“Fast melee troop that targets buildings and can jump over the river. He followed the echoing call of "Hog Riderrrrr" all the way through the Arena doors.”
The Hog Rider card is unlocked from the Goblin Stadium (Arena 1). He is a very fast building-targeting, melee troop with moderate hitpoints and moderately high damage. A Hog Rider card costs 4 Elixir to deploy. He appears just like his Clash of Clans counterpart; a man with brown eyebrows, a beard, a Mohawk, and a golden body piercing in his left ear who is riding a hog.
His fast move speed can boost forward mini tanks like an Ice Golem in a push. At the same time, he can also function as a tank for lower hitpoint troops such as Goblins as he still has a fair amount of health.
Most cheap swarms complement the Hog Rider well, as they are nearly as fast as him and usually force more than one card out of the opponent's hand.
The Hog Rider struggles with swarms, as they can damage him down and defeat him quickly while obstructing his path. Barbarians in particular can fully counter him without very strict timing on the defender's part, though be wary of spells.
The Hog Rider in conjunction with the Freeze can surprise the opponent and allow the Hog Rider to deal much more damage than anticipated, especially if the opponent's go to counter is a swarm. Skeletons and Bats will immediately be defeated by the spell, while Spear Goblins, Goblins, and Minions will be at low enough health to be defeated by a follow up Zap or Giant Snowball.
However, this strategy isn't very effective against buildings as the Hog Rider will take a while to destroy the building, giving the opponent ample time to articulate another counter.
Against non-swarm troops, it can deal a lot of damage during the freeze time, but this can allow your opponent to set up a massive counterpush. For this reason, you should either only go for a Hog Rider + Freeze when you have other units backing it up from a counterattack, or if the match is about to end and you need to deal as much damage as possible.
All buildings can fully defeat a Hog Rider, besides the Furnace and the Tombstone, as they lack enough damage output. Most buildings will also take major damage while defending him.
Despite this, it's generally not recommended to send in a Hog Rider simply to destroy a building, especially if it's your only building targeting unit. Spells or simply waiting out the lifetime of the building are more effective.
The exception to this is an Elixir Collector placed in front of the King's Tower. When placed at the bridge, he can counter it for a positive Elixir trade, though the damage from both Princess Towers will usually mean he does not survive to deal any damage to them. However, if the opponent sends in defending troops, it can be an opportunity to gain spell damage value.
When there are buildings placed in the middle to counter the Hog Rider, understanding the placement of the Hog Rider and the type of building placed can help your Hog Rider to bypass certain buildings.
Passive buildings such as spawners and Elixir Collector have a larger hitbox than defensive buildings; which means that: if a passive building was placed 3 tiles away from the river in the middle of your opponent's side, then it is impossible for your Hog Rider to bypass that placement as the Hog Rider will get pulled to that building.
Defensive buildings have a smaller hitbox than a passive building, which means if that if a defensive building was placed three tiles away from the river in the middle of your opponent's side, a Hog Rider placed at the very left or right side of the Arena may be able to bypass it due to its smaller hitbox.
If you have a building already placed down in the center of the arena, and the opponent tries to bypass it with a Hog Rider at the edge of the arena, you can use certain air troops to push the Hog Rider towards the building as it jumps over the river, effectively denying the bypass attempt. You must be already hovering over the correct placement, as very quick reflexes are required to correctly perform this technique.
For Bats, Skeleton Dragons, and Minion Horde, place them right in front of the Hog Rider as soon as you see it deployed.
You can also use ground troop to achieve the same result. Something like an Ice Golem deployed at the Hog Rider’s landing spot will obstruct his path and force him to go around the unit, which cause him to be closer to the building instead of the Crown Tower.
The Hog Rider can kite Very Fast non-building targeting troops due to his own Very Fast speed and building only targeting if he is placed on the fourth tile from the bridge, slightly into the opposite lane.
He can also stall grounded units when placed right at the bridge. He will pull them towards him while deploying, and then be untargetable by them when he jumps over the bridge. After landing, he will pull them back. This can be useful when you need to deal damage in the same lane you are defending. It will also help separate troops behind a tank in a large push.
A Tornado placed on the second tile front of your King's Tower and staggered two tiles towards the Princess Tower will activate your King's Tower without any damage dealt to the Princess Tower, helping you in defending future pushes.
Doing this more than twice may result in the King's Tower's health being low enough to be targeted directly, opening up the possible threat of a back door three crown.
Alternatively, pulling the Hog into the three Tower zone will also prevent all damage and preserve health of your King Tower. This is less reliable, as they can tank the opposite Princess Tower with troops and allow one hit on your Princess Tower.
A very powerful combo is the Hog Rider, the Musketeer, and the Valkyrie, typically referred to as the Trifecta. The Musketeer will defend against most troops, while the Valkyrie can protect her and the Hog Rider from swarms or high damage units. The Hog Rider is used to deal damage to the tower.
This can be effectively countered by Lightning, killing the Musketeer and severely damaging both the Valkyrie and Hog Rider. The Minion Horde is also effective, but the enemy can Zap them and the Musketeer will one-shot them all. Even if the Musketeer is killed, the Hog Rider and Valkyrie will have enough time to severely damage the Tower.
Make sure you place the Hog Rider behind the Valkyrie to give it a boost so that it stays in front of the Hog Rider, protecting it.
A P.E.K.K.A. easily counters this for a massive 5 positive Elixir trade but she will be severely damaged by the Musketeer in most cases.
A Hog Rider combined with a Goblin Barrel can be awkward for the opponent to defend against. Timing it so that the Hog Rider is tanking the tower shots for the Goblins is the most effective way to deal damage.
Pairing the Hog Rider with the Balloon can deal devastating damage. If executed properly, the Hog Rider will act as a tank while the Balloon threatens to deal massive damage. The Hog Rider can also destroy any buildings attempting to slow down the combo. However, this combo is very vulnerable to swarms and anti-air cards as neither of the troops target anything but buildings. Additionally, they are easy to separate, due to the disparity in move speeds.
The Hog Rider can be paired with the Lumberjack as both a swarm bait and damage combo. It is a very fast combo with an extremely high damage output potential, so the enemy will likely try to counter it with a swarm. If this happens, use a spell like Arrows to render the opponent defenseless. If they manage to defeat the Lumberjack, the dropped Rage will make the Hog Rider even more dangerous than it normally is.
The Hog Rider was added with Clash Royale's soft launch on 4/1/16.
The Hog Rider is based on its identical counterpart in Clash of Clans, given that both of them can jump over obstacles that normal ground units are unable to.
Although in the description of the Hog Rider the middle separating area is referred to as a "river", in Bone Pit, Builder's Workshop and Electro Valley there is no water in the separating area.
When he is jumping over the river, he cannot be targeted by any troops or buildings (except for the Mega Knight). However, if he was already targeted by an Inferno Tower or Inferno Dragon, he would receive damage when he jumps over the river.