Do you feel frustrated when you find your cards clogging in hand and you just don’t seem to be able to cycle back to the card needed for defense? Are you not in the mood of playing a big deathball push deck like the P.K.K.A/Golem/Giant? Do you want to go aggressive without worrying you don’t have the right card to defend? If the answer to at least one of the questions is Yes, then may I introduce you to the Arena 5 Deck that I have been using to keep me afloat in mid-late Royal Arena (2500+): The fast cycle hog deck that I guess many people have met or used.
Nothing revolutionary, just plain efficient. The deck is actually quite easy to get the hang of but will require you to pay extra attention with opponent response and push, because this deck offensive capability is pretty one dimension.
The deck is very flexible. The only cards I deemed not replaceable is Hog rider (obv), spear gob (unless you have other anti-air to put in), zap (arrow is NOT a replacement due to its lack of speed). You will also want to make sure your zap (high enough to one shot goblin/barrel) and hog is high enough level (level 5 hog is fine for early-mid A7, level 6 preferred)
Possible consideration of cards: Minion, minion horde (which makes the deck better defense but higher cost), elixir pump (swap with cannon), barbarian (same rationale for minion horde), freeze (I would recommend playing a more standard freeze+hog to utility the power of combo), fireball (poor man substitution of lightning), arrow (as an additional fail safe measure against swarm and princess).
In most cases, you want to be the aggressor but don’t get over zealous with your push. Open with a simple push. My favorite push, in order, is Hog+Gob (6 elixir), Gob+Spear Gob (4 elixir), Hog (4 elixir). The aim of the opening is not to knock your opponent out, but rather gauge what they are using to respond. However, it is not at all uncommon you can get 1000-1500 damage off opponent especially when they make a greedy play or stuck with bad hand. But the main thing you need to keep in mind in opening is:
What they are using to counter you push. This also gives you some idea on what deck they are playing. Mortar player actually quite easily show their hand even if they have not deployed mortar yet from their defense and placement.
Punish them if they want to get greedy with defense. E.g. Zap their skele and gob if that is all they use to defend your push. You actually have a 75% chance to have a zap support if you push with a 2 card combo.
Prepare for defense if they use strong counter push defense, like minion horde and barb.
And one important remark: DO NOT USE YOUR LIGHTNING even when their defense structure is setup. By doing so you (1) put yourself in dangerous level of elixir, (2) get minimal value out of it as your unit are already lured and possibly do enough damage on the structure already and (3) just in case you need it to take care of something real nasty and (4) give away the surprise. It is not uncommon that I save it up for last minute to seal the overtime deal.
Poke with your unit, try to switch around some tactic if the old one does not work. Focus on thinking about defense efficiently and translate to gradual chip damage on opponent. Don’t be afraid to cycle out less important card in the matchup. The deck is at its strongest when both side are tight on amount of elixir they have. So ideally you should try to get their tower down to 1k before entering in overtime. It is not a good sign if theirs are still healthy. If by the time last minute is in and you barely get any damage in, it can be a tough uphill battle especially against deathball push like 3M and Pekka.
The Last Minute
You should be in all alert for retaliation from opponent. Especially against slow deck you will have a distinct health advantage. But that does not mean too much as all a big push opponent needs to do is a one giant push to seal the deal. By now you should have a good idea on what opponent deck has, their win condition and how you would defend. This period is usually about making efficient defense and getting a counter push for the last bit of damage. If opponent deploys a big tank at the back, charge another lane with your small push combo to force them split attention and not spend the elixir on their dream push. This deck is not made to defend a big 15-20 elixir big push, but a 10-12 elixir push is definitely defendable due to how fast you can cycle to the key card at this stage.
Well by now you should have either dealt enough damage to lightning finish the opponent (or two lightning), or get dragged into a stalemate (a crown tower trade, or their crown tower still pretty healthy). If it is the latter case, then don’t be too sad if it ends up as a draw because that is just how the deck works. That does not mean it is unwinnable. In fact I often do get a 2-1 victory during overtime. One thing I want to advise against is to use Lightning to finish opponent before overtime. In 99% of the case you are just handing opponent a 6 elixir window for push. What you should do, however, is to keep defending until it is last second of the regular time then you finish them. This way they never have the chance to counter push. Though if either (1) you can kill something sweet alongside (witch/wizard/musketeer/mini pekka) or (2) you need it to even a 1-1 score and you don’t have the leisure to wait til last second, then lightning is the right play. Everything else is similar to last minute section.
This deck is not the be all end all deck. The deck certainly has weakness for exploitation, such as big air unit (dragon/balloon), a really big golem push (level 4 golem is scary), princess (require delicate timing to kill due to lack of arrow). But just like in card game, decks have different strength and weakness and you certainly have enough room to outplay deck in counter matchup. Luckily this deck is pretty quick to learn. If you have trouble and question, feel free to ask below.