Every now and then there is a contest where you can compete against others on a more individual basis.

The goal is to get as many points as you can, getting 10, 15 or 25 points selecting your opponent.

If you know you can't beat any of them you can select 1, and in the screen before "fight" you can deselect 3 of your 4 generals.

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So choose who to fight

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and push the down arrows highlighted by red in the upper picture.

Should then look something like:

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You'll only get a single point for the battle you lose, instead of 4, but at least this way you don't have to utilize as much food or a recruiting horn for a battle you know you can't win.

Typically the next fight option should give you someone you can beat.

It does depend on who has joined the battle or not. I've had some days as a lvl 100 or so where I was getting a lvl 34 to kill on every 2nd or 3rd time and I've had others where I was in my 90's and only getting 110+ guys that trashed me constantly.