Note: many more details can easily be found in other guides. Many echo what i have stated here.
If you are reading this then you are looking for some insights on strategies for Clash of Clans. My thoughts on what to do may be unconventional, but they are working well for me. Are they right? Depends what your goal is. The goal I am trying to convey is to simply rise as fast as you can.
First off, you must accept a few truths. You must accept that you are in for a long run. You can expect to dedicate 6 months to a year before seeing the top. This guide will help minimize that time. Secondly, accept the fact that you will lose. This guide is not a trophy guide. It is to accelerate your progress through the game; to point you in the right directions and help you avoid being mired down. Thirdly, this is not a detailed attack and/or defense guide. Building your own town and developing our own attack plans is what makes this game fun. I hope to eliminate some of the drudgery of the waiting game by helping you progress through the upgrades efficiently. I will touch upon some attack and defense strategies and the reasons behind them, but I will not tell you what buildings to place where or exactly what troops to deploy for every attack; there are many guides that cover those things. Another thing, do not spend gems. Use them only to buy your first two builders, they will be invaluable later. Finally, don't bother with the goblin campaign. Use it to dump unwanted troops. If your troops get strong enough go ahead and get the first achievement for the additional gems.
The strategy behind this guide is resource collection and base maintenance.
Trophies are for the most part useless. This guide will not concentrate on gaining trophies. Rather using trophy levels as a guideline of progress. The guide is based only upon my experience up through Town Hall level 5 and will concentrate mainly from the beginning of that Town Hall level through the end. It will not address Clan Wars. That is a completely different animal.
I will harp over and over about how this guide is to raise your town as quick as possible. Do not confuse this with raising your Town Hall as quickly as possible. My school of thought is to max up your town before upgrading your TH to the next level.
So let's get started.
Types of players
There are primarily 4 types of players.
Ones looking for easy kills and ones looking for quality wins
Ones looking to be left alone gathering their own resources, oblivious to what their army is for and those who let others do the gathering for them.
I want to concentrate on the latter as I view it as the quickest way to advance.
So you want to go to battle? You must ask yourself why.
Something to do, Win trophies, or get resources. Sure you can choose all three but your primary reason should be to get resources.
A lesson about Gold Mines and Elixer Extractors
The biggest regret I have is that I have level 8-9 GMs and EEs.
As I will explain later, having too high of a level for these is not a good thing for you.
They are an open invitation written in gold-and-elixir-raised lettering, asking people to attack you.
I will reiterate this theme time and time again. You want to raise your town as quick as possible. If you use your resource collectors to do this you will spend about 2 months just getting through TH 5. This can be shortened to about 2-3 weeks by following this guide.
Level 6 collectors are all that anyone needs. You could probably get away with level 5, however, the fill up time is a bit short at 10 hours. Level 6 offers a little bit of wiggle room at about 15.5 hours to fill up.
So, what are you loosing by not upgrading to level 10? About 1200 per hour per collector. At 5 collectors, that is 6000 per hour - 144,000 a day. Sounds like a lot, but as you will see, it is not.
Let's define my criteria for a Good Base. First it should protect your resources, second it should be able to defend everything else, and thirdly it should be uninviting for attack. At lower levels it will not be able to do the first two very well but it can achieve the third goal. By having low level collectors people will be less inclined to attack since the ROI (return on investment) won't be worthwhile. Unfortunately, your base will more than likely get completely destroyed daily. We are going to try and minimize the losses. You will see how this works out when I talk about attack strategies a little later.
Getting bigger faster
Since this game is about resource spending, and I established that you shouldn't depend on your own resource collection, which leaves getting resources from others. In order to do this you need armies. Large armies. What you want to do is to hit quick and often. You are going to look for easily accessible resources and lots of them. This is where the collectors come into play. So the first thing you will want to consider upgrading are your barracks. You will want to get to the level of giants as soon as possible. You will then want to put together an army of 3-5 giants, 3-5 wall breakers, about 15-20 goblins, and the rest archers and barbarians. You then want to go to battle. It should take about 20 minutes between each battle. Depending on how good you are, what your average opposition is like, and the amount of the resource you need to do your next upgrade, will dictate how much time you need to dedicate per attack session. Naturally, your strength depends on army size and army upgrades so that should be your next priority for upgrades. Use those cost to determine how much time you need to spend attacking.
Elixer will also need to factor in the cost of the army and spells you use during the battle. So if it take 15k elixir to fill your army you should look to cover that cost and then some during each attack.
How to attack
Each attack will be fairly much the same since you will be attacking the same type of base over and over again. You will become very intimate with the 'NEXT' button as only about 10% of the bases meet the criteria.
You will first see how much available resources are available. Should be at least 30k each. If less than that, press 'NEXT'. Now that you found a base with resources, you need to determine where they are. Hopefully in level 10 collectors outside the walls. Look at the collectors, pumps should show full and mines should have a nice little pile of gold next to them. The storage units hopefully are empty.
If so, start deploying archers, barbs and goblins along the length of the row(s) collectors are located, just outside of the reach of the weapons. You do not want to deploy them all from one area since mortars, wizard towers and traps will reduce the numbers of your forces very quickly. Deploying across a wide area should make short work of the collectors and give you lots of loot.
I mentioned getting Giants and wall breakers. If your pillage was successful you may find you still have a sizable group of barbs and archers, now would be a good time to go for a star or two, (or three). Deploy the wall breakers, bust a hole open, let the mob funnel through and let the giants go free. They will now raise the town and hopefully get you a few trophies or empty the storage units.
Remember this isn't about trophies, but if you get them, all the better.
Now here is where having low level collectors come in handy. If you are not seeing level 8+ collectors you might as well move on, since you will not get much in the way of loot from them. Others will see this in your base and move on as well saving you trophies and loot.
Rebuild your army, (you can actually start this before the attack to reduce the waiting time) and repeat. Will every attack be a success? No. but you can afford to be real picky. Each time your press next only cost about 100 gold. The failures will be forgotten about the first time you get 100k + from a TH 7 using this system.
I mentioned that this isn't about trophies, but if you stumble across the following two conditions make sure to exploit them. 1) A lone Town Hall. People will place a town hall out just to be attacked and get a shield, and/or intentionally drop their trophy rating. (attacks are assigned upon trophy count so TH8s and TH4 can easily face off together). 2) Sometimes you can tell that your raid will get you close to 50% and you see buildings stuck into the corners of the map, make sure to deploy a troop or two in each of those corners to mop up those building, pushing you over the 50%. These are usually the first troops I deploy.
Trophies do matter though to some extent. Get too high you will get wiped out on your attacks almost immediately, get to low, your selection of battles will be with towns with 1-5k in resources. I figure about 200 trophies per your town hall level is a good guide. So for a TH 5 you should be sitting around 1000 trophies +/- 100
Remember that 144,000 a day in lost resources because you didn't upgrade, well you just made that back and then some in the matter of an hour or two (or if you are lucky in 5 minutes).
Improve the armies
As soon as you get enough resources to upgrade a camp, a barracks or to do a little research, spend it. You want to keep as close to a 0 balance as possible when you are done with your session. The lower the amount you have lying around, the less likely someone will spend Elixer to attack you.
I mentioned that one of the key things is to make your town undesirable. Low resources are one way, the other is good defenses. After your armies are taken care of, you will want to upgrade your cannons and towers. Your Mortar should also be up there on that list as well. Your Wizard tower, is strong but very expensive, decide on when that works for you to upgrade. Your air defense is pretty useless right now since most people are not attacking with air units, and if they do, Your AD will have a hard time defeating them as it sits right now (even after an upgrade) I would suggest leaving this building for the last.
By now you should have 3 builders. You should have 1 in reserve at all times and use him to upgrade walls. Upgrade them evenly. Get all to level 2 before moving to level 3, all to level 3 before moving to level 4. By End of TH 5 you should easily have gotten all walls to their gold max. Storages should also be at level 9 this will help with big ticket items. I had one level 9 and one level 8 gold storage and maxed out on my pilfering when I ran across a 300k loot village (I was saving 750k G to upgrade to TH 6. So always keep one step ahead on your storage.
It is a crutch, not a friend, don't feel bad ditching it early.
Use your shield when you have a life to live or you need sleep. Like I said you will lose. Some TH 7 will come by and wipe you out and take about 30k from you. That is OK. You will get a 16 hour shield. Use it to finish your sleep then go to work/school. The shield will hopefully be there when you get back. If it is and you have time left on it, ditch the shield and make some money. Remember what you make on attacks is far more than what your collectors will get you (even if they are level 10). Run 3-4 attacks make 100k and upgrade something. Main thing to remember is to try and leave yourself close to 0 resources available when you sign off. Dump it into walls, clear obstacles. Build balloons that are going to get queued. Delete them later.
Try to join a decent clan, it doesn't have to be big, just active. Hopefully there will be players farther along than you. They will give you good troops. Find one where the players are in your time zone so you can get active replenishments. As you increase your village you will be able to shower lower levels with good troops as well. If there isn't much activity, find another clan. It makes no sense only getting 1 set of reinforcements 8 hours after you need them.
Don't rush your town hall. Rush your entire base.
Don't upgrade collectors past level 6.
First upgrades should be to your offensive units.
Try and keep a 0 balance when offline.
Don't worry too much about trophies, they will come in time.
Let others spend the time and Money building mines and extractors for you.