Giant skeleton (GS) is a card that finds a fair bit of play in early and mid arenas, and having used it a lot, I thought I’d talk about its pros and cons.
Why you should use Giant Skeleton
The first thing you need to understand is that Giant skeleton is a defense card. While it both sounds and looks super satisfying to watch it ‘carelessly’ drop its bomb before the enemy tower- wiping out their tower, their counter push, and their dreams of ever making it to Spell Valley, you’ll screw yourself pretty often in trying this (as we’ll see later in cons).
The primary role of giant skeleton is defending against big pushes. Pekka double prince, pekka witch wizard, enemy GS + witch, combinations with barbarians, valkyrie, baby dragon, bomber etc. Basically pushes that not only guarantee a tower but may also threaten to three crown you. Giant skeleton is like a large ‘Don’t Panic’ button that you can press and then forget about. Pretty much all of these combinations lie at or above 9 elixir and will net you a sweet positive elixir trade. Anytime the enemy makes a 6+ elixir commitment, you can drop this guy and relax. It’s also useful in clutch situations against a lone prince charging your tower etc when you don’t have an immediate counter, even though that is a -1 elixir trade.
As such, you should generally save the GS for defence, and bring it out as a nasty surprise when the enemy gets too cocksure and piles their troops in. I’ve seen people spam the cry emote after I drop the big buy on their gg push, and I’ve seen people leave matches.
But defence sounds boring, doesn’t it? What you really want to hear is how to get your giant skeleton to their tower as you spam thanks. Well, there’s a few combinations that allow the GS to shine on offence. The best one I’ve seen (and used) is the Giant + GS + whatever combo. Drop your Giant or GS (depending on your hand), add the other as soon as the first reaches the river (It’s generally better to have the Giant in front because the GS will get distracted and hinder the Giant’s movement). Now drop your support troop (the whatever) some distance behind the GS and Giant. We don’t want freak spells or a horde to wipe out your big push. This ‘whatever’ will depend on what deck the enemy has. If they are fond of using the minion horde, you could use arrows or wizard. If defensive buildings like Inferno or bomb tower are their jam, baby dragon, minion horde etc might help you out. Fireball is also super useful against most defences (buildings, barbarians, horde, small troops, you name it). If they use freeze + high damage troops combination, fireball is still a great idea. With the impending nerf to freeze, this will get even easier.
The beauty of this combo is that not only is this super scary and hard to deal with (most players who haven’t seen this before will panic and make mistakes), it avoids the problem with counter pushes. In combos like Giant + loon etc, once the enemy has dealt with them, all of their troops are going to come marching into your lane, while you have little elixir to defend. Here, GS will wipe out most of the counter push on death, and there isn’t much penalty to playing this.
So play Giant Skeleton. It’s ridiculous fun.
Why you shouldn’t use Giant Skeleton
On offence, GS gets easily distracted. Any experienced players will counter GS combos easily. Alone, a cannon can destroy a GS (with help from the crown tower) which is a +3 elixir trade. A Valkyrie can deal with it too, also wiping out the back line if placed right. Barbarians placed right will not only kill the GS but also survive the bomb (always place them behind the incoming GS). Minion horde is a bad idea usually as it doesn’t stop the GS and well timed arrows will let the GS reach your tower and screw your happiness. Generally, GS on offence will only work against inexperienced or distracted opponents. But what about the combo I suggested? Let’s defend against that.
- Start with a Giant. The big guy will aggro the skeleton and make it walk all the way back. Deal with enemy Giant + whatever combo using buildings. horde etc. Standard stuff.
- Start with building (Inferno, cannon etc). Let enemy Giant walk in towards building. Place a Valkyrie behind the GS. Add some support troops around her to deal with the backline.
- Freeze combos- Freeze + Inferno + Goblins, Freeze + Bomb tower + mini-pekka etc work great. Beware of incoming fireballs.
There are more counters, but you get the point. GS isn’t hard to defend against. But what if you are pushing?
Well, if you don’t know whether they have a GS, and your deck is built around big starting pushes, it might be hard to not get screwed the first time. Giant, Balloon, Lava Hound etc avoid this problem as they obviously ignore the GS. So if your big push involves any of these, you should be fine. If not, well, you’ll have to forget about the big push. It’s immensely hard to win against an opponent who has a GS and is dead set on defence. Even if they have just used it, by the time you have built up your push, they’ll have it again. So break up your troops in the two lanes, go for split pushes, surprises etc. If things aren’t working, default to defence. Build up positive elixir through trades on home territory and then go for a split push.
So that’s the Giant Skeleton for you folks. Try not to get too spooked. 😛