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Heroes Community > Heroes 5 - Temple of Ashan > Thread: Alternatives comparison
Thread: Alternatives comparison This thread is 23 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 ... 10 ... 19 20 21 22 23 · «PREV / NEXT»
sigma1932
sigma1932

Tavern Dweller
posted January 14, 2009 05:17 PM

Quote:
Quote:
Didn't read all 19 pages (yet), but a few points of opinion:

IMO, Magnetic Golems are ALWAYS better than Steels-- having 100% magic-proof ('cept for Fist of Wrath which is weak anyway) and the ability to resurrect them permanently without the HP penalty far outweighs steel's slightly better stats and unlimited retaliation.



@sigma,

Agree about the magic-proof, but you have forgotten armageddon's physical part of the attack, and magnetic golems' magnetism does not work for armageddon.  
With the right spells and tactics, steel golems are usable too.  Most types of heroes would not be readily casting spells during their turn, anyway.



The physical part of Armageddon only affects the middle of the map, so just don't move them out there.  As for magnetism...just take everything else off the map, stick the mag-golems in a corner, leave them there and have them defend (especially effective with Razzak if you develop his Defense skill).

Yes, there are holes in the strategy (Imps/Avenger/Sandro's Cloak + Dark Magic/Zoltan), but vs. most, it's worked more often than not for me in longer games.

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broadstrong
broadstrong


Promising
Known Hero
Level 20 Vassal of Light
posted January 25, 2009 06:21 AM bonus applied by alcibiades on 25 Jan 2009.
Edited by broadstrong at 13:12, 25 Jan 2009.

In his masterpost, Doomforge has done a very good analysis of the comparison between the base upgrades and the new alternate upgrades.  

I hereby offer my alternate and additional views about the upgrades, and also compare the upgrades of the stronghold creatures, which Doomforge has agreed.  The main differences are largely due to my second opinions on certain upgrades (especially Haven creatures) and certain creature ability changes in v3.1.  Also, I am more of a defensive player, so my views may differ in some way.  Note that if the descriptions are somewhat brief, that means that I generally agree with Doomforge’s analysis (well, many of his observations are indeed spot-on).

For every creature, I will highlight in bold the better upgrade (in my opinion, that is), together with a dilemma rating that states how difficult it is to choose the better upgrade among the two.  The rating is from 1 (no-brainer, one is obviously better) to 10 (very tough choice, both are equally good in the right situations).

Now I shall start my (hopefully not-too-long) analysis.

HAVEN

Conscript vs Brute (Dilemma Rating: 6)

Unless you are going for some special build, your knight should have a high defense stat, which means the extra defense the conscript gets does not matter a lot.  If Assault triggers, it can work wonders, especially with a huge stack of brutes attacking the enemy unit after its retaliation is used up.

While bash is a good ability to have, the lower HP of the conscripts means that their attacks do not trigger bash as readily as that of squires (compare hit points of 49 conscripts and 20 squires to see what I mean by “lower HP”).  Sure the knight can get vitality, 2 vitality rings, equip ogre club and ogre shield (gives +2 HP) and visit Mother Earth Shrine to increase HP of conscripts, but that works for squires as well.  

However, admittedly, having large stacks of squires and conscripts in the same army can be powerful in triggering a bash run, making the enemy stack ATB reset continuously.  That is why it can be a dilemma to choose, should you wish to upgrade the peasants.

Marksman vs Crossbowman (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Is there any doubt that generally, no range penalty is better than precise shot?  Against most enemies, no doubt about it, but against walkers/tanks with high defense, it is where precise shot shines, by inflicting tons of damage when enemy comes close.  

Teleport it to some place where marksmen do such damage, and you will present the enemy some tough decisions: whether to attack the pals/champs and angels and leave your marksmen to do increased ranged damage, or attack your marksmen and let the pals/champs and angels run riot.

However, in general, it is quite obvious which upgrade to take.

Squire vs Vindicator (Dilemma Rating: 8)

Aren’t squires defensive creatures?  Well at least their shield others ability is useful, making them useful defensively.  As for the vindicators, their initiative and speed are just too slow (no more faster than footmen or squires) to get them to enter the battlefield quick enough (unless you teleport them).  Besides, if you are talking about dealing damage, the pals/champs and angels are the ones doing most of the damage anyway, the vindicators are more like supporting the attack or cleaning up the remaining enemy units.

As the game goes, you should also consider to train footmen to cavaliers (besides the obvious step of peasants to archers), despite the higher cost, the returns are better.  By then, how many footmen can you really spare to upgrade them?  Vindicators need numbers to be effective, squires don’t (at least for the shield others ability).

But as the OP states, it is a good idea to include BOTH units in the army, especially when the attacking nature of vindicators is too hard to resist for might-oriented haven.

Imperial Griffin vs Battle Griffin  (Dilemma Rating: 7)

In theory, imperial griffins are better overall, with better attack, maximum damage, initiative and special (which can be used infinitely), so are they always the better choice?  Well, its HP (especially) and defense are poorer, which the AI takes good advantage of, at least in my games, by perpetually (really, even more often than crossbowman) targetting them (On the other hand, AI hardly attack battle griffins).  This is perhaps why battle dive can be used infinitely, which the imperial griffins should do so anyway (but at the expense of being unable to receive buffs from hero spells).  After some time, this can develop into a problem, whereby the new growth of this tier is simply to replace the loss in the previous week (or worse, cannot make up for the huge loss).  Not being part of the training roster hurts even more since training cannot be used to add its numbers.

Besides, the random landing of the imperial griffins may backfire in sieges where they land on the moat (and take damage, for that).  When landing, they are also injured by poison and searing aura (especially damaging with large number of hell stallions).  It is up to the player to determine if the unpredictability is a risk worth taking (especially in the early game where conservation of troops is important).  This is why I give a rather high dilemma rating.

Inquisitorvs Zealot (Dilemma Rating: 7)

With their poor damage rating, they are meant as supporting shooters and spellcasters.  Their usefulness depend on what spells the knight has (or rather, doesn’t have).  While zealot’s extra cleansing is good, I would not expect a tier 5 unit to successfully remove spells cast by a level 15-odd hero (but at least purge is more successful in removing enemy’s positive spells).  It is a double whammy if they are puppeted, or a puppeted friendly troop attacks zealots and they retaliate, removing your own troops’ positive spells.  

However, against a dark magic hero or troops that can cast low level dark magic (shamans, shadow witches and their upgrades), the inquisitor’s spells at least come in handy to counteract the debuffs, freeing up the hero’s action to make an attack or cast high-level spells.  Plus it has slightly better defense.  This is why I prefer the inquisitor, but I admit many players probably prefer zealots.

Paladin vs Champion (Dilemma Rating: 10)

One has better defense, immunity to Frenzy and Lay Hands ability (good against most curses), the other has better maximum damage and can inflict dragon-like damage (good against clustered formations), a really tough decision to make indeed.

For the paladin, Lay Hands is one of the most reliable counters against dark magic and other type of curses; it only does not work against the permanent curses (such as wheel of fortune, evil-eye and vulnerability).  If this ability needs to be used often, Frenzy immunity is also much required (so that the nearby paladins won’t attack your own units instead).  The better defense helps to keep its numbers when charging into enemy ranks.

Champion Charge, when used correctly, does work wonders, and is a good counter against cluster of troops (especially for hitting guards of shooters; the charge will also hit some of the shooters).  With the champion’s increased maximum damage and Klaus’ special, it is deadly.  Not immune to Frenzy?  Just make sure champions are nearer to the enemy troops as often as possible.  Hitting your own troops?  With the knight's high defense, hopefully that can mitigate some of the damages.  At worse, the champions can attack without charging.

For me as a defensive player, I would usually take paladins, partly because of their Lay Hands ability, but champions are viable alternatives when I do use them for my heroes.  This has got to be the toughest choice of all (their power rating are identical, in fact), for the main killing machine of this faction.

Archangel vs Seraph (Dilemma Rating: 4)

Ok, so your unit (usually pals/champs, griffins or crossbowman) receives a lot of casualties.  In come the seraphs which cast divine vengeance (quite imbalanced even in v3.1) and kill a large fraction of the enemy stack.  The other units join in and cleaned up the rest of the enemies.  A great win…or is it?  Remember, the dead units are already dead.  After several battles, the casualties accumulate, and the knight is too far from home to replenish troops.  Then comes the enemy hero with stronger troops (and lots of artifacts), now your haven troops may not even win this battle.

So the archangel has an inferior attack?  It has better defense.  It does inferior damage for a tier 7?  At least it is immune to weakness (could be useful against earth daughters’ retaliation), and anyway it is not in training roster, so its numbers are not great normally unless there are external dwellings or dragon artifact set is equipped.  Its greatest asset, however, is the Resurrect Allies ability.  Use it (at the right moment) to eliminate (or at least reduce) losses in battles, this preserves the strength of the knight’s troops for important / tough battles.  This also saves money for hiring new troops (haven troops are not cheap), which can be channelled to use the unique training racial skill.  The possibility of having no losses (for weeks or months after many battles) is a tactical plus, and the reason why Haven is a powerful faction.

The seraph, while it seems good, has certain limitations.  It has poorer defense (when surrounded by enemies this can be a problem) and its damage range is too wide (either the best damage-dealer or dealing only tier 6 damage).  Divine Vengeance, however good, can only be used once (ok, twice if hero has two pieces of Sar-Issus set), while zealots can cast righteous might also (and they should, zealots’ cleansing is doubtful against high-level spellcasting hero).  I would rather prefer some form of stability, instead of the extra few points of damage or the one-time-only Divine Vengeance (still imbalanced, but at least it is nerfed).

Resurrect Allies do need a moderate number of archangels to be powerful, but Divine Vengeance, frankly, is not useful on even more occasions (you can’t use it in the beginning of battles when there are no casualties, and the enemy unit must still kill a significant number of your own troops for it to be powerful).  

After all I have said, it should be clear that, while seraphs add a new dimension to playing Haven faction, archangels are still better.


SYLVAN

Sprite vs Dryad (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Personally I like the sprite, but I have to admit that the extra initiative and its spells pale in comparison with the dryad’s better damage and the useful Symbiosis ability (basically it is a tailor-made resurrection for dryads and treants).  Cleansing hardly works (no thanks to its mechanism) and wasp swarm is only good for ATB reduction (its main purpose, anyway).  Symbiosis is a good ability to resurrect your dryads and treants simultaneously, giving dryads more survivability and treants more usability.  Dryads are certainly better, but the higher initiative of sprites could still be welcome (it is a flyer and caster, with the right parts of dragon set artifact increased, its initiative can be even higher, allowing it to cast wasp swarm to reducing ATB of enemy creatures, or make sneak attacks at enemy groups).

War Dancer vs Wind Dancer (Dilemma Rating: 1)

The war dancer’s stats are all inferior, yet it has a higher power rating?  I don’t understand this at all.  Anyway, how often can you use its war dance combo?  With agility, wind dancers are almost like mini-treants, though it could be tiring for players as they regularly try to move it at its maximum distance.  Enough said.

Master Hunter vs Arcane Archer (Dilemma Rating: 2)

Another no-brainer, sort of.  The only reason I can think of using master hunters is that its warding arrows can reduce ATB of enemy creatures (similar to sprites’ wasp swarm), which can give some tactical advantages.  Arcane archers are so much more powerful they are calling to be nerfed.  Also enough said.

Druid Elder vs High Druid (Dilemma Rating: 5)

This is not so obvious.  What is the hype on channelling?  Make rangers a pseudo-warlock?  Rangers should be casting light spells primarily (unless there is Imbue Ballista, ofc); their low spellpower makes destructive spells really weak.  Sure rangers can get pretty good knowledge (which is a much-needed cap for spellpower increase by channelling), but ultimately they are MIGHT heroes, not wizards or warlocks.  It is their defense that is more important to preserve the somewhat-frail sylvan units (except treants and maybe unicorns); their high knowledge is more for catering to Imbue Arrow.  

At least druid elders can provide a bit more mana when needed and they can cast lightning bolt (with some numbers, it is very powerful).  So I will go for druid elders, despite their lower HP and power rating (unless the hero is a spellcaster, maybe).

Silver Unicorn vs Pristine Unicorn  (Dilemma Rating: 9)

This is the tough one.  Despite Child of the Light being potentially powerful (imagine pristine unicorns with all the light spell buffs), it does not help much if the ranger has no chance to cast light spells (which means the druids have to cast endurance) or the enemy hero does not cast light spells (typically those from “evil” factions).  In fact, any enemy hero should be intelligent enough to either not cast light spells or get the troops to eliminate the pristines first.

While aura of magic resistance is hard to use for the attack-minded silver unicorn, it can at least be useful at times (more so if hero has magic-resisting artifacts) and it can be rewarding to see enemy spells fizzle.  The better defense also makes them more durable (3 HP less means nothing when the attack and defense are so much better).

I choose silver unicorn simply because its ability is less easy to counter, but I agree with Doomforge that it’s all a matter of taste.

Ancient Treant vs Savage Treant (Dilemma Rating: 7)  

On paper, the prospect of making treants attack is very enticing, but once you know that the savage treant will lose its entangling ability once it activates Rage of the Forest, perhaps you should think twice.  True, the attack increases by a great deal, but the raw damage doesn’t, so it is only “more powerful tier 6 damage”, and the defense reduces so much that it becomes a durable unit with tier 5 defense.  Initiative boost is good, but it still cannot fully compensate for the loss of entangling, which imo is good in a tactical sense.  

By entangling the enemy units (especially flyers and the mobile walkers), you make sure they have to battle the treants, thus leaving your more powerful troops (shooters, unicorns and dragons) relatively unscathed.  With the ancient treant, you can even so much as to use its Take Roots ability to defend AND have unlimited retaliation.  The damage does not matter too much in such an instance; the other sylvan troops (especially arcane archers) would do most of the damage anyway.

Most of the attack-oriented Sylvan units are generally quite fragile (except the agile wind dancers and the unicorns), so by the time the savage treants reach enemy lines, they probably do not have many troops to support anyway.  For those who still want to use savage treants, then at least get them to the enemy side first before activating Rage of the Forest.

Emerald Dragon vs Crystal Dragon  (Dilemma Rating: 3)

You will likely say, “The emerald dragon is better?  But the crystal dragon has the awesome Prismatic Breath!”  Then I have to say that Prismatic Breath is another hyped ability.  Sure it hits many enemies IF it works well, so if it doesn’t?  Could be only ONE enemy!  Accordingly, it seems like theory and practice do not agree for this ability, even luck 4 or 5 does not guarantee this ability to occur very often, so it seems it is more dependent on the luck of the player (you).  What’s more, against a ranger, it is only normal (note, normal, not even wise) to equip luck-reducing artifacts to negate the luck skill of rangers anyway.  If an ability that does not occur THAT often and can be easily countered is considered awesome, then almost every ability is superb.

Emerald dragon always attacks 2 tiles (potentially shooters and their guards), has better attack and defense, and is immune to earth-based damage spells (such as implosion with emerald slippers).  Crystal dragon does not have any immunity, which makes it an attractive implosion fodder.  Stability is better, not some extra damage points that are not even 100% certain.


ACADEMY

Master Gremlin vs Gremlin Saboteur (Dilemma Rating: 3)

With better attack, defense and initiative, plus Sabotage (a bane for enemy war machine specialists, you know who they are), it is another wonder that the gremlin saboteur has the same power rating as the master gremlin.  However, if using golems extensively, master gremlins can be of use, not to mention that there could be times when there is a need to repair ballistae (such as against enemy with Succubi, which can range retaliate on ballista).

Obsidian Gargoyle vs Elemental Gargoyle (Dilemma Rating: 5)

The elemental gargoyle has better defense and initiative, which makes it more useful in charging into enemy ranks and blocking shooters, and lasts longer while surrounded by enemy troops.  Its aura of vulnerability also allows the wizard to cast destructive spells around it, destroying enemy troops.  So it is a clear choice?  No!

With all these euphoria, don’t forget that gargoyles are elemental, and so they cannot be resurrected or healed.  The extra defense only makes it slightly more durable in melee combat, but the aura of vulnerability makes it susceptible to all but earth-based destructive spells.  Now perhaps you should keep it within your own ranks to conserve numbers?  Suddenly the aura becomes a big liability, your friendly troops surrounding it would be hit hard by direct damage spells (imagine the enemy hero is a warlock…).
 
This is where the obsidian gargoyle’s elemental immunity kicks in.  Whether you wish to use it as a guard for shooters or a blockade unit for enemy shooters, the elemental immunity kicks in handy, especially against warlocks, runemages and necromancers.  The wizard can even cast area-effect destructive spells around it (archmagi’s fireball works well here), and it remains unscathed.  More importantly, it can also help to counter enemy’s armageddon spell, provided it is not damaged by its physical attack portion.

Depending on how players use it, both types of gargoyles can be useful, but the aura of vulnerability can be too damaging at times (it is really a double-edged sword), that is why I prefer the obsidian gargoyle.

Steel Golem vs Magnetic Golem (Dilemma Rating: 6)

Sure, the magnetic golem has two great abilities, enchanted armor and magnetism, that are very useful against enemy spellcasting heroes and units (especially the area-effect ones) and they also have acceptable initiative (9 initiative is not bad actually for a walker), but in melee combat they somewhat suffer in having fewer HPs and poorer defense.  More importantly, not all heroes need to cast spells during their turn, which somewhat diminishes the usefulness of the magnetic golem.

True, the steel golem is not much better, but at least it is more durable and its unlimited retaliation can help in defending against enemy creatures wanting to kill the shooters.  And it cannot be slowed (anyway they are already slow enough) and receives much reduced damage from direct-damage spells.  It may not work in an exciting way as the magnetic golem, but I feel it is better.

Archmage vs Battle Mage (Dilemma Rating: 3)

If not because of battle mage's slightly better attack, the dilemma rating would be even lower.  Knowing that these tier 4 units deal paltry damage in respect of their tier level, a better attack, imo, does not matter a lot in terms of ranged attack damage.  I would rather they cast fireball (against most enemies) or expert-level fist of wrath (against fire-resistant creatures) at the beginning, especially during rushes and creeping.  And for sure I would not like to fight neutral archmagi in early game.  Archmage’s Energy Channel ability is also nice, especially for might heroes or heroes with low knowledge tendencies.

One point to note is that battle mage’s Dampen Magic ability means that you can actually position guards (usually golems or gargoyles) in front of the magi and not worry that battle mage’s ranged attack can harm your own troops, so in this sense, battle magi can be better protected.

Djinn Sultan vs Djinn Vizier (Dilemma Rating: 4)

With the AI constantly targeting djinns (even with gremlins or magi in your army), it becomes very crucial for djinns to be more durable, which the djinn vizier is better at, particularly with Magic-proof 75% and immunity to lightning spells.  While Random Blessing is good, Wheel of Fortune is not that bad either (though it may not exactly work as wished, such as enemy shooters only getting –1 to luck).  In the early game, this choice is more and less a no-brainer, but in late game, this can be tough to decide, hence the dilemma rating of 4.

Rakshasa Raja vs Rakshasa Kshatra (Dilemma Rating: 8)

Yeah, by now some of you may feel that I am mad in thinking that a creature with all-round better stats (and the powerful Whirlwind ability) is actually inferior.

So Whirlwind is good, hitting many enemies and sparing allies?  Firstly, how often can you use Whirlwind? Not always, and not often, if enemy knows how to place their troops, making sure that even when Kshatras attack, as few of the troops are adjacent to the Kshatras as possible. Secondly, when is the best opportunity to use Whirlwind?  Obviously not when defending, but when attacking, which almost certainly necessitates the use of Dash.  Kshatras do have the attack, but the defense?  And the HP?  What’s more, they do not have the No Retaliation ability, so after they attack, the target can retaliate, and for a troop with low defense (and led by a low defense hero, some more), this could spell trouble if the target is some heavy hitting creature.  And they could have little support (except from the shooters) to alleviate this.

The No Retaliation ability of the Rajas goes some way in preserving their numbers (remember, their dwelling is hard to obtain, so in early games numbers is a problem) and weakening the enemy unit sufficiently such that it cannot inflict critical hits.  Sure, your battles last a bit longer, but at least the casualties can be reduced as well (need I emphasise again the importance of keeping every troop alive after as many battles as possible?).

For high defense heroes (knights and rangers), maybe Kshatras are good, but for wizards, think twice.

Titan vs Storm Titan (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Their only (really, only, apart from appearance) difference lies in the abilities of Call Lightning and Stormcaller.  While Stormcaller does have its uses, how often do you need to reduce the power of enemy shooters, or even face strong enemy / neutral shooters?  What is more, Call Lightning can be used infinitely many times and ignores magic protection, but Stormcaller doesn’t ignore protection, and can even harm your own troops.  It is quite obvious which titan to bring into battles.


FORTRESS

Shieldguard vs Mountain Guard (Dilemma Rating: 3)

When you have seen it in battles, you will see how potentially powerful Shield Wall is (why do you think Guard Posts are considered imba?).  Sure if the shieldguards are way underpowered it would not affect the outcome anyway, but the reduction of enemy attack damage more than makes up for their poorer defense compared to mountain guards, and is perfect for countering fast flyers, cavaliers and blood maiden (and their upgrades).  Mountain guard’s abilities pale in comparison.  Need I say more?

Skirmisher vs Harpooner (Dilemma Rating: 8)

Crippling Wound is good in that it makes the enemy move like a crawl and slows their progress in crossing the battlefield.  But then again, if you are not a fan of this ability, the harpooner does equally well (maybe better) in its range attack.  Harpoon Strike can be nifty in siege defense, by dragging an enemy unit to the moat, incurring damage / negative effects.  Quite a tough choice I would say.

Blackbear Rider vs Whitebear Rider (Dilemma Rating: 9)

One can reset enemy initiative (very useful when fortress creatures are generally average in initiative); the other can possibly scare enemy troops and prevent retaliation.  Both abilities are good and the creatures themselves function well according to attack or defense.  I prefer the blackbear rider because of its above-average defense and the Armoured ability, but the whitebear rider can be equally good.  Or perhaps just save yourself the dilemma and include both units in the army.    

Berserker vs Battlerager (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Frankly, I am not a fan of abilities that can potentially harm your own troops, and Berserker Rage is certainly one of them (and a potent one, at that).  Berserker’s basic stats are so weak that, after reaching enemy lines, it is not likely to survive for long.  At least battlerager has Bash ability, and the Battle Rage and Giant Slayer abilities would make enemy troops (especially tier 7 creatures) think twice before engaging them in melee combat.

Rune Patriarch vs Rune Keeper (Dilemma Rating: 2)

The unit with poorer attack, damage and HP gets better initiative and the Crossfire ability, but imo the compensation is hardly sufficient, and not to mention that rune keepers can cast fireball.  If not for the fact that rune patriarch’s firewall spell can force affected enemies (typically shooters) to “lose a turn” by moving away, and also it works well with lava dragon’s Liquid Flame Breath, this choice of upgrade would have been a no-brainer.

Flame Lord vs Thunder Thane (Dilemma Rating: 7)

The thunder thane is better, with more HP and its attack dealing double damage in a chain-like manner to all enemies besides the target (and that can be achieved in first turn using Storm Bolt).  However, the flamelord’s Flamewave ability, despite weaker than Prismatic Breath, seems to trigger more often.  Its Flamestrike ability can be devastating by allowing rune patriarchs / priests or the runemage to cast devastating fire-based spells.  And not to forget, it is immune to fire, a requirement for any armageddon caster.

Magma Dragon vs Lava Dragon (Dilemma Rating: 6)

In terms of stats, they are quite similar, with the lava dragon having better damage but poorer defense and HP.  According to “The Battlefield Dissected”, lava dragon’s Liquid Flame Breath can actually act as a fire breath (if it can hit two enemies), but the firewall is still created and will harm friendly creatures if they stay in the firewall.  While such a tactic can have its uses (especially with Flame Lords and Rune Patriarchs), I feel that the magma dragon is still slightly better with its Magma Shield ability, and its Fire Breath is easier to use (at least I don’t see lots of firewalls on the battlefield such that my units have nowhere to land on and not get scorched).  However, this could be one of those “a matter of taste” upgrades.


INFERNO

Familiar vs Vermin (Dilemma Rating: 7)

It is a fact that Mana Stealer is a much better ability than Siphon Mana, in that it drains more mana (double, in fact) and the mana is given to the hero (who invariably can use spells better than creatures, generally).  So why do I choose the vermin?  Simple.  Mana Stealer, however good, can only be used once (in fact before the familiar acts) per battle.  Most competent players should think of eliminating (or at least reducing) familiars first anyway, to conserve their mana.  What’s more, demonlords should not have a problem with mana, their bigger problem is lack of defense (troops die fast) and spellpower (destructive spells are hardly effective).  The extra mana could be useful for more hellfire use, but that’s about it.

Despite having a poorer ability, vermins have better defense, damage (though the range is too wide) and speed, which render them a moderate threat when charging forward.  Speed is especially good in tying up enemy shooters (for a few turns, at least).

For necromancers and warlocks, familiar is a good choice, but for demonlords, familiar may not necessarily be a better choice.

Horned Overseer vs Horned Grunt (Dilemma Rating: 2)

Despite the horned grunt being weakened in v3.1, it is still much better, by virtue of the Leap ability, which can be useful as a last-ditch attack to kill the unit or end the battle, or as a unit to absorb enemy retaliation (after triple retaliation damage the grunts die real fast, but their defense is normally poor anyway).  Horned overseers enter into battle late, often too late to make a positive impact in battle, plus its explosion ability can kill friendly troops too.  If not because of their durability (could be useful in some battles), the horned overseers would not even be considered.

Cerberus vs Firehound (Dilemma Rating: 1)

In some ways, this is an even bigger joke than the war dancer / wind dancer choice.  Despite lower damage, the firehound’s Fire Breath ability allows the units behind to be hit as well (albeit at only 75% of normal damage), plus the firehound has better defense.  Fire Breath may not apply always, but surely better basic defense does?  With such disparity, I am wondering if any player would even choose cerberi.

Succubus Mistress vs Succubus Seducer  (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Like the previous two tiers, this can almost be a no-brainer also.  The Seduce ability is just too good to pass up (why else would the initiative of succubus seducer needs to be reduced?) and the extra 2 HP makes seducers a bit more durable.  

Chain Shot is not exactly useless, but it does not work against enemy inferno units, and even when it triggers, the extra damage to other units (especially the third and fourth units) is not a lot.  If your non-inferno troops are poorly positioned they can be hit as well, so I would most likely take the seducer any day.

Nightmare vs Hell Stallion (Dilemma Rating: 4)

Even though I personally I prefer the nightmare, I have to admit that hell stallions are better, with better damage and the potentially powerful Searing Aura (which works best on creatures with high initiative because they act more often).  In fact, it could be a better tactic to “park” the hell stallion stack to be adjacent to a unit you know will act very soon, rather than attacking it.  In this way, that unit will suffer the most damage possible, due to the searing fires (unless there is fire protection in some way, which is perhaps a minus point).

Nightmares would be more ideal as a first-strike force to deal some damage.  While its defense is better, Frightful Aura is not as useful as it does not always activate (though when activated, it can be useful also).  While it may not be better, it is an able replacement for the hell stallion.

While most players would likely choose the hell stallion, at least there is some decent competition between these two upgrades (which is less common for this faction, as you see).

Pit Lord vs Pit Spawn (Dilemma Rating: 5)

Despite all that is said, I do not consider pit lords to be that poor, to the extent that they would hardly be chosen.  Although they are really slow, during their first turn they can already cast fireball or meteor shower to inflict some area-effect damage.  If the damage is not appreciable enough, they can also weaken a unit’s defense by casting advanced vulnerability (-5 defense is no joke, especially if it can be repeatedly cast), which can also free up the demonlord to cast other better dark magic spells (like decay, blindness or puppet master).  Vorpal Sword is one of those “giant-killing” abilities meant to kill high tier units (especially tier 7 units and the phoenix), and pit lords can afford to wait for these units to come to them before they inflict Vorpal Sword on them.
Pit Spawns would still need two actions to get to the enemy lines because they are a pure melee unit, that is why their basic stats are better; it is required, not an added bonus.  Their Blade of Slaughter ability, on the other hand, is best at killing large troops of low-level units, so it cannot be compared to Vorpal Sword on an apple-to-apple basis.  Their Magic-proof ability, however, is definitely useful, especially against warlocks.

Another point to add: though pit spawns are better, I would rather face enemy/neutral pit spawns (who need to move across the battlefield) than enemy/neutral pit lords (who can inflict spell damage in its first turn), any day.

Arch Devil vs Arch Demon (Dilemma Rating: 3)

When one upgrade has higher initiative and speed compared to the other, sometimes there is no need for a further look.  It seems like this is the case between these two tier 7 units.  The initiative and speed decrease of the arch demon renders its Teleport Other somewhat less useful, especially when this ability should be used to either teleport back friendly troops or pull in dangerous but fragile troops (like shooters or enemy firehounds) and let the other friendly troops gang up on them.  More crucially, the speed decrease reduces the areas which the arch demon can use this ability.  Even in normal combat, the arch demon enters the battle later (which can be bad, depending on situations).

While Teleport Other does have very nifty uses, overall the arch devil is better with its Summon Pit Lords ability, even though lower defense and HP can be an issue.  Anyway, a tier 7 unit should be attacking most of the time (and use special abilities at the right timing), not trying to drag units to form shields around them.


DUNGEON

Assassin vs Stalker (Dilemma Rating: 6)

Before v3.1, when the AI has no counter against invisibility, it could be quite obvious what to choose. Now that AI units won’t just stay at a spot waiting to be attacked, it is not as obvious now.  Don’t forget, the stalker still needs one full turn to be invisible, only in the next turn can the stalker move.  Worse of all, Invisibility is only once per combat, and for 3 turns only.  Against stalkers, I would even be willing to send fast troops (like upgraded griffins or pals/champs) to make the stalkers block the troop’s movement path and reveal themselves (why wait for them to come?  Go for them first!).  Even if they retaliate, their numbers are reduced so even the Poison damage is not a lot.  So what if the stalker has better stats?  Those better stats are not bonuses, they are necessary.  

This is not easy, but with experience and practice, it is quite possible to guess how the stalker moves.  And frankly, I also do not see how on earth warlocks can have enough spellpower to kill massive high-tier troops in week 5 or 6.

Sure, the assassin’s ranged damage is paltry, but in large numbers, its Poison damage isn’t.  Anyway, for a faction with notoriously low growth of its lower tier units, it is either you strike first or find ways to horde units (unless the hero is a warlock, that is).

Blood Fury vs Blood Sister (Dilemma Rating: 7)

Despite poorer defense and HP, what makes blood furies better is their sky-high initiative, which can form devastating combos with some other dungeon units (like the raiders).  Blood sisters are immune to weakness, but can still be affected by other dark magic spells (slow and suffering would hamper them badly) and are much slower (a difference of 2 initiative may matter a lot).  However, if those minuses do not matter, blood sisters are a viable alternative (especially if troop conservation matters).

Minotaur Guard vs Minotaur Taskmaster  (Dilemma Rating: 2)

With almost all of the basic stats being better, minotaur taskmaster is the obvious choice, particularly when Aura of Bravery is useful when warlocks need to lead creatures from the “good” factions, or the troops have negative morale due to enemy hero’s artifacts, spells and so on.

However, as this tier also has low growth rate, it could be important to hoard the minotaurs.  This could be where the minotatur guards shine, by being able to inflict much more damage (8-14 damage, even better than that for tier 4 units!).  This is especially good if the targeted unit already used up its retaliation.  Of course, for this to succeed, minotaur guards need to be kept alive as long as possible, which could be difficult to achieve.

Minotaur guards can be useful, when correctly used, but I suppose most players would prefer to stick with the easier-to-use minotaur taskmasters.

Grim Raider vs Brisk Raider (Dilemma Rating: 8)

Imo, grim raiders are better because their Rider Charge, when used well, can cause lots of damage, not much less than that due to Jousting.  Their higher maximum damage augments this even further.  

While brisk raiders have better attack and initiative, their Wheeling Attack does not seem so useful in practice, and to use it more often, it means the brisk raiders need to keep moving often, even into enemy lines, where they can be surrounded easily, and considering that support can be lacking (only the blood furies/sisters and the dragons are able to match raiders’ initiative and speed; tier 1 and tier 6 units are not that speedy and minotaurs and hydras are even slower), they may not last that long.  Grim raiders can still afford to wait for an opportunity to charge.

Apart from that though, both upgrades are quite on par, and can both be used to “park” beside a unit and do simultaneous damage whenever blood furies/sisters attack the unit.  This can be very devastating (and frustrating to the enemy player).

Deep Hydra vs Foul Hydra (Dilemma Rating: 4)

While foul hydras have slightly better initiative, which means they can act faster, the Acid Blood ability, in practice, does not do much damage to enemy units, and it can damage friendly troops also.  A lower defense in exchange for a slight increase in Acid Blood damage does not seem worthwhile to me.  I would rather take the deep hydra with its Regeneration ability (though frankly, it does not really need that ability anyway).

Shadow Matriarch vs Shadow Mistress   (Dilemma Rating: 6)

As in my discussion for assassins and stalkers, while Invisibility is good for creeping, it is actually not as good as many thought.  The shadow mistress is not that fast (slower than assassin or stalker), and still waste a turn to be invisible?  Even if there is more damage dealt, it is only after a few rounds; the shadow matriarch can make a ranged attack in the first turn, at least making her presence felt immediately.

As for tanks, minotaurs, hydras and dragons fare better in that role.  +10 HP relative to a shooter does not seem like a big increase for a melee unit.  Maybe that would make shadow mistresses more durable as spellcasting units, but in that case, why bother to use Invisibility?  Using shadow mistresses give potentially more dilemmas.  Imo, being invisible for 3 rounds (which requires them to move forward) and being a spellcasting unit which requires them to stay back) looks like 2 mutually exclusive tasks to me. At least shadow matriarchs can just stay in the back line and the player decides whether to cast magic or use ranged attack (or even engage in melee attack if required).  These roles are not exactly mutually exclusive, at least not to me.  That is why I prefer the somewhat weaker shadow matriarch.

Black Dragon vs Red Dragon (Dilemma Rating: 3)

With such an ability like Immune to Magic, can you imagine NOT having black dragons in the army?  If your answer is, “yes”, perhaps you are referring to the fact that red dragons can be hasted and buffed with other spells to make them more potent in battle.  Maybe in that case, Incinerate could have some uses, such as in weakening a very powerful stack.

However, even a better initiative and the Incinerate ability is hardly sufficient to compensate for the lower maximum damage and HP, and of course Immune to Magic, which is exactly what makes black dragons so deadly in H3 and H4.  Let this immunity work for the black dragons while the warlock cast buffing spells for the other units or destructive spells on enemy units; the warlock does not have a lot of mana to spare.


NECROPOLIS

Skeleton Archer vs Skeleton Warrior (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Even if you have a large number of skeleton archers, how much damage can they do?  Certainly not a lot, in practice.  Now compare this to the myriad of abilities (and all are useful) that the skeleton warrior has, and you would be surprised that the power rating of the warriors is not much higher than that of the archers.  If anything, archers are probably only useful in the very early game (when there are so few units that Bash is unlikely to be effective) or in the late game to support the liches’ ranged attack (if any, there is).

Plague Zombie vs Rot Zombie (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Rot Zombies have better stats generally, plus the better Festering Aura. However, that ability also makes them very unsuitable to form an army with living creatures since they would weaken their friendly troops as well.  In that case, it is also quite obvious to use the plague zombie anyway.

Spectre vs Poltergeist (Dilemma Rating: 5)

Poltergeists are better only by virtue of the better stats, initiative drop can be an issue against certain enemies, and I doubt if Steal Ammunition can be used often against neutral shooters (let alone shooters in hero’s army with ammo cart).  Incorporeal only works for 2 turns at most, which reduces its usefulness (a little) and any guarantee that poltergeists can reach enemy shooters before their numbers diminish.  At least specters can use the Mana Drain ability to some good effect (provided they have minimised losses before reaching the spellcasting unit).

Vampire Lords vs Vampire Princes (Dilemma Rating: 8)

Now you may think I am really insane, choosing the inferior unit instead of the better unit (even though the dilemma rating indicates that this is a tough choice).

How better is the Vampire Prince?  Let’s see…
Better maximum damage?  Well it can also deal tier 3 like damage.

More HP?  That means Raise Dead spells are less effective (Resurrection has this same problem, but there is Regeneration to help; Raise Dead has no such luxury).

Better speed?  Are necropolis creatures meant for fast first strikes (especially since necromancers have poor attack)?   The increase in speed is for triggering…
Torpor!  It is better than No Retaliation!
Just because Torpor has a much higher chance (than previous) of activating does NOT necessarily make it better.  Sure, it is excellent when it works against a strong unit stack, even better when the princes subsequently attack to deal full damage.  So what happens if it doesn’t?  I wonder how many rounds the princes can sustain afterwards.  What is more, Torpor CAN be dispelled by various means, and its triggering depends on HP (which means Raise Dead spells will decrease the chances).  

No Retaliation works 100% of the time and there is no counter against that (apart from eliminating the vampire lords, or in a lesser way, get them to attack non-living troops).  It does depend on stack numbers, but it gets more effective after some Raise Dead spells.  In fact, against tougher enemies, I would rather use the vampire lords; the risk of using vampire princes can be too great.

Still not convinced, princes have better power rating.
Better power rating = more Dark Energy points used for raising.  Remember, the DE pool is limited.  Every DE point counts.

Up to this point, it is up to you (the reader) to decide which is the better upgrade.  Even after this, I expect many people to still believe that vampire princes are better.

Archlich vs Lich Master (Dilemma Rating: 10)

One can cast Decay (very powerful in the hands of archliches) and Weakness, and has the Death Cloud ability (although it is not very powerful this time round); the other can cast Raise Dead at most 2 times in battle to help the necromancer in eliminating losses to undead troops.  Frankly, this makes for a difficult decision, in some ways even more difficult than the pal/champ choice.

I choose the Lich Master because of its slightly better attack, damage and speed.  However, there are times when using the Lich Master is better.  By eliminating enemies earlier, the chances of further friendly troop loss can be reduced (necropolis creatures are quite weak in combat, remember); it also saves some of the necromancer’s mana in casting another Raise Dead spell.  With Eternal Servitude, necromancers can actually afford to raise completely all but one of the stacks, and let this racial ability take effect after the battle.

In the right situations, both upgrades are equally useful, hence the dilemma rating of 10.

Wraith vs Banshee (Dilemma Rating: 4)

How useful is Death Wail?  Imo, it is really only useful against groups of low to mid tier units (but it still cannot compare with Blade of Slaughter) and against low morale troops (low morale increases the damage dealt), also ensuring that enemy troops do not retaliate.  For such an ability, reducing the banshee’s attack does not seem justifiable to me.

Harm Touch works somewhat like Cleansing + Vorpal Sword, and the enemy also does not retaliate.  Even if this ability does not work that often (need to target high tier creatures for maximum effect), at least the wraith has better attack, defense and damage, which is probably the more important factor that makes the wraiths more superior.

Spectral Dragon vs Ghost Dragon (Dilemma Rating: 9)

Both upgrades can actually be useful (or equally weak, depending on how you see it).  The ghost dragon’s stats and Sorrow Strike ability (quite scary now, in v3.1) seem to lean towards the offensive, while the spectral dragon has some defensive-minded plusses, like better defense, more HP and the universal-applying Death Stare.  Its Cursing Attack only casts basic Weakness, but at least every hit renews the effect and this can be used to inflict Weakness on all enemy stacks.

Since (good and bad) morale triggering is really a matter of chance, it is hard to say which is better: all enemy units have some negative morale, or one unit has very low morale.  While –4 luck is one unit is good, the other enemy units can still hit with lucky strikes (which is where the Cursing Attack can come in handy).  For me, I prefer the Spectral Dragon because it is better defensively and its abilities at least apply more universally, but I guess this is also a matter of preference and taste.


STRONGHOLD

Goblin Trapper vs Goblin Witch-Doctor  (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Which is better, Set Snares or Defile Magic?  Both are actually useful, but Defile Magic is used much less often because it is only meant to counter enemy casters (units, not even heroes).  On the other hand, Set Snares is useful against walking enemy units (which are more commonplace, and are often the stronger creatures, comparable or even better than flying units).  So Set Snares is slightly better.

The witch-doctor does have better attack, damage and speed, but the initiative drop seems a bit too much, and even those better stats cannot quite compare to the tactical advantages that Sent Snares can bring (provided it does not fail).  Simply put, a strong enemy stack that cannot reach your troops (or attack your troops from afar) is not strong enough.

And one more thing, trappers have more HP, which translates to more mana gained by sky and earth daughters.

Centaur Nomad vs Centaur Marauder  (Dilemma Rating: 1)

Again, another upgrade that decreases initiative.  Anyway, why a dilemma rating of 1?  Can’t the centaur nomads be used for their better damage and Maneuver ability?

Firstly, there is no guarantee that the centaur nomads can strike with maximum damage each time (no spells, remember…) but there is always a possibility that they hit with minimal damage (because of Expert Weakness).

Secondly, how maneuverable can a large unit be?  By running to another unblocked location, the centaur nomad is opening itself to be blocked again (by the same or another enemy unit), unless friendly troops can act in time to surround the nomads.  With poorer defense and fewer HP, how many nomads do you expect to stay alive and then deal (what’s even worse, imo) half damage?

I would rather get the marauder, with all the better stats and the important No Melee Penalty, which allows it to function as a melee unit when needed.  Having lesser shots does not matter too much, the marauder is going to be involved in melee combat, sooner or later.

Mauler vs Warmonger (Dilemma Rating: 4)

For some, this could be difficult to choose.  Even though the mauler does have some better stats that make them more suited to relentless attack (which is the main aspect of Stronghold anyway, besides the Blood Rage), to me it is not too difficult to choose.  Maulers die way too fast, and the Assault ability is not even guaranteed to work (though it is wonderful when it does work).  Warmongers have better defense and are more durable.  Their slower initiative actually helps them in a way, so that they attack enemies who have usually used up their retaliation.  Fierce Retaliation is good to have (imagine a knight, with Expert Counterstrike leading them…).  Taunt looks more like a fun ability, but it can be used to save weakened friendly troops from being attacked again.

Sky Daughter vs Earth Daughter (Dilemma Rating: 3)

What is the point of having a spell in the spellbook that cannot be immediately cast in the same turn?  That is the issue with sky daughters.  Chain Lightning can only be cast after sky daughters use their first turn to sacrifice a goblin, by then the optimum opportunity to cast this spell (when the enemy troops are still clustered in their own lines) could already have passed.  Even a better defense and the chance to cast one more Haste/Slow spell does not help much.

While earth daughters have poorer defense, their attack, damage and initiative are better, as with their Hexing Attack ability (which means that indirectly they have more spells).  They can also choose to attack slowed enemies, which would not retaliate.  Hence in several aspects, earth daughters are better.

Executioner vs Chieftain (Dilemma Rating: 7)

The chieftain has better defense, minimum damage and more HP, and Commanding Presence is good in getting adjacent units to act before enemy troops, so why do I still choose the executioner?  Because I did not choose maulers.

Note that the mauler/warmonger upgrade and this upgrade seem to be a choice between attack and defense.  Since I had previously chosen warmongers, it becomes more logical to choose the attacking upgrade for this tier.  In fact, even if maulers are chosen, it is also alright to choose the executioners.  One of them to attack and absorb retaliation, the other to follow up.  Think of how scary it gets when Cleave and Assault BOTH works.

One issue of the chieftains that I lament about is that the Order of the Chief ability actually deals damage (which can be unbounded) to the affected unit.  At least it should increase rage points to increase defense a little (which the Word of the Chief warcry does) or something.  Of course, if you have no gripes on such abilities, feel free to use the chieftain, but imo, the executioner is still better.

Foul Wyvern vs Paokai (Dilemma Rating: 8)

I know this is one choice that will give rise to a lot of disagreements.  While paokai’s lightning breath is formidable (it now works even on retaliation strikes), the equal sharing of damage means that the main targeted unit actually survives better (the damage is divided among its neighbours) and has a more effective retaliation attack.  So in this sense, the sharing of damage is even better for the enemy (each stack just loses a few units and the firepower does not decrease much).  Scavenger is not a bad ability, but it can be easily countered by placing troops on those tiles (so that there is nothing to scavenge), and the paokai has more HP, which makes the resurrection not as easy.

The foul wyvern has better attack and maximum damage, and its Venom ability is actually more powerful than the Poisonous Attack of assassins, stalkers and even manticores.  Its better tendency in attacking fits the Stronghold faction better, imho.

Untamed Cyclops vs Bloodeyed Cyclops (Dilemma Rating: 6)

The untamed cyclops is the better upgrade, despite its lower defense, initiative, speed and fewer HP.  The attack is powerful and deals great damage to enemy units (plus the possibility of stunning units and not get retaliated), but the side-effect of hitting friendly troops is equally probable (and the AI takes this into account very well).  At least being inflicted with –3 luck is not as bad (only the Evil Eye effect can affect more than 1 unit, the basic attack does not), and the bloodeyed cyclops can act more often (and inflict –3 luck on more enemy units).  However, during sieges, untamed cyclops would be more useful, acting as a secondary catapult.  

Whew!  Finally the end of the analysis.  That was long (though nowhere near the length of my post in “artifact analysis” thread), hope all of you readers enjoyed it and find it useful.

   

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alcibiades
alcibiades


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
of Gold Dragons
posted January 25, 2009 10:32 AM

Nice analysis, even if there are a number of points where I don't agree.

And, for the record: I choose Cerberi over Firehounds!
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted January 25, 2009 11:49 AM

Damn you broadstrong! Like how the rating is not of units but instead of the selection dilemma, more practical that way. A few things I should add:

Conscript vs Brute

I'm slightly in favour of conscript, reason I'd want assault ability is when fighting low defense factions or I am using vampirism. Bash is more of a defensive ability to avoid retaliation which is usually better unless you want to kill an opponent asap much like academy or dungeon.

Squire vs Vindicator

You don't need to depend on paladins, angels, griffins, marksmen dealing damage as the vindies can also prove valuable in this. But since they move slow they are better off with teleport, amazing defense and maybe vampirism. Like you I favour squire.

Inquisitor vs Zealot

You could say that the latter is more offensive while the former an all-around unit. It's not just the purging(which is a must vs dark casters and pretty often vs light) but the +12(!) RM.

Archangel vs Seraph

Consider that they can hurt you from afar while staying out of harm's way whereas an archangel would run into the enemy formations. Also gives you time to buff before they do and bless adds +50% damage compared to archangels. Also it's easy to get two casts with refined mana, this unit is a matter of preparation.

Druid Elder vs High Druid

Nooo you've got it wrong High druids make sylvan a pokerface faction. DO they have light? Do they have destructive? Do they have summoning? No matter what they have you MUST kill them fast while there are so many damaging units around, otherwise you are doomed. Either sylvan will resurrect EVERYTHING back to kingdom come or make it a timed uphill battle. Because when they summon an insane phoenix or keep blasting you with 30-50 power your turns are counted. There is little contest really..

Silver Unicorn vs Pristine Unicorn

Not exactly. They get all buffs in expert and the opponent can't simply NOT cast them. Would you waste your light mastery because of a unicorn stack? Don't think so. Would the orcs avoid hasting their key units? Neither. They may avoid spells like regeneration or resurrection but that's it. And forget the hero, so many units have light buffs that they will use before long. And the double resurrection combo is severely imbalanced

Ancient Treant vs Savage Treant

Depends on numbers since few build them in competitive games anyway. You simply know when you want to use roots and when you want offensive so that settles it. They can deals some sick damage and if you count haste, rage, luck, morale and avenger they are not so bad.. For the record I consider ancients phoenix catchers

Emerald Dragon vs Crystal Dragon

You don't need stability when they can finish a game before it begins It's a welcome risk. Other reasons why they are better: Opponents are afraid to be adjacent or EVEN be one tile away from others, they cannot protect themselves like they could from acde breath. Prismatic breath cannot be used against you. Even with zero luck you can hit multiple targets, it's a matter of chance.

Archmage vs Battle Mage

Again a matter of preparation. If you get luck, archery and combat mini arties they can be worth your while. Besides they profit from buffs.

Rakshasa Raja vs Rakshasa Kshatra

Yes you can use whirlwind VERY often which means you can attack the weakest target for retaliation purposes and they are afraid to hit you back unless their damage cripples them. Few cases where you could prefer no enemy retaliation than benefit from the kshatras' raw potential. Also...From the point where you get lvl 3 minies kshatras are already better than might tier 6 units.

Blackbear Rider vs Whitebear Rider

'Or perhaps just save yourself the dilemma and include both units in the army.'
Terrible advice, the ability is hp based. Whites are better most of the time and a no-brainer if you get soldier's luck. Only reason to use blackbears is to avoid flaming arrow reduction, battlerage-paw combo and fear immunity.

Rune Patriarch vs Rune Keeper

Think it that way, patriarchs may act before enemy ranged, keepers will probably not. Unless the opponent has fast damaging shooters they are fun to use, especially with refined mana.

Magma Dragon vs Lava Dragon (Dilemma Rating: 1)
Nuff said

Cerberus vs Firehound
Nobody cares about the defense in a glass cannon unit

Succubus Mistress vs Succubus Seducer

Basically translates in whether you want full growth mistresses attacking or half growth seducers getting control for one attack. Opponents will most likely cripple them before they act.

Black Dragon vs Red Dragon

Meh people don't pick reds because they can be buffed but because they are faster. IF they manage to act before 12 init units the game will look a lot different. Now if you cam also resurrect them it's a nice bonus.

Vampire Lords vs Vampire Princes (Dilemma Rating: 1)

You want damage? Princes also deal max in sleeping units that brings back a lot. More hp means even easier torpor that already has 3 rerolls, also means they WON'T need to be raised as soon. Better speed is a must because of all those stormwind abusers, it doesn't mean you HAVE to dive headlong if you have the chance. Besides if you have them in first lines it means you are not a good necro player If you are afraid of torpor you simply attack weaker targets till the tough ones start decreasing or you can mass confusion.

I've already commented on stronghold units more than once. Suffice to say that some units are bad choices when you face dark. On top of that fouls wyverns usually suck, it's not always about the damage.
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veco
veco


Legendary Hero
who am I?
posted January 25, 2009 12:12 PM

Quote:
On top of that fouls wyverns usually suck, it's not always about the damage.

Too bad Azagal didn't post our replays yet, Light Sylvan with Pristines charging poor Orcs first round, get decimated from concentrated attacks and right after that Paokaies fly in to eat the corpse and save me a headache later
Fouls may sounds tempting vs high defence factions but those usually can ressurect.
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted January 25, 2009 12:28 PM

Paokai are fun when consuming treant dead stacks
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broadstrong
broadstrong


Promising
Known Hero
Level 20 Vassal of Light
posted January 25, 2009 01:14 PM
Edited by broadstrong at 13:15, 25 Jan 2009.

Made some slight grammatical and typo amendments to my analysis.

@Alc,

Thanks.

By the way, is the Cerberus vs Firehound explanation something that you disagree with?
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Lexxan
Lexxan


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Unimpressed by your logic
posted January 25, 2009 01:52 PM bonus applied by Elvin on 25 Jan 2009.
Edited by Lexxan at 14:19, 26 Jan 2009.

Nice Analysis, Broadstrong, But there are some points I'd like to comment on...

Quote:
Conscript vs Brute (Dilemma Rating: 6)


I tend to pick Conscripts, but I'll elaborate under your anylysis (as I will in the whole of this post)
Quote:
Unless you are going for some special build, your knight should have a high defense stat, which means the extra defense the conscript gets does not matter a lot.  If Assault triggers, it can work wonders, especially with a huge stack of brutes attacking the enemy unit after its retaliation is used up.

While bash is a good ability to have, the lower HP of the conscripts means that their attacks do not trigger bash as readily as that of squires (compare hit points of 49 conscripts and 20 squires to see what I mean by “lower HP”).  Sure the knight can get vitality, 2 vitality rings, equip ogre club and ogre shield (gives +2 HP) and visit Mother Earth Shrine to increase HP of conscripts, but that works for squires as well.  

However, admittedly, having large stacks of squires and conscripts in the same army can be powerful in triggering a bash run, making the enemy stack ATB reset continuously.  That is why it can be a dilemma to choose, should you wish to upgrade the peasants.




The +1 Attack/Defence doesn't make any difference, but imo, Bash is better than Assault, or at least, for Peasants.

Allow me to elaborate: Imo, the weakness and fragility of Peasants makes them horrible, they simply do not do ANY notable damage, especially if compared to the other Units of Haven. The Brute's Assault doesn't trigger that often (and needs Soldier's Luck to function adequately imo), and even if it does, it does minimal damage. Not to mention that the enemy probably WILL retalialate between these to attacks, annihilating your precious Brutes.

I will NOT deny that the Conscript's bash is very weak as well, but imo, a well triggered bash can do more miracles than a second strike.

Peasants and the units aren't Haven's main force of attack, and should imo (as Haven has no real tanks, except for the Footman) be used as fodder, retaliation triggers and/or blockers and admittedly, Bash will be much more usefull there, as it increases their Survivability, and so, post-pones the Enemy's progress. No, imo, Conscripts are the choice to pick, though I must admit, both Conscripts and Brutes suck beyond belief.

Regardless, it actually depends of your choice of the Footman Upgrade: if you pick Vindicators over Squires, you should (imo) take Conscripts (for their Bash), but I've read you don't use the Vindi's, (understandable, as this is a close call anyway) so Brutes are the best choice in the case Squires are picked (since the Squire's Bash Pwns the Conscript's, as you said.  

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Marksman vs Crossbowman (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Completely Agree.



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Squire vs Vindicator (Dilemma Rating: 8)

I prefer Vindicators

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Aren’t squires defensive creatures?  Well at least their shield others ability is useful, making them useful defensively.  As for the vindicators, their initiative and speed are just too slow (no more faster than footmen or squires) to get them to enter the battlefield quick enough (unless you teleport them).  Besides, if you are talking about dealing damage, the pals/champs and angels are the ones doing most of the damage anyway, the vindicators are more like supporting the attack or cleaning up the remaining enemy units.

As the game goes, you should also consider to train footmen to cavaliers (besides the obvious step of peasants to archers), despite the higher cost, the returns are better.  By then, how many footmen can you really spare to upgrade them?  Vindicators need numbers to be effective, squires don’t (at least for the shield others ability).

But as the OP states, it is a good idea to include BOTH units in the army, especially when the attacking nature of vindicators is too hard to resist for might-oriented haven.


Vindicators are overall a lot better than Squires. Their Suvivability almost equals the Squires, but have double attack Power AND Cleave, which makes them scary. (especially with luck and Retribution)

Vindicators would have good offencive units, but are slow. They are excellent guardians however, better than the Squires, and will easily take down Charge units like Cerberi or Nightmares, without any trouble. THAT is their purpose: Attack any enemy units who dar to get close to your shooters. Not to charge and try to take out the enemies shooters/casters, but engage (yes, attack) the enemy's chargers, and they are experts at that as well

Mind you, Squires are (a lot) better on the Defence, correct, and Shield Allies is probably one of the best abilities in the game... however I do not think it's that usefull, as most Towns lack the Firepower to be very dangerous offencively. Admittedly, Haven's main Shootern the Archer, is VERY fragile for it level, and can really use Shield Allies. I would not even Hesitate to pick Squires against Sylvan, Stronghold (Ballista) and Academy (only if they have Titans!).

This Is a very close call, as both units are (imo) as strong as the other, but the Squire's Shield allies, though invaluable against Sylvan (and Haggash on that account), can, for all the other Factions (like Necro or Dungeon), be replaced with Mass Deflect Missiles, if available.

Overall I see the Vindicators as more usefull.



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Imperial Griffin vs Battle Griffin  (Dilemma Rating: 7)


I agree with your post, and I have to admit that the Battle Griffin's Long-lastingness is ENORMOUS indeed. Battle Griffins + Preparation is frighteningly strong... but Haven doesn't really need tanks (it has Footmen-tanks and Peasants-fodder, and that's all it needs), but it DOES need Chargers, like Imperial Griffins.

Battle Griffins are better statwise, but Imperials simply WILL serve you better, in 80% of the cases (against Stronghold I tend to tkae Battle Griffins, but don't do that all the time tho)


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Inquisitorvs Zealot (Dilemma Rating: 7)


Complete, but really, COMPLETE agree on my behalf

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Paladin vs Champion (Dilemma Rating: 10)


The two units are basically the same, and I have little to add to your analysis (so I'll not quote it )

What I do have to say is that it imo COMPLETELY depends on your opponent and whether your have powerfull OFFENCIVE Units in your army.

If you face any foe that is strong on the attack, but weak on defence (or even vice versa) or a foes that Tends to Turtle (Fortress ^^), the Swift Champions would be my choice. Why? They high Initiative will allow them to act soon, or at least, sooner that most other units, and they are tough enough to pack quite a punch from other units like Nightmares, Wnd Dancers and Hellhounds, without being weakened severely. Tactics and/or Familiar Ground are advisable though, as Champions NEED Speed to cross the battlefield in one go and attack (and maybe: destroy?) one or two of the enemy's Power stacks before they can even act!

Champions DO need the speed though, so if you do not have speed modifiers, it can almost guarantee that they will be less effective.

However, should I face an opponents with POWERFULL DARK MAGIC, I wouldn't hesitate to take Paladins.

Paladins are strong as Champions (eventhough they lack the dreaded Champion Charge), but are some kind of Mobile First Aid tent as well. Lay Hands will decrease you damage potential  if used,(as Paladins are a powerfull attack force that spends it's turn healing instead of attacking) but is regardless, INVALUABLE versus necro and Inferno IMHO. (nuff said, methinks)

Also, about that Damage Potential decreasement, it will not hurt you much (if at all) as Imperial Griffins and Both kinds of Angels can compensate it easily. (so actually, although I mentioned it, it's not a big deal, really)

Verdict: Depends Completely and utterly on your opponent IMO.


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Archangel vs Seraph (Dilemma Rating: 4)


Though I agree with the analysis overall, there are a few things I'd like to add:

If you play defencively, then Archangels are the obvious choice. I will not deny that.

However, the Seraphs are OFFENCIVE, not defencive and should be used so imo. The Large Damage Range can be overcome with Divine Strength. Low Defence? Defence is the Knight's PRIMARY attribute, and there is the Inquisitor's Endurance as well, to compensate the Seraphs alleged Fragility. Weakness => Use Magical Immunity.

This sound simplistic, but in practice it's not. The Seraphs require EXTREME LIGHT BUFFING, which practically means that your Hero needs Light Magic AND Inquisitors to make Seraphs superior to Archangels. If you are able to buff and strengthen them with Light, they will EASILY defeat Angels in almost every aspect. You simply need to decide whether it's worth it or not. (and I haven't even spoken about their Divine Vengeance)

If you have Strong light Magic at your disposal, Okay, no problem, Seraphs are easy choices.

However: against powerfull Dark Magic (Necro Inferno), or against foes that can easily take the buffing from you (Wraiths, Earth Daughters, Spectral Dragons, Any unit with Rune of Magic Controll), The Steady Archangels are by FAR better (though I do think their Ressurrection is too weak)

Seraphs are a mixed bag, and taking them is a risk, though to every weakness there is a cure, but if you take them, do understand that they can backfire.

I myself have no prefference in Angels, as the choice imo depends on the spells and skills I have





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Sprite vs Dryad (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Dryad are better. Nuff said.


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War Dancer vs Wind Dancer (Dilemma Rating: 1)


I do not think the choice is that easy as it seems: ever tried War Dancers + Teleport Assault?

But of course, I would pick Wind Dancers, like almost ever sane player.

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Master Hunter vs Arcane Archer (Dilemma Rating: 2)


Imo, Delemma Rating = 0. Arcane Archers are better in 95% of the Cases (Doomforge has made a nice post + graph about that in "Arcane Archers Overpowered?")

Master Hunters are Rubbish compared to AA's.

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Druid Elder vs High Druid (Dilemma Rating: 5)

Huh? Whaat??
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This is not so obvious.  What is the hype on channelling?  Make rangers a pseudo-warlock?  Rangers should be casting light spells primarily (unless there is Imbue Ballista, ofc), their low spellpower makes destructive spells really weak.  Sure rangers can get pretty good knowledge (which is a much-needed cap for spellpower increase by channelling), but ultimately they are MIGHT heroes, not wizards or warlocks.  It is their defense that is more important to preserve the somewhat-frail sylvan units (except treants and maybe unicorns), their high knowledge is more for catering to Imbue Arrow.  

At least druid elders can provide a bit more mana when needed and they can cast lightning bolt (with some numbers, it is very powerful).  So I will go for druid elders, despite their lower HP and power rating (unless the hero is a spellcaster, maybe).


As an Expert Sylvan Player, I have to DISAGREE COMPLETELY. Sylvan Should *not* cast Light by default. Destrucive Magic pops up in their Mage Guild, and has 10% chance of popping up, but the Ranger's low Spellpower made it an unlikely option.

However, Channeling is an Extremely Potent tool to Make Destructive a Viable Option; + 10 Spellpower, do you know what that means???? That transforms a little, ickle Firekins into an Armageddon (slight overreatcion there)

Nay, seriously, Channeling easily PWNS Mana Feed. Druid Elders are nice, yes, but should be switched to Wild Druids As soon as their ranged damage is higher than the damage from Lightning Bolt.

Seriously, In end-game situation High Druids are better both statwise AS in abilities. Point final.

Note that Sylvan's Destructive Magic is NOT to Blast the enemy away-it has Wind Dancers and Uncorns to do so-but to give an EXTRA, supportive punch to factions that aren't as easy to overpower by force (Academy, Fortress), or to faction you want to destroy as soon as freakin' possible. (DUNGEON)

Also, Channelling increased the effect of Regenaration, Word of Light AND ressurrection and should not be underestimated in combination with Light Spells

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Silver Unicorn vs Pristine Unicorn  (Dilemma Rating: 9)


Imo, completely depends on the situation. Against, Warlocks, Necro, Inferno => Silvers

If you have Light or against others => Pristines

Overall, the pristines will be a bit more usefull to you as Silve Unicorns, mainly becuase of CoL AND their better statts.

.

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Ancient Treant vs Savage Treant (Dilemma Rating: 7)  


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On paper, the prospect of making treants attack is very enticing, but once you know that the savage treant will lose its entangling ability once it activates Rage of the Forest, perhaps you should think twice.  True, the attack increases by a great deal, but the raw damage doesn’t, so it is only “more powerful tier 6 damage”, and the defense reduces so much that it becomes a durable unit with tier 5 defense.  Initiative boost is good, but it still cannot fully compensate for the loss of entangling, which imo is good in a tactical sense.  

By entangling the enemy units (especially flyers and the mobile walkers), you make sure they have to battle the treants, thus leaving your more powerful troops (shooters, unicorns and dragons) relatively unscathed.  With the ancient treant, you can even so much as to use its Take Roots ability to defend AND have unlimited retaliation.  The damage does not matter too much in such an instance; the other sylvan troops (especially arcane archers) would do most of the damage anyway.

Most of the attack-oriented Sylvan units are generally quite fragile (except the agile wind dancers and the unicorns), so by the time the savage treants reach enemy lines, they probably do not have many troops to support anyway.  For those who still want to use savage treants, then at least get them to the enemy side first before activating Rage of the Forest.


Sylvan is a CHARGING faction: This means that they have to annihilate any resistance asap, with or without the help of Strong Buffing, Destructive Magic, War Machines etc. Ancient Treants do not fit into this strategy. They are tanks, yes, and they last the longest of all, yes. however, their damage IS WEAK (!!!), and if all others are dead, including Unis and High Druids (meaning your Magic Potential has shrivelled to the size of a grapefruit), your Hero will not be able to do the damage for you. Ancient trants are great Survivors, but due to low damage, they WILL, take roots or not, fall before the enemy is defeated.

Savage Treants DO fit in Sylvans Hit and Slash Style, and are simply a lot more versatile and usefull. If you have preparation, it's even easy, as Savage Treants (Lower Defence, but Defence is the Ranger's primairy Parameter => Compensation) will Do a lot more damage to foes, whether defending or not, and yes, that makes a Difference  

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Emerald Dragon vs Crystal Dragon  (Dilemma Rating: 3)

You will likely say, “The emerald dragon is better?  But the crystal dragon has the awesome Prismatic Breath!”  Then I have to say that Prismatic Breath is another hyped ability.  Sure it hits many enemies IF it works well, so if it doesn’t?  Could be only ONE enemy!  Accordingly, it seems like theory and practice do not agree for this ability, even luck 4 or 5 does not guarantee this ability to occur very often, so it seems it is more dependent on the luck of the player (you).  What’s more, against a ranger, it is only normal (note, normal, not even wise) to equip luck-reducing artifacts to negate the luck skill of rangers anyway.  If an ability that does not occur THAT often and can be easily countered is considered awesome, then almost every ability is superb.

Emerald dragon always attacks 2 tiles (potentially shooters and their guards), has better attack and defense, and is immune to earth-based damage spells (such as implosion with emerald slippers).  Crystal dragon does not have any immunity, which makes it an attractive implosion fodder.  Stability is better, not some extra damage points that are not even 100% certain.


You do like Steadiness do you Well, First of all the Emerald's Immunity to Earth is only usefull against Warlocks and maybe against Sylvan and Academy, making it only better in
a quarter of the cases.(1/8 for Dungeon + 0.5/8 for Sylvan and Academy each). A Quarter. Prismatic Breath is unreliable, but is certainly not useless. Rangers ought to be taking Luck by default, so the High luck Prismatic Breath requires is not a real issue at all. Soldier's Luck only makes things easier.

Yes, if it doesn't trigger, it's sucky, but if it does (and if WILL trigger), you have gotten yourself a few piles of dead enemies.

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ACADEMY


Agree with Analysis, but If you creep with Golems, Masters are better... but only then.

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Obsidian Gargoyle vs Elemental Gargoyle (Dilemma Rating: 5)


It's pretty simple: Elemental gargs with Destructive Magic, Obsidian Gargs without it.

Elemental Gargoyls are extremely usefull Utility units . You do not attack with them. You place them between enemy ranks, cast a spell (preferably Circle of Winter with MotW) pull them back and repeat the tactice.

Obisdians are Tanks. Use them to block the path to your shooters, or block the shooters of the enemy. They are also good in absorbing retaliation.

Imo, in most cases Obisidians are better, but it's pretty situational actually.


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Steel Golem vs Magnetic Golem (Dilemma Rating: 6)


What I said about the Obsidian/elemental Gargs counts for the Glems as well, in every aspect.

Steel Golems are better overall, but it's pretty situational.

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Archmage vs Battle Mage (Dilemma Rating: 3)


I tend to agree. The choice basically is: Powerfull Caster or Good Shooter. For me, it's Archmagi as well.

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Djinn Sultan vs Djinn Vizier (Dilemma Rating: 4)


Complete Agree.

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Rakshasa Raja vs Rakshasa Kshatra (Dilemma Rating: 8)



Depends on the numbers imo: A Large Stack of Kstarras can easily blow away forces that stand close to eachother. Make Sure the have Luck and Health Arties, in addition to the well needed Damage.

Rajas need Morale, Speed and Initiative and are definately more effective with smaller groups that Ktsarras are, and in battles if little room to move (Much obstackles, or Sieges) Rajas are better by default.

Overall I do think Rajas are better, but it's a pretty close call actually.





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Titan vs Storm Titan (Dilemma Rating: 3)

Storm Titan vs the Turtles (Fortress) and against Sylvan. Otherwise: Titans.




FORTRESS

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Shieldguard vs Mountain Guard (Dilemma Rating: 3)


you wrote:

Quote:
Need I say more?


I don't think so, no

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Skirmisher vs Harpooner (Dilemma Rating: 8)

Skirmishers for me as well. Spearwielders are such weak shooters, and they need a special like crippling wound to be effective. besides, the Harpooner's Harpoon strike is only (but barely) effective in combination with Firewall, Fire Trap or Liquid Breath. They damage range is too high as well.

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Blackbear Rider vs Whitebear Rider (Dilemma Rating: 9)

yep
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One can reset enemy initiative (very useful when fortress creatures are generally average in initiative), the other can possibly scare enemy troops and prevent retaliation.  Both abilities are good and the creatures themselves function well according to attack or defense.  I prefer the blackbear rider because of its above-average defense and the Armoured ability, but the whitebear rider can be equally good.  Or perhaps just save yourself the dilemma and include both units in the army.  
 

From what I have experience, the Whitebear's roar doesn't trigger often, if at all. Overall Paw Strike is much better, as it triggers more often and allows the Blackbears to live to strike another day.

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Berserker vs Battlerager (Dilemma Rating: 3)


Berserkers can attack without retaliation, but battleragers can at least do something without falling. Easy choice imo.

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Rune Patriarch vs Rune Keeper (Dilemma Rating: 2)


Quote:
The unit with poorer attack, damage and HP gets better initiative and the Crossfire ability, but imo the compensation is hardly sufficient, and not to mention that rune keepers can cast fireball.  If not for the fact that rune patriarch’s firewall spell can force affected enemies (typically shooters) to “lose a turn” by moving away, and also it works well with lava dragon’s Liquid Flame Breath, this choice of upgrade would have been a no-brainer.


Firebal > Fire Wall, but Crossfire is Scary if you have 60+ Rune Keepers. I'd take the keepers untill their ranged attack is higher than damage from fireball and then switch them...

However, I'd like to have a stack of both, Keeper's Fireball + Patriarch'Mark of Fire is simply to good to miss ^^

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Flame Lord vs Thunder Thane (Dilemma Rating: 7)

Complete agree

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Magma Dragon vs Lava Dragon (Dilemma Rating: 6)

Magma Dragons are a lot stronger than Lavas. No competion imo.



INFERNO

Quote:
Familiar vs Vermin (Dilemma Rating: 7)


No. It's a no. Familiars are imo better because:
- They Drain More Mana
- Vermin need THREE Turns to drain more Mana from Syphon Mana than Familiars do from Steal Mana (two turn to gain as much), and then you haven't gated yet. In these three turns, the enemy might have destoyed them already.
- Vermin need Pit Lords to fuction, who are weak spellcasters
- Familiars are less susceptible to Dark Magic, and more reliable overall




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Horned Overseer vs Horned Grunt (Dilemma Rating: 2)


This one is a no-brainer.

Quote:
Cerberus vs Firehound (Dilemma Rating: 1)


It Depends. Cerberi last a bit longer because of the (little) extra Defence, and can do more damage than Firehound if the do last longer. It mainly depends on whether the enemy has Fire immunity and/or Turtles. Versus Haven, Stronghold, Fortress, Academy, I'd take Firehounds. In most other cases, Cerberi. (just imagine if your Firehounds are puppeted or Seduced!)

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Succubus Mistress vs Succubus Seducer  (Dilemma Rating: 3)

On this one, I, again, agree with what you've said.


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Nightmare vs Hell Stallion (Dilemma Rating: 4)

an easy choice as well imo


Quote:
Pit Lord vs Pit Spawn (Dilemma Rating: 5)


Pit Spawns are better. They are devastating versus low level units, and are more-or-less a match to the Higher levels. Versus powerfull Lvl 7s, Like Magma Dragons, Pit Lords Are the better choice, but no because of the spells (their spellpower is too low to be effective)
If you have Pit Lords, make sure you have Vermin as well.

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Arch Devil vs Arch Demon (Dilemma Rating: 3)


Agreed



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Assassin vs Stalker (Dilemma Rating: 6)

No No No. The only few case I can see the Assassins as better than Stalker are 1) While defending a Siege 2) While attacking a Siege 3) When you've gotten the Archers Dream. Otherwise, I'd stick to Stalkers as they are a lot more versatile and usefull. Creeping with Stalkers is easy, at least, easier than with Furies.  

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Blood Fury vs Blood Sister (Dilemma Rating: 7)


I agree

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Minotaur Guard vs Minotaur Taskmaster  (Dilemma Rating: 2)


I would say Taskmaster as well, unless I've gotten my hands on a nice Teleport Assault to stirr things up. Teleport Assault is most favourable against Stronghold (Shatter Destructive) in combination with Acid Hydras, Minotaur Guards and Summoning (Phoenix, Hive).


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Grim Raider vs Brisk Raider (Dilemma Rating: 8)


Grim Raider are simply a lot better. Wheeling Attack sucks (wtf only 20% damage?), and Rider Charge obliterates enemy defence (I feel the spirit of the Ancient Behemoths here)

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Deep Hydra vs Foul Hydra (Dilemma Rating: 4)

While foul hydras have slightly better initiative, which means they can act faster,  the Acid Blood ability, in practice, does not do much damage to enemy units, and it can damage friendly troops also.  A lower defense in exchange for a slight increase in Acid Blood damage does not seem worthwhile to me.  I would rather take the deep hydra with its Regeneration ability (though frankly, it does not really need that ability anyway).


Foul Hydras are only (hypothetically) better when Teleported inside Enemy Lines with Teleport Assault..; but on the flipside, Deep Hydras can serve as well.

the Loss of regeneration sucks tho.

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Shadow Matriarch vs Shadow Mistress   (Dilemma Rating: 6)

As in my discussion for assassins and stalkers, while Invisibility is good for creeping, it is actually not as good as many thought.  The shadow mistress is not that fast (slower than assassin or stalker), and still waste a turn to be invisible?  Even if there is more damage dealt, it is only after a few rounds; the shadow matriarch can make a ranged attack in the first turn, at least making her presence felt immediately.

As for tanks, minotaurs, hydras and dragons fare better in that role.  +10 HP relative to a shooter does not seem like a big increase for a melee unit.  Maybe that would make shadow mistresses more durable as spellcasting units, but in that case, why bother to use Invisibility?  Using shadow mistresses give potentially more dilemmas.  Imo, being invisible for 3 rounds (which requires them to move forward) and being a spellcasting unit which requires them to stay back) looks like 2 mutually exclusive tasks to me. At least shadow matriarchs can just stay in the back line and the player decides whether to cast magic or use ranged attack (or even engage in melee attack if required).  These roles are not exactly mutually exclusive, at least not to me.  That is why I prefer the somewhat weaker shadow matriarch.


As I said with Stalker/assassins, invisibilty is only better when you can actually reach your opponent on foot. In sieges you simply cannot, at least, not without dying. The archer's Dream also helps in that case, and what would Eruina do without Matriarchs

However, in any case different from the above mentionned, Mistresses are tons better.

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Black Dragon vs Red Dragon (Dilemma Rating: 3)


What you said on that matter is correct imo

NECROPOLIS

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Skeleton Archer vs Skeleton Warrior (Dilemma Rating: 3)


Yeah agree, but I prefer Skeleton Archers as soon as I can get an ammocart and have 2K+ Skellies. If I cannot, well, Skeleton Warriors are simply better then, though the Ranged attack of a few  Legions hurt a lot, especially with the Archer's Dream ^^ I would say that the Dilemma is 4, not 3 because of this.

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Plague Zombie vs Rot Zombie (Dilemma Rating: 3)


Literally a No brainer imo.

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Spectre vs Poltergeist (Dilemma Rating: 5)




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Vampire Lords vs Vampire Princes (Dilemma Rating: 8)


Depend on whether you have Soldier's Luck or not. And after patch 3.1, Torpor triggers OFTEN, so you don't need SL anymore (well, not technically at least). Indeed, if you like Stability, Lords are better, but I say they're quite evenly matched.

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Archlich vs Lich Master (Dilemma Rating: 10)


Yes, I completely agree: The Archliches Decay is as strong as the Master's Animated Dead..; It's indeed a very close call. I have no preference in this case.

Wraith vs Banshee (Dilemma Rating: 4)

I agree. The only thing that I think is sucky about Harm Touch is that the Wraiths tend to walk through Fire Walls or Land Mines if they approach the target.


Spectral Dragon vs Ghost Dragon (Dilemma Rating: 9)

I prefer Ghost Dragons: Sorrow Strike simply cripples enemy opponents :S It's dangerous in combination with Slow and/or Vampirism




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Goblin Trapper vs Goblin Witch-Doctor  (Dilemma Rating: 3)


The Witch-Doctor's main problem is his low initative, 9, which means it cannot outcast ANY hero (initiative is 10.. over even higher with Jhora). Regardless to the fact that Witch-Doctor's do not act as often, their chances of success are HIGH indeed. 75% and that's WITHOUT Soldier's Luck. However, Trappers are better: they do much more damage, they act more often, Traps can cripple an enemy's charge (imagine Champs here). They are better, but only  slightly. (dilemma: 9 here imo)

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Centaur Nomad vs Centaur Marauder  (Dilemma Rating: 1)




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Mauler vs Warmonger (Dilemma Rating: 4)


Unlike with the brutes, the Maulers Assault WILL have an impact if Assault is triggered. The damage they can make is ridiculous. However, the AI doesn't like them, and almost always targets them first for elimination.

Warmongers are the opposite. They are sturdy, Last Long, Are dangerous retalialaters, but they aren't as strong as maulers. Imo, a choice that depends on opponents. Against Charges, Warmongers ought to be taken, but against Turtles, Maulers are tons better. I'd say they are somewhat equal.

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Sky Daughter vs Earth Daughter (Dilemma Rating: 3)




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Executioner vs Chieftain (Dilemma Rating: 7)

To be Honest, I do not use Chieftains often, if at all, since I prefer to smash as many enemies asap, beore they can drain my precious bloodrage.

I will not analyse further, since my preference to the Executioners is really biased.


Quote:
Foul Wyvern vs Paokai (Dilemma Rating: 8)


Again a choice depending on opponents. The Foul Wyverns venom is good versus units that are fragile, but leathal (Sylvans, Infernoes), While the Pao Kai need to hit opponents that stand close to eachother (Fortresses, Havens, Academies)

Another close call, but overall, it's Pao Kai for me

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Untamed Cyclops vs Bloodeyed Cyclops (Dilemma Rating: 6)


Difficult choice for me. Untameds are unreliable, since they tend to attack as many stacks as possible (including your own!!), and are able to kill all their allies with one single Frenzy. A liability? Yes, but weak?? Not at all. Untamed Cyclopses stay out of the neighbourhood of allies, in case the enemies takes profit from it. They are a LOT better than the Bloodeyed ones, and can easily grind an enemy army to the ground. However, NEVER, EVER take them against Inferno or Necro... It's suicide... and even Academy is a risk at least. They can also attack walls, which kinda make the Catapult perk obselete (And allowing you to easily take Ballista and Tripple Flaming)

Bloodeyes are stattistically weaker, and overall a bit less usefull. However, they are TONS more reliable. They will NOT attack your own units, and are significantly less horrifying if frenzied.

Evil Eye is not an extremely powerfull ability, but it's certainly an extremely usefull one. Imagine Academy or Sylvan on a Lucky Streak, which can be very annoying (especially with wheel of Fortune), and have some Bloodeyes mess up the Lucky side^o^

It also function as some kind of "Fire Breath", making sure you will almost always hit two targets, who will have low luck ^^

The Bloodeyes Main weakness is it's attack. It's too low for such an Offencive unit, though Evil Eyes certainly makes up for it

Overall, I prefer Untameds, but I pick Bloodeyes more often, since they are more reliable.

   



God, that took me HOURS to write
<*looks at the clock*>
Four to be precise

Hopefully it's the last time I make ushca gargantuan post like this one (tho I doubt it )

Feel free to comment, and good day


-and now back to studying-
EDIT: Typoes fixed and special thanks to Elvin for the QP
____________
Coincidence? I think not!!!!

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veco
veco


Legendary Hero
who am I?
posted January 25, 2009 02:20 PM

Quote:
against Turtles, Maulers are tons better. I'd say they are somewhat equal.

And by turtles you mean Dungeon and Necro, yes?
Thanks but no thanks, I'd rather go with extra hp againts Destructive and no Assault in case of Frenzy

Quote:
Again a choice depending on opponents. The Foul Wyverns venom is good versus units that are fragile, but leathal (Sylvans, Infernoes), While the Pao Kai need to hit opponents that stand close to eachother (Fortresses, Havens, Academies)


Venom is great againts fast units, agreed
But... you want to attack clustered enemies with Paokais? really? attacking Thanes, Shieldguards, Battleragers you kill as follows - 0, 2, 5 Venom again is better, because it bypasses high defence.
However if I were to pick Foul Wyverns it would be only againts Inferno. Scavenger is to big of a treat for preventing Ressurections of the most annoying stacks, and possibly Summon Pitlords, so even againts Inferno Fouls may not be the best choice
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Lexxan
Lexxan


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Unimpressed by your logic
posted January 25, 2009 02:26 PM

Quote:
Quote:
against Turtles, Maulers are tons better. I'd say they are somewhat equal.

And by turtles you mean Dungeon and Necro, yes?



Quite the Contrairy

Fortress, Academy and Haven are those I refer to as the "Turtles"

Against Dark indeed, No mAulers
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alcibiades
alcibiades


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of Gold Dragons
posted January 25, 2009 04:08 PM
Edited by alcibiades at 16:11, 25 Jan 2009.

Quote:
@Alc,

Thanks.

By the way, is the Cerberus vs Firehound explanation something that you disagree with?


In contrary to most players, I don't think the Cerberi / Firehound balance is as much off as most players make it. Cerbery does a whole point more damage (average 5 damage vs. average 4 damage, or +25 % damage), which is quite significant. Obviously, Firehounds make up for this with their area thingy.

The point is that it's an obvious early/late game choice. Until you encounter an enemy Hero who actually gathers his units up in a tight formation, you will have no use of the Firebreath - less so since the Cerberi's three-headed attack is quite efficient at targeting multiple stacks already.

Therefore, it is my oppinion that during creeping, Cerberi is simply the better choice, because you will have a larger damage output - and the lower defence (1 point!) doesn't really matter, since they have No Retaliation, and your strategy at this point of the game will be either 1-hit knock-out or hit-n-run to avoid losses, since Demon Lords abysmal defence makes him very vulnerable to defending.

In late game, things will turn around, and Firehounds will be the better choice. Personally, when I play, unless I get War Machines > First Aid Tent very early, I don't find my Cerberi surviving that long. Most games, there is a crucial point where I find I have to sacrifice them to get to a Gold mine or an important artefact, after which I'll put my focus on Pit Spawn or horses.




Btw. much the same point goes for Vermin vs. Familiars. Familiars are only better in terms of their Mana Drain ability, so until you encounter an enemy Hero, Familiars will give you better value for your money due to higher defence and, more importantly, higher speed. Once creeping is over, you might want to change the horse your riding, so to speak.

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adon
adon


Known Hero
posted January 26, 2009 05:18 AM

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War Dancer vs Wind Dancer (Dilemma Rating: 1)

The war dancer’s stats are all inferior, yet it has a higher power rating?  I don’t understand this at all.  Anyway, how often can you use its war dance combo?  With agility, wind dancers are almost like mini-treants, though it could be tiring for players as they regularly try to move it at its maximum distance.  Enough said.



I respectfully disagree.  While a "tank" unit is a bit lacking outside of treants for the sylvans, the War Dancer can hit multiple units. If you can get attack as a skill and retribution + nature's wrath plus a few +attack artifacts, you've got a vicious first strike combined with the dryad spray attack.  Sure they are much more frail than a wind dancer if they get to use agility, but they are much more offensive. If your emeralds or unicorns can absorb a first hit, then you bring in the war dancer to hit 3 units with no retaliation, you'd had to have had 3 turns with a wind dancer to make up for that single attack.  If the enemy ignores you, you can hit another few units.

Situational? A bit, but in the first turn you're going to have clustered units.  A "dilemma" of 1 is over kill, considering you gave arcane archer's a dilemma of 2 over master hunters when even blind and deaf people pick arcane archers.


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Asheera
Asheera


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Elite Assassin
posted January 26, 2009 02:39 PM

Quote:
If your emeralds or unicorns can absorb a first hit, then you bring in the war dancer to hit 3 units with no retaliation, you'd had to have had 3 turns with a wind dancer to make up for that single attack.
Not true.

People always misunderstand the War Dancer's ability. It deals only half damage to all targets except the main one. Not to mention the Wind Dancer has 25% more damage. And +1 Speed, and higher Attack and Defense. So really I don't see any use of War Dancers, maybe in very few situations they are better but I wouldn't risk that.
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Lexxan
Lexxan


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Unimpressed by your logic
posted January 26, 2009 02:48 PM

War Dancer are Very, Very good in combination with Extreme Light buffs, Teleport Assault AND Elven Luck.

Otherwise, it's nearly impossible to make them better than the Windies.


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adon
adon


Known Hero
posted January 27, 2009 12:13 AM

Quote:
Quote:
If your emeralds or unicorns can absorb a first hit, then you bring in the war dancer to hit 3 units with no retaliation, you'd had to have had 3 turns with a wind dancer to make up for that single attack.
Not true.

People always misunderstand the War Dancer's ability. It deals only half damage to all targets except the main one. Not to mention the Wind Dancer has 25% more damage. And +1 Speed, and higher Attack and Defense. So really I don't see any use of War Dancers, maybe in very few situations they are better but I wouldn't risk that.


Hmm...the +1 speed and increased damage per hit are for sure worth mentioning, the higher attack and defense when dealing with a high level ranger are negligible...(defense from agility is another thing entirely!).

I still think the hydra attack can be quite useful with such a small unit, especially with the right buffs and artifacts.

The Wind Dancer may be the more useful unit, but my point was that a "dilemma rating" of zero seemed totally wrong to me and I had to speak out.


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Asheera
Asheera


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Elite Assassin
posted January 27, 2009 12:40 AM

Quote:
I still think the hydra attack can be quite useful with such a small unit, especially with the right buffs and artifacts.
Maybe, but the Hydra attack is not the same as War Dance. As I said, War Dance deals only half damage to all targets except the main one.

I still think Wind Dancers are better in around 95% of the cases. It's basically the same case as with Marksmen vs Crossbowmen: if you get the Unicorn Horn Bow (kinda situational and rare), Marksmen are better. Otherwise Crossbowmen should be chosen.
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adon
adon


Known Hero
posted January 27, 2009 01:42 AM

I think its less situational than the unicorn bow analogy, and more a question of play style...offensive v defensive. I prefer one overwhelming first burst attack with my Sylvan, and the War Dancer fits that playstyle more than the uber defensive Wind Dancer. To each his own!

Of course, if I didn't have tactics or familiar ground or the boots, its another story..the Wind Dancer can at least hit the other side in the first round!  

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blizzardboy
blizzardboy


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posted January 27, 2009 01:48 AM
Edited by blizzardboy at 03:28, 27 Jan 2009.

It's a question of light ranger vs destructive ranger too. Although I'd probably pick the wind dancer either way, I don't think going war dancers with a light magic build would be a stupid move, because being able to hit several creatures maximizes the use of spells like haste, divine strength, and righteous might. It's also useful because you can target the weaker creature to have a soft counterattack, but still deal some damage to stronger stacks as well.

With destructive ranger, I'm pretty one sided in favor of wind dancers.

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Lexxan
Lexxan


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Unimpressed by your logic
posted January 27, 2009 09:15 AM

Yes, in that aspect the Choice for Druids is a lot easier ^^
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sigma1932
sigma1932

Tavern Dweller
posted January 27, 2009 09:23 AM

Quote:
Steel Golem vs Magnetic Golem (Dilemma Rating: 6)

Sure, the magnetic golem has two great abilities, enchanted armor and magnetism, that are very useful against enemy spellcasting heroes and units (especially the area-effect ones) and they also have acceptable initiative (9 initiative is not bad actually for a walker), but in melee combat they somewhat suffer in having fewer HPs and poorer defense.  More importantly, not all heroes need to cast spells during their turn, which somewhat diminishes the usefulness of the magnetic golem.

True, the steel golem is not much better, but at least it is more durable and its unlimited retaliation can help in defending against enemy creatures wanting to kill the shooters.  And it cannot be slowed (anyway they are already slow enough) and receives much reduced damage from direct-damage spells.  It may not work in an exciting way as the magnetic golem, but I feel it is better.



If you're going to use Golems solely as "defensive" or "blocking" stacks, then Magnetics are still better than Steels.  Yes, they have lower defensive stats, but that's made up for by the fact that they can be rezzed at will, with no HP penalty.  Once steels are gone, they're gone-- unless repaired by Master Gremlins, which actually works better on Magnetics due to their lower HP.

Magnetics are completely immune to not just Slow, but ALL debuffs (and buffs, yes, but who really buffs Steels outside of mass spells anyway?) they receive NO direct spell damage ('cept First of Wrath and that from an Arcane Crystal explosion), and they also reduce (and with enough numbers, eliminate) AoE spell damage done by enemy spellcasters causing them to have to make somewhat more strategic decisions about where they lay their spells.

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