Clash of Clans Lavaloon Guide
Clash of Clans Lavaloon Guide by TPGIV
First things first: what is lavaloon? A lot of people misunderstand this as an attack solely consisting of lavahounds and balloons. This type of attack used to work great. In its most common form, it was called “penta” (for 5 lavahounds). It involved 20 balloons, 4 rages, and 5 hounds. The reason why this was so effective was because that the “AI” for lavapups (the little demons that come out when a lavahound dies) would target the enemy’s CC troops and the enemy’s heroes. Once those lavapups were in a rage spell, they would kill the enemy queen and enemy CC almost instantly. It was an unbelievably powerful attack, and supercell nerf’d it when they added in air sweepers. Lavapups no longer “aggro” on to the enemy queen and CC. So what does this mean for lavaloon? It means you have to adapt. You have to somehow take out the CC and take out the queen yourself. An enemy AQ can absolutely destroy any attack, whether that be lavaloon, or a hog based attack. Unless you are using something like gowipe, you MUST kill the queen before your attack begins.
Since the air sweeper update, new forms of lavaloon have become popular to combat the AI changes. The most popular method is to use a “golem drive”. A golem drive’s purpose is to wipe out the CC, the AQ, and at least 1 AD (you HAVE to get 1 AD, any more than 1 is a bonus). As to what to bring on a golem drive, it differs for every base. In general, you have 4 different parts of your golem drive. First you have to have a “funnel”. The whole point of a funnel is based upon what your troops will target. Giants/hogs/balloons will target defenses primarily. Things like wizards and your heroes, however, will target whatever building is closest to them first. This is important to keep in mind when funneling, because you destroy buildings on the edges to where you are sure that your heroes will funnel into the part of the base that you want them to. Wizards are the most popular troop used to funnel due to their high DPS for low troop cost and they have a bit of range. However, most people get tunnel-vision and forget that there are several other troops that can accomplish a funnel when wizards cannot. For example, if you need to destroy a building and there is a defense that would hit your funnel troop and the tank golem would be out of range, you can use a valkyrie to destroy the building, as it has much higher hitpoints than a wizard. If there are cannons/mortars/xbows on ground near the funnel spot, you can use minions to funnel, as those ground defenses will not be able to hit them. The second part of the golem drive is your tanking. This is almost always a golem, and it almost always needs to be a max golem in your clan castle. This golem will tank for your funneling troops, and your heroes. Sometimes you might need more than 1 golem, but I will discuss that later. If your funneling troops will be hit by defenses while funneling, drop the golem first to shield for them. The third part of a golem drive is getting your troops into the area where they need to go. If you can use wallbreakers, that’s great. If not, you might have to use a jump spell. The fourth part is the most important part, and thats the role of the heroes. Your heroes are the real damage dealers in the equation, and your BK is almost like having another golem. Like I said earlier, your heroes will target whatever building is closest to them except for one thing in their AI: If an enemy CC troop or enemy hero does damage to one of your troops while in the radius of your heroes, they will immediately leave their target to go kill the CC troop or hero. This is crucial for killing the enemy AQ.
As for the enemy CC, there have been recent changes. With the addition of a second poison spell that you can bring, every troop except golems and lavahounds can be “double-poisoned”, which is where you drop 1 poison, wait 5-6 seconds, and then drop the second spell on the CC troops. This means if the enemy’s CC is easy to lure, you can drop a hog, drop your 2 poisons, and your attacking a base with no CC after hardly giving up anything. If you are able to do this, almost always do it.
Now, back to the goal of the golem drive. As I said earlier, you must take out at least 1 AD, the enemy AQ, and the CC (unless you already lured and killed it). Sometimes it is easier to accomplish your golem drive goals than others. Sometimes the queen and AD’s will be buried deeper in the base and will require wallbreakers and a jump spell to reach. Sometimes you might need 4 earthquake spells, which will destroy any walls within its 4 tile radius. Depending on the base, your goals might change. For example, if there are 2 AD’s near the enemy archer queen, you would want to get both air defenses. This is often too much to ask of a single golem, and thus a 2 golem drive might be needed, which brings me to my point about how many golems you should bring. My general rule of thumb is to bring 1 golem for every AD that you plan to destroy on your golem drive. This usually is either a 1 AD/golem or 2 AD/golem question, as I have only used a 3 golem drive for lavaloon once or twice. If you need a little more strength on your drive, you can always use a rage spell (for added DPS) or a heal (to prolong your drive). Rage spells are usually the better choice. As one would expect, higher level heroes will make for much more effective golem drives.
One thing to note is that if you can somehow eliminate one of the objectives easily, always do so. An example of this is if the enemy’s base has his archer queen on the outside of the base or in a position where she will jump over a wall to the outside of the base. In such situations, you can trade your BK for the enemy AQ. Attacking an enemy base without an AQ makes things much easier and negates the need for a golem drive. One of the main reasons as to why a TH9 should NEVER fail a war attack against a TH8 is that when attacking a TH8 it is like attacking a TH9 where you have already accomplished your objectives, yet you are still at a full army (1 less AD, and no AQ). Another example of eliminating an objective is if the opposing base has an air defense on the outside of his base. If you can destroy it with a wizard or a few hogs, do so.
Once you have achieved your objectives of the golem drive, you begin the lavaloon part of the attack. Don’t wait until the golem drive dies out until you begin lavalooning, as your golem drive will be distracting some defenses and taking some heat off of your lavaloon.
The lavaloon has 2 parts obviously: lavahounds and balloons. The balloons are absolutely a “glass cannon” (all offense, no defense). Max balloons do an incredible amount of damage, but they are lacking in hitpoints and they are VERY slow. Two balloon drops will destroy any TH9 defense except for xbows The previous statement is very important to remember, as it is the basis as for how you drop your balloons. Because of the ever-important “2-drop rule”, you drop 2 balloons on perimeter defenses. If you have to choose between perimeter defenses, destroy one that targets air troops. Cannons/mortars/xbows on ground cannot hurt a lavaloon attack. Another very important fact to remember is that balloons target defenses. This means that balloons will target whatever defense is closest to them. After every defense is down, they will target whatever is closest to them. Balloon “pathing” (how balloons will move throughout the base) is the biggest part of lavaloon that beginners do not understand. Sometimes people will drop 15 balloons near an air defense and since they do not understand pathing enough to recognize that there were defenses closer to the loons than the AD, the loons will not travel to the AD. The way to get around a situation like this is to drop “delayed loons”. What that means is that you drop loons to destroy defenses around the AD’s, then you drop a couple of loons so that they now will travel to the air defense. You will rarely have “excess life” on your lavahounds, so the general rule is that you want to get your balloons into the air defenses to destroy them as quickly as possible. Because loons are so slow, you need something to speed them up. The two options are rage spells or haste spells. A lvl 1 haste spell has the same speed increase as a max rage spell. A lvl 2 haste (max for TH9, outside of CC spells), will speed up loons faster than a rage. Sometimes, haste is better for loons because loons really do not need the damage increase that rage spells provide. Hastes have downsides, however. First of all, their spell radius is smaller than the radius of the rage spells (haste spells have a 4 tile radius, rage spells have a 5 tile radius). As I said above, 2 loons rarely need a damage increase. However, when they are hitting an xbow, 2 drops will not destroy the xbow unless they are in a rage spell. If there is a core in the base with xbows, a rage spell would work nicely there. Another important thing to note is that while loons generally do not need the damage increase, it GREATLY benefits lavapups. Lavapups in a rage spell can save attacks, and I have seen them destroy many AQ’s. Last note about rage/haste: In the beginning of an attack, your loon drops should be “crisp” and your loons should be sticking together nicely to where they will be in groups of 2. Towards the end of the attack, there might be 1 loon by itself destroy an AD or some other defense. Loons will be scattered by the end of the attack, and since they might not be in clean groups, I would suggest rages at the end of the attack, since a single loon might need a damage increase. My final position on haste/rage: Hastes can be very effective, but in unique situations. Unless you really feel comfortable with lavaloon or you have extra spells, stick with rage spells, as they are easier to use.
The last troop to be mentioned: lavahounds. Lavahounds are your tanks. They are often called golems of the sky. Lavahounds will target the closest air defense to them. This is incredibly important to note, because if your lavahounds split to different air defenses, chances are your attack is finished. The best suggestion I can offer on deploying lavahounds is to drop them all on an air defense where you can predict their pathing. For example, if the enemy base has all of their air defenses in a straight line, it will be easy to predict where your lavahounds will travel to. It becomes tricky when the enemy base has all of their air defenses in a symmetrical square. You can still predict where the lavahounds are going to travel, but you have to “prep” them a bit. For example, if a base has 4 air defenses that are a perfect square (1 north, 1 east, 1 south, 1 west), and you want to drop them on the eastern air defense so that they travel south–>west–>north, you need to drop your hounds from the south eastern part of the base to where your lavahounds will be “leaning” towards the southern air defense. Doing a golem drive and destroying an air defense will generally make lavahound pathing much easier. In the hypothetical situation I stated about your hounds traveling east–>south–>west–>north, they are travelling in a clockwise manner. You want your hounds to travel in either a clockwise or counterclockwise motion. While your hounds move from AD to AD, you are dropping your loons in that sector so that the lavahounds shield your loons. While your hounds are travelling, the loons are left behind to hopefully push into the core of the base and wipe out the defenses there. One last important loon drop idea to keep in mind is the concept of backside loons: loons that you safe for defenses at the end of the attack. If you know that there is a wizard tower that won’t be touched until the end of the attack, save a couple of loons to take it out so it doesn’t wipe out an entire stack of loons.
You want your hounds to soak up as much damage as possible so your loons will stay up and destroy the base. An important feature of bases to take note of is the bases’ “coverage”. Coverage is a term I used to describe how many defenses will be targeting the lavahounds as opposed to your loons. Wizard towers are a very underrated defense when it comes to lavaloon attacks. If all your loons are stacked in one big pile, a few shots from a wizard tower can ruin your attack. Ideally when lavalooning, the enemy AD’s will be in range of the enemy’s wizard towers, xbows, teslas, and hopefully archer towers. While I stated that you want all defenses to be targeting your hounds, I have a very shitty analogy that is surprisingly helpful when it comes to lavahounds: lavahounds are like a very delicate cooking recipe, and air defenses are like the oven. You don’t want to “undercook” your lavahounds, because you want them to pop! Lavapups are your cleanup troops, and unpopped hounds might mean that your attack runs out of time. However, you can’t “overcook” your hounds to where they pop too soon and the enemy AD’s will start picking off your loons quickly.
Most enemy’s do not put enough importance on their air defenses. Air defenses should always be the first thing you max out. Because of that, many enemy’s will have lvl 6 AD’s. It’s hard to set a golden rule for how many hounds to bring, but I almost always bring 1 lavahound per air defense.With that being said, if the enemy AD’s are maxed (lvl 7) and very difficult for your loons to get to (buried deep in the base), it might be best to bring 1 hounds for every AD + 1 extra lavahound. Your general attack is going to bring 1 hound per AD and 1 rage spell per AD (to speed up loons for them to get to the AD). How deep the enemy’s air defenses are are very important to keep in mind. If the air defenses are buried, you might want to drop a rage towards the edge of the base to speed up your loons. If the air defenses are towards the edge, drop your rages a little deeper. The reason you do this is to make sure your lavahounds take a good amount of damage and hopefully pop without your loons getting smashed by AD’s. It’s a delicate balance that can only be mastered with practice.
That concludes the nuts and bolts of lavalooning (for now at least :) ). I will mention some attacks with basic strategies as I think that will be helpful.
Cold-Blooded Lavaloon: Cold-blooded = 1 golem. This attack involves a 1 golem drive in order to wipe out 1 AD, enemy AQ, and enemy CC (unless previously killed). The attack begins with your golem going down, unless you can funnel without taking fire, then start with your funnel. Funnel–>golem–>heroes–>kill AQ/AD/CC–>Send in hounds on 1 AD–>begin 2 loon drops–>drop rage–>continue loon drops.
Shattered Lavaloon: Shattered = 2 golems. This attack is essentially the same as above except you are raising your objective to get 2 air defenses, the enemy AQ, and the enemy CC.
Stoned Lavaloon: Stoned = 3 golems. This is a rare attack. I have done this I believe twice in my wars. Same as previous attacks, except aim is 3 AD’s.
Attacks influenced by unique CC’s: With the addition of players receiving a clan castle dark spell, “double poison” attacks have become extremely popular. As stated above, anything other than a golem or a lavahound will be destroyed by dropping 2 poison spells on them. What’s important to note about golems and lavahounds is that they cannot hit air troops, and thus they will not touch the lavaloon portion of your attack. With golems/lavahounds/barbs/giants/hogs/pekkas/valks/goblins/healers/wallbreakers/balloons in the enemy CC, some attack strategies become much more appealing. Here are a few:
Zapqueen: This attack seeks to accomplish the objectives of a golem drive through lightning spells (and possibly earthquakes or poisons). The idea is to kill the enemy AQ and destroy at least 1 AD with spells and lavaloon the rest. If you do not have a CC to worry about, you can afford to bring more loons/hounds, which will you need if you use your spells on the queen/AD.
Double zapquake: This attack uses 2 lightings and 1 earthquake on two different air defenses. Thus you are beginning the attack with a full army and zero spells while the enemy base has the enemy AQ up and only 2 air defenses. (If you can zap an AD while the AQ is nearby, do so to take some health off of her).
Penta Lavaloon: This attack receives its name because you bring 5 lavahounds for it. The idea is for raged lavapups to take out the enemy AQ, but it does take a little bit of luck. If you are sending 1 hound to every AD, send the max lavahound (get it for your CC) and another hound to the AD with the queen. Always bring rage spells for penta, as you will need the pups to be raged.
Again, sorry for the length, but I hope you found this helpful! I have learned all of this from experience/videos and in the process of getting our clan to 65-1! Go lemons! -TPGIV
EDIT: Not at all trying to say that this is the “ultimate guide” for lavaloon. It is just what I have found to work the best and what I try to tell me clanmates when it comes to lavaloon. EDIT: Making things look pretty EDIT: Wow, thank you all for all the positive feedback, I’m glad this was helpful. And thank you to the kind stranger who gave me the gold! First gold ever :)