**Introduction:** as with the majority of my posts, this strategy here came from [a video](https://youtu.be/gUUB9XyNO14) I made recently! Feel free to continue reading for the full strategy, or have the option to watch visually if you wish 🙂 today I want to take you through how to successfully get off investments without losing the game to punish plays like Hog Riders. A lot of people complain about punish cards, and I feel like learning about how to avoid entering these scenarios is a useful tool, especially for beat down players.
**Your Goal:** Countering punish plays means to successfully get off your investment and not lose on the trade. But, what does this mean? Essentially, you want to invest and then take less damage from your opponent’s incoming attack, than you are able to deal. So, if your opponent comes in with a Hog Rider, you want to lightly defend it and make sure you can dish out more damage than that Hog did to you with whatever you just invested. In an ideal world, your opponent doesn’t punish. This means that, to win the “exchange”, per se, you literally need to get 1 damage and that’s a win. You can push in with all the support and spells your heart desires, with your opponent just defending they’re there for the kill with some OP spell value. However, you gotta face that a lot of decks will be looking to punish an investment. Here’s how to work around that. You want to bait them into pushing with their punish by waiting, eventually they’ll use it and you can defend as you please. Right then, you can invest. Your opponent will be forced to defend, and you can pull off a scenario similar to the previous sequence. You can also gain an elixir lead, through Pumps or just good trades, and invest when you’re up on elixir. If you’re at 10 and they’re at 6, it’s hard for them to build a significant punish when you invest. Using this info, you can then push in and hopefully get that glorious one damage.
**Beating a Punish:** Let’s face up to someone is actually punishing us though, and how we deal with it. There are three general sequences that you can follow. The first, is to completely ignore. This only works if you can afford to soak up the damage in exchange for more support. You must be confident in being able to get more than they did with their punish, and leaving it being your best option. A good example for this might be a loan Miner or Goblin Barrel. You can use the elixir you gained to generate cards, which will hopefully generate you that damage.
The second play is to lightly defend, but lean into pushing more. This will gain you more elixir, however lose you more damage. You want to use this for higher punishing attacks like Hog Riders or Mega Knights. With the spare elixir you saved, once more go get more damage than your opponent to win this trade. A huge help to this in modern times is heavy investment decks running hard counters to popular punish plays. Golem decks now running Nado will easily be able to counter that Hog punish for cheap, and then move on with their massive push. This counts as lightly defending as you’re still gaining elixir, but just have a great counter. With Poison as well, it makes Graveyard punishes nominal by just using the spell.
Our final method is simply a three crown race. Ignore your tower’s HP and ‘just build lol’, making sure that you ruin everything your opponent owns. This works best when you’re in double elixir and your opponent has thrown everything into the opposite lane. The danger here is that you can get three crowned yourself, but as long as you’re building without losing the game you should be okay. You must know your opponent’s defensive strategy for this. There’s no point in relying on Golem, Night Witch, and Clone to three crown if your opponent can just use Exe Nado. You have to have a viable way to actually get the three crown. All of this is entirely matchup depedent, though. Against a heavy punish deck, you might just need to spend all of your spare elixir defending and ditch the tank. It’s not ideal but some scenarios you can’t help. Against an investment deck, it depends on whoever has more DPS. If you do, then focus on killing your opponent’s tank first and let your DPS move onto their support whilst your tank is still alive. If they have more DPS, focus on killing their DPS and then move onto their tank.
**Conclusion:** Basically, you need to be weighing up how much to spend on defence, to judge how much damage you need to obtain on offence. Spending your entire elixir bar will get you less damage, but you’ll also take less damage. Spending nothing means you will get more damage, but you will also take more damage. It’s all about the weigh up for gaining more damage than your opponent in that trade. That’s all for beating the punish plays, once more you can check out [my video](https://youtu.be/gUUB9XyNO14) here if you need a visual mock up. Apart from that, thanks for reading 😀