Base Upgrade Guide by desTROYer74


This guide is intended to help you decide the best way to upgrade your base in a way that suits your style of gaming.
Rival Kingdoms is unlike any other game in it's genre. The matchmaking and loot system cannot be compared to Clash of Clans or Samurai Siege.
That being said, I can tell you that you will not be punished for prematurely upgrading your Stronghold, or failing to neglect your portals and troop research.

The Honor System

The Honor System plays a part in deciding what bases you're matched up against. In general, all the lowest Stronghold level bases are expected to be at sub-1000 honor, and as expected, the higher the honor, the stronger the bases.
In other games you can easily drop honor to farm the easy bases, however that's not as likely to happen due to the Battle Stone system (1 attack every 20 minutes).

Here's a hypothetical table of where you might expect to find each decent Stronghold level to be:

SH1-3 SH4-6 SH7-10 SH11-15
Honor 0 - 500 501 - 2,000 2,001 - 4,000 4,001 - 5,000+

The longer the win streak, the greater the honor you can gain per win.
Losing at a lower streak is also costly, so there can be quite a large variation in honor level depending on the players skill level.

How the honor system may work:

Your honor: 1,500 (pre-mature SH9 with maxed offense, low defense)

Win Streak Enemy Honor level Honor Win / Lose
0 3,000 3 / -26
1 3,000 5 / -24
2 3,700 7 / -22
3 3,700 9 / -20
4 4,200 9 / -20
5 4,600 10 / -19
6 4,400 9 / -20
7 4,500 12 / -17
8 4,600 14 / -15
9 4,200 15 / -14
10 4,400 16 / -13
11 4,800 20 / -9
12 4,800 30 / -1

As you can see, the amount of honor you can gain/lose is mostly about the win streak, and not about the difference between your/enemies honor levels. The matchmaking is based on your offensive power vs. the enemies total building strength, hence why you may end up being matched against someone at much higher honor.

Note: the higher your honor, the smaller the honor gains.

The Loot System

In Rival Kingdoms, there is a minimum available loot amount based on your Stronghold level, and also a maximum amount you can raid which is based on your win streak.
The higher your level of Stronghold, the better the minimum loot. Likewise, the higher your win streak, the more loot you can potentially raid too.
You can check the Loot by Stronghold Level table on the multiplayer page.

Offense Matchmaking

When you're at a low win streak, the bases your'e matched with are generally easier, you should have a higher probability of winning.
This is done by matching your offensive power against the total building strength of the enemy base.
If you have not upgraded your troop portals or troops, then you can expect to find lower Stronghold levels with minimal buildings/levels. These low level bases are also expected to have smaller Gold Storage capacity and low level smelters, so the loot you get is probably going to be the minimum amount.
As you progress to longer win streaks, the bases get tougher. Once again this is matched by your bases offensive power vs. the total building strength of the enemy base, this is not matched by Stronghold level at all. A Stronghold level 7 with 1 defense could have around the same defensive strength as a Stronghold level 2 with similar buildings.

Other factors that affect matchmaking:

  • If you haven't played for a while (> 1 day?), you tend to start off with easier matches (bases with lower building strength and/or lower honor).
  • If you're failing to reach decent win streaks, or losing several attacks in a row, the matchmaking will start giving you easier bases. This will revert back once you start winning a few attacks.

You should be able to manage at least a 7 streak, so failing to reach this may result in easier matches for a while.

Defense Matchmaking

Similar to offense, the people that attack your base will depend on their offensive power, your total base building strength, and the win streak of the attacker.
You might get attacked by a strong player on a low win streak, or by a weaker player on a high win streak.
You can expect to get varying defensive results regardless of how strong your base is.

In a nutshell: upgrading your Stronghold gives better minimum loot, however failing to upgrade your offense will result in being matched with the same strength of bases, therefore minimum loot is probably all you're going to get.
Getting a minimum 5,000 Gold at SH7 is still a far better bet than a maximum of 630 Gold at SH2!

I'm sure many of you are asking yourself "So why not just rush my Stronghold?".
Well that's one of the reasons why Rings were implemented.
Starting from Stronghold level 5 upgrade, upgrades will cost Gold and Rings.
Rings are a premium currency which will restrict the pace you can upgrade your base, which ultimately forces you to do more attacks to acquire them.
There's many ways you can earn these, such as Quests, Individual Tournament, Kingdom Leagues (Arrow and above), winning Multiplayer attacks (at SH4 onwards), and of course purchasing with Diamonds.

Max or Rush?

Rushing your Stronghold means to upgrade your Stronghold much earlier than all the buildings and troops have reached their maximum level.
Both rushing your Stronghold, or maxing everything first has it's pros and cons.
Maxing your base prior to upgrading the SH will mean your base is harder to defeat during Kingdom Wars, however being stuck on the same SH level for a long period of time will yield lower minimum loot and less Rings per win (PvP/Tournament).
The opposite can be said for upgrading your SH prematurely.
You could also meet somewhere halfway in the middle, where you focus on maxing your offensive powers first, then upgrading your SH.
Let's have a look at these different scenarios where 3 bases chose different upgrade paths:

Base 1: maxed both offense/defense at each SH level prior to upgrading the SH.
Made it to SH6 and 1,500 honor with a maxed offense/defense.
The base will be beatable during Kingdom Wars by other SH5+ players, as well as the base is capable of beating maxed SH7-8 bases during wars.
In PvP, you'll be matched with easy bases, finding a minimum of 3,000 Gold, and likely to find up to 17,000 - 23,000 Gold.
It will find 3-7 Rings depending on win streak, winning a 12 streak might be tough, and winning an Individual Tournament will take some skill (40 Rings for 2nd-14th place).

Base 2: maxed only offense at each SH level, then immediately upgraded SH when they had enough Rings.
Made it to SH8 and 1,500 honor with maxed offense and weak defense.
The base will be beatable during Kingdoms wars by all players, however the base is capable of beating maxed SH9-10 bases during wars.
In PvP, you'll be matched with easy bases, finding a minimum of 9,000 Gold, and possibly 80,000 - 106,000 Gold that an SH8 is capable of finding (at higher streaks).
It will find 4-9 Rings depending on win streak, winning a 12 streak might be tough, and winning an Individual Tournament will take some skill (80 Rings for 2nd-14th place).

Base 3: Upgraded the SH only, neglecting both offense and defense, and bought Rings to quickly upgrade the SH.
Made it to SH9 and 1,500 honor with weak offense and defense.
The base will be beatable during Kingdom wars by all players, and the base is only capable of beating a maxed SH4 base during wars.
In PvP, you'll be matched with very easy bases (due to weak offense), finding a minimum of 18,000 Gold, but likely never to see the 120,000 - 172,000 loot an SH9 is capable of getting, due to the offensive power rating.
It will find 5-10 Rings depending on win streak, winning a 12 streak might be tough, and winning an Individual Tournament will take some skill (80 Rings for 2nd-14th place, 40 Rings for 15th-29th place).


Base1 gets to enjoy the game as a whole, being a useful member during Kingdom Wars in both offense and defense. They are more likely to be a valued member of a kingdom, potentially winning more Gold/Rings from wars. The Gold and Rings from PvP/Tournament will be lower than what a premature base is capable of getting. It may be hard to get longer than 12 streaks without battle boosts and/or kingdom troops. SH6 upgrades will be slow due to the low loot available (3,000 minimum, up to 17,000 at 0 streak, and up to 23,500 at 12 streak).

Base2 will be a valuable member during Kingdom Wars since they are more capable of scoring well, however the base is a liability on defense (if they are unlucky enough to be put in the kingdom line-up). Due to the SH level they will see better minimum loot, and the extra offensive strength will find better Gold from stronger villages. It may be hard to get longer than 12 streaks without battle boosts and/or kingdom troops. SH8 upgrades will be very easy to afford (9,000 minimum, 80,000 at 0 streak, and up to 106,000 at 12 streak).

Base3 will be totally useless during Kingdom Wars, for both attack and defense. However they make up for the loss in Rings from winning Individual Tournaments. The higher SH level will also provide much better minimum loot (but that's probably all they'll find), but also see better Rings per win. It may be hard to get longer than 12 streaks without battle boosts and/or kingdom troops. SH9 upgrades will be easy to afford with 18,000 minimum Gold. After offense is upgraded, they'll see up to 120,000 at 0 streak, and up to 172,000 at 12 streak.


Pick an upgrade path that suits your play style.
You might choose to go with Base3, then switch to Base1 style, then later swith to Base2. Most of the time your Rings will dictate your decisions.
If you don't mind buying some Rings at the start, I would definitely consider Base3, then switch to Base2. Having a high level premature SH will certainly help you to start earning decent amounts of Gold and Rings, which in turn will help you rapidly upgrade your defense and offense.
Once you've reached a higher level Stronghold that earns more rings from Multiplayer attacks, you could spend your Diamonds on Battle Stones to earn Rings faster (it's cheaper than buying Rings outright).

Upgrading Offense

There's quite a lot of offensive upgrades to work on. More Troop Portals, Troop Portal upgrades, Kingdom Portal, Blacksmith (enhance troops), Barracks (unlock new troop types), Ancient Shrine, and the Dragon Roost.
You might be overwelmed with the choices! Let me try and prioritise these, and explain the reasons why.

Not all of these can be built right from the start, however here's my order of priority:
1. Build the Dragon Roost. This would definitely be my first choice, however you can't build one until you've found your first dragon, which might be at SH4 (see: Tracking Foreveil). It's the only offensive 'troop' that you have control of after you deploy in battle. Dragons can deal large amounts of buildings during it's sweep, snipe outside buildings to clear a path, and also potentially take down the Stronghold from a safe distance.
2. Build more Troop Portals. Having extra squads to deploy is a high priority, since you have control over where they start attacking from. Building that 4th Troop Portal at SH6 will definitely help you out a lot.
3. Build the Kingdom Portal. This will be unlocked at SH4 once you join a Kingdom. 1 extra squad to attack with will surely be a big help at lower SH levels, however you'll need to donate to other members too, so it can be a strain on your Gold. Best kept for tough bases and wars.
4. Build/Upgrade the Blacksmith. This will allow you to research troops to make them stronger. The beauty about researching troops is that it doesn't require a builder. Try and research troops as soon as you can afford to, since their HP and damage may increase by 10-20%! Set priority to whichever troops you are using the most of.
5. Upgrade the Ancient Shrine. Each upgrade might allow you to enhance your ancients for another 5 levels. Spells are a major factor for offense (and defense on Spell Towers), make sure you upgrade the dragon on your roost, and your favourite ancients you use during battle.
6. Upgrade Troop Portals. Having more space for troops in your portals may allow for a larger squad size, however do note that increasing the size from 4 to 5 will not be of much benefit if you're using Maulers or Paladins, which take 2 space each. Maulers will become more beneficial at SH6 when you can fit 3 in each Troop Portal.
7. Upgrade the Dragon Roost. Reducing the Cooldown on the Dragon sweeps can make a huge difference. It could mean your dragon gets killed waiting for cooldown, or having that 1 extra sweep which freezes/damages/distracts a large amount of buildings.
8. Upgrade the Barracks. The Soldier and Warden will get you through a lot of lower Stronghold levels (you can live without the Mana Hunter and Mauler, but they do have their advantages), however once you reach SH7, you'll definitely want to unlock the Paladin!

The Soldier is a very solid troop, it takes 50% less physical damage, which is pretty much the bulk of the defenses you'll come against at lower SH levels. The Warden makes a great support troop for the Soldier. You can get away with just these 2 troop types until SH7.

Upgrading Defense

Defense isn't a major factor of PvP (until you reach The Arena), since the stronger the base building strength, the stronger the opponents your base will attract.
You may get attacked by weaker players on long streaks (good chance of winning), or by strong players on low streaks (good chance of losing).
Kingdom Wars however, is where defense really counts!
There's so many defenses to choose from, so which defenses are worth building/upgrading first?
Well it's hard to put a definitive order on the defenses since they slowly become available at different SH levels, and each having their own purpose, but I can give you an overview of each.

1. Primus Conduit. When over-charged, this defensive structure can boost the attack speed of up to 4 connected defenses by over 40%. Level 1 should be good enough to begin with, since increasing the level mostly adds HP, but it also adds a drastic increase in Gold to charge it. Just note that due to the low HP it is vulnerable from being destroyed with dragon sweeps and spells.
2. Catapult. These are great for crowd control, especially at lower SH levels when enemies have limited squads at their disposal. Their long range makes them hard to reach, so make sure you surround them with other buildings.
3. Arrow Launcher. This is also great for crowd control, even longer range than the catapult. These have the added advantage or reaching Wardens hiding behind Soldiers.
4. Flare Tower. This defensive building is quite deadly, with it's high powered single target attacks. Most people don't realise that it feeds on spells they drop, causing it to ricochet to 3 targets. A must-have for SH14!
5. Watch Tower. These defenses do high damage to a single target. They will be very useful for reducing enemy numbers, one by one. Watch Towers are most handy against protecting your buildings from being sniped by the Dragon (roost).
6. Spell Tower. These defenses are great for crowd control. Since they do magic damage, they are good at taking down squads of Soldiers, which take 50% less physical damage. Increasing their level adds more HP and reduces the cooldown. Spell towers draw most of their powers from the ancient you have attached to it, so make sure you focus on levelling up those ancients.
7. Skywatcher. This air-only defense is for crowd control. It does high damage to a squad of troops (Mana Hunters), but not that effective against Dragons (roost). I would recommend building them for sure, for the sake of deterring Mana Hunters. Level 1 would be good enough to begin with.
8. Bunker. These spawn Soldiers (and Elementals during certain events). They can be very useful at killing troops that are latched onto your stronghold, since troops won't retaliate until their current target is destroyed. Usually, the bunker is just useful for stalling an attack, similar to how a Flash Freeze Spell Tower would.
9. Walls. Walls play a vital part in controlling the enemies troops. The higher the wall level, the more likely a troop may try and target an unwalled building. They are important, however I would set them to a low priority.

Recommended upgrade path

I strongly recommend to rush straight to SH4. All you need to do is upgrade your Gold Storage so you can hold enough Gold to upgrade your Stronghold.
Once you reach SH4, you'll be required to save 150 Rings to upgrade to SH5. First, upgrade your Gold Storage so you can hold 16,000 Gold.
If you're willing to spend diamonds on Rings, I would advise to raid 16,000 Gold, then upgrade your SH to level 5 (select your Stronghold then 'upgrade to Level 5', you'll be prompted to buy the missing Rings).
If you're willing to raid the 150 Rings, then you can start to spend your Gold on (listed in order of preference):

  1. Build the Blacksmith.
  2. Troop Portal Upgrades (while Blacksmith is building).
  3. Upgrade Soldiers and Wardens from the Blacksmith to increase their stats.
  4. Obtain Foreveil by completing the Tracking Foreveil missions (once all the above is complete).
  5. Build the Dragon Roost (you need to claim the quest reward to receive Foreveil/Dragon before it will allow you to build it).
  6. Upgrade the Gold Storage so you can hold at least 25,000 Gold.
  7. Upgrade the Ancient Shrine.
  8. Upgrade the Barracks to unlock more Troop types.
  9. Upgrade the Dragon Roost to reduce the sweep cooldown.

Next, upgrade your SH to level 6. this will give you your 4th Troop Portal, a big advantage. You can either upgrade Gold Storage, save the Gold, then buy the missing Rings, or work on maxing your offense while you raid for the 280 required Rings.
At SH7 you'll be able to unlock the Paladin (heals other troops), this is the next big advantage in offense. If you want to rush further ahead, then SH7 is a good place to be.
The 5th Troop Portal is at SH9, so you can choose your own destiny from here on. I would definitely focus on maxing offense first at each new level.

Tip: Don't build Gold Smelters! It will become difficult to design your base to protect them all, they will end up being an easy 1 mana, which in turn can be used against you. The amount of Gold you get from Raids far outweighs the benefits of having Gold Smelters.