Author: Dalon , 23-03-2017 00:12

Cool map - The Gauntlet - Heroes 7 map

I enjoy this nice map, thank you sir ! And it's cool to have unlimited level :) more...

Author: sandman (south africa), 22-03-2017 23:47

Will test - Angel - Heroes 7 map

Haha the joys of that editor. I was in the middle of making a map and gave up. Maybe I'll release it one day when I have the strength. Thanks again for being one of the last outposts of map-making... please keep it up. I enjoy your work immensely. more...

Author: Graxstar (USA), 22-03-2017 23:20

Map Updated....Again - Angel - Heroes 7 map

It should not have done that but the changes I made did not save to the published map. *Sigh* Tried and tested the new least up to week 2. Please try it again and sorry for the inconvenience. I appreciate the feedback. more...

Author: Alexander Gagarin (Moscow, Russia), 22-03-2017 21:22

Samsara - Samsara - Heroes 5 map

Thanks for the awesome map! Was a pleasure to play. :) more...

Author: sandman (south africa), 22-03-2017 18:52

Angel defeated - Angel - Heroes 7 map

Hi now after month 1 week 1 it tells me Angel was defeated, without me ever seeing Angel. Is this supposed to happen? Will it affect the outcome? Thanks for the quick update. more...

Author: Graxstar (USA), 22-03-2017 15:54

Map Updated - Angel - Heroes 7 map

The map has been updated to bypass this developer glitch. Thanks for the input. more...

Author: Richard , 22-03-2017 13:45

Bro Down - Bro Down - Heroes 5 map

The map is very good, i enjoyed a lot, but i have 2 negatives:
1st the underground map is so dark and boring to get trought and find enemies.
the second is graiul...i couldnt get it, coz i cant reach it. The red border is no entrance, u cant go inside...I give it 10 anyway, maybe i made some mis more...

Author: Wicker , 22-03-2017 13:14

Vlad - Supernatural - Heroes 3 map

Hey, how to defeat vlad? i Have 96 titans and 50 Archangels and those hasted vampires are impossible to kill with slow or with block. Any tips? Thanks more...

Author: Lauri , 22-03-2017 05:59

I'm glad - The First Circle - Heroes 3 map

I'm glad to hear that. You're not supposed to keep the castles :) more...

Author: Prototyp (Tirol), 22-03-2017 03:11

Blutfehde - Blutfehde - Heroes 5 map

Freut mich sehr, wenn es dir viel Spielfreude gebracht hat, denn der Spielablauf ist eher unüblich und nicht jedermanns Sache.
Eine möglichst lange Spannungserhaltung bei netter Grafik war das Ziel. more...

Heroes 7 (VII) - Maps Heroes 6 (VI) - Maps Heroes 5 (V) - Maps Heroes 4 (IV) - Maps Heroes 3 (III) - Maps

Heroes 2 - The Succession Wars - FAQ 3

                       Frequently Asked Questions
                             Version 0.5
                    Latest Update in January 6, 2000

By Joseph Andro Artanto

Hi! I have decided to make a FAQ for Heroes 2. However, I cant take if you
rip off my work here or selling this walktrough for own profit, so if you
did, I'll found out and I will put you in the losers contents. This
walktrough and future revisions of it can be found at :

or you can e-mail me at

Unpublished work Copyright 1999-2000 Joseph Andro Artanto.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ia. VERSIONS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -Version 0.1 (10/9/1999). Initial release. -Version 0.2 (23/10/1999). Filled the Roland's and Archibald's campaign strategy. Minor corrections. -Version 0.3 (28/11/1999). Layout corrections, Minor corrections. You now can contact me by ICQ (55139575). -Version 0.4 (29/12/1999). A really, really big update. Added some more sections (General Tips, Using certain hero types, and some more normal strategies). The artifact list and spell list also have updated now. -Version 0.5 (6/1/2000). Strategy Guides for normal maps section added. Minor corrections. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ib. CONTENTS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I. VERSIONS/CONTENTS II. GAME SYSTEM III. SPECIAL PLACES LIST IV. BUILDING LIST V. ARMY LIST VI. SPELL LIST VII. ARTIFACT LIST VIII. GENERAL TIPS IX. USING CERTAIN HERO TYPE X. STRATEGY GUIDES (BEGINNER) -Normal Strategies -First Week Building XI. STRATEGY GUIDES (Guides for Campaign Maps) XII. STRATEGY GUIDES (Guides for Normal Maps) XIII. DISCLAIMER XIV. CREDITS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ic. DISCLAIMER >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Unpublished work Copyright 1999-2000 Joseph Andro Artanto. This FAQ and everything included within this file cannot be reproduced in any way, shape or form (physical, electronical, or otherwise) aside from being placed on a freely-accessible, non-commercial web page in it's original, unedited and unaltered format. This FAQ cannot be used for profitable purposes (even if no money would be made from selling it) or promotional purposes. It cannot be used in any sort of commercial transaction. It cannot be given away as some sort of bonus, gift, etc., with a purchase as this creates incentive to buy and is therefore prohibited. Furthermore, this FAQ cannot be used by the publishers, editors, employees or associates, etc. of any company, group, business, or association, etc., nor can it be used by game sites and the like. It cannot be used in magazines, guides, books, etc. or in any other form of printed or electronic media (including mediums not specifically mentioned) in ANY way, shape, or form (including reprinting, reference or inclusion), without the express written permission of the author, myself. This FAQ was created and is owned by me, Joseph Andro Artanto ( All copyrights and trademarks are acknowledged and respected that are not specificially mentioned in this FAQ. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> II. GAME SYSTEM >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Heroes of Might and Magic 2 (HOMM2), is a strategy-adventure-RPG game created by New World Computing and has been published in PC and Macintosh. However, many beginners feels confused when they play it the first time. Originally, you could choose your own map, you can just choose the campaign (recommended) or just play a map created by you or other peoples. In the first screen, you can choose New Game and choose what kind of game you want to play (campaign, standard, multiplayer). Campaign leads you to a series of scenarios. And standard will let you to play any map in your MAPS directory. Finally Multiplayer will let you have a multiplayer battle against your friend via modem, network, or seat-by-seat/Hotseat. Hotseat is a multiplayer game in one Computer (max. 4 players). Load game is used to load your previous game. You can see some preview of some games created by NWC in the door (click the door on left area of the main menu). When you first enter a 'choosing maps' menu (by standard or multiplayer), click the upright button to choose your map, the info of that map is below the map name (like how many players, what type of heroes you want, it is optional). Now you will enter the main game screen, which lead you to the real game. Note, this game has experience status, this mean your level will be increased when you have enough experience. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> III. SPECIAL PLACES LIST >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This only apply in the world map screen, so take a note about that. If you want to know about the buildings (inside a castle or town), armies, spells, etc, see the contents. As you know, special places are spreaded around the world, to know what the use of certain places, see below. There is a couple of mouse icon in this game. Sword means you need to fight that special places (like castle,army camps,etc), horses means you can walk to that place. For easy references, use 'find' and write your desired special places. * Castle This is where you can rest, buy troops, learn new spells, or build your own castle. If its flag isn't your own flag, it is enemy's castle. * Town Same as castle, but you cant build any buildings inside the town. You can upgrade a town into a castle if allowed. * Gazebo A place that makes you meet an old man that teach you some skills, and this means you get some experiences by his lesson. Note that one hero only can get exp by this old man once. * Obelisk A place to get maps to reach the Ultimate Artifact (to dig the land, you must have full 'yellow'). * Fountain Your luck is increased until the next battle ends. * Temple Your moral is increased until the next battle ends. * Mines This where you get minerals like ore, crystal, gems, etc. you get some of them per day if you have them. * Woodfields (or something like that) Like mines, but you get woods instead minerals. * Alchemy Lab You get mercury per day. * Shrine of 1st circle, 2nd circle and 3rd circle the place where you get certain magic of certain classes. the 1st circle let you get a random magic from class 1 magic. * Witch Hut You can get certain skills from her (like navigation, wisdom, etc). Only basic ones. * Artifacts An important thing in this game, Artifact can make your strength or magic power increased, even some of them will protect you from some damaging spells. See the Artifact list section for more info. * Mineral/Wood/Gold/Mercury These are all treasures scattered around the world, collect them to get some small amount of them. * Treasure Chest This chest will lead you to 2 choices. The one will give you some gold, and the other will give you some experiences. * Army Camp This where you mainly see the enemies. Go to them and you will enter a battle. You may get certain events by touching them. Like the enemies want to join you, etc. * Heroes I know you know it. But beware of the hero's flag, as it will be the sign whose the ally and foe. * Idol Same as Fountain. Give you a luck until the next battle ends. * Tree of Knowledge This tree will give you a level if you have enough leadership. If not, he will give you a fee to level up (around 10 gems). * Fort Give you 1+ defense skill. Once for a hero. * Mercenary Camp Give you 1+ attack skill. Once for a hero. * Witch Doctor's Hut Give you 1+ knowledge skill. Once for a hero. * Stonehege Give you 1+ spell power skill. Once for a hero. * Ruins You can buy some Medusas here. * Genie Lamp You can buy some Genie here. * Peasant Hut Some peasant will agree to join you. * Archer's House Some archer will agree to join you. * Goblin's Hut Some goblin will agree to join you. * Centaur Cave Some Centaur will agree to join you. * Dwarf Cottage Some Dwarf will agree to join you. * Oasis Give you a several 'yellow' points. * Artesian Spring Doubles your 'green' points (magic points,manna). * City of the Death Beat some undead units and you can buy some lich. * Skeleton You might found an artifact or treasure from the dead bodies. * Wagon Same as skeleton. * Sign Something written in there. * Bottle Something written in there. * Magellan House (or something like that) You can buy the map of the sea of the current map. * Flotsam You might found gold or woods from there. * Treasure Chest (on the ocean) You might found an artifact or gold. * Tree House Some sprites will join you. * Tree City You can buy some sprites in there. * Pyramid Fight some undead and take the treasures. If the undead have been defeated, then you get bad luck instead. * Demon's Cave Fight the servants or face the demons, it your decisions. * Factory Upgrade your iron golem to steel golem. * Hill Fort Upgrade some of your troops to the upgraded type. * Dragon's City Fight some dragons and you will be able to buy some red dragons. * Sphinx Solve the riddle and get the prizes. If you fail, your heroes will be dead, remember, not all prizes are good. * Well Fill up your 'green' points to full status. * Buoy Give a morale to your troops until the next battle ends. * Graveyard Fight some undead and take the treasures. If the undead have been defeated, then you get bad morale instead. * Lighthouse Your ship yellow points is increased. * Rogue's Camp You can buy some rogues from there. * Road Used to make your hero's movement longer. Note that heroes always take the shortest way. * Abandoned Mine Fight some ghost first, then the mine will be changed into a gold mine. * Wrecked Ship (there are 2 type of them) Fight some ghost first, then take the treasures. If the ghost have been defeated, you get bad ones instead. * Event In certain cases, you may get an event. * Whirlpool (sea only) Teleport your ship to a different random whirlpool. Note that some weak armies (like peasant) might be killed if they enter the whirlpool. * Dimension Door (there are 3 types of them) Teleport your hero to a different dimension door (the same type only). * Watch Tower Some orcs will join you. * Halfling Hole Some halfling will join you. * Windmill Give you some resources every week when visited. * Water Wheel Same as Windmill, but give you gold instead. * Magic Garden Same as Windmill * Trading Post Exchange some resources with another resources. Same as Marketplace in a castle or town. If you have more marketplace, the exchange rate is better. * Oracle See opponent's status. * Troll Bridge You can buy some trolls here after you fight them. * Desert Tent You can buy some Nomads in there. * Execution Site Some Skeletons will join you. * Xanadu He will teach you some skills when you have enough diplomacy skill. * Faerie Ring Give you a luck until the next battle ends. Same as fountain. * Lean-To Get some resources here. One time only. * ??? (maybe im missing something) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> IV.BUILDING LIST >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This is apply inside a castle or a town. Some of them will allow you to buy some troops, give you a new spell, increases your moral, etc. --Knight-- ---------- * Peasant Hut -> Peasant * Archery Range/(Upgraded)-> Archer/Ranger * Armory /(Upgraded)-> Pikeman/Veteran Pikeman * Blacksmith /(Upgraded)-> Swordman/Master Swordman * JoustingArena/(Upgraded)-> ? /Champion * Cathedral /(Upgraded)-> Paladin/Crusader * Well -> Give you 2 more units every dwelling * Statue -> Give you 250 gold every days * Farm -> Give you more Peasant every dwelling * Tavern -> Increases your defending troops moral * Moat -> Hold enemy's fighter * Mage Guild 1-5 -> Provides spells for your heroes * Right Turret -> Attack opponent's army every turn in castle * Left Turret (battle) * Fortiffication -> Increases the toughness of the wall * Captain's Quarters -> Acts as a hero inside a castle * Shipyard -> Used to create a ship * Thieves Guild -> Provides info about your opponents --Wizard-- ---------- * Halfling Hole -> Halfling * Pen -> Boar * Cliff Nest -> Roc * Foundry /(Upgraded)-> Iron Golem/Steel Golem * Ivory Tower /(Upgraded)-> Mage/Archmage * Cloud Castle /(Upgraded)-> Giant/Titan * Well -> Give you 2 more units every dwelling * Statue -> Give you 250 gold every days * Orchard -> Give you more Halfling every dwelling * Tavern -> Increases your defending troops moral * Moat -> Hold enemy's fighter * Mage Guild 1-5 -> Provides spells for your heroes * Right Turret -> Attack opponent's army every turn in castle * Left Turret (battle) * Library -> Give you more spells of every class * Captain's Quarters -> Acts as a hero inside a castle * Shipyard -> Used to create a ship * Thieves Guild -> Provides info about your opponents --Sorcerer-- ------------ * Tree House -> Sprite * Archery Range/(Upgraded)-> Elves/Grand Elves * Cottage /(Upgraded)-> Dwarf/? * Stonehege /(Upgraded)-> Druid/Greater Druid * Fenced Meadow/(Upgraded)-> Unicorn * Red Tower -> Phoenix * Well -> Give you 2 more units every dwelling * Statue -> Give you 250 gold every days * Crystal Garden -> Give you more sprites every dwelling * Tavern -> Increases your defending troops moral * Moat -> Hold enemy's fighter * Mage Guild 1-5 -> Provides spells for your heroes * Right Turret -> Attack opponent's army every turn in castle * Left Turret (battle) * Rainbow -> Give the defending armies more luck * Captain's Quarters -> Acts as a hero inside a castle * Shipyard -> Used to create a ship * Thieves Guild -> Provides info about your opponents --Necromancer-- * Execution Site -> Skeleton * Graveyard /Upg-> Zombie/Mutant Zombie * Pyramid /Upg-> Mummy/Royal Mummy * Mansion /Upg-> Vampire/Vampire Lord * ? /Upg-> Lich/Power Lich * Laboratory -> Bone Dragon * Well -> Give you 2 more units every dwelling * Statue -> Give you 250 gold every days * ? -> Give you more skeletons every dwelling * Tavern -> Increases your defending troops moral * Moat -> Hold enemy's fighter * Mage Guild 1-5 -> Provides spells for your heroes * Right Turret -> Attack opponent's army every turn in castle * Left Turret (battle) * Storm -> Give the defending armies more spell power * Captain's Quarters -> Acts as a hero inside a castle * Shipyard -> Used to create a ship * Thieves Guild -> Provides info about your opponents --Barbarian-- * Goblin's Hut -> Goblin * Stick Hut /Upg-> Orc/Orc Chief * Cave -> Wolf * Adobe /Upg-> Ogre/Ogre Lord * Bridge /Upg-> Troll/War Troll * Pyramid -> Cyclops * Well -> Give you 2 more units every dwelling * Statue -> Give you 250 gold every days * Garbage Heap -> Give you more goblins every dwelling * Tavern -> Increases your defending troops moral * Moat -> Hold enemy's fighter * Mage Guild 1-5 -> Provides spells for your heroes * Right Turret -> Attack opponent's army every turn in castle * Left Turret (battle) * Colosseum -> Give the defending armies more moral * Captain's Quarters -> Acts as a hero inside a castle * Shipyard -> Used to create a ship * Thieves Guild -> Provides info about your opponents --Warlock-- * Cave -> Centaur * Crypt -> Gargoyle * Nest -> Griffin * Maze /Upg-> Minatour/Minatour King * Swamp -> Hydra * Green/Red/Black Tower -> Green Dragon/Red Dragon/Black Dragon * Well -> Give you 2 more units every dwelling * Statue -> Give you 250 gold every days * Waterfall -> Give you more centaurs every dwelling * Tavern -> Increases your defending troops moral * Moat -> Hold enemy's fighter * Mage Guild 1-5 -> Provides spells for your heroes * Right Turret -> Attack opponent's army every turn in castle * Left Turret (battle) * Dungeon -> Give you 500 gold every day * Captain's Quarters -> Acts as a hero inside a castle * Shipyard -> Used to create a ship * Thieves Guild -> Provides info about your opponents >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> V. ARMY LIST >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> As you know, I will only give description for some powerfull and usefull troops, as it will take years to describe all of them one by one. (Long) means that unit attack with long range attack. (Fly) means it is a flying type troops. (Fight) means it is a fighter unit. You CAN split your army, here is the way: press shift, drag a unit you want to split to an empty box, a menu will appear and ask you how many units you want to split. --Knight-- * Peasant (Fight) * Archer/Ranger (Long) * Pikeman/Veteran Pikeman (Fight) * Swordman/Master Swordman (Fight) * Paladin/Crusader (Fight) -> Attack 2 times on a unit --Wizard-- * Halfling (Long) * Boar (Fight) * Roc (Fly) * Iron Golem/Steel Golem (Fight) * Mage/Archmage (Long) -> Sometimes causes Dispel * Giant(Fight)/Titan(Long) -> Titan is 1/2 strongest unit --Sorcerer-- * Sprite (Fly) * Elves/Grand Elves (Long) * Dwarf/? (Fight) -> Sometimes deflect spells * Druid/Greater Druid (Long) * Unicorn (Fight) -> Sometimes causes blind * Phoenix (Fly) --Necromancer-- * Skeleton (Fight) * Zombie/Mutant Zombie (Fight) * Mummy/Royal Mummy (Fight) -> Sometimes causes curse * Vampire/Vampire Lord (Fly) -> Live again if kills some units * Lich/Power Lich (Long) * Bone Dragon (Fly) --Barbarian-- * Goblin (Fight) * Orc/Orc Chief (Long) * Wolf (Fight) * Ogre/Ogre Lord (Fight) * Troll/War Troll (Long) * Cyclops (Fight) --Warlock-- * Centaur (Long) * Gargoyle (Fly) * Griffin (Fly) * Minatour/Minatour King (Fight) * Hydra (Fight) -> Attack all nearest enemies * Green/Red/Black Dragon (Fly) --Other-- * Medusa (Fight) -> Sometimes causes Petrify * Genie (Fly) -> Sometimes attack 'half' * Nomad (Fight) * Rogue (Fight) * Fire Elemental * Air Elemental * Water Elemental * Earth Elemental * Ghost -> Increased if kills some units * ??? --Army's Strength Table-- ------------------------- =============================================================== | Knight troops | | | | | | | =============================================================== | Unit |Atk |Def | HP | Dmg | Spd | Cost | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Peasant | 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 20 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Archer | 3 | 5 | 10 | 2-3 | 2 | 150 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Ranger | 4 | 5 | 10 | 2-3 | 4 | 200 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Pikeman | 5 | 9 | 20 | 3-4 | 4 | 200 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Veteran Pikeman | 5 | 9 | 25 | 3-4 | 5 | 250 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Swordsman | 7 | 9 | 25 | 4-6 | 4 | 250 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Master Swordsman | 7 | 9 | 30 | 4-6 | 5 | 300 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Cavalry | 10 | 9 | 30 | 5-10 | 6 | 300 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Champion | 10 | 9 | 40 | 5-10 | 7 | 375 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Paladin | 11 | 12 | 50 | 10-20 | 5 | 600 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Crusader | 11 | 12 | 65 | 10-20 | 6 | 1000 | =============================================================== | Barbarian troops | | | | | | | =============================================================== | Unit | A: | D: | HP: | Dmg: | Spd: | Cost: | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Goblin | 4 | 1 | 3 | 1-2 | 4 | 40 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Orc | 3 | 4 | 10 | 2-3 | 2 | 140 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Orc Chief | 3 | 4 | 15 | 3-4 | 3 | 175 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Wolf | 6 | 2 | 20 | 3-5 | 6 | 200 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Ogre | 9 | 5 | 40 | 4-6 | 2 | 300 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Ogre Lord | 9 | 5 | 60 | 5-7 | 4 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Troll | 10 | 5 | 40 | 5-7 | 4 | 600 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | War Troll | 10 | 5 | 40 | 7-9 | 5 | 700 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Cyclope | 12 | 9 | 80 | 12-24 | 5 | 750+ 1cr | =============================================================== | Sorceress troops | | | | | | | =============================================================== | Unit | A: | D: | HP: | Dmg: | Spd: | Cost: | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Sprite | 4 | 2 | 2 | 1-2 | 4 | 50 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Dwarf | 6 | 5 | 20 | 2-4 | 2 | 200 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Battle Dwarf | 6 | 6 | 20 | 2-4 | 4 | 250 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Elf | 4 | 3 | 15 | 2-3 | 4 | 250 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Grand Elf | 5 | 5 | 15 | 2-3 | 6 | 300 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Druid | 7 | 5 | 20 | 5-8 | 4 | 350 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Greater Druid | 7 | 7 | 25 | 5-8 | 6 | 400 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Unicorn | 10 | 9 | 40 | 7-14 | 5 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Phoenix | 12 | 10 | 100 | 20-40 | 7 | 1500+1m | =============================================================== | Warlock troops | | | | | | | =============================================================== | Unit | A: | D: | HP: | Dmg: | Spd: | Cost: | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Centaur | 3 | 1 | 5 | 1-2 | 4 | 60 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Gargoyle | 4 | 7 | 15 | 2-3 | 6 | 200 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Griffin | 6 | 6 | 25 | 3-5 | 4 | 300 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Minotaur | 9 | 8 | 40 | 5-10 | 4 | 400 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Minotaur King | 9 | 8 | 45 | 5-10 | 6 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Hydra | 8 | 9 | 75 | 6-12 | 2 | 800 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Green Dragon | 12 | 12 | 200 | 25-50 | 4 | 3000+1s | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Red Dragon | 13 | 13 | 250 | 25-50 | 5 | 3500+1s | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Black Dragon | 14 | 14 | 300 | 25-50 | 6 | 4000+2s | =============================================================== | Wizard troops | | | | | | | =============================================================== | Unit | A: | D: | HP: | Dmg: | Spd: | Cost: | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Halfling | 2 | 1 | 3 | 1-3 | 3 | 50 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Boar | 5 | 4 | 15 | 2-3 | 6 | 150 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Iron Golem | 5 | 10 | 30 | 4-5 | 2 | 300 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Steel Golem | 7 | 10 | 35 | 4-5 | 3 | 350 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Roc | 7 | 7 | 40 | 5-8 | 4 | 400 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Mage | 11 | 7 | 30 | 7-9 | 5 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Archmage | 12 | 8 | 35 | 7-9 | 6 | 700 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Giant | 13 | 10 | 150 | 20-30 | 4 | 2000+1g | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Titan | 15 | 15 | 300 | 20-30 | 6 | 5000+2g | =============================================================== | Necromancer | | | | | | | | troops | | | | | | | =============================================================== | Unit | A: | D: | HP: | Dmg: | Spd: | Cost: | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Skeleton | 4 | 3 | 4 | 2-3 | 4 | 75 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Zombie | 5 | 2 | 15 | 2-3 | 2 | 150 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Mutant Zombie | 5 | 2 | 20 | 2-3 | 4 | 200 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Mummy | 6 | 6 | 25 | 3-4 | 4 | 250 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Royal Mummy | 6 | 6 | 30 | 3-4 | 5 | 300 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Vampire | 8 | 6 | 35 | 5-7 | 4 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Vampire Lord | 8 | 6 | 40 | 5-7 | 5 | 650 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Lich | 7 | 12 | 25 | 8-10 | 5 | 750 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Power Lich | 7 | 13 | 35 | 8-10 | 6 | 900 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Bone Dragon | 11 | 9 | 150 | 25-45 | 4 | 1500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- =============================================================== | Neutral troops | | | | | | | =============================================================== | Unit | A: | D: | HP: | Dmg: | Spd: | Cost: | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Rogue | 6 | 1 | 4 | 1-2 | 5 | 50 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Nomad | 7 | 5 | 20 | 2-5 | 6 | 200 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Ghost | 8 | 6 | 20 | 4-6 | 5 | 1000 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Medusa | 8 | 9 | 35 | 6-10 | 4 | 350 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Genie | 10 | 9 | 50 | 20-30 | 6 | 750+1g | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Earth Elemental | 8 | 8 | 50 | 4-5 | 3 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Water Elemental | 6 | 8 | 45 | 3-7 | 4 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Fire Elemental | 8 | 6 | 40 | 4-5 | 5 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- | Air Elemental | 7 | 7 | 35 | 2-8 | 6 | 500 | --------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> VI. SPELL LIST >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --Level 1 Magic-- ----------------- HASTE Most useful 1st level spell.. since it can turn otherwise deficient monster stacks in killer armies. Examples.. a big stack of Steel Golems can now reach the opposing army in 2 turns. Your big stack of slow or average shooter troops can now shoot before the enemy flyers or shooters. The Hydras become very, very dangerous. A huge stack of skeletons can reach the other side in 2 turns while your cheap sacrificial stack of shooters draws the fire... In general, it can give you the very important first attack. SLOW Opposite of Haste... almost as useful but less versatile since if you cast it too soon the enemy spellcaster will probably dispel it. Can save your butt against fast flyers since this will give your shooters time to destroy them. Also useful combined with Blind to stop the enemy from fleeing before you have a chance to destroy him. Timing is foremost when using this potent spell. Either use it after the enemy casted his own spell or on the fast troop going up next which you want to attack first. BLESS Very good on certain troops that have a large range of damage. Also assures you of inflicting maximum damage. For example, Bless used on crusaders and phoenix double up their damage inflicting points permitting you, under ideal conditions, to kill double the monsters you would usually have destroyed with an unblessed stack doing minimum damage. Of course, doing minimum damage with an unblessed unit is very unlikely since the damage done by any stack is an average. CURSE Opposite of Bless. Very good also but more "passive" than his counterpart since you can't always control which of your stacks, the enemy stack will attack first (unless you have shooters). The enemy will rarely dispel this spell. Use it against the monster stack that scares you the most : the fast flyer troops or the big stack of enemy shooters. SHIELD Extremely nice to have when you go up against big shooter armies. Use it on your strongest shooter stack who will draw the majority of attacks from the AI. Unfortunately, the usefulness of Shield is limited because it does not protect against ballista and turret fire. DISPEL MAGIC One of the tough spells to use well. More useful in the later parts of the game. Try to use this spell against an enemy stack having multiple positive spells. I typically use it against the most dangerous enemy stack, especially if it already has bless and steelskin. I use Cure instead of Dispel Magic when I want to remove negative spells from one of my stacks. MAGIC ARROW The first *direct* offensive spell. Good against low-level troops and very good when you have a high spell rating but no lightning or not enough spells points left to cast it. Also good when you don't want the enemy to flee, which it will usually do, when it only has a couple of monster stacks left. CURE Did you know that this spell not only cures your hit points but also removes all negative spells ? Making this almost the equal of Dispel Magic. I rated it so low because the number of hit points gained when casting it is much too minimal. I mostly use it on my high-level monster stacks (like Phoenix or Bone Dragons). BLOODLUST Attack +3. In concrete terms, what this means is that, under ideal conditions, you could get a 30 % damage bonus. I cast it when I have nothing else better to cast. STONESKIN Defense + 3. In concrete terms, this means that, under ideal conditions, you could get 30 % less damage (if the difference between his attack and your defense skill were 3 points or higher before you casted) from an enemy attack on the stack that is stoneskinned. I cast it when I have nothing else better to cast. VIEW MINES I only use it in the beginning game to check out where the *necessary* mines are hidden. By *necessary* mine, I mean the mine that produces the resource you need most to build the advanced-level structures. For example, sulfur for Warlocks, wood for knights, ore for barbarians, gems for wizards, etc. VIEW RESOURCES I will use it if I have it.. but I prefer getting the other spells. Can be useful if there are no nearby mines of the type you desire. --Level 2 Magic-- ----------------- BLIND One of the most underestimated spells out there. What good is the killer monster stack of the enemy if it cannot move or attack due to the Blind spell ? Timing is very important for this spell : either cast it on the fastest troop of the enemy, wait until he has already cast his own spell, or time it so that the blinded stack is the one going up next. If the enemy dispels it after his unit has already lost his turn then it's too late for the current turn. If he dispels it before that blinded stack would have normally gotten its turn, then the stack will attack normally. Generally cast Blind on the most dangerous monsters... faster units first. Also useful in keeping the enemy from fleeing. A sure way to insure that an enemy stack will lose the current turn is by attacking it before the computer opponent has a chance to dispell it. Something we rarely, if ever, think about is that a blinded creature retaliates with half-damage unless you shoot it from afar with missiles or offensive spells in which case the enemy gets no retaliation at all. Finally, keep in mind that this spell doesn't work on undeads and Titans. LIGHTNING BOLT The best "direct" offensive spell that damages a single stack. I use it all the time. Its use is pretty straightforward : point and shoot. Useful for destroying remaining enemy units you don't want to see fleeing. As always, cast Lightning on the most dangerous unit that can attack you right away (that means walker troops are the last target choice). VISIONS One of the best spells if you manage to get it. It's one of the rarer spells because of it's great usefulness. If New World Computing did not want us to have it very often, they should have given it a higher-level spell rating. Visions tells you how a nearby wandering monster stack will react when you encounter it (join, flee, attack). It also gives you the number of units present. From intuition and experience, I can usually tell if an enemy stack will join me or not, but having this great spell makes my job easier. Don't cast Visions on everything though, cast it on stacks that you must absolutely pass or that you suspect might join you. STEELSKIN +6 on Defense. Quite good when you want to protect one of your important stacks. I usually cast it on my best shooters or the flyers who are attacking deep in enemy territory. In concrete terms, this spell can lower the damage received by about 40 % on the steelskinned unit, under ideal conditions (if the attacker's attack rating is 5 points or higher than the defender's defense rating.. before you cast the spell). COLD RAY Not a bad spell similar to Lightning Bolt but less powerful. I never cast it if I already have Lightning unless I have the cold icicle item. It's a point-and-shoot offensive spell. DISRUPTING RAY -3 on Defense each time you cast it. Some people like this spell because it's permanent and cumulative. Well, I rarely use it because I think it costs too much. I guess you could use this instead of Curse if you're really scared of the offensive power of a given enemy stack. The enemy can't dispel it.. so that's good. I still think the AI uses this spell too often. DRAGON SLAYER +5 attack against Dragons. This is a must against Dragons. It also works against Bone Dragons. Cast it on your highest-level stack (Titans, Phoenix, etc). Can possibly inflict 50% more damage on any Dragon stack. Dragon slayer combined with Bless makes your attacking unit quite dangerous. If you don't know what to cast against Dragons, which are immune to all magic, this one is a good bet... DEATH RIPPLE Another very specialized spell only useful if you army is entirely composed of undead troops. Don't cast it unless your hero has a high spell power rating. The power of this spell is not strong enough imho (only x5 Power), but it's a 2nd level spell so that's too be expected. The good point is that it affects all living troops equally. Can serve as a weak mini- armageddon spell. Possibly useful combined with Anti-magic. SUMMON BOAT Summons any nearby boat that you "control" or that has never been previously controlled by anyone. Can be quite good in water-based scenarios... For example, you disembark on one side of the desert island, explore it, reach the other side, cast Summon Boat and board the boat. This spell can save you a lot of exploring time. HAUNT Renders a mine useless for all players until the protecting ghosts are defeated. In the rare times, I got it, I barely used it. Of course, don't use this on your own nearby mines :-) Can be useful if a spellcasting scout hero goes deep into enemy territory and casts it on essential mines of the enemy (ex : Haunt on the sulfur mines of the enemy warlock). VIEW ARTIFACTS I almost never use this because I usually have a lot of scouting heroes showing me exactly what nearby items are good enough to risk my valuable troops. If I get it, I will cast it one time just to see if there might not be a "clump" of items close by. The funny part is : that they are usually guarded by a very strong army... --Level 3 Magic-- ----------------- MASS HASTE Makes all your own monster stacks quicker. I gave Haste the first place in the first part of my spellcasting guide therefore it's only fair that I give it the same "honor" in the 3rd part ;-) All that I said for Haste applies here too but on a larger and better scale. If you play well, and because most of your troops will attack before your enemies, you can really devastate the opposition. Extremely useful when you have a fast army or better (think Sorceress). Your opponent cannot dispel all those hastes, even if he has Mass Dispel, because he may not even have the chance to get his turn :-) Watch out for the remaining couple of enemy troops, they could flee. TELEPORT A very rare spell but very good when you manage to find it. This can teleport any one of your ground troops on the other side of the map therefore providing you with a quicker attack. Use it on tough very slow, slow or average troops (Hydras are the best) when it is their turn. Expect this teleporting stack to suffer some heavy casualties. Useful for teleporting ground troops inside or outside castles. I also teleport my ground troops next to the enemy's shooters most of the time (between 2 stacks of shooters if I can). PARALYZE A better version of the already nice Blind spell. You use it the same way as Blind (see part 2) except you don't have to worry about retaliation so much anymore. Therefore faster and weaker creatures that would die from a retaliation (against a blinded enemy) can give the first strike (against a paralysed enemy). It's a little more expensive than Blind but most of the time it's worth it. ANTI-MAGIC This is a must-have spell if you go up against powerful spellcasters. In general, I cast it on my strongest highest-level or more damaging stack. If you have shooters in your army that you want to keep, then it's a good idea to cast Anti-Magic on them before your best stack since the AI will almost always attack the shooters first. If you also have an all-damaging spell (like Elemental Storm or Armageddon) then you can attack with only one tough monster stack... casting Anti-Magic on the first turn and the all- damaging spell on the second turn. If you see that a spellcaster is constantly casting negative spells on the same unit stack, by all means cast Anti-Magic to protect this valuable stack. MASS BLESS The spell to use if you want to beef up your offensive potential. Most of the tips for the simple Bless (see part 1) also apply here. Very good if your stacks have a big "range" of damage (ex: Phoenix with 20-40 points or Nomads with 2-5 points each). MASS CURSE The spell to use when the enemy has a lot of very damaging units. Most of the tips for the simple Curse (see part 1) also apply here. Very good if the enemy's stacks have a big "range" of damage. ANIMATE DEAD The resurrect spell for the Necromancer hero ! Only a 3rd level instead of 5th level therefore providing a certain advantage to the Necromancer player if he manages to get it. You have a better chance of getting it than the resurrect spell but it's mostly useless for the other types of heroes. A specialized spell that should be rated much higher if you play the Necromancer and lower if you play any other kind. I usually cast it on my Vampire Lords or Bone Dragons... MASS DISPEL The spell to use when a lot of your stacks have negative spells on them. It won't happen very often though since the AI seems to prefer casting many different negative spells on the same unit (most of the time : your best shooter stack). The Dispel is useless against Disrupting Ray. Most of the tips for the simple Dispel Magic (see part 1) also apply here. EARTHQUAKE An underestimated spell... Destroys the castle walls sooner therefore making the castle ballistas destroyed sooner. Castle ballistas destroyed sooner means a lot less casualties for your shooters. A lot less casualties for your shooters means a stronger army. A stronger army means a quicker victory ! Particularly good if you cast it 2 consecutive times at the beginning of the battle. Less useful if you attack a new lightly-built castle with only one ballista. DEATH WAVE Stronger version of Death Ripple. Cool spell effect that damages all living troops. Only useful for Necromancer players. Can serve as a mini-armageddon spell. If your Necromanger gets this spell, the Death Ripple spell will almost never be used anymore. Having a good spell rating for the hero casting it is a "must". Death Wave is rated higher for Necromancer players and much lower for all the other types of players. HOLY WORD Very good if you go up against a Necromancer player that doesn't have the item countering it. Specialized spell only useful against undead. Useless for the necromancer army and of limited use for the other hero types if there is no Necromancer present on the map. Can be used to kill wandering undead troops FIREBALL First general area-damaging offensive spell. Because of its lack of "destroying" punch, I prefer to use the good old Lightning spell. This spell should be given a power boost. Useful if you have a high spell-rating and/or when you attack low-level stacks (like halflings or goblins). Also good for stopping the enemy from fleeing if he only has a couple of stacks left. COLD RING Similar to Fireball but with a slight twist. It creates a "ring" of damaging ice around one of your units not killing your own stack. Not bad if one of your good units is surrounded. Good against low-level troops, useless against high-level troops. Also nice to have when you go up against wandering low-level shooter stacks (cast it between the 2 enemy stacks). Like Fireball, it badly needs a power boost. VIEW HEROES Not bad but not extremely good either. Can show the exact number and location of heroes that each of your opponents has. Frequent use of this spell can save your scouting heroes from ambush. Useless when you have explored most of the map. VIEW TOWNS Only useful to give you a general attack direction. I will cast it once or twice and forget about it. Can also show you if your enemies have captured any new towns or built up castles. IDENTIFY HERO Most useless 3rd level spell since I generally have enough thieves guilds by then to know the size of the opposing army. My agressive tactics also mean that the first defended castle I take will be lightly-defended by a beginner or intermediate hero. BTW, it may not be pretty, but if you attack an enemy army and you find out too late it's too strong for you, there's always retreating and surrendering ;-) --Level 4 Magic-- CHAIN LIGHTNING My personal favorite spell. It may not be the strongest or most versatile spell but it packs a lot of offensive punch anyway. When I have the good fortune to find it, I use it almost exclusively along with my best spellcaster and army. No other offensive spell (that does not kill your troops too) is this damaging to your enemies with the exception of Armageddon and Dragons. Of course, you have to watch out, when you cast this potent spell, about not zapping your own troops. I usually cast Chain Lightning on my first turn while all the opponent stacks are on the other side of the map close together. My first target will be the most dangerous and immediately damaging unit. Therefore, I will usually shoot the bolt at a big stack of shooters close to flying troops or vice-versa. You can still cast the spell when you go up against only 3 enemy stacks since the 4th victim (one of your stacks) will suffer practically no damage. I almost never cast it against an army of only 2 units. If you cast the spell on the second or third turn, watch out for your own flyers who may already have engaged the enemy. Never cast it on a enemy unit close to yours unless you don't care about killing your own unit too. This spell is usually better in the early and midgame. In the endgame, Mass Slow is better. MASS SLOW Ever wonder why this spell is rated a 4th-level spell while his opposite counterpart Mass Haste is only a 3rd-level spell? It's in part because this great underestimated spell will give you first strike against the majority of the opposing stacks. But the real reason is that it will stop all enemy flyers from reaching your shooters in only one turn ! The enemy shooters will also fire last giving you a chance to devastate them with your own army. Some ground enemy troops will arrive to your side sooner than others. That way, you can concentrate on usually 1 or 2 walker stacks instead of 4 at the same time. Fleeing, for the enemy, is also rendered more difficult. A well-cast Mass Slow combined with good tactics can give you the victory before your opponent even has a chance to take one turn ! Most of the tips for Slow (see part 1) also apply for Mass Slow. BERSERK I consider this spell better than the 5th-level spell Hypnotize. Why ? Because even though you cannot control the actions of the berserked unit, you can decide to berserk almost any kind of enemy stack with no regard to its strength. The berserk spell will dissipate after one attack so make it count. Imagine you're going up against a superhero with 8 Red dragons and 50 Minotaur Kings next to each other. You know that your spells cannot affect the dragons so you cast Berserk on the Minotaur Kings who go up next. If you're lucky, the Minotaur kings will attack the dragons (or the nearby gargoyles) and get attacked in return ! Presto : the MK stack has lost its turn, the attacked unit has lost the ability to retaliate for the rest of the turn (unless it has unlimited retaliation) and both stacks are decimated :-) The best part is that Berserk doesn't cost a lot to cast (only 12 points). Casting it at the correct time is very important since you don't want to see it dispelled. In any given turn, either cast it at the enemy unit that will go next, the fastest enemy stack or when the enemy has already cast his own spell. A secondary usage of this spell would be to stop a single unit army from fleeing. Sometimes, you will also want to stop a particular enemy stack from getting his turn until you are ready to attack it. Blind and Paralyse are better in that respect, but sometimes you won't have them. Last warning : do not attack a berserked unit until it has already attacked one of his own. METEOR SHOWER A very nice offensive spell that usually damages 2 units but can sometimes damage more (if they're all close together). A clever use of this spell is to send a flyer stack next to an enemy shooter stack without attacking. All the close enemy walkers and flyers (if you have no shooter troops) will then proceed to attack this lone flyer stack. Cast Meteor Shower when they're all clumped together. You will lose your own flying stack but will have done a lot of damage to the majority of his units. A variation on this tactic is the sacrificial shooter unit which will attract all enemy flying troops. On the first turn of a combat, I usually cast Meteor Shower between a shooter stack and flying stack since they're the most likely to damage me right away. On the next combat turns, if I see no enemy "clumps" then I will proceed to cast it again on the shooters if they're close to any other significant enemy unit. If the shooter stack is alone, then cast Lightning. Another likely target for Meteor Shower is a group of walkers slowly coming towards me. The power and range of this spell makes it more useful than Fireball, Cold Ring and Fireblast imho. TOWN GATE Finally a good useful adventure spell :-) It is very rare. Probably because of its effectiveness. It will transport the hero casting it to your nearest town. What this means is that you can afford to be more reckless. Even attacking sooner than would be prudent will not be a problem, since if you have enough spell points, you can "gate" back to your town for reinforcements. Extremely useful for strong heroes with depleted armies that have done a lot of battles deep in enemy territory or weak midlevel scouts who stumble upon a stronger enemy hero. After coming to a deadend while exploring, you can teleport back to avoid losing precious travel time. HOLY SHOUT A very specialized spell that only damages undead creatures. Can be quite useful against Necromancer troops if you have a high-level spellcaster. The power is good and it kills only undead troops not your precious living troops. Therefore if you have a knight, barbarian or wizard army, you can use this as your own little Armageddon without killing your own troops too (see Storm for Sorceress and Armageddon for Warlock). Mostly useless for Necromancer heroes unless they are lucky enough to find the magic item making them immune. On maps with no Necromancer opponents, Holy Shout can still serve to kill wandering undead armies. If you get this spell, you will most likely forget about Holy Word. STORM A little more powerful than Holy Shout but it also kills all troops, making no discrimination between dead and living. If you play anything other than a sorceress or a warlock, then this spell only serves when you want to weaken a powerful enemy army approaching your castle. You hire a wizard (or any hero with advanced wisdom), make sure he has a very fast unit and attack the enemy. You cast Storm on your first turn. You will die right away but will have weakened the enemy a bit. Try to redo this as long as you have enough money and/or wizards. This spell could also be useful for high-level spellcasters with Anti-Magic. They should stomp around with one very tough single stack, cast Anti-Magic on the first turn and Storm on the second. Storm with Phoenix is a killer-combination since Phoenix are immune to all elemental spells and almost always strike first :-) It gives a needed little secret weapon to the sorceress player. RESURRECTION Well.. what can I say about this one. If you have a sufficiently strong army combined with an adept spellcaster hero, you can win almost any single combat against any army whatsoever (except Dragons of course ;-). But it can save your butt in only one combat since the resurrected troops will dissapear at the end... If the fight was the least bit close-matched, then you will have very few surviving troops left and no more spell points. Make sure you have at least ONE non-resurrected troop still surviving by the end of the tough battle or you will eliminated along with your opponent. FIREBLAST I almost never use it because the great area of effect is upset too much by the low power of the spell. I prefer using Meteor Shower, Chain Lightning and Lightning. The only real use I see for it.. is if you go up against a lot of similar low-level troops. That means that Fireblast will be mostly used against wandering monster stacks and NOT against an enemy hero army (unless his army really sucks :-). Could possibly be useful as a way to avoid enemy fleeing if the enemy has 2,3 or 4 low-numbered low-level stacks remaining. MASS SHIELD Halves the damage from enemy shooters for all your troops. Most of the time, I have better spells to cast than this. Since the all enemy shooters will usually concentrate their fire on your best shooter stack, why not cast a single Shield and a Steelskin on your victimized shooter stack ? Use your precious spell points for something better. Of course, there are always exceptions... Against wandering armies of mid or highlevel shooters and against heroes with lots of different shooter troops, this spell can literally save your life. I still think this should have been a 3rd-level spell. The tips for the simple Shield (see part 1) also apply for Mass Shield. MASS CURE Mostly useless since the power of the curing spell power is not powerful enough (only 5x spell power). If you use it, cast it as a Mass Dispel on your own troops. It won't happen very often anyway except in very big battles at the end of the game. The tips for the simple Cure (see part 1) also apply for Mass Cure. VIEW ALL By the time I get this, I usually have explored most of the map. So I am very disappointed when one of my two precious 4th-level spots is filled by this "dud". Could be useful in large or extra-large maps if only to keep track of the moving heroes and by showing you where the towns are located. By knowing where the towns are, you then have a better chance of guessing from where the enemy armies will come. It also gives you a better general sense of direction :-) All the tips for all the other View Spells apply for View All. SET AIR/EARTH/FIRE/WATER GUARDIAN What a coincidence... number 13 :-) As it stands now this spell is more of a liability than something helpful. With the current bug (hopefully fixed by the 1.2. patch), you cast this to protect your mines, the enemy hero comes along with his big army, captures the mine and your own Elementals now guard the mine against you. How nice ;-) I will probably rate it higher when the patch comes out but not a LOT higher. Update : The terrible bug exposed in the previous paragraph has been fixed by the latest patch. Unfortunately, I still don't like or cast those kind of spells very much. The cost is too high (15 spell points !) and the results are not that great. As for Haunt, it can be useful if you really want to stop a certain opponent from getting resources from a certain type of mine (ex : sulfur for a Warlock). Contrary to Haunt, the mine will stay in your possession but defended by Elementals against any opponent who would dare to take it. If you're being invaded or suspect you'll get invaded by strong attackers, Set Elemental Guardian is a nice way to keep your mines. Of course, you would have to setup those protections BEFORE the enemies steal your mines and forces you to flee or stay in your castle. Those spells are more rare than others of the same level. --Level 5-- ----------- TOWN PORTAL Imho, the best spell in the HOMM 2 game. It will teleport you to *ANY* of your own towns. This spell is so powerful that when you get it, the game is pratically finished for your adversaries. The designers probably know this too because they made this spell so rare. In all the games I've played, I've gotten Town Portal a grand total of only 2 times! With a high- level spellcasting hero you teleport from one castle to the next, taking the best troops in each. You're almost dead and deep in enemy territory, you cast Town Portal and your hero is saved. You have your killer army exploring far away from the front and one of your weaker castles there is about to be captured ? Simple, you teleport inside the attacked town at the last possible moment and trounce the surprised enemy. You need to get a particular spell from one of your faraway castles ? Again you're only a little Town Portal away. You need to get from one point of an extra large map to another in a hurry ? Chances are that you have a nearby castle that can save you days or weeks of slow ground travel. This spell eliminates distances and permits you to leave almost of your castles practically undefended. The only thing to watch for is the number of spell points you currently have. Of course, you also need to have scouted the map beforehand and control more than 1 castle for Town Portal to be useful ;-) DIMENSION DOOR The 5th-level spell that costs the least. You also need a hero with a very high knowledge rating to make the most of it. Dimension Door can serve most of the same kinds of functions than Town Portal but with a little more difficulty. Any hero in trouble can teleport himself away from danger. Your best army can still reach the undersieged castle in good time (not true if it's too far away). Dimension Door can sometimes teleport you in treasure-rich areas protected by monsters otherwise too strong for you. It can also make you reach otherwise inaccessible parts of the maps. You don't have to take the big detour anymore to pass the great chain of mountains. You can pass it easily by teleporting. This spell generally saves you a lot of travel time. Teleporting next to wells is really a "must" when using Dimension Door. When there are no wells present and you are almost out of spell points, go to your nearest castle and stay the night. A high Logistics skill and items that increase your movement (like Boots) permit you to cast Dimension Door more often. In theory, if you found a well each time you were almost out of spell points, you could traverse the length of the map in a matter of days. RESURRECT TRUE This is the best combat "defensive" spell you can get... since the best protection is not dying permanently :-) I usually cast it on my best and/or most useful stack (4th-level monsters or higher). Since the computer enemy really likes to attack your shooters, you will probably end up "resurrecting" those kind of stacks more often. Calcutate the numbers of possible resurrected troops before casting it by multiplying the Spell Power rating of your hero by 50x. For example, a Warlock with 20 spell points will resurrect for 1000 hit points of dead troops. In other words, it could be 3 Titans, 16 Ogre Lords or 100 Rangers. This spell, possibly combined with Mirror Image, makes your Titans better than Dragons. Please note that Dragons (unfortunately) cannot benefit from any spells because they are immune to all magic. Remember also that the Necromancer can also create more skeletons with his necromancy skill and that Vampire Lords in sufficient numbers can regenerate their numbers while in combat. Animate Dead costs 5 points less to cast than Resurrect True but only works on undead troops. On the other hand, Resurrect and Resurrect True work on all living creatures except Dragons but not on undead. ARMAGEDDON Extremely useful with Dragons.. much less useful when you have other troops. The Dragon-Armageddon combo is something all advanced HOMM 2 players should know about. For those who are in the dark about this excellent strategy, here's how it works: You give only Dragons (preferably Blacks) to your hero who has expert wisdom and lots of spell points. Since the Dragons are immune to magic, your super-spellcaster can cast Armageddon to his heart's content (at least until you run out of spell points) without losing any troops ! The only way you can lose a few of your Dragons is if the opponent has a much, much bigger and better army than yours, if he has Dragons too or if he casts Anti-Magic on his highest-level monster stack. This won't happen very often (if ever) against computer opponents but watch out against sneaky human adversaries :-) The 2 other uses for this spell are good if you don't have Dragons in your army. In the first HOMM 1 game, you could hire a lot of Warlocks and make them do kamikaze attacks (with one very fast unit) on the huge enemy army approaching your castle. It was a great way to weaken an otherwise invincible army into more manageable numbers if you had lots of gold. Well in HOMM 2, it's not so easy anymore... The best you can hire as a starting spellcaster is a hero with advanced wisdom which is not enough to cast Armageddon. There's always the option of kamikazing a mid-level hero with expert wisdom but I consider this a waste. Don't despair, there is still hope. You can use Elemental Storm as a substitute if you're lucky enough to get it :-) There's also the option of casting Anti-Magic on your best stack and Armageddon on the second turn. See part 4 of this guide for the Phoenix-Storm combo and the Holy Shout-Living Troops combo. SUMMON ELEMENTAL Quite a good spell but also the most expensive one to cast. Getting the Elemental-friendly items are a great help. As for most of the level-5 spells, the effectiveness of Summon Elemental is directly related to the Spell Power rating of your hero. This spell is almost as rare as Town Portal. I won't go into all the different immunities and weaknesses of the different elementals but be aware of them. With luck, you can use a mass- destruction spell combo or get a much-needed spell immunity with the kind of elementals you manage to get. Examples of Elemental-Destructive Spell combos are : Air-Meteor Shower (you keep your Elemental stack close to a majority of enemy stacks), Earth-Chain Lightning, Fire-Fireblast (not very good) and Water-Cold Ring (just a joke :-). Keep in mind that ALL Elementals are immune to ALL mind spells. I'm not sure about this but I think the AI has a tendancy to attack the Elemental stacks first (after your shooters). Casting 2 or more Summon Elementals in the same combat can definitely "stack" the odds in your favor. Here is a handy little chart for determining which elemental is immune to which spell : ELEMENTAL TYPE = SPELL IMMUNITIES EARTH = Lightning, Chain Lightning, Meteor Shower AIR = Meteor Shower FIRE = Fireball, Fireblast WATER = Cold Ray, Cold Ring MIRROR IMAGE Also a very good spell which could have been rated much higher. Level-5 spells ratings are mostly a matter of personal preference so please don't flame me too much :-). I use Mirror-Image on my best and/or highest level creature stack (usually Titans, Phoenix or Bone Dragons) with the possible exception of sometimes casting it on a huge stack of shooters or flyers which are fast and can attack first. Timing is everything on this spell, because you don't want the enemy to dispel it with one lousy shot or spell :-) Raymond Bingham explains the issues of Mirror-Image timing better than I do.. so please read his comments. Another less-well known usage of this spell is as an enemy attack "magnet". The AI will usually attack the mirror-imaged stack before the real one. This is especially useful on the first turn of a battle, casted on your best shooter stack which will receive most of the attacks. At the very least, it could save you from the attack of 1 big enemy stack. Of course, this little tip doesn't work so well against human opponents. HYPNOTIZE This one wins The Quebec Dragon Most Useless and Overrated Spell Award ! When I get Hypnotize in my only 5th-level spot after all the time and resources it took to get to the 5th-level mage guild... I cringe in disgust :-) In fact, I prefer Berserk over Hypnotize. Berserk will work on almost every unit, Hypnotize will work only on the "lesser" units of the opponent. Berserk is a 4th-level rare spell.. Hypnotize is a 5th-level frequent spell. Berserk usually lasts one turn, Hypnotize unfortunately lasts only one turn too. By the time I get Hypnotize, almost all monster stacks of the enemy are rendered immune because of their high numbers. The fact that I'm controlling the enemy stack for one turn doesn't make Hytpotize any much better imho. Besides, I will always have a better spell to cast than the "crappy" Hypnotize. The designers should really consider giving this spell a lower-spell rating (4th level perhaps ?) or boosting its power considerably. As it stands now, the only 2 uses I see for it are : 1) Eliminating the turn of a stack that scares you (better left to Blind or Paralyse) or 2) Lowering the numbers of two stacks by attack and retaliation (better left to a good area-effect offensive spell). If you would like to prove me wrong about the uselessness of Hypnotize, go ahead, I would like to hear from you... >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> VII. ARTIFACT LIST >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> It takes a really long time, but it is finally finished. Thanks to Rob Merrit for these. -Ammo Cart: endless ammunition for troops that shoot. -Ankh: doubles effectiveness of resurrect and animate spells. -Arcane Necklace of Magic: increases spell power +4. -Armored Gauntlets of Protection: increase defense skill +1. -Ballista of Quickness: catapult fires twice per turn. -Black Pearl: increases spell power and knowledge +2. -Book of Elements: doubles effectiveness of summoning spells. -Caster's Bracelet of Magic: increases spell power +2. -Defender Helm of Protection: increases defense skill +1. -Divine Breastplate of Protection: increases defense skill +3. -Dragon Sword of Dominion: increases attack skill +3. -Elemental Ring: halves casting cost summoning spells. -Enchanted Hourglass: extends duration spells by 2 turns. -Endless Bag of Gold: 750 gold every day. -Endless Cart of Ore: 1 unit of ore every day. -Endless Cord of Wood: 1 unit of wood every day. -Endless Pouch of Crystal: 1 unit of crystal every day. -Endless Pouch of Gems: 1 unit of gems per day. -Endless Pouch of Sulfur: 1 unit of sulfur every day. -Endless Purse of Gold: 500 gold every day. -Endless Sack of Gold: 1000 gold every day. -Endless Vial of Mercury: 1 unit of mercury every day. -Evercold Icicle: cold spells do 50% more damage. -Everhot Lava Rock: fire spells do 50% more damage. -Evil Eye: reduces casting cost of curse spells by half. -Fire Cloak: halves damage troops take from fire spells. -Fizbin of Misfortune: Greatly decreases morale. -Foremost Scroll of Knowledge: increases knowledge +5. -Four-Leaf Clover: increases luck in combat. -Gamblers Luck Coin: Increases luck during combat. -Giant Flail of Dominion: Increases attack skill +1 -Golden Bow: halves penalty shooting past obstacles. -Golden Goose: 10,000 gold every day. -Golden Horseshoe: increases luck in combat. -Gold Watch: doubles the effectiveness of hypnotize spells. -Hideous Mask: No wandering troops will join you. -Holy Pendant: troops immune to curse spells. -Ice Cloak: halves damage troops take from cold spells. -Kinetic Pendant: troops immune to paralyze spells. -Lighting Helm: Halves the damage done by lighting spells. -Lightning Rod: lightning spells do 50% more damage. -Lucky Rabbit's Foot: increases luck in combat. -Mage's Ring of Power: increases spell power +2. -Magic Book: allows the casting of spells. -Major Scroll of Knowledge: increases knowledge +3. -Medal of Courage: increases morale. -Medal of Distinction: increases morale. -Medal of Honor: increases morale. -Medal of Valor: Increases morale. -Minor Scroll of Knowledge: increases knowledge +2. -Nomad boots of Mobility:Increases movement on land. -Pendant of Death: troops immune to holy spells. -Pendant of Free Will: troops immune to hypnotize spells. -Pendant of Life: troops immune to death spells. -Power Axe of Dominion: increases attack skill +2. -Power Ring: returns 2 extra power points to your hero. -Sailors' Astrolabe of Mobility: increases movement on sea. -Skullcap: halves casting cost of mind influencing spells. -Seeing Eye Pendant: Troops are immune to blindness spells. -Serenity Pendant: troops immune to berserk spells. -Snake ring: Halves the cost to case bless spells. -Spike Helm: Increases attack and defense +1 each. -Spike Shield: increases attack and defense skills +2. -Statesman's Quill: reduces cost of surrender to 10% of the total cost of troops you have in your army. -Stealth Shield of Protection: increases defense skill +2. -Superior Scroll of Knowledge: increases knowledge +4. -Tax Lien costs you 250 gold pieces per day. -Telescope: increases terrain hero reveals by 1 extra square. -Thunder Mace of Dominion: increases attack skill +1. -Traveler's Boots of Mobility: increase your movement on land. -True Compass of Mobility: increases movement on land and sea. -Ultimate Book of Knowledge: increases knowledge +12. -Ultimate Cloak of Protection: increases defense skill +12. -Ultimate Crown: increases all basic skills +4. -Ultimate Shield: increases attack and defense skills +6. -Ultimate Staff: increases spell power and knowledge +6. -Ultimate Sword of Dominion: increases attack skill +12. -Ultimate Wand of Magic: increases spell power +12. -Wand of Negation: protects troops from Dispel Magic spell. -White Pearl: increases spell power and knowledge +1. -Witch's Broach of Magic: increases spell power +3. -Wizard's Hat: increases duration of spells by 10 turns. --Artifact Classification-- --------------------------- by: Astral Wizard Artifacts are man-made (more accurately magic-wielder-made) items that have a particular effect or function. Artifacts can turn a barbarian into a high-level magic-user or a sorceress into a powerful fighting unit. Artifacts can make the most craven of hero troops gallant warriors. Unfortunately, the wrong artifact can also drain a kingdom of gold, turn the populace against the heros, and demoralize the best. Artifacts can be broken down into nine basic groups... Skill Boosters. Skill boosters come in the forms of swords, shields, crowns, rods, scrolls, broaches, and basically just about any form you can imagine. The lesser of these artifacts might raise one of your basic skills (offense, defense, power, and knowledge) by one point. The larger ones can increase one of your basic skills by up to twelve points or multiple skills by up to six points. Possession of such artifacts can be crucial in the first part of the game where all heroes are starting off with a lack of specific skills. By the time the game has progressed half way, the value of these artifacts can decrease as heroes gain high skill levels through experience and visiting skill enhancing structures. Grab all the skill boosters you can get, but at mid-game start trading them for protective artifacts when you can on your more buff heroes. Protection. Protective artifacts come in the form of amulets, rods, cloaks, and so on; and can save you from missiles, lightning, heat, and other forms of physical attack or magical bespellment. It never hurts to have protection. Protective artifacts are a boon during all phases of the game but especially so towards the end when the fire balls are big, the lightning bolts bad, and longe-range troops are massive. Movement Enducers. Speed Baubles (as I like to call them) give you a greater movement each day either on land or sea or both and can be found in form both as various footware and medallions. Do NOT sell these apparantly low-effect items short -- they can save your hero's life or help bring aid to an unprotected castle under siege. All terrain movement enducers are a value through the entire game -- in the beginning they help you to "Hoover" up the resources laying around before your opponent does; and during the middle and end parts of the game they allow you to run away from too-tough opponents or to get back to your castle before an opponent can attack it. Speed baubles are a great item to have when you don't have Town Portal or Dimension Door! Spell Cost Reducers. Artifacts that reduce the cost of spells come in a myriad of oddly shaped items. They allow you to cast spells using much less spell power. So you can cast more spells before having to rest and regenerate your mana. Since they only usually help decrease the cost of a particular spell or spell type (ie, Bless) they are of dubious value. By mid-game, usually your spell casters have more than enough mana to perform. Spell Cast Enhancers. Artifacts that make your spells more destructive or longer in duration (like the Spell Cost Reducers) come in a myriad of oddly shaped items. They can make your lightning bolts more butch or make your troop stopper spells (blind, paralyze, slow, etc.) last longer. Again, spell duration enhanncers are of more benefit at the start of a game then they are later when the spell caster's abilities automatically increase the duration of spells. But the enhancers that make a damage spell stronger are very important are of great value to all spell caster types. Luck And Morale Generators. Coins, medallions, clovers, and the like make up this group of artifacts. They counter the ill effects of having undead in your troops or having troops of more than two alignments. You should try to equip each of your heroes with one of each (luck and morale) whenever possible. Don't be fooled by the whimsy of these items: They give your troops double attacks and maximum damage... they win battles! Resource Generators. MarketPlace In a Pouch! Resource generators provide you with one or two units of a particular resource every day or from 500 to 10,000 gold pieces if it's a gold generating artifact. So which would you pick up if you had a choice: Endless Pouch Of Gems or Ultimate Crown? If you control one or more wizard castles believe it or not, you would want the pouch. Resource generators are a big ticket item at the start of the game when resource piles are rare and at the middle of the game when you are building the more costlier structures. But wizard castles, warlock castles, sorceress castles, and barbarian castles all need a constant and large source of gems, sulfer, mercury, and crystals respectively. And the control of these sacks, pouches, carts, and cages can be a huge factor in the outcome of the game. Cursed Artifacts. Luckily, these are few and far between. Basically cursed artifacts provide you with something you DON'T want. Coming in ANY form conceiveable, they can do anything from draining your gold on a daily basis to preventing you from recruiting troops from home-bases. With the advent of the expansion pak, we now have a new quasi-form of cursed artifacts -- artifacts that provide a benefit with an equal and opposite bad affect (see the expansion pak page for details). While you will never want a truely cursed artifact, the benefits of the quasi-cursed artifacts that provide a blessing and a curse will have to be experienced to be rated. Miscellaneous Artifacts. These are special artifacts that provide a unique function that can't be included in one of the other categories. The Statesman's Quill which allows you to surrender with a discount, the Golden Bow which halves the penalty your long-range troops have shooting past obstacles, and the Crystal Ball which allows you to scrye information on nearby sites, troops, and opponents are examples of this type of non- classed artifact. There is no blanket value on this group of artifacts. Each artifact has a particular, unique value depending on the hero type and circumstances. --Rating Artifacts By Hero Type-- --------------------------------- by: Astral Wizard The level of value that an artifact provides any particular hero not only varies by the usual map size, terrain, type of opponents, and so on; it also varies specially based on the hero type. Given the exact same map, starting point, and even troops; each hero type will still require a different set of artifacts to enhance their activity. Non-spellcaster types such as Knights and Barbarians would require a different set of artifacts than spellcaster types such as Wizard, Warlock, Sorceress, and Necromancer; and the Necromancer would even require a different set of artifacts than the other spellcaster types. This is based on the inherit difference in skill sets of the hero types and also in the logical recruiting and deployment of troop types. Let's look at the three basic types of heroes: non-spellcasters, spellcasters, and necromancers (spellcasters but handled separately due to their unique aspect). For Any And All Heroes. Some artifacts will provide maximum benefit regardless of which hero type is in possession of them. You can NEVER go wrong by acquiring these artifacts! Ultimate Crown : Increases ALL primary skills +4 but only takes 1 slot. Breastplate,Helm,And Sword Of Anduran : Combined, these three artifacts provide a single hero with +5 to attack, defense, and power as well as maximum luck and morale and the town gate spell while only taking up one slot!!! Legendary Scepter: Increases ALL primary skills by +2 but only takes one slot. Ultimate Shield : Increase both your attack and defense by +6 but only takes one slot! Ultimate Staff : Increases both your spell power AND your knowledge greatly while only taking up one slot! Lightning Helm : Halves your damage from lightning. True Compass Of Mobility : Gives you extra movement everywhere. Non-SpellCasters. Barbarians and Knights are basically non-spellcasters. They are hired without spellbooks which is your first major clue that spellcasting is not their forte`. Oh, sure: you can buy them books and send them to school, but they will always be behind true spellcasters... unless you buff them up with spell enhancing artifacts! Indeed, with the advent of the expansion pak, we now have two methods of equalizing the spell power difference between non-spellcasters and spellcasters. Method Number One. Three Words: Sphere Of Negation! This one little artifact truely makes the combat totally fair between Barbarian and Necromancer... between Knight and Warlock! It prevents all use of magic spells during combat. I believe this artifact will become the "Holy Grail" for all Barbarian and Knight hero types in any map from now on. No longer will the Barbarian or Knight need to worry about Armaggedon, Elemental Storm, or Chained Lightning taking out the majority of their troops. Now (pardon the expression, Ladies) it's a real man's fight with sword and arrow, tooth and claw. With magic out of the picture, the Barbarian's and Knight's troops can leverage their natural offensive and defensive attributes into a powerhouse army. In fact, if you have the Sphere Of Negation, then you don't need to pick up ANY spell enhancing artifacts for that particular hero. Indeed, you want to avoid them and go for the offense and defense enhancing artifacts. Magic is now a non-issue and it comes down to sheer phsyical strength and numbers. Load such a hero up with offense and defense artifacts, mobility artifacts, and luck and morale artifacts! Method Number Two: But if the Sphere Of Negation is not to be found for a particular Barbarian or Knight hero, then what? Then you need to get four things: elevated spell power, elevated knowledge, expert Wisdom (a secondary skill), and... spells! And you need to get them fast! Wisdom comes from experience. Spells come from mage guilds, shrines, and (thanks to the expansion pak) singleton scrolls. No problem. But where does the elevated spell power and knowledge come from? A little from experience and training. A lot from artifacts. And as the Barbarian or Knight hero roams the land, they should be concentrating on finding spell enhancing artifacts. Don't worry that much about offense and defense: those are natural skills that increase rapidly in Barbarian and Knight hero types and are abundantly enhanced by the natural attributes of the type of troops these hero types usually command. Go for spell power and knowledge enhancing artifacts first. Once your Barbarian and Knight heroes have achieved a certain level of spell power and knowledge, they should then begin concentrating on getting their wisdom increased so that they can use the medium and high-level spells. Protection and luck/morale are of equal benefit and should be concentrated on at mid- game as the action gets hot and the combat gets tough. What artifacts would particularly suit a Barbarian or Knight hero (if they don't have the Sphere Of Negation)? For spell power and knowledge... It is best to boost your spell knowledge first so any artifact that increases spell knowledge is of major benefit since it keeps you from having to return to a castle or magic well repeatedly. Any knowledge scroll -- they increase your knowledge from +2 to +5 so you can cast more spells. The Pearls -- they each increase both your spell power and your knowledge but only take up one slot each. Enchanted Hourglass -- it increases the duration of your spells. For protection... All protection artifacts are of sound benefit with the exception of the Pendant Of Death. Picking up ANY protection artifact is going to help you. But these four I think provide the most aid to Barbarians and Knights. Holy Pendant -- protects you from curse spells so that your bless spells can boost you to victory! Serenity Pendant -- makes you immune to bezerk spells. Pendant Of Life -- makes you immune to death spells. Miscellaneous enhancements that will help the Knight or Barbarian hero once he or she has built up their spell power, knowledge, and protection provide an almost equally important boost to the hero's personae. Snake Ring -- halves the cost of Bless spells... a blessed Crusader stack is a serious thing! Any luck artifact -- gives you extra damage on your attacks. Any morale artifact -- gives your troops extra turns. Masthead -- gives you both luck and morale benefits at sea and is great for maps that have large water terrain areas. True-SpellCasters. Sorceresses, Wizards, Warlocks, and Necromancers make up the category of spellcasters. You won't find a true spellcaster without his or her spellbook. Why not? Because without spells, the true spellcaster is a feeb! Oh, sure: you can send them to boot camp and make them watch Jake; but point for point, they will always be behind the Barbarians and Knights when it comes to attack and defense. Unless you pump up their physical skills by training, experience, AND...? Right! And artifacts! But not just any artifacts! Spellcasters need defense more than any thing else! The very first thing that spellcasters should begin to do as they seek out training structures to increase ALL their skills is to find defense artifacts to increase their immunity to physical attacks. Dull the edge of sword and arrow, blunt the point of tooth and claw. You are already ahead of the non-spellcasters in spell power and knowledge; but that does you no good if you get few chances to cast your spells. At mid-game, seek spell power and knowledge boosters as well as luck and morale boosters. The spells you are acquiring at this point are greatly enhanced by spell power (Chained Lightning and Fireblast) and knowledge lets you make longer forays. The luck and morale boosters now start to increase your attack capabilities by giving you extra turns and full damage. In the final stages, seek real attack artifacts so that on the final big battles you are insured of making your physical attacks do as much damage as your heavy spells. What artifacts would particularly suit a Sorceress, Wizard, or Warlock (I'll leave Necromancers for their own section)? For defense... It is best to boost your defense first so any artifact that increases defense is of major benefit since it keeps your troops alive longer in battle. Spiked Shield -- increases both your defense and attack by +2 and only takes one slot. Sword Breaker -- increases your defense by +4 and your attack by +1. Divine Breastplate of Protection -- increases your defense by +3. For spell power and knowledge... Any booster of this type picked up by a spellcaster will turn them from a dangerous spellcaster into a deadly spellcaster. But these listed here provide the best overall benefit to the spellcaster. Any knowledge scroll -- they increase your knowledge from +2 to +5 so you can cast more spells. The Pearls -- they each increase both your spell power and your knowledge but only take up one slot each. For attack... All attack artifacts are of sound benefit. Picking up ANY attack artifact is going to help you. But these four I think provide the most aid to spellcasters. Holy Hammer -- increases your attack by +5. Sword Of Anduran -- increases your attack by +5. Dragon Sword Of Dominion -- increases your attack by +3. Power Axe Of Dominion -- increases your attack by +2. For protection... The same artifacts that provide the best benefit to Barbarians and Knights also provide the best protection to Sorceresses, Wizards, and Warlocks. Holy Pendant -- protects you from curse spells so that your bless spells can boost you to victory! Serenity Pendant -- makes you immune to bezerk spells. Pendant Of Life -- makes you immune to death spells. Miscellaneous enhancements that will help the true spellcaster differ slightly from those that help the non-spellcaster. Power Ring -- restores +2 spell points per turn. Any luck artifact -- gives you extra damage on your attacks. Any morale artifact -- gives your troops extra turns. Masthead -- gives you both luck and morale benefits at sea and is great for maps that have large water terrain areas. Necromancers. The Necromancer is basically an aggressive spell-caster -- aggressive meaning that the normal Necromancer starts out with one attack point whereas the other spell-casters don't. This means very little in the over all game. However, the Necromancer has special skill that needs to be cultivated and exploited. This skill is the Necromancy skill. This skill allows the Necromantic Hero to turn the combat dead into skeletons. This is no small thing -- although skeletons are the least of the minions of the Necromantic Hero, in hordes they are quite deadly. The Necromancer will want to acquire the same artifacts that the normal spell-casters do for the same reason. In addition, two artifacts that are a must have (when available) for the Necromancer are: Arm of The Martyr (+3 to spell power, and the necromancer laughs at the undead morale penalty) Gravedigger's Shovel (increases the necromancy skill by 10%) Evaluating the Worthiness of an Artifact Now having listed out what I consider to be some "must have" artifacts for each hero type, I'd like to challenge my own statement: "Must have"? Really??? A Player asked this question last week: "I came across an artifact that I could purchase for 3,000 gold pieces and five gems. I didn't take it. Should I have?" The answer to that question is a resounding and definite "Maybe!... Maybe not...!" Normally, you acquire an artifact by just "finding" it, fighting a guardian or a pack of scalywags for it, winning it off a defeated opponent, or through an event. But sometimes one of these annoying little leprechauns goes retail and tries to sell you an artifact. Whether you should purchase it or not depends on the artifact AND the situation. First of all, if the artifact offered is a relatively useless artifact then skip it? What constitutes a useless artifact? A morale booster is useless if your heroes all have expert leadership and are already carrying morale boosting artifacts. An endless pouch or sack of anything is useless if all of your castles are completely built and you don't need the particular resouce (for instance, it's the Endless Pouch Of Gems and you only control totally completed Knight's castles). Statesman's Quill is useless if you never surrender. I'm sure you'll find other situations where an evaluation of the state of the union tells you that you don't really need this particular artifact at this particular time for this particular map scenario. But what if the artifact is extremely good and you really need it for a hero? Evaluate that need with the needs of your current castles' development and your control of resources. Do you still have critical castle structures to build? For instance, are you only at Level 3 on your Mage Guilds and you have only one or none of the mines that produce the resource that is required to purchase the artifact? Don't do it. Do you have no control of any mines that will replenish the resource cost used to purchase the artifact? Don't do it. Is it asking for gems, sulfur, mercury, or crystals and you control a wizard's castle, warlock's castle, sorceress' castle, or barbarian's castle, respectively? Don't do it. Did one of the opponent's heroes just waltz into your view with a few dragons in his troops while you're still excited over having just built your basic ivory tower? You're in trouble! Forget the silly artifact and get that castle built!! And the final consideration (for now) in determining whether to acquire an artifact whether you purchase it or just pick it up is this: You can't drop artifacts. You are limited to the number of artifacts your heroes can hold. It doesn't matter if the artifact is free, if it takes up a crucial slot that a better artifact could have taken. Consider this: would you rather have the Ultimate Crown or the Endless Cord Of Wood? As your heroes' artifact slots begin to fill up, begin getting more picky about what artifacts you acquire and ignore the lessor ones. Shop smart! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> VIII. GENERAL TIPS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> * Exploring your vicinity In most cases it is very wise to purchase at least one more hero to your starting one. Of course, if you have an observation tower in front of your castle and can see from there that all ways out are blocked by some stronger armies and you only have a little space to explore, a second hero won't be needed... yet. * Main advantages of two-heroes exploration: -In early stage - that 'round the castle' exploration - you will usually profit from having two heroes by having more goodies gathered quicker. Applies to mines, resources, artifacts and even the fact of uncovering the map. [More heroes can be used, if your financial situation seems good and exploration is possible. These guys usually pay back quite soon.] -Further in the game, when you assemble a task force strong enough to go after your enemy, a second guy in backup can be used for several things: 1.takes care of resources, mines and full exploration of conquered land (here I often purchase new heroes at conquered castles, because within a few days the money is back in resources from taken mines.) 2.holds backup armies for your main hero 3.can build up quite solid experience 4.can take out some of the wandering armies 5.can take care of some minor enemy heroes/towns * How to select your primary/secondary hero? With the exception of necromancer, there's no need at all to use a hero corresponding with the castle class (and even with the necro castle, you should consider buying another type if there's not any large quantities of skeleton reserves scattered around the map). How to make your choice? -Primary hero: * Knight for both quick and long tasks. Should be definitely chosen in cases where magic resources are very scarce. In later phases the knights develop significant skills in magic, too, but their main advantage is very strong defense, closely followed by attack. Very good for walker-based armies due to Ballistics and Leadership, but since they get archery pretty often, even shooter-based task forces will be glad to be under a knight's command. * Barbarian for both quick and long tasks. Should be definitely chosen in cases where magic resources are very scarce. The barbarian's magic skills will remain puny without artifacts. Their main advantage is definitely attack. The defense can remain surprisingly low for Might class hero. Excellent in rough terrain, they guarantee quick exploration and also outrunning your enemies (both offensive and defensive ;-)). * Sorceress For quick and mid-term games. Their Navigation makes them a must for water-based maps. With excellent knowledge and fair spell power they're good ones to rely on Summon Elemental spells in battle. If you manage to get some direct damage spells, they can gain quick victories on their Might opponents, but in the long term, they lose to their strength, unless they happen to get high-tech spells. (This is common for all magic heroes - and the high-tech spells are berzerker, mirror image and ressurecting, possibly global damage spells - but at those the sorceress isn't that good due to lower spell power.) The remarkably high knowledge is very important in longer journeys in unexplored lands. * Warlock If you're gonna to gain access to your opponents quickly and if their forces are weak, you can take a warlock and bet on spells. His early Spell Power dominance with slight positive inclination to attack skill gives opportunity to teach enemies lessons in direct damage spells from 2nd level Mage guild, which can be built easily in most cases. In the long term, they lose to strong Might heroes with strong magic troops ;-) * Wizard Being a good compromise between Sorceress and Warlock, their magic abilities are quite reliable, with little inclination to defense. Combine comments on those classes and bear in mind that the wizard is worse than them in their primary positive, yet better in their negative ;-). In the long term, they lose to strong Might heroes. * Necromancer They are of little use as main heroes with living armies. However, if there are significant numbers of skeleton-providing low-level armies, it might pay back well to pick a necromancer. Within a few levels gained from chests and gazebos, his Necromancy skill should improve to Expert and then it's time to get some armies. Gaining more levels to A/D than other spell casters, necros aren't that vulnerable in battles, while still profit from quite strong spells. In the long term, they lose to strong Might heroes, unless their skeleton hordes are in four-digit values - this depends strongly on the particular map. To sum and extend those comments on heroes, a few notes of my personal experience follow: If you plan using high-end magic, make your main hero a spellcaster. However, if you plan a long-term campaign with huge armies involved, you'd better choose a knight or barbarian, depending on the chosen strategy, terrain, number of castles and available troop types. Maps with easy terrain, close strong opponents (and therefore defensive strategy), lots of castles and scarce resources (and therefore weaker armies in low counts) a knight is better, while distant enemies, rough terrain and numerous armies suit the barbarian.) Having a sorceress in sea-rich scenarios gives you great advantage - gathering resources, artifacts and events before the enemy may well help you win a map. Wizard's wisdom may be useful with some potent spells like Berzerker, which is the best way using enemies' own power against them. Necromancer may be worth it if large amounts of skeleton producing wandering armies are located nearby - the recruited skeletons make excellent garrison troops. My usual practice is to hire a Barbarian (unless I'm sure I'll need a knight to defend frontier castles) and concentrate the experience with him. In many cases I manage to get Wisdom, so I can use some good spells from captured castles. However, Knight heroes have greater probability of acquiring wisdom, spell power and, which is the most important, knowledge. The barbarian should also try hard to get Archery and possibly Ballistics, as the shooters aren't strong enough to rely exclusively on them, especially against shooter based opponents as Wizard or Sorceress). This concept of relying on the Might in the Long Run has only a few holes, but those do NOT apply to games against AI. The holes are Paralyze and especially Berzerker. With those spells, a good spellcaster can kick your butt. You'll need to be careful with casting. The only good remedy is those pendants that protect against these. Oh,well,if the opponent makes a mistake and gives you an opportunity to dispel those spells, DO that! (Best by using AntiMagic.) Direct damage spells (maybe except Armageddon) aren't a big threat, because with large armies the damage caused by those can be compensated by supportive spells on your troops - I.e. Bless on 30 crusaders gives an average of +300 damage - equal to Spell Power 12 Lightning Bolt, Mass Bless on whole army giving even better results compared to ChainLightning. The only things that I miss when playing Might heroes is making long journeys using Dimension Door, but a) even that sometimes gets possible, b) anyway, after some tens of games won by DDing around, this thing becomes boring, as it spoils most of the challenge. Note that in Ways of ... particular hero classes, there are common strategies to use when fighting other heroes. Those of course mean fighting armies belonging to that particular hero type. All those strategies assume all those armies included in the battle (for nit-pickers: five out of six possible, by best choice under particular circumstances...). If there's any army missing, the strategies must be reworked to reflect that. If there's any army added (from other castle types or neutral troops), the strategies must be reworked. Since there are way too many combinations, I'm not gonna do that. Getting secondary skills: Check Way of particular class to see which skills suit the best your troops and strategies. There are some general rules to follow. See description of advanced skills below for most of them. Many of the skills are just generally good (Luck,Leadership) while others are case-specific (Mysticism, Wisdom, Logistics, Ballistics) where the conditions cover anything from Map size, number of castles, type of main hero, type of most used troops, amounts of resources available and all other things up to terrain types. Of course, the hero class is very important. I.e. Leadership and Luck provide much better advantage to Might Heroes, whose troop damage ratings (that profit from their skills) are generally high. On the other hand, for a spell caster skills like Mysticism and Expert Wisdom are a must, because those expand his strong features. -Secondary hero: * Knight Used mainly for defensive purpose - if you need a hero to command the garisson of a beseieged castle (and don't have any strong spells in there), use a knight. For active usage there's about nothing significantly good. * Barbarian Can be as well used for defense instead of knight, but in rough terrain makes an excellent resource gatherer - the kind that runs between all the weekly-available sources of anything. If your main guy is a barbarian, try to get another one to accompany him on the long journeys, picking up all the resources etc. (If your backup guy doesn't keep the pace up with the main one, he kinda loses his importance in the two-hero strategy.) * Sorceress Use whenever high seas are close - try to improve navigation quickly in gazebos etc. and rush out to pick up all that floats on the high waters before your enemies can do so. No other real use. * Warlock Use in very early stages as explorer. Leave him only his gargoyles and let him to help reveal the map. Try to get Expert scouting ASAP to improve his performance. * Wizard Of no much use. The only good thing is that the hero comes bundled with a few boars and therefore can reach good speed simply by dismissing the halflings. * Necromancer Of almost no use. Comes with slow units and no particular good skill. However, if you have tons of peasants and other low-level skeleton-providing scum in vicinity, you can take a necro, get a few levels to improve necromany, then, before shuttling one or two weeks of castle production to your main hero, wipe out these armies and use the skeletons - either with the necro as his main troops or with the main hero as an improvement to his strike force (if he has some leadership)). I personally prefer to take warlocks as secondary, unless I need barbarian (due to terrain) or unless I need to get more troops for the primary hero, in which case I take the same class (which is always offered in first week). Why warlock? Ideal for exploration - has Scouting and Very fast units at start - can even share the gargoyles with the main hero, thus giving me two swift explorers at the very start. When your secondary heroes happen to gain levels, bear in mind that really important among secondary skills are movement skills - Logistics, Pathfinding and Navigation (only when can be applied, though), Scouting and Estates. Also remember that the two-hero strategy doesn't implicate use of ONLY two heroes, but AT LEAST two heroes. The larger the map, the more heroes may be used. The so-called backup guy should be taking his share of experience. Especially later, when the main hero will need large amounts of experience to advance, it's usually better to let the chests to the backup guy, because he'll profit them much more. The only exception should be the case when the main guy desperately NEEDS to upgrade some advanced skills.) The main purposes of the backup guy are carrying reinforcements, killing minor enemies and wandering armies and sometimes possibly softening up enemy resistance, even at the cost of sacrificing himself. If the secondary hero survives, he might often 'inherit' all the main hero's armies - especially if you happen to capture enemy castle with some 6th level troops left inside unpurchased. In that case the main hero buys all the big guys and those often carry more firepower that his entire regular army. In this moment, the backup guy becomes sort of another main hero and at those moments you really appreciate that you've already let him to get some levels.) [Or, if he's still pretty weak, you might consider giving HIM the dragons, who tend to take minimal losses, grab some quick experience by defeating wandering armies etc. - and later switch the armies. This applies in cases where the main hero's army relies very much on his skills and with the weak secondary guy would suffer many losses.] There might be a bunch of 'tertiary' heroes that can take care of collecting resources, gold and armies from self-refilling sources (usually one hero can do that easily) and for shuttling reinforcements to the front lines. Those guys need no experience, but should (if that doesn't mean BIG delays) visit gazebos and possibly trees of knowledge (if they're for free) to try and get scouting, logistics or estates). * Task sharing between the heroes: The main hero should spend his time doing only things that number two cannot do himself. The former are usually battling armies, getting artifacts and treasure chests, while the latter are usually occupying mines, picking up resources and exploring Witch huts. Of course, things like visiting gazebos and other skill increasing facilities are common. One more thing should the second guy do - probe trees of knowledge, because they're more valuable later in the game and you don't want to waste their potential in the beginning. * Experience and advancement handling: -In witch huts you can get random Basic skill. [Random in sense that level creator cannot affect which skill will it be, but every time the level is started, the skill is set and remains the same for the single playtime.] So, the backup hero has one important role: If your main guy still has some secondary skill slots free, his friend will check every witch hut and sacrifice his free slots to learn, what the hut has to offer. -Treasure chests and other sources of experience. As the experience needed to gain a level rises with levels already gained, it is pretty obvious, that if you have a hero with some 40000 exp. and his backup guy has some 3000 from temples only, then when ever you run into a treasure chest, you'd better take it by the second guy... Coz getting another +1 skill for your main guy is usually not as good, as getting some +6 for the same price... Okay, sometimes you take them with the main guy, because you desperately need some advanced skill to be upgraded... [Here I strongly recommend checking every now and then, how much the hero needs to advance to next level. Even with 100000+ experience points, the hero sometimes is just a 'chest-far' from next level. -The same thing comes with wandering armies... If the backup guy can take them out, let him do it and leave only hard targets to your main guy. There is one exception... If the main guy has a strong army, it is a good strategy to leave him one empty stack when touring the landscape... (The backup guy will carry the fifth army in case it would be needed for a castle siege or enemy hero onslaught). Thus, wandering armies can join you. So, if you happen to have a force strong enough to defeat any wandering army, approach those you'd like to join you (or buy, having advanced/expert diplomacy) with the main guy. If they will join you, you can either use them immediately or give them to the backup guy, if they don't fit for the main guy's alignment, combat style or speed. Those armies can be then used by the backup guy as forces to kill other wandering armies and towns for experience, and later maybe to be left as garrisons in captured castles and towns (ogres and hydras are excellent for this purpose, because their high HPs will either prevent any weaker heroes from attacking your towns or, at least, cause some losses to enemy armies.) -One more comment on treasure chests - always bear in mind that they are also a good source of GOLD! If you plan to rely in diplomacy or build very expensive structures, it's worth it to take gold with the secondary heroes. -Also, if your secondary hero explores a closed area that you don't want to visit with the main guy (maybe there's nothing important except a few chests, or he's in a hurry to somewhere else), you might grab gold or exp. with the secondary guy even at early stages of the game, where the main hero could profit them, but it'd cost too much time. -Daemon caves are a bit tricky thing... If you enter and fight the daemon servants, usually there are about 10 earth elementals, after whose defeat you get usually 2500 gold. Refusing to fight them, you risk one of four possibilities (getting the gold and 1000 exp, getting the exp. only, losing 2500 gold (the hero dies if you don't have 2500) or receiving some gold and an artifact), that generally are much better. -All other sources of experience and skills can be used by more heroes (temple, stonehenge, witch doctor hut, mercenary camp, fortress, arena and tree of knowledge, which has the same price for all heroes(decided at startup, can be nothing, 10 gems or 2000 gold)). In case that a Tree of Knowledge wants no payment, the level advancement is done immediately (which is why it's better to try those with the backup guys first, because using a tree of knowledge before you already have some 50000 exp. is a real waste.) -EP features Harpyas - a good way how to transform useless armies to exp. points. [If you have tons of cash or just some armies you won't need, give them to a hero, who has a little experience, and send him there. Harpyas will slaughter some of his armies and reward him with exp. totalling the sum of slaughtered armies' HPs.Ideal for dismissing joint golems, ogres, hydras and other (usually useless) stuff. Can get you a few levels for a beginner hero. Generally not of much use, but it's there and works alright. And, sometimes this helps human players, because computer heroes sometimes visit harpyas with their main armies and thus make your job of killing them later easier. * Artifacts Always take time to sort the artifacts you have and have the least possible number of them with your main hero... All spell-protective amulets have gained on importance as the AI in it's latest upgraded version has started using spells like Paralyze and Blind frequently. In older versions, it never did so and those artifacts were just wasting space. And, remember one thing - those artifacts will protect you even from special ability attacks that are similar to the spells - both Unicorns and Cyclopes will NOT be able to inflict their special spells on your troops. So, give those to the backup hero, along with all resource-or-gold- providing artifacts. That leaves artifacts improving basic skills, morale, luck and movement. And even then, if you're readying to capture a strong enemy hero (best in his castle, so he can't flee), think a lot about which ones you could miss for that fight, coz you might salvage much better ones from the enemy. (Usually you won't need magical artifacts with knights/barbarians and sometimes A/D artifacts with spellcasters that plan to rely on their strong magic... Also some morale and luck stuff can be missed for that battle, not mentioning movement artifacts.) Don't hesitate to get rid of unwanted artifacts by sacrificing a hero to enemy [if you wish to pass the artifact to enemy - good with tax lien, hideous mask and magical stuff like broach of shielding and hearts of ice and cold, depending on what spells do you have ;-)] or just dismissing him and hiring another one. I often even hire a hero to be dismissed with the negative stuff. NWC should have made negative artifacts stick to the hero... as it was in the original HOMM. * Movement rules The total movement points of your hero depend not only on his skills, but on his armies, too, and the difference is 4 movement points between very slow and very fast armies. (Always matters the slowest army, in case you didn't figure it out). So leave hydras, ogres, dwarven armies and possibly orcs and archers at home, unless you'll really need them. The additional movement points may often be the only difference between life and death, i.e. if you run across an enemy hero with large army during your exploration and he starts right after you. Just came to my mind that this could be a good way to waste your opponent's time - once the enemy wanders onto the edge of your territory, get close enough to him to let him see you. But be sure to have very fast armies, possibly logistics or a movement increasing artifact... and every turn, keep just a few steps ahead of him... And run around the map, wasting the time of the powerful enemy army... Also, use always appropriate heroes! If you've got a ship and vast seas to conquer, buy a sorceress, try to get her some levels to improve her nagivation to expert, dismiss her dwarves and here we go. (The dismissed dwarves won't speed up her sailing, but she'll have two extra movement points for land duties - and those can often save her a whole day if she can land, snatch resources and board her boat all within one turn. Same with barbarians exploring deserts, swamps etc. - leave orcs in castle, try to get expert pathfinding. * Advanced skills overview ----------------------------T-----T-----T-----T-----м | Primary Skill Advancement | | | | | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Hero on levels | A | D | SP | K | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Barbarian 2-9 | 55% | 35% | 5% | 5% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Barbarian 10+ | 30% | 30% | 20% | 20% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Knight 2-9 | 35% | 45% | 10% | 10% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Knight 10+ | 25% | 25% | 25% | 25% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Necromancer 2-9 | 15% | 15% | 35% | 35% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Necromancer 10+ | 25% | 25% | 25% | 25% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Sorceress 2-9 | 10% | 10% | 30% | 50% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Sorceress 10+ | 20% | 20% | 30% | 30% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Warlock 2-9 | 10% | 10% | 50% | 30% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Warlock 10+ | 20% | 20% | 30% | 30% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Wizard 2-9 | 10% | 10% | 40% | 40% | +---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+ | Wizard 10+ | 20% | 20% | 30% | 30% | L---------------------------+-----+-----+-----+------ -----------------------------------------------------------------м | Secondary Skill Advancement | +----------------------------------------------------------------+ | The higher the number, the higher the chance that the skill | | will be available to learn; the lower the number, the lower the| | chance that the skill will be available (a 0 means no chance) | +---------------------------T------T----T-----T------T-----T-----+ | Skill | Barb | Kn | Nec | Sorc | War | Wiz | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Archery | 3 | 2 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 1 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Ballistics | 3 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 3 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Diplomacy | 2 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Eagle Eye | 1 | 1 | 3 | 2 | 3 | 3 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Estates | 2 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Leadership | 3 | 5 | 0 | 1 | 1 | 2 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Logistics | 3 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 2 | 2 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Luck | 2 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 1 | 2 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Mysticism | 1 | 1 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 4 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Navigation | 3 | 2 | 2 | 4 | 2 | 2 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Necromancy | 0 | 0 | 5 | 0 | 1 | 0 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Pathfinding | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 2 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Scouting | 4 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 4 | 2 | +---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+-----+ | Wisdom | 1 | 2 | 4 | 4 | 5 | 5 | L---------------------------+------+----+-----+------+-----+------ Every hero has eight slots for advanced skills. Therefore you have to be picky and choose only those you'll profit from. The simple fact that your hero would profit from a skill doesn't mean that you want to take it... There always could be more skills to profit from. A good example may be a knight that gets offered Advanced Leadership and Basic Archery. A newbie will snatch the archery, while the Pro will stop here, think about waiting for wisdom/logistics with the free slot and therefore will take the advanced one. This waiting is generally affordable in cases where the basic offered to you isn't a rare skill for your hero, or in cases where you don't need it any badly right now. * Ballistics: A must for walker based armies, in every scenario with lots of castles it will save you some losses to your vulnerable shooters...Either by destroying enemy castle installations or just making way for your armies to run in and slay the defending troops sooner. Not needed much for flyers/shooters based armies, such as dragon or titan task forces. Yet shooters profit from destroyed castle walls by having no obstacle penalty. * Archery: Increased damage from ranged attacks usually comes in pretty handy, unless you have small stacks or none shooters at all. (I.e. warlock, necromancer). * Logistics: A must, except for Small, sometimes Medium and those island realms scenarios. * Pathfinding: A must, whereever large desert, swamp or snowy areas require exploration. Otherwise useless. * Navigation: Don't have to tell you that you won't need that, when you have no seas/rivers to conquer, do I? ;-) * Necromancy: Not of much use, unless you manage to get expert one and find large masses of cannon fodder such as peasants. However, in necromancer's hands it's a powerful weapon. Only warlocks can ever get basic necromancy... and a witch hut will never teach that. * Mysticism: Very useful for long journeys without castles, if you need to use magic. The better knowledge your hero will have, the lesser need of that skill you have. (Warlock/Necro needs that far more than Sorceress, to be exact. Also Knight/Barbie could consider taking this skill, especially in cases where he already knows Haste/Slow and plans to use those frequently.) * Wisdom: Unless you build higher level of mage guilds, you won't find much use to it, but take this rather than other, worse skills, coz somebody might build the guild levels for you (either in your or his city). In large scenarios, even magic-hating/fearing knights/barbies should take this one - it will give them access to spells in conquered castles and MassHaste/Slow or Paralyze/Berzerker are spells that may greatly improve their battle efficiency, not to mention getting i.e. TownGate. * Diplomacy: If you get it in early stages, comes quite handy, coz with expert level of this skill, you get quite a fair price for new units. [And you can see how many they are, before fighting them... and hell, there IS a difference between 'lots' and 'lots', 20 and 40 ogre lords definitely aren't a bit the same easy bait. A few times, having adv/expert diplomacy saved my life, because I could avoid fighting a stack of grand-elves, that would have beat crap out of my armies.] I think that the total price is always the same - the price you'd have to pay for the troops if you were recruiting them, EXCLUDING magic resources!. Dependant on level, 1/4, 1/2 or all the troops offer themselves for that price. You should check the areas you have already explored to see if there are any troops you'd want on your side (and if their numbers aren't too high - I can't remember the exact value, but they'll offer to join for money only if your army is somewhat bigger than their in HPs.) There's one more important thing: This threshold value for joining is smaller than the value needed for the army to be too scared to fight you - in other words, if you have diplomacy and a free slot (or a matching stack in your army), you can avoid fighting armies that would otherwise fight you, which can be extremly important while facing very fast shooters or dangerous flyers.) * Scouting: Useful for exploration, coz you'll be able not only to see resources and mines you're looking for, but sometimes you'll spot your enemy soon enough to turn back or even spot him without him spotting you. * Eagle Eye: Learning spells from your enemies is a good concept, especially if you don't have enough resources to build your own guilds. But I personally prefer other skills and take this only when I either have to or know I'll need it. (Being offered Navigation on land-based scenario, it's really lesser evil to take Eagle Eye.) * Estates: Having this skill in expert level is fine, although there are better ones. Usually I take it in early stages, if either the other skill is even worse or I'm in dire need of cash. All secondary/tertiary heroes should take this one - better is only logistics or pathfinding, where applicable - if the heroes are supposed to travel long-distance repeatedly and quickly. If you plan to rely on Diplomacy, take Estates along with the main guy, if you can spare the slot. * Luck: Causing double damage can't be a bad thing, ever ;-), but it's never a thing I'd wait for to come. * Leadership: Can sometimes save you a lot of trouble and losses. I prefer it to Luck, as it gives you more tactical benefits. (You can let enemy units share the double damage you're granted.) My personal preferences would be: Logistics, Pathfinding, Navigation, Leadership, Ballistics, Archery, Mysticism, Wisdom and then others. But if you get Diplomacy or Estates pretty soon, always take them rather than Eagle Eye or other, in some cases useless skill. Diplomacy may prove extremely useful in all maps where castles are scarce and gold is abundant. Especially with stronger armies you'll have an easy task in acquiring reinforcements among wandering armies. In general, when deciding about a particular skill, you should always bear in mind particular conditions in that particular game. You won't need Estates, if you have a few goldmines/endless bags. You won't need Diplomacy, if you're very short of gold or if there are only a few armies that you would want to join you. You won't need Pathfinding on grassland landmasses. You won't need logistics in a Small map. You won't need luck with strong armies. Always remember that if something comes handy, you don't NEED it yet. * Spell Casting - adventure spells When an adventure spell is cast, ALL your heroes profit from it. So, if you have some spare guy at home, cast all view spells and identify hero spells with him, sitting in his castle. You can identify a hero, that is on the other end of map, so why use spell points of your killer guy, which needs to know this opponent before killing him ;-) I don't have to mention profits of dimension door, do I? Remember one thing, though. Plan your DD journeys well, considerings wells ;-). It's good to be able to travel half the map in one day, but is even better to end your trip with almost full spellpoints, in case you might need them - i.e. to travel back. It's always nice to see a computer hero DDing onto a little island and then waiting a week to regain ten points to get back -especially if he has his pack of titans with him and not in his home castle... The town portal is even bigger bastard than DD. Suppose you capture an enemy castle with some heavy losses - you warp home, get new armies, run to a well, that often is near your starting castle, and then, warp back to the newly captured castle, all in one turn! Town portal (without troops) can be emulated even if you don't have it, at least in some ways. Remember, that in one turn, you can repeatedly attack somebody/something,retreat and re-hire the hero with new movement points! [I personally began to dislike DD and Town Portal, finding them very unbalancing to the game.] Dirty Trick: Hit'n'Run: Although the following is nasty and almost cheating, you can do this: Having i.e. a warlock or a wizard (very fast units), an enemy near your castle with a huge army and some offensive spells in your guild: Split your very fast units into 5 stacks, if possible. Just have the five stacks occupied by 1 unit each. Attack the enemy, demolish his stacks with spells, retreat, hire again and repeat. If you'll have a well nearby, you can do this as long as you have the cash. Having 5 stacks of 1 unit often allows you to cast 2 or even 3 spells per battle. (Remember, you must FLEE, don't get killed!). This way, you can reduce the enemy's army to quite poor numbers and then, either fortify at your castle, or even slay him with your main army, that was resting in your castle all the time (and maybe providing the very fast units for those repeated attacks). Note that sometimes it would be better to use non-offensive spells, eh, I mean berzerker ;-)) In early exploration, casting View Resources, View Towns or View Mines may have crucial impact on your success. Especially View Mines is often helpful, because there are often scattered respective resources near a mine, so it's important to be there sooner than your opponents. * Building General rules on building are these: You should always start with money generating structures (statue/dungeon), with a small exception. Before you build the statue/dungeon, check if you'll be able to get enough resources, usually laying around your castle or mines, to build all important dwellings. Applies strongly to barbarian and warlock as the money generators are ore-based. When upgrading dwellings, consider these points: -The most important upgrades are those that increase speed of your fastest unit. This applies especially to those cases where the fastest unit of your is only Fast or Average. Getting an upgrade to very fast means that you'll at least sometimes get first shot in battles. -The second most important upgrades are those that increase speed of your slowest unit(s). They give you extra movement points for each turn. -The alternative second most important upgrades are those that give your units some specials. Why alternative second-most? It's good for a barbarian to move one step faster with his orc chiefs (or two steps with ogre lord, if he won't use orcs), yet it's comparatively good (yet in different ways) for giants to start throwing their weapons or for vampires to start drinking blood of their enemies in large scale -Other upgrades are important, too, but not enough to be n-th most important ;-) A statue built on day one will result in extra 500 gold on first day of next week (and then extra 1750 every first day of week). Always try to build most of dwellings before day one of next week. All miscellaneous buildings like Mage Guild, Tavern, Thieves guild etc. can wait. If you really don't know what to do with cash, build other structures. Short notes on them: -Thieves guild can be quite handy, if you're getting into enemy or neutral territory with armies, that would have troubes with stronger opposition defeating neutral/enemy castles/towns. I'd say that it's a must to have at least one - so you can check at least the troop types. -Marketplaces generally come to work well in large numbers. [The more marketplaces you control, the better conversion rates you get. Three marketplaces get you the same rates as trading posts. With eight or more the rate drops to 1:2 in resources.] -Tavern is, well, ehh, of not much use, but if you can spare the cash and wood, the +1 morale and sometimes useful tips can be worth it. -City defenses and class dependant buildings (that always somehow affect defensive actions in city) can be of use, especially in castles adjacent to enemy. I'd say that the moat is most important, because it gives you usually one more turn to shoot and cast before the walkers get to you, and also creatures in moat are more vulnerable. [They suffer between 15 and 30% more damage, having their defense rating reduced by three.] The firepower of tower and turrets depends on number of buildings in city, while the attack bonus is increased by levels of mage guild built. (And, of course, by hero/captain skills). My personal experience says this: I almost never build castle defenses and special buildings. If an enemy starts moving inside my territory, I build moats in endangered castles, if I ever want to hold them, along with Turrets, if given enough time. But remember - if an enemy will be still able to capture the castle, YOU will then have to siege it and suffer from the improved defenses. If you have a first-strike army like sorceress, you can afford that and the extra losses imposed by the fortifications on the enemy force will reduce your losses in recapturing. However, if your armies are slower, they might suffer more losses from the castle than they would suffer from the extra troops that the enemy wouldn't have lost while conquering the castle. * Combat tips Combat tips could be divided into several categories: -Using knowledge of computer intelligence [This is a non-combat section with tips on how to initiate battles] If a strong hero comes close to your castle, you can often beat him by following tactics: Rather than getting defeated (although heavily damaging his armies) in your castle, grab all you can and run away. Usually the hero will leave some of his armies as new garrison in the castle and head somewhere else (yet he may try to kill you, so you have to move around wisely). This new garrison is usually no match for your main army, so you kill it, get the exp. of it ;-)(plus the 500 for castle siege ;-)) and run again. Computer hero again takes your castle, splits his armies and leave. Repeat until you can beat the enemy with little losses (or until he stays in your castle - coz in such case you'll have to either fight it out or find y'self another castle ;-)) [This works best in cases where the enemy isn't strong enough to attack you, yet you'd suffer great losses in battle with him - i.e. from direct damage spells that the AI doesn't include as a decisive factor before battle.] This technique is very useful with villages, coz there's no garisson archers and also computer heroes can almost never resist the temptation to capture undefended village, but will NEVER stay inside to let you die out after 7 days of homelessness ;-)) AI has also quite simple algorithm for attacking your heroes and castles. Usually they won't attack unless they have a bigger army (in HPs). So it often helps to buy anything you can in the castle your enemy is heading towards and he changes his mind (although he would easily win, i.e. with a band of shooters and strong magic against a pack of hydras) Sometimes you'll have to use your main army as this deterring factor. If the enemy can see your castle, he'll head for it almost everytime he notices it's empty or lightly defended. But if you stay in your castle with all your forces for a few days, all these days he'll be going after other targets, which will give you then enough time to do your tasks around your castle. [Note that this also works the other way 'round... If the opponent has at least once been near to a castle, he'll often launch a task force to capture it every time he sees it poorly defended. You may benefit from that in two ways... Either you have your main hero nearby, that'll smash the incoming enemy, or you'll just get some strong armies (either by purchase or by moving a hero in) into the castle just when the opponent is almost there... And he, seeing a defending army too strong for him, will have to find another target - possibly somewhere deep back in his territory, which means that you've succesfully wasted his time and offensive potential of his armies.] A good idea is always (if you can do without gold) to buy out units in turn one and then let the opponent capture your castle, retaking it back just after a week - computer usually does a good job improving city buildings for you. * Always make sure you KNOW, what army will play next. The rules are these: -First comes speed. If there's a stack, that is faster, than any other, it plays first. -When both sides have stacks of same speed, in the first round the attacker gets the first move -If both sides have stacks of same speed, the rounds go zig-zag. Once all stacks of that speed have moved, next lower speed army moves and if both sides have that speed in their ranks, then again moves side, that hadn't had made the last move. -On every side, armies with same speed play in order of appearance on the screen, when the battle begun. So, if you have two armies of the same speed, the ORIGINALLY upper plays always sooner, even if it moves below the other army. * Always try to use appropriate targets in order to attend your goals. Your goals may be one of the following: -winning the battle at any cost -causing maximum damage (i.e. defending a captured castle) -winning with no losses -not letting enemy flee. There's a different way to each of those goals, but most of them require you to know exactly the order of play, as well as to know approximately the damages, that your and enemy stacks can cause. Order of play is important for one more thing. If i.e. both you and opponent have some shooters of the same speed, you'll have to determine, if yours will play sooner, and if so, you can direct your other attacks to other enemy units (assuming that your shooters will cripple enemy shooter stack enough to cause you no casualities). * Combat rules: How the damage is counted? DAM= (1+((A-D)*X))) * A_count * RND_damage In words: Number of attackers times damage caused by a single unit [this one is the only random factor - damage lies somewhere within damage range] times modifier based on Attack skill of Attacker and Defense skill of defender. Value of X: X equals 0.1 if A is bigger than D, which means that the damage is increased by 10% for every point between A and D X equals 0.05 if D is bigger than A, so damage is decreased by 5% for every point between D and A. We'll show a black dragon fighting different opponents. Damage modifier counted below will in combat be multiplied by number of dragons and random value between 25 and 50, which is black dragon's damage range. So, black dragon attacking peasants: [Assume heroes with A and D=0] Modifier = (1+(14-1)*0.1) = 2.30 or 230%, which gives damage from 68 to 115. Now, the same dragon, attacking other black dragon: Modifier = (1+(14-14)*0.1) = 1.00 or 100% which gives, of course, damage from 25 to 50 And now, the same dragon attacking other black dragon, whose commanding hero has the ultimate cloak of Protection, having defense bonus +12: Modifier = (1+(14-26)*0.05) = ((1-12)*0.05) = 0.4 or 40% There are limits to those numbers. Attack modifier is limited to 300%, defense modifier is limited to 20%. That means that there's no need to cast bloodlust on your army if it's attack is higher than it's target defense + 20, or steelskin, if your unit's defense is higher than attacking unit's attack + 16. Is that clear? * Try to get to know your enemies as well as your units. Memorize most units' HPs and other numbers and be able to estimate, how much damage will your armies deliver, in order to use them most effectively. It always makes me sick seeing somebody (and happy,if it's the computer) running with a stack of blessed paladins to crush a few centaurs, while my blackdragons or minotaur kings will then give them hell, not fearing the ten master swordsmen, which could have dealt the centaurs, but will instead perish in the dragons retaliation...) In the battle, always keep an eye on current state of any unit, especially the number of HPs. If the stack with badly wounded unit can get out of enemy range, try it. If you can finish a badly wounded enemy dragon or another big beast, do it. Two dragons, if which one has miserable 5 HPs left, still do damage of two dragons. If you have two stacks with equal HPs left, always sacrifice the one that you need less. (It's always better to lose a minotaur than a dragon.) * Remember counterstrike rules! Any close range attack is retaliated, but every unit retaliates only once every turn. (see exception list below) So, if your enemy has a strong stack, you'll want to either attack with a stack strong enough that decimated enemy will NOT revenge enough to kill any of your units, or sacrifice a small, cheap unit to waste enemy retaliation. [Ideal for this are gargoyles, with their speed. If you have two heroes, use the backup one to carry a stack of gargoyles and give the main hero one gargoyle before every battle, that would require this technique. (For example, if a barbarian has a stack of cyclopes, that could slay some of your black dragons in retaliation, if you sacrifice the gargoyle, the dragons will have one free attack on cyclopes. But remember, of course, the gargoyles have to play BEFORE the dragons ;-)] * Learn the ways computer fights - it uses only a few rules: -Attack! anytime you can. -Attack shooters if possible -Attack flyers if possible -Attack other units It always tries to attack the strongest (in total HPs) stack of one of the mentioned classes, and if there are equal stacks, it picks the topmost on the screen (topmost at the start of the battle, of course.) [There are two exceptions - liches and ghosts have different strategies.] Rule a) means, that the computer will attack, whenever possible, even if the target should have lesser priority than other your stacks. Example: You can lure average units with your cheap flyers (gargoyles fit there best) to give your shooters more time to deal with enemy walkers... i.e. facing a barbarian army with one strong stacks of ogre lords: normally, they would get to your shooters in the third turn. But, if you in the second turn move one single gargoyle to the opposite side of battlefield, close enough to the ogre lords (they have radius of four squares, so that four squares between them and the gargoyle is just enough), they will gladly run after the gargoyle, thus giving you TWO more shooting turns, before they get to your shooters, which often is the difference between life and death, coz you can also cast spells on these two extra turns...) Rules b and c mean that AI will always pick shooters/flyers as a target, if the attacking unit has more enemies in it's range, and also units, that cannot attack in this turn, will try to move towards those preferred targets. Knowing what the AI's going to do can help a lot in defeating him. * Use special abilities to your full advantage. I'm talking mainly about two-field attacks (dragon, phoenix, cyclope), and I'm talking about yours as well as your enemy's. For example, annoying bunch of ogres can be easily smashed sacrificing one gargoyle to the next stack of cyclopes, if the gargoyles attack from the right direction. (The cyclopes retaliation will work quite nice, possibly even paralyzing the ogres ;-)) Of course, many other specials come in handy - i.e. non-retaliating attacks of hydras (plus their ability to strike at ALL surrounding units), rogues, sprites and vampires, multiple retaliation of griffins and all others. Especially the griffins can be used to mop lesser enemy armies within one turn. * Tricks battling computer heroes Computer controlled heroes follow some patterns in their battle behaviour (as well as non-battle behaviour, see below. Usually, if an enemy hero has some artifacts, he'll try to flee, when the battle turns bad for him, preferrably after smashing a lightning bolt into your stack of shooters. So, try to do your best and plan your crushing attack in a way that will not allow computer to flee. [Usually this means letting him come closer and then smashing all his units in counter attack... here comes very handy good usage of spells, knowledge od abilities, order of playing units and careful planning, using effectively your damage-causing capabilities. See more in class dependant strategies - Way of [classname]] When you don't want to have losses to your strong flyers/walkers, take a few shooters as a bait for AI. I once managed (with some High Level sorcery including Meteor Shower, and a Sorceress with no big A/D skills) to take out 16 phoenixes with 10 phoenixes and 3 centaurs on my side - grouping the phoenixes as 2x5 and the centaurs as 3x1, losing no phoenixes. And I did it four times in a row. The AI is stupid enough to waste it's excellent firepower to smash one stupid harmless shooter. * Order and sizes of stacks Unless you have to, never place your shooters next to each other - this way you allow enemy flyers to block two units at once. Always try to have your shooters at both ends of screen, with the strong protective walkers in the middle. A good example is barbarian, whose Ogre Lords with radius of 4 hexes can walk from their middle lane right in front of your topmost or bottommost stack, possibly attacking any enemy flyer or fast walker, that managed to get there. Always line up your troops wisely, using knowledge about your enemy. Remember that your Average units can reach enemy Very Fast or Fast walkers, that are approaching them in their lane. Applies well for goblins, skeletons, ogre lords etc.etc. (Other pairs work as well - your Fast can reach enemy Averages, your very Fasts can reach enemy slows.) Sometimes it's wise to have one BIG stack in total HPs. This will often lure the computer into casting Disrupting Ray repeatedly, even when he's a strong spellcaster, that would cause heavy damage with offensive spells. Best armies for this purpose are Titans, Crusaders, Ogre Lords, Raised Tons of Skeletons etc. When battling wandering walkers or mixed enemy armies, think before ordering your troops. If you have Liches or plan to use area damage spells, position the primary target to the 5th slot. All the walkers will try to walk diagonally accross the field, which means that those from upper slot will get into the way of those in the lower slots, they'll walk around each other. This will have two advantages - first they'll be placed nicely together for area damage spells, second some of them will get to you later than they originally could. However, if you have strong walkers that have the same speed as the enemy (and especially Fast+ - cyclopes, crusaders, wolves, whatever), place your primary target (the strongest shoter) into the 1st slot. Thus, after the first walker has moved directly after your shooter, you can move some walker of yours to kill this one without getting in range of other enemy armies. (Note that if your shooter was in the 5th slot, the first walker would come diagonally towards you and attacking him at this moment would expose the attacking army to other enemies of the same speed.) I hope that you understand what I mean. * Spell Casting - combat spells Before casting a combat spell, always think carefully what will your casting cause. Remember the following: -Sometimes a non-offensive spell on your unit will give you better results, than an offensive on enemy. Casting Bloodlust on 10 Titans will kick your damage by 30%, which can often bring much more, than an offensive, direct damage spell. -This applies also to non-offensive spells cast on enemy units! Disrupting ray can also decide a hard battle, because strong slow units like hydras or ogres are a pain in the ass in big numbers, but once their defense is set to 1 with no possible cure, any good attack acts as a pain reliever ;-) I personally won MANY battles by casting disrupting rays instead of lightning bolts. -Generally, you should be able to estimate what spell will have bigger impact on the enemy. Just count up your damage capabilities and compare this number, multiplied by the Attack modifier, with the damage that would your offensive spells deal to the enemy. Usually, four disrupting rays on enemy hydras stack will mean about 100% or more damage, so if your armies can deal more than 500 damage at the start of the battle, they'll score an additional 500+ for the disrupting rays - you would need spellpower 6+ to beat that with four lightning bolts. Of course, number of enemy units matters here, as well, because if you would smash the hydras with the bolts, before they got to you, there's no need to hesitate, but if you would have to attack the hydras stack more than once, it's always better to lower their defense permanently. [And this applies for stronger monsters even more, especially titans...] -If you can afford it, let the enemy cast first. [AI always casts at the very first opportunity] Usually it's better to be able to remove enemy spells efect. I.e. a curse on 20 titans is worth removing by a bless. -Remember that your spell casting can often cause a reaction from the AI. This covers all non-offensive spells: Blinding, paralyzing, cursing or slowing an enemy unit can force the AI to cast Haste, Bless, or even AntiMagic to remove your spell. Sometimes this is better, than letting the enemy fry your shooter stack with a 300 worth of lightning bolt, but sometimes an attempt to slow down crusaders results in them having the Blazing speed rating next turn, wreaking havoc on your troops. Also, remember this: When you cast Slow, Blind or Paralyze and the enemy dispels it in the same turn, the affected unit WILL move in the same turn, even if units of the same speed were played already. [With the spell removed, the unit's order of play will follow regular rules - if it's speed hasn't had it's go yet, it will come regularly. If the speed has been played in the turn, this troop will play immediately - it has the highest speed of units that haven't played yet. Thanks Qurqirish Dragon for that one!] -Use Blinds, Paralyzes, Hastes and Slows wisely! Always be sure to know, what impact on play order will your spells have. If you know that you'll wipe four of five enemy stacks within the first turn and without computer moving, be sure to cast a Blind on his last stack. Attack blind units only under these conditions: -Either you've faster units than this stack is -Or you can cast blind at the end of this turn again! Why? Attacked blind unit doesn't get it's move within this turn, but will be able to move in the next and if it is as fast as your fastest unit, it will move FIRST! -Cast the blind always right before you skip your last unit (last of those who move before the enemy!). This applies mainly for a sorceress. Imagine that you face a stack of average speed. You shoot with druids and elves and then, before skipping or moving unicorns, cast the blind. Then a new turn begins. Again, you shoot with your very fast units, and then either move/attack or skip unicorns. Enemy loses the blind condition, but within this turn, it WON'T move. So you can shoot with the shooters for the third time and then decide, if the unicorns can take the enemy out (within some help of offensive magic) or blind the enemy again. So generally, if your shooters are faster, than the only enemy stack, you'll have to cast blind every second turn (and can cast offensive/supportive magic the other half of turns) without giving the enemy a move opportunity. -Rules for paralyze are the same. -Rules for using haste are simpler,because you'll have to slay the enemy before his regular move comes. (Haste will not only let you play sooner, but extend your range by two hexes! Always remember that and use it wisely. Especially hasted very fast profit from that!] One of the most profitable uses of Haste is: Play the battle without spells until your massive army (esp. Skeletons or Ogre Lords) get their turn. By that time, many of enemy units have moved. If you cast Haste right now, your Ogres will be able to reach enemy average units, AND, in the next turn (if you have spell power greater than 1) they'll be probably among the fastest units. Thus, you have two sequential strikes with a very offensively oriented stack. A typical situation is a necromancer with Vampire Lords and Skeletons battling i.e. bunch of Fast units. In the first round, you should do without magic until the skeletons get their turn.Then give them Haste, which should let them reach the approaching enemy. They'll play first in the next turn, thus giving you the opportunity to cast Haste on the VLs and get two attacks (one the hasted skeletons and one the hasted VLs) before the enemy starts doing anything. That means a total of three consecutive attacks by your troops. In many cases it's enough. -Slow is usually better,because it reduces speeds by half (rounded up) (Ultra fast becomes Average(7/2=3.5), Very fast becomes Slow (6/2=3), Fast becomes Slow, Average becomes Very Slow!), but there's one bad thing:If you happen to Slow a Fast unit and FAIL to kill it,enemy can give it haste, which means that not only it will travel as UltraFast accross most of the battle field to strike at your shooters, but it will get the first move in the next turn,unless you have ultra fast or faster units! Even skeletons or mutant zombies will be VERY FAST!, and those for sure, because Haste is necromancer's DEFAULT spell! Always remember that! * Use offensive spells to cause maximum damage. It means: -Don't cast a 300 Lighning bolt on a stack with 50 HPs, unless you really NEED to kill it! Use magic arrow instead, or bolt something else, that will suffer the whole 300 damage! -Always know which enemy stack means bigger danger to your armies. A nice example would be my favorite: One titan has 300 HPs. 99 Halflings have 297 HPs. So the AI will always strike at the titan. But the titan will do 20-30 damage (plus maybe 140%, considering his high attack), while the halflings will do 99*(1-3), which gives 100-300 damage (plus maybe some more, they have some attack skill, too). On the other hand, there are cases, when the numerous stacks of poor creatures, such as centaurs, mean much lesser threat than a stack with the same HP total, consisting of i.e. very fast and quite strong minotaurs etc. [You should take into consideration whom will the possible targets of your magic attack - sometimes the shooters would cause damage, while the walkers would kill - if the minotaur kings cannot get to titans, they might decimate your halflings, while the centaurs would only damage your titans.] * Fighting shooters If there are wandering armies of shooters, think before you attack them. You should always bear in mind how much damage your armies can sustain without losses, how much damage the enemy can deal to you. Think well about order of play, spell casting etc. During the play, keep an eye on damage to your armies. (Sometimes it's i.e. wiser to NOT attack with the flyers, coz you save damage from retaliation. - use this rule, if you wouldn't kill at least half of the enemy stack.) Also, sometimes it's wiser to NOT attack blocked shooters, if you have an army with the same speed as those shooters, that wants to attack some others... sometimes it's crucial that a particular damaged and blocked stack is alive so that your army of the same speed gets it's turn before an unblocked stack would play. Before fighting shooters, divide strong stacks of shooters, too. You don't need 20 druids to attack 5 archers, it's better to attack 2x5 archers with two stacks of ten druids. If you have fast flyers, divide them to block the enemy. Griffins and rocs do best here. Gargoyles too, since they're expendable. Among the regular, weaker armies, most dangerous are grand elves, which usually score some damage. * Fighting flyers You'll have to pay big attention to order of play and try to protect your shooters with your other units (and it's wise to think about it before the battle and reorder your units so that this will be an easy job. (Good for this thing are all two-field creatures - griffins, unicorns, champions, boars make excellent blockers. Also, using the condensed army setup - the toggle button in upper left corner of hero screen - that will help much, making less free space around your shooters. I use this rarely, but a few times it has proven worth it. Best example is a situation where you have one shooter stack and four very slow armies - all of them can attack anyone near the shooter, because they don't have to travel any far.) Though, beware strong monsters (dragons, phoenix), unless you have hydras, which will profit from the fact, that the two-field attacks will strike their friends almost as much as the hydras. The hydras can take out much stronger armies, than you would think. (Using steelskin, bless, bloodlust is a good thing here. Out of five enemy dragon stacks four will strike each other while attacking you. [In place of hydras any other two-hex creature will do. But make sure that this stack will be primary target for the AI and will remain so even if heavily damaged. Phoenixes or rocs fit there well. With Ressurect-true you'll have an easy job even with some spellcaster, although knight hero fits there best, possibly with artifact-boosted defense. The hydras are best, though, because they'll strike at all enemies and they'll not retaliate.] [Note that the creature used for this doesn't have to be a two-hex. A good ogre lord band will do a nice job defeating some decent dragon army as well. * Fighting walkers There are a few good tricks against walkers. First one touches a bit specific conditions... If you have a strong stack capable of two-hex attack and the enemy has units with slow or higher speed, you can do a nice combo. Ideal example are the graveyard garisson zombies. Suppose we have some Phoenixes. Ok, we'll just plain attack them zombies... But how? Fly your phoenixes over to the third stack of zombies and attack from the front side - the sword cursor horizontal. You fry this middle stack. Next, you shoot your shooters onto the fourth and fifth stacks of zombies. Now, the first zombie stack plays its move - walking down to phoenixes, standing just between the phoenixes and second stack of zombies... A blow, doing damage... some retaliation, and voila, three stacks of zombies killed in one turn by the phoenixes, which suffered only one attack. Note that this trick can be performed even against mixed armies. You only have to pick a walker with at least Slow speed, stand TWO stacks down (or up) from him (frying another stack, standing there) and waiting for him to come after you. However, you'll need to assure that this selected stack will be the first to attack your two-hex-attack army. Another trick fits well against average walkers - using bait flyer stacks of one unit in size - described above with the gargoyle/ogre lord setup. A sacrificer may help you align enemy troops for your two-hex sweeps. When fighting walkers with your armies that contain mainly shooters, take mental notes on how much damage you cause to the enemy stacks. Especially if the enemy walkers are of the same speed as some of your units. The trick is: Sometimes it's wiser to let a damaged stack that is closing on your shooters to attack those shooters. If they're of the same speed, this stack will attack them, die in retaliation and those shooters then can go shooting at another stack. A typical example may be war trolls against veteran pikemen - if the first pikemen stack has been seriously damaged by the trolls, while the second is full strength yet, let your walkers and orcs kill the remaining three stacks. In the next round, the damaged first stack will attack trolls, die there and the trolls can shoot at the yet unharmed second stack. This often helps to win battles with no losses. * Concentrate your firepower As in most strategy games, even here works the approach of taking the enemies out one by one. Here the thing is based on the fact that all enemies except griffins retaliate only after first attack. The only exception is fighting (mostly wandering) shooters, which should be (in most cases) taken out simultaneously to prevent them from shooting at you at all. Enemies led by a hero are a bit more dangerous, because the simultaneous approach can cause losses to walkers and flyers. But sometimes those losses are a fair cost for protection of your shooters. * Prevent the enemy from concentrating his firepower. Always try to determine the primary and secondary target of your enemy and IF the secondary target is either less important or more durable, try to let the least possible amount of enemies attack the primary one. A typical example may be knight troops. The primary target are always the rangers, while the secondary are most often the crusaders. The crusaders will suffer losses after six times heavier damage is caused to them (which with their high defense means about 8-12 times more enemies attacking them. And furthermore, the crusaders will be surely able to kill enemies in retaliation, whereas the rangers have lesser Attack skill and quarter damage at close range.) And how to prevent enemies from going after their primary target? There are two different situations: * The enemy are walkers with the primary target still out of their range. In that case you need to move any unit into their range, while keeping the primary target out of their range. The AI rule of attacking whenever possibly will force them to go after the bait unit. The gargoyle-ogre lords trick is described elsewhere in the Ways of... articles. * The enemy are either walkers with the primary target in their range, or flyers. In that case the only remedy is surrounding targeted troop with other units. Best in this task are fast two-hex creatures. Just place the primary target into first or last slot and the two-hex unit right beside it. If the two-hex unit plays before the enemy flyers, move it as close to the primary target as possible, from below/up. Thus, you'll leave only one free hex to attack the primary target from. If another unit of yours still plays before the enemy fliers, you can move it onto that last free hex in front of your shooter. Thus all the flyers will go after the secondary target, which is usually the strongest walker stack (crusaders, hydras etc.). Classical example is knight with Rangers, Champions (or Cavalry) and Crusaders against Fast or slower flyers. In that case, a total of two or three flyers will go after the crusader (three, if the first one is killed by retaliation) and the rest after next strong stack. This works with little limitations even against Very Fast units - if the first flyer (that plays before the crusader and can attack the rangers) dies in rangers' retaliation, place the crusader into the now-freed hex. If the flyer survives, just leave him here, attack him only if you're sure you won't kill him! Always use the terrain well to block enemy units. I.e. if there are two ways to your shooter - when there are those two long horizontal obstacles on the battle field, dividing it into three corridors - and the enemy walkers are average or slower. Let's say that your shooter stack is in the 1st slot. The obstacles always leave two hexes of free space on the rear side of field. Typical example is fighting any average walker with knight troops. Let's say that we'll put the rangers in the 1st slot, 2nd and 3rd will be occupied by those Fast infantrymen. First turn, the infantry will seal up the top access route, rangers will shoot at whichever unit, all enemy units try to move in the middle corridor. Second turn: infantry moves below the rangers, occupying the two hexes that are between the end of screen and the obstacle. All of those average walkers that cannot reach the infantry in this turn (and therefore have no immediate target) spot a way to the primary target 0 the rangers. All of them turn back and head to the top corridor. In the next turn, you'll again seal the top corridor, all of them move into the middle. You can repeat that as long as the rangers have some arrows to shoot. Note that it won't work against Fast+ units and sometimes, some of the average units may get too close and attack your infantry. If that should mean losses, it's time to switch to normal strategy - remove the infantry to give the rangers one shooting turn and then an all-out attack (or in case that the enemy is still too strong and would survive the attack and get to the rangers, all- out attack is launched immediately, keeping the walkers somewhere in the middle to protect rangers (and let them shoot again.) Any two-hex creature can be used to block the access from the middle corridor, but plan carefully, because you'll need to be able to switch the blocks every turn and not let any of your blockers get into range of the enemy. This strategy will let you (with the luck of getting the right terrain) defeat armies that would be able to crush you in a flat field. This is a cheap trick that I've discovered recently by pure luck, yet it works miraculously. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> IX. USING CERTAIN HERO TYPES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --Using Knight-- ---------------- Strengths: Ideal for fast conquering, smaller scenarios. Invaluable attack and defense... Quite cheap armies, especially rangers, who can also be upgraded from archers found in archer houses and conquered villages, and often bear main offensive tasks. Until you start to build crusaders, you'll probably have no big financial problems (that is, if you can do without one of the walker types.) High morale in connection with four stacks, that can cross the battlefield in two runs, often makes battles easier. Very potent offensive capabilities in champions, that can be built without magical resources (only the trolls have the same advantage) and strike against two-field creatures in first round. No crystal needed to buy crusaders (they're the only one 6th levels with this advantage, that are an excellent weapon with their good speed and specials. Three of the armies are upgradeable for free - financial saves. (Of course, cavalry only in expansion pak games...) Archers can be recruited for free and found often in captured villages. Weaknesses: Armies have quite low HPs - get used to have some losses, esp. due to magic. Only very slow stacks available in the beginning - slower exploration, unless you hire a warlock to get some gargoyles ;-) Army Evaluation: Peasant 1/1/1/1/2/20 The only unit in the game, that is totally useless for the side that has it... (However, pretty useful for necromancers ;-)) Yet, they're the best unit in the game in the ratio of damage dealt to their own hitpoints ;-))) Well, to be true, use of peasants has helped me a few times winning castle defenses against wimpy computer heroes, but in general, peasants are really useless, unless in four-digits numbers. Personally, I never waste money on them. But if you happen to have several peasant huts in castle vicinity, let the peasants grow there and if you think you might need them, call up a mobilization. This usually yields those three-digit numbers. And some hundreds of peasants for free mean a good stationary defensive potential that can prevent AI from attacking, even if it would easily win using shooter armies. TreeBeard says that once peasants saved his life, when being sacrificed to an army of ghosts, that stood between him and quite a powerful enemy, which was just about to attack. Archer 3/5/10/2-3/2/150 Ranger 4/5/10/2-3/4/200 Upgraded: Shoots twice. Pretty dangerous cheap little fellows. Well, dangerous when upgraded, because their speed assures first two strikes against orc chiefs, halflings and other shooters. With some battle tactics, you can even manage to cripple enemy average flyers (green dragons, bone dragons, vampires, rocs, griffins, sprites...). Their availability at Archer houses, which are, due to their nice look, used more often than other dwellings in many maps, results in fact that their numbers may get quite high, making a valuable enemy of them. Definitely not bad for 2nd level creature, esp. due to double strike. A ranger is for 50 more gold worth two archers and is not far from grand elves (who are 3rd level), but they die a lot and you should expect to have none of them in later game. (There are only a few ways of protecting them, and none of them brings anything good apart from protecting them.) Pikeman 5/9/20/3-4/4/200 Veteran Pikeman 5/9/25/3-4/5/250 Swordsman 7/9/25/4-6/4/250 Master Swordsman 7/9/30/4-6/5/300 Both troop types are quite reliable, carrying moderate attack and excellent defensive potential. Their Fast speed after upgrade allows them to control most of the battle field, reaching stationary enemies within second turn. Their high defense combined with their speed also allow them to function as blocking armies to protect rangers together with either champions or crusaders, a matter of big importance esp. against enemy Average flyers. As neither swordsmen nor pikemen are AI's primary target, their losses aren't high and they profit strongly from the fact that most enemies somehow underestimate them. Both can be upgraded at foundry, which is another map structure, that is used more than often due to nice look ;-) Cavalry 10/9/30/5-10/6/300 Champion 10/9/40/5-10/7/375 This troop is important for many reasons. Being Ultra-Fast assures the knight first shot in every turn. Being two-hex gives the champions opportunity (with a little luck considering clear terrain) to strike in the very first move against enemy two-hex creatures. Most useful against centaurs, rocs and griffins. The upgrade also makes them 33% tougher (and, in fact, cheaper per HP...) Before upgrade, they lack most of their positives, but still remain pretty strong in both defensive and offensive tasks. One bonus is again free upgradability (in EP maps only, though). Paladin 11/12/50/10-20/5/600 Crusader 11/12/65/10-20/6/1000 Both: Attack the target twice. Upgraded: Cannot be Cursed, scores 2x damage vs. undead. An army of great potential. Crusaders' special double damage against undead would make bone dragons tremble with fear, if they only could have any feelings. Their 20-40 damage per turn is third best in the game, also they can be blessed and crusaders cannot be cursed, giving you an assured average of 30 damage per piece. They're capable of scoring some 160+ against weaker undead - one blessed crusader without hero skill bonuses can take out 8 mutant zombies or 40 skeletons in one turn. Although they're the worst 6th level army by HPs, in real use they're very potential opponents to face and a very dangerous weapon to possess. Knight Castle building in the first week: ---------T----------------T------------------------------м | Day 1: | Statue | 1250 gold + 5 ore | +--------+----------------+------------------------------+ | Day 2: | Well | 500 gold | +--------+----------------+------------------------------+ | Day 3: | Tavern | 500 gold + 5 wood | +--------+----------------+------------------------------+ | Day 4: | Archery Range | 1000 gold | +--------+----------------+------------------------------+ | Day 5: | Blacksmith | 1000 gold + 5 ore | +--------+----------------+------------------------------+ | Day 6: | Armory | 2000 gold + 10 ore + 10 wood | +--------+----------------+------------------------------+ | Day 7: | Jousting Arena | 3000 gold + 20 wood | L--------+----------------+------------------------------- 20 ore should be an attainable goal (usually it's there, at least on Normal setting). 35 wood poses much more trouble, because it requires two heaps of wood (total 10-20) and capturing a sawmill somewhere between day 4 and day 7 (6-0 wood). However, in most cases the wood can be found within the week, and the second half of supply is needed only at day 7 - up to this date you'll have enough with the starting stock. 10 000 gold is quite easy to accumulate (The castle yields 7500 in those six days, which must be lowered by 1250 for the statue, another 7500 should be the starting stock. That will give you at least 4000 gold for day 1 purchases, which makes the knight the strongest in the early game.) Another 20 wood and 10 ore will be needed for upgrades of dwellings. May not be necessary, though - if foundry/stables are near. The farm is almost absolutely useless. If you happen to be lucky and get that 20 crystal needed for Cathedral, it may be often wise to purchase that instead of Jousting Arena at day 7. The paladins' double attack and all higher numbers are a good advantage. However, if there is a Sorceress enemy nearby with good prospects on building Phoenixes, the champions may have an important role in getting you the first attack, which may be pretty critical factor. Rough castle output will be 1250x7 - 8750 gold/week. Weekly armies without the crusaders will cost 5840 before upgrades, 7285 after upgrades. HPs grown weekly 870 at 12.97 g/HP This means that knight will be able to actually save money for building crusaders, while the other classes will have to either leave some armies unpurchased home or acquire gold sources. This is important mainly for barbarians, who are otherwise able to compete with knights' quick starts. Strategy The highest priority at the early game is wood - which can usually be found nearby. However, you'll be able to build first four dwellings without any additional wood gathered, and after that, even well-defended sawmills should be acquirable. One good thing about being addicted to wood is the fact that wood can be acquired at seas easily - so if you happen to run accross any harbor town or just a ship (giving a Summon Boat a try at seashore applies here, too), you may get quickly large amounts of wood. Especially effective is this technique when your home castle already has a shipyard - the 10 wood for the ship is usually more than back within the 7 days of sea travel... Try to hire a sorceress for that purpose - the money comes back, too!) The second highest priority may be either gold, if you seem to have enough crystal, or crystal, if you seem to have enough gold ;-) Crusaders will burden your budget with 4000 extra gold, which means that you'll be two thousand/week short. Compared with barbarian, you have less ranged attack potential and therefore need the durability of crusaders to keep up the aggressive exploration. Forces combination: I usually take all the rangers, champions and master swordsmen on the road, while the pikemen remain as reserve. Though, especially in cases where crystal is rare and there is no need to save money for crusaders, I'll buy all the pikemen to give them to the backup guy as his main army. Their numbers will usually prevent secondary AI heroes from attacking him, so he can dare to venture a bit away from the main hero. In cases of dire need, the pikemen can be still given to the main guy to help with offensive. In cases of low gold income that is needed to save for the crusaders, you might as well omit the swordsmen. My usual practice with the main hero is: Rangers split into two stacks, placed in first and last slot. Between them, Champions, Crusaders and Master Swordsmen in any order. Position of champions is operationally changeable in dependance on any two-hex creatures present in enemy armies. In case you have only two walker stacks (Swordsmen and pikemen, Swordsmen and champions) and plenty of rangers, split the rangers into three stacks - that gives you more control over damage distribution, less firepower wasted by blocking flyers, enemies changing their mind as the stacks of equal sizes lose their priority target status after taking slightest losses, which causes enemy slower walkers to change their projected path, possibly wasting a turn.) The swordsmen are the stack that will suffer the least from enemies. As you'll maybe have some from villages (and even more pikemen), and definitely lots of them from castles that you don't have resources enough to build up to jousting arenas and cathedrals), you'll find that all of a sudden, they're your biggest stack by HPs - often big enough to scare the hell out of spellcasting enemies, who'll in turn start casting Disrupting Ray on them. Always remember that strongest skill of knights is defense and their troops are designed to conform with this system. Always have crusaders in 2nd/4th slot - so they can get into the moat the very first turn in castle sieges and possibly break in in the second. Champions will make it from the border slots. Swordsmen can do well in the 3rd slot. Special strategies against particular classes: * Fighting fellow knights: Once your enemy has army about equal to yours, you might probably forget about having rangers after the battle ;-). With four armies capable of getting to the other side in second turn, the rangers' only task will be to eliminate their counterparts, so that your walkers will not be disturbed while dealing with his walkers, that have already come to you. Enemy champions will probably die at blades of your crusaders in the first round. The crusaders are a tougher nut to crack. Unless you block your rangers, they'll wipe them out, as you have no way to prevent them from playing before your crusaders in the second battle turn (omitting magic, though.) In case the rangers are blocked, the enemy crusaders will go after their counterparts and that's no good. So it's maybe better to sacrifice some of pikemen/swordsmen and attack the crusaders in the first round, when they come into range. * Fighting barbarians: This is always a tough job. The barbie will get first shot with his trolls, which usually means 2-5 dead rangers per enemy troll. That is bad. If the trolls aren't upgraded and aren't the topmost average stack, the first shot goes to you, which is much better. However, against barbarians you cannot afford to rely on defense, as their range firepower is far greater than yours. You'll probably have high losses in rangers. All your walkers should approach the enemy carefully, as you should do your best to get first strike and decimate enemy units in order of speed - Champions should smash wolves easily, Crusaders will engage the cyclopes, swordsmen and pikemen will take on the shooters. With a bit of luck you might be able to take out wolves in the first round, thus getting first TWO shots in second round, giving you better chances of minimizing losses from cyclopes. Orcs are no match for you at close range, so make sure that one of your fast units will make it to them at least as a blocker. The Qurqirish Dragon has a good point about the most dangerous unit of barbarians changing after the first round: Once the trolls and orcs are blocked in round 2, the worst threat by far are the Ogre Lords. With a very good attack, and decent defense, and a whopping 60 hit point per unit they're as bad as cyclopes, especially since they will probably outnumber the cyclopes as well. 99% of the time, if a barbarian survives a battle with only 1 stack left, it will be a fairly large stack of ogre lords. The crusaders should concentrate on them rather than the cyclops, unless there are equal numbers of the two (which is unlikely). Also, by not getting the retaliation attack from the cyclops, there is a lesser chance of the crusaders being paralyzed (and thus beaten up by BOTH ogre lords and cyclops). * Fighting Sorceress: With Champions, you can stand up against Phoenixes. Getting into the same lane with them gives you first shot. The champions are not any weak army and the losses are worth it. The Phoenixes will smash the rangers, but your Crusaders will be already on the way to prevent Grand Elves and Greater Druids from second shot, while Swordsmen and Pikemen shoud beat the crap out of the Phoenixes. TreeBeard says: But then, the crusaders will get hurt from the unicorns that might be blessed and blind them. Also, expect the sprites to go after the rangers if the sorceress have attacked the knight, but not the phoenixes, which means you'll have to attack with all your walkers. Iniciative will be very important in such a battle. * Fighting Warlock: As in other cases, the rangers are deemed to die as enemy will probably have two very fast flyers to go after them. Warlock is a strong opponent. Your only chance is aggresivity. Dragon Slayer on Crusaders will make wonders here, The rule about concentrating firepower is extremely important here - the dragons must be taken out ASAP. The rest should be easier then - the minotaur kings and flyers are usually taken as a by product of the dragon-slaying, because they'll get over to you pretty soon. The hydras can be then Blinded and a massive attack arranged, that will give them no chance to move. TreeBeard says: Beware of Magic! A simple berserker on your crusaders and you're knee-deep in trouble, not to mention Draggagedon combo, which is extremely efficient against the low HPed Knight troops (Imagine that for every one point of enemy spell power, you'll lose two pikemen, almost two swordsmen, five rangers, one champion and almost one crusader... and 50 peasants, of course ;-)) * Fighting Wizard: The titans are the obvious threat. Since you cannot block them, they'll cause you great losses. Unless you have ranger stack big enough to survive titans' and archmagis fire, you might as well forget about protecting those rangers and run straight after the enemy shooters. If any of your rangers survive and play before enemy rocs, use them to cripple halflings. Champions, if they haven't already attacked boars or rocs, should be able in the second turn to give hell to archmagi, possibly sacrificing themselves to block titans - or even attack titans to waste their retaliation and slice them with crusaders. Swordsmen and Pikemen should be enough to deal with rocs and boars without suffering any great harm. TreeBeard says: Again, beware of magic. The best way is to attack before the wizards manage to get titans. * Fighting Necromancer: With Crusaders' double damage versus undead, there's no need to stress the fact that crusaders should do most of the job. Unless you can haste your archers, enemy Vampire Lords will go after them. Depending on the size of the bone dragon stack, you might wish to block your arches against their attack - they'll then go after the crusaders and if are outnumbered, will die there. However, if you want first shot at them with the golden boys (and that might save you a good number of them), let them toast your rangers and wipe them in the next turn. Champions should be able to toast enemy skeletons, unless in extremely high numbers. The undead walkers are a threat only if their numbers are high. Be sure to concentrate your fire onto Vampire Lords within one round as to lower their ranks in the best possible way. A good thing to prevent computer from raising them from the dead is positioning a unit atop their ashes... A good thing is to try and send your champions to deal with power liches ASAP, because that will give you two shot combo (champions-crusaders) in every subsequent round. Hero benefits: No need to comment. Comparable with barbarian - both in very quick offensives and in long-run campaigns very valuable, outranked by spellcasters only in mid-terms. Compared with barbarian, Knight gets far more levels in magic and thus may partially stand up to spellcasters, especially by using Mass spells or helping himself slaying weaker stacks. The most proficient way is Disrupting Ray on strong and slow enemy stacks. (Remember that with every Ray hitting the enemy, you increase damage your troops cause to that stack by 15 to 30%m the higher value much more likely, since your units should already have greater A than enemy D is.). Also, the knight has twice the barbarians' chance of getting wisdom. (Well, not exactly twice, since that would need a LOT of counting...) important for the troops and strategy: Archery is useful especially in cases where larger quantities of archers become available, as well as in maps where you plan to conquer wizards or sorceresses pretty quickly and use their troops later. (Very recommended, anyway. Having a few titans to attract enemy attention also gives the rangers some breathing (and shooting) room.) Leadership is critical, because all your walkers are able to reach enemy in one turn, if they get the extra morale. With the enormous close range firepower that your walkers carry, you should in fact rely on morale boosts. Ballistics is very important, too, as you'll need to get inside the enemy castle as fast as possible to minimize losses on your rangers.. Wisdom comes very interesting in larger maps, where you can expect your knight to get both sufficient magic skills and enough levels to get the wisdom to advanced or expert level. In shorter maps, you'll probably do without wisdom. Usually the decision should be affected by availability of 3rd level spells (from captured guilds and map shrines). Diplomacy may be very important in the long run, because knight's troops tend to take minimal losses and once you're on the road, you stop buying units at home and start to accumulate gold, which could be later used to buy wandering armies - especially efficient to replenish ranger stacks that have suffered losses, or to get another powerful shooter stacks - especially elves/grand elves fit there. Beyond all doubt, the knight troops are the wimpiest in the game, in overall long-run look. The knight's strength lies in short-term exploration and conquering, in fearsome crusaders and in the ability to use magic quite well. Knights get magic levels far more often than barbarians. Your rangers are quite weak for an AI's primary target, so you'll probably suffer quite high losses. It helps greatly to use Steelskin or Shield for protection and Haste/Slow to give them their chance to prove themselves. As a knight, I do not rely much on my own troops, because a few weeks worth' of them is enough to gain access to somebody else's troops. As soon as you locate an enemy castle with suitable troop types built, take it at almost all costs. I usually use my original troops as a garrison, preventing weaker enemies from reclaiming their home town, and use local troops (mostly dragons, titans etc.) for further conquest. But even with Phoenixes the Knight is usually capable of very good opposition. (Not to mention adding some 20 war troll to your army...) --Using Barbarian-- ------------------- Strengths: Quite good for small to medium scenarios and fast conquering. Sturdy, tough units with very good offensive. Can profit from map bonuses - at forts two armies can be upgraded for free - financial saves. Three main stacks have special abilities, all quite useful. Toughest fourth dwelling creatures - ogres are excellent for castle defense, especially after the upgrade. Sometimes the pathfinding skill is a decisive factor, especially for conquering in early stages. The shooters do excellent job, especially against wandering armies. Orcs can be recruited for free and found in villages often. Weaknesses: Lower speed of units - opponents get quite often a chance to play. Lack of ore at startup. Sometimes hero gets only attack skill upgrades and remains quite vulnerable even in longer gameplay. Must use most aggressive approach then, which can even mean taking some losses while grabbing artifacts, searching graveyards etc. (I remember getting a 10/1/1/1 barbie without artifacts.) Quite expensive armies and especially dwellings. After upgrading troll bridge in second week, you'll have very little money left for buying troops. However, overall prices are quite fair - wolves, ogre lords and war troll cost 7900 per week, which is more than covered by castle output. With some luck (in the nearby fort) you'll save quite a bit on the ogres and may as well afford slower orc chiefs. Army evaluation: Goblin 4/1/3/1-2/4/40 Among the 1st levels their standing is moderate. In high numbers, they make an excellent unit for defense of shooters as they can deal quite considerable bits of damage. High numbers are pretty common, because the goblin hut is one of those nice little buildings ;-) They carry cosiderable attack punch. With average speed, they're able to have first strike on approaching enemy walkers with fast+ speed (Royal mummies, upgraded knight infantry, unicorn and all very fasts.). I usually use goblins only in large numbers - i.e. when I have multiple castles and/or goblin huts. Usually stationed as defense reserves, bought and employed only when I'll need them Orc 3/4/10/2-3/2/140 Orc Chief 3/4/15/3-4/3/175 A powerful shooter, definitively in comparation with other 2nd level troops. The upgrade is a must, as it increases HPs by 50% and damage by 33%, not mentioning the higher speed. Since they're available in watch towers, which are used quite often (due to the nice picture) in many maps, it may be possible to gather very large armies of orcs. Since their upgrade can be made in forts for no fee, they're usually a must. Their lower speed will often get compensated by their leader's pathfinding, making the barbarian as fast as other heroes, or even faster. However, they'll often suffer losses in battles. TreeBeard scores a good point here: Often. But most maps have a huge grass regions, which means you'll get slow. That's very frustating to try to run from a mighter hero using those slow troops, not to mention that, if you have a Very slow or Slow troops, the opponent will get initiative next turn. Wolf 6/2/20/3-5/6/200 Attacks the target twice. A must, especially in the beginning. While they're not strong by HPs compared to other 3rd levels, they have two good attributes - speed and doubled attack, which is supported by the relatively good Attack skill. Usually, they're very valuable against wandering shooters. The very fast speed will often give you first strike (and opportunity to cast some spell, too!) Being two-hex makes them a good blocker for protecting shooters. In terrain with obstacles, you may even fool wandering walkers by blocking one side of shooter stack in second turn - see the end of Way of Hero article for better description of this trick. TreeBeard says: But their pitiful defense and low HP mean heavy casualities. They must be protected and only strike to kill, preferably in the first strike. Ogre 9/5/40/4-6/2/300 Ogre Lord 9/5/60/5-7/4/500 One of the most remarkable armies. After the upgrade, they often become the main punch of your army. Since they're there from the very first week, you'll have plenty of them. Their biggest advantage is that they're upgraded at forts and with those 60HPs they beat all other 4th levels (that range from 25 of gr. druids to 45 of Minotaur Kings.) Their skills and damage are also quite remarkable. In the beginning, you probably won't have enough gold to take them on the road, but if you manage so, you'll benefit from the high HPs in one more way - wandering armies will give you much more respect, giving you the opportunity to decide, if you want the exp. for their killing or rather let them flee, taking no losses from flyers/shooters. Of course, many more of those armies can now offer you to join them. Troll 10/5/40/5-7/4/600 War Troll 10/5/40/7-9/5/700 Both: Regenerates to full HP at start of every battle turn. An excellent shooter. The troll special of regeneration gives significant advantage i.e. at castle sieges, where total damage points generated by defensive ballista fire are greatly reduced and with weaker castles even totally eliminated. Of course, as TreeBeard corrects me, this regeneration advantage diminishes with time because it's importance is inverse to enemy army size. The upgrade gives also a remarkable damage increase, making war troll a killing machine. The upgrade is necessary - being Fast gives you a good chance to fire before enemy average flyers/shooters can take their part. I.e. prevents blocking by Rocs, Griffins, Sprites, Vampires (to take one army of each probable enemy ;-)). Besides, they usually draw enemy attention, which makes a nice combo of war trolls placed next to Ogre lords, who in their turn smash the opposing flyers. Cyclope 12/9/80/12-24/5/750+ 1cr Two-hex attack, 10% chance to Paralyze enemy after hit. With Fast speed and two hex attack, a remarkable opponent. Also, the Paralyze special can give very big advantage, because paralyzed stack doesn't retaliate - so you can take care of other enemy stacks, then surround the paralyzed one by all your bashers and give him hell. However, Cyclopes are costly to build, as the barbarian's gold consumption for trolls, wolves and orcs is quite high. On the other hand, not including the crystal, they themselves are quite cheap - 4 of them cost less than 5 war trolls and as much as 6 ogre lords. And one personal experience - they're the only one-hex creature with two-hex attack... and one often forgets about that and either in attack or, much more often, in retaliation the cyclopes harm their own troops. When the enemy has the initiative in form of faster troops, you'll have to be very careful with moving cyclopes around the battlefield. Upgrading priorities: * Stick hut: Low priority. Although the upgrade is significant, the global importance of orcs in the barbarian army is much less significant. Wait until you're sure there's no fort close to your castle or somewhere on the way to your enemies. * Adobe: Medium priority. Ogres are crippled in the battles by their low speed. The upgrade helps them in many ways. Applies the above considering waiting. * Bridge: Highest priority. Increased damage and speed are very important. Barbarian Castle building in the first week: ---------T-----------T------------------------------м | Day 1: | Statue | 1250 gold + 5 ore | +--------+-----------+------------------------------+ | Day 2: | Stick Hut | 750 gold + 5 wood | +--------+-----------+------------------------------+ | Day 3: | Den | 1000 gold | +--------+-----------+------------------------------+ | Day 4: | Well | 500 gold | +--------+-----------+------------------------------+ | Day 5: | Adobe | 3000 gold + 10 ore + 10 wood | +--------+-----------+------------------------------+ | Day 6: | Bridge | 4000 gold + 20 ore | L--------+-----------+------------------------------- So, we have there one day reserve, sometimes more. There's one thing to stress (thank TreeBeard) - unless you're sure you'll be able to get extra 15 ore, don't rush for the statue - this might prevent you from getting trolls within the first week. (Stick Hut has some chance to be there in a random castle, while the map makers often give the castles Statues/wells) The reserve may be used for Garbage Heap (1000 gold) or Mage Guild (1000 +5w +5o) Now, we'll need 10 more ore for upgrade of Bridge, 5 more wood for upgrade of Stick Hut and 20 ore and 20 crystal for Cyclopes, along with those large gold sums. Building Coliseum is very optional, while the fortifications and moat may come handy, if you ever expect your enemy to get close to your home castle. But that can wait. Resource summary: You'll need 15 wood, 30 ore and 8100 gold for the dwellings alone, another 5 ore and 1250 gold for statue and well. Another 10 wood, 15 ore and 6200 gold is needed for dwellings upgrades (provided that there's no fort nearby to save on ogres and orcs) Weekly armies without the cyclopes cost 8400 gold before upgrades, 10450 gold after upgrades. An interesting idea from TreeBeard is to not use goblins and orcs in the same task-force, just use one of them and when they suffer some heavier losses and become weak, replace them with the other type and let the weakened stack grow at home into more usable size. Total production (inc. cyclopes) cost/week 11400, 13450 with upgrades The rough castle output will be 1250x7 - 8750 gold/week. HPs grown weekly 1250 at 10.76 g/HP All that sums up to the fact that gold will be prety scarce. Strategy The highest priority at the early game is ore - which can usually be found near. If it seems that there won't be any free ore nearby, you'll have to get a mine fast. No cost is high enough. It always pays back soon to sacrifice most of your starting armies (you should have 10+ orcs, 20+ goblins and five wolves by day 2) to sweep out some level1-2 monsters guarding an ore mine. The second highest priority is beyond all doubt gold. You'll need two villages to support your weekly troops production (without cyclopes) and bigger sources to accumulate money for cyclopes, mage guilds etc.etc.) Depending on the resources available in close vicinity to your heroes/castles, the first issue should be statue, if affordable. You'll need 30 ore for ogres and trolls. If there is a mine nearby, get it at all costs. Sacrificing a few orcs and goblins is never a too high price. An useful thing here is to buy a second hero (whenever you expect the explorable area to be big. Leave him with one goblin to have some speed. The main hero should occupy the ore mine, get all the treasure chests for experience (ok, maybe those that offer 500exp/1000 gold should be converted to cash, if you don't have surplus. Sometimes it might be better to go for gold needed for structure building.) By the end of first week, you should have bridge built. At day 1, week 2 you'll probably not have enough cash to buy all trolls. Wait then. With 8 trolls split into two stacks and possibly 12 wolves you should be able to take out weaker armies and gain access to more resources, artifacts and towns. This force is capable of capturing a town with some 15 orcs, some wolves and goblins - which is the usual garrison of neutral barbarian towns. Other towns should not pose any big trouble. The touhgest opponents could be warlock and sorceress towns - they have average or faster shooters/flyers. But having your trolls upgraded to War trolls should solve this (at least partially). Remember that trolls regenerate, and make sure that the troll stack will have more HP's in total than the orcs or other shooters you might have, so that enemy units will go after the trolls. (Of course, only if you want them to! If you're sure you'd take losses, it's usually better to take losses to the lower-dwellings troops.) It works great esp. with weaker castle garrisons, that will waste their firepower, often causing some 35 damage per round... which the trolls promtly restore ;-) Forces combination: I usually prefer to walk around with all wolves and trolls I can buy, with addition of orcs, preferrably upgraded. The orcs aren't required for exploration. I often leave Ogres and Orcs at home, until I need them, or at least until I locate a fort for free upgrade. Generally, you must decide whether or not you will aim for building and using cyclopes. If so, then you can probably leave ogres at home unpurchased in reserve and save the money for cyclopes. If you're not planning to build pyramid, you'll probably take the ogres on the road, as they have excellent potentials in damage causing, damage absorbing and intimidating wandering armies into joining. In heaviest final battles, the ogres are often the only stack that remains on the battle field. For battle purposes, it is unbearable to go without upgrade. Upgraded Ogre Lords not only have 50% more HPs, but also move around within 4-field radius, which in battle is far much better than two-field of the Slow Ogres. Recommended order of stacks: If you have non-upgraded ogres and orcs, let them stand next to each other, the ogres let to be playing first. With both stacks being very slow, they'll be playing usually last in the turn, which means that the orcs will be often already under attack - in first round from flyers, in next rounds from faster walkers. In both cases the Ogres can either smash the opposition or at least waste their retaliation, so that the orcs can attack at close range, too, without suffering additional losses. Once the Ogre Lords are upgraded, be sure to position them into the third slot, so that they'll be able to reach both upper and lower side of battle field. Other armies can be placed everywhere, with Goblins possibly in the 2nd/4th slot, Trolls and Orcs NOT next to each other. Wolves and Cyclopes are usually able to reach anywhere they need. The order of War Troll and Cyclopes should be changed operationally, as sometimes the cyclopes will be needed to clean the space around the trolls. Order of Goblins/Ogre Lords depends on size of those stacks. Sometimes a small force of goblins can be sacrificed to waste retaliation of some strong enemy stack to give the Ogre Lords a free shot, but in most cases the order should be reversed, as the ogre lords seldom take significant losses where the goblins would get decimated. If you're exploring, your backup hero can carry your orcs. If you have a considerable firepower in wolves, cyclopes and trolls, you can give the backup guy also ogre lords and goblins. This way, the backup guy will have a force strong enough to occupy villages, defeat most wandering armies and, last but not least, defeat those bothering weak computer bastards that have nothing better to do than claim mines that you've already taken for yours. For important battles, those secondary forces can be used by the main hero. Always remember that strongest skill of barbarians is attack and their troops are designed to conform with this system. Be very careful about positioning your cyclopes! If you place them next to wolves or any other two-hex creature, you risk that any attack on the cyclopes will cause them to harm the wolves in the retaliation. This is most likely against human players, who will definitely try to use their very fast flier to do so. The computer might do that if he cannot attack your shooters. Special strategies against particular classes: * Fighting fellow barbarians: This is usually a tough job. You need to accomplish several things before your opponent does. You have to do your best to get first shot with trolls and first shot with orcs. When fighting AI, you may help yourself much using Blind or Paralyze spells. The opposing wolves should be killed once they run across the field, using cyclopes and ogre lords. The enemy cyclopes shouldn't be allowed to attack your shooters - either use slow and fry them with your shooters or go after them with your own cyclopes and ogre lords, possibly both in the same round. Fighting barbarians means usually quite heavy losses. * Fighting knights: Here the biggest threat lies in crusaders... Champions that go after your shooters should be no match for your cyclopes. Depending or sizes of your orc stack and enemy ranger stack you'll have to decide, whether you'll smash rangers with trolls or, using some spell, have the orcs play before the rangers and kill them. You'll have to pay attention, though, not to let crusaders start the second round, because they would cripple your shooters. Often it means that you'll have to attack them with your Cyclopes and Ogre Lords, suffering some losses. Having Blind or even better Paralyze will help much. You have two possibilities - either you keep your wolves alive along with enemy Champions (though severely damaged) to keep the opportunity to play after them and somehow disable Crusaders (by spells or by blocking them), or you'll kill the Champions and assure that your opponent plays the last move of the first round... However, if you have orcs/orc chiefs and he's got only average or faster units, you can't do that and the Crusaders will play before you. Most effective is Haste on the Trolls. If the champions are dead, Slow on Crusaders works well, too. But be careful about Slowing them in the first round, because AI will dispel that as soon as possible. * Fighting Sorceress: There's nothing you can do. The sorceress will almost usually have first strike with Phoenixes, going after your trolls. Unless you have some useful spells (see below), Grand Elves and Greater Druids will probably have time to shoot, too, and possibly even sprites will come after your trolls. It may be good to keep your shooters with the backup hero and deal with the sorceresses with strong walkers only. They will suffer lesser losses that shooters, whose value is higher in general concept of barbarian warfare. However, if you battle sorceress with all your forces, you should try to protect your wolves as they're the only unit that gives you an opportunity to cast a spell before the nasty very fast shooters of your enemy take their action, which is made worse by the fact that Sorceress ALWAYS has Bless spell. * Fighting Warlock: Without Haste spell, the enemy will get first attack at your shooters. If the dragons will already be black ones, your trolls will get their butt kicked. Among the best strategies are: Using Dragon Slayer spell on your strongest stack (most often Ogre Lords), having one very fast flyer (purchased at any captured warlock village) to waste the dragons' retaliation in first round, thus allowing you to smash them with all your walkers. Against AI use a few orcs as a bait to waste the dragons' power, keeping your main shooters with the backup hero. * Fighting Wizard: The titans are the obvious threat. Since you cannot block them, they'll cause you great losses. Your task is to eliminate rocs as fast as possible. Often is that done by shooting with trolls, the rocs usually survive, fly to the trolls and die there. The orcs should take out the archmagi. Cyclopes and Ogre Lords are powerful enough to take on the Titans. The titans can be Slowed, Cursed, or Disrupted - which are all good ways to help yourself with minor spells. However, the losses are obvious here. Since the enemy will probably have three shooter stacks, you might minimize those losses by casting Shield/Steelskin on the Trolls. * Fighting Necromancer: The most threatening are Bone Dragons (with second best raw damage in the game!) and Vampire Lords with their regeneration. The walkers are not a match for ogre lords. Skeletons can be dangerous in very high numbers, but with their weak defense they're toast once your orcs get aim at them. Usual procedure is to eliminate Bone Dragons and possibly Vampire Lords within the first round. There it's important to play with trolls sooner than the Vampire Lords - they fly back to trolls and the Cyclopes can then finish them. If you happen to have the Slow spell, the Bone dragons are solved by that pretty easily. Or, as Qurqirish Dragon suggests, you might as well Slow the VLs - very effective, if your trolls are able to 'minimize' the Boners in one shot. The power liches are about the only stack that will cause damage in the first round. However, be careful about the Slow spell - if you play last move in the first round and the Power Liches are still there, enemy will Haste the VLs and give your trolls hell. (It may help to leave your orcs and goblins with the backup hero, keeping only the Ogre Lords in the Average speed class - the enemy often has skeletons AND mutant zombies or regular mummies, thus assuring your Wolves first move in second round - and the opportunity to Slow/kill Liches and get another free shot on the VLs with trolls and also scoring a good damage with Cyclopes.) Hero's benefits: The barbarian doesn't need any extra comments - it's about the best type for both long-run campaigns and very quick offensives - outrankedspellcasters only in mid-term, where their direct damage spells are already available and dangerous. Skills important for the troops and strategy: Archery can give your troops significant boost as your forces should rely on it. Balistics is a very good pick, because your three walkers are all very potent in damage dealing. Wisdom is less important here, as Barbarians are rarely good spellcasters, unless helping themselves greatly by artifacts. But as a general rule, you won't get many chances on Wisdom, so whenever you think you might need it, take it. (Especially in larger maps it comes handy in the end, because spells like Mass Haste/Slow and Berzerker can do wonders and don't rely much on spellpower.) Generally it's clear that the way of barbarian in battle is pretty tough, but so is the barbarian himself. His strength is in quick, aggressive exploration, resource gathering, good movement in rough terrain. In the battles, all tactics get changed if you happen to have Mass Haste or Mass Slow, because those turn the tables greatly in your favor. Having their minor versions isn't that good, yet having your War Trolls Ultra Fast can never be any bad. --Using Necromancer-- --------------------- Strengths: The undead concept itself with getting skeletons for free ;-) Very fast shooter with excellent defense. Vampire lord special. If you give the necros a lot of time, they'll smash you. A stack of some 40 or more vampire lords is virtually indestructible, even by equal or stronger armies. If you manage to get a good attack rating, you've in fact won. Cheaper resurrection (both in obtaining and casting.) All armies immune to Mind magic along with Curse (this is really great advantage!) Cumulative Castle Special Building in EP maps. Necromancer is the fastest to build (under favorable conditions) the 6thlevel dwelling - on day 4. Weaknesses: Resource and financial problems - without a gold mine or two you'll never have enough, not even barely enough. Slow armies at start, not much better later. The necromancy bound to the hero, who cannot compete with Might ones in A/D matters. Army evaluation: All troops have no morale and are immune to Mind magic as well as Bless/Curse. Skeleton 4/3/4/2-3/4/75 Real little bastards. Their speed allows them to decide many battles, especially in connection with the fact that Necro's default spell is Haste. The 2-3 damage is far the best among 1st level creatures - all others have 1-2 (halflings 1-3, but lower attack skill). The fact that their map dwelling does align well only with desert background is far, far more compensated by the fact that the necros don't have to rely on recruiting/buying skeletons ;-) Zombie 5/2/15/2-3/2/150 Mutant Zombie 5/2/20/2-3/4/200 Without the upgrade it's pain in the ass to have to use them. One of the poor fellows that end up on the fact that Necros are poor in financial means. I personally almost never purchase those - the only exception are desperate castle defending missions. They're definitely not worth the money they cost, with their puny defense skill. Mummy 6/6/25/3-4/4/250 Royal Mummy 6/6/30/3-4/5/300 Both: 20% chance to Curse enemy after hit. I think the Royals have 30% here, but I'm not sure. They're quite similar to zombies, only a bit tougher and a bit more expensive. Their only positive is quite solid defense skill and, after the upgrade, their Fast speed rating. Yet, due to financial shortages, I use mummies only in cases where I'm able to build only one of better armies. Vampire 8/6/35/5-7/4/500 Vampire Lord 8/6/40/5-7/5/650 Both: Non-retaliated attack. Upgraded: Regenerates dead units within one battle based on HPs of killed enemies. Vampires are pretty useful. In fact, they're the only higher monster that does unretaliated attacks (the other two are 1st level wimps.) (Of course, hydras do have the same ability, but it's greatly crippled by the fact that they don't fly and move very slowly...) They do moderate damage and have sufficient A/D skills. After the upgrade, they become tougher in HPs, faster, and above all, start to regenerate from the blood of their enemies. This is a terribly strong feature. Once their numbers reach some 30-40, they're much harder to kill. An example... a 100 of Vampire Lords is able to deal Average damage of 600 (to opponent with defense 8), which means regenerating 15 of previously killed stack members. So, in order to kill a VL stack with 100 pieces, you need to deal more than 1200 damage to it per turn. (They retaliate, too! In fact, much more than that, because you need to kill this stack pretty fast since there other stacks to go after within the same battle ;-) Lich 7/12/25/8-10/5/750 Power Lich 7/13/35/8-10/6/900 Both: Area attack striking 7 hexes with target hex at center. An underestimated unit (at least by many players), the liches are far stronger than you might think. After the upgrade, they're the only Very Fast unit in Necro camp, giving the Necro chance to Haste (as this he always can do) Bone Dragons or Vampire Lords that can then block enemy shooters. Having defense rating of 13 (which is the same the Red Dragons have) they'll suffer quite low damage from enemy shooters/flyers, yet will draw the enemy attention. Their area attack with an excellent damage of 8-10 can cause significant losses to enemy troops, especially those that have surrounded the AI's primary target in your ranks - usually those offensive VLs or Boners. You have to be pretty careful to not hit your own armies - and often you'll have to plan your moves well to keep at least one enemy unit free for them as a target. However, with their miserable 35 HPs, they'll often become subject of direct damage spells that prove pretty effective against them. Bone Dragon 11/9/150/25-45/4/1500 Induces -1 morale on all enemy. A terribly powerful unit with average damage of 35, they're a must. Their special of reducing enemy morale also comes handy as it helps to prevent those nasty knights from getting some of their extra attacks and kicking your butt too soon. Their only disadvantage is their low speed, but that can be compensated by Necro's default spell ;-) One more good thing is the fact that Boners can be possibly (in richer maps) built within the first week. Upgrading priority: * Graveyard: Lowest priority. Only in helpless situations where you badly need the extra HPs - i.e. for castle defense. * Pyramid: Low priority. Unless you want mummies in your task force, you won't need them. * Mansion: High priority. The more vampires you have, the higher is the priority to upgrade. Do I have to explain why? * Mausoleum: Highest priority. You might disagree, but having a first strike gives you the possibility to haste your VLs or Boners. Not having it gives the opponent the possibility to cast his spell first (and it can be Holy Shout or MassSlow ;-)) Necromancer Castle building in the first week: (Poor variant - the vampire way)                                 ---------T---------------T----------------------------м | Day 1: | Mage Guild | 2000 gold + 5 ore + 5 wood | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 2: | Well | 500 gold | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 3: | Graveyard | 1000 gold | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 4: | Pyramid | 1500 gold + 5 ore | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 5: | Thieves Guild | 750 gold + 5 wood | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 6: | Mansion | 3000 gold + 10 wood | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 7: | Mausoleum | 3000 gold + 10 sulfur | L--------+---------------+----------------------------- In case that you don't want to build liches (or discover very soon that you won't get the +5 sulfur needed for them) you can skip Mage Guild and Mausoleum, thus giving you a chance to build statue on Day 1 and one day for reserve, in tougher scenarios gladly used for skull pile. I personally usually start with the statue. If you happen to have one of the structures from the schedule built, you migth as well manage to get the Mausoleum working on Day 7, with the little sulfur gotten from somewhere. You'll need some 11000 gold (which should be ok) and 20 wood, 10 ore and 10 sulfur, which seems to be the only problem here. (The sulfur-free variant is cheaper by 3000 gold, which allows you to do more recruiting and start out on day1, week2) (Rich variant - the Boner variant): ---------T------------T------------------------------м | Day 1: | Statue | 1250 gold + 5 ore | +--------+------------+------------------------------+ | Day 2: | Well | 500 gold | +--------+------------+------------------------------+ | Day 3: | Graveyard | 1000 gold | +--------+------------+------------------------------+ | Day 4: | Mage Guild | 2000 gold + 5 ore + 5 wood | +--------+------------+------------------------------+ | Day 5: | Mausoleum | 3000 gold + 10 sulfur | +--------+------------+------------------------------+ | Day 6: | Laboratory | 10000 gold + 5 all resources | L--------+------------+------------------------------- The rich variant has one day reserve and apart from 20 ore and 10 wood needs 15 sulfur, which means that you'll have to get the 10 extra sulfur units within the first seven days. The second biggest trouble is gold. With 7500 starter cash and 7500 of castle revenues till day 7, you're still 2750 gold pieces short into the total of 17750. This may require two or three treasure chests or some four lumps of gold scattered around the castle. That's why this variant is called rich ;-) Unless you've got a poorly guarded gold mine right next to your castle, this variant has one more negative impact... You'll have to wait more than a day for every bone dragon - taking the four of them out onto the road on day5, week2, where your opponents may already have gotten some advantage... four days' advance in exploration MAY be critical... The upgrade of Vampires is another costly thing - 10 crystal and 10 gems may be a tough nut to crack. And you'll definitely need either Vampire Lords or Power Liches to support your boners, if you don't want heavy losses to them. The 10 more crystal for the shrine is a good investment in larger maps, yet it's often hard to gather, but this thing doesn't hurry much. The Storm is quite useful (and the price tells that so) because the +2 spell power can be anything from 20 to 50 damage to a signle unit and 10 to 100 damage to multiple units, along with prolonged effects of misc. spells. Especially the captain gets a noticeable boost which may undermine enemy sieging plans. Resources summary: The variants are discussed above. Weekly armies without Boners cost 9550, after upgrades 11600. Boners will add 4500 to this amount. HPs grown weekly 1202 at 13.839g/HP The rough castle output will be 1250x7 - 8750 gold/week. The armies' costs implicate that you won't be probably buying all of them, unless you get a stable gold source. Strategy The overall strategy is quite simple... Either get tons of gold or tons of skeletons. In cases neither is possible, you're toasted ;-) The biggest problem may lie in resources - you'll need extra magical stuff for almost anything. If you decide to go after Boners, sulfur will do, but you'll have trouble with magic. If you aim at vampire lords, crystal and gems are crucial and you'll need 10 of them both, if you want any good magic to use. If there are any low-level troops near your castle that don't block the way to something important, leave them there until your hero gets Expert Necromancy and until you'll NEED the skeletons. Remember that wandering armies grow exponentially (The growth rate is 14% percent) and so grow your skeleton reserves ;-). Once you get a well-sized stack of skeletons, you may start more aggressive expansion. Seven or even four bone dragons are a force good enough to start conquering weak neighbours with. The Vampire Lords need to reach some good numbers before you can start a good long journey based on them. Some 20+ VLs should do all right against most early enemies, while in lesser quantities, you might suffer intolerable losses. In battles, you'll have a tough time due to your slower armies. Try to improve that by casting Haste on those huge skeleton stacks (to the best effect, do that just when your regular turn with skeletons comes - by that time any very fast, fast and some average walkers/flyers have already moved in and you can pick the best target for the skeletons.) You should try to build 3rd level of Mage guild as the Animate Dead spell is one of the best things you can get - far more valuable than Death Wave. Animate Dead is pretty rare, but definitely worth the try. ALWAYS remember how many VLs did you have at the start of any battle and try to keep some weaker enemy units in reserve to replenish the VL stack at the end of the battle - use stacks with low defense, so that the VLs will cause maximum damage. In cases where you plan to rely on skeletons (and therefore use a necro as your main hero), get used to suffer some losses in battles against Knight or Barbarian heroes. In some scenarios (either if you know your enemies are Might heroes or if there are not many skeleton-providing weakies around your castle) it may be wise to forget about necromancy and get a barbarian or knight, because they'll be able to compensate the loss of skeleton firepower by extracting much better performance from the other troops and thus minimizing losses. (Barbie is better because knight has one secondary skill slot wasted by leadership.) [The general rule with Necromancer on the road is that all his stacks in time get weakened with the exception of skeletons, while the overall sum of his troops HPs is quietly growing. This may seem good to you, but if you would count the HPs as a weighted average, where the weights would be defense skills of particular stacks, you'd find that the HPs do not grow that fast, if ever. A practical example would be a blessed stack of crusaders beating the crap out of your 'famous and unbeatable' skeleton army with two swift blows - whereas if you had the same HP stored in bigger bones, the crusaders might get their balls crumpled. Special strategies against particular classes: * Fighting barbarians: One of the easier tasks. Power Liches can shoot after anything, possibly Ogres (low Defense) or Cyclopes (closerange threat). You should manage to play with VLs before War Trolls do (and possibly after the cyclopes) and strike at the War Trolls. Bone Dragons can aim at Orc chiefs or cyclopes (possibly blocking Orc chiefs) or the Orcs, if their numbers mean a real threat. You'll probably suffer some loses to Boners, maybe to liches, but your VLs should come out unharmed. Be sure to leave them some easy killing at the end - either goblins or Orcs do fine there. The skeletons should devastate the wolves and, being Hasted in the first or second turn, deliver a huge blow to Ogres or Cyclopes, whichever present the bigger threat to your VLs or Boners. (Usually the cyclopes, but ogres can be in much higher numbers sometimes.) * Fighting knights: The only things you have to do is avoid the Crusaders. The other armies are much less threatening. The crusaders will play before you, which may be a good advantage - your VLs can get to other side, attacking Fast walkers (while blocking Rangers) or attacking Rangers. The skeletons should be able to send the champions to hell in one blow. If you cast Haste on skeletons in the end of the turn, you might get a free shot on the crusaders with the huge skeleton stack - before that, either cast Haste on VLs or score some direct damage to crusaders (if they're really numerous, disrupting ray is better!). The rest should be easy - the Boners outperform those Fast walkers nicely. * Fighting Sorceress: The Phoenixes will probably toast your liches. If they'll survive, you can cast Haste on VLs and send them between Druids and Elves (if upgraded, otherwise even without the Haste) - they'll emerge with low losses (If the shooter stacks aren't together, choose the bigger threat, of course.) Your skeletons should give Phoenixes the hell, maybe with the help of Boners (which may be, though, needed to remove hordes of sprites). Hasted VLs assure you the first shot in second round - a great opportunity to revenge on unicorns to get back to original numbers. The rest is easy. * Fighting Warlock: The Dragons will give you hell. However, if they'll go after the liches, you might toast them with either DragonSlayered skeletons or just an overall offensive - possibly sacrificing some mummies or even the liches to waste their retaliation. Next take out the minotaur kings by similar procedure - Bloodlust on skeletons has wonderful effects. Meanwhile, your VLs and Boners should score heavily against Gargoyles and Griffins. The hydras are best taken out in one-to-one fight with VLs, but if the opponent has some strong direct damage spells, you might need to finish them up fast - again, use the Hasted skeletons. For killing anything large, you should rely on your four-digit skeleton stacks. And if you don't have them yet, avoid heavy battles. Remember one thing - the skeletons will attract enemy spellcasting, if the hero knows Disrupting Ray. * Fighting Wizard: Here your liches will probably get heavy losses. Use Hasted VLs and fit them between the Titans and Archmagi, if possible, attacking rather the Titans, as the archmagi will suffer enough from retaliation. If both shooters cannot be blocked by the VLs, you'll suffer here. Use Boners to cripple Rocs (or Golems, if you've already decided to sacrifice the Liches), best while blocking halflings. The skeletons should plan their way well, because they'll be hasted in the beginning of the second turn and should be able to reach their target - so, when moving them in the first round, pick a target that won't be in the second turn any farther than 7 hexes. Depending on their stack size, choose either Titans or something lesser like Archmagi.) Again, the Boners could suffer some losses, the liches WILL suffer and may probably die. Again, 1000+ little bony bastards should help here. * Fighting fellow Necromancer: Not an easy job. You know where your strengths are (the strategies against various enemies are very similar to each other...) and exactly those are strengths of opposing necromancers. They, too, can Haste their skeleton avalanche... They too can have huge self-regenerating stack of VLs. The only advantage you have against AI is your knowledge of your enemys' strategy in battle. He won't use his VLs optimally (where the optimum is suffering no losses) - he'll simply go after primary targets with everything he can. I'm not including the individual moves here - they're pretty obvious. Simple guidelines are: Eliminate his VLs ASAP. Try taking out his Power Liches to assure that your hasted skeletons will have first shot. Ignore wimps as zombies and mummies, unless they're way too strong in numbers. Use Animate Dead only on important units. If you decide to ignore his (power) liches in the first round, try to move all your troops adjacent to an enemy stack so that the liches will then score damage to their own side. (The AI's too stupid to skip them...) Hero's benefits: The Necromancer's strength lies in the necromancy itself (and therefore the fact that he can be very offensive with skeletons, fearing no losses). Another good thing about the Necro is the fact that he gets more levels in A/D than other spellcasters and thus his troops have a slight edge over their opponents. Skills important for the troops and strategy: None are really needed as the two most important troops are flyers. However, Ballistics can help you getting the Skeletons behind the walls, if you can't teleport them there ;-) If the Archery is offered to you early and you like liches, take it. Their attack is not that bad - and considering the area effect, you might sometimes profit from that greatly. It's not uncommon to hit three enemies at once, which means that with expert archery, you score 4.5 times more than you'd guess by looking at the liches' stats. In the early exploration the damage increase of the liches may prove worth the slot as the liches may form the mainstay of your army along with the vampires. Against wandering walkers, they work nice. (Keep them in the last slot for best effects - the walkers will start coming diagonally and form nice impact areas in the middle of the battlefield.) In general, the necromancer can grow very powerful, but in many scenarios the going can get extremely tough - no extra gold, few magic resources, no wandering wimps to convert to skeletons - any of these things can have great impact on the necromancer's performance. Necromancer is also pretty vulnerable in the beginning - without Bone Dragons, any attack from Might heroes within first two or three weeks may well mean an end-game fanfare. --Using Sorceress-- ------------------- Way of the Sorceress This document contains no 'general' rules - all thone non-class-specific ones are in the Way of the Hero and I suggest you read it if you haven't done so yet. Strengths: Fastest offensive capabilities - good for defeating weaker heroes, slow troops or wimpy shooters without losses. Good for long exploring journeys due to bigger knowledge. Four armies have useful specials. Phoenix's speed gives it first strike ability (except against champions). Weaknesses: Dependance on mercury, which is generally less frequent than other resources due to design - mines are somewhat more popular than Alchemist's Lab. (This is not the weakness of Sorceress, this is a weakness of Map Makers, that hits Sorceresses badly.) In early stages short of cash. Generally lower HPs of troops, thus quite vulnerable to magic. Army Evaluation: Sprite 4/2/2/1-2/4/50 Non-retaliated attack. Often a decisive element in many battles. Those little pixie things profit from several things: They're of a good speed - ideal for mopping up other 1st and 2nd level creatures. Their special - no retaliation - minimizes their losses. They're the only creature that has TWO map dwellings - or, better said, one dwelling and one recruiting place - and those get used often in many maps. In early exploration they help greatly defeating shooters and while in latter phases you won't use them much, their numbers will quietly accumulate. Good numbers can also be often found in captured neutral villages. And with a strong hero, those little sweet flyers will have a good punch, especially against other low level creatures.) Dwarf 6/5/20/2-4/2/200 Battle Dwarf 6/6/20/2-4/4/250 Both: 20% chance to be immune to any enemy magic. They'll profit from high numbers. While the slower version is unusable for active warfare, the upgraded one matches your sprites in speed and provides a good protective force for your shooters. Mostly used as a deterring element in castle defense. If you happen to find a few Dwarven Cottages and accumulate higher numbers, battle use comes in, too. One good thing is free upgrades at forts. When in high numbers, the battle dwarves profit from one thing - their special ability of magic resistance can often absorb enemys' spellcasting efforts - the enemy will often try Disrupting Ray (and in 20% fail ;-)) Elf 4/3/15/2-3/4/250 Grand Elf 5/5/15/2-3/6/300 A good shooter with very significant upgrade - giving the elves both speed boost and higher A/D. The value of grand elves comes mainly from the speed, which is needed for the fast-offensice concept. They're not the primary target of enemy and their losses are therefore minimal. The elves before upgrade are about equal to Rangers, except the higher HPs, and less plentiful. They're far much better after the upgrade. Druid 7/5/20/5-8/4/350 Greater Druid 7/7/25/5-8/6/400 Quite powerful shooter. The upgrade gives speed and defense skill boost, along with increased HPs. The greater druids should be the mainstay of your offensive forces. With their speed they should score two shots before enemy gets in range. However, get used to suffer losses as the druids will be targeted by everything that moves and especially castle garissons will bother you. Here often helps the Shield spell. Unicorn 10/9/40/7-14/5/500 20% chance to Blind enemy after hit. The only real walker-fighter among your troops. The unicorns with Fast speed have good battle use, cause high damage and their blinding ability often helps minimize overall losses. The AI will often also waste lightning bolts on unicorns, while sparing your shooters. Dunno why is that, maybe the AI really fears their impressive stats. Unicorns are a good target for your bless spells as it increases their damage from average 10.5 to 14, which is some 38% boost. Phoenix 12/10/100/20-40/7/1500+1m Immune to elemental magic (Cold Ray, Lightning Bolt), some Mind magic I think, two-hex attack. The flaming bird is a nasty bastard to face. Their Ultra Fast speed rating gives them (and you) the first shot. Two-hex attack is extremly valuable when fighting walker wandering armies. Phoenixes have excellent damage rating - when blessed, they score about as well as dragons, definitely better than titans and bone dragons. Blessing them gives you 33% more damage on average. Another good spell to cast upon them is Mirror Image, as this will give you a free attack with them (unless facing champions) and force AI to cast a spell in most cases to kill the image. (If you're wise enough to attack the same target as the image source used.) Upgrading priorities: * Cottage: Lowest priority. Unless you'll need the dwarves badly (and then, only if you can't find a fort.) * Archery Range: High priority. The speed is essential for you. Also a slight damage boost. * Stonehenge: High priority. The speed is essential for you. In many cases, you'll gain the mercury used here back soon due to quicker exploration (directly or via other resources to trade.) Sorceress Castle building in the first week: ---------T---------------T----------------------------м | Day 1: | Statue | 1250 gold + 5 ore | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 2: | Archery Range | 1000 gold + 5 wood | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 3: | Mage Guild | 2000 gold + 5 ore + 5 wood | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 4: | Well | 500 gold | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 5: | Stonehenge | 3000 gold + 10 ore | +--------+---------------+----------------------------+ | Day 6: | Fenced Meadow | 4000 gold + 10 gems | L--------+---------------+----------------------------- The schedule has one day reserve useful for Crystal Garden or, in some extra-rich maps, for the Red Tower. (This would mean 15 mercury, 20 ore and about 8000 gold to get apart from starting treasure - a task that is sometimes manageable.) Without the Red Tower, you'll have some 3500 gold to spend on armies in the beginning on the second week. Unless you have already gathered some, you'll probably have to go into action with non-upgraded shooters and barely anything else. The dwarves will be built later, if ever, as they're not needed in your battle strategies. The castle special isn't worth the money spend on it, as it produces unguaranteed results, and therefore is very optional. I build it for AI cash - letting some stupid hero capture my castle with empty dwelling and retaking it 7 days later with all the upgrades for free - in cases where I can do without the 8000 cash deficit, of course. If it's obvious that you won't be able to build Red Tower quickly, then with some luck of 9 extra gems you might want to get a 2nd level Mage Guild as soon as possible. Considering the fact that upgrading your shooters is of utmost importance, you will probably be able to start out with full army on day 3 in second week. Also, if gold is scarce, you might want to save both money and time by not building the Fenced Meadow and upgrading both shooter dwellings instead, usually having enough cash to start with their full production right on day 1. Resources summary: You'll need some 20 wood and 10 ore for building, along with 11750 gold, including cost of statue. Weekly armies without the Phoenixes cost 7750, after upgrades 8950. The phoenixes add another 4500. HPs grown weekly 871 at 15.15 g/HP Strategy Notice that you have the weakest armies in total HPs - so you'll have to make up for that handicap in speedy exploration. Your main advantage is speed of your units. Use supportive (protective and beneficial) spells to profit from that advantage. You won't need any huge quantities of gold so you can aim at snatching resources and generally doing things that will indirectly harm your enemies. The only big priority you have to follow is mercury in the early stages. However, even sooner you should get 5 extra gems to get unicorns as they'll provide a good protection of your shooters against walkers and wimpy flyers. Remember that the badly needed mercury can be acquired from marketplaces and trading posts, so do your best to get every bit of every resource you can. With those troops, you should plan your actions well - try to take out the enemy armies in order of their speed rating - phoenixes should kill any very fast armies and then your very fast shooters should take care of the rest. (Using Blind on remaining armies or slow on other very fast units may help you in this). The result is the enemy hero being defeated without any chance to cause spell damage and/or flee. Mass Haste should guarantee total domination, making all your troops (except dwarves, who are at home, anyway) reaching the other end of battlefield, the sprites being the slowest, yet very fast. With good positioning of unicorns to hit two-hex enemies at other side, you could slay five stacks without the enemy ever knowing what hit him. Forces combination: In the early-to-mid phases you'll probably use two very fast shooters accompanied by unicorns and hordes of sprites to take care of protective tasks and mopping up, respectively. When phoenixes get introduced, you can drop the sprites at the castle, increasing your map speed, and possibly unicorns, too. The unicorns can form the mainstay of secondary hero armies, possibly together with sprites, battle dwarves and any armies that have joined your main hero and are unsuitable for his strategies. For exploration, you'll do fine with the three armies (phoenixes, elves and druids - both upgraded) and your hero will be quite fast. For battles against heroes, though, I recommend putting the unicorns in, as their firepower will be needed for defensive tasks against approaching enemy walkers and flyers and, as I already have mentioned, they'll often cause enemy to waste lightning bolts at them. Be extremely careful about using phoenixes in attack, their HPs aren't any high and slow walkers in enemy ranks may cause significant losses. If you can, rather use those more expendable sprites to bother enemy shooters (provided they'll play sooner). The Qurqirish Dragon added a very important strategic tip: If you have haste, unicorns become a real terror in all cases as an ultrafast troop with blind ability. Remember that unicorns have the greatest attack potential of all 5th and lower level troops, with a huge 10.5 average and a 10/9 A/D - only Archmagi may think of being compared with unicorns, having 12/8 and average damage 8 and ranged attack. Special strategies against particular classes: * Fighting barbarians: Barbarians' slow walkers would give hell to your phoenixes, so be careful - often it's wiser to not attack in the first turn. Your shooters should cause considerable damage to enemy trolls and/or orcs, the rest could be taken care of by either spells or sprites. In the second turn, you have first shot before wolves that have probably gotten close to you, so fry them with phoenixes and repeat the shooting procedures. (It may be needed to aim for approaching cyclopes rather than finishing enemy shooters.) In the third round, the Phoenixes can either get to other side to finish enemy shooters, while your shooters (and possibly unicorns) deal with now pretty close ogre lords and goblins. Remember that barbarian troops are pretty tough and once they'll get close to you, your losses will be high. It's usually better to sacrifice several unicorns to keep ogre lords/cyclopes busy in the middle field, not letting them to cripple your relatively weak shoooters. (Both Druids and Ogre Lords are 4th level troop - and there's VREY big difference between them, especially in close combat ;-).) Unless you have some magic tricks in your sleeve, you'll get beaten badly. Mass Slow, Blind, Paralyse and Berserk may be the difference between a huge loss and a flawless victory. Only a very strong in means of A/D a hero, possibly with some Leadership/Luck/Archery skills can make things easier. * Fighting knights: In the first turn, your Phoenixes/Unicorns should handle Champions (Phoenixes if the knight attacked you, Unicorns if you played first - don't ever think about moving the phoenixes onto the other side - the four walkers would beat the shit outta them.) Your shooters should easily eliminate rangers and possibly score even against crusaders or other walkers. The unicorns should not waste opportunity to strike in the first round, but do your best to keep them out of reach of those enemies, that haven't played yet. If the champions are dead, you'll have the first shot - you can Slow/Blind crusaders and handle other stacks with phoenixes, or use direct damage on crusaders (or beneficial spell on phoenixes) and try to fry the crusaders in one shot. However, if you let the crusaders to get at your shooters, you'll have them sliced very thinly. It's better to fry crusaders and let pikemen/swordsmen get their shot at the druids, because those enemy walkers are much weaker on both attack and defense and can be handled easier. Treebeard suggests strongly that you hold off your phoenixes and arrange your sprites to solve the ranger problem, while your shooters will do their best on the crusaders. However, I think that crusaders with their very high defense should be subjected to some magic, while the shooters should employ their potential against some slightly less-defended subjects (well, the difference is not that big, all the others have defense 9, yet that means 15 to 30% difference in damage dealt.) * Fighting fellow Sorceress: The ideal setup would be killing enemy phoenixes with yours, while blocking one stack of very fast shooters - they'll then attack phoenixes and your druids can go after the second very fast enemy shooter, while your third shooter will try to weaken walkers that threaten your phoenixes. Another approach may be Slow on the enemy Phoenixes and attacking Unicorns or dwarves or one shooter, while blocking the shooters. In any case, you'll probably suffer considerable losses to phoenixes. There are other ways that will mean losses to your shooters - choose whichever troubles you less. One thing is recommended - eliminating sprite hordes as otherwise they'll waste next round attack of your shooters. The losses are usually worth it, because most of them can be replenished at the defeated sorceress' castles soon. * Fighting Warlock: Attacking Dragons with phoenixes is a bloody bad thing, yet if they play first, there's nothing better to do. At least you can cast Dragon Slayer on the Phoenixes to make things a little less bad. The ideal setup could be another very fast army playing before the blackies. If this army is gargoyles, try to attack them with phoenixes, but do so only if you WON'T kill them all - they'll in turn go after your druids, probably die in their retaliation and your druids can fire at the dragons. (If you happen to have Haste, cast it right now on the Grand Elves, giving them a chance to damage dragons further, before they even get to battle.) In this battle, your shooters will suffer greatly from enemy flyers. You'll have to try to use dragons' and phoenixes' two-hex attacks to wipe out enemy flyers - preferrably the dragons should be the second unit in phoenixes's flame. Also do expect the elves to become the AI's primary target pretty soon, as druids' total HP sum will drop rapidly under dragons' fire breath. Unicorns should show bravery and sacrifice themselves in attacking ferociously anything that moves. Mass Bless is one of the most useful spells here. Mass Haste gives you chance to kick the dragon's ass the unicorns, too, which can do quite well. The sprites can wipe out centaurs or damage whatever else. General rule is to try and conquer the warlock before he gets Dragons (or conquer a wizard and take titans against the Dragons.) * Fighting Wizard: Phoenixes should (possibly Steelskinned) attack titans or rather block them, while frying archmagi. Then your very fast shooters should take out Rocs and halflings, while the sprites (if you have them) can soften up enemy walkers - possibly golems, that would have reached phoenixes. Send the Unicorns after the titans. If the rocs have survived the shooting, you'll either kill them with spells in the next round (either direct damage or blessing unicorns) or take them out by phoenixes (ideally by hasting unicorns to prevent titans from shooting), or even take them out with the shooters in person. Concentrated firepower should work well on the titans - best supported by either Mass Bless or repeated Disrupting Ray. Also slowing the titans is a good idea. This strategy is quite offensive and will cost you some phoenixes. You can play it on defensive - best by shielding your shooters, which will still suffer quite high losses. After one or two defensively carried battle turns, switch to general offensive, as by this time the titans should be about the only enemy alive. (And if not, other enemies are damn close, anyway.) In case you manage to catch the wizard without titans, target the archmagi with your phoenixes, the halflings with your sprites, forget about the golens, try to fry the rocs with your shooters, and keep the unicors near to smash the rocs next turn. * Fighting Necromancer: Here your speed says it all. Either ignore the power liches in first turn and let them score some kills, or send phoenixes, that will although have to stand up against all the slower walkers. Anyway, both your shooters should be able to cripple Vampire Lords. If the enemy is trigger-happy on spells, Slowing Bone Dragons after he's casted his part is a good thing, because in the next turn you may succeed in eliminating them before he could haste them. Another approach is to block liches, while attacking their neighbour. Since the enemy has two flyers, you'll probably suffer some losses. But if the things go well, the Vampire Lords that have survived phoenixes' onslaught and further shooting can be taken out by Unicorns and if you succeed in slowing the dragons at that point, the losses should be minimal and mostly on phoenixes. If you don't have Slow, you'd rather smash the Bone Dragons first or accept the fact that your shooters will get their ass kicked well. TreeBeard says: Humm, beware of the dragons!! Hold to the last secound to cast (mass) slow, or start shouting holy verses right from the beginning. Hordes of skeletons should be handled a good kick, with shooters and sprites. Hero benefits: The Navigation can prove as a decisive factor in water-based maps with lots of resources and goodies scattered on islands. Long journeys with armies that need to be helped with spellcasting are best suited for sorceress' high knowledge, if she's gonna be the main hero of yours. Skills important for the troops and strategy: Archery is the one of most importance with two aggresive very fast shooter stacks. Leadership can prevent losses to your precious troops and help you to win many battles without giving the AI chance to move, which already is an important concept of the sorceress side. Balistics are good in breaking castle walls and thus reducing the obstacle penalty for your shooters. The Sorceress' heart is speed, says TreeBeard - she is the one who needs Logistics and some movement boosting artifacts the most to get her quickly built Phoenixes to the enemy, before they manage to get their 6th level troops. In general, sorceress troops profit strongly from their speed. Sorceress should have one of the fastest starts due to successful exploration - stands a good match to warlock and both Might classes and should be able to defeat slower-starting necromancers and wizards. In the long run, the stronger troops of your enemies can trouble you seriously. Especially big bastards like Ogre Lords (not speaking of the 300 HP fellows) can prove too tough for any army of yours to stand up to. However, a succesfull warrior usually uses sorceress troops to gain quick access to some more potent ones. (Wizard/Warlock usually.) --Using Warlock-- ----------------- Way of the Warlock This document contains no 'general' rules - all thone non-class-specific ones are in the Way of the Hero and I suggest you read it if you haven't done so yet. Strengths: Three flying armies, of which two are quite cheap - very good for exploring and cleaning out shooter armies without heavy losses. Dragons are definitively the best unit around (Titans, although they shoot, are vulnerable to some devastating magic.) with their highest HP rating, complete magic invulnerability and two-hex attack. Excellent defense potential in hydras - for castles mainly. Good offensive punch even without dragons - minotaur kings are a very strong and dangerous army. Income bonus in dungeon (although more than needed for blackies ;-)). First dwelling produces shooters, that have the biggest HP count among 1st dwelling creatures, and are also often found in villages, and of course in caves. Weaknesses: Sulfur dependance. Dragons are very expensive. Lack of any powerful shooters - and therefore casualties against just a bit strong walkers, especially in early game where the magic's not powerful enough to stop them. Army evaluation: Centaur 3/1/5/1-2/4/60 About the only two things good about centaurs are their highest HPs among 1st level creatures and the simple fact that they shoot. Their speed matches your griffins and minotaurs, so they won't slow you down. Generally centaurs won't cause any high damage, unless in very high numbers. Their potential lies in the fact that those high numbers can be reached pretty fast ;-). One bad thing about centaurs is the fact that their natural dwelling, the cave, definitely looks odd, unless placed in snowy terrain... which is the reason that there aren't usually many caves around your castle, especially because most authors tend to cripple warlocks by placing their castle into swampy areas. However, lacking a better shooter, the warlock will often have to carry these weak ones or take the very slow hydras to absorb damage from enemies. Gargoyle 4/7/15/2-3/6/200 Their defense of 7 is the highest number among 2nd level creatures, while their skills sum of 11 is matched only by dwarves. Their biggest positives are quite reliable damage causing, high numbers and, above all else, their Very fast (and flying) speed rating, which assures first shot in many early battles. The gargoyles will suffer losses as their main goal is usually to block shooters. They're good in killing archers, halflings and other weakies. Having 18+ gargoyles at start of second week gives you considerable firepower. Due to their high numbers, they're expendable - divide them into two stacks and let them block very fast/fast shooters and wait till griffins arrive to deal the big damage. Griffin 6/6/25/3-5/4/300 Retaliates against every attack. Griffin's special of unlimited retaliation makes them a feared opponent, excellent for early exploration and fighting shooters. Try to minimize their losses as they can be quite handy even in mid phases of play - ideal to be put between two enemy shooter stacks, with drawing the enemy troops close around them, causing them damage and possibly making a nice lineup for some area-damage spell. (Or even for the hydra-teleport combo - just remove the griffins (in case they survived) and teleport the hydra stack into their place - you'll get TWO shots at many enemies (One in the hydra turn and one in the retaliation after first enemy attack.) Their damage skills are quite useful for sweeping out minor enemy units, most often at castle sieges. Minotaur 9/8/40/5-10/4/400 Minotaur King 9/8/45/5-10/6/500 Especially in their upgraded version, they stand out with their toughness, speed and excellent skills. Being very fast allows them to cover most of the battle field. Their high HPs (second only to Ogre Lords among 4th level creatures) assures you the first shot in most situations, as they cannot be wiped out as easily as gargoyles can. In games with low sulfur reserves the minotaur kings will form most of your offensive, which suits them. Even their non-upgraded version carries considerable punch and is excellent for protection of centaur hordes. However, offensive campaings aren't their best role, then. Hydra 8/9/75/6-12/2/800 Non-retaliated attack, attacks all adjacent enemies. An excellent army for defensive purposes. Offensive use comes handy in exploration - most effectively used against enemy flyers (be sure to place the stack into the third slot). Assure that they will be the highest priority target for AI - no shooters and flyers allowed - usually that means hydras alone, but having one minotaur/minotaur king with them will allow you to cast protective spell on them. In defensive battles, place hydras close to primary target of enemy AI - the hydras will be able to attack approaching enemy, with the possibility of some slower enemies coming in later and, not being able to reach their primary target, attacking hydras, which the retaliate to all of those units that have already attacked the hydras' protection subject. If you happen to get teleport, hydras prove an excellent means of wreaking havoc among the enemy lines. If you've run out of centaurs and don't want to lose your flyers, use hydras as a bait for enemy walkers - they can absorb considerable damage, in the end of turn score multiple attack and your very fast gargoyles and minotaurs can wipe out the rest. Green Dragon 12/12/200/25-50/4/3000+1s Red Dragon 13/13/250/25-50/5/3500+1s Black Dragon 14/14/300/25-50/6/4000+2s All: Immune to all magic, two-hex attack. There's no doubt about the Dragons' supremacy in the game. However, there are three types of them. Green ones are good only in situations where you desperately need their HPs and firepower and can't afford to wait for upgrades. Their Average speed is the worst thing about them. Red ones are a good compromise between price and power - needing only one sulfur, they're quite affordable, while the Fast speed gives less enemies the first shot. I usually go for Blackies but in many cases I decided to stay with Red ones and profited from that, most often through higher numbers I could afford to purchase and the offensive being launched sooner. Black ones are a bit too expensive, yet the investments usually return pretty soon. Comparation of blackies and greenies is simple... 20% more damage potential, 50% more HPs, 10-20% less damage suffered and, above all, the +2 speed. All these are definitely worth the extra 1000 cash and one bit of sulfur. The Blackies are the dragons that can take out a titan any day of the week. Reddies cannot. The most stressed thing about dragons should be their complete magic immunity, often appreciated in connection with Armageddon or any other global damage spell. However, the two-hex attack is another powerful weapon, which requires extreme care when dragons are near their friends. Upgrading priorities: * Maze: Low priority. High only in cases where you know you won't get dragons any soon. * Green Tower: Highest priority. Greenies are way too weak and slow. * Red Tower: High priority: Reddies are much better, yet the Blacks give you first shot in most cases. I'd stick with reddies only in those cases where I couldn't get enough sulfur to buy the blackies. (And, to tell you truth, 6 blackies are way better than 7 reddies...) Warlock Castle building in the first week: ----------------T-----------T-----------------------------м | Day 1: | Dungeon | 3000 gold + 5 wood + 10 ore | +---------------+-----------+-----------------------------+ | Day 2: | Statue | 1250 gold + 5 ore | +---------------+-----------+-----------------------------+ | Day 3: | Crypt | 1500 gold + 10 ore | +---------------+-----------+-----------------------------+ | Day 4: | Well | 500 gold | +---------------+-----------+-----------------------------+ | Day 5: | Nest | 2000 gold | +---------------+-----------+-----------------------------+ | Day 6: | Maze | 3000 gold + 10 gems | +---------------+-----------+-----------------------------+ | Day 7: | Swamp | 3500 gold + 10 sulfur | +---------------+-----------+-----------------------------+ | Day 7: (alt.) | Waterfall | 1000 gold | L---------------+-----------+------------------------------ There's no reserve in this schedule, but Hydras aren't really needed and the Waterfall is not of any big importance, if your ambitions are dragons. However, sometimes you'll be forced to postpone Maze due to shortage of gems - in that case you have one day reserve ;-) The two money generators have absolute priority. Although you'll seem to have enough gold in the first few weeks, as soon as you'll start thinking about dragons, you'll find that you have far less than you thought. The resources needed are 11500 gold (without the swamp), 10 gems and 25 ore (which on normal setting means that you'll have to get 5 ore pieces pretty soon.) However, in many cases the Crypt is already there, sparing you of that problem. Resources summary: You'll need 5 wood and 55 ore for the dwellings, but without the dragons, whose price almost assures that they won't be built within first week, the ore requirements drop to 25, including dungeon and statue. Upgrades of dragons will consume 10000 gold, 10 ore and 20 sulfur, while minotaurs cost some 5 gems and 2000 gold. Weekly armies without dragons cost 9680, after upgrade 10180. With green dragons 9000 more, blackies yet another 3000 more gold and six sulfur instead of three. The rough castle output will be 1750x7 - 12250 gold/week. HPs grown weekly 1755 at 12.63 g/HP Strategy Unless you build dragons, you'll have more than enough gold for lesser armies - in fact, you should be able to spare 2000/week for use on special buildings and heroes. If you won't use hydras, that will leave you another 3200 per week, which implies saving up for dragons' construction only three weeks. In three weeks, you should also easily get the needed sulfur and ore - you'll need only one mine for each resource. If there's no sulfur around, you'd better hurry to go after your opponents. If you happen to locate a village of warlock type, this will give you even more significant advantage - often centaurs, sometimes gargoyles, the possibility to upgrade and build money generators. Due to money matters, which are pretty alright with warlocks, your biggest advantage (apart from possible dragon armies) lies in initial strength, because you'll be able to purchase all the armies you have grown and start aggressive exploring. If you stick to warlock hero, you'll need mage guild on second level, though, as the warlock's greatest skill is always spell power. More on heroes in Way of Hero. If there's a sulfur mine nearby, capture it at almost all costs and start looking for a stable gold source, because dragons will need at least one gold mine. Forces combination: In the early stages, griffin-gargoyle gang-up is an excellent tool. Usually backed by a bunch of centaurs, those two flyers provide wonderful means of exploration. With this combination, you can easily smash any shooters with average speed (just make sure your griffins will play before your centaurs, use gargoyles to block first two stacks, then griffins for other two, centaurs should damage/kill the fifth stack.) Against the walkers, a good option is to have centaurs in top slot, where griffins and gargoyles can form almost completely surround them (with minotaur kings, the protection is total) and be a bit passive. As all the resources may have great importance (at least to be traded for sulfur), try to get the mines at any reasonable cost - never mind losing a few gargoyles/griffins. Against flyers, especially gargoyles, try to use hydras, if you've got them near. Hydras alone can do quite well. You'll suffer five full strength attacks from your enemies, which with hydras' 12 defense and 75 HPs means none or small losses, and then you get in fact two attacks (one attack and a retaliation after first enemy attack in second round) upon all enemy stacks. As mentioned above, one minotaur/king can help giving you time to cast some protection. A gargoyle can be used, too, placed BELOW the hydra - to the first attacker will get next to hydra. This, at the cost of one gargoyle, minimizes losses on hydras - saving one enemy attack and giving the benefit of spellcasting. Later, minotaur kings will carry most of your close-range firepower. Hydras are taken on the road only exceptionally - if you need to scare off some enemies or need every bit of firepower. Their Very Slow speed costs you two movement points each adventure turn, which is quite high price. Once you manage to get dragons, life should be easy. Dragons can take enormous amounts of damage and return it back. Once I get dragons, I usually drop off slower armies. The centaurs are good for a second hero. Having them with the main guy would only cause them losses, because most enemies would turn after them, at least with magic. I don't need to explain much, that it's better to have all enemy going after something with defense of 14, than defense 2, because that means the damage dealt by the enemy is reduced by 55%. Generally, having any armies beside dragons gives the enemy a chance to cast damage spells onto your side, but strong stacks of minotaur kings and gargoyles are often needed. Note that you can sometimes benefit from the magically vulnerable army - if the enemy casts at your minor stacks, he doesn't cast supportive spells on his troops that go after the dragons. With warlock, you should rely on the speed of your armies. Try to get some morale boosts, because your three very fast units can profit from that nicely. Especially the dragons do very good work when splitted into two or three stacks, because that gives you opportunity to take out several enemy armies within one turn, possibly even preventing the enemy from getting a move on his own. Excellent in combination with griffins and Blind - two stacks of dragons and one stack of gargoyles will take out enemy units of faster speeds, Blind will eliminate somebody that is average and Griffins could take out slow armies. Special strategies against particular classes: * Fighting barbarians: Barbarians are a threat that cannot be underestimated. Their heroes are usually pretty strong on attack and they have very strong walker armies. If you have the first shot and go after trolls with your dragons, all the remaining armies will attack your dragons in the first turn. Cyclopes with potent offensive skills and two-hex attack are to be paid attention to, possibly using their two-hex against their friends. Ogre Lords will often get a kill on the dragon. Only slow ogres can be avoided by good maneuvering. Orcs/orc chiefs should be taken care of by griffins. Get used to losing a few dragons in fights with strong barbarian armies. I usually want the enemy to play with wolves before my dragons, then I attack cyclopes, possibly blocking trolls. Try to eliminate some of the walkers by using slow/blind/paralyze. Berzerker on cyclopes is the nicest alternative. * Fighting knights: If you didn't have opportunity to line up your troops, you may get hit by champions before you can do anything. I suggest taking out rangers either by magic or by griffins when all faster units have moved. Definitely avoid placing dragons there, because all the walkers would get at you. Try to use two-hex attacks to damage crusaders indirectly. They're a real threat, because they'll often play sooner than you in subsequent battle rounds, have defense as good as green dragons, often strongly supported by high defense skill of the hero, so that your dragons will hardly be able to take out one crusader each. Other walkers are much lesser threat, yet often come in annoying numbers and can cause significant losses. One good thing is their speed - both the master swordsmen and veteran pikemen are only one step slower than crusaders - often helping you in the task of indirect attack on crusaders. Damage spells are of some importance againts the heavily defensively oriented crusaders. Again, berzerker on them just before their play is the most wonderful thing. (That's why the most experienced map-makers give the right protective artifact to AI knights ;-)) * Fighting Sorceress: Here you need to be extremely careful. If the enemy has phoenixes, do not take centaurs into the battle, they would be all killed in one single blow. Also, be sure to have the dragons in top slot and no army under them, because their retaliation onto phoenixes wouldn't do any good to their neighbours. The rest is easy. Dragons should easily eliminate enemy shooters while the minotaur kings should strike at phoenixes and gargoyles shouls take care of sprites. Besides phoenixes, damage could come from unicorns and overgrown stacks of dwarves - so be careful in choosing the dragons' target as to avoid those threats if possible. Often the unicorns will block the way for dwarves so you can handle that later. Casting Slow/Blind/Paralyze helps, too. * Fighting fellow Warlock: Try your best to use two-hex attack of both your and enemy dragons to cause maximum damage. Often the minotaur kings of enemy suffer in the first round. Sometimes, it may be wise to have gargoyles playing first, wasting dragons' retaliation. The battle is going to be hard and will depend strongly on type (and skills) of enemy hero. Having a strong hydra stack close to your dragons may be good for attacking all the flyers that surround your dragons. Enemy hydras should get across the field just after anybody else is dead, so you won't have any hard task killing them in one massive attack. Blinding them in the process will often save you from one their attack onto all your troops. * Fighting Wizard: You'll have to take care of titans quickly. If their numbers are high, use disrupting ray, else use direct damage spells, curse or Slow. Attack with dragons, possibly blocking archmagi, too. Do expect dragons to take significant losses, but hurry with all your firepower, esp. minotaur kings, to help killing those bothering rocs and boars. Use damage spells on archmagi, they're weak in HPs. Use either griffins or gargoyles on halflings. Try to avoid golems, bother enemy with mind/speed spells so that he'll dispel them instead of casting supportive spells on titans (worst of which are resurrects). Also, take into consideration that the enemy may have gotten Expert Archery, which makes the Titans' average damage at distance a bit higher that the one of Dragons. (They then score the same average of 37.5 and have Attack skill of 15 (while dragons have 12-14)). The Qurqirish Dragon also stresses that using supportive magic like Bless, Steelskin and Bloodlust, the Titans with Expert Archery may overwhelm dragons. The only advice here is - use your spells wisely to prevent the enemy from supporting his Titans... If you'll ignore those supportive spells on Titans, within three turns of battle they can become a 18/20 A/D beast with 63 damage per piece - which will be deadly for your dragons. Therefore you should use all you can to eliminate Titans quickly. Disrupting Ray fits there best. However, if the enemy keeps casting supportive spells on titans, you could consider using dispel magic only every second turn, while in the meantime using direct damage or other spells of your choice. Berzerker here won't be as profitable as against might heroes. * Fighting Necromancer: You need to concentrate on Bone Dragons or Vampire Lords and destroy them fast. If the Vampires aren't upgraded or their numbers aren't high, the Bone Dragons are primary target. The necromancer will probably be weak on defense, so attack with all you can. Be careful when casting Slow, because the enemy often reacts with Haste on the Slowed unit, which totally overthrows strategic planning. Try to use two-hex on all the undead walkers. If the enemy has already managed to grow considerable numbers of skeletons, be careful, because they may form a remarkable threat, too. Generally if the enemy walkers are in big numbers, you should consider skipping the first turn almost entirely - use direct damage spells and wait for the two flyers to get to you, prod their buttocks (know THAT quote? ;-)) and in second turn, launch the offensive against walkers/liches - the walkers might have lined-up nicely by this time for the dragons' flame. If the enemy isn't THAT strong, you could sometimes use the two-hex attack even in the first round - knowing the order of play, pick a target that will assure that royal mummies will come over and the army behind them gets a good portion of warm welcome. Hero benefits: The Scouting skill can be very helpful in early exploration. If you strongly plan to rely on Armageddon or other global damage spell to use with dragons, the warlock is the best choice for the main hero, because his most expanded skill is Spell Power. Warlocks generally make good scouts, because they come with bundled garoyles. Skills important for the troops and strategy: None in particular... warlock armies rely mostly on flying - no big need for archery/leadership/ballistics. Mysticism may help a warlock hero on long journeys, since he's not focused on knowledge that much. In general, warlock is quite a strong class (in overall most popular, too) whose strength lies in quite fast initial exploration and unmatched supremacy of draggagedon combo. However, the dragons are much stronger weapon in hands of an experienced barbarian. However, one sulfur mine is never enough, so you'll either need two mines or several marketplaces to get your dragons from their towers to the battlefield. --Using Wizard-- ---------------- Way of the Wizard This document contains no 'general' rules - all thone non-class-specific ones are in the Way of the Hero and I suggest you read it if you haven't done so yet. Strengths: Very strong in long-run campaigns. Has three shooters, of which two are very fast, strong and with specials, while the third one can be found in natural dwellings, often reaching very high numbers. Library gives a true sense to higher mage guild levels, often gives dimension door and ressurrect true. Most needed resource can be obtained from extra source! This fact often helps a lot, as gardens can be found in most maps. With 300 HP sixth-dweller often allows two 'main' forces - one composed of titans and possibly archmagi, while the another taking the bulk of rocs, boars and halflings - which is enough to capture minor garrisons and take out minor heroes. Weaknesses: Titans need lots of gems and cash - far more than you'll be able to accumulate with one castle. Early exploration is usually tough, because the available troops will often take losses. High consumption of resources in the beginning - you'll usually have to choose either magi or spells. Army Evaluation: Halfling 2/1/3/1-3/3/50 Innocent-looking but powerful creatures, that are a real threat in higher numbers. (Compare 99 halflings to one titan ;-) - cost is the same, damage range is 109-326 vs. 50-75 against D=1, 33-99 vs 20-30 against D=15.) Once they're not AI's primary target, they'll start to accumulate. Being 1st level, they're often found and 'default' neutral villages and castles, so that they reach the higher numbers pretty easily. Often the halflings are major part of your firepower in early stages. A blessed stack of halflings is really an ugly thing to face. Due to their low HPs, wandering stacks will often offer to join you. Haflings have one of the BEST damage ratings in the game, measured per HP. Boar 5/4/15/2-3/6/150 A reliable 2nd level army. They have excellent range, often dwellings are in villages. In long run, their power diminishes and they are a good force for the secondary heroes. They provide good troops for scout heroes, being Very fast. Iron Golem 5/10/30/4-5/2/300 Steel Golem 7/10/35/4-5/3/350 Both: Half damage from elemental magic (Cold Ray, Lightning Bolt) A good unit for defense. It's resistance to elemental magic improves the defense potential. I personally buy them only when absolutely needed and rarely take them on the road, but many people do otherwise and profit from that. And I must admit that a few times I emerged from a tough battle with a golem stack the only army left standing of my forces. Their free upgradability at foundries is a good thing, though, as it increases their speed to match halflings and thus not slow you down in case you take them. Compared to other three-level creatures, they have very impressive stats. With some good spells like Haste/Teleport they can do a significant part of work on your offensive and defensive battle tasks. If you're gonna to take halflings on the road and can spare the cash for the golems, do so - they might attract the enemy's attention (including spellcasting) and are by definition expendable. Also, their elemental resistance cannot do any bad. (Thanks to Qurqirish Dragon on that one!) Roc 7/7/40/5-8/4/400 In early and mid phases this is the main force of the army. One of the strongest flyers, they're excellent for delivering damage to enemy shooters. Their role is most important in early game, where they help much in cleaning wandering shooters, as they have good damage absorbing potential. Having 8 rocs in the beginning of second week (and usually the money to buy them) is very important advantage. Mage 11/7/30/7-9/5/500 Archmage 12/8/35/7-9/6/700 Both: No adjacent penalty (scores full damage even at close-range attack). Upgraded: 20% chance to cast Dispel Magic upon hitting an enemy. Those guys carry excellent firepower and once you manage to build them, they'll form most of your offensive capability. The upgrade is costly but pays back! Being very fast gives them first strike in most cases and all the increased stats mean 10% more damage dealt. The HP increase is good, too. (Remember, the speed will be VERY important - they'll play before vampire lords, red dragons, war trolls and on the level with gargoyles, black dragons, crusaders, power liches etc.) Their special - no adjacent penalty - makes them extremely useful against those wandering armies that manage to get across the battle field. Not to mention the archmagis' chance to dispel good spells. Always nice to dispel a huge stack of blessed, steelskinned, bloodlusted and hasted hydras. (In most cases, you'll quite appreciate especially removal of haste from a stack that is hurrying to meet the archmagi face-to-face ;-)) Giant 13/10/150/20-30/4/2000+1g Titan 15/15/300/20-30/6/5000+2g Both: Immune to Mind magic (Blind, Berzerker...) Upgraded: Shoots, no adjacent penalty (scores full damage even at close-range attack). The giants can be useful both in castle defense and in offensive campaings, but are generally wimps compared to their upgraded version. In most cases, you'll want to wait for the upgrade. The doubled HPs and range attack make titans a feared opponent. Titans are about the only unit that can try to be compared to dragons. Although a hundred times proven saying tells you that a Dragon can take out a Titan any day of the week, with a bit of supportive magic ranging from bloodlust to teleport, mirror image and resurrect true the result can be otherwise. The titans have one important role - with their high HPs they are usually primary target of AI and, not being immune to all magic, usually also the primary target of AI's spellcasting. What's good on that? Your archmagis' and halflings survival ;-) Having all the enemy hurrying after the titans gives your archmagi and halfligns enough time to cause horrendous damage to enemy units. 9 archmagi carry definitively much bigger offensive punch that one titan, yet the titan gets the AI's attention. Halflings explained above... Upgrading priorities: * Foundry: Low priority. Only if you gonna need the golems in the field and can't find a Freeman's Foundry nearby. * White Tower: High priority. Archmagi's strength lies in their speed since many nasty units are very fast. * Cloud Castle: High priority. May be higher than for magi, but lower, too. Generally, upgrade only when you have enough money to purchase it's residents. You can spend a few weeks collecting money (and using upgraded magi for that purpose) and then, on day 1 of the week you want to start campaigning, do the upgrade and set off. Wizard Castle building in the first week: ---------T-------------T-----------------------------------------------м | Day 1: | Statue | 1250 gold + 5 ore | +--------+-------------+-----------------------------------------------+ | Day 2: | Pen | 800 gold | +--------+-------------+-----------------------------------------------+ | Day 3: | Foundry | 1500 gold + 5 wood + 5 ore | +--------+-------------+-----------------------------------------------+ | Day 4: | Mage Guild | 2000 gold + 10 wood + 10 ore | +--------+-------------+-----------------------------------------------+ | Day 5: | Well | 500 gold | +--------+-------------+-----------------------------------------------+ | Day 6: | Cliff Nest | 3000 gold + 5 wood | +--------+-------------+-----------------------------------------------+ | Day 7: | Ivory Tower | 3500 gold + 5 wood + 5 ore + 5 all magical | | | | resources. | L--------+-------------+------------------------------------------------ So, we'll need 5 additional wood and 5 additional ore. The schedule has no reserve, unless the Pen is already built. Moreover, in case the habitat wasn't there at day one, we'll have to do without one of those buildings. In my games, this usually is the Ivory Tower, as I need the gold, but the Statue can be omitted instead and built later, especially if you can locate a good gold source at day one. (Locating doesn't mean immediate conquering - just the possibility to do this later - Gold mine, Haunted mine, gold-giving artifact or lightly guarded (or even owned) village fit there.) Later, we'll need additional 4 of all magical resources and 10 of wood and ore, along with some 6000 gold for Upgraded Ivory Tower. And yet later, 40 gems, 10 wood and 10 ore and 25000 gold for Cloud Castle with upgrade. Resources summary: The first week should take 25 wood, 25 ore, 5 of all magic resources and 12650 gold, including Statue. Weekly armies without Giants/Titans cost 9000 (with archmagi). Total production incl. Titans costs 24000 a week plus 6 gems. The rough castle output will be 1250x7 - 8750 gold/week. HPs grown weekly 1614 at 14.86 g/HP This gives a clear picture of gold being the first thing to look for, because with regular city income, you'll be only able to buy out the weekly production. (You won't save much on not buying golems. Or, buying golems and not buying boars. I often save on both golems and boars, since I need gold reserve for buying artifacts etc...) Strategy If the you ever want to build titans, you'll have to acquire a stable source of gold - preferrably two castles or a gold mine. The titans alone will cost 15000 a week, which is the home castle plus a gold mine production fully consumed - not mentioning that you might need another hero, another armies to accomplish minor tasks, spare cash for enhancing captured castles, buying artifacts etc. Therefore, you'll need to explore fast, find a good source of ore and wood, because these may be needed desperately to upgrade captured villages into castles. The upgrading of neutral villages pays back pretty soon - after a week, the invesment is back. You should, however, think a bit forward before upgrading a village - sometimes you might need the 5000 gold for purchasing of armies - be sure to do investments only in situations, where enemy heroes aren't nearby to threaten your playground. Try to gather magical resources and build libraries and higher level mage guilds, as th extra spell per level guild is often your biggest advantage over your enemies! Forces combination: In early stages, I usually take out rocs, halflings and sometimes boars. In mid phases, the magi are in, for sure. If I happen to have larger armies of halflings, I'll take them, but if I only have the castle dwelling, I leave halflings home, possibly taking the boars for defensive firepower. Boars are a necessity in cases where I don't have resources/gold enough to upgrade magi - very fast armies are a must! In later stages, having titans alone should be enough for exploration, while secondary hero should carry all the remaining forces. Having Titans, Archmagi and possibly boars (esp. in cases that you have had two dwellings for a long time or some large group has joined you) should be enough for most battles. Always remember to keep an eye on strengths of your stacks - divide your armies as to assure that titans are the strongest stack (unless fighting ghosts), because enemy will send shooters often, blocking the titans, while archmagi/halflings, that are capable of doing more damage, will be free to do so. Use protective spells (esp. Steelskin) on titans to prolong their live. Remember that once you lose a single titan, the titan stack may lose the priority in AI targeting. And halflings will probably suffer at least twice the losses the titans suffered (measured in HPs). If you have archmagi and titans and the titans have higher sum of HP, keep them in the first slot. Thus, when you attack, you shoot with titans, enemy very fast flyers fly over and block them and you shoot with archmagi. If the archmagi played first, the titans would have to fight with the flyers. Unless the enemy is much stronger than you in walker armies, do NOT cast Anti-Magic on titans - instead let the enemy cast curses, disrupting rays and even direct damage spells upon the titans - they should survive. Once you cast Anti-Magic on them, the enemy spells will be directed to next good target - the much weaker archmagi. Special strategies against particular classes: * Fighting barbarians: One of the easier tasks, as you have big advantage in two shooters faster than enemies' shooters. You'll have to take out trolls and orcs, which your titans and magi/archmagi should be able to handle. Unless the enemy outnumbers you, you should win with low losses. Unless enemy 'hastes' his ogre lords, you'll have two shots at cyclopes (one with titans and one with magi) and in the third turn the same with ogre lords. (All the shooters that survived first round attack should be taken out by rocs, but rather in the second round - as to prevent enemy units of average speed from attacking the rocs. However, losses to rocs are more acceptable than losses to titans and magi. Blocking the shooters in the first round is usually suicidal - the AI heroes tend to carry large armies of ogre lords AND goblins, which means that your rocs will play sooner than at least one of those two stacks - and they could get their wings ripped off quite quickly. It's better to lose one titan due to orcish fire than to sacrifice some 20 rocs for blocking. * Fighting knights: Against knights, the strategy is easy, too. Either titans or archmagi alone should be able to take out rangers, while all the rest should be aimed at champions and crusaders. Very useful may prove casting Blind or Slow at one of those dangerous units. The champions' danger lies in giving the knight first shot, and furthermore, blocking your titans' action, which in turn gives the crusaders first shot at the titans. Swordsmen and pikemen will probably score some losses upon their arrival, but in general you should be able to score a good victory. Be careful about that Slow - enemy tends to counter-cast Haste!. If you can't slay Champions in the first turn, don't ever think about slowing the Crusaders ;-), because they'll reach you in the second turn, if they're hasted. About the best option I know is Berzerker on Crusaders just before they play. * Fighting Sorceress: There's nothing you can do. The sorceress will almost usually have first strike with Phoenixes, going after your titans. Unless you have some useful spells (see below), Grand Elves and Greater Druids will probably have time to shoot, too, and possibly even sprites will come after your shooters. However, your archmagi should have a free shot to the second enemy very fast shooter, before it's turn would come. Your rocs should play before sprites, possibly killling them, if their stack would have been able to cause reasonable damage to your titans. Possibly huge armies of battle dwarves shouldn't be able to get across the field, so they may only attack the rocs in case those went after the sprites. The only threat beside the phoenixes are unicorns, whose high-end stats and Blinding ability may cause severe damage and maybe disrupt your tactics. The shooters have HPs too low to resist your heavy fire. If the dwarven stack is huge, sacrifice rocs in second turn by flying them behind the dwarves - they'll return to their starting position to attack the birds, thus giving you two or three turns' worth of extra shooting on them. Phoenix should be taken out by titans and halflings. * Fighting Warlock: If you have the first shot, try to cast supportive spell (preferrably Dragon Slayer ;-) on the titans and go after the Dragons. This should help greatly. Archmagi can give hell some stronger stacks as griffins are. The Minotaur Kings may cause severe damage, but your priority will definitely be the Dragons. You must try your best to use the fact that Titans aren't immune to magic. Mass Spells come handy, too. (Bless increases the damage well, Haste gives you free shot at dragons with archmagi, Slow prevents gargoyles, griffins and minotaur kings from reaching you too soon.) If you can, try to conquer Warlocks before anyone else, because they pose the biggest threat to you, especially if they manage to get Black Dragons and Armageddon. Use titans against the dragons wisely - they can walk around the dragons, so pick the best direction of attack and the dragons will help greatly in killing anything that flew over from the other side. * Fighting fellow Wizard: Both the titans and the archmagi should be taken care of quickly, even at the price of sacrificing Rocs - they should go after the Archmagi, because against titans they would score much less damage. Battles with wizards will strongly depend on spells that both sides will have used, not mentioning the advantage of first shot. Remember that your advantages and advantages of your enemy are the same. If HE has a large stack of halflings, take them out! The rocs are best here, they'll score much more and suffer much less than against the archmagi. Your halflings then can strike whomever they want, I'd prefer the archmagi - let the titans clash alone. If you don't have any good spells to cast, use direct damage or Blind on Archmagi. * Fighting Necromancer: The power liches do not present any real threat, because they have low attack skill. That leaves your shooters to go after Bone Dragons and Vampire Lords. I strongly suggest 'serial approach' - taking out first the bigger of the threats - possibly employing Hasted Halflings on the Boners. But the main firepower should be aimed preferrably onto the Vampire Lords, that need to be taken care of quickly... An useful tip maybe casting Slow on Bone Dragons, because by the time that Average units come to play, the other side has usually already casted a Spell and therefore cannot dispel this Slow, thus rendering the dragons useless for one round. Direct damage to power liches is a good alternative to deal with their high defense skill. Hero benefits: The Wizard's only strong point is the starting Advanced Wisdom, which can be often used in a form of Nasty Trick - best if having Berzerker in a castle with enemy hero within one-day range - to repeatedly let this guy's troops to kill each other. Skills important for the troops and strategy: Archery has top priority for your heroes as most of your strong troops are shooters. Leadership - having morale with one of your Very Fast units can help greatly when fighting heroes that want to flee. Estates - for a wizard castle owner, this is never any bad thing, because in expert level, it means 70% of a titan every week. Generally it's clear that the wizard is pretty weak without the Titans - The Archmagi don't have either HPs or Defense high enough to survive onslaught from enemy troops, while the slow Halflings will often getout in a single blow from enemy, either shooter or flyer, or fried with some strong damage spell. The rocs will often cause considerable damage in the first round, but since they'll be on the enemy side of battlefield alone, they'll probably get beat up hard from enemy defensive walkers. The wizard's only strong walkers are golems, but those are far too slow to do any good - by the time they get to the other side, the rest of wizard's troops are usually lying dead on the ground. [Ok, I didn't mention boars, but those are too weak to stand any attack from stronger walkers.] As a wizard, you should profit from higher number of available spells. Once you manage to build titans, your life will change dramatically, because most of the battles that would have cost you half of your shooters are now 'as easy as butchering sleeping cattle' [know that quote? ;-)]. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> X. STRATEGY GUIDES FOR BEGINNER >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --Normal Strategies-- --------------------- -At the start of each scenario you'll notice a few artifacts around. Grab them to see what their powers are, if they aren't what you like reload the win scenario and start over. The placement will be the same, but the artifacts will be different. I found the endless pouch of gold especially usefull, it helps you boost your gold in the early stages. (Kaspa) -Your main hero should have the powerful monsters that you can afford, and the all the artifacts that will boost his stats. Take this hero and forge a gouge in their defenses. Find the weader heroes and dereat them as quickly as you can. This will make your enemy spend 2500 gold on new heroes not on more armies. (Kaspa) -Sometimes, when there's a strong hero coming to your town, buy all the available monsters, and leave the slow ones in the castle. Then take your hero, and run away. The computer will take over the castle, leave, and leave a small army to protect it. What you have to do now is wait untill the sixth or seventh day and recapture it. This gives the computer some time to build additional facilities for you, and gives you the castle one day before new monsters arrive. (Kaspa) -Don't bother investing in captains. They're pretty weak, and if your castle is captured, you'll end up facing your own soldier as a foe. Always try investing in a new hero when your castle is about to get attacked. (Kaspa) -Always build a strategy according to the conditions of your scenario. If you're near enough the location of a hidden artifact, send a throwaway hero there to do nothing but dig. If your goal is to conquer a town, scout the area and build a very powerful force to overwhelm it. Also look for desert areas with magic lamps. These contain genies, the best armies you can buy on the road. They give a great advantage if you grab them at the beginning of a game. (Kaspa) -All Together Now: When you're using certain troops, especially Liches (but also those with a 2-area attack - Dragons, Cyclopes, Phoenixes) it's of great benefit if the enemy troops bunch up so you can strike several armies at a time. Here's a tip for facilitating that. The computer's first attack priority is always your archer stack with the most collective hit points. If you place that army in your last troop slot (so it appears on the bottom of your screen in battle), ground-based enemy troops will be most likely to bunch up as they advance. The computer will always take its troops down the screen before taking them forward, but it will always march them forward before it sends them up. So, if your target archer troop is in the top slot, the computer won't bunch up, but if it's in the bottom slot, they group together nicely. If that sounds confusing, get a group of Liches and try it out. It's easy to see the difference in action. from Grayson Towler at ( -Two Birds With One Stone: This is a tip which is especially appropriate for Phoenixes and Dragons, though it's useful for Cyclopes to a lesser extent. When you're faced with a ground-based monster army and your Dragon/Phoenix attacks first (which, in the case of Phoenixes, always happens), target the bottom troop stack and hit it from straight on (not at an angle). When it comes time for the enemy monsters to move, they get their turn from the top monster down. So, one of the upper troop stacks will come down towards your Dragon/Phoenix and take a shot. When your Dragon/Phoenix retaliates, it should catch the attacking stack AND the next-to-last stack in the blast. This is a great way to take out a lot of ground-based enemies more quickly. from Grayson Towler at ( -All About Artifacts: Tomas Pavlicek wanted to learn how to do Windows 95 help files and decided to use HOMM2 artifacts as his test subject. Good job Tomas! Download Tomas' HOMM2 Artifacts Help File, put it into your Heroes 2 directory, and create a shortcut for easy access! -Laugh In The Face Of Death: The Pendant of Life, which makes you immune to the Death Wave and Death Ripple spells grants immunity regardless of whether your opponent casts it or you cast it. So if you have the Pendant of Life, you can cast this spell with total disregard for your own living troops' well being. This is a great combo early in the game with Death Ripple (or Death Wave if you've got it), especially with regards to weak computer archery stacks. from Tim Ford at ( -Troop Splitting 101: It's real "kewl" to have a stack of 50 Paladins, for example, in your troops. But if they get paralyzed, blinded, slowed, bezerked, then what good were they? Have an empty slot? Split your stack. Two stacks are more difficult to paralyze, blind, slow, and bezerk than one stack and they also get two attacks. To split any troop stack into another slot: Click once on the troop to be split. Now hold the shift key down and click once on the slot you want them to go to. A window pops up asking you how many to split out. Enter that number and click on Okay. Aha! Your troop has been split. You can use this to split one troop stack into many troop stacks, or to only take a part of the troops in the castle with your hero, or to exchange some of the troops between heroes, or to even out two or three stacks (if you have a stack of 50 and a stack of 10, split 20 out of the 50 into the stack of 10 making two stacks of 30). Splitting can be done in castle ranks, hero ranks, between castle and hero, and between hero and hero. The only time you cannot split a troop stack is once you have engaged in combat. Once the battle starts, it is too late to do housekeeping! -The Lure Of The Sirens: The benefits of experience handed out by those Sirens hanging around on the rocks at sea is proportional to a percentage of the number of troops you have in your hero's stacks. This means that visiting them with a small number of troops will provide you with little experience, and visiting them with a huge number of troops will provide you with a lot of experience. But remember that the experience is traded for troops! For instance, visiting the Sirens with over seven thousand ghosts, lost over two thousand ghosts to the Sirens, but yielded over 20,000 experience points to the visiting hero. Don't visit the Sirens with any troops you don't want to give up, but if you do have surplus troops and need a quick boost to your hero's experience, the Sirens might just be your answer from Matthias at ( -How Few a "Few" Really Is: For those of you who like to have your doom indicated a little more specifically than, say... "Several Black Dragons" or "Zounds Battle Dwarves"; here is a definitive list of what those indicators actually mean. Few 1 - 4 Several 5 - 9 Pack 10 - 19 Lots 20 - 49 Horde 50 - 99 Throng 100 - 249 Swarm 250 - 499 Zounds 500 - 999 Legion 1000+ -For The Bean Counters: There are several variables in the determination of a score for a single scenario of HoMM2. These are: map size, inherent map difficulty, player difficulty adjustment, and days taken to win the map. The former pair of variables are chosen by the map author, while the latter two are controlled or influenced by the player. -Inherent map difficulty can be one of four possible values: Easy (80%), Normal (100%), Hard (120%), and Expert (160%). The player may adjust this difficulty when launching a new game. Adjustments come in five flavors: Easy (-30%), Normal (no change), Hard (+20%), Expert (+40%), and Impossible (+60%). The range of adjusted difficulty is therefore 50% (Easy/Easy) to 220% (Expert/Impossible). (Note that the original HOMM score calculator had a number of differences, including an inherent map difficulty of Impossible and a maximum adjusted difficulty of 250%.) -The adjusted difficulty is used to calculate your final score in a very straightforward manner. It takes your base score and multiplies by the adjusted difficulty, rounding down if needed. That's it! Now all we have to know is how the base score is calculated. This is where the map size and days taken variables come into play. -Each different map size has an associated map size factor, given by the following chart: Small (1.2), Medium (1.0), Large (0.8), Extra-large (0.6). HoMM2 calculates a time penalty, which is the number of days it took you to win the map multiplied by the map size factor (rounding down if needed). Your base score for the map is 200 minus your time penalty. -Confused? Hopefully, this example will clear things up. The four variables are: map size, inherent map difficulty, player difficulty adjustment, and days taken to win. Let's say that we're playing a Large sized map, inherently rated by the author as an Expert map. When we started the game, we chose the Easy adjustment, and we were able to win the game, taking 107 days to do so. We can calculate our score along with the computer as follows: Inherent map difficulty: Expert (160%) Player difficulty adjustment: Easy (-30%) Adjusted map difficulty: 130% (i.e., a factor of 1.3) Map size: Large Map size factor: 0.8 Days taken: 107 Time penalty: 107 x 0.8 = 85.6, rounded down to 85 Base score: 200 - 85 = 115 Final score: 115 x 1.3 = 149.5, rounded down to 149 The last part of a player's score is, of course, a creature ranking. I do not have a complete chart of creatures and their associated final scores; if you have one, drop me a note, I'd love to see it. Two points of interest about this scoring system. The maximum score possible is 440, which would require playing an Expert map on Impossible setting, a Large or Extra-large map, and winning that map in a single day. My own personal high score is 305. It should be noted that the world high scores show a record score of a whopping 431! Also of interest, green dragon ratings and higher are only awarded for scores over 200; you therefore cannot achieve a dragon rating if you play at 100% difficulty or less. The minimum final score required for the highest Black Dragon rating is somewhere between 226-230. from Rorke Haining at -You Are Getting Smarter... You are Getting Smarter...: Hypnotize has the special ability of giving the target creature into your control. Most people don't use it properly. After you cast it on a stack you can then make it stand, walk around, or block some slow but powerful creatures from attacking your own force. It's extremely good for foiling the turn of a range attacker at least once. While your target doesn't attack or get attacked it will stay under your control. Cast it on small stack of Phoenixes, crusaders, or cyclopes with powerful spellcasters to prevent those creatures from attacking you. This spell is particularly potent when combine with the Gold Watch and/or the Skull Cap from Alex at ( -Here! Hold these guys a minute: The movement awarded to a hero at the beginning of each turn is based on the slowest creature in the stacks at the beginning of the turn only. So a good strategy when you have heroes adjacent to each other or a primary hero at a castle, is to offload the slow creatures onto one hero at the end of the turn. Leave only real fast troops with the primary hero. At the beginning of the next turn, move those slow troops back into the primary hero's stacks. He/she now has the tough (slow) troops but can move the turn distance based on the faster troops. This can make quite a difference if your turn movement is based on Champions or Phoenix at the beginning of the turn instead of those 30 hydras you want with you for defense! from Matt at ( -I Thought I Told You To Stay In The Castle!: When your hero defends from the castle, troops available in the castle will join your hero if there are empty slots. Troops in the castle are evaluated left to right. Each group will join the left most matching hero group. If there is no matching hero group, then they will go to the left most empty hero slot. If there is no empty slot they will stay in the castle (but abandon the castle if the battle and castle are lost). If you want to keep some units out of any battle (say weak archers that might be killed by flyers) you need to fill up all of the hero's slots by splitting the troops you wish to have in the battle. But remember that once the battle is over, the castle troops that joined the hero's troops for battle stay with the hero -- they do not automatically return to the castle. Not only will these troops affect the hero's next move (if slower troops joined the ranks), but if the hero leaves the castle without sending the troops back, you might unwarily leave the castle undefended from Bruno at ( -Here's Mud In Your Eye: Remember that a blinded creature, when attacked, loses its turn for the combat sequence and only retaliates with 50% strengh. Therefore, if the opponent has only one large stack (i.e. crusaders, phoenixes, etc.) it is possible to destroy it without it ever getting a turn. Simply cast blind, skip all of your creatures, and after attacking with all of your troops except for the last stack next round, skip the last stack and cast blind. Viola!, instant giant dust! from DarkWolf at -In Your Face: Never put two of your range-attack troops (halflings, archers, mages) groups next to each other! A single stack of fliers could severely disable large portions of your heroes army by parking a stack of rocks, griffons, etc. between two of your range-attack stacks. Although the computer is lazy and will fly to attack from the closest angle, a human player will not hesitate to take advantage of your careless placement from DarkWolf at -It's The Ultimate! (In Protection): If a map requires you to find the Ultimate Artifact, station a loaded hero or two by some of the obelisks to guard them while your other heroes visit the obelisks and find the Ultimate Artifact. This will prevent your opponents from finding the Ultimate Artifact first and thereby winning the game from Kennedy at ( -Variety Is The Spice Of Strife: Specifically for all beginners: Don't choose your hero type. Put it on random. This lets you get to know a variety of hero types. If you come in with the misconception that one hero type is stronger than another, you're wrong. Each type has their own strengths and weaknesses. Learn these, and THEN decide which type you like the best. THEN patronize that one from Viper at ( -A Solid Foundation: First of all... the tips and strategies that you learned in the original Heroes Of Might And Magic still apply for the most part. Continue to follow those guidelines! -Whirlpool Revelations: The whirlpools that we so frequently use to magically move from one body of water to another, or from one side of the map to another, holds a dark secret that seems to have been kept from the Hero masses. Your first trip through any one whirlpool is a "gift". After that, you pay a heavy price to use this combination of magic and nature as a portal to elsewhere. You lose a percentage of the troops your hero is carrying at the time. This can be especially devastating if you hero had few troops to begin with. So the next time you feel like cutting the cruise short with a quick hop through a convienent and already traveled whirlpool, remember the cost and take the long, safe way instead! -And Don Riale ( adds: Now, while it is true that you lose some troops when going through a whirlpool more than once, there is a way to minimize the loss. The whirlpool will take a percentage of your WEAKEST stack. Therefore all you have to do is have at least one stack with a single creature. For example: explore water by sending out a Sorceress with only sprites, with 4 single sprites and one larger stack. When going back through a whirlpool, you lose only one sprite, which you can replace from the larger stack. As long as you have at least one stack consisting of only one weak creature, that creature is the only one you will lose. -Yeah, I'm One But What Are You?: You've all seen the information that your "correspondants" report via the Theives' Guild and most of us have been curious about the rating given to the hero types. You know... "Explorer", "Builder", "Human"... Well, I contacted Phil Steinmeyer (at psteinx@anet- and this was his response: "They vary the weights the AI assigns to various activities, such as how the AI's money is spent, and to some extent, what the heros choose to do. The effect is fairly modest." So "Builders" must concentrate on building up their towns and castles. This implies that you may find their castles fully built but with few troops recruited since they spent their resources on structures instead of troops. And "Explorers" must have lots of resources because they go off into the black of the map and probably snarf up a goodly number of artifacts, free resources, and maybe even mines. Be careful, they might have lots of troops recruited because they got to the troop-generating structures first. Then "Warriors" must be the bullies, who concentrate on accruing troops and always have the undeveloped castles manned by all sorts of creature types - - and probably hardly any troops remaining to recruit from the structures they have built. And "Human" would be.. hey! That would be you... and any other human Player in a Multiplayer session! The game randomly chooses these traits when you start a new map (I experimented with that a little), so restarting the same map will produce a different mix of these types. Also remember that a color may be indicated as being one type of hero, but due to victories and acquisitions may have the fully built or stocked possessions of the other types when you finally butt heads against them! -Troop Wise And Turn Foolish: I think we all have the urge to constantly revisit our local monster generating sites. You know: the goblin huts, nomad tents, sprite trees, etc. -- where after the first of each week we can increase our troops by a few. But that's an obvious point: ONLY BY JUST A FEW. Is it worth it to have your hero take half or more of his or her turn to pick up 2 sprites? Monitor your monster generating sites. Mentally mark when they have been visited last (by either you OR an opponent). And save your heroes from making unneccessary side trips when they could be snatching up a resource or taking care of an irritating little snippet of an opponent who has been (turn by turn) taking over your mines. -Virtues Still Serve: The hardest lesson I had to learn was in the Broken Alliances scenario. The lesson was PATIENCE!!! Sometimes having your heroes just sitting in their castles turn after turn is the best action you can take. If you try to go up against an opponent before you are strong enough; you will either fail or you will have a battle too costly to justify. Likewise, heading too far from your castle when there are dangerous opponents nearby will almost assuredly result in a lost castle. Go slow. Think ahead. Ponder. Be patient. -"Save"-ty First: This is probably the most important tip you will ever get. It's simple. Get it in your head. Save the game. Save the game often. Save the game before you attack an opponent. Before you attack a monster home-base. Before you go into a demon cave. Before you go into a ruined city. Before you go into a pyramid. Before you confront a sphinx. Before you leave the castle and there's an opponent in view (but, gosh! he looks so far away... maybe I can get to the morale fountain and back before he attacks my castle). Before you attempt to snag an artifact. At the beginning of each week (or some other regular interval). Get the picture...? -Economy 101: The Market Places are a godsend! At first I was a little "under-"whelmed by them. But I soon found that more often than not, my structure upgrade or extra mage tower level was just a market visit away -- sometimes when I was trapped in the castle too weak to venture out, I was able to continue steadily building by changing resources produced from my captured mines into other resources. And later on when the powerful troops were so costly to recruit, the Market Places allowed me to convert resources into gold to purchase those big ticket items such as Dragons, Titans, and Margaret Thatcher!!! I used to feel that Market Places should be built even before horde generators, but I have changed my opinion of that. I do still feel that they are more important than Thieves' Guilds should be built first. It's definitely time to build one or more Market Places if you find yourself wishing you had more mines of a certain resource because you are unable to build a particular structure. The more Market Places you control, the lower the exchange rate is, too! -Charmed I'm Sure: Medusas are your friends! The Medusas are found in ruins. They have this wonderful ability to not only fight and bite, but to turn your opponent's troops to stone. That doesn't kill them -- it acts like a Blind or Paralyze spell; but it certainly helps stop them until your big boys can come deal with them. -Rank And File Rule #42: Manipulate your troops for optimum performance. In the original HOMAM, I usually never left a castle with more than four troop types unless I was purposely embarking to attack another castle or an annoying opponent. I left one spot blank. That way I could recruit along the way. I've changed that now. Once I get a large enough army containing ONLY three strong types, I head out. If I encounter a castle ripe for the sieging or an opponent's hero who carelessly allowed him or herself to get whittled down and weak; I split one or two of my three troops in half -- filling up those empty spots in the ranks and attack with a force that can have five attacks per round! This worked extremely well in Broken Alliances wherein I carried my Black Dragons -- 30 of them -- as a single troop until I made my move on an opponent's castle or hero. Then I split them up into three troops. Each combat round I had three large Black Dragon attacks instead of one gigantic one. At other times -- while romping through the countryside -- I used the empty slots to recruit troops when encountering monster home bases. Check the HOMAM II manual that comes with the game to learn how to split troops. It's a very empowering tactic. -Rank And File Rule Addendum: There is and easy way to recruit large numbers of troops. If you click on the Castle/Heroes button (from the outer world) you can see a list of all current AND available troops in ALL your towns and castles. If you then click on an available troop icon, you may purchase that troop into the castle garrison as if you were actually in the town/castle. It also shows current material and gold values at the bottem of the screen. This is a nice way to purchase troops at the beginning of a month w/o having to go to each city from Austin Fowler at ( -Advanced Electronics: Be very careful with the Chain Lightning spell. It is a fantastic weapon. But it can backfire on you very easily if you get careless. The Chain Lightning spell always strikes four targets. They are the original creature you target and the three other creature troops next to it. If one or more of your troops are closer than the opponent's troops YOU GET HIT. If the opponent's troops only contain two or three stacks or ranks of creature you also get hit. Be very careful. -'Til Death Do Us Part: The Death Ripple and Death Wave spells are great for necromancers. The necromancers usually only have undead creatures in their ranks. These two spells damage only living creatures. As a necromancer with only undead in your ranks; you can cast these spells against opponents with impunity. Go for it! (And enjoy the kool effect!) -Ring... Ring... Clue phone... It's For You!: If late in a scenario, in an area that has been pretty well cleaned out you encounter a solitary monster home base guarding an artifact: take the obvious clue here. In the original HOMAM, we encountered maybe a hundred monsters in a home base (split into five groups of 20 each) and they were pretty easy to take out. Now, we are encountering four hundred to a thousand monsters in a home base (split into five groups of tens to hundreds each!) and they aren't easy to take out at all!!! In fact, when they're upgraded mages or upgraded liches; you can usually kiss your unwary hero's butt goodbye. Save the game before all battles while you are learning the feel of HOMAM II. And remember my first tip about PATIENCE! -When Secondary Is Primary: We have now been provided with two new ways to scrutinize monster home bases before attacking. In the original HOMAM, all you could do was right-click on the home base, see whether or not it said "Zounds" or "Horde" and come up with an "I think I can take them" decision. Now, we have Diplomacy, Leadership, and general "presence". Diplomacy allows you to sway the monsters into joining your forces when normally they would just attack. Leadership and the general "presence" of your large, highly skilled troops cause the encountered monsters many times to just flee (and you can let them). I used to feel Diplomacy was a very desired skill until I saw the price tag that comes with successful Diplomacy. So I avoided Diplomacy for awhile. But I have found that the value of the skill of Diplomacy depends on each map. If you have a map with an over abundance of monster camps and you have a nice early income, Diplomacy can really pump your heroes up troop-wise very early in the game. If the map is fairly devoid of monster camps or you need every penny you have to build, Diplomacy becomes a liability. I guess it all comes down to how and when it is used. I had one reader write in to tell me that he picked up over 240 hydras and 130 magi using Diplomacy. Can't beat that with a stick. For more information on diplomacy, refer to the article in the previous section. Leadership, however, is a always very important secondary skill that doesn't pertain to spell power in some way. It pertains to morale, and having a highly developed Leadership skill is a total replacement for all the morale generating structures. And while we are talking about secondary skills... for your spell casters, the two most important secondary skills are Mysticism and Wisdom. These are musts! Acquire them first!!! Also, when getting to select a new secondary skill, be sure to pick skills your hero can really use. For instance, if you are in a scenario with little or no water terrain, don't pick Navigation. It's a wasted skill. Don't pick Diplomacy for a hero you plan to have only guard the castle. Don't pick Archery for a Hero who doesn't have range-capable stacks, etc. These secondary skills weren't just added as frivolous doodads by NWC. They have an important, powerful purpose. -Mana Manana: Spell casting is a whole different breed of animal in HOMAM II. We used to have to make desperate hell-rides back to our castles to regain our spells which were consumed and lost as they were used. It doesn't work this way anymore. You never lose a spell anymore. You only lose the power to cast it. And this power doesn't return magically when you arrive at one of your castles. You must slowly build it back up over the next many days (unless you find a rare well whose magic waters restore your mana) or start your hero's turn in a castle which has a mage guild. So! Watch your mana power closely. And if you are running for your castle with a huge opponent hot on your heals and you are out of mana, you had better have something up your sleeve (like a pack of Titans) or the castle isn't going to save you at all! -Numeralogy As A Hobby: A note about spells as portrayed in your spell book... remember that the little number on the spell icon is not the number of spells of that kind that you have left to cast anymore. It's the number of mana points the spell costs to cast. This lost me a few heroes at first (if only I had read the manual earlier). I jumped into battle with 7 points of mana left and the only useable spells I had cost 10 or more to cast. -Deja Vu Sucks!: Right-clicking on a site while a hero is selected will often tell you whether or not that particular hero has been to that site. This can save wasted turns. Keep this in mind. -Practice Good Grid: There is the most incredible feature in combat that I would certainly have never thought of and already can't live without. You can turn on Shadow Grids. Shadow grids highlight around an active creature you control to show you all the areas that the creature can move to on that turn. No more tediously wanding your cursor over the terrain slowly trying to find the limit of movement for your creatures. Because the monsters move differently in this version of HOMAM, this is a godsend! You can activate this feature using the options button found in the lower left corner of the combat screen as well as some other good options. -There's No Retentive Like An Anal-Retentive: I have developed a standard mode of operation for each turn that has worked pretty well for me. Of course, it's subject to deviation based on what's going on at any particular turn but usually I: Move all heroes that will (probably) not be involved in combat. (Heroes moving into combat are moved up to the point just before contact is made.) Heroes claiming mines, resources, treasures, or no-cost troop generating sites (cabins, huts, etc.) move next. Heroes claiming artifacts move next so that if the artifacts require purchase all the new money from the start of the turn and from above treasures taken are available. Then heroes visiting costed troop generating sites move (gypsy camps, medusa ruins, etc.). Then I check each castle and build structures where needed. Then, if there is money left over (and I'm not saving for the purchase of a big ticket structure) I purchase troops. THEN I SAVE THE GAME IF I'M ABOUT TO DO ANY TYPE OF BATTLE!! Then any hero staged at a combat point (opponent's hero, monster home base, castle) moves next and attacks. End of round. Of course, there are deviations to this. If an opponent's hero is about to attack one of my castles, I will move the heroes to that castle as best I am able and (regardless of any heroes present) use whatever funds I have to pump the castle structures up, recruit troops in the castle, and maybe even summon a new hero. -Behind the Wood Door: In case you haven't noticed, stone liths have been replaced with all sorts of inter-dimensional doors and they work in pairs. If you enter a glowing wooden arrowhead-shaped door, you will appear at its counterparts location. The old stone liths were random and you never knew where you were going to end up. Now you can plan movement through these new inter-dimensional doors! -Wondrous VISIONS: A sleeper of a spell, the new VISIONS can get you off to a fast, powerful start. VISIONS lets you know what the probable outcome of an encounter with a monster home base will be. It is cast before engaging a monster home base and you must be within three squares of the base. It will tell you if the monsters will run, fight, or join your troops. By using this spell (when you are able to get it) you can stop ignoring those mines or artifacts protected by the monsters just because you were afraid they'd cream you. Just remember that the spell tells you expected results only for the moment... come back later with more or less troops and VISIONS may tell you something different. This spell is not always available. When it is... USE IT! Remember how frustrating it always was to be tiptoeing around with your handful of pixies and a couple of recalcitrant dwarves when suddenly along would come an opponent with 40 peasants, 22 swordsman, 16 paladins, and maybe 17 griffins!?!? Well, VISIONS helps you turn the tables. It is basically the same ability that the AI has always had -- the ability to know whether monster home bases would recruit or fight. Check it out! -Familiarity Breeds Success: Pick a favorite hero type and stick with him or her. The more you play that type, the more you become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. You learn when to build or upgrade what structure based on the ready materials and the "climate" of the immediate surroundings. You acquire a good sense of mobility knowing exactly how fast you can move with specific troops. You get a solid feel for how the associated troops are going to fare in combat: what won't bother them and what will... which attacking opponent troops can do the most damage to which of your troops. -Macabre Advice: When playing the Necromancer, don't ever let monster groups run away from you! Can you say easy experience and piles of skeletons? I knew you could! Use your Necromancer to pick on every "Lots of" group you can find. It won't be long till hundreds of skeletons are roaming the lands. It's truly a beautiful sight when your no cost mound of 2000 skeletons destroys 10 titans in a single swing (Roland scenario) from Todd ( -I've Had My Shots... Have You?: Some creatures are naturally immune to spells and effects. For instance the phoenix is immune to heat and lightning. Elementals have grave immunities to many spells also. Use this to your advantage to supply your hero with certain combinations of troops and then go forth using certain spells with impunity. They affect the opponent but not your troops! Consider the proper deployment of this concept as a mini-Armaggedon spell! from Grayson ( -The Shadow Knows: A curious little item. As you are sending your hero out across the land, look for little triangular shadow smudges on the map. A flaw in HOMAM2 program causes this shadow in a spot where an event has been placed. SOMETHING is going to happen when your hero lands on this shadow- marked spot. But is it a good event or a bad event? Only the Shadow knows! -Cheap Phoenix Tricks: Since Phoenix are immune to all elemental spells, they are immune to Elemental Storm. You can use the Phoenix/Elemental Storm combination in the same manner as you can the Dragon/Armageddon combination -- except that Phoenix are a lot cheaper from Carl at -Heroes As Gophers: Play with one MEGA powerful group and a secondary group that is somewhat good to defend the base. The other heroes run back and forth through castles bringing troops to the MEGA heroes. This is also a great way to unload those artifacts that give 1 ore a turn and other dumb stuff like that from Josh at [I learned this technique right from the start many many months ago in the original HOMAM and use it alot. There is one word of warning on it, however: Your hero runners who bring troops to "the front" are returning to their castles with very weak forces since they have given most of them to the mega hero. Do not try this technique if there are opponents close by. They will attack your troopless runner hero and dispatch him or her every time. --Phil] -Lame And Lousy Allies: The computer makes a poor ally in a setting where one side is pitted against another. As an ally of a human player, the computer will not attack your heroes or towns, but it will take your mines and swoop your resources/artifacts/etc. out from under you. When computers are allied with each other, they tend to charge around and spend most of their time taking each others mines. Occasionally, they will attack each other when they get in each others' way, though I have never seen a computer attack its human ally. If you create a map where the human player has a computer ally, the human player is generally better served conquering the ally than relying on its help. The computer ally will defend itself normally if attacked, but it will not be aggressive in return. from Grayson ( [As dutifully noted in a couple of otherwise wonderful scenarios such as Amaz'N'Grays. I win better/faster when I treat the allies as opponents! -- Phil] -I'll Just Stand Over Here If You Don't Mind: When facing a hero who can resurrect, if you put one of your stacks on top of the deceased stack, the hero cannot resurrect it from Patrick ( -I've Already Played This Map, But What If...?: Change the whole way a map plays with a quick couple of clicks. Take a multiplayer map that you have already played and if it is set up for cooperative play (for instance, "Blue and Green .vs. Others") turn cooperative play off. If it isn't set up for cooperative play, set up a couple of colors for cooperative play. Now play the map again. It's a whole new scenario with a whole new set of strategies. -The Expansive (Pak) Necromancer: With regards to the Necromancer. If you're looking to be really HUGE, play him. Early on (first 2 weeks), locate a barrow wight. Recruit as many ghosts as you can afford. Then attack only wimps. Peasants etc... Build as many shrines as you have Necromancer castles, and advance your necromancy skill as much as possible. Leave the last slot in your troops for skeletons and split the ghosts amongst the other 4. NEVER let anything run away. Kill EVERYTHING! from John at -Circumspect Ghosts: If you should be so lucky as to acquire one or more ghosts in your troops, don't throw them away by carelessly allowing them to attack everything that moves. Hold your few ghosts back in combat. Attack only low level creatures. This will allow you to build your number of ghosts troops up. Once you have a large stack of them, then you can begin attacking the higher level opponent troops with impunity. This is one tip the AI doesn't get. So if you use this tip, you will always be one up on the AI when it comes to ghosts in combat! -Why Ghosts Should Be Ban (Reason #42): Have some ghosts? Want to double, or possibly get up to 32 times the number you've got? All you need is Mirror Image and some sort of enemy ghosts - having the Haunt spell is ideal, but it'll also work with a wandering stack, abandoned mine, or shipwreck. Go into battle with the enemy ghosts, and cast Mirror Image on yout ghost stack. Skip turns until an enemy ghost stack destroys the image. All the "fake" ghosts in the image just became "real" ghosts in the enemy stack. Now, have your ghost stack attack the big enemy stack. It might take a couple rounds, but eventually your ghost stack will absorb the entire enemy stack if your hero has a few points of attack/defense. Voila - you just doubled your ghosts! With careful planning, lots of spell points, and perhaps a Mass Slow to better control the enemy movements, you can use each of five enemy stacks to double your stack - potentially increasing 500 ghosts to 16,000 in one battle. If you've got the Haunt spell and a mine near a castle or well, you can do this as many times as you want. I turned 400 ghosts into ten stacks (hero + castle) of 28,000 each in about fifteen minutes and three game turns! from Erik at -You Can Be All That ***I*** Want You To Be: Since you can usually select your computer opponents' starting castle types, try and inconvenience them with your selections. If you are playing a small map, select Warlocks or Wizards for enemy colors, or if it's a large map, select Knights or Barbarians for them. This will give them a disadvantage. Or if you know a certain color will be disadvantaged by a certain castle type (e.g. Warlock if there is no sulfur nearby) then give them that castle type. from Heng Lok at -Do The Genie Math: If ever you must battle a large army in order to win the scenario, try splitting your genies into 5 stacks. This will increase your chances of halving troops to 50%. Since genies are very fast, all of them should be able to get an attack quite early on in the round. from Heng Lok at -Titan-Wise And Gold Foolish: Never upgrade your giants. Since upgrading costs twice the difference in resources, upgrading a giant to a titan will cost 6000 gold and 2 gems, which is more than buying a new titan. Altogether you would be spending 2000 gold and 1 gem to build the giant and a total of 8000 gold and 3 gems after upgrading. Either don't upgrade your giants, or don't build them! from Heng Lok at --First Week Building-- ----------------------- by: Quebec Dragon This is a strategy article about what structures to build in the crucial first week according to castle type. As always, your comments are welcome :-) Some of those building orders were taken from from my strategy walkthroughs. GENERAL TIPS I'm an adept of might makes right.. therefore I will always concentrate on building monster structures before Mage Guilds... If you build the maximum of monster producing structures in week 1, you will accumulate a bigger army more quickly. Never buy castle upgrades, turrets, moats or Mage Guilds (unless it's a requirement for another monster structure) during week 1. In some cases, you won't be able to build some structures due to lack of resources or gold... That's to be expected because my suggested building orders are under ideal conditions and need a bit of luck. You should know that unless the mapmaker specifies the given structures in your starting castle, you will encounter 2 possibilities when you start a new scenario. First option is where only the lowest creature-producing structure is built. Second option, the better one, is when the 2 lowest creature dwellings are already built. In order to avoid "cluttering" the article, my building orders suppose you've been unlucky and that you started with only one creature dwelling. If you're lucky enough to have 2 initial creatures dwellings, just jump to the next building suggestion. In the first week, try to build a structure in your starting castle each and every day. If you're not able to build the next structure in the building sequence due to lack of resources or gold, skip it and build another suggested 1st week structure (like Well, Horde Building or Statue). Try to build the skipped structure later in the week. If you still can't afford the "missing" structure, don't sweat it... it happens to the best of us ;-) KNIGHT CASTLE Wood is the most badly needed resource so search for it everywhere. Good building order : 1) Archery Range (To boost your starting hero's army ; hire another Knight and combine troops) 2) Statue (To start getting another 250 gold pieces as soon as possible.. same thing for other castles) 3) Well 4) Pikemen Blacksmith 5) Tavern (required for Swordmen) 6) Swordmen Armory 7) Cathedral or Jousting Arena (if you have enough ressources, if not, buy the Farm) During week 2, I usually buy the upgraded Archery Range, Marketplace and any monster structures not built in week 1. BARBARIAN CASTLE Ore is the foremost priority. 1) Stick Hut (To boost your starting army ; hire another Barbarian and combine troops) 2) Wolf Den (Very fast units for scouting) 3) Statue 4) Adobe (wait until you upgrade it to buy troops) 5) Troll Bridge (if you have enough ore) 6) Well 7) Garbage Heap (horde building) During week 2, I upgrade the adobe, sometimes the stick hut and build up the maximum of troops. NECROMANCER CASTLE This one has the toughest building decisions. I suggest going for either the Vampire Lords or the Bone Dragons (building orders differ accordingly). Trying to get both at once is impratical and unnecessary. Regenerating Vampire Lords OR powerful Bone Dragons should be sufficient in the beginning game. VAMPIRE LORD BUILDING PATH 1) Zombie Graveyard (To boost your starting army ; hire another Necromancer and combine troops) 2) Mummy Pyramid 3) Statue 4) Thieve's guild (required for Vampires) 5) Vampire Mansion 6) Well 7) Skull Pile (horde building) During week 2, upgrade the Vampire Mansion. Buy the Mage Guild and the Mausoleum if you can. BONE DRAGON BUILDING PATH 1) Zombie Graveyard (To boost your starting army ; hire another Necromancer and combine troops) 2) Mummy Pyramid 3) Statue 4) Mage Guild (required for Liches) 5) Lich Mausoleum 6) Well 7) Skull Pile (horde building) In the second week, I will save my gold and resources for the Bone Dragon Laboratory. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't hire all available undead troops (except the expensive Liches) on day 1 of week 2. SORCERESS CASTLE Gems and mercury are a must. If the Cottage is not already built, forget this structure for a while (meaning much less Dwarves) because the 10 units of wood it requires (5 for Tavern + 5 for Cottage itself) are better used for the Fenced Meadow. (Thanks to Dark Wolf for feedback) 1) Elf Archery Range (To boost your starting army) 2) Statue 3) Mage Guild (required for Druids) 4) Druid Stonehenge 5) Well 6) Crystal Garden (Horde Building) 7) Unicorn Fenced Meadow (alternate is Cottage Upgrade or Archery Range Upgrade) Week 2, I usually upgrade either the Dwarf or the Elf structure, buy the marketplace and the Unicorn Fenced meadow if I don't already have it. WIZARD CASTLE Has the highest resource cost.. You wil have to make a decision about whether you concentrate on building up your Mage Guild or going for the Titans. 1) Boar Pen (To boost your starting army ; hire another Wizard and combine troops) 2) Statue 3) Roc Cliff Nest 4) Golem Foundry 5) Mage Guild (required for Mages) 6) Well 7) Mage Ivory Tower (if you have enough resources... Orchard as alternate choice) During week 2, I usually build the ivory tower (if it's not done yet), the library and the marketplace. WARLOCK CASTLE You will need sulfur ! That's the most important thing you have to search for... 1) Gargoyle Crypt (To boost your starting army ; hire another Warlock and combine troops) 2) Dungeon (for gold !) 3) Statue (for more gold !) 4) Griffin Nest 5) Maze or Swamp (both if you have the resources, wait until week 2 if you lack them) 6) Well 7) Waterfall (horde building) During week 2, I build the missing monster structure, upgrade the minotaur maze, and start saving my money for the Dragon Tower. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> XI. STRATEGY GUIDES (Guides for Campaign Maps) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> (Thanks to Dragos Stanciv for these guides) First of all, I have discovered that fighter heroes are much better then mage heroes. After you play for some time and you have a hero with attack skill (15) and you also have a defence skill (>10), your hero becomes a threat even if you don't have a very large army. The idea is that you can only perform one spell in a row, but you can move 5 troops in the same row. Also you can improve your hero's spell points and spell power using some artifacts. Secondly, it would be better to have a very fast (or at least fast) unit in your army, so you could attack first. If you also have a great number of slow archers it would be a great idea to cast Haste on them, this way you will shoot first and do serious damage. This 2 tips I think are very well conected. Also, sometimes you might want to protect your shooting troops. Let's say you have some war trolls and you want to protect them. Spelling Antimagic on them would be a great idea, trust me! Question: Man,I'm too good ! What can I do about it ? Answer: If you think you are really tough then you should always play on level impossible. Start with no resources at all and see what you can do. My first advice was to have one fighter hero. You can get one very fast. First of all check your starting hero(es). If you don't have one then do your best and buy one. Keep all your treasure chests for it. Always choose experience instead of money. You should look for : Wisdom, Luck, Leadership, Ballistic, Archery, Logistics, and Pathfinding. Remember that you must keep a place free for Wisdom, as your hero will not have it by default! If you have to choose between two good things (let's say Luck Advanced and Leadership Basic), always choose the Basic one. You can improve your Skills later (in combat!). If you have The Necromancer Town then choose Necromancy, too. There is a certain Skill I have left out: Diplomacy. If you play on Xlarge maps this could make the difference. Why? You should know by now that wandering armies grow in number and you could meet a throng of Archers or Zounds of Horses or something like that. This way you can buy a very powerful army (provided you have the money). Skills to choose first : Logistics, Pathfinding, this way your hero can move as fast as possible. Question: What's the best creature in the game? Answer: My vote goes to Titans! Why? Just because you can cast spells on them! When fighting against Black Dragons you can use Resurrect True on them until you make your opponent gets mad, and there is nothing he can do about it! So, if you attack an opponent's army (or better said fight against it) be sure and attack first (and perform the first attack!). If you have the heart (!) let your opponent cast spell first This is a great tip. He can't perform another spell in that row and you can do whatever you want. Very good spells are : Mass Slow and Mass Haste. Remember that units attack in the decreasing order of their speed: Ultra Fast Very Fast Fast Average Slow Very Slow If you cast Haste on an at least very fast unit, it's speed will become Blazing and it will strike before Very Fast units.(Black Dragons, Titans, etc.) A piece of advice : Never miss anything that can improve your hero's skills! There are maps where you get Spell Power (>20) by just visiting those things, such as forts, mercenary camps, stonehenges, and huts. Try to have some artifacts that increase your knowledge. If you have a hero (>15, >10, >20, >20=Attack, Defence, Power, Knowledge) then you've reached the Land of Dream and the game becomes a nice place to fool around !!! Sometimes !!! I think that the computer still can't play very well, but human opponent's can and you should be very careful when you play against them. Always have a large army with you best hero. If the computer attacks you and you realize you will lose many troops (even if you defeat it) it's better to surrender and then buy the hero back with it's armies. Tip: How to keep your shooting troops alive. When attacking shooting troops you usually have to wait while they destroy your own shooting troops before you can shoot, so my advice is: Have something that flies, (rocs, gargoyles, etc.) split them into groups of 3-7 until you get 3 groups and then attack. Also if you have some very fast shooting troops (Mages, Elves, Druids) you could also split them and shoot all the enemy troops. I'm talking about wandering armies, of course. If you can do neither then don't take the shooting troops with you. The more you have at the final battle, the better. When playing against human opponents that FINAL BATTLE WILL COME !!! How to kill enemy heroes before they have the chance to retire: Please notice that the enemy will not retire if he still has his shooting troops alive. First of all, destroy the creatures that have the highest HP. You should plan your atack very carefully. First try to move some units right next to the opponent's shooting troops. DO NOT ATTACK, I REPEAT, DO NOT ATTACK THEM. Try to kill the opponent's fastest troops. If you remember, units attack in the decreasing order of their speed! Ok? Destroying the enemy's fastest units will give you the chance to use all your troops before the enemy can move his. Also don't hurry with your spells. Sometimes, if you have good spell power you can destroy one group of enemy units with Lightning Bolt. If you don't, then wait. Sometimes, after you make some moves and so did the enemy, you realize that the opponent still has one group of troops you can't destroy that turn and he will retire. Their is only one thing to do: use Blind or Paralyze on them and don't attack if you aren't sure you can destroy them. You will then have another turn. You can use your shooting troops and cast spells before the enemy can respond. Why bother to kill enemy heroes? Sometimes, you meet a powerful hero, you attack him, he destroys many of your troops and then he retires. After a couple of days he comes back and the story repeats. Instead of losing troops several times, you'd better lose them once and also get some artifacts. Remember: powerful heroes ALWAYS carry powerful artifacts with them! Now, how to handle your best hero: Remember, when the first day of a week comes you will be offered a new hero to buy. That means that if you have retired from a battle with your best hero in the 7-th day of the week and you didn't have the money to buy him back, you may not find it available and you will lose it foolishly. So, my advice is: if it is the 7-th day of the week, you don't have 2500, and you consider having a battle but you are not sure you will win, then wait one day and then attack. Also, in the first day of the week ALWAYS check the heroes available to buy. You might be offered powerful heroes with powerful artifacts and (in some cases) with troops (for only 2500). Cool, right? I have discovered something new: When casting Haste on an Ultra Fast unit its speed will become Instant. I haven't verified it but it may mean that the unit may attack anything on the battle field (just like the flying units). If someone verifies it, please let me know. How to handle the wandering armies: If somewhere next to your castle there are armies the same as the ones you can build in your castle you should not attack them. Wait until you get a good hero with many troops and then attack. The troops may ally with you. Also if you get a good hero with many troops, you should not allow the wandreing armies to retreat. Attack! There are still some troops you should avoid: flying units and shooting ones. All the others should get your attention.(ogres, golems, swordsmen etc.) You will get experience and become more and more powerful. I've once got a hero that had an attack skill equal to 30 and a defence skill equal to 25, only by fighting with all the troops I could find. Now let's talk about the ultimate artifact: You do not have to reveal the entire map to find the damn things. Visit only 5-6 obelisks. All you have to do is recognize the place and try to center your hero so that the piece of map you see looks exactly like the one you get from the obelisks. The artifact will be right in the middle. Maps with sea: On some maps you have boats next to your castle (or close). Send a hero with 4-5 very fast units (boars, gargoyles ...) with a boat on the map and try to get as many things as possible. Buy the maps for the sea (you should find it somewhere) and try to get the money and the artifacts first. Remember to split your units in 4-5 positions so that if anyone attacks you, you have the chance to retire and then buy the hero back (with the artifacts, of course). Sometimes you have the chance to choose what to attack: Let's suppose you can attack a castle or an enemy hero but you can't attack both in the same day. You should always choose the castle and then go after the hero. It may be their last castle and if you attack the hero and that player doesn't have another castle, then he will not retire! The pyramids: When you enter a pyramid you will be asked if you want to fight the defenders. Answer no. Sometimes you receive very interesting things like artifacts, money, experience. If you do fight you will always get 5000. There is a "but", sometimes you will be asked to pay 2500 to keep your hero alive. Well,the idea is that you should take the chance. --Campaign Strategies for Heroes Of Might And Magic 2-- Roland's Campaigns by David Mills This article has been written to help you obtain Black Dragon ratings on both the Archibald and Roland Campaigns. The basic strategy is "Attack as soon as possible, with the minimal possible effective forces". As we shall see, there are a few further tips Update, with notes about Tournament Play.. Warning! There are major spoilers, so if you want to try the campaigns unaided, don't read on! 1. Force of Arms You start with a Wizard City. Get the resources, hire a couple of knights or barbarians, build an army and head north-west. If you go for the Barbarians in the north- west, rather than the other two in the north or east, it is probably easier. Not a difficult scenario, but difficult to do quickly. 2. Annexation Start with the Knight option. Hire another knight or preferably a barbarian (for the pathfinding through the swamps). Get the gold, resources and medusas while building up your armies. Go south-east in the first week, through a guarded pass, and you should get the Sorceress city virtually unopposed. The Knights from the south-west will come via boat in the second week. Kill them with your second week armies, then head north. Get the northern city, and then sail back south-west to wipe out the Knight. 3. Save the Dwarves This option is essential for the following scenarios, and it is possible to do it quite quickly. First, dump your slow armies in the towns and pick up all the dwarves possible, for speed. Buy spell books for your heroes. Head for the three central groups of dwarf cottages, and upgrade the dwarves at the Hill Forts (this includes the Hero starting in your city). Pick up any extra troops or mercenaries on the way. Meanwhile, build up your city in readiness for the boat that may arrive via the whirlpool in the lake. Hire a knight or barbarian when the enemy arrives. Also, buy all the available dwarves in your towns. When you have an army with fifty or so battle dwarves, head north-west and grab the Warlock city before the third week. Mop up the other enemy heroes. Don't worry about losing the town in the snow in the north-west, as long as you don't leave any dwarves for the enemy to use. 4. Carator Mines Hire another knight (or barbarian). With one hero, head south-east and grab all the dwarves, then get the Yellow city. With the other, head north and grab the dwarves, then follow the road north and east and grab the Red city. Meanwhile upgrade the city and get another hero to collect the resources and mines. Consolidate your captured cities, then head east again for the final two cities on the eastern edge of the map, your dwarf armies will probably do for these as well. Ignore the town to the north-east of your start. Don't bother upgrading your pikemen and swordsmen in the city as there is a Freemen's Foundry close by. Your third hero with a Knight army will be able to sort out any armies that have spread west, such as the town to the south of your start. Be bold and fast, and it is not too difficult. 5. Turning Point Very easy. Forget everything except dwarves and treasure chests for experience. Start with the knight option. Hire another knight. Grab the dwarves, the head east with one, and north with another. Grab the cities. The enemy heroes will come from the north-east city, chase and kill them and walk into the city virtually unopposed. You can do it in eight days. I wonder what score this would be as a stand-alone scenario! 6. Defender Again you depend on the dwarves for a head start. First return the Knight to the city for the spells and the battle dwarves, then head north following the road. Use the sorceress to guard the city and pick up the mines and resources when it is safe. Hire another hero, preferably a barbarian and head west for the lumber mill then the dwarves. The knight should get the city in the north-west and the central town in the first week, while the new hero returns east. Avoid the strong yellow knight. Get the red Necromancer's city as soon as possible and don't worry about losing your town to Wyrm. Hopefully the yellow enemy will have lost by then. Go after Wyrm with the knight or new hero. Finally, sail south with the sorceress for the island Barbarian city, but don't leave your home city exposed. Chase and kill any green heroes still on the mainland or on the central island town/city. 7. The Gauntlet You need to do this option if you want a quick finish in the final scenario. Head south from your start, and get any mines on the way, particularly sulphur. Keep to the most direct path, and avoid detours. At the bottom of the map, head west. If your hero upgrades a level, get logistics if it is offered. You should get to the enemy town by Day 4, Week 2. This gives you time to buy a castle, maze and green tower before week three. Don't forget the nearby trading post if you need more sulphur. Gold is not a problem in this scenario, so hire another hero, give him some gargoyles for speed and go and collect things. Go for experience with your main hero. The towns dotted around will give you good spells if you capture them, but against the dragons at the end, this may not be important. I usually wait the full eight weeks to get the full complement of 19 Black Dragons, plus everything else from the Warlock city (including the hydra - don't worry about the slowness of the hydrae, as you will be mainly traveling by boat in the final scenario). If there are any dwarves, get them towards the end to allow their numbers to grow (I have had 117 Battle Dwarves). If you are really going for speed, you can beat the enemy after six weeks of the scenario, and this will leave you with just enough for the showdown in Final Justice, but it is a close run thing. You will usually lose one or maybe two Black Dragons, and a few others in the final battle on this scenario. 8. The Crown Look, do you want a good score or not? If you do this alternative, you are destined to a long hard and probably unsuccessful slog in the final episode. If you insist: the strategy is get the obelisks, hire plenty of heroes and dig like crazy when you think you have an idea. 9. Corlagon's Defence I initially thought this was very hard, but again, if you get the dwarves and go quickly, it is not too bad. Choose the crystals to allow you to build the cathedral in your city quickly. Don't upgrade any towns, keep money for the Knight city and mercenaries. For each hero, visit the observation towers promptly. Your sorceress should then go east for the dwarves and the cottages. Keep going east. If you see Corlagon, try and kill him, otherwise get the Red Warlock city in the north-east corner in the second week. Corlagon starts with about 20 Champions but if he reaches the Medusae he will dump them in favour of the Medusae (or any other free army such as dwarves or halflings). The AI leaves something to be desired here! Your wizard in the south should get some dwarves from the south and head centrally. Your knight should get the rest of the dwarves and meet up with the wizard to take his army. Then the knight should collect the central halflings and sprites and go south east to the Necromancer's city. Send your wizard back home. Meanwhile build up an army of Knight troops and a Knight or Barbarian hero and send them east in the second week to sort out the east-central Barbarian city. It usually does not go as smoothly as that, particularly if Corlagon out-runs you and gets your Sorceress town, but it is not too difficult overall. 10. Final Justice Basically, you give your carried-over army to the knight, kill the dragons guarding the lighthouse to give you good water speed, summon boat and head north-west to Archibald's lair. If you don't have Summon Boat in the Knight's city Mage Guild, go north by the coast to the first Barbarian city, build a shipyard yourself, and sail from there. There are a few more details, like protecting your Sorceress city from the Necromancer hiding behind the trees, but it should be business as usual while you wait for your major player to sail to the end of the river. You need about 15 Black Dragons plus support to beat Archibald. His magic tactics are not very good, such as chain lightning, and he has even helpfully cast Armageddon twice, leaving my dragon pack versus his remains! If you go overland, apparently you can get very close with Dimension Doors, but you still need to sail some of the way. But as you take time to reach the Warlock cities and buy more dragons, Archibald is busy buying more of his. He starts out with 5 Blacks and then gets the usual 1 dragon for the first week, followed by three for each week after. His stats are approximately: Attack 12, Def 8, Power 13, Know 12. So if you take longer than three weeks to reach him, he will have 15 Black Dragons and superior stats, and will wipe out your starting army. If you try the quickest method with a six week carry-over army (12 Dragons plus 20- 30 of the other Warlock troops), you can get to the end of the river by day 15 but you need either Summon Boat, or advanced or expert logistics. Your 12 Black Dragons will face 5 Blacks and 4 Reds, and it is a very close battle, but winnable. If anyone can beat a score of 231, or even go below 200, I would be fascinated to hear of it. Good Luck! Written by David Mills, Gerrards Cross, London, England - 24th April 1997 Force Of Arms (Good Campaign 1) ------------------------------- Hello everyone..having finished most of the stand-alone maps, I will now replay both campaigns and share my strategies with you. The first good campaign map is quite easy, but winning in a minimum number of days takes some luck and some good tactics. I finished in 39 days. It should be quite hard to beat this score by more than a couple of days. So without further ado : 1) Hire 2 more heroes who will serve as scouts and pack-mules. 2) One will go west, one east and the other north. 3) Take gold instead of experience points from chests. 4) Beginning of week 2 : buy all the troops in the wizard castle, give them to your best hero but leave one slot free. 5) Attack the halflings to the north protecting the gem mine. If you're lucky, they will join you. 6) Attack the trolls (easy) and rush to the north stopping for nothing. 7) By week 3 day 1, I had captured the northern Barbarian castle. 8) Week 3 is for construction while you wait for the green barbarian enemy to get eliminated by default. 9) Take the second western castle (Necromancer) by the end of month 1 with a barbarian army. 10) Stay in it ! 11) Take the big remaining wizard army from the Barbarian castle, build up all possible troops in your starting castle.. and combine the two armies at the center of the map. 12) This wizard army will conquer the Warlocks to the east.. and quite easily at that. 13) If you don't want to lose time chasing Warlock heroes, I suggest taking some small "clean-up" detours on the way to the Warlock castle. Annexation (Good Campaign 2) ---------------------------- This is a small map where you start with a partially built castle and 4 genies. I finished it in 25 days playing the Sorceress. 1) Buy another Sorceress and combine troops (leave dwarves in the castle) 2) Split genies in 2 stacks to attack missile troops. 3) With your principal army, go east taking chests, gold, resources and the ore mine on the way. Don't lose time exploring the swamp with this army. This is the job for the other sorceress. 4) It's possible to take the southeast Sorceress castle by the end of week 1. 5) It's also possible to buy the Phoenix Red Tower in the first week ! 6) Kill the wandering sorceress opponent (yellow) 7) Board the boat by the middle of week 2, take the stuff in the water.. if it's not already taken. 8) Go north to take troops from your initial castle (don't disembark from the boat)... Army at this time : 4 Phoenix, 3 Genies, 16 Elves, 13 Great Druids ,50 Sprites. Leave the unicorns and dwarves in the castle ! 9) Still by boat, attack the southwestern knight castle by the end of week 2 or day 1 of week 3. 10) Mop up the remaining knight armies. 11) Rush to the north with your still significant army, making a pit-stop at your starting castle (to get more Phoenix) 12) The remaining Wizard opponent (orange) should now be quite easy to dispose of. Little note about playing the Sorceress : Dwarves are good for garrisoning your starting castle when you're scared of being attacked by a very near enemy. Bless is great for Phoenix.. double the damage !!! Save The Dwarves (Good Campaign 3) ---------------------------------- I suggest finishing this map in order to have the dwarf alliance in subsequent scenarios. I completed this one in 19 days (I have an idea to finish it even sooner, but I have to try it first). 1) You start with 3 sorceress heroes (if you pick the Sorceress :-),a bunch of dwarf villages and one castle 2) Buying more heroes is a very good idea. I had 6 heroes exploring by day 3 or 4. Warlock and Barbarians are good heroes to hire. 3) With your northern sorceress, go in the nearby village, buy troops, then explore west, south (fairies) and then east again (note : This will take many days) 4) The center sorceress should buy all available troops then move south- east following the road. Your 3 other scouts will go north, north-east and east. 1) Take gold instead of experience from chests. 6) The southern sorceress should take the dwarves in the village, take a little detour to the west for upgrading all those dwarves and then rush east by road in order to capture the gold mine. 7) Buy a marketplace in your starting castle and when you find a trading post, exchange most of your useless ressources (sulfur, red crystals) for gold. Buy Druid and Unicorn structures first ! 8) Take all free low-level troops (dwarves, sprites, goblins, etc) that you find by exploring the map. 9) By week 3 day 1, my big attack in enemy territory was well under way... 10) I had bought a shipyard, a boat and transferred most troops from my castle to the sorceress already in the boat. 11) I attacked on 3 different fronts : northeast with my northern sorceress, southeast with my southern sorceress which took all the dwarves in the snow and by boat with another sorceress (druids, elves, unicorns, sprites). The sorceress by boat took the whirlpool in the lake. 12) The rest is quite easy, beat up enemy heroes that pass your way so you don't have to chase them later. Carator Mines Without Dwarven Alliance (Good Campaign 4) -------------------------------------------------------- Just for fun, I tried beating Carator Mines without the Dwarven Alliance, to see if it would take less time than going first through campaign map 3 (Save the Dwarves) combined with campaign 4. Well, avoiding the Dwarf alliance, I finished Carator mines in 59 days, which was a lot longer than the combination of map 3 and 4 with the dwarven alliance (43 days). So make your own conclusions ;-) For those who are masochistic and want a lower score, I have included some tips on beating Carator mines without the Dwarven alliance. Enjoy ! 1) Buy 2 (or more) other scout heroes ASAP 2) One scout will rush south-west to take an undefended gold mine. 3) One other scout will also go south but more slowly, taking resources and free troops along the way (including Goblins). This scout will take the southern village with the goblins. 4) Transform the village into a castle 5) It's easy to beat dwarves with a Druid and Elf combo. 6) At the beginning of week 2, buy the maximum of troops in your starting castle and go south. 7) You can buy the Red Tower in the second week. 8) Leave the slow dwarves in the castles. 9) Wait until you have 7 Phoenix, a bunch of Grand Elves and Great Druids before attacking the other castles. (Unicorns and sprites are optional). 10) With this army, I really stomped the computer opponents losing very few troops and most of the time killing his stacks before he even had a chance to attack :-) In conclusion, I would like to suggest some very good spells for the sorceress troops. Bless for the Phoenix (40 points of damage assured instead of maybe only 20 points per Phoenix) and Unicorns makes quite a diffence. Slow and Blind on the enemy fast flying or shooter troops are also great ! Carator Mines With Dwarven Alliance (Good Campaign 4) ----------------------------------------------------- Completing campaign 3 (Save the dwarves) is strongly suggested if you want a better score and a easier time winning. I finished in 24 days. 1) Buy 4 more heroes during week 1 that will serve as scouts. 2) There's a lot of free resources near your castle, so you can build the necessary structures in week 1 while still hiring other heroes. 3) On day 1, hire another sorceress hero, buy all troops in the castle and give them all to your starting sorceress who will go north. 4) 2 heroes will go north, 2 will go south and one will go east. The last one will take stuff around your castle. 5) The starting sorceress will rush north and then east (taking the gold mine and the free Battle Dwarves) following the road. The other hero (I suggest Barbarian or Warlock) will follow her taking resources and other troops in the snow. 6) For the 2 heroes going south, one will will rush to the southwest corner to take another gold mine, while the other will take resources and hire goblins from the huts. 7) The eastern hero will go towards the mountains, then south, hiring the free dwarves on the way. 8) The starting sorceres will take the northern castle (probably Warlock) by the end of week 1. This castle will probably be undefended (grin). 9) The southern hero with lots of goblins will capture the southern village and transform it into a castle right away. Protect this castle by staying in it. 10) The eastern hero with lots of dwarves will take another castle near the center of the map. It will probably be free for the taking also (evil grin). Stay in this castle so that the AI doesn't come to take it back. 11) By week 2 day 1, I had 4 castles and 2 gold mines for a total of 6750 gold pieces per day :-). 12) The northern sorceress will go south leaving 10 battle Dwarves in the castle to protect it. 13) By week 3 day 1, exchange all unnecessary ressources and buy all troops from your two eastern castles. 14) Attack the two remaining castles ! Turning Point (Good Campaign 5) ------------------------------- This small map has given me my quickest all-time victory... only 8 days playing the Sorceress ! With the dwarven alliance, this scenario is the easiest of the good campaign. 1) Hire another sorceress, buy troops and transfer them all to your starting sorceress. 2) Ignore mines unless they are truly in your way. 3) The starting sorceress will go north, mostly following the road, taking stacks of battle dwarves along the way. 4) The second sorceress takes experience from the Gazebo and goes east also taking stacks (one stack ?) of battle dwarves. 5) After capturing the northwest castle, rush east taking (again) any dwarves stacks you encounter. I reached the northeast castle on day 1 of week 2. 6) Don't forget to obliterate any wandering enemy armies so that you don't have to chase them down later. 7) The southeast castle (orange) should be easy to capture because there are 2 Battle Dwarves stacks very near. Defender (Good Campaign 6) -------------------------- This campaign map has given a lot of people headaches.. including me on my first try through when I was just a newbie with HOMM 2 (I won it anyway :-) A barbarian ambushes your starting castle by boat very soon in the game, and if you don't know it's coming, you can be easily overtaken. Good Campaign 6 is called Dedender but to win you have to be the "Attacker" ! The good old cliche "The best defense is a good offense" applies on this map. You start with Lord Halton that has 5 Genies and 20 Rangers. A sorceress in the partially built castle has 20 Battle Dwarves. I finished it in 19 days two times, using slighly different strategies each time. So with all this in mind, here is my strategy : 1) Lord Halton should enter the castle right away to get the magic spells.. then go to the nearby gazebo. 2) Lord Halton will go north-east following the road until the T crossroads where he will turn right (split the genies in 2 stacks when you attack shooters) 3) There's already a shipyard built in your starting castle... 4) Hire another hero ASAP preferably a Barbarian and move him west. There are 4 stacks of Battle Dwarves on the west side of the map free for the taking (if you have the Dwarven alliance). 5) Build structures and troops until week 1 day 5 (or day 4 at your choice), when you will board a boat with your sorceress, 30 Battle Dwarves, Sprites and possibly other troops. 6) Lord Halton can capture the red Necromancer castle quite easily by the end of week 1. 7) The sorceress in the boat will rush south and capture the barbarian castle, also by the end of week 1. 8) On day 1 of week 2, buy more troops in your new Necromancer castle and destroy Wyrm the annoying Necromancer before he can become a thorn in your side. If he's too far (him and the other red heroes) and you want to lure him into a trap, step one or two squares away from the Necromancer castle. 9) Eventually, build the best troops in the barbarian castle and chase down the barbarian boats with your sorceress. 10) The barbarian who took the 4 stacks of Battle Dwarves should go northeast and give them to Lord Halton. 11) When you feel that you're strong enough (day 7 of week 2 ?), charge the yellow Knight castle with Lord Halton avoiding (if possible) all yellow armies. 12) Since it's the beginning of week 3, buy more troops in the knight castle and mop up the remaining yellow armies. I tried going after the knight yellow castle once (before the Red Necromancer castle) and I found the rest of the game easier to play. Maybe that was a fluke, but eliminating Wyrm before he gets too strong has a higher priority in my eyes, that's why I suggest going after him first. I also tried boarding the boat on day 1 with my sorceress and attacking the barbarian castle as soon as possible (day 4)... I captured the castle but the other barbarians were still on the island and they proceeded to trash me. The Gauntlet (Good Campaign 7) ------------------------------ This is one of my favorite scenarios because it is so different from the others. You start with a moderately big army (20 Rangers, 40 Sprites, 22 Pikemen, 24 Rocs, 16 Greater Druids), the boots of mobility and one other magical item. You have to rush to the southwest part of the map to capture a town in 8 weeks or less. You're stuck with this army for the major part of the map and you can't get reinforcements from a starting castle. I completed this map in 53 days.. not a great score for sure, but it's necessary to take more time so you can build the maximum of troops for your carry-over force in the last scenario. 1) The villages you will find on each patch are not upgradable to castles except the last warlock village at the southwest of the map near the lake. 2) On each different path, there are 3 villages who get progressively tougher (more protecting creatures). Note that the first village you will encounter on your path has a level-1 Mage Tower, the second village has a level-3 Mage Tower and the third village has a level-5 Mage Tower. Each village also has more monster structures already built. 3) I suggest taking the wizard path. Always take experience instead of Gold. 4) Capture the first village, dump the sprites there and get more Rocs. 5) That way, you have one spot free in your army to hire better troops. 6) Continue west and south attacking moderate wandering armies that inflict you minimum losses. 7) Always attack armies that are the same type as you (ex : attack Rangers if you still have Rangers in your army).. there's a slight chance they might join you. In any case, most of the time, they will flee. 8) Capture the second wizard village (watch out for the nearby 2nd level- spell Visions). Take more rocs. Dump stacks that are now too weak (ex : dump the Greater Druids if you only have 5 left). 9) Some people prefer ignoring the villages and rushing for the southwest warlock village. That's your choice. 10) Capture the 3rd wizard village with a 5th-level Mage Tower. Buy more Rocs. 11) Eventually you will come face to face with a high-level army (in my case Green Dragons). You will lose many troops in this battle but it's necessary to continue on your way. (Hint : Use Mass Haste, make your fliers attack between two stacks of dragons, when they attack back, their flame attack will catch another dragon stack :-) 12) Now rush to the south and capture the Warlock village near the water. This should be at the beginning of week 4. 13) Transform the village into a castle right away. 14) Your next objective is getting the Black Dragon tower. Buy one structure each turn until you have it. 15) Buy 2 other secondary heroes who will explore, take free mines and free resources on the other paths. 16) Explore the 2 other paths with your big Barbarian army while your Black Dragons, Hydras and Minotaur Kings accumulate. 17) By the end of week 7, your Barbarian should be back near your Warlock castle. 18) Take all secondary army stacks you don't want to carry-over (49 Elves, 50 Nomads...those kind of troops), get on a boat and attack the yellow village Lakeside. 19) You will lose but you will have weakened your adversary very much. Don't forget to flee with your Barbarian at the last possible moment :-) 20) Rehire your barbarian super-hero and dismiss all secondary heroes (because if you don't, the army of the top-spot secondary hero will carry- over). 21) Give all the best troops to your Barbarian principal hero (ex : 13 Black Dragons, 28 Minotaur Kings, 18 Hydras, 68 Battle Dwarves, 36 Griffins) and attack the yellow player again. 22) The last battle should be quite easy. I only lost 1 black dragon ! Corlagon's Defense (Good Campaign 9) ------------------------------------ It's called Corlagon's Defense because this particular hero will probably give you a lot of problems if you don't destroy him soon enough :-) Anyway, I finished this map in 23 days on my last game (the one used to compile my score in the good campaign). I also finished it in 20 days at one time but I had to replay this map because of a carry-over force problem. 1) You start with 1 Knight castle, 1 Sorceress village and 1 Wizard village. 2) Transform those towns into castles as soon as possible (week 1) 3) There is a lightly defended gold mine in the southeast part of the map. Another one is very near the Sorceress town. 4) Hire at least 2 more heroes in week 1 to explore everywhere and to serve as pack-mules (transfer troops to the front-line heroes). 5) Try to build one structure in each castle at each turn, starting always with the same castle (I suggest Sorceress). This is particularly important in week 1 and the beginning of week 2. 6) Lord Haart the knight will go east taking free halflings, goblins and dwarves along the way. 7) Try to capture one of the villages in the center of the map on week 1 (facultative). 8) Your best sorceress should go north (from the Sorceress town) and then east taking all available sprites and dwarves. This hero will eventually try to kill Corlagon who prowls in the northeast part of the map. 9) Lord Haart will attack the southeastern Necromancer castle (orange) on week 3 day 1. Probably a little later if you make frequent stops and detours. 10) Your shooters will draw fire while the dwarves and goblins close in for the kill. 11) Buy Vampire Lords and other troops (that you find good) in the Necromancer castle. 12) Transfer troops to Lord Haart from another hero who got the armies Haart didn't have time to get. 13) Rush north with Lord Haart to capture the Barbarian castle (green) in the desert and the Warlock castle (red). It's possible to do all this during week 3. 14) Don't forget to kill any wandering heroes so that you don't have to chase them down later. Final Justice (Good Campaign 10) -- The Quick And Dirty Way ----------------------------------------------------------- First of all, as always, try this quite good scenario at least once before reading my strategy tips. This Final Justice map is quite fun and you don't want to spoil the surprises ! I found a very quick way to win this map... Only 11 days ! I don't think it's possible to do better. I will probably post another strategy some of these days about how to win using the long way. So without futher ado : 1) Before you start, take the Tax Lien, it's the least damaging item you can take. 2) Reload the game until you have the Summon boat spell in your Knight castle. 3) Hire Sister Eliza the level-5 sorceress in the Knight castle. 4) Protect your starting sorceress castle by returning the nearby sorceress inside the castle and buying the phoenix. 5) Roland should have a big carry-over force consisting of Black Dragons, Minotaur Kings and other mighty stacks. 6) With Sister Elisa, rush east towards Roland who will transfer all his troops to her (except the very slow Hydras which Roland will transfer just before Elisa boards the boat). Why you ask ? Because Elisa being a sorceress has advanced navigation ! 7) On day 2, destroy the Red Dragons with Elisa and board the boat. If you're very lucky, you could get expert navigation... I did :-) 8) On day 3, navigate the boat towards Magellan's Maps and give the guy his 1000 gold pieces. Take the nearby items but make sure you still have time to disembark on the northern side of the lake. 9) On day 4, go north 3 or 4 steps, cast Summon Boat and board it. 10) Beginning on day 5, you will navigate towards Archibald's castle. It's at the end of the river. 11) To make sure you take the least amount of time navigating, click on a spot at the end of the river and then press m (move : horse icon) on each subsequent turn. 12) With expert navigation, Elisa's army should attack Archibald's castle on week 2, day 4 (11th day) With advanced navigation, it's one or two days later. With Roland, you would have attacked on week 3 day 2. Now you can see why taking Elisa is better... Archibald has one week less of troops (including 3 less Red Dragons). 13) The last battle is a very tough one, practically impossible if Archibald gets the Summon Elemental spell. It can also be easier if he gets a lousy 5th-level spell like Hypnotize. 14) I had 12 Black Dragons while my opponent had 5 Black and 4 Red Dragons. Unfortunately, he had Elemental Storm and a lot of spell points, so I lost all my secondary troops from constant spell casting. 15) The trick to winning this is attacking the Minotaur Kings (second stack from the top) from the bottom with your Black Dragons. Then Archie will cast Elemental Storm destroying most of his remaining troops except Dragons. 16) Archie's Black Dragon stack will attack you from the top while the Red Dragon stack will attack you from the bottom. 17) With a correct positioning, the 2 Dragon enemy stacks will proceed to flame one another while trying to attack my Black Dragon stack ;-) This is what I call the Dragon sandwich tactic and it's very effective. The only thing still alive at the end was my 3 surviving Black Dragons. So that's it ! I completed the good campaign in 221 days beating the 231 days score of David Mills and earning myself the Black Dragon rating ! With better luck in scenarios 7 and 9, I could probably lower this score to 208 days. I would appreciate very much hearing from anybody who did beat my score. I'm sure there's somebody somewhere who did better :-) Final Justice (Good Campaign 10) -- The Long And Fun Way -------------------------------------------------------- I had written a strategy for completing "Final Justice" in the quickest possible way but I was quite unhappy about it. Much better and more fun is trying to capture all the enemy castles on the mainland before going after Archibald at the end of the river. It's also more strategically-sound because you rely less on luck. With your multiple-castle growth, when every color but Archie's is eliminated, you can afford to build a strong army that should have no trouble with the end-battle. First time I ever played the final good campaign scenario (that was very long ago ;-), I went after the eastern-shore green barbarians first. I won eventually but I was always wondering if going after the yellow warlock (center) or purple necromancer (west) might have been easier. Well, I found out some interesting things by recently replaying "Final Justice" using each different option... Having the "carry-over force" for the last scenario is *highly* recommended. If you insist on playing it with the Ultimate Crown, expect a much longer game and a tougher challenge. I had a carry-over force of 12 Black Dragons (along with Hydras, Minotaur Kings, Battle Dwarves and Griffins) which is pretty good if you decide to stay within the 8-week limit in Good Campaign 7 where you will recruit your carry-over force (you could have "cheated" and gone over that artificial time limit if you desired). The carried-over Black Dragons are what's important, every other stack is extra "gravy". Implementing my battle plans should be possible with around 8 Black Dragons (if you're a good player) but I would not go much lower than that total. You start with 3 almost fully-built castles, one of each "good" type : sorceress, knight and wizard. --PLAN A (Going after the Purple Necromancers first)-- 1) From my experience, this is the easiest, safest way to go but you'll probably get a slightly lower score (although still very good). 2) The first color you will attack will be purple : the Necromancers on the western edge of the map. 3) Prepare for a sneak attack on sorceress castle by a Necromancer with 10 Vampires (btw, this early computer strike makes the enemy alliance aware of you and also puts it in an offensive "frame of mind"). 4) Roland should kill Red Dragon stack protecting the Lighthouse and boat. 5) Hire Sister Elisa on day 2 at sorceress castle. If you don't have the "Sorceress Alliance Award" (and therefore no Elisa), just use your starting sorceress instead. (To lighten the text, I will just refer to Elisa from now on). 6) Hire secondary hero in knight castle, trade him the negative artifact from Roland and dismiss him. Do NOT dismiss your starting heroes by mistake ! 7) Elisa should buy the single phoenix (for ultra fast travel speed) and go right visiting all your home castles for spells. 7.5) Do not buy Giants, wait for Titans instead (those won't come into play until near the end anyway). 8) It's a good idea for your main heroes to pay at least a little visit to one of your home castles (to get spells). 9) Try to develop Wisdom to expert level for your main heroes, especially Roland and Elisa. 10) Roland should leave the Hydras in the good knight castle nearby to serve as garrison (they would slow him down too much). 11) Roland will go a little way north (graveyard, tree of knowledge) then west. 12) Roland will stay in your home territory for the first 3 weeks to visit locations, get items and to make the good armies "grow". Why delay the first strike ? Because you're going for the surest, safest way to win... See the point just below. 13) Always leave one free spot in Roland's army so wandering stacks can join him for greater glory. Have 1 or 2 buddy heroes follow him around to carry the extra "free" stacks. 14) Develop a level 5 Mage Guild in the sorceress castle. I don't usually recommend reloading but if you do get Hypnotize, do so, it's useless and a big waste of resources. If it's anything else, keep the spell ;-) Remember to make Roland visit the castle. 15) Elisa should have plenty of time to return to the sorceress castle before the big offensive in purple territory. 16) "View Heroes" is a nice spell to keep tabs on where your opponents are. I used it often. 17) On week 4 (more or less) came time for the big offensive on the west road (the one next to your sorceress castle). Roland only had Black Dragons and Minotaur Kings (both very fast speed). Elisa was a great spellcaster and was following with a good sorceress-troop army. Some "buddy" heroes with other numerous stacks were also making their move. 18) Roland rushed the main purple necromancer castles (in volcanic terrain) while Elisa took care of eliminating the purple towns in the wastelands east of the west road (orange terrain). A strong buddy hero should go west from the west road to see if purple captured a neutral town there. 19) Don't worry too much if you lose a few Black Dragons in your conquest of purple. 20) I was lucky enough to get Dimension Door in one of the enemy castles (well, I did build up level 5 guilds when they were already at level 3 or 4). It probably saved me a few unnecessary weeks but Dimension Door is not absolutely required to win although it will make your life easier. Do try to finish each turn inside a castle and visit wells at each opportunity. 21) Even with Dimension Door, the biggest delay and annoyance you will encounter is chasing down the many little heroes scampering everywhere around. Believe me when I say that you will surely have to backtrack several times to recapture castles. 22) A way to minimize this is by leaving heroes with strong garrisons (remember all the free stacks Roland accumulated in the first month ?) in the castles you want to keep. Your big Minotaur King stack could also serve as a garrison if you wish. Also buy the maximum of troops available in each castle "under siege" at the beginning of each week (big ticket creatures like Bone Dragons and normal Dragons first) 23) Don't make Elisa go too far east (this means, not going past the second road you will encounter) or she will get clobbered by the very strong green barbarian (in fact, I lost her that way by being too reckless). 24) FYI, I captured the first warlock yellow castle (center one named Alamar) on week 4, day 7. Dimension Door did help there ;-) 25) Try to make a sweep from left to right (purple, yellow, green) eliminating (or badly crippling) one color at a time. Don't run after every little enemy hero, but eliminate them if they're in the way. Concentrate on taking castles using hit and run tactics. 26) Boost Roland's army with new Black Dragons from the center warlock castles. 27) Week 5 and 6 = destroy yellow and finish up purple. 28) Watch out for the southeast corner of the map. You could get ambushed by the green barbarians. Keep the knight castle well-defended or you could have surprises. 29) Eventually go up that road with either a strong knight or wizard army. 30) Build Black Dragon towers in all warlock castles. 31) In general, the second month is dedicated to utterly destroying every trace of purple, yellow and green on the main land (myself, I finished that worthy task on month 2, week 3, day 7). 32) Give Titans from wizard home castle to Roland. Board a boat with him (I did so on month 3, week 1, day 1). Follow the river until you reach Archibald's castle. 33) His army at that time was 5 Black Dragons (this number stays static), 25 Red Dragons, 51 Minotaur Kings, 60 Griffins and 34 Hydras. 34) My army was too strong (in fact, it was overkill) but I didn't want to take any chances. Better safe than sorry :-) My army was composed of 22 Titans, 45 Vampire Lords, 37 Black Dragons, 27 Bone Dragons and 36 Power Liches. The important armies were the Black Dragons and the Titans who drew most of the fire away. I chose undead troops because they were the stacks that had the most time to accumulate (purple necromancer was attacked first after all). 35) If you have problems with the last battle, try to place your troops so that the Red Dragon's 2-hex breath torches his own partner creatures. 36) With Plan A, I finished in 64 days (month 3, week 2, day 1) --PLAN B (Going after the Yellow Warlocks first)-- 1) From my experience, this is a bit riskier than Plan A, because there's no build-up phase in the first month and you leave your home castles almost undefended but you'll probably get a slightly higher score. 2) The first color you will attack will be yellow : the Warlocks in the north-center part of the map. Your objective is to get more Black Dragons as soon as possible. Problem is that without waiting a little in your home territory, only one Warlock castle will have the Dragon Tower and you'll have to build the rest. Another problem is that you'll be surrounded left and right (purple and green) and that it will be impossible to make a sweep from left to right as in plan A (more backtracking) 3) Defend against sneak attack on sorceress castle. 4) Get rid of Roland's negative artifact with an expendable dismissed hero. Roland should kill Red Dragon stack protecting the Lighthouse and boat. Trade stacks that are slower than very fast to the nearby Knight starting hero (on day 2). 5) After that, he should rush north (going into the knight castle is not necessary), visit Graveyard and Tree of Knowledge (because it's on his way) and take the left branch at the crossroads. Knight hero should follow just behind with the slower stacks. 6) Make Elisa (or starting sorceress) go east with Phoenix, visiting the knight castle for spells but not the wizard castle. She should follow the left fork of the east road and reach yellow territory after Roland and the Knight hero around week 2. 7) Go easy on ore and sulfur. You'll need those to build Dragon Towers later on. 8) Roland reached first yellow warlock town on week 2, day 1. 9) Make the following Knight hero stay in the first captured enemy town. He will serve as its protector. 10) On week 2, conquer the other warlock castles badly crippling the yellow color in the process. 11) Leave Minotaur Kings (or another strong stack from your carry-over force) in the main yellow castle (the one with the Dragon Tower already built). 12) Upgrade all warlock towns to have Black Dragon Towers. 13) Always leave a minimum of 4 Black Dragons with Elisa in the main castle. She will serve as the main protector and intimidation factor in your newly acquired holdings. 14) Hire maximum number of secondary heroes in warlock castles and visit mines with them. When that's done, scout around. Leave Elisa and medium- level knight hero inside their respective warlock castles. 15) Build your second Dragon Tower in northwest warlock castle on week 2. The first yellow castle you captured can survive for a while without a Dragon Tower. It already has a strong garrison with the knight hero. 16) If you have Set Elemental Guardian, cast them on your mines. 17) Go after purple or green, not both at the same time (I picked purple) 18) Beginning of week 3, buy all available Black Dragons and leave them in garrisons. This will intimidate your opponents. 18) Yellow was eliminated in week 3. 19) Watch out for purple and green that could go south in your starting territory. 20) If you don't think you can survive an enemy assault, flee with your best troops and return later. The enemy hero will split his big stack in 2 to garrison your castle but most importantly it will dismiss strong stacks to visit nearby map dwellings (in my game, the computer dismissed 9 Bone Dragons for 50 Halflings !) 21) If a color, other than one you're currently eliminating, captures an enemy castle (for example, a green barbarian captures one of your castles that was formerly purple). Let him have it, unless Roland is very close. 22) Yellow, green and purple were totally eliminated on month 2, week 2, day 5. 23) I boarded a boat with Roland a few days later (month 2, week 3, day 1, FYI). Sail the river up to Archibald's castle. I got Dimension Door very late in the game and by that time the yellow, green, purple alliance was practically eliminated. You could use that spell to reach Archibald's castle quicker but I preferred to save my spell points for the final battle. 24) Roland's army was composed of only 34 Black Dragons and 76 Minotaur Kings. This was barely enough to win against Archibald and I had to reload twice before succeeding. I suggest waiting 1 (or 2) more week to have a stronger army before boarding the boat. 25) Archibald had better stats than Roland along with blood morale and irish luck. Archibald's garrison was composed of 5 Black Dragons (this number won't grow), 31 Minotaur Kings, 46 Griffins, 26 Hydras and 19 Red Dragons. Morale played a big factor in the 2 first battles which I lost, his Red Dragon stacks had a lot more free attacks than my Black Dragon stack. 26) Use the Red Dragon's 2-hex flame attack against your other opponents by placing your own Black Dragon stack appropriately. Use Anti-Magic to protect your Minotaur Kings from offensive spells. In the first few turns, cast Chain Lightning and Armageddon to weaken enemy stacks other than enemy Dragons. 27) Cast Summon Elemental often if you have it (I did not). If Archibald has the Summon Elemental himself, I doubt you can win. Wait a few more weeks and come back with a Titan-Black Dragon combo army. 28) Using Plan B, I finished this scenario in 49 days (month 2, week 3, day 7). -Campaign Strategies for Heroes Of Might And Magic II- Archibald's Campaigns by David Mills This article has been written to help you obtain Black Dragon rating on the Archibald (Evil) Campaign. The basic strategy is "Attack as soon as possible, with the minimal possible effective forces". As we shall see, there are a few further tips. Update, with notes about Tournament Play. Warning! There are major spoilers, so if you want to try the campaigns unaided, don't read on! 1. First Blood This is a fairly easy start, and it is possible to finish more quickly than the Roland introductory scenario. Choose the 2000 gold option as this makes it possible to get up to the Mansion upgrade of your Necromancer starting castle in the first week. However, Frank Cardillo told me a better way than this. Go for the Laboratory via the Mage Guild and the Mausoleum. The Bone Dragons are much more reliable than vampires. Hire another hero (knight or barbarian for battle strength), get the easy resources, don't bother with the defended mines, and head east at the beginning of the second week with all your forces and your best hero. Beat the few wandering armies, and you should come across the green enemy city with few forces inside. Take the city. The AI does not seem to be very clever and usually dies off without trying to retake the city. With this army, add to it as much as possible and go south. Again you will find the next city soon, and it should be easily taken. Meanwhile, give your new home city forces to your other hero, and head south. The two heroes should more or less meet up in the south- west at the end of the third week to wipe out the remaining enemy. 2. Barbarian Wars This a small and quick scenario. Choose the Barbarian option. Equip your first hero with the nomads (keep them in two separate armies as this makes it easier against ranged enemies), and go directly north-east, through a defended pass and take the yellow north-east city which will probably be undefended. On the first day, you should also hire two more heroes. Send one east along the road to the genie lamps and hire as many as you can afford. Let the other gather the resources and mines. Build up you city as usual. Your first hero will need to fight the yellow hero, but should be successful with reinforcements from the captured city. The hero with the genies should capture the purple south-west city with no bother, while the other hero guards the home city from the purple hero. Load up at the beginning of the second week and let all three heroes meet up in the north- west to finish off. 3. Necromancers Don't do this option if you want a good final score! I tried it on my very first go and got a score of 630. The rewards of a Level 5 Necromancer for each following scenario is not worth it. But if you insist... Capturing the closest city is easy, go to the observation tower to guide you. Get a decent army and head south in the third week. Through the guarded pass is the easiest enemy city to capture. Build more armies (gold is a problem as all the gold mines are heavily defended and you don't want to waste good troops on anything but the enemy) and try to get one good fighting (barbarian or knight) and one good spell-casting hero. Don't upgrade the foundries as there two easy-to-reach Freeman's Foundries. Go through another of the heavily defended passes and get the city by the mountains and the middle pass, and the town (which may have been upgraded to a city) in the south-east corner. The enemy heroes are moderately powerful, including giants. Don't leave things too long or you will face titans, and it takes ages to amass enough gold and jewels for you to make these. 4. Slay the Dwarves You need this option for assured success in the rest of the campaign. If you can do the equivalent scenario with Roland, you can do this one, as it is the same map. Choose the Barbarian option. You don't need to buy any more heroes, and only need to upgrade to Ogre Lords in your city. Send the hero at the top of the map east to the city to be equipped with the troops. With the other two, send them to the nearest towns for Battle Dwarves and Magic Books. Then send one centrally for the Dwarf Cottages and Rogues, then south-west to the Hill Fort then west along the road and capture the city. This hero should then return east to get the towns along the bottom of the map, picking up troops along the way. The final hero should go north-west-ish to the other Dwarf Cottages by the Observation Tower just by a small patch of snow. There are some Medusas near here too. Once he is tanked up, go north, west then south getting the towns and any enemy heroes. The hero in the city should go south once he has a decent army, to mop up any stray enemy heroes and the last towns. Watch out for boats appearing out of the whirlpool by the enemy city. 5. Turning point I assume you have the Ogre Alliance for the rest of the campaign. Pick the Barbarian option, although it does not really matter. With the first hero, go south down the road, ignoring everything until you come to the two sets of Ogres. Join up with these, upgrade at the Hill Fort, take easily the city in the south-east corner, then the south west corner, then go north. Meanwhile the second hero you hired on the first day will have picked up a few more ogres locally and gone west and may well be finishing off the city in the north-west corner and chasing after the remaining enemy heroes (who seem to come from the north-west city). You can do this scenario in seven or eight days. 6. Rebellion This is the fun scenario. Pick the Barbarian option to give a good fighting hero for your secondary army, but Lord Corlagon, with his Expert Necromancer ability does all the hard work. Initially, send Corlagon to the Treasure Chest and Gazebo for experience. Then fight the two small peasant armies to the north of the city to gain some skeletons. Then continue north then east a little to a legion of peasants. This army is in three groups of 333, but each group can be killed in one blow by your skeletons. The trick is to separate them by waiting for a Loss of Morale due to the Bone Dragon. You will now have about 400 skeletons. If you attack the rangers by the Ore mine they may join you, or may attack, it seems about fifty-fifty. Anyway, you have enough to win against the huge legion of peasants guarding the Treasure trove to the east of the city, as long as you only allow one or maybe two attacks from a full stack of 700 peasants. Use the Morale trick if necessary. If you go back to the city for spells or more troops, it will probably be the second week, and the army will become five stacks of 800, although this may be worth it if you have Slow in your Mage Guild. Get all the stuff from the trove, going for experience over gold, then head west through the gap in the forest guarded by the Archers near the 1st Level shrine. All the armies should retreat, I only fight the non-ranged attackers. Continue south-west to the Knight city, and send your other hero down to occupy it. If the Knight armies are close by, fight them, otherwise skeletonise the peasants guarding the good artifacts just to the north-west of the Knight city, and follow the road north. At the T-junction by Xanadu, it does not really matter which way you go, both cities will fall very easily to your army of 2500 skeletons, and you can soon chase and kill the remaining heroes. My best score of 21 days was greatly helped by having the Boots of Mobility in the original Treasure Trove. 7. Dragon Master This scenario is very difficult without the Ogre Alliance, but a doddle with it. I pick the Barbarian option so that my main hero will have Pathfinding through the desert near the Dragon City. Send your starting hero along the road to the Observation tower then to fight the army guarding the way to the Alchemists Lab. Hire another hero, drop off the slowest part of his army and go and pick up the Ogres by the Ore mine and the Alchemists Lab. Meanwhile, with your first hero, collect the other two Ogre armies, upgrade and go back to meet the other hero. Take those Ogres, upgrade then proceed west along the road, going south at the junction then west again to the desert. Do not be distracted by anything else. The Dragon Castle is at the far west of the map, so, once in the desert, go north- north-west through a pass where you have to fight some Dragons, then north for a little while and you will see the Castle on you right. You have to fight another army first. However your Ogre Lords can overcome all these Dragons with no bother. I keep them in two armies of about 40 and make sure they are not next to each other or they may both get flamed at once. Without the Ogre Alliance, you just have to work hard in the usual way. Aim to take the northern enemy city first, as it seems to upgrade to Dragons after the other city. 8. Country Lords This is quite hard work, although the Ogre and Dragon Alliances make it significantly easier. Old Advice I pick the Logistics option, but the other two have their merits also. Go west and kill the enemy knight on the second day. Try to kill him outright as he has usually picked up a good artifact. Then go east to the Sorceress city. There are various options once you have captured the city. I tend to hire two more heroes (knight or barbarian, as you will be fighting knights mainly), then send the original one east through a pass then north to the Ogres and treasure, and then continue north to collect two Red Dragons. Another hero goes to the mines then the treasure in the south-west corner, then back to the city for troops, and the last hero goes north-west for the Ogres, then back south-west when he is onto the grass, for more Ogres and a small Green Dragon Army. It all usually goes a bit pear-shaped at this point, but the plan is supposed to be to capture at least one of the three enemy cities along the northern edge of the map, preferably the middle one as it has the best Mage Guild. Ideally, the enemy heroes avoid yours and go for the central towns. However, I find that the Dragons are usually sacrificed on the Crusaders. There are also some Black Dragons on the east of the map which are very useful, and some Green Dragons just to the south of the most westerly enemy city, but these are usually beaten before you get there. Continue with business as usual, bringing up Sorceress troops at regular intervals, and you will win in six or seven weeks. New and Better Advice Frank Cardillo has provided some excellent advice. You definitely need the Logistics option. Forget about the Knight in the west. Go north, via the Observation Tower, the Ogres (do not turn back to upgrade them, but upgrade at the next fort) then the Red Dragon. Get the Knight town or you will run out of time. Proceed directly north up the road then west then north to the middle one of the Knight cities. You will walk into the city unopposed with your last step, and you will have a full complement of Knight troops and the Fifth Level Mage Guild! It all fits so perfectly that I suspect that this was designed that way and the Knight in the west was a deliberate red herring. Once you have the city, it is fairly routine, particularly with the Green Dragons in the little enclave to the south of the city, and the Black ones at the eastern edge of the map. 9. The Crown Look, do you want a good score or not? If you do this alternative, you are destined to a long hard and probably unsuccessful slog in the final episode. If you insist: the strategy is get the obelisks, hire plenty of heroes and dig like crazy when you think you have an idea. 10. Greater Glory How you proceed on this scenario depends on how confident you feel about the final scenario. In Apocalypse, Roland starts with 5 Titans in his city, and gains 1 more in the first week, then 3 more in each following week. So if you can get to his city in the second week, 12 Black Dragons may beat his 9 Titans, bearing in mind his Attack/Defence stats will be much better than yours and he may have Mirror Image, Raise Dead, Armageddon, or any combination. I would recommend 20 Black Dragons for safety. You should be able to get to the enemy town in 1 week and 4 days, giving you time to upgrade to City, Maze and Black Tower before the end of the second week. Sulphur is the limiting factor. You therefore need to go north-west to the Sulphur Mine first, back south to the Treasure Chests - I get Experience in the hope of more Logistics - then go east as far as you can getting mines and resources if they are not too far out of your way, then turn north in the south-east corner of the map. Don't forget the other Sulphur Mine by the coast as you travel north. If you have a sulphur shortage when you want to upgrade, remember there is a Trading Post close to the town. Hire another hero to help run around collecting things while you wait for Dragons to appear. There are often two Dragon armies waiting to join you, so go to the Observation Tower to see if you can spot them quickly. If these free Dragons are a significant number, you may only need to wait two weeks to add to them before you can attack the city over the river. Pad out your army with more Warlock troops, although I usually leave the Hydra because they are too slow for the long journey in the next scenario. If you want to attack a town, the first one you come to immediately west of your city is the most heavily defended, but has a Level 5 Mage Guild. In the final battle, try not to zap your own troops, particularly the Griffins, with your own Dragons. 11. Apocalypse As discussed above, Roland will have a pretty good army with top class spells, so your carry over army and the hero to go with it should be powerful. There are two enemy heroes lurking around your cities - the Barbarian and the Necromancer ones - but they can easily be overcome. Send Archibald north from his starting point, and let the Barbarian hero catch up with him after beating the enemy hero close by his city. If you are confident and really going for speed, give only the Black Dragons, Gargoyles and Minotaur Kings to the Barbarian, and keep the rest for Archibald. Use the Barbarian for the final battle, because Archibald's Attack and Defence stats are not good enough, and his spell power will not make a significant difference. Send the Barbarian north up the road, them east then north again after the mercenary camp. Go around the small range of mountains then east to the winding road and up to the Glowing Liths which are guarded by the Titans. There are not many Titans, only six or seven, and they may even flee. Roland's City is close to the other end of the Liths. You can do what you like with the other heroes and cities, it does not really matter. If you are doing a tournament, 12 Black Dragons will not reliably beat Roland. His killer spells are Raise Dead, Summon Elementals because he can produce over 30, and Mirror Image. Positioning your Gargoyles and Dragons next to the Titans can overcome Mirror Image. But if he suddenly raises seven Titans from the dead when you are down to three Dragons, it is bye- bye cruel world. In fact I would go as far as to say that you will often lose to Roland with the basic 19 Dragons that you get from your city in the previous scenario. Help from the allied wandering Dragons is essential. Good Luck! Written by David Mills, Gerrards Cross, London, England - First Blood (Evil Campaign 1) ----------------------------- I finished this map in 22 days. You're stuck with the Necromancer castle when you start so make the best of it ;-) Playing well, you can get Bone Dragons in the first week giving you a definite advantage. 1) Take gold instead of experience from chests for a quick building start. 2) Build the Mausoleum on day 2 or 3, not to buy Liches but because it's a prerequisite for the Laboratory. 3) Build the Bone Dragon Laboratory on day 3 or 4. 4) Good building order for the Necromancer with lots of resources : - a) Statue (later if you wish) - b) Mage Guild - c) Mausoleum - d) Bone Dragon Laboratory - e) Zombie Graveyard (if not already built) - f) Mummy Pyramid - g) Well 5) Attack the trolls blocking the way on day 2 week 1 with an army including 4 Bone Dragons and lots of skeletons. 6) After beating the trolls, take experience instead of gold for your primary hero. 7) Go southwest first to capture the yellow castle (knight) 8) Destroy wandering heroes and rush east to take the wizard castle. 9) On week 3 day 1, build 3 other Bone Dragons from your starting castle, give them to a quick hero and go east to rendez-vous with your primary hero who is coming from the south-east. 10) Destroy the remaining castle and wandering heroes. Barbarian Wars (Evil Campaign 2) -------------------------------- This is a very small map where you are surrounded by 3 barbarian opponents. I finished in 10 days playing the Warlock. 1) You have 30 free Nomads when you start.. Enough to take your first castle. 2) Hire a second hero who will take all nearby resources around your starting castle. 3) Rush southwest with your principal hero and capture your first Barbarian castle. It will probably be very lightly defended. 4) Next, go north to capture your second barbarian castle by the end of week 1. 5) Since it's the beginning of week 2, you can build Ogre Lords and Trolls in your new Barbarian castle. 6) Leave some troops in this castle and the other one (if someone comes near) so that wandering heroes are not tempted to take it back. Of course, killing the wandering heroes while you go east is a better idea 7) Run east towards the last Barbarian castle and capture it. 8) If you want, you can build some troops in your starting Warlock castle and go north therefore catching your Barbarian opponents in a squeeze. This also serves as reinforcements for your primary hero. Necromancers (Evil Campaign 3) ------------------------------ Taking the other path is highly recommended but if you insist on taking the "Necromancers" path and having a tougher time later, please read on. I finished in 51 days (month 2, week 4, day 2) but I could have finished a few weeks sooner if I hadn't built-up such a powerful superfluous army for the final battle. 1) Your warlock begins with 40 Centaurs, 18 Gargoyles, 12 Griffins. 2) Wait until day 7 to capture the southeast wizard castle. Why ? Simply because it gives more time for the enemy to build free structures for you 3) Buy Foundry on day 7 4) Buy Mage Guild Level 2 on day 1 of week 2. 5) Explore around but don't leave your northwest valley surrounded by the chain of mountains. 6) I had 2 armies : warlock with initial troops and barbarian with wizard troops. 7) Buy Ivory Tower on week 2. 8) There's lots of opportunities to have free stacks "join you for greater glory" because these wandering armies are mostly low-level creatures. Therefore, always leave a spot free in your main army. 9) Don't bother with the yellow castle stuck in the soutwest corner. Taking it is not necessary for victory. The enemies there probably won't bother you if you leave alone the wandering army defending the southern passage out of your valley. 10) On week 4, day 1, your warlock will attack the Air Elementals near the Observation Tower blocking the east passage out of your valley. 11) A small "pipeline" of heroes can bring reinforcements (Rocs, Halflings) to the warlock before he attacks. 12) Visit the Observation Tower and conquer the nearby wizard castle. 13) Kill remaining enemies and take mines around this second castle except for the gold mine which is too well protected. 14) Watch out for an enemy hero, coming from the south, possibly with Giants and high-level spells. 15) Upgrade appropriate troops at appropriate locations (Orcs and Dwarves at Hill Fort and Golems at Freeman's Foundry) 16) Your objective is the Necromancer town named Quick Silver south of your second castle. 17) It's protected by 200 Halflings, 45 Rocs, 30 Archmages and 5 Giants (with possibly more) so be patient and create an army sufficient to the task. 18) There are 2 gem mines south of Quick Silver. 19) Instead of going for Titans, I decided to upgrade my Mage Guild in the second castle up to level 5 and build a Library. It was a good decision. 20) My final army was composed of 26 Mages, 71 Battle Dwarves, 61 Steel Golems, 45 Rocs and 118 Orc Chiefs with a few other powerful "reserve" stacks in my castles. I admit that it was a bit of overkill but why take chances :-) Slay The Dwarves (Evil Campaign 4) ---------------------------------- If you want a good score, going through this map is an absolute necessity. I finished in 18 days playing the Warlock. This scenario is the opposite counterpart of Good Campaign 3 where you had to save the Dwarves. 1) You start with 3 heroes at different places on the map. 2) Hire another hero (or two) at your castle, build some troops (gargoyles, centaurs) and go west. 3) Transfer those troops to your Warlock already near the dwarf village (west of the castle) 4) Split your Gargoyles in 2 stacks to attacks shooters. 5) Take this northern dwarf village and then go northwest where you will capture a second village by the end of week 1. Do not take the road, because the stacks there are too strong for your beginning army. 6) The southern Warlock hero will go west towards a clump of dwarf dwellings. 7) He will upgrade all those dwarves to battle dwarves at the nearby Hill Fort and then will go southeast to capture the dwarf village in the snow. 8) The northern Warlock hero after capturing a nearby 3rd dwarven village should follow the road southwest then south. 9) I attacked the sorceress castle (in the southwest) by the end of week 2. The castle was very easy to take being lightly defended. 10) If there is a big opponent army inside the castle, go the farthest away from the castle while still remaining only one day-walk away. With luck, the AI will be stupid enough to leave the castle undefended... 11) Since it is the beginning of week 3, build some other troops from your new Sorceress castle. 12) The only thing left to do is to clean-up the wandering enemies and taking the last dwarf village to the southeast. In conclusion, completing this map is important because it will give you 2 excellent awards available on all subsequent maps ... Dwarfsbane will make ALL dwarf and battle dwarf stacks flee in fear. While the Ogre Alliance will make ALL ogres and ogre lords stacks join you ! Not too shabby, don't you think ? ;-) Turning Point (Evil Campaign 5) ------------------------------- This is the same map as Good Campaign 5. Only the artifacts, the position of your starting castle and the artifacts change. I finished in 7 days. You need the Ogre Alliance for this strategy. 1) Hire a second hero on day 1. 2) Your starting hero will rush south with Gargoyles and Centaurs. 3) Your second hero will go west taking any Ogre stacks in his way. 4) The first hero can also pick up Ogre stacks and upgrade them at a nearby Hill Fort. 5) Ignore mines and most ressources. If there is a chest directly in your path, take the experience from it. 6) Second hero (with only Ogres) will capture the northwest castle. 7) First hero will capture southeast castle then rush west towards the last castle. 8) Don't forget to kill any wandering enemy heroes. Sometimes a little detour at the beginning can save a time-consuming chase later. Turning Point Without Ogre Alliance (Evil Campaign 5) ----------------------------------------------------- It is recommended to complete scenario #4 (Slay the Dwarves) instead of scenario #3 (Necromancers) because of the excellent Ogre Alliance and Dwarf Bane awards that #4 gives you. But if you're reading this, it means that you like having a challenge later in the campaign, that you're curious or that you simply were unlucky in your choice of paths :-) I finished in 16 days. 1) Pick warlock for your castle. 2) In small maps, pick gold from chests. 3) Hire Brother Brax the 5th level necromancer. 4) Rush south by road with the warlock. 5) Take both sawmills, visit Observation Tower and the Halfling Hole. 6) Attack the castle in the southeast corner by the end of week 1 (day 5 or 6 is good) 7) Make sure that your 2 castles have the 3 first creature dwellings, wells, horde buildings and marketplaces on week 2, day 1. 8) Exchange all your resources for gold. 9) Buy all troops in both castles (this can take 2 days) and rush west with both heroes to capture the remaining 2 enemy castles in the northwest and southwest corners. 10) Try to attack the castles when the enemy heroes are not inside even if it means running after them afterwards. 11) The only possible problem with this map might be the northwestern hero that might have an army just a bit too strong for you (my conquest of his castle without him inside was a close affair since our warlock armies were evenly matched except for 29 Skeletons I had transferred to Brother Brax). Check his warlock castle to see if there might not be some Hydras left in the Swamp. There might also be Medusas left in the nearby Ruins. This should be enough to destroy the northwestern hero. Rebellion (Evil Campaign 6) --------------------------- Rebellion is one of my favorite maps in HOMM 2, one that could have been easily named Peasant Revolt or Skeleton Armageddon ;-) Stomping around the countryside with 2000 skeletons is a great way to relieve yourself of stress and get delusions of grandeur :-) FYI, Corlagon, the 5th-level knight you start with, has expert necromancy so you don't really need to start with a necromancer castle or necromancer heroes. In fact, I suggest playing with a warlock castle. I finished in 23 days : not a great score but not bad. 1) Corlagon has 1 Bone Dragon and 40 skeletons at the beginning. 2) Buy a mage guild on day 1 and go there with Corlagon to get the spells. Cross your fingers to get either Slow or Haste. Those spells could be very useful but they're not totally necessary. 3) Attack the throng of Peasants to your north. Use your centaurs to lower their numbers until they get too close. Then the Bone dragon can finish the remaining peasants. On later combats with peasants, split your multitude of skeletons in 3 or 4 different stacks and wait for the peasants to come near. 4) Still going roughly north, attack the stack of archers, a legion of peasants (you should now have over 400 skeletons) and the lots of rangers stack. 5) Tips for attacking big shooter stacks : Bone dragon should be in the top-most spot of your army. The Gargoyles should be split in 2 stacks if you have enough of them. Fly the Bone dragon between the 2 upper-right shooter stacks and attack the lowest one. Fly the gargoyles between 2 other different stacks of shooters and stay there without attacking (unless you have a lot of gargoyles). 6) Option for more skeletons and magic items : Go back to the southeast with Corlagon and attack the legion of peasants guarding the loot near your castle. I did not do this preferring to go for a quicker victory. 7) There's a yellow knight castle to your northwest. It should be your first castle conquest. I captured it on day 5 of week 2. 8) If you have it, use Haste on your skeletons or slow on fast shooter stacks. 9) With your huge stacks of skeletons, rush south following the road. 10) Kill any wandering enemies. 11) Capture the orange knight castle in the south. I did it easily with only 4 big stacks of skeletons. 12) Make sure all orange enemies with big armies are eliminated before your final attack. 13) Go northwest following (mostly) the road to attack the remaining Wizard castle. 14) The Titans are no match for your skeletons by now. P.S. Grab any shooters you can get while exploring. Against other shooter troops, they will die in the first turn but will also draw missile fire away from your attacking skeleton stacks. I am new to the game and this is not intended to be a high scoring strategy - just a really fun one. Assuming you start the scenario with the Knight with Necromantic power. When you start - scoot south of your castle and pick up the freebie resources. Collect archers from the house all the way on the southern edge of the map. When you have a good sized army of ranged weapons - I think I had 20 orc chiefs, 50 archers, and 10 or 15 upgraded trolls, and some ogre lords for mop up - break them into 4 stacks and go attack the legion of peasants (roughly 4,000 of them!) to the northeast of your castle. Use "slow" to avoid letting any reach your forces- whittle them all down with ranged weapons. If you have left an empty space in your army your necromancer will raise about 1500 skeletons - head north and hit any other peasant legions you can find - with about 2,000 skeletons you should head northwest and go straight to the high-mage's green castle - taking it should be a snap - particularly if he casts an Armageddon and wipes out most of his own forces - once his castle falls the rest of the game is mop up. Dragon Master (Evil Campaign 7) ------------------------------- The Ogre Alliance is necessary for my strategy. Don't lose time worrying about your two warlock enemies. They won't have time to become real nuisances before you capture the Dragon castle. I won in 10 days. It should be quite tough to do better. 1) Start with a barbarian castle. Their pathfinding skills will help you in the western desert. 2) Hire 2 other barbarian heroes and make them give their troops to your starting barbarian hero. 3) Do not lose time building up your castle. It's not required in this scenario. 4) The 2 secondary barbarian heroes should collect ogre stacks that are a little removed from the road. ASAP, they should transfer those ogres to the principal hero. 5) Your primary barbarian hero will go west following the road. 6) Take any nearby ogre stacks and upgrade them to ogre lords when you pass nearby the Hill Fort. 7) Do not deviate from the road very much until you reach the desert. 8) Attack the first red dragon stack in the desert... 9) Make sure your ogre lords are split in two equal stacks and that they are in the 2nd and 3rd place on your roster (I had 2 stacks of about 43 ogre lords before the first dragon battle) 10) With correct positioning, the flying dragons will soon flame each other while attacking you (the sandwich dragon strategy again :-) 11) Go north through the desert, destroy any dragon stacks blocking your way. 12) Attack the Dragon castle ! Dragon Master Without Ogre Alliance (Evil Campaign 7) ----------------------------------------------------- Well, since I got requests for help on this scenario (and number 8) from those who had decided to help the Necromancers (#3) instead of exterminating the dwarves (#4), I decided to write a strategy walkthrough for the Dragon Master scenario without the Ogre Alliance award. I finished in 57 days. Please keep in mind that in order to win you MUST capture the Dragon City... exterminating the 2 enemy colors does not give you victory. Anyway, I think it's much easier to win this map by first killing your opponents then capturing the Dragon City. 1) I suggest playing with a Warlock since you will need Dragons to kill enemy Dragons later in the game. 2) Split your Gargoyles in 2 equal stacks when attacking shooter stacks. 3) Hire Brother Brax as soon as possible and make him board the boat (a 3rd hero preferably a Sorceress is also an option). 4) Don't worry about his lousy navigation skill, since you will have plenty of time to explore the sea. The lighthouse and the astrolabe of navigation are in the southeast corner of the map. 5) Your 2 priorities in the first week are building up your castle and capturing ore and sulfur mines. 6) Weeks 2 and 3 should be used for hiring more troops (for a stronger army) and building any monster structure not already built. 7) Go roughly north with your primary army. Avoid any enemy heroes prowling the landscape since you're not strong enough (yet) to take them on. 8) DO NOT build the level-2 Mage Guild ! since you will need the sulfur for your Dragon Tower. 9) FYI, you should be able to kill easily the wandering armies of slow ground troops (Ogres, Dwarves, etc) with your big stack of centaurs (beginning on week 2 or 3) combined with Gargoyles and Griffins who will destroy any enemy stacks that make it through the hail of shooter arrows. 10) If you are unlucky enough to have Necromancy as a secondary skill, scrap any skeletons you might get since they will destroy your good morale. 11) Eventually build an army composed solely of Hydras and go south with them (to get mines). Do not go too far away with them, since their presence in your starting castle will intimidate the enemy heroes away. 12) I had built up my Dragon Tower on week 4. 13) Upgrade your green Dragon Tower to red one. 14) When you have 7 Red Dragons, the time to attack your first enemy castle has come. 15) Try to attack the castle that seems the less powerful (orange ?) or that has the better spells (Dimension Door). My conquest of the first enemy castle was at the end of week 6. 16) Buy more dragons from your new castle (there should be some) and combine them with your Red Dragon army. 17) From then on, you should be pretty much invincible. Reinforce your primary army with Dragons from your castles and chase down all enemy heroes. 18) When you consider yourself strong enough, you can attack the Dragon City. If you have Dimension Door, you can attack much sooner since you won't have to go through the dragon stacks guarding the way. Country Lords (Evil Campaign 8) ------------------------------- To use my strategy, you need to have both the Ogre Alliance and the Dragon Alliance. With those, it turns an otherwise tough map into a merely average difficulty map. I won in 38 days probably making this the longest scenario in the Evil Campaign. 1) You start with only one hero commanding a strong army (50 centaurs, 30 Gargoyles, 10 Minotaurs if you pick the warlock) but no castle. 2) You have 1 week to capture a town or you're eliminated by default. 3) First thing to do is visit the Observation Tower. You will see an annoying knight to your southwest taking all the resources that are righfully yours. 4) Show him the error of his ways by destroying him on day 2. 5) You don't have time to take everything right away, so take only the chests. 6) Always take experience and concentrate on the following secondary skills : Logistics, Wisdom, Leadership (or Luck) and Ballistics. 7) Now rush east to capture the Sorceress castle in the valley. I captured it on day 7. 8) Hire a second hero and make him go southwest taking all the resources you left there. 9) Go north between moutain cliffs with your primary hero... scaring dwarves and taking ogres until you reach a Red Dragon stack. 10) Take it (or them) and go northeast through a field of gold. Don't bother taking all of it since it could slow you down too much. 11) It's possible to build a Phoenix tower during week 2, but since we use a very agressive strategy, those phoenix will only serve as a clean-up crew when the game is already practically won. 12) Capture the northeast warlock castle by week 3. 13) Leave your remaining minotaurs and unicorns to garrison this castle since you don't want a wandering blue player to take it back after you're gone. 14) Option : It's possible to capture the southeast village near the water therefore avoiding a return trip back later. 15) Go north and get the nice 4 free black dragons waiting for you... 16) Now comes the fun stomping part ;-) With your 4 black dragons, your 2 red dragons, around 25 Ogre Lords and your super-hero spellcaster, attack the knights castles one by one going west. 17) Killing the wandering enemies and capturing 3 very-well protected knight castles, I did not lose ONE single unit ! If you're lucky you can get some mass destruction spell (like Armageddon) and leave the Ogre lords, slowing you down, in one of the castles. 18) Those 3 knight castles were captured in less than a week. 19) Remember your 2nd hero ? He should have explored most of the western part of the map building up a good army on his own. Capture the western village if the blue player got it. 20) After killing the majority of the blue enemies in the northwestern part of the map, it's time to use the teleporter and obliterate the remaining blue hero hidden on the island. Country Lords Without Alliances (Evil Campaign 8) ------------------------------------------------- In answer to multiple requests, here is a general strategy on how to win Country Lords without the Ogre and Dragon Alliance. I do not suggest playing it this way unless you really want to have a challenge. No alliances turns this already hard map into one of the toughest scenarios of the game. I managed to complete it in 81 days with lots of difficulty. Playing "Country Lords" the long way is a good way to learn the combat tactics of the Sorceress and how to beat great Knight armies. I included some good general tips for the Sorceress player in this walkthrough 1) Kill the Knight in the southwest corner on day 2 2) Take most of the chests but always pick experience instead of gold (pick Logistics if you can). You don't have time to take all the other resources. 3) Conquer the Sorceress castle to your east by the end of week 1. 4) Hire a second hero and let him harvest the remaining resources in the southwest corner. 5) It's possible to buy the Red Tower (for Phoenix) on week 2 or 3. 6) Since the Dragons or Ogres will not join your army, you have to be more patient. 7) Build up your army while conquering most of the southern part of the map (the brown plains). 1 or 2 additional castles are nice to have but don't upgrade them too much since you only keep them for additional revenue. 8) You can try sending a scout deep in enemy territory to see the coming attacks but expect to flee or lose him. 9) AVOID strong enemy heroes ! At least until you are confident in the strength of your own primary army. 10) I would usually suggest taking the castle to the northeast, near the water, but in my game, the best enemy hero was patrolling there blocking my way. 11) Some combat tactics : a) Sorceress units are the fastest ones in the game. Use this to your advantage. b) Knight troops usually don't have flyers, therefore stay back and shoot. c) Cast Slow or Blind on the Knight troops (especially Champions and Crusaders) d) Cast Bless or Haste on your best Sorceress troops e) Always cast the mass version of the spell if you have it. f) Keep a garrison (dwarves, unicorns) in the castles you want to keep since, with luck, it can intimidate some enemies away. g) Use the Phoenix-Elemental Storm combo if you manage to get this spell. h) Targets you must destroy, in order of priority, are : the Rangers, the Champions, the Crusaders and the rest. i) Use offensive spells and shooter fire to lower enemy stacks before they reach your lines. Finish the approaching walker stacks with Unicorns or Phoenix. j) Use troop combos (see below) 12) Sorceress troop combos : a) Very Fast Combo = Grand Elves, Greater Druids, Phoenix b) Fast Killer Combo = Grand Elves, Unicorns, Druids and Phoenix. (adding another shooter stack makes it even stronger) c) Scout army = 1 Phoenix or 2 very fast troops in different positions. d) Clean-up Crew Combo (or Beginning army) = Elves, Battle Dwarves, Druids,Sprites 13) When I had a sufficiently strong Fast Killer Combo (10 Phoenix or higher), I rushed to the north trying to capture the Knight castles while the big enemy heroes were otherwise occupied in conquering the southern towns and castles. 14) Use Hit and Run tactics : capture the castle, enter it for new spells, reinforce your own army, leave the castle empty, rush the next castle, capture it, etc. 15) Be aware of opportunities : weak heroes and newly built castles. 16) In my game, I exchanged my good Sorceress castle (after stripping it almost empty) for the 3 excellent Knight castles in the northwest :-) In conclusion, the keys to winning this tough scenario without alliances are patience, guerilla tactics, good spellcasting and avoiding battles you are not equipped to win. Greater Glory (Evil Campaign 10) -------------------------------- This is the same map as Good Campaign 7 (The Gauntlet) with a few differences. You start in the southwest corner and have to conquer the enemy town in the northeast corner in 8 weeks or less. I finished in 37 days ,which is not the best possible score, because I wanted at least 12 black dragons in my carry-over force for the last scenario. You start with the hero Corlagon which has 20 Orc Chiefs, 50 skeletons (Expert Necromancy will raise this number very soon :-), 24? Griffins, 24 Gargoyles and 20 Power Liches. 1) Dismiss the orc chiefs on your 1st turn : they ruin your morale and slow the rest of you army. Put the Power Liches in the top position. 2) You can decide to split your 20 Power liches in 2 stacks but I prefer to leave one spot free for new recruits. 3) I suggest going north by the Warlock trail... but first take the wood and sulfur mines without forgetting the 3 free chests near the water. 4) Always take experience instead of gold from the chests. 5) During your long trek in the forest, I suggest taking the chests, the ore piles and the sulfur piles in your direct path but to deviate from it VERY LITTLE. Leave the other ressources and items for later. 6) When you climb levels, try to pick Logistics. 7) Do not capture the villages... The only one you really need is the warlock village at the end of the trail near the water. 8) I reached this northeast village by week 2 day 4, leaving me barely enough time to construct the castle, build the swamp and most importantly the green dragon tower. 9) Hire another hero that will go back on the trail you just came from to pick up all the goodies. Option : Hire a 3rd hero to follow your primary hero around collecting resources a little out the way. 10) Your primary Barbarian hero will explore the 2 other trails while the black dragons accumulate in your Warlock castle. 11) After Corlagon reaches level 16, take gold from the chests. 12) Eventually build a shipyard with 2 boats. 13) On week 5, go to the nearby trading post and exchange all unnecessary resources (sulfur is necessary !) for more gold. 14) Board the boat on week 5 day 5, with Corlagon and all the secondary armies you do not want to carry-over (hydras, skeletons, power liches, etc). This is the first attack where the objective is weakening the yellow village (Middlegate) you must capture to win. 15) Try to kill everything except the Dragons which are too tough for the moment. Don't forget to flee at the last minute with Corlagon. 16) Rehire Corlagon in your Warlock castle and equip him with all the best troops (black dragons, minotaur kings, gargoyles, griffins). Wait 1 turn for your spell points to replenish and then board a boat for the second time (week 5 day 7). 17) On day 1 of week 6, hire another hero (or use one you already have) to build more troops in the Warlock castle and transfer them to Corlagon inside the boat. 18) Dismiss all secondary heroes ! Do not dismiss Corlagon and his impressive army ! 19) Final attack takes place on week 6 day 2. Try to minimize your losses especially for the Black dragons (I only lost one). Apocalypse -- The Quick And Dirty Way (Evil Campaign 11) -------------------------------------------------------- To carry out this quick-win strategy you need at least 12 Black Dragons or more in your carry-over force. The Ogre and Dragon Alliance are not necessary. I finished it in 12 days. The following is my quick and dirty (not to mention dull) strategy for this excellent map. I have also done another strategy on this same map using the long way , which BTW is infinitely more interesting (the way to play the map, not the article itself :-), that I will post very soon on this newsgroup. To really enjoy your HOMM 2 experience, I strongly suggest trying out all maps on your own at least 2 times before reading any of my strategy tips. If you achieve victory on your first or second try, then feel free to compare your strategy and score with mine just for fun :-) Your primary objective in this map is to capture Roland's castle far to the northwest. Everything else is secondary to that victory goal. 1) First order of business is to protect your Babarian and Necromancer castles which are about to be attacked. 2) Buy the best troops available (Cyclops, Trolls and Ogres) in your Barbarian castle but not everything right away. In any case, even without a barbarian hero in the castle, the nearby enemy sorceress should be intimidated enough not to bother you too quickly. 3) The Necromancer castle can be easily defended by returning the nearby Necromancer hero to the castle and by buying the Bone Dragon. With good spellcasting, you can beat the approaching knight army. 4) Archibald who has the carry-over forces should give them up to your midlevel barbarian hero because this barbarian will get superior pathfinding, good logistics (maybe) not to mention better attack/defense statistics than Archie. 5) If you have Hydras, leave them with Archibald since they would slow you down too much. 6) With your barbarian hero leading your carry-over force, go north by the road (Queen's road). Do not deviate too much... 7) Turn right at the first intersection. 8) You will see a wizard castle but ignore it. Continue east until you reach another intersection. 9) Turn left (north) still following the road. 10) By the end of week 1, capture the wizard castle at the end of this road. 11) Buy a spell book and if you can... buy some titans (you can have 4 if you wait on day 1 of week 2) 12) Next, leave the road and follow the meandering path between mountains. Don't worry about losing the Wizard castle. 13) At the end of the path, kill the Titans and use the teleporter. 14) For comparison's sake, let's suppose you had kept Archibald (with Hydras) to reach Roland's castle. You would have arrived by week 3 day 2. By using the barbarian hero (and no Hydras) you instead reach Roland's castle on day 5 of week 2. 15) The final battle is very, very tough. Roland will usually have 9 Titans, 9 rocs, 6 Archmages, 11 Steel Golems and 15 Boars. The problem is that Roland is much better (from a statistics point of view) than either Archibald or your barbarian hero. 16) Also note that Roland (the wizard) has a 5th-level mage guild with two 5th-level spells and three 4th-level spells. If he manages to get some killer spell like Ressurect True or Summon Elemental then you can forget about victory. Spare yourself the humiliation and reload the scenario from the beginning :-) 17) I had to reload many times, before Roland did not have a combination of spells too strong for my carry-over force. He usually got Armageddon, Storm or Mirror Image, but even with those spells, I think it's still possible to win with good tactics (maybe not if Roland mirror-images his Titans too much ;-) 18) Your most important stack is the Black dragons since they are immune to magic and are the only units that can really compete against the mighty Titans. Apocalypse -- The Long And Fun Way (Evil Campaign 11) ----------------------------------------------------- As always, it's a lot more fun and rewarding to completely explore a map rather than go for the quick victory giving you a better score. Therefore, I've replayed the last scenario of the evil campaign in order to provide you with some strategy tips if you decide to play it the long way (like most of us do). I finished in 38 days. Neither the Ogre and/or Dragon alliances are necessary to win this scenario but the carry-over force is preferrable. 1) Winning the long way means that you will have to kill all the enemy heroes and castles before you go after Roland. 2) My carry-over force consisted of 12 Black Dragons and other assorted warlock units. 3) Protect your barbarian and necromancer castles which will get attacked on the first day. If you build enough troops in the barbarian castle, the nearby sorceress will be intimidated and leave you alone for a while. 4) You don't want this annoying sorceress to steal your resources and free troops, therefore go kill her on day 2 with a good barbarian force. 5) Unlike the quick and dirty way to win this scenario, you will leave the carry-over force with Roland since he's a better spellcaster. 6) The 2 first weeks are used for completing the construction of your 3 initial castles. 7) Go north with Archibald's army and capture the wizard (green) castles. 8) I managed to capture two wizard castles in week 1, including one with Titans and a level-5 mage guild. 9) Leave your griffins in the first castle and the minotaur kings in the better second castle. That's for protection from wandering enemies (especially yellow). 10) Concentrate on destroying one enemy color at a time. That means, you take detours to kill enemy heroes of the color you are currently stalking. You destroy all that is green, then all that is orange, then finish with the yellow. 11) Of course, if a wandering enemy hero of a different color is passing not too far away, you can destroy him too :-) 12) The general strategy in this map is to destroy the strongest enemies first by striking quickly. Green wizards, orange sorceresses, yellow knights and finally the red castle of Roland in that order. 13) On week 2, I completely destroyed the green enemy and began my foray into western sorceress territory (orange). 14) Take one or two Titans with your black dragon army that will draw all shooter fire away from your precious dragons. All other troops are optional. 15) On week 3, I almost completely destroyed the orange player taking over all his castles. 16) On week 4, I annihilated the yellow knights (completely to the east) with still only 11 Black dragons and 1 Titan. 17) On week 5 day 1, I built 13 Black dragons in my starting Warlock castle (Griffins, Minotaur Kings and Gargoyles too) and I moved them to the front (up north). 18) I transferred this great Warlock army to Archibald who still had 11 black dragons and who had become a high-level hero during the course of the game. 19) I also bought all Titans available from my Wizard castles and gave them to Archibald. 20) Finally, Archibald's Dragon and Titan army followed the northern path between moutains, took the teleporter and captured Roland's castle. It was a tough epic battle with the only survivors being... 3 of my Titans. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> XII. STRATEGY GUIDES (Guides for Normal Maps) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Note: Contributed by a lot of players. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Scorched Earth ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The following will be another walkthrough for one of the tough scenarios of HOMM 2 : Scorched Earth. I finished this one in 34 days for 199 pts (Paladin rating) at normal settings. I will try a different format this time. Tell me what you think... 1) I suggest starting with a Barbarian castle since this is a medium map. 2) You start with one castle and one town. Build your second castle on the first day ! This will give you a money advantage. 3) Hire one other hero at the east castle and one hero at the west castle. 4) Explore during the first week. Use Barbarians or Warlocks. 5) Your best hero will have an army of Orcs, Goblins and Wolves. Combine armies if possible. You now have 2 scouts with only one quick unit and the best army stack who will take mines defended by slow troops. 6) Forget about mines that are too well defended. There are a lot of free ressources for the taking. 7) During the 2nd week, take the yellow castle in the center of the map with your best army. 8) Continue exploring with your scouts and take everything that is not defended. Hire more heroes if possible. 9) Concentrate on the construction of one castle. Don't upgrade, except for Ogre Lord and forget about mage guilds or turrets. Economize your ore, it's your most important ressource. 10) By the end of the 2nd week, your best castle should have all monster structures except for Cyclops. 11) In the 3rd week, conquer one or two more of the yellow player castles. Buy the best troops and leave for the next city or castle. Before all that, give your best troops from your starting castle to your best hero army. 12) By the end of the 4th week, you could try getting the castle of your enemy brother in the opposite corner of the map. Try to attack while his hero is away exploring. 13) In the 5th week, you have a definite advantage with your more numerous castles. Build all the armies you can in all castles (3 or 4 armies now). Exchange all your ressources for gold. Blitzkrieg the remaining cities and heroes and you've won ! Final word : The secret to victory in this scenario is being aggressive. Take the enemy castles as soon as possible, but most of all don't let the Necromancer build up. -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Shipwrecked ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is my strategy on Shipwrecked! a hard scenario at normal game difficulty. Please note that you start with a lot of disadvantages in this one. Your knight starts with only a village and you have to go up against Warlocks, Barbarians and Necromancers that have 3 towns each. My walkthrough should assure you of a win, but it will take some time. You need to be patient in this scenario. I finished in 74 days for 159 pts (troll rating). Far from my best score but at least I won it ;-) So here are some tips in rough chronological order : 1) In the beginning, always take gold instead of experience points 2) Build your castle on the first turn 3) Hire another hero on day 2 but give only 1 or 2 very fast troops. He will serve as your scout while your other slower army (Lord Kilburn) fights the battles. 4) Take mines that are lightly defended. Don't take any risks especially againt shooter troops. 5) There is a free town to the north of your starting castle ! But don't turn it in a castle, you will need the wood for building up your primary castle. 6) Build the most structures possibles on week 1. Don't bother with Mage guilds or upgrades except for the ranger upgrade. In my game, I succeeded in building the Cathedral on day 7 ! 7) In week 2, you should have a big army with Lord Kilburn (6 paladins, 28 rangers and some swordmen) and a scout you will use to explore. 8) Week 3 : Build up your castle and explore with Lord Kilburn's army going first north (there is a genie lamp !) and then south-east. 9) By the end of week 3, you should start attacking the Barbarians castles in the south-east. 10) Now comes the waiting time... 11) You have to build up your knight and barbarians castles and mop up the remaining barbarian heroes. By this time, you should have seen enough obelisks to try finding the ultimate artifact. Don't search for it if it's too far in enemy territory. 12) By the end of the 2nd month, you should be able to build two big armies : one composed of Barbarian troops (Ogre Lords, Wolves, Orc Chiefs...) and the other including (Paladins, Rangers and Swordmen...). 13) With your 2 big stacks... I suggest attacking the Necromancers with the Barbarian troops and the Warlocks with the Knight troops. 14) Never leave your castles undefended or at the least destroy any passing armies on your way to their castles. -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Spellcasters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ As always, try this scenario at least once before reading my little walkthrough. It's more enjoyable that way and being spoiled of the surprises is very sad ;-) If you complete it, check out how it could have been done differently and compare your score with mine ! This scenario is supposed to decide once and for all who the best spellcasting class will be ! The necromancer, sorceress, warlock and wizard go up against each other and you have the time to build big armies while the crusaders keep the peace. The title of this scenario is somewhat misleading... as you don't really need spell casting to win this one. At least I didn't ;-) I decided to play the Warlock : my favorite hero class. So the following tips are more geared towards the Warlock player. In fact, this article could have been called the Way of The Warlock ;-) I finished this scenario in 56 days for 144 pts (Water Elemental rating) at normal game difficulty. 1) Always buy another hero on your first turn of the same class as your first hero if possible. Give all the troops to your starting hero except for a very fast unit that will stay with your 2nd hero : the scout. 2) I don't usually do this but here is a good order for building structures in the Warlock Castle during the first week : Crypt, Dungeon, Statue, Nest, Maze (if you can), Swamp (if you can), Well (possibly Waterfall as a alternate choice). 3) You play a Warlock, sulfur is your first priority ! 4) Explore with both heroes and take lightly defended mines. Your flying troops (griffins and gargoyles) are great for killing most missile troops ! Separate your gargoyle stack in two if necessary. 5) Do not build mage guilds, you will need the sulfur for Dragons and Hydras. 6) At the beginning of week 2, reinforce your best army with new troops from the castle. 7) Keep Hydras in your castle. They slow down all your troops and they make a great garrison. Hint : With hydras in your castle, the AI will rarely attack you. 8) Here is a good "pocket" formation for protecting your centaurs from flying enemies (thanks to whoever came up with that formation !). You need a closer formation (monsters next to one another). From top to bottom : Dragons Centaurs Griffins Gargoyles (who will move in front of the centaurs at their first turn) Minotaur kings 9) Upgrade for minotaur kings as soon as possible 10) By week 4, you have a big enough army to take on the Necromancer to the north. Keep close to the shore and take the gold mine while you pass. Usually, I would attack other castles much sooner, but your adversaries start with good armies in this scenario. 11) Always save your money for Dragon towers. Do not build Mage guilds except for the first level... 12) You can now give your Hydras (you should have a bunch by now) to your scout and attack the wandering armies and cemeteries that you didn't get the first time. 13) Don't go too far from your castle with this second army. 14) Week 5 : construction 15) If you're lucky, the Wizards and Sorceresses (?) are attacking each other. 16) After the Necromancer is completely eliminated, go after the Wizard next but with Necromancer troops (Vampire Lords, Liches and Bone Dragons are a good combination!) 17) At almost the same time, attack the sorceress castles with a stack of Red Dragons and Minotaur Kings. 18) You can attack on both fronts, but don't leave your castles undefended. If you do, kill any armies that want to avoid you. -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Teleporters ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Think of this map as a 3-pointed star. On each point there are 2 colors and one teleporter leading to an island full of good stuff. You can win by accumulating 400,000 gold pieces or by destroying all your opponents. The second way is quicker. I finished in 80 days for 138 pts (Ghost) playing as a Warlock. 1) There are a lot of free ressources... take the gold and build up your castle. 2) Hire another hero on day 1 and a third one at the beginning of week 2. 3) Keep the buffer zone troops in the middle of the "star" island. 4) With this 3rd hero, build a shipyard with a boat and go explore the map. 5) There are no ressources in the water... but it's nice discovering more of the map. 6) Week 3 : why not build a second boat ? 7) End of Week 3 : attack the castle in your point of the "star" 8) The enemy AI is too stupid to build shipyards... 9) The 4 other colors will beat up on each other. 10) Remember the buffer troops ?, they keep your part of the island free to explore. 11) Attack the other castles by boat when you're ready. -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Terra Firma ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Game difficuly: impossible Map difficulty: expert Goal: vanquish all the opponents in 11 days. Everything is quite simple. For faster movement - at the end of each day try to take with one hero all the army from main hero except the boars. Day 1 Wizard (leave all army in the castle except one boar) takes Treasure chest (money - 2000!) and campfire. Recruit 2nd wizard which goes to the right (leave all army in the castle except one boar). Day 2 1st wizard takes haflings. 2nd wizard takes Treasure chest (money) and visits Gazebo. Recruit 3rd hero. Take all army in the castle (buy some troops) and give it to 1st hero. 1st hero kills monsters on the road and takes artifact. Day 3 Capture lower castle (get 'Magic arrow' spell there). Defend with one hero starting castle. Day 4 Main hero moves south. Leave the starting castle and go down. You have now 2 heroes standing on both sides of lower castle (keep safe distance). Day 5 Orange retakes castle an chases after your main hero leaving castle undefended. Your king has sent supplies to help you in your efforts - 5000K gold and 10 gems. Recruit 3 more heroes (get the free resources to the left from lower castle). Supply the main army. Your main army kills the monsters guarding the entrance in the valley and go SE. Day 6,7 Main army still moving SE. At the end of Day 7 you should stand 1 step from gazebo. Other heroes collect all free resources around and visit all obelisks they see. Day 8 Main army is attacked by red. Don't allow to retreat. Capture castle. 4 bone dragons are waiting for you. Now your puzzle is quite open to detect where is ultimate artifact. For me it was in 1 day distance from castle. Recruit 2 heroes. One will dig the artifact, the other - pass it to main army. Main army stays in castle where you buy 2nd level mage guild. Day 9 Pass the ultimate artifact to main army (I got Ultimate book of Knowledge - +12 knowledge, but actually you need any ultimate stuff with knowledge and/or spell power). Visit well and move south. Day 10 Main army kills red's hero. You already see the Black Fang. Day 11 Black Fang is so weak that it makes you laugh. Good job! You get 415 pts. -- Bene Armstrong This is my killer strategy for Terra Firma. You play a lone warlock that has to caspture a necromancer castle on the other side of a new landbridge created by wildmagic. This scenario is considered of expert difficulty but I found it quite easy (at least more easy than Broken Alliance ;-) I even got my best score ever ! Finished in 29 days for 273 pts (Black Dragon rating) at normal game difficulty. So without further ado here's how I did it : 1) Buy one other hero on day 1. One hero will be scout (one unit) and the other hero the warrior (all other units). 2) Don't forget to get more halflings at the nearby halfling hole. 3) Take the wizard castle to the east very rapidly, by the end of week 1, with your warrior hero (army : lot of halflings, 3 rocs, several boars and possibly mages) 4) Keep the buffer zone between your starting castle and the south Wizard castle. 5) Keep your steel golems in your starting castle for the moment 6) Buy more troops at the beginning of week 2 in your new wizard castle and conquer the southern Wizard castle. 7) Week 3 : Build up the maximum of units possible and give them to your warrior hero stack (Mages, Boars, Rocs, more than 100 halflings). You can add steel golems too but they're not necessary. 8) Buy cheap sacrificial Barbarian heroes to explore to the southeast. 9) With your warrior hero, rush to the southeast ignoring all towns and detours (possible exceptions : Gem mine and obelisks) until you get to Blackfang Castle. 10) Kill wandering Necromancer armies if they're weak. 11) If you don't want a Necromancer Hero to flee, use the slow spell instead of the blind spell which doesn't work on undead.. 12) Conquer Castle Blackfang ! If you're lucky it will be lightly defended with no enemy hero protector :-) It's probably possible to get a better score on this map if it's your second time out (it was my first attempt on this scenario) and if you're very agressive. -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) TERRA FIRMA Expert Map, Impossible rating, 220%,35 days, 363 points. My top score. This one is rather simple. I have played it three times, improving each time the strategy. In every scenario you have to keep in mind the objective. Conquer the BlackFang castle. That's all ! 1.By the end of the first week you have to conquer one of the Wizard's castle. 2.By the end of the second week you have to conquer the other Wizard's castle. 3.Find the Ultimate Artifact. On this artifact depends the strategy. Anyhow in this scenario this artifact is not very necessary. 4.A miss of the game. If you find the castle with the hero in it, the forces guarding the castle don't fight with you if they are different types of the opponent's hero forces. (The second time I played this scenario in 47 days this happened and the victory was easy.) 5.Another miss of the game(not for this scenario).The computer player always leave forces in the castle, so they split their force and it is easier to defeat. 6.On my last attempt I was lucky. I had 2nd level spells only, the Lightning, the artifact which improves with 50% the lightning and as Ultimate artifact the Staff with 12 Spell Power points. Last, but not the least BlackFang was heavily defended. Going for them they send 4 heroes against me, each of them having 4 light troops (7-10 of a kind) and one large troop which was defending the castle. My army was very light, made up of 10 ArchiMages, 20 Stell Golems, 25 Birds, 30 boars and about 60 halflings. 7.In normal situation I could not beat the castle armies made up of 25 Bone Dragons, 40 Liches, 50 Vampires, 70 Royal Mummies, 100 Mutant Zombies. But resisting almost without losses to the four strikes of the enemy, my final fight was with 25 Bone Dragons and nothing more. Anyhow at this level you have to restart the game several times to get the best configuration: spells, artifacts and a bit of luck in order to get a top score. -- Cristian Arosculesei Terra Firma should be set as a hard map. It is just too easy. Lost continent is way harder than it. I won it at a score of 367 in 33 days (impossible level). I just get all resources I need and when enemies comes near I always sneaked back into the castle. About week 2, yellow and orange should be fighting badly. Send a hero to check who wins. If the enemy castle in sight is lightly defended than capture it no matter who strong the hero near the castle you can fled back to your base and can use the magic that castle has (use a waste warlock hero). If your are lucky, you can even buy the troops in the castle ( a lot). Then the enemy hero may not attack. After I used this technique to capture all other two wizard castles, orange defeated and yellow in a caslt near Blackfang. Get about 24 archmages, 30^ rocs, 40 steel golems, 60 boars, 160 haflings before month 2 week 3. I went down to Blackfang at the the 27 day. Lucky me! Blackfang was havily defended! It had 16 bone dragons, 20-30 vampire lords, 98 upgraded zombies, 10 skeletons, and 30 royal mummies. High spell power, high defence, and slow magic will be nessary. -- Judy Chan ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Lost Continent ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Game difficuly: impossible Map difficulty: hard Goal: vanquish all the opponents in 31 days. The map is easy but annoying. It's hard to destroy the enemy fast. That's why I don't like it. The only reasonable choice here is the sorceress : 1) there are tons of wood, gold and artifacts in the water ; 2) its closer to the strongest castle (purple warlock) than any other castle - 2 days by sea. There is one condition - purple must be builder. Otherwise you will find nothing worth using when you capture his castle. The goal is to take purple Warlock castle on Day ~12 - it will be lightly defended cause purple has taken all his army out. If there is not green tower built then u are screwed - restart. Even 5th level guild wont help u to accomplish the task. 1) Purple will be vanquished trying to retake his starting castle. 2) On Day 15 a) give 2 dragons to one sorceress which goes in the whirlpool to reach orange Wizard castle. After capturing wizard starting castle (4th level guild there) she goes East and captures necromancer starting castle. Many bone dragons awaiting for you. b) give 2 dragons to one hero which goes West and captures knight starting castle. Then go south and capture barbarian starting castle. You will see that dragons and your growing spell power are unstoppable. When you have captured these castles you can retreat and hire these heroes whereever you need. 3) On 3rd week hire (actually you should have one hero there already) one hero in your starting castle. Recruit archers and move south cause yellow likes to build there. About this time you should have finished taking all the free resources from sea. 4) On 4th week hire one hero in your starting castle. Take black (you have tons of resources - why not upgrade) dragons and move to the center of the map. Barbarian and wizard like to capture towns there. ~ on Day 27 all castles (!) are captured but you still run after enemy heroes who run in all directions and capture towns or have already done it. Good job! But it can be done a few days faster. I didn't score in my table so I don't know how much points you get. -- Bene Armstrong An original HOMM2 professional map. The goal is to take purple Warlock castle. On normal difficulty you can build second magic level guild and get Lightning bolt or Cold ray and make an attack plan to purple castle within the first week and capture castle on day 7 or 8. Within the 2 or 3 first weeks you can build Dragon tower. Playing on impossible you can't take purple castle within the first week. I decided to conquer the castle on week 2. To conquer Warlock castle I needed a strong army. With 8 druids, 10 grand elves and 6 unicorns it is possible to take purple Warlock castle. How it is possible to build unicorns in the first week? Actually there are 6 piles of random resources near. I had 2 piles of gems (for a total of 12) and 2 piles of ore (for a total of 15). I took money over experience, hired another Sorceress hero, made her board a boat and took flotsam in the water. Warlock castle was lightly defended and I won with minimum losses. There were 4 green dragons available, I hired 2 and stayed in the castle. Both Warlock heroes failed to beat me in the castle and Purple was vanguished. Within the week I upgraded green tower to black and had 7 black dragons by the 4th week. 2 dragons I gave to my primary Sorceress hero who she went into the whirpool to reach orange Wizard castle. Second sorceress with 2 dragons went to conquer Knight castle. Then I vanquished Barbarian and Necromancer. Finished on impossible in 34 days. -- King Arturo (Arturo Axenenko) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Undead Armies ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This scenario is called Undead Armies but your biggest problem will be the Barbarians... I played blue color as a knight (southwest corner). I won this in 54 days for a score of 146 pts (Water Elemental rating) at normal game difficulty. 1) You play a Knight, your first priority is WOOD ! 2) Hire another hero : if possible a Barbarian or Sorceress. 3) Good order for the 1st week of building : Archery Range, Shipyard with Boat, Statue, Well, Blacksmith, Tavern, Armory (if you have enough wood). 4) On day 2 or 3, give most of your archers to your sorceress who will board the boat. 5) Attack the enemy boat already exploring the sea. 6) You now have all the flotsam, chests and island treasures to yourself. 7) By the end of Week 2 : upgrade to Rangers and attack the castle to your north... Follow the shore ! 8) 3rd castle conquest (Necromancer near the shore) should be at the end of week 3 or beginning of week 4. 9) With all the obelisks found by your sorceress and other heroes, you should have a pretty good idea where the ultimate artifact is located. 10) Do not go deep in enemy territory trying to find it. 11) Be patient and build up your 3 castles. Never leave your castles totally undefended. 12) Explore with scouts while preparing your final army. 13) Orange armies (Barbarians) shall be your toughest opponents. 14) There is a teleporter going from the northwest corner to the southeast corner... use it if possible. 15) I leave the rest to you ! -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Valley Of Death ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Game difficuly: impossible Map difficulty: expert Goal: capture Vulcania at Day 11. Take blue barbarian (for max moving in the desert). Day 1-4, Take experience in the Treasure chest (prefer better pathfinding and logistics then and later) and go straight North. Take dwarwes in the Dwarf cottage. No need to recruit more heroes. I tried to recruite one more hero and supply the first with halflings and/or medusas but I lost then 1-2 days. Kill the monsters (if you get not so many dwarwes you'll be screwed if monsters appear to be strong (for.ex., one time I got pack of iron golems)) blocking pathway to North. Get in the boat on Day 5. You land on NE island on Day 7. There you'll find a teleporter to the "valley of death". Delete dwarwes and goblins to move further each turn and later if you have less hitpoints the computer hero will attack. You'll need that for sure. Day 8, Take genies. Day 9, Take as much genies as you can in second lamp. Day 10, You see that enemy hero couldn't reach you. You recruit ghosts and move just one (!) step towards Vulcania. Day 11, Computer hero attacks you. Main goal is to attack weaker enemy units with ghosts. To attack Vulcania you need at least 50+. Final battle is like a cake walk if the same strat is used. You get for this trick 415 pts . Congratulations! -- Bene Armstrong Expert, medium expansion set map. # of players: 1 human(computer) random / 1 human(computer) random / 1 computer necromancer You have to capture Necromancer castle "Vulcania" by the end of month 5, week 4, day 7. The castle lies in the valley of death and is strongly defended. I played Blue Barbarian and used the quickest way to win. Day 1-4, Take experience in the Treasure chest and keep going straight North. Recruit dwarwes in the Dwarf cottage. Day 5-8, Kill the 2nd level monsters blocking pathway to North because there will be a boat you need to board. Board boat with Barbarian and navigate to NE island. There will be a teleporter leading straight to the 'valley of death'. Day 9-11, Recruit some ghosts...for the final battle you will need a horde of ghosts. Finished on impossible in 11 days. -- King Arturo (Arturo Axenenko) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Vikings! ------------------------------------------------------------------------ In this scenario you have 3 towns in the southwest corner of the map. You are heavily outnumbered by 4 Barbarians (different colors) to your north and east. I finished in 71 days for a score of 160 pts (Troll rating) at normal game difficulty, playing as a warlock. 1) Transform your northern town into a castle on day one. 2) Concentrate on building your Warlock castle not build any mage tower (except level one eventually) or castle defenses (turrets) 3) A little tip... green (forest) is safe and brown (broken Lands) is dangerous and crawling with Barbarians. 4) You are protected by big armies that stop the Barbarians from attacking you in the forest. Keep those buffer zones until you are ready to attack ! 5) There are also buffer armies in front of your towns. Leave them alone, until you feel confident in the strength in your armies. 6) When you have 7 Red Dragons (week 4 to 6 depending on your luck), a lot of gargoyles and a bunch of Minotaur Kings, you can start attacking the Barbarian castles. 7) With this army, you should be pretty much unbeatable. 8) I suggest attacking the southeast Barbarian castles first, while the Barbarians in the north attack each other. -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Warrior Knight ------------------------------------------------------------------------ I don't usually make strategy walkthroughs for large maps of normal difficulty, but this one was quite interesting. In addition, since you have to pick one of 4 knights, it's a good scenario to practice your knight's strategies. I will concentrate on the starting game of the Knight castle and on general tips because so many different things can happen. I finished in 76 days for a score of 140 pts (Ghost rating) at normal game difficulty. I played the blue color. So without further ado : 1) Buy 2 other heroes in week 1 : one barbarian or wizard, one knight to combine troops.Two heroes will be scouts, one will be the warrior. 2) As a Knight, your foremost priority is WOOD ! 3) A good building order for week 1 : Archery Range, Statue, Well, Armory (for Swordmen), Tavern, Blacksmith (for Pikemen), Jousting Arena (Farm as an alternate if you don't have enough wood) 4) Week 2 : Shipyard, Boat, Upgraded Archery Range, Marketplace (facultative)... the rest of your money for armies. 5) Usually there is a lot of wood in the water... in those cases, build a shipyard and a boat as soon as possible... the high wood cost is recuperated very soon by all the flotsam and chests. 6) For most of this scenario I had 6 heroes : 3 in boats, 1 to protect the starting castle, 1 scout and 1 warrior. 7) Go after Red opponent (Necromancer) in the north first (week 4) 8) Let the other colors beat up on each other... 9) After eliminating Red, attack the closest and/or weakest Color. 10) Concentrate on destroying one color at the time. 11) Leave the Peasants in your castles unless you have a lot of them.. they slow down the rest of your army and they're the worst troop in the game. 12) A good first knight army would consist of Rangers, Swordmen and Pikemen. 13) A very good second or third army would consist of Paladins, Cavalries, Master Swordmen, Veteran Pikemen and Rangers. 14) It's always a good idea to go after Necromancer castles first.. they're usually weak and don't have a lot of missile troops. -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Wastelands ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is a good scenario to learn how to play the barbarian. You're a barbarian stuck in the broken Lands that must beat an alliance of the Necromancer, the Sorceress and the Wizard. I won in 52 days for 177 pts (Champion rating) at normal game difficulty. 1) Buy a second Barbarian hero, buy troops in your castle and combine all the troops on your starting Barbarian. 2) Foremost priority of Barbarian is ORE ! (mine to the north-east) 3) Good building order for week 1 : Stick Hut, Statue, Den, Adobe, Well, Garbage Heap, (Bridge if you have the ressources) 4) Week 2 : capture the village near your castle but don't upgrade it. 5) Week 2 purchases : Upgraded Hut, Upgraded Adobe, Marketplace, Thieve's Guild 6) You will lack ore during the second week... build up your armies instead. Build Troll Bridge when you have enough ore. 7) By the end of week 3 : attack the closest enemy castle with your big army (15 Ogre Lords, 40 to 50 Orc Chiefs, Wolves, Goblins) 8) When you have this second castle, buy a marketplace and exchange unnecessary ressources for ore. 9) I almost never build cyclops pyramid because I prefer to use my money on Ogre Lords and Trolls. 10) Conquer another castle by the end of week 4. 11) With 3 castles, the rest of the scenario is pretty easy. -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Who Am I? ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Game difficuly: impossible Map difficulty: expert Goal: vanquish all the opponents in 15 days. One special requirement - nomad boots (see Day1,2,3). Think you are weak. Heeeeheeee. Ergh+.. No! Day 1,2,3. Hero kills 2 skeleton armies, takes Treasure chests.Then kills lots mummies (22). Takes halflings and kills lots of gargoyles (21), losing first mage (no more losses yet). Takes first chest and nomad boots (I didn't take thunder mace of dominion). Secondary skills at the end of Day 3: advanced wisdom, advanced balistics, advanced logistics, basic pathfinding (1-2-4-3). Day 4,5 Capture castle. Move north (not the way you came). Don't take the town though it's free. Easily kill () first hero. Second hero attacks you (7 mages, 6steel golems, 39 halflings) with 20 chief orcs, 5 ogres, 5 wolfes, 20 rogues. Lose just one mage. Day 6,7 Purple has built a castle and moved out one hero who fails to capture your castle on Day 7 because you have recruited your second hero - wizard (warlock) . Hero moves north killing 2 u. zombie armies and visiting well. Day 8 Hero kills skeletons on the road, visits oasis and thus can capture castle on that day but that is hard. The enemy hero which stands in the gates of the castle already has a huge army: 30 chief orcs, 5 ogre lords, 18 skeletons (uh.. his morale is gonna be bad), 4 ogres, 8 orcs. You should have such secondary skills before the battle as expert balistics (walls and tower are destroyed in 3 moves) and basic luck (2- 3-5-3). Purple has moved out his last hero. Move your 2nd hero out too. Day 9,10 Hero stays in captured castle 2 days to defend it. Last green's hero attacks his former castle on Day 10 and dies. Green is vanquished. Now you have got many useful and unuseful artificats. Hero moves south (at the end of Dau 10 you stand one step from wolves). Recruit 3rd hero there and move out. This hero will pass the army from this castle to main hero. 2nd hero captures purple's castle and stays there. On Day 10 2nd hero attacks last purple's hero. Purple is vanquished. Day 11,12 Hero kills wolves, then visits 2nd level shrine. Take archers and Treasure chests. Kill m. zombies. Other heroes don't play a role here. Day 13,14,15 Move down the road. Red's biggest army attacks you (suffer minimal losses if spells used properly). Capture castle to the right. Easily kill red's 2nd hero and capture their last castle. Red is vanquished. You get for this trick 407 pts. Congratulations! -- Bene Armstrong Very fun scenario of expert difficulty similar in some way to Dragon Rider. BTW, who is that Wizard ? It's never told :-) I finished in 70 days for 216 pts (Bone Dragon rating) at normal game difficulty. 1) You start with a lone wizard, 8 Mages and some Steel Golems 2) Go north towards the village beating skeletons along the way. 3) Capture village and build castle right away 4) Hire a second hero to use as a scout 5) Takes the mines to the north-west and to the west. 6) Capture another village and upgrade to castle when you can. Try to pick a village away from the other Colors. 7) Keep buffer armies between you and your adversaries. 8) Conquer northern castle at the beginning of week 4. Note : This is the hardest part of the have to avoid the armies until you conquer the castle and then with the remaining troops you must defend against his desperate attacks. 9) Beginning of month 2 : there is PLAGUE !!! Use this to your advantage. 10) After taking northern castle and waiting a little to build up your armies, take the boat to your west. 11) There's not enough good stuff in the water to justify any detour. 12) There's an excellent island with a lot of chests and a gold mine in the south-west corner. 13) In the beginning of the 2nd month, I had 3 castles. 14) Now be patient and build up a good wizard army from your starting castle. 15) Let the 2 remaining colors beat up on each other and take any lightly defended cities. 16) By the 3rd month, it was a war of attrition, my higher number of castles and better armies garanteed me a victory ! -- Quebec Dragon (Sebastien Patenaude) I only used 79 days and a score of 286. Mr. Dragon said he waited the three enemies to beat up each other is wrong. I attracted strong heroes to the town north of the purple's base(swamp). When that hero captured the town. Either green or purple will appear. After a good bloody fight, one of the two heroes must lose some troops, and the other defeated. I usually comes by and just send all the troops of that remaining hero's to heaven. When either purple or green is weakened, I will attack the easily send some of my titans to finish purple off. Then the other hero sucessfully arrive the area near the desert and beat them up also. Then these two heroes will attack red in two directions. the small opening near the xanadu and the south opening of the snow. Red will surely be destroyed. 1. Day1 destroy the first army of skeletons and head to the skeletons on the sawmill (capture the sawmill). 2. Day2 Get all treasure chests near the sawmill and capture the town. 3. Day3 kill the royal mummies north of the first town and capture the ore and gem mines. 4. Day4 Go west and kill the pack of mummies. Go south and capture the town nearest to you. 5. Day5 Capture the sulphur mine just near you. 6. Day6 Get haflings southeast of the second town. 7. Get the crystal mine way north of the ore mine or the in the entrance of swamp. 8. Build castle 9. Fresh heroes are coning near you. The will turn into benifits if you can kill them without losing lots of troops. 10. Build pen, foundry, cliff nest, mage guild, well, ivory tower and 2nd level mage guild. Then wait for money to build clould castles. *11. If STRONG enemies are coming toward you, forget about building. Buy rocs in first place then golems, mages, and haflings. Also left turnnel and right turnnel will greatly help you in the battle. Don't buy any troops unless enemies are coming and your Who am I? hero can't get there in time. 12. Who am I should not leave any troops in castles. 13. Green and purple will gratefully kill each other for the town north of the swamp area. You kill the one who wins(you must be stronger than him). Don't stand between those two or three different colour's heroes. They may attack you first. Just stand near but not to near. 14. After purple's armies are very weak but another hero to go attack green in the dessert with about 5-6 titans, Who am I's going to attack purple with also 5-6 titans. 15. After purple and green got destroyed go straightly to red's base and destroy him too. NOTE: there should be only two heroes or a third to transport armies. Don't let people capture your main wizard castle. Remember on the west end of the swamp there's a castle too. Sea traveling is not nessary. You may tell some junk heroes to get the artifacts in the isle south westward of the map. -- Smarties ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Winterlands ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The first time I played this I started in the Southwest corner of the map as a Necromancer. (Yellow) A major key to victory in this scenario is given in the introduction; i.e. you will need lots of heroes. I was using three of them in the first week and wished I could afford more. The reason for this lies not only in the size of the map (large), but also because there are a large number of recruiting stations to make use of. For example there are Halfling Holes, Archer houses, Wagon camps, Medusa thingies (I forgot what they are called). In fact, immediately to the southwest of the my starting castle was 3 Halfling holes! I collected about 75 of the friendly little Bilbo's in the first week! There are two towns nearby the starting castle in the southwest. They are not too heavily guarded, and may be conquered by week 3. The first town lies immediately to the west, and the other northwest through a mountain passage into snowy country. Meanwhile, your other heroes should be operating under one directive: EXPLORE!! Once you get these two towns converted into castles, then the real action begins. By this time, your other heroes will have explored much of the region to the north. They may have discovered Green's castle. Get your main hero up there quickly to take this castle because he tends to leave it guarded by a mere token force. It's a long journey to get there, so If you have the cash and wood, build a shipyard and a boat in your main castle and sail right up to his doorstep! IMHO, once you get this castle (it will be your 4th) the rest of the game is fairly easy. Just be on your guard with the portals nearby that may provide easy access for the enemy. But, also, use the portals to your advantage and take the initiative. Finally, don't forget to get the multitude of artifacts that are scattered everywhere! It's helpful to have your haste spell ready against the guardians of these artifacts. I found that the first strike made a big difference. Overall, this is a very fun to play scenario. There is a wide variety of terrain and castle types. You will pretty much experience everything Heroes of Might and Magic II has to offer with this scenario. (Not too different from Lost Continent in that regard). Also, the first few weeks are relaxing because you spend more time discovering things instead of desperately defending yourself as in other scenarios. Final Note: Some players will probably recommend buying a boat early and getting the goodies in the ocean. I think this is a good idea, but sometimes you can achieve the same result by defeating an enemy hero and taking all the artifacts that he collected in the ocean thus saving you the work. Although you miss out on the wood & gold, it's not a terrible loss in the scheme of things. -- Scagon Dragon (Jeff Scanga) >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> XIII. DISCLAIMER >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Unpublished work Copyright 1999-2000 Joseph Andro Artanto. This FAQ and everything included within this file cannot be reproduced in any way, shape or form (physical, electronical, or otherwise) aside from being placed on a freely-accessible, non-commercial web page in it's original, unedited and unaltered format. This FAQ cannot be used for profitable purposes (even if no money would be made from selling it) or promotional purposes. It cannot be used in any sort of commercial transaction. It cannot be given away as some sort of bonus, gift, etc., with a purchase as this creates incentive to buy and is therefore prohibited. Furthermore, this FAQ cannot be used by the publishers, editors, employees or associates, etc. of any company, group, business, or association, etc., nor can it be used by game sites and the like. It cannot be used in magazines, guides, books, etc. or in any other form of printed or electronic media (including mediums not specifically mentioned) in ANY way, shape, or form (including reprinting, reference or inclusion), without the express written permission of the author, myself. This FAQ was created and is owned by me, Joseph Andro Artanto ( All copyrights and trademarks are acknowledged and respected that are not specificially mentioned in this FAQ. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> XIV. CREDITS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -Thanks to God. -Thanks to Rob Merrit for his artifact list. -Thanks to Sebastien Patenaude for his too many to count contributions. -Thanks to AstralWizard for his artifact/spell explainment. -Thanks to Dragos Stanciv for his guidance for expert. -Thanks to Kaspa for the idea. -Thanks to New World Computing. -Thanks to you, readers! Goodbye! if you have any contributions, suggestions, comments, critics, or anything, just e-mail me ( >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Unpublished work Copyright 1999-2000 Joseph Andro Artanto.
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