Like its cousin in the offense category, Defensive Capabilities are what your defense is capable of doing in the game. It is represented by how many defensive structures you have and their level of development. The long made short – if you have more, you’ll do better; if they’re stronger, you’ll do better. Of course – if they’re weak or you don’t have as many, then your defensive game is weaker.
Each Builder Hall level adds new defenses that are designed to separate it from those that come before and these defenses also counter very specific attacks. Remember: the troops and their levels at any given BHx are designed to be able to beat a maxed out base at that particular BH level, so the defenses have to be adjusted to make it a bit more difficult to win or there’s no challenge to the game.
BH3 is the first time a key defense is provided in the game (so it doesn’t take long). For the first three levels, and about the first half of BH4, the ground game reigns supreme. Sure, you get Beta Minions at BH3 and Baby Dragons at BH4, but they’re not very strong until you get them maxed at BH4, so most players are going to be using ground troops for the vast majority of their attacks. That’s where the Crusher comes into play and you get your first Crusher at BH3. The FireCrackers make their debut here too and that’s why Beta Minions just aren’t strong enough to have much impact at BH3 (that and the limited number per camp). As if that isn’t enough, you also get your very first Hidden Tesla which targets both air and ground.
BH3 is all about setting you up for BH4….
BH4 brings those stronger air troops I mentioned, so now it’s time to beef up the air defenses a bit more. The big-bad for BH4 is the AirBombs. These can take down a group of Beta Minions or a Baby Dragon in no time and they do splash damage, so they’re particularly deadly against any air attack. What’s more, since you’re at BH4, that means you can take it up to level 4. Combined with the FireCrackers, the air defense has become much stronger.
BH5 improves on the air defense by providing a second FireCracker. Of course, all of your defenses get another level added as well. The biggest contributor to defense here, though, is the MultiMortar. A level 5 MultiMortar will stop ground attacks in their tracks. Attackers must take this into account and work around it, rely on air troops, or find a way to distract the MultiMortar until they can take it out.
BH6 adds a bump to all of these defenses and brings in a second Crusher as well as the Roaster. The second Crusher makes ground attacks much more difficult, but the Roaster…once it has been sufficiently upgraded, it is almost as devastating to air attacks as the AirBombs. It has a wider spread, does significant damage, and targets both ground AND air troops. Also, a level 6 MultiMortar is capable of taking out a level 12 Sneaky Archer in a single, fired volley. That’s important because the Mass Sneaky Archer attack really takes off at BH6.
BH7 gives us the Giant Cannon and a second Hidden Tesla. The Giant Cannon specifically nullifies the impact of the Battle Machine. Although Double Cannons will do significant damage against him, nothing takes a Battle Machine out faster than the Giant Cannon and it can do it from a fair distance.
And, of course, BH8 brings on the Mega Tesla, which we’re all still waiting to get at the time of this article/video.
When BH7 was released, we were originally expecting to get a third Cannon and a second Guard Post. In an example of just how powerful defensive capabilities are to this game, when SuperCell decided to hold those back, they set up an offense-centric level at BH7 that has a lot of folks vexed. Defense has become much more challenging without these two structures.
Players often call for a “nerf” to a particular troop at new BH levels because that troop is too strong; it’s “OP” or OverPowered. The reality is that it was designed for a much stronger defense and it’s up to the player to get his/her defense to a point where it can defend well against that particular troop or hybrid army compositions using it. This is why it’s important to balance your progress in the game, offensively and defensively, to ensure an even experience.
It’s also important to keep an eye on the meta – how the game is playing – at any given time. I have an upgrade guide out for each and every BH level that I release at some point after the level is available. It’s the path I followed and/or will follow to upgrade my game, troops and defenses alike. It’s a living thing, though – I change it as the meta changes. A fellow forumer recently told me, “you can’t chase the meta” but for me, that’s just part of the fun.
For example – I decided to start BH7 upgrading my air defenses as I do at every level starting with BH4. However, I quickly realized that there was a unique opportunity to get some of the bigger defenses upgraded (MultiMortar, Roaster) early on, while players were still coming to grips with the stronger troops. So, I switched it up and upgraded my multiMortar to level 7, followed by my Roaster. The meta shifted to air attacks at that point, so I decided to finish up my FireCrackers but then it started to change daily so rather than doing my AirBombs next, I pushed the Hidden Teslas up (they attack both air and ground). My AirBombs are about to finish and whereas I was going to start working on my point defenses (Archer Towers, Cannons, Double Cannons, Giant Cannon) I think I’m going to do another biggie and upgrade the Crushers instead. I ALWAYS put the Crushers off to the end but this time around, I want to strengthen the ground defenses and they get a decent bump in HP as well as DPS, especially important with their trigger range being recently reduced.
This is why it’s important to be flexible in how you develop your defensive capabilities. If you can predict what’s coming, or how long something will be a “thing” (like Raged Barbarian hybrid army compositions) you will be in a much better position. It’s playing a mix of the long and short game.
The toughest thing to decide upon when it comes to defensive capabilities is when to upgrade your walls. This is proving to be an issue for a lot of players dealing with Bombarian and similar ground strategies at BH7. Most of us have upgraded our games at the expense of the walls because…well…walls are REALLY expensive!
You can go all the way to BH7 with level 1 walls and even get into the 3000 trophy range with them. Are you going to make it to the 4000 trophy range with level 1 walls…probably not.
Consider your opponents right now – how many are running level 4 walls or higher? Check out the attack/defense replays on my videos. I see mostly level 3 or higher walls in the 3000s, a smattering of level 3 in the lower 4000s, and mostly level 4 or higher walls up to 5000. In the 5000s, level 5 walls take over and by the time you start to reaching the upper ranks of the game, you see level 6 and 7 walls.
So…when is the best time to slot in the wall upgrades?
BH3 – Upgrade everything to level 3, including the walls.
BH4 – Upgrade new walls to level 3.
BH5 – Upgrade new walls to level 3.
BH6 – Upgrade new and existing walls to level 4.
BH7/BH8 – Start upgrading walls to level 5 and beyond.
Walls are still secondary to your defense buildings, but they’re definitely important to later BH levels and being able to defend against the max-level troops to come. This is something anyone with level 2 or 3 walls can attest to right now with the level 14 Raged Barbarian based attack strategies tearing up the lower level player base. Based on my games, BH7 is best started with nothing less than level 3 walls, preferably level 4 walls. This is because the level 14 Bomber can one-shot any wall, level 3 or lower. There’s a real debate, though, as to what wall level should represent the minimum level at late BH7 into BH8. Since the L16 Bomber will still need two shots (after the Big Bomb ability) for level 4 or higher walls, it’s not necessary to upgrade to level 5 walls to defend against this troop. However, the entire suite of ground attack strategies will strengthen at BH8 and we get the new Super P.E.K.K.A. as well. For this reason, I’ve decided to take my own walls to level 5 by early BH8.