Cycle Decks became popular last year with the Hog Cycle Deck, but the game theory evolved and became a very popular technique and is useable with different cards, not only the Hog Rider. In this article, I’d like to show you how to play a Cycle Deck and also give you some great working examples of different Cycle Deck for Clash Royale.
How Cycle Decks Work
I think most of you have already heard about a Cycle Deck, but let me explain to you how a Cycle Deck works and what you need to do to play it right.
Let’s have a look at a regular match – you have “win conditions”, that’s the cards that can destroy your opponents Tower and your opponent has counters to these cards. Normally that’s like 2 (or sometimes 3 Cards).
So, everyone is playing with 8 Cards, so you will have to play at least 4 Cards until an already played Card will show up again in your hand so you can play it – and your opponent will have to play 4 Cards until his counter is coming back up. That’s how matches go forth and back.
Now, Cycle Decks are just taking this and turning it upside down. It reduces your deck to only one win condition and fills it up with many other cheap Cards. This allows you to play the cards until your win condition (Hog Rider, Graveyard, Miner etc.) shows up a lot faster than your opponent to get his counter.
Here you can see it; I have the Hog Rider up while my opponent still has to wait for hist Inferno Tower to appear (just one example):
That’s basically why Cycle Decks work so well because you out cycle your opponent, and by playing it aggressively you will force him to defend.
Attention! Playing a Cycle Deck requires an aggresive gameplay plus a solid defending skill in kiting and luring
Defending With A Cycle Deck
Now let’s talk about the other side of the coin – you still have to defend against your opponent. You will be able to control the game in most parts because you force your opponent to play Card with negative Elixir trades.
Sooner or later, you will face stronger pushes and you only have cheaper Cards. This requires skill to play, but it’s possible to do it! In fact, I actually recommend to use this for any Clash Royale player, since you will learn how to defend with cheap Cards which will be a very useful skill for the future – you’ll learn to kite and keep units busy.
Here are some general situations you will need to face…
Separate pushes: Deploy your defense to lure the tank and your Ice Golem along with another damage dealing troop (Mega Minion. Musketeer etc.) will take down the damage dealers:
In this scenario, we shut down a 13 Elixir Push (Giant, Executioner & Knight) with only 9 Elixir (Cannon, Musketeer, Ice Golem without taking any damage and we have the Musketeer ready for a counter push, and our opponent is empty handed in Elixir.
Kite strong units: You won’t be able to face them 1:1, but you can keep them busy. Always deploy the cheap Cards away from them to grab their attention until your Towers shut them down:
Separate them when there are mainly melee units as support, kite them if there are ranged or very fast troops TELL YOUR FRIENDS
I can tell you that you will have a very steep learning curve, so I recommend you to practice in Friendly Challenges or some Classic Challenges
Good Cycle Decks
Now let’s take a look at some Cycle Decks. All Cycle Decks are built around their win condition which is the same push over and over again – so this can be a Hog Rider, Miner, Balloon, etc.
All cards that go straight for the Tower are the primary win condition that you will combine with a support card.
In the case of the Hog Rider, this can be an Ice Spirit or Fireball or the Miner can get support by the Goblin Barrel…
That’s how Cycle Decks work in general, so if you’re feeling lucky you can also build a Cycle Deck around a Royal Giant or a Graveyard yourself – the defensive part is most of the times the same as there aren’t that many low-cost Elixir cards in the game that work well for defending.
Hog Cycle Deck
Let’s start off with the godfather of all Cycle Decks, the Hog Rider Cycle Deck.
You have many options with this deck because you can support your Hog Rider with either Ice Spirit, Log or Poison Spell.
Always take care that you don’t drop very low on Elixir or your opponent my overrun your defense.
The Cannon should prepare your side well against tank pushes, and the Musketeer can deal a lot of damage against the supporting units.
Don’t use the Musketeer to push yourself! This can easily end up in a loss for you!
Miner Cycle Deck
Miner is also a very popular card to create a Cycle Deck with because you play him a lot due to his low costs.
The Miner also has the advantage that he will be less predictable than the Hog Rider as you can place him everywhere in the Arena and he always gets some chip damage in.
Make sure always to alternate the position where you deploy your Miner to prevent that your opponent can predictably counter it with Skeletons or something else.
You can also check out this guide here to get some tips about how to play the Miner:
Balloon Cycle Deck
You can also make a great Cycle Deck around the Balloon as the Balloon is threatening the Tower a lot, especially when your opponent hasn’t sufficient air defense troops and ou out-cycle his defense.
You can also use your Freeze Spell when your Balloon is near the Tower to take out defending units and let your balloon drop one or two Bombs off – this is enough to take down 50% of the hitpoints of the Arena Tower.
Always deploy your Balloon on the outside of the map so that it will ignore buildings placed too much on the inside area.
As you can see, the troops around the Cycle Deck are pretty much the same all the time featuring a Cannon and Musketeer along with the Ice Golem. This is a great combination to defend and then also counter push.