Raiding has one main goal, and all I will discuss in this guide is in that effort: to capture resources. Well discuss going after both Gold and Elixir in this guide, as they are nearly identical when trying to steal them. Generally gold is more valuable to players, as it is easier to spend (instantly on Walls, or on defenses) than elixir (limited to offensive buildings and units).
Raiding lets you augment your income with quite literally limitless resources. The amount of gold and elixir that is available for you to steal is limited only by your skill, and your time investment. But just note that you lose about 20 trophies every time you fail to get the Town Hall.
The Ideal Raid
The ideal raid deploys as few troops as possible, and targets whatever resources that are easy to steal only, skipping better-protected storage or mines.
The ideal raid has two main success factors. First, and what I'm sure you already know, is the amount you can steal. That is what were here for, after all. Secondly, and just as important but often overlooked, is your investment to get those resources. This means both the actual cost of the units you deploy when raiding, and also the time it will take you to rebuild all of them.
Don't believe that unit costs and build time matter?
Take these two raids as examples:
Example Raid 1 Example Raid 2
Gold Stolen 150,000 15,000
Elixir Stolen 150,000 15,000
Goblins deployed 20 2
Archers deployed 46 2
Barbarians deployed 20 -
Giants deployed 18 -
Healers Deployed 1 -
Wall Breakers Deployed 4 -
An example of an all-out attack, using one of my favorite army compositions. An example of picking off just 1 full Elixir Collector and 1 Gold Mine, and ignoring the rest because they are protected.
Both are nice raids, right? Now
Which attack was more effective as a raid?
Example 1's army costs around 55,000 elixir (depending on exact unit levels), while Example 2's army costs a maximum of 600 elixir. This means the net total profit (gold + elixir) was ~145,000 for Example 1 and ~29,400 for Example 2. Clearly, Example 1 gains more total resources However:
Example 1's army takes a total of 5990 seconds to train, or 1.3 hours total*. Example 2 army takes a total of only 110 seconds to train. This means that while the player who used Example 1 is sitting around waiting for their army to finish, a player using Example 2 will be out raiding again, and again, and... This does not just mean a player doing Example 2 is less bored, it means Example 2 will actually have a much higher income per hour.
Note: This is the total time to build; the actual elapsed time to build this army is that number divided by the number of available Barracks, likely either 3 or 4.
Ill prove that for you:
Assuming 3 minutes to find a match (for both players), Example 1 will attack once every 28 minutes. During the same 28 minute period, Example 2 can attack 9 times, gaining a total of 264,600, compared to the 145,000 stolen by Example 1. Example 1 gains 310,000 resources per hour, and Example 2 gains 567,000 resources per hour.
While I used made-up numbers for this example, this has been proven before by both myself and other players. Lots of little raids will be more profitable than a few large, all-out attacks. There is another factor at play as well: Little raids are less vulnerable to failure: your total investment is low, and you can just abandon the attack with little loss if needed. Finally, doing lots of little attacks is simply more interesting than sitting around for 25 or more minutes waiting for your army to finish training.