Defense is an intricate thing, and by the developer’s vision, at least 50% of the game. Many players, even 3-4 year long veterans do not understand much about defense and how it works. This is an article to right those misconceptions and teach people how defense really works in Clash of Clans.

Note: This article only covers regular MM and not war. Do not comment if you are talking about war.

My previous posts  on this topic:

Many people think that defenses is mostly about defense levels, which is where the stigma of “rush and you’ll get crushed” comes from. This may be true in the past, especially before Dec 2015, but now its very far from the truth and as good as a blatant lie. Defenses involves everything BUT defensive levels.

Its funny how a player can spend half a million gold in defenses and yet still fail to defend well. Are maxed TH10s defending better than my rushed TH10? Using 3 of my TH10 accounts to compare (nearly maxed vs engineered vs rushed), the rushed account defends the best, followed by the engineered account then lastly my nearly maxed TH10. How can one account which has spent more than 600mil more gold and 6-7 more months defend worse?

Here are the true determinants of defense:

Staying online = shield = guard > Available loot > Shield management > League > Intimidation (actually, the lack of it) > Amount of defenses > attacker’s troops > base design = attacker’s skill > Level of defenses

In my experience, the level of defenses is the least useful part of the equation, because it directly increases intimidation and causes better players to attack the base. Let’s break up each component and talk briefly about it:

  1. Staying online. This is a no-brainer, if you’re online, you’ll never be hit. This is the 100% way to prevent being attacked, just like being shielded and being under guard. You will protect 100% of your loot if you stay online, but we have personal break timer (pbt) to prevent this, which is why you cannot rely on this all the time.
  2. Available loot. This is the best way to prevent losing. The bad thing about being attacked is the losses of resources you sustain. But you cannot lose if you have nothing to lose in the first place. This is how I protected my loot on my first account, I simply left a free builder and dumped whatever loot I had so that I was never raided. With this and #1, a player can have nearly no defenses and still progress well in game. Before even considering all other options, these 2 are the first and foremost a player must do well. But what if real life and other things prevent the player from using the best measures? Then we’ll have to make do with whatever else we have.
  3. Shield management. If a player manages shield wisely, a player will only get attacked twice per day and lose minimal amount of loot. I’ll elaborate this point further in a future post, but suffice to say you should have enough shield time to last the night and you should plan to attack at least 3-5 times per shield.
  4. League. This aspect actually works both ways, being too low allows people to milk from you and you’ll get hit multiple times before getting a shield; being to high and your defense levels don’t matter anymore as people will crush you regardless of what you have.
  5. Intimidation. This is the key factor of why rushed bases defend better than maxed bases. If your base is weak, anyone would attack it. In this game, it is inevitable that weak players are the majority and strong players are scarce. If your base is weak, the probability of a weak player finding you first is very high, and being weak allows them the false confidence of attacking you, resulting in a fail despite weak defenses. If your base is strong, all the weak players will next and ignore you, allowing your collector resources to stockpile. Eventually a strong player will appear and light up at the 500-600k resources and take it out easily. Read the link above to understand more.
  6. Amount of defenses. SC loves the law of diminishing returns to its death. If you calculate the gains of every upgrade, you’ll notice that higher level buildings tend to increase in strength in a lower rate. The easiest example is: a TH8 has 3 lvl5 air defenses (dps = 190*3 = 570). The TH8 can now either upgrade all 3 for 2mil gold each, costing 6mil gold and 8*3 = 24 days for an additional 40*3 = 120 dps. Or, the TH8 can move to TH9 and build the 4th air defense to lvl3, costing 400k gold and 4.5 days for an additional 140 dps. Building more defenses and upgrading weaker defenses increases your strength much quicker than upgrading most defenses. This is how my TH10 with TH5/6 defensive levels, but TH10 amounts can defend so well. People think its weaker than a TH9, but the total dps and hp of the defenses actually surpass a mid-maxed TH9.
  7. Attacker’s troops. If the attack brings strong troops (like every defense if you have strong defenses), then you’re not really going to survive. Once your defenses are too strong for your TH level, then you’ll see mostly higher TH levels dipping down and crushing you, which makes your defense level irrelevant. This is one of the factors you cannot control, so there’s no point elaborating on it.
  8. Base design. A smart design with weak defenses works far better than a weak design with strong defenses. Bases with many compartments and strong walls fall victim here, as people who attack will always bring 1-2 jumps and use your compartments to funnel troops into the core and out of it. This is why ironically the best design tends to be ring/island bases (because there’s no miners now).
  9. Attacker’s skill. Even with weak troops against the best designs, skill can sometimes win out. In fact, the best army to take out my favorite base (the Crows) is actually barch. If done well, one can actually get most of the loot on the base from simple barch. This is another factor that you cannot control.
  10. Defensive levels. This factor lies in the bottom of the ladder and is the most irrelevant factor in terms of defense. In fact, my maxed TH11 loses more loot when I stay in G1 than my rushed TH10, because it gets milked constantly and eventually some dude with 40/40/20 will come in and wreck it overnight.

Hope this article helps out players and clears many misconceptions


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