The Lava Hound is a flying tank that is found within the depths of P.E.K.K.A’s Playhouse. It acts as an aerial bullet sponge that can tank for other troops! The main ace up it’s sleeve? Upon death, what is essentially a weaker Minion Horde is released from the belly of the bursting beast! It has, funnily enough, 520 less HP than a Giant at Tournament Standard, SIGNIFICANTLY less DPS, moves slower, and attacks slower. So you may ask, WHY USE IT? Well, friends. I already told you why, and I will also continue to!
Stats at Tournament Standard:
*34 DPS (That’s less than a Skeleton)
*1.3 second attack rate
*7 Elixir Cost
And that’s just the stats of the Lava Hound! Since we’ve assessed the Lava Hound’s key specialty, it’s horde, let’s re-label it from ‘Aerial Tank’, to… something else. We’ll call it: ‘Aerial Tank That Carries a Minion Horde’.
Ya see, unlike any other card in the game, the Lava Hound has two ‘phases’, each with their own purposes. The first is the thick outer layer, boasting a whopping 3,000 health. As I said earlier, that’s less than a Giant. But… the Lava Hound is only targettable by less than half the cards in the game due to its flying stature! That makes the 3000 HP of the Lava Hound worth so much more than the 3520 of the Giant. This phase has low DPS, worse than a Skeleton. But again, it’s main point is to tank, and a tank should never go in without support. And once the Lava Hound dies…?
It enters its second stage! Six Lava Pups will burst outward from the death place in Minion Horde formation! Each one has a lot more DPS each, and when stacked up, it can do incredible damage if left unattended. Lava Pups have way lower stats than the Lava Hound did, but remember that there are six, and unlike their late parent, they attack ANYTHING not just Buildings. This gives them a chance to individually battle placed enemy units, or crowd around the opposing tower all at once and unleash their wrath.
When added together, the DPS of all six Lava Pups is 270 (and since they attack once per second, the total DPH is also 270). A Lava Pup is two shot at Tournament Standard by the tower. But since there are many, each Pup will get more hits than the last. While the first Lava Pup will only get 1 hit on the tower before death, the last one will get 8 hits. Every 1.6 seconds (2 Arena Tower shots), the Lava Pups lose 45 DPS, so each 1.6 seconds, you can reduce 45 from 270 (-45 x number killed). So in total, the WHOLE Lava Hound (Phase 1 and 2) will do a total of 1685 damage to the tower, bringing it down to 849 if the opponent does NOTHING to defend it.
But of course, as stated earlier, no tank is without it’s support. If JUST the Lava Hound can bring a tower to 1/3 of its health, what could it plus it’s backup do? Well, the Lava Hound, as a Building targetter, is weak to pretty much ANYTHING that attacks air, as it will do nothing to stop it’s own death. Good support TYPES include: Heavy Damage, Splash Attack, and Back-Up Tank.
A Heavy Damage card has high DPS and kill tankier counter cards that the opponent tries to play, as well as defenses used to hinder the Hound’s progress. A Splash Attacker will do work against hordes of high DPS/low health units, like Minion Horde. And finally, a Backup Tank is the least necessary of the three support types, but acts as a shield for the LAVA PUPS once big daddy Lava Hound dies, as the tower will not target the Lava Pups until they’re ‘officially spawned’, and by then it’s already locked on to your backup tank.
Heavy Damage cards include: Mega Minion, Musketeer, Goblins, Minions, Minion Horde, Prince, etc. Some of these are weaker to splash and spells than others, but its all about cost and use. When it comes to Lava Hound decks, having more air focus is fantastic, as it makes even less of your opponent’s cards useful to countering your push. In my opinion, the best Heavy Damage support cards for the Lava Hound are Mega Minion and Musketeer. The Mega Minion can slowly follow behind, has less DPS and range than a Musket, but has more health and is more cost effective. It also flies, making less troops work against it.
Splash Attackers include: Baby Dragon, Wizard, Witch, Valkyrie, Dark Prince, Bomber, etc. As before, some cards in this list are better than other. It’s all based on situation and play style. Baby Dragon is a powerful FLYING splash card that many underestimate the power of. Valkyrie is tanky, and the queen of splash with her 360 spin attack and high health. Wizard and Witch are great too, but Witch is superior over Wizard due to her skeleton spawn ability.
Backup Tanks include: Baby Dragon, Valkyrie, Miner, and in some cases, Mega Minion. I’m only listing ones that I think fit Lava Hound decks personally, but any card you think works is in your options. Baby Dragon and Valkyrie are especially special here, due to being both splash AND tanky cards. To save Elixir and use a much more cost effective push, using one of these cards to fill both Splash and Backup Tank roles is superior. However, it may have a shorter lifespan compared to massive multi-unit pushes, and results may vary.
One strategy involves a double Legendary deck, where the Miner is sent in after the tower locks on to the Lava Hound. As soon as the Hound bursts, the Miner immediately begins tanking for the pups and massive damage is dealt!
Countering your opponent’s Lava Hound defense is crucial to the success of the push. One wrong move and it all may die.
Rule Number 1: Inferno Tower- Always the priority. If your opponent reactively plays an Inferno Tower after you drop your Lava Hound, taking it down should be your main focus. HOW you take it down, is up to you. You can go in fast, with a small group of high DPS/low health units to cripple its lifespan, send Minions over the bridge, etc. OR, you can take it out as PART of the Lava Hound push. This requires a Zap spell to reset the Inferno Tower, and a Heavy Damage card to smash it from behind. If they defend their Inferno Tower, do not falter. If the Hound dies, do not falter… it’s all about standing your ground. Salvage what you can from the Lava Pups left and do whatever damage to the tower you can.
Rule Number 2: Poison-Zap (and Fireball-Zap) are your friends. In my deck, I feature both Poison and Zap, which, when combined, can take down Witches and Musketeers your opponent tries to place down. Don’t pour too much Elixir into the main push if you know they’re saving either or both of these two cards to stop your Lava Hound dead in its tracks. Poison and/or Zap can also clear out Minions and Minion Hordes quite effectively.
Rule Number 3: Never Commit to the Push If You Can’t. If you place down your Hound and your opponent pressures the other lane, ALWAYS defend the tower. You have time to rebuild the Elixir, as the Hound is slow and you can always counterpush THAT lane to screw up your opponent.
Rule Number 4: Never BEHIND the Tower. You always place your Lava Hound in the CORNERS of the map, never behind your King or Arena Towers. When you place it behind any tower, since it’s a flying unit, it will beeline for the tower and cut straight through their territory. This makes it easier for your opponent to pull your Hound with a defense. Always come in from the corners. They’ll need to put the defense closer, where your support can assist in crushing it.
If you have to COUNTER a Lava Hound, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds. Since it only attacks buildings, any light air targeting chip damage will do, but for minimum tower damage, the harder hitting the better. Here are some Lava Hound counters, best to worst. Remember to always use COMBINATIONS of these cards as well.
-Inferno Tower: The Inferno Tower is undoubtably the best counter to any tank card in the game. For 5 Elixir, it can counter multi-tank pushes, like Giant-Bowler, or PEKKA Double Prince. And as such, it is ideal for taking down the Lava Hound due to its exponential damage increase ability.
-Tesla: For even less Elixir than the Inferno, you can stop a Lava Hound nearly unharmed. Because it retargets faster, but does less damage, the Lava Pups will be easier to clear at the cost of taking longer to kill the beefy Lava Hound first.
-Wizard/Witch: I’m pairing these duo of mages together because of their air splash capability, and similar uses. The splash comes in handy when the Lava Pups spawn, but they alone are not a just counter to the Lava Hound. Both Witch and Wizard, or Witch+Musketeer/Wizard+Musketeer are perfect for stopping the Lava Hound. Be wary, as these cards can be taken down by Poison-Zap or Fireball+Zap.
-Musketeer: A high DPS ranged attacker, the Musketeer excels in both phases, but takes down the beast rather slowly, so more support could be used. It is nice for just four Elixir, however.
-Mega Minion: The Mega Minion, if used right, is one of the best defensive cards in the game. If you want to use your Mega Minion properly and kill a Lava Hound push from the inside-out, use ‘Tank and Spank’. Place a temporary tank down and let your Mega Minion go to work. Place him closest to the Heavy Hitter, so that it gets taken out first, followed by the Splash Attacker, then the Backup Tank. Then you should be golden. I wouldn’t call this the best counter due to its fragility and how precise you have to be to get it done right.
-Minion Horde: One of the highest, if not THE highest DPS card in the game, the Minion Horde can rip a Lava Hound to shreds. It would be higher in my opinion, if it did not have so many weaknesses. Remember that an ideal Lava Hound push has four components: The Lava Hound, a Backup Tank, a Heavy Hitter, and a SPLASH ATTACKER. That Splash Attacker, or whatever spells the owner of this hound has handy are going to gouge your Minion Horde before it can get anything done.
-Minions: Less DPS than Minion Horde, but only 3 Elixir… not worth it ultimately.
-There are other options, but these ones are the best, and many decks already hold within them these cards. You should have no hassle deconstructing a Lava Hound push if you know what you’re doing.
Let’s get more advanced into defending against it.
Rule Number 1: Always Space Your Units. Spells may be dropping down as the Lava Hound and its support ravage your base. Never put your cards too close together, or that valuable Fireball+Zap or Poison+Zap may just come in and you’re done. Ideally, a defense should be close to the center, and all your units should be placed around the tower, closer to the wall, but not clumped together.
Rule Number 2: If You’re Inferno Or Defense Is Zapped, Use What You Can. What should you do after your enemy drops Zap? Play units that are countered by Zap. DON’T do this if the Splash Attacker isn’t distracted, or bad things may result.
Rule Number 3: You Have Spells Too. Some troops used as Lava Hound support, like Minions, Minion Horde, Spear Goblins, Musketeer, etc. A lot of them can be spelled to death, or at least wounded enough for your own units to kill the backup.
Rule Number 4: Never Make Destroying the Lava Hound #1 Priority. The Lava Hound alone is a low DPS/high health unit that cannot hurt YOUR defending troops. The support however, will ruin your day. Focus the guy doing no damage last. Because if the Lava Hound dies, even more is spawned and hell breaks loose! As mentioned under using the Mega Minion, you always want to kill off their Heavy Hitter first, followed by their Splash Attacker, then the Backup Tank.
Rule Number 5: Pressure Is Key. If they get started up on a Lava Hound push, just dropping it off in the back corner, PUSH THAT OTHER LANE. Most people aren’t willing to lose 100s, if not 1000s of health from their tower. If you do it hard enough, the Lava Hound should come in alone and be an easy take down. But worse case scenario, they counterpush your pressured lane, and use cheap support to back up their Lava Hound. Now YOU have to choose and defend.
Remember competitors! Keep calm, and clash on!