Should I Do Town Hall 8.5, 9.5?

Who hasn’t heard of leveling to 8.5 or 9.5? Made popular by OneHive the theory was you only upgrade offense at TH9 and TH10 till maxed and then do defense such that in clan war (which matches based on defense they thought) you would be weighted light (zero defense for TH) but have an offensive right hook similar to Rocky Balboa.

Truth or Fiction?

First let me relay JTJ’s experience with it. In it’s heyday (about 4-6 months ago) we had 3-4 new TH9’s decide doing TH8.5 (not putting up xbows) was a GREAT idea despite my complaining it was idiocy. Over the next five wars we were matched with similar clans in terms of TH9 numbers (no advantage for us) and their TH9 had defenses (advantage them) while 3 of ours looked like TH8’s (advantage them). In each war, the other clan quickly wiped our TH8.5 group in single attacks and then used their left over attacks to work the other TH9’s. We lost 4 out of 10 (we have 150+ wins and were winning about 95% of the time back then). Needless to say the TH8.5 posse quickly ramped their xbows and other TH9 defenses.

Moral of the story, while TH8.5/TH9.5 seems to make sense in theory, reality is you give up stars (by being roadkill for the enemy) and really don’t see easier matchups as a clan. The more of your TH9 group that are setup as TH8.5 it will become more and more apparent.

You can see our current recommended upgrade path here –>

Here are some of my thoughts I have posted on JTJU to questions/thoughts/comments (in bold) from JTJU subscribers asking / talking about it:

  • FICTION — Just do the standard TH8 attacks as, even though you have extra troops/spells/Q, you will match as TH8.   No one knows how the match process works exactly.  Refer to moski’s weighting formula which ‘supposedly’ came from supercell.   What we do know is if you build a war party that has a ton of TH9 that can only effectively 3 star TH8 (that is what TH8.5’s are built to do) you got trouble.  Your TH8 should be 3 starring TH8 all by themselves anyway (they shouldn’t need the TH8.5 nukes).
  • FICTION — Here is a secret,  you can build your 4 AD and lvl it to 6 and it won’t change your war match value….. With the extra walls and traps it will be impossible for a th8 to three star you forcing a 9 or 8.5 to do it.  See point above.   In short, the core flaw of TH8.5 theory is that matching DOES factor in TH and offensive unit levels (or at least we think).  If true, the weight of what you skip in defense upgrades is offset by the weight of the TH upgrade itself and offensive upgrades you are doing instead.  There is no free lunch.  If you are a TH9 you look like a TH9 to the matching formula (with or without xbows).
  • FICTION — A TH8.5 (TH9 w/o defenses) will be matched in war matchmaking with a TH8.  See above.  What we have seen is TH8.5 are treated as TH9.1 (entry level TH9).   So, what a clan running multiple 8.5 will see most of the time is the enemy having similar number of TH9 (counting the 8.5 in that group).  This then leads to the enemy TH9 having a easy ‘roll’ of the 8.5 group (1 attack).  This, in turn, leaves the enemy with more attacks to NUKE TH8 and/or clean up your ‘real’ TH9 bases than you do (as it will take you more than 1 attack to consistently 3 star a TH9.1).  A great base is one that the enemy bleeds attacks on.  A TH8.5 is not a great base — its a horrible base.
  • FICTION — Moskri’s weights/formula looks to be fairly accurate but that’s besides the point.   How could a detailed list of weights by element by level that seems to be used (or were used) by the system to match clans be besides the point?  These weights have more probability in my view (based on leaked code notes supposedly) than opinion of youtubers like OneHive as it at least has some tangible stuff to go along w/ it.  The only missing aspect to Moskri’s weights is the TH weight and other matchmaking factors that might be in play like clan level, weighting based on warmap position, etc.  If you buy into Moski’s #’s you already are agreeing that 8.5 is flawed as the Moski values show that TH ‘weight’ in matchmaking isn’t as simple as 8.5 implies (offense counts).
  • MISLEADING EXAMPLE FROM A TH8.5 ZEALOT — Lets say you have a 25v25 war.  Clan A has 5th10s 10 th9s 3 th8.5s and 7 th8s.   Clan B has 5 th10s 10 th9s and 10 th8s.  Clan B effectively has 9 less attacks than clan A now (a minimum of 6 less attacks) because 6 th8 attacks are now completely useless and 3 th9 attacks will have to be dips. Clan A on the other hand gains an additional 6 th9 level attacks. 7 th8s will easily clear the opposing th8s and the 8.5s can easily clear early 9s. This is a huge advantage.  Do you see where this example leads the reader into the woods?  That’s right — it assumed any TH8.5 (TH9 w/ no defenses) will ALWAYS be counted as a TH8 in matchmaking.   We already know that nobody knows how matchmaking works.  What we do know is that it varies (see JTJ war log as we show who has # advantage at TH10 and TH9).   See how its random?  Translation it has nothing to do w/ TH8.5 (or not).
  • FICTION — TH8.5 bases will result in you having more TH9 than the enemy.  What we found when running 1-3 TH8.5 is that on matchup (we were running 40v40) you periodically (50% of time) would get matched to clans with EQUAL number of TH9 or close.  Making the TH 8.5s a liability (they can’t pull their weight at TH9 and usually our TH8 doesn’t need help).   This is the problem w/ TH8.5.   In theory it sounds good.  In practice it is at best a fuzzy value add.  Could you have won without it?   Did you lose because of it?   We don’t run 8.5 and our win rate is 90%+.  So unless 8.5 makes a notable shift in that win % over say 20 matchups (it didn’t; it made it worse) doing it doesn’t make sense.
  • FICTION — When I’m talking about running 8.5, it’s not long term, it’s just in my Th9 infancy. Why would drop your Xbows on day one, and increase your weight while you essentially still have TH8 defenses and troops. I can agree long term 8.5 is idiotic, but running 8.5 until you get your offenses leveled is smart.   Do you see the fallacy in your statement?  You are assuming offense isn’t in the matchmaking weight.  According to Moskri’s code leak notes offense is included.  Offense counting in matchmaking jives with our experience in JTJ as well.   When we ran 3-4 TH8.5’s we got matched with clans that had equal number of TH9 (including our th9’s setup as th8.5).  Moskri’s theory of matchmaking based on offense/defense (the code leak) is far better intel than the guesses of who knows that offenses isn’t included.  If you agree, one must assume matchmaking will, on average, give matchups that have TH8.5 paired with entry level TH9 on the enemy (not TH8).  The enemy will roll your NAKED (TH8.5) base and move on to nuking and/or hitting TH9.  You will have more trouble w/ your peer in the war as they will have xbows and other defenses you don’t have.  Translation — bad.
  • FICTION — Look here is my matchup (peer enemy base) from my last war.  See?  I have the advantage.  You shouldn’t be interested in your individual matchup or a given war.  That doesn’t matter.  However it does show the allure of the TH8.5 legend.  People look at their peer matchup in a single war and say — wow — I have an advantage.  Must be TH8.5 at work.   INSTEAD you should be looking at all matchups every war and saying — wow — I don’t see benefit to TH8.5 overall.  However I do see a detriment.  After you analyze 10-20 wars in a row — the lack of evidence for (and suggestion of evidence against) in the macro view is compelling.  The stats for a war that you want to track are: how many th8.5s, how many th9 (including th8.5), and how many attacks they needed to produce the TH9 stars they did … counted for both sides.  You should see the enemy scoring slight higher on average on TH9 (as TH8.5 are easy 3 stars) and taking slightly less attacks (for the same reason).  This isn’t good.
  • FICTION — TH8.5 would work if the matchmaking process worked right.  LOL.  TH8.5 doesn’t fail due to bugs in matchmaking.  It fails due to a false premise it is based on.  That premise is that a TH9 without defenses looks, to the matchmaking system, like a TH8.  Reality — it doesn’t.  It looks like a TH9.
  • CASE STUDY — WAR in JTJ2.  So I just went to JTJ2 (9/4) and they were losing.  I started watching video for callups (part of Friday routine).  Then I noticed the enemy had TH8.5 bases (3 of em).  I was like … interesting … is this why they are winning?  So then I went to JTJ2’s side and checked their TH9.  They had six TH8.5.  Yowza.  So my first question, based on this, was what was the TH counts?   In short it was even.  JTJ2 had 1/20/12/2 and the enemy had 1/20/13/1 (th10/9/8/7).  So first myth of TH8.5 busted — JTJ2 with 3 extra TH8.5 didn’t get extra TH9 in the matchup overall.  It was dead even.  Defensively JTJ’s TH8.5 had given up 3 2 stars and 3 3 stars — which sounds good till you looked at the attacks.  All ground.  The way to roll a TH8.5 is kch.tdck, penta.  You do that they are dead.  So, good bad there.  On the enemy side their first two TH8.5 were 3 starred by — you guessed it — Penta and the strongest fell to a 3 Golum GoWiPe (w/ max witch gol).  Offensively JTJ2’s TH8.5 didn’t produce a 3 star (but didn’t nuke either).  The enemy, with their 3 TH8.5 attacks, did 2 TH8 nukes for 3* and a wipe of one of our TH8.5 for 3* rest were misses.  So offensively I didn’t see the TH8.5 advantage for JTJ2 although the enemy did a little better one must ask — did TH8.5 enable that?  Answer?  No.
  • FICTION — But if I build XBOWS I will have to attack high TH9 because xbows are heavy.  LOL.  I assume you are talking about how your clan does assignments (sounds like you are attacking your number in the war) and that you perceive that XBOWS have huge weight in the matchmaking system.  Actually they don’t (based on Moskri’s leaked weights anyway —   Regardless, even if they had notable weight versus other stuff in TH8, its the policy for assigning your target that is bad.   Especially if its forcing a TH8.1 to attack TH8.9.  Ideally, assignments are picked by people in their TH level (people know what they can three star).  You can see JTJ’s system here —  If you assign by position on war map (or some # + position) you get these bad assignments.  Instead of trying to make that bad attack assignment policy ‘work’ by embracing the legend of TH8.5 fix your assignment policy.   Better to fix the disease — rather than the symptom — right?