Spending Your Elixir – Knowing how much elixir there is to spend, and how to spend it
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It is important to not overspend your Elixir in the beginning of the match, especially when your opponent has full Elixir and you have no idea what cards they have to defend/counterattack with. As a general rule of thumb, don’t overplay your Elixir unless you’re sure your opponent is weak on defense (ie. spent most of their elixir) or you’re confident that you can take down their tower without losing yours.
Elixir Counting – How to keep track of your opponent’s Elixir count and get the upper hand
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Each time your opponent plays a card, try to remember how much Elixir they have spent playing that card, and react accordingly. Ideally you will always want to “win an exchange” against the card that your opponent plays, meaning that you spent less Elixir than they did in order to take it out, or play a card at roughly the same cost with your card surviving the exchange. For example, if your opponent plays a Skeleton Giant, and you are able to remove it just by luring it away with Spear Goblins, that gives you a +4 Elixir advantage! Or if your Inferno Tower is able to take out both a Hog Rider and Baby Dragon, that gives you a +3 Elixir advantage. Of course, the exchanges are usually not that straight forward as cards are played in combination with each other, but the idea behind getting the Elixir upper hand on your opponent applies to every game.
Knowing when you have an Elixir advance is also knowing when it is a good time to attack. For example, if your opponent fires a Rocket at you, he will be left with only 4 Elixir or less. If you have full Elixir, this probably means it is a good time for you to attack, especially if the opponent doesn’t have any defense towers in the way.
Advanced Elixir counting is the ability to keep track of your opponent’s exact Elixir count by counting the cost of each of the cards that they play. The best way to do this is to use your own counter as the benchmark. Let’s say you play Barbarians, and your opponent plays a Fireball, then plays a Tesla. If you are now at say 8 Elixir, your opponent is now at 5, as he/she has spent 3 more Elixir than you have. Keep a running +/- in your head (in this case, its -5, +4, +4) and you’ll be able to know your opponent’s Elixer count! Of course, this is easier said than done as keeping a log of all the plus/minuses for a 3 minute match is almost impossible while you need to react to opponents play at the same time, and what separates the top players from the rest. If you lose track of your opponent’s Elixir count mid match, don’t fret; chances are your opponent will save up their Elixir to full throughout various times of the match, and when that happens you can just restart the counter again. Chances are if your opponent just laid down a Golem or a Barbarian Hut, they were at full Elixir, and now they are at 2 and 3 respectively.
Card Rotation – Knowing what card you and your opponent will draw next
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This is important to consider from the construction of your deck; cheap cost cards such as Skeletons and Goblins will let you rotate through your cards faster, so you can play the same card again in the shortest amount of time possible. As the game progresses, you will find certain cards being more effective against your opponent than others (ie. spells against Troop Towers) or a necessity to defend against certain cards (ie. Inferno Towers against Golem). Knowing what card you can expect to draw and when is crucial for you to set the pace of your play.
It is also just as important to know how long it will take before your opponent can play their cards again, so you can counter their strategy accordingly. If your opponent only has one defense Tower and you have a Hog Rider in hand, it may be worthwhile for you to take down the Tower as soon as possible before your opponent draws the next one. As mentioned in Elixir Statistics, you can expect to see the same card played in each game 3 times, and your opponent will be expecting that as well. If you find that one of your cards matched up poorly against theirs in the first rotation, then lure them to play their card against something else. For example, if your Goblin Barrel was thwarted by Arrows the first time, don’t just play it again once you draw it next time; hold on to it until your opponent uses his/her Arrow on something else.
Card Placement – Placing cards in the right place at the right time
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- How each troop moves in relation to other cards on the board
- The radius of each spell
- The damage range of each Tower
Effective Card Placement
Sometimes placing your card at the right location against other troops will make a huge difference between whether your troop survives or theirs. For example, place a Baby Dragon in front of Minion Hordes and it will deal AoE damage on the Horde, but place it in the middle of the Horde and it’ll be dead instantly. Keep in mind that most troops require 1 second to deploy (Golem and P.E.K.K.A require 3 seconds), so if you play it immediately in front of your opponent’s troop it will take damage before it even moves. Some common effective card placement strategies:
- Playing Skeletons or Goblins in front of a charging Prince. The Prince’s charge damage will be nullified and you can proceed to take it out with your towers and other troops.
- Lure your opponent’s ranged troop to your side of the Arena and place your melee troop right beside it. As ranged troops have relatively low hitpoints, your Melee troop will be able to take out the ranged troop in just a few hits while taking little to no damage.
Tower Attacking Troops
There are 4 troops that attack only Towers: Golem, Balloon, Giant, and Hog Rider. These troops stop at nothing to take down towers, but will also not deal any damage to your opponent’s troops (aside from explosion damage upon being destroyed). Towers are obviously the best defense against these troops, but always try to place these towers in the middle of the Arena so that 1) it puts some distance between the troop and your tower and 2) both of your Arena towers can attack it.
Luring Away Normal Troops
Meanwhile, all other troops will keep moving forward towards your enemy’s Crown towers, attacking whatever is closest to it while on it way. As long as you are able to put something closer to your opponent’s troops than its distance from your tower, it will attract the troops over like a magnet. A few effective strategies for luring troops away include:
- Playing a Knight as your opponent’s Baby Dragon crosses your side of the Arena. The Baby Dragon will go backwards chasing the Knight while your Arena Tower shoots its behind.
- Playing a Spear Goblin in the middle of the Arena against P.E.K.K.A or Skeleton Giant. The cheap ranged Spear Goblins will give some distance between the big fellas and your Crown Tower, and allow both Towers to deal damage
Test Your Radius
If you deploy your card by dragging your finger instead of tapping on the screen, you will be able to see your card’s attack/damage radius before deploying it. This is especially useful for casting spells, as you can measure up what your spell can hit within its radius before you blast it off.
2-for-1 Spell Blasts
It is common for players to place troops behind or close to their Crown towers as it gives you time to pair it up with other cards as it slowly makes its way towards the enemy towers. If you see your opponent doing this, don’t hesitate to use a spell to blast it with a spell! This will not only foil whatever combination your opponent was planning (if there was anything being planned), but of course also do some free damage to their Crown Tower! This may be worth doing even if your spell costs more than their troops (ie. Fireball v.s. Archers/Bomber, Lightning v.s. Wizard), but just be sure that you have enough Elixir or towers for defense and that you don’t miss your spell!
Preemptive v.s. Reactive Play – Knowing which card to play next
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During the first card rotation (~1st minute of play), you will be in reactive play, as you have no idea what cards your opponent is using at this time. Instead of taking too many risks, players should try to play conservatively and play tower and low cost cards at this time. If your opponent attacks aggressive, be ready to react and play the right cards in the right places to win your exchange. Keep in mind that as you are playing defense, your Crown Towers will be helping you deal out damage as well, so as long as your cards don’t get outplayed you will win your exchange (see Elixir Count section for more details). To be able to cover yourself against any kind of attack, you should have in your deck:
- At least one defense tower (Tesla, Cannon, Inferno tower, etc.) to deal with tower attacking troops
- At least one AoE spell (Fireball, Arrows, Zap) to deal with crowds
- At least one low cost troop (Skeleton, Goblins, Spear Goblins) to take hits and distract troops.
- At least one ranged troop (Wizard, Musketeer, Baby Dragon, Archer, Spear Goblins) to deal damage from a distance
Reactive play doesn’t just mean defense; it means adjusting your playing style to try to gain the upper hand on your opponent, and at times this means being on the offense. This is especially true when your opponents play Elixir Collector or Troop Towers, as their benefits accumulate over time and will make your life more difficult if you leave it alone. If your opponent happens to place 2 or more towers within the radius of your spell (preferably Fireball, Lightning, or Rocket), it is probably worthwhile for you to blast it so that it will have less time to generate troops/elixir. Decks that play Elixir Collector and Troop Towers also happen to be the exception to the 1st minute reactive play rule, as by design those decks are preempting an attack by piling up troops and Elixir.
Once you know what cards your opponent are holding (warning: be sure to count that they have played 8 different cards; they may be holding onto on or two as a surprise!), players should try to adjust to preemptive play. The first card rotation now gives you an idea of how your opponent will counter you if you play certain cards (ie. Arrows against Goblin Barrel Tesla against Hog Rider, etc.). Preempting how they will play against you in the second and third rotation, you can adjust your strategy by either:
- luring your opponent to play its counter card on something else,
- luring your opponent to play the counter card, and play another card to counter that, or
- catching your opponent off guard by playing your “trump card”
Sticking with the Goblin Barrel example, if the opponent wiped it out with Arrows the first time, try to mount an attack with Goblins, Skeletons or other small troops to entice him/her to use the Arrows on that instead. But even more effective (and much more utilized) is to prepare a counter for their counter. For example, if your Hog Rider or Golem was taken down by a Tower the first time, send in Minions or other small troops to attack the tower right before the tower targets your tower attacker. Or if your opponent plays a Wizard for defense behind their Crown Tower, prepare for a Lightning to wipe him out!
The most advance form of preemptive play, however, is to hold onto your “trump card” until the 2nd or even 3rd rotation. This is usually the card that will be able to inflict the most damage to your opponent’s Crown Tower if it can reach it (ie. Hog Rider, Prince, Balloon). By hanging on to the card, your opponent will not be as prepared to defend against later in the game. By keeping track of the Elixir count and playing troops smartly, you will look to set up an opening for the “trump card” to attack.
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