or something like that when your opponent plays a tank in the back. You will not want to commit too little, or else your opponent can just ignore the push or counter it for a positive elixir trade. On the other hand, you do not want to commit too much or else you will be punished severely. Your pressure should cost between 4-7 elixir, depending on how much elixir you have.

If you are playing a heavy deck, you have to overwhelm your opponent. Play tons of positive elixir trades so that when your opponent does a push, you can defend, and then counter push hard. Never play a tank in the back when your opponent plays a tank in the back; it’s too risky with not much reward.

Golem Graveyard

So why is this not a 3 crown strategy? Graveyard loses its capabilities with one 2 towers shooting. This is a tricky combo to play against; the Golem tanks all of the damage while Graveyard takes down all of the troops. The only counter that shuts down Graveyard in the meta is Archers (and maybe Goblins), but is shot down by fireball. If you pressure the other lane with a cheap combo, they will shut it down with a Mini P.E.K.K.A or Mega Minion.

Your best bet to countering this deck is to include tons of Graveyard counters. That is why Ice Golem Hog Rider became so popular; Ice Golem and Ice Spirit do an okay job against Graveyard, and Archers do an amazing job. With the Golem, you have to play your Mega Minion (Yeah, I know you probably have one in your deck) to take down the support troops, while having enough health to pound at the Golem. Apply cheap pressure often when their counters are out of rotation to win.

For more details, please read the Golem Graveyard guide on CRA!

Lava Hound

Another tricky beatdown deck to play against. Like I said before, use the mega minion! If If you haven’t unlocked it yet, Archers are also a good counter. You will want to kill all of the support troops, and then go in for an all out push on the other lane. Don’t even worry about the Lava Hound, if you defended correctly with the mega minion, the mega minion will go on to kill the lava pups with maybe the help of a Zap.

See the best Lava Hound decks at here!

Three Crowns

Use the same techniques as the beatdown archetype.


Easy. Once they put down their Barbarian Hut, go for an all out push. They will not have any elixir to defend your push.

Barbarian Hut 3 Musketeers

This is a hybrid spawner deck that is really hard to go against with its split lane capabilities. Never try to lightning the 3 Musketeers if they are placed near the Barbarian Hut because the lightning will just hit the barbarians and the hut. The only weakness is that this deck is slightly expensive, so constantly apply pressure to your opponent. If they go for a split lane push, decide how much elixir you should commit to defend each lane.

Control Decks

A very annoying deck to play against because of its defensive capabilities. However, there is a saving grace that not many players know about.

Wanna know the secret? It’s predicting your opponent’s next move. As a control deck player, the defense you set up for each push is about the same; defense building in the middle, with support killer in the back. The problem is that control deck players often do the same thing so much that they are extremely predictable.

Once you know your opponent’s defense, place a prediction spell where you think they will place their defending troops. Watch as they scramble helplessly while you take the W.

Ice Golem Hog Rider

If your opponent is very good, chances are that they will be able to successfully defend most of the pushes you send at them. That is why you have to commit a ton of elixir when they make a misplay. For example, say they misplace their cannon for your Giant. Immediately support your Giant as much as possible, and wait for the support troops for a reactive spell.

More: Supreme Hog Freeze Deck for Arena 8+

Siege Decks

A rage inducing deck to lose to. Your opponent will constantly be trying to predict your next move, so you have to out-think them.

For example, say you defend their X-Bow with a Mega Minion. Your opponent will get ready with their own Mega Minion to counter it. If you know that they have a Mega Minion, you can think a step ahead of your opponent and instead, counter it with your Royal Giant.

Constantly mix up your defense to make sure your opponent can’t predict you. You have to really try to continually apply pressure. Once your opponent has their rhythm, it will be near impossible to stop them. It is much easier to beat siege once you got one of their towers down. You can use Zap to re-target the towers, and Royal Giant is the best counter to siege with its long range, defense targeting, and high health.


The most rage infuriating deck to play against. If you are playing against a good Rocket player, they will find the perfect times to Rocket your tower when you have no elixir, and defend your pushes like it’s no big deal. If so, I have one tip; don’t try to win, just try not to lose. What I mean is that you shouldn’t be making risky plays on offense because your opponent’s defense will most likely be rock solid.

However, if you play well and gain positive Elixir trades, you can eventually overwhelm your opponent when they have no Elixir. The other way you could play against Rocket is to constantly apply pressure to the opponent so that they can’t Rocket. This will mostly end in a draw, but Rocket players are so uncommon that this isn’t a big deal.

Please visit this page to see the best Rocket Siege Decks on Clash Royale Arena!


A good way to practice these strategies is to find a good clan with members that play different archetypes. You can always friendly battle a deck you want, and you don’t risk any trophies. Just remember that you have to always switch up your playstyle against different decks. Other than that, good luck and clash on!


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