upgrading heroes in clash of clans

Upgrade Heroes Correctly

Upgrading your Heroes is, on one hand, the most important thing to do in Clash of Clans and on the other hand also the most frustrating and annoying thing as well. Suit yourself because you will have to do it and there’s no way to avoid it if you want to have fun in Clash of Clans and the longer you wait, the more painful it will get for you. In this post, I’m hoping to show you how to coordinate the Hero Upgrades most efficiently and although there is no way to upgrade and still use them, there are however definitely some things to keep in mind before and during their enhancement.

Upgrading Heroes… Pain & Gain

I want to give you some advice to the different Heroes – on one side the Barbarian King & the Archer Queen and the other two Heroes, the Grand Warden and the Battle Machine in your Builder Base as well.

First I will talk about some upgrade strategy and after that I will give you additional tips regarding farming the needed resources.

Upgrading Barbarian King & Archer Queen

There are lots of questions when it comes to upgrading your Heroes, one of the most important is whether to maintain the Barbarian Kings and Archer Queens level closer together or focus on upgrading one of them individually first?Here are my simple rules for that.

Here are my simple rules for that.


Keep your Heroes Level close together

Why should you keep your ‘Heroes’ Level on par with each other? Well, there are several things that make doing this the better strategy:

  1. Always keep one Hero active, so there is at least either a gallant King or Queen available to do your daily attacks, even if you probably won’t participate in Clan War
  2. Your attacking and defending will not be too unbalanced as would be when one of them is far ahead in Level. Imagine your AQ is Level 30 and your BK Level 10 – when you upgrade your AQ, your BK is much lower that you won’t be able to do attacks on the same level as with your AQ active.
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Additionally, always bear in mind the significance of the ‘Level 5’ steps; each of your Heros will be enhanced either with the Barbarians Kings Iron Fist or the Archer Queens Royal Cloak boosting their potential damage a lot.

upgrade hero corectly graph iron fist dps

You can see the steps the Heroes take above. When for example your Archer Queen is at let’s say Level 17, and your Barbarian King is Level 19, you should consider upgrading the Barbarian King first. Moving up to Level 20 he will obtain the stronger Iron Fist and therefore the bigger boost thus offsetting the alternative value of what the Archer Queen would get moving onto Level 18.

Big Barbarian King Guide
Big Archer Queen Guide

Upgrading the Grand Warden

Well, the Grand Warden is a little bit different in this context since he’s a supportive troop and his upgrades cost Elixir and not Dark Elixir.

grand warden attacking AI target

This allows you to combine the Grand Warden Upgrade along with your Archer Queen or Barbarian King, that’s less downtime when you’re going to Clan War frequently and farming the Elixir along with the Dark Elixir isn’t that big of a deal.

Big Grand Warden Guide

Upgrading the Battle Machine

New base, new Hero. I think most of us rolled their eyes when just hearing about a new Hero that will start an upgrading grind all over again.

battle machine tanking

Well, the Battle Machine is so far a relatively easy to upgrade Hero and upgrading it to Level 5 will be enough as the damage boost from Level 10 is not that big at all – all you need is the ability for now.

The Battle Machine has another big advantage when it comes to upgrading it – it will not be available during Versus Battles but the upgrading time with 2 days will let you get your full daily reward.

The daily reward will stack up to 2 days as well so you can just stop attacking during the upgrading time and get the reward on the next day. Read here all about the cooldowns:

Star Bonus & Versus Battle Rewards Cooldown Guide
Big Battle Machine Guide

Replace Upgrading Heroes

The hardest point about upgrading Heroes is not the high costs, it’s the absence during your attacks. They are so powerful, especially Level 30+, that attacking is quite hard without them.

I don’t know one solid War Clan that allows members to opt in for Clan War when one of their Heroes is upgrading, so skipping Clan War is something you will need to do during the upgrading period – keep in mind that this will not only be for your, it will also help your clan because they don’t have to give you additional support as you’re weak without all your Heroes.

On lower levels, you can try to farm enough Dark Elixir to make both Hero upgrades at the same time, but at the higher levels you will need to take your break.

For those who want to wait with Hero upgrades until Supercell will allow the usage of upgrading Heroes in Clan War:

Mythbuster! Before every update, there are tons of rumors that Supercell will let us use upgrading Heroes in Clan War, but they have been fake every single time.

In fact, gemming the Hero upgrade time because of Clan War is one of the biggest income streams for Supercell, so chances that they will allow us to use upgrading Heroes is less than 1%

Don’t wait with the Hero upgrades, every one has to do it at one point!

Farming the Dark Elixir!

Farming the Dark Elixir is not only a lot of work, but it is also hard because most of you will have some Hero upgrade running right now – so you’ll need:

  1. An attacking strategy that doesn’t cost a lot of Dark Elixir
  2. This attacking strategy need to get you at least 1 & 2 Star attacks with only 1 Hero available
  3. A base that protects Dark Elixir

I have two great attacking strategies for you:

Farming with Goblin Knife
Farming with Baby Dragons (BabyLoon)


If you’re looking for some base designs to use, always check out if they are having the Dark Elixir Storage in the core and well-protected. You can find some here alog with some more Dark Elixir defending tips:

Dark Elixir Farming Tips and Base Designs


Upgrading your Heroes is the biggest challenge in Clash of Clans – this will take you so much time and effort, but with some structure and endurance, you’ll be able to do it. Don’t lose your goal and I’ll promise you after a couple of weeks you’ll get used to it.


PS: Before hating in the comments that Heroes should be available during Clan War, please mind that I would love to see that but it’s Supercell’s decision to not do it. Thanks

Please share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂



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  1. Hey bud! Can u please give an army composition with no clan castle troops and spells cuz my clan doesn’t even donate me even if it’s for war! I wish to upgrade my heroes fastly. please heed to my situation!

    • Without donations it’s pretty hard to be honest… I don’t want to be the guy recommending this but maybe you should go to a more active and social clan to get donations.
      It’s extremely hard to make the best when you’re missing the 15% extra power from your Clan Castle…

  2. Hey Tim..thanks for the advice about the heroes..but i have a question…i have maxed th9 defense and now working on walls and lab simultenously…my heroes are how ever at lvl 15 …if i go to th10 would i still be safe?

    • I would recommend to get your Heroes to 20-25 at least as the grind at th10 is huge and you will not have a lot of fun if you have too many hero levels left.
      I went to TH10 back in the days (I think 2014 or so) with 15/15 Heroes and I was regretting it for such a long time! No it should be even harder…

  3. Hey Tim..thanks for the advice about the heroes..but i have a question between the two BK and AQ whose level should be higher..

  4. Also moving up in leagues helps too. Over Masters 3 the league bonus for dark elixir starts getting significantly large. For example, I’m a th9 currently sitting at Masters 1. The league bonus for Masters 1 is 900 dark elixir. All my dark troops are maxed out and I have been doing back to back hero upgrades for last 2 months without ever falling short of DE.

  5. When the king is being upgraded, pekka can act as king-replacement. Pekka is especially useful when the archer queen is lurable (to be killed first), but pekkas’ survivability is much lower than the king. With the new level 7 heal spell, you could use heal to boost pekkas’ survivability.

    When the queen is being upgraded, there’s no replacement. Some say 1 dragon, but dragons get killed by air defence easily. It makes sense to do an all-air-troops attack at clan war, and avoid ground troops. You can send in a “suicidal king” at the beginning to get rid of 1 air defence.

  6. I am TH9 with only 5 BK and 5 AQ Upgrades left to be maxed. I have found barch (132 barbs, 80 archers and 4 wall breakers) farming dead bases extremely effective. I do not find any need for castle troops or spells to get at least 1 star. I easily average over 10K DE per day. The key is dead bases with lots of loot which can require patience.

  7. My strategy to obtain resources when upgrading a hero is attacking abandoned bases with 5 giants/20 goblins/2 wallbreakers and 191 archers, combined with a low level of trophies. Plunder the desolated full mines, drills and pumps at the edge of these bases! Most times I obtain one star with this approach. In the case I have to many trophies I ‘ll attack only with the hero left and pull it back directly after I put it in, just to drop. Not really sophisticated but very effective.
    I’m a mid range TH11 now, AQ is upgrading to level 45, BK is level 40 and GW is level 11. Both inferno’s are going to level 4. So I can state it works 🙂

  8. I have a maxed th9. I am working on walls now. Only other thing left is heros. How high should I take them before moving to th10

    • Hi Chris,
      I personnaly recommend you to max them out to 30/30. I did the same and for me it was the best descision. I also maxed out all walls and Lab, so everything before moving to TH10.

      • Hi nooby2!

        how long did it take you to fully upgrade?
        I have finished all defences around christmas and was working on the walls and Heroes simultanously. The walls were finished very fast and right now I maxed the BK the AQ is on her merry way as well.
        Also I think the best way is to use Goblin Knife, 10 Giants, 6WB, 30 Archers and Rest Goblins. 2 jumps, 1 heal 1 rage and 1 poison.

    • If you want to do yourself a favor you want them on 30/30 because it’s a lot easier to farm at TH9 compared to TH10 (and the beginning is the hardest because you don’t have your troops upgraded and lose all defenses).
      The very limit is at least 25/25, but I wouldn’t upgrade to TH10 if they are lower.

  9. I am at TH 7. I have placed my Barbarian King for 20 days. But till now it’s in Level 1. My friend has already upgraded it to 5 at only 25 days. I think he’s using gems. But I’m in so bad condition. I can’t get the Dark Elixir in war,because I attack in only TH 6. I am also so weak in attacking. What should I do now?

    • you will have to farm with expensive elixir troops because you will need to go to the middle of the opponent’s town. at th7 you cant farm both elixir and dark elixir at the same time, the matchmaking will match you against strong th7 or more with dark or easy th6 with simple elixir… i think you should start with farming the normal and upgrade your troops and camps, then farm the dark one with them, you ll have more chance to reach the reserve. hope it helps

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