I said this about a year ago, and I seem to get confirmation of what I expected. Plarium wants us all to have huge armies and I'm talking billions of troops here. Of each troop type of course. That is why they introduced the new gear and that is why league of asgard challenges (troop creation, troop upgrades for influence increasing> have gone to the edge of achievability, unless you spend spend spend. And of course eat and sleep with your vikings game next to you.
I also said Plarium doesn't like small clans and that also proves to be right. One single level 40 bests a small clan without a lvl 40 effortlessly. A lvl 38 and 39 are no match. And if they can get reputes, it's not even worth the dust to start up a Siege. Even one of those fancy new town skins or hero skins won't help. Your troops are toast and you can pour in as much as you like. Opponents are also getting skilled in timing their attack, so it gets really hard to earn soul shards from SH Siege other than some measely shards from getting beaten to pulp by a lvl 40.
The league of asgard also attacks people with multiple accounts. Asgard events are tough and take a lot of time or power/boosts/energy/whatever. It's so bad that I have declined to raise my main account to lvl 37 up to today just to be able to gather enough rune coins to get some of those town skins because I know I would have quit the game by now if I was in the league of asgard with it. I just won't do it. My other account is a lvl 39 and I pass on the large majority of events due to too expensive/time consuming. I never thought it would come to this.
Now there is a lot I like about the recent upgrades, but most of it has side effects that make me decline to play on the level Plarium wants me to play, and believe me I have loads of time to play, but there is no fun in wasting time for under-rewarded events. Asgard events need 2,5 times the requirements of Odin, but the rewards in rune coins are just 20 percent higher. No thanks.