Clash Royale Why Are Low Elixir Cost Cards ‘Better’?

A few quick questions before we begin:

  • Why doesn’t every single card cost the same amount of elixir?
  • Why do more expensive cards that are just variations of cheaper cards like minion horde and 3 musketeers get a big discount?

You may know the answer to the second question, and that might make the answer to the first question a bit murky, but knowing what elixir cost actually means for you in a battle can help you to determine what kinds of cards you want in a certain deck.

Answers:

  • There’s an opportunity to present similar cards for different elixir costs, which has a layer of strategy that will be the focus of this guide.
  • This can be answered using the theory I’m about to present.

The “Something is Better Than Nothing” Theory

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Having something on the board (or being able to have something on the board) at all times is better than lacking that ability. Why this theory makes sense is fairly obvious–if you always have the ability to respond to whatever your opponent does, you’ll never be caught with an opportunity to do nothing. In a game where timing is so critical, not being able to play a card when you want to play it can hurt a lot, and it can certainly cost you games. Basically, if you have a cheap card and you’re low on elixir, you’ll be able to play that card more quickly than if you have four expensive cards in your hand.

The general advice is that you shouldn’t overcommit, but there are ways to commit a lot of elixir to the board at once without risking losing the game:

  • Put enough pressure on the opponent to force them to play defense (very applicable in late regulation/overtime)
  • Have a cheap card in your hand that can respond to an opponent’s offensive attack.

Why are skeletons better than skeleton army? Because if a prince is charging down the lane, you can play them several seconds earlier than you could play a skarmy. That way you can commit 11 elixir to a push all at once, and still have a quick answer to a punish. Big decks use cheap cards not only to offset an expensive average elixir cost and to cycle, but also so that when they make a huge commitment to a push, those cheap cards will save them from a devastating punish. This is part of why the cheaper cards give you less value than the more expensive ones–because you’re able to play something more quickly, you’re not going to get equivalent value from them.

Yet decks with a lot of small cards tend to succeed in decks where there’s a lot of them, even though there’s little substance to them. This is because they can chip away the tower yet always be there on defense if necessary. Bigger decks don’t have that ability, which is why all-tank decks are generally regarded as a joke (their advantage comes from the fact that nobody has enough DPS in their deck to take down a bunch of tanks all at once).

Therefore, when building a deck that intends to put a lot of pressure on your opponent at once, keep in mind why cheap cards are valuable, and make sure you’re including cheap cards not just because they’re good cards, but because they’re cards that you can count on using for defense when your opponent tries to punish you.

Also keep in mind that if you want to pull off a strong punish, your goal is not necessarily to out-cycle the hard counters. If your opponent doesn’t have a lot of elixir, all you need to worry about are the cheap cards.

Thanks for reading!

Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!