For anyone who spent time at th8 in a clan thats serious about war you know you have very few options as far as troops are concerned to put together a war attack with a realistic chance of 3 starring another th8. Your choices probably look something like this:
1) Hogs and Heal technique (if you have below level 3 hogs don't even bother)
2) GoWiPe (only really an option if you're on the verge of moving up to th9, with TH8 army camps you're gonna need TH8 maxed troops and spells. A good way to get the basics of GoWiPe and GoWiWi before you'll be relying on them heavily at th9)
3) Dragons! If you're doing it right you'll be sick and tired of attacking with dragons by the time you go up to th9 and though you'll rarely turn a profit off of war (as far as elixer is concerned) this is gonna be your bread and butter kid. (authors note: if you're a townhall 8 and don't have level 3 Drags you're probably a bad team mate, If you have your Nice and Tidy achievement and don't have level 3 Drags you're probably a bad player in general)
Unlike a th9 and up vs a th9 and up head to head battle you're gonna be expected to brining home 3 stars per attack at least 75% of the time in my experience.
Now that we've established that you're gonna have to use dragons and that anything less than a 3 star on a fellow th8 should be considered a failure lets start with some of my favorite things you should NOT do with a th8 Dragon attack.
1) Don't hold down one spot and deploy all your dragons right on top of each other. People who do this are pretty much throwing up their hands and singing "Jesus Take the Wheel". These are the people that constantly mutter something about "...dumb dragons" after their attack because their dragons turned away from the Air D and started attacking a storage instead.
2) Don't bring three lightning spells and start off your attack by taking out a single Air D. Spells are the best and only tools you have to control your dragons after deployment, this is something you're gonna have to learn if you're gonna be a successful th9 (Jump spell on GoWiPe or GoWiWi).
3) Deploying dragons at the corner of a base should be avoided whenever possible. When I see people continuously combine this mistake with #1 I weep a little on the inside and have a few moments of introspective thought on the fate of such a stupid species as ours.
4) Deploy rage where your dragons are going to be/you want them to be, not where they've been. You should be saying "duh" right now.
Now that I've covered the stuff that you should not do lets go over the basic steps of the Dragon attack method I recommend and myself utilized (to great success) as TH8.
Step One: Scouting
First things first, lets see what we're dealing with.
Key things to look at include:
1) where at and what level is the opponents Clan Castle?
2) where are my opponents 3 Air Defenses? Since there is three are the unbalanced or do they favor a particular side?
3) Is there any indication to where my opponents traps are? (is there a wall section 4x4 that seems to have nothing in it? is it in a logical place to put a tesla?)
4) Where are my opponents storages? few things are as frustrating as watching a single dragon attack a storage while slowly being killed by the air defense right next to it.
5) Whats the general shape of my opponents base? Talking about the over all wall and defense setup here. If it's symmetrical (most are) theres a good chance its gonna be a square or a diamond (which is just a sideways square, yay!). Sure they may have some flare on the corners or some collectors way out in left field to throw you but theres a very good chance that if you take a step back and see it as a whole theres going to be 4 broad sides to this base. Identify these broad sides, they are a dragon attacks best friend.
Step Two: Troop Composition
All Dragons, don't try to get cute. If you have a th9 in your clan sometimes its smart to bring clan castle maxed loons if an opponent did an especially good job of burying one of his air d from the other 2 (like its separate and your dragons are gonna have to go through a Town Hall, and Clan Castle and a storage to get to it). Most of the time though you should just bring a clan castle dragon to help you though. Under no circumstances should you bring ground units, even if someone has a level 3 pekka their looking to unload or some witches or something. Ground units and air units have two completely different sets of strengths and weaknesses and as such rarely mix well together. (also Pekka funneling is an even more difficult skill to master as you have to take walls into account) For spells you're either gonna need to bring either 3 rage attacks or 2 rage one heal. Only bring a heal if you're expecting your dragons to converge on a spot later in your attack (otherwise with the method we're gonna use the spreading of your dragons will probably not allow you to maximize your heal effectiveness).
Step Three: The Attack
First things first, check your spells, camps, clan castle and Barb King one last time before you attack, I've seen too many people jump the gun on their third spell by 20 seconds or not realize they set their Barb King to sleep. No excuses.
The most important part of this strategy is about to begin. You make or break a dragon attack in the first 10 seconds. Deployment is all about two things, Timing and Space. Remember the broad walls you scouted earlier. Find the one thats gonna give you the best chance of hitting the following things as early as possible
1) Air D. find the broad edge that puts two of them on one side of their townhall, its essential that you take deploy from the side that allows you to take out the majority of the air d before you get to the townhall bc otherwise you're gonna get hammered on before you get to the TH. No use in rushing to the townhall, as stated earlier, anything less than 3 stars is a failure.
2) Clan Castle. Ideally you'd like to battle the c.c. troops before you hit the townhall so some wizards aren't messing up your dragons while they're hitting the townhall. BTW I don't advocate trying to pull C.C. troops with an all dragon attack, its unnecessary in most cases.
So now you've got the broad side that you think gives you the best chance at hitting your primary objectives early picked out, lets deploy. First and foremost go to the two edges of this broad side we've identified, here is where we will deploy our two "book end" dragons (one on each side) These two drags have the most important job there is when it comes to funneling, when this attack is successful the dragons will resemble a wave crashing or a drawstring bag being closed. Most bases wont have have their air d covering the side corners of their base so these dragons should be relatively safe and should makes decent progress on taking out the perimeter b.s. buildings along the sides, make sure to give them enough time to get ahead of the main wave but not so much of a head start that they'll be completely isolated and will get picked off quickly by archer towers and such.
Now take your fingers and slowly trace a line from where you deployed one bookend all the way to where you deployed the other one. Hopefully you've done enough of this in barching that you already have a feel for the speed that this needs to be done. Also while you're doing this you're gonna want to make sure that certain areas get a little extra attention, maybe slow your finger down and extra second or two towards to middle of your line so that you get an extra dragon or two heading straight up the middle towards the air defenses and townhall or anywhere there is a storage out towards the perimeter (its very important that your line of Dragons advances through the base and relatively the same speed, otherwise your center dragons will veer outwards and vice versa).
Don't be afraid to use two of your rages as your dragons come close to those closest two air defenses we talked about. In our example we'll say that the are 2 Air Defenses on the near side of the townhall and on the far side is the final Air Defense and Clan Castle. After your dragons take down the first two Air Defenses they'll begin to converge on the townhall, try to drop your final rage here so it covers your dragons attacking the townhall and will still cover them when they're hitting the c.c. (most of the c.c. troops will be killed in the splash damage from the raged dragons hitting the townhall but a c.c. still slows down dragons significantly so try to get it in on the third rage. If you use this method from here on out you should be able to sit back and watch your dragons clean up the broken shambles that used to be your opponents base.
Try this method a few times changing your deployment timing if you don't have a successful attack the first time, don't just come in here and complain, I promise you this method will produce results if you master it and get a feel for it.