Clash Royale Identify Opponent’s Deck From Opening Move



Clash Royale Identify Opponent’s Deck From Opening Move by MWolverine63

One of the most important skills in Clash Royale is determining what your opponent’s strategy or win condition is. If you can figure out their goal early in the battle, you have a huge advantage (assuming they don’t know what your strategy is).

My deck is very offensive, so I can’t mess up on defense or I am toast. As a result, I’ve spent the last few weeks learning how to predict my opponent’s strategy based on their opening move. This only applies if they make the first move, because if you make the first move, they are responding to your card.

This guide assumes your opponent has built a cohesive deck and isn’t simply throwing cards together. There will be exceptions or things I haven’t thought of, so please let me know what you think in the comments below!

Below I will list your opponent’s strategy based on their opening card, organized by Arena. Strategy describes how the card is generally used and what deck it is likely to be a part of. Win condition discusses how the card plays into your opponent’s win condition. Best response describes what card you should play (or not play) in response to that opening card, and it assumes that the original card was the only card your opponent played.

TL;DR

There is some overlap between cards and what deck they indicate. Those cards are marked with a *.

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Hog Cycle deck:

  • Hog
  • Mini Pekka*
  • Goblins (dropped in the back)
  • Skeletons*
  • Ice Spirit*

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Trifecta deck:

  • Hog
  • Valkyrie (in the back with Musketeer immediately following)
  • Musketeer (in the back with Valkyrie placed in front)
  • Skeletons*

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Miner Cycle deck:

  • Miner
  • Mini Pekka*
  • Spear Goblins
  • Goblins*
  • Poison*
  • Furnace
  • Ice Wizard*
  • Guards*
  • Ice Spirit*

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Payfecta deck:

  • Miner
  • Ice Wizard
  • Princess
  • Furnace
  • Guards*

Starting cards that commonly indicate a PEKKA/Double Prince deck:

  • PEKKA
  • Prince
  • Dark Prince
  • Elixir Collector*
  • Fire Spirits*

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Giant Beatdown deck:

  • Giant (placed at back)
  • Bomber
  • Musketeer*
  • Poison*
  • Fire Spirits*
  • 3 Musketeers

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Giant/Sparky deck

  • Giant (placed at back)
  • Elixir Collector*
  • Fire Spirits*
  • Wizard*
  • Bomber*
  • Furnace (rarely seen with Sparky)

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Royal Giant beatdown deck

  • Royal Giant
  • Ice Wizard*
  • Valkyrie*
  • Mini Pekka*

Starting cards that commonly indicate a GiLoon deck:

  • Giant (placed at bridge)
  • Balloon
  • Elixir Collector*

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Golem Beatdown deck:

  • Golem
  • Elixir Collector*
  • Poison*
  • Minions
  • Fire Spirits*
  • Bomber*
  • Wizard*

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Spawner deck:

  • Barbarian Hut
  • Goblin Hut
  • Tombstone*
  • Goblins*
  • Spear Goblins

Starting cards that commonly indicate a Siege deck:

  • Defense at river
  • Mortar
  • X-Bow
  • Tombstone*
  • Elixir Collector*

Starting cards that reveal your opponent is an inexperienced player:

  • Arrows
  • Fireball
  • Lightning
  • Rage
  • Freeze
  • Zap
  • Poison
  • The Log

TRAINING CAMP

Arrows:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent is likely a very new player, and this rarely happens. Unfortunately, this give no information on strategy.
  • WIN CONDITION: Same as above.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing, let your opponent waste his elixir.

Bomber:

  • STRATEGY: Bomber is most often placed behind a giant push or prince push. Very rarely seen with Hog because of its higher cost (compared to other supporting cards). Occasionally seen with RG or PEKKA or on defense (very effective against barbs).
  • WIN CONDITION: Bomber will support a large tank by keeping small units off of the tank. Once it locks onto the tower, it will do heavy damage for its low cost and low health.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Wait for the bomber to get to your side of the river, then drop minions, knight, princess, ice wizard, etc. to eliminate him. If a tank is dropped in front, drop your counter on the bomber first, then let it take care of the tank.

Archers:

  • STRATEGY: Archers are often used as supporting troops for a tank or defensively to clean up troops. Because they are a common supporting troop, this reveals little about your opponent; however, they are a part of the well-known “Jason Deck”. They are also used with Royal Giant decks.
  • WIN CONDITION: Archers will follow a tank and deal damage to counters placed down. They do more damage than spear goblins but less than goblins while having more health than each. Beware raged archers.
  • BEST RESPONSE: You can do nothing and sacrifice health from your tower, which gives you an elixir advantage. You can also play spear gobs or gobs in response and take little/no damage on your tower.

Knight:

  • STRATEGY: This mini-tank goes well in many decks but works especially well in decks that use mini-pushes to get chip damage on a tower. Hard to ignore, especially if played with supporting troops.
  • WIN CONDITION: Knight will protect weaker troops with high DPS through multiple mini-pushes, dealing chip damage to your tower each time.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Use small troops (gobs, spear gobs) to distract on your side of the river while your tower takes it down. If played with supporting troops, drop your small troops on the supporting troops first, then deal with the Knight.

Fireball:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent is a new player, who doesn’t really know what they are doing. This reveals nothing about their strategy.
  • WIN CONDITION: Same as above: reveals nothing except they are a newbie.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing and let your opponent waste elixir.

Mini Pekka:

  • STRATEGY: Mini Pekka fits in most decks as a great defensive counter to large tanks, such as giant, PEKKA, RG, and Hog. It is also common in Miner Cycle decks and the Trifecta Deck. Because it is so wide-spread, this doesn’t reveal much about your opponent.
  • WIN CONDITION: Mini Pekka has 2 main uses. It will eliminate enemy tanks quickly, minimizing damage on their own tower, and it can also be used to get damage on enemy towers. One hit is deadly, so don’t take this unit lightly.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Wait until the Mini Pekka has crossed the bridge then drop small units that do lots of DPS (gobs, spear gobs, skeletons) to distract in the middle. This prevents it from reaching your tower and lets your tower take it out.

Musketeer:

  • STRATEGY: Musketeer is common is many decks but mostly seen with Giant, RG, and Hog. Beware of 3 musketeers as this card is often used in conjunction with it. Your opponent will likely protect the musketeer with a tank, so it can damage countering troops.
  • WIN CONDITION: While the Musketeer is protected by the tank, the Musketeer will lock onto the tower and do crazy damage. If you don’t counter well, this can take a tower very easily and is commonly seen in the lower arenas.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Once the Musketeer crosses the bridge, drop units on top of the musketeer to prevent it damaging the tower but in range of the tower so it can help take it out.

Giant:

  • STRATEGY: Giant is one of the best tanks in the game for health and elixir cost. This card will protect high DPS supporting troops while they take out any building on the way to your tower. Commonly seen with Musketeer, in the “Jason Deck”, with Spawner Decks, with 3 Musketeers, with a Balloon, and with Sparky. If the Giant is dropped at the bridge, expect a Balloon to follow. If he is placed in the far back, expect Musketeer, 3 Musketeers, or Sparky.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Lure this card to the middle where both towers can fire upon it by using a defensive building. Drop Mini Pekka, Musketeer, Ice Wizard, or Skeleton Army to eliminate it before it gets to your tower.
  • WIN CONDITION: Once the Giant has locked onto your tower, supporting troops will help it to destroy the tower. Beware a solo Giant, which can take it tower if not dealt with.

Prince:

  • STRATEGY: The Prince will do huge damage per stab, and it will do extra damage if charging. Generally used to rush in and get quick damage, with a splash damage supporting troop to prevent distraction.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent will want to get the Prince onto your tower and get damage done. This card is similar to the Hog, except it will target any unit or building.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Wait until the Prince is on your side of the river, then drop multiple small, cheap units to distract.

Baby Dragon:

  • STRATEGY: Used mainly defensively or with other flying units (like Lavahound), it is sometimes hard to figure out your opponent’s strategy based on this card. It could indicate a Lavahound, simply a card for defense, or a mini-tank for mini-pushes, like the Knight.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Baby Dragon’s splash damage will eliminate enemy pushes and support Lavahound against large groups of minions or goblins. As a mini-tank itself, it can shield the Lavapups after the Lavahound explodes.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Wait for the Baby Dragon to lock onto your tower, then drop anti-air troops behind the tower to take it out. You can also lure to the middle and sacrifice some cheap troops if you want to avoid tower damage.

Skeleton Army

  • STRATEGY: This card is mainly used defensively against Hog, Prince, Giant, RG, PEKKA, and Sparky. Rarely seen on offense because of its vulnerability to Arrows and Zap, so your opponent is likely a newbie. This play could suggest an Arrow overload deck, where you’ll have to use your spell cards wisely because of the threat of Minion Horde, Goblin Barrel, and/or Princess.
  • WIN CONDITION: Skeleton Army will minimize damage on your opponents tower and then potentially force a reaction to the mini-counter-push.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Arrows, Zap, Fireball, Bomber, or Princess will take care of the Doot Brotherband pretty quickly. However, if you can avoid using spells, do so because your opponent could be arrow or zap baiting with the Minion Horde or Goblin Barrel ready.

Witch

  • STRATEGY: The witch is mainly used behind a tank because of her splash damage and skeleton-summoning. The skeletons will do large damage and the splash will deal with cheap counters. Used with Giant and RG predominately, rarely seen with PEKKA.
  • WIN CONDITION: Placed behind a tank, the witch will lock onto the tower as well as the Skeletons. She will protect the tank and lots of damage on the tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Wait until she is on your side, then drop knight or MP right on her. You can also zap the skeletons so the tower locks onto the Witch and absorb some tower damage.

GOBLIN STADIUM

Spear Goblins:

  • STRATEGY: Used as cheap supporting units behind a tank. Very common, so this reveals little about your opponent’s strategy. Seen a bit more often in Hog or Miner Cycle decks. Your opponent could be cycling to an Elixir Collector.
  • WIN CONDITION: They may seem underwhelming, but these bad boys will take a tower quickly from behind a tank. They can be used to counter pushes or do damage on a tower. This is a versatile response card.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Don’t react. Let them get some damage on your tower, but it isn’t worth a response.

Goblins:

  • STRATEGY: Used as cheap supporting units behind a tank. They’re common in many decks, so you don’t learn much from this. If your opponent drops them in the back, expect a Hog or Miner. Your opponent could be cycling to an Elixir Collector.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent will use these troops to clean up your pushes or do high damage to your tower from behind a tank. Another versatile response card.
  • BEST RESPONSE: If alone, do nothing. If your opponent then follows with Miner or Hog, zap the goblins and then deal with the Hog/Miner/Tank. If you don’t have zap, drop clean-up units on the gobs, then worry about the Hog or Miner.

Goblin Hut:

  • STRATEGY: This card can be used in Spawner decks or solo as chip damage. It is commonly seen in high Royal Arena as a part of the “Chief Pat RG Deck”, where the Goblin Hut supports the RG. It can also be used with other tanks, such as the Giant.
  • WIN CONDITION: Each goblin is guaranteed 1 hit on your tower, so the Goblin Hut slowly wears down the health of your tower over the game, forcing you to respond or lose health on your tower. If a tank gets in front of the spear goblins, you can suffer a lot of damage.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Put down a splash damage tank on the lane, such as Valkyrie, Ice Wizard, or Princess, which will eliminate the Spear Goblins and save health on your tower.

Valkyrie:

  • STRATEGY: This card is common in many decks, so you don’t know what strategy your opponent is using. It’s very popular as a part of the Hog Trifecta deck, but it is also used defensively in many other decks.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Valkyrie is used defensively for her splash damage and high HP. She can deal with pushes then tank for a small counter push, making her very dangerous. She will minimize damage on your opponent’s towers then threaten your own tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drag the Valkyrie to the middle of your side with Spear Goblins. She will take 2-3 swings to take them out, which is plenty of time for your tower to take her out.

Lightning:

  • STRATEGY: This is a high-cost high-damage spell. Starting with this card (assuming he hits only your tower) is very bad move, which indicates your opponent likely doesn’t know what he is doing. This card allows your opponent to do less damage to your tower and still win the game.
  • WIN CONDITION: Once your tower is under 500 HP, your opponent can focus entirely on defense. He can finish it off with lightning pretty easily, so don’t let your guard up.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Put pressure on him to force him to focus on defense and not be able to spend the elixir to drop lightning on your tower.

Goblin Barrel:

  • STRATEGY: This card is mainly used as arrow or zap bait in higher Arenas. It is very dangerous to ignore, so your opponent is trying to get you to waste a spell card on the goblins.
  • WIN CONDITION: After wasting your arrows or zap on the GB, your opponent will drop Princess, Minion Horde, or Sparky to really get after your tower. Without spells, you will be less prepared for these cards.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Don’t use spells on the goblins unless you are forced to. You can drop Fire Spirits, Wizard, Princess, or Valkyrie, which will all deal with the GB well enough.

BONE PIT

Skeletons:

  • STRATEGY: Skeletons are great as a distractor or cheap high DPS supporting troops with a Hog Push. They are common in many decks but seen most often with Hog or Miner Cycle decks due to their low cost. Your opponent could be cycling to an Elixir Collector.
  • WIN CONDITION: Skeletons can distract enemy pushes and minimize your opponent’s tower damage for a low cost. Your opponent can also throw these cards in a offensive push and increase the damage he/she gets. This is a versatile response card.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing, your tower will take these skeletons out before they hit your tower.

Minions:

  • STRATEGY: Minions are common in most decks because of their high value as clean-up troops, similar to Goblins and Spear Goblins. Since they can target air troops, they are very valuable against Lava Hound and Balloon.
  • WIN CONDITION: Minions are great to use defensively or put on offense behind a tank. This is a versatile response card.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop spear goblins or do nothing, they won’t do a crazy amount of damage if you let your tower deal with them.

Tombstone:

  • STRATEGY: Tombstone is used defensively or as a part of Spawner decks. Tombstone can thwart RG, Hog, and Sparky pushes for the same cost as a Cannon, so it is a powerful card. It’s essentially a defense, so this reveals little about your opponent, except that he may favor off-meta decks.
  • WIN CONDITION: Tombstone will minimize your opponent’s tower damage so he can focus on offense. The skeletons it spawns are useful for distracting and destroying enemy tanks, but they are unlikely to help with tower damage or support a tank.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing and wait for the tombstone to expire. Unless your opponent drops a tank in front, the skeletons will get no damage on your tower.

Bomb Tower:

  • STRATEGY: Bomb Tower is a defensive building that does splash damage. As a result, it is common in many decks and reveals little about your opponent’s deck.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Bomb Tower’s high health and splash damage makes it a great defense. It will minimize damage on your opponent’s tower and let him focus on offense.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing. Let the Bomb Tower expire without defending any pushes and waste your opponent’s elixir. You can also send in minions to take out the BT’s health faster.

Giant Skeleton:

  • STRATEGY: The Giant Skeleton is used either defensively to clean up enemy pushes or offensively as a tank. It can fit both roles in a deck, so expect the Giant Skeleton to be pulling double duty.
  • WIN CONDITION: If your opponent can get the Giant Skeleton to your tower, it’s bomb will do crazy damage upon explosion. If the Giant Skeleton makes it to your tower twice, your opponent can easily finish the last few hundred HP.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop cheap units, like Goblins, Valkyrie, Spear Goblins, or Mini Pekka, at the middle of your side. Don’t let the Giant Skeleton get close to your tower, and don’t drop more units until his bomb has exploded.

Balloon:

  • STRATEGY: The Balloon is a slow unit that does lots of damage with long charging periods. It is rarely seen on its own, expect in Rocket Cycle decks. This is very likely a Giant-Balloon deck.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Balloon only needs 3-4 shots on your tower to take it down. Hence, your opponent can protect the Balloon with a tank (as in GiLoon) or send it solo and rocket down the rest of the way.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Lure the Ballon to the middle of your side with a defensive building, and slow it down with Ice Wizard or take it out with Musketeer or Minions.

BARBARIAN BOWL

Cannon:

  • STRATEGY: This is a common defensive card and shows your opponent had a poor opening hand. It’s common in many decks, so this reveals little about your opponent’s strategy.
  • WIN CONDITION: Cannon is used to minimize damage on your opponent’s tower, by re-directing Hog, RG, GiLoon, and any type of enemy push. This lets your opponent make favorable trades and focus on offense.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing and let the cannon expire.

Barbarians:

  • STRATEGY: This card is common is many decks, so your opponent’s strategy is unknown. These guys can be used defensively to counter RG, Sparky, Hog, and Giant decks, while also turning into a good counter push.
  • WIN CONDITION: Barbarians will minimize damage on your opponent’s tower then turn into a big threat on offense, where they will try to catch you with low elixir and a big Barbarian push.
  • BEST RESPONSE: As the wizard says, fireball. Look out for barbarians placed behind a tower–this could be fireball bait with 3 Musketeers ready to roll (and you want to fireball the 3 Musketeers).

Rocket:

  • STRATEGY: Rocket does the greatest crown tower damage of any spell. It is common in Rocket Cycle decks and many other decks, so this reveals little about your opponent.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent can get your tower halfway down and rocket it down the rest of the way. This lets them make efficient pushes in double elixir and focus solely on defense.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Pressure your opponent so they don’t have any extra elixir to drop on a rocket.

Barbarian Hut:

  • STRATEGY: Barbarian Hut is almost exclusively used in Spawner decks. You will want to hold onto a splash damage troop to keep the lane clear, especially in the end of the game.
  • WIN CONDITION: As time goes on, your opponent will build their huts up so they have a constant stream of units going over the bridge. They can drop a tank in front to guard them as well, which can grab a tower quickly. The long the game goes on, the more dangerous a Spawner deck becomes.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Spawner decks are most vulnerable at the very start of the game when they have few huts up, so start a push early and put the pressure on.

Rage:

  • STRATEGY: Rage spells will enhance damage by your opponent’s troops. Can be used with many decks, but most common with 3 Musketeers, Giant/Musketeer, or Giant/Sparky.
  • WIN CONDITION: Once troops are on your tower, a rage will increase damage and change the situation immensely. Cards that normally could be ignored will do crazy damage when raged.
  • BEST RESPONSE: This is literally the worst opening card. Ignore it!

X-Bow:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent runs an X-Bow deck. They will drop the X-Bow on their side of the river and try to get it to lock onto your tower, while protecting it with defensive structures and troops.
  • WIN CONDITION: Once the X-Bow locks onto your tower, it will do crazy damage. They only need one solid lock on your tower to take out your tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop a tank, such as Giant or RG, to absorb the damage on the X-Bow and then take it out. Don’t relax with the X-Bow, focus on taking it out quickly and efficiently.

PEKKA’S PLAYHOUSE

Tesla:

  • STRATEGY: This is a defensive building, used to stop enemy pushes. Very common, so it reveals little about your opponent’s deck.
  • WIN CONDITION: Tesla will minimize damage on your opponent’s tower by re-directing enemy pushes. This lets them focus on offense.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing and let the tesla expire.

Minion Horde:

  • STRATEGY: This card, combined, has one of the highest DPS in the game. It’s primarily used on defense because of how weak Minions are to arrows. This will rip any tank apart to shreds,
  • WIN CONDITION: Some Minion Horde decks run arrow-bait, where they try to surprise you with this card and get crazy tower damage. It’s most often used on defense because of how vulnerable it is to spells, but your opponent might try to support a tank with Minion Horde.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Arrow, zap, or fireball this card.

Inferno Tower:

  • STRATEGY: This is a defensive building, and it’s so common it reveals little about your opponent’s deck.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent will use this to stop any tank-protected pushes. This lets them focus entirely on offense.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Ignore this card and let your opponent waste their elixir.

Hog Rider:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent has a Hog Cycle deck. They will cycle their deck more quickly than you to try to keep themselves on offense and you on defense.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent will want to get their Hog onto your tower as often as possible to get as much damage as possible. They will support their Hog with Zap or Freeze.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop a defensive building to lure the Hog Rider away from your tower, then drop MP and/or a splash damage troop to deal with the Hog and its supporting troops.

Freeze:

  • STRATEGY: This spell is most often seen with a Hog cycle deck. Be ready for lots of Piggy Pushes.
  • WIN CONDITION: You should expect them to send a Hog in, wait for you to drop clean-up troops, then freeze your troops and get more damage on your tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: An opening freeze spell is as bad a rage spell. Ignore it.

PEKKA:

  • STRATEGY: PEKKA is most often used with a Pekka-Double Prince deck. Be ready to deal with the big push in double elixir time.
  • WIN CONDITION: PEKKA is a threat by itself, but it can be dealt with using small units. When supported by the splash damage of the Dark Prince and the high DPS of the Prince, it is a deadly combo. Your opponent will build this push in double elixir and go for a tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Distract the PEKKA in the middle using small, cheap units, like goblins, because of its slow hit speed. Ice Wizard will really nerf the PEKKA.

Lava Hound:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent has a Lava Hound deck (obviously).
  • WIN CONDITION: He will get the Hound onto your tower, then throw in cheap supporting units to burn it down quickly. Be wary of a Miner thrown in just before the Hound explodes to tank for the Pups.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Lure the Hound into the middle using a defensive building, then drop Ice Wizard/Musketeer to slow and take out the Hound. Follow up with splash damage to deal with the Pups.

SPELL VALLEY

Zap:

  • STRATEGY: This spell is so common that you don’t learn anything about your opponent’s strategy.
  • WIN CONDITION: Zap will be used to deal with cheap units, as well as freeze bigger units (like Barbs), to let a Hog get a shot in on the tower. It can also be used to support Giant or RG or PEKKA pushes.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing, opening with a Zap is dumb.

Fire Spirits:

  • STRATEGY: These cheap units will eliminate minions, goblins, spear goblins, etc. They are great supporting units for any type of push, often seen with Hog, Miner, Mini Pekka cycle, Royal Giant, and Sparky decks. However, they are so common that it’s hard to narrow down which deck type your opponent is running. Your opponent could be cycling to an Elixir Collector.
  • WIN CONDITION: Fire Spirits will support a push and make it harder for you to defend. You may have to zap these guys before dropping clean up troops. They are great supporting against Minion Horde.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Ignore and accept the light damage on your tower.

Furnace:

  • STRATEGY: Furnace has a few uses. It is common in tourneys in a Miner cycle chip-damage deck, but it can also be great on defense against Giant/Hog pushes. Furnace could also be supporting a Sparky deck or Spawner deck.
  • WIN CONDITION: Furnace will support pushes by eliminating cheaper clean-up troops and also distract Hog/Giant from your opponent’s tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Send in a few cheaper troops (MP, Valkyrie) to get some damage on the Furnace. If you can’t, don’t worry too much. You’ll need to put pressure on the opposite lane to prevent your opponent from getting too much damage on your tower.

Wizard:

  • STRATEGY: Wizard is commonly paired with Giant and/or Sparky. You should expect this card to support a huge tank against cleanup units.
  • WIN CONDITION: Wizard will protect your opponent’s tank and let it connect with the tower. Very dangerous as a supporting unit but expensive.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Let the Wizard cross the bridge then let your tower take care of it or drop Valkyrie or MP on him.

Poison:

  • STRATEGY: Common in many decks, Poison is mostly seen with Hog cycle or Miner cycle decks. It can also be paired with Giant or Golem, however.
  • WIN CONDITION: Poison will eliminate cleanup troops, get damage on the tower, and let your opponent’s tank get extra damage in. It can also wear down Elixir Collectors and Spawner huts.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop your troops outside the range of the Poison so they will survive. Continue to pressure your opponent so they can’t poison your tower down.

Mirror:

By definition, cannot be played as an opening card, so I am omitting this entry.

Ice Wizard:

  • STRATEGY: Common in many decks, so it doesn’t reveal much about your opponent’s strategy.
  • WIN CONDITION: Ice Wizard is a force on defense. It slows pushes down and does splash damage, so it’s very tough to get through him. He will minimize your opponent’s tower damage and then transition to a good offensive push.
  • BEST RESPONSE: He doesn’t do a lot of tower damage on his own, so you can let your tower take care of him. Alternatively, drop Goblins or Spear Gobs or MP to take care of him.

BUILDER’S WORKSHOP

Mortar:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent is running a Siege deck. Mortar will be set up on his side, along with defensive buildings to protect it. Don’t let the Mortar lock onto your tower, as it will do a lot of damage in a short time amount of time.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent’s goal is to get the Mortar to lock onto your tower multiple times with different mortars to slowly chip it down.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop a defensive building in the middle to force the Mortar away from your tower, and follow up with Giant or RG to eliminate the Mortar before it gets onto your tower.

Elixir Collector:

  • STRATEGY: This suggests your opponent is running a high elixir cost deck, but it is also seen with all sorts of decks, so nothing is really set. They’re trying to get an elixir advantage early.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Elixir Collector slowly gives your opponent an elixir advantage, allowing them to put together huge pushes before double elixir. They’ll protect their Collector so they get full value from it.
  • BEST RESPONSE: You can drop your own Elixir Collector if you run it, or you can send in Fireball/Goblin Barrel/Miner to prevent them from gaining an elixir advantage. If you do any damage to the Collector, they won’t get an advantage.

Golem:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent is running a Golem deck, which means they can drop cheap units behind the Golem and get tons of damage on your tower.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent wants to get a full-size Golem locked onto your tower. Once he does so, he can continually send in cheap units to take the tower out, while your clean up troops are distracted by the Golem/Golemites.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Distract the Golem at the middle with a defensive building (Inferno Tower is the best). Drop MP/Musketeer/Ice Wizard to deal with it.

The Log:

  • STRATEGY: This is a clean-up card like Zap, so this reveals nothing about your opponent’s strategy.
  • WIN CONDITION: Log will keep Princess from being an issue, as well as take out your cleanup troops from his push. He can also use it to stop your big pushes.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Do nothing, or drop Princess if you have her in rotation.

Sparky:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent is running a Sparky deck, where they rely on the Sparky to get crazy damage on your tower. I’ve seen a few X-Bow Sparky decks, where Sparky protects the X-Bow and the X-Bow takes the tower, but most put Sparky behind a tank and rely on her to take out the tower.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent will put Sparky behind a tank with a splash-damage supporting troop and use Sparky shots to take out your tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Zap Sparky when she is on your side of the river (but before she can get a shot off), then drop clean up troops, such as Barbs or Mini Pekka.

Miner:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent is running a Miner/Hog Cycle deck or a Miner cycle deck, where they use the Miner to tank for cheap units and get damage on your tower.
  • WIN CONDITION: Once the tower has locked onto the Miner, your opponent will send in Goblins, Spear Goblins, etc, to deal a ton of damage on your tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop Mini Pekka, Valkyrie, Gobs, etc. to take out the Miner, but be prepared to deal with supporting troops that your opponent may drop after the Miner has locked onto your tower. Always deal with supporting troops before you worry about the Miner. You can even ignore the Miner if you wish (assuming your opponent only drops the Miner).

ROYAL ARENA

Royal Giant:

  • STRATEGY: Your opponent is running a Royal Giant deck, where they use the Royal Giant to take out your defensive buildings and destroy your tower.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent is trying to get the RG to lock onto your tower. Once it has locked on, it will damage your tower and eventually take it out.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Distract the RG with a defensive building in the middle, then drop Mini Pekka, Barbs, or Gobs to take it out before it can hit your tower.

3 Musketeers:

  • STRATEGY: This is a 3 Musketeer deck, where your opponent is going to put a tank in front of the 3 Musketeers to get crazy damage on your towers and troops. It may include a rage spell, so be wary of that.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent wants to get a tank in front of the 3 Musketeers and get the 3 Musketeers locked onto your tower. Once they’re locked on, it takes under 10 seconds to take a tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: You can Fireball the 3 musketeers then follow with Zap or Arrows to take them out, or you can just Fireball then let your tower finish them off. You can also insta-drop Fire Spirits and Zap.

Dark Prince:

  • STRATEGY: The Dark Prince is almost always found with the Prince, in a Pekka-Double Prince deck. Sometimes the deck is just Double Prince, but this is a rare occurrence. The Dark Prince/Prince combo is deadly, so watch out for it.
  • WIN CONDITION: Your opponent wants to get both the Dark Prince and Prince to your tower. Along the way, they can clear out clean up troops pretty quickly between the Prince’s high damage and the Dark Prince’s splash damage. The real danger with the Dark Prince is being paired with the Prince.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop Mini Pekka, Musketeer, or Valkyrie to stop the Dark Prince and take him out. He has a shield, which prevents you from Fireball-ing him, but his HP is pretty low.

Guards:

  • STRATEGY: Guards are used in a variety of decks as clean-up units. They are pretty equivalent to Barbs but much cheaper. This doesn’t tell you much about your opponents strategy, but they are popular in a Miner Cycle Tourney deck.
  • WIN CONDITION: Guards will protect your opponent’s towers from Sparky shots, as well as clean up big pushes. They can do some damage on offense but are more common on defense.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop Princess or Fire Spirits to clear out their shields, then let your tower one-shot them.

Princess:

  • STRATEGY: Princess is common in so many decks that you can’t draw any conclusions from her use as an opening card.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Princess’s splash damage allows your opponent to drop arrows for Zap, and she can clean up huge pushes then support on offense. She’s an incredibly versatile card and fulfill many different functions.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drop the Log, Arrow, or wait for her to get to the bridge then drop Goblins. You can also distract her by placing a cannon down, then drop a bomber on her at the bridge.

FROZEN PEAK

Ice Spirit:

  • STRATEGY: Common is many decks but seen slightly more often in Hog Cycle decks (because of its low cost) and Sparky decks, you can’t draw many conclusions from this card. Not a great opening card because it doesn’t have high damage and is best used on defense or supporting a push. Your opponent could be cycling to an Elixir Collector.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Ice Spirit can stop a push in its tracks, or it can freeze clean-up troops at a critical moment. Very versatile and very dangerous, it offers huge value for low cost.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Ignore it and let your opponent waste their elixir.

Bowler:

  • STRATEGY: Bowler is most often used to support a big tank. Your opponent likely has a Giant,RG, PEKKA, or Golem deck. Be ready for a tank to be dropped in front as the Bowler crosses the bridge.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Bowler will clear out any clean-up troops while a tank makes it to the tower. He does high damage and knock back, making him tough to kill. He’s also great on defense and can break apart pushes with ease.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Distract the Bower will a high HP units like Valkyrie, then drop cheap units on the other side to take him out. Mini Pekka or Musketeer will also take care of him well. You’ll want to wait for him to get on your side before you try to counter.

Lumberjack:

  • STRATEGY: Lumberjack is seen most often where you would normally see a Rage spell. He will support 3 Musketeers, charging Princes, or make Giant pushes more deadly.
  • WIN CONDITION: The Lumberjack will be sent first to deal damage to clean-up troops or the tower, then be sacrificed for his rage spell. The following troops will use the rage to take out the tower.
  • BEST RESPONSE: Drag the Lumberjack to the side where his rage spell won’t help the following troops, but this is hard to accomplish. You can also let the LJ die to the tower and then pull the supporting troops to the side, but this is also difficult to pull off.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if I need to fix anything!

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