Hi everybody, this is Khel with my first guide at CRA, which will deal with one of the most controversial cards on the game: the 3k – 4k ladder-omnipresent -and omni-hated?- Elite Barbarians.
This card is one of my favorites, and I am always surprised when I see frequent references to “E-retards” across the site, along with implications that this is a no-skill card and that E-barbs users just focus on over leveling and bridge-spamming them. This guide will help newer players to understand the card better and -I hope, maybe somewhat naively ;)- help in reducing the hate on them.
E-Barbs – An overview
Elite Barbarians are ultra-fast ground troops with huge punch, slow hit speed, and decent HP. You get 2 per 6 elixir, with makes natural to use Knight as a benchmark to draw conclusions on their stats. In particular an E-Barb:
Does approx. a 19% more damage per second than a Knight.
Has approx. a 44% less health than Knight.
Is much faster than Knight (very fast vs. medium speeds).
Digging deeper in the interaction amongst these two cards:
With princess tower support, an E-barb will slay a Knight, surviving, but with severely wounded.
With princess tower support, a Knight slay an E-barb with sufficient life to be used in a counterpush.
Speed aside, a Knight is almost strictly better than an E-barb, even without accounting for his stronger spell resistance stemming from his superior HP. This means that an efficient use of E-Barbs needs to focus on its high DPS and its epic speed. These two points make the E-Barbs extremely efficient machines when dealing with enemy towers. Indeed:
An E-Barb alone will do 1016 damage to a princess tower before being slain. This is more than 25% more than the 720 a Knight would do.
Without opposition, two E-Barbs obliterate a tower, with one of them surviving almost at full life.
These two points are obviously accentuated in ladder when E-Barbs can be easily leveled above princess tower level.
Here we arrive at one key point: it can be tempting to spam E-Barbs at the bridge with a spell in hand -poison works very well at protecting them from swarms- and hope for the best. Problem is: E-Barbs are amongst the easiest units to counter in the whole game. To name a few counters:
As established below, E-Barbs are vulnerable. They are poor at resisting ranged attacks from princess towers, which means that they can be easily neutralized by simple kitting (i.e. dropping a unit at the middle of the bridge): they will go into it and fall in range of both princess towers.
Almost any building located at the middle of the arena will essentially neutralize them, in some cases with a very favorable elixir trade.
All in all, the conclusion is clear: The main use of E-Barbs should never be bridge-spamming. Doing this will end in some crushing wins and lots of losses, especially when approaching the legendary arena, where the competition gets stronger.
E-Barbs: A Complementary Win Condition
E-Barbs are well defined by the term Defensive Win Condition. This concept -which I saw first in Kairo’s excellent guide on Hybrid Decks: https://clashroyalearena.com/guides/hybrid-deck-building- should be understood as cards that offer huge value in defense and, with enough support, can end up doing large amounts of damage to enemy towers.
E-Barbs are exactly that. Indeed, as established above:
E-Barbs can do enormous damage and cover lots of ground very fast.
It is very hard to get E-Barbs to an enemy tower in a reckless offense.
E-Barbs stats make them exceptional defenders. In particular:
They can destroy most glass (and not so glass) cannons easily:
If directly put over a Wizard, they will kill him an survive with 50% life each.
If directly put over a Electro-Wizard, they will kill him an survive with around 80% life each.
If directly put over a Musketeer, they will kill her and survive both, one at full life and one at 50%.
If directly put over a Executioner (such that his ranged attack only reaches one E-Barb), they will kill him and survive both, one at full life and one at 70%
I directly behind a Which, they will kill her and take both minimal damages.
They can kill two musketeers together, but to do so they should be put just in front of them, in a way that each musketeer targets one different E-barb. With this, both E-Barbs will survive, with minimal health.
They are competent counters to Hog Rider, which will be able to get 2 hits on the princess tower if E-Barbs are used reactively to defend him –if placed predictively in the bridge they can silence him completely-.
They can defend a medium beatdown push (e.g. giant + wizard) alone, killing all the push by themselves and surviving with medium health, at the cost of a bit less than half of princess tower life. They will need support if the push includes aerial units, though.
The best thing about using E-Barbs on defense is that when the enemy push is silenced you immediately counterpush with a force that, if unanswered, will do massive damage to the enemy tower. This means that the opponent needs to react somehow there, which implies that he/she is locked to the line where his initial push was placed. In addition, chances are that your E-Barbs were harmed when defending and that they can be terminated with a medium-damage spell such Fireball.
Points above mean that:
In general is not wise to support E-Barbs with additional units, in order to avoid giving the opponent spell value.
If you go on the offense at the other lane, it will be hard for the opponent to mount a good defense on both lanes.
This means that there is a very strong and unusual -in the sense that you play them together, but they do not support each other directly as you play them in opposite lanes-synergy between E-Barbs and other threat cards. This synergy presents itself in terms of dual pushing: Unleashing simultaneous attacks at both enemy towers. In fact, the synergy is present between E-Barbs and any small push (using 5 or less elixir). To name a few:
Goblin Gang/Skeleton Army.
Ice Golem + Bats/Minions.
Bandit, possibly with Bats.
In my view, this is the real beauty of E-Barbs: their ability indirectly strengthen your offense, by means of drastically reducing enemy options in defending your small pushes. Properly used, they turn your threat cards into win conditions and your win conditions into deadly machines of destruction. This is why I like to call them Complementary Win Conditions.
Even if E-Barbs are extremely good at defending, sometimes –e.g. when facing lots of area damage troops- the overall pack is less than the sum of its parts. In these cases, playing them in the middle of the arena can be a great move, as you have a strong defender while sending a lone E-Barb against the opposite lane the opponent is focusing on. Most of the time this forces her/him to invest resources suboptimally, or assume high damage on a tower –damage which only has cost you 3 elixir-.
Splitting E-Barbs is also a good move when the opponent has dropped a medium elixir unit which can be dealt with a single E-Barb –Musketeer, Wizard…-. By splitting E-Barbs you force her/him to drop additional units to the lane she/he already committed –or assume a bad elixir trade-, and drop something also in the other lane –or see how one princess tower is badly damaged just at 3 elixir cost-. This typically means that your opponent has 3+ Elixir more than you in the field, and a very reduced amount of Elixir available. This gives you the opportunity to invest your superior amount of available Elixir knowing the status of the field and the fact that the opponent won’t be able to alter it very much in the next few seconds. Using this to your benefit will give you games.
Bonus Material – An E-Barb deck
This is the deck I have used to get to Challenger I in the two last seasons (in brackets, card levels at the time of reaching 4k for the first time):
Battle Ram (9)
Ice Golem (8)
Inferno Dragon (2)
The deck exploits the concept of dual pushing to a large extent, using several cards which can seamlessly transition from defense to offense. Below the main roles of the different cards:
See above 😉
With their incredible DPS they are extremely good defenders, and their fast speed means that coupled with almost any troop they become a threat which cannot be ignored. In particular, great for setting deadly small pushes along with Ice Golem, Bandit, or Battle Ram. If pairing them with the latter, it is advisable to let the ram enter in the range of the enemy tower before summoning them: this will prevent the enemy from zapping both the ram and the bats before the ram gets to the tower, which is the huge value for the zap.
Very strong win condition: It can bring a tower from maximum health to close to destruction by itself. In dual pushing, be sure of summoning it such that it crosses the bridge as close at the edge of the arena as possible: This will prevent enemy buildings from drawing the attention of both the ram and the push at the other lane simultaneously.
It has strong synergy with the Ice Golem: put the Ram just behind it and it will push it at fast speed. The death damage of the golem can clean a Skeleton Army or a group of bats before they destroy the ram for huge value.
The Ram can be used defensively also and is a good kiter which can help to neutralize tanks and swarms. It is especially good at separating PEKKAs and MegaKnights from their supporting units, escaping them once its speed is charged, and forcing the enemy to spend resources to defend the lane opposite to her/his initial push.
¿The best defender of the game? Master kiter, synergizes with almost all cards of this deck: can be used to support E-Barbs or Ram on offense, as a small push with Bats, or to force enemy units to group together and give huge value to Princess shots.
There is a good guide on Ice Golem by Ash on this site: https://clashroyalearena.com/guides/ice-golem. Note, though, that it is outdated when it comes to its death damage (now an Ice Golem kills skeletons and bats of two levels more).
Epic defender. The main defense against Lavahound, and extremely useful against all kind of tanks. It is also decent at supporting Dual Pushing (even if not excellent as E-Barbs). Ignoring him results in a melted tower, which means that the opponent needs to invest resources to stop it when he counter-pushes. The flipside is that he is very easy to counter, and his medium speed gives the opponent ample time to react.
Your anti-swarm unit. The strength of this card is that, due to its enormous range, it is very easy to have it shot at least once against the threat you need to counter. Due to its cost and the fact that she will usually target swarms, this is enough value even assuming she is logged out immediately afterward.
Given that swarms are hard counters to basically all threats of this deck, a key to victory is to do predictive plays with the Princess. To do so, place her at the middle of the bridge. This will let her target whatever is summoned to kill your push without allowing the opponent’s log both simultaneously.
Hard counters almost all ground ranged units in the game. Very good to deal with support cards from beatdown pushes. If let alone it takes around 1000 HP from a princess tower at tournament levels, so she cannot be ignored. She is, though, easy to counter, so avoid using it offensively unless dual pushing or as a punishment after a positive elixir trade.
Bandit counters Prince/Dark Prince with the help of a tower. Specifically, princes range is larger than bandit’s. As a result, they “hit” her before her dash is over, so their charge gets reset to no effect (Bandit is still invulnerable at that time).
It is possible for a Bandit to dash before being struck by an Electro-wizard. To do so, she must be completely diagonal to him, as far as possible.
Great support spell. Your counter to Hog and Goblin Barrel – the first time they use them, use the tornado to activate king tower. Later on use it to draw them towards the center of the arena, where your three towers will end them-. It has an obvious synergize with Princess also.
Tornado is a great offensive weapon at the end of a tight game. Use it predictively to pull enemy troops out of the path of your final push and buy it some crucial time to attack the enemy tower. This can very well be the difference between a win and a loss against a monster beatdown push in the overtime.
Ice Golem to kite their tank, with Infernal Dragon in the center of your side of the arena (slightly towards the lane their push comes from) to melt them while protected from potential ElectroWizards. Bandit or EBarbs to deal with support troops (depending on the strength of the push). You need special care while positioning them: be sure that they are farther from their tank than your Ice Golem. An error here implies losing the whole game.
When taken care of the push, Bats or Ram on the Ice Golem line for a strong dual lane counterpush.
Your win rate is well above 70%.
Beatdown + Building oriented tank.
It entirely depends on how easily you damage them. As soon as Elixir Collector is placed Dual Push. If one of your pushes is mildly successful, there is hope. When they place their tank push as strong as you can on the opposite lane and send a lone Inferno Dragon against their tank. Repeat along the whole match.
If your initial pushes make no harm, you are not going to win this. Switch to defense and go for the draw.
Your win rate is below 40%, though you should be able to complement this with 20% of draws.
Tornado should let you neutralize every attack for minor damage while having your King Tower activated. Save your Princess for swarms. When at double elixir, use Tornado + E-Barbs in the middle of your side of the arena against the Hog. This will kill him and send one E-Barb at each lane. Princess on the middle of the arena (just behind the bridge) and Bats supporting one EBarb.
This matchup is in your favor, since it will be very hard for them to damage your towers. However, it is also difficult for you to make damage. Your win rate is around 60%.
Inferno Dragon + E-Barbs or Inferno Dragon + Ice Golem + Princess (depending on the supports they place) should do the trick while letting you with enough troop value or elixir advantage to dual push. It can be a good idea to split your E-Barbs when their siege machine is placed: one will defend while the other will go directly to the lone opposite tower, forcing the opponent to invest resources out of her/his priority, which is defending their win condition.
Your win rate is above 60%.
As siege, but easier. Inferno + Princess + Ice Golem destroys everything they do, giving you with Elixir advantage to end them as you want.
Your win rate could very well be at 80%.
This is all from my side! Hope you enjoyed this guide! Good luck and have fun ;)!!