Introduction
Welcome to Meta Snapshot #3! In our Meta Snapshots, we break down which cards are hot and which cards are not compared to the previous weeks. This week is particularly interesting, with a balance update on 5/18. We include most deck-defining cards, and seperate them into 4 different tiers. Tier 1 cards are super strong in the current meta, tier 2 cards are good but not overpowered, tier 3 cards are average, while tier 4 cards are extremely weak. We have took your advice and added a summary section, so those who don’t have time to read through the entire article can still get an idea of what the meta is like
Summary
Quite a bit has changed since last week. The May 18th Balance Update affected over 18 cards. Hog and Royal Giant remain at the top of the ladder, but air cards like baby dragon and balloon have also begun to see more use. Poison is on the rise, while the other cards havent changed much in terms of use rate.
Tier One

Hog Rider: The Hog is without doubt one of the strongest cards right now. Its fast attack speed, movement speed, and high damage is hard to deal with. Recent nerfs to buildings gave made it even stronger. Hog-Zap is one of the most used decks, while hog-freeze has seen a lot less play

Royal Giant: The 4% nerf basically wasn’t a nerf (it takes the same amount of hits as before to kill a crown tower), and the Royal Giant’s high range and HP continue to dominate the ladder.

Elixir Collector: The elixir collector will always be used as long as its mechanic is the same as it is now. Regardless of its HP, the advantage it provides has a high potential to be game-winning. As a result of the 5/18 nerf, people are beginning to place the collectors behind turrets instead of in between.

Zap: Zap has only been on a rise since the May Update. It does very well in the current meta, being able to counter sparky as well as redirect the attacks of Royal Giants. What it cannot do the fireball does, which is why fireball/zap are usually used together. At 2 elixir, this card typically provides good valueYou can view an in depth article on why zap is better than arrows here.

Tier Two

Cannon– The Cannon still remains the primary counter to hogs. Tombstone preforms the same role, but still doesn’t see as much use as the cannon. The May 18th nerf doesn’t really affect its effectiveness, as the cannon can still prevent a hog from reaching your crown tower.

Poison: This is a card that has been seen a MASSIVE spike in usage. People are realizing the power of poison. It does well against buildings, while creating a null zone denying your opponent space to place troops. Spawner decks also get completely destroyed by a single poison spell. Poison has always been an underrated cart and people are finally realizing its power.

Mini-Pekka: The Mini-Pekka is super strong in the current meta. It has the capability to shred both hogs and Royal Giants, the 2 most widely used cards. It has one of the highest damaging hits in the game while being only 4 elixir, and does really well defending your towers.

Baby Dragon: With the recent rise of the Lava Hound, the Baby Dragon’s use has gone up as well. The most common deck with the hound is Lava Hound/Baby Drag/Balloon. The Baby Dragon has always been a decent (but not great) card that is very versatile, and it works very well with the LavaLoon deck.

Balloon: Similar to the Baby Drag, the Balloon is primarily used in Lava Hound decks. Lava Hound tanking + Balloons high damage makes a great combo, but other than that Balloon hasnt seen much use. That being said it remains a decent card, which is why we gave it a spot in tier 2.

Bomber: The bomber has also been seeing more use, as it’s damage buff gives it the ability to kill barbarians by itself. At 2 elixir less than its wizard counterpart, it makes a good splash alternative.

Valkyrie: The Valkyrie pretty much been the same. Its usage has slightly dropped (but not by much) due to the knight and bomber being decent alternatives. The valkyrie remains very good at defending against barbarians and other groups of troops, and overall is a solid card. It is also relatively tanky so could be used in a push.

Inferno: We are seeing less inferno and more mini-pekka, but the inferno tower remains a good card nonetheless. If used correctly, the Inferno Tower can singlehandedly kill a Royal Giant and stay alive, netting you a 1+ elixir advantage. The Inferno tower is a good card in the current meta, but sometimes shadowed by mini-pekka.

Wizard: The Wizard has seen a drop in usage, due to recent buffs to the Witch and Bomber. However, its winrate is among the highest, and it still sees a decent amount of usage. The ability to hit air makes this card unique, and this card is most often seen with Royal Giant.

Tombstone: The Tombstone is a decent alternative to the cannon, although not as widely used. It preforms similarly, but is counterable by basically any support troop. Perhaps we will see more of it in the future, but as of the the cannon is still the primary counter to the hog. That being said, the tombstone is still a decent card, able to counter hogs, pekkas, and to some extent barbarians.

Musketeer: The Musketeer has kind of lots its place in the game, but has recently been revitalized. There is a popular deck utilizing musketeer and Royal Giant. In addition, because of the rise of baby dragon, musketeer’s usage rate has gone up as well.

Tier Three
Prince/Dark Prince/Pekka: As before, these 3 cards are put together because they are almost exclusively used together. With recent meta shifts these 3 cards have gone from some of the most popular to seeing very little use. Simply put, Royal Giant and Hogs are just so much stronger, and the Pekka’s high cost and slow speed often loses you the game.
Furnace: The Furnace has actually exceeded my original expectations in terms of usage. Theoretically it’s a good card that provides you a lot of value, but in practice it has a dissapointing winrate. It saw a bit of use early in the week (probably for experimentation purposes), but since then has fallen off. The problem with the furnace is your opponents can often just ignore it and push the other lane.
Minions Horde: The Minion Horde has dropped and dropped. It used to be like barbarians; a staple in most decks. However it has become way too easy to counter while being pretty expensive. Oftentimes using this card basically gives your opponents 2 or even 3 free elixir (zap/arrows). Minions at a cheaper cost basically does the same role, while being much cheaper.
Giant: It has been a while since Beatdown Giant decks dominated the ladder (basically after Helsinki). The concept is simple. Why play giant when the Royal Giant basically does the same thing but at a longer range and being harder to deal with? Typically we now only see Jason-like decks in tournaments and in the hands of highly skilled players.
Giant Skeleton: The Giant Skeleton is essentially a defense only card. It is far too slow and easily distracted to ever reach the enemy tower (assuming your opponent isn’t braindead). Think of it as a card similar to the Valkyrie but costing 6 Elixir while dealing less on hit damage. This card like minion horde is way too easy to counter.
Freeze: Oh how freeze has died. The recent need really hit freeze in particular extremely hard. At lower levels we almost never see freeze anymore, while at higher arenas some people continue to use it. 1 second is very significant, often being the difference between taking a tower of not taking it. Freeze is now a card that needs good gamesense or it becomes very punishing.
Tesla: Tesla still isn’t viable in the current meta but isn’t completely forgotten like it was before. It is very rarely used, as cannon is much better against hogs, while Inferno tower is better at countering Royal Giants.
Golem: The Golem is simple too expensive. The current Meta consisting of fast hog pushes really punishes you placing down an 8 Elixir troop. It does its job as a tank well, but again is much too expensive to be viable.
Knight: The knight hasn’t found its place yet. It’s stronger than it was before, but still not as good as the Valkyrie which only costs 1 more. That is the main problem. Splash damage is so valuable in this meta, and is almost always worth it at a mere 1 elixir more.
3 Musketeers: The 3 Musketeers gets destroyed by the fireball/zap decks we have been seeing so much of. Similar to golem’s issue, the 3 Musketeers costs way too much while being squishy and easily countered by fireball in particular. That being said, if your opponent doesn’t have any counters and you play this card, you win.
Guards: The Guards, despite recent buffs, still isn’t as good as skeletons. It performs a similar role to skeletons (basically just for distraction), but for 3x the cost it isn’t worth it unless your using it against a pekka / Prince / other high damage single target troops.
Witch: I was honestly expecting a lot more from the witch. I’ve tried it and it still feels kind of weak. It works well with the Royal Giant and I’d say it’s a good replacement for wizard. However, keep in mind the Witch is an epic so naturally it