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Heroes Community > Heroes 4 - Lands of Axeoth > Thread: A Guide to Troop Division by Movement
Thread: A Guide to Troop Division by Movement
Charis
Charis

Tavern Dweller
posted May 06, 2002 12:50 PM

A Guide to Troop Division by Movement

Guide to Troop Division by Speed in Heroes of Might and Magic IV   - by Charis

I remember back in the HoMM II days reading a guide by Lok on assigning
troops to armies based on their speed, and it had a huge impact on how I
played the game. After seeing Elvin chew up and spit out the AI with a
blazing fast micro army, I thought it was time to renew the concept in HoMM IV
(For Lok's article see http://www.astralwizard.com/heroes2/h2artmf1.htm)

An army travels as slow as its SLOWEST member, and a hero will speed up to the
fastest mamber. So the basic idea is to not slow down your main army with slow
troops. Instead, the town forces are split into two armies based on speed.
The slow one is used for homeland defense, flagging, or to take resources which
are guarded so strongly it's guaranteed to be a massacre. Why lose your 'best'
troops in a massacre?  The emphasis in this guide is single player for the moment,
since i) multi isn't out yet, ii) I'm pretty poor at hotseat games.

In the Nature campaign Elvin had been travelling light, with just a sprite in
the early game, and later a Faerie Dragon and Mantis or two. Summoning in battle
was sufficient to crush most foes 'like a bug'. Water elementals could do it early
on, and lvl 4 summons later. In the late game there was a bruiser AI stack that
ended its turn 2 steps from a nearly undefended town, and Elvin was over halfway
across the planet. Yet with a trough in between, he actually reached them, and
tore apart a warlock and a sorcerer in their high twenties, along with a huge
army. In HoMM IV... Speed kills!  Enough for the why, here's the 'how'...

Raw Strategic 'Movement' Values, by Town:
Academy: 27-DragonGolem, 25-Genie, 19-Titan,Naga,Mage,Golem, 18-Halfling,Dwarf
Asylum:  30-BD, 29-Efreet 23-Nightmare, 22-Hydra,Bandit, 19-Medusa,Minotaur,Orc
Haven: 30-Angel, 25-Champion, 19-Crusader,Monk,Pikemen,XBow,Squire, 13-Ballista
Necro: 30-Devil, 28-BoneDragon,Vampire,Ghost,Imp, 21-Cerberi, 19-VenomSpawn,Skel
Might: 29-Tbird, 28-Harpy, 27-Nomad, 25-Centaur, 21-Behemoth,Ogre, 20-Zerk, 19-Cyclops
Preserve: 30-Phoenix, 29-FD,Griffon,Sprite, 25-Unicorn, 24-WhiteTiger, 21-Wolf, 19-Elf
Summons: 29-Air,Mantis, 20-Fire,Satyr, 19-Water,Leprechaun, 18-Earth, 13-Waspwort
Neutrals: 29-Gargoyle, 19-Eye,IceDemon,Mermaid,Mummy,Pirate,Trog, 18-Troll,Peasant,Zombie

Let's take a look at these broken down by town, and in some cases early/late:

ACADEMY:
- Fast: Dragon Golem (27) and Genie (25).  Likely led by a Magi with high Order Magic
 and Illusion ability for a magic based blitz attack. Dragons shield the genies and
 can fight if needed, but magic rules the day. Second hero? Scouting and Archery or Magic
 Even early on a strong hero with ONLY genies can do rather well.
- Slow: Titan, Mage (19), Halfling, Dwarf (18). Likely led by a Lord, preferably who
 has learned Tactics, this is a 'ranged' battalion with Dwarven meat shields.
 Second hero? Can be about anything, probably some magic support would be best.
 (Both Dragon Golems and Titans you ask?? The Dragon Golems are to shield, not as a
 main fighting force, and so a generator or one town given to producing them is enough,
 with Titans being the main lvl 4 produced.)

ASYLUM:
- Fast: Black Dragon (30) and Efreet (29). Dual fire immune? This cries out for a GM Chaos
 Sorcerer. Consider Scouting for even faster movement, or a second lower Thief hero.
 I would sure hate to face this army, which can travel HUGE distances quickly and
 wreak havok both with the hero spells and with the punch of the Black Dragons.
 Early on... have your sorcerer grab some bandits and use her spells to win, upgrading
 to Efreet when they become available.
- Stealth: Thief hero with GM Stealth alone. Magic and/or Combat secondary. This guy is
 unique in that he travels best *completely* alone. In early stages the Bandits have some
 lesser stealth capability - take them along until you get some stealth, then sneak
 past things, getting experience there, stealing artifacts, hitting exp structures,
 until you are strong enough to siege lightly defended castles on your own.
- Slow: Nightmare (23), Hydra, Bandit (22), Medusa, Minotaur, Orc (19)
 Although the other armies are both rather strong, this one is no slouch. Consider
 a Chaos Sorceress and an Ranger hero, putting Ranger, Hydra and Nightmare in front,
 and Mage, Orcs, Medusa and neutral Evil Eyes in back. Give one of the heroes strong
 Tactics and a haste spell and get those Hydras up front asap!  (Most production to
 Efreet, just a few Nightmare for their special and for shielding. BD or Hydra
 production rate according to player taste)

HAVEN:
- Fast: Angel (30). That's it. No other choices unless you add in another town.
 Wide open hero choices. Add in a Priest, possibly as an Archmage, with hefty magic
 support. Tactics or Scouting (for faster movement) are nice secondaries. A General
 who fights along with the angel would work as well. Split the angels into two stacks.
- Slow: Monk, Pikemen, Crossbow, Squire (19). The equi-velocity group, must make each
 other happy to travel at the same rate. This army focuses on ranged attacks and
 spellcasting, and compared to many other armies described, is not the strongest.
 But with a Priest with a second magic school it can hold its own. I would choose
 Order, with Illusions, Song of Peace, Ice Bolt, Berzerk and hopefully Hypnotize.
 A second Knight hero would help a lot, as a General with high Tactics and GM Archery.
- Town: I've played and liked the ballista, but in doing this guide noticed the
 abysmal 13 movement. Make pikemen instead, or keep the ballista for town defense.
 Put any hired or found peasants (movement 13) in here, to pay their taxes
 While you're at it, hire a Lord to lead this garrison for even more income.
 The un-made Champions and Crusaders can join in this psuedo group. Why aren't they
 listed above? That's the HoMM IV difference, you can only pick one OR another for
 creatures beyond first level. No ballistas mean pikemen. Angels mean no champions.
 Pikemen in the group means that if you don't pick monks you've got a real ground-pounding
 army. If you LIKE this, by all means go ahead, but I personally can't stand being cut
 down to size and taking losses before I even get my first attack in.
 Note that with a few creatues with specials, you can get away with one town making them
 and the other/rest making the opposite type. For example, I find I can have one Order
 town making Genies and the rest making nagas. Or when sulfur is scarce, having one town
 building hydras and another Black Dragons. I also like splitting the production of
 Preserve lvl 4 creatures if I own more than one Preserve town.

NECROPOLIS:
- Fast: Devil (30), Vampire (28). Here I'll take the two movement point loss to add
 Vampires into the mix, and have that awesome stack move around at top speed rather
 than slowed down by skeletons. With their great special ability, Vampires work
 well as the 'key' stack, and Devils add extra hero-killing power with their telekill
 ability. Ice Demon meat shields are great, and they can draw retribution strikes
 off the intended vampire targets. Hero choice: Necromancer with GM Necromancy, and
 if nature is available, make him a Demonologist. Then you get max speed AND can
 generate the extra creatures you need mid-battle. Tactics (speed, offense, defense to
 help the vampires) and scouting/pathfinding (faster movement) are nice secondary.
 A secondary hero with direct damage, such as a sorceress, is useful (or GM Archer).
- Ethereal: Bone Dragon, Ghost (28), powerful spellcaster. This isn't a "main" army,
 but an interesting one that falls between the fast and slow. Both of these creatures
 have high movement and are great meat shields. BD's take half damage from ranged, and
 the ghost have high defense and high production. Their offensive benefit is their
 specials. They protect a spellcaster long enough to deal direct damage (sorceror)
 or to cast Raise Vampire and raise an army mid-battle. This army can flag, harass,
 defend, and get around very rapidly - give the hero some pathfinding skill as well.
 The intended use is in a multi-necropolis map, using just one town for production of
 these creatures (and perhaps Venom Spawn, the other 'underproduced' creature)
 (Hired gargoyles would fit well here)
- Living: Imps (28), Cerberi (21), Venom Spawn (19). Perhaps siphon off some devils
 here instead of the 'fast' group, making that one Vampire only. No morale penalty for
 undead, necromancy not needed. I would probably have a Death Knight here with his own
 combat skills, as well as a spellcaster who passed on Necromancy. (Sorceress likely)
- Slow: Skeletons. Only. Other main heroes will likely have Necromancy, and will generate
 large quantities of skeletons. UNLIKE HoMM II or III, you won't get killer stacks of
 thousands of skeletons that dominate the game. They're just too weak in HoMM IV (if
 anyone has alternate experience here, please correct me!) The raised skeletons are
 WAY too slow for the fast vampire group, too undead for the 'living' group, and too
 slow for the dragons and ghosts as well. So rather than dismiss them, detach them
 when they are raised, and have a Lich hero 'collect' them. Their only chance of
 living to be a large stack is to not let them see combat  
 (Stick any generated mummmies with this group)

 Note I'm not suggesting these armies are equally powerful. With some other towns both
 the fast and slow are almost as good. Here the fast stack rules, the slow stack may
 never see combat and will have a weak leftover hero (give him nobility and govern a
 town at least), and the others are secondary stacks where there are threats to your
 towns, lots of land to explore, or lots of locations to flag.
 Note also that the Necropolis can hire a Lord (Order Might heroes) for their hometown
 and any captured town, to increase both income and troop production.

PRESERVE:
- Fast: Fairy Dragon (29) or Phoenix (30), Mantis (29), and Air Elementals (29).
 Early game: Sprites then Griffons. Hero is Druid all the way, with GM Nature and
 strong pathfinding secondary. He flies like the wind, has ONLY high hit point
 members in his army, slaugher wimpy armies quickly (auto combat even). But mainly
 to last a round or two until a strong mid-battle army has been summoned. In the early
 game summoned Water Elementals are really very nice, with Ice Bolt attacks and good
 toughness. Later it's summoned mantis, FD or Phoenix depending on the opponent.
 In general I'll build Fairy Dragons for this group rather than Phoenix, and summon
 Mantis from the Creature Portal. Why? They complement each other nicely. The Mantis
 can get up very quick and attack, and BIND the opponent, allowing the Fairy to wallop
 them with lightning or fireball spells. Note! Even if you pick Phoenix as the main
 lvl 4, bring at least ONE Fairy Dragon along with the army for its Confuse spell.
 This one is great, and it can neutralize (for example) an opposing stack of a dozen
 fairy dragons while the hero and Mantis and Phoenix beat down the rest of the army.
 Having such an army in the last map of the Nature campaign was what prompted this
 guide. He just flew over the map, defeated foes that the computer said would 'beat him
 handily' WITHOUT losing a creature, and the lack of 'wimps' in the army meant I could
 Quick combat puny wandering monster stacks without even going to the combat screen.
 (Try that with an army with genies or a big stack of lower lvl preserve creatures and
 see them get chewed up). In fact, I stopped bringing sprites along for this very reason.
 Even though fast enough, I ended up wasting a lot of timing fighting these battles, or
 having them run for cover every battle. Just not worth it. A large griffon stack is
 a helpful addition, but I think I would put them in the other army.
 Note! Split your stacks, with 'one' Fairy Dragon taking up empty slots, to leave zero
 or one empty slots. You want to summon air elementals, but will have to 'split off'
 ANY other summons you get, as they're too slow. The Air has great movement and are
 fairly tough, and for free are a nice addition.
 Second hero? Or secondary skill... Chaos magic fits REALLY nice in here, both for
 direct damage, confusion, mass confusion, and some sleepers I found VERY helpful:
 Mass Fortune and Mass Unfortune. Mass Fortune and Giant Strength can make the difference
 between an army that continually comes away with no losses vs one that sees your lvl 4
 creatures die off as fast as your town produces them.
- Slow: Griffons OR Unicorns (as you like, I prefer Griffons), Sprite (29) and Elf (19).
 Actually, ditch the Elves in favor of White Tigers and you have a second Medium-fast
 army). Thematically, I just 'like' having an Elven archer / ranger brigade. As much
 for RPG purposes as anything else, it also is a big contrast from the summon-heavy
 army above. Put Unicorns and Wolves in the front line, along with the random elementals,
 satyrs or leprachauns that appear. Split if needed, but cover all four front slots.
 In the back row place your large elf stack, a GM Archery Ranger, and an Archer or Druid
 with good bow skills but also with some solid Nature magic support (Wasp Swarm at least).
 If you don't care about this aspect, and don't mind every battle being fought primarily
 with summoned creatures, just make this a griffon, sprite and air elemental army for
 second fast, but lower level, Druid army.
- Town: Waspworts. They *ARE* good, but... movement 13. I did bring them to one castle
 siege where it looked very likely my hero would not live long enough to be able to
 summon the army he needed to win, and I was impressed with these little plants.
 If your towns face no threat, I much prefer summoning Mantis from the portal.

STRONGHOLD:
- Fast: Thunderbird (29), Harpy (28) or Nomad (27). Conan hero, a General with GM of
 everything combat, and some tactics or pathfinding. He's the killer here, not really
 the troops. He rides the thunderbird to move faster, and brings some harpies or nomads
 only because they can keep up, and so they can shield him while he kills things with a
 brutal double strike bow attack. Early game he takes 'Combat' as first skills and
 gets to GM immediately, becoming his own army, and taking along a few faster creatures
 for the ride. If you go with a few towns and two armies, just have one town producing
 tbirds, and the the other hero have the behemoths.
- Beastmaster army: Tbird or any top-speed creature he can get his hands on, even if
 just a few. Its a variant of the hero-focus army above. This path is rare, but can
 happen with this skill path: Barbarian takes several 'Combat' skills offered, then
 TWO in tactics to become a low level General. REFUSE any other tactics offered, which
 means saying yes to a lot of combat skills (which is just fine!). Eventually, you MAY
 be offered a magic skill, such as Nature Magic (My 'Jaervak' did). Say yes if new
 skills here are offered, and combat instead of tactics when not. As soon as this magic
 tree gets more than tactics (ie 3 points) he will switch classes to Beastmaster.
 (If instead of Nature another is offered, can go that route). It's much easier to choose
 this path if a Witches hut or University is present on the map. The big problem is of
 course learning spells, since your hometown has no tower. This route only makes sense
 when you are fighting one (or preferably more) towns with the magic school of interest.
 For example you see you're fighting Chaos, Nature and Life towns, and see a Basic Nature
 magic altar. Hmmmm.... this would be the map custom designed for Conan the Beastmaster.
 The big difference with the regular might hero is that summoned creatures play a big
 role in the battle. That's why Nature or Order is a must, not Chaos. His point is not
 to cast spells EACH round, but to get some summoned/phantom creatures in place, so THEY
 act as the meat shields, not him or his troops, and so he has the freedom to unleash
 his GM Archeryhood upon their pates  
 Note! If you find a Taven on the map, NOT in your town, you can hire a Druid who will
 easily pick up the Combat skill and be able to go this route. With no magic schools of
 your own, Combat, doing the damage yourself, is about the only way to make it worthwhile
 to pick up a decent level magic school.
- Slow: Behemoth (21), Cyclops (19), Centaur (25), Berzerker (20), and Harpy or Nomad.
 The level two creature is a matter of taste. Well, so are level three and four but
 I think it's good to have SOME ranged attack, and with the cyclops you get a powerhouse
 that gets no retribution for his attacks. The Harpy continues on the no retribution
 them, and the Behemoth is a solid bruiser who can benefit from the General's tactical
 bonuses. He is more troop focused than his fast army counterpart, and more skill points
 outside combat to help them. There's a huge difference between a General with 20 points
 in Combat, Basic Tactics and Basic Leadership, vs a tactician General with GM Offense,
 Defense, and enough points in Combat and Magic resistance to be hearty.

 Note! For BOTH armies sake, be SURE to hire a Lord for every town you own, and have
 him tag along with your main army to get about Expert Nobility. With that and Breeding
 Pits you'll crank out noticeably more units!

I hope this guide has been useful, and has made the two main points:
1) Split troops into two strong armies based on strategic movement, and
2) Going 'with' the new HoMM IV Heroes focus (both in having two main armies and
  having two heroes per army) can be quite strong as well as very 'rich' in the
  sense of complementary skill development.

Thanks if you've read through this far
Charis

(PS I'm new to the HC but not to the Heroes saga, and this forum more than most others I've read seems to take an interest in strategy articles, judging by some of the excellent feedback I've seen other posts get, so... hello!)
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Juregen
Juregen

Tavern Dweller
posted May 07, 2002 10:18 AM

pushing it back to the top
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Henl86
Henl86


Known Hero
oLd SkOoL RA2 OwNaH
posted May 07, 2002 10:25 AM

Quote:
pushing it back to the top


For future refrence, it's called bump.

Also, Charis, money makers such as lords, peasents and heroes with artifacts won't make money while inside a garrison. Annoying bug.
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bestanden
bestanden


Adventuring Hero
posted May 07, 2002 11:46 AM

speed

Wanted to add my .02 to Charis's post.

1) Pathfinding is more important than tactics for speed on the map.  Ironically, Order and Life, the two slowest armies, don't get it as easily.  Also, hard to lead either of these armies with a thief (morale), so taverns don't really help.  Don't really know the solution at this point other than try to get scouting skill on your knight, mage or priest early in the game.  I think the best strategy for life may be an early shooter rush, or become outclassed quickly by the other towns.  Order can wait a bit and develop because of djinn/golem speed army and powerful spells.

2) Every other town should generally start a thief as their first main on all but small or open/early contact maps.  By the time a druid is summoning elves, a thief is flagging gold mines guarded by companies of level twos.  And if the thief doesn't get stealth, then you will have to settle for the second most valuable skill in the game, pathfinding, which goes directly to speed.  Finally, a thief doesn't "cost" precious hero levels, IMO, as opposed to Homm3, Homm4 is all about wisely allocating and spending hero levels.  The same creatures can promote an infinite number of thieves and are still there (stronger with higher exp) when your army gets around to them to harvest the exp for good.  

3) Am not so sure that splitting fast and slow armies is the solution.  In most cases, I would rather spend any extra gold on potions/buff sites rather than an army of golems, dwarves and hobbits stumbling around the countryside.  Slow troops are generally only bought to caravan into the front line castle.  On the other hand, slow but very strong troops, such as medusa and water elem, might trail the main army (which will usually detour for buff sites) and be brought up as necessary for tough battles, so there is no definitive answer.

4) On a side note, last night I tried a little experiment with summoning, hiring a new druid once the existing one got to GM summoning and choosing summoning advancements to the exclusion of other skills.  It is scary how fast druids can get there, generally 8-10 level with a couple of buff sites.  On an xl map, you can create at least three of these little water elemental factories per month ( and they each seem to get up to expert nature in the process, which is not too shabby if you get summon air elemental).  Combine that with the creature portal for unbreachable castle defense while your main speed army of fairy dragons and griffs (accompanied by a thief... we're talking REAL fast) get stronger.  In the key battles, caravan the water elem up to the front to join the main army and you have a force to be reckoned with.
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Henl86
Henl86


Known Hero
oLd SkOoL RA2 OwNaH
posted May 07, 2002 03:57 PM

Quote:
Order can wait a bit and develop because of djinn/golem speed army and powerful spells.


What's a djinn?
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Camelnor
Camelnor


Famous Hero
Also known as Blue Camel
posted May 07, 2002 09:06 PM

Quote:


2) Every other town should generally start a thief as their first main on all but small or open/early contact maps.  By the time a druid is summoning elves, a thief is flagging gold mines guarded by companies of level twos.  And if the thief doesn't get stealth, then you will have to settle for the second most valuable skill in the game, pathfinding, which goes directly to speed.  Finally, a thief doesn't "cost" precious hero levels, IMO, as opposed to Homm3, Homm4 is all about wisely allocating and spending hero levels.  The same creatures can promote an infinite number of thieves and are still there (stronger with higher exp) when your army gets around to them to harvest the exp for good.  




I think it is more imperative to get a thief early in a Small or Medium map, rather than Large or X-Large.
Especially on small, if you wait your thief at their castle doorstep, and then they send their army away and have nothing in garrison, plop! you take it, and buy all their troops, etc.  
Other reasons being simply that on a Small and Medium map, you need to know what your opponent is doing a lot more than on a Large or X-Large, because often it can take 4 or less days from the enemy's castle to your castle.

Also, you said: "And if the thief doesn't get stealth..."
Thieves START with stealth...


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bestanden
bestanden


Adventuring Hero
posted May 07, 2002 09:50 PM


>quote

>I think it is more imperative to get a thief early in a >Small or Medium map, rather than Large or X-Large.

I disagree, would much rather spend the levels on combat or tactics.  Even a thief needs to bootstrap up a little and on small and medium maps, I'll be using all chests for gold and hiring as many combat heroes as possible.  

>Especially on small, if you wait your thief at their >castle doorstep, and then they send their army away and >have nothing in garrison, plop! you take it, and buy all >their troops, etc.  

This is not going to happen with decent players.  A tiny garrison will polish most low level heroes, especially thieves.  If you ever find my castle totally unguarded, you deserve to have it.

>Other reasons being simply that on a Small and Medium map, >you need to know what your opponent is doing a lot more >than on a Large or X-Large, because often it can take 4 or >less days from the enemy's castle to your castle.

Recon is always good, but on small and medium maps there are better, less expensive ways to do it.  How about 1 bandit?  The short time to contact with the opponent you mention is the primary reason not to develop a thief and to spend the gold elsewhere. A thief-centered strategy will not work too well if the game is over in a month.

>Also, you said: "And if the thief doesn't get stealth..."
>Thieves START with stealth...

Really? They start with stealth? Good to know.

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Largo_LeGrande
Largo_LeGrande


Promising
Known Hero
from the Carribean
posted May 08, 2002 02:29 PM

Quote:

What's a djinn?



In AD&D (and probably in many others) djinn (singular djinni or was it vice versa?) are air genies while efreet are fire and daos earth. There are water genies too but I don't remember the name.

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