The Balloon does an incredible amount of damage and ranks very high for HP but it is woefully underused by players at every level. This guide will explain the balloon card in depth, provide an in depth example of a balloon deck, and explain how that deck should be used.
This guide should be of help to free players in arenas 2 through 8.
The cards strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. Each of these factors weighs into the decision to use a balloon.
- Flying – unlike other tanks, the balloon can’t be countered easily by Goblins, Mini Pekka, or Barbarians. All of which are popular cards amongst the 2k+ meta.
- Targeting – Balloon bee lines for the nearest tower making it much more difficult to kite than Pekka, Prince, Dark Prince, or Giant Skeleton.
- Damage – Balloon hits for massive damage
- Death Damage – The balloon helps prevent counter attacks by dropping a bomb on death. Troops chipping away at a balloon from behind a tower will walk into its bomb on death.
These weaknesses are easily compensated for in a balance deck.
- Speed – The Balloon is only a medium speed. Unlike a Hog or a Miner, the opponent will have time to plan his counter. Its speed is nearly identical to the Giant which serves as a huge advantage. (Read more in the strategy section)
- HP – As a tank, the Balloon is outclassed in HP by most other tanks. Instead of comparing it to the Giant or Pekka, I prefer to think of it as a support card. I would compare the balloon to a musketeer. Its place is behind the tank, in which case, its HP is fantastic.
Balloon Deck 1
Anyone with a balloon can use this deck. It doesn’t require any high level or legendary cards. It does not need to be adapted as you climb the ladder.
- Balloon – an obvious necessity
- Giant – Giant is tanks damage while the balloon gets to your opponents tower
- Valkyrie – totally dismantles pushes
- Archers/Ice Wiz – higher DPS than spear goblins and not 1HKO’d by zap
- Minions – defense against ground troops, counter inferno tower
- Arrows/Princess – minion hoard can devastate this deck unless you’re prepared
- Barbarians/Goblins – Use barbarians if you have them
- Cannon/Collector/Bomber – Cannon counters hog. It’s also worth it to use barbarians against a hog if you have an elixir advantage via an elixir collector. I would only use bomber if I haven’t reached arena three to unlock the cannon. The elixir is definitely better if you have one because this deck requires a fairly high elixir push.
Deck 1 General Strategy
The idea is to get the Balloon to the opponent’s tower to hit it for massive damage. Our main technique to accomplish this is the push. It has a few variations, of course:
Full push – When done properly, this push will destroy a tower. It takes a lot of elixir so it may only be feasible in double elixir depending on how much pressure your opponent is placing on you.
- Play the Giant near the back of your side. This push takes a lot of elixir so you want maximum time to rebuild before your push reaches the bridge.
- Add a support troop. You don’t want to just allow your giant to get chipped away at by weak troops that your opponent throws out. Drop minions or archers behind your giant. If you know that they don’t have an air troop, Valkyrie does very well behind the giant too because she can stand behind the Giant and wipe out troops in front of the Giant. The important thing to remember here is that the Giant needs to cross the bridge first. Otherwise the towers will take out your support troops.
- If you have enough elixir, drop a balloon behind the Giant. Troops shouldn’t be able to kill the giant because it has enough HP to tank while your support takes them out leaving your opponent trying to go for the balloon but we can counter that too.
- Get those arrows ready. Once your three part push is on the ground, the opponent will not be able to counter with only one card. They will likely throw any sort of combination including
Half Push With Balloon – Play the balloon right behind a Valkyrie. The balloon will likely get a hit or two off which still devastates the opponent.
Half Push With Giant – A giant followed by archers will is very difficult to counter even without the balloon can still deal massive damage to the opponent
Balloon placement – We want the Giant to take all the damage from troops or towers so we send it in first. The balloon must go behind the giant or it will be hit by the towers. Your opponent will try to drop troops in a position to hit your balloon because it does significantly more damage than the giant. If the balloon is on the left of the giant, they will drop them to the left. This will be incredibly difficult for them for two reasons.
- Footprint – The giant has a much larger footprint than the balloon. The giant will completely cover the perimeter of your balloon for a short while. This makes the balloon impossible to hit for enemy troops. See poorly drawn diagram
- Perception – since the balloon is flying and the giant is on the ground, it can be difficult to tell whether the front or back is exposed. If they drop their only counter on the wrong side their tower is destroyed. If you get your arrows off in time, their tower is destroyed.
Pretty good guide, missed a huge point though. Get 10 elixir and place giant right at bridge and immediately place balloon on his head, then hover arrows. This push is insane if they don’t have air defense ready. Next tip: avoiding defense towers. If you place the balloon at the very furthest side, 2 tiles behind the river and behind the little nook that touches the river it will dodge right past a centered defense structure. But until they show that they have a structure, play it on the Giants head as this is safer and faster. Last tip: once one tower is down, play the giant followed immediately by balloon right at the corner on their side of the map. As close to the second tower as you can. It’s the area that opens up once you take a tower. This is an insanely short path to the tower and they will often panic. Last last tip: try to feel out what cards they have and try to bait out any air defense, primarily minions. Or know that they will play minions and hover arrows or even better predict it. Good luck, balloon is a blast
Deck 1 Counters
Opponents will likely attempt some of the following strategies.
- Minion Horde – the horde will destroy a balloon in three hits. If your balloon and giant are moving together properly, you should be able to get the arrows off for a positive elixir trade with plenty of HP left for the push. If they catch you off guard, it will destroy your push.
- Kite with a building – largely ineffective, if the giant hasn’t killed it before the balloon gets there, the balloon will destroy most buildings in one hit. The exception is bomb towers. Let the minions go crazy on that one.
- Musketeer – again, it is about placement. If you let your opponent lock on to the balloon it will not make it to the tower. If it locks on to the giant, his tower is likely going down.
Deck 1 Defense
Giant Push – Drop barbs or goblins out of range of the opponents support troops. Then throw a Valkyrie right in the middle of his or her support troops. Valkyrie should be able to handle wizard, witch, bomber, archers, spear goblins and any combination of two of these troops.
Spawner/Hut – If the throw a barbarian hut, immediately throw everything you have into pushing the other lane. They will be seven elixir behind you not reaped any advantage from it yet so you should be able to take their tower and just play defense. If you are seeing a lot spawner decks at your level, you may consider ditching a card for fireball.
Double Prince – Barbarians to tank damage and archers or Valkyrie to dish out the damage. You should be able to counter for an advantage.
Hog – If you have an elixir pump on the field it will be worth it to throw barbarians high on the hogs path. If done properly, the hog will not even get a hit on your tower. If you don’t have the elixir pump, kite the hog with a cannon. If done properly, your towers will kill it before it can land a hit.
Pekka Push – Take out the support with Valkyrie and kite her around until shes gone. I haven’t met one since the balance but I think barbarians will still be good enough to take her out.
Poison Beatdown – Barbarians can withstand the lifespan of poison so they are really good if your opponent throws a poison spell while his or her golem/pekka/giant skele start working on your tower.
Balloon Freeze – a lot of people will run a similar deck and freeze everything while the balloon wrecks a tower. I used this deck briefly but had a hard time justifying the four elixir for freeze when I could do more damage by throwing an extra support card in the back of a push. You don’t see freeze used offensively at 2k+ trophies because everyone has learned how to counter it.
Flying Push – I found a lava hound recently. I’ve been using this deck for a few days now. It is really good because people don’t often have the ability to counter the all flying push. Elixir costs are high and losing the Valkyrie hurt me on defense quite a bit though.