Goblins – This is your go to cheap defense card that can deal with most anything that isn’t AoE. Use it to bait out zaps or use it to buy some time on tower damage, I rarely use these guys offensively unless there is a close troop.
Minion Horde – I use this on those big pushes/big guys. They’re great for taking out royal giants and cost less than him, also great for sparky and any flying troop in general. If you know the person is running arrows/zap try to bait it out with your goblins first if you feel you need to.
Arrows – These are on of your only dual purpose cards that can be played offensively or defensively. Ideally they should be played offensively to kill off any small guys that attack your push. However if need be they are great for saving your butt or killing princesses.
Elixir pump – Everyone should know this card but it’s use here is paramount to your offensively ability as well as a great defensive card if needed to be used in a pinch. Your ability to time pushes with its elixir timing will be the hardest thing to master but the most rewarding too.
Tombstone – I did a decent in-depth write up here
if anyone wants to look at it, but the gist is this thing is a hog killer and cheaper than a hog, it also opens up counter play to zap and freeze. It’s only use isn’t just for hogs and can be used to dominate most other cards, this card is never used offensively and you should keep it in your back pocket defensively. I rarely place this card down pre-preemptively.
Wizard – This guy I mostly use for defense, great at stopping barbs, great at stopping flying guys, all around great defender and can survive most projectiles even some underleveled fireballs. Keep this guy in your back pocket if you burn arrows and he responds with a group. He can also be used offensively if you’re struggling to push.
Giant – This guy is very important, he is your damage soak, the giant’s health to elixir cost ratio is amazing. He really doesn’t need to do damage to the towers even though he hits pretty hard, instead he needs to soak up damage so that your main card can get to the tower unharmed. He’s also great to stall out games that your ahead in.
Balloon – This guy is your bread and butter, all around main damage source. I cannot explain how devastating a balloon can be when you cant stop it from getting to your tower. Just one hit does 1/3 of most tower health and it has 0 animation to do it’s first attack once it reaches the tower. Also a balloon that reaches a tower with full health will completely destroy the tower if it is left alone to be dealt with by that tower.
The general strategy
I’m going to say this word a lot to emphasize the importance of this but COUNTER PUSHING is the name of the game with this deck. Your offensive strategy is 3 cards in total, the giant, balloon, arrows. You should place your giant in a lane followed up immediately by a balloon to his side and get your arrows ready for any small guys that attack it(gobs, spear gobs, minions, minion hordes, skeletons, princess). If done correctly vs the right cards this is a guaranteed tower kill. There are a lot of intricasies and some hard counters to this deck which I will get into later on how to play around or avoid but for now just focus on the simple part of giant + balloon + arrows = gg. Sometimes you’ll find even if you’re at 10 elixir its best to wait until they drop a troop before you attack as the counter attack can be just so devastating.
The reason I stress counter pushing so much is that when you counter push you give your opponent two choices defend against your push and leave his push solo or reinforce his push and give up/trade towers. If your opponent decides to defend against your push you will have time to make the decision to commit to your push with arrows or use that elixir to easily stop his small push.
Hog defense – This part is the part I figured most people would want to see with how popular the hog rider is. The defending fairly straight forward but it revolves around using your tombstone to distract the hog long enough for it to be killed before reaching your tower.
Your hard counters
This section contains the decks greatest weaknesses which the deck seems to struggle insanely hard against. In most of these cases you see these two cards I normally suggest turtling and going for the draw or waiting for them to make a mistake.
The inferno tower – This card is insanely annoying vs this deck as both your balloon and your giant are very slow moving. This card distracts both of them off the towers path while shredding through the giant and then balloon. The only counter play you have to this is to drop your giant and anticipate where he places his tower and rush it with the minion horde. Otherwise I suggest playing for the tie unless he drops this card stupidly.
Three musketeers – A card you won’t see as often but if they have the elixir when you go to attack this card will shut you down hard, not only will they shred through your giant but they will make your balloon look like a skeleton. To play against this card its best to wait for them to drop the musketeers as one they’re expensive so easily counter pushable and 2 they’re very hard to stop with the defenses in this deck.
These two cards are just devastating to this deck but most other cards are very dealable with if you know how to play against them and get comfortable with the deck. even cards like ice wizard.
In this section I’m going to try to teach you some “advanced” techniques which dramatically make a difference when it comes to your attacking/defense.
The lure -The first is the biggest and its the lure. Both how to use it and how to try and avoid it. The lure is the ability to lure certain troops into dual tower range while also slowing down their pathing. This can be seen in my hog gif where the hog is drawn towards the tombstone which is placed in dual tower range. This can be done with pretty much any troop and the ability to bring troops into dual tower fire is a complete game changer and one that should be mastered as one tombstone/goblins placed correctly can take out a barb group! In order to avoid this “as much as you can” place your balloon on the upper right/left most part of the arena depending on the side you’re attacking. I say as much as you can as there will be situations you cannot avoid of having your balloon change aggro. But the general rule is if its not exactly on the half of the arena you’re attacking it won’t aggro your balloon (your giant is a different story but that is fine).
Elixir tricks – The second one which is very very important for this deck is learning how elixir generation works. I’m going to give a relative general explanation here but there are two things you should master. Knowing when your elixir pump is going to pop and give you a +1 and knowing when you can drop your troops at 10 elixir and still get a bonus elixir. The first is pretty simple to learn. Elixir pumps have very obvious visual cues but if you want to get more technical like me elixir pumps pop roughly every 3 elixir generated. So for example if your pump popped and you are not sitting at 7 elixir your pump should pop around 10 elixir(it won’t however as it saves its elixir til you spend it, this is a key note). The second part that a lot of people don’t know is elixir is still generating once you hit 10 elixir. If timed properly you can drop a troop at 10 elixir and instead of being left with 5 elixir you will have 6. My technique is as soon as the elixir bar hits 10, I count 1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi and drop a troop. If you can master both of these techniques you’ll be able to drop a giant + balloon (10 elixir total) and immediately have 2-3 elixir. This gives you a very quick response time with your arrows to aid your push as well as is just in general great way to manage elixir.
I’m sure there are some aspects I’m forgetting but if you have any questions I’ll be responding for most of the day so let me know in the comments if you want clarification on anything or want more details or gif examples. I can dig through some more game logs to find some examples if needed. This deck can be altered for lower people who don’t have access to some of these cards, elixir pump is not 100% necessary nor is wizard, they can be replaced with things like bomber/baby dragon/etc.