You should be careful not to make the following common mistakes:
Check your own calculations with the automated calculator (premium account holders) to help prevent some of these mistakes.
The best way to find targets is simply to look through the realms for potentials just over 75% your land size. Attacking targets above 75% your size brings many benefits, such as -50% construction costs on the conquered land as well as prestige gains. Networth is often used as an indicator of how viable a target might be, but remember that it can also be deceptive. Defensive mods are not counted in networth, and thus a dominion with very low networth can still have excellent defense (eg if it is an explorer with full guard towers and walls). Also, attackers will rarely have low networth. When a potential target is found a clear sight should be done first, to reveal if a dominion is an attacker or explorer. A barracks spy should then be done if the dominion is an attacker.
Try to avoid attacking without gathering your target's full information. This includes a clear sight, survey dominion, and castle spy for any possible target. In addition barracks spies must be done on attackers, and land spies for races with terrain-dependent units such as Wood Elf or Sylvan. Clairvoyances can be useful when cast on a realm with many potential targets, as it reveals which are out attacking, and saves you the trouble of many barracks spies. You should also check your own town crier for any dominions that have invaded your realm who could be potential targets.
As mentioned earlier, however, there are some cases where it may be necessary to attack without full information. See scenario 5 of the previous section.
As for revelation, most players will assume their target has Ares Call (or their racial defense spell) active unless given reason to believe otherwise, and thus don't bother with a revelation. You can usually just do this as well. However, if a dominion is an explorer and has very high resources stockpiled in their clear sight, you should try to get a revelation. High resources mean the dominion has most likely not logged in for a while, and Ares Call could be off.
You need spies and wizards to gather all this information and calculate your attacks, so keep at least 0.50 to 1 spies per acre and the same amount of wizards per acre. If you keep failing most attempts then keep training spies and wizards.
You should join the elite guard (under the government page) as an attacker, to prevent much larger dominions from preying on you as well as much smaller ones from pestering you with spells/ops. You must first join the royal guard, and then the elite guard, and none of this can be done in the first five days of the round. Explorers should never join the elite guard as this imposes a large penalty on explore costs.
Lastly, attacking right OOP is a bit of an exception to some of the above rules. For the first day or two out of protection you should look for targets based purely on networth. Look for dominions with extremely low networth, as this means they are inactive and/or were not online to train their troops in time and have come out of protection with little to no defense. Its also a good idea to run 6% temples if attacking out of protection so you don't have to bother with any of your presumably-inactive targets have Ares Call on or not. The temples will cancel it either way.
- Forgetting forest havens (10 RAW defense each)
- Forgetting the 5% racial defense bonus for Orc and Lycanthrope
- Forgetting that some races have spells that give more than a 10% defensive bonus (eg Halfling Defensive Frenzy is 20%, Icekin Blizzard is 15%)
- Forgetting that some races have specs that are not 3 points. For example, Wood Elf Longbowmen are 4 on defense.
- Forgetting to turn on your own offense spell (as with Goblins, Kobolds, Human, and many other races)
- Forgetting to consider if a target possesses a wonder of the world, which may either give defense bonuses (eg Great Wall) or make clear sights inaccurate (eg Spire of Illusion)