There are three levels of offense in tribalwars. Village level offense, player level offense and tribe level offense. The key to being a successful player is optimize all three of these levels in terms of efficiency. All operate independent of each other and are all essential.
Village level offense
On the village level, the most important part of building offense is building the strongest army possible as quickly as possible. Offensive armies should be made up of three units, Axes, Light Cav and Rams. Looking at the statistics for each unit, axes are by far the strongest offensive unit produced in the baracks, the light cav are the strongest unit produced by the stable and rams are essential, which I will talk about later.
It should easy to see that axes are better than spears/swords for attacking. But what about light cav over heavy cav? The key here is in farm space. For every two hcav that you build, you can build three lcav. When you build a full army, lcav are the better unit to build and far more economical. Rams, rams, rams. I can't stress enough how important it is to use rams for offense. An enemy's wall amplifies their defending ability significantly. The only way to break through heavy defense is with rams.
Now, how many of each should you build? The optimal build ratio is approximately 6000/3000/240 axes/lcav/rams. This assumes that you have a level 25 barracks and level 20 stable. I have heard it over and over again, "but axes are better than lcav", so I should build more axes. I can not stress how misguided this is. It is true that in terms of numeric attacking power, axes are per farm space better for attacking, but there are important considerations. First off, this ratio, 6000/3000/240 is the fastest to build. You will have more armies faster if you build this ratio, which means you can attack more often. Secondly, most players build either an equal number of spears and swords or more swords. They also tend to use hcav which defend like swords.
Since most player's defense's are sword heavy, having a higher lcav ratio is highly adventageous. It is very very rare for a player to build more spears than swords.
Lastly, the 240 rams. This is the optimal number of rams for eliminating the effects of a wall. This is a complicated subject and is unbelievably situational. I will leave this discussion for another chapter. However, it is simple enough to say that you need 235 rams minimum with each attacking army. The extra 5 rams are for faking, which is a part of the next section: Player level offense.
Player Level Offense
First, groups. I recommend that all players have two groups (in addition to others that you might have). "Offense" and "Building Offense". I will explain what I have found to be the most efficient system at building offense both quickly and with as little hassle as possible. Lets face it. The more easily you can do book keeping, the more efficient you will be as a player. A skill that I think a lot of players miss is the ability to change village's groups often and regularly to make their management easier.
Using the "Building Offense" group, if you have all the villages that need to build offense in one group you can easily see which villages are not building and which villages need certain resources. Since each village in this group is functionally doing the same thing, logging onto your account, within a few seconds you can easily do everything that you would need to to ensure that your offense is rebuilding as quickly as it possibly could be. No more remembering villages, no more searching for villages or forgetting which villages need building. Once a village finishes the army that it is building, it should be moved over to the "Offense" group.
Using the "Offense" group, it is easy to see how much firepower you have at your disposal. There are very few instances when you should be attacking without a full army and by grouping your villages this way, you will again be able to see quickly how much offense you have ready to go. This also makes storing bundles easy, because none of the villages in the "Offense" group need resources for building troops, you can easily store bundles in mass with out worries of forgetting a village or having to go through each village one at a time.
Keeping one's offense organized allows that player to become an effective fighting machine. It also allows that player to help other players out. The more under control things are, the more aid can be offered to other people, which leads into tribe level offense.
Tribe Level Offense
Arguably, this section could be several pages long, and maybe when I have a chance (probably when I quit) I will write up a good long version of this with high levels of details and illustrations. But this will have to do.
Of all the places where one can create an advantage, this is by far the largest. With out question, the ability to cordinate multiple players' offenses is the holy grail of this game. Just a few examples of things that I have personally done with the aid of teamate cordination: Noble 56 villages in less than 38 hours with a single account, cause an enemy player to lose more than a million points in less than 48 hours, eliminate players in enemy strong holds.
The easiest way of taking out a large player is through teamwork. Not only is it easier to take them out but it is more efficient. Players are less able to stack or play effective defense if they have to defend against multiple players. The key here is organization. You need a system for assigning or claiming villages. Spreadsheets work well, but there are a lot of options. The point is that everyone should be able to see who is supposed to attacking which villages and people should be able to see which villages they are supposed to noble and which ones they are supposed to stay away from so that their teamates can take them.
A More detailed screenshot
Another huge advantage of working in a team is that you can optimize resources. Many times a player will have excessive offense and few nobles, or the reverse. By being highly organized a team can utilize both player's assets for the good of the tribe. An example of this is in the sample photo above. Most of this kind of teamwork can only be learned by trial and error, but it is well worth it.
Lastly, there is the issue of 'fakes'. Fakes are attacks that are mean to look like an army, but are in fact a single unit designed to 'fake out' another player. Clever use of fakes can be used to mask a tribe's true intentions. By sending fake attacks at neighboring players to a target, those players are far less likely to support the real target. But this is an over simplification. Most good players can see through fake attacks just by looking at them. So how do you make convincing fakes?
I detailed in the village level offense section that each village should have 240 rams and that only 235 should be a part of an army, leaving 5 rams in the village. Lets say that we think that we will need 2 armies to clear a particular village, and we have two offensive villages to work with. By sending two attacks at one village and sending 1 ram at 5 surrounding villages, it is impossible to know which village is really under attack. From a defender's perspective, all they see are 6 villages that have two attacks incoming. If you do this with multiple villages, it becomes almost impossible to decifer and you will be able to clear many villages very quickly.
Another common tactic against good players is the fake noble train. By sending four consecutive single ram attacks, a defender may mistake this for a noble train and hurry defenses to a village that you aren't really planning to attack. An added twist (kudos to burns for teaching me this), if a player is sniping noble trains, you can send an army from one village and then three single ram attacks and then a full army from a second village. To most players, this will look like a clearing army and then a noble train. If the player has been sniping nobles, they will usually remove their defense and let you clear their wall and then put the defense back after the first army hits. By doing this, you will attack their defenses without a wall.
Without teamwork, this game ends up becoming a stalemate. From the recieving end, a well organized offensive is virtually impossible to stop, no matter who the player is. Tribes have virtually infinite time to organize an offensive, meaning that they can cordinate perfectly in battle time. Defensively, while players have a built in advantage (they can stack troops), as a tribe, it is very hard to cordinate on the fly, even if the attack is from long range.
This guide is aimed at players 100k points and up. I doubt someone with fewer than 10 villages will find this guide useful. There are a lot of holes in this guide and a lot of things that I didn't put in. Primarily because this is getting pretty long and because its hard for me to organize my thoughts. Perhaps I will revise this and put in more details later. Any questions and/or comments/feedback is appreciated.