Hello guys, T-Rex here and today I’m here to share my guide to using EVERY CARD IN CLASH ROYALE DEFENSIVELY. I’m not the best player in the world, I’m only sitting at 3100, but I thought I’d share this guide with players on Clash Royale Arena. I will try my best to answer all your queries. Also Legendaries are in their own category.
How to use every card in Clash Royale Defensively
Arrows: Using Arrows defensively is pretty simple. You want to use this card to take out hordes of troops like Minion Horde, Skeleton Army, Goblin Barrel, or essentially any troop that has Low Hp and has relatively high damage when in a group. Be careful, some decks want to bait out your Arrows, so that they can send in another horde of troops that can absolutely demolish your tower. You want to use another AOE Troop or Spell to counter this.
Bomber: Bomber is an underused AOE Troop that I believe has massive potential. You want to use Bomber to clear groups of medium health troops, especially Barbarians. If your opponent uses a Tank+Support Deck, Bomber does exceptionally well at clearing the Support, even if the Support is behind the Tank, Bomber’s Splash can easily kill them off. You can clear a Hog+Goblin push with Bomber, just placing him next to your Crown Tower can easily take out the Goblins and do decent damage against the Hog Rider.
Archers: Archers are quite slow so when defending, it’s best to drop them reactively, so that they can do decent amount of damage to a certain troop. However, they can take quite a bit of damage, it takes 3 shots from a Crown Tower the same level as it, which is pretty impressive considering that they are only 3 elixir. Use Archers to defend against Balloons, Baby Dragons, Barbarians, Mini Pekkas, mainly anything that has moderate health and is slow-moving, but in some cases you can use Archers for fast-moving targets. I usually drop Archers in the middle, so that I can maximize their defensive potential.
Knight: An underused and cheap tank that can do decent damage to a tower and other troops. Use him to kill medium-hp units, and tank up damage. You can use him as a shield for your tower, like if there is an incoming Sparky, he can take 2 shots from it, at tourney levels. You can also use him to snipe backline units behind a Tank. Knight+Archers is an extremely efficient defensive combo, but many players find Valkyrie and Musketeer as a more effective version.
Fireball: Possibly one of the best cards in the game, and makes an extremely good accompaniment to Zap. Poison becomes the better choice when it comes to a high-level playing field. Use Fireball to kill off support troops, medium health troops, and kill off groups of hordes if required. Fireball+Zap can easily pick off strong support units behind a Tank. Fireball’s knockback makes it good at pushing units away from your tower and make them re-target. However, you do lose quite a bit of elixir doing this.
Mini Pekka: Really good in the current meta, does exceptionally well at taking care of high-hitpoint troops. This glass-cannon can wipe out both Support and Tank, which makes it so strong on defense. Use Mini Pekka in conjunction with Zap, Ice Wizard, Ice Spirit or Freeze to deal massive damage to your opponent’s push. She eats Royal Giants for Breakfast, Hogs for Lunch, and Giants for Dinner. She also counters Trifecta beautifully, Mini Pekka will snipe the Musketeer, then move on to the Hog and Valkyrie. Mini Pekka is a staple in all my decks now.
Musketeer: Glass-Cannon, that is absolutely beast at taking out high-hitpoint air troops. Use her to counter Baby Dragons, Balloons, Lavahounds, Wizards, Knights, Valkyrie, Mini Pekka or anything that is out of range of her. She is one of the best ranged troops in the game. Drop her behind a tower to defend your tower or in the middle, in front of your King Tower. Fireball and Poison do mess her up, so try to bait those spells out.
Giant: One of the best tanks in the meta right now, he’s very good on offense but people don’t explore his defensive purposes. Put him in front of a Crown Tower to tank damage from a push, he can be an improvised shield for your tower. At tourney standards, he can survive 3 Sparky Shots. Since he only targets buildings, he can push units out of range of the tower, so that they re-target and attack him. Giant can also serve as a shield for defending troops, e.g I have a Musketeer blasting away at an Enemy Giant, but I know the Mini Pekka behind the Giant will be able to snipe my Musketeer, so I drop my Giant so that my Musketeer is safe from the Mini Pekka.
Prince: A very powerful card at low-level but loses popularity when you go to higher arenas. His charge is extremely powerful, and unique. How do you use him defensively? Drop him at the back, so that he can start a charge, then drop other troops to assist him in taking out a Ground Push. You can use him to snipe support troops as well. Another cool thing is using his charge to push a troop forward into an enemy troop, so that the enemy troop is distracted, and the Prince can do insane damage to it. I’ve personally done this with the Giant, the Prince has a 2 tile range, so he can essentially attack enemy troops behind your own Giant.
Baby Dragon: Very weak at high level, but is not bad at low level. Don’t expect it to do too much damage to enemy troops, so it’s best to pair it with a defending troop like Musketeer, or Wizard for a double AOE defense. You can use Baby Dragon to take some damage for other troops, because it does have a decent amount of health. In a sense, use Baby Dragon to tank for better damage-dealing defensive troops.
Skeleton Army: DOOT DOOT DOOT DOOT DOOT, The Skeleton Army Train has arrived. It does really well against Tanks, does insane damage to towers if left alone, but gets destroyed by AOE troops and spells. This card is extremely weak at high level. Use this card to take out lone enemy tanks, or groups of medium health troops. I don’t suggest using this card at all, except in Arrow-Bait Decks. You can use Skeleton Army to distract as well.
Witch: Use can use her to clear swarms and mini-tanks, as her skeletons can do a decent amount of damage to them. Drop her at the back, so that 2 waves of skeletons can generate. Very good against troop-targeting enemies, as they will constantly be faced with waves of skeletons. Use her to stall mini-pushes and do moderate damage to medium-hp troops. Her skeletons can distract troops as well.
Spear Goblins: Very cheap troop that is very versatile but has lost some popularity in higher arenas. Use these guys to kill low health troops, and medium health troops. In conjunction with Mini Pekka, it can be a very strong defensive combo. Dropping a mini-tank in front of it can basically counter most pushes in the game. Spear Goblins make extremely good distracting units, drop them in the middle to lure troops. Ice Wizard+Spear Goblins can kill off strong air pushes.
Goblins: High DPS but vulnerable to Zap. Left unchecked, these guys will decimate high hp troops. How to use these guys defensively? Bait out your opponent’s zap or arrows, then take out the Support behind the Tank, then drop this grubs to shank the Tank. This guys works extremely well with the Ice Wizard, Mini Pekka, and Knight.
Goblin Hut: You can use Goblin Hut defensively by simply just dropping it. The stream of Spear Goblins can stall pushes and provide air coverage when needed. You can also drop it in the center, so that you can lure Hogs or Giants to it. Not really anything else to say.
Valkyrie: She has very good 360 degree AOE, and very high-hitpoints. She’s part of the Trifecta, which is why she is quite popular. Use her to clear backline troops and do decent damage to the tank. She can easily kill off a Hog+Goblin push, and also clear out support troops in a Miner Push. She can take 2 Sparky shots, so dropping her behind a Giant Sparky Push will kill the Support Troop and Sparky.
Lightning: This card is anti-building, you can use this card to take out Mortars and X-Bows efficiently. You can use Lightning to wipe out Trifecta, as the Lightning will hit the Musketeer, Hog and Valkyrie. I don’t suggest using Lightning to clear Support units as the Lightning could always target the tank and only 2 Supports. Use Lightning to clear 3 medium health troops. It’s not that great on defense, but can work in a pinch.
Goblin Barrel: Goblin Barrel can be dropped over on to a Sparky, so that Goblins surround the Sparky. This is a very accurate efficient way to take down Sparky, but it won’t work if a Support troop accompanies the Sparky. You can also use Goblin Barrel to distract a Prince or Mini Pekka, or use Goblin Barrel to kill of a Support Unit ( Surround it). Goblin Barrel is better then Goblins when it comes to defense, as Goblin Barrel has a more accurate placement then Goblins. You can also Goblin Barrel Miner, so that the Miner gets shanked by the Goblins.
Skeletons:1 elixir Skeletons are not often used, but can be very powerful if used effectively. They are essentially used for only 1 purpose: to distract troops away from the tower. When playing 1 elixir skeletons, you should almost always do so on defense in the middle of your side of the arena. Watch out for splash damage from Wizards, Bombers, and Baby Dragons as they will one-shot your skeletons. Skeletons are also a great counter for Prince if played in the right place as they will distract him for a while and deal enough damage for your tower to take him out quickly. They can also be used in a pinch to deal damage to a Hog Rider.
Minions: Basically the Aerial Version of Spear Goblins. You can use Minions to wipe out Medium-High Hp Units that don’t target air. Things like Valkyrie, Hog, Mini Pekka, Knights and Balloons can easily be wiped out by Minions. Minions are really good in defense, since they survive Zap and they equally trade with Arrows.
Tombstone: Tombstone is a very unpopular card, but if pulled off right, it can be extremely good on defense. It is a terrific counter to Princes and Hogs, and if placed correctly, you can take out the Prince or Hog with just 1 Tombstone. The stream of skeletons will never make it to your opponent’s Crown Tower, so Tombstone should be played reactively.
Bomb Tower: High Hitpoints, extremely good AOE. Simply drop it in the middle, and it will do work to Barbarians, or groups of ground troops. It’s weak to air troops, so always be ready to Zap or Arrows or an air-targeting troop to kill the air troops to protect the Bomb Tower.
Giant Skeleton: It’s never the Giant Skeleton itself that is scary, its the bomb that is scary! You can plop him right him behind a Tank, and literally anything behind it will die. If you have to, you might want to Zap the troops to stall them so that the Bomb can kill them. Once again, you can also let him tank for your tower and once he dies, his bomb will blow up… and you know what will happen to his/her push. If the troops are too far away from the Giant Skeleton bomb, you can do 2 things:
Drop a troop to lure the Support back
Balloon: Quite hard to use defensively, but it is possible. Drop the Balloon to distract air-targeting troops, and when it dies, the Balloon will drop a bomb on to the troop. The problem is that Balloon’s death damage is very low, so it’s quite hard to use Balloon defensively.
Cannon: Simply just drop in the middle to lure Hogs, Royal Giants, Giants,etc. For Royal Giant you need to put it closer to the river, but it comes at the cost of support troops being able to target the cannon while your troops can’t target theirs.
Barbarians: These guys have extreme versatility, you can use these guys to counter most ground troops, including Hog and Giant. You should never use these guys on offense, only on defense, they are simply too easy to counter if they cross to the opponent’s side. Barbarians should be played reactively, but if Barbarians are the only card you have, it’s best to plop at the back where they will split up. To defend, just drop them down on to the push and they will do their job.
Rocket: The highest damage spell in the game, the Rocket is the cornerstone of a Defensive siege deck. To use Rocket defensively, you need time it correctly. Rocket takes around 5-6 seconds to hit it’s target so it’s best that you plop your Rocket 2-3 tiles away from the actual troop so that it will hit it. Rocket can demolish Sparky and it’s Supporting troops, but you need to time it. Rocket does leave you low on elixir, so always be ready for your opponent to make a counter-push before rocketing.
Barbarian Hut: Dropping Barbarian Hut in the middle or back should make a great defensive strategy. Hogs and Tanks will have a hard time getting to your tower with streams of Barbarians coming out to take them out, and the fact that Barbarian Hut has very high hitpoints. It’s best to save up to 10 elixir to play this card proactively.
X-Bow: To use this card defensively, dropping it in the middle can make it hard for your opponent to drop cards proactively, as the X-Bow will snipe it. X-Bow also has decent health, so it can survive quite a bit of Hog Hits and Royal Giant Hits. Don’t expect X-Bow to take care of everything; air troops can easily wipe it out. I’ve heard dropping X-Bow behind a Crown Tower acts as a second Crown Tower, but it’s vulnerable to spells.
Rage: I couldn’t really find out a way to use Rage defensively, but I did find 1 defensive use. You can use Rage to make all your defending troops attack faster, so essentially, the push gets shutdown faster. e.g, Musketeer and Mini Pekka are attacking a Giant. You can drop Rage, and the Giant will die out quicker. Although I find this unnecessary to use defensively, you can use if your tower is on low-hp and you want your opponent’s push not to make it to the tower.
Tesla: A unique defense that can not be targeted when underground. You simply just drop this off in the center, and you’re good. You can’t piggy-push a Tesla if it is placed correctly, it has to be dead center. Royal Giant also has to come into range of Tesla, so it makes it good Royal Giant counter.
Minion Horde: High DPS Swarm, that can wipe out tanks in a few seconds. You want to use this guys to kill High-Hp Units, or fast-moving high damage units. If your opponent is split-pushing, you can drop Minion Horde in the middle, and they will split up, heading to each push. You do want to bait out their Arrows or Zap before using these guys, and be wary of AOE troops behind a Tank. Don’t expect there guys to get to your opponent’s tower; The opponent will have an answer.
Inferno Tower: The bane of any Golem/Giant/PEKKA player’s existence, the Inferno Tower does an insane amount of damage to a single target after locking on for a few seconds. With the Zap nerf, you should try your best to stall pushes after the Inferno has been reset, like distracting with units, or using a troop with the ability to stall the push (Ice Wizard and Ice Spirits) Other than that, just drop this defense in the middle.
Hog Rider: A card that is ALWAYS used offensively, but it’s defensive properties have not been explored. At tourney level, the Hog can take 2 shots from a Sparky (Sparky does 1300, Hog has 1400 health, it takes 2 shots to kill it.) Hog is extremely good at luring and distracting, as seen below. Hog can also defend against Pekka as well, it’s really funny to see a Pekka chase a Hog back to the bridge, while an Inferno melts away at the Pekka. Hog can also distract the AOE troops, so that the Tank can be attacked by itself, and the AOE can be attacked after the Tank is killed.
Freeze: Freeze is rarely ever seen anymore, but Freeze is quite useful on defense. Simply Freeze a push, and have a high-damage unit, or an AOE spell to kill of the push. Freeze is useful if a push is already at your tower, you can freeze it and drop another troop that can kill off the push. It is a big investment, so try to get to 10 elixir before freezing.
P.E.K.K.A: A big tank that can absorb a lot of damage, and can deal massive damage as well. You can use PEKKA to tank for your tower, a 3000 health shield, making it really hard for a push to get to your tower. You can also use PEKKA to distract troops, like slow-moving troops that target troops.
Zap: An extremely versatile card, that can be used to finish off low-hp towers, stun troops, and take out small units. You can use Zap to make a troop re-target, so that you don’t lose too much tower health. This can be done with Miner especially. When zapping Minion Horde, you want to zap when the first minion’s (The one in the front) shadow crosses the bridge, so that the Crown Tower won’t lose any health. If you do it too late, the 3 last minions will actually get to the tower, and do damage to it. Zapping Royal Giant is also a good play, you can make it re-target on to your building. The same goes for pushing, you can zap your opponent’s defending troop to make it re-target to another troop.
Mirror: Not really a use for defending, but I guess you could mirror a defending troop.
Poison: You can use Poison like Fireball, but you need to do it earlier, as Poison does damage over a period of time. Use Poison to kill off support troops, medium health troops, and kill off groups of hordes. Poison is a cross between Arrows and Fireball, which makes it so good. It’s probably why Poison becomes the better choice then Fireball when it comes to High-Level Play.
Fire Spirits: These little critters can do a lot of damage for 2 elixir. They have a higher damage output then Fireball and Poison at tourney standards, which makes them popular, as they don’t get the 40% less damage on to a tower like AOE Spells do. To use these guys defensively, you want to take out a swarm or group of troops with these critters. Pair Fire Spirits with Zap, and you have an improvised Fireball, that does more damage. You can get a tower at 500 health destroyed with Fire Spirits and Zap alone.
Furnace: Spawns Fire Spirits that go BOOM! Place Furnace in the middle or back, and it will make it very hard for your opponent to drop of groups of troops. You can also use Furnace to slowly burn away at a slow-push, while damaging the Support. Furnace can also draw Royal Giant or Hog Rider towards it, and with 1300+ health at tourney levels, it can take several hits.
Wizard: A strong AOE Troop, that in my opinion, needs a buff. You can use Wizard to clear groups of troops. Wizard’s AOE is actually quite big, if a Musketeer is shooting away at your Wizard, and the Musketeer is standing 2 tiles away from the Crown Tower, amazingly the Wizard still does damage to the tower while hitting the Musketeer. He’s underused, mostly because he costs 5 elixir, and has a low pool of health.
Mortar: Use Mortar defensively by dropping in the Middle, where it will slowly kill off groups of troops. You need to place it early, so that the Mortar can actually get several hits on to the troop. Mortar can kill the Support behind a Tank, while damaging the Tank, so it’s quite good on defense. However, Mortar is slow, so you need to stall the push for a while, so that the Mortar can actually kill a Support.
Elixir Pump: The Elixir Collector is one of the most popular cards and very powerful if used correctly. Playing it correctly will give you a big advantage over your opponent, while playing it incorrectly can straight up lose you the game. It costs 5 elixir and gives you 7 elixir throughout its lifespan. You can use Elixir Pump to defend but, since it doesn’t do damage, you can only use it to lure a troop, but you need to back the Pump with another troop in order to defend a push.
Golem: A massive beefy tank that explodes on death and splits into two less-beefy Golemites, the Golem is the premier tank troop in the game. You can use Golem to distract Mini Pekka, or Pekka, or any ground-targeting troop, and it’s funny to see a Pekka chase after a Golem, as they both travel at the same speed. If you have destroyed your opponent’s tower, the Golem can go to the King Tower… and lure nearly every ground-targetting troop that your opponent drops on that side.
Royal Giant: Put him in front of a Crown Tower to tank damage from a push, he can be an improvised shield for your tower. At tourney standards, he can survive 3 Sparky Shots. Since he only targets buildings, he can push units out of range of the tower, so that they re-target and attack him. Royal Giant can also clear Mortar or X-Bow, which is a nice defensive bonus.
3 Musketeers: Use these girls to defend high-hitpoint troops. 3 Musketeers absolutely hammer Lavahounds, Pekkas, Golems , Giants, and Royal Giants. Be careful though, as they will be Fireballed or Poisoned if your opponent wants to avoid their push being destroyed. 3 Musketeers can kill off Support troops as well. Extreme High-Risk defending, but high reward if you can pull it off.
Dark Prince: Splash Attacker, but is outclassed by Valkyrie. Dark Prince can kill groups of troops, and because of his charge, you should drop him at the back to build up his charge. Once his charge has built up, he can do good damage to ground troops. Use his shield to your advantage, as it can take a whole Sparky shot at tourney levels. Don’t expect him to survive for long, as he is quite weak bu himself.
Guards: These guys are literally ‘Guards of your Crown Tower’. They are really good on defense, as they have shields, and a combined dps that is quite high. PEKKA has to take 8 hits to kill them all, and in that time-span, the Pekka would be left on very low health. The sad thing is that Guards remain quite weak until they get to tourney standards, which is hard for F2P players like me. Use Guards to take out Medium Hp troops, High Hp Troops, Support Troops, or basically anything that the Guards can target.
Ice Spirit: Ice Spirit is essentially the walking ‘Zap’. Use Ice Spirit to stall troops and pushes, and when Ice Spirit is paired with a ground-targeting high damage dealing troop, it can absolutely demolish pushes. In conjunction with Inferno, it proves very strong as the troops will get frozen and melted by the Inferno and Ice Spirit Combo. Ice Spirit and Fire Spirits make an improvised Fireball, while Ice Spirit and Rocket can make aiming your Rocket more accurate.
Bowler: Bowler is extremely good on defense. His knockback is really fun to play with, as you continually push back troops, and slowly damaging them. Use him to damage support units behind a Tank, or simply just troll a Spawner decks. He is quite costly, at 6 elixir, so try to have a full bar of elixir when to defending. Bowler can push units back away from your tower to make them re-target, so use that yo your advantage.
Ice Wizard: Master of Defending. Just plop him down, and you’ll slow down a whole push, while your tower slowly chips away at it. Ice Wizard works with nearly any troop in the game, so just drop another defensive troop to help the Ice Wizard.
Princess: Treat her like the troop version of Arrows. Dropping her behind the tower, or in front of the King Tower is usually the best place to put her when defending. She’ll clear hordes for you, but you’ll need to assist her when it comes to medium health troops. Troops like Mini Pekka and Knight work well with her, as well as Valkyrie. You do want to bait the opponent’s arrows before using her.
Sparky: High Damage Output, so you can use her to kill High-Hitpoint Troops. She can clear hordes, but she has a 5 second re-charge, so you need to back her up.When a push comes your way, with Tank and Support, you can zap the Tank, and it will stop, so that all the Support troops will run into the Tank, and Sparky’s splash will be able to kill the Tank and Support.
The Log: Use The Log like you would for Bowler. Simply push back troop to make them re-target, or kill Princesses and swarms.
Lumberjack: Use Lumberjack like you would for Rage. Let him die, and rage all your defending troops.
Miner: You can use Miner to distract troops and lead them away from a push, essentially dis-assembling a push. Miner doesn’t do that much damage, so only use him to take out the Support Troops. You need to pair a troop with him if you want to kill the Tank.
Lava Hound: You can use Lavahound for defending by simply letting all the Support Troops target the Lavahound. When the Lavahound explodes, the Pups can kill the Support and Tank, but this won’t work if your opponent has an AOE Support, or if your opponent has an AOE Spell in hand.
And that wraps up my guide on how to use every card defensively. I’m exhausted from writing this, it took me 2 days, but it sure was worth it. I hope you guys enjoyed the guide!