War Rules

Major changes to War Rules. Please OPT-OUT between wars and manually OPT-IN before the next. This ensures a more consistent participation.

  1. OPT-IN if you want to war.
  2. Attack the highest you are confident of three-starring. Example: if you cannot three-star your equal, go lower until you are confident.
  3. Evaluate your target.
  4. Always attack with maximum number of troops, spells, and clan castle.
  5. Select your army carefully. Focus on tank troops (Giants, Golems, Lava Hounds) and damage troops (Dragon, Wizards, PEKKA, Balloons).
  6. After war starts OPT-OUT again (this won’t remove you from the current war).

Some things to look for:

  • Possible layout of bombs (if wanting to use Hogs)
  • Wall intersections that connect compartments (use Earthquake spells instead of Wall Breakers)
  • Layout of Air Defenses (use LavaLoon)
  • Poor Air Defenses (zap one with Lightning Spell then use all-Dragons)
  • Hybrid attacks that use kill squad to eliminate enemy Archer Queen and War Castle troops before starting main attack.
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December 2015 Update: Shield, Village Guard, and Loot

There are huge changes coming with the TH11 update. In addition to TH11, new hero, and new weapon, Supercell is altering gameplay in some fundamental ways. Supercell is clear they want everyone to upgrade defenses and eliminate TH x.5, defenseless bases, and Farming gameplay altogether.

Shields

Supercell is working to eliminate defenseless and THx.5 strategies. They view deliberately keeping defenses to get a good war ranking is unfair. Therefore, they are changing the fundamental gameplay to make things more “fair”, or in other words, eliminating Farming and making the game hard to play without upgrading of your defenses.

No More Free Shields

The first big change is shields will be granted only upon percent destruction. That means no shield for Town Hall snipes. This changes farming. You won’t be able to put your TH outside to get free shields. It means to get a shield, your base is required to get somewhat trashed:

  • 12-hour shield is granted at 30% destruction
  • 14-hour shield is granted at 60% destruction
  • 16-hour shield is granted at 90% destruction
  • However, NO SHIELD is granted if the attacker does not deploy at least 33% of your full army

The last line is extremely important. Players will get good at raiding with only 33% of your full army, leaving you without a shield regardless of the amount of destruction they cause. Notice this is 33% of your full army. Example: if you are TH7 (maximum troops of 200) and you are attacked by TH9 (maximum troops of 220), you get a shield if they use 33% of your 200 (66 troops), not 33% of their 220 (73 troops).

Why such extensive change to the shield system? Defenseless bases are no longer feasible. Small armies can destroy Defenseless bases, meaning they’ll never get a shield.  TH x.5 players, with weak defenses, are also vulnerable. Supercell’s desire to eliminate Defenseless and TH x.5 players is obvious in their announcement. They refer to bases with “fair defenses” a ridiculous amount of times (seriously, do a word search on their announcement! I found it repeated 10 times.)

Removing the TH snipe also removes a big chunk from the Clash economy: a League Bonus is earned by the attacker every time a TH is sniped. League Bonuses are extra money injected into the economy, and without the easy bonuses from TH snipes, this piece of money will simply disappear.

Town Hall becomes another Storage

Since the Town Hall won’t offer shields or trophies, what good is it? Supercell gives the Town Hall new value by making it a storage. Your Town Hall becomes another Elixir, Gold, and DE storage. Now your loot will be distributed amongst more buildings, spreading it out and making it harder to get. Gold and Elixir will be distributed equally  among storages and Town Hall. Dark Elixir will be distributed 75% to the DE storage and 25% to the Town Hall. Goblins will target the Town Hall with double damage bonus. The loot stored in a Town Hall is only awarded when it is completely destroyed.

This is Supercell’s way of making you protect the Town Hall. No more farming bases. You’ll protect it like your storages and DE.

Loot Changes

League bonuses are increasing, but are proportional to percent destruction. That actually means smaller bonuses unless you trash at least 70% of the base. Don’t count on league bonuses if you’re doing collector raids or SuperQueens. If you don’t get enough percent destruction to trigger the higher bonuses, your league bonus may actually drop.

The percent of available loot to be stolen is also increased. That means attackers can steal a larger amount of loot. Expect to see bigger numbers!

The loot penalty has been increased, encouraging you to attack your equal Town Hall level or higher.

Searching and Attacking Doesn’t Break Shield

The second big change is you can search and make attacks without breaking the shield. This means if you don’t find a good target, your shield stays intact. If you do find a target, you can make an attack, and 3 hours will be deducted from your remaining shield time. Subsequent attacks subtract increasing amounts (4 hours, 5 hours, etc.)

Personal Break: 6 Minutes every 3 Hours

The third big change is the Personal Break. The Personal Break is now 6 minute break after 3 hours of cumulative online time plus Village Guard time since your last shield. This is cumulative time, not contiguous time. Once 3 hours is accumulated, you get booted offline for 6 minutes. You can extend your 3 hours by purchasing an additional 2 hours of Village Guard (below) for 10 gems, once per day.

Village Guard: The Mini-Shield

The final change is the Village Guard. This is a mini-shield that lasts for 15 minutes. Titans and Legends can get up to 3 hours. The Village Guard starts automatically when your shield expires. Think of it as an add-on shield to your main shield. Searching and attacking does not break or subtract minutes from the Guard. You get a 15-minute Guard anytime if your base is attacked without giving your a full shield.

When the Village Guard is active, even when you are offline, it counts against your 3-hour Personal Break timer. Unless you get a Village Guard from <30% destruction attack. Then it adds 15 minutes to your Personal Break timer. Whaaattt? Seriously? You can purchase two hours of Village Guard for 10 gems once per day. Purchased hours of Village Guard are added to your Personal Break timer. This is getting ridiculous.

The system is very complex and it revolves around the Personal Break. The Personal Break is what forces players offline so they can be attacked. So the entire system is designed to make high trophy leagues exciting.For lower league players, it doesn’t make sense.

Example Scenario

Example: you are offline and get attacked with 50% destruction. You get a 12-hour shield. You’re busy, so you don’t log on. When your shield expires, a 15-minute Village Guard activates (assuming you are Champions or lower). Nobody can attack your base when the Guard is active. Near the end of the Guard, you log in and notice only 2h 45m hours remain on your “Personal Break” timer. What happened?

When your shield expired, your Personal Break timer reset to 3 hours. Then your Village Guard started. Since the Village Guard counts against your Personal Time – even when you are offline – your Personal Break timer decremented by 15 minutes. You now have 2h 45m remaining before it enforces a 6 minute offline Personal Break. You could purchase a 2 hour Village Guard for 10 gems, which also extends your Personal Break timer by 2 hours.

Mercy Rule

The “Mercy Rule” states you get a free 3-hour Village Guard if you have three consecutive raids, and it extends your Personal Break timer by 3 hours. Ugh! Enough already!

This summary doesn’t cover all the details of the Shield / Village Guard / Personal Break system, but it’s reasonably comprehensive. I’ll keep editing it as we move forward.

Why Defend?

The new shield and loot updates raise the question, especially for TH9 players:  Why defend?

Losing loot like clockwork plus the expense of resetting traps makes defense a losing proposition. Good defense and traps prevents a shield, costs money to reset traps, and allows another raider to attack. One could lose a tremendous amount of resources very quickly. Thankfully, the Mercy Rule gives a 3-hour Guard after three consecutive raids, but it’s lame compared to the 12-hour shield of yesteryear.

The Supercell Forums are full of posts recommending “open” bases to and never resetting traps, to encourage % destruction, save money from resetting traps, and getting a decent shield.

Supercell responded by significantly lowering resetting of traps:

  • All trap rearm costs massively reduced (~75% rearm cost reduction on average of all traps)
  • X-Bow reload costs massively reduced (~70% reload cost reduction for all levels)

No help for reloading Inferno Towers with DE, I guess.

Nice try, but it’s still not clear why a TH9 would benefit from what Supercell calls a “fair defense”. TH9 prey will be routinely wiped out by TH10 predators and have no reward for having a good defense, other than being shieldless for a subsequent attack.

Many have proposed a “League Bonus” for a successful defense. Since an attacker gets a bonus for successful attacks, shouldn’t the defender get a bonus for a successful defense?

Trophy Changes

The calculation for trophies in high leagues (Champion, Titan, Legend) is changing. These changes are to make the high leagues more competitive and less of a grind for skilled players to advance.

What does this mean for us?

Some changes don’t make much sense to the Farmer. But these changes are very relevant for very high leagues (Titan and Legend). Clash of Clans is supposed to be a Trophy game, not a Farming game! Supercell wants to refocus on battles and trophies. Many of these changes are good ideas for the Trophy player but are terrible ideas for the Farmer player.

Trophy players are the big spenders on gems. Farmer players are  conservative and are generally play for free. It makes sense for Supercell to focus on their paying customers. On the other hand, the game economy crashes without the Farmers. So they can’t abuse us too badly. We will find workarounds to continue playing, probably without a hiccup.

There are some logical conclusions that are immediately evident.

  1. We’ll adapt. We might need to change some strategy, but our gameplay style will adapt. Don’t sweat it.
  2. The first few months will be chaotic with so many new changes, including the new TH11, new hero, and new weapon.
  3. There will be a tremendous amount of loot for the first few months due to the millions of idle players logging in and waking up their sleeper bases.
  4. No more free shields to protect your loot. No more Farming Bases. Smart players will switch to Trophy Bases, now that the Town Hall stores a lot loot.
  5. No more easy trophies by sniping Town Halls. They removed Zappers, now they are removing Snipers.
  6. The only way to get a shield is have 30% or more of your base trashed.
  7. New base designs will make 30% damage easy (to get a shield) but feature an impenetrable core to protect the Town Hall and DE.
  8. Loot raids will start to resemble war attacks, because the Town Hall becomes a primary target.
  9. Loot raids in Masters and above will really resemble war attacks, because league bonus will be based on total destruction. The league bonuses in lower leagues are too small to matter.
  10. Trolls will raid with 49% armies to take your loot and leave you without a shield. Jerks. You know they are out there. Revenge them.
  11. Many of the new changes are focused on Trophy competition in very high leagues (Titan and Legend) because these are the people who spend the most money on gems.
  12. You might be forced to upgrade weapons if you get looted too often. According to the Supercell announcements, they want you to upgrade weapons. These changes were specifically designed to make you upgrade.
  13. Your Farming league might change. You will need to explore new leagues to find the best place for you.

Remember, millions of players will come online over the next few months to see the new updates. Many of them will rush to TH11. They will be raiding and looting. Expect to see a huge uptick of sleeper bases coming back online. Most of these are idle players with mediocre attack skills and troops. They will probably leave your base alone, because you’re awesome. So keep a watch for a huge amount of loot available over the next few months.

December 2015 Update: Town Hall 11

Town Hall 11

Hopefully, a lot of n00bs will rush out and upgrade. TH11 players will have a terrible time looting at first, because their loot penalty bracket advances. They will no longer be able to profitably loot TH9 bases. They will need to loot other TH11 (with the new Eagle defense) or TH10 (with Inferno Towers). Good luck with that!

The TH11 upgraders to worry about will be serious clashers. Advancing to Town Hall 11 will be important to survive in high Champions, Titans, and Legend status.

wSm5eTItown-hall-11-stats-e1449235320811

New Wizard Hero:  The Game Warden

The new Game Warden will be elixir-based.

grand-warden-stats

The Wizard Hero apparently uses ordinary Elixir instead of Dark Elixir. He has less hitpoints and damage than his counterparts. He has a multitude of abilities:

 

  • He functions as a Ground or Air Troop. This has to be set at his alter prior to going to battle.
  • He has a passive aura that buffs the health of nearby troops.
  • His Eternal Tome ability, when activated, makes nearby troops invincible. It also negates the healing spell block of the Inferno Tower.
  • His AI makes him follow the group of troops with the largest amounts hitpoints.

grand-warden-life-aura

The Game Warden’s passive aura buffing the health of nearby dragons.

 

Building Upgrades

Town Hall 11 comes with several new building upgrades.

new-th11-buildings-december-2015-sneak-peeks

The Gold Storage and Elixir Storage now have Level 12. This is because TH11 upgrades will be massively expensive!

The Wizard Tower now has Level 9.

More Buildings

Town Hall 11 will receive more defenses:

  • Fourth Xbow
  • Fifth Wizard Tower
  • Another Cannon
  • Another Archer Tower

Troop Upgrades

Town Hall 11 comes with a new laboratory upgrade:laboratory-level-9

Supercell has confirmed the following troop upgrades:

  • Lv.7 Minion
  • Lv.3 Witch

Of course, some spells will also receive an upgrade and maybe some Tier 1 troops, too. Since TH10 troop upgrades take 14 days, expect TH11 troop upgrades to take a long time and cost around 10M Elixir.

New Eagle Defense

The new “Eagle” defense will not start shooting until a certain amount of housing space of troops are deployed. This encourages carefully staged attacks, deploying a few troops at a time, to prevent the weapon from activating. Once it activates, it has unlimited range, targets both flying and ground troops, and has huge splash damage. The AI has not been released if it shoots the closest troop, the most troops, or the most powerful troop. Will it target a group of Barbarians in a corner, a single Golem near the TH, or whichever is nearest?

SZfhbrC

The Eagle’s huge splash damage is obviously matched to counter the Game Warden’s healing aura. No word on how a TH10 is supposed to counter the Game Warden.

We won’t need to worry about the Eagle until we face one in war. By then, there will be YouTube videos to describe the new weapon’s AI and abilities.

What does this mean for TH9 players?

There are pros and cons. Players upgrading to TH11 will advance their loot penalty bracket, which means you won’t get looted by them! Hopefully a bunch of n00bs will rush to TH11 and leave you alone.

Many players with max TH9 bases have not upgraded to TH10 because of war ranking, loot penalty, and other reasons. Being TH10 is tough, because it’s been the top. However, TH10 will no longer be the top bracket. Once TH11 is released, many max TH9 players won’t be as hesitant to upgrade to TH10. This may mean a lot more TH10s in circulation in Gold and Crystal leagues. They will want to loot you. You may need to add or upgrade your xbows if too many TH10 start looting you in your trophy range.

If you are TH9, don’t be tempted to upgrade to TH10. You’ll lose the ability to loot TH8 bases and your war ranking will skyrocket. Keep maxing your TH9 and consider TH10 once you get level 20 heroes. You don’t want TH10 until you are ready.

What does this mean for TH10 players?

In a nutshell: it may get harder. As mentioned above, many high TH9 players that are avoiding the top bracket may upgrade to TH10 once TH11 arrives. This will increase competition in the farming leagues, and cause TH9.5 players to consider adding Inferno Towers for protection. This in turn increases war raking, causing tougher war matchups. The upgrade spiral.

TH10 bases will get looted by new TH11 players, equipped with a new Wizard Hero and upgraded troops. This will cause TH10 players to consider adding or upgrading their Inferno Towers and other weapons. Again, this increases war ranking, causing tougher war matchups.

In summary, the increased competition from the new Wizard Hero and TH11 troop upgrades will escalate the pressure on TH10 players, causing a spiral of upgrading, increasing war ranking, and tougher war matchups. This pressure may ultimately obsolete the TH9.5 strategy altogether.

Moor’s Strategy Guide: Town Hall x.5

This guide is about creating a base that is optimized for offense while being matched with a lower Town Hall during war.

So, as normal, I’ll look into the gameplay algorithms and mathematics and show how to optimize base creation.

Background Information

The war search algorithm is extensively discussed in an earlier post. However, it raises the question of how to maximize warfighting capability without being matched against crazy-hard opponents. The secret is to reduce your base’s war score while maximizing offensive capabilities.

According to SuperCell, players are primarily scored on their defenses. Having a lot of high-level defense upgrades results a higher score, therefore, harder war matchups.

SuperCell Quote

SuperCell has not elaborated more details other than these vague statements. However, there are many interested players posting their findings on Reddit or the SuperCell forums. Some players have created identical bases and upgraded one item at a time to view how their rankings change. Using this method, the community has some heuristic understanding of how upgrades affect their war score and ranking. Combined with the knowledge provided by SuperCell, some approximate rules emerge:

  1. Town Hall level does not contribute to war ranking. This information was provided directly from SuperCell.
  2. Expensive defenses apparently contribute heavily to your war ranking. For example, a fully upgraded Tesla costs (cumulative) 11.25M gold. Teslas are thought to be the third most contributive element to one’s war ranking, surpassed only by Inferno Towers and X-Bows (in that order).
  3. Walls have been shown to not (substantially) contribute to war ranking. This means you can max your wall levels without being matched to harder opponents.
  4. Heros contribute to the war ranking by an unknown amount.
  5. Traps contribute to the war ranking by an unknown amount. Since traps cost substantially less than fully upgraded weapons (i.e. Hidden Teslas), their contribution is probably far less than the major weapons.

Therefore, the war algorithm scores your base predominantly on the strength of your defensive buildings. High-level defensive structures such as the Inferno Tower or X-Bow disproportionally skew your score to stratospheric levels. If your clan has a few Inferno Towers, you’re likely to face high-level clans in war matchups. In short, the higher level your defenses, the harder the war matchup will be.

Theory

It is unknown how each weapon contributes to the war ranking – by counting the most recent upgrade cost or the cumulative cost (the summation of all the upgrades up to and including the current level). See the tabulation below for TH9 weapons. I added the Inferno Tower, although not available at TH9, as a comparison. Notice the Level 2 Xbow upgrade cost is 5M, which is less than the Level 7 Wizard Tower upgrade (5.36M). This would suggest the Wizard Tower upgrade contributes the most to a TH9’s war ranking.

Cumulative Costs

Another way is looking at the cumulative cost. The Xbows cost a total of 8M gold. However, the cumulative cost of several other weapons exceeds that of the Xbow. This would suggest that Teslas (14.75M), Wizard Towers (12.54M), Air Defenses (8.48M), and Archer Towers (9.86M) all contribute more to a TH9’s war ranking.

The casual observation among players is when a TH9 builds an Xbow, their war ranking skyrockets. It’s not clear how Xbows compares to Wizard Towers or Teslas, because a truly quantitative analysis is extremely difficult. Two identical TH9 bases would need to co-exist, and have one each upgrade a Wizard Tower and an Xbow to see how their war rankings result.

However, it is very clear that high-level defenses result in high war rankings, resulting in tougher war matchmaking results. TH9 is when the big differentiation emerges, with most upgrades costing around 4-5M gold. TH8 players probably don’t need to worry about their upgrades affecting the clan’s overall war ranking.

Strategy

This strategy is totally backwards to how I’ve played the game thus far. I’ve always played very aggressively as a farmer to upgrade by base as quickly as possible. Little did I know that this would play against me for war matchups. As previously mentioned, your weapon levels aren’t a big factor until TH9, where the impact in war matchups become very noticeable, very suddenly.

  1. Once you hit TH9, focus on upgrades that do not adversely affect war matchups. This means pour your gold into walls and elixir into army camps, barracks, and troop upgrades. You can build the new TH9 weapons (i.e. fourth Wizard Tower or Air Defense), but don’t upgrade them over TH8 levels. This keeps their upgrade costs under 3M gold. If you’re really nervous, don’t upgrade your Teslas beyond level 5 or 6.
  2. Upgrade everything that does not contribute to war ranking – especially DE drills and storage. Build the fourth gold and elixir storages and upgrade any remaining mines and collectors.
  3. Upgrade all bombs. These are especially useful against hog attacks and don’t contribute much to the war ranking.
  4. Save your Dark Elixir for troop upgrades. If you have a huge surplus, consider occasional hero upgrades, but try to not progress beyond level 10 (This is still at TH8 level. The Barbarian King caps at level 10 for TH8.) I alternate between regular troop and dark troop upgrades to prevent stockpiling too much, and capping my heros at level 10.
  5. Upgrade defenses only after your troops and walls are at maximum levels. Upgrade the defenses that matter the most first – e.g. Air Defenses or Wizard Towers. Since the consensus is the Xbow results in huge war ranking, save it for last.

I wish I would have known this before advancing to TH9. I would have done it differently. However, I will use this method when advancing to TH10.

Moor’s Strategy Guide: Clan War Searches

“Clan War mismatches are preferable to no match or very long searches”

-Super Steve

Definitions

“hard-core gamer”  – arranges daily schedule around gaming

“mid-core gamer” – arranges gaming around their daily schedule

“casual gamer” – seeks gaming entertainment when time presents itself

“farmer” – CoC player focusing upgrades specifically for obtaining resources for more upgrades

“trophy hunter” – CoC player focusing base layout and army composition to win and keep trophies

“warrior” – CoC player focusing troop upgrades and base layout specifically to win clan war battles

“war base score” – the ranking of a player’s war base, consisting of structure/troop/spell levels.

Assumptions

1.  The average Clash of Clans player is a “casual” player. These players often go in-and-out of clans, have idle builders for long periods of time, and may go days between checking on their bases and emptying collectors. Casual players with idle villages and full collectors are a principle source of economics in the CoC universe.

2.  The average Clash of Clans player is Level 60-65. Player level is calculated predominantly by number of structure upgrades (excluding walls), with a minor influence of clearing obstacles, troops donations, and winning achievements. Troop upgrades do not count toward Player Level. The average player doesn’t accumulate enough troop donations to have significant impact. In summary, higher Player Level is proportional to the number of structure upgrades. Level 60-65 strongly correlates to Town Hall 7 (or equivalent base with a higher-level rushed TH).

20150209 124949

3.  Town Hall 7 is the transition between “casual” and “mid-core” gaming. Upgrades can take a week (i.e. Dragons or Air Defense) and are impossible to afford without farming or purchasing gems. A casual player can get to TH7 by sporadically playing and perhaps occasionally purchasing gems. Once at TH7, the player must schedule gaming sessions to organize upgrades and farm resources to continue advancing. Without scheduling regular gaming sessions, it becomes impossible to manage the upgrades available at TH7. This effectively caps the casual gamer at TH7.

4.  The average player age is 21-35 with enough disposable income to afford portable Android or iOS devices, internet service, and occasional in-game purchases. The assumption is this demographic is Supercell’s primary business interest for in-game purchases.

midcore-demographics

 

5.  The average clan has high membership throughput (revolving door) of mostly casual players (levels 50-65) and is short-lived. The average clan has half-hearted war participation, weakly coordinated strategy, and poor base design. Most players forfeit (give up) and don’t attack when facing a superior clan. These clans dominate the war search algorithm.

6.  The “mid-core” gamers invest enough time and attention to progress to TH8 and above. Their attention to the game results in more strategic base layouts, defense methods, troop upgrades, and fighting tactics. Mid-core gamers are approximately split between farmers, warriors, and trophy hunters. These players advance from the “casual” clans and build more strategic and organized clans. The “mid-core” gamers range from levels 80-120.

7.  The “hard-core” gamers invest both monetarily and time. These players gem their bases, are in the high-level leagues, and are generally inaccessible by lower classes of gamers.

The Mounting Frustration Level

The next observation is that organized clans consisting of TH8 and above players are voicing frustration on the Supercell and Reddit forums over Clan War Searches (the two most common forums for CoC aficionados). This demographic is interesting:

  • TH8 and above are probably “mid-core” gamers who schedule gaming sessions to keep their builders and laboratory busy.
  • These gamers are above-average level (>65) and have more experience with army composition, base layout, and defensive strategies.
  • Organized clans with Supercell forum participation are far beyond average. Out of the presumably hundreds of thousands of clans, only a handful engage in the Supercell forums.

This demographic lies outside of the “average” clan war search. The Supercell forum has many complaints regarding the Clan War Search:

“So we appear to be in a rut of unbalanced war matches lately and no one likes ruts. Basically this is because there are not many clans similar to ours (number of th10, th9, th8 & th7). CofC tries to match us with an equal clan, but because there are so few other clans that are our equal we are being randomly matched with clans that are significantly stronger”

“I too have been struggling with poor clan war matchups. In my clans case, our mean lvl is approximately 77. We have no members over 100 and no members under 60. In all of the matches we’ve had in the last 30 days, we have been paired with clans that have 20+ wins (we have 4). The last match we had was against a clan with 61 wins (seriously?). They also have about 10 of their top players (out of a 40 vs 40 war) that are over lvl 100 and some of their lowest members about 5, that are under 60 and even 50. But the median of their clans has been slightly higher than ours about 80.

However, what happens in this scenario, is that our top lvl players can’t attack their top lvl players. We either have no chance at a star, or can only 1 star at best. So, that pretty much means that we have to start at base 30 and below and as of such our median members are all competing for the same lvl of difficulty bases to attack which is around the middle and low end of the available bases to attack.

So, we lose the every war because their high lvl players can attack our highest players 1-10 and their median can attack our middle and so forth.”

Calculating Experience

Player level comes from accumulating experience. Experience is gained through upgrades, donating troops, clearing obstacles, completing achievements, and destroying an opponent’s town hall. The majority of experience comes from upgrading structures.

Experience is calculated by taking the square root of upgrade time (in seconds) rounded down. For example, a Level 5 Wizard Tower takes 4 days (345,600 seconds) and produces 587 experience points:

20150209 123539

These experience points are added to the player’s level progress.

Calculating Level

Levels are achieved by accumulating experience points. To calculate how much experience required for the next levels, multiply the present level by 50. For example, a player at Level 6 would require (6 x 50 = 300) experience to gain Level 7. A Level 60 player would need (60 x 50 = 3,000) experience to advance. The amount of experience required for the next level goes up according a geometric square equation:

20150209 123547

This means the difference between a Level 60 and 61 player is small (3,000 points) but the difference between a Level 120 and 121 player is much larger (6,000 points).

20150209 123729

Therefore, war matchups between average players (levels 60-65) are generally “fair”. The differences between levels are “small”. However, war matchups between high-level players can become “unfair” because the differences between levels can be huge.

Calculating War Base Score

Supercell has not commented or released any information about the clan war search algorithm, but observational analyses have been made by many professional mathematicians and postdoctoral researchers who happen to be CoC fans (i.e. Khirevich or Randal Olson).  This article combines some basic assumptions with observational analysis to create some practical methods.

Every war participant has their base scored. The “war base score” is calculated by adding together the player’s structure, troop, spell, and hero upgrades. Wall upgrades do not appear to affect the score. The exact algorithm is not known, but some upgrades may have higher weight than others. For example, some analysts suggest Inferno Towers greatly affect base scores, or Hero upgrades count a bit more toward the score than other upgrades.

It is not known exactly how the “war base score” is calculated, but because all of the other Supercell algorithms are very simple (i.e. calculating experience), the “war base score” is probably equally simple. It may work similarly to the experience algorithm by adding the square root of time of all of the upgrades, including troop upgrades. Alternatively, it may add the square root of the costs (in Gold, Elixir, or DE) of all the upgrades. This may explain why Hero upgrades have a larger effect – Heros are upgraded many times over with increasingly large sums of expensive DE.

This may result in two equivalent players with the same score but different abilities:

  • Farmers prioritize non-war troops, such as Goblins, Giants, and Healers. Their “war base score” will reflect these upgraded troops, but will have less war-fighting capability.
  • Warriors prioritize war troops, such as Golems, Witches, and PEKKAs. Their “war base score” will be the same as the Farmer, but with greater war-fighting power.
  • Farmers prioritize defenses to protect their loot during farming.
  • Warriors prioritize defenses to protect their Town Hall during Clan Wars.
  • Warriors prioritize Hero upgrades, as they are useful in both offense and defense roles.

Both of these players (Farmer and Warrior) may have the same “war base score” but have unequal war-fighting capability.

However, as a generalized assumption, similarly-leveled players will have similar upgrades (structures, spells, troops, etc.) Therefore, a rough approximation can be made.

War Base Score ≈ Player Level

Calculating the Clan’s Composite Score

All of the clan’s participating members are added together for a composite “war base score”. After the composite score is calculated, the war search algorithm seeks an opposing clan with a similar composite score.

The general consensus is the Supercell algorithm uses a Geometric Mean. This is a way of normalizing the input variables so that no value dominates the weighing. See the tabulation below. It’s not much different than just taking the average:

20150209 123912

The first observation is our clan was out-matched player-by-player with only two exceptions (positions 6 and 14, played by CEN and Gone2). I was facing a level 99 player, five levels above me. According to the analysis above, 5 levels at this range is huge – a difference of 24,000 experience! On average, each of our members (excluding Savage) was facing opponents 2 levels higher. Our average level was 76 vs. their 80. If a geometric mean is used, the numbers are even more stark, 74 vs. 79.

So was Savage useful? Removing Savage from the calculation narrowed the gap. Using the geometric mean, the matchup would have been 77.7 vs. 79.2. Still not fair, with each one of our members still facing opponents 2 levels higher. But it starts to look more plausible on paper.

Savage reduced our clan’s composite score by 2 to 3 levels, depending on the method of calculation (average or geometric mean). Is it worthwhile to give the enemy an easy three-star in exchange to reduce our overall clan composite score by 2 or 3 levels?

The answer is “yes” … if the clan search algorithm doesn’t out-match the rest of us. So how can we get a fair match?

Getting a Fair Match

We finally reach our destination. The journey has been enlightening and fun, but now we just want a fair war match. We understand some game mechanics. But how to get a fair match?

Consider the Supercell algorithm is designed for the average (casual) player, who is essentially capped at TH7 (level 60-65). The algorithm performs best with clans meeting an average distribution curve. Remember when we were all TH7? Our war matches were awesome. But when we crossed the threshold from “casual player levels” to “mid-core player levels”, war searches hit the crapper. That’s because we exited the algorithm-optimized sweet-spot and we are now outliers. The war search algorithm has a hard time matching us to an opposing clan.

“Clan War mismatches are preferable to no match or very long searches”

– Super Steve

According to Supercell, the algorithm defaults to a poor war match if an appropriate match is not quickly found! This is a normal gaming algorithm. If the game is not converging on a solution fast enough, the solution window is made wider. As time progresses, the algorithm gets less picky. The longer the search lasts, the less picky the algorithm, and the worse the matchup:

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The solution is simple: never let the algorithm advance to the next iteration and search for less optimal matchups. This is done by stopping the war search after a fixed time and re-starting, never letting the algorithm run long enough to widen the solution window. This forces the algorithm to find a war match in the first (most narrow) solution window.

Other clans have tried this approach and believe the iteration is performed in 5 to 10 minute increments:

“The matching code uses (probably) an iterative algorithm along with geometric mean. If the search runs longer than 5-10 minutes you will likely be paired with a significantly stronger or weaker clan. To prevent this, restart the search after 5-10 minutes.”

“Absolutely agree that time searching is deeply involved in matchmaking. I noticed that the longer we searched, the worse our matches were. Had a 5 war losing streak because of total mismatches, with searches lasting about a half hour each. The frustration was mounting big time for everyone in the clan. I came to the same conclusion reached here; basically the longer the search goes, the wider the range of potential matches. So a few weeks ago, I changed my strategy, not letting searches go over 10 minutes. Since then, we have only had 1 fairly bad match that we lost, but could have won, but we are 9-1 over that span. More importantly, our war matches have been nearly flawless. Sometimes we are a little more advanced, sometimes we are a little less advanced.”

“I’ve found that if we cancel the search every 5-8 minutes and restart the search, when a match is finally found it tends to be a lot closer match.”

Summary

  1. Our clan has moved out of average (“casual gamers” of levels 60-65) and into a more thoughtful, strategic, and organized clan (“mid-core gamers”). This has moved our clan outside of the average optimized war search algorithm.
  2. The war search algorithm deliberately seeks poorer matches as time progresses to avoid long wait times. The workaround is to re-start the war search before the algorithm resorts to widening the search window.
  3. The clan composite score adds together the cumulative upgrades (structures, troops, spells, and heros) of the war participants using either an averaging scheme or geometric mean. Adding a low-level participant may significantly reduce the composite score, but also gives the enemy an easy three-star. Are we shooting ourselves in the foot, or gaining an advantage?

 Update #1

So does the Supercell algorithm use a Geometric Mean or Standard Average? Since player Level is a geometric function of player Experience, the player Level scales non-linearly with Experience. Therefore, a standard average is not reasonable. This is illustrated by converting the clan matchup from above into Experience. Level can be calculated from Experience using the quadratic equation:

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So the Levels can be converted into Experience, a geometric mean taken, and the result reverted back to Levels. If everything goes well, the two results should be equal:

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I wanted further proof that the geometric mean of Player Level was equal to the geometric mean of Player Experience. This would further the conclusion that the Supercell clan war search algorithm attempts to match players based on Experience, or at least a metric proportional to Experience (i.e. additional experience points for troop upgrades, or hero upgrades). Over lunch, I made a mathematical proof that the geometric mean of the clan’s player levels is equal to the geometric mean of the clan’s player experience.

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The reasonable conclusions are:

  •  War matchups are made of the basis of the geometric average of participant experience or an expanded experience score that also includes additional factors, such as troop upgrades (the base experience does not include troop upgrades for some unknown reason). Since most Supercell algorithms are very simple, we can assume the war base scores are calculated similarly to base experience (square root of upgrade time in seconds) but with more things included. Why Supercell doesn’t count troop upgrades into regular experience score is a mystery. It seems troop upgrades should be counted as part of your experience score.
  • The war search algorithm iterates to less sensitivity (wider search window) after timeout periods, estimated to be between 5 and 10 minutes, to avoid long war search times.

Update #2

So why do longer search times result in less advantageous matchups? Here are some guesses:

  • Lower-level clans (i.e. average level of 60-65) get matched quickly, so the pool of queued clans is much smaller.
  • The queue of higher-level clans (i.e. average of level 80+) take a long time to match, so the pool of queued clans is much larger.
  • The longer a clan stays in the queue, the more urgent it gets matched.
  • We are more likely to get matched with a high-level clan that has been in the queue for a long time.

Looking at the Clan War Search graph, I envision:

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During the first iteration, the algorithm attempts to match us with another clan who has been in the queue for a long time, but within a narrow window. I suspect the algorithm attempts to avoid making disadvantageous mismatches during the first iteration. If the opposing clan is weaker, and they have been in the queue for a few iterations, they get matched with us. The advantage is on our side. However, the longer the search continues, the algorithm readily makes disadvantageous mismatches, worsening our favor. Anything past the second iteration is almost a guarantee of a highly unbalanced mismatch in the enemy’s favor.

The conclusion is a war search result within the first 10 minutes will almost guarantee an advantage in our favor. During the second iteration (presumably 10-15 minutes), the advantage may be tilt in either direction. Anything after that (>15-20 minutes) is increasing odds of being unbalanced towards the enemy’s advantage.

Moor’s Strategy Guide: TH9 Upgrades

This guide is for starting your TH9. It is especially important to not rush TH9 for several reasons:

  • The loot penalty advances. As a new TH9 player, the majority of your loot will come from TH8 targets. You will no longer feast on easy and plentiful TH7 victims.
  • Finish leveling up your TH8 troops before starting TH9. You’ll need strong troops for raiding as a new TH9 player.
  • You become vulnerable to TH10 predators. As a TH8 player, TH10 raiders generally left you alone because of the loot penalty. But when you advance to TH9, you suddenly become very vulnerable to powerful and aggressive TH10 raiders. You need maximum level defenses before you leave TH8. You’ll need them for defending against TH10 predators.

Use the 10 days during TH9 construction to hoard gold and elixir. Entering TH9 with full resources is a huge advantage. Drop your trophy level to 1300-1400 and move your TH outside of the walls while you hoard resources. If you’re lucky, some trophy hunters/n00bs will snipe your TH and give you a free shield, thereby protecting your hoard of l00ts. Here is my final TH8 screenshot 16 hours remaining on the TH9 construction. Builders are ready, Gold and Elixir are maxed, and 40,000 DE saved up for the Archer Queen:

Final TH8 Screenshot

Final TH8 Screenshot

When your TH9 is ready (congratulations), here is a priority list:

Builder 1:  Upgrade Laboratory (2,500,000 elixir and 5 days) then Spell Factory (1,600,000 and 5 days). After the spell factory is completed, assign this builder to upgrade your Army Camps (2,250,000 elixir and 5 days each). This will take a total of 30 days and 13,100,000 elixir.

Builder 2:  Place Archer Queen (instantaneous and 40,000 DE). Start Xbow (3,000,000 gold and 7 days) then the second Xbow. After your Xbows are finished (takes 14 days), assign this builder to help finish the four new defense towers or an Army Camp.

Builder 3:  New Gold Storage to maximum level. It will take 5 solid days and 950,000 elixir to progress through all 11 upgrades. After the Storage is finished, assign the builder to upgrade the DE Storage to lv.5 (5 days and 3,000,000 elixir) and lv.6 (6 days and 3,600,000 elixir). Total of 16 days. When finished, assign this builder to help finish the new defense towers.

Builder 4:  New Elixir Storage to maximum level. It will take 5 solid days and 950,000 gold to progress through all 11 upgrades. After the Storage is finished, assign the builder to help finish the new defense towers or an Army Camp.

Builder 5:  New Walls, Archer Tower, Wizard Tower, Air Defense, and Hidden Tesla. Install the new 25 walls and upgrade immediately to lv.6 (instantaneous and 3,030,000 gold). Install the new Towers and Air Defense. By now, all of your new pieces are placed. Re-arrange your base layout.

Laboratory:  When the laboratory is finished, immediately start the Barbarian (4,500,000 elixir and 10 days), Archer (6,000,000 elixir and 10 days), then Giants (6,000,000 elixir and 10 days). Now you are 35 days into TH9.

In-Between:  Within the first few days, upgrade your walls (minimum to dark purple lv.7). As you progress, squeeze in some Spring Traps, Seeking Air Mines, Giant Bombs, and Archer Queen upgrades.

At the end of a month, you will have highly capable defensive capability and a good raiding army!

TH9 Upgrade Spreadsheet

Some might question my high priority of building and upgrading the storages (Gold, Elixir, and Dark Elixir). I had strategic reasons:

  • Distribute the loot  4 Gold, 4 Elixir, and 1 DE Storage are a lot of targets. An attacker is not likely to get all 9 storages unless they 3-star your base.
  • TH9 upgrades are expensive  8,000,000 of gold and elixir is essential with expensive TH9 upgrades. Some upgrades are impossible without the additional storage capacity.
  • Decrease zapper attacks – High level DE storage has more hit points, so lightening spells cause a lower percentage of damage.
  • Intimidate and discourage – Fully upgraded storages look more mature and the base appears overall more intimidating, discouraging would-be attackers from going after my loot.

My base layout took into account several features, focusing on discouraging raiders and preserving loot. TH9 upgrades are expensive and require huge amounts of loot. Raiders should immediately press the “Next” button when they see my base.

  • Focus on farming – the TH exposed and outside of walls without wasting any defenses for protection. That means no Hidden Teslas, bombs, or traps! If you expose your TH, don’t waste precious defenses to protect it. An exposed TH encourages trophy hunters, snipers, and n00bs to attack the TH and not go after my loot. And I get a shield. I average about 20 or 25 trophies on each one of my raids, so I don’t miss the 6 or 7 trophies subtracted when somebody snipes my TH.
  • Three perimeters – an outer segmented ring of Cannons, Archer Towers, Teslas, Traps, and Bombs. The outer ring delays and thins incoming troops while the inner rings shower them with devastating splash damage. The second ring has the Air Defense, Mortars, and the loot segmented into quadrants. The inner core has the Wizard Towers, Xbows, and Archer Queen.
  • Four quadrants – TH9 is great for segmented quadrant structure. Four Mortars, four Wizard Towers, four Storages, four Air Defense, four Teslas, four Seeking Air Mines, four Air Bombs, four Giant Bombs. You get the picture. Defenses and l00ts can be arranged in a symmetrical quadrant pattern, optimizing defensive interactions and wall structure to minimize loss of loot during a raid.
  • Defense against Barbarian-Archer (bararch) attacks – the most common TH9 raiding style. The central core focuses on the complimentary Mortar-Wizard Tower combo for punishing splash damage. Each Wizard Towers overlooks a Mortar, a quadrant of Gold and Elixir Storage, and the other Wizard Towers. The core is further protected by two Xbows and the Archer Queen.
  • Defense against Dragons or Dragon/Balloon attacks – Air Defenses are nested inside the second perimeter, making them hard to reach. They are protected by the outer ring of Cannons and Archer Towers and the inner core of Xbows and Wizard Towers. A large horde of Dragons and Balloons might get one or two of the Air Defenses, but the two remaining Air Defenses will quickly finish the job.
  • Defense against Hogs. Hogs will get tied up in the outer perimeter while getting pummeled by the inner perimeter Xbows, Mortars, and splash damage. Groups of Hogs are especially vulnerable to bombs. Giant Bombs and Teslas spaced strategically around the outer perimeter will attract and demolish hordes.
  • Defense against GoWiPe (Golem-Wizard-Pekka) – GoWiPe is especially good at penetrating a central core, usually achieving at least 2-star victory by destroying the Town Hall. In my base design, the TH is exposed and the loot is distributed among the quadrants. Penetrating the core may get the DE Storage but nothing else. The segmented ring structure will pull Golems and Pekkas off-course, separating the attacking army into easy-to-kill pieces.
  • Defense against Wall Breakers. The walls are Lv.8 (Skulls) and no X joints! All wall joints are T-joints. This prevents a Wall Breaker from running into a corner and blowing out a junction.

So far, the only effective attack has been TH10 high-level mixed-troop Giant/Healer attacks with Lv.7 Archers and Lv.20+ royalty, and my base has never been over the 50% destruction threshold during the first few weeks!