Chip-Threat Zap Bait Deck that Pushed Me to 5000 Trophies
What's up folks I already posted once and was nearing 100 votes when the mods decided to remove it on account of a joke title and I've since fixed the title. This deck is Arena 8.
CODE RED WARNING: This post is thirteen pages long. So if you don't have time to read it, I suggest just upvoting it anyways. /s. Look at the /s. It's right there. Now I don't think everything needs a /s, so keep that in mind through the rest of this guide.
Proof of Levels:
Everyone thinks I'm crazy for using the Prince. I agree that, unlike Elite Barbarians, he's not usually a great card. But this zap bait deck isn't just a bait deck. It isn't just a zap bait deck either. It is built full of synergies which can swiftly eliminate counters to your Prince (or Elite Barbarians)- Witch, Skarmy, Minion Horde, Barbarians, Knight, Guards, et cetera- they all just get steamrolled if you play the right cards at the right time. This deck is all about synergy, and not much feels better than pairing fire spirits with a quick zap to instakill four Barbarians and allow your heavy-hitting win condition to run right into the enemy's tower. This specific deck is currently 6-0 in grand challenges, and has defeated both White Light and Colton, slightly underleveled in both circumstances. That said, the deck requires very precise timing/plays.
In this deck guide I will explain the roles of each individual card, effective synergies, and some tricky plays you can make. I will also provide a number of step-by-step walkthrough videos to demonstrate how I play this, what I believe would be classified as a Threat-Chip Bait, deck.
Prince OR Elite Barbarians: My Prince scales to level 10 and got me to 4942, my Elite Barbarians are level 11 and broke 5k. Do note that underleveled EBs are quite effectively countered by other EBs. One advantage the Prince has is he is intrinsic zap bait. However The Log also breaks his charge, which is stupid. One advantage Elite Barbarians have is they can be split. Also they're overpowered. So yeah atm I'm using those guys. I know, fuck me.
( These are your offensive heavy hitters. Of course, they're very capable defensively as well.
Chip: Fire Spirits, Ice Spirit, and Princess are good sources of chip damage.
Standard Pushes: When you have an elixir advantage you can just do a standard push. I guess you can do one when you don't have elixir advantage too, given certain conditions. Pretty basic stuff. If you don't know how to standard push, git gud.
Counterpushes: Effective, but not at all necessary for an effective push. I very often deploy my attacker at the bridge, with some light support following behind (Or in front. See Ice Spirit)
Opposite Lane Pressure: http://imgur.com/a/halca (Shoutout to that maxed Minion Horde it'S da real mvp)
When an expensive troop, or some key defensive troop, is dropped in one lane by your opponent, you can make an effective opposite lane push. Whether you do this or defend and then counterpush depends on many factors, including:
How much elixir you have: Make sure you have enough elixir to defend the opponent.
What cards are in your rotation- do you have cards to attack? Prince/ EB are very great at applying opposite lane pressure and forcing a defense and splitting the enemy's elixir, preventing powerful combinations-- though I do need to mention, Ice Golem has definitely nerfed opposite lane pushes by allowing one to indefinitely kite attackers into the same lane as their tank/troops. Princess is also great at demanding a reaction. She is not weak to Ice Golem, but watch out for The Log. The Log was a huge nerf to Princess's ability to split enemy troops, but she can still be effective. Even if she does get The Logged, remember, this is a bait deck. So Princess at the least will bait a spell out, allowing you to easily defend. One other great way to apply pressure, especially opposite lane pressure, is the Goblin Barrel. It baits zap, and therefore synergizes incredibly well with Inferno Tower. Make sure you're able to defend if they ignore the barrel though.
What cards are in your rotation- do you have cards to defend? While this deck can cycle very fast, sometimes it is a good idea to use your Prince/ EB on defense, potentially leading into a counterpush.
Tower Healths + Timer: For example, if there's thirty seconds left in a match, you have the opponent's left tower down to say 400 hp, and the opponent is pushing down your left lane, you usually won't want to set up a push in the right lane, where your opponent has a nearly full health tower. Instead just defend and counterpush.
Against spawners, don't be afraid to push the higher health tower.
Defending with Prince: Against melee attackers, play Prince far enough back to get a charge off. This allows him to kill a Mini Pekka, Lumberjack, et cetera unscathed). Against ranged attackers, play Prince on top of them. Against aerial troops, try using something else.
Defending with Elite Barbarians: In some situations, splitting Elite Barbarians can be very effective. For example, against a Miner push, you can defend the Miner with one EB and push the other lane with the other EB. That said, I rarely split EBs. Be sure to surround Bowlers, rather than placing both Elite Barbarians in range of the boulder.
Princess is an effective opening play, hot, an effective counterpusher, hot, an effective chipper, hot, an effective pressure play, hot, effective bait, hot, the list goes on, hot. My Princess is only Level 2, and when she is zapped to death by maxed Level 13s, those players tend to get punished. When using Princess to support your push, make sure to stagger her both vertically and horizontally to more effectively protect her.
Princess + Ice Spirit/ Zap/ Fire Spirits
Minion Horde (IS or Zap), Barbarians (Fire Spirits), Witch (Princess hits the skeletons), Skeleton Army, Tombstone (play Princess on the edge of the opposite lane so she doesn't target the skeletons; or with good timing as the tombstone pops)
Lane Baiting: If the opponent counters Princess with something more expensive, or counters shortly after placing an Elixir Collector or some other expensive card, you can push the opposite lane very effectively, as shown here: www.imgur.com/a/kcy0p
NOTE: A Hog down the same lane as your freshly-placed Princess is a bad sign. Watch out for The Log that follows. Either wait for The Log to come rolling before placing your Skeleton Army, or use something else to counter.
Ice Spirit is underrated, and that's saying something. Ice Spirit is a very cost-effective and technical card. In this deck serves as a combo-card, a chip card, and a very useful defensive tool.
Ice Spirit + Prince: This combo will kill an Ice Wizard in one charge. Ice Spirit + Zap; Ice Spirit + Princess Ice Spirit + Fire Spirits: If you really need to prevent chip damage, this combination trades evenly with both Miner and Princess.
-Leading Spirit: Does your opponent keep stalling your push using Ice Spirit? Just send your own in front of your push to trade 1-for-1.
-Princess Protection: Ice Spirit can be paired with your Princess to win Princess duels unscathed. If your Princess is within range of both of your arena towers, an Ice Spirit can protect her from a Miner. Fire Spirits can do this when Princess is only within range of one of your arena towers, though they are one more elixir. Ice Spirit (and Fire Spirits) can also predict Princess counters such as Minions, but watch out for The Log.
-Anti-Tombstone: When played down the opposite lane to support your push, an Ice Spirit can either disable a tombstone or kill its death skeletons. If the opponent somehow reacts fast enough, he'll still have to expend elixir- often more than just one.
-VS Furnace: Correct use of Ice Spirit will deny two waves of Fire Spirits. Let one fire spirit hit the IS while it is deploying, and after that it will take the next wave out. That is one elixir for 1.6 elixir's worth of Furnace spawns. Thanks to u/yyarn for pointing this trick out.
All the fancy techy shit you need:
Countering Elite Barbarians: http://imgur.com/a/b8WdD Note that this requires quick play for best results.
SMD Stephen (not really)
This is a fun card. I use it for lots of tricky plays.
As with all cards, mix up placement when you can. For example, against a pair of Elite Barbarians, the first time I would probably drop Skarmy right on top of them. Later, I'd place it either in the middle or to the outside edge, to thwart predictions. It can be a good idea to occasionally use other cards as your first defensive measurement- for example, fire spirits or Elite Barbarians/ Prince, to keep your opponent guessing.
Split: Splitting a Skeleton Army is incredibly cost-effective. Provides double-lane defense, negative-trade zaps, and opposite/ split pushes (for example, Prince + .5skarmy; IS + .5skarmy; zap, princess, and barrel at the ready). Split Skeleton Armies are very very effective against Knight, Minipekka, and Prince, as well as Elite Barbarians. Even just pairing it with an Ice Spirit can be threatening.
VS Miner: Skeleton Army is one of the best Miner counters. With proper placement it can split upward to kill Miner Support too. OFFENSE: I don't use Skeleton Army on offense very often, but with proper judgment it can be devastating. Offensive Skeleton Armies can be useful in split pushes or as a shield against cards like Inferno Tower. A Skeleton Army at the bridge, with good timing, will render an Inferno Tower ineffective via splitting left and right, tanking the Inferno Tower. This can also be useful against other slow-hitting units.
ADVANCED STRATEGY: When you get an enemy tower down, you can get really nasty. As your attacker crosses the bridge, play Skeleton Army in the center of your opponent's arena to chew up any spirits, tombstones, Elite Barbarians, Mini Pekkas, et cetera played to counter. I call this the “Prediction Skarmy”, and it's always a nice trick to pull off. The Skeleton Army can be used in a similar fashion to chew through spawners.
PLACEMENT: Inferno Tower isn't as easy to use as it might seem. Different situations call for different placements.
Standard Tanks: Place Inferno Tower in the center, pulling the maximum distance.
Royal Giant + Minions: This is a pretty common push. By sending predictive Minions across the middle of the river, it can greatly reduce the effectiveness of an Inferno Tower. To circumcise this issue, simply play Inferno Tower to the outside edge. It will lock right on to the RG and the Minions will be useless.
Lightning: Play Inferno Tower further up so it cannot be hit for value with the arena tower. Have some combination of spirits and Princess ready in case the opponent sends air troops across the river.
One Tower Down: If one of your towers is down, consider playing the IT toward the edge of your side so the enemy cannot drop swarm cards onto it.
ADVANCED STRATEGY: If zapped, you can answer with Ice Spirit, or Skeleton Army, or something else, or nothing and just lose the game. If your Inferno Tower has a decent amount of HP remaining, you can make use of that HP by placing a Princess at the bridge. Troops used to counter her will be killed. Make sure the opponent does not have Princess or The Log in his rotation.
Note: I haven't used a defensive Goblin Barrel in ages.
Goblin Barrel can be used against some spawners or support units, though this is rarely its best application. I do often use it against Collectors rather than the tower itself (sometimes players miss their zap because of this). On occasion I have dropped Goblin Barrel right on top of Mini PEKKAs, Musketeers, or Tombstones to neutralize that defense, but again, this is very situational.
Placement: Sometimes you'll want to mix up placement. If they have The Log in hand and I'm doing a push with barrel involved (or if I'm just sending a lone barrel), I tend to toss Goblin Barrel to the outside edge.
Deck Abuse: On the off-chance that the opponent doesn't have Zap or The Log, you can just keep cycling barrels.
Cycling: Sometimes to finish out matches you'll need to outcycle the opponent's spell. Cheap units let you get a cheap cycle.
VS Electro Wizard:Electro Wizard counters Goblin Barrel, but he is one more elixir. You can send out Goblin Barrel for a 3-4 “trade”, then push the other lane.
Princess + Zap; Fire Spirits + Zap
Go see specific guides on opposite lane pressure to learn about that. That's leaving the deck guide area and going into the card guide area. Also I'm too lazy to type all that up.
You can use zap to win Princess duels, though often this is not the best option. However, if in the middle of a Princess duel the opponent The Logs your Princess, it is usually acceptable to zap as that is an even trade.
It is also sometimes acceptable to zap a tombstone's death spawns. Negative trades aren't always a terrible thing, as evidenced here: www.imgur.com/a/UGeGb. Do know your opponent's deck before making riskier plays though.
Barrel Zap Combo: Fire Spirits and Skeleton Army can shut a Goblin Barrel down. If your opponent continually counters your Goblin Barrel with one of these troops, preemptive zap to punish them, killing their counter, damaging the tower, and stunning for your goblins. While this deck doesn't have The Log as backup in case of a Goblin Barrel response, it does have both Fire Spirits and Skeleton Army (awkward…).
Tactical Oops: I like this one. I invented it. Link:
holy butt since when did that get 415 upvotes?
The tactical oops has been nerfed with the introduction of muting, and rightfully so. It can be very overpowered. Applying the tactical oops to zap, against a fellow zap bait deck you could zap their skeleton army, say oops and shoot the angry face off, and prepare your fire spirits for the incoming barrel.
If you want to see how I play this deck, pull up the video guides and take a look at the explanations below. Warning, the videos are for teaching, not entertainment or quality. They look and sound pretty bad. So if you have volume on, I'd turn it off right now. Also the colors are pretty flashy so if you are susceptible to epileptic seizures I am sorry to say but you may be out of luck. Also one of the vids shows my finger. Please don't look at it.
REPLAY ONE (Prince)
https://vid.me/zsx6 vs Giant ElectroBowler WITH THREE SPELLS
2:50: I test the waters with a Barrel.
2:40: The opponent used Arrows, so my Princess is safe. The opponent places Bowler, so I respond with an opposite lane push.
2:22: My push got a strike off and forced my opponent to split his elixir.
2:02: With The Log out of rotation and my Inferno Tower still standing, I deploy Princess at the bridge. She gets a shot off before dying to Arrows.
1:38: With a Tombstone in the left lane and a Giant dropped in the back, I drop Prince at the bridge for an opposite lane push.
1:16: I defend his Giant and Electro Wizard using Inferno Tower and Skeleton Army. The Goblin Barrel had forced The Log out of my opponent's hand, so the Skeleton Army was very effective.
0:33: You get the idea.
0:25: I zap the Tombstone's death skeletons, catching my opponent off-guard and connecting with the tower for a lot of damage. Meanwhile Inferno Tower and Skeleton Army cleaned up my opponent's threatening push.
And that was how I got first in that tournament.
REPLAY TWO (Prince)
https://vid.me/lSEU vs Miner Zap Bait
2:45: I answer his goblin barrel with fire spirits, saving my zap.
2:24: With my opponent having used his spells, I use the Skeleton Army that countered his Miner in a counterpush. A fast zap gets me damage on his tower and I answer the barrel with fire spirits again.
1:50: I played Princess in the opposite lane to avoid taking chip damage on my weak tower. The opponent smartly saves his The Log.
1:35: My opponent overdefends, using seven elixir to my five.
0:57: I try catching my opponent off-guard, and convert it into a distraction. He wastes his Goblin Barrel as he somehow doesn't have a counter in his hand.
0:45: Anticipating a Miner on my Princess, I place Skeleton Army mainly on her. However I do ensure that not all of it will be hit by The Log if he targets Princess with The Log. My opponent foolishly zaps, spending seven elixir for minimal tower damage and loss of his spells.
0:34: I counter with Fire Spirits and push with Prince + Goblin Barrel- remember, my opponent has no spells in his hand.
0:27: I was ready for the Skeleton Army and zap it.
0:03: Trick barrel.
OT 2:15: I prepare Ice Spirit because I know a The Log is on its way. I place Fire Spirits to damage the Miner and Skeleton Army to take out the remaining troops, including the Ice Golem.
OT 2:05: I hit a Goblin Barrel with Zap for the win. Then I quickly cut the video.
REPLAY THREE (Prince)
https://vid.me/QTAd vs some random shit deck.
2:38: My opponent's first big mistake is placing that late Skeleton Army. Ice Spirit would have mitigated the damage without overcommitting.
2:00: Because my opponent accidentally split his Skeleton Army, my Prince gets a lot of damage off. Again, my opponent overcommits and plays Goblin Barrel for a negative trade and damage to his tower.
1:35: Note the Ice Spirit that protects the Princess.
0:60: I apply pressure on my strong tower's lane. Also, I don't know if you noticed that this should say 1:00. It doesn't.
0:07: My opponent had a decent idea- tanking Inferno Tower with the Skeleton Army- but it was too late.
REPLAY FOUR and don't ask about the phone. (Prince)
https://vid.me/w9dL vs LavaLightning
2:32: My opponent's misplace results in his Ice Wizard being OHK'd.
1:48: The zap paid off. Timing is important.
1:31: I pressure the opposite lane against the Hound.
1:15: I distract Mega Minion with Skeleton Army. Be careful with placement relative to Inferno Tower- you don't want them both getting zapped.
1:14: Unfortunately the Minions are lured away at the worst time possible, leading to a great zap for my opponent, and a tower down.
0:15: IT is safe from Minions, but not Lightning.
OT 2:41: I take a risky by placing IT in the center. Fortunately the spirits are well-timed.
OT 2:40: p r e d i c t i o n s k a r m y
Since you asked about the phone. It dropped literally two feet and completely shattered. Because it landed on gravel and then I stepped on it. So sorry about the super shitty quality of this replay, but again, it's for the deck guide, not entertainment.
REPLAY FIVE (Prince)
2:40: I notice a chance to push the opposite lane. My opponent really shanks the Ice Spirit.
1:50: Ice Spirit is cost-effective chip damage, but often better used in other ways.
1:19: Mega Minion is tanked using Skeleton Army. Princess is placed in the opposite lane so a Miner would take damage from the opposite tower.
0:55: Fire Spirits to cycle and chip, as I know Ice Spirit is not in my opponent's hand.
0:44: Goblin Barrel trick- zap is not in my opponent's hand.
0:30: Skeleton Army tanks again, for three enemies this time.
REPLAY SIX (Prince)
2:50: My starting hand doesn't let me push, so I test for zap. He doesn't bite.
2:25: SPARKY??!! I push the other lane, leading to one of my favorite synergies. The zap is a bit late however so Prince's charge is broken.
2:05: With zap baited, my opponent's push is absurdly easy to take care of.
2:02: fuck. 1:30: I pressure the opposite lane, lightly, as I don't need to expend much elixir to take the tower. Just baiting, really.
1:20: I zap everything to use Fire Spirits, then Ice Spirit saves my Prince. I took a decent amount of chip damage.
0:44: A risky play by my opponent. He could have been better off zapping my barrel or tanking my Prince.
REPLAY SEVEN (Prince)
https://vid.me/lWuU vs EBarbs Hog Zap Bait Conglomeration
2:36: With my opponent's spell baited, I push Prince + Fire Spirits.
2:17: I opt to save my zap, and use Skeleton Army to defend.
1:53: Darn. On the bright side Prince connects- baiting The Log.
1:25: I attempt a tactical oops. See guide above.
1:10: With Elite Barbarians deployed I know I have an elixir advantage. I push the opposite lane.
0:23: Careful with Fire Spirits placement. You don't want Ice Spirit splashing onto them, like here.
0:00: p r e d i c t i o n s k a r m y kills an ice spirit and my opponent is without counters.
REPLAY EIGHT (EBarbs)
https://vid.me/nFo6 vs Miner EBarbs
2:43: I start with a minor Miner misplay- what you want to do here is freeze the Miner to cycle and prevent a bit of chip damage, then drop Fire Spirits on the Spear Goblins. As you can see, this error caused me to miss out on a small amount of chip damage.
1:57: Skeleton Army is great against this push.
1:45: I attack with The Log and Zap out of my opponent;s rotation. 1:14: Fire Spirits are effective chip damage.
0:59: Goblin Barrel baits the spell. Fire Spirits clean up.
0:30: I defend Miner with Elite Barbarians so they can move on to kill the Archers and form a split push. The chaos lets me play a successful trick barrel.
0:13: God damn you. I told you not to look at that.
0:10: Passive Skeleton Army split. Keep in mind that Zap and The Log are negative trades against this.
OT 0:50: Every point of damage counts.
OT 0:45: The opponent attempts a desperation push. Knowing that The Log is in his hand, I play Elite Barbarians instead of Skeleton Army.
REPLAY NINE (EBarbs)
https://vid.me/XYee vs Miner-Something
2:44: Chip damage, then baiting zap.
2:25: MAXED CANNON
2:08: This is why you don;t play Princess stupidly. I should have placed mine further back so she wouldn;t target the cannon.
1:45: I get a lot of damage through by zapping the Minion Horde, though Fire Spirits would have worked even better.
1:33: I really don;t know why I didn;t zap right away. Just a dumb misplay, don;t do it.
1:10: A chip push causes my opponent to panic and waste elixir.
0:23: Note: Hover zap in case of Skeleton Army.
REPLAY TEN (EBarbs, broke 5k)
https://vid.me/zQq4 vs Overleveled Commons
2:45: When countering Fire Spirits with Ice Spirit, be sure your Ice Spirit has time to deploy and attack.
2:33: With zap out of rotation, Skeleton Army is safe.
2:20: Fire Spirits pushed an Elite Barbarian slightly to the right. I think.
2:01: Be careful with placement.
1:36: Looks pretty scary…
1:25: Toss the Goblin Barrel out, so the opponent has no way to support his push.
0:20: Skeleton Army and Inferno Tower shut RG down.
Hopefully those shitty replays help explain the deck. Not sure what to say now except my hand is already all out of whack and I haven't even got off Reddit yet.
I beat White Light
Credit to: Gcw0068