“The Lava Hound is a majestic flying beast that attacks buildings. The Lava Pups are less majestic angry babies that attack anything.”
The Lava Hound card is unlocked from the P.E.K.K.A's Playhouse (Arena 4) or a Legendary Chest. It is a building-targeting, short-ranged, flying troop with very high hitpoints and low damage. Upon death, it bursts into 6 spread-out Lava Pups which have low health but no preferred target. It only attacks buildings, has high hitpoints and splits into smaller units, similar to the Golem. The Lava Hound appears to be a flying, burning rock beast with an underbite, short wings, small rocky dog ears, and small limbs. A Lava Hound card costs 7 Elixir to deploy.
Lava Hound is a good air tank with high hitpoints, so it is best used as a shield for air troops with higher damage like Minions, Mega Minion and the Inferno Dragon. It's ineffective to use the Lava Hound as a shield for ground troops, as the opponent can ignore the Lava Hound and counter the ground troops.
Sending the Lava Hound alone is futile unless your opponent completely ignores it, as the Hound and Pups without support cannot full take out a Crown Tower.
The Lava Pups cannot deal much damage without a tank, so a Knight, Miner or Hog Rider could tank for them long enough to take a Crown Tower. The Lava Hound can also tank for the said units, then they return the favor by tanking for its pups.
If timed correctly, a Zap can hit and stun all its pups. You need to zap the Lava Hound just as it dies. Arrows are a much better alternative as they have more room for error with its larger area of effect and it kills all the pups.
The Tornado and Executioner combo is very effective in destroying the Lava Hound and its support troops. The Tornado brings all the troops to the same spot so the Executioner can hit all of them at once. If the Executioner kills the Lava Hound, it can also kill the generated Lava Pups at once.
The LavaLoon is a popular strategy where the Lava Hound tanks for a Balloon while it wreaks havoc on Towers.
However, this strategy is easily countered if the troops have no support, as the Balloon can be destroyed before the Lava Hound. For example, the Minion Horde can easily destroy the Balloon before it deals damage to the tower and proceed to destroy the Lava Hound.
It can also be easily defeated by the Wizard. Place the Wizard correctly so that it targets the Balloon. When the Balloon dies, support the Wizard with other troops to finish off the Lava Hound and its pups.
A high risk, high reward move is to Clone the Lava Hound. After the original Hound dies, the Crown Tower will lock onto the cloned Hound for one shot before targeting the original's Pups. This results in twelve Lava Pups dealing massive damage on the map. This is especially effective when the Hound is paired with other swarms like Bats or Skeleton Army that can bait out a spell like a Zap or Giant Snowball that would be more effective against the Clone spell.
Unlike the Golem, the Lava Hound does very little damage on its own, so support it with high-damaging units that can use the Lava Hound as a meat shield such as Baby Dragon or Flying Machine.
The Inferno Tower is an excellent counter to the Lava Hound, as it deals high damage to the Lava Hound while it doesn't take much damage from the Hound in return.
Back the tower up with a Musketeer or use Arrows to finish off the Lava Pups.
Despite this, the Lava Hound may not be powerless. Send Minions to distract/destroy the Inferno Tower and the Musketeer. This will allow the Lava Hound to continue its job.
Zap may also help with dealing with the Inferno Tower since its stun effect will make it retarget the Minions, as well as resetting its damage.
However, the Inferno Tower will not stop a Lava Hound + Balloon push by itself if the opponent uses Zap or Ice Spirit.
If the Lava Hound is paired up with another tank, the targeted Crown Tower will likely target the other tank after killing the Lava Hound. If this happens, have an area damage spell like Arrows ready, as the Lava Pups will deal incredible damage.
A Lava Hound can be more versatile than a Golem. The Lava Hound costs less Elixir and cannot be targeted by high-damage ground troops like the P.E.K.K.A. or Prince while the Lava Pups have higher damage overall than the Golemites. The Lava Hound also has a one second deploy time as opposed to the Golem's three-second deploy time.
However, one disadvantage in using the Lava Hound is its difficulty to obtain and upgrade because the Lava Hound is a Legendary card. It also cannot be targeted by troops that cannot target air - such as Barbarians, which means it cannot distract them. It also has less health than the Golem both at Tournament standards and at max level. Its most glaring flaw when compared to the Golem, however, is its extremely low damage output and lack of death damage.
The Lava Hound was added to the game with an update on 3/5/16. On its introduction, it was the first Legendary made unlockable to the player, at Arena 4. Now, the Miner is also available at Arena 4.
On 18/5/16, a Balance Update increased the Lava Hound's hitpoints by 3% and Lava Pup's hitpoints by 9%.
On 21/6/16, a Balance Update increased the Lava Hound's damage by 28%.
On 30/11/16, a Balance Update decreased the Lava Pup's hitpoints by 1%. This was to fix a rounding error where a level 12 Princess Tower should've been able to kill equivalent level lava pups in two shots.
On 24/1/18, a Balance Update increased the Lava Hounds hitpoints by 5%.
On 7/1/20, a Balance Update re-worked the Lava Hound. Increasing her range from 2 to 3.5 tiles. The damage of the pups was increased by 70%, but the hit speed interval was reduced by 67% (from 1 second to 1.7 seconds). There was also an unannounced change to Lava Hound's pathing, allowing it to bypass some building placements it was not able to bypass before.
It functions just like its Clash of Clans counterpart. A difference is that when the Lava Hounds get upgraded, the Clash Royale Lava Pups increase in stats, while Clash of Clans Lava Pups increase in numbers.