Holy crap there was a lot in this thread. I didn’t read it all, but in the 50% or so I read, I never saw what I deem to be the most problematic aspect of ‘ringers’.
We agree that the majority of wars will be won by defenses, and a defense counts whether ‘successful’ or not.
In Platinum 1, where my team is, most teams have 1-4 300’s, 5-15 200’s, and a mixture of ‘lower levels’ (I lump them because typically their bases are not a point of contention - the 200’s and 300’s can back any attacker and 5 flame the ‘lower levels’ bases first try, no problem, no question).
Where the ‘ringers’ skew things is precisely by the defenses, but not in the way I’ve seen it argued. A ringer with obsidian dragons can wipe out the majority of platinum 1 bases I’ve encountered, even fully defended. The ‘problem’ is that, without these ringers, the attackers would likely have to be very strategic, wave, and often repeatedly attack the stronger bases to get the 5 flames… but some ringer can come in and wipe it out defended on the first try, so what would normally take 2 attacks (conversely 2 defense points or more) is now possible with only 1. Ultimately, a ringer can come in and wipe out the main 1-10 bases only allowing 1 defense point each - but without that ringer, there could have been numerous repeated attacks, accounting for numerous defense points.
I think the higher league you are in, the less likely this is to happen to you. I happens to us in P1 very rarely, but it does happen - usually by teams who are completely outgunned and shouldn’t be there to begin with, so the tactic has been very hit and miss from my limited experience.
Do I think it’s ‘dirty’ - yes, absolutely. Is it prevalent enough to stop the presses and devote dev time to - not from my limited experience… Just my $.02.