Latest update! My thoughts on the Lava Hound and other changes

So as everyone knows, a new update is coming very soon, and it features a lot of nice changes. Off the top of my head, you can now dismiss clan castle troops you don’t want (bye bye unwanted goblins and wallbreakers), walls can be upgraded in rows, walls can be upgraded using elixir, dark barracks now goes to level 6 (to unlock Lava Hound), valkyries will have a faster build time, and archer towers will go to level 13 now. *EDIT: I can’t believe I forgot about level 7 barbarians and archers! And reduced hero regeneration time!

That’s a lot to digest all at once, so let’s talk about the most important stuff.

Elixir for Wall Upgrades

While a lot of people rejoice at this news, it does make me a tad nervous. Obviously, this means that elixir won’t be in as much abundance when I raid, and I already have trouble at times breaking even elixir-wise. If people can dump their elixir as soon as they can afford a new wall, then it might be difficult to steadily build strong armies, particularly when trophy pushing. It remains to be seen how this change will affect the economy (people worried when spells were changed to elixir as well), but it could potentially become a struggle to earn elixir now at certain levels.

Faster Build Time for Valkyries

Supercell continues to try to buff valks as much as they can to make us use them more. I am guilty of thinking they were immediately going to become the new hot strategy, which turned out to be somewhat false. In my own trial runs with them, they do a respectable amount of damage and the new AI helps, but they are still a bit too slow in their wind-up in attacking and their durability is an issue against max level bases. Sure you can hide them behind golems, but two wizards instead of one valk can also do a lot of damage and generally stay safer in the fray.

I’m still determined to make use of them once they are maxed (in mere hours!), and the faster build time will make it less frustrating to try them out more frequently.

Level 7 Barbarians and Archers

Honestly, I’m not that excited about this upgrade unless archers can withstand a high level mortar or wizard shot now (which honestly would be OP). Otherwise, they’re probably just getting more expensive when they more or less work fine as is already. Maybe it will change the barching game, but for now, I will withhold further judgment.

Reduced Hero Regeneration Time

Great change! Even mid-level heroes (like mine) typically take longer than the entire army to rest up for the next raid, so it will be nice not to have to go hero-less into battles as often. For high level players and gemmers, this will save them a lot of money in the long run.

Archer Tower Level 13

As soon as I feel like I’m getting close to a maxed base (defense-wise), Supercell pushes the finish line out a bit farther. That’s OK since I’m still closing in faster than the line is moving out…but this now means that I have two levels to go for most of my archer towers. I wonder if level 12 archer towers will become cheaper. Paying 7.5M for a point defense already felt like too much, and level 13 can only go so far in price.

Either way, I’m sure this new level was in response to dealing with the new dark troop…

Dark Barracks Level 6: LAVA HOUND

This is the best video I’ve seen on this new unit, so I suggest you check it out:

Basically, it’s an air version of the golem. It tanks for the rest of your army as they take out things behind it. Perhaps hinting at the future of the game, this troop is very specialized as it specifically targets air defenses (then next priority is to regular defenses, then any). As its health runs out, it explodes, causing damage below, and spawns a number of flaming “pups” who are very similar to minions.

Rough estimates indicate that this unit has close to 7700 health, making it the tankiest unit in the game–but that’s really because air defenses do the highest damage per second, not counting single-target infernos after they’ve locked on. Its attack damage is nothing worth relying on, like the golem, but when it dies, the explosion actually does do a fair deal of damage. Like balloons crashing on defenses below, I’m sure this will actually make the difference in a good number of attacks.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s not terribly slow moving like balloons. On paper, you could worry that it will race out ahead of the rest of your air army since they have to deal with in-between buildings first…and balloons are the slowest unit in the game. But rage spells and quick destruction could help the support troops keep up somewhat.

When I first heard there was a tanky air unit that targets air defenses, my initial thought was that lava hounds + dragons would be unstoppable…but after seeing lava hounds’ inability to actually take out air defenses, it might be more advisable to mix in some faster troops as well. Lava hounds, like golems, are simply there to tank, and air defenses are still going to have to be destroyed using some other troop. Either way, I can’t wait to experiment with them since I love using air armies already. :)

On initial look, it doesn’t seem they are terribly overpowered at this point, even at level 3 (their max level for now). But it might still become imperative to upgrade air defenses, teslas, and archer towers to deal with this new threat. Otherwise, 2-stars might become almost automatic once people learn the ideal troop mix and strategy. Already, I’m thinking I may have to change my layout and make one of my inferno towers single-target within range of air defenses to deal with these tanks.

Champion League Achieved!

What a grueling climb that was. Honestly, for the most part, I didn’t enjoy that at all! I was teetering on the edge of going broke for the majority of the time, and I kept having setbacks that made me wonder if it would ever end. I wanted to go back to farming and getting my builders busy so bad. But I had come so far, I had to finish…and in a night full of boosting, gemming, non-stop raiding and shaky hands, that’s exactly what I did. I finally finished. A BIG shout-out to my clanmates who had to donate a ton and hear my whining for weeks now. ;)

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Now, I know what a lot of people are thinking when they see that achievement in their profile. “Wow, 2,000 gems! That would be so sweet to have from reaching Champion!” And yes, it’s nice for sure. But the truth of the matter is, 2,000 gems doesn’t do a whole lot when you’re already close to maxed and you’re not trying to maintain a high world ranking or something. It’s pretty much insta-finishing two 7-day upgrades or something to that effect. To be honest, I spent over 2,000 gems just to do it for sure. (I can go into a whole discussion on the purpose of gems later, but the point is, pushing to Champion is NOT to profit in any way. It’s a waste of time/gems if you’re thinking from that perspective. Rather, it’s an achievement and a test of your mettle and skill.)

Along the way, I think I changed my base two or three times, trying to find the right deterrent for attackers. I finally settled on a layout that not only reduced the number of attacks I incurred, but it also won me two defenses after I made the switch! It doesn’t sound like a lot, but having defensive wins and a chunk of trophies come your way even once a day is a huge help. (By comparison, top-ranked players get a defensive win maybe once every two weeks because the attackers are so skilled up there…plus level 40 heroes are OP.)

Here was my layout, which I have since tweaked slightly:

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I made the base from scratch on my phone, and my aims were these:

- Wall off the Xbows and Inferno Towers so that they cannot easily be destroyed in a flurry of activity in the middle.

- Surround the Townhall with Hidden Teslas, Giant Bombs, heroes, and CC troops to further distract the attacker from getting the 2 stars.

- Have all the key walls clustered near the center so the attacker could not easily deploy wallbreakers early in the raid without risk of them getting killed before detonating.

- Make it harder for tier 1 troops to pick off the outside buildings for the 50%.

- Look a little weird so attackers are turned off by the uncertainty.

Now, of course I still suffered losses–both 1 and 2 stars–but it still gave me enough time in between raids and the occasional win to prove a success in my eyes. Nobody stops maxed out GoWiWi or GoWiPe attacks with any regularity (unless their walls are level 10+ and the attacker does not have maxed out heroes).

I started this push using my trusty balloonian army, but frankly, it just felt underpowered toward the end. Sure, I could carefully pick my bases and pluck off that 50%, but I would never get any loot to cover the costs.

I went with GoWiWi pretty much all the way, and it was partly because I didn’t have the elixir to use GoWiPe (those PEKKAs are expensive), but also because I’m more comfortable with it. PEKKAs are most unstoppable if you use them right, especially when you’re up against high level enemy heroes, but I’m not totally familiar with how to manipulate their AI yet.

My army composition cut back on the number of wizards from what I’m used to and featured 5 witches. I had a healthier stock of DE when I chose my troop ratios, and I sort of fell in love with the flood of skeles that the witches would provide. Anything to help distract the multi-targeting inferno towers were a big plus in my book.

As I raided over and over against nearly maxed out bases, here are some (sometimes painful) lessons that I learned, mostly about GoWiWi:

- When deploying the three golems, spread them out a decent amount. If they’re too close, they will just converge on the same target and overlap, making them less useful. If they’re too far apart, you won’t focus down the defenses quickly enough.

- Also, pay attention to where the nearest defensive structure is. If you deploy a golem near nothing but mines and storages, for example, it will start wandering off and not leading your wizards and witches for the attack.

- Deploy quickly and be decisive.

- Don’t place the wallbreakers right where the golem is. If the golem is banging away at a corner wall, and the wallbreaker goes there exactly, it may die from wizard tower or mortar splash. Place them a few tiles away.

- Fan out the wizards behind the golems evenly and quickly. Don’t place them too far out that the golems aren’t protecting them. Then, you’re just wasting valuable troops.

- Rage the middle golem’s group of attackers. This helps break through the center faster, and also will rage the wallbreakers you send in to punch the rest of the way. Sometimes, you need that extra speed and power.

- Save the second rage for the troops within range of the townhall.

- Plan out ahead of time where you will (probably) use the Freeze spell. This means Inferno Towers plus as many hurtful defenses as possible. If it’s a single targeting inferno, wait a few seconds longer…you don’t need to freeze it right away until it’s about to turn on the extra heat.

- Hero abilities are key. Sometimes you want to do it as the heroes are almost dead, but sometimes you want to do it earlier for a number of reasons. It’s better, for example, to use the BK’s Iron Fist ability early if it means you will quickly destroy the xbows and inferno towers and save the lives of some troops. Or, frankly, if your attention and focus is needed elsewhere, it’s better to use the ability and then divert your eyes to another part of base rather than coming back to your hero later and finding that he/she is already dead.

- If I were to do this all over again, I would save up at least 40K DE and 4M elixir ahead of time. I hated struggling with resources, and it even cost me a couple of wins as I made inferior armies just to target storages and such.

- Level 10+ walls are no joke. After a couple of failed raids, I stopped attacking these bases because my wallbreakers would often fail to punch through to the middle (and I didn’t want to add 4-6 more wallbreakers in my army).

Anyway, I could ramble on and on, but man…what a learning experience. I know the guys on YouTube make it look really easy, but I rarely found any abandoned or TH9 bases for the last couple hundred trophies. Toward the end, you need to do at least 2-3 attacks without your screen going idle to make up for the inevitable defensive losses. That means waiting at least 45 minutes if your spell factory, heroes, and maybe dark barracks are boosted…or more than three hours if they aren’t. I don’t know about you, but it was hard enough for me to touch the screen every couple of minutes for 45 minutes straight. I can’t imagine trying to do this without boosting or gemming at all.

Now that it’s done, I’m riding a 2-day shield and I boosted my elixir collectors and dark elixir drills. It’s time for me to replenish and then drop back down to Masters to resume my farming ways. :) But for now, I will enjoy the badge.

 

Reached Master 1! New Defense

I’ve hit 3,000 trophies and I’m in a groove. Attack-wise, I’m pretty much two-starring everything now with my GoWiWi attack, though my dark elixir has taken a big hit. I went from 30K to about 8K pretty quickly, so now I’m just holding on for the push to be over. I hope I make it…otherwise, I’ll need to switch to the slower and more elixir-heavy balloonian army.

My new defense does a better job of protecting against the 2-star. I even got a nice 29-trophy defensive win against a strong GoWiPe attack! :) Basically, attackers used to be able to break through to the center and wipe out everything all at once—townhall, inferno towers, xbows, you name it. But now, the townhall has its own set of walls protecting it, as do the inferno towers and xbows. When I’ve won on defense or gotten narrowly 1-starred (instead of 2-starred), I’ve kept them from getting my townhall by a slim margin, and the walls were a big reason for that. Another adjustment is that I’m keeping a dragon along with some wizards as well. Archers and wizards get wiped out too quickly, and hardly anyone can donate me level 2 witches. I think I’m definitely riding it out with this defense indefinitely!

Once I get to about 3100 or so, I’m going to allot some time to boost all my barracks, spell factory, hero podiums, etc…and push the rest of the way without allowing anyone to attack me. But until then, I’m content to take 1-star losses and gain 2-star attack victories. Who knows? Once in a while, I may pick up another defensive win.

Clan War Results and Strategy

Our most recent war was a big success with every enemy base getting 2- or 3-starred. :) It was cool seeing that top to bottom. But the more important result was that we had 59/60 attacks! We are improving, and that makes me very happy (although it would have been nice to have that last attack in).

I did kick a player who did both attacks and failed to net any stars. Anyone can fail in a given war, but this particular person hadn’t fared well in any war that I had seen. If you’re thinking, “Well at least he’s trying hard,” then I have to kind of disagree with you. Sure, he (or she?) did both attacks, but when someone is not raiding even ONCE in a 2-week league season, that tells me they are not trying to be better at the game…and they probably never will be. So that was my rationale for that. There are also one or two people who are on a short leash due to their lackluster clan war performance…especially when they only have one attack more often than not.

Anyhow, I’d like to share with you guys some basic tips for warring. Most of this is very obvious, but I’m sure it will still be useful to get on the same page.

- VERY IMPORTANT: For your first attack, please try to attack a base that is relatively close to your rank. Sure, you can move up or down a few spots to find a base better suited for your troop composition, but I’m seeing too many people dropping 10 ranks down to take out easier bases. Not only do they still fail to 3-star sometimes, but this boxes in the lower level players who now have fewer options to attack. Every time you take a lower base, you’re forcing someone else to reach higher, and that’s not fair (or strategic as a clan).

- Always have your heroes and all your spells prepared for each attack. Fill your clan castle for that extra oomph for your attack. Fairly obvious, but it’s worth reminding people. If you’ve pressed Attack and realize that you don’t have all your spells (or heroes), you can still quit without penalty IF you haven’t dropped anything yet.

- Scout, scout, scout. You should have an idea of which bases you want to attack, then formulate a plan on how you will execute that attack. You might even alter your army to handle little quirks of a base, though I suggest not straying too far from your comfort zone.

- If at all possible, lure the enemy’s clan castle troops first (unless you’re using a high powered army that doesn’t necessarily call for this step). I still can’t believe some people just go head-on into a base with giants and get wiped out by clan castle wizards. Does that still surprise you at this point?

- General rule: low level players should be attacking early in a war so they have more options. Higher level players can get in their first attack against a similarly ranked base, but it might be advisable to hold off on the second attack to efficiently pick up stars in the closing hours of a war. (But if you’re not sure if you’ll be available, just get your second attack in.)

- DO BOTH OF YOUR ATTACKS! PLEASE, I BEG YOU. (lol) It helps the clan, and even when it doesn’t alter the outcome, you get war loot, stars for your achievements/profile, and you make everyone happy with the turnout.

- Watch replays. A lot of them if you can. Not only will you learn how to attack (and how not to attack), but you will also learn trap placement and CC troop composition if you’re planning on attacking that base for more stars.

- Fairly obvious, but don’t attack an already-3-starred base…unless the outcome is already decided and you’re just going for loot. But it’s best to ask before you do that. Otherwise, people will just be scratching their heads or upset with you.

- If you’re going to attack a 2-starred base, be fairly certain you can 3-star it if you’re trying to net a star. Otherwise, you’re just wasting an attack. Try to scope out a higher base first, but if you can only one-star a stronger base but definitely three-star the lower base, go for the 3-star. One starring a base that is not near the top generally means someone will have to re-attack it anyway.

- And this is kind of not a strategy thing but a personal note: During clan wars, you can ask for anything when you are about to attack. You can be really specific about levels, numbers, you name it. But on daily farming days, don’t be so picky please. You’re only hindering people’s ability to donate to you and making the clan feel less active (and wasting people’s resources and time for something you don’t really need).

I hope some of this was helpful to you guys. Obviously, we welcome feedback and suggestions, but this is just a general guideline so that we’re all on the same page. :) Happy clashing, and let’s keep up our new win streak!

Slow and steady wins the race…?

So I’m hovering around the 2900 trophy mark, and I’ve almost given up about 100 times haha.

At one point, I lost about 5 raids in a row (went on “tilt,” like in poker), and kept rushing attacks, losing focus, and gemming to recoup my losses. I dropped 124 trophies in no time. It was a low point for sure.

I decided that if I was going to actually accomplish this thing, I needed to stop rushing and being so impatient. The fact that I have 5 lazy builders right now doesn’t sit well with me, but I can’t rush to finish this push so I can drop back down to farming range. I’ve already come this far, and I don’t want my effort (and gems!) to be for nothing. So I push on.

I’ve forced myself to wait for both heroes to be awake and for at least 3 spells to be available. (Unless my spell factory is constantly boosted, the spell production lags heavily behind making my armies.) I’ve become much more selective about choosing bases, and I plan out my attack to make sure it’s a winnable attack. Once I started analyzing things and being patient like this, I reeled off something like 15 straight wins and made up for my losses. Now, I feel like I can definitely keep this going, but the problem is that every time I sign off, I get attacked and lose. Generally, I’ll gain an average of 12 trophies per attack (a mix of 1- and 2-stars), and lose about 8-10 per defensive loss. So it’s annoying when I’m unable to stay active on my phone or tablet for longer periods of time. The good news is that my defense, while it loses often, rarely gets more than 1-star on it. It’s rare to even see anyone get much higher than 50%—the highest I’ve seen in the past two weeks is 64%—so I know it’s not that much of a liability considering hardly anyone wins defenses up here consistently. I can live with 1-star losses as long as I keep raiding well.

One of the interesting things about trophy pushing is that you feel yourself getting accustomed to the higher level of bases you find, so you’re eventually about to discern even the smallest differences that can make or break you. It takes a little bit of time, but you get used to what you’re seeing. It starts to feel comfortable and familiar.

The main problem now is that I keep running out of elixir. All those spells and troops add up quickly, and I don’t have the option of going spell-less at this point. Sometimes, I’ll switch it up and go mostly dark elixir armies, but that’s a delicate balancing act as well. I’m sure I’ll come across some really lucrative raids soon, but I hope it’s enough to keep me from running dry.

I have a new respect for anybody who has reached Champion without gemming hardcore. It takes patience, consistent execution, and persistence in the face of a rocky climb (haha sounds dramatic, I know). I’m sure one day I’ll look back and chuckle at how hard it feels right now, but it’s always hardest the first time around.

Trophy push stalled

I’m starting to run into a lot of tough battles, but on offense and on defense, and am playing the loot yo-yo game a bit much. So I decided I’m going to focus intently on getting elixir at all costs. In about 4 days, my max lightning spell research will be done, leaving only max jump spell left. Once I get that research going, I will no longer have to worry about elixir consumption and saving spells too much. I figure that will be a good time to concentrate on pushing (after all, who wants to worry about saving spells when every attack counts for so much?).

I’m not going to drop trophies on purpose, but if I can grab 300-400K elixir and perhaps throw my chances at a 1-star in the process, I’m going to do it. Hopefully, I can at least hover above 2,600 trophies and win whenever I can. Those league bonuses are no joke.

Another note: playing in high trophy ranges really forces you to fine-tune your base design. It’s easy to think you’re impregnable when you’re facing inferior opponents, but when you’re constantly getting defeated, it forces you to rethink some things and tweak. Plus, every raid becomes an exercise in thought and precision, so staying up here might make me better during clan wars as well. :)

Latest clan war and Masters II

So after my little rant last time, things went a TON better this most recent clan war.

Things started out in an ominous fashion with the other team racing out to a lead and also maintaining a better star-per-attack average. I didn’t have high hopes, to be honest. But as the war waged on, we kept pulling closer and closer, and the average was starting to even out. I was delaying my attacks so I could make the best use of my troops to net the most stars, and by the time it was my turn to contribute, we had pretty much tied. A couple of our trusty elders closed us out with solid attacks, and the final result was 66-62. What made this war so epic for me was that BOTH teams used 57/60 attacks! That’s a very good participation rate, and the three people who only used one attack were possibly justified because they were sorta low level players and all the easy bases were 3-starred already.

Needless to say, this was a far better effort than last week’s and it gave me some hope for this clan. We’re currently sitting at the 30-member range, and maybe that’s all we need. We can slowly add active, reliable members one at a time. There’s no rush.

As for my trophy push, I’ve pushed into Masters II for the first time. Until 2700-2800 trophies, my base was holding up just fine, even with 4 defenses and one hero upgrading. I was winning trophies every time I signed off, in fact. But once I hit a certain threshold, I’ve been losing every defense. I’m attacked very shortly after I put my phone/tablet down, too, and since I’m leaking trophies at about the same rate that I’m making them, it’s becoming a bit of a struggle already.

Here’s my base currently after undergoing some tweaks:

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And here’s my defense log…I can’t help but wonder how many of these would be defensive wins if all my structures were active along with my BK. :(

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Even so, the loot up here is good so I don’t see a reason to drop trophies quite yet. If it turns out to be too much of a struggle as I make my way to Master I, I might consider pushing again once more defenses are upgraded.