Balloon + Anti-Hog Deck That Got Me To 3300+ Trophies

Hey guys it’s me again! I get asked a lot to share my deck build and then shortly there after how to play it so I figured I’d give an in depth guide for those that want to try it. I was a level 8 F2P player with 9/6/3 around when I got into the 3300s however I broke into 3000 with 8/5/3 cards. This deck takes some practice and you won’t pick it up immediately but if you master it I promise you’ll not only climb but you’ll have fun doing it too. I’ve been in A8 for a long time and I’ve used this deck religiously and it will beat almost any deck no matter how many Legendaries if played right. In this guide I’ll explain each card, when to use them, their counters, and finish off with advanced techniques that make a difference between a win and a loss.


Balloon Giant + Anti-Hog Deck

The cards

Goblins – This is your go to cheap defense card that can deal with most anything that isn’t AoE. Use it to bait out zaps or use it to buy some time on tower damage, I rarely use these guys offensively unless there is a close troop.

Minion Horde – I use this on those big pushes/big guys. They’re great for taking out royal giants and cost less than him, also great for sparky and any flying troop in general. If you know the person is running arrows/zap try to bait it out with your goblins first if you feel you need to.

Arrows – These are on of your only dual purpose cards that can be played offensively or defensively. Ideally they should be played offensively to kill off any small guys that attack your push. However if need be they are great for saving your butt or killing princesses.

Elixir pump – Everyone should know this card but it’s use here is paramount to your offensively ability as well as a great defensive card if needed to be used in a pinch. Your ability to time pushes with its elixir timing will be the hardest thing to master but the most rewarding too.

Tombstone – I did a decent in-depth write up here

if anyone wants to look at it, but the gist is this thing is a hog killer and cheaper than a hog, it also opens up counter play to zap and freeze. It’s only use isn’t just for hogs and can be used to dominate most other cards, this card is never used offensively and you should keep it in your back pocket defensively. I rarely place this card down pre-preemptively.

Wizard – This guy I mostly use for defense, great at stopping barbs, great at stopping flying guys, all around great defender and can survive most projectiles even some underleveled fireballs. Keep this guy in your back pocket if you burn arrows and he responds with a group. He can also be used offensively if you’re struggling to push.

Giant – This guy is very important, he is your damage soak, the giant’s health to elixir cost ratio is amazing. He really doesn’t need to do damage to the towers even though he hits pretty hard, instead he needs to soak up damage so that your main card can get to the tower unharmed. He’s also great to stall out games that your ahead in.

Balloon – This guy is your bread and butter, all around main damage source. I cannot explain how devastating a balloon can be when you cant stop it from getting to your tower. Just one hit does 1/3 of most tower health and it has 0 animation to do it’s first attack once it reaches the tower. Also a balloon that reaches a tower with full health will completely destroy the tower if it is left alone to be dealt with by that tower.

The general strategy

I’m going to say this word a lot to emphasize the importance of this but COUNTER PUSHING is the name of the game with this deck. Your offensive strategy is 3 cards in total, the giant, balloon, arrows. You should place your giant in a lane followed up immediately by a balloon to his side and get your arrows ready for any small guys that attack it(gobs, spear gobs, minions, minion hordes, skeletons, princess). If done correctly vs the right cards this is a guaranteed tower kill. There are a lot of intricasies and some hard counters to this deck which I will get into later on how to play around or avoid but for now just focus on the simple part of giant + balloon + arrows = gg. Sometimes you’ll find even if you’re at 10 elixir its best to wait until they drop a troop before you attack as the counter attack can be just so devastating.


The reason I stress counter pushing so much is that when you counter push you give your opponent two choices defend against your push and leave his push solo or reinforce his push and give up/trade towers. If your opponent decides to defend against your push you will have time to make the decision to commit to your push with arrows or use that elixir to easily stop his small push. Here is an example of this happening once this person drops a golem

As you can see he drops a golem, and immediately counter attack the other side of the arena. This causes him to drop an ice wizard and minions. I deal with the minions with the arrows and then drop some gobs to deal with the golem. I essentially stopped his push and took a tower for free. I would have had an insanely hard time dealing with a golem + ice wizard + princess + minion push so instead I chose to counter push. I won this game, and this guy had 3 different legendaries!

Hog defense – This part is the part I figured most people would want to see with how popular the hog rider is. The defending fairly straight forward but it revolves around using your tombstone to distract the hog long enough for it to be killed before reaching your tower. Here is a short clip of a solo hog rider:

As you can see the hog rider didn’t get a single attack off on my tower and I came out with an elixir advantage. Now this is not the norm as most people follow their hog rider up with something(gobs, spear gobs, etc). These can mostly be matched with your gobs and your tombstone combined. The great thing about the tombstone is if it is zapped early the skeletons spawn and if it zapped late it gives you time to drop gobs to counter it as well.

Your hard counters

This section contains the decks greatest weaknesses which the deck seems to struggle insanely hard against. In most of these cases you see these two cards I normally suggest turtling and going for the draw or waiting for them to make a mistake.

The inferno tower – This card is insanely annoying vs this deck as both your balloon and your giant are very slow moving. This card distracts both of them off the towers path while shredding through the giant and then balloon. The only counter play you have to this is to drop your giant and anticipate where he places his tower and rush it with the minion horde. Otherwise I suggest playing for the tie unless he drops this card stupidly.

Three musketeers – A card you won’t see as often but if they have the elixir when you go to attack this card will shut you down hard, not only will they shred through your giant but they will make your balloon look like a skeleton. To play against this card its best to wait for them to drop the musketeers as one they’re expensive so easily counter pushable and 2 they’re very hard to stop with the defenses in this deck.

These two cards are just devastating to this deck but most other cards are very dealable with if you know how to play against them and get comfortable with the deck. even cards like ice wizard.

Advanced Techniques

In this section I’m going to try to teach you some “advanced” techniques which dramatically make a difference when it comes to your attacking/defense.

The lure -The first is the biggest and its the lure. Both how to use it and how to try and avoid it. The lure is the ability to lure certain troops into dual tower range while also slowing down their pathing. This can be seen in my hog gif where the hog is drawn towards the tombstone which is placed in dual tower range. This can be done with pretty much any troop and the ability to bring troops into dual tower fire is a complete game changer and one that should be mastered as one tombstone/goblins placed correctly can take out a barb group! In order to avoid this “as much as you can” place your balloon on the upper right/left most part of the arena depending on the side you’re attacking. I say as much as you can as there will be situations you cannot avoid of having your balloon change aggro. But the general rule is if its not exactly on the half of the arena you’re attacking it won’t aggro your balloon (your giant is a different story but that is fine).

Elixir tricks – The second one which is very very important for this deck is learning how elixir generation works. I’m going to give a relative general explanation here but there are two things you should master. Knowing when your elixir pump is going to pop and give you a +1 and knowing when you can drop your troops at 10 elixir and still get a bonus elixir. The first is pretty simple to learn. Elixir pumps have very obvious visual cues but if you want to get more technical like me elixir pumps pop roughly every 3 elixir generated. So for example if your pump popped and you are not sitting at 7 elixir your pump should pop around 10 elixir(it won’t however as it saves its elixir til you spend it, this is a key note). The second part that a lot of people don’t know is elixir is still generating once you hit 10 elixir. If timed properly you can drop a troop at 10 elixir and instead of being left with 5 elixir you will have 6. My technique is as soon as the elixir bar hits 10, I count 1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi and drop a troop. If you can master both of these techniques you’ll be able to drop a giant + balloon (10 elixir total) and immediately have 2-3 elixir. This gives you a very quick response time with your arrows to aid your push as well as is just in general great way to manage elixir.

I’m sure there are some aspects I’m forgetting but if you have any questions I’ll be responding for most of the day so let me know in the comments if you want clarification on anything or want more details or gif examples. I can dig through some more game logs to find some examples if needed. This deck can be altered for lower people who don’t have access to some of these cards, elixir pump is not 100% necessary nor is wizard, they can be replaced with things like bomber/baby dragon/etc.

  • Ng Teng Han

    Hey mcgray, I realized that u do not have the freeze spell in your deck. Then, is it safe to say that say that u are aiming for a 1-2 hits from the giant balloon push on the opponent’s crown tower most of the times ?
    And do u usually only reveal your balloon during the double elixir time ?
    Hope to hear from you man, cheers !

    • Will Potter

      Yes, this is not a Balloon Freeze Deck. You use the Giant to soak damage and protect your Balloon, that’s all mate! That’s awesome If your Balloon can hit the tower 2 times each push!

  • M-Hamza Sajjad

    This deck looks great, but there is one problem: I have all epics in the game… except the balloon :/

    • Invisible Ninja

      I have the epics in the game…. expect the dark prince

    • Will Potter

      Good luck with the other decks man 🙁

  • Narwhals

    Thanks Will! Helped me push to 2600+. Also, what do you think about this deck?
    -PEKKA (3)
    -3 Musketeers (7)
    -Fireball (6)
    -Elixir Collector (5)
    -Dark Prince (3)
    -Skeleton Army (2)
    -Rage Spell (2)
    -Minion horde (8)
    I think we need to see more 3 musketeer decks XD

    • TicTac

      Wow, can you make a guide for this, it looks great.

      • Narwhals

        Alrighty, I made a guide! any idea on how to get it to Will?

        • Will Potter

          You can write your guide via and send me the link mate! I will post it if it’s good enough!

          • Narwhals

            Thanks Will! so how do I send you the link?…

          • Will Potter

            After writing, publish it and you can see the link!

    • Get Wrong

      I personally wouldn’t use this deck because I don’t like using epics as mine are low level but that’s just my opinion.

    • AlexDaManGames

      5.1 Elixer …

      • Narwhals

        Yea, but it forces the opponent to stay on defense, so it doesn’t really matter.

        • AlexDaManGames

          True, I guess, but if your opponent attacks first with a huge push, your DED

          • Narwhals

            Not exactly, as you have minion horde,, skeleton army, P.E.K.K.A, or dark prince to shut it down XD

          • AlexDaManGames

            BUT STILL 5.1 XD

  • Hept Soul

    I think ice wiz and rocket counter it pretty hard too.

  • M-Hamza Sajjad

    Could you explain how exactly does this deck counter Royal Giant + wizard?

    • TicTac

      It doesn’t lol. I would replace tombstone with inferno personally, then replace minion horde with minions, to keep it cheap

  • Osiris

    How does it do in arena 5 (I have elixir collector because I dropped trophies)? I was 3 crowned twice and nearly lost 2 others. I try to play defensively yet I get overwhelmed at some times. Any tips?

    • Will Potter

      What is your main problem while using this deck mate?

      • Osiris

        For example: In the beginning of a match, I wait up to 10 elixir. Then my opponent suddenly drops like a giant accompanied with a musketeer/witch/or wiz. I try to defend as much as possible but I lose the tower. What should I do?

      • Osiris

        For example: In the beginning of a match, I wait up to 10 elixir. Then my opponent suddenly drops like a giant accompanied with a musketeer/witch/or wiz. I try to defend as much as possible but I lose the tower. What should I do? Arena 6 btw

        • Will Potter

          If you always lose by that way, you have 2 choices:
          1. Try your best to defend.
          2. Attack first!

  • aleander clash

    well in the 2nd video, you were able to counter the hog bcoz the opponent was stupid enough to send the hog alone. if followed by a wiz or bomber, tomb stone is useless in countering the hog. Canon is still cheapest way to counter the hog. Best way is to use IT.

    • WRektangle

      “As you can see the hog rider didn’t get a single attack off on my tower and I came out with an elixir advantage. Now this is not the norm as most people follow their hog rider up with something(gobs, spear gobs, etc). These can mostly be matched with your gobs and your tombstone combined. The great thing about the tombstone is if it is zapped early the skeletons spawn and if it zapped late it gives you time to drop gobs to counter it as well.” Quoted from the guide, you missed it i guess

  • Tuomas K

    I replaced tombstone with cannon but I really like this deck got me to 2100 trophies with 3/6/8 lvl cards

    • Will Potter

      Thanks for sharing this mate XD

  • TicTac

    Pekka deck pretty much wrecks this one. I use Pekka with wizard and valk, then I have minions, spear gobs and musketeer to counter balloon. This deck is really good but also very vulnerable

  • Falcon

    2 important things to remember when defending a giant-balloon push:

    1. The balloon is the priority. It does more damage, is squishier, and anything that kills the balloon can also target the giant later.

    2. This is a 10 elixir push that does absolutely nothing to diminish your troop levels. Reinforce the troops you used to take down the giant-balloon push, and mount a major push of your own. Don’t jump the gun with a quick hogrider if you can help it, especially against a deck like this. You probably already have a wizard, musketeer, or both out. Drop your best tanks and overwhelm him.

    • Will Potter

      This is so useful! Thanks a lot buddy! You rock!

  • TicTac

    Is there a PEKKA + Sparky deck? I just got sparky today, so freakin happy

    • GearWax

      Look up Giant Sparky and replace Giant with PEKKA.
      P.S. If you do this, everyone will hate you.

  • the casle

    This variation of the deck works great for people who are having issues with the giants. It also works basically the same on offense, except fire spirits add even better splash damage.

    • Vivan

      Lol my deck is similar only minions for horde and tombstone for cannon

  • Onkar

    So how u defences against sparky+wiz+Tank Rush? By using this deck?

    • Will Potter

      I strongly believe you can use Tombstone + Giant (soaking damage) + Goblins to deal with this. It is not easy but you can.

  • Dean Abdelraouf

    what should i do if i dont have the pump?

    • Will Potter

      You can try to replace it with Cannon but you will also want to replace Minion Horde with Minions to reduce the Elixir cost.

  • Sam

    hello there, i’ve been trying numerous decks but i haven’t found 1 sucessful but when i tried this out it works pretty well , but i have 1 question …. what can i replace the elixir pum with?

    • Will Potter

      You can try to replace it with either Skeletons or Cannon but I don’t recommend doing that at all.

  • Rowan Adams Waters

    This deck looks good. I like it because it’s an “anti-hog rider” deck. Hog riders can be really annoying. That’s why I recommend having a cannon or a tesla in your battle deck just in case. Plus, most decks should have at least one defensive building in it, so it’s good to have one to counter the hog rider and many other offensive cards.

    • Will Potter

      Thank you so much!

  • IN3xus

    I’m only in arena 5, so what should I replace ellizer collector with? I tried fire spirits but I still can’t go up to arena 6

    • Will Potter

      IMO you shouldn’t replace Elixir Collector with something else.

    • GearWax

      Skeletons? They’re cheap.

  • Fisher Ramsey

    I might buy princess in shop, what would you replace it with? I was thinking either gobs or Wizard

    • Will Potter

      You can try to replace Arrows with the Princess. Good luck!

      • jackietheboss23

        what aout if they have zap

  • Karthikeyan

    What should i do? I don’t hv elix pump and I’m lvl 8 still stuck with the pekka playhouse!! Will Bro help me plz!

    • GearWax

      Use this deck:
      Spear Goblins
      Goblin Barrel

  • chilipeps

    quick question sir, with the deck posted above, how do u defend my tower from a giant backed with a wiz and/or musk

    • Will Potter

      Use Wizard to distract the backline then use Minion Horde to quickly kill it!

  • Maximilian Ri

    i hope that you will answer this question… well: i have been using this deck and its working pretty well for me but i wanted to ask you what to do in theese situations: 1. what if you start the game with no pump and only cars like minion horde,giant,balloon and arrows or something like that 2. when your at full elixir with no good cars you could play (same situation as i just said) but you got 1 or 2 pumps down and the enemy doesnt have much elixir or isnt dropping anything off…. if youncould respond you would really help me out! or you could show me aonther deck you build thats also good, even tho ive been enjoing this one, thanks

    • Will Potter

      1. Drop Minion Horde behind your King’s Tower and wait.
      2. Drop Wizard behind your King’s Tower.

  • Jardy

    Hey, I love the deck variation but would it be better to replace the minion horde with barbs as they aren’t as vulnerable?

    • Will Potter

      You can use Minions instead of Minion Horde. Using Barbarians instead of Minion Horde is not a great idea buddy!

      • Jardy

        Alright thanks, This might also sound dumb but is the deck too expensive to replace the goblins w/ guards.

  • Gavin Liu

    Hi, I have an ice wizard and lava hound, dont know whether good to be used in this deck. Ice wizard is a must-use in all my decks, any good suggestion what to replace wiyh? Thanks

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