Clash Royale Lava Hound Basic Guide



Clash Royale Lava Hound Basic Guide by fliiint

TL;DR Hound should usually be placed in the back corner, place it behind your king tower if you want to play defensive and at the bridge if you want to counter attack. Be careful vs giant, hog, and siege decks. Don’t overcommit. There are 3 types of hound decks, two of which use miner and they all primarily feature air troops and 2 spells.


Hi! My name is flint. I’m a lvl 10 with a PB of 4014, and I placed in the top 8 of my only SMC. I’m in the clan Silent and am part of their RPL team.

The clan really knows me for one playstyle: hound. I play it on ladder and in tournaments. This guide will mainly be focussing on tournament gameplay. While I have a lot of experience on ladder with hound, there are just so many different combinations of card levels on ladder (and hound also sucks on ladder since pups can get zapped).


Table of Contents

  • Placement
  • Playing VS Common Counter Decks
  • Deck Builder
  • Placement After Opposing Tower is Down
  • Basic Attack

Let’s start off by talking about the best placement for a hound. There are 3 places that you will usually want to play your hound.

Traditional (Back Corner) – I call this the “traditional” placement because it is the most common placement. By placing your hound on this tile, you are making it a lot harder for your opponent to lure your hound into the center.

Defensive (Behind King Tower) – This placement is “defensive” because your hound acts like a buffer for opposing air troops coming down either lane. It’s for if you are certain your opponent doesn’t have a building or if you know your opponent pushes both lanes and you always have trouble defending.

Counter Attack (At Bridge) – The “counter attack” placement is pretty self explanatory, it’s almost always for counter attacks. You may have used 5 elixir on a minion horde and taken out 16 elixer of your opponents push. You want to pressure your opponent ASAP while they are low on elixer. The counterattack placement means your hound will be played up front and pushed by other air troops to reach your opponent’s tower quickly, forcing them to play card they may not want to play at that time.


Now that you understand where to place your hound, we will see how to defend with a hound deck. One of the main problems with hound decks is the elixir investment you make when playing it, and the fact most of it’s damage can be stopped with 2 elixer zap. Because of this, there are three decks you must watch out for: giant decks, hog decks, and X-bow/Mortar siege decks.

Giant decks are a problem because of the placement of the giant. It’s easy to get caught out of cycle if you are running a high cost hound deck vs a low cost giant deck that swaps between placing the giant behind their king tower and at the bridge. For decks like those it’s significantly easier to win if you can count your opponents elixir or you can tell an approximate area of how much elixir they have. If you can count elixir, do not place a hound in the traditional position if your opponent is at 8 or more elixir, it could leave you with 5 elixir to defend against 10 or more. It’s better to set up a building, inferno dragon or other high damage dealing troop in the back.

Same thing for hog, except you have to be EVEN MORE careful! Hog+Barbs can often screw you over even if you are prepared. It’s 9 elixir but can be easily countered by a building+support troop (if you have enough elixir!) If you keep placing a hound right when the push is coming down, your tower will be decimated. Inferno tower and tombstone can both take out a lone hog and lone barbs, so you really only need to add one other troop. This may cost as little as 6 elixir to as much as 10, so know your deck and make sure it has some way to counter this combo.

Finally, we will talk about defending vs X-bow and mortar siege decks. The reason why these decks can be difficult for hound users is because a lot of hound decks only have one or two cards that can distract a x-bow or mortar. Let’s start with the obvious. If you have an inferno tower in your deck, it may be your best counter. This may only work once or twice before your opponent catches on and places troops as a buffer for your building. Other cards that work great vs x-bow/mortar are: mega minion, minion horde, inferno dragon, and miner (or any mini tank). For decks like this you may need to save certain cards to get rid of the x-bow/mortar support so that you can swiftly destroy your opponent’s siege buildings.


There are 3 main types of hound decks, 2 of which also feature the miner. Here are the basic builds. I bolded cards that define the deck or I believe can be found often with this deck/work well with it.

Slot [1]: Lava Hound [Win Condition]

Slot [2]: Miner [Win Condition #2]

Slot [3]: Pump/Air Troop [Win Condition Support]

Slot [4]: Building [Main Defense]

Slot [5]: Ground Troop [Defensive Support]

Slot [6]: Minions/Mega Minion/Inferno Dragon [The Runner]

Slot [7]: Often a spell, can be another Runner/Defensive Support [Versatile Response Card]

Slot [8]: Spell [Spell]

This is most like the deck I run. This is pretty much the basic guide for any hound/miner deck, very vague. It gives you more options to what defenses you like and if you believe pump is a good card. You probably noticed it says in the Versatile Response Card slot “often a spell, can be another Runner/Defensive Support”. It says often a spell, but really it should say 90% of the time a spell. It usually pairs with the second spell (so Lightning+Arrows, Rocket+Arrows, Fireball+Zap, Fireball+Mirror, Fireball+The Log, Poison+Zap, Poison+The Log). Because the defensive support is a ground troop, tombstone is not necessary in this build. All it means is that if you don’t use tombstone you must be very careful vs ground heavy decks.

Slot [1]: Lava Hound [Win Condition]

Slot [2]: Miner [Win Condition #2]

Slot [3]: Pump/Air Troop [Win Condition Support]

Slot [4]: Tombstone [Main Defense]

Slot [5]: Inferno Dragon/Mega Minion [Defensive Support]

Slot [6]: Minions/Mega Minion/Inferno Dragon [The Runner]

Slot [7]: Often a spell, can be another Runner/Defensive Support [Versatile Response Card]

Slot [8]: Spell [Spell]

This is what I call the meta build. It pretty much is what meta hound decks are. They start with miner hound, then tombstone is added. Next, Mega Minion can be added as the defensive support or The Runner. If Inferno Dragon is in the deck then Mega Minion should become The Runner. Same idea as the previous build with the spells, and win condition support should be chosen depending on your playstyle.

Slot [1]: Lava Hound [Win Condition]

Slot [2]: Non-Miner Ground Mini Tank/Balloon [Win Condition #2]

Slot [3]: Hut/Pump/Air Troop [Win Condition Support]

Slot [4]: Building/Mini Pekka/Inferno Dragon [Main Defense]

Slot [5]: Princess/Spear Goblins/Archers/Ground Troop [Defensive Support]

Slot [6]: Ice Wizard/Mega Minion/Baby Dragon/Minions [The Runner]

Slot [7]: Often a spell, can be another Runner/Defensive Support [Versatile Response Card]

Slot [8]: Spell [Spell]

This final baseline hound deck (for those of you who don’t have miner) is the off-meta hound deck. I have the least experience these kinds of decks but I figured out a pattern with most of my non-miner opponents and the few times I’ve used these decks: they either run some sort of air damaging spawner, have pump, or run minions/horde. These all help clean up troops that try to get rid of the hound. Often there is a non-miner ground mini tank (like lumberjack or knight) because if lava pups have a tank they can do thousands of damage. This build tends to have more opportunities for “counter attack” hound placement because of all the high DPS that will build on defense. This also means it’s very vulnerable to spells. If you use this build then do not bunch all your troops next to each other unless you want to see a positive elixir trade in favor of your opponent. The other type of non-miner hound deck is the LavaLoon deck. This deck works by shoving a balloon behind a hound and letting it deal massive damage to your opponent’s tower while the hound tanks. Usually the spells in this build are arrows and zap to quickly kill any troops that may stop your balloon right in it’s tracks. If you have miner, try to use one of the first two builds.


We now know how to make a basic hound deck and the most common placements for your hound, now let’s talk about how to play after you have taken an opponent’s tower. Once again we will go over the placement for your lava hound. There are still spots that your want to place your hound.

Traditional (Back Corner) – As mentioned before, in the back corner. It’s used most often and is pretty much the vanilla hound placement.

Defensive (Behind King Tower) – Once again, it’s virtually the same as before. It can stop air targeting troops coming from either lane. This can be very helpful if you and your opponent have taken towers in opposite lanes. Be sure you know that once you’ve taken a tower, placing a lava hound on either of these tiles will lead it to the remaining crown tower.

Pressure/Counter Attack (Inside Opponent’s Base) – This is the only different placement for the hound. Unlike the first counter attack position I mentioned, this position puts a lot more pressure onto your opponent, however it kills your hound faster. It should (usually) be used if you are going to counter attack, and should also be used if you want to pressure your opponent while they are low on elixer or wasted their counter. Hound+Minions or Hound+Mega Minions while force your opponent to play something or sacrifice their second tower. If you have a hound coming in from the back you can wait until both your opponents crown and king tower target it and they play a second hound in this position. It basically functions as a high health miner that requires a lot more elixer to kill. Remember that sometimes it’s better to stop playing your hound after you’ve taken a tower, or play it in the same lane that you’ve already taken a tower in. 7 elixir is a lot to invest in one lane that your opponent’s king and crown tower can virtually stop for 0 elixer. Your hound can act like a tank for your opponent’s musketeer and mega minion while your minion horde cleans up their giant.


If you’ve actually been reading this guide and not pretending to read it, leaving an upvote, and saying something like, “Great guide! lol ”, you would have noticed that I haven’t talked about the most important part about the hound: attacking. Lava hound decks focus on steadily chipping down your opponent’s tower, usually with the pups and miner. Support troops are really there to force your opponent to invest elixir before the hound pops that you will be able to take out with spells. Here’s an ideal attack.

FIRST, hound in the back. Your opponent responds with an inferno tower.

SECOND, you play minions to block the inferno tower from hitting your hound. Your minions get a couple of hits on your opponent’s inferno before they play a mega minion and wipe them out.

THIRD, you play a lightning to kill the inferno, mega minion and get tower damage. Your opponent responds with a musketeer to the edge of the map.

FOURTH, you play your miner to kill their musketeer. Your opponent mispredicted your miner placement and sends a skeleton army a few tiles away, they reach your miner after it starts to swing onto the musketeer.

FIFTH, you play your arrows to wipe out the skeleton army. Your miner is at half health when your hound pops.

SIXTH, your opponent zaps your pups. You still get around 1500 damage on their tower and used 5 more elixir than your opponent. You then let your opponent push and focus on defending while getting the elixir you lost back.

While you may not profit, you get an insane amount of tower damage for 5 elixir. Hound decks can also attack without the hound. If your opponent wasted their arrows and princess and your know their only other air attacking troops are ice spirit, you can surprise them with miner minion horde. If you needed to cycle and played miner minions and your opponent couldn’t defend properly and you got 1000 tower damage as well as an elixir advantage, try that again and see if they can counter it.

BE SURE NOT TO OVERCOMMIT! If you know your opponent arrows your pups every time, DO NOT play your miner thinking this time is different. You will be wasting 3 elixer. Try to force them to arrow early playing minions behind your hound.

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