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Heroes Community > Heroes 5 - Modders Workshop > Thread: Heroes 5.5 Necropolis Guide
Thread: Heroes 5.5 Necropolis Guide
azalen
azalen


Promising
Adventuring Hero
posted August 18, 2019 09:16 AM bonus applied by Galaad on 20 Aug 2019.
Edited by azalen at 21:38, 18 Aug 2019.

Heroes 5.5 Necropolis Guide

Necropolis Guide

Disclaimer:
This is an evolutionary guide and I am open to input from other players.  This guide represents my opinions
and experiences from playing Necropolis, one of my favorite factions, on Impossible.    

Overview:
Excellent Creeping weeks 1-3, but struggle in hero battles week 5+.  To be successful, you need to leverage your
creeping advantages to beat your opponent to stat/artifact houses and bring the fight to them early.  The fact
that great creeping skills come built-in to the faction means they perform consistently well.  However, against
skilled opponents that can creep effectively with factions that have a more powerful late game, you are at a
disadvantage.

Strength Rating:
3/5 Stars - Consistent Performers, but can struggle against good players using factions with a more powerful
late-game.

Fun to Play Rating:
5/5 Stars - Necropolis is one of Heroes 5 best designed factions from a fun and flavor stand point.  
It is a great beginner's faction for higher difficulty levels and you will rarely have a frustrating time
playing them.  

Faction Strengths:
+Necromancers start with Raise Dead and it is available to Reavers through mage guild level 2
+Units have good tactical abilities (2 good ranged units, Etherealness, Life Drain, Torpor, Lich
Raise Dead, Death Cloud, etc...)
+Elite Ghost blockers
+Some nice spell immunities
+Necromancy (Faction Special Skill) is very useful at all stages of the game
+Diplomancy Conversion

Faction Weaknesses:
-The worst level 7 unit.  They are weak stat-wise and lack multi-hit attacks.
-Both level 6 and level 7 units have low hit point totals, making them weak in slug-fest situations
-Units don't get Morale bonus
-No Artifact Merchants
-Lich large size can not be effectively blocked
-Low HPs on average makes creatures vulnerable to Destruction magic

Necromancy (Faction Special Skill):
Unlike most of the other Faction specials, Necromancy is useful at all points in the game.  Early, you pickup
additional Skeleton Archers.  Later,  go for Wraiths (Vampires for Lucretia).  Cold Steel, a nice perk, is an
easy access level 1 skill off the Necromancy tree.  Banshee Howl is a decent Swift Mind opener for a Death
Knight without Dark Magic.  Sheer numbers of units from Necromancy help make up for poor unit strength at the
top-end.


Faction Summary:

The most important thing that separates Necropolis from the other factions is the spell Raise Dead.  
Necromancers are equipped with Raise Dead on turn 1  and it is available as a level 2 spell for Reavers.  The
power of this can not be ignored: it is comparable to other factions starting with level 5 Ressurection spell
(albeit a weaker version).  In addition to this, Lich Masters also have Raise Dead, giving you an extra Raise
Dead that doesn't cost you mana.  What this means is that on turn 1 of the game, you have all the tools you
need to creep, without having to spend early turns to build up your town, hope for War Machines->Tent, or rely on
map RNG.

Death Knights lack Raise Dead, but thanks to the tactical effectiveness of Necromancy, Skeleton Archers, Ghost
blockers, Vampires, and Stunning Strike, they can manage until they get War Machines->Tent.  Because Death
Knights enhance their creature units, they are most suited to maximizing the benefits of Necromancy.  Death Knights
start with the Combat skill, allowing them fast access to Chain Attack->Stunning Strike.  Stunning Strike works
especially well with Skeleton Archers and the Combat skill's more powerful retaliations help keep your Vampire
numbers up.  Because Stunning Strike controls enemy initiative, it scales infinitely with the power of the
enemy stack.  A typical Death Knight will favor Chain-Attack->Stunning Strike, War Machines->Tent, and
Attack->Battle Frenzy as high priorities when starting out.

Necromancers feature Ghost blockers for especially hard encounters.  A Skeleton Archer stack protected by a
a group of 6 1-stack Ghosts takes a lot of turns for enemy walkers to get through.  This gives you plenty of
time for your Skeleton Archers, hero turns, and War Machine turns to take down the enemy.  Ghosts also fly,
which means they work well with the Firewall stacking strategy.  If you can't deploy your Skeleton Archers
due to enemy ranged, then you can deploy 7 1-unit Ghost stacks, and kill the ranged with your hero turns/war
machines.  The combination of Raise Dead and elite blocking means that Necropolis has a very easy  time creeping
on Impossible.

Death Knights also benefit from a peculiarity: They can get both Aura of Swiftness and Diplomacy from the
Leadership tree.  Necropolis has a town building to convert Diplomacy units into undead units (Herald of Death
skill not required).  This makes undead the most powerful "Diplomacy" faction.  Converting a level 4 neutral stack
to Vampires for a hero like Lucretia, for example, is a game braking event.

As the undead, you have immunity to Poison, Blind, Frenzy, and Hypnotism.  These immunities are just all right,
as your opponent is more likely to attack your unit's low hit point totals with Destruction, and you rarely
encounter these spells while creeping.  

In exchange for these immunities, you no longer benefit from Morale.  Your main tool to mitigate this disadvantage
is to lower your opponent's Morale.  Spectral Dragons, for example, have Death Stare.  Banshee Howl is easy access
off the Necromancy tree.  You can also use Necromancy artifacts with no Morale penalties.

Shatter Destruction is available to both Reavers and Death Knights, and this is a big deal, as Destruction is
a big threat to your faction units with low hp totals.  Consider it seriously in the end game if you suspect
a Destruction caster.

The big problem with Necropolis is that your level 6-7 unit stacks do not measure up to an opposing Might hero
faction.  Dragons are the worst level 7 with poor specials compared to their competitors.  Wraiths hit hard,
but lack the durability of other level 6s.  Opposing faction level 6-7 units are, simply put, stronger than
yours with better special abilities.  Therefore, you need to use your creeping advantage to beat your
opponent to the Utopias/Stat buildings to even the odds with better stats/artifact perks than your opponent.


Necropolis Tactics:

Skeleton Archers + 6 1-unit Ghost blockers: Etherealness extends the amount of hits it takes to get to your
Skeleton Archers, giving you plenty of time to use your hero turns/War Machines/Skeleton Archers to take care
of opposing stacks.  

7 1-unit Ghost blockers: This arrangement takes on early ranged doomsday guards like Elvish Archers.  Here, the
idea is that, because of Etherealness, the archers can't take out your 1-stacks that quickly, giving you time to
take them out with hero turns/War Machines.

Chain Attack->Stunning Strike: Place Chain Attack on your Skeleton Archers.  Once that is done, you can
effectively control the initiative of 1 stack with both your arhcers and your hero turns.  You can
partially control the initiative of 2 stacks, depending on their initiative.  This really helps when creeping,
as controlling the initiative of a stack scales infinitely with the power of that stack.

Fire Trap: Fire trap gets the job done against walkers of every kind (particularly large ones), and it's mana
efficient to boot.  It is the ideal cheap killing spell for the prospective Necromancer summoner.    

Summoning->Conjuration->Pyromancy: Necromancers emphasize Summoning, so this is a top get for them.  The idea
here is to get fire elementals.  They are ranged, so they assit your archers, and can serve as another
blocker that can take multiple hits in a pinch (elementals are pretty tough).  Secondly, you get Firewall, a
powerful level-4 spell, for free, without ever having to go back to town.  

Firewall Stacking: This is one of the most powerful gatekeeper breaking tactics in the game.  Necropolis is
ideally suited to implement Firewall stacking, since Ghosts can fly over Firewall and take
multiple blocking hits thanks to Etherealness, giving you more time to lay down your multiple-Firewall stack
in front of your ranged.  When the mobs finally get through your blockers to attack your ranged, they get
hit by 4-5 Firewalls at once, making them crumple like flies.  Add in Phoenix Feather Cape to really lock
in your Firewall dominance.    

Torpor/Soldiers Luck: Once you get soldier's luck to go along with your Vampire Princes, they reach the next
level of strategic viability, putting enemy stacks to asleep during strategic parts of the battle on a
fairly reliable basis.  You still need to be aware that Vampires are delicate at this stage and will be focus
fire targets.  

Battle Frenzy/Amulet of the Bloody Claw: Necropolis features a lot of low-power units in large numbers.  This
makes them ideal candidats for Battle Frenzy and Amulet of the Bloody Claw.  An extra 2-2 damage can double
the damage output of Skeleton Archers, Zombies, Ghosts, etc... much more impactful than percentage buffs like
Attack. Even Zombies can become dangerous with this combination.

Opponent Morale Reduction: As a Death Knight, one of your chief disadvantages is not having access to Morale in
the end-game battle.  This allows high initiative/high Morale enemy heroes to wipe the floor with your low hp
army before you can do anything.  There are ways to even the tables, however.  Death Stare from dragons subtracts
1 from your opponent's Morale right off the bat.  A swift-minded Banshee Howl off the Necromancy tree can further
lower their Morale by 2. Keep an eye out for Ring of the Unbroken Will and Cloak of Death's Shadow to drive them
further to 0 or even negative Morale.  Keep in mind, that as undead, you can use Morale reduction artifacts
like Staff of the Neterworld (probably the most powerful artifact in the game) without penalty.      

Morale->Diplomacy, Aura of Swiftness: On Impossible, you are unlikely to get Diplomacy roles because Impossible
stacks are going to be rated a lot more powerful than your sad-face Skeleton Archer/Zombie/Ghost army.  Even
when you do win a roll, the chance that the monsters belong to another faction is high.  Around week-3, Diplomacy
roles become more realistic, and this is where you can capitalize as a Death Knight.  First of all, Death Knights
are the only heroes that can get both Diplomacy and Aura of Swiftness, so you can get both a chance at adding a
huge group of neutrals without sacrafice your end-game speed like other might heroes must do.  Also, you have
access to Shrine of the Netherworld, which allows you to convert neutrals to undead, solving the different
faction problem.  You can also get Herald of Death, but I would rather have Aura of Swiftness, especially when
you already have a building that does that for you.  This ability is very important to Death Knights, as just
winning a single Diplomacy roll can swing the game in their favor (a Diplomacy roll is WAY more significant
than the number of units you gain through Necromancy for example).  Keep an eye out for Crown of Leadership
to further enhance your chances.


Week 1 Skill Prioritization:

Logistics is tricky to fit into a prioritization list because you pick it up when you feel you have enough to
creep week 1, but not before (once you reach a certain threshold, creeping win more doesn't help you, so
mobility then becomes more valuable).  This is usually late week 1, early week 2.  

Death Knight:

1) War Machines -> First Aid Tent
2) Combat -> Chain Attack -> Stunning Strike -> Martial Arts
3) Necromancy (just level base skill  - you don't need eternal servitude if you manage your tent right)
4) Attack -> Battle Frenzy (dramatically increase Skeleton Archer damage)
5) War Machines -> Ballista -> Engineering
6) Logistics -> Pathfinding
7) Either Attack -> Archery -> Fire Arrows or Attack->Tactics-> Offensive Formation depending on hero
8) Morale (1st rank for +4 attack)
9) Necromancy -> Cold Steel

Skills to look out for on week 2:

9) Morale (continue to upgrade base skill) -> Diplomacy
10) Expert Luck -> Soldiers Luck
11) Defense -> Vitality (You are now starting to look at improving the durability of Vampires, Liches, and Skeletons)


Necromancer:

Most Necromancer's will start out as Summoners and transition to Destruction Magic in the end game.

1) Expert Summoning -> Conjuration -> Pyromancy -> Master of Earthblood (its tempting to take Mast of Life for Raise
Dead, but you will have enough spell power for that, and a more powerful Fire Trap and free Arcane Crystal is more
desirable).
2) Enlightenment -> Intelligence (mana is critical to keeping things moving in week 1)
3) Sorcery -> Arcane Training -> Arcane Brilliance (speed, mana reduction, and spell power)
4) Logistics -> Pathfinding
5) Occultism -> Empowered Spells -> Exorcism (Empowered spells won't help you until you shift to destruction later,
but Occultism and Exorcism will help buff spell power).  

Skills to look out for week 2:

6) Enlightenment -> Eagle Eye -> Swift Mind
7) Expert Destruction -> Master of Ice -> Cold Death
8) Luck -> Erratic Mana -> Casters Luck


Reavers:

Reavers are going to be skimping and scratching to creep week 1.  Reavers start with Dark Magic, so my suggestion is
to immediatley pivot to Summoning and War Machines with your first skill choices.  Summoning has some good spell power
perks for individual spells, which help you much more than Dark perks in the early game.  You need Mast of Life and
Earthblood, in particular, to power Raise Dead and Fire Trap.  Try to start with one of the spell power artifacts.  
If you start with Elemental Waistband, then switch out Earthblood for Conjuration -> Pyromancy.  Once you have a basic
creeping game in place, you can consider transitioning back to Dark Magic when it starts getting good at level 3-5.

1) War Machines -> First Aid Tent -> Ballista -> Engineering (you are going to be pretty pathetic week 1... and War
Machines has the most immediate impact in solving that).  
2) Expert Summoning -> Master of Life -> Master of Earth Blood (you start with Dark, but you need to pivot immediately
to Summoning if you want to creep.  
You need Master of Life +4 to buff your pathetic spell power.  Earth Blood pumps fire trap, which you should be able to
use effectively).
3) Enlightenment -> Intelligence (you will be in desperate need of mana given Reavers pathetic knowledge roll).
4) Sorcery -> Arcane Training -> Arcane Brilliance (speed, mana reduction, and spell power)
5) Attack->Battle Frenzy (Buff Skeleton archers - you are gonna need all the offense you can get).



Artifacts of Particular Interest:

Amulet of the Bloody Claw: You have a lot of low-power units that benefit greatly from an extra 1 damage range.
Damage range scales low-level unit damage much faster/higher than simple percentage talents.  

Ring of the Unbroken Will/Cloak of Death's Shadow: Lower opponent's morale advantage

Crown of Leadership: Leverage Death Knight Diplomacy

Phoenix Feather Cape: High value artifact for Fire Wall Stacking.

Staff of the Netherworld: Possibly the most powerful artifact in the game, and undead don't suffer the morale penalty.

Ring of Caution: Good artifact for Death Knights to start out with considering you don't really care about movement
for a good portion of the game.

Elemental Waistband: +4 to Summon Elementals is great artifact to start with for Necromancers with summoning.  Quickly
get Conjuration perk and Pyromancy to go along with it for another +4 to Elementals, and you are on your way.


Creatures:

Skeletons: Worthless.  Upgrade ASAP.

Skeleton Archers: Your bread and butter week 1-2.  10 initiative is solid.  Surround them with 1-stack Zombies
or Ghosts depending on encounter difficulty.  Keep their numbers up with Tent/Raise Dead.  Damage output benefits
greatly from Attack->Battle Frenzy.  They are the ideal target for your hero's Chain Attack->Stunning Strike.

Skeleton Warrior: A situational unit mainly useful for their Shield Other ability against opposing ranged
units.  You only need a 1 unit stack to place next to Skeleton Archers for Shield Other to take effect.  
In week 1-2, when attacking ranged stacks, their damage mitigation can help your First Aid Tent keep up
with your Skeleton Archer losses.  I rarely take them because they take up a blocking spot.  Now, they
do have Bash, which with Soldiers Luck (which you are likely to have because of Vampire Princes), can,
in theory, make them a tactically useful end-game unit.


Zombies: The ultimate, cheap, plentiful meat sack blocker.  They have bad initiative, so be careful about opposing
creatures beating them to the ideal blocking position.  Don't bother upgrading Zombies, as their purpose is to
die as 1-unit stacks, and upgrading just makes them more expensive and wastes a build turn.

Plauge Zombie: The main thing here is 2-3 damage range, which is better than Rot Zombie.  They can start getting
dangerous if you have a Might hero with Battle Frenzy.  Don't bother with them unless you have money to burn for
the final battle.

Rot Zombie:  Festering Aura is interesting if you can combine it with Dragon Death Stare and other Morale reducing
effects.  You can park them next to your opponent's units as they are often ignored.  Possibly situationally
useful, but I've never seen the situation.  Skip.


Ghost: Elite blockers with both Etherealness and Flying.  They are expensive and don't come in great numbers as
blockers, plus you want to preserve them for the final battle, so use them as such only when necessary.  
Rely on Zombies for the easier battles.

Spectre: Upgraded Ghosts can be a very dangerous offensive unit under a Death Knight with Battle Frenzy.  Getting
the opponent to waste an attack/retaliation on Ghost etherenalness is a huge-effect on the battle.  The main choice
between Spectre and Poltergeist is 1 initiative vs 1 speed.  It is situational which one you choose.  I've never
seen the Spectre special be useful.

Poltergeist: See above.  Steal ammunition is more useful than steal mana, but it is more once-in-a-blue-moon
useful.


Vampires: An iconic Necropolis unit.  Life Drain is extremely powerful as long as you keep your Vampire numbers up
However, Vampires are not particularly tough, and big level 6/7 stacks will pound these guys into the ground.  
Lucretria Vampires, on the other hand, are a different matter, and are a force to be reckoned with.  Note that
Vampires benefit greatly from the Combat->Retaliation bonus, as it helps them  replenish their numbers with Life
Drain on retliation.  

Vampire Lords: I like Vampire Lords better than Princes during the creeping phase as their non-retaliation
ability is more consistently useful than Torpor, particularly if you don't have Soldier's Luck yet.

Vampire Prince: These guys are the ones you want to go with in the end-game battle, as Torpor combined with
Soldier's luck can cause your opponent big time problems - disabling major tactical stacks for significant
portions of the battle.  The extra HPs also makes them a bit tougher than Lords.


Lich: Liches sport strong stats for their tier.  Their HP totals are below average, but their higher defense
stat helps make up for it, making them reasonably tough for a ranged unit.  Liches also sport Death Cloud,
which allows them to hit multiple adjacent living units with a ranged attack.  The big problem is Lich's large
size, meaning you can't really block effectively for them.  They still form a great team with Vampires and
Ghosts, but I usually leave them at home until I can upgrade them to Lich Masters because of this problem.

Lich Master: Bringing an extra Raise Dead to the party is big game, making them ideal in the creeping phase.
They also hit harder single target.  For these benefits, you lose Death Cloud, but you are more than willing
to make this tradeoff during the creeping phase.

ArchLich: These guys are more of an end-game unit when having Death Cloud to hit multiple units in the
end-game becomes more important than having Raise Dead (which doesn't scale well into end-game).


Wights: For every hero but Lucretia, Wraiths will be your weekly Necromancy point target.  They
hit quite hard for a Level-6, and they are the best deal when it comes to Necromancy points per offensive
output ratio.  They also have good 11 initiative and can cross the battlefeed 1st turn with tatics/aura of
swiftness.  On the other hand, their specials are not too much to right home about when compared to some
other level-6 abilities.  I usually skip Wights in the early creeping phase in favor of Vampires/Lich masters,
but in the end-game, these guys will be a bread-and-butter offensive unit to stand up to your opponents stronger
units.  Wights have below-average hit point totals, so it is imperative that they strike first in any melee
battle.

Wraiths: Wraiths hit really hard.  They also have harm-touch, a useful phoenix and level-7 killer when
their numbers are too depleted to be a tactically useful stack, or where you can't afford a retaliation.

Banshee:  Banshee's have higher hit points, but hit less hard and their special is less useful.  I use them
mainly when I'm desperate for a 'tanky' unit in the creeping phase.


Bone Dragon: Really more of a level 6.5 unit, it is questionable if they are worth the investment in the
earlier weeks.  They only do slightly more damage than Wraiths, and are super-squishy for a level 7.  Again,
your core units for Necropolis are Skeleton Archers, Vampires, Liches, and Wraiths, so fill out these core
slots before you consider investing in Bone Dragon units and their upgrades.

Spectral Dragon: I prefer the Spectral Dragon upgrade over Ghost Dragons primarily for Death Stare, as it is
active at the beginning of battle, and thus more useful. They don't hit very hard, but they only average 1
less damage than Ghost dragons.

Ghost Dragon: Slightly stronger offensive unit.  The problem with Sorrow as a special is you have to hit
the unit, which takes time/turns and risks retaliation (both bad things in the end-game).  Also, only getting
level-none sorrow from your hit is weak sauce.  


Hero Ratings:

Kaspar: Starting with War Machines->Tent skill is awesome for creeping.  His special enhances it making it
even better.  Excellent hero, but his special doesn't scale into the end game.  
Rating - 4 Stars.

Vladimir: Starting with Martial Arts and Necromancy is good.  Recruitment specials aren't very good because you
have to spend the extra money on the extra units and perform the logistics of getting those units from town to
hero.  On the other hand, he does recruit Wraiths, a core end-game unit for Death Knights.  
Rating - 3 Stars

Orson: Starting with Martial Arts and Necromancy is good.  His special of buffing Zombies, one of the worst
units in the game, fit only for meat-sack blocking, is kinda funny.  I suppose you can suprise your opponent
with vicious battle frenzy/bloody claw pumped Zombies, but I suspect the payoff isn't much to write home about.  
Rating - 2.5 Stars.

Ornella: One of my favorites, Ornella is a mage killer, combining undead magic immunities with high magic
resistance.  She starts with Combat and Luck/MR which is just all right, so you have to build her carefully
week 1 to get the key skills.  The good news is that, as a Death Knight, she can leverage the Necropolis faction's
creeping advantage to get to the end game where you can truly leverage your MR advantage as a mage assassin.
Rating - 4 Stars

Lucretia: A full fledged Alpha hero, Lucretia brings it with super-Vampires, which are capable of taking
on big level-6/7 stacks.  She also starts out with Advanced Combat and Martial Arts, making the Chain-Attack->Stunning
Strike combo just 2 skills away.  A Lucretia Vampire stack spreading Torpor around is a worthy end game threat,
which means they that your opponent will have to pick their poison between her Vampires and her Wraiths.  
Rating - 5 Stars.

Xerxon: Recruiting Black Knights instead of mummies is interesting, but they need to come in enough numbers to
be relevant when replacing one of your army slots (maybe the Zombie one).  Plus, they won't really help you until the
end-game.  The tactical thing here is the Morale reducing frightful aura of Black Knights. Personally, I'd still
rather have Xerxon's previous swift-mind like special, which was great with Stunning Strike.  I don't have any
experience playing 5.5 Xerxon, but I'm still gonna take a stab at a rating:
Rating - 2.5 Stars.

Deidre: Hybrid classes have a difficult time getting started week 1, particularly ones that start with Dark Magic.
At least Deidre does her best to make Dark Magic work for you.  She gives you Advanced Dark Magic and the best
Dark Magic perk, Master of Mind to start out with.  She also starts out with 2nd-level confusion.  This gives
you access to Mass Slow and Mass Confusion right off the bat - which is a "now you're talking" start.   The
issue here is spell power, and Deidre has none.  Reavers have a pathetic 20% to get spellpower rolls and don't
have access to Pariah in the Occultism tree.  Quite frankly, low-spell power debuffs aren't going to get the job
done on Impossible.  If you can get to the end game, you can live the vampirism/frenzy dream.  Deidre's
confusion special can also cause some trouble by drainig cleanse mana from creatures, leaving your opponent
vulnerable to high-level Dark Magic.  
Rating - 2 Stars.  

Naadir: Relying on the weakness spell is NOT a good idea.  
Rating - 1.5 Star.

Aislinn: Her special is somewhat useful because getting a few Ghosts at the beginning of the week means you
possibly save yourself some movement points when you desperately need more Ghost blockers, though it is pretty
much a non-factor from a combat stand point.  At least she starts with Necromancy...
Rating - 2 Stars

Giovanni: The Mass Decay + Poison plan here is conceivable considering we have a faction that has Ghost
blockers, giving your Dark DOT damage time to do its thing.  Unfortunately, you still have the same issue -
no spell power for a spell like Decay that needs it.  
Rating - 2 Stars.

Nimbus:  He starts with Necromancy and week 2-3 he gets a bit of Skeleton Archer buff.  A stack of 20+ archers
a week isn't going to set the world on fire, but a little strength where it counts can go a long way.  Reavers
get 35% to roll attack, so building an effective skeleton army is conceivable.  Rating - 2.5 Stars.  

Archilus: Recruiting extra Liches (which you don't get for free) doesn't help you early week 1 and neither
will mass weakness.  If he gave Liches +1/+1 per 2 levels he would be more interesting.  
Rating - 2 Stars.

Zoltan: He starts with Dark Magic, which isn't what you are looking for week 1.  Spell ringer is an interesting
end-game skill as it is passive and can significanlty mess up your opponent when it triggers (but the chance is
kinda low for lvl 5 spells, and there is a decent chance it just does nothing).  
Rating - 3 Stars

Raven: He starts with Dark Magic, which isn't what you are looking for week 1.  You will need to pickup Summoning
or Destruction early because of the starting skill situation.  On the other hand, his special can pay major dividends.  
Let's say you focus fire down the first stack... that stack becomes a Ghost stack and can serve as an additional
blocker, which can be critical when trying to avoid losses in the creeping phase.
Rating - 3.5 Stars.

Arantir: Now we are talking.  Raise dead is a critical spell to Necropolis faction, and this guy is all about
buffing it.  At level 34, this guy can give you +12 spell power to raise dead, which is no joke.  Not only that,
he starts with master of life perk, giving you an extra +4 to raise dead.  Now, at end-game, raise dead doesn't
scale as well because you are raising weaker units in comparison to your opponents stronger units, but at these
levels of spell power, you are still doing good work.  
Rating 4.5 stars.

Thant: Thant starts with Summoning, which is good.  I guess the idea here is to get Mummies and have them assist
your attack spells with wasp swarm.  Its an ok idea, but you will have to split your Mummies into 2 stacks to
maximize the concept, meaning less blockers.  Plus, you have to wait a week for anything to show up.  For the most
part, I think you are talking about a blank slate Necromancer here, as the Mummy plan is somewhat dubious.  
Rating 3 Stars.

Sandro: Vecna is back!  Sandro is the quintessential necromancer equipped with raw, unadulterated spell power.
He starts with the right skills as well: Summoning is excellent for creeping and buffs raise dead.  You will
want destruction eventually for Sandro, but you can go a long-time with just Fire Trap and Firewall with his
spell power (lookout for Phoenix feather cape).  Eternal servitude also is nice for raising a minor-loss
battle without having to waste mana on Raise Dead.  
Rating: 4.5 Stars.

Vidomina: She's a resource hero, making her a must take as a secondary hero if you see her at the tavern.
Rating: Resource Secondary Hero

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 18, 2019 12:43 PM

Are you sure you don't mean week 5-6+ trouble? Back in 3.1 it was possible to defeat ridiculously powerful garrisons/guards early week 3, gather goodies and levels from middle area and rush the opponent week 4. I only played hard but in h5.5 you have guaranteed firetrap, summoning spells are more powerful and late game factions are much slower to develop. Even a ballista user would be hard pressed to take down some of the most powerful encounters that a necromancer can.
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azalen
azalen


Promising
Adventuring Hero
posted August 18, 2019 01:31 PM

Elvin said:
Are you sure you don't mean week 5-6+ trouble? Back in 3.1 it was possible to defeat ridiculously powerful garrisons/guards early week 3, gather goodies and levels from middle area and rush the opponent week 4. I only played hard but in h5.5 you have guaranteed firetrap, summoning spells are more powerful and late game factions are much slower to develop. Even a ballista user would be hard pressed to take down some of the most powerful encounters that a necromancer can.


Hi Elvin,

Yes, with Lucretia or a Necromancer, I usually average an early week 3 break.  I've done week 2 breaks with Lucretia depending on the gate guard, but that usually means you had a bad artifact in the corner that you skipped.  Necromancers aren't quite as efficient because you have to waste a few movement points on mana wells.  

You get to the opposite side Utopia after clearing out desert/middle utopia, and can hit right side utopia early week 4, and can push into their territory at that point, which is when you want to take them out.

So, I think you're right that I should clear up the language to say 5+ instead of 4+.

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azalen
azalen


Promising
Adventuring Hero
posted August 18, 2019 01:45 PM
Edited by azalen at 14:27, 18 Aug 2019.

Elvin said:
Are you sure you don't mean week 5-6+ trouble? Back in 3.1 it was possible to defeat ridiculously powerful garrisons/guards early week 3, gather goodies and levels from middle area and rush the opponent week 4. I only played hard but in h5.5 you have guaranteed firetrap, summoning spells are more powerful and late game factions are much slower to develop. Even a ballista user would be hard pressed to take down some of the most powerful encounters that a necromancer can.


One thing I'd be curious to hear from you is your opinion on Death Knigths investing in Dark/Enlightenment vs just getting Banshee Wail and concentrating on Might skills.  Obviously, Dark/Enlightenment results in better hero turns, but requires a ton of skill point investment w/o much payoff until you get spell power artifacts.

Might it be better to just get base Shatter Destruction and rely on Banshee Wail/Stunning Strike for your hero turns?

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strigvir
strigvir


Adventuring Hero
posted August 18, 2019 04:17 PM

Is Shatter Destruction good though? I guess it's consistent, but Shatter Light will provide a big resistance to one of the elements, weaken most T7s, and reduce the power of buffs for factions stronger than Necropolis. Shatter Destruction won't even defend against secondary spells effects, which all Destruction-based heroes can get.
Completely without Dark Magic is pretty bad idea, since it provides the ways of CC which can be more powerful than Stunning Strike. And even 1 point in it will give access to Teleport, provided it spawned in your magic guild. Can even get Strike of Suffering later on to enhance normal playstyle.

It might be possible to go pure might with Ornella, but only on big enough maps. Though she'd still take Dark Magic for Dark Renewal and wouldn't bother with shatter destruction either.

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bulya
bulya


Hired Hero
posted August 18, 2019 04:42 PM

What skills would you consider as the better ones for a Death Knight?
(I assume a 6 skill game, not an 8 skills game)

I assume it would be Necromancy, WM, Offense (for battle frenzy), logistics and perhaps leadership or luck (I'm not sure which one of those is better).

Though, this way I miss on Dark magic completely, which perhaps I'd rather have at some point.

So I'm not that sure which skills should I treat as less important so that I can have Dark magic eventually (if there are such skills).

BTW, what map are you playing on, and give your advises for?
On rich maps, like Lets Fight!, I can get some heroes to level 15 by the end of week 1 on impossible (I mean those heroes that start with almost everything they need to creep well). While on ARMG maps getting to level 8 on week 1 is an accomplishment, even for the best heroes out there (can be way lower for heroes that don't have a good way to creep from the get go).
So I feel like the game plays very different on different maps.

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bulya
bulya


Hired Hero
posted August 18, 2019 04:49 PM

strigvir said:
Is Shatter Destruction good though? I guess it's consistent, but Shatter Light will provide a big resistance to one of the elements, weaken most T7s, and reduce the power of buffs for factions stronger than Necropolis. Shatter Destruction won't even defend against secondary spells effects, which all Destruction-based heroes can get.
Completely without Dark Magic is pretty bad idea, since it provides the ways of CC which can be more powerful than Stunning Strike. And even 1 point in it will give access to Teleport, provided it spawned in your magic guild. Can even get Strike of Suffering later on to enhance normal playstyle.

It might be possible to go pure might with Ornella, but only on big enough maps. Though she'd still take Dark Magic for Dark Renewal and wouldn't bother with shatter destruction either.


I think Shatter destruct is relevant if you play against a warlock, or some other hero that is very likely to go with the destruct build.
As unless you get it that hero will be able to do too much damage from the get go to your Wraiths / Vampires whatever you rely on for your damage output, and then you can't do much later on.

Even though there are other ways of getting some magic resistance, you don't want to invest in skills like defense if you are in a might vs magic situation.

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azalen
azalen


Promising
Adventuring Hero
posted August 18, 2019 08:16 PM

bulya said:
What skills would you consider as the better ones for a Death Knight?
(I assume a 6 skill game, not an 8 skills game)

I assume it would be Necromancy, WM, Offense (for battle frenzy), logistics and perhaps leadership or luck (I'm not sure which one of those is better).

Though, this way I miss on Dark magic completely, which perhaps I'd rather have at some point.

So I'm not that sure which skills should I treat as less important so that I can have Dark magic eventually (if there are such skills).

BTW, what map are you playing on, and give your advises for?
On rich maps, like Lets Fight!, I can get some heroes to level 15 by the end of week 1 on impossible (I mean those heroes that start with almost everything they need to creep well). While on ARMG maps getting to level 8 on week 1 is an accomplishment, even for the best heroes out there (can be way lower for heroes that don't have a good way to creep from the get go).
So I feel like the game plays very different on different maps.


Hi Bulya,

I'm adding a section to the guide for suggested skill priorites.  This guid is written primarily from Let's Fight.  I agree that different maps can completely change the character of the game, but some sort of baseline needs to be established in order to get the basic techniques/tactics out.

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 19, 2019 08:33 AM
Edited by Elvin at 08:34, 19 Aug 2019.

azalen said:
Necromancers aren't quite as efficient because you have to waste a few movement points on mana wells.  

One thing I'd be curious to hear from you is your opinion on Death Knights investing in Dark/Enlightenment vs just getting Banshee Wail and concentrating on Might skills.  Obviously, Dark/Enlightenment results in better hero turns, but requires a ton of skill point investment w/o much payoff until you get spell power artifacts.

Might it be better to just get base Shatter Destruction and rely on Banshee Wail/Stunning Strike for your hero turns?

You say not quite as efficient but how many magic classes have above 8% logistics? A wm hero would not require mana but might be unable to tackle some hard neutrals, depending on the map. Btw give rat race a try, it's a bit unconventional but fast paced and exciting. It is also a good map to test faction earlygame potential, if a little random

Stunning strike is no doubt good for creeping but I'm not so sure about skipping dark. Enlightenment remains pretty good(esp for this class where 75% of the extra stats would go to att/def) but I'd probably keep dark for mass spells regardless. I consider dark and logistics a must.

I do not remember the shatter destructive tree but I'd probably reserve for warlocks, elementalists or flamekeepers. Instead of dark.
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KeyC0de
KeyC0de

Tavern Dweller
posted August 19, 2019 11:12 AM
Edited by KeyC0de at 12:09, 19 Aug 2019.

Good overview.

I would definitely call the morale immunity a plus, not a minus, as it is the worst attribute in the game. You are more likely to find yourself in a situation where you have a morale decrease rather than an increase. Granted immunity from this effect, you're better off.

Also I don't consider Leadership a truly viable skill to have for the primary hero. It's not a good idea, unless you also start with Crown of Leadership fartifact!
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 19, 2019 03:09 PM

That's plain wrong. With 2 starting morale plus expert leadership you are already maxed and then there are numerous adventure locations and artifacts that can place you above 5. The positive modifiers far outshadow the negative ones so you almost never see bad morale in play.
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bulya
bulya


Hired Hero
posted August 19, 2019 10:42 PM
Edited by bulya at 00:08, 20 Aug 2019.

There is an issue I'd like to get a bit of advice on (or at least hear different opinions), which is the best way to use necromancy points.

There are the straight forward way, which is simply creep and if I can then use it to get the creatures I want (skeles at first, and later on vampires or wights depends if I'm playing Lucretia or not).
But sometimes I'm trying to do it a bit greedy, in a way that I'll skip a stack that can give me the creatures I want if I know I don't have enough points and come back to them during the next week to grab the creatures from that stack. If I play a hero like Lucretia that doesn't start with necromancy I may even fight the first few fights with the secondary hero as those fights will be vs tier 1 stacks giving me skeles using the secondary hero necromancy (especially if I can get a necromancer that have raise dead).

Well, on Lets Fight! this approach is wrong, and I know that, as getting as quickly as I can to the middle zone is very important there. But I feel like Lets Fight! isn't the best map for H5.5 as some heroes are super strong on it while others can't keep up with them even though they are good on many other maps. Sheltem is an example of a hero that is quite too strong on Lets Fight!. I played against him and with him there, and not only he can break on week 2 there on impossible. With the gating perks (pillager and Imp Scvanger) he can skip the gold mine, get to the side of the other player on week 4, and the missing gold mine isn't an issue due to imp scvanger and the number of fights he takes there so those perks give him the income he misses as well as the movement poitns.

Which is why I'm trying Necro on an ARMG map rather a rich map, and then the issue of whether I should avoid a fight vs a stack that can give me the creatures I want using necromancy in the following week becomes perhaps more relevant. Playing Lucretia for now, and unlike Lets Fight! there are enough tier 4 guards on such maps, so getting a lot of vampires can be good, though it is delaying me from breaking out of my place to some extent. Which is why I'm not sure if its a good call to make.

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 20, 2019 12:01 AM
Edited by Elvin at 00:12, 20 Aug 2019.

Let's fight only highlights the game's creeping/development flaws, some hero/skill combinations will have a blazing fast progress while the rest will eat their dust. I wouldn't exactly call it a balanced or even fair map, it's just made for hardcore challenges
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bulya
bulya


Hired Hero
posted August 20, 2019 01:42 AM

Elvin said:
Let's fight only highlights the game's creeping/development flaws, some hero/skill combinations will have a blazing fast progress while the rest will eat their dust. I wouldn't exactly call it a balanced or even fair map, it's just made for hardcore challenges


What do you think make Lets Fight! such a binary map?
Is it the fact that the towns are semis built on turn one? (I don't really think so, as some of the strong heroes on Lets Fight! don't really need it to start well)
Is it the fact that there is a free gold mine that early?
Is it about the map being so rich and dense, to the point 3 or more fights can be taken each turn by heroes that do well in creeping early on, while heroes that take more time to get to such a phase can't really exploit their movement points that well?
Or is it about the one way portal which forces fights in the neutral area, as waiting for reinforcements makes it impossible to defend both towns.

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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted August 20, 2019 08:53 AM

Well.. The top creeping heroes can potentially defeat all hordes of t3 mine guardians(with significant risk ofc), without backtracking, gaining some serious xp along the way. Back in the day my best case scenario was reaching 17-19 level by end of week 2. I had even managed to take down lots of emerald dragons week 2 with a warlock but that was in 3.0 when the AI would spam wait instead of move around when it faced invisible units Emeralds kept waiting, triggering ignite twice as fast, with phoenix cape to boot. Glorious. With academy I have managed to take down lots of pao kai week 2 with just gremlins and gargoyles. I think it involved hives, swarms and fire elementals. This is hard, risky and requires some luck but with dwarves, sylvan or haven I wouldn't even try. They are just not designed to pull off superhuman creeping stunts like that. The problem with H5 is that there is no gradual rise to power, some heroes just skyrocket and start steamrolling stuff.
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azalen
azalen


Promising
Adventuring Hero
posted August 21, 2019 02:03 PM
Edited by azalen at 14:10, 21 Aug 2019.

Elvin said:
This is hard, risky and requires some luck but with dwarves, sylvan or haven I wouldn't even try.


I agree with the spirit of what you say here, but I would preface it with this:

It is possible to pull off some superhuman week 2 breaks with Ingvar with a War Machines/Tent/Ballista, Retaliation Strike, Stand your Ground, Mountain Guard/Spear Thrower build, and 5 1 -stack mountain gaurds to hold off the level-7s for a few turns while you're martial arts and War Machines work on the stacks for a bit.  Granted, Ingvar isn't really a normal dwarf hero.

Haven, you use the War Machine hero (don't remember his name), but he's just a normal week 3 war machine hero.  Irina has the most potential if you use the "temporary-invisibilty" continual battle dive trick with griffins, but like you say, you gotta get lucky with the ATB bar - sorta like playing Yrwanna and furies.

For a lot of light-might heroes, you can do level 7/Regeneration tanking/Defense/Stand your Ground and that is usually a week 3 breaker strategy because you need level 7s to be available in numbers.  Sylvan is a bit special here in that they can use the Ancient Treant double defense defend ability instead of relying on level 7s.

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frogo
frogo

Tavern Dweller
posted August 25, 2019 01:51 PM
Edited by frogo at 14:39, 25 Aug 2019.

Every faction has it's heroes that can pull of a week 2 break, some factions have less of those some more and some are more or less consistent, but every faction can do it. Some factions can pull of a week 1 break aswell. Its more about if these rushed breakes make sense in the long run. Most heroes need week 3 reinforcements to keep on creeping without having to slow down on the way.

to topic:
Looks like a nice guide to me, covering all the main points.
Your death knight and necromancer build have 7 skills.
With necro i aswell feel like there is so many things they want,
that its difficult to chose. I aswell, like bulya, like to get
dark magic in there when playing a death knight (tho i dont always do so, its situational and i can see why you wouldnt).

Also a little note on Arantir:

Quote:
you are raising weaker units in comparison to your opponents stronger units


This is somewhat true, but doesnt effect the effectiveness of the raise dead spell (at least not in a bad way).
Mostly, necropolis units are weaker than other because they lack HP.
With raise dead spell, the amount of raised units is HPraised/unitHP. The higher the ratio of unit strength to unit HP, the stronger the stack you raise. Necro units arent all that shabby when looking at UnitStrength/UnitHP, so their weak HP pool isnt holding them back here at all.
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