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Troop Health vs. Troop Defence: Which is Better?

troop-health-vs-defenceNote: This article has been replace by the Guide to Combat Boosts which uses a more updated version of the battle calculator.

Which is better troop health or troop defence ? It’s an obvious question, we are constantly having to choose between the two. What should I research next? What gear should I build?

MZ has not given us much information to inform our decision so I thought I would do some maths to work out which is superior and under what circumstances.

The Short Answer: Troop Health is better in the situations that matter most.

I will go on to explore the specifics, but very roughly speaking, Troop Health is the direct counter to an opponent’s Troop Attack. All else being equal, if an opponent has 800% Troop attack then having 800% Troop Health will result in a draw. Where-as 800% Troop Defence in this scenario would leave you much, much worse off.

Troop Defence is better if you are facing a weaker opponents and is a legitimate option if you all do is port around stomping weaker opponents. Troop Defence saves a small but fixed number of troops, and if your losses are small it can even save 100% of your troops.

Troop health on the other hand saves a proportion of your troops, and if your losses are large, the number of troops saved can be enormous.

First lets take a look at a scenario where you are a little stronger than your opponent:

 Your are Stronger

  Troops Losses
You 300k 4k
Opponent 150k 32k


And now, your losses as you increase the different boosts:

Troops Lost

Boost Level 0% 50% 100% 200%
4k 2.7k 2k 1.3k
4k 2.2k 0.7k 0


As you can see, defence boost is much more effective in this scenario. It saves ALL your troops at a relatively low boost level. No level of Troop Health will achieve that. However, the losses are small regardless – even with no boosts you are only losing a little over 1% of your army. This is helpful if you are raiding a hive of weak opponents as all those 1%s can add up, but let’s look at the situation where your opponent is stronger (or more specifically, has high attack relative to your defence):


Your Opponent is Stronger

  Troops Losses
You 100k 32k
Opponent 300k 4k


And now, your losses as you increase the different boosts:

Troops Lost

Boost Level 0% 100% 200% 400%
32k 16k 10.7k 6.4k
32k 29k 26k 20k


Wow. At 200% Troop Health boost is saving 66% of your troops, where as Troop Defence is saving just 25%.

Fundamentally, as opponents get stronger and stronger by building full sets of core and relic gear, troop health is the only way to compete. The real icing on the cake is that many of the Troop Defence boosts are split between troop types making it harder to build for a balanced army.

There is absolutely a place for burning the weak, and Troop Defence will help with that, but as you progress into the game it becomes about taking tactical hits from huge rallies and leading your own rallies against the big guys. And just to come back to the original scenario, imagine you and your your opponent have equal armies. Your opponent has 800% troop attack and you can choose either 800% Defence Boost or 800% Health Boost. Let’s look at the outcomes:


 300k vs. 300k

No Boost 300k
With 800% Defence Boost 234k
With 800% Health Boost 34k


800% Attack Boost is enough to wipe your entire army. 800% Defence saves 66k troops. 800% Health Boost saves nearly your entire army. Leave that defence boost at home.

Note: This article has been replace by the Guide to Combat Boosts which uses a more updated version of the battle calculator.

About the author

Slaggy, founder of insidegameofwar.com and all around game enthusiast.

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  1. Are we looking from a defending point of view or attacking point of view or equal point of view eg tile

  2. yen/yang!! im a 3 bil rally leader.. and from experience every defence has an equal offence and every offence has an equal defence.. the way you design your army is your own.. it will work on alot of players but has the opposite effect also/always!! debuffs is the key ~Rob@430

  3. Hey Slaggy.
    What’s better troop health or individual troop health? Like frost lords armor has 100% troop health and fire age autumn had 40% infantry, cavalry and ranged health. So which would you use for a mini trap? And really which one offers more actual overall health?

  4. Can you do an update on this article. Has MZ changed the mechanics since then.


  5. Hey I want to set skill points can anyone point me in right direction

  6. I’m getting closer to a power level where I can stay unshielded at night. Let’s say I have 10m t4 and 15m t3. What gear should I wear while offline for the night? Should I focus on troop attack, troop health or troop defense?

    • Personally I don’t think anyone should be offline or away from the game without a shield. No one is beyond being zeroed. But if you have no choice at least make sure your hero is in fighting gear. People are less likely to hit then.

  7. Are the number of troops lost in a draw at 800% boosts the same as if you would have a draw at 0% boosts?

  8. Hi.., let’s says I have 4 mill t4 at home and take full 2.375 t4 rally with really nice core and relic. In this situation I need to concentrate on my defense boost because I have more troops. Is that right.? Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Profile photo of Slaggy

      Hi, I’d say as a rule of thumb you need to be looking at 10x the number of troops for defence boost to become better. So I’d focus on attack/health until you get closer to 20mil troops.

  9. What about a straight troop attack vs troop defense?
    Also, with all the new trap gear, I’m wondering if traps are more powerful than people think.

  10. I have run similar testing and have come the con conclusion that comparing an apple to an orange proves an apple is better than an orange. However, what is actually a better comparison is fruit salad mix.. setting analogies aside what you actually need is BOTH health and defense boost as they protect different things… Defense eliminates a certain about of “damage” from occurring whereas health increases the amount of damage it takes before deaths occur.

    So what would be a more appropriate test is as follows. If I have 1000% to apply to health and defense what mix should I use 50-50 or 60-40 etc….

    From my experience the answer is 60-40 Health to defense. However, this is changing with the release of rebuff relics/core that allows you to reduce players health and defense boosts. Given this I would suggest moving to an equal mix.

    Happy Hunting -ForFree

  11. How are you boosting just straight troop attack to 800%. All cores ?

  12. I have a few concerns about this article. I see relatively little proof that these numbers are accurate. For example, to achieve a boost of 800% defense you are most likely going to have to equip relics/cores in your testing. Is this what you have done? Also, your first test is 300k vs. 150k while the second test is 100k vs 300k. This means each players boosts are different, nullifying the results. I would like to see a bit more legitimate proof. Thanks

    • Profile photo of Slaggy

      Hi, these results were produced by the battle calculator. I have noticed some quirks as to how boosts are applied however (it is looking like defence boost actually boosts troop health as well) and want to investigate further. I have added a disclaimer to the top of the article.

  13. What about health vs attack when choosing gear, gems, etc? Balanced or are there scenarios where one trumps the other?

    • Profile photo of Slaggy

      Hi, it is very situational so can’t offer definitive advice. There are situations where you want to inflict as much damage as possible and others where keeping your troops alive is your priority. I will be writing a guide to combat boosts which should help answer your question.

  14. In what situations would troop defence be better than health?

    • Profile photo of Slaggy

      Hi, as mentioned in the article it is better when your opponent is much much weaker than you. For example when attacking someone who doesn’t have a hero (e.g. on tiles) or raiding hives of lower power players.

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