Clash Royale Using Off Meta Decks Guide

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Hey everyone! Today I’d like to discuss a subject near and dear to my heart, off-meta decks. Personally, I’ve never been one to really follow the meta—I have cards in my decks that counter the meta, but I like to do my own thing.

I’ve learned a few things over the last 9 months as I’ve run different off-meta decks, and I am excited to share them with you in this guide. Before we begin, I’d like to answer a question:

Why should I play an off-meta deck?

I’d like to start by pointing out that there’s a few misconceptions running around: off-meta decks aren’t necessarily weaker than meta decks. They may not be “the most effective”, since that’s the definition of the meta, but they are still very powerful. You don’t need to be a pro player to win with off-meta decks, and you can take your opponent by surprise because they won’t have as much practice countering your specific deck. They also won’t know to expect specific cards. In addition to that, off-meta decks can break the monotony and make the game more fun! Anyone can cook build an off-meta deck.

Another great reason to try off-meta deck building is to familiarize yourself with card synergies. By looking for off-meta cards, you’re often going to look beyond the obvious answers to a specific function. For example, you might be debating between Tesla and Bomb Tower, instead of Cannon or Inferno Tower. This gives you very detailed knowledge of many different cards.

Off-meta decks can build your skills in a few ways. For one, the experience of building a deck while ignoring common choices forces you to think more deeply about synergy, which will help you build better decks in general. In addition to that, playing off-meta decks will increase your skills because you’ll be using unique cards in very specific ways (to fulfill functions that a meta card would normally do). After playing an off-meta deck, you’ll play a meta or regular deck with increased skills.

In this guide, I set forward a specific definition of off-meta decks, mainly because I wanted to create a specific way to characterize a deck as meta or off-meta. However, I suggest you take it with a grain of salt. If you like having specific rules to follow, by all means use my definition. But, if you don’t like following rules when building a deck, don’t think so much about how many meta or off-meta cards you’ve picked, but try to create unexpected combinations and cards that will surprise your opponent. It’s like my Slot Method vs. Component Method: the Slot Method is very structured and gives very card a specific function, but the Component Method is much more open and provides a guideline rather than set of instructions. Both methods are valid, and so are both ways of building an off-meta deck!

Discussions of the current meta is based upon data recorded on February 27, 2017.


TL;DR

Defining Off-Meta: What is it?

  • Off-Meta cards show up less than 5% of the time throughout Arena 10, and off-meta decks must fulfill two of the following requirements: use an off-meta win condition, use more than 3 off-meta cards, or use fewer than 3 meta cards (not including spells).

Building an Off-Meta Deck

  • In this section, I talk about the process of building an off-meta deck and things to think about. You have two main considerations:
  • What is my win condition weak to, and how can I patch that weakness?
  • What synergies can I create with my off-meta cards?

Off-Meta Deck Examples and Analysis

  • In this section, I go through examples of off-meta decks and discuss why they are powerful.

Decks:

  • PEKKA 3 M Beatdown
  • RG/PEKKA Beatdown
  • Mortar Cycle
  • Mortar Control
  • Giant Skeleton Beatdown
  • Golem Sparky Beatdown
  • Miner Cycle
  • Hut Cycle
  • PEKKA Sparky Beatdown
  • Hog Battle Ram Cycle
  • Double Prince Beatdown
  • Hut Cycle
  • PEKKA Battle Ram Beatdown
  • PEKKA Balloon Beatdown
  • Hog Sparky Cycle
  • Prince Sparky Cycle
  • Golem Clone Beatdown
  • Battle Ram Lumberjack Cycle

Conclusion


Defining Off-Meta: What is it?

It’s tough to write a fool-proof definition of what exactly qualifies as off-meta, because of how many players there are and how many potential decks exist. Even if you take a clear off-meta choice (such as Bomb Tower), there’s still thousands of players that use it. Of course, the following definition is simply my individual opinion, so feel free to disagree with me.

We must first create a definition for what qualifies as meta and what qualifies as off-meta.

I’m going to start by defining meta as cards that show up 20 times in the Top 100 decks at the end of the season. If a card shows up about 20% of the time near the top, that indicates it is a popular choice.

Based on the most recent Card Popularity Snapshot, the following cards are meta under this description:

  • The Log
  • Minions
  • Mega Minion
  • Giant
  • Zap
  • Skeleton
  • Elixir Collector
  • Musketeer
  • Ice Spirit
  • Fireball
  • Knight
  • Lighting
  • Inferno Tower
  • Miner
  • Minion Horde
  • Tombstone

At this point, some of the drawbacks of this definition become clear. If you look through the list, the only win conditions that show up are Giant and Miner. This means that Royal Giant, Lavahound, Hog, and Elite Barbarians all qualify as off-meta. Logically, this doesn’t make sense, considering how often they show up outside of the Top 100.

However, while meta can be applied to any card that shows up often, we’re going to make a distinction between cards that show up very often and cards that rarely show up (meta vs. off-meta). Thus, let’s use statistics about card usage in Arena 10 to define meta vs. anti-meta. I’ve utilized the statistics on statsroyale.com to make these lists.

Here’s what would qualify as meta, using Stats Royale to find the cards used in over 20% of all decks in Arena 10:

  • Log
  • Minions
  • Skeletons
  • Zap
  • Fireball
  • Ice Spirit
  • Mega Minion
  • Elixir Collector
  • Musketeer
  • Giant
  • Inferno Tower
  • Lightning
  • Knight

Interestingly enough, there’s a lot of overlap between this list and the one based on the Top 100 decks. This indicates that the Top 100 decks are a good reflection of the current meta.

The cards that show up in between 5% and 20% of all decks are neither meta nor off-meta. They aren’t popular enough to qualify as meta, but they aren’t rare enough to qualify as non-meta. Shall we call this category the “faux-meta”, “pseudo-meta”, or “semi-meta”? This is where many win conditions live, such as:

  • Hog
  • Royal Giant
  • Golem
  • Graveyard
  • Miner
  • Lavahound

Now, the cards that qualify as off-meta show up in less than 5% of all decks in Arena 10:

  • Goblin Gang
  • Ice Wizard
  • Wizard
  • Spear Goblins
  • Prince
  • Mirror
  • Witch
  • Valkyrie
  • Bomber
  • PEKKA
  • Sparky
  • Guards
  • Goblin Hut
  • Rage
  • Dart Goblin
  • Giant Skeleton
  • Mortar
  • Tesla
  • Inferno Dragon
  • Barbarian Hut
  • Lumberjack
  • Bomb Tower
  • Clone
  • Battle Ram
  • Dark Prince

Although Goblin Gang shows up in this list, this is likely due to the fact that most players don’t have a leveled-up Goblin Gang, so they can’t use him on the ladder yet. In addition to that, most players will remember the preview videos about the Goblin Gang and will know how to counter it efficiently. Off-meta cards are supposed to surprise your opponent and cause them to counter poorly, and Goblin Gang won’t fall under that criterion due to how recently it was released. As a result, I’ve omitted it from the off-meta list.

There are 25 cards in this list, representing 36% of all cards in the game. This is very interesting, because it suggests that it’s easier to build an off-meta deck than a meta one, purely from the numbers point-of-view. However, off-meta cards are generally less good at a certain mechanic than a meta one—for example, Ice Golem and Knight are better mini-tanks than Valkyrie. As a result, it is somewhat more challenging to put together a great off-meta deck, because you have to look beyond the obvious answer for a specific function. This is a benefit of off-meta deck building, though, because you’ll learn more about the different cards and really get a sense for card synergy.

Now that we’ve categorized which cards are meta and which are off-meta, let’s define what qualifies as an off-meta deck. I’d like to suggest three main criteria, two of which must be satisfied for a deck to qualify as off-meta. This is a definition in general, so it is subjective.

  • Uses an off-meta win condition (7 possibilities)
  • Uses 3 or more off-meta cards
  • Uses 3 or fewer meta cards (not including spells)

The first criterion is relatively simple to come up with. If the win condition of your deck is off-meta, the entire deck feels like an off-meta deck because we tend to classify decks based on their win condition. This means you can use PEKKA, Prince, Sparky, Goblin Hut/Barbarian Hut, Giant Skeleton, Mortar, or Dark Prince.

The second criterion is to handle the possibility of an off-meta deck with a pseudo-meta win condition. For example, if a deck had Hog as a win condition but the remaining cards were all off-meta, I’d argue the deck as a whole is off-meta.

The third criterion is to eliminate decks that utilize too many meta cards. Even if your win condition is off-meta, if all the supporting cards are meta, then the deck isn’t really off-meta. One card cannot solely determine if a deck is meta or off-meta, and this criterion prevents that. I’ve decided to omit spells from the meta counter—there’s so few direct damage spells (and one is basically required in every deck), that almost all spells basically qualify as meta.

Now that we’ve determined what exactly an off-meta card and an off-meta deck is, let’s talk about building off-meta decks.


Building Off-Meta Decks

When you’re building an Off-Meta deck, you should broadly follow the Component Method. Basically, each deck has three main components:

  • Win Condition
  • Meta Response
  • Support

When building a deck through the Component Method, you want to create each part sequentially, starting with either Win Condition or Meta Response, depending on your preference. I prefer to start with the Win Condition component, so we will start there. If you’d rather, start with Meta Response, then Win Condition, and finish with Support.

Win Condition:

The first step is to decide whether or not you’d like to use an off-meta win condition. Currently, your options are:

  • PEKKA
  • Prince
  • Sparky
  • Goblin Hut/Barbarian Hut
  • Giant Skeleton
  • Mortar
  • Dark Prince

This leaves you some interesting choices: Siege and Beatdown are well-represented, and you might still be able to build a Cycle Deck around Prince and Dark Prince.

If you select an off-meta win condition, you need to ask yourself the following questions, as they will influence which Win Condition assistant cards you pick.

Why is this win condition off-meta? (Why is it “weak”?)

Generally, win conditions are off-meta because they are inconsistent. They shine in some situations but struggle in others. Look at Sparky, for example. Sparky can be very powerful in some matches if your opponent has a bad hand or makes mistakes, but she can easily be shut down in other situations. This inconsistency is found in most off-meta win conditions, so you have to be willing to experience it if you build an off-meta deck.

You should first identify the cause of this inconsistency. For PEKKA, it’s her weakness to swarms. If she doesn’t run into swarms or a significant slow-effect, she has a higher chance of getting value for her cost. For Mortar, it’s dependent on if you can out-cycle your opponent or force them to waste their counters.

Once you’ve figured out what your off-meta win condition is weak to, you want to select win condition assistants that patch that weakness. For PEKKA, Executioner would pair well because he clears out swarms very quickly. You could also use Furnace for the Fire Spirits. In addition to that, you might think about a way to handle a rogue Ice Wizard (Lightning or Rocket), which could also eliminate distracting buildings and get your PEKKA on the tower.

These win condition assistants make your off-meta win condition much more powerful, because these often have unique mechanics that can take your opponent by surprise. If you can patch some of its weaknesses, your off-meta win condition becomes very potent.

What has great synergy with my win condition, or some of my other off-meta cards?

This next question can help you select which win condition assistants to pick. In addition to patching some of the weakness of your off-meta win condition, you should also think about synergy.

If your deck has synergy, it will be successful, regardless of whether or not the individual cards are over-powered. Synergy enhances the performance of each card in your deck, and that’s a very powerful thing.

Take, for example, Executioner + Tornado. This combination gives you even more power on defense (via activating your King’s Tower), but it also gets more value out of Executioner by focusing his splash damage. If your win condition was PEKKA, Executioner + Tornado would be great win condition assistants.

What is my win condition’s unique attributes?

Generally, off-meta win conditions (and win conditions in general) have a unique mechanic, such as Sparky’s massive shot or the Battle Ram’s charge. You should identify what that unique attribute is and select win condition assistants that amplify or complement it.

Your deck should be built to empower your win condition, so think about which win condition assistant cards are best suited to do so.

Meta Response:

When selecting the Meta Response component, you should first identify the current meta. I talked about this extensively in my Component Method guide, so I would direct you there for more discussion on how to identify the current meta.

At this point, you have a few options:

  • You can burn a few of your meta card slots to select the most popular anti-meta cards

Because the meta is present in over 20% of decks, counters to those specific cards are also likely to be found in the meta or “semi-meta” categories. As a result, you may want to select meta cards to counter other meta cards.

As I stated earlier, you can have meta cards present in your off-meta deck, as long as you don’t have too many of them. This is a good place to spend some meta cards and shore up the defense of your deck.

  • You can look through the current list of off-meta cards to see which ones would counter the meta well

Depending on what is currently off-meta and what is currently meta, this could offer some interesting options that you don’t see very often. For example, Guards would be decent against Elite Barbarians (even though the common option in the EBarbs meta was Skeleton Army).

However, this can sometimes not work well if the cards you really need aren’t currently off-meta. As I’ve discussed earlier, you can grab as many pseudo-meta cards as you want and up to 3 meta cards to qualify as an off-meta deck. If your deck will be stronger or work better with meta or semi-meta cards, don’t be afraid to pick a few.

Support:

This is the point where you can round off your deck. Look at the core cards of your deck—what else do you need? Anti-air? More splash? More defense? You want to pick cards that support the rest of your deck, enabling both your defense and offense to be stronger.

This is where you can really make an off-meta deck shine. Starting thinking about which off-meta cards would really complement your deck and how they could mess with your opponent. That’s the best reason to pick an off-meta deck—your opponent won’t know what to expect, especially if you select uncommon cards.

Try to use as many off-meta cards as you can in here, since this will make your deck even more unique.


Off-Meta Deck Examples
I asked people to submit their off-meta decks, and I’ve selected some here that I thought were unique and powerful. I’ll go through them below, with some discussion on why they are great off-meta decks. I’ll be analyzing these decks using my Slot Method. Cards that are meta will be labelled (M) and cards that are off-meta will be labelled (OM). Pseudo-meta cards will be un-labelled. I will label spells, even though they don’t count against the three meta card limit.

Here is a list of all the example decks:

  • PEKKA 3 M Beatdown
  • RG/PEKKA Beatdown
  • Mortar Cycle
  • Mortar Control
  • Giant Skeleton Beatdown
  • Golem Sparky Beatdown
  • Miner Cycle
  • Hut Cycle
  • PEKKA Sparky Beatdown
  • Hog Battle Ram Cycle
  • Double Prince Beatdown
  • Hut Cycle
  • PEKKA Battle Ram Beatdown
  • PEKKA Balloon Beatdown
  • Hog Sparky Cycle
  • Prince Sparky Cycle
  • Golem Clone Beatdown
  • Battle Ram Lumberjack Cycle

PEKKA 3 M Beatdown by Handsome_Claptrap (Personal Best: 4350)

  • Win Condition: PEKKA (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: 3 Musketeers
  • Win Condition Support: Elixir Collector (M)
  • Main Defense: Tombstone
  • Defensive Support: Ice Wizard (OM)
  • The Runner: Dark Prince (OM)
  • Versatile Response Card: Fire Spirits
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck is off-meta for utilizing 3 off-meta cards, as well as an off-meta win condition. This is a classic example of a great Beatdown deck. You have a strong defensive core (Tombstone, Ice Wizard, Fire Spirits) that cycles early to get lots of pumps down, readying yourself for a big PEKKA + 3 Musketeer push late in the game. 3 Musketeers are not seen often with PEKKA, so this will definitely take your opponent by surprise. With Dark Prince, Fire Spirits, and Ice Wizard, you’ll also be able to clear out swarms quickly.

RG/PEKKA Beatdown by roaf66 (PB: 4686)

  • Win Condition: RG
  • Win Condition 2: PEKKA (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Log (M)
  • Main Defense: Skarmy
  • Defensive Support: Ice Wizard (OM)
  • The Runner: Minions (M)
  • Versatile Response Card: Fire Spirits
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck is surprising because it has two heavy tanks and no Elixir Collector. However, with the recent buff to PEKKA, you can use her solely for defense. She can cut down tanks very quickly and instantly threaten on a counter push, with the RG to split-lane push or deal heavy tower damage. Ice Wizard and Fire Spirits clean up any swarms.

Mortar Cycle by Wwoody123 (PB: 5318)

  • Win Condition: Mortar (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Archers
  • Win Condition Support: Log (M)
  • Main Defense: Knight (M)
  • Defensive Support: Ice Spirit (M)
  • The Runner: Princess
  • Versatile Response Card: Skeletons (M)
  • Spell: Rocket

This deck works well because of the low-cost cycle cards. You can use Knight, Ice Spirit, and Skeletons to protect your Mortar for little elixir, and you can clear out swarms with Log. Princess and Rocket allow you chip damage on their tower, as well.

Mortar Control by duck_635 (PB: 4526)

  • Win Condition: Mortar (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Lumberjack (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Log (M)
  • Main Defense: Tombstone
  • Defensive Support: Bowler
  • The Runner: Mega Minion (M)
  • Versatile Response Card: Dart Goblin (OM)
  • Spell: Fireball (M)

This off-meta Mortar deck utilizes Bowler for strong defense and chip damage on offense, as well as the chip damage from the Dart Goblin and Mega Minion. Lumberjack enables you to turn a weak counter push into a challenging situation for your opponent. You need to prioritize defense over offense, however, and get small amounts of chip damage over time.

Giant Skeleton Beatdown by dralith_CR (PB: 4014)

  • Win Condition: Giant Skeleton (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Balloon
  • Win Condition Support: Rage (OM)
  • Main Defense: Skeleton Army
  • Defensive Support: Tornado
  • The Runner: Minions (M)
  • Versatile Response Card: Fireball (M)
  • Spell: Log (M)

This deck is surprising—who would expect a Balloon and Giant Skeleton in the same deck? The Giant Skeleton’s bomb is made more powerful by the Tornado, and Log/Fireball can clear out any squishies thrown in the way of the Giant Skeleton. Rage just makes the party more fun!

Golem Sparky Beatdown by edihau (8 Challenge Wins on first try)

  • Win Condition: Golem
  • Win Condition 2: Baby Dragon
  • Win Condition Support: Clone (OM)
  • Main Defense: Sparky (OM)
  • Defensive Support: Guards (OM)
  • The Runner: Mini Pekka
  • Versatile Response Card: Archers
  • Spell: Arrows

This deck is a rather unique Golem Sparky Clone beatdown. The first four cards (Sparky, Mini Pekka, Clone, and Guards) were randomly generated, and the rest of the deck was built around that. Golem and Baby Dragon have great synergy, along with Archers in the back. Sparky can be used on defense along with Mini Pekka to stop most pushes, giving you room to focus entirely on offense.

Miner Cycle by Wings from OJ (special thanks to yyarn for providing the deck)

  • Win Condition: Miner
  • Win Condition 2: Battle Ram (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Poison
  • Main Defense: Inferno Tower (M)
  • Defensive Support: Ice Golem
  • The Runner: Dart Goblin (OM)
  • Versatile Response Card: Skeletons (M)
  • Spell: Log (M)

This is a classic Miner Cycle deck with Battle Ram thrown into the mix. It’s a chip control deck, so it’s easy to lose with if you tilt (but incredibly rewarding if you don’t). Ice Golem and Inferno Tower provide strong defense, while Dart Goblin and Skeletons give you room for big positive elixir trades. Use Miner and Battle Ram to clear out defenses and get chip damage on their tower.

Hut Cycle by Modica (PB: 4200)

  • Win Condition: Goblin Hut (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Barbarian Hut (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Goblin Barrel
  • Main Defense: Skeleton Army
  • Defensive Support: Fireball (M)
  • The Runner: Princess
  • Versatile Response Card: Mega Minion (M)
  • Spell: Log (M)

This is a unique Sim City deck. Your goal is to get lots of huts down and slowly wear their tower down. Princess helps as Log/Arrow bait, and she can also do chip damage on their tower. Goblin Barrel is another cheap way to get damage, and the huts provide strong defense. Once you get set up with huts, your opponent will have trouble penetrating your side as long as you protect the spawners.

PEKKA Sparky Beatdown by FIGGY0023 (PB: 3958)

  • Win Condition: PEKKA (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Sparky (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Tornado
  • Main Defense: Skeleton Army
  • Defensive Support: Ice Golem
  • The Runner: Executioner
  • Versatile Response Card: Ice Spirit (M)
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck utilizes a unique combination: PEKKA and Sparky. Before PEKKA’s buff, this combination wouldn’t work well, because you couldn’t utilize PEKKA on defense. Now, however, you can drop her in response to a rapid push and get great value, allowing you to start a killer counter push. Sparky + Tornado + Executioner have great synergy, and Skeleton Army, Ice Spirit, and Ice Golem ensure this deck has strong defense.

Hog Battle Ram Cycle by qazqaz3 (PB: 4500)

  • Win Condition: Hog
  • Win Condition 2: Battle Ram (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Princess
  • Main Defense: Tombstone
  • Defensive Support: Ice Golem
  • The Runner: Dart Goblin (OM)
  • Versatile Response Card: Skeletons (M)
  • Spell: Fireball (M)

This deck utilizes both Hog and Battle Ram to keep your opponent on their toes and force them to counter one of these without their regular defensive building. Throw in chip damage from the Princess and Dart Goblin, and your opponent will have few opportunities to build up a big push. Skeletons, Ice Golem, and Tombstone will stop any push quickly.

Double Prince Beatdown by x8787 (PB: 4500)

  • Win Condition: Prince (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Dark Prince (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Goblin Barrel
  • Main Defense: Minion Horde
  • Defensive Support: Skeleton Army
  • The Runner: Princess
  • Versatile Response Card: Fire Spirits
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck utilizes the classic Prince/Dark Prince combination. Together, they’ll roll through swarms and make it to the tower, and you can complicate your opponent’s defense by adding Goblin Barrel to the mix. Minion Horde and Skeleton Army act as Zap-bait (meaning your opponent can’t stop the Princes’ charges), and they also threaten on a counter push. You can also throw Princess and Fire Spirits in after a Prince to clear out any swarms placed to stop his charge.

Hut Cycle by Desertanu (PB: 4332)

  • Win Condition: Barbarian Hut (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Goblin Hut (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Mirror (OM)
  • Main Defense: Knight (M)
  • Defensive Support: Musketeer (M)
  • The Runner: Princess
  • Versatile Response Card: Lighting (M)
  • Spell: Log (M)

The core of this deck is very unique: Barbarian Hut, Goblin Hut, and Mirror. This lets you build up a Hut Army very quickly, which can snowball your opponent. Lightning contributes to the chip damage style of this deck, and Knight, Musketeer, and Princess offer strong defense.

PEKKA Battle Ram Beatdown by Timelapze (PB: 4300)

  • Win Condition: PEKKA (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Battle Ram (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Dark Prince (OM)
  • Main Defense: Executioner
  • Defensive Support: Tornado
  • The Runner: Electro Wizard
  • Versatile Response Card: Poison
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This is a very interesting deck—with no buildings, you’d think it would be weak on defense. However, Tornado offers the ability to kite (similar to how buildings can help to kite), and you can redirect enemy tanks to the King’s Tower. PEKKA offers the ability to shut down big pushes quickly then threaten on a counter push, and Battle Ram can be used to slip in on the opposite lane or after a big push when your opponent is low on elixir.

PEKKA Balloon Beatdown by DeruTaka (PB: 4000)

  • Win Condition: PEKKA (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Balloon
  • Win Condition Support: Elite Barbarians
  • Main Defense: Ice Wizard
  • Defensive Support: Mega Minion (M)
  • The Runner: Archers
  • Versatile Response Card: Fireball (M)
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck stood out to me because you would never expect to see Balloon with either PEKKA or Elite Barbarians. PEKKA can be used to defend against big pushes then tank for a sneaky Balloon push. Once they’re low on elixir, you can send in Elite Barbarians and take them by surprise. Ice Wizard and Mega Minion are cheap cards you can drop to slow down enemy pushes.

Lavaloon Beatdown by BLITZKRIEG1000 (PB: 3945)

  • Win Condition: Lavahound
  • Win Condition 2: Balloon
  • Win Condition Support: Clone Spell (OM)
  • Main Defense: Giant Skeleton (OM)
  • Defensive Support: Minions (M)
  • The Runner: Executioner
  • Versatile Response Card: Arrows
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck includes both Clone and Giant Skeleton. Giant Skeleton is used primarily to defend against big pushes (such as Elite Barbarians), and give you room to pressure your opponent with Lavahound and Balloon. You can clone your Balloon and Lavahound to really get a ton of damage on your opponent’s tower and force them to waste spells early.

Hog Sparky Cycle by hoover_fishslap (PB: 3896)

  • Win Condition: Hog
  • Win Condition 2: Sparky (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Tornado
  • Main Defense: Ice Golem
  • Defensive Support: Mini Pekka
  • The Runner: Princess
  • Versatile Response Card: Minions (M)
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck relies on Sparky to draw out counters to the Hog, as well as finish offensive pushes then threaten a big counter push. Once your opponent has played their Hog counters against Sparky, you can rush in with the Hog and get huge damage. Mini Pekka, Princess, and Ice Golem provide great defense that can also contribute to a solid counterpush.

Prince Sparky Cycle by I_hate_goat (PB: 3789)

  • Win Condition: Prince (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Sparky (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Lightning (M)
  • Main Defense: Ice Wizard (OM)
  • Defensive Support: Tornado
  • The Runner: Dart Goblin (OM)
  • Versatile Response Card: Fire Spirits
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck is very unique, with four off-meta cards. You can use Prince in front of Sparky to tank, but it’s more effective to push on opposite lanes. Send the Prince down one lane and Sparky down the other, forcing your opponent to decide which to use their swarms on. You can take them by surprise if you time it correctly. Fire Spirits helps the Prince connect with towers, and Tornado makes Sparky’s shot much more valuable.

Golem Clone Beatdown by Highfire1 (PB: 3400)

  • Win Condition: Golem
  • Win Condition 2: Electro Wizard
  • Win Condition Support: Clone (OM)
  • Main Defense: Inferno Dragon (OM)
  • Defensive Support: Elixir Collector (M)
  • The Runner: Lumberjack (OM)
  • Versatile Response Card: Log (M)
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This Golem beatdown deck utilizes Clone to make the support troops much more dangerous after your opponent has wasted their spells. You’ll want to use Lumberjack and Inferno Dragon on defense and then transition them into a great counter push, pressuring your opponent immediately. Put pumps down and then play Golem in the backline to build a push, and save your Clone spell until after they use their direct damage spells.

Battle Ram Lumberjack Cycle by 8point3fodayz (PB: 3390)

  • Win Condition: Battle Ram (OM)
  • Win Condition 2: Lumberjack (OM)
  • Win Condition Support: Log (M)
  • Main Defense: Mini Pekka
  • Defensive Support: Electro Wizard
  • The Runner: Wizard
  • Versatile Response Card: Fireball (M)
  • Spell: Zap (M)

This deck is interesting because it uses three direct damage spells and two wizards. The defense of this deck is strong with Mini Pekka and both wizards, and you can create dangerous counter pushes with Lumberjack. In addition, you have a lot of damage to put behind a Battle Ram push to overwhelm any defense placed to stop it.


Conclusion

I hope I’ve given everyone some inspiration on off-meta decks. Off-meta decks aren’t necessarily harder to play than meta decks, they simply utilize different cards to fulfill the same functions. You can definitely still win with them (as seen by some of the high PBs), and they can increase your odds of taking your opponent by surprise because they don’t know exactly how to counter a card or aren’t expecting to see a specific card. Off-meta decks can make the game much more interesting and challenging, and I’d encourage everyone to try at least one—whether you make it yourself or chose one from my examples!

Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!