Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Defenses

Few things perplex Clash of Clans players as much as this eternal question: “What should I upgrade next?” In part two of my Clash of Clans upgrade guide, I’ll cover strategies specific to upgrading your defensive buildings.

If you missed the general strategies in part 1, click here to start at the beginning!

Let’s Talk Defenses

Defense upgrades are critical to keep your loot safe from invaders. When it comes to defense upgrades in Clash of Clans, there are a few general rules of thumb I like to follow. We’ll tackle those first, and then we’ll talk about priorities.

General Defense Upgrade Strategies

First, keep your defenses strong even while upgrading. Upgrading a defense leaves a big hole in your base. Try to minimize the impact of this hole. Space out the buildings that are being upgraded. Don’t upgrade all of the same type of defense at once. These sorts of things will make you an easy target while you wait out the upgrade timer.

Second, upgrade the weakest defenses first. This may seem counter-intuitive, but think about it. We’ll consider a simple example.

Let’s consider a base having only two archer towers. One is level 8, and the other is level 1. You want both to get to level 10. Which should you upgrade first?

  • If you upgrade the level 8 tower to level 10 first, it’s a total of 9 days where you’ve got just the level 1 tower protecting you. That’s 9 days where your only defense is 11 damage per second.
  • If you upgrade the level 1 tower to level 8 first, the other protects your base with 48 damage per second for 6.75 days. Then when you upgrade either of the other two towers, the other continues to protect you.

Another way of thinking about this is that in Clash of Clans the cost per HP and DPS increases significantly as the tower’s level increases. Thus, the early upgrades give you more “bang for your buck.”

What Defenses to Upgrade First

Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Defenses

The most important defenses are:

  • Mortars for horde troops, especially around Town Hall 6-8 where BARCH raids are common
  • Air Defense for air units, once dragon and minion raids start to become common
  • X-Bows for their all-around rapid rate of fire
  • Wizard Towers for their splash damage

These defenses are the ones you should invest in first, and these should form the core of your base. Beyond that:

  • Tesla Towers do bonus damage to PEKKAs and can’t be seen until they’re triggered, but they’re not super strong.
  • Archer Towers provide long range air/ground support, but aren’t particularly powerful either.
  • Cannons are ground-only and single shot, but they are still somewhat useful.

As I mentioned before, I suggest sticking your trap upgrades in when you can. I’m a big fan of the Air Bomb as it is a good area-of-effect air defense weapon.

The Wall Problem

It seems like everyone in Clash of Clans likes to neglect their walls. Walls are extremely important, even though there are many units that can bypass them. Walls force enemies to move in predictable patterns and keep them from moving quickly through your base.

Clash of Clans Upgrade Guide: Walls & Town Hall

Raids that rely on a hybrid of units that bypass and don’t bypass walls are still affected by them. Good wall placement can cause an attacking force to split up and get forced into areas where high damage can take them down easily.

The problem with Walls in Clash of Clans is that they’re so darn expensive. Recently the game was patched to allow either gold or elixir for wall upgrades, but still it’s a crazy amount of resources to invest.

Bear this pain, though. Especially at Town Hall 7, I highly suggest that you max out all your walls. The cheap loot at this level is much easier to get than it will be otherwise. You can undo several levels worth of bad wall decisions here if you can bear the expense, and it’s well worth it.


Hopefully this guide has helped you to demystify Clash of Clans upgrades, and now you feel confident setting an upgrade path for your own base. What did I miss? What important strategies do you follow? Let me know in the comments.

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This article is part of our Clash of Clans MEGAGUIDE!click here to see all our CoC articles!

  • PJ

    Good stuff

    • agent86ix

      Hey PJ, thanks for the feedback :)

      Are you PJ from Warlords? Just wondering :)

  • disqus_34LSYnEuPV

    I completely agree with this guy. I’m a th 8 that has been following guides for upgrades and constantly considers my upgrades and never rushes to build a th or neglect things such as walls.

    You wouldn’t believe how many level 9 and 10 villages I have seen with level 5 and worse walls that I wreck pretty easily using just barbarians and archers. They have x-bows and inferno towers (from gemming obviously, since there’s no way they could have gotten them any other way), that slow my army down, but that doesn’t stop me from 2-3 starring them and stealing 200-400k loot. Especially since they always want the “cool” buildings, whereas they have level 4 mortars, archer towers and air defenses, but maxed out hidden teslas. Get your priorities straight and maybe you won’t have to spend $100s of dollars in real life to get to th10 but still get wrecked by armies 2 th levels below yourself.

    • agent86ix

      Yeah, man. It’s sad to see some of these TH9/10 bases with the lowest level walls. My barbs can just cut through those like a hot knife through butter. It doesn’t matter how the base is laid out, I’m going to wreck it and wreck it fast.

      • Ch1ll

        You know what’s sad? Someone saying it’s ‘sad’ to see people being trash/bad at a game. Usually, in a general mindset, past the age where you have time to play video games, you usually won’t get back to them. Even if you do, it’s not the first priority on your list…so it shouldn’t make you think about it, you just play it for 10 minutes and continue on your daily life.

        • Flynn

          Dude. Chill. It’s a figure of speech bruh

  • Aadil

    You said, “Recently the game was patched to allow either gold or elixir for wall upgrades” How to change from gold to elixr

    • agent86ix

      You have to get to a specific level of wall in order to use elixir, unfortunately. Once you’re TH9 you can upgrade level 8 walls and higher using either gold or elixir. There will be two buttons to start the upgrade, one right next to the other.

      They used to allow you to upgrade walls earlier with elixir (you could at least go from level 7 walls to level 8 walls at TH8 before) but then they changed it :(

  • Lloyd Wagner

    Good write up. I disagree with the importance of Xbows instead of Teslas. By the time you have Xbows you should also already have lvl6 teslas. Lvl2 xbow costs 5 mil, compared to 3.2mil for tesla. Xbow takes 2 days less than the tesla but also only does 60dps (even a lvl3 xbow only does 75) compared to the lvl7 tesla which does 87. 27dps is a big deal considering you have 4 teslas that never have to be reloaded. With them being spread effectively around the base they more than make up for their range which is 4 spaces shorter than the xbow. My 3rd tesla is going to lvl7 now and my 4th will come before xbow lvl2. Just my 2 cents. TheDalaiLloyd. Sanctus Real Co-lead

    • agent86ix

      Hey Lloyd!

      There’s definitely some personal preference involved in some of these decisions. The reason for me why the Xbow edges out a Tesla is that the Xbow has a much longer range, especially when set to ground only. I also think having the option to make it ground or air gives you some extra tactical options.

      That said, I can see your point of view as well, and I wouldn’t fault anyone who bumped their Teslas up before their Xbows.

  • Cody Jenson

    I actually disagree about collectors, I’ve always been taught to max those first so you’re not waiting forever to save up for expensive upgrades, and being I don’t raid much unless I’m bored it helps to do that first, those and storages first.

    • agent86ix

      Hey Cody!

      What TH level are you? Before about TH7 I’d probably agree that collectors are important. However, around TH7 or so, upgrades take so dang long that waiting on collectors would add months or years to your upgrade times. DE drills still produce fast enough to make a dent in your upgrades, but elixir and gold collectors are left in the dust.

      Second, the higher the level of your collectors, the more they store, and the more likely you are to get attacked if you leave them idle. Personally, I wish I’d left my elixir collectors at a low level.

      • XxWolfsbanexX

        I’m pretty sorry to disagree with you but I have lv 12 collectors max and I’m really happy I did that because I can wake up and collect lots of loot and most people usually lose their attacks against me as they try and collect only the loot, so I say max your elixir collectors!!! And collector take only 3d to upgrade so…

  • Safal Pun

    I am gonna be at towerhall 8 soon and I was planning things but I got no idea so I want to know how I can make walls at level 8 fast seeing that all the things cost pretty alot and which things I better upgrade too…