So I see a lot of people wondering what they should upgrade first (especially defenses) so i figured I'd see if I could assist in this. I'd like to emphasize that this is only a guide so in some scenarios and for some players this might be perfect and the order might be different but only slightly. I'm going to split this into 3 sections:
1) Overall breakdown
3) Elixir and Dark Elixir
Now I really want to hear your opinions and how you guys might do things differently. I always learn a lot with everything (inside and outside of clash) when I help with things like in this way plus others will read it as well so your feedback will be for everyone's gain.
1) Overall breakdown
This section should be obvious knowledge for clashers, however, I do see a lot of newer players and guys who still struggle with these concepts so I'm just going to run through them in this short section.
So with a limited number of buildings you're going to want to prioritize. You're also going to want to spend your resources fast and preferably drop a lot of them before your shield runs out so your not an easy target. You're also going to want to spend multiple resources at once so you''re not a target for someone who may be looking for a specific resource. You also don't want to upgrade multiple of the same building at the same time because they stop working so you don't want to train an army with 2/4 barracks or have all of the same defense down and be vulnerable to a specific type of attack.
To open this section I'm going to give a list of which defenses to upgrade first. Then I'll give an explanation. Being a Town Hall 8 myself, I don't know for sure how high x-bows may be on the list, especially because of cost purposes however when I do get to Town Hall 9 I do know that's the first thing I'm building new with maxed out gold storage's.
Walls (level before max level for town hall)
Hidden Tesla Tower
Walls (max level for town hall)
First thing you will want to prioritize in upgrading defensively is your splash defenses because they hit multiple targets at once. The wizard tower is overall a more important defensive building because it does damage to ground and air units. This helps when getting attacked by minions and in some cases even balloons because they sometimes all bunch up near defenses. Wizard towers also do more damage per second. Yes, the strength of the mortar is that since its wait time to fire is so high it'll tear out all tier 1 units in one strike, but it being slow also causes it to miss sometimes because troops run. A wizard tower shoots faster and can at least make a troop weaker for a point defense to take out. Wizard towers can really do quick damage to any goblins, minions, barbs and archers eating at your storage's. For defensive purposes you don't want multiple of the same defensive building down at once to weaken your for certain attacks. Now I'm a Town Hall level 8 with 4 builders so what I like to do is if I have the gold, upgrade a wizard tower, a mortar and an air defense all at the same time.
The air defense is next on the list because you don't want to be vulnerable to air raids. If you have low level air defenses, you're going to be getting hit by balloon-minion and dragon based raids at higher levels of game play, and healer-giant raids at lower levels. Heck, I'm a town hall 8 who pushed to crystal with healer-giant with an assistance of a dragon. I always hit a base with low level air defenses and get intimidated if I see level 5+ air defenses, so I think I know what I'm talking about with air defense. I see too many Town Hall 9 and 10's with level 3 and 4 air defenses (maybe I shouldn't be telling you this so I can attack you). Upgrade them or you're going to get wrecked!
I put walls for level before the point defenses because it is very important, not only a defensive factor but an intimidation factor. Not only do they make it harder for troops to get through but they intimidate players and make them skip your base. I can't tell you how many times I saw a Town Hall 8 with all level 8 walls, hit the next button and then attacked a Town Hall 9 with level 6 walls instead. I have the Clan Caste before the walls because it gives you more troops, not only for attack but defense too. I just upgraded my Clan Castle to level 4 and it is so awesome having 6 wizards running around taking out hogs attacking my base and saving me from a 3 star loss of all of my resources.
My placement of my point defenses and Tesla tower are more my personal preference so feel free to do it differently. With point defenses I prioritize my archer tower but because of the cost of both the tower and cannon being low I ended up doing them at the same time. I prioritize the archer tower because it does damage to ground and air defenses. They can really take out healers, balloons and minions.
The reason my tesla is after my point defenses is cost. It costs so much to upgrade telsas however they are SO important! They're basically a hidden archer tower that as a bonus does double damage to PEKKAs. I've seen some GOWIPEs ran in higher gameplay that their were 4 teslas around the town hall and the attacker ended up losing. Tesla's can also be really good for Giants and spring traps for funneling.
So the walls to max level are at the bottom because they're so hard to get done and the idea is to upgrade elixir buildings at the same time as your walls rather than the same time as your defenses. Also if you go on a trophy push, you can stop upgrading defenses so that they're all active and spend your gold on walls instead and when the push is over go back to defenses. Traps are the absolute last because they aren't so important as the defenses that do the main damage.
3) Elixir and Dark Elixir (my way for using elixir is completely opinionated and I've never seen before so I can't say for sure how it works for everyone so I'd love to hear your feedback on it).
What I personally like to do is upgrade troops in the lab before elixir buildings. This way my elixir building won't interfere with my defensive upgrades. If you do have a spare builder and spare elixir I recommend upgrading the dark elixir drill and storage before anything. Some may need the army space or may want to unlock a troop in the barracks or dark barracks so that may be prioritized.
The spending of your elixir is more of a personal thing for the player and what they need for their army. This is my personal list for myself at town hall 8:
Spell Factory (for other town hall levels, no spell factory upgrade at town hall 8)
Dark Elixir Drill
Dark Elixer Storage
My list is based off of what troops I use. I use Healer-Giant so my giants were first and even though wallbreakers are important for me i picked healers over them. I don't use dark troops so i have no need to upgrade the dark barracks.
Now dark elixir is weird in that it's only use is heros and troops. So what I do is the cheapest upgrade first and prioritize heros over troops when tied cost. I don't use dark troops though so someone who does balloon-minion or hogs may want to prioritize differently. I recommend getting the heros to level 5 as soon as possible because the hero abilities are awesome.
I hope this helps! This is my first guide. I'd love to hear your feedback and what you guys do in upgrading order, especially with your elixir and really anything else you do.