Deck One: Miner-Mini Pekka-Swarm
How to counter this deck:
This deck is extremely popular in tournaments and on the ladder. This deck involves using your miner to tank damage while trying to get the Mini Pekka to take some swipes at the tower. A lot of the times, you’ll see this deck paired with fireball/poison, zap, fire-spirits, princess, or ice wizard. All of these support cards can be used to try to get the Mini Pekka to the tower. When playing against this deck, you don’t want to play swarm troops against a Mini P.E.K.K.A. that has support, such as Minion Horde, Minions, Goblins, or Barbarians. Your opponent will be ready for those swarm troops, and usually has Zap, Fire Spirits, Princess, or Ice Wizard ready to take care of them. If the Mini P.E.K.K.A. is going to the tower with no support, Guards are a great answer.
Guards are one of the best answers against Mini P.E.K.K.A. decks, as they can take 6 hits total before they’re all taken out, and cannot be taken out by Zap, Arrows, or Fireball. Valkyrie is decent against a Mini P.E.K.K.A. with support, but be prepared to back it up with something else. Barbarians are good if the Mini P.E.K.K.A. isn’t followed up with Fire Spirits.
Usually these Miner decks also consist of a fast swarm troop, such as Goblins, Minion Horde, Minions, or Spear Goblins. When seeing a Miner-swarm troop combo, ALWAYS make sure to take care of the swarm troop first. They are the main damage dealing card in that combo. Fire Spirits are a fantastic way to take care of all these swarm troops, but if you don’t have Fire Spirits, zap is good for all kinds of Goblins, and Arrows, Fireball or Poison are good for all kinds of Minions. Zap is not a good answer to any Minions when your opponent has a Miner; Zap will not kill the Minions, and they can still wreck your tower if he/she places a Miner to tank the Crown Tower. Although the Miner does not do a lot of damage to the tower by itself, it is not wise to always leave the Miner alone. Miner’s chip damage can add up a lot throughout the game, and can eventually take the tower down. Some of the best answers to Miners are Goblins, Guards, Mini P.E.K.K.A., or Knight.
During this meta, Miner and Poison are extremely popular cards. Make sure if you are playing Elixir Collector, you can defend it well against the Miner, or don’t play troops in the back by the elixir collector. This enables your opponent to get a value Poison, and can leave you broke. Also, recognize your opponent’s Miner patterns: if he keeps playing it in one place, make sure to place your counter card on that tile.
Deck Two: Shanghai Giants
Giant, Elixir Collector, Guards, Poison, Zap, Mini Pekka, Musketeer, Witch/Ice Wizard/Princess(support)
How to counter this deck:
This deck rose to huge popularity after the big Shanghai tournament recently. This deck is very good defensively, and is also very deadly offensively. When you identify that your opponent is running this deck, make sure to hack away at his elixir collectors. Don’t be reckless, but try to use Miner or Poison against his Elixir Collector if it is safe to do so. This prevents your opponent from creating a gigantic push, and leaves him/her with not as much Elixir to defend and counter-push. The Elixir Collector is very important to this deck, so it is a smart idea to not let him get the value from the Elixir Collectors. If he has a Giant coming towards your tower with a support card behind him, it is smart to get rid of the support card, as it can be very annoying to have your counter cards against the giant being destroyed.
Inferno Tower is great against giants, but try to place it outside of the poison spell area, and make sure nothing like Mini P.E.K.K.A. or Guards are in the way to distract the Inferno Tower. Mini P.E.K.K.A. is also very good against this deck, as it can get rid of supports such as Musketeer and do work on the giant. Watch out for his Guards or your opponent’s own Mini P.E.K.K.A. though, because they can eliminate your Mini P.E.K.K.A. and start doing work on your tower. Placing a Poison against his push is smart, as it will damage everything your opponent is placing behind their Giant. Do not place swarm troops to try to get rid of the Giant, as support + Zap/Poison can get rid of anything from Goblins to Barbarians. Instead, try to place the swarm troop directly on top of the support, Musketeer, or Mini P.E.K.K.A.; this will make it difficult to damage the tower and your swarm troop with the Poison, and getting rid of the support allows you to be safer when placing more troops against the Giant.
Deck Three: Hog Trifecta
Hog Rider, Musketeer, Valkyrie, Elixir Collector, Skeletons/Goblins,Cannon/Mini Pekka, Poison, Zap
How to counter this deck:
This deck has been extremely popular for a very long time. It has evolved and changed, adapted to the meta, but the core has always been the same. The Trifecta consists of the Hog Rider, Musketeer, and Valkyrie. The Hog Rider is the main offense, and what the deck revolves around. The Musketeer is your range, and your air-targeter. The Valkyrie is the splash. Elixir Collector helps aid you in your pushes, so you can get a bigger push to devastate your opponent. You have a cheap, swarm troop for defense and distraction, a defensive card (usually Cannon or Mini P.E.K.K.A. ), and your two support cards, Poison and Zap. When going against this deck, getting rid of the Elixir Collector would be very smart. This won’t let your opponent get the ideal push he/she wants, and can gain your elixir advantages over time.
This deck is very, very good at counter-pushing. After they play Musketeer or Valkyrie on defense, they can throw in a Hog Rider with a support spell, and get in some heavy damage. Many times, even a very low health Musketeer can get insane value on offense. That is why it is not smart to fireball the Musketeer if it won’t kill it. As always, don’t clump things in the back, as it opens up an opportunity for the opponent to get a value Poison.
Inferno Tower is very good against this deck; nothing can outrange it, and it can melt the whole Hog Rider, Valkyrie, Musketeer combo if placed correctly. Make sure it is not distracted by cheap swarm troops, and not in range for a poison to hit the crown tower, and the inferno tower. Mini P.E.K.K.A. is great at taking out both the Hog Rider, and the Musketeer. However, Mini P.E.K.K.A. won’t be enough to stop the entire Hog Trifecta push. When playing against this deck, you want to be smart on offense, because the Hog Trifecta deck is very good on defense. You want to be able to make smart choices on defense, and then go on a counter-push when he is broke. This deck is fairly weak against air, so if you have an air offense, and the opponent just exhausted his Musketeer, make sure to go in with an air attack. Minion Horde is also great against the Trifecta push, as long as your opponent doesn’t have Poison on board, as that will wipe out the Minion Horde. Overall, cheap swarm troops aren’t the greatest because of Poison/Zap support and Valkyrie, but if you know that he doesn’t have Zap, sometimes cheap troops can help aid in defense.
Deck Four: Sparky-Tank
How to counter this deck:
Sparky is a very high-risk-high-reward card, but very skilled players can make it work consistently. Usually in Sparky decks, there is a tank card and a splash card to help aid Sparky get to the tower to do massive damage. Although it can be hard to play against Sparky, there are so many counters to the Sparky. Overall, it is popular in around Arena 6-8, but not popular at the top of the ladder because more skilled players will be able to destroy the Sparky efficiently. However, Sparky is one of those cards will if you make one single mistake, it can cost you the entire game.
There are overall four ways to counter the Sparky. One is to use Zap or Freeze to reset the Sparky, and then use troops to counter the sparky while it is charging up again. This tactic is very popular, because Zap is used a lot, so it can be very efficient against Sparky. Tactic two is to surround the Sparky. Barbarians, Goblins, Skeletons or Guards can all do this against the Sparky. This allows the Sparky to only hit a couple of the troops, and reset its charge. The other troops can then destroy the Sparky. This tactic works well against the Sparky, but a misplay of the surround technique can cost you the game. The third tactic to counter the Sparky is to distract the Sparky with a cheap troop to reset its charge, then use another card to kill the Sparky like Mini P.E.K.K.A. or Musketeer. This tactic works, but is not the most Elixir efficient nor safe. The fourth tactic is just to use air troops against the Sparky, because it can’t hit air. Minions or Minion Horde will eliminate the Sparky, but watch out for splash.
If there is a sparky-Giant combo coming, Inferno Tower and Zap will take care of it all. When the Sparky is just about to lock on to the Inferno Tower, Zap it. The Inferno Tower will already have melted the Giant, and will take down the Sparky before it recharges to blasts the Inferno Tower. Valkyrie at tournament standards can withstand two hits from a Sparky, so she can also be used to take down Sparky. Mini P.E.K.K.A. can swipe the Sparky down in two hits, but make sure to distract the Sparky first, because Mini P.E.K.K.A. will die with one Sparky hit.
Overall, just play smart against the Sparky, make smart Elixir trades, and you will almost always win against Sparky. However, just making one mistake against a Sparky can cost you a tower, or even the game. Often times taking a tower early against a Sparky user seals the deal, because you can just play defense after that and win the game. If you take the Crown Tower on the lane the opponent is pushing, you can hack at the Sparky on the other side of the river before he plays any support.