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reddit[EFFORT] A guide to breaking out of mid-ladder (F2P)

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For the purpose of this guide, I define mid-ladder to be between 5000-6000 trophies.

I understand the mid-ladder struggle all too well. I was stuck in mid-ladder for over a year, constantly facing overleveled opponents playing wacky decks.

I've been playing CR for almost 2 years and have never spent a single cent on the game. My PB is 6162 (which I hit last season after finally reaching level 13 King Tower) and I have one classic challenge under my belt. I'm a pretty average player but 6k is still a decent accomplishment in the game, so here's this guide.

Let's dive straight in.


If you're willing to spend money on CR, definitely buy the pass. It'll save you so much time. But if you're not willing to spend money, do the following:

  • PLAY SPECIAL CHALLENGES. These are by far the most efficient way to earn gold, cards and other items. Watch youtube videos or check this subreddit for good decks and strategies to use.
  • PLAY CLAN WARS 2. Make sure you join an active clan that can at least finish the race very week. CW2 is boring and I'm not a huge fan, but the devs weren't lying about how good the rewards are. The war chest is great, but the gold from each battle you do is also good -doesn't matter what mode you play.
  • MAKE SURE YOU COMPLETE THE FREE SIDE OF THE PASS ROYALE. You don't have to have your chest slots full 24/7. But it does pay off to complete the free section of the pass royale by the end of the season.
  • JOIN. A. GOOD. CLAN. It doesn't have to be some ultra competitive clan. You just need a clan that finishes war each week, and has enough active donations and trades.
  • FOCUS ON UPGRADING THE CARDS YOU USE. BUT IT'S WORTH UPGRADING THE REST OF YOUR CARDS TO AT LEAST LEVEL 9. There are two reasons to this. Firstly, that means you can use any card in challenges. Secondly, lower-level cards give more King Tower XP proportionally when you upgrade them. On the topic of King Tower, remember to actively donate cards you don't need. This is how I reached King Tower 13 'relatively quickly'.


  • DON'T PLAY LAVA HOUND. Lava hound is weak on mid ladder due to the popularity of wizard and executioner, and legendaries take time to level up anyway.
  • DON'T PLAY HOG 2.6. You are not Yerson. Hog 2.6 is hard to play, especially against mid ladder decks. Hog 2.6 also has a lot of rare cards, which take ages to upgrade.
  • DON'T PLAY XBOW. You are not Lemontree. Xbow is hard to play and it struggles even more on mid-ladder.
  • MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BIG SPELL AND A SMALL SPELL IN YOUR DECK. You need the small spell to counter swarms, and the big spell to counter spawners. Good big spells include fireball, poison, lightning and also earthquake.
  • PLAY A DECK THAT USES DIFFERENT CARD RARITIES. You don't want to play a deck that uses all legendaries, but you also don't want to play a deck that uses all epics/rares/commons. You want to play a deck that uses a bit of each, so that you can put all of your trade tokens and wild cards to use.
  • PLAY A DECK THAT MAKES SENSE. It doesn't have to be a meta deck, but you need to have good air defence and solid ground defence, since mid-ladder players love balloon rage and spamming tanks. You also want synergy in your deck. I've seen so many 'rate my deck' posts in this subreddit where people have decks containing skarmy and no other bait cards.

These tips are just my opinions. You can definitely have success with xbow on mid-ladder for example, but this is a guide to breaking out of mid-ladder, and xbow is not the easiest way to do that imo. Similarly, you don't need 2 spells to succeed- but spawners are so common in mid-ladder that it'll help.

There's a lot more to building a good deck other than what I've outlined above. Ultimately, you can just copy a good meta deck (e.g. goblin giant sparky) by using RoyaleAPI or watching CWA videos. Or, you can make your own deck, but this takes a lot of trial and error.


  • LEARN TO COUNT CYCLE. Don't play your wincon if your opponent has counters in hand. Don't use up your defensive cards if your opponent has their wincon back in hand.
  • LEARN TO COUNT ELIXIR. Counting elixir allows you to identify the best time to launch an offensive if your opponent overcommitted on elixir.
  • LEARN YOUR DECK. Which cards can you cycle at the start of the game? Which cards are your best defence against different archetypes? How does your strategy change between single and double elixir? For a meta deck, you can watch youtube videos, but for an original deck you need to work this out by trial and error.
  • LEARN YOUR OPPONENT'S DECK. In mid-ladder, people play random decks and you usually can't work out what they're playing immediately. However, similar to counting cycle, by keeping track of which cards your opponent has in their deck, you can make predictions. (e.g. Suppose your opponent's only air defence is wizard. Then if you're playing balloon, you can prediction lightning. ) Also, suppose your opponent has played 8 different cards and none of them were spells. Well, that means your opponent has no spells and so if you defend perfectly, they can't get damage on your towers at all- which is encouraging if they currently have the damage advantage.
  • LEARN INTERACTIONS, PLACEMENTS AND SPELL DAMAGE. It's important to learn which spells will kill which troops e.g. fireball kills magic archer. You also need to learn basic king tower activations e.g. against firecracker. It's also useful to learn interactions specific to your deck. For example, I know that ram rider + lightning will kill a sparky. Lastly, you need to know how much damage your spells do to towers (you can also find out by pressing down on the icon in the middle of a game). You don't want to be in that awkward situation where your opponent's tower has 1hp left and you can't defend.
  • PLAY PASSIVELY AND DON'T OVERCOMMIT. This is especially important against overleveled opponents.
  • DON'T FALL INTO YOUR OPPONENT'S RHYTHM. YOU CAN ALWAYS ATTACK OPPOSITE LANE. Sometimes you come across an opponent who just keeps spamming troops at you. Whilst they're gradually chipping away at your tower, you're still stuck there defending. In this case, you need to build an elixir advantage and catch them off-guard when they're low on elixir.
  • DON'T GIVE UP. If you're down a tower in single elixir, there's always still a chance to come back.

Jax made an amazing video tutorial on how to count cycle and elixir. This is a must-watch and will improve your gameplay massively if you don't know how to do these. I'd also recommend Boss's video on improving as a player. It takes time to learn the various skills outlined above, but it will help your gameplay massively.


If you follow the tips above, you should be able to level up your deck quicker, improve your gameplay and eventually break out of mid-ladder.

I'm sure there'll be people in the comments who've skipped the guide and are complaining about how the main problem with mid-ladder is still just overleveled opponents. A good litmus test to see if you could reach 6k with a maxed deck is if you can beat a classic challenge.

But other than that, here's a key thing for underleveled players.

You need to be patient.

Anyone underleveled who grinds ladder for hours every day will naturally be jaded by the lack of progress. That's because CR is not a game that you can grind as an F2P. It's a game that requires consistency over time. You've got to wait for special challenges to come around. You've got to wait for the clan wars reward each week. I have a mini account which I only play special challenges on, and I've almost maxed out a deck on that account despite playing relatively little on it. If you treat clash royale as a bathroom game rather than a competitive game, you'll enjoy yourself a lot more.

So to the underleveled players who are frustrated about facing overleveled players: seriously, just play less ladder. You might not be paying a single cent to play the game, but you're paying with your sanity instead. Supercell made a game we all love and you don't need to pay any money at all to enjoy it- as an F2P player, you just have to be patient.

TL;DR do special challenges and clan wars. Build a balanced deck that isn't too hard to level up. Learn the interactions and how to count cycle and elixir. Instead of grinding, be consistent and you'll enjoy the game more.

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