Before I had Training Camp level 11 (TC11), I was desperate for swords and backpacks to train heroes. My training camps sat idle most of the time and I felt like I would never get enough feeders to level up my favorite heroes. Also I kept running out of room for recruits. This all changes the moment I got my first TC11.
Extra Low Cost (ELC) training changes the game. ELC takes no requirements other than 2 recruits and 1000 food. Once you get there, your TCs will never be idle. So, If you need feeder heroes, stop leveling any other buildings, except what you need to get to SH11 and TC11. Research ELC as soon as you can. Stop leveling your houses. You will not need them “stay on target” of your first TC11.
Granted with ELC you only get a 1* or 2* every 2 hours, but that is not its real power. Because it only takes a little food and 2 recruits, you can “deposit” your recruits here and “withdraw” them later. If you houses are full, deposit more to your new recruit bank by increasing the number of ELC training. If you need more recruits, reduce the number of ELC trainings. There is no penalty for this. If you put 100 recruits and 50K food in (50x ELC), you can withdraw 100 recuits and 50K with no “interest”. Only the current running ELC should not be removed. If you cut its training short, you will loose the 1K food and 2 recruits. But you will quickly find that you never need to pull out that last one. You will end up keeping it at a positive balance and it will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week giving you 12 heroes per day.
Now that you have your first TC11, start hitting 8-7 all the time. 8-7 is the best for recruits and uses the least amount of world energy. Other levels are good at other things, but you don’t need that stuff yet. You need recruits now. Keep hitting 8-7 until to get your bank to about 10 days of ELC training (480 recruits). After that, switch to whatever you want to farm for. Finish the season, hunt for backpacks or swords, whatever. But keep depositing you recruits in the bank. It is possible you will never want to level this TC to 12, ever. It is too valuable as a bank, and a higher level does not make it a “better” bank.
At Stronghold 11 you will have 3 training camps. Get you second one to TC11 as fast as you can. When it gets there, fill it with ELC training. It can be a second bank or not. I just fill it with 3 days of ELC and refill when it it gets below 1 day. Other than refilling it, you can forget it until you are ready to move to TC13 or TC19.
Edit: You may want to “pause” leveing one of your TCs at TC4 to act as a food and recuit bank. See below the link to a nice post by @Gryphonknight.
While your second camp is leveling to 11, it is now time to reap the rewards of the bank. This TC only needs to be at lvl 2. It does not needs to be higher yet. Dump your saved swords and backpacks into it, pulling recruits from your bank.
This will create a new problem. You will need more food, lots of it. Now that you do not need to worry about recruit storage, regular farming of 8-7 (or other levels) will give you more swords and backpacks that you have food for.
Summary: Your first is TC11 and is your bank. Your second is also TC11 and is permanently generating ELC heroes. Your third need only be lv2 and used for processing backpacks and swords for now.
You might be tempted to upgrade the third TC to 11 also, but I would recommend holding of for a bit. You probably need more food. If so, point your builders at your farms and the watchtower. Max them. If you keep farming levels, you will run out of food fast. Max your food production now and you will thank me later.
After your food is maxed out (or before), go back to leveling that last TC to 11. While the builders are working save your backpacks and swords. every once and a while take a break from leveling the TC and level something else to let you catch up on lv1 and lv2 training. But you may want to just focus on getting your third to 11.
When you food generation is maxed and you have 3x TC11s, you are cooking with gas. All three of your TCs will be running 24/7 and never idle. If you only run ELC on all three you will get 36 heroes every day. But, let #3 generate ELC heroes until you build up enough backpacks and swords to process and do them in large batches. I turn my phone off for 9 hours at night, so I tend to save to 18 backpacks and dump them while I sleep. I run swords during the day, or rarely save till I get 54 swords (9 hours) and run the while I sleep. Nice present when I wake up.
My (almost) Final notes:
Keep* your TCs running 24/7 with ELC at minimum. Cheap and easy.
I gave an order to things above. This is how I would do it if I needed to do it again. Do it any way you wnat, just get all your TCs to 11.
If you want to level your bank, simple. Withdraw your recruits and deposit them to your “new” bank. No muss no fuss.
You don’t need to level up your houses any more, but you may want to for convenience sake. Your call. I’m at SH20 and recently leveled mine because I bought the second builder for a month and was running out of iron. My houses were the cheapest to upgrade for me.
When switching a TC from ELC to something else, don’t worry about dumping the last ELC training. It is only 1000 food and 2 recruits and you have plenty. I find my sanity starts to go when waiting on a ELC hero it finish so I can drop something else I want more.
After all TCs are at 11, I don’t think you need to level them until your stronghold is at lvl 19. I recommend you focus you builder on other things for quite a while.
Granted some people have different needs and ran lv13, but I skipped it and went to 19 which I love. Most agree that 5-10 is useless once you get to TC 11. Also, TC lvl 12, 14-18 are also useless when you are at TC20. Your results may vary, but everyone agrees that tc 11 is a watershed moment.
Need new heroes? Jump all to TC13, but not your bank. Run Elite training on both and feed from the bank. Same for TC20 or anything you want in-between TC11and TC20.
Edit: The Recruit & Food Bank/Hoards
I am at a point that I am always out of food between leveling heroes and leveling troops. This guide I myopically focused on only a recruit bank. @Gryphonknight pointed out that TC4 has no materiel requirements (like TC11), but it takes 4 recruits and 1500 food. This can be used in the same way as a recruit bank + a food bank. Very cool. He did a great write-up on this. I don't want to include all of his information to keep this short (for me), but I HIGHLY recommend reading his doc also. I leaned a lot from him on a topic I thought I knew a lot about. The depth of this game surprises me and delights me very often.
Hope it helps
Did I get anything wrong? Happy to edit.