(Written by Delpez)
Since we have a number of players on the brink of TH9, I thought I’ll share my experiences as a new TH9, especially the upgrade system known as 8.5.
A while ago we ran into a complete mismatch against a clan called War & Glory – compared to us they had a ridiculous number of TH9’s with very powerful attacks. It turned out the mismatch was orchestrated by manipulating the matchmaker. Defence carries a higher rating than offence, so by focusing on offensive upgrades first the clan gets matched against weaker opponents. This is especially noticeable at TH9, and bases that follow this philosophy are referred to as TH8.5 (TH8 defence with TH9 offense). Ever since hitting TH9 I’ve also been following this system, not to manipulate war rankings but because I find attacking more satisfying than defending. This method gives you access to powerful TH9 attacks earlier, which suits my playstyle to a tee.
The strategy can be roughly divided into three stages: offense, existing defences and new defences. Although the system I’m discussing is based upon War & Glory’s strategy (I did make some changes), it’s pretty common for serious war clans. Note that the upgrade sequence within a stage is not that important, although the first four are pretty non-negotiable:
Archer Queen Altar
New Air Defence (level 6)
New Walls (level 8)
New Traps (same level as existing traps)
Dark Elixir Drills (at least level 4)
New Hidden Tesla (level 6)
First Dark Elixir Barrack (level 6)
Archer Queen (level 10)
New Gold & Elixir Storages (level 11)
Barbarian King (any upgrade a bonus)
Traps (dump excess gold)
Archer Queen (at least level 15)
Barbarian King (at least level 15)
All traps (maximum level)
Walls (start level 9)
Dark Elixir Drills (level 6)
Air Defences (level 7)
Hidden Teslas (level 7)
Second Dark Elixir Barrack (level 6)
Existing Wizard Towers (level 7)
Existing Mortars (level 7)
Existing Archer Towers (level 11)
Existing Cannons (Level 11)
Dark Elixir Storage (level 5)
Build and max X-Bows
Build and max Wizard Tower
Build and max Archer Tower
Max King and Queen
Walls (dump excess elixir and gold)
Laboratory upgrades depend on your war and farming strategies, as well as dark and normal elixir availability. I’ve done archers and barbarians first to speed up farming, after which I’ll focus on war troops (balloons, hogs, golems etc.) Currently I’m about three-quarters through with Stage 1, and by far the biggest issue is elixir availability. Troop upgrades are ridiculous at TH9 (6 million elixir is typical), and most stage 1 structural upgrades also require elixir. Combine this with very few gold sinks and it’s quite hard to keep your builders occupied. The upshot is that you’ll be swimming in gold during stage 1, so it should be easy to upgrade your new walls and lots of traps. Also, once you get to stage 2 you’ll have a ton of elixir to dump on walls – all the more reason to max those walls at TH8! To overcome the elixir shortage during stage 1 you have three options: raid like crazy, make peace with the fact that some builders will be idle or cheat a little. That means starting some of the stage 2 gold upgrades in stage 1 already. Obviously this will dilute the positive and negative impacts of TH8.5; just don’t touch stage 3 prematurely because that will defeat the purpose of the exercise.
So is it worth it? For wars it’s a bit early to say. I’m still ranked last of the TH9’s, although I’m also the newest TH9. Have a look at our TH9 bases and troops and decide where I should fit in. The bases I get ranked against in wars are invariable weaker than mine, which is the point of the exercise I guess. Another big advantage for me is that I really enjoy attacking, and those additional troops, spells and the queen makes raiding much easier and enjoyable, not to mention war attacks! I also believe that splitting your elixir and gold requirements into two distinct stages helps a lot with wall upgrades. On the negative side, besides the elixir shortage your defences are not very powerful for a TH9. Other TH9’s and especially TH10’s will raid you quite hard – the only way to overcome this is by raiding at a lower trophy level, or to just out raid them! In wars the lack of defensive strength is not such a big issue; 4 AD’s and teslas mean that TH8’s and low TH9’s can’t 3-star you, which is all you can ask for as a new TH9.
In summary, I really enjoy the rush to offensive power this strategy brings, and I just relax about idle builders and TH10’s bullying me (most guys still just snipe my TH). So if you raid a lot, or like easier match-ups in clan wars, I would recommend giving this system a go. If you don’t raid that much, or enjoy building intricate defences and traps, I guess you’ll find more value and enjoyment from your new X-Bows!