I’ve been playing CR since soft launch and have played a lot of matches. I’m not the best player in the world (currently sitting around ~2200 trophies), however, I thought I’d share how I play/counterplay every card in the game with you guys.
Arrows – Arrows is a huge deterrent card, as it can one shot warm troops – Goblins, Spear Goblins, Goblin Barrel, Minions, Minion Hordes, Skeletons (from Tombstone, Skeleton Army, Witch, and Skeletons), Princess – and in most cases, put the Arrows caster at an elixir advantage. To effectively counter arrows, try to bait it out before plopping down your cheap swarm swarm. My personal favorite is to throw a preemptive Goblin Barrel which usually forces out the arrows before playing my Minion Swarm/Spear Gob/Gobs.
Bomber – Like arrows, Bomber trades very well vs swarm troops and Barbarians, especially if it is played behind the tower or another beefy troop to tank the damage. If their Bomber is played behind the tower, it may be worth a Fireball to take him out, damage the tower, and save your push. If he is played behind a tank and pushing onto your side of the arena, dropping something a bit beefier behind the Bomber to attack him (such as Knight) will take him out easily while sustaining minimal damage. If the Bomber is locked on to your tower, he can do a ton of damage, however, it may be best to ignore him if the tower is locked onto him as well as he dies in 2 tower hits.
Archer – Archers are moderately slow, do a decent amount of damage, and are quite beefy for a cheap ranged unit. They can be taken out with a single Fireball, which may be worth it if you can take out a few other troops or damage the tower at the same time, although you probably don’t want to waste your Fireball on Archers by themselves unless absolutely necessary. Splash damage from Wizards, Baby Dragons, and Bombers also destroy Archers with relative ease and should survive with some health left.
Knight – Knight is a cheap, relatively tanky, moderate damage melee troop that is pretty easy to counter but can do quite a bit of damage to your tower if left unchecked. Air troops do very well vs him as he is melee and cannot damage them. I would not suggest using glass cannon type troops such as Bomber or Wizard vs him unless there is a troop or tower tanking for it.
Fireball – Similar to Arrows but does quite a bit more damage in a smaller radius, instantly killing every troop Arrows can, one-shotting Bombers (and sometimes Wizards and Musketeers), and being able to bring Barbarians, Wizards, Witches, and Musketeers to a sliver of health left. You can bait out the Fireball in the same way you bait out Arrows, then play your swarm troops/Barbarians/Wizards without fear.
Mini PEKKA – Glass cannon melee troop with low-ish HP but massive damage. Mini PEKKA needs another troop to tank damage or else it will die easily. To take out Mini PEKKA, distract it with cheap swarm troops such as Goblins, Spear Goblins, Skeletons, etc.
Musketeer – Glass cannon ranged troop that can deal a lot of damage from afar if left alone. Always protect your Musketeer with a troop or tower to tank for her. To counter someone playing Musketeer behind their tower, use a Fireball on her and the tower and pray one of your troops hits her once. To counter a Musketeer that has crossed over to your side of the arena, simply drop something cheap such as Goblins or Knight on top of her to quickly take her out.
Giant – A massive meat shield that targets only buildings, the Giant is often used to protect squishy ranged troops behind it. It is rarely used on defense, but can also be used to distract your troops away from the tower or defensive troops. To counter the Giant, simply drop high-damage swarm troops such as Goblins or Barbarians on top of him. If you want to buy more time, dropping some defensive buildings such as a Cannon or Tesla will distract the giant away from your tower while doing some damage to it. Giants are rarely played by themselves, however, and it is much trickier to stop a Giant push than a lone Giant. If you’re faced with a Giant push, I recommend using Fireball/Arrows on the supporting troops behind the Giant. If those are not available, wait till they cross the river into your side of the arena, then drop troops on top of the supporting troops (not the Giant). Be wary of dropping squishy swarm troops such as Spear Goblins or Goblins if they have lots of splash damage such as Wizards or Bombers behind the giant.
Prince – The infamous Prince has brought more difficulty to new players than any other card in the game, however, he is easily countered. He’s relatively tanky, fast, and can become even faster and gain 2x the damage on the next hit. Once a Prince is dropped, you have to react quickly. The key to taking out prince is with cheap swarm troops. Goblins, Spear Goblins, Skeletons all work great and should do enough damage to the Prince/distract it long enough to the point where your tower should easily clean him up. An element of countering Prince that a lot of players overlook is distracting him from your tower. Drop your troops towards the middle of your side of the arena so that the Prince has to spend extra time travelling while taking tower shots. Never drop single troops such as Musketeer to counter the Prince or they will be one-shot by the charge. Additionally, Skeleton Army and Tombstone both stop him dead in his tracks.
Baby Dragon – In my opinion, the best card in the game. A tanky, flying troop that does splash damage and kills most cards that can attack him in 1-2 hits, the Baby Dragon is simply too versatile. If available, the Musketeer is the single best card to trade vs Baby Dragon. If not, you HAVE to wait until the Baby Dragon is locked on to something tanky (troop or tower) and drop your Spear Gobs/Arrows/Minions around the Baby Dragon (but not in front of him or they could die to splash damage). Teslas and Inferno Towers also tend to do pretty well vs. Baby Dragon, although I do not think a lone Baby Dragon is worth reactively throwing down a defensive building for. The one downside of Baby Dragon is that it doesn’t do very much tower damage and it sometimes may be worth just sacrificing the tower damage in favor of saving elixir.
Skeleton Army – A card that should almost always be played reactively, Skeleton Army is great against big threats as the skeletons quickly surround them and take it out. Skeleton Army however, is easily countered by Arrows, Fireball, Baby Dragon, Wizard, Bomber – basically anything that does splash damage, so you rarely see it on offense.
Witch – The summoned skeletons do most of the Witch’s damage but she does do a relatively low amount of splash damage. You can Fireball her and leave her with a sliver of health for the tower to take out, or you can simply drop something a bit beefier (like a Knight) behind her and quickly take her out while sustaining minimal damage.
Spear Goblin – One of the most versatile cards in the game, spawning three fast and squishy Goblins with relatively high-damage ranged attacks, you’ll see this card getting played a LOT. If they’ve built up a swarm of Spear Goblins + other squishy swarm troops such as Goblins and Minions, it’s usually worth an Arrows or maybe even a Fireball if they’ve got some Archers, Barbarians, or Wizards thrown in the mix. Otherwise, any troop should easily take them out. Splash damage from Wizards, Bombers, and Baby Dragons are especially effective vs Spear Goblins as they can easily kill all 3 in a single attack. If it’s just 3 Spear Goblins attacking your tower by themselves, it’s usually best to play nothing at all, as you’ll take minimal damage and the tower will quickly take them out.
Goblins – Goblins are similar to Spear Goblins, spawning 3 quick and squishy Goblins. However, left unchecked, Goblins will utterly decimate troops/towers with their very high damage. Take Goblins out the same way you’d take out Spear Goblins – Arrows or Fireball if you can take out other valuable cards at the same time. Otherwise, any troop should work. Splash damage wrecks Goblins just as badly as Spear Goblins, and a lone 3 Goblins vs your tower should be left alone as the tower will quickly take them out.
Goblin Hut – Goblin Huts can be used to apply small but constant pressure to a lane and/or reinforce a push. If your opponent plays a Goblin Hut on one lane, then troops in another, it may be worth it to just ignore the Hut as your tower will only take a few hundred chip damage throughout the Hut’s duration. If he is massing Huts on one side to gear up for a big push, it may be worth using Fireball on the Hut, but only if you can hit multiple Huts or you can hit the Hut and the tower. Better yet, if you have Lightning or Poison, wait till he puts down 2 huts and then hit both huts and the tower to deal massive damage. Otherwise, Goblin Hut is a somewhat slow card, and an early push especially with the support of splash damage from a Wizard, Bomber, or Baby Dragon can punish Hut users.
Valkyrie – This card is rarely used, however, it is good to know that she does Splash damage in a circle around her. To kill her, you do not want to use squishy swarm troops such as either Goblin or any Skeletons. Air works well against her (minions and minion horde especially since they do high damage), otherwise, something a bit tankier such as a Knight should be able to take her out. Barbarians can also work in a pinch, but they will sustain some heavy damage in the process.
Lightning – This card is THE anti building card, great against Hut decks, Xbow decks, and Defense/Rocket decks. Also good against slow pushes that rely on getting a somewhat squishy damage dealer such as a Wizard or Musketeer behind a big tank, as it can kill the troops and damage the tower at the same time. The downside is that the card is very expensive at 6 elixir and players usually wait for maximum value before they use it. If you’re running a slow push, try putting out your tank troop before your damage troops to discourage them from using it when your troop goes around your tower.
Goblin Barrel – Another card that often stumps newer players, an unchecked Goblin Barrel can do a ton of damage to your tower. Players will most often throw it right on top of your tower, and a preemptive Arrows on top of your tower right after the Barrel has crossed the river should take care of the Goblins before they can get a stab in. Zap also works well against Goblin Barrel but the timing is different as Zap casts quicker. You also have to be more accurate using Zap as the radius of the spell is smaller. Fireball works in a pinch for a zero net elixir advantage and timing is similar to Arrows. If you don’t have one of those 3 spells at your disposal, drop some cheap troops on top of your tower to draw the Goblins’ attention away from the tower.
Skeleton – 1 elixir Skeletons are rarely used, but can be very powerful if used effectively. They are essentially used for only 1 purpose: to distract troops away from the tower. When playing 1 elixir skeletons, you should almost always do so on defense in the middle of your side of the arena. Watch out for splash damage from Wizards, Bombers, and Baby Dragons as they will one-shot your skeletons. Skeletons are also a great counter for Prince if played in the right place as they will distract him for a while and deal enough damage for your tower to take him out quickly. They can also be used in a pinch to deal damage to a Hog Rider. Unless there are a lot of other juicy troops around the Skeletons, it’s usually not worth it to waste an Arrows or Fireball on them.
Minions – The Minion trio can be thought of as flying Spear Goblins. They’re easily countered by basically any ranged troop, and your tower can make quick work of Minions by themselves. For this reason, you mostly see Minions being played on defense. Unless there are a lot of squishy swarm troops with the Minions, I recommend holding your Arrows or Fireball and letting your tower take care of the Minions. Zap is a spell worth considering as it should either kill the Minions in one hit or leave them with a sliver of HP left, while putting you at an elixir advantage.
Tombstone – Tombstone is very rarely used for offense, as the Skeletons usually will never be able to reach a tower. It is, however, a terrific counter to quick offensive troops such as Prince and Hog Rider, and if placed correctly, a single Tombstone by itself should be enough to take care of a Prince or a Hog Rider on defense. If your opponent is playing a Tombstone to distract your push, it is usually not worth specifically counterplaying. Instead, just reinforce your push with more troops to help take out the Skeletons quicker.
Bomb Tower – Bomb Tower is the beefiest defensive structure in the game and does relatively high amounts of splash damage to ground troops. However, it’s glaring weakness is that it only damage ground troops, so air troops can easily take it out. If your opponent drops a Bomb Tower, do not drop off Barbarians or any other ground troops with less HP as the Bomb Tower will make quick work of them. Instead, Minions, Minion Horde, or Baby Dragon should be able to do a signficant to the Bomb Tower if it is close to the river. Alternatively, dropping a massive tank such as a PEKKA, Golem, or Giant along with supporting ranged troops makes a beefy push that can easily deal with the Bomb Tower and then some.
Giant Skeleton – It’s not the Giant Skeleton’s attack that is dangerous, it’s the bomb that he drops after he dies. The bomb detonates 3 seconds after his death and will effectively 1-shot the vast majority of troops within its small radius. If the Giant Skeleton successfully locks on to your tower, his death bomb will take out ~50% of that tower’s health. Therefore, countering a Giant Skeleton has to do a lot less with killing it off than it does with luring it away from your tower. In order to take out a Giant Skeleton effectively, you should lure him into the middle of your side of the arena (ideally where both towers can hit him) and keep him there with cheap troops. It’s more important to keep him away from your towers than it is to kill him quickly, so it’s often worth it to just drop troops one at a time as opposed to all at once and let your towers do the damage. Once one set of cheap troops dies, drop the next and keep him in place until he dies. If you overcommit to killing the Giant Skeleton, the bomb will often wipe out your entire push, so be careful of that!
Balloon – As a beefy flying unit that deals massive damage to buildings, the Balloon can be tricky to deal with. There are two ways to dealing with Balloons – luring and killing. To lure, use any structure in front of your tower, to get the slow Balloon to waste time going out of its way to kill it. While it is flying, drop down your ranged troops and hope you have enough time to take it out before it one-shots your structure and then attacks your tower. I prefer to straight up kill the Balloon, which requires having a high damage troop that can hit air (basically Musketeer or Minion Horde). Your opponent will most likely drop the Balloon as close to the river as possible on the edge of the arena. You should drop your Minion Horde/Musketeer close to the river as well, never behind the tower if you’re in arena 5 or up. The reason is many Balloon decks also run Freeze and if your Minion Horde or Musketeer get frozen, then your tower is dead. If done correctly, the Balloon should pop before it reaches your tower. Be careful of a preemptive Arrows on your opponent’s second Balloon attempt if you use Minion Horde to counter the Balloon the first time.
Cannon – A cheap, relatively beefy defensive building, the Cannon is great at luring and killing Hogs, Giants, and Golems, as well as reinforcing your defenses. Its main weakness is its inability to hit air. I like to play it reactively as a buffer against building targeting troops. It is usually not necessary to proactively counter our opponents Cannon unless you’re running a Hog Deck, in which case you MAY want to consider Fireballing it or Lightninging it if you can also hit their troops or the tower.
Barbarians – A well-rounded card that is a staple in many decks, the Barbarian spawns 4 relatively tanky, relatively high-damage melee troops. Left unchecked, they will quickly take out your tower. The trick to taking out Barbarians efficiently is splash damage. I almost always Fireball a group of Barbarians marching down the lane – one fireball will allow your tower to take them out in one or two shots. Bonus points if you can hit the tower with the Fireball too. If you don’t have a Fireball at your disposal, a Wizard or Bomber behind the tower works really well too. Just be wary of your opponent’s counter-Fireball that could kill your Wizard or Bomber and damage your tower as well. Baby Dragons can also be used to take out Barbarians, but seeing they take 5-6 hits to take out a group of Barbs, it is best to drop it near the bridge to give it more time to hit the Barbs as they move down your lane. If you do not have splash damage at your disposal, your best bet is to use cheap swarm troops to lure the Barbs into the middle of your side of the Arena, buying your towers more time to hit them and potentially getting both towers to attack them.
Rocket – The highest damage spell in the game, the Rocket is the cornerstone of a Defensive siege deck. Most decks that run Rocket will aim to establish an unstoppable defense on their side of the arena, then start throwing out Rockets on your crown tower. The best way to counter this is to play very aggressively and keep these decks from setting up that infrastructure. Commit to taking down their defenses so they cannot use the 6 elixir Rocket without putting themselves at a huge elixir disadvantage. Also, do not give them efficient trades by placing troops near your towers, as the Rocket will kill those and do significant tower damage making that 6 elixir price tag more worth it.
Barbarian Hut – The cornerstone of hut decks, Barbarian Huts are expensive and beefy, and spawn 2 beefy Barbarians every few seconds. Left alone, these Barbarians will do significant chip damage to your tower throughout the Hut’s duration. Backed with some cheap swarm troops for a push or a few Goblin Huts, the game can quickly get out of control. If you don’t have a good elixir advantage once double elixir hits against a Hut deck (and they have a lot of Huts up) you’ll most likely be overwhelmed by your opponent’s ability to double the number of Huts on the board. However, Barbarian Huts are very expensive at 7 elixir and leave your opponent wide open to counter attack. The trick to counter Hut decks is to apply pressure early and keep the number of Huts in control. If you can, Fireball a Hut (or better yet, multiple Huts and some troops) and the tower, it’s almost always worth it. If you’re running it, Lightning or Poison are the end-all-be-all Hut counters, with the ability to take out a significant chunk of the Hut’s duration/health and the ability to easily hit multiple targets at once. Doing so against a Hut deck will put you at a big advantage.
Rage – Rage is pretty bad and rarely ever gets played. Best way to counterplay it is to Fireball or Arrows whatever is being Raged and attacking your tower. Not much else to say here.
X-Bow – The original rage machine, the X-Bow gained an infamous reputation during the soft launch as an infuriating card to play against and counter. With the ability to hit a tower from across the map, the X-Bow will slowly plink away at your tower while you watch helplessly. Players that run X-Bow will build their entire deck around protecting it, so countering X-Bow isn’t as much about taking out the X-Bow as it is about dealing with the entire deck. The first part to dealing with X-Bow is recognizing when you’re against an X-Bow deck. There’s a quick and easy tell – if they play a defensive structure right up against the river, 99% of the time they’re setting up for X-Bow. Once you recognize the X-Bow deck, it’s time to deal with it. You have two options – counterpush it, or split push the other lane. The X-Bow itself actually does very little DPS (damage per second), but once it locks on to your tower it is relentless. Having a defensive matrix of Teslas, Cannons, and Inferno Towers set up makes it difficult for you to break and often forces players to panic and overcommit to taking it out. Once an X-Bow player gets a defense down, they will often play X-Bow in conjunction with a troop like Barbarians or Minion Horde at the same time, making it difficult to take out the X-Bow. Your best bet is to not panic and Lightning or Fireball the X-Bow and take some chip damage on the tower, while taking out the troops and defenses they put down to support the X-Bow. Then, since they’ve just committed 11 elixir to X-Bow + support troops, they’re relatively open to being counterpushed. Another weakness of X-Bow players is that they get tunnel vision on one lane. Therefore, if you have a deck with hefty tank such as Giant, Golem, or PEKKA, it’s actually really easy to split push the other lane. The neat part is the X-Bow AI actually prioritizes troops in its range over buildings (or at least I think it does) so instead of attacking your tower, it will actually attack your tank. Since it does poor DPS, and they’ve committed heavily to one lane, it’s often easy to take the other tower with very little contest. In summary, when facing an X-Bow deck, don’t panic, look at your hand, and make a smart play. Don’t be afraid to take tower damage, or even trade tower for tower.
Tesla – Tesla is a unique defense in that it cannot be damaged when it is below ground. It only pops up above ground when there are troops in it’s attack range, making it very tricky to take out with Fireball or Lightning. Instead, it’s often best dealt with head on with a push of troops. Alternatively, if it is placed near the river, it’s easy to throw a Minion Horde near the Tesla and take it out quickly. The Tesla has relatively low HP so it is easily dealt with.
Minion Horde – One of the highest-damaging cards but also one of the most easily countered, Minion Horde must be used intelligently or else it will set you behind. That being said, if played correctly, Minion Horde can easily win you the game. Many cards trade very well vs Minion Horde – Arrows, Fireball, Wizard all one shot it. Baby Dragon two-shots the individual Minions, however the splash damage may not hit them all at once. Zap takes the Minions to a sliver of health. The key to playing Minion Horde correctly is scouting your opponents deck and eliminating counters from his hand. Most decks will run one spell (Arrows, Zap or Fireball). Once you have a read on your opponent’s deck, only play Minion Horde AFTER your opponent has burnt his spell on something else. If you’re facing a Minion Horde, do not use your counter if you don’t have a secondary counter available (e.g. don’t Arrows a group of Spear Goblins if you don’t have a Wizard in your hand to deal with their Minion Horde). If you don’t have a counter available in your hand, your best bet will be to use some cheap swarm troops to distract the Minion Horde and pull it to the middle of your arena to let your towers deal with it.
Inferno Tower – The bane of any Golem/Giant/PEKKA player’s existence, the Inferno Tower does a metric fuckton of damage to a single target after locking on for a few seconds. The key to taking down Inferno Towers is to swarm it down with cheap swarm troops such as Goblins, Skeletons, or Minions. Alternatively, Lightning will bring down an Inferno Tower to a sliver of health, but might only be worth using if you can hit the tower or a troop with the same spell.
Hog Rider – Perhaps the best offensive card in the game, Hog Rider is fast, relatively cheap, tanky, and does a ton of building damage. If left uncontested, this card can win games by itself. Fortunately, a lone Hog Rider is relatively easy to deal with. Unfortunately, Hog Rider tends to be the centerpiece of decks, and Hog Rider combinations can be difficult to counter. Therefore, Hog Rider is similar to X-Bow in that it’s less about countering the Hog Rider as it is about countering the entire deck. Let’s start by talking about dealing with a lone Hog Rider – two ways, either swarm him, or distract him. Swarming him with cheap swarm troops that deal a lot of damage such as Goblins or Barbarians is an easy task. Since the Hog Rider locks on to buildings, it’s best to drop your melee troops directly in the front of the tower to block the Hog Rider from attacking it and get in some damage while the Hog redirects around the tower. To distract the Hog Rider, place a building closer to the bridge than the tower is, and the Hog Rider should lock on to that building first. Cannons, Tombstones, Teslas, Infernos all deal with Hog Riders well. While they do no damage, Huts and Elixir Collectors are a bit beefier and distract the Hog Rider long enough for the tower to whittle him down. Hog Rider combinations are much more dangerous – the most common of which are Hog + Freeze and Hog + Prince. Both decks can quickly wipe out a tower if not counterplayed correctly. Hog + Freeze will be covered in the next section on how to counter Freeze in general. Hog + Prince can be countered with swarm troops. A Skeleton Army will decimate a Hog + Prince duo and singlehandedly shut down the deck’s offensive. Otherwise, distracting the Prince with cheap swarm troops and taking out the Hog Rider with high DPS troops like Goblins or Minion Horde is imperative. Using buildings to distract against Hog + Prince is difficult as the buildings tend to get killed in one or two hits by a charging Prince + Hog.
Freeze – With the ability to keep troops and buildings from attacking for a few seconds, Freeze is an incredibly powerful spell when used correctly. When combined with troops that focus buildings like Hog Rider or Balloon, Freeze is a very deadly offensive tool. It can even be used in a pinch on defense, however, you should make sure you have a high DPS troop like Minion Horde or Wizard to take the frozen troops out. Like X-Bow, Freeze can be scouted out (but is a bit more difficult to do so). If your opponent is playing a naked Hog Rider or Balloon and hasn’t invested in a big push recently, then they most likely have Freeze in their hand. Once you know your opponent is playing Freeze, you need to take very specific precautions to minimize its effectiveness. First off, never drop your troops around/behind your tower. The best place to drop your troops when your opponent is running Freeze is actually near the river, well in front of your tower. This forces your opponent to choose between Freezing your tower or your troops. If you’re down one tower and your King Tower is activated (cannon is out), NEVER put your troops in the area between your King Tower and your remaining tower. In fact, always put it towards the edge of the arena. This forces your opponent to choose between Freezing your King Tower and your remaining tower or freezing your troops. Second, use cheap troops to defend (such as Goblins, Spear Goblins, Archers) and NEVER drop them all at once. Drop one troop to bait out the Freeze, then once the Freeze is used, immediately drop the others. Lastly, Freeze leaves your opponent open for a big counter play if they don’t take out your defensive troops (which they won’t with Hog + Freeze or Balloon + Freeze), as they’ve invested 4 elixir into a spell that doesn’t damage troops, so gear up for a big counter push and punish them.
PEKKA – The PEKKA is a massive juggernaut with a huge HP pool and the ability to take out a tower in 3-4 hits. Unfortunately, she is incredibly slow and easily distracted. She’s great at leading a big push and if you can get her to a tower, she’ll be able to quickly take it down. The key to countering a PEKKA is to take advantage of her slow movement speed and distract her with cheap swarm troops and buildings. Dragging her to the middle of your side of the arena should give plenty of time for your troops and towers to take her out. Alternatively, Inferno Tower will fry a PEKKA long before she gets in range to attack it.
Zap – Zap is a very cheap spell that deals small amounts of damage to a small area and stuns for one second. If you know your opponent has Zap, try to take advantage of its small range and keep your squishy troops spread out. Otherwise, try and push with tankier troops.
Wizard – Wizard does a large amount of splash damage to ground and air troops but is relatively squishy. He is fairly easy to counter with a simple Fireball which will leave him with a sliver of health left. It’s almost always worth it to Fireball, Lightning, or Poison a Wizard if you can hit the tower or take out some other troops near him. If your opponent is playing a Wizard, make sure you not play Goblins, Spear Goblins, Minions, or Minion Hordes near him if he’s not already targetting something tanky, or else he will turn around and one shot your troops before they can attack. If the Wizard is on your side of the arena, dropping some tankier troops such as Knight or Barbarian on top of him will quickly clear him out.
Poison – A new card that was introduced with the last big update, Poison will slow and deal damage to all troops and buildings in a large radius. It is particularly deadly against swarms of squishy troops like Minions and Goblins and will straight up kill them if they remain in the area for too long. The key to playing against Poison is to spread out your troops, preferably deploying your air troops such as Minions over the river instead of behind the tank.
Mirror – Mirror allows you to replay your last card played for +1 elixir. You can’t really counterplay it as it depends on what card is being mirrored, so just counterplay what was just mirrored.
Ice Wizard – I haven’t played with or against this troop enough to have a good idea of how to deal with it effectively.
Mortar – The Mortar is like a mini X-Bow. It can hit your towers from the other side of the arena, but has a blind spot up close where it cannot attack troops. However, it attacks very slowly and is fairly vulnerable to counterattack, and unlike X-Bow, players do not have to build their entire deck around it. I’ve actually seen a lot of players use it to put pressure on the one lane while they push down the other lane with their troops. Generally, you’ll want to deal with Mortar the same way you’d deal with an X-Bow.
Elixir Collector – The Elixir Collector is one of the most popular cards and very powerful if used correctly. Playing it correctly will give you a big advantage over your opponent, while playing it incorrectly can straight up lose you the game. It costs 5 elixir and gives you 7 elixir throughout its lifespan. While the 2 elixir profit over the course of a minute does not seem like much, the Elixir Collector is powerful because it allows you to cycle through your deck faster, and potentially even get more Elixir Collectors onto the field. It is extremely dangerous in Double Elixir, as it is easy to flood the board with Elixir Collectors putting you at almost permanent max elixir. However, misplaying Elixir Collector (especially Elixir Collector + Mirror) can be dangerous as it leaves you open for a powerful counter for a period before the Elixir Collector pays for itself. Many players will Fireball or Lightning an Elixir Collector that is placed near a tower, however, I’m not sure that is the best play. You are taking out a chunk of potential elixir, but spending a good amount of elixir yourself to do so, and more importantly, cycling one of your important damage dealing cards out of your hand. Instead, I recommend playing troops to quickly push down a lane instead and taking advantage of your opponent’s vulnerability and immediate 5 elixir disadvantage. It is best to play cards that are difficult to take out cheaply such as Barbarians or Baby Dragon in these pushes. To be 100% honest, I’m not sure what the best play against an Elixir Collector is so if anybody has a better strategy, please let me know and I will add it to this section.
Golem – A massive beefy tank that explodes on death and splits into two less-beefy Golemites, the Golem is the premier tank troop in the game. It is extremely slow and expensive at 8 elixir, but even so, can be difficult to deal with. A lone Golem can easily be swarmed down with Skeletons, Spear Goblins, Goblins, etc., however, the most dangerous part of a Golem push are the supporting troops behind it. Therefore, it is often best to first deal with the supporting troops with Fireball or Arrows and then taking out the Golem afterwards. A Golem deck is also extremely slow and many players will not play their Golem without one or two Elixir Collectors up, so a good way of dealing with a Golem deck is applying pressure early, deal with the Elixir Collectors, and not allow them to play the Golem at all. Once your opponent gets up 2 or 3 Elixir Collectors, it will be difficult to deal with the incoming push without Elixir Collectors of your own. Alternatively, Inferno Towers shred Golems.
Royal Arena: Note: These are new cards that I have not played much against, so this section will be very short. I will update these in the future.
Royal Giant – Royal Giants are really bad… they’re ranged Giants with less HP. I rarely see Royal Giants, but I deal with the same way I deal with Giants. Take out what’s behind them and swarm them down with cheap troops.
Three Musketeers – The most all-in card at a whopping 10 elixir. Fireball them and leave them with a sliver of health, then poke em with Arrows, Zap, any troop and gain a massive elixir advantage.
Dark Prince – The splash damage is only in front of the Dark Prince, and while he one-shots Goblins and Spear Goblins, he’s still vulnerable to beefier troops such as the Barbarians, especially when he’s not charging. He’s also easily distracted by buildings, and isn’t too big of a threat by himself as his damage isn’t too high.
Princess – A cheap troop with the range of an X-Bow, the Princess shreds cheap swarm troops, but is very squishy herself. Arrows makes short work of her. If she’s attacking your tower from the bridge, dropping anything close to her will kill her quickly as she attacks very slowly.