Strategy Series #2 - How do I rush strategically???
And THAT, friends, is why so many people take the plunge into rushing their game.
"But rushing's bad, 'mkay? You'll always be attacked and lose everything, you won't be able to attack other players because your troops will be weak, and you'll be a major detriment to your clan so you won't be able to participate in clan wars!"
Bah - people who say that are the same people who said we should never combine chocolate and peanut butter, ham and swiss, or put an after-market exhaust on a vintage Mustang.
Done smartly, rushing your game is the most efficient and fastest way to reach the end-game. As is the case with any game strategy, YMMV. Casual players probably shouldn't rush their game and the diehard war mongers are probably better off maxing as well. The rest of us, though....
I encourage what I affectionately call "strategic rushing". This is where you upgrade your game quickly but carefully. You never move up to a new TH before you've maxed offensive structures, upgraded key troops, and evened up all defensive structures.
The first step is to get the game "playable" as quickly as possible. This requires a small, financial investment - 30-50 bucks. Although you CAN do this for free, it will take a LOT longer and, seriously...we're rushing so we do NOT have to wait to play the game.
The first four town hall levels are absolutely boring as watching grass grow. They give you the basics of how to use the game GUI and an idea of what it is to play the game, but if you spend more than a few days here you will lose your mind. So - pony up a few bucks, buy some gems, and get the remaining three builders. Then go to town building and upgrading. The goal is to hit TH5 fast and, ideally, join a clan that will donate troops.
Remember though - you do NOT upgrade your TH until you have your troops maxed. For the first 5 TH levels, that means you don't upgrade until everything is maxed in your lab.
Once you're at TH5, you want to take the maxer path to TH6. Buy and max everything out. You won't need to gem anything because you'll be raiding for loot and there's plenty to raid.
A note on raiding - don't be afraid to hit next 20-30 times or more. There are a lot of games out there that are easily taken down for mass loot, especially since the December update. You can even hit bases that are one or two TH levels above your own, such as dead bases or those that haven't not been well designed.
As soon as TH5 is near maxed, pull the trigger on the TH6 upgrade. It's at TH6 that you'll begin strategically rushing your game.
TH6 provides a number of new defenses and walls. Buy them up and immediately upgrade your offensive structures. Next, upgrade your troops and get your builders going while the troops are upgrading. All 5 of your builders should be constantly working and your lab should always be working as well. This is a good time to start a spreadsheet or notepad document where you track your progress and jot down when a builder or lab will come available. The actual order of your upgrades is up to you - so long as your lab is upgrading key troops, it doesn't matter what you're doing with your defense.
My preferred upgrade order for troops start with giants, followed by barbarians, archers, and wallbreakers. These are the troops I use to farm - raiding for resources. So long as they're maxed, I can always jump to the next TH level and be on equal footing with everyone else who is new to the TH level.
What about defense though, you may ask...? Well, to a rusher, defense is really just an illusion of the game. You're going to get raided each day; probably twice or even three times each day. You'll get a shield almost every time too. The resources you use to build your game come from your raids, though - not your resource collectors - and loot retention just doesn't exist. Raid for what you need to get builders/lab going, then stop. Don't worry about what you lose when you're raided - it's just not important. If you have a REALLY BIG upgrade (say 7M or more), set aside a weekend to get it done.
The speed at which you rush is your call. So long as you have everything down that comes with the new TH level, offensive structures are maxed, new structures (including walls) are even with the rest, and your farming troops have completed their upgrade...you're good to go to the next level. If you intend to use this account in clan wars, you may want to take a slower approach though. You need to be able to put up a reasonable defense and you'll have to upgrade more than just farming troops to be an effective team mate starting with TH7.
So...you've rocked it out and your TH6 troops are upgraded, offensive structures upgraded, all the walls are butter, and all of the defenses are at least TH5 maxed. In fact, a bunch are upgrading to TH6 max too.
Pull the trigger and make the jump to TH7.
TH7 is a magical level. First and foremost, there is a ton of loot and you can get to it with any of several army compositions including GiBarch (Giants/Barbarians/Archers), Barch (Barbarians/Archers), BAM (Barbarians/Archers/Minions), and Giant-Healer. These armies cook up fast and use very little elixir. You get the Barbarian King (BK), dragons, dark elixir, and the ability to design some relatively decent bases.
For the main part, I take a pause at TH7 and completely max it out, troops, walls, and all. It's just such an easy and active level of play that it makes sense to use this as the foundation for TH9. Most of my games reach TH7 in 30-45 days, depending upon how much time I have available to play.
TH8 is the first time we see a dramatic waste of time. You'll spend more time maxing troops and have a glut of elixir. This is the best time to rush quickly - upgrade your offensive structures, drop and upgrade any new defense, get the farming troops upgraded, then jump to TH9.
TH9 is another magical level because you get the Archer Queen and the world of attack strategies really opens up. As always, I recommend dropping everything new - including the x-bows. Although x-bows increase your war weight and will pull in more TH9s of similar or greater strength, they're a great deterrent to raiders in the regular multiplayer game and will often reduce the amounts you lose when your base is raided. Even in war, they'll make it more difficult for opponents to three star your base.
TH9 is one of those levels where I pause to max almost everything with the exception of walls. If I have some extra gold, I'll work on walls a bit but so long as they're all purple (level 7) I'm satisfied with putting them off. Walls are overrated; yes, they slow down your opponents but the cost also slows down your game starting with level 8 (skulls). Level 10 and 11 are just ridiculously overpriced.
Troop upgrade order remains a personal preference but at TH9, your very first upgrade should be giants. Level 6 giants are simply BEASTS. As always, I run through farming troops first, followed by war troops and potions. Here's the order I usually stick to:
1) Giants (farming)
2) Barbarians (farming)
3) Wallbreakers (farming)
4) Archers (farming)
5) Healers (used heavily starting at TH9)
6) Dragons (a must for TH7)
7) Wizards (farming troop and useful for funneling)
8) Hog Riders (used in a number of war attacks starting at TH8)
9) Golems (used in a number of war attacks starting at TH8)
10) Valkyries (used in a number of war attacks starting at TH8)
11) Pekkas (used in a number of war attacks starting at TH8)
12) LavaHounds (used in air war attacks starting at TH9)
13) Everything else
As you might have guessed, those 12 troops represent the troops I use most frequently in farming and clan wars. You'll need to adjust them to fit the attack strategies you focus on when playing. Also, once you get to TH10 or TH11, you'll want to shift focus to upgrading your miners and bowlers as quickly as possible. You may find you don't use one very much, but one missing from the list is your go-to troop. As with other upgrades, the ideal path is to max troops out as you go so you can focus on other troops up the line. Customize to fit your style of game play.
On the spells, I tend to upgrade those at the end of the cycle *BUT* my focus changes at each TH. Here's my thoughts, in order of spell importance, for each TH. If you max a spell early on, then you won't care about it at the higher TH level, of course.
Up through TH5 - Lightning
TH6 - Heal, lightning
TH7 - Rage, heal, lightning
TH8/TH9 - Rage, heal, lightning, earthquake, poison, jump
TH10 - Rage, heal, lightning, earthquake, haste, jump, poison
TH11 - Whatever's left
Of all the spells I use, rage, heal, and earthquake are top of the list and I max those as quickly as possible. At TH7 and below, lightning is important (especially with dragon attacks on TH7 and TH8 games) but after that, it really fizzles. I'm not big on the jump spell and since I do not pull the clan castle (CC) often, poison is a low-priority spell as well. Haste is good with balloon attacks...which I don't often run and so it isn't particularly useful to me. The clone spell is just a waste of space and I don't use it at all. Freeze will be last on my list to upgrade; it's another one I just don't use very often.
I max TH9 defensive and offensive structures and get my key troops and spells upgraded before making the jump to TH10. If I'm in the mood to do so, I'll also get the walls to level 9 (legos) but I'm more likely to just do skulls (level 8) then jump to TH10.
On the topic of heroes...once heroes are in the teens, you're ready to move to TH10. If you like, put it off until they're level 20 but keep in mind - there's more elixir available at TH10 and it's easier to raid (in spite of infernos).
TH10 is another level I do not spend too much time playing. At this point in the game, there is very little difference between TH10 and TH11, and TH11 offers the Grand Warden (GW), not to mention the Eagle Artillery (EA), and a few more defensive structures. Max level miners and bowlers are fantastic for war and you can even use miners in the regular multiplayer to raid. My main game just recently hit TH10 and is in the process of upgrading troops. Offensive structures have been maxed, some defenses as well. I dropped infernos right away and they're now moving to level 3. As soon as I have a few more troops maxed, the walls to all legos, and the heroes to level 25, I will make the jump to TH11 on this game, which started about 15 months ago.
My progression is a bit slower than some others because I not only build games but take them into war. For example, the Clash Maniac game that is referenced in the "Journal of a Rusher" series is 4 months old now and sitting at TH8. I took a month off the development of the game simply to war non-stop and build our clan XP (we're now just 2000 XP away from level 5). I'm back to building on it and will catalog progress here on the blog. This game reached TH7 in about 3 weeks, with the expectation I would spend about a month or so maxing it...then I started warring and, well....
My TH11 game (Kuss von Nacht) is an example of how NOT to rush strategically and how to dig out of a hole when you start off badly. That, however, will be the discussion of another article....
At any rate, hopefully this article has given you some good ideas on how you can strategically rush your own game. For more detail, check out the "Journal of a Rusher" series which takes a much closer look at the Clash Maniac game from start to current and will be updated regularly here. You can also visit our clan, Divergent Void (#P8CGRG0C) and check out the various games to see how they progress.