As most of you probably know, we’re getting a new special challenge mode in just over 12 hours- namely the Retro Royale challenge. This is something quite a few people have been looking forward to, and I, personally, can’t wait to give it a try.

In case anyone hasn’t been checking their News Royale tab, let me quickly sum it up. Retro Royale is a challenge with a major twist- you can only use cards that were available at the time of the March 2016 release. It’s also twice shorter than the current challenges, requiring 6 wins to complete, and follows the newly established during the Bandit Challenge trend of offering one-time rewards at various points- such as a Magical chest at 5 wins.

Here are the cards that will be available during the challenge:

As you can see, some of the currently most popular options, such as Royal Giant and Elite Barbarians, are not available. This will force a lot of people that were used to relying to the newer cards to explore newer options.At the same time, however, we need to remember that the cards’ balance will be as it currently is rather than the way it was at release- which is to say that decks that were powerful back then would not necessarily work right now.

So what to use?

A classic and safe choice would likely present itself in the Trifecta decks. The Trifecta generally consists of Hog, Valkyrie and Musketeer and was successful during the period we’re looking at here. In addition, the fact that neither of the core components has been majorly re-balanced means that this combination would be viable.

The classic Trifecta deck consists of:

Hog Rider- this is your main offensive unit, and your success depends on getting him to a tower. The Hog is a fast and relatively cheap card that synergies well with every other unit in your deck. It can make for a quick counterpush once you’ve defended, or be used to swiftly punish an opponent if they made the mistake of over- committing to a push in one lane.

Musketeer- a staple card of this deck, the Musketeer excels at both Offense and Defense. What you need to remember is that this is going to be your only air- targeting card, so you will need to use it wisely. Seeing as you won’t face a Lava Hound in this challenge(it simply isn’t available) , we can confidently afford going with one air-attacker- but you still need to be wary in case your opponent has a strong aerial offense.

Valkyrie- a fiery redhead swinging a huge battleaxe around – what’s not to like? The Valkyrie is among the best melee AoE cards in the game, and certainly the best(let’s face it, only) one you can use for this challenge. You can use her both when attacking and defending. Put a Hog behind her so he pushes her in front of him, and she’ll make sure he gets to a tower while dealing with any pesky swarms the opponent tries to stop you with. On defense, if your opponent manages to build a tank+ support push, just wait for the tank to cross the bridge and drop the Valkyrie in the middle of the supporting units group and she’ll wreak havoc.

Zap/Arrows- this one depends on your personal preference. Zap has a shorter deployment time and is cheaper, making it ideal to get rid of Skeletons or Skeleton Armies. However it can’t help you much against Minions, and after its latest re-balance, it doesn’t kill Goblins either. Arrows take a bit longer to arrive, but they do a slightly better job when they get there, thus offering some more reliability for an extra 1 Eliixr.

Freeze- Not everyone’s favorite card, Freeze is a great surprise factor that, if placed properly, can give your Hog 4.9 seconds of uncontested reign over the opponent’s tower. And trust me, when you have an angry guy on a war hog hitting your frozen tower with a Thor-like hammer, 4.9 seconds seems like half an eternity.

Elixir Collector- in case you didn’t know, the Elixir Collector is great at collecting elixir(bet you didn’t see that one coming). If you’re in a really tight spot it can also serve as a defense/distraction for a push. Do bear in mind that it’s a pretty large elixir investment with its current 6 elixir cost, so you should really be at the end of your rope if you decide to defend with a Collector. Other than that, its place in this deck is self-explanatory- place it, roll around in the elixir Scrooge McDuck style, then finance your pushes.
/Alternative to the Elixir Collector, I sometimes like to switch it up with a mini Pekka. The deck is cheap enough so we can afford that, and the mini Pekka is great at both stopping large tank pushes and supporting your own attack. It can even be a win condition in itself- anyone that has had their tower stuck by the pancake- loving robot knows how much that hurts.

Cannon- not much to be said here, this is your defensive building. Good at distracting and taking out high-damage units such as enemy Hogs, Giants, Giant Skeletons etc.

Skeletons- a highly underrated card. You can use it to speed up your cycle, defend, distract support, take out medium support units, even combine them with the hog for some extra chipping away. Kind of a cheap but handy multi-tool. Can also be replaced by Archers in case you want some extra air damage.

With the Trifecta, you need to set the rhytm of the game. You need to set the tempo, you need to defend as cheaply as possible and then counterpush. If you face a beatdown deck and let your opponent build up a big push, you’re in trouble. Always try to outcycle your opponents and make them play by your rules.

This one simply never goes out of style. Your main push is, obviously, Giant and a Balloon slightly behind it. The Balloon is a really powerful card right now(remember, cards in the challenge will be at their current balance levels) and Giant has always been a force to be reckoned with, so this is a combo to make your opponents tremble. Or…stare at the screen slightly more intently.

The card choice here is mostly up to your personal preference and style. There are just a few main points to adhere by to make sure your pushes are successful.

Seeing as the greatest enemy of the Balloon, namely the steroid byproduct that is the Mega Minion, isn’t available in the challenge, the main danger for your push would be Minions/Minion Horde. You need a spell to get rid of those- Arrows are my preferred option as they have a nice wide range, and if your opponent makes the mistake of deploying both Minions for the Balloon and a ground swarm, such as Skeleton army, for the Giant, you can get a nice and impressive elixir advantage with a single card. Arrows also have the perfect deployment time to be used preemptively- let your opponent counter you with a Minion Horde 1-2 times, get confident, and then proceed to build a push, Arrow the spot they usually deploy the Horde and, with some luck, enjoy the sight or your troops walking on uninterrupted.

Seeing as your main push is pretty expensive, you need cheap defense and support units. Skeleton Army, Archers, Minions, Cannon, Valkyrie are all good choices. And finally, I would strongly recommend carrying Zap as it’s more than likely you face a fair number of Inferno Towers.

Honorary mention:

This is the deck that won the 2016 Helsinki Tournament, and not only did it win, it dominated. While the Elixir Collector change to 6 elixir does make the deck more expensive, the reason I’m mentioning it is that it makes use of a strategy that’s widely made use of by various players still- namely carrying both a tank and Hog as a win condition. Most people tend to carry one hard counter for building-targeting units and this deck allows you to either bait it out and then push again with your second win condition, or push both lanes at once.

Those are my suggestions for the Retro Royale Challenge. I do hope I was able to help someone choose their deck and conquer that 6 win peak.

Good luck, and Clash on!