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The Definitive TH7/8 Dragon Guide For Clan Wars (21 Videos)

The following is an exhaustive guide to mass Drag attacks. it was compiled by MetxChris and shared on the Supercell forums. It’s a little dated now as there have been some changes, however the basics to mass Drags have not changed.

The Definitive TH7/8 Dragon Guide For Clan Wars (21 Videos)

Note (07/07/15): This guide is a bit outdated with respect to the sweeper and new dark spells; we plan on refreshing it with new videos over the coming months. Many of the core ideas discussed below are still relevant regardless of these new updates though.

I created this guide in an attempt to organize much of what I’ve learned over the past half year of doing nonstop clan wars. Hopefully others will be able to learn what I have in a much shorter amount of time. There was much more that I could have added here in terms of diagrams and additional techniques, but I will wait to see if there is any interest in additional content before taking this any further.

If there is a demand for it, the following sections could also be added:

  • A more detailed analysis (with images) of the initial deployment.
  • Expansion of techniques and attack styles mentioned.

Contents

1 – Introduction

2 – Overview

3 – Attack Styles

  • Lightning vs. Spread AD
  • Rage/Heal vs. Clustered AD

4 – Techniques

  • Clumping vs. Spreading Dragons
  • Funneling Dragons
  • Awareness of Enemy CC Troops
  • Deployment Timing
  • Loons vs. Seekers

5 – War Base Analysis

6 – Dragon Mastery

7 – Additional Attacks

  1. Introduction

There are many dragon guides available out there, yet they all generally seem to offer misleading advice in regards to one aspect or another, as well as all fail to achieve a level of depth necessary for someone to be able to read the guide and then actually dominate (with practice) using the mass dragon attack. Moreover, our clan also seemed to repeat ourselves over and over again in terms of explaining the mechanics of the attack to each new player that joined, so it seemed logical to consolidate all of our ideas into our own original dragon guide. In total, we have included 21 original replays in this guide, which complement the ideas discussed in the following sections.

How To Use This Guide:
TH7’s and newer TH8’s should focus primarily on learning lightning based attacks and becoming comfortable with the more basic techniques discussed in section four. Mid TH8’s should begin learning the rage/heal style of attack, and should also put more focus on proper funneling with each attack. Seasoned maxed TH8’s would benefit from the variety of replays included, as well as from some of the more advanced techniques covered in the guide.

How To 3-Star Any TH7:
Regarding dragon attacks in war, our clan expects its members to always be able to 3-star any TH7, even when only using lvl1 dragons. Please watch the following video by OneHive Raids if you are not confident that you can 3-star any TH7 base with dragons; we will use the level of play in this video as the starting point for our guide.

  1. Overview

This section gives a brief overview of the mass dragon attack at the TH7/8 level, including its capabilities and our expectations of what experienced players should be able to achieve with it. Many of the ideas introduced below will be demonstrated in YouTube attacks in the following sections.

What About TH9/10 Dragon Attacks? The mass dragon attack is only able to consistently 3-star maxed bases at the TH7 and TH8 level. At TH9, the mass dragon becomes a 2-star attack, and is thus not an option for any serious clan. In particular, our clan does not allow dragon attacks for any TH9+, so a discussion of dragons at this level has been omitted.

*** Dark Spells Update: The TH9 dragon attack will be stronger now with the inclusion of level 4 dragons at this TH, however it will likely still not be as strong as a well-executed Laloon attack. I will be possibly adding a section to address this update in the future. ***

Army Composition:
The general army composition of the mass dragon attack consists of 10 dragons along with clan castle (cc) troops; archers should never be used in place of a dragon. Ideal cc troops are usually either an additional dragon or a set of lvl5+ balloons; we almost never use cc hogs. CC balloons have the benefit of targeting defensive structures like hogs do, yet they have dragons tanking for them, where as hogs get blasted by cannons and mortars. Additionally, cc loons are great at setting off seeker mines, which saves a dragon from being wasted.

Why No Archers? Some players like to make the argument that archers are essential in funneling dragons to the core and for picking off builders huts located on the far corners of the map. The reason why archers are bad though is that a dragon can just as effectively do the same job that archers do. The difference is that after a dragon is used to funnel a group of dragons into a base, the dragon is still a dragon and it continues to attack. On the other hand, a group of archers instantly melt when they move into range of cannons and mortars; the use of archers essentially amounts to one dead dragon on your part. In regards to huts located at the corners of the base, dragons can be placed next to one of these huts at the start of the attack. By positioning the dragon correctly, it will move towards the base and join up with the rest of the group after the hut is destroyed. Overall, the main thing to keep in mind here is that when attacking a very tough base, you can’t afford to start off the attack with one dead dragon.

As a quick example of what we mean by not using archers (or anything related), consider the following attack where level 1 dragons 3-star a TH8 with maxed ADs in the core. Note that the firsts few dragons not only clear a path for the main force to march down the middle, but they also join up with and bolster the main dragon force after their initial work is done. Every dragon that was used in this attack was needed to earn the 3-star victory here; there was no chance that using 20 archers at the expense of one fewer dragon would have had enough of a punch to finish the base.

Attack Expectations:
Dragon upgrades should be researched immediately upon reaching TH7 and TH8 (unless you decide to max hogs/gowipe first at TH8). In general, dragons of each upgrade level are capable of 3-starring bases with an average of three of the following air defense levels (level 3 dragons should be 3-starring maxed bases):

Dragon Level AD Level

These are the standards that experienced players should expect to uphold, and for newer players to work towards reaching. Furthermore, experienced players should also generally expect to never lose to three lvl5 AD’s when using lvl3 dragons, regardless of how well laid out the base is perceived to be.

Spell Compositions:
Newer players should always be using three lightning spells against any TH7 and all weaker TH8s. Lightning allows a solid attack to have a guaranteed in either case, as this spell choice is most forgiving in terms of mistakes made. As an aside, note that dragons should always be deployed first before the use of lightning (when used). Using lightning first amounts to losing 8-10 seconds from your attack, which can easily be the difference between a two- and three-star attack.

Against tougher TH8 bases, players may want to start considering using rage/heal combinations in certain situations. Rage/heal works best against tight, nested AD’s, usually located in the core (either 2rage/1heal or 1rage/2heal). However, this spell choice requires more skill in terms of funneling dragons and keeping the pack together, so it is generally less forgiving than lightning spells are. On the other hand, lightning spells still work great against tougher TH8 bases with spread out AD’s. Example attacks of each spell choice are shown in the following section.

What Level Lightning Do I Need? Lvl3 lightning spells are sufficient in taking out a lvl6 AD. However, doing so requires absolutely perfect central placement of the lightning spell; off center placement by half a tile would not take the lvl6 AD down. Alternatively, a lvl4 lightning spell is more forgiving of perfect placement; while the spell still needs to be centralized on the AD, a slight offset will still take down a lvl6 AD in this case.

Why Not All Rage? Using three rage spells is another common mistake new players make, and is generally a poor choice to make (the use of three rage spells should only be considered by very experienced players attacking difficult maxed TH8+ bases in special circumstances; three rages are never needed against anything less). The reason for this is because rage spells do not stack with one another, and because two rages can easily cover the core of a base with nested AD’s. In the case that one might want to use three rages because the AD’s are spread out more, lightning spells offer a stronger, more forgiving option. As an aside, heal spells do stack with each other.

But Rage Helps Keep My Dragons Grouped Together! No it doesn’t. The rage spell increases movement speed and attack damage, it has nothing to do with acting as a dragon magnet.

Why Heal Spells? Following from above, while rage spells don’t stack, a heal and rage spell do stack with each other; this allows us to double up on spells during the heavy part of the base. Some people make the argument that heal is a waste because it heals at a lower rate than AD’s deal in damage. This is a ridiculous argument though. For the dragon both being hit by an AD and being healed at the same time, the heal spell has the effect of reducing the net damage inflicted by the AD. Beyond this, the rest of the group not being attacked by the AD is healing as well. The heal spell also provides a solution for recovering from seeker mines.

Dragon Deployment:
The biggest mistake new players make is to deploy all their dragons in a single spot, known as clumping. This will always cause your dragons to split up and fly around the opponents base, instead of working into the base and taking out the desired AD. Instead, dragons should be spread out around the AD’s being targeted. This however does not mean that dragons should all instantly be put down in a spread out line either. The biggest goal of the dragon attack is to have all of your dragons deployed and all in range of an AD the second one of the enemy AD’s takes its first shot. Doing so will minimize the amount of time it takes for your pack to reach the AD’s. To better make sense of why this is important, think about how effective the other end of the spectrum would be, if one were to send their dragons in one-by-one at the attacking AD’s.

In order to achieve this goal, some basic awareness of the structures in front of the AD is required. We don’t want to necessarily throw all of our dragons down right away, because some buildings will die faster than others as our dragons move into the base. In order to keep a uniform attack moving forward, we need to put extra firepower on heavy structures like storages, and very little firepower on light structures like army camps or builders huts.

Another issue that we see in some of the more popular strategy videos is the clumping of dragons after first using cutters on the sides of the base; this deployment technique is quite bad. Even if the cutters get the rest of the dragons into the first layer of the base, the dragons immediately begin to spread at that point. Also, when using lightning spells in particular, we never want an ultra tight clumping of dragons, because we are then taking maximum damage from air bombs and wizard splash damage. Furthermore, if the base itself has several defensive towers lined up on the edge we attack from, we want our dragons to move in uniformly so that the entire line is taken out quickly. Lastly, it would be an unforgivable loss if the dragons used as cutters are killed by an AD before the rest of the group is even deployed; such a situation would be equivalent to using archers for funneling, which as previously mentioned, is also a big mistake. You should never be just throwing away dragons in your attack. The approach can always be timed well such that the pack itself is actively moving in on the base while the cutters work their magic on outer buildings.

CC Deployment:
No additional considerations are needed here when bringing a dragon in the cc. However, bringing along balloons is a different story. Balloons always target the nearest defensive structure, so try to map out the path they would take from the spot you are planning on deploying them from. Balloons are typically used to target AD’s while dragons tank for them. However, on bases where the AD’s are easily reached, balloons can also be used to pick off a group of nested archer towers, especially when the barbarian king is used to tank for them.

In the case of attacking bases with nested clustered AD’s, cc loons are great for both picking of AD’s and wasting seeker mines as they are sent through the core of the base. These bases will be discussed in more detail in the following section.

Spell Usage:
Lightning spells are best used to target the hardest to reach AD, or the strongest AD when all other things are equal. The chosen AD should always be on the far side of the base from your attack point. Before using lightning, it is important to zoom in on the target to ensure a dead-center hit. Make sure that you do not have the spell selected when you zoom in, since this is an easy way to misfire it; have a dragon selected instead.

A mistake with lightning is to get fancy and try to zap an AD while cc troopers are filing past it. While this outside-the-box thinking is good to do, in this case the idea works out terribly in practice. You will almost certainly get attacked by the AD in question by waiting on it, which outweighs any of the benefits you may have received by knocking out a few troops along with the AD. Moreover, since you should always be zapping the AD on the far side of the base, the enemy cc troops shouldn’t be passing over a potential target AD either.

As for heal/rage spells, the timing and placement is very important in order to maximize the benefits of these spells. Generally you want to slightly lead the placement just ahead of your dragons, but not so far ahead that it doesn’t catch the dragons. Additionally, the rage/heal combination works very well on cc loons too, so the timing should be such that both the dragons and loons are picked up by the boosts. Several of the videos in the attack styles section show how to properly place these spells.

Barbarian King Usage:
Additionally, a common mistake with the BK is to use his iron fist ability the second he is deployed. As his ability grants him +500hp recovery, this hp is entirely lost if iron first is used at full health. We can think of this as equivalently dealing our BK 500 damage. Some argue that his ability is rushed so that the BK helps funnel dragons by cleaning up outer structures at a quicker rate, but an easy fix for this is to just drop the BK in earlier.

Enemy Clan Castle Awareness:
One should always be aware of how far their dragons must progress into a base before the enemy clan castle empties. Additionally, one should also take note of how the clan castle is positioned in the base with respect to the AD’s. The reason is that enemy cc troops will pull nearby dragons to them, which can potentially pull them away from an AD that they were about to attack. Furthermore, it can be the case that the enemy cc troops pull in so many dragons that one side of the attack is left so weak that it is unable to take down the targeted AD. By being aware of how our dragons will respond to enemy cc troops, we can plan accordingly and keep our attack well-balanced by tweaking our initial deployment appropriately. An example video of this is shown in the following section.

Luring:
The TH7/8 dragon attack is the only CoC attack where we never lure cc troops. The reason for this is as follows: Dragons each fill an even camp space of 20, and since camps max out at 200, the cost of luring would amount to one less dragon in our attack. Moreover, due to the splash damage of the dragon attack, we typically don’t lose a dragons worth of hp to enemy cc troops. On the other hand, if it were the case that we regularly lost more than a dragons worth of hp when attacking without luring, we would instead want to lure with this attack.

Dragon Pathing:
Another common misconception about dragons is that they have ‘stupid AI’. Dragons always go to the closest structure, which is a predetermined process. Consequently, dragons only behave as though they have ‘stupid AI’ when they were poorly deployed during an attack. Everything that happens in an attack happens for a reason, so try to think about how failed attacks can be improved upon, instead of brushing them off as the result of flawed programming.

  1. Attack Styles

The following replays show two of the most basic dragon attack styles made against TH8 bases, which are lightning based attacks and rage/heal based attacks, using 10 dragons in either case. These two styles are sufficient to 3-star nearly every base one may run into in a clan wars.

Newer players should focus mostly on the lightning based attacks, since lightning should always be used against any TH7 base and weaker TH8’s. Additionally, rage/heal attacks require more skill/control when attacking in order to be effective, so ability with lightning attacks should be obtained first before moving on to rage/heal.

A mistake often seen in popular strategy videos is the excessive use of additional balloons (beyond cc loons) in the dragon attack. This attack style should only be reserved for very rare/extreme circumstances, as a full-dragon attack is nearly always better.

Lightning vs Spread AD:
The basic idea of using lightning spells is to target a hard to reach AD with lightning, and then to attack the two remaining AD’s with our dragons. With this attack, it is not always critical to keep our dragons in a tight group, especially when the AD’s are spread out from one another. It is more often the case that a nice uniform attack line is the optimal approach into the base.

Rage/Heal vs Nested Clustered AD:
When it is the case that the AD’s are clustered and centered in the middle of the enemy base, the use of lightning becomes a less effective option. Alternatively, rage/heal provides an excellent solution in allowing us to 3-star these kinds of bases. Moreover, the rage and heal spells complement cc balloons greatly, so proper timing of balloon deployment is critical. Unlike the use of lightning spells, it is very important to keep as many of our dragons grouped together as they move into the core, in order to maximize the full potential of both rage and heal spells.

  1. Techniques

In this section, we demonstrate through replays several of the techniques mentioned in the previous sections.

Clumping vs. Spreading Dragons:
The following attacks show just how bad it is to clump our initial dragon deployment. The first attack also carried the downfall of bringing along three rage spells, which is generally a terrible idea. Note that lvl3 dragons fail in the first video, against a base that lvl2 dragons easily take out as shown in the second attack.

Funneling Dragons:
This video shows a heavily nested TH9 base that easily shuts down a dragon attack when proper funneling is not carried out. In the first attack, poor planning results in a sad failure for the dragons. However, in second attack, we show that when the sides of this base are knocked out before the center structures are, dragons are capable of easily powering through this nested core. Note that three rages were used in the second video, but this is still an attack that would benefit from the use of 2rage/1heal instead.

This second video shows another example of how essential it is to funnel dragons into the core of the base, this time of a TH7 attacking a TH8 base. Both of these attacks feature lightning spells hitting back-most AD, but a rage/heal combination could have worked as well.

Awareness of CC Pulling:
These attacks demonstrate what was mentioned in the previous section regarding enemy cc troops. In the first attack, we see that the enemy cc troops pull in and tie up a majority of the dragon army, which wastes a lot of valuable time for the dragons. In the second attack, a tweak in initial placement results in only a few dragons being pulled in to attack the cc troops, while the rest of the dragon army continues to work through the base. These attacks also provide further evidence against clumping dragons, even when cutter dragons are used to funnel the main pack into the core.

Deployment Timing:
These are interesting replays in that both attacks are nearly identical, other than a slight change in deployment timing and positioning of the dragons. We see that in the first attack, the initial two side dragons move into range of the AD’s well before the army is ready to engage, and are both lost quickly. This is essentially the mistake mentioned earlier that several popular strategy videos make with their careless deployment of cutter dragons. Consequently, the weakened attack fails to make 3-stars. However, when this mistake is corrected in the second video, we see nearly the same exact attack is able to easily wipe out the base. The take-away here is that tiny details such as these can result in major differences in the outcome. While correcting obvious mistakes such as deployment clumping mean the difference between average and good players, tiny details in deployment timing and positioning make the difference between good and great players.

Using Loons to Waste Seekers: (when their locations are known)
In this video, we show how balloons can be used to detonate seeker mines when their positions are known, such as in the case when a first attack fails. Previously, a clan member had just attacked and failed badly using lvl3 dragons. By removing these seeker mines from the base with balloons, lvl2 dragons were able to accomplish what lvl3 dragons couldn’t. While the attack was nice, from the clock we see that the attack almost timed out, finishing by only a couple of seconds. This close-call could have been avoided if the loons and dragons were deployed first, before the lightning, as this deployment order lost the attacker about seven seconds off the clock.

  1. War Base Analysis

In this section we will analyse the best and worst war bases to use in defending against the mass dragon attack at the TH8 level. A consideration of TH7 bases will be omitted, since level 1 dragons can trivially 3-star any TH7 base. As we will argue below, the answer on what base is best to use is situational; some bases will perform well vs weaker player and very poorly vs stronger players, which means that the best base to use in war will depend on the skill level of the clan one is in. Additionally, we will also argue that the easiest bases to dragon will be the hardest to hog, and vice versa; anti-hog/anti-dragon bases don’t exist at the TH8 level. In order to determine the best base designs to use in stopping the mass dragon attack, we first give a deeper examination of the strengths and weaknesses of this attack.

General Theory:
The biggest mistake that practically all players make when designing bases is that they are made to be pretty looking, which usually means symmetrical. While these bases may ‘look good’, they are almost always very predictable in terms of trap placement, which is not a good aspect for a war base to have (it should never be obvious to an attacker where the traps are located). Beyond this, symmetrical war bases also carry an air of familiarity to them, which is especially true of any of the most common bases found on forums and through a quick Google search. This is again a very bad aspect of base design, since an attacker has a huge edge when having previously faced similar bases (or worse, the exact same base). Therefore, strong bases should not be forced to have symmetry, and should all be as original as possible in design.

To help argue why an unfamiliar, unsymmetrical (sloppy-looking) base should be used in wars, consider the following upload by JTJ U: THIS IS SPARTA! — TH8 — Best Base from war w/ “Zombie Chickens”. In this video, and to the surprise of the attackers, we see one dragon attack after another fail against this terrible looking base. At the end of the video, a few irrelevant reasons were given as to why this base held up so well, but the real reason for this was simply due to the fact that the attackers were thrown off from being unfamiliar with how to best approach the base. Now, we don’t necessarily advocate the use of this particular base ourselves, as any expert dragon attacker should easily expect to roll through this base using level 3 dragons (spread right and lightning on the left); the take away here is that the unfamiliarity achieved by such sloppy, ugly looking bases can be strong enough in their own right to befuddle a group of experienced dragon attackers.

Anti-Dragon Theory:
The goal of a TH8 anti-dragon base should aim to keep a strong attacker limited to a 2-star attack; we are protecting solely against the 3-star here. It is not possible to consistently stop a strong attacker from making 2-stars with mass dragons, so defensive aspects of the base should not be sacrificed by chasing hopes and dreams.

Before getting into any of the specifics, we should specify that at minimum, a base should have three level 5 air defenses if it wishes to have a chance in stopping an expert level 2 dragon attacker, and need have maxed air defenses if it wishes to have a chance stopping an expert level 3 dragon attacker. Beyond this, the level of archer towers and teslas are also very important in defending against dragons, and should be maxed as soon as air defenses are finished; more on this below. As for clan castle troops, the somewhat-recent update that allows defending troops to exit the CC from all directions places an army of either all archers, or mostly archers with a couple of wizards, as the ideal anti-dragon clan castle army.

*** Dark Spells Update: A CC dragon is going to be the stronger troop to donate now since the new poison spell will quickly wipe out a horde of archers/wizards/witches. ***

Why Not A Dragon? The CC dragon was our preferred choice before the clan castle update, but it just doesn’t compare to a mass archer army anymore. The reason for this is because raged dragons knock out a CC dragon extremely fast, yet raged dragons take out scattered CC archers essentially no faster than non-raged dragons do. While the CC archers don’t do a ton of damage themselves, their strength is that for every second that the attacking dragons waste killing archers, the defending ADs gain an extra shot it wouldn’t have otherwise had. For this reason, the CC should generally be centralized among the ADs, unless one is going for a certain pulling effect with their base (more on this below). Also, as mentioned in the overview section, expert dragon attackers will generally not be using lightning spells on the archer army, so this is not a worry either.

Why Not All Wizards? All wizards aren’t great because their attack speed is slower than a dragons attack speed. For this reason, dragons usually pop the first shot off, and the wizards are wiped out before inflicting much or any damage. While it is true that a cluster of wizards can wipe out an entire dragon army (or any army) from a weak attacker, this will not be the case against stronger attackers. Remember, the point of this guide is to thwart attacks from skilled attackers, not weaker ones. At most, a couple of wizards could be mixed in to the mass archer army. In this case, the wizards have a much greater chance of popping a few shots off, since the attacking dragons will be somewhat distracted by the defending archers. Note that level 5+ ADs do more damage than level 5 wizards do, so more defensive strength is gained by using archers to stall the attack than by using many wizards to directly engage the dragons.

The first aspect that should be considered are the spells used in the attack style. Since the rage/heal attack offers a greater potential win-margin (when applicable) than do lightning spells, the strongest base to use against the expert player is one that does not encourage the use of these spells; in other words, the air defenses should be spread out. This immediately rules out all moat and clustered-core base designs as viable options against the expert attacker.

The next order of business to handle is how to make a war base most-resistant to the use of lightning spells, while still discouraging the use of rage/heal as an alternative option. To meet this end, the air defenses need to be spread out, but not to the point of being easily exploitable through the use of CC loons/hogs. Furthermore, we have also observed that dragons struggle most vs compact bases that offer high defensive DPS throughout the base, yet also have many buildings with high hit points dispersed throughout to slow the dragon attack down. Note that while compact bases are best combated using the rage/heal spell combination, properly spread ADs will make that spell choice less optimal to use. Alternatively, we will show that spread out anti-hog bases fail to pack the punch required to shut down a strong dragon attack. Examples of each of these base types will be shown at the bottom of this section.

Next, a strong anti-dragon base should also have a clear vision as to exactly how it plans to shut down the dragon attack. In this regard, there are two main ways that the mass dragon attack fails. The first is when the dragons sweep through all of the air defenses in the base, yet fail on cleanup. The second is when the dragons attempt to sweep through yet, fail to take out one of the air defenses along the way, allowing that AD to knock out most if not all of the remaining army. Bases that stop dragons on the clean-up phase are generally more well-rounded, but really need maxed archer towers/teslas in order to be effective. However, a base that baits an attack from a certain direction can also be used here, but is usually going to be more exploitable than the well-rounded base. Otherwise, bases that aim to knock out a wing of the dragon attack are generally more exploitable, but may otherwise offer an option when defensive upgrades are lacking. Each of these base strategies are discussed in turn below.

Cleanup Stoppers:
The cleanup stopper expects the dragon army to knock out each of the ADs it contains, but expects to hold the attack to two-stars by shutting it down during the cleanup phase of the attack. This is achieved by spreading air defenses and keeping the rest of the base compact, with storages dispersed throughout to slow the dragons down. Now, an experienced hogger knows that this type of base is very vulnerable to a hog attack, so one must attempt to achieve a balance between the anti-dragon and anti-hog aspects of the base. I.e., bases containing more open spaces for potentially giant bomb/ double giant bombs are discouraging for hog attacks, yet provide less of a shield against dragon attacks. Alternatively, highly compact bases with spread AD can be very difficult to dragon when maxed, yet are easily beaten by the skilled hog user. To see why compact bases with spread AD are favorable against dragons, consider the following replay:

Note that while the above attack was for 3-stars, only two dragons remained against a non-maxed base with non-ideal AD locations. At first glance, one might have expected a much larger army to have finished the attack. Otherwise, keep in mind that this base is also extremely vulnerable to a hog attack; we stress that a balance between anti-hog and anti-dragon must be stressed in any strong war base.

As a quick disclaimer, we stress that none of the following bases are perfect, as each of them all come with their various flaws and vulnerabilities. They are presented below to simply demonstrate some of the base design elements that we have considered in this section of the guide.

Well-Rounded Example: A stronger example of the well-rounded cleanup stopper is shown below. This base has its AD sufficiently spread to discourage the use of rage/heal. Note the deliberate lack of symmetry perfect here. Maxed tesla along with seekers in the core help shut down the dragon attack during cleanup; storages dispersed throughout also slow the attack down. In terms of attack options, be aware that CC loons require at minimum three moves to reach the top two AD, and four moves to reach the bottom AD, which makes the balloon snipe less effective here. The same goes for CC hogs, as the spring traps located in each of those wall gaps could also ruin the hog snipe. However, a potential vulnerability is found with the ATs located on the wall edge, as single balloons could be used to take them out during cleanup. Finally, the ambiguity in the central double bomb location is also discouraging for an all-out hog attack.

Attack Baiting Example: This next base is a bit less well-rounded than the previous base, since it is designed to bait a dragon attack from the bottom corner (bases designed to bait an attack from a certain direction are generally exploitable). At first glance, an attack from the bottom with lightning dropped up top seems optimal. However, the strength in this base comes from the many storages, teslas, air-traps, and CC archer/wizards that pour out from the bottom of this base to protect the lower ADs. While a strong dragon attack will have enough power to take out both lower ADs, the push will run out of steam before it reaches 3-stars at the top. Note that at minimum, a CC balloon snipe requires three moves to reach either of the lower ADs. Additionally, the top most AD is protected from an easy balloon or hog snipe due to the tesla located directly above it. As with the previous base, the ambiguity in the central double bomb location helps to make hog attacks more difficult as well.

Wing Stoppers:
The following base is designed to shutdown either the left- or right- wing of a dragon attack baited from the bottom, as it is very difficult to knockout all three ADs without missing one when sweeping up from below. Note that the slightly offset CC to the left will help pull a uniform attack line of dragons to the left, leaving the right-side of the attack slightly weaker (as shown in the techniques section). Additionally, the two unsymmetrical elixir storages located at the bottom/bottom-right will slow down and further weaken the right-hand side of a uniform attack line from the bottom. This effect could further be exaggerated by stacking all of the air-traps on the right-hand side, which would help knock out any dragons that strayed to the right from a bottom attack line. Keep in mind that doing so would also make the base more exploitable as well. In terms of weaknesses, this base is more vulnerable to hog and balloon snipes than the previous two bases were. Additionally, the top most ATs are also a bit vulnerable to balloon snipes during cleanup, but the air skeletons placed up there should help in defending against that tactic. The side ADs are also vulnerable to CC balloon and hog snipes, so one might consider moving the cannons down to better protect against these tactics.

 

Weak Anti-Dragon Bases:
We wrap up our discussion on war base theory by presenting several examples of bases that are terrible against the expert dragon attacker. In what follows, one may feel compelled to argue that several of these bases defend very well against dragon attacks, due to personal experiences had using them in war. While we don’t contest that these bases can work in stopping the average dragon attack, our assessment is that they are weak in defending against the expert dragon attacker.

Moat Bases:
These bases are interesting in that they are probably the best base to use to stop an inexperienced dragon attacker, but they without question the worst base to use in stopping the expert attacker using rage/heal. This base design is bad to the point that a TH7 with level 2 dragons can 3-star a maxed TH8 moat base. While we don’t have direct evidence of this claim at the moment, the result can be extrapolated from the following replay:

Compact Nested Clustered ADs: These types of bases are popularly claimed as “anti-dragon, anti-hog”, but the expert dragon attacker will easily take these every time using a rage/heal style attack. Also see the replay in the additional attacks section that shows level 2 dragons powering through a nested core of level 6 ADs.

Spread Anti-Hog Bases: Bases which are spread too thin lack the punch needed to shut down a dragon attack during the cleanup phase. An example of this is shown below, which showcases the use of lightning in taking down a maxed base with nested clustered ADs. Even though lightning based attacks are known to struggle during cleanup against maxed bases, little resistance is shown at the end of this attack here. Also note that the enemy CC placement weakens the base as the attacking dragons are pulled into the core on the approach, which allows them to knock out the remaining two ADs located there.

Easily Exploitable Spread AD Bases: Any base using spread AD that is easily exploited by a CC balloon or hog snipe will be crushed by a lightning based attack. While spreading AD does allow for stronger dragon defense than does clustering them in the center, it is important to protect the spread AD from snipes as well. For example, the wing-stopper base shown on the previous page is likely too easily exploited by a CC loon or hog snipe; this could be better defended against by repositioning the side cannons closer to the ADs.

Popular Forum Bases: Again, no matter how good a given base appears to be, the defender is immediately disadvantaged when the attacker has had previous experience attacking that base. This issue is certainly the case for any base the attacker has 3-starred in previous wars. For example, consider the overly common anti-hog ‘X-base’ shown in the mastery section; our clan has 3-starred this base so many times using several different attacks that we consider it to be a completely trivial 3-star at this point.

  1. Dragon Mastery

Through practice and replay analysis, the ideas and principles in this guide can be applied to obtain many 3-star attacks in clan wars. The purpose of this guide was to act as a blueprint to that a newer player may follow in becoming a great attacker with dragons. However, in order to truly master this strategy, one must also be fluid in their planning and execution of attacks; not all enemy bases must necessarily fit the mold that we have presented in the previous sections. This is a problem that we see all the time coming from the more ‘seasoned’ dragon attackers who are convinced that their one specific way of doing things is the best and only way that attacks should ever be carried out. In an effort to show the versatility of the dragon attack, we present three slight variants that each succeed in 3-starring the same popular base design consisting of nested clustered AD’s.

The Rage/Heal Dragon Attack With CC Loons:
This first attack demonstrates a successful standard rage/heal loon attack against this nested clustered base, as we have advocated in this guide.

The Lightning Dragon Attack With CC Dragon:
However, this same base (with slightly weaker defenses) can also be knocked out using lightning spells, without the use of powerful cc loons. The difference in strength is made up for by how much work the BK does in quickly plowing through storages at the top of the base, allowing the dragon army to reach their targets that much sooner. Note that with 7 dragons remaining at the end of the attack, this same attack would have easily crushed a maxed base.

The Heal/Rage Dragon/Hog Attack With CC Hogs:
Finally, and with a bit of finesse, the defensive foundation of this base can be exploited through the use of hog riders. After clearing out the initial defensive structures with dragons, hogs are sent in sequentially (in order to safely set off any possible traps) to gut the core of this base, with the help of a heal spell. After the core has been wiped out, dragons continue to power through and end up finishing off the base.

The purpose of showing these videos was to encourage the type of critical, creative thinking that is required if one wants to overcome some of the toughest bases using the mass dragon attack. An expert of the dragon attack should not only be comfortable in executing both the lightning and rage/heal attack styles mentioned in this guide, but should also have a solid understanding of when each style is best utilized. At any rate, we hope that these attacks have added some color to the black and white nature that some people make dragon attacks out to be.

  1. Additional Attacks

In closing, we will showcase additional replays that further demonstrate what can be done using the mass dragon attack here.

TH7 vs TH8, lvl2 Drags vs lvl6 ADs
Another great attack, here we see level 2 dragons ripping through a TH8 base with maxed nested ADs. As argued earlier in our guide, these types of bases are terrible in stopping a strong dragon attack.

 

 

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