One of the most useful skills Ive picked up on my way to level 100 is anticipating where the resources are, based on the value of resources of available. Knowing this can give you a massive advantage on planning out how to start your attack. It can even give you enough leftover troops to start another battle in 10 minutes, which is the same as getting double the resources due to resources vs time, but I digress...
You can read up and find that storages can hold 25% of their max and pumps and mines can have 75% of their holdings available but... that doesnt really help you very much. At least it never really helped me. All you need to know is that the resources can come from two places: the heavily guarded storage areas or the much easily looted pumps or mines.
If you are a high level player its much easier to gauge all of this due to a cap on how much resources can be obtained from storages. That cap currently does not change based on level of a player (which it should) nor how many storage areas they have.
You can only take 200k of any one resource from a players storages.
So in the event that were only referring to Gold and Elixir, lets assume that a player has 0 pumps or mines. That player has a wealth of 8 million Gold and 8 million Elixer. If you were to find their base via battle and do attack, 200k Gold and 200k Elixir would be available to be looted. Lets delve into that one step deeper. If a player has 2 Gold Storages, each Gold Storage would have 100k Gold in it, ready for looting, which would be the same for Elixer Storages. If that player had 4 Gold Storages, each Gold Storage would contain 50k Gold (50k x4 = 200k). You can quickly see why spreading out your storages can help your overall defense simply due to dispersion of wealth.
All that is fine and good but this is where it really gets interesting.
Lets say the above player did have mines and pumps and instead of 200k of Gold and Elixir, they had 275k of Gold and Elixir. Though I dont like to go off of visuals (because they can be deceiving), lets take a look at his storages. Are they filled to the brim? Okay so we can assume that they have 200k resources in them and the mines and pumps have the other 75k. Being that they have 6 mines/pumps, each one should yield 15k resources upon destruction. You see how we did that? We now know how much each storage container has and how much each mine has and all we had to do was some simple math and take a look around the map. Now take a closer look around. We can now associate resource values to each of those structures and look at the most profitable path towards the storages.
Lets go into some more scenarios.
You find a base and it has 190k resources each. Hmm, thats not an even 200k, how do their storage areas look? Cant really tell? We need to probe a bit. Lets take an Archer or a Barbarian and find a lone mine or pump and attack it. When doing so, watch their resources. If the majority of the resources are in the pumps or mines youll see the resources go down by 500-1k a hit. When this happens, its a great battle because it tells you that you can just send troops after the mines and pumps and you dont even need to go after the heavily fortified storage areas. You can most likely just deploy half of your troops to get destory the 12 pumps/mines, get your resources and surrender.
Probing found nothing
We just found a 200k/200k base. We want to start the probing, just to be sure that the wealth isn't in the mines or pumps. Upon probing we see that virtually no resources are in the mines or the pumps. Excellent! Now we know that all we really care about is the storages. This is both liberating and annoying. Are they heavily defended? Yes but at least we know we can put our full army at that one task rather then having to split a portion of it off to destroy pumps and mines. This knowledge puts us closer to our goal of looting the storages.
Another scenario, the motherload.
The highest resources Ive ever seen in a single battle was 500k gold and 450k elixir. Thats 950k up for grabs. That means that player has 200k in storage areas and 300k in the mines and pumps (of each resource). Most likely its a player who had a lot of resources in his storage areas and that player went on vacation or something and their mines and pumps just never got emptied while they were away. Well, I hope their vacation was worth it because I enjoyed plundering their resources. All I can say is if you see something this brilliant, blow all of your spells to get at it. If nothing else, its obtainment will be worth bragging rights later.
So the next time youre staring down a battle with a ton of resources, do a little thinking before you jump into the battle. A large pot of resources is worth at least a little thought process. The last thing you want to do is go after a 500k resource battle and do it wrong and only get a portion of it. Thats never a fun battle to lose.