Clash of Clans Defenses: A Beginner’s Guide

Once you’ve got your resources figured out, it’s time to start building defenses. Most defensive structures cost Gold, so hopefully you’ve been stocking up. If your Elixir is plentiful at this point, you might want to jump ahead a bit and start planning your offensive structures in parallel.

Your First Defenses – Cannons, Archer Towers, and the Mortar

By Clash of Clans Town Hall level 3, you’re going to have three defensive structures at your disposal – the cannon, the archer tower, and your first mortar.

Clash of Clans Defenses: Mortar Tower

  • The archer tower is the weakest, but the longest range and most versatile. It can hit air units (although at this level, you probably won’t see many or any of these) as well as ground units.
  • The cannon is more of an all-around ground defense. It has decent range and decent damage.
  • The mortar is ground only, but it does splash damage so it is very useful against groups of powerful enemies. The downside is that it has an inner radius where it cannot fire!

Pro Tip When you’re upgrading a defensive structure, it’s not going to participate in defending your base. Therefore, do this when you’re shielded, or plan to have other defenses covering the holes your “offline” defense is leaving.

There are also traps, like bombs and spring plates, to consider. At the early levels, they’re kind of expensive and there are so few of them that it can be difficult to employ them properly. As you level up and gain expertise in planning your defenses, keep them in mind for choke points and difficult-to-protect areas.

You don’t have to choose which defenses to build – you’re going to want to build them all. The strategy lies in placement, which we’ll talk about alongside the other defensive structure – walls.

Walls for Fun and Profit

Once you’ve built something worth defending, and you’ve built something to defend it with, it’s time to shift everything around until your base is properly covered. This is where walls come in.

Pro Tip Walls require a builder, but they take no time to build. Thus, it’s a good idea to plop down a bunch of them all at once so you can task your builder quickly afterwards. You can always put them in a “holding area” in some unused corner of your base until you’re ready to move them to where they belong.

Pro Tip You can move walls a row at a time by tapping one, and then tapping the “Select Row” button – this allows you to shift multiple walls at once, and it’s a real time saver.

Clash of Clans Town Hall

There are a limited number of walls that can be built, so it is important to prioritize what will go behind them. Here are some things you might want to think about:

  • Resource storage buildings hold massive amounts of resources, and 33% of these resources are at risk when you’re raided.
  • Resource collector buildings (Elixir Collectors and Gold Mines) store resources until they’re tapped, and 50% of the stored resources are at risk when you’re raided. Thus, they are a good one to protect.
  • Your defenses have a small amount of HP, and placing them behind walls will keep them alive and fighting longer.

Update It used to be that the Town Hall was a low-priority building that really belonged outside your walls. However, in the December 2015 Update SuperCell made protecting your Town Hall a much higher priority. I wouldn’t rate it as a building that belongs in the center of your base, but it definitely belongs inside your walls now!

Pro Tip The safest place for your resources? Spent. You can spend excess gold to upgrade walls, and excess elixir can be used to buy units. In the case of buying units, you can “overtrain” at the barracks, and then later cancel those units in order to get the elixir back.

Organization Within Your Walls

So you’ve grouped up your Town Hall, your defensive structures, and your resource collectors/storage together, and placed them behind the walls. How should you organize everything? Here are a few tips:

  • Try to make sure you’ve got defenses that can hit Archers standing away from your structures. Your own Archer Towers are good for this.
  • Make sure Mortars have covering fire, so that if there’s some unit within their “dead zone” they are being hit by something else.
  • Keep your most valuable storage facilities as close to the center as you can, so they get hit late and with a smaller amount of the enemy force.

Clash of Clans Guide: The "One Block Keep-Out Zone"

When other players attack, they have to drop troops into your base. They can’t drop troops onto your buildings, and furthermore most buildings (with the notable exception of decorations) have a one-square “keep out” zone where troops can’t be dropped either. When you move a building, for just a second you’ll see this as a white-ish outline around your buildings. If you’re walling in an area, make sure there’s no way to drop troops inside of it!

Pro Tip At Clash of Clans Town Hall level 4, you’ll be able to use “Village Edit Mode” by tapping the little hand icon towards the bottom right of the screen. This will let you move buildings into a “holding zone” so that you can effectively swap buildings around. It’s a real time saver!

Pro Tip You can use buildings to block areas instead of using walls, but some troop types will bee-line towards specific building types, which reduces the effectiveness of this strategy. For instance, Goblins will run right past most buildings to hit those that give loot. Similarly, Giants will ignore most buildings to concentrate on defensive structures.

What Happens During an Attack?

If your Clash of Clans base is attacked, another player will be able to drop troops into it. They will attempt to secure your resources and trash your base. Any defensive structures you have built will try to repel them. There are a few things you should know, however.

  • For the most part, your army will not participate. Anyone in the Army Camp will just not even be there when a raid occurs.
  • If buildings are destroyed by the enemy, they aren’t really destroyed. They’re just disabled and/or raided for the duration of the attack.
  • Traps that are triggered are used up until they are reset. If a bomb goes off, that’s it, that bomb’s toast until you log in later and pay more gold to reset it.
  • Troops in your Clan Castle can be used in your defense. Thus, it is a good idea to find a clan that will provide you with troops!

Learning From Your Mistakes

Chances are pretty good that, even if you do a good job planning your defenses, you’re still going to get attacked and lose occasionally. Learn from this!

For a short time after each attack, you can view a replay of that attack by tapping the “Envelope” icon towards the lower left of the screen. This will bring up a screen with three tabs – the leftmost one is the “Defense Log”. Each defense log entry will let you replay what happened during that attack on your base.

Clash of Clans: Defense Log

Pro Tip Remember where the defense log is – later we’ll come back to this when we’re on the offense to find easy targets for revenge!

When viewing this list of replays, look for times when you lost a lot of resources, especially when the destruction percentage is low or the army size is low. Obviously, someone with an overwhelming army is going to destroy you, but you don’t want to leave holes that would let some sneaky so-and-so make off with your phat lewt without working hard for it.

Once you’ve seen where you’re weak, try to reorganize your defenses to prevent against it in the future. Perhaps you can move some of your defensive structures closer to your outer walls, or move mortars further in. Maybe there’s a hole or weak spot in your walls where people are getting in. These replays are the perfect way to see how your defense could be improved.

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