Many weeks have passed since the last Clash Royale balance change, and Supercell has now published a new list of balance changes for its cards. Four of the five cards being nerfed were rated in last week’s Card Power Rankings, while all eight cards being buffed or reworked were at the bottom of the recent Card Popularity Snapshot. The changes below will be reflected in-game starting August 24, so get ready for a shake-up of the metagame!
Royal Giant: Hit Speed decreased to 1.7sec (from 1.5sec)
SC: We like that the Royal Giant is a strong and relatively easy to use offensive option. However, he’s too strong right now – this change will allow him to stay relevant, but make him a bit easier to deal with. Additionally, his first attack will happen a bit slower.
Woody: The scourge of Arena 8 players, the Royal Giant is getting a massive 12% DPS nerf. He will remain effective at demolishing enemy defensive buildings, but will present a significantly lesser threat to Arena Towers. X-Bow and Mortar players rejoice!
Zap: Stun Duration decreased to 0.5sec (from 1sec)
SC: Zap is highly used at all levels of play and currently offers a bit too much versatility for 2 Elixir.
Woody: Finally! Zap was given a 1-second stun back in February to help “differentiate it from Arrows.” It has been a mainstay of ladder and tournament decks ever since. The spell facilitates deck cycle, deals enough damage to kill Goblins, and resets the target of enemy troops and buildings. Halving the stun duration of the spell won’t kill Zap, but it will demand from its user an even more precise timing to maximize its utility.
Princess: Area Damage radius decreased by 25%
SC: We’d like to make the Princess slightly less reliable at clearing up everything in the vicinity of her target.
Woody: The Princess has an extremely large area damage radius. A 25% reduction will allow her to hit an area roughly the same as that of a Valkyrie. Still, this nerf targets a core attribute of the Princess, and will make her a far less versatile defender. Without testing, it is difficult to predict which key interactions will be affected by this change, but here are two important questions: Will Princess still deal splash damage to an enemy Princess deployed behind the Arena Tower; and Will Princess be able to hit distant troops that travel Very Fast, like Goblins?
Ice Wizard: Hit Points decreased by 5%
SC: Considering how much control he offers, the Ice Wizard is a bit too tanky for his 3 Elixir cost. He’ll still be very strong at the back, but doesn’t offer the same value in the middle of the action.
Woody: This is another very reasonable nerf to an extremely popular troop that can efficiently shut down small pushes and work very well on counter-attacks. The 5% HP nerf will make it easier for enemy troops to finish off an Ice Wizard, without making him too weak to sustain a Fireball.
Miner: Deploy Time increased to 1sec (from 0.7sec), Hitpoints decreased by 6%
SC: We’re fixing an unintentional Deploy Time change, and in doing so making the Miner a bit easier to react to once again. Additionally, it’s become clear that the Miner is quite strong and could do with being toned down a notch.
Woody: The deploy time nerf was long anticipated, having first been announced by Supercell on the Clash Royale subreddit. However, the reduction in the hitpoints of the Miner rubs salt in the wound for many players who will now be forced to return to spells to counter enemy Elixir Collectors. The Miner will have trouble locking on to his intended target and will fall quicker, reducing his overall usefulness in attacking enemy buildings (and Princesses) as well as soaking damage for fragile support troops.
Baby Dragon: Hit Speed increased to 1.6sec (from 1.8sec)
SC: A faster Hit Speed, including a quicker first attack, will make the Baby Dragon more reliable.
Woody: We’ve seen enough nerfs to popular cards–now it’s time to discuss the buffs to underused ones! Baby Dragon has languished unused for a very long time for lack of filling any particular role. Versatile cards must do many things well in order to take a deck spot over a specialized card. Perhaps this DPS increase will unleash the true potential for the Baby Dragon.
Dark Prince: Damage increased by 7.5%
SC: The Dark Prince’s stats aren’t quite on par with some other 4 Elixir options. A small damage buff should make him a more viable alternative in both defense and offense support.
Woody: The Dark Prince will enjoy damage buffs from two consecutive balance updates. Supercell is pushing hard for the return of the Dark Prince as an offensive alternative to the Valkyrie. The rise in popularity of Guards and Mini P.E.K.K.A presents an opportunity for the return of the double-prince archetype. This damage increase is more than a suggestive change and has the potential to revive the hard-hitting beatdown deck.
Bowler: Elixir cost decreased to 5 (from 6), Hitpoints decreased by 7%, Damage decreased by 10%
SC: A lower Elixir cost should allow for some interesting Bowler synergies to become viable. We’re taking a bit of damage and hitpoints away from him to help compensate for this pretty big change.
Woody: Supercell’s rework of an underused card may fall short of brining the Bowler to the forefront of Clash gameplay. One of the key advantages of bigger troops is that they enable players to invest elixir into a big push. Fortunately for the Bowler, his elixir cost was reduced (16.6%) far more than either the drop to his hitpoints (7%) or damage (10%). In addition, the pushback from the boulder remains unaffected. This will make it easier for the Bowler player to defend attacks from the opposite lane, while still providing a strong troop to compete with the Valkyrie and Dark Prince in dealing ground AoE damage.
Lumberjack: Speed increased to Very Fast (from Fast), Hit Speed increased to 0.7sec (from 1.1sec), Damage decreased by 23%
SC: We’d like to differentiate the Lumberjack from the Mini P.E.K.K.A a bit further, as both are 4 Elixir, high damage cards. This change should help them fill quite different roles in your deck.
Woody: In what may be the biggest single buff to a card since the range increase for the Royal Giant, Supercell’s speed buff to the Lumberjack is sure to draw the attention of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The Lumberjack will finally achieve *ludicrous speed* in both his movement and attacks. Despite the 23% damage decrease, the overall change from the hit speed increase is a nearly 10% DPS buff. He will also be much more efficient at chopping down small units and reaching the tower quickly enough to tank for small units behind him. Expect to see lots more of the Lumberjack in the near future.
The Log: Cast time decreased by 66%, travel speed increased by 20%
SC: The Log needs some love. This change will make it more consistent and reliable. (Note: We have some other tricks up our sleeves if this isn’t enough, but they are only possible to implement with a full update)
Woody: This is a straight buff to a card whose usefulness had primarily been mitigated by how slowly it reached its intended target. Compared to Zap, The Log misses flying units and cannot be cast behind an enemy tower to support a Miner. With upcoming nerfs to both Zap and Miner, The Log may prove useful at countering the swarms of ground troops bought on by the rise of the Lumberjack. The “other tricks” hinted at by Supercell would likely include a “pushback/nudge of all troops – even the big guys,” as suggested by Supercell here.
Golem: Hit and Death Damage increased by 5%, Hitpoints increased by 1%
Golemite: Hit and Death Damage increased by 8%, Hitpoints increased by 3.2%
SC: At 8 Elixir the Golem needs a lot of power to feel viable – these changes will hopefully get it there!
Woody: The domination of control decks that play cheap, efficient cards may come to an end after the next round of balance changes. The popularity of Golem has dropped precipitously since the removal of “Elixir Overcharge” and the proliferation of efficient responses to the Elixir Collector. Golem has been outclassed by the Giant in terms of offensive power per elixir spent. This buff will make the Golem hit slightly harder, but does little to improve its survivability. I do not forecast Golem making a big comeback.
P.E.K.K.A: Damage increased by 5%
SC: P.E.K.K.A has quite low use rates across the board and could do with some more muscle! We’re also making her first attack happen a bit quicker.
Woody: P.E.K.K.A already hits like a truck, but this change will help her tear down high hitpoint targets even faster. The additional damage is useless against targets that P.E.K.K.A already overkills, so this change is targeted toward helping her defeat enemy tanks.
Tombstone: Spawn Speed increased to 2.5sec (from 2.9sec)
SC: We’re looking to give the Tombstone more utility in both offense and defense.
Woody: Could this change prompt the return of Tombstone to the metagame? Tombstone was the most popular card at the top of the global leaderboard before Supercell reduced the number of Skeletons it spawned upon death from six to four. Bringing more calcium back to this cheap spawner will help return it to its former glory and support sustained pressure in a given lane. This particular change emphasizes the defensive benefits of the card by helping the user create a roadblock of bones for would-be attackers.
Archers: Damaged increased by 2%
Prince: Damage increased by 2%
SC: This tiny damage increase is just to fix an inconsistency with the Archers vs. Goblins and Prince vs. Barbarians interactions at certain levels.
Woody: These fantastic changes came about thanks to a Reddit post by /u/Duy249 that pointed out a rounding error in Supercell’s damage calculations. These changes should have little impact on the game outside of the interactions listed above, but will improve the ability of the Archers and Prince to handle the specific threats listed above.
In all, these changes prove that Supercell cares about the finely-tuned balance of the most-used cards in Clash Royale. The team took measured, careful cuts to several of the most powerful cards and buffed many of the less popular options. I am surprised that Poison was not nerfed this time–I would argue that reducing its damage to the level of Arrows would be appropriate. This would weaken the Giant-Poison combo that has been tearing up the metagame recently and would open up a spot again for spawner decks.