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A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering the 2.6 Hog Cycle

Hello fellow Clash Royale enthusiasts! Today, I am thrilled to take you on an exciting journey through the game’s oldest yet remarkably effective deck – the 2.6 hog cycle deck.

Dubbed as “The Evergreen Deck,” this powerhouse has stood the test of time for nearly three years. While it may be challenging to master, once you do, it becomes a force to be reckoned with, capable of winning any matchup if played with finesse.

It’s essential to note that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to playing this deck. As you observe top players, you’ll see that each has their own unique style. However, in this article, I’ll provide you with some general tips and tricks, as well as insights from professional players, to guide you on your journey to hog cycle domination!


A Comprehensive Guide to Hog Cycle

The 2.6 hog cycle deck relies heavily on player skill rather than card strength. Individually, none of the cards in this deck are particularly strong. However, when combined strategically, they can lead to victory in numerous matchups.

2.6 Hog Cycle Basics

To put it simply, this is a chip deck that emphasizes defensive play while inflicting minimal damage with hog riders. Support for damage is kept to a minimum, often limited to cards like ice spirit, ice golem, and prediction spells as the game progresses.

The inclusion of ice golem, ice spirit, and skeletons in this deck is primarily to buy time for your cannon and/or musketeer to take down enemies from a safe distance.

Remember, cannon, musketeer, and fireball are the cards you should aim to save as responses to your opponent’s moves.

On the other hand, the remaining five cards can be played more proactively, with some exceptions. For instance, it’s generally not advisable to play ice golem or log without provocation unless you know it won’t harm your deck’s synergy.

While the goal is not to rely solely on brute force to overpower defenses with your hog riders, you should aim to deploy them strategically when vulnerabilities arise. This might mean out-cycling your opponent or waiting for the perfect moment when they overcommit their elixir or divert their defensive card elsewhere.

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One of the major advantages of this deck is its low elixir cost, allowing for swift cycling through cards. This is crucial for both defense and offense, such as activating a second musketeer on defense or deploying a second hog rider before your opponent can prepare their defenses.

Starting Plays

At the beginning of a game, it’s generally acceptable to wait and leak 1-2 elixir if you have a cannon in hand. However, as a cycle deck, waiting any longer than that is not advisable.

Try to kickstart the game by playing a hog rider or your cycle cards. While it’s preferable to save log and ice golem, if no other viable plays are available, don’t hesitate to use them.

Cannon Placements

In Hog Cycle 2.6, mastering building placements is crucial, not only for your own cannon but also for taking advantage of your opponent’s placements.

Let’s dive into some key cannon placements:

4-2 Placement

This is the standard placement for most win conditions and generally works under normal circumstances.

cannon placement

Exceptions to this placement include balloons placed in the bypass position and lava hounds placed at the edge. Against lumberjack loons, this is the correct placement if the balloon is not in the bypass position.

The 4-2 placement is effective against decks featuring giants, golem, sparky, prince, or elixir golem placed in the back. It prevents tanks from bypassing the cannon, providing you with a solid defensive strategy.

Note: This placement will usually divert ranged and melee units in the left lane. On the right lane, it will only distract magic archers, dart goblins, princesses, and firecrackers. Additionally, this cannon placement activates the king tower for firecrackers in the left lane.

4-3 Placement

This is the maximum pull position against any significant tank. However, it requires careful consideration and judgment to choose the appropriate moment.

cannon placement

It’s safe to use this placement against golems placed behind the king tower, giants without pushback, and hog/ram riders not in the bypass position.

3-3 Placement

This placement serves as an anti-fireball position against big tank decks that utilize fireball, including giants and goblin giants.

cannon placement

Furthermore, it can prove effective against 2.9 X-bow as a temporary tanking solution.

The 3-3 placement is also valuable against misplaced hog riders or ram riders. It successfully lures melee units from both lanes.

0-3 Placement

This particular placement is used to counter lightning or earthquake spells. It’s typically employed against big tanks placed at the bridge that have lightning or royal hogs equipped with earthquake.

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cannon 0-3 placement

0-2 Placement

This placement is primarily used to pull balloons in lavaloon and miner balloon decks.

cannon placement

It effectively pulls balloons regardless of their placement, except when the balloon + bats/minions trick is employed. In such cases, a 0-1 placement is recommended, either one tile closer sideways or using a fireball to push the balloon closer to the cannon’s range.

Note: The 1-2 placement still pulls balloons and is deployed when opponents may send flying units to destroy the cannon. This way, you can place units in front of the cannon to shield it.

4-1 Placement

This placement is exclusively for pulling balloons placed in the bypass position. However, it does not work against lava hounds positioned in the corner.

cannon placement

cannon placement

The 4-1 placement is the main strategy used to double-cannon pull balloons towards the king tower. The second cannon is placed directly in front of the king tower, three tiles from the left princess tower, known as a 7-3 placement.

Warning: Do not use the 4-1 placement against hog riders, as it is notorious for being bypassed.

3-1 Placement

This placement not only pulls balloons but also lures in lava hounds.

cannon placement

It can also be used in combination with double-cannon pulls, with the second cannon placed in the same spot. Nonetheless, this placement is not frequently used as the cannon becomes vulnerable to fireball when the lava hound attacks it.

5-0 Placement

The 5-0 placement is primarily employed against graveyard decks and pulls units in the respective lane.

cannon placement

Additionally, this placement proves useful for deploying a late cannon against hog riders or ram riders.

Musketeer Placements

The musketeer has several common placements in the 2.6 hog cycle deck. Let’s explore them:

In Front of King Tower

This placement is typically used against small pushes in single elixir time or when your opponent is unable to use spells against the musketeer.

It works exceptionally well against dual-lane pressure but runs the risk of providing spell value if you need to place the cannon in the center.

musketeer placements

Behind King Tower

Similar to the placement in front of the king tower, this placement is delayed slightly. It is particularly effective against lava miner decks since the musketeer remains within range of the second princess tower, unlike when placed on the side of the arena.

Side of Arena

This placement is useful when you anticipate needing to play cannon during a defense. It is primarily employed against pushes featuring significant ground tanks.

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musketeer placements


The corner placement serves the same purpose as the side of the arena placement, but with a slight delay. It is often used as an initial response to a golem placed at the back.

Center Building Snipe

For sniping buildings within three tiles of the river.

X-Bow Snipe

Essential for countering X-bow decks.

musketeer placements for xbow

It keeps the musketeer out of range of any supporting Tesla units.

Important Concepts for Beginner Players

If you’re new to the 2.6 hog cycle deck, it’s crucial to approach the game with caution during single elixir time. Here are some key considerations:

  • Avoid playing unsupported hog riders. Many novice players make the common mistake of deploying a hog rider with fireball, which can be detrimental to your chances of success.

  • Refrain from playing the hog rider in front of a surviving musketeer unless you’re close to 10 elixir. This is another frequent blunder among new 2.6 players.

  • Be cautious when using the cannon without knowing your opponent’s deck. While sometimes necessary, it can still carry risks.

Additionally, remember to prioritize the protection of your DPS units, such as the musketeer and cannon (and occasionally, the skeletons). Failing to safeguard these damage dealers can lead to compromised defenses and an uphill battle. Make strategic use of your cycle cards, including the log in most matchups, to maximize their defensive potential.

Important Concepts for Experienced Players

For those already well-versed in the 2.6 hog cycle deck, here are some advanced strategies to consider:

  • Instead of using the ice golem primarily for defense, save it for offense. Deploying ice golem alongside the hog rider is a common and effective push that should not be overlooked. Using it too frequently on defense can severely weaken your offensive capabilities.

  • Plotting a new course is sometimes necessary. Experienced opponents may stack units to counter your intended lane of attack. To counter this, you must be prepared to threaten victory on both lanes. In some instances, refraining from playing the hog rider is the wisest choice, especially when you find yourself in a disadvantaged state.

  • Play the musketeer and cannon early against decks that can potentially eliminate them with spells. By doing so, you can quickly cycle to another musketeer or cannon if they are eliminated.


I hope this comprehensive guide has shed light on the intricacies of the 2.6 hog cycle deck and provided you with valuable insights into successful gameplay strategies. This deck is not only a powerhouse but also incredibly enjoyable to play.

Remember to practice, adapt your playstyle, and continue honing your skills. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll soon be dominating the Clash Royale arena with your 2.6 hog cycle deck.

Stay tuned for more amazing content, and have a fantastic day!

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