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479190_larger-1The developers over at Supercell finally released an update that makes readjusting your Clash of Clans village way easier - especially, if you're working with an iPhone and not an iPad. As you upgrade your Town Halls, earn more trophies and get raided, you'll constantly find yourself restructuring your village. They've also thrown in a new inventory system so that you can clear your entire village layout all at once and start from scratch. Most importantly, you can lay down walls simply by dragging your finger. No more dropping walls one piece at a time. Thank the heavens.

With the quality of life boosted in Clash of Clans world, we've come up with a guide to help you get started and spend as little real money as possible.


Ever since my family turned Clash of Clans into a family event, it’s become something of a Game of Thrones war: House Lannister versus the North. Actually, that analogy stopped working when I realized that my sister was Cersei, my brother Jamie, my nephew Joffrey and myself Tyrion. Which made the whole Cersei vs. Jamie thing especially awkward whenever I saw my sister and my brother together. So, lets call it the Gold Cloaks vs. the North.

My sister and a few other friends are big IAP folks, who have no patience and like to fund company outings for Supercell. Myself, I proclaim the Iron Born banner, “We do not sow.” In this guide, I’m going to walk you through several ways to actively enjoy months of Clash of Clans action, IAP free.

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Achievements Work in Your Favor

The first time you see someone with four builder huts in his/her village, especially when they’re still in Bronze or Silver League, you immediately know one thing: they’re gold cloaks. Beware. Jealousy can cost you. Building in Clash of Clans takes time and patience. But you don’t need to buy a bag-of-gems like a bucket-of-chicken at Popeyes to have a good time.

Achievements are your friends and you can wear them like a badge of honor through the Game Center. Just ask Lady Catelyn Stark, who’s calling your name on the top left corner of the screen (come on, you can’t tell me you don’t see the similarity, right?). Focus on earning achievements and reaping the gem rewards.

When you earn the “Sweet Victory” Achievement at 1250 trophies, you will be awarded with a hearty 250 gems. That combined with a little cleanup of trees, rocks, logs and mushrooms will help you to get your third builder hut. Along the way, you’ll get 10 to 50 gems here and there that you should conserve for the fourth hut. Also, work towards knocking out some of the easier upgrade achievements first, such as upgrading your Gold Storage, Busting down Walls with Skeletons, and unlocking the Dragon.

Thanks to the new “League All-Star” Achievement, you will also get 250 gems when you enter Crystal League. This will help you to nail that fourth builder hut the Gold Cloaks bought the minute they started playing. Don’t worry, getting to Crystal League isn’t too hard with a little help. We’ll get to that in just a bit.

Also, donate troops whenever you get the chance to unlock the “Friend in Need” achievement. You can only donate five troops, but your actually donation tally is based on Housing Spaces. So donating Giants works great. Dragons become a little more costly and time consuming to donate, but I’ll always try to have one ready. Donating troops is a lot of fun, especially since your clan can share replays now, which show off your troop support.

Cosmetic Upgrades are just that - Cosmetic

When you’re starting out in Clash, you can get a little disheartened when looking at your picket fences and rubble walls. Step inside another players’ village and you’ll see gold or crystal walls. Browse through the top players and there are all sorts of electric awesomeness going on. Here’s the thing… all those upgrades are cosmetic.

There’s a simple fact you have to understand and accept when playing Clash of Clans. There is always going to be someone stronger with just the right troop mix to break through your defenses. So, you just have to live with it. Those walls can be jumped, Raged through and flown over.

Prioritize upgrades that help you to raise capital. These include Army Camps, your Research Lab, troop and spell upgrades, resource mining and your Barracks. You don’t have to neglect your defensive upgrades, but don’t race to get the biggest and “baddest” mortar when your Army Camps can’t even house enough troops to pull off a decent raid.

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Stagger Upgrades

It’s great to play Clash the first time you start it up. Upgrades take five to fifteen minutes. However, those minutes quickly turn into hours and days.

Always stagger your upgrades. Have one upgrade going that takes a short amount of time and another that takes a longer amount of time. That way, you’ll always have something to periodically upgrade. When upgrades start reaching three to four days, these staggered times become less noticeable. You’ll start to have only one upgrade a day. However, it still keeps the game more engaging to play. Also, when you hit the three-to-four day mark (or five-plus days in the case of troop upgrades), you’ll need more time to raid and raise funds to pay for those pricey upgrades.

Beware Townhall Upgrade Fever… It’s a thing

Some Gold Cloaks will go out and buy just about every upgrade imaginable before they even know how to use them. Don’t get caught with gold fever, relentlessly upgrading your Townhall. The developers at Supercell will always introduce new things to entice you. Keeping up is costly.

You can get to Crystal League with a level 7 or 8 Townhall by attacking intelligently. Don’t get caught trying to three-star a village every time. Instead, focus on targeted attacks that go after the Town Hall or fifty percent destruction of a village. If you get both, that’s great. Two stars will help you to make the steady climb to the Gold and Crystal Leagues. You can now end the battle early to save your non-deployed troops for the next battle.

Often, people will leave their Townhall on the outskirts of their village, allowing you to get a quick few trophies. You can take them down with a handful of archers. You can do these attacks multiple times within the span of an hour. It’ll cost you some negligible gold to skip around and find the right map, but it’s worth it. Just be ready for the random Hidden Tesla – Gold Cloaks think they’re so clever. Have a couple giants ready to demolish these annoying traps.

Deleveling/Farming

So you made it to Gold League, got your third builder hut and things are starting to get difficult. Now what?

Delevel. This means that you should sacrifice one troop to purposefully lose an attack… and thus trophies. Keep doing this until the maps become easier so that you’re paired with less powerful enemies.

Now, the word delevel has a nasty ring to it. When you think of deleveling, it almost feels as though you’re conceding defeat since it implies that you can’t fight at the current level you’re playing at. I always think of those guys on Halo who would delevel after a balancing update.

Just remember that you’re Iron Born and those kinds of rules and stigmas don’t apply to you. It’s your job to attack the weak (in a video game that is), because you “do not sow.” Now, you can pull off goblin heavy raids without paying too much elixir.

When you delevel, look for maps with players that are weaker than you. Don’t go out losing to enemies that are ridiculously powerful. Also, put your Townhall on the outskirts of your village. The goal of deleveling is to protect resources, while finding more villages to easily loot. If you delevel against “weaker” players, they are likely to check out your map… see the easy Townhall target… and just go for the quick one-star revenge victory. You’ll lose trophies, which was your goal and you’ll get a free half-day shield.

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Archers are Better than Dragons… Long Live the Queue

The first time a dragon attacks your village or a defending dragon comes out of a clan castle, you may immediately think, “I need dragons to win.”

That’s not the case at all. Dragons are great, but they are also slow, take thirty minutes to make and take up twenty archers’ worth of space. There is strength in numbers. Level up your archers and camps so that you can tear through villages like they’re papier mâché. Also, by using archers you can pull off multiple attacks within an hour rather than waiting an hour for your troops to be ready again. Wait an hour to attack and somebody will probably attack you in that window of opportunity.

You should also level up your barracks so that you can better distribute the time needed to make troops. Also, leveling up Barracks allows you to train more troops. Before going into battle, you can queue up troops up for your next fight. So by the time you’re done battling, you already have more troops ready to go.

Skeletons are your Friends Against Raids… all about the Queue

I’m sure everyone’s been raided at least once when they went to sleep or just took a walk to the restroom. The Barracks are not only a means to fight, but they are also a great way to help you to defend your elixir.

Before taking a break from Clash, make sure that your Army Camps are full. Then, queue up skeletons in your Barracks. Max it out. These are costly troops that only take up two spaces. So you can queue up several skeletons, effectively diminishing your elixir. Enemies may rob you, but you’ve taken that elixir off the table so those thieves will only have access to a smaller percentage of elixir. Then you can take them out of the Barracks’ queue and see all that elixir restored.

Just remember one thing before you get back to attacking. You need to take your skeletons out of the queue. If not, you’ll finish an attack and find your camps swamped with skeletons. You may be able to sneak one or two into the Clan Castles of your crew, but you’ll make Clan enemies if they find out that it was you.

Don’t Neglect Goblins, Drills, Mines and especially Collectors

Goblins may be the weakest troop to use when you’re playing the trophy game, but they are a necessity when you need to raise funds for upgrades. Don’t forget about them, when you’re doing upgrades in your Research Labs.

The same goes for Drills, Mines and especially elixir Collectors. Although you can attack other villages to gain elixir, you’ll start hitting a roadblock once you upgrade troops. Whenever you upgrade a troop, they also cost you more elixir to make. At one point, you’ll find yourself paying upwards of 50K elixir. So, raiding for 90K elixir would only net you 40K. Always upgrade these Collectors, Drills and Mines when you have the chance. These feel like the least glamorous upgrades, but they are the most integral to your long-term survival and success. And if you haven’t done so yet, get in the habit of frequently collecting gold, elixir and dark elixir so that they go right into storage. This makes fewer resources available to be robbed.

Gold is always necessary since you can easily spend 10K gold just finding the right village to attack.

As for boosts, many players use boosts when they need more resources. I’ll only use a boost in the rare case when I’m just a thousand or so dark elixir away from an upgrade.

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Use your Clan Castle Wisely

Clan Castles, especially at level 2 and up, are great to use when attacking targeted enemies – like a Barbarian King or Archer Queen.

If your team is using IAPs to get ahead, you can get some early enjoyment out of their troops without dropping a dime. On defense, ask for a Dragon or Pekka. When you’re on offense, skies the limit. There are several combinations that work well. If you’re castle is stacked with Giants, unleash them with a Rage spell. If you’ve got nine Barbarians and six Archers, go after the Barbarian King. If you’ve got a Dragon, set it loose on the periphery to get you to fifty percent destruction, while your main attack force takes out those pesky Air Defense systems.

Finally… Don’t Approach Clash of Clans like Sim City or Farmville
Enjoy attacking and raiding. Enjoy unlocking Achievements. Once you start trying to play for pretty looking villages and soldiers, you’ll find yourself dipping into your pocket to buy a treasure chest full of gems. If you have patience and simply enjoy the thrill of combat, you can make your way to Crystal League and beyond without resorting to Gold Cloak tactics.

  • SumoSplash

    Sad that IAP have become so ingrained into our iOS society that we needs guides on how to avoid them.

    • MTX2013

      I agree

    • mallouk

      I agree on all games except this one, I truly have been enjoying clash of clans for sixth months without feeling that I need to pay to enjoy it.

      Of course sometimes it's tempting to boost a 12 days upgrade for a couple of dollars but it's not a must like other fermium games.

      Trust me if you didn't play this game yet do try it and you can manage to enjoy without paying

    • Deborah Harrison

      Hello, I have found a tool that gave me a lot of gems, gold and
      elixirs. I really needed that and it was very hard to find it, so that's
      why I will share it with everyone, so nobody would have to search as
      much as I did. g4mehacks .com/clash-of-clans-hack-v-1-6/

  • MTX2013

    The guide is still useful for beginners and amateurs.

  • PallaZ

    Such a great game. I spent about 4-9 bucks for the 4th builder hut, but this is very optional. It is possible to build it without spending any money, but I felt guilty to have such a great time with this F2P game - so I bought a few gems.
    I do really recommend this game. It has so much more depth, strategy and consistent updates than most of those F2P games in the store. And last but not least: CoC isn't only collecting resources every here and now - you fight real battles!
    Never believed that this game is so catchy.

  • Morgan01

    I've completely avoided this game due to the IAP structure. This guide is great and all, but there has to be a Paywall at some point, there almost always is.

    • Morgan01

      If I buy IAP, I do it on my terms, not because a game coerced me or crammed it in my face.

    • rewyan

      It's not exactly a paywall, it's just a bunch of very big speed bumps that you'll have to pass.

    • o0oJAKEo0o

      There is no paywall. This game is completely free. NO ADVERTISEMENTS either. Great game!

  • toxiccheese

    How to win? This game has no end... There is no winning, just grinding.

    I'll say it again... If I need to play in such a way as to avoid IAPs, then the game design is flawed. I don't enjoy having to play a game in a specific way just to avoid the IAP. Why bother?

    The only way to win, is to not play at all.

    • o0oJAKEo0o

      So in order to enjoy a game, you have to be able to beat it? There is not one piece of this game that can not be earned while playing. Nothing is locked behind IAP. The IAP model in this should be the only model as far as I'm concerned. Most games that come out now, even games you pay for up front, have something you can only get by dishing out more dough.

      • toxiccheese

        An endless grind with no payoff? Click to advance up the skill tree, then wait, grind, wait, grind, click to go up the skill tree... Rinse and repeat. It's an OCD nightmare. There is no final reward or endgame...nothing! Just an endless clickfest. But hey if you like that sort of thing, then that's great. Nothing wrong with having a different idea of 'fun'. I find it a complete waste of time. Too many rewarding experiences on the App Store that I'd rather spend my time with.

      • mallouk

        If you enjoy strategy games you will love this game, and bye the way, there is a single player campaign that you can beat.

        I am not an advertiser for those who made the game, but this game is really playable without having to pay, it is definitely not a fermium game and if you like strategy games you will love it and enjoy waiting for new stuff and upgrading constantly.

        If you didn't try it before, there is nothing to loose in trying a free game

      • Ricky Mason

        the game has no purpose...you haven't realized it yet because youre either young or stupid, or both, but you will. You'll realize one day, "wow, I just wasted all that time and 'x' amount of dollars on nothing...."

      • RapidOne

        To each their own. I like to go to nice dinners and parties and experience those kinds of things, but that might not be the cup of tea for others. I like sports and sporting events, but that may ALSO just be MY thing and I know others prefer other things. I also like to play games like this to wind down and to see how much faster I might be able to get to a high level than others--that's something that is fun and rewarding for me as well. Now here's a truth for you: not understanding that difference strokes are for different folks is actually the least thoughtful way of thinking of all.

        In life, all 'fun' experiences such as these is relative, and paying or it with money or time is left to the participant and their derivative enjoyment. What I'm saying is: why by so aggressive and mean about something just because you don't enjoy it, when you might enjoy something else, spend on it (time and money), and have it be something someone else would find 'stupid'? It sounds like you really haven't thought things through.

      • Ricky Mason

        youre not a very smart person are you...

    • The Calm Critic

      Hate to say it but I'm w/ toxiccheese on this 1. I've beta tested and played countless of >you name it< Asian made F2P MMORPGs for a good part of 11 years. Thought I've seen and experienced the worst grinds in those but no CoC takes the cake and the shop that sells it and for a strat game that's designed for casual play it's damn near unforgivable. I understand the profit centered objective of selling gems but really? DAYS to get upgrades done? Not even the worst Chinese made f2p I've played have ever shown the same flaw? ffs I'm only at th5 and already I'm questioning the sanity of th10+ players at trophy ditching and farming?

      • Anonymous and loving it

        This ideological mish-mash about methods of reward is pointless. It's a free game. Download it. Like it? Keep going. Don't like it? Then delete it.

      • RapidOne

        Just don't play for the day or more that the upgrade takes. It's that simple...

  • Evolution888

    Good read, im almost TH8 now, and I wish I learned about these pointers before i started.

  • while1fork

    Great guide! There's one part I don't understand, though: the section on deleveling.

    You should purposely lose a lot of trophies so that you get matched against weaker players so you can more quickly and easily win battles so you can ... get a lot of trophies?

    I'm pretty sure I'm missing something here, but I don't know what it is.

    • mallouk

      You delevel to be able to get more resources to upgrade your buildings and troops, once that done, you can raise your trophies a little bit and stay able to win... And actually you don't need to push your trophies for any reason if not planing to go waaaaaay up...

      For TH7 and TH8 best trophies range is 1200-1400, stay in this marge and you will get lots of good matches and resources

      Clash on !

  • Zeillusion

    It is insane at th 10+ things cause like 8 mil elixir which takes a very long time to obtain. Even after you obtain that army camp you than have to wait 8 days for it! There is a lot a huge loot wall which means you can't get resources so your sorta get stuck. There is better games like this out there! Although I did get months of fun out of this up until I became an elite player. (Competing for the top)

  • JudahJames

    One of the best games I've played on the App Store. It's a tower-defence game meets sim-builder meets MMO.
    I've got 3 different villages going across 3 different devices and that way I can always keep my clan castle strategically stocked. I just wish the game would let players share gold, elixir and gems with their clan members.
    Don't listen to the haters, get the game and come at me bro! :)

  • mine89

    u can defence ur cups or defence yr resources
    u can atak for cups or u can atak to farm resources.
    i care about the cups points bfore but now idc bcoz its getting xpensive to upgrde. jst stay in a loyal clan try to defence ur resources till to upgde weaps. and have fun :)

  • mindseyes

    Very good game I am leader of Darkshadow, We are looking for active members I have been playing for months now, This game is worth spending $5 here and there. if you can spend $15 month on final fantasy or on WoW monthly whats $5 every so often when you feel like speeding up and upgrade. There is no paywall here completely avoidable you just have to have a lot of patience, If you lack patience then you will be paying . great Guide to Thanks!

    • Ricky Mason

      i believe the point is that wow and FF has a lot more substance than this game...

  • DrClash

    This guy is playing Clash of Clans for 365 days straight, farming, no money spent so far! http://www.365daysofclash.com

  • Dawg

    I feel that the game is a bit of a scam. I was getting to the point where I was starting all my upgrades in the evening before going to sleep. As I got into the 3, 4+ day upgrades I started noticing that the were completed at a time later than they should have been. For example, if I started at 11 pm, a 4 day upgrade would finish around 12 am. This happens for all upgrades - check it out yourself. So basically I needed to use gems if I wanted maintain my sleep times! I got too upset to continue with the game.

  • deivis

    ateikit lietuviai. i ltu lituanica

  • http://theoraclepieces.blogspot.com/ Geovane M.

    Addicted to this game, so glad its on Android now - it was seriously the only thing keeping me on iOS

  • Woudy Treez

    Nah, they make it so easy to win if you use money. It's like having a time hack in mutli-player rpg's.

    That's not workable. There's never going to be a level playing field. Or paying field. I should say.
    ac

    A 12 day upgrade.

    Meh ^n

  • Pug Zilla

    Then you don't loot well enough

  • Knight Moonsuga

    We do not sow! Never pay for a damn thing in these types of games, ever. Pay the Iron Price

  • James McGill

    Where do you think Dark Elixir comes from?