Giant

Giant: Damage increased by 5%(5 Elixir Cost)

  • Giving the Giant a bit more damage, instead of hitpoints, will make him a more compelling choice overall, without making him any more potent on defense.
  • A massive meat shield that targets only buildings, the Giant is often used to protect squishy ranged troops behind it. It is rarely used on defense, but can also be used to distract your troops away from the tower or defensive troops. To counter the Giant, simply drop high-damage swarm troops such as Goblins or Barbarians on top of him. If you want to buy more time, dropping some defensive buildings such as a Cannon or Tesla will distract the giant away from your tower while doing some damage to it. Giants are rarely played by themselves, however, and it is much trickier to stop a Giant push than a lone Giant. If you’re faced with a Giant push, I recommend using Fireball/Arrows on the supporting troops behind the Giant. If those are not available, wait till they cross the river into your side of the arena, then drop troops on top of the supporting troops (not the Giant). Be wary of dropping squishy swarm troops such as Spear Goblins or Goblins if they have lots of splash damage such as Wizards or Bombers behind the giant

Barbarians

Barbarians (5 Elixir Cost) 

  • A well-rounded card that is a staple in many decks, the Barbarian spawns 4 relatively tanky, relatively high-damage melee troops. Left unchecked, they will quickly take out your tower. The trick to taking out Barbarians efficiently is splash damage. I almost always Fireball a group of Barbarians marching down the lane – one fireball will allow your tower to take them out in one or two shots. Bonus points if you can hit the tower with the Fireball too. If you don’t have a Fireball at your disposal, a Wizard or Bomber behind the tower works really well too. Just be wary of your opponent’s counter-Fireball that could kill your Wizard or Bomber and damage your tower as well. Baby Dragons can also be used to take out Barbarians, but seeing they take 5-6 hits to take out a group of Barbs, it is best to drop it near the bridge to give it more time to hit the Barbs as they move down your lane. If you do not have splash damage at your disposal, your best bet is to use cheap swarm troops to lure the Barbs into the middle of your side of the Arena, buying your towers more time to hit them and potentially getting both towers to attack them.

Skeleton Army

Skeleton Army (4 Elixir Cost) 

  • A card that should almost always be played reactively, Skeleton Army is great against big threats as the skeletons quickly surround them and take it out. Skeleton Army however, is easily countered by Arrows, Fireball, Baby Dragon, Wizard, Bomber – basically anything that does splash damage, so you rarely see it on offense.

Minion Horde

Minion Horde (5 Elixir Cost)

  • One of the highest-damaging cards but also one of the most easily countered, Minion Horde must be used intelligently or else it will set you behind. That being said, if played correctly, Minion Horde can easily win you the game. Many cards trade very well vs Minion Horde – Arrows, Fireball, Wizard all one shot it. Baby Dragon two-shots the individual Minions, however the splash damage may not hit them all at once. Zap takes the Minions to a sliver of health. The key to playing Minion Horde correctly is scouting your opponents deck and eliminating counters from his hand. Most decks will run one spell (Arrows, Zap or Fireball). Once you have a read on your opponent’s deck, only play Minion Horde AFTER your opponent has burnt his spell on something else. If you’re facing a Minion Horde, do not use your counter if you don’t have a secondary counter available (e.g. don’t Arrows a group of Spear Goblins if you don’t have a Wizard in your hand to deal with their Minion Horde). If you don’t have a counter available in your hand, your best bet will be to use some cheap swarm troops to distract the Minion Horde and pull it to the middle of your arena to let your towers deal with it.

Giant Skeleton

Giant Skeleton (6 Elixir Cost)

  • It’s not the Giant Skeleton’s attack that is dangerous, it’s the bomb that he drops after he dies. The bomb detonates 3 seconds after his death and will effectively 1-shot the vast majority of troops within its small radius. If the Giant Skeleton successfully locks on to your tower, his death bomb will take out ~50% of that tower’s health. Therefore, countering a Giant Skeleton has to do a lot less with killing it off than it does with luring it away from your tower. In order to take out a Giant Skeleton effectively, you should lure him into the middle of your side of the arena (ideally where both towers can hit him) and keep him there with cheap troops. It’s more important to keep him away from your towers than it is to kill him quickly, so it’s often worth it to just drop troops one at a time as opposed to all at once and let your towers do the damage. Once one set of cheap troops dies, drop the next and keep him in place until he dies. If you overcommit to killing the Giant Skeleton, the bomb will often wipe out your entire push, so be careful of that!

Hog Rider

Hog Rider (4 Elixir Cost) 

Perhaps the best offensive card in the game, Hog Rider is fast, relatively cheap, tanky, and does a ton of building damage. If left uncontested, this card can win games by itself. Fortunately, a lone Hog Rider is relatively easy to deal with. Unfortunately, Hog Rider tends to be the centerpiece of decks, and Hog Rider combinations can be difficult to counter. Therefore, Hog Rider is similar to X-Bow in that it’s less about countering the Hog Rider as it is about countering the entire deck. Let’s start by talking about dealing with a lone Hog Rider – two ways, either swarm him, or distract him. Swarming him with cheap swarm troops that deal a lot of damage such as Goblins or Barbarians is an easy task. Since the Hog Rider locks on to buildings, it’s best to drop your melee troops directly in the front of the tower to block the Hog Rider from attacking it and get in some damage while the Hog redirects around the tower. To distract the Hog Rider, place a building closer to the bridge than the tower is, and the Hog Rider should lock on to that building first. Cannons, Tombstones, Teslas, Infernos all deal with Hog Riders well. While they do no damage, Huts and Elixir Collectors are a bit beefier and distract the Hog Rider long enough for the tower to whittle him down. Hog Rider combinations are much more dangerous – the most common of which are Hog + Freeze and Hog + Prince. Both decks can quickly wipe out a tower if not counterplayed correctly. Hog + Freeze will be covered in the next section on how to counter Freeze in general. Hog + Prince can be countered with swarm troops. A Skeleton Army will decimate a Hog + Prince duo and singlehandedly shut down the deck’s offensive. Otherwise, distracting the Prince with cheap swarm troops and taking out the Hog Rider with high DPS troops like Goblins or Minion Horde is imperative. Using buildings to distract against Hog + Prince is difficult as the buildings tend to get killed in one or two hits by a charging Prince + Hog

Witch

Witch: Damage increased by 5% (5 Elixir Cost)

  • The Witch has very low use rates at the top. She needs a bit more damage to become relevant again.
  •  The summoned skeletons do most of the Witch’s damage but she does do a relatively low amount of splash damage. You can Fireball her and leave her with a sliver of health for the tower to take out, or you can simply drop something a bit beefier (like a Knight) behind her and quickly take her out while sustaining minimal damage.

Wizard

Wizard (5 Elixir Cost) 

  • Wizard does a large amount of splash damage to ground and air troops but is relatively squishy. He is fairly easy to counter with a simple Fireball which will leave him with a sliver of health left. It’s almost always worth it to Fireball, Lightning, or Poison a Wizard if you can hit the tower or take out some other troops near him. If your opponent is playing a Wizard, make sure you not play Goblins, Spear Goblins, Minions, or Minion Hordes near him if he’s not already targetting something tanky, or else he will turn around and one shot your troops before they can attack. If the Wizard is on your side of the arena, dropping some tankier troops such as Knight or Barbarian on top of him will quickly clear him out.

Baby Dragon

Baby Dragon (4 Elixir Cost) 

  • One of the best cards in the game. A tanky, flying troop that does splash damage and kills most cards that can attack him in 1-2 hits, the Baby Dragon is simply too versatile. If available, the Musketeer is the single best card to trade vs Baby Dragon. If not, you HAVE to wait until the Baby Dragon is locked on to something tanky (troop or tower) and drop your Spear Gobs/Arrows/Minions around the Baby Dragon (but not in front of him or they could die to splash damage). Teslas and Inferno Towers also tend to do pretty well vs. Baby Dragon, although I do not think a lone Baby Dragon is worth reactively throwing down a defensive building for. The one downside of Baby Dragon is that it doesn’t do very much tower damage and it sometimes may be worth just sacrificing the tower damage in favor of saving elixir.