Hey y’all, WhiteLlama67 back at it with an in-depth guide on a specific deck style today: Lavaloon.
The combination of the Lava Hound and the Balloon was once strong enough to be called a cancer, however, with the rise of cards such as the Executioner and the Electro Wizard, the legend went from dominating to dead… Or is it?
This guide is specifically on the Lavaloon Beatdown strategy, and I will be covering on how best you can utilize its strengths, while learning to adapt to it’s weaknesses.
In past days, some called it a no-skill deck, but now in a meta full of Elite Barbarians, Mega Knights, P.E.K.K.A.s, and so on, I say this deck style requires more skill than many other decks.
Even still, I assure you that this deck still has great potential, so keep reading and you’ll believe me!
The Ultimate Guide to Lavaloon Beatdown
On my main account, the Lava Hound was my first legendary I unlocked while in Arena 7, and my first level 3 legendary as well.
I quickly determined the best strategy with the Lava Hound was Lavaloon.
After some practice, I quickly landed myself in Hog Mountain, but then after facing the repetitive Elite Barbarian spam decks, I decided I couldn’t do an air-focused deck.
But even with messing around with some other decks and still not finding any success, I bounced back to Lavaloon.
It took some time, but with more practice, I have learned that it still shines as an unanticipated deck.
I still use it today as my main deck in Legendary Arena, and I hope to be able to help y’all out as well.
Lavaloon Beatdown, let’s break that down:
Now what is beatdown? Beatdown is the archetype that focuses on accruing an Elixir lead, and spending it all in 1 or 2 massive pushes toward the end of the match.
Beatdown decks carry a slow, heavy tank that can soak up damage, and so Golem, Lava Hound, Giant, and P.E.K.K.A. decks typically all fall under beatdown.
Though they all fall under the same category, they are all played differently at the end of the day.
Ah, the star of the show. 7 Elixir, with a hefty 3000 HP at tourney standard.
She is the only flying tank in the game and targets only buildings, and therefore has great synergy with the Balloon.
Dealing very little damage, the Lava Hound is not much of a threat alone, until she pops, that is.
She spawns 6 Lava Pups, who deal the same damage, but combined, that’s a whoppin’ 270 DPS! More about the Lava Hound here!
Just a little skelly in a Balloon who’s been takin’ down towers since Arena 2.
As said earlier, the Balloon and the Lava Hound synergize incredibly, for these 3 reasons:
Both target buildings
Both are air troops
Lava Hound has high HP, low DPS, Balloon has low HP, but high DPS
Never ever use the Balloon unsupported, and only drop it behind something other than a Hound if your opponent has used their counter.
Once destroyed, the Balloon with drop a bomb with a 3 sec timer, that does around 300 damage, give or take.
Your main goal of the push is to get the Balloon to connect to the Tower, where it can deal massive damage.
Place a support card in the back (Wizard, Mega Minion, etc)
Drop a heavy tank in the back (Giant, Golem, Lava Hound)
Place a building (Pump, Spawner, Etc)
If they rush you with any of the following, use Tombstone or Skeleton Army/Gang, but be ready for them to be spelled off.
If this happens, use your other air support, and then after defending, place a Hound in the back.
If they place a support card, drop your Tombstone, or if not in your hand, place one of your support as well in the back, i.e. Mega Minion.
If they drop their tank in the back, do the same with your Lava Hound, and defend accordingly.
If they place a Pump, or a Spawner, Fireball/Lightning/Poison it, unless it’s a Tombstone
When to Place Lava Hound
The Lava Hound is nowhere near cheap, at 7 Elixir.
Yet, she isn’t as expensive as Golem, fortunately, which gives you a bit more freedom in playing her.
If using the variation with the Elixir Collector, placing down those is more priority than your Hound until Double Elixir.
However, if you know cycling back to another Pump won’t be worth it, i.e. your opponent will just generate an Elixir lead from all your cycling, then don’t.
If not playing with a Pump, then their are 3 situations I would drop a Hound before double-Elixir:
Your opponent just rushed with Hog, E-Barbarians, Miner, etc. In this situation, defend as best you can without giving them a large Elixir lead. Then, place the Hound in the back corner of the side with the damaged Tower.
Your opponent places a tank in the back. Do the same with your Hound on the same side. Spend Elixir on defending, not on say a Balloon behind the Hound
You just defended a push with less Elixir than your opponent spent, and now have a large Elixir lead. Example: your opponent attacks with Giant + Musketeer, and you defended with Mega Minion + Tombstone. Congrats, you now have 3 more Elixir than your opponent!
When to Commit
When it comes to committing with Lavaloon, it basically means whether or not to place a Balloon behind the Hound.
My first push with a Hound I generally don’t use a Balloon, usually only with one of my support cards, just to find out how they defend. Later, I would only drop the Balloon if I know how they’re going to defend, and I can shut down their defense. Examples:
They’re going to use Inferno, but I have Zap and Minions ready or Lightning
They’re going to use Wizard + Tornado, but I have a Mega Minion down and Fireball ready
They’re going to drop Minion Horde on the Balloon, but I have Arrows in my hand
Things like that. Remember these things also in deciding what support to use in a push.
In Double-Elixir, don’t hesitate to throw everything all in, this is Beatdown remember!
It’s Okay to Take Damage!
Most decks you face, you will take damage, especially against Hog or Elite Barbarians!
Before you become good with Lavaloon, you must be OK with this.
You drop down your Hound, but then you take 4 Hog hits, whatever.
You have a bad hand and your opponent rushes with E-Barbarians and you lose a Tower, suck it up.
In the event that you get rushed the same lane as your Hound, wait to defend until you know that all your cards will end up behind the Hound for the counterpush.
Also, recognize when a Tower is lost. Don’t spend Elixir on defending a Tower that’s around 500 HP when they have Rocket!
Hard Counter Matchups
These decks and cards are the reason Lavaloon has fallen out of the meta, but with the right practice and know-how, this deck style can still be very successful!
Just to clarify, I will be using the Classic Lavaloon deck to give examples.
Alright, this section is for all of you in Hog Mountain, where it feels like every other match is against overleveled E-Barb spam decks.
Trust me, I’ve been there, and it’s rough.
Unfortunately yes, typical Lavaloon decks only have 2 distracting cards, Tombstone and Skeleton Army/Gang. I will be creating situations (going from best to worst) and how best to defend in each one.
Start of the match, they rush with E-Barbarians and you luckily have Tombstone, Goblin Gang, Minions, and Mega Minion in your hand. Which do you choose?
Keep in mind, they likely have Zap or the Log ready!
I would place down the Gang in the middle, and also the Mega Minion, for a couple of reasons:
Vs E-Barbarians, you want to always use your Gang or Tombstone, because you have to have a card to distract! I pick Gang over Tombstone, just because a lot of E-Barb decks also have Hog, and you want to save the Tombstone for him.
Also, I would use Mega Minion over Minions, because in the event that they use their Zap. If you had used Minions and they had Zapped them, then they could ignore them after that. A Zapped Mega Minion however, still needs to be dealt with, or else they suffer 200+ damage!
In the situation that they rush you and you only have one of those 4 cards, or are too low on Elixir to use more than one card, this is what you do.
Place down the card, and hope it doesn’t get spelled away. If it does get spelled away, leave it! Take the damage.
Save up until 10 Elixir again and play a Hound behind the damaged Tower. Congrats! You will now have 5+ more Elixir than them for a push, and they can’t punish you for dropping the Hound!
In the quite unlucky event that you happen to have 2 spells, a Hound and a Balloon in hand, and you get rushed, it will take some quick decision-making.
Determine whether or not it will be worth it by Fireballing them, and save your Tower, or to save your Fireball for later.
Choose to save your Fireball and lose the Tower if you know they have Minion Horde, 3 Musketeers, or something that will shred your push.
Start a push then and use your spells accordingly, and you’ll likely take their Tower.
Hardest matchup by far, IMO.
Even if you use Fireball or Lightning in your deck, it will be quite difficult, especially if your Fireball can’t one-shot those Wizards.
Splashnado is the combination of AOE cards, and Tornado, most commonly with the Executioner. The Tornado can group together the Balloon, Hound, and your support, and their AOE cards can nail them all at once.
For now, I’ll give you two different strategies.
Strategy 1: Out cycle.
Now I don’t literally mean to out-cycle them, because that’s not going to happen.
I mean catch them when they have either their Tornado or their Executioner out of cycle, and punish them hard for it.
This is less likely to happen with more experience players, but it’s still possible.
I use Minions or Goblin Gang to try to bait out one of those cards, and once they use it, I drop a Hound at the bridge on the opposite side, and a few seconds later a Balloon. It’s risky to commit like that, but it’s quite effective I’ve learned.
Strategy 2: Split-Push
This time, you will force them to choose where to use their Executioner.
Start by playing the Hound in the back, and continue to add to the push with Mega Minion, Goblin Gang, etc, until you have a formidable push coming.
Then, once you have Elixir, rush the opposite lane with Balloon + Support.
As said earlier, your opponent then has to defend against two threatening pushes.
Inferno Towers/Inferno Dragons
These two cards are just such a pain in the butt, honestly.
Any of you Beatdown players out there can relate. And with the Lightning nerf, they’re all the more common.
Most Lavaloon decks should carry either Zap or Lightning, just to reset either of these cards.
I’ll be covering how to use both, against ID and IT.
Against Inferno Tower
When your Hound gets to the bridge, drop a preemptive Minions to distract it. If they happen to die, or they place the IT in a different spot, keep Zap ready.
When you Zap the IT, it should buy enough time for your Balloon to destroy it.
If using Lightning, make sure to have 6 Elixir ready when your Hound reaches the Bridge. Try to nail the IT + Tower + enemy troop.
Against Inferno Dragon
Don’t bother placing preemptive Minions, they won’t do anything.
Make sure you have Mega Minion part of your push though!
Once you Zap it, and you will have to Zap it, that should buy enough time for the Mega Minion to tear it apart.