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Heroes Community > Heroes 5 - Modders Workshop > Thread: Heroes 5.5 Impossible Strategies Updated
Thread: Heroes 5.5 Impossible Strategies Updated
azalen
azalen


Responsible
Known Hero
posted February 21, 2021 02:28 AM bonus applied by Galaad on 27 Feb 2021.
Edited by azalen at 18:37, 11 Mar 2021.

Heroes 5.5 Impossible Strategies Updated

Heroes 5.5 Impossible Strategy Guide v0.8 - Heroes 5.5 Patch RC14 Beta 6

This guide is intended to help new players play on Impossible Difficulty.  This portion of the
guide discusses key concepts and tactics common to all Factions.  Later, I may make a guide that
discusses Faction specific tactics and heroes.  First, a little introduction to terminology:

Week 1-2: For most maps, this refers to the phase where you are clearing your side of the map and
building up your hero for a Gatekeeper battle.

Gatekeeper: This refers to a strong, usually tier-6/tier-7 creature stack that is protecting an
area full of artifacts/stat building and/or a pathway to the Enemy's side of the map.  On some
maps, Gatekeeper stacks can be a combined army designed to counter common player gatekeeper
breaking tactics.

Week 3: This is the phase where you have broken the Gateeper and are primarily facing down level 6-
7 creatures and picking up powerful artifats and stats.  The endgame is now in the near future.

Endgame: This refers to the phase of the game where you will fight enemy heroes.


Now a discussion on the big concepts:

1) Blocking

Blocking is the most important aspect in all of Heroes 5 to improving as a player.  The concept of
blocking is this: if you can force your opponent's powerful stacks to spend their turn killing your
unimportant stacks, then you can destroy far more powerful armies than the strength of your army might
indicate.

Said another way, if you can force a big stack of Arch Angels to attack your 1-unit goblin stack,
the Angels have wasted their turn doing inconsequential damage to your army while you have
maintained your full offensive potential.  Many exploits that inexperiened players consider
"impossible" revolve around the effective undertanding and use of the blocking mechanic.

Blocking becomes even more important when facing down powerful enemies.  Almost all Tier 6 and Tier
7 creatures are Large creatures, and the biggest weakness of Large creaturs is their vulnerability
to blocking.  A large creature needs at least 2 squares to "get around" a blocker, which means they
can be can be effectively blocked by fewer 1-unit creature stacks.

Here is an example of blocking 3 large creature with a single 1 unit creature stack in the lower-
left corner of the battle map:

B = Your 1 Unit Blocker
R = Your Ranged Unit Stack
E1 = Large Enemy1
E2 = Large Enemy2
E3 = Large Enemy3
 --- --- --- ---
|    |   |    |   |
 --- --- --- ---
|E1|E1|E2|E2|    
 --- --- --- ---
|E1|E1|E2|E2|
 --- --- --- ---
|    |B |E3|E3|
 --- --- --- ---
|R  |   |E3|E3|
 --- --- --- ---

A single 1-unit blocking stack is holding off no-less than 3 large enemies from attacking your ranged
stack.

To effectively block, you must also understand the creature abilities of your enemies.  Take one of
the most common creature abilities: Dragon Breath attack.  This attack is not limited to just
Dragons - other creaturs types possess similiar special attacks that hit creatures immediately
behind the creature they are attacking.  How do you block these types of creatures effectively?  
Here is an example:

B1 = Your first 1 Unit Blocker
B2 = Your second 1 Unit Blocker Stack
R = Your Ranged Unit Stack
E1 = Large Enemy1
E2 = Large Enemy2
E3 = Large Enemy3
 --- --- --- ---
|E1|E1|E2|E2|
 --- --- --- ---
|E1|E1|E2|E2|    
 --- --- --- ---
|   |B1|E3|E3|
 --- --- --- ---
|   |    |E3|E3|
 --- --- --- ---
|R |    |B2|   |
--- --- --- ---

Here, we see 3 Large "Dragon" style creatures unable to attack your ranged units with their breath
attack.  They must waste their attack killing either B1 or B2 to get to your ranged, since B1 and
B2 are not directly next to your ranged.

Ok, so that's all well and good... how do you block small creatures that you typically see week 1-
2? This is a typical creeping arrangement for most factions that have a low-level "ranged" stack, a
big stack of blockers, and multiple stacks of individual 1-unit blockers.

B = A 1-unit blocker stack
F = Your big stack of blockers
R = Your Ranged Unit Stack
 --- --- --- ---
|    |    |    |    |
 --- --- --- ---
|B  |    |    |    |
 --- --- --- ---
|B  |B  |    |    |
 --- --- --- ---
|F  |B  |    |    |
 --- --- --- ---
|R  |B  |    |    |
 --- --- --- ---

Here, if any blockers around your ranged are killed, the 1-unit blockers at the top move to fill in
the gap. Your big blocker stack (the "F" in the diagram) consists of the remainder of your blockers
in one stack. They serve as attackers of last resort against anything that gets in close to your
ranged.  Your big blocker stack is also surrounded by blockers so that they themselves can avoid
losses, but it is far more critical that your ranged stack avoids hits than your blocker stack...
prioritize accordingly.

Ok, so those are the basics, but what kind of creatures actually serve as your typical "blockers"?  
Here is a list for each faction and a few notes on each blocker type:

Academy:    Gargoyles - tough, Flying (relevant for Summoning spells), high growth for level 2,
           immunity to Air (relevant against Druids), upgrade has additional magic immunities
Inferno:    Horned Demons - high growth for 2nd level units, can gate in additional blockers
Necropolis: Zombies and Ghosts - Zombies are a low initiative, high growth, somewhat tough hp
           stack. Ghosts are elite blockers that have both Flying and Etherealness, but they
           have low growth as 3rd tier units. Use a mix of Ghost blockers for harder encounters
           and expendable Zombies for easier encounters.
Haven:      Peasents - high growth.  Simple, sacaficial meat sacks.  Don't worry too much about
           losing taxpayers.
Fortress:   Mountain Gaurd - Very tough for level 1s due to Defensive Stance and
           Large Shield. Their toughness comes into play during ranged encounters, but isn't really
           relevant when in 1-unit configuration.
Sylvan:     Blade Dancers: Low Growth, High Initiative.  Blade Dancer are designed to be offensive
           units, not blockers, but it is preferable to lose them over your Pixies.
Dungeon:    Scouts: Low Growth, High Initiatie.  Scouts are designed as offensive units, not blockers,
           but it is preferable to lose them over your Furies.
Stronghold: Goblin - Very high growth and a good special ability.  Trappers can delay enemy turns
           to give your Centaurs more shooting time.  

Blocking isn't just for protecting your units.  Ranged units can be "offensively" blocked by
placing creatures next to them.  This means they can't use their ranged attack until the blockers
adjacent to them are eliminated. This comes into play when rushing enemy ranged units with 1-unit
blockers or using Summoning spells like Arcane Crystal and Hive.



Now let us go into some more advanced blocking tactics....

The first advanced concept to understand is that your Army Slots are a limited resource.  You can
not simply fill your army with 20 1-unit blockers, as you only have 7 army slots per hero.  That is
why it is useful to have a second "squire" hero to accompany your main.  The "squire" hero provided
an additional 7 army slots so that you can configure your main hero with the ideal creature
configuration to avoid losses.

Here is an example of how you can use a squire hero to avoid losses.  Suppose you don't want to
risk your big blocker stack in combat.  Suppose you want to use all 6 slots for 1-unit blocking
stacks and 1 slot for a ranged attacker.  Well, you can offload your big blocker stack onto your
squire hero, and then replace that stack with a 1-unit blocker stack on your main.  Now you have a
configuration of 6 1-unit blockers and a ranged attacker, minimizing your losses.

The next advanced concept is producing "extra" blockers beyond your 7 army slot army.  There are
multiple ways this can happen.  The first, most obvious way, is by the use of Summoning Magic.  
Summoners can create Elementals, Arcane Crystals, Hives, Blade Barriers, and Phoenixes.  All of
these things have blocking properites.  That big stack of Pyromancy Fire Elementals are not just an
offensive force... they can serve as blockers as well when your 1-unit stacks fall, and beefy
blockers at that.  Furthermore, Summoners can continually "resummon" blockers, making it difficult
for the enemy to get through.

Extra blockers can also be produced via hero specials and creature abilities.  Some heroes have the
special that, when their blocking stack dies, it is replaced by a stack of Elementals.  These
Elementals can be used to block in the stead of the fallen blocker.  Other heroes can produce
ghosts from fallen enemy stacks.  Gating, an Inferno faction ability, has the ability to produce
multiple temporary blockers.  An inferno player will typically deploy 3-unit stacks as blockers -
the reason being that a 3-unit horned grunt stack is the minimum necessary to summon a 1-unit
horend grunt stack.  The extra gated 1-unit horned grunt effecively multiplies your blockers for
any given battle.

Blockers aren't just creatures.  The terrain of the battle map is filled with objects that
effectively serve as "Immortal" blockers.  Make use of these immortal blockers and deploy your
blocking creaturs accordingly to take the most advantage of the terrian. The combination of
Summoning spells and fortuitous terrain rolls can allow for the execution of "impossible" creeping
feets.

Let's say all of your blockers have beend killed and your worst fears are realized - the enemy is
attacking your ranged.  Believe it or not, there are still blockers available - the enemy's own
units.  What you want to do here is to damage the stacks that are immediately adjacent to your
ranged - say down to 1-2 units, but don't kill them.  Your ranged will be taking hits, but
they won't be as severe as hits from full-sized stacks.  You then direct your hero's offense
towards the full-size stacks that are unable to attack, whittling their numbers down.  By keeping
the diminished enemy stacks alive around your ranged alive, they effectively block the full size stacks
from getting to them.

Finally, we have the concept of the "Tank Blocker".  A Tank blocker is typically a very tough
creature type - usually a level-6 or 7 stack, that has high Defense and Hit Points.  Unlike 1-unit
stacks, these tank blockers are not intended to die permanently... they can take big hits without
dying because of their creature toughness and the support of a replenishment strategy to
"ressurect" or minimize their losses.  A Replenishment strategy can take the form of the
Regeneration Spell (most commonly), Ressurection, Celestial Shield, First Aid Tent, Raise Dead (for
Necropolis), or "Resummoning" (in the case of Phoenixes/Elementals).  A tank blocker will sometimes
be supported by a single ranged stack like so:

T = Tank Blocker
R = Your Ranged Unit Stack
E1 = Large Enemy1
E2 = Large Enemy2
E3 = Large Enemy3
 --- --- --- ---
|E1|E1|E2|E2|
 --- --- --- ---
|E1|E1|E2|E2|  
 --- --- --- ---
|T  |T  |E3|E3|
 --- --- --- ---
|T  |T  |E3|E3|
 --- --- --- ---
|R  |   |    |    |
 --- --- --- ---

A Tank Blocker can be further enhanced by hero skills.  Defense and Stand your Ground dramatically
reduces the damage your tanks will tank, since they are almost always in defensive stance.  
Retaliation Strike punishes attackers with powerful hero attacks each time the enemy attacks your
Tank.  Preparation means your tank can attack first when an enemy attacks.

Here are a few Tank highlight notes for each faction

Academy:    Academy typically uses Titans/Collossi as their "tank" unit supported by high-spell
           power Light spells.
Haven:      Haven employs Angels as their tank units.  If you don't have Regeneration, you can
           take Seraphs, who come pre-packaged with their own Regeneration spell.
Dungeon:    Deep Hydra can be used as early Tank units week 1-2, since they are beefy and come
           pre-packaged with Regeneration.
Stronghold: Not really a tanking faction, but Cyclops are your best option.
Sylvan:     Ancient Treants were designed to be tanks, achieving insane levels of Defense with
           their Take Roots ability. Treants can also be supported by Sprites who offer a 1
           shot Treant ressurection per battle.
Necropolis: Banshees/Wraiths can serve as tanks as long as they are supported by Raise Dead.
Inferno:    Pit Spawn are fairly tough for their tier, but Inferno usually does not employ tanking
           strategies due to having Gating.
Fortress:   Fortress isn't a big user of Tank tactics despite their proclivity for Light Magic.  
           The reason is that their ideal Tank, Dragons, are Elementals and thus can not be
           supported by Light Magic Regeneration.  They can use Celestial Shield with Dragons,
           if they have it, but that's a level 5 spell.


3) Stun Locking and Manipulating Initiative

Stun Locking takes 2 forms: "soft locking" where a enemy creature's turn is delayed and more
powerful hard locking effects where the enemy creature's turns is completely removed.  Locking
scales infinitely with the power of the stack... it works just as well on a 1000 unit ArchAngel
Stack as it does on a stack of Goblins.  Thus, it is an important game mechanic to use effectively.

The first, most common form of soft locking, is Initiative locking.  This involves increasing the
initiative "spread" between your creatures and the enemy creatures.  This means your creatures take
multiple actions while the enemy creatures remain buried on the ATB bar, unable to act.

How do we increas the initiative spread?  First, we have the obvious spells that directly affects
initiative: spells like Mass Haste that buff the initiative of your creatures and Mass Slow which
debuffs the initiative of the enemy creatures.  There are a number of Artifacts that can increase
and decrease Initiative as well.

Morale also affect initiative.  A positive morale effect means the creature takes its action and
then its Initiative is reset to 0.4 of its original ATB initiative value prior to the action
instead of zero.  A negative morale effect means that the creature loses its action and its current
initiative is reset to 0.6 of its initiative prior to losings its action.  Several negative morale
effects are available, particularly with Necropolis, which offers creature abilities like Death
Stare, Festering Aura, Frightful Presence, and Banshee Howl.   The spell Sorrow dramatically
reduces Morale, offering a chance that powerful enemy stacks will completely miss their turn.

Several creature abilities can reduce initiative with their abilities.  This includes Bash, Force
Arrow, Warding Arrow, Fear, and Crushing Blow.  The skill Soldier's luck can improve the chances of
these creatures to perform their stunning attack.

The perk Stunning Strike is one of the most powerful soft locks abilities available to Might
heroes.  Because Might hero turns are designed to be weak, giving them a way to soft-lock an enemy
creature is very powerful. Look at the Might hero section for further discussion on this ability.

Summoner spells like Wasp Swarm and Hive play a similar role for Magic heroes.  These spells are
even more effective than stunning strike, but Magic hero's pay a higher opportunity cost relative
to Might because they have the option of spending their turn doing other powerful things (like
annhilating the enemy stack entirely or casting an AOE spell).

Now, we come to the "hard lock" abilities.  These effects are significantly more powerful since
they take away the enemy creature's turn entirely for a number of turns.  These effects include the
spell Blind, Hyponitize, and Frenzy.

Among creatures, hard lock abilities include Vampire's Torpor and Unicorns Blind ability, making
Soldier's Luck a very high priority skill for their respective factions.  There are also less
powerful movement impairing abilities like Entangling Roots that can perform a much weaker version
of the same effect.

3) Building your Economy and Investing your Gold

It is easy for a new player to simply buy every creature available at their town and brute force
their way through the game.  This approach will not work on Impossible difficulty.  What you really
want to do is maximize your economy and recruitment numbers of your most effective creature types
for the endgame battle.  This means getting your Capital, Castle, and hitting your high-tier
creature dwellings as early as possible, especially before the week-end recruitment deadline.  You
may not be buying your high-tier creatures right away, but you want as many as possible to be
available for recruitment later on when it is time for the endgame battle.

Buying up all the creatures in your town means you are devoting an army slot to each creature
type.  Remember that each army slot is an important resource that could be devoted to a 1-unit
blockers to minimize losses. If you occupy that army slot with a stack of mid-tier creatures, then
you will have to deploy less 1-unit blockers, exposing your army to significant creature losses.  
What you really want is to buy only 2 creature types: your low-tier ranged unit and a stack of
disposable blockers.  Back these 2 stacks up with some hero abilities: Combat, War Machines, or
Offensive magic, and you have the ingredients for efficient creeping performance.

Examples of creature types that you don't want are mid-tier melee units.   These creatures are
designed as disposable endgame alpha-strike units.  For creeping, however, they are poor, as they
take creature retaliations to do their damage, which is high loss/low-sustainability - not what you
want for creeping.  Good example of this type of creature are Genies, Lizard Riders, and Nightmare.

On the first turn, you immediately want to recruit a secondary hero from the tavern.  This is to
double the size of your Main hero's army by moving the secondary hero army to your Main.  You also
want secondary hero to pickup unguarded resources on the map, provide creature "ferrying" services
from your town to your Main, and provide you additional army slots when you need to configure your
Main for blocking.  The act of picking up a resource or entering a building/mine costs movement
points - something better done by your secondary hero.  Put another way, your main hero kills
creatures - he doesn't lower himself to the peasent status of "picking things up" - that's for the
squire.

On your first few turns (depending on map), you want to build the buildings most relevant to your
hero's creeping power.  This could be a creature dwelling upgrade like Centaur upgrade, Spear
Thrower Upgrade, Elvish Archer Upgrade, or Blood Fury Upgrade.  For a War Machine Hero, it could be
Blacksmith to get Ballista right away.  You don't want your Main wasting move points returning to
town - ideally, they should spending 100% of their time creeping - so you want to give your Main
hero a good "send off" with the necessary creeping tools. This is also why you will not be building
up your Mage guild in the first week, even for a Magic hero.  Learning spells requires returning to
town, so you would rather your Main hero pickup spells from skill percs or Map RNG.

After that, you start concentrating on building up your gold producing buildings.  Getting to
Capitol as fast as possible is a very high priority.  Getting to Castle is next priority in order
to maximize creature production of all crature tiers.  After that, and this depends on factions,
you want to prioritize the production of your most important high-tier creatures, making sure to
build their dwellings before the week-end creature recruitment deadline.

As a general note, Magic heroes will be focused on building high-tier units.  The reason for this
is that creature-oriented spells are best maximized with high-tier units.  Plus, high-tier units
don't need Might stats to be good.  Finally, low-tier units tend to be ineffective for Magic heroes
because they will often lack Battle Frenzy and other might percs.



4) Dealing with Ranged Units

Ranged encounters are the most challenging encounters for new players.  To a new player, it seems,
it is unavoidable to take losses when facing down a ranged stack.  Often times your heart sinks
when you see that elvish archer stack protecting a critical mine.

However, there are tactics to deal with these situations with minimal losses.  The secret is to
understand that Ranged encounters are testing two aspects of your hero: the offensive power and
speed of your Hero/War Machine turns and the ability of your hero to "ressurect" losses.

Most ranged units are physically weak for their tier.  This means, if you have a powerful Hero/War
Machine turn, you can usually take out/cripple a full ranged stack per turn.  This leads to several
tactics:

The 7 1-unit Blocker Stack Tactic: This tactic is effective for powerful Destruction, Summoning,
and War Machine heroes. The idea here is that, every turn, either your Ballista or Hero is able to
eliminate at least one ranged stack.  If you are a Magic hero, you are assumed to have Sorcery, and
if you are a War Machine hero, you are assumed to have Engineering. This gives you the initiative
to "get out in front" of the ranged creatures on the ATB bar.  Each ranged attack, they are killing
one of your 1-unit blockers, but... you are also killing 1-2 ranged stacks per Hero/War Machine
turn.  If you win the initiative race, you kill all the range stacks with 1-2 blocking units left.  
Your precious ranged attackers take no losses because you never deployed them in the first place.

The 6 1-unit blocker, 1 Big Blocker Stack Tactic: There are times when the 7 1-unit blocker tactic
does not buy you enough turns.  You need to buy more Hero/War Machine turns by employing your full
size blocker stack.  Here, your big blocker stack WILL take significant losses, but they are better
equipped to take losses than your ranged stack due to their relative toughness.  You also want to
rush your 6 1-unit blockers at the ranged.  If you can block the ranged with your 1-unit stacks,
you can take some of the pressure off your big blocking stack.

The Tank/Replenishment Tactic: Ranged attacks are typically offensively weak compared to melee
attacks and they are mostly effective because they target your own physically weak ranged units.  
However, when you only employ a "tanky" high level units, their ranged attacks do relatively little
damage that a Tank's thick hide can easily shrug off.  A few Deep Hydras, for example, supported by
their own Regeneration ability and a regular first aid tent, are practically unkillable for any
ranged encounter week 1-2. Oftentimes, you can simply run the Ranged attackers out of shots, trying
to ping your tanks in vain.

War Machine/First Aid Tent Tactic: A War Machine Hero with the First Aid Tent perk typcially has
the replenishment necessary to deploy their ranged stack.  You want a ranged unit with good
initiative, as you want to kill/diminish at least 2 of the enemy ranged stacks: one with your ranged
and one with your Hero/War Machine, before an enemy ranged stack gets a turn.  Here, your ranged
stacks take significant losses, but those losses are quickly ressurected by your First Aid tent.  

Ranged attackers is not just a category that includes regular ranged attacks.  It also includes
spell casters like Druids, Water Elementals, Mages, Pit Fiends, Titans, etc... Spell casters can
not be blocked, so rushing them with 1-unit blockers does nothing, but the rest of the ranged
tactics still apply.  Pay attention to the magical immunities for these encounters... Gargoyles,
for example, are immune to Druid Lightning Bolt.


5) Might Heroes

Might heroes enhance their creature turns at the expense of the power of their own hero turns.  A
Might Hero's spells and mana pool are weak in the early weeks, so spending a hero turn to cast a
spell is usually less potent than simply using your basic hero attack.  Later in the game, when the
Might Hero's spellpower and mana pool get big enough, the Might hero will typically spend their
turns casting Light or Dark spells, depending on the individual Hero.

For the most part, Might abilities do what they say, but there are a few strategies/skills whose
power is less obvious to new players.  These are the "strategic wrinkles" you need to use to
maximize your play.

Combat->Chain Attack->Stunning Strike, Martial Arts: At first glance, the ability Stunning Strike
looks weak... 0.25 iniative deduction to a single creature off your hero attack.  First of all,
this ability has been nerfed recently from 0.4, which should give you an idea of its power level.  
Even at 0.25, it is still very effective.

The secret to Stunning Strike's power is combining it with Chain Attack.  The idea is to put Chain
Attack on one of your high initiative units, usually a ranged unit.  Chain Attack, triggering off
your high initiative creature's attack, initiates your Hero's Stunning Strike.  When combined with
your regular Hero Attack, your hero can effectively soft-lock up to 2 enemy stacks with Stunning
Strike while dealing heavy damage.  All this happens without doing any hero action at all (aside
from the initial Chain Attack assignment). A Hero like Yrwanna, operating with 16 initiative Super
Furies and Stunning Strike, is a sight to behold when leveraging this tactic.

War Machines->First Aid Tent: Might heroes lack an effective "Ressurection" strategy for most of
the early game.  Light heroes can get Regeneration, but that requires mage guild level 3 and only
works well for high tier creaturs.  There is also no guarantee your mage guild will have it.  Not
until level 5 Ressurection do Light heroes have a way to effectively ressurect lower-tier units.  
Necropolis has access to Raise Dead, one of the Faction highlights, but other Dark Might Factions
have no way to restore their creeping losses.

Thankfully, War Machines->Tent is available to all Might hero types as a way to ressurect creeping
losses.  It gives you a 3-use weak Ressurection effect.  It isn't a super powerful effect on the
face of it, but judicious use of blocking and other game mechanics means that First Aid Tent is
"just enough" to replace the minimal losses you should be taking when combined with good play.  The
power of First Aid tent becomes obvious when you multiply its effects over many creeping battles:
all of those units you saved from death means you can maintain your full offensive momentum all the
way through to the endgame.

War Machines->Triple Ballista: You can only get Triple Ballista by passing on First Aid Tent, a
very significant sacrafice, but for certain Heroes, this sacrafice is worth it.

The idea with Triple Ballista is to magnify all your other War Machine abilities with a 3x
multiplier to build a very powerful creeping weapon.  These include the base War Machines Skill and
the Flaming Arrow skill (in the Attack tree). The Academy faction benefits from Artificial Glory,
an ability in the Artificer tree, that gives Morale effects to your Ballista.  The 2 types of War
Machine heroes: "Fireball effect" (also known as Iron Maiden) and the "+1 Attack to Ballista per
level" ability should take Triple Ballista over Firt Aid Tent, as they benefit the most from this
multiplication.

In the endgame, War Machines is still very useful for targeting level 7 Tier units.  Flaming Arrow
ignores creature defense, making it deadly sniping tool against level 7 stacks.  This forces your
opponent to waste a turn killing the ballista.

Combat->Martial Arts->Retaliation Strike and Defense->Stand Your Ground: This is a rarely used, but
still effective, Might hero creeping tactic that employs the "Tank" creeping strategy.  The idea
here is to use a tough unit, usually a higher tier unit, but it can also be a stats enhanced lower
tier unit such as Ingvar Mountain Dwarves or Orson Zombies.  You deploy only the tough unit, and
maintain them in Defensive stance. If you can deploy a ranged support stack safely, you can do so
behind your tank.  The Stand Your Ground +30% gives them further defense on top of your already
high Defense skill.  You give that stack some sort of "regeneration" strategy to regenerate any
losses they take - usually First Aid Tent or Regeneration.

Now, you apply Retaliation strike on that defensive stack.  Your Hero will supply all the offense
you need, as each attacker hit on your "Tank" stack will result in a Martial Arts Hero attack on
the enemy stack.   This strategy works well up until around week 3, when level 6-7 stacks simply
hit too hard for anything but high level Regeneration tanking on level 7 Tank units or Ancient
Treants.

The big advantage of this sort of creeping is it doesn't really have a bad matchup: it works
equally well for walker and ranged encounters.  Enemy Ranged and Spell units can't do much of
anything against your high defense/high HP Tanks and those annoying Thunder Thanes openers can't
"wipe out" all your 1-unit blockers since you aren't using the 1-blocker strategy.  The negative is
having to wait in week 1 until you can recruit level 5-7 Tank units before your creeping is fully
operational.

Attack->Battle Frenzy: This is one of the most outsized damage gains you can get as a Might hero.  
Take, for example a Master Gremlin which does 1-2 damage.  With Battle Frenzy, that Gremlin does 2-
3 damage.  That means the Gremlin's average damage goes from 1.5 to 2.5, a massive 66% increase in
damage.  Thanks to the Might Hero's Battle Frenzy and the Might hero's Attack stat, lower tier
creatures with high growth rates become MUCH more dangerous with a Might hero.  Be on the lookout
for Amulet of the Bloody Claw to further enhance this fantastic damage scaling for low-tier units.

Soldier's Luck: This skill is higly valuable for Factions with chance based creature hard-lock
abilities.  Necropolis want it for Vampire Torpor and Sylvan wants it for Unicorn Blind.  Fear
effects from Inferno Nightmare and Dwarven Bear Riders should also not be underestimated.

6) Magic Heroes

A Magic hero exchanges the power of their creatures turns for more powerful Hero turns.  Whereas
Might heroes are interested in delaying, tactical positioning, debuffing, and soft-locking enemy
creatures to benefit their own creatures in combat, Magic heroes dispense with such pleasentries
and simply annhilate the enemy with spells - Said another way: instead of denying the enemy
creatures their turns, they deny them their existence.

Early in a Magic hero's development is when they are most vulnerable.  In week 1, you will be BOTH
Spellpower and Knowledge deprived, as your Mana is going to be severely restricted and your
Spellpower is going to be so low that your spells are barely more effective than a basic hero
attack.  Try to start with Spellpower artifacts and pickup Knowledge wherever possible...
Enlightenment is a great early pick here just to pickup a few extra knowledge points and have the
possibility of getting Intelligence.

If playing a Destruction hero, I particularly like the Master of Stroms->Secrets of Destruction
path since I can pickup +2 knowledge, a potential level 2-3 spell, and a useful creeping skill in
Master of Storms.  Summoning offers a lot of early percs that gives you a badly needed +4
spellpower to something.  The Master of Conjuration path here is particularly attractive since it
gives you the free Summon Elemental spell combined with the excellent Pyromancy perc.

A Magic hero army is there, primarily, to give the Magic hero additional hero turns to annhilate
the enemy army.  They assist the Magic hero with their own offense and serve as finishers when the
Magic hero runs out of gas, but they are primarily there to "survive" with the fewest possible
losses while the Magic Heroes does his/her work.  For this reason, skills like Defense, that offer
your creatures a big boost to survivability without having to put a lot of resources into might
stats, are good pickups.

One of the big benefits of not being creature dependent is you don't necessarily have to spend a
lot of gold on creatures. You can simply fill out your army with a ranged-stack and some survivable
blockers and be good... you can skip the middle tier of creatures and race to level 7 creatures -
creatures that work better with your creature-oriented spells.

Unlike Might heroes, Magic heroes have a resource that must be managed: Mana.  Run out of it, and
the Magic hero can't creep effectively.  This can dramatically put them behind a rival Might hero
in creeping speed.  Often, the map dictates how effective the Magic hero will be by the placement
of Magic Wells.  You must plan your hero movement very carefully to make the most efficient use of
Mana Wells and Town rest stops whenever possible. Always make sure you have enough mana to execute
the next few turns or you can be in a situation where you waste turns trying to get mana back.  
Sometimes, skipping a few neutral mobs is acceptable so that you conserve your mana for more
important objectives.

In Heroes 5.5, Mana regeneration has become an important resource skill.  Percs like Arcane
Training, Mysticism, Drain Soul, and Spirit Link have become more important.  Effective use of the
battlefield percs Drain Soul and Spirit Link can mean the difference between your Magic Hero doing
nothing their next move turn or advancing with speed to victory.

There is also an additiona, more subtle, limitation to Magic heroes: Initiative.  No matter how
poweful the magic hero, all Magic heroes are limited by the fact that they can only go as fast on
the ATB bar as Swift Mind and Sorcery will allow them to go.  There are no artifacts or spells that
will improve a Magic Hero's casting speed.  The Magic hero initiative limitation is a static target
that Might heroes can attack... if they can get out in front of the Magic hero's Swift Mind turn,
then can do severe, unrecoverable damage to the Magic heroe's army before the Magic Hero can act.

Magic Heroes must also understand the concept of "opportunity cost", particularly when it comes to
having multiple spell schools. Most often, a magic hero will be casting their most effective 1-2
spells over and over again.  You may be better of having that skill slot going to skills like Defense
or Logistics than an additional spell school, so manage your skills appropriately.  Remember: you
can only cast 1 spell at a time, and most of the time, you want that to be casting your most
effective spell for that moment.

As a Magic hero, be on the lookout for skills and map elements that give you free spells.  In
particular, the level 3 tier is of interest, as it has multiple spells that put you over hump as
far as breaking Gatekeeper stacks.  These include: Chain Lightning, Frost Nova, Regeneration, Blade
Barrier, and Sorrow.  Picking up one of these needed spells for free really helps your creeping as
it means your main hero doesn't have to waste move points to return to town to learn the spell.
Secrets of Destruction and Arcane Brilliance are desirable skill percs that offer a chance to get
one of these level 3 spells.  Sometimes, you can learn free spells by other means: you can get it
from Map RNG or alternative mechanisms like Eagle Eye (useful for picking up Meteor Shower and
Fireball from Pit Fiends).



4) Creeping Creature Composition

Note: When I say "Stunning Strike" here, I am referring to the combination of the Chain Attack
ability and Stunning Strike.

Academy: Gremlins and Gargoyles.  Get Battle Frenzy ASAP and backup your Gremlins with War Machines
and/or Offensive Magic.  Stunning Strike would be awesome with Gremlins, but sadly it is not
available.  Later, pickup a stack of Mages to support your Gremlins with multi-target hits.  Taking
Mages does make it more difficult to protect both your mages and gremlins with blockers, however.

Haven: Peasents and Crosssbowmen.  Crossbowmen have low initiative, so you will want First Aid Tent
to restore the significant losses they will be taking against other ranged units.  On the other
hand, Precice Shot scales very well into the endgame, which is nice.  Look into Divine Strength as
their damge range is high. Optionally, you can take Battle Griffin, who will spend the entire
battle Battle Diving constantly (both for offense and to protect themselves) or Royal Griffins, who
can serve as early week-1 tanks when supported with First Aid tent.

Necropolis: Skeleton Archers, Zombies, and Ghosts.  Get Battle Frenzy and Necromancy ASAP to boost
both your Archer offense and their raw numbers.  Zombies are disposable blockers for regular
battles and Ghosts are elite blockers to be used for more difficult encounters.  You will
definitely want Stunning Stike to put on your Skeleton Archers.  Necropolis mid-tier units are
unique in that both are useful for creeping: Vampires with life drain and Arch Lich has Raise Dead.

Sylvan: You will be creeping with 3 units: Dryads, Archers, and Blade Dancers.  This is a very
offensive faction at the low-teir, so you should be able to handle a lot of battles without using
any blockers.  Elvish Archers, a premier ranged unit, do their work and Pixies mop up anything that
gets close with non-retaliation Spray Attack.  When necessary, you should use 1-unit Blade Dancers
as your blockers.  You can pickup Druids later for extra ranged support.  Elvish Archers are the
obvious Stunning Strike target here.

Dungeon: Assassins and Blood Furies.  Recruitment is very importamant for this faction, as you get
low numbers of powerful units.  For your secondary heroes/governors, try to get Morale-Recruitment
to increase your recruitment of lower-tier units.  Stunning Strike is incredible when used on 16
initiative Blood Furies, and it is an absolute must have.  Assassins serve as both a weak ranged
stack (spreading poison around) and 1-unit blockers. For Magic heroes, you will want only a stack
of Stalkers for a tactic called "Stalker Creeping".

Inferno: Horned Demons, Imps, Succubi, and Cerberi.  Imps are strong offensive units, but you want
to use the "Gated" stack version of your Imps to do most of your damage, as Imps are too fragile to
take retaliations. Succubi don't come in high enough numbers to be effective in the early game, so
they can't serve as your main offense.  Cerberi are similar to Furies with a no retaliation attack,
except they don't have "return" and they are only really useable with First Aid tent due to their
fragility.  Your best options are Gating for creating large, disposable Imp stacks to do most of
your damage.  Alternatively, you can go for a Warmachine hero, an Offensive Magic Hero, or a
Stunning Strike Hero (used with Succubi).

Fortress: Fortress is pretty simple.  Mountain Guards and Harpooners are your bread and butter.  
The upgrade from Spear Thrower to Harpooner is a huge damage upgrade and a must have.  You will
need ammo cart as Harpooners have few missile shots.  A lot of Fortress heroes start with War
Machines, so that's usually the path you will take for Fortress.

Stronhold: Trappers and Centaur Nomads.  You can't block very well for Centaur Nomads due to their
large size.  Trappers help delay the enemy with their traps and perform a blocker-like roll of
delaying the attacker. The key here is to look at Centaur Blood Rage Level 2, which gives Centaurs +2
Initiative.  Nomads with level 2 blood rage are the highest initiative ranged stack in the game,
which makes them very attractive Stunning Strike targets.  Furthermore, you can have a few Warlords
standing next to your Centaurs, getting them to an even higher 14 initiative.  For Stronghold, you
will typically want both Stunning Strike and War Machines ->Tent, as your Centaurs WILL take some
losses due to their fragility, Large size, and Word of the Chief usage.



7) Destruction Magic

Destruction magic the king of the endgame battle... the culmination of all you have been building
towards.  To build an an effecive Destruction hero, you need to make a significant skill
investment: Expert Sorcery, Swift Mind, Empowered Spells, Expert Destruction, and Warlock's Luck.  
You will also need one of the elemental 30% spell damage artifacts.  After that, you want as much
spellpower as you can get.

Destruction spells are less mana efficient killers than Summoning spells, so it is difficult to
creep week 1-2 with Destruction without constantly running out of mana - it is very map dependent.  
However, destruction offers immediacy... destruction spells kill creature stacks dead, right then
and there, without having to rely on delayed creature actions.  This minimizes your own creature
losses.

Because Destruction magic is the premier endgame spell school, there are also hard counters built-
in to the game for Might factions to fight back.  A number of hero skills, artifacts, and creatures
abilities offer magic resistance and counters against Destruction magic.  Chief among these is
Shatter Destruction, a high priority Shatter your opponent will definitely consider if they think
they are facing down a Destruction hero.  Counterspell, under the Enlightenment tree, is another
strong counter, as a Might hero giving up their turn to counter a Magic hero's turn is a tradeoff
they are happy to make. Oftentimes, a few resisted/countered spells is enough for a Might hero to
beat a Destruction hero.  However, against an unprepared Might hero, a Magic hero can absolutely
wipe the floor with Might - all of the Might Hero's creature based power melting away under a cloud
of swift-minded-empowered-slippers-lucky meteor showers.

For creeping, both Lightning and Cold spells work well.  Fire and Earth are just ok, but lack
significant percs and creeping oriented mana efficient spells.  Typically, the destruction
elemental type you go with depends more on what 30% damage artifact you find rather than player
preference.

Lightning spells offer the best single-target damage per mana for their respective tiers.  Picking
up the Master of Storms perk is definitely worthwhile as it adds a very useful single-target stun
effect to your lightning spells.  Chain Lightning is a unique destruction skill that requires some
strategy to use correctly.  Chain Lightning strikes 4 targets, with each new target calculated as
the one closest to the previous target.  The problem is, if there are less than 4 enemy stacks, you
stand the risk of hitting your own units.  How to mitigate this: use your War Machines to take
Chain Lightning hits.  Your War Machines are considered one row behind your creatures, so if you
position your creatures below or above the War Machines, you can get the Chain Lightning to hit
your War Machine instead.  Sometimes, when necessary, you might need to position a sacraficial 1-
unit blocker above your army to take the Chain Lightning hit. Chain Lightning is unique among
attack spells, as it can hit widely spread out attackers, which makes it especially good against
Ranged attackers.

Cold offers Ice Bolt and Circle of Winter.  Master of Ice is a stronger stun-like effect than
Master of Storms, although it is less effective with Circle of Winter as the effect is
spread out among the AOE targets.  Cold Death offers a guaranteed way to get Circle of Winter
and works best with Circle of Winter on groups of Level 7 stacks.  Cold offers Deep Freeze,
a higher tier single target damage spell than Lightning.

Fireball, on its own, has really good damage-per-turn characteristics for a level 2 spell, but
it isn't mana efficient enough to go creeping with.  The best use of it is to go creeping with
a mixed class with high Attack power than can take advantage of the Master of Fire Armor
destruction effect.  Ignite, a very powerful effect, is best used to maximize Fireball mana
efficiency, since you can get 2 spell casts for the cost of one, as long as you don't cut
off the DOT by constantly recasting Fireball.

In the endgame, you are looking at 2 Earth spells: Meteor Shower and Implosion.  Meteor Shower
offers Fireball-like damage over the largest AOE area of any spell while Implosion is the highest
single target damage spell.  Use Implosion when you need to quickly eliminate high threat targets.  
Use Meteor Shower to eliminate ranged attackers and your opponents low-hp/high offense units.



8) Summoning Magic

Summoning Magic is about controlling the nature of the battlefield.  It is an excellent magic
school for early week 1-2 creeping, able to deal with most situations with good mana efficiency.  
Chief among Summoning's powers is abusing the AI.  With Summoning Magic, you can achieve near
impossible creeping feets, since the AI simply does not know how to deal with some of your
battlefield manipulations.  Keep in mind, though, that AI exploits are typically not effective
against a human player.

Creeping with summoning, there are 3 spells that dominate: Fire Trap, Summon Elemental, and Fire
Wall.  Fire Trap is a deadly creeping spell against walker enemy units.  It is especially good
against larger walking creatures, which just happen to be among your strongest opponents.  It is
also mana efficient, dealing out much more damage than its 10 mana might indicate when deployed
properly.  It is not so effective against flying creatures, so plan accordingly.

Summon Elemental is a level 3 spell, but many Summoner heroes start with it, and it is easily
obtainable from Master of Cojuration or Elemental Waistband.  Summon Elemental can be further
enhanced by Master of Conjuration and Pyromancy.  Fire elementals are excellent ranged units that
can dominate week 1-2 creeping.  You usually only have to cast this spell once as the Fire
Elementals last the duration of the battle, making it overall more mana efficient than multiple
Destruction spells.   Fire Elementals can also serve as a very tough blocking stack, being able
to take 1-2 hits from big ArchAngel stacks before dying. Having Fire Shield is an added bonus.

Firewall is an excellent Gatekeeper killer spell.  When used correctly, you can hit every single
enemy creature stack with multiple Firewalls.  This is done with a tactic called "Firewall
stacking".  Here is a diagram for how you should arrange your units:

R = Your Ranged Unit Stack
B = 1 Unit Blocker
F = Firewall
 --- --- --- ---
|    |    |    |    |
 --- --- --- ---
|    |    |    |    |  
 --- --- --- ---
|B  |F  |B  |    |
 --- --- --- ---
|    |F  |B  |    |
 --- --- --- ---
|R  |F  |B  |    |
 --- --- --- ---

Here, your blockers are arranged in front of the Firewall.  Note that blockers that can fly
(Gargoyles and Ghosts) are good here since they can fly over the Firewall.  Your blocker's purpose
is to give you time to stack multiple firewalls in the same place in front of your ranged.  The AI
wants to kill your ranged, but can't get through becasue of your blockers... giving your Hero time
to put down 3-4 Firewalls.  When they finally do get through, they have no choice but to "land" on
the multiple Firewalls to attack your ranged.  This tatic wouldn't work against a human player, as
they would simply wait out the duration of the Firewall, but here you are exploiting the AI.  As
a side note, Phoenix Feather Cape works with Firewall, so keep an eye out for this artifacts as a
Summoner.

Next up, we have the battlefield manipulation spells.  These include Arcane Crystal and Blade
Barrier.  Arcane Crystal is very versatile. It can be used to block enemy ranged attackers by
placing it next to them.  It can also be used as an emergency blocker to cut off creatures getting
close to you.  When using it as a blockers for your army, try to place it at least 1 square away
from your creatures so they don't get damage when the crystal shatters.  Blade Barrier is the
ultimate AI enfeeblement spell.  If you want to see the AI stand around clueless about what to do,
fill the screen with blade barriers.  Your ranged can take pot shots all day as the enemy stands
around cluelessly, not knowing what to do.  Not only is Blade Barrier excellent, it is also highly
mana efficient at a very reasonable 12 mana rate.

Magical Immunity is completely useless for creeping, but it is an important defensive spell for the
endgame battle.  It wipes both positive and negative spell effects off any creature, and keeps the
creature magic immune for the duration of the spell.  High value targets for this spell are Mind
Control effects on your creatures and Vampirism on your Opponent's creatures.

The next category is the stun locking skills, Wasp Swarm and Hive.  Wasp Swarm is a single target
attack spell with a powerful Stunning Strike effect.  The users of this spell would be heroes with
the Swarm Queen special or situationally when you want to control a few-left over stack's
initiative to limit losses.  Hive is an effective spell for all Summoners, most frequently used to
shut down your opponents ranged units in the endgame battle.

Finally, we have the level 5 spells.  Hypnotize is the renamed Puppet Master from original heroes.  
The effect is very powerful for the endgame battle: you take control of your opponent's best
offensive creature, preferably delicate ones like centaur or elvish archers or multi-attackers like
Dragons and Cyclops, attack with them, and then have them take retaliations from their own army.  
Hypnotized cratures will not retaliate against your own creatures, so they will stand around like a
pinata as you focus fire them.  The duration of this spell is extremly spellpower dependant, so
you need to keep recasting this spell to maintain the effect.  This spell is mana expensive and
only affects one target, so you will mostly be using it for gatekeeper and endgame battles.

Phoenix is a more interesting spell to race to since, even at low spellpower, Phoenix can be used
as large blocker that can constantly be resummoned.  Using them as a blocker means you can achieve
some impressive creeping feets with Phoenix acting as a Tank stack to protect your ranged.  
Combined with fire elemental, this gives you 2 powerful offensive units you can constantly resummon
to block and harass the enemy.


9) Dark Magic

Necropolis has a special relationship with Dark Magic as the spell Raise Dead functions as a
Ressurection spell for them.  Also, many of the Necropolis Faction strengths, like reducing morale,
synergize well with spells like Sorrow.  For other factions, the calculus is different.  In my
opinion, Dark is best picked up by Dark aligned Might Heroes later in the game - maybe late week 2,
early week 3.  In most cases, Dark is picked up for a couple reasons: either you want Mass Slow or
you rolled Dark spells on the high tier of your Mage guild and want to take advantage of them.  As a
school, Dark isn't the best suited for early creeping, but it is very powerful in the late game when
combined with high-level Might heroes.

If you need to run with Dark early as a Magic hero, there is a path to do it.  The secret is
Expert Occultism, which gives you +6 spellpower, as long as you don't learn Destruction, and Pariah,
which gives you +5 spellpower and another +5 at level 30... that's +11 spellpower early and +16
spellpower late.  When combined with some spellpower minor artifacts, this is enough spellpower
to start giving Decay some initial stopping power.  The main issue with Decay is the AOE mana
cost is really high for creeping, but it does do a lot of damage for a single target spell.

Weakness, Vulenerability, and Suffering are all things you don't want to be doing while creeping.  
Late game, the mass versions of these spells are useful, but they just don't do anything for you
early game.  Remember, taking away a creature's offense is completely irrelevant when the intent is
to make them waste a turn attacking your 1-unit stack.  

Slow is an excellent spell going into the late game, but it isn't worth a Hero turn in early game
creeping.  Slow's affect is simply too limited by spellpower to do much of significance.  
Similarly, Confusion is decent for the endgame, shutting down your opponent's powerful ranged
stacks and making their army vulnerable to your fast attackers (weak retaliations).  It just isn't
going to do much for you in the early game when you desperately need something to shut down that
Elvish Archer multi-stack guarding your mine.

Raise dead is an extremely powerful spell for Necropolis.  Note that Death Knights, who don't start
with this spell, can still pick this up via the Dark Exaltation perc.  For Necropolis, starting
with what amounts to Ressurection is excellent.  For living factions, you won't be using Raise Dead
during creeping, but it can still be extremely useful as a Ressurection spell for the endgame
battle.  Raise Dead can also combo off with Vampirism... living creatures with Vampirism will be
permanently ressurected.

At level 3, we get our first truly useful creeping spell: Sorrow.  At expert, this spell reduces
morale and luck by 7 or more morale. This spell works well with Necropolis because of synergizing
effects like Death Stare, Banshee Wail, and Festering Aura. If you can get morale to -10, the
creature has a better than 50% chance to lose their turn.  Multiple Sorrows can be maintained on
multiple creature stacks, but its duration is severely limited by spellpower.  The best use of
Sorrow is against Gate Keeper stacks - keep Sorrow up on as many level 7 stacks as possible - each
turn they lose to Sorrow is a turn they aren't using to kill your blcokers.  If they do get through
to your rangeed, an unlucky hit can be more easily recovered from with First Aid tent and Raise Dead.

Teleport is more of an endgame spell and not useful in creeping.  The intent is to teleport a
tough, multi-hit attacker to an ideal spot to do maximum damage to the enemy.  Examples of such
creatures: Hydras, Kshatra, or Battle Rage Runed Magma Dragons. An example of its usage: Dash your
Kshatra and then teleport them over with your hero.  Teleport is not a spellpower or skill
dependant and thus can be situationally useful for all Might heroes - keep this in mind when
finding a Teleport scroll.

Shadow Image is an excellent spell that all Might heroes should be on the lookout for.  You don't
necessarily need spellpower or even Dark Mastery to make this spell useful - even as an equipped
scroll this spell is good.  The reason?  Oftentimes, copying a Might hero tier-1 stack is almost as
good copying a higher tier stack.  Of course, if you get your Might hero spellpower high enough,
copying a tier-6 or tier-7 multi-hit creature is truly terrifying.  The weakness of this spell is
that, depending on where the creature goes on the ATB bar, the opponent can keep shooting down the
copies.  Note that Shadow Image creatures can also be used as resummonable blockers during
creeping - Etherealness makes them just as effective as Ghosts.  

Finally, we get to the big level-5 payoffs.  Vampirism is, in my opinion, one of the game's best
spells.  It trivializes creeping... once you get Vampirism, all you need is a level-7 stack, and
enough mana and spellpower for Vampirism.  There are a few cases against the undead where it doesn't
work, but most problem creatures are Living ones.  In the endgame battle, there is nothing quite so
terryfing as a Dungeon Overlord with a stack of Vampiric Red Dragons.  Vampirism has the nice
side-effect of making your stack immune to Frenzy and Hypnotize... so, the only way for yor opponent
to deal with a Vampirism stack is focus fire, Magical Immunity, Cleansing, and Destruction spells.

Frenzy is a mind control spell similar to Hypnotize, but differs in several important ways.  Frenzy
only lasts for one action (1-turn) and you don't have the unit under your full control - it will
attack attack whatever creature is closest.  It doesn't impose a spellpower based initiative
penalty, so the frenzied creature will act as they were on the ATB bar.  Frenzy gives a damage
bonus at higher spellpower levels, so the creature you frenzy will hit harder than with
Hypnotize.  High value targets for Frenzy: Creatures coming up early on the ATB bar right after
your hero... so your hero can Frenzy something else on their next Sorcery turn.  Also, multi-hit
units and high-tier units standing next to their respective Ranged stacks - use them as Assassins
to kill their own Ranged. Situationally, you can use Frenzy on your own units as a damage buff as
long as the enemy unit is the one closest by.

10) Light Magic

Like Dark, Light tends to be a Might focused Spell school that doesn't truly come into its own
until the late game, but Light offers some better creeping performing spells early on than Dark -
spells that may be worth using a Hero turn to cast.  Light offers the very powerful Regeneration
spell at level 3, which is a consitently powerful gatekeeper breaking tactic, and very relevant for
creeping and endgame.  Later on, Light offers incredible creature buffs and staying power, making
you a very difficult opponent to defeat.

Becuase this is a "buffing" school, you want to be mindful of your initial numbers and
multipliers... First there is the initial number you are buffing.  If you are using a percentage
spell like Haste, you want to use this percentage buff to multiply a high initiative number to get
the most initiative points for your buck.  A good example of a unit you would want to haste would
be Master Gremlins, who start with 12 Initiative.  Putting a spell like haste on a Treant doesn't
benefit you as much as the initial 7 number is much lower, and thus haste results in far less
noticeable of an effect.

Spells like Endurance, that offer a straight stat buff, are best used on creatures that have
mulipliers for that stat.  An example would be an Ancient Treant.  If the Ancient Treant is using
both Take Roots and Stand your Ground - those extra endurance defense points get magnified almost
100%, taking the Treants from tough Tank to near impenetrable Tank.

In the early stages, you aren't going to be casting Light spells.  Divine Strength is the most
likely spell you would use - and you typically use it on ranged units with big damage ranges:
Crossbowmen, Harpooners, and Succubi come to mind.  Even then it is questionable if it is worth
sacraficing a normal hero attack.  Eldritch Arrow is there as an attack spell for a pure Light
Magic Hero, but isn't really used outside of that.

Let's be honest here... the spell all Light Magic heroes are aiming for is Regeneration.  As
Regeneration is a percentage based spell of an individual creature's hit points, tier 7s benefit
immensely from this spell with their massive hit points per individual.  Furthermore, high
initiative level 7s benefit even further, as Regeneration is turn-based.  The faster the creature's
initiative, the faster they Regenerate.  Because Regeneration acts over a number of turns, it frees
up your Hero to do other things, making it even better. Regeneration leads to the Tanking
Gatekeeper breaking strategy.  Stick Regeneration on your Tier-7 stack, place them on defenseive,
and cast Endurance on them in between refreshing Regeneration.  Now they can take big punishment
and dish it out in kind.

That's not to say Regeneration's tier 3 little brother is bad....  Deflect Missile is awesome for
the endgame and has some applications for creeping against ranged units.  Nothing says "you're in
trouble" to Academy and Sylvan than when a Fortress hero opens with a Swift-minded Mass Deflect
Missile.  It effectively shuts down high initiative range based factions, forcing them into melee
where they no longer hold the advantage.

Blindness is one of the best level 4 spells around.  Not only does it shut down the creature, no
questions asked, but it can be applied to multiple targets.  A high spellpower Light mage can
effectively shut down most of the opponents army with this one spell. Blindness is very useful in
both gatekeeper battles and in the endgame.  Blindness is a form of mind-control, so the usual
immunities do apply.  Mana wise, this spell is also much cheeper than Hypnotize and Frenzy, making
it a better pick for a long lasting late-game slug fest.

Divine Vengeance is an attack spell that can only really be used in the endgame battle as your
creatures taking big damage is not something you want to be doing while creeping.  However, in the
context of the endgame battle, the spell is very powerful when wielded by a high level Light magic
user.  It scales up incredibly well with the size of the stacks and can be used multiple times like
any attack spell.  Your opponent's most potent stacks can quickly be "punished out of existence"
with this spell.

Finally, we get to the level 5 payoffs.  Celestial Shield and Ressurection.  Both are really good.  
I personally think Celestial Shield allows you to do more powerful things as it works really well
with Regeneration and doesn't have diminishing returns like Ressurection.  But, there is no
question that Ressurection is the ultimate in creature loss prevention.  They both have their
applications.  One note here is the skill perc Arcane Armor off the Shatter Destruction tree gives
you both the Celesital Shield Spell and a massive +10 spellpower in casting it.  Since Shatter
Destruction is valuable when going up against a Magic hero, this skill path is definitely something
to consider.  Getting a level 5 spell and +10 spellpower to cast it is nothing to sneeze at.

7) Treasure Chests or XP?

This is a map dependent answer.  My general feel: In week 1, you take XP with your main UNLESS the
lack of gold is impeding your ability to build up your town.  After week 1, you should switch over
to gold.  Your secondary hero will always take gold.

8) When do I pickup Logistics?

You pickup Logistics when you have enough to break the Gatekeeper stack.  Logistics is a critical
skill in the endgame, so avoid the "win more" thought process. In other words: you need War
Machines or Combat, you don't necessarily "need" both even though it makes you feel more powerful.  
That's the point when you should take Logistics.  


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magnomagus
magnomagus


Admirable
Legendary Hero
modding wizard
posted February 21, 2021 10:19 PM

Thanks for the update!
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svknoe
svknoe

Tavern Dweller
posted March 09, 2021 10:51 AM

Thank you for writing this, it is a very nice resource!

You mention that stacking enough negative morale can give creatures a "better than 50% chance" to lose their turn. Based on ToTE I thought that the chance to trigger positive/negative morale was 10% per point, capped at +-5 morale. Does it function differently in the mod?

Looking forward to your new faction specific guides!

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