Strong defense is as crucial as strong offense. It doesn’t matter if you score a 3 star if you give away an easy triple on your own base. Henceforth, it is vital to have a war base up to date with the current meta strategies. Building a base from scratch can be an intimidating task, this guide is designed to help you understand the basic concepts of base-building. So grab a cup of coffee or a pint of beer and read on!
This guide is the work of Banterous Kiwi (War Whales), with contributions from Aviral Jain, Fred, Schwag, Kirin & Gaston Orozco.
Symmetry vs Asymmetry
Traditional War Bases (commonly referred to as anti-2 star bases) generally tend to centralize the Town Hall with a symmetrical wall layout. This old-style of base design is easier for the opponent to scout and predict traps and Hidden Teslas placements. Asymmetrical bases are now favoured over the traditional styles due to the high level of flexibility they allow in customizing the base to defend against specific attack strategies.
When creating an anti-3 star base, the aim is to protect the base as a whole rather than protect the Town Hall. It should be designed so the queen, clan castle, defenses and double bombs complement one another collectively rather than incorporate each feature individually into the base.
As Hogs and laloon are the most viable 3 star strategies for TH9, you need to keep this in mind when building a war base. Understanding how an attacker would possibly approach the base with a cold-blood or shattered portion of the attack will influence the positioning of buildings such as Air Defenses, Giant Bombs and Barbarian King relative to the Archer Queen..
Town Hall and Resource Storages
The goal to making an effective Town Hall 9 war base is to make it anti-3 star. This means that protecting the Town Hall is no longer a priority. Gone are the days of centralized THs. The Town Hall is to be simply treated as a high hit-point building when building anti-3 star bases. In the same vein of thought, resource storages are also extremely useful as high hit-point buildings that can be used strategically as buffer buildings to slow the progress of enemy troops. For example, an offset Town Hall placed in front of the Archer Queen (AQ) will add an extra layer of defense that the attacker must go through to kill the AQ by diverting troops’ attention away from your more important structures such as AQ and other defensive structures.
Compartments & Core
Aim to have around 13 different compartments in the base with at least 2-3 buildings in each. Too few compartments will result in the base being vulnerable to GoWiPe/WiWi strategies and too many small compartments will mean the base is too compact and easy to Hog. If the compartment has only one building inside, it negates the purpose of having a separate compartment to delay troops as a ranged unit can just shoot over the Walls and take out the single structure
The core should neither be too large or too small, so finding the perfect size can be a challenge. An easily overlooked base-building design flaw is a core that opens up too many compartments.
For example, when you look at this base, one jump pretty much opens up the entire base and leaves you very vulnerable to Valkyries, GoWiWi hybrids and witch hybrids.
However on this base, placing a jump on the core can only open up a maximum of three compartments. In saying that, the attacker would also need a lot of Wall Breakers or another jump to be able to use this core jump in the first place.
One of the most important things to consider when building a base is the Clan Castle (CC). Ideally the CC should be centralized and difficult to lure (takes more than 15 enemy troops to achieve lure).
When placing your defenses, you should constantly check to make sure the external ring of defenses is outside the CC radius. If you are having trouble with this, move it around a little bit to see where the best coverage is. If you are having further trouble, place a surprise Tesla outside of the base where the enemy is most likely to lure. This will work on the first attack/scout but in any further attacks the enemy will know that a Tesla is located outside of the base.
For example on this base, there is no spot where the cc could be lured. However, if this person was worried about being lured from the South-West Air Defense, notice the gap between the Air Defense and the wall. This could quite possibly be a spring trap or even two, they may even have a Tesla in front of it as explained above.
Archer Queen (AQ)
The Archer Queen is another key component that you must take into consideration in your base design. In the past, we used to always have her centralized. Although you had to make a deep push to reach her, this gave the enemy more freedom in what angle they could attack from. A more common feature to see in anti-3 star bases today is the off centered AQ in her own compartment with multiple high HP buildings.
The purpose of this is to keep the DGBs (double Giant Bombs) and Air Defenses as far away from the AQ as possible, along with manipulating the enemy in to approaching your base with a 1 Golem or 2 Golem attack (not using the heroes to their full potential like a 3 Golem attack may).
When making a base with an off centered AQ, there’s a few things you want to take into account:
- As stated above, you want to keep the AQ as far away from any Air Defenses or Giant Bombs (especially double Giant Bombs). By keeping Air Defenses away from the AQ you are preventing a GoLaLoon attack.
- The AQ has to be in at least a 9×9 tile compartment and she has to be in the middle at the very least. If the compartment is too small, the AQ will jump over the walls, completely defeating the purpose of an off centered AQ. Note: occasionally, if the AQ locks onto a target very early and the target moves around a lot, she may jump over 4 tiles + walls. The 9×9 space is the bare minimum, make it as big and ugly as you want!
- Dont make it too small and too exposed. If the AQ is in a vulnerable spot, a king swap (suicide king) may be used to kill the AQ by himself (no Golem).
- Add some defenses into the compartment/around the compartment to prevent king swapping and to mess with the Golems.
Here’s an example of a 9×9 tile compartment with the AQ right in the middle.
Placing your Air Defenses is becoming more and more difficult with the wide variety of strategies and methods. You want to place your Air Defenses as far away from the Archer Queen as possible, but still leaving them well protected and not vulnerable to AQ walks or Hog Riders. Here’s some tips to Air Defense placement:
- As stated multiple times keep your Air Defenses away from the AQ to prevent GoLaLoon attacks!
- An archer queen can shoot over 4 tiles, so try to make sure that all of your Air Defenses are out of range from her attack range. If you are forced to expose an Air Defense, a tip to countering the AQ walk is increasing the surrounding DPS. If you can get 2-3 point defenses and a X-Bow to cover the exposed Air Defense, the enemy may be forced to trigger her ability early or she may even die!
- If you also have an exposed Air Defense you may also consider placing a tesla in front of it or using 1-2 spring traps to counter Hog Riders. Preferably use spring traps as Hogs under heals can make it through damage, however they cannot survive being sprung off the map!
- Keep your Air Defenses out of range from your wizard towers. You don’t want wizard towers locking on to lava hounds, you would much rather them locking on to loons.
- Do not put more than one Air Defense in a compartment and try to keep them well spaced with maximum coverage across your entire base. Clustering your Air Defenses to favour one side of your base leaves you vulnerable to strategies with back-end loons.
Defending against the MAX Attack
If you are unsure of what the “Max Attack” is, a brief outline of what it consists of is a 3 Golem kill-squad, using a rage, heal and 4 earthquake spells to take out the cc, 3 Air Defenses, the archer queen and a large amount of other defenses. The key to defending Max Attacks is to make sure that your core compartments are larger than 8 tiles (6 tiles + the 2 tiles for each wall) to prevent the use of earthquake spells.
Here’s an example of good Air Defense placement in attempt to defend Max Attacks.
On earthquake 1, 2 and 3, the diameter of the compartment is larger than 8 tiles, this making earthquakes useless. However on earthquake 4, an earthquake will work as the diameter is 8 tiles, however, that would be a bad option for an attacker is they will only be able to reach one Air Defense at maximum.
Mortars are one of the most overlooked defenses when designing a base. People presume “they’re only good at defending against BArch, you don’t really care about them in war”, well no they are wrong. More and more anti-3 star bases are getting exploited by mass witch hybrids such as GoLoWiWi and GoHoWiWi. Do not put mortars outside of your base or have all of them exposed in your external ring of defenses. You are begging to be attacked with witches. Mitigate the risks by putting at least two of them deeper inside of the base.
Placing defenses outside of the walls
Placing a few defenses outside of the walls (Archer Towers or Cannons but preferably Cannons) is a great idea that can cause the attacker some trouble with wayward Golems if they don’t plan accordingly for it.
A kill zone is an area of high damage per second in order to force the enemy to use a heal spell. These can be quite handy as things such as quad Teslas can even kill Hogs under heal spells. Generally, a kill zone either consists of three wizard towers or the more common kill zone of quad Teslas.
For example, the quad tesla approach, over this area the attacker will need to use a heal spell as the amount of DPS in this area is far too high for a Hog to survive.
Another example of a kill zone, this time using the three wizard tower approach, with the amount of splash damage dealt by all wizard towers combined, the enemy will need to use a heal spell.
Ok, so you’ve got an idea of what a kill zone is and what it is used for, but where the heck do you put it in your base?! Here’s how to decide where to place your kill zone:
- Just like a DGB, the kill zone is designed to kill Hogs. It is best to keep your kill zone away from the AQ so that the enemy’s kill squad does not take out your killzone (yes a lot of kills). However, if the enemy does take out your kill zone, they are not guaranteed the 3 star so you do not need to place it on the opposite side of the base, they will only have a slight advantage.
- Try to keep it away from Giant Bombs or DGBs. Just like the Giant Bombs, the kill zone needs one heal to survive. Keep it at least one heal spell away from the closest GB or DGB to take full advantage of the kill zone.
- Don’t make it obvious to where it is placed! If you have a huge gap in your base, it is pretty obvious to where it is. The good thing with Teslas is that the enemy does not 100% know where they are placed. Make the most out of this.
Giant Bombs – Single & Double
A double Giant Bombs does enough damage damage to kill a Hog instantly, so if you get your pathing right, a double Giant Bombs (DGB) will kill a whole bunch of Hogs which is awesome.
The only addendum to the guide is to keep the DGB(s) away from the AQ! If the enemies kill squad can trigger/negate a DGB and the AQ they are pretty much guaranteed the 3 star.
This diagram shows just how crucial a functioning dgb is – from any angle (if you are streaming your Hogs) they will end up pathing over the DGB no matter what.
As for single Giant Bombs, the aim is to surprise the enemy and to manipulate where the enemy places their heals. Just like a DGB you still need to get the pathing right so that the Giant Bombs is triggered. However, these bombs can be more exposed and less obvious as they are meant to force early heals.
Generally, as a low/new TH9 it is recommend to employ two DGBs. However, at high/max TH9 you can start to use 2 singles and 1 DGB or even 4 singles if you are smart with placing them.
How to decide where to put singles:
- Find somewhere in your base that a 2×2 Giant Bombs can fit and can not be triggered by simply just sending in one Hog to trigger it.
- Make sure to put them in between two defenses.
- Make sure that it is not too deep in your base.
- Spread them out, 1 heal should not cover 2 single bombs at all. Make sure that the enemy will have to use 1 heal per Giant Bombs.
- Again like DGBs, don’t put them anywhere near the AQ.
Small bombs are really useful to kill Wall Breakers, however they must be level 6 in order to do so. When setting up your small bombs to kill wallbreakers, make sure that you have done the following:
- They are at least one 1 tile away from the wall.
- They are placed in an area where an attack is likely to come from – pretend to attack your own base, where would you place your Golems and Wall Breakers?
Here’s an example of what to do and what not to do:
You see the first bomb is placed one tile away from the wall and is on a corner that would be a likely point of attack. The second bomb is placed 1 tile away from the wall but is not on a corner so there is a chance the Wall Breaker might not go in that direction. The third bomb is too close to the wall so therefore would not work.
If you have level 5 bombs or lower, use them in the same way but in pairs.
Seeking Air Mines
These high damage air traps are very useful for unbalancing an air attack by stacking 2 seeking air mines (SAMs) on 2 of your most well protected Air Defenses.
How to decide which Air Defenses are most protected?
- If any of your Air Defenses can be Hogged by 6 Hogs and 1 heal spell, rule those/that one(s) out.
- If any of your Air Defenses can be reached easily by loons under a rage, rule those/that one(s) out.
- If you still haven’t got your two Air Defenses, look to see if a hound was at an Air Defense, what Air Defense would it be taking the most damage at? You want to unbalance the attack quickly so putting the SAMs on the Air Defense in range of higher DPS.
This is what is meant by stacking the SAMs. Notice on the first Air Defense there is two SAMs, this is the correct way. Whereas on the second Air Defense, there is only one SAM which is the incorrect way to place your Seeking Air Mines.
Another way of placing air traps, especially if your Air Defenses are really lopsided and your base is vulnerable to GoLoWiWi, GoVaLo or other back end loon variants, is saving 1-2 SAMs to try and mess up the back end loons. If you decide to do this, the best defenses to place them on are air targeting defenses like wizard towers or archer towers.
These types of bombs are great because they do great splash damage to low HP air units such as loons and minions. However, to lava hounds? Not so much. It is best to keep these away from Air Defenses as you would rather them hit the loons then the hounds. One max air bomb won’t kill 2 loons, however to get closer/to kill these packs of loons it is best to place them around wizard towers as the splash damage from the wiz towers + the splash damage from a max air bomb could potentially kill large packs of loons.
Unlike SAMs, air bombs do not needed to be stacked on wizard towers, one each per wizard tower is sufficient otherwise you may be wasting another air bomb that could kill/severely damage another pack of loons.
This picture demonstrates where to place the air bombs correctly. From left to right, the first air bomb is incorrect as you should never be placed on an Air Defense. The second air bomb is not as bad and some players do decide to do this. However, it is not necessary and that is why it is incorrect. The third air bomb is correct as it is by a wizard tower and it is not stacked.
Spring traps are one of the most overlooked defenses when building a base. Each spring trap can fling 3 Hogs off the map. You have 6 springs traps, 6 x 3 = 18, that’s 18 Hogs dead if you have fully functioning spring traps! Spring traps can be used in multiple ways, such as putting them between two defenses horizontally or in front of one defence, each way has its benefits and downsides.
Ok, look at this image – here are 6 springs traps example locations. Some are terribly placed but the majority work in one way or another.
- Firstly, look at spring 5 and 6 – these are not how you want to place your springs, never place your springs between a defence and a trash building or two trash buildings, they must be between/in front of a defence.
- If you look at spring number one, this spring is beneficial to counter surgical Hog attacks. Generally in a surgical Hog attack, the Hog deployments are precise so this spring will mess up any precise deployments. However with spring number 1, if an attack comes from the AT/WT side it will completely be avoided.
- If you look at spring number 2 and 3, if an attacker was to come from the AT/WT side with Hogs, they would run right into these springs traps. However, if an attacker were to come from the Cannon/AT side they would be avoided and be wasted (same thing with spring number 4 except vice versa).
If you find you base becoming surgical Hogged often or attacked from a certain side with Hogs often you could experiment with double springs like so in the diagram.
It’s very hard to mess up skeleton trap placements but there are few notes to consider:
- Don’t put you skeleton traps back to back, or even in one poison range of each other. If you’ve already been scouted, the enemy can just put a poison where they know your skeles are and they’ll be melted even before they get a breath of air.
- Make sure your skeleton traps are deep enough in the base so they cannot be lured with one Hog or a giant.
On external wall sections, try to have a two wall distance between the intersection of one section and the edge of the other. Wall Breakers have a splash damage radius of two tiles so in -the first two examples, one set of Wall Breakers would be able to open up both compartments. In the third example, the Wall Breakers will target the wall section by the gold storage and archer tower, but won’t open up the compartment with the cannon and gold storage.
Congratulations. We hope that this guide has helped you understand some of the complexities and intricacies involved in base-building. Please understand that base-building is a dynamic and constantly evolving cat and mouse game between offense and defense. This guide will be updated periodically to reflect changes in design concepts. You are encouraged to refer to this guide from time to time to keep yourself up to date with current strategies and tactics.