Xbow 2.9 is one of the oldest, best, and most viable Xbow decks. The deck has a fast cycle and can be used after Electro Valley.
The deck has a solid winrate and can win against everything if played correctly (the only exception is RG Cycle). It is said to be one of the highest skill cap decks in the game, but certainly one of the most F2P friendly decks. This means that if you pick it up and take the time to master/upgrade it, you will have lots of success.
An Image of the deck is seen below.
What Cards Can I Replace?
Picking this deck up is difficult, but not very difficult. Practice with your friends and clanmates. Once you get good, you can enter CC’s and Tourneys with it. After that you can take it to ladder and to GC’s.
We will start with the basics:
Starting a Match:
Starting a match with 2.9 is fairly simple, but depends on your opponent’s plays.
In general, you never want to leak elixir. This means that you never want to reach 10 elixir without playing something. You have many cheap cards to play.
You can cycle ice spirit at the back or at the bridge for some chip damage.
You can cycle skeletons at the back.
You can split archers in the back. Splitting archers in the back is one of the safest moves ever.
Cards that could be played to cycle but are not recommended to cycle are (ones that should never ever be played are written in Bold):
- Log: You never know if you are facing log bait.
- Fireball: Why would you cycle a fireball with no reason?
- Xbow: X-bow first play is not a very good idea. Your opponent can counter it hard.
- Ice Golem: This icy guy is the only tank in your deck, use him wisely.
- Tesla: Tesla is an important air attacker and counter to building targeters that shouldn’t be wasted.
In general, you want to cycle cheap cards, and wait for your opponent to make the real move so that you can respond well.
What if my opponent doesn’t play anything?
In that case, the chip damage you will get will become severe and your opponent will have to play or they will lose.
Properties of This Deck That You Should Exploit
With this cheap cycle, you can get to a card you just played quickly. If your opponent rocketed your Xbow, you could quickly get back to another one before then.
With these cheap cards, you should be able to make lots of positive trades.
Some buildings will survive (tesla goes down and is unaffected by most spells and Xbow has a ton of health), use them as support!
This quick cycle allows to place cards before the time they are needed so that when your opponent uses spells, you can play another one.
As a 2.9 player, you should know the optimal placements for your buildings.
Let’s start with the Xbow:
Offensive Xbow Placements:
Standard Xbow Placement: One tile below the bridge, and one tile to the side of the arena. This placement is an offensive one. It is good for three reasons:
- This gives you some space to place troops such as ice golem in front of the Xbow.
- This increases the chances of your opponent failing to distract your Xbow with opposite lane tanks.
- Most of the time, you can use the tip of the log push these tanks away from the Xbow’s range allowing it to lock on the tower.
Opposite Lane Punish Xbow Placement: One tile from the bridge, one tile to the opposite side from the bridge’s center. This one is mainly used for punishing plays against Giant, Golem, and Balloon on the opposite lane.
The reason is that you can put down a tesla in the middle to pull the Giant, Golem, and Balloon to the opposite lane, effectively splitting their win condition form the support making your time much easier.
Middle Xbow Placement: At the middle 0 tiles from the river and the Xbow’s range is barely touching the tower you are attacking. You want to use this placement when:
- Your tower is down but you still need to attack the same lane. This is because they can attack the Xbow from 2 sides as opposed to 4.
- Playing against Giant Double Prince and they have just used a ranged attacker (like Ewiz). This will make the Giant and the support walk a farther distance which gives you time to kill everything and get a lock.
This covers pretty much all the offensive Xbow placements, so let’s start with the defensive ones:
Defensive Xbow Placements:
First, why do we need defensive Xbow’s?
- Defensive Xbow’s can snipe buildings from your side of the river.
- They can add a second layer of defense.
- If your opponent doesn’t use a spell on it, you can cycle back to another Xbow and overwhelm them.
Anti-Fireball/Rocket placement: 6/7 tiles from the king (or 4/5 from the bridge) and one tile away from the weak tower. This placement prevents damage from the fireball your Xbow and the weak tower. It also prevents damage from the rocket on your tower.
DOES NOT WORK AGAINST POISON, EQ, OR LIGHTNING.
Anti-Fireball/Poison/EQ/Lightning placement: Basically, one corner of the Xbow is touching the opposite tower’s outer corner.
DOES NOT WORK AGAINST ROCKET.
It is my goto placements since it gives you space in the middle to place a tesla.
NOTE: For all these Xbow placements, the Xbow can be placed higher to snipe buildings/troops.
Classic Placement: 3 tiles from the bridge. Should be used against ranged/melee troops, hogs, and fast win cons as well as most other units.
An image is seen below.
Anti-Tank: 4 Tiles from the bridge, should ONLY be used against SINGLE tanks because it can be bypassed easily by ranged support.
- Anti-Fireball: One tile higher than the classic placement.
- Anti-Poison/Lightning/EQ: Straight at the bridge. (Correct me if I’m wrong).
Defensive tesla’s are done, now time for offensive tesla’s.
These Teslas are to be used to support an offensive Xbow.
Anti Hog/Balloon/Ranged Troops (Excluding Musketeer)/Small Units: As close as possible to the Xbow. Used when you have an elixir advantage or when you are sure you can breakthrough.
Anti Tanks: 1 tile away from the Xbow. Should be used against melee tanks that you can kill. You SHOULD NEVER USE THIS AGAINST GOLEM SINCE GOLEM CAN DESTROY BOTH THAT XBOW AND YOUR TESLA.
“Imma Cycle to Another Xbow” /Anti Lavaloon Tesla: A tile or two closer to your Xbow than the classic defensive one. Basically, you wanna use this tesla when you are facing lavaloon or when you can’t breakthrough. If you Xbow and your opponent golem’s same lane, use this tesla as nothing will stop that golem from destroying that Xbow. If you are lucky and the tesla survives, cycle to another Xbow and counter push.
That covers all positions you need to know as a beginner 2.9 player.
Other Cards Role Breakdown
- Skeletons: A walking positive trade, use them to DPS down tanks and tank hits from single attackers such as prince and PEKKA. Use it to cycle to another card if needed.
- Ice Spirit: Another walking positive trade, make sure to place it far to jump on everything and freeze the cards. Use it to cycle and get chip damage.
- Ice Golem: Your tank. Use hits to tank hits from troops and to kite units to the other lane.
- Archers: Your main air attackers, make sure to protect them as much as possible on defense.
Main Techniques For Success with 2.9
The 2 main techniques for success with 2.9 are card counting and elixir counting.
This is based on one easy principle: A card that you played is back to your hand after playing 4 more cards.
Example: if your opponent played rocket, Valk, then wizard, then he is not back to a rocket and you can Xbow. After one more card, he will be back to that card though.
This is a big way in which 2.9 gets an Xbow on the tower, outcycling. Since your deck cycles very fast. you can play your Xbow, have it get countered, then get back to another Xbow before they get back to their Xbow counter.
Counting elixir is key to success. Al what you need is to know how much elixir you have spent, how much your opponent has spent, find the difference, the subtract it from your current elixir count.
For Example, if my opponent played valk + log and and I played ice golem + archers, I am up 1 elixir and if I am on 4 elixir right now, my opponent is at 3.
This is another way 2.9 gets an Xbow lock, elixir management. Basically, you want to make positive trades and Xbow when you have an advantage. Remember that by the time the Xbow is deployed, the opponent will get 2 elixir.
For example, if I am up 4 elixir against a golem player, I can play an Xbow because he will not have enough elixir to play golem.
Main X-bow Mistakes
There are many popular Xbow mistakes a person can make.
- This means spending a lot of elixir than you should. For example, you could use tesla to defend a valk, but you can use an Ice Golem for a +2 trade.
- Overdefending Xbow’s: Defending your Xbow too much. It is better to leave the Xbow die if the only choice is to spend a lot of elixir.
- Not switching lanes. Against decks with Poison or EQ, you want to switch lanes to balance the poison damage on the towers.
- Playing too defensively. 2.9 is not pure defense. You need to be aggressive to win.
You will face tons of decks when playing 2.9, and for each deck the plan is different so let us start with the most popular ones.
PEKKA Bridge Spam:
This match you should win as you have the advantage.
You want to play passively as you can easily overcommit against this deck. However, if you see PEKKA in the back, Xbow the other lane. They won’t have much to defend.
Defend the spam cards cheaply. You can cycle log because against this deck it doesn’t provide much use. Skeletons or Ice Golem are vital cards that should never be cycled. They should be used to defend Ghosts and Bandits.
You can place a tesla 3 tiles from the river accompanied with cheap cards to defend their spams.
Here are some useful interactions to know:
- Skeletons placed 2 tiles next to the tower will fully counter a Bandit. Be careful, because they can Zap the Skeletons and you’ll take a full dash plus multiple hits.
- An Ice Golem kite will fully counter a Bandit.
- Archers placed within walking range will kill a Bandit.
- A Royal Ghost can be killed by playing Archers in the middle once it’s around one-third of the way from the bridge to your tower. The Archers will split, and the Ghost will have to go through them one at a time.
- With a Tesla alive, either a Bandit or a Royal Ghost can be killed with only Skeletons (surround the Ghost), an Ice Golem, or an Ice Spirit (the Ghost will hit the Tesla, but it’s fine).
Now that you’re in Double Elixir, you can start playing more aggressively. The main idea of the matchup is that the PEKKA player won’t be able to efficiently deal with your Xbow’s, and they’ll just eventually run out of elixir.
You can use preplaced Teslas by placing an Xbow on the inner tile at the bridge, which means the Tesla will support the Xbow after already getting the aforementioned value.
Don’t overdefend an Xbow, if it is not going to do significant damage, let it die and cycle to another one. If they keep playing cards to kill your Xbow, you can defend easily and play an Xbow on offense that they will have little elixir to defend.
Be prepared to block a Bandit dash on the Xbow, and if you have a healthy Xbow locked on, predict their EWiz or Magic Archer so they can’t easily reset the Xbow or get a ton of tower chip.
By this point, it’s just time to spell cycle. You should be significantly up in damage, but even if you aren’t, you can just cycle a few Fireballs and Logs to get enough of a lead to win in Tiebreaker. 2.9 has solid enough defenses that you can defend any spam they throw at you, even if they’re trying to punish a straight -4 Elixir Fireball, but if you’re not confident in your ability to defend, you can wait to have a Tesla down before you spell cycle.
Unless you’re majorly down in damage, you don’t want to keep trying for a lock, because they can get Poison value and you won’t be able to break through.
BEWARE OF MAGIC ARCHER. HE CAN STEALTHILY SNIPE YOUR TOWER AND LOSE THE DAMAGE ADVANTAGE.
It’s generally fine to take a shot or two from a naked Magic Archer on the tower in exchange for an Elixir advantage, so a Log or Ice Spirit is an adequate defense if the only alternative is to overspend.
Also, once in Double Elixir, you can Xbow in the opposite lane when they play an EWiz or Magic Archer in the back because of how easy it is to defend them on your side for a positive trade. They’re effectively down 4 elixir and you can easily outcycle their PEKKA and get a major lock if you do this.
Golem beatdown is a nightmare for underleveled and newer Xbow players alike. But it is definitely winnable.
Be careful in single as a simple mistake will cost you the game. Play Xbow on the opposite lane as soon as you see a 4 elixir card in the back. They will not have elixir to play golem and block your Xbow. When they golem, place a tesla, then play archers and prepare to protect your archers at all costs. Make sure to never fireball their tower in single because you will need it on defense.
If you see Golem first play (which is a horrible move) place down a tesla in the classic position. Cycle archers in the corner, get ready with log and fireball to take out Night Witch and Support. Use Ice Golem to tank for archers (if there is a baby dragon or mega minion) or you can kite the support away. If they use lightning or a spell, you will be back to a tesla that you can place after your original tesla dies. After that, if the opponent has no golem in cycle or if he is down 4 elixir or more Xbow the opposite lane immediately.
You should have about equal damage or you should have more than the opponent. If not, be very careful. You will lots of golem pushes. Try to not tower trade as you will lose if you do. When you see golem in the back (if it is golem lightning and not clone) you can Xbow the other lane if really you need damage.
A better play is the same defensive procedure in single, but instead of offensive Xbow’s (if you are up) use defensive Xbow’s.
Same story goes for triple as with double, but you can spell cycle if their tower is about 1k health (if you are maxed) or 700 (if you are playing in tournament standard) when they prepare to make a golem push in the back. Just make sure you can defend for long enough.
3M Piggies (Fireball Bait)
In single elixir you want to get most of your damage. You need to identify when you can get aggressive and when you need to play passively. Cycle along with your opponent and react to their assaults.
You should go on offense when:
- They used their distraction troops
- You defended their win condition, here being the piggies.
When you are up 3 elixir, offensive Xbow.
When you see 3M behind the king, react quickly and fireball all of them. It is ok to activate their king tower because it doesn’t matter.
Defend their piggies with a tesla. Should you not have it in cycle it is okay to fireball them,if you don’t have skellys and log in cycle or you are afraid that they might prelog you. But be aware that they might place their 3m after you have used your fireball.
There will be two situations to be aware of when that happens (meaning you don’t have fireball in cycle):
This might be a good opportunity to push them. You will most probably get a lot of damage if they place their 3m right when you go offensively. Make sure to push in the one musky lane while not defending the X-Bow so that you save elixir for their impending push.
You will be fine defensively, if you really pay attention on what they play. They might get some damage as well but probably not as much as you, when you make sure to defend wisely while being careful what to fireball. Don’t rush your fireball on the 2m but wait them out otherwise you will probably lose a tower. Instead of fireballing the 2m you can also defend them by placing ice golem, skellys and log to save the fireball for their next 3m
They defend you with distraction units and spells, which probably gives you the opportunity to push them again.
Don’t go offensively when you are down in elixir and they have an ice golem in cycle because they will be able to distract your X-Bow long enough while you struggle to get back to a fireball. Log their 2 muskys, ice golem the one musketeer lane and yet again fireball what will be the most threatening push.
You will have a hard time getting damage. If you are in the lead, play defensively. Fireball their 3M and tesla their pigs as usual. Stay offensive when you are even, or worse, your opponent has the damage advantage. The gameplan on how you go aggressive does not change. Don’t play an offensive X-Bow until your opponent plays their pigs or when he uses all of his tanky distraction units. If they start fireball cycling you, go aggressive immediately. They will probably play hunter right on your X-Bow so be prepared to fireball or to distract and kill him .
Depending on how well you’ve done until now, you should be defending on hardcore mode and making sure to still be in the damage lead. Your X-Bows will probably not connect anymore. You should still pressure when up in elixir to distract them from getting damage on your weak tower but don’t expect to get any damage. But it is in the realm of possibility that you might get lucky. Make sure to also spellcycle to victory.
-Know what they will kill your Xbow with by keeping track of their cycle.
To give you an example: Should they have used hunter and ice golem in the other lane, you will know that they can only defend with piggies and vice versa.
-Remember their pattern of defense: They might always split royal hogs when you go offensively. Make sure to know how to deal with it. For example by holding the tesla while you are pushing, fireballing the 3 pigs that go toward the Xbow and so on. Get creative in your defense and try to be two steps ahead of your opponent.
-Always be ready to fireball their 3m
-Let the healspirit jump away from troops that could get healed. Place any cycle unit as far away from your opponents push to nullify the healing. Or log the healspirit if you can get value by hitting any other troop from your opponent
-Save your spells as best as you can, only spell if you get a lot of value
This is when you should get most of your damage. You have to be super aggressive. As soon as you realize they are using splashyard (usually signified by cycling an ice wizard and a baby dragon), immediately Xbow opposite lane of those troops. However, do NOT defend your first Xbow (greatly) because they will do 3 things:
- Use a knight to tank it followed by a poison + barb barrel.
- Use a Knight + Bomb Tower + Barb Barrel on your Xbow.
- Use a Knight + Baby Dragon + Barb Barrel.
In all situations no matter how much you defend your first Xbow, you will not get significant damage. Keep in mind though, it’s ok to defend lightly to have your opponent spend more elixir trying to defend the Xbow.
After your first Xbow dies, you should try to cycle to another Xbow as fast as you can, but don’t just throw all your cycle cards away (It is fine to ice spirit or split skeletons if you want). If there are surviving troops from the opponent, you can use your cycle cards to defend those troops, an example being using an ice golem to defend a Baby Dragon or Knight.
Once you are back to your second Xbow and hit 10 elixir, Xbow at the Bridge. After 1 second, Tesla next to it. The reason for doing this is to catch a bomb tower or any troops they may play near your Xbow since you didn’t play Tesla Immediately. This is the Xbow you want to defend because the opponent will likely not have enough elixir to defend it properly. If you get significant damage on their tower, then you can begin spell cycling in double elixir.
If your towers are even on damage, then do not defensive Xbow until you know which tower your opponent is going for. If your opponent plays a card next to the tower that you are going for, then you can fireball it. After you fireball, the opponent will most likely go in for a graveyard push. Use a tesla to defend what he plays at the bridge and archers to defend the graveyard. Be sure to be switching up your archer placements so they can get more value (because the opponent will take longer to react to poison them).
If you notice that the opponent overcommits on trying to take your tower down (such as a late poison), you can Xbow offensively and fireball what they place near their tower to get a lock. If you defend your Xbow, you will always get a lock being up elixir in double elixir and they don’t have poison in hand. If the opponent has significant damage on one tower then play a defensive Xbow on the other tower (anti poison placement) when double elixir starts. If they poison it, fireball their tower because if they go in for a graveyard you will be able to easily defend it.
If the match gets to this point you most likely will lose because the opponent can easily poison cycle you and keep up with your cycle. You will have to be continuously cycling archers in the back to defend their graveyard pushes and fireball cycling their tower.
You CANNOT go the same lane Xbow because that gives them poison value. If you want to stop them from getting chip damage on your tower, offensive Xbow opposite lane and defend it as much as you can without giving the opponent damage on your other tower.
If you cycle to another Xbow while they are still defending your first Xbow you can play another Xbow in the middle towards the same tower the other Xbow is defending and tesla right next to it (1 second delay) so you can kill their bomb tower/ baby dragon that they will use to snipe the Xbow. This play has to be done on the tower that is the opposite lane of your tower that the opponent is going for if the opponent is up in damage.
- Lane: Opposite
- When to get most damage: Single Elixir
- Fireball their troops next to tower in double
- Use Tesla + Archers + Log to defend GY pushes
This strategy can be used for similar GY decks, such as the variant with Musketeer and Skeletons and the variant with Goblin Cage/ Tombstone
Mega Knight (MK)
MK decks vary a lot so I will talk generally:
Never let the MK jump on your troops. Use Ice Golem + Archers/tesla to kill it. After you outcycle the MK, Xbow opposite lane to get damage as soon as possible. Defend their win condition (which is usually miner or hog) then Xbow when you are up 5 elixir.
Against MK decks with no big spell, a defensive Xbow will get infinite value. You can stack tesla’s too.
If you are down in damage, use log for chip damage (unless they are playing bait) and fireball if their tower is very low.
If you consistently have troubles against MK, I suggest swapping Ice Golem for Knight.
So against lavaloon what you will always do is never go with a Xbow, you will always save the Xbow until they use lavahound in the back and you go same lane with the Xbow, reason why you have to do this is because they will have to push into it in a awkward way and it evades them from using their balloon because if they do so then the balloon will go in front of the lavahound which makes it so your princess tower targets the balloon first and THEN is that you go with a tesla at the side and archer to the other side of your tower, always do that placement to avoid giving them too much fireball value or else you will lose.
Now lets say they lavahound, you go with Xbow same lane but they decide to go with minions or mega minion to defend that, what you have to do is always go with a tesla at the side to eliminate them (and since mega minion now no matter what gets in range of your princess tower then its easier to defend it).
Now here comes a really cooll trick you can do that will definitely be really good and its that after all that offensive and defensive sequence, you should already have their tower down by a lot but an intelligent lavaloon player would go opposite lane with a new Lavahound and if you Xbow the opposite side then they will just trade towers unless….you do a sneaky little trick that will totally win you the game and basically its just placing your Xbow closer to the center opposite side from that lavahound, what that does is that if they go with a balloon with the lavahound opposite side then you can place a high tesla and the balloon will go for the tesla AND THEN it will go for the Xbow opposite side so what you have done is that you separated the balloon from the lavahound and now you only need to focus on the lavahound with the support troops (cause when the balloon goes opposite lane it will barely get only the death damage on the opposite tower) .
Low/Mid Ladder General Guide
People in low to mid ladder are almost always higher level than you, so at the start of the game, you should be playing defensively.
Cycle cards in the back (behind king tower) to feel them out. This is for you to be able to learn what kind of deck your opponent is playing.
If you have archers, you can split them in the back, which is the safest play to make. You should save your skeletons in case your opponent rushes bridge unexpectedly
If your starting hand is Xbow, fireball, ice golem, and tesla, don’t immediately cycle ice golem in the back. You should wait a bit until your opponent makes the first move because your opponent is likely to rush you unexpectedly.
SAVE YOUR SPELL. Don’t just cycle spells without purpose. You should know when using a spell is necessary. You should try using troops to kill their spam if possible.
People in lower trophy regions typically aren’t skilled enough to tank your Xbow properly. They may also use squishy units. They may even skarmy directly into your offensive Xbow rather than splitting it to gain more time by distracting or to avoid giving you value. Same with minion horde. So always have your spells ready if you go for an offensive Xbow
Know your building placements. There are specific anti-spell placements to avoid giving your opponent value. Also, there are specific placements you should do in certain situations. You can see a video for this in a link at the end of this guide. – You should know where to place your cards in order to get the most value.
Know your numbers: When you are going to spell cycle your opponent’s tower at the end of the game, make sure you know how much damage your spells will do. It will make finishing the game much more easier and less stressful if you know when you are able to win. This could also ensure that you don’t accidentally miscalculate and leave the opponent’s tower with 20 hp after you use a valuable fireball on the tower. –
Another version of the tip above is to know how much damage 2 fireballs and 2 logs can do. Or even just 1 fireball and 1 log. Knowing the amount of damage can help with decision making as you would know whether to continue to defend and gain more chip or to use the spells to immediately end the match.
Many people in low to mid ladder aren’t patient enough to wait around, so they will normally start the game early, allowing for many opportunities to punish in single elixir. You should take calculated shots when they commit.
Use offensive Xbow’s when they use a 4-6 elixir card in the back and see how they react to your Xbow. Be prepared to use spells on their troops
You should almost NEVER use defensive Xbow’s in SINGLE elixir. This is because most of the time, it doesn’t get value. You should only play defensive Xbow’s in single elixir against barbhuts. And maybe goblin huts, but you should normally fireball them
DON’T OVERCOMMIT. If you know you can’t defend your Xbow well enough to get a good lock, just let it die and defend against their troops. By the time you defended them, you should be back to another xbow or close to another Xbow. If your opponent plays into your Xbow making you unable to defend, chances are they overextended (or have too high level cards), so you have the opportunity to go offensive again after defending and cycling.
In double elixir, it is very unlikely that you will be able to get an Xbow lock if you use the same tactics as single elixir, so you should play more defensively. What you should do is…
Use defensive Xbow’s. They can help break through your opponent’s defense after a transition from defending to going on the offensive
Use the proper defensive Xbow placements to avoid them from getting spell value
Play aggressively when you have a defensive Xbow with at least a quarter (1/4th) of its health left. Otherwise, start another defensive Xbow
Here you should seal the deal.
Be sure to be in the damage lead. If you have a considerate lead on their tower just defend them as well as you can since tiebreaker will let you win If you are losing in damage, you should spellcycle your opponent. You don’t have to worry about saving your spells that much in triple elixir because you can easily cycle back to your spells. However, be sure that they can’t punish you with anything before you spell cycle. It is advised to have a defensive structure before spell cycling.