Clash Royale F2P Hog Cycle Deck 2019 | Hog Knight Deck Arena 10+
Hey everyone F2P Hog Cycle Deck 2019 | Hog Knight Deck Arena 10+! It’s Woody from Team Boreal and welcomes to my first ever strategy guide on Reddit! I am a completely F2P player and have exclusively played Hog Cycle on the ladder for the past six months.
I started out with the classic 2.6 Hog Cycle deck but I found that it was not very effective because of my low cards levels. After a lot of experimenting, I made some adjustments to the deck and was finally able to reach 4900 trophies last season.
Hog (Level 11)
In my opinion, the Hog is without a doubt the best win condition on the ladder and the most important card in this deck. Its massive hit points and damage output combined with its fast movement speed provide incredible value for only four elixirs. The goal of Hog Cycle decks is to utilize the deck’s low average elixir cost to out cycle your opponent’s counter to your Hog.
Therefore, it as absolutely crucial that your Hog is upgraded to a sufficient level because you will be playing it multiple times throughout the match. As the Hog is the main win condition in the deck, it should be the card that you prioritize upgrading and the card that you request in your clan.
Zap (Level 13)
The original variation of the 2.6 Hog Cycle deck uses the Log instead of the Zap but in my opinion, the Zap has a much better synergy with this deck. With the Log’s long deployment time, you are often forced to take risks by making prediction plays.
With the Zap, however, you are able to play it anywhere in the Arena, allowing you to instantly take out cards such as Skeleton Army and Bats. While the Zap does not have the Log’s unique ability to knock back units, its ability to stun and retarget units as well as reset cards such as Inferno Tower and Sparky more than makes up for the areas where it is lacking. As the Zap is a Common card, it is also relativity easy to over level, allowing you to take out Goblin Gangs and Goblin Barrels for a positive elixir trade.
Knight (Level 13)
The original variation of the 2.6 Hog Cycle deck uses the Ice Golem instead of the Knight but even after its nerf in the last balance change, I still prefer using the Knight in this deck. While the Ice Golem has the unique ability to kite units to the opposite lane, it is also a Rare card which means that it is much more difficult to upgrade than the Knight. If your Ice Golem is under-levelled, it will not be able to take out Skeletons and Bats, which severely hinders its abilities as a card. Even though the Knight costs one most elixir than the Ice Golem, it is much more versatile on defence as it can be used not only as a mini tank like the Ice Golem but also as a melee unit to take out your opponents support units behind a tank.
Archers (Level 13)
The original variation of the 2.6 Hog Cycle deck uses the Musketeer instead of the Archers but in my opinion, the Archers are a much more versatile option for one less elixir. If you take a look at the individual stats, the Archers combined have a very similar damage output compared to the Musketeer.
Therefore, unless you have a max Musketeer, there is no point of using it on the ladder because your opponent will most likely be able to take it out with their Fireball.
The Archers also offer the unique ability to split into both lanes, which prevents your opponent from attacking into either lane. If your opponent uses the Tornado to pull your Hog to the King Tower, the one Archer behind the Hog can deal an incredible amount of damage to the tower.
Fireball (Level 9)
In my opinion, the Fireball is the best medium spell in the game. You should always use the Fireball to take out your opponent’s Elixir Collectors to prevent them from building an elixir advantage. After the nerf to the Elixir Collector, the Fireball now denies four elixirs from the collector for a positive elixir trade as well as dealing chip damage to your opponent’s tower.
The Fireball is very viable even when under-levelled but if you are able to over-levelled the Fireball, it becomes incredibly powerful and can be used to take out support units such as the Musketeer and the Electro Wizard.
The Fireball also has great synergy with the Hog as you can go for prediction plays to help your Hog connect to the tower.
Ice Spirit (Level 11)
The Ice Spirit is one of the most versatile cards in the game and provides a lot of utility for only one elixir. The Hog and the Ice Spirit is one of my favourite combinations in the game and can deal a lot of damage to your opponent’s tower for only five elixirs. It is great for punishing your opponent in the opposite lane when they play an Elixir Collector or a tank in the back.
On defence, it can be used to kite your opponent’s units and freeze them for 1.5 seconds, giving your tower and other units more time to finish them off. It also has great synergy with the Zap as they can be used together to take out Minions and Minion Hordes when you don’t have the Fireball in the cycle.
Inferno Tower (Level 9)
The original variation of the 2.6 Hog Cycle deck uses the Cannon instead of the Inferno Tower, but I have found the Cannon to be extremely weak especially when under-levelled. The Inferno Tower, on the other hand, is probably the best example of a level independent card because it does so much damage that it is able to take out tanks like Golem and Giant regardless of its level.
I have played many games against Level 8 Golems and Level 11 Giants and my Level 9 Inferno Tower has done a great job despite it being significantly underdeveloped. With most decks using Fireball and Poison instead of Lightning in the current meta, the Inferno Tower can provide incredible value on defence for only five elixirs.
Skeletons (Level 11)
The Skeletons were once one of the most popular cards in the game in terms of usage rate, but ever since the fourth skeleton was removed a lot of players have replaced it with the more expensive Goblins. However, like the Musketeer, unless you have max Goblins, there is no point of using it on the ladder because your opponent will most likely be able to take it out with their Zap.
Even though the Skeletons can also be taken out with the Zap, your opponent will be making a negative elixir trade. The Skeletons are a very level independent card as their main role in this deck is as a cycle and distraction card. However, they should still be upgraded to a sufficient level because you never know when that extra damage will come in handy.
Clash Royale F2P Hog Cycle Deck 2019 Gameplan
Below is the general game-plan that you should follow when playing this deck. I will explain with more detail what you should do against specific matchups in the next section.
This deck is extremely versatile and there are not many bad starting hands. The best possible starting hand would be Hog, Ice Spirit, Knight and Inferno Tower with the Zap as your next card.
The worst possible starting hand would be Knight, Inferno Tower, Fireball and Zap. Listed below are all of the possible starting plays in order from best to worst.
- Ice Spirit at the bridge
- Skeletons at the back
- Archers at the back
- Hog at the bridge
- Knight at the back
In general, you always want your opponent to make the first play of the game but if your opponent does not play anything, then feel free to go with any of the starting plays listed above. Unlike Beatdown decks, it is not beneficial for you to wait until double elixir because cycle decks will usually have the advantage in single elixir.
3:00 – 2:00
As with any deck, you should try to feel your opponent out in the first minute of the game. You should have enough knowledge of the meta in order to predict what deck your opponent is playing based on their first 3-4 cards. Once you know what your opponent is playing, then you must adjust your gameplan accordingly. If you determine that you have a good matchup, then you can choose to play more aggressively.
If you determine that you have an even or bad matchup, then focus on mitigating as much damage a possible and look for the right opportunity to counter-attack. If your opponent plays an elixir collector or any card that is more than five elixirs such as a Lavahound or a Golem, immediately punish them in the opposite lane.
2:00 – 1:00
At this point in the match, you should know the majority of the cards in your opponent’s deck and have a pretty good idea of their card cycle. This is when you will be doing the majority of the damage with your Hog and you want to do as much damage as you can to your opponent’s tower before double elixir. Use your support units to make positive elixir trades on defence to gain an elixir advantage.
You can play your Hog more aggressively and if you are familiar with your opponent’s card cycle, you can start going for prediction plays. Identify your opponent’s counters to your Hog and use you faster cycle to your advantage to try to out cycle their counters.
At this point in the match, you should have ideally taken down most if not all of your opponent’s tower. Once you get into the double elixir, your opponent will have a much easier time keeping up with your faster cycle. If you are playing against a heavy Beatdown deck, they will have the advantage and try to build up a big push to try to overwhelm your defence. Even if you have already taken out one of their towers, keep applying pressure in the opposite lane with the Hog.
This will force your opponent to commit elixir to defend your push so they will not have enough elixir to support their push, allowing you to easily take out their tank with the Inferno Tower for a positive elixir trade.
If the game is still tied after double elixir, you must decide whether to play aggressively and go for the win or play defensively and go for the draw. If you decide to play aggressively, make sure that you do not overcommit on offense and always save enough elixir to defend against the potential counter push.
If you cannot break through your opponent’s defence with the Hog, then you can try to Fireball cycle to finish off the tower. This deck has an extremely fast cycle and you can easily cycle two or three Fireballs in overtime to finish off the game. Remember that it is always better to go for the draw than play too aggressively and risk losing the match when you are playing on the ladder.
Clash Royale F2P Hog Cycle Deck 2019 Matchups:
Below I will list the most popular matchups from least to most difficult including an estimate of the average win rate. Keep in mind that these matchups may be slightly different based on your trophy range.
Elite Barbarians (80/20)
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I almost never lose against this matchup. Once you have identified the matchup, you can adjust your cycle accordingly so that you always have the Knight in the cycle to defend against the Elite Barbarians. The Knight can be combined with either the Skeletons or the Ice Spirit to completely shut down the Elite Barbarians for a positive elixir trade.
However, make sure that you play the Knight in a position where both Elite Barbarians are pulled to the centre of the Arena. If they support the Elite Barbarians with other units, you can get a lot of value on defence with the Inferno Tower. The majority of these players are not very skilled and this is an incredibly easy matchup.
Royal Giant (80/20)
This deck sometimes also includes the Elite Barbarians but I will put it into a separate category. The most important thing to remember in this matchup is to switch up the placement of your Inferno Tower. Your opponent will most likely have a card such as the Minions to distract your Inferno Tower so instead of playing it in the middle, you need to play it on the side of the Arena.
These decks will usually have Barbarians to defend against the Hog so be prepared to go for prediction Fireballs. An Ice Spirit combined with the Fireball can completely take out the Barbarians at an equal level. Like the Elite Barbarian matchup, the majority of these players are not very skilled and this is an incredibly easy matchup.
Golem Beatdown (70/30)
If you are familiar with the Double Triangle Theory, then you will know that Golem Beatdown is a great matchup for Hog Cycle. You should punish them in the opposite lane with the Hog every time they play the Elixir Collector or the Golem at the back. In this matchup, you will usually take out their tower before double elixir. In double elixir, you need to continue applying pressure to prevent them from building up a big push.
As Golem Beatdown decks rarely play the Lightning Spell anymore in the current meta, you will be able to get a lot of value with the Inferno Tower. Make sure that you spread out your units however as many Golem players have replaced the Lightning with the Tornado in their decks.
This is one of my least favourite deck to play against but thankfully it is a relatively easy matchup. As you have a sightly faster cycle, you will be able to out cycle their Inferno Tower or Tesla during single elixir. Do not be afraid to use the Zap offensively to take out their Goblin Gang in order to get your Hog to the tower.
One trick that I learned to take out the Goblin Barrel is to place the Archers directly in front of the tower and the Skeletons directly behind the tower. This placement will mitigate any damage to your tower regardless of the placement of their Goblin Barrel and you will also have your Archers to form a counter push. If your Zap is a higher level than their Goblin Barrel, then you should not have any problems with this matchup.
Giant Beatdown (60/40)
Giant Double Prince is dominating the current meta and this is slightly more difficult than the Golem matchup. In this matchup, it is important to use the Zap and the Ice Spirit effectively, especially if you are playing against the Bait variation. It is also important to separate the Prince and the Dark Prince in order to deal with them individually.
You can take out the Dark Prince first with the Knight while distracting the Prince with the Skeletons. This deck does not have a great counter to the Hog so you can counter push after defending and slowly chip away at their tower. Like the Golem matchup, if you can get a lot of value with the Inferno Tower on defence, then you should not have any problems with this matchup.
With the original 2.6 Hog Cycle deck, this matchup was almost a guaranteed loss as the Musketeer was your only source of air defence. However, because this variation has the Inferno Tower instead of the Cannon, and the Archers instead of the Musketeer, you are able to deal with this matchup much more effectively. The goal of Lavaloon decks is to take out your tower in one single push because a Lavaloon push costs a total of 12 elixirs.
If you are able to constantly apply pressure in the opposite lane, they will not have enough elixir to build up their Lavaloon push. Like the Golem matchup, because Lavaloon decks rarely play the Lightning Spell anymore in the current meta, you will be able to get a lot of value with the Inferno Tower.
Hog Cycle (50/50)
In a mirror matchup, the outcome is usually determined by who can cycle the fastest. You opponent will probably be able to out cycle the Inferno Tower once or twice over the course of the match but this matchup usually ends up in a draw as neither player can break through the opponent’s defence.
If your opponent has the Rocket variation, they will usually start cycling Rockets very early in the match. In this situation, you need to punish them whenever they play the Rocket and take out their tower before overtime or they will most likely Rocket you out. If you are struggling with this matchup, consider swapping the Inferno Tower for the Cannon, the Tesla, or the Tornado.
Three Musketeers (40/60)
Personally, I find it incredibly difficult to deal with this matchup because there are so many cards in their deck that require the Fireball. If you use the Fireball on the Elixir Collector, they can punish you with the Three Musketeers or the Minion Horde. If you use the Fireball on the Three Musketeers or the Minion Horde they will build up an elixir advantage from their Collector.
Your only hope of winning this matchup is to take out their tower before double elixir and try to cycle back to your Fireball on defence. If the match goes into overtime, they will most likely be able to overwhelm you with the constant pressure in both lanes. However, most Three Musketeer decks do not have a big spell to finish off the tower so you can always try to play for a draw.
The graveyard is another difficult matchup because the only reliable counter in your deck is the Archers which can be taken out with the Fireball. If your opponent is playing the Splashyard variation, they will have multiple counters to the Hog and unless your opponent makes a big mistake, the best-case scenario is to play for a draw.
Like any Graveyard deck, you need to take out their support units before they cross the bridge so that they cannot tank for the Graveyard. You need to use your Inferno Tower but make sure that you do not play it too close to the river because they will be able to reset it with the Electro Wizard. In this matchup, you usually want to trade towers because Graveyard decks are significantly weaker once the King Tower is activated.
Mortar/Xbow Cycle (40/60)
Finally, Seige is probably the most difficult matchup for this deck. If you are playing against Mortar Cycle, they will play very defensively and try to Rocket Cycle you out. Always play the Knight in the opposite lane to tank the Mortar shots so that it does not walk into the blindspot. If you are playing against Xbow Cycle, they will have the Tesla as well so you will not be able to break through their defence with the Hog.
Because these decks also have a very fast cycle, it is very difficult to out cycle their counters to the Hog. Mortar Bait decks have also become very popular in the meta and thankfully this matchup is slightly easier than the Cycle variation. Overall, this is by far the most difficult matchup and usually, the best-case scenario is to play for a draw.
Thanks for reading my guide on this 2.9 Hog Cycle deck and I really appreciate it if you made it all the way until the end! I hope that you were able to learn something from this guide and feel free to give this deck a try yourself!
Let me know if there was anything that I missed or if you have any other questions about the deck! I really enjoyed writing this guide and I look forward to making more decks like this in the future!
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