Hey, Nitrome95 here! I’ll be showing you guys a very popular 2.6 Hog cycle deck that works well in the meta currently. It is also known as the Ice Golem trifecta, being that it takes the Trifecta deck and replaces the Valkyrie with Ice Golem.
2.6 Hog Cycle Meta Deck
This deck got me over 4k trophies as a lvl 10 with these cards: 10-8/7-2. There are no Epics in this deck, and the only Legendary, Log, is not very level dependent. I also got 11 wins in a Grand Challenge, beating SaintBelikin from Reddit Alpha in the process. (I lost to darthjarjar from the same clan D:) Anyway, without further ado, let’s get started.
Hog Rider: My favorite win condition of all. Out of all of the win conditions, this is the only card that has stood the test of time, and why would it not? Cheap, fast, and devastating, good players can always get this guy to the tower. You will want to get your opponent’s counters out of cycle, and then play him to chip out your opponent.
Ice Golem: After the balance changes, I honestly do not like this card very much, but it makes up for it with its amazing synergy with the Hog Rider. Just let the Hog Rider push the Ice Golem in the front for a deadly push. Also great with Musketeer on defense to take out supporting troops. Sometimes you will also want to couple him with the Hog Rider to do the pig push to bypass buildings.
Musketeer: Your main defensive card and probably my favorite card. Use her to put some extra DPS on the tank or support units. You will rely heavily on this card in a lot of matchups, so don’t waste her, or else your opponent can catch you off cycle.
Ice Spirit/Skeletons: These cards pretty much do the same exact thing. For 1 Elixir, they stall troops for a good amount of time for your offense and defense.
Cannon: Used to distract defensive targeting troops. Just be cognizant of the purpose of each placement. Generally, a 4-3 plant is the best, but you may have to do a 0-3 (right at the river in the center) plant for Royal Giant Lightning.
Log: Just don’t be stupid with it… used to take out squishy units.
Fireball: This is the card you will use for all of your prediction plays. Understand your opponent’s defensive patterns and capitalize with a Fireball. If done correctly, your push will reach the tower.
This deck is all about defense first, then offense. It is a hybrid between a control and a cycle deck because of the cheap Elixir costs and the solid defense. Try to be tricky and unpredictable with your offense; your pushes are really simple, so you need to play around your opponent’s counters. Your standard defense will be Cannon, Musketeer, and Ice Golem set up in a triangle formation.
Although ill-advised by a lot of player, I usually start off with Hog push with Ice Golem, skeleton, or just a naked push. If you do not have Hog in rotation, you could do two things:
Play Musketeer in the back.
Cycle cheap cards to your Hog.
The downside of the first is that you are throwing out your most important defensive card which may put you in a bad rotation. The downside of the second is if your Hog is the last card in rotation. You will waste a lot of Elixir for not much value.
Assuming you did a Hog push in the beginning, your opponent would have countered it, or you got good chip damage if you were lucky. No worries if your opponent counters it, keep track of all of your opponent’s counters. Start to keep track of when those cards are in their hand. If your opponent counters with Inferno Tower, even better since you get a +1 Elixir advantage. You will also want to scout out how fast your opponent’s deck cycle, so you know how long it will take for your opponent to cycle back to their counter.
There are two main objectives to this part:
Play aggressively. If you see your opponent with an opening, go for an aggressive attack. This phase is where you rack up most of your damage.
Build Elixir advantages. This is especially easy with your cheap defensive cards.
Scout out all your opponent’s cards, including other counters to your Hog.
Once late game comes around, you will most likely not get as much damage on your opponent since they can cycle to their counters quickly. Instead, it becomes a game of spell cycle and defense. By scouting out your opponent’s cards before, you have a good idea of what they will come at you with on offense.
If you are behind on damage, the match will be a bit harder, but it is doable. It all comes down to surprising your opponent. Once you set up your Musketeer, Cannon, and maybe an Ice Spirit, divert 50% of your attention to the other lane and quickly push. You will especially need to do this if they have lots of hard counters to your Hog.
I will not explain much in this section. On offense, you need to access what your opponent will counter with, and based on that set up your rotation so that you have the cards to “counter their counters”. Be spontaneous and unpredictable with your offense to catch your opponent off guard. If your opponent plays a bad passive building in the middle, do an aggressive pig push in the middle.
I will list a few tricky defense that your Hog may have trouble to pass.
Inferno Tower/Barbarians/Elite Barbarians/Cannon
With all of these, you will have to do a predictive Fireball with your Hog Rider+Ice Golem push.
With Inferno Tower, it is important to try to build up a huge Elixir advantage, because your opponent will likely have other troops to deal with your Hog. The most popular defense with Inferno Tower is Electro Wizard, which is really tricky. However, that is 9 Elixir that has to be played reactively, so building up an Elixir advantage should help. Continuing with the inferno, you face another problem if you are facing spell bait. You will have to defend their bait without any spells so that you can deal with the Skeleton Army they might play against your Hog Rider.
With elite barbarians, it is mostly better to wait for your opponent to play them on offense. If your opponent defends your Hog Rider with elite barbarians, it will become a strong counterpush.
Probably the most infuriating matchup. The Tornado completely shuts down the Hog Rider for a positive Elixir trade, and unlike the Cannon, you can’t Fireball it. If you try using your Musketeer on offense, your opponent can just do Tornado Executioner for a (and I hate to say it) a massive positive Elixir trade. The trick (which is really hard to pull of) is to bait out the Executioner, and then rush in with a full on Ice Golem, Hog Rider, Musketeer. Why is this so hard?
Once you push, that’s 10 whole Elixir. They will probably have enough Elixir to send a push with the Executioner.
You put your most important defensive card out of rotation.
Executioner is mostly used with the Tornado.
There is no set way to bait out Executioner. The only thing I can think of is to play your Musketeer in the back, but you will need it for the aggressive push later.
If your opponent is playing Balloon Ice Golem, you are screwed. Simple.
You probably have an activated king tower to deal with.
Not knowing this actually cost me a Grand Challenge match, but I analyzed the match to come up with this solution :D.
At least one time in the match, they will put the bowler in the back; I guarantee it. Do an extremely aggressive push to take down the tower.
There are a lot of good counters to Hog, but with good plays, you can get around them.
Royal Giant Lightning
The 0-3 Cannon plant is the best with a Musketeer against the far wall next to the tower. They will not be able to Lightning the Cannon and the tower, leading to a negative Elixir trade no matter what. You may have to switch it up if they attack your Cannon with minions, Musketeer, etc. Simply do a 2-4 plant with the Musketeer and plant the Cannon in front of the tower. It is all a game of mix ups and mind games.
Other Beatdown Lightning
You will want to place your Cannon lower than with the Royal Giant Lightning.
If your opponent is playing the meta knight (not meta knight from kirby) Graveyard deck, Your defense will be Cannon in the back with Log. In the front, Musketeer with an Ice Spirit or Ice Golem.
If your opponent is playing a beatdown Graveyard deck, you will move the Musketeer in the back, and deal with the tank as usual.
The biggest pain of them all. I have lost to players 600 trophies under me just because they were playing LavaLoon. When your opponent plays LavaLoon, they usually have to pay a lot of attention to their offense so that they can time their Balloon/clone/Tornado. Because of this, you can usually get away with a Hog Rider push on the other side. You generally do not want to push the other lane when they drop the lava hound in the back. The most deadly part of the push is the Balloon. Also make sure that your Musketeer locks on to the Balloon, not the lava hound.
Hog Rider Control/Cycle
These are personally my favorite matches. It is all about mixing up your defense and being unpredictable. Play flawlessly, as a misplayed Cannon can cost you the game. A nifty trick I have learned is to not pig push for the entire game. They will get used to doing the optimal 4-3 plant. Then, quickly pig push, and your Hog Rider will likely bypass the building.
And that’s pretty much all my knowledge about this deck. You can watch a lot of pro player play this deck on youtube. It is easy to pick up and great in the meta.
If you have any feedback about my guide, please share below, I would be glad to hear it!
Note from Will: Hey Nitrome95 I f*** hate you mate. I was working on this deck and was about to finish my article but suddenly I got yours. Just wasted 2 hours of my life. I hate you.