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 0.89b - exploring new hero builds

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Joe the Bartender
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PostSubject: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 15, 2020 8:28 am

Hi All,

As the latest version is missing updated manual, I ended up exploring some parts of hero creation anew.

Now I take more seriously also Synergy bonuses, especially as each race now may have multiple sub-classes (sub-races).

Not only synergy bonus varies, also the extra Hero skill (usually lvl 15, sometimes +one granted right away)

Some other parts are not exactly new from older TP versions (like the race skills are without magic, so only class selection shapes the true casters, unless we take in consideration that nearly each race offers 2 schools paths be researched)

But many other are totally new. So I would like to hear your opinion, dear reader, what is your so far explored combo and how do you like it.

I started some, I did not level up later, as I found that my expectations were wrong.

But Fey + Geomancer is cool. Fey have quite cheap, small (you can place them near each other) and also resilient (the magic pool has high resistances), so with level 2, 3 homeguard each of the small buildings change into efficient towers hurling stones. Not to mentions that the Earthquake spells is super strong, despite it attacks only grounded units, it clears the battlefield of many nasty enemies, like raw machines, infantry or cavalry.

Then I like Wood Elf High Druid. Quite good combo, especially after I learned to stack oakmen into the trees (up to 4) each producing 0.5 of all resources! Building more of the trees and I can let my assault groups destroy any mines on the map (with one extra skill, even getting extra units through the process)

I also like how extra vision boosting research is limited with "+15 view range for respective building", instead revealing whole map - SUPERB. Keeps the thrill of exploring (fog of war), while also giving some benefit for the expensive research.

Dark Elves -> lvl 15 skill granting assassination 2 to all ranged units -> greatly increases early game war efficiency (+ extra gold profits). I selected class = summoner, probably not the best choice, but against mid-difficulty AI and lower it performs well. Especially after sending swarms of fresh summoned imps with assassination.

Latest combo: Daemon Tinker, specialization Iron Fortress (+6 def/res to buildings)
extra metal + stone helps, Alchemy is extremely neat circle of magic (despite I miss Ritual skill Sad ) but ultimately making my otherwise frail buildings more resilient and defend against waves of enemies (especially on custom made maps, where 40~100 units spawn each x minutes just to hammer on my base)

I still plan to explore undead, my usually preferred race, as I cannot decide if I should go for warrior/support/mage. Necromancer is logical choice (with Gate skill), but undead are now super versatile, especially after multiple sub-races/factions were introduced. Lich now summons super useful Shadow, instead just the lame "skellie maker".

Now when towers cannot be built near each other, I feel like races that have no secondary defense buildings have it much harder (even if the 2nd structure attacks flyers/floaters only, it helps greatly...have had dragon raids, trust me)

Oh, as there is limit to dragons (3), tried also Ssrathi, but before they get to dragons, they are difficult to play through the multiple stages, not only due economy but also active defense flaws. And they even offer VIEW boost (races without view boost are literally crippled IMO, as AI now does excellent job assaulting your base from the most strategic side) so the +1XP / skill point often is wasted due lost fight, or not strong enough to compensate for the extreme loses before first dragon was built.
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Joe the Bartender
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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 15, 2020 12:16 pm

Wood Elf High Druid is definitely one of the best classes in the game in this version. There are few things scarier than pumping out loads of Oakmen, Treants and Unicorns at the start of the game. The Oakmen and Treants have obscene HP and the latter even have a high level on top of that. It's even possible to stack excellent Morale bonuses and some Nature magic spells on top of all that. It's inconceivably powerful on maps which tend to have higher quantities of mines on them. I have no idea how it stacks up against a Warrior hero.

When I try playing Dark Dwarves, I have a much harder time. They are very slow and quite vulnerable to a lot of elemental attacks. Fliers are pretty good at harassing them as well. I played a Chronomancer in order to try and fix the low speed but I don't think it's quite enough. Their matchups are just too powerful for the race to work well.

I've got an Orc Warrior that seems to work reasonably well with Graww's Orogs, but the build is quite gimmicky. If the opponent has good access to piercing, the build doesn't work. Against certain races, it's very effective though.

My Dwarf Tinker isn't great. Dwarves themselves are fine, but the Engineering build doesn't really work any more. Building HP increases are quite shallow and more importantly, the Tower's cost conflicts too much with the rest of Dwarven production. Engineering builds don't seem to be as good as they were in general. I think it's better to focus on resource and discount skills to simply get more buildings. Attrition-building is still very strong so it seems the resource generation route is the better one.

With Daemons, I have both a melee combat Healer and a Tinker. Neither really did the trick for me. A tough Healer worked better for me and could cope better early game than the Tinker. I don't think either manages to cover up the Daemon side's flaws very well though. Their costs are very high and they specifically require units which tend to conflict with building and research costs.

I also have a Minotaur Healer. I am convinced that this is the best Minotaur build available. Not only is the Minotaur Healer a tough combatant, but the healing support helps to sustain unit value and moreover, the 0 Resistance weakness of the Minotaur race is handily covered over with Cure and White ward. This is an early-game rush build though, as later on the opponents will counter with elemental units, particularly elemental missile units.

I've played most races but I don't know everything there is to know about them. Certain factions will be better than the standard faction and certain hero classes make or break certain races too. Despite that, I've come up with a rough tier list of the races in no hero mode which is based on nothing but experience and conjecture (I might update this as time goes on):
S
Dark Elves
I still think they are the best race in the game, even with the nerfs. The ability to generate not only resources but an anti-flier/missile unit wall via Tortured Souls is extremely powerful. Spiders are excellent harassment units and Queen Spiders are the best swarm unit in the game thanks to the ability to spawn a pile of Spiders whenever they kill anything. Dark Elves get the best missile units in the game thanks to great archer research and Darkbolt, which is secretly the most powerful damage research in the game due to the way combat works. Even in the early game, Stygian Wisps, Archers, Umbral Phoenix and Spiders are enough to withhold most assaults. Whether on offence or defence, Dark Elves are fantastic.
Best matchup: Most races have a hard time against Dark Elves but my vote would be for the Fey. As a rangewall race themselves, the Fey really don't like it when units are shielded by a wall of Tortured Souls.
Worst matchup: Themselves! In TPC 0.8.9b, the meta is all about rushing or missile attacks - especially elemental projectiles. As Dark Elves are the best elemental rangewall in the game, only Dark Elves can stand an equal chance of beating other Dark Elves.
Best hero class: If I had to place my vote, I would say Warrior or Ranger if only for the high amount of power and map domination capability right from the start of the game. Alchemists are also a good choice since the more you kill, the more resources you get. This even applies to buildings, so guardian statues are really good and can provide resources for yet more statues. That said, Alchemists also need the power to generate resources at game start and they often can't, especially against Warrior/Ranger heroes, so the build can be considered a bit gimmicky.

A
Knights
Honestly I haven't played them that much, but they have been a strong and solid race since the early days of TPC. Knight cavalry are fast, powerful, tough and resistant to all physical. Elemental attacks are their bane, but until they come out, Knights have excellent field advantage and can effectively rush and dominate early on. Their late-game can be great as well because Archons and Paladins are now the powerhouses that they were in WBC3. Resource income is good - in fact their economy is good. Few productions conflict with each other and so production is pretty easy. A really dangerous race and arguably one of the top choices in the game right now. I'm not sure if this is still the case or if they have been bumped down a bit.
Best matchup: Barbarians, Minotaurs, Ssrathi, Dark Dwarves and Orcs. All of these races tend to share one thing in common: a prevalence of physical damage types and difficult, costly, or late access to elemental damage types. Dark Dwarves have the worst time because their low speed conflicts particularly harshly with the high speed of Knight cavalry. Barbarians have the best chances among these due to Lightning Hawks and Reavers, but they'll still have a tough time.
Worst matchup: High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves, Fey. Elven races get access to early and powerful elemental attacks, the source of some of which being flying units. The Fey get access to a great variety of elemental attacks and can gain high speed as well, making them a bit harder for Knights. Early game might not be so tricky for them however.
Best hero class: No idea. Priest? Paladin? Anything which keeps their units around to gain more XP via crusade. Other factions will differ somewhat.

Fey
Once, in vanilla they were broken. Then in TPC 0.8.8, they were bad. Now, they have fairer balancing and take their place as one of the best races available. Their units have become less pricy than before and access to Mirrorwood Trees and building spells is so useful that they're now a mandatory staple of the race. They can defend well even in early game thanks to strong building spells. Their damage type access and researches make their units very dangerous and their economy is really good. Basically, they get instant access to Income 3 but it's limited to the radius of Mirrorwood Trees and these are accessible right from the start of the game. Oakmen are ridiculously good infantry builders as well and can soak up immense amounts of damage. Fliers and anti-flying capabilites are top notch as well. A well rounded race in almost every respect.
Best matchup: Minotaurs, Dark Dwarves. Minotaurs are slow, can't resist psych well and can't resist any elemental damage at all. Barbarians can also suffer from this problem, though they are more capable due to higher unit speeds and access to Calm via the Witch Doctor. Dark Dwarves are so slow that every unit they field can be kited and effectively countered using the right elemental damage type. Dark Dwarves don't really stand much of a chance.
Worst matchup: Dark Elves. Read Dark Elves for details.
Best hero class: No idea. I suspect something which helps them out the most in the early stages of the game, such as the Warrior.

High Elves
Another race I haven't played much of, but I remember them being powerful. I don't think there's a version of the game in which High Elves aren't one of the best races. They may not have miners, but they more than make up for that with flying, T1, elemental missile converters, the best income research in the game, wisps and the perpetually-amazing dragon knights. Manticores are also quite good at handling ground threats and their lategame is if anything, even better because they get access to flying, missile units with magic damage. If that's not enough, celestial dragons basically win them the game due to crystallization + elcor's balm. There isn't really much of a weakness with High Elves. They're good at any stage of the game and with any and all unit types.
Best matchup: Many races struggle against High Elves by my vote goes to Minotaurs, Daemons and Dark Dwarves. Minotaurs are bad against the elven races in particular as the elves get early, powerful elemental damage. Daemons are handily countered by a single unit: the Dragon Knight. Only Salamanders can do anything against them and... well, they can't. They get double combat against cavalry but Dragon Knights are resistant to fire damage. Nightmares, Succubi and melee fliers in general are at the mercy of Dragon Knights. Nightmares can't inflict fear or terror on them and are vulnerable to slashing. Dragon Knights are perfect counters to most Daemons. Dark Dwarves are countered by many High Elven damage types such as electrical and cold - both of which are derived from comparatively fast, missile units.
Worst matchup: Undead. It's not a particularly bad matchup - High Elves are good across the board in general, but Undead are definitely their worst. They stand the best chance of harassing phoenix and giving High Elven strategies a harder time than usual. Wraiths/shadows are excellent against High Elven, elemental damage types and can hit fliers. Dread/Doom knights are vulnerable to a damage type the High Elves don't really have and are resistant to all physical. Iceguards become nearly irrelevant due to the high quantity of piercing-resistant units.
Best hero class: Preferably, High Elves want access to fire damage but they also want miners. Archmages have always been good with them, though I don't think it's necessarily the best choice.

Empire
I haven't really played this race since they were massively buffed in 0.8.9, but from what I understand, they are seriously powerful. Imperial sergeants give the resistance buff which is extremely good against any and all afflictions. Pikemen and halberdiers get more powerful in melee combat as time goes on, not to mention the latter got a nice buff. The massive variety of mages is what really makes this race shine - they have a spell and a damage type for quite literally everything. No matter what the opponent sends at you, one or more combinations of mages will suppress it. Elephants are also an exceptional T5 unit which is amongst the tankiest of units in the game and is not only good against medium/small units but also buildings as well. The mid-late game is generally really good for the Empire. Some factions even get access to knights, making the early game a little better too. Overall, I think the Empire are an excellent toolbox race and are amongst the best picks in the game.
Best matchup: Daemons, Orcs. Both are well-countered by early piercing damage backed up with the imperial sergeant's anti-affliction spell. The longer the game goes on, the worse it gets for both of these races. Elephants are very effective and mage support can counter just about everything short of ogres, and they alone are not enough to stop the Empire.
Worst matchup: Swarm. The immense amount of drain mana spells really hurts the Empire. Those spells, combined with various elemental attacks and afflictions, can make it particularly hard for the Empire to perform just about any of its strategies. With no mana, the Empire can't protect itself from afflictions or fire/cold attacks. Augurs are a nice counterplay due to their own drain mana, but the Swarm simply have more drain mana spells and don't even really need mana anyway.
Best hero class: Optimally, I think you want at least two things here to help the race out. Firstly, the early game isn't great for the Empire. Not many useful researches are available and the imperial sergeant can't deal with elemental attackers, only afflictions. Phoenix and lightning hawks can definitely cause havoc at this stage. Secondly, the race needs to be able to function well without access to mana. Harpies are quite common in the game and any of them can ruin the Empire's day (though not as badly as the Swarm). There's not really a way to do this with a spellcasting hero otherwise you risk succumbing to drain mana. Using spells prior to harpy/husk/augur encounters is limited by time since they can easily run out at the worst possible moments. I'd try a fighter/support hybrid to ease the early game a bit and to help augment elemental resistances. A tough merchant or tinker might work well due to tactician. Merchant is likely the best of the two choices thanks to its access to a huge array of other support skills.

Swarm
Another race which used to be amongst the absolute worst in the original game (and in older patch versions), but has been turned into one of the best. They have received so many buffs and are now a very competitive race, or at least they were when I last played with them. Husks are extremely powerful thanks to their upgrades. Getting cold damage and the ability to cast drain mana not only nerfs many races, but also spellcasting heroes as well. Scorpions now deal half magic damage, making them well worth producing. Scarabs have received an upgrade which makes them always burn enemies which is also strong. Dust devils are also anti-meta in some respects and they harmonize perfectly with the Swarm... probably too perfectly. They can hit fliers, are excellent anti-swarm units due to their AOE and to top it off, they're resistant to crushing - a damage type which many other Swarm units are vulnerable to. Devourers are like the cherry on top of the cake - they can also hit fliers and enemies they kill are turned into even more Swarm units. Wasps are excellent anti-air fliers and Spiders and Queen Spiders just push everything into overdrive when combined with double poison research and unit production speed bonuses.
Best matchup: Empire, Orcs. Empire for the reasons above. Orcs because they are generally vulnerable to the Swarm until they manage to get access to ogres and goblin shamans. Even then, dust devils help to protect the Swarm against ogres and although they are weak to shamans, the immense cost of the spellcaster mixed in with the Swarm's drain mana effects means that the shamans end up being inefficient counters.
Worst matchup: If I had to make a guess, I'd say High Elves and Fey though the Swarm don't really have any particularly bad matchups. Fast, elemental missile units - especially fliers, can potentially give some Swarm units a run for their money. It's not a particularly bad matchup at all though. Swarm units are pretty fast and hence these threats aren't particularly significant. The Swarm doesn't really have a flaw.
Best hero class: I'm not certain since I've not played Swarm lately. If I had to make a guess, I'd say Assassin, Bard or Merchant. All of these classes give exactly what you need to win. Assassins can assassinate for gold or simply generate it. In addition, they can be reasonably tough. Bards can generate gold and buff units with divination magic. Merchants have pretty much every buff or support skill needed. The gold generated from these classes can be funnelled into scarabs which are an early win con for the Swarm and early is better than late.

B
Undead
I'm definitely not the most knowledgable about the Undead, but from vanilla to TPC, they have always been a solid pick. Morphing units into whatever you need is excellent for counterplays. Research is very powerful and noticeably cheaper than some other races. Every unit is immune to almost all afflictions in the entire game. Units are particularly powerful for their AL cost and come with a numerous amount of different abilities. Elemental damage access comes at T2 via wraiths and guardian skulls, the latter of which is an easily-producible floating electrical missile unit. Enemy fliers will definitely not cause Undead any problems. Later on, Dread knights come with a chaos aura and doom knights are an upgrade with great stats, which can also hit fliers. Cultists have good cold missile damage and can summon wraiths for support and liches are an upgrade which have fire damage, can summon shadows and raise dead, should their army need to be replenished on the spot. Undead have a lot of power throughout the entire game. Strong elemental attacks, affliction immunity, chaos auras, disease strikes + scavenging which is extremely good for their econ, unit summoning spells and even drain mana via harpies. They can even change day to night for additional bonuses. Undead only have a few weaknesses: their builders are slow and have low build skill, their basic fliers are underwhelming, they can only regenerate at night and their econ requires the use of the aforementioned slow units on the front line so that they can scavenge. Regardless, I think Undead are one of the better races available in the game.
Best matchup: Barbarians, Dark Dwarves and Plaguelords. Barbarians don't have enough to deal with the Undead at game start. Tribesmen, wardogs and riders are hopeless against most Undead units due to piercing/physical resistances and high combat. Meanwhile, Undead elemental damage units can wreck Barbarian units throughout the game due to their non-existent resistance stat. Lightning hawks, pegasi and rock giants are the only units which are capable of going toe-to-toe with Undead units and some of these can be countered via cultists, liches, shadows and doom knights. Warlords are perfectly countered by liches in the lategame, if Barbarians survive that long. Dark dwarves are slow and vulnerable to elemental skirmishers, particularly cold and electrical. Plaguelords, despite having good access to crushing damage, are slow, rely on an affliction which they can't inflict and are vulnerable to a variety of Undead damage types.
Worst matchup: Minotaurs. Undead struggle to get past tech level 1. At this stage, they get zombies, skeletons and wights whereas Minotaurs get minotaur brutes, which counter everything that the Undead have at this point bar zombies and they aren't enough. If the Undead manage to survive however, the odds will completely reverse and Minotaurs will likely end up losing due to having low speed and 0 resistance to elemental damage, perfect for Undead skirmishers.
Best hero class: I haven't played Undead enough to know, but I would say Deathknight or Runemaster. Having a combative hero is generally a good thing, especially from game start, and the Deathknight builds upon this with access to great Undead-summoning perks and spells. The Runemaster may struggle a little more during the early game, but it can pay off with access to a valuable perk which improves construction speed, spells which buff armour, heal, deal damage, create defences and a skill which improves stone income.

Wood Elves
From my time playing as Wood Elves, I consider them to be slightly inferior to High Elves. Their units aren't quite as good and they don't have converting phoenix. Mid-late game is generally not good for Wood Elves either, since that gives access to spellcasters which for the most-part are unneeded and treants which are worthless. T4 can be worth reaching on larger maps due to infinite resources via wisps + magic wells + trade, but as this stage is difficult to reach, it's more of a gimmick strategy that can only be used if opponents aren't playing aggressively enough. Instead, Wood Elves focus on the early game and try to win by this stage - and they do have the tools to succeed. Wisps are powerful no matter the elven race, hunters are amongst the best skirmishers in the game due to extremely high speed and archery research bonuses and phoenix are arguably the best fliers in the entire game due to the ability to hit both ground and flying units and because they have fire missiles (and as stated elsewhere, fliers gain bonus damage vs ground targets and missiles ignore the combat system and always do full damage). At T1-T2, almost nothing in the game can resist fire damage and buildings are incredibly vulnerable to it, which makes phoenix one of the very few all-purpose units in the game - they are simply good against just about everything. This elemental missile wall is very formidable and difficult to break until later stages in the game. This alone makes Wood Elves one of the better races available.
Best matchup: Barbarians, Dark Dwarves, Dwarves, Minotaurs. Barbarians may have ranged units from game start, but they'll have a tough time trying to actually reach the phoenix due to the wall of melee elves located in-between. Barbarians lose quite early on and interestingly, scout towers don't help all that much because they're vulnerable to fire damage. Dark Dwarves and Minotaurs suffer against elemental skirmishers. Instead of the golems being vulnerable though, the siege weapons are instead. Dwarves enter the same bracket as the Dark Dwarves and Minotaurs as their units and base in general are vulnerable to early fire/magic damage rushes. Axe throwers have the same problem as tribesmen and infantry are vulnerable to fire, meaning they have to rely on brawlers alone.
Worst matchup: Dark Elves, Swarm. If there's anything that a rangewall race hates, it's Dark Elves. Tortured souls essentially provide a defensive barrier against missile attacks, from which Dark Elven missile units can shoot down any opposing units. As a bonus, tortured souls also physically block fliers. The Swarm don't have the units to defeat the Wood Elves during the early game, but they can resist them and proceed to victory during the mid. This is because Swarm buildings are resistant to fire, which means phoenix become a lot less powerful. Should the Swarm survive which is a decent possibility, they can retaliate with numerous wasps, harpies and research-boosted ground units.
Best hero class: High Druid. It's so powerful that it pushes Wood Elves to S tier. Read the top of the post for details.

C
Dwarves
I haven't had much of an opportunity to play this race, but from what I can tell they are more or less the 'middle of the road'. Good, but expensive tech and good income research, though a slow early game. Reasonable units with good armour/resistance stats, though some are slow. Lack of access to a cavalry option makes them suffer against certain races, especially faster ones like the Swarm. Dwarves aren't particularly noteworthy, though some factions can make them a bit more powerful (such as Duernoth, which gives them access to good spellcaster units early on).
Best matchup: Barbarians, Daemons, Orcs. All three races are almost entirely physical and hence will struggle against physically-resistant units, especially infantry. Witch doctors are expensive, leaving the Barbarians with only lightning hawks as feasible counters. Daemons get imps, but they are in a really bad spot right now as they cost a fortune and are never worth it, leaving them with only salamanders and they aren't optimal as Dwarf towers deal piercing damage and berserkers are resistant to fire damage when they go berserk. Orcs are in a similar situation. They have disease via goblins, some magic damage via kobold snipers and cold via shamans. Many of these are expensive and require high tech tiers. It could also be argued that Ssrathi are in a similar position to these races, but their elemental damage is a bit more accessible.
Worst matchup: Fey, Plaguelords, Wood Elves. Possibly Dark Elves and High Elves as well. Elemental rangewalls, especially ones with higher speed values, give Dwarves a hard time as their units are usually slow. Fire is good against everything except berserkers as well, so out of the elven races, Wood Elves are the hardest matchup. Fey get access to every elemental damage type and all of it is pretty accessible. Plaguelords are another matter, as they can disease most Dwarf factions, which makes them nearly helpless.
Best hero class: All I can say is not an engineering Tinker build. It used to be in 0.8.8, but no longer. Now, I'd recommend something which gives a much needed push early game and something which increases the speed of units. A Monk might actually be able to do something here, since they are quite resilient and have access to haste. Alternatively, an Ice Mage can do some work since they get access to ice incarnate, a spell which makes the hero semi-resilient and frostblade, a spell which can give invaluable elemental damage to early-mid game Dwarves.

D
Barbarians
A decent race during mid-late game, but hopeless early. Units have reasonable speed and view, but awful armour and resistance if they have any at all. Barbarians also get no access to any siege weapon or any anti-building unit whatsoever, though thankfully they do have an incredibly useful spellcaster which is vital to Barbarian gameplay. Witch doctors have cure and calm, meaning they can remove any nasty affliction, which would otherwise plague the race due to having very low resistance. Tech is below average and more critically, the key researches are only accessible from mid-game onwards. This makes Barbarians vulnerable to so many different things in the game, though they can make up for that to an extent. Barbarians have a fantastic econ, probably one of the best in the game. They get three levels of income research and if one of their units kills another, they gain resources. This alone can make them playable, but only if they can combo off successfully, which unfortunately, is usually somewhat difficult. As such, I find Barbarians a lower tier race, not particularly bad, but definitely below average.
Best matchup: Daemons. This was the case back in vanilla as well. Daemons have a wide range of physical vulnerabilities, especially piercing, and many of their strategies use fliers, meaning most of their units are countered by tribesmen. In addition, Barbarian units have some resistance to fear and terror, meaning nightmares and salamanders are less effective (not to mention nightmares are vulnerable to slashing and doubly so to reavers).
Worst matchup: Knights, Undead. Dwarves and Wood Elves are honorable mentions, though they aren't as bad as the matchup with Knights and Undead. Knights resist just about everything short of lightning hawks and witch doctors and the latter are expensive. Undead similarly resist everything the Barbarians can throw at them bar pegasi, witch doctors and rock giants, meaning the only chance Barbarians have is with pegasi (and these are bad against doom knights).
Best hero class: Alchemist isn't a bad choice. It can form an infinite chain of destruction, but it's like a bad version of the Dark Elven Alchemist as only the golems generate resources. In addition, Barbarian units are inferior during the early game and so this chain would be difficult to actually activate. In lieu of that, something which is capable of smoothing out Barbarian gameplay to the mid-game is needed. Warriors and Rangers are both excellent choices. Warriors can deal with vast hordes of enemies at the same time, whereas Rangers can skirmish everything and shoot them down. Chieftains are also a decent class, but they exchange physical prowess in exchange for support, which makes them better mid-late but worse early. In addition, their cavalry skills and perks are put to better use with other races, since Barbarian cavalry often has mixed degrees of usefulness depending on the matchup.

E
Orcs
I've played Orcs plenty of times this version and sadly, they are in a bad state. Their units are okay, but are vulnerable to some of the most common damage types in the game and are amongst the least upgradeable in the game as well. Even their spellcaster and their basic fliers are less than useful, and their siege isn't great when compared to even the average race's siege options (unless you're playing dark orcs, which have pretty good siege and reasonable tech). Research is extremely scarce and not much of it is helpful - and the research which is helpful, is also expensive and comes out too late. It does actually get worse, because their econ is based on destroying buildings. They get no income research unless you play as a faction, and even then, you get inferior income research. Unlike most other races, Orcs feel like they have been left without a win con. They have nothing which can help them pull through difficult situations. Their best bet right now is to spam ogres and trolls/kobold snipers, because these are the best all-round units. As it stands, the only reason to play Orcs is the bonus that their hero confers.
Best matchup: Undead. A huge number of Orc units have crushing damage and can put this to good use during the early-mid game. Late game isn't so good as more dread and doom knights will appear and put a stop to it (and these will be backed up by the main damage dealers: guardian skulls, cultists and liches). Graww may be the best Orc faction because of T1 orogs. Orogs are the best chance the Orcs are ever going to have, since they are cheap and resist two physical damage types. They are also very gimmicky however, as they are vulnerable to piercing and hence can't be used against races with good access to this damage type. However, they can end the Undead before they even start as they resist literally everything the Undead have at T1 bar the towers themselves.
Worst matchup: Dark Dwarves, Dwarves, Empire, Knights. Orcs have a poor time against most races in the game, but these four are particularly good against them. All of these races either have access to excellent melee piercing units or they have very physically resistant units which shrug off everything the Orcs have bar upgraded kobold snipers and goblin shamans, and the latter is both expensive and accessed at later stages of the game. Orcs have to pray that disease inflicted by goblins manages to keep them afloat until later. They then have to pray that ogres, trolls and kobold snipers are enough to win... ha.
Best hero class: This is the only reason to play Orcs. I say play Orcs, what I mean is play another race as an Orcish hero. Orcs get access to the incredible salvaging skill which gives all units under their command the ability to gain resources when killing enemies as if they were all Rogues. If you're actually serious about playing Orcs, you need several different functions. Firstly, you need a physically strong hero to carry you over to mid-game. Secondly, you need a hero which can give access to elemental damage types to help alleviate the Orcish deficiency. Thirdly, you need a hero which can help solve economic issues. Thankfully, the third is solved with salvaging. However, the former options are difficult to pair together. Ice Mages can fulfill both those roles, but don't expect it to survive for long on the battlefield. Warriors can help the Orcs survive and they can also smash buildings quite well, but they can't realistically provide new damage types. Elementalists can create plenty of powerful elementals, thereby providing a new damage type, but they are physically frail and won't be able to control the mid-map very well. Pyromancers are in a similar position. Regardless, any of these classes will help to resolve at least some of the issues which the Orcs have.

Ssrathi
I haven't played Ssrathi for a while, but from what I gather, they're a very standard, mundane race but without the economy and research access to back it up. They have nothing particularly special and their win con is T5, end-game territory. Their units are okay. Sometimes resistant to slashing and vulnerable to cold or crushing with respect to the basilisk. Pterodactyls are excellent dragon killers, but only when fully upgraded. Ssrathi priests are reasonable support units and triceratops are capable siege units with combat capabilities. However, their powerful research win con can only be activated at T5. In addition, there is no way to boost their econ outside of heroes which means they are basically playing at a massive disadvantage when compared to most other races in the game. Instead, Ssrathi just get miners and that's it. Ssrathi units are usually not enough to keep them going until the late game and as such their chance of winning isn't all that great.
Best matchup: Ssrathi don't really have any good matchups, but if I had to pick I'd say Daemons if only because of their vulnerability to physical damage types. Otherwise, Ssrathi are generally mediocre or sub-par against every race in the game.
Worst matchup: High Elves, Swarm, Undead. High Elves have a lot of cold damage and can easily counter pterodactyls with dragon knights and upgraded longbowmen. Swarm are nearly immune to poison and many of the units are resistant to slashing and piercing, both of which are common Ssrathi damage types. Husks even get cold damage. Undead are like a combination between High Elves and Swarm in the sense that they have a lot of cold damage and are also immune to poison. Dread and doom knights are vulnerable to fire, but the Undead can survive without them against the Ssrathi.
Best hero class: This is where Ssrathi go up a tier, as there is a particularly good choice. Most Ssrathi units are both cavalry and dinosaurs, so they benefit twice from the Chieftain's skills and perks. An Orcish Chieftain is playable as well thanks to leadership and can help to solve the Ssrathi's poor economy via salvaging.

Minotaurs
Minotaurs are a race which only works at one stage of the game. Almost all units are slow, have low armour and no resistance at all. This makes them extremely vulnerable to skirmishers, particularly elemental missile units. Siege is available, but difficult to access and usually irrelevant. Minotaur kings are one of the best generals in the game and can easily dominate part of a map. Minotaur research is actually really good and their econ can be reasonable as well, but a lot of their units are locked behind research walls, much like the elves. Units can be upgraded with massive damage bonuses and even some armour bonuses which makes them particularly powerful. Minotaurs get standard miners, but they also get resources when they destroy buildings. Unfortunately, despite the good things that Minotaurs get, their low speed and non-existent resistance means that they are countered by most races near the start of the game. It's not impossible to win with them, but the likelihood of them winning goes down significantly after T1-T2. Rushing is what Minotaurs need to do and they need to succeed in this or they'll probably face a game loss.
Best matchup: Undead. If rushed at T1, Undead can't do anything about it. See the Undead race for more details.
Worst matchup: Dark Elves, Fey, High Elves, Wood Elves, debatably, the entire mid-late game. Each has early, powerful elemental missile units which can kite from Minotaurs and exploit their 0 resistance stat. Many other races can do this as well, but the four listed can do it the best. Afflictions are also extremely effective against Minotaurs due to their low resistance stat. Most of these come into play during the mid-late game, so the Minotaurs really don't want the game to go on that long.
Best hero class: Healer. See the top of the post for more details. Paladins and Priests may also work well too.

F
Plaguelords
I don't know that much about Plaguelords. They seem like a very gimmicky race which rely on disease and if they have any trouble inflicting it, their chances of winning are as good as gone. Researches are very sub-standard when compared to other races. Some units aren't even upgradable at all and may require a building upgrade to access, such as the hydras. Many units are expensive and slow. Econ is miners only. There is no way in which this race shines or stands out. Whereas races like Minotaurs have powerful melee units and Orcs have good anti-air capabilities, Plaguelords have literally nothing going for them at all besides disease and some anti-swarm capabilities. This means that the race is either ridiculously effective or completely uneffective depending on the matchup. More often than not, races and their factions have a way of dealing with disease and hence Plaguelords are amongst the worst races in the game.
Best matchup: Dwarves (except Duernoth), Minotaurs, Orcs. Ssrathi and Daemons are eligible as well, but fare slightly better due to early elemental access. Dwarves, Minotaurs and Orcs have a lot of difficulty when against Plaguelords as they can't cure disease. Out of these, Dwarves and Minotaurs are the worst affected because they are both slow and Minotaurs have no resistance, meaning disease will almost instantly degenerate their stats.
Worst matchup: Every other race in the game. They have ways to cure disease and remove the advantage which Plaguelords rely upon or they are highly resistant by default. The absolute worst though, are Dark Dwarves and Undead, which are naturally immune.
Best hero class: I could not possibly tell. Plaguelord Paladins were good in 0.8.8 because of the semi-infinite healing + leech combo. The race needs so much. They need a hero which provides a multitude of bonuses, a hero which can potentially give them a non-disease related win condition and a hero which boosts their economy. Failing that, they need a hero which is so powerful that the race itself doesn't matter very much. Archmages might be the best toolkit to remedy this situation. They get access to unit buffs, econ buffs and can potentially formulate a win condition. Defilers are also good as you'd expect and have a couple of spells and abilities which make Plaguelords work a bit better. From static and spell unit buffs to the disease enhancements and army limit debuffs, Defilers can make the Plaguelord win condition work better, but it's still quite gimmicky because of the reliance on disease.

Dark Dwarves
Having played Dark Dwarves, I think they are amongst the worst of all races in the game. Their units are incredibly tanky, but they are extremely slow and hence are at the mercy of every fast unit in the game - especially missile units. Many Dark Dwarven units are vulnerable to elemental damage. Golems are weak to cold and electrical whereas siege weapons are almost all weak to fire. What's more, almost every unit has a slow attack speed which can make them difficult to use and also effectively decreases the bonuses given by research. The lack of a cavalry unit is yet another nail in the Dark Dwarven coffin, as if they needed to be at the complete and utter mercy of every missile unit in the game, and of most fast melee units too. Dark Dwarves do have researches to help remedy various problems they have, such as a golem combat boost and a mechanical unit speed boost, both of which are essential. However, many researches are extremely expensive and hard to get access to. Dark Dwarven economy is slightly below average as well, having only two of three income researches. Gameplay is more about spamming one or two specific units and hoping that they work. If they do, Dark Dwarves might actually be able to reach higher tech tiers. More often than not, races will take advantage of their flaws and sweep them aside.
Best matchup: Daemons, Plaguelords. Daemons struggle to acquire counters in the form of elemental damage. Imps are very expensive and salamanders are quite slow. Plaguelords on the other hand are deprived of their win condition, which is normally disease.
Worst matchup: Dark Elves, Fey, High Elves, Ssrathi, Swarm, Undead, Wood Elves and almost every other race in the entire game at mid or late game onwards. The aforementioned have early access to fast or comparatively fast elemental missile units which can skirmish around Dark Dwarven units all day.
Best hero class: Ultimately, you need a class which massively increases the speed of Dark Dwarven units. That is paramount. Other flaws are comparatively minor. Chronomancers are an obvious choice, since they boost speed and the econ and can decrease the speed of enemies as well. This class makes Dark Dwarves a playable race, but by no means does it make them great. Unfortunately, Chronomancers are the best option.

U
Daemons
The trophy for the worst race in the game has to go to the Daemons. Daemon units are unique in that they are produced instantly... and that they cost an absolute fortune, particularly imps. At the moment, it's like they don't have a missile unit at all. Tech is okay and can be accessed at reasonable times and econ is actually as good as many of the higher tier races thanks to income 3. However, their unit costs clash a lot with essential researches and so Daemons struggle to get them done. Alongside the Swarm, Daemons also have fire resistant buildings, which makes them amongst the best in the game (not to mention they can all be teleported except the tower. This is very useful for attacks using pits, but lets be honest, you will never have the resources nor the souls to pull this off). Ultimately, the Daemons' various costs rack up really badly, especially their unit costs, and so they struggle at literally every stage of the game. I have had a lot of fun trying to get them to function as a race, so that's something.
Best matchups: Themselves! Every other race can easily rush Daemons or overcome their meagre forces.
Worst matchups: Every other race in the game (though if the firebat rush strategy is utilised, then the Swarm as their buildings are fire resistant and their towers have magic damage). It's easier to point out the races which are 'less bad' for Daemons. Ssrathi, since their early missile unit uses fire damage. Maybe Plaguelords if all you use are fliers and it's early-mid game. Dwarves and Minotaurs are good mentions, but their axe throwers are quite effective.
Best hero class: Play another race. Nothing makes Daemons playable. That said, if you're a masochist or just relish the challenge, you could try a Healer, Paladin or Priest. All of these help keep your Daemons alive, which is something you need to do in order to survive since the loss of a Daemon unit is considerably more impactful than a loss of any other unit. Support skills, especially ones which increase army setup points, will be immensely useful since Daemon units need to make up for all the additional expenditure. Because of this, a Daemon Merchant can work. After picking one of these four classes, spam a lot of firebats and use them very aggressively since firebats are arguably the best Daemon unit available... and it's not even a Daemon.


Last edited by Joe the Bartender on Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:59 am; edited 5 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 15, 2020 8:08 pm

Knights :
their prowess on battlefield is excellent, and their lack of anti-flyer defense can be covered by archers, but on bigger maps, especially against allied enemies, I stumbled over following issues, that tend to reoccur with iron regularity:
- travel through bigger maps lets the cavalry, despite fast, often lose time in various features (natural walls, trees..), also allowing enemy to prepare a perfect ambush in places where natural obstacles have only small opening
- new AI 'targeting' = where units without direct control spread their focus across various random units & buildings, instead targeting enemies with high damage.
 So in cases I cannot control a specific fight (more fights at the same time), my units will attack walls, high HP but low DMG tanks, production buildings, while being decimated by towers or few catapults, that they can reach and kill in seconds, but they decide not to Smile
- sight : AI is so stupid, that even when bombarded by long-range enemies, as long these are not in sight, instead trying to scout em out, they just move in circles, until I find out about it or they simply die. Towers have this problem too, despite the view range of towers is now 15, but do I stack 4 shooters in it (boosting range to 12+4) but enemy is on the margin of view range (sometimes I can see dat catapult on map, but it is virtually invisible for the tower)
-- combo of sight weakness and anti-air weakness, even if I send some flyers along as scouts, when enemy attacks with tier 2 flyers, my flyers die in blink of an eye and my powerful army of knights is blind as a mole and as such vulnerable to any tricks there is on battlefield (leading me into a trap, bombardment, hit-n-run)

And the late phase of combat brings dragons. Which can be negated again only by dragons.
Archers run away in chaos, so do tier 1, 2 flyers, rams and catapults are useless, just like Inquisitor. Archon is a joke, with army points (4), common, how many archons I would need to defeat 3 dragons, despite one or two of my towers would be helping em. Dancing swords are versatile, but super weak. (just once, one turned invisible and no flyers could attack it Very Happy )

Despite Knights do have fast units, but when they can attack only grounded enemies is a huge flaw. Small and medium maps -> ok, smart moves allow you to take down enemy base before he even starts building tier 3 nest, but common, the real fun begins on bigger maps with multiple enemies of higher AI... and quick assaults can bring you only so far in such cases, so knights and paladins turn into fancy meat shields sooner or later.

Same problem for Dwarver and Dark Dwarves, ho also have slow untis.
Bad sight range, grounded, big and expensive units and army that moves extremely slow. Common, what a joke. If at least they would have cheaper and more defense researches (in som RTS games, it is known to negate your weak offense with progressing defense, building for example towers + mortars through half of the map, giving you control over resources, territory and also negating any assaults either completely or via passive scouting / early alarm scenario.
And range of most war machines was tuned down! So not only are most war machines blind, they even can't properly attack remote targets. (when my infantry is the front line or I keep flyers around as scouts)

And yes, I tried also Chronomancer, for the exact same reason, due the two extra skills, one making my units and casters faster, the second one rendering enemies slower, plus the spells adding up to the same effect. But after I summed up the 'wasted' skill points I had to spend just to negate the disadvantages... I could have invested them into simple CHA stat instead + Morale, and literally any other race would benefit from it much more efficiently.

At lesat Dark Dwarves have a normal ranged unit as well (good for tower boosting also for strategic purposes), but considering that war machines consume loads of army points, are slow and blind, it takes a true strategy master to be successful with dwarves and d.dwarves. Not impossible, but extremely tedious.

BTW, I found out that Ssrathi offer a faction, that allows hero to move on water (swim), that totally neat! Great idea Smile

I surely will get back to Dwarves, as I think there is still hidden potential, but not Knights, their power is purely in grounded cavalry, and as flyers / archons do not get the defense bonuses, only animated swords do, I would feel like fighting one-handed.
I want explore dwarves as I tend to side with disadvantageous races and find the few strengths that can later turn the tides of war.

In 1.03x versions, I liked Barbarian + Rangers (Ranger had Taming, now it's High Druid), so the early flyers and later Pegasi could easily replace the strengths of advanced grounded cavarly, just with the flying benefit (no fear of catapults, obstacles or swarms of infantry, but with formidable damage, defense and HP)
Well, at least I have to admit I understand why the XP boosting skills had to be tuned down (taming now gives only 2XP instead 5, and some skills gave 10XP, I guess it was Dragonmaster?, which now gives only +1 Very Happy )

As for the strategy, various factions also offer different buildings and units, so the whole game pretty much EXPLODED in ways of combinations, and that is good.

I myself stick with Dark Elves (that these dudes are good, proves, that I cleared 75% of the whole campaign while not being allowed to build tier 2 Darkhold, as I had the -2K% research glitch, but with few taming artifacts and high INT, I spawned 40+ phoenixes with 22 XP, with high Morale I got the  general attack speed below 1 second, so there was no unit / hero who could defeat them, only well organized armies, which usually also had huge loses before winning, giving me enough time to build yet another group of 40+ phoenixes Very Happy
Then count in Sorcerers (usually I could pick 2-3 each fight, as I had 12~16 army points available), who spawn zombies -> boost mine production, Wisps, who boost income (now I can pick em from standard units, instead keeping them in retinue ; GREAT!)
As long I have good income of stone, I keep spawning phonixes, and no matter what is my hero class, it just helps. As I have summoner, I keep spawning imps from time to time and with gate I give extra 12XP to zombies = which is useless currently, but as soon I will get access to summon spider queen, the fun will be immerse.
Common, which other race can withstand ferocious attacks since early in the game till late game, just with small base and only 4 basic mines, till these go depleted / dry? And basically without going up from Darkhold 1.
I could have hero class literally WHATEVER and I would do just fine Very Happy

BTW, still testing Deamon Pyromancer, this one has tremendously slow start (having high STR, zero in DEX, only 8 in INT and low CHA -> making each purchases 4% more expensive Sad )
But my hopes linger with the racial skills -> + ritual + MP regen based on souls in conjunction with +0.25 souls / second. So I must do good till level 12 ~ 15 and hope that fire elementals were not tuned down too much in latest version (I assume they were, as summon fire elemental costs only 20 mana!)  
Armageddon was altered to shoot only 3 +1/level fire balls (which I assume can miss, and that is bigger problem than the numbers) , but should they hit, 150+50/level is GOOD.
So far I linger to Hand of Fire, that is pretty much useless on low levels, hence I just keep my hero at base and try to survive against basic enemy AI (how the AI behaves based on difficulty is excellent, great work on the AI varieties!)
Should the new Fire Elemental be at least somehow as strong as in 1.03x, I guess this build has potential, otherwise I'll sway back to D.Elves Very Happy As smelting and other spells of Pyromancy would not be enough. Not to mention I have to fill the gap of low INT and CHA! (having high STR is pretty useless for this build, it just keeps my hero surviving a bit longer in actual fight)

I would also consider keeping this build, would Firebreath make the units attack flyers (despite they were not able to originally)

EDIT: Fire elemental is good enough. But the Armageddon spell is where I was wrong, it does increase # of fireballs, but not their damage Sad Well, nevermind, I'll save some skill points by not unlocking Armageddon -> and only keep the spell tree up to Firecall (fire elemental summon), which is actually good tree: hand of fire, cuaterize (which on higher levels also cures), Conflagration (I love this one... how could I have been a good pyromancer without Conflagration!), Firebreath, and of course Firecall.

Firebreath is also tuned down a bit, but on the other hand, it does not make ranged units weaker (if the natural dmg or range is higher than the one from my spell, the unit keeps it's natural values)
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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 16, 2020 1:06 am

The only thing I can suggest for Knights is to focus on fliers. Knights may be weak to fliers - especially elemental damage fliers, but producing your own army of fliers should help to protect them. They shouldn't really ever want to reach the higher tier stages of the game. Perhaps scale down on the map size? Medium should work fine for 1v1s (192x192?). I think there's a few pre-made 1v1s which are fairly balanced and work well (random maps are very imbalanced). I agree Dark Dwarves are definitely amongst the worst races in the game. I think Dwarves are around the middle - neither good or bad. They have some reasonable units, buildings, researches etc but the lack of a cavalry option makes them have a hard time against a lot of other races. Their econ could be better too.
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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 16, 2020 5:32 am

Thanx, sound advice.
Funny fact: I answered 25 questions, and ended up as Knight Warrior Smile
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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeFri Apr 03, 2020 11:16 pm

Few more observations:
- Fire is not anymore the ultimate buildings destroyer
 Even Lightning dmg seems to bring buildings down faster
- Ice is now an element, that some buildings (mostly of evil races) have little resistance to

In race/strategy build -> this renders fire phoenixes less potent compared to other units (there are now more phoenixes, one of them actually do lightning damage, which renders them possibly the best units of early stages).
Somehow Imps are still quite weak (as it should be), but in contrary to phoenixes (or nearly all tier 1 flyers) can get later upgrades!

Why am I mentioning such elemental and supposedly unrelated stuff? I was looking at TPC through WBC III 1.03x eyes and it got me into many 'WTF' moments.

From tier 2 flyers, I used to see Griffons and Pegasi much stronger. On top, flyers now are not getting armor / dmg upgrades (unless specifically meant for them), and from battle perspective, they die quite fast, compared to WBC 3.

These and few more changes made me rotate through more experimental races/classes. (not only the absence of Racial bonuses disclosure and/or unique race skills)

Some are really cool, like summoning dozen of Archons (despite they last only few moments and you cannot control them) or summon of 10 banshees... ANYWHERE on the map and you can control them. Or insta syrian swords summon over the whole map etc...

My findings: even the strongest perks cannot guarantee a sustainable winning spree. They are neat and everything, but may not fit in the actual map / situation.

So I basically went back to field 1, and started looking at the purely elemental attributes (units / spells / combo of the two) of each race. Some units that had only one PTS, now have 2 or more. And some units (generals) consume 9 points, so even if you manage keep your income high, building an army of high tier units is still limited (not even mentioning the 10pts of dragons + hard limit of 3 dragons at one time)

Sleazy trick I use din WBC 3 was to boost my spell casters, who always could do great job defending my base, but then summon units that I could send into ferocious assault and not care about loses. Here I hit three main obstacles:
- unit PTS (with limit of 100, sometimes 120), some casters consume more than 1 and their summons as well. Which would then keep your remaining army LOW/weak.
- spellcasters cannot cast spells out of towers (but heroes can, so fair trade IMO) which brings extra micromanagement : taking em out, casting spells and garrison em back.
Also it seems, like you must have the units selected, to be able to cast spells (in WBC if the caster was on your screen, the key shortcuts did work, now they don't, unless you select them)
- spell caster must be of extremely high levels (10+) to actually cast stronger spells (so when you build level 4 summoner, and he survives enough battles to get to level 8, 9, he will still summon pit fiend of 0 XP). This disappointed me after I invested a lot of skill point into hero skill giving +3xp / level.

So I tried many different combos, usually circulating around good races, High Elves, Dwarves, Wood Elves, Knights, Fey... hoping at least one race would top Dark Elves.
Tried support classes, warrior classes, magic classes. Healer for example become quite potent with actual summon spell, or Priest with two quite helpful schools of Divination + Healing... but rarely or not at all, was I able to find actual synergy between class and race to get upper hand in difficult battles. General mana replenishment was tuned down big time, which would expect a spell caster be of super high level before making actual difference in battle. And I had high expectations on Diviner (Great Oracle), as Divine magic now has both beneficial spells applicable on ALL in radius, instead "on self" (+DEF, + RES), and the SCRY spell now shows you exact location of all your enemies (Super, isn't it), in addition offering passive skill of sight +50 (extremely helpful in campaign maps, where you pop up in middle of nowhere not knowing from where you'll be assaulted). Add the XP boosting spell, that is cumulative with INT XP bonuses (and upgrades bonuses) and one would think the ultimate spell caster have been born (especially after the Pyromancy XP boosting spell is gone), sadly all the mages are now tuned down, so building an army out of them is mere fairytale, and the slow mana regen limits his spells down to nearly useless.

Shaman the same: the spells seem cool and even cheap, but as expected from CHAOS, as extremely chaotic and rarely work as expected. Summoning actual spellcasters (Goblin Shaman, Minotaur shaman, Ssrathi priest...) is super neat, but again the mana limitation.

Non casters: despite assassination cannot kill you whilst you have 100+ HP, in general it feels much harder to keep your hero alive compared to WBC 3.
Which made me abandon nearly all fighter classes.

Support classes seems the way to go: stay safe home...and possibly have high CHA + Leadership (to boost the positive effects duration from 10 seconds up to 50~80 seconds), and also help with the base economy / income... but that lacks the special something on bigger maps or against smarter AI that does extremely job finding the weakest points of your defense.

Also not few support classes have this cool "Tactician" skill, which also works only if your hero is around your army Sad

So now what? Focus purely on income/resources? But producing units of low attributes is just feeding frenzied AI! And getting to better units 1 minute before your enemy is also not providing the extra benefit.

So I left all the micro-investigations of races/classes behind and looked at the performance of all units directly in battle.

1) Logically, strongest units usually are deprived of air attack (cavalry, 'tanks'..). So unless you can wage a war where you destroy enemy base before enemy flyers decimate you, it's ok, but sending flyers with my cavalry rendered futile, as apart Pterodactyls most anti-air flyers are pretty useless and die usually before the army reaches enemy base.
2) Psychical effect/resistance -> ok you built strong and big army, but few dragons or such make  your army run away (maybe that's why undead is most played race?), again, diviner has a trick for this, but wasn't enough. (and I can't let my hero run behind my army and cast CALM every 30 seconds)
3) firepower: it does not matter at all, that your army survived enemy attack or breached enemy defense, when it takes minutes before they can take down the few towers... Despite Wood Elves have the racial bonus: rendering physical DMG into magical (neat, right?) it has a cool-down and hence cannot be used as desired. Here comes in play my starting paragraph: lightning seems better than fire now. (Umbral phoenix is the one with lightning?)
Also crushing damage is great against buildings, but units with crushing dmg are usually weak (Pegasi) or slow (Catapults)... Orcs have cool units with crushing, but these are also pretty slow.

So answer for all three problems is:
- ranged flyer with Skirmisher behavior. + psyche resistance boost
And yes, we are back at Dark Elves.

What a 'surprise'.

But next surprise is the class: High Druid!
For the most simple spell of them all: Summon Sprite.

Dark Elves, as some other races, have 4 ranged upgrades, plus fifth: lethal weapon. Now not only Sprites can keep their distance form enemies who cause chaos, fear, awe...but can lethal poison them and kill em even when killed first.

With the super cheap summoning spell, your hero can quickly replenish your army with fresh blood before your nest produces enough new units.
And later the same sprites will follow and protect your 1~3 dragons, who will find the most reliable bodyguards in them.

On top the Gemberry spell fills the healing gap / absence, that Dark Elves naturally have compared to other races. On higher levels it even cures!

Economy is strong due the souls, and soul of strong (high level) enemy can give 6 resources / second (12 more than from weak enemy: 0.5 / sec)

Of course your hero won't be OP, due the decreasing SP / level-up, but if you distribute the points wisely, you should be able to have high enough Ritual and Nature school, to summon 2~3 sprites / spell with extra XP, so from first second into the game till the bitter end, you should always have enough sprites to keep your base safe.

And with all the ranged upgrades, 16~32 sprites can take down Baron (and such) AI difficulty bases, and if you back em up with Umbral Phoenixes + few dragons, even Demigod bases on first assault (with some luck)

I become so fond of Sprites, I even abandoned Dark Elves and moved to Wood Elves (not because Wood Elves are better, but because I craved for a strong good race + like the sight upgrades, that Dark Elves amiss)

It might be one of the oldest, simplest and most obvious synergies between a spell and a race: Ranged upgrades, but honestly, it's the best I found myself so far, and actually works.

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Patrick_the_Winekiller


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 04, 2020 12:40 am

Can't help but notice that you are playing with shadows turned off. Why is that?

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Gatts
Prince
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Gatts


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 04, 2020 2:48 am

Patrick_the_Winekiller wrote:
Can't help but notice that you are playing with shadows turned off. Why is that?

That was only due 'fighting' the high crash to OS ratio (which is now resolved, I had 089b patch installed incorrectly)

Now I have all features turned on as it looks much much nicer.
Good catch Smile

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Joe the Bartender
Keeper of Balance
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Joe the Bartender


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeSun Apr 05, 2020 1:16 am

Fire is still generally the best anti-building damage type, but it's not as reliable as it used to be. Some races such as Daemons and Swarm have buildings which resist fire, so the ultimate anti-building damage type changes based on matchup. Electrical, Cold and Crushing can be better than Fire against some races.

In general, heroes are considerably less powerful than they were in WBC3. They can't take out armies on their own any more. Fighters are still good, especially at the start of the game, though they become steadily weaker as the game progresses. Warriors require Master of Arms and the fighter-based racial perk, whatever that may be. Rangers are also extremely powerful if they focus on archery and movement speed. Honestly I think Rangers are one of the most powerful hero classes in the game in 0.8.9b. Support leaders and wizards such as merchants, priests and chronomancers are weak at the start of the game but become considerably more powerful as the game progresses. Wizards may not regenerate mana as quickly, but their spells are still devastating in the late game as they have no max target cap. Ritual and Energy are definitely needed to get the best out of spellcaster heroes (and/or a perk which replicates their function). Most of the power of the Shaman is in Whispers of Madness. Run into an enemy army, making sure that none of your units are within the spell radius, and then cast Whispers of Madness, randomly changing the sides of most units they control. Their army is either badly damaged or wiped out completely. The Merchant's/Tinker's Tactician skill can be used very effectively if the hero has high speed and a missile attack. Keep in mind that a Demigod is a cheating AI with considerably higher hero levels, better equipment and high level retinue, so a fighter probably won't work well on them. They aren't a good measure for the effectiveness of heroes. Normally, fighter classes can harass opponents and dominate the map right from the start. Going against multiple opponents is also going to be harder than it was in WBC3 and likewise isn't always a good measure for the effectiveness of a hero since some classes will be severely disadvantaged.

Try investing in swarms of T1 fliers and back them up with some missile units. Advanced fliers aren't as effective for their price and should only be invested in if there's plenty of spare resources or if the flier is a Harpy, which serves a different function.

Resistance is definitely a make-or-break factor for races. As it governs two different properties, it is considerably more important than armour. Dragons are end-game, so these don't actually come into play for the most part. Common units, such as Nightmares, Spiders and Goblins, pose a large problem for races with low Resistance. On top of that, elemental damage will also be a big problem for them. Races with naturally high resistance or with resistance upgrades are most useful (particularly those with strong missile units). Unit production buildings can be a better defence than towers and I usually focus on these first. Missile units, especially elemental missile units, are the game's meta and these deal the most damage against units or buildings. Even buildings have a combat value so melee units have to roll to damage them. Not missile units though. Flying missile units in particular, are immensely powerful as they get a secret +20-25%ish damage bonus against ground units (even dragons get this!). This is because fliers are listed as being on a higher terrain level than grounded units for the purposes of missile attacks. Melee units can still be quite powerful though, especially if they are fast and use a damage type which is effective against the opponent's units/buildings. That said, their usefulness does tend to peak during the early stages of the game.
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Gatts
Prince
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Gatts


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeTue Apr 07, 2020 11:14 am

Well, I have to agree with "warrior heroes are not bad", as for the recent events.

I've dedicated long research, trial and time to get yet another well balanced hero to high enough level, mostly by doing the campaign +500 xp bonus maps.

To test such hero by fire, I started random map with 3x baron AI (all three in one aliance)

It went well, I had it all planned and prepared and executed one micro-step after another.

knock, knock..
who's there?
.. don't mind us, we're just the enemy warrior heroes, and we will kill you 6x level 5 archons, 15x level 6 ice Phoenixes, 1x level 26 retinue hero, 3 towers, 7 iceguards and of course your scared and running wimpy hero.

In 50 seconds

All the level-up management, boosting both Ritual and Leadership, wisely and carefully choosing the right spells and stats, happy I got sorted out the long-term also short-term economy (being garrisoned with 25% research discount), mine-grabbing (via retinue hero, who can even risk death), racial bonus summoning 15 rabid archons, right of the bat formidable army of ice phoenixes, that thanx start much higher level than normal + can get extra armor, resistance and white ward, to keep them alive much longer. I thought I got it all sorted out... but no, it took mere 50 seconds to take my whole defenses and the base down.

I was never able to take down enemy base with my (same level) warrior type Sad

I really have my doubts about how AI heroes are actually generated...

Oh, yet another unrelated picture (there is a random quest, asking you to find pink flowers, but sometimes the flowers are placed in VOID):
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Gatts
Prince
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Gatts


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 11, 2020 1:48 am

Plaguelords: I was having mediocre expectations from Plaguelords. I was aware they have sight (view range) penalty, lack of good flyers... My hopes were a bit boosted after I started to learn about Hydras, who have some new properties and mostly seemed quite effective for offense as defense. But in long run, Plaguelords exhibited some weaknesses that were difficult to cope with and made me much slower i the race for victory.

I wanted to try Minotaurs, but first settled with Orcs, more for fun and for educational reasons (wanted to learn about their racial synergies a bit, hoping at least one would be interesting... but nothing anyway near to 16 rabid Archons...)

As for their factions, these offer good variety and are interesting. I set off for the last faction, that boosts the sniper a bit, hoping for good and effective early ranged unit, that can do well during offense as well assault / hunt.

These even can be upgraded to do piercing/magical damage, which then greatly helps them become effective even later in the game, despite they do little damage.

Orcs have quite many different upgrades, but are spread across nearly all units. Bats of course, have the only strength = cheap + quantity. But flyers in generals are as usual a letdown.
Both snipers and Trolls have range cut down, but are still venerable in many difficult battles.

But none of these would be noteworthy at all, it is the scavenging ability of Orc hero, that allows all units to control receive resources upon kill of an enemy or destroying enemy building (neutrals included)

And this gives them quite a upper hand in field of economy. If your enemies are strong, just build up your defenses UP and get loads of resources just by defending. Same for the many assaults, Orcs are good at (getting different map locations cleared or controlled) , more you kill, richer you become.

And soon enough you can manage to secure huge income and keep producing units of your liking ... I find most efficient snipers + shamen... both are ranged, but with different range, so they keep their distance while not stepping on each others heels. Cold damage is super effective and the only better is magical, which are snipers capable of.

This is difficult strategy, but can secure you infinite income and so dominate over your enemies. (requires loads of micromanagement tho... otherwise your armies die unnecessary early and easily)

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Gatts
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Gatts


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeMon Apr 13, 2020 12:18 am

Undead + Lichlord.
Out of the three Undead faction, I have been considering 2nd and 3rd
2nd -> your spell casters cast spells at +1 level (and as your spellcasters use dark portal for yet another extra level this is quite a good combo) & double mana regen (sadly, it lasts only so long...)

3rd -> strategically more appealing : reveals whole map, give +15 morale (which directly speeds your unit's attack speed) and slows down enemies...

Despite Undead spell casters are the true forte of that race, I've chosen 3rd faction, because I mostly play large random generated maps and enemies of higher AI, so I is difficult to explore the map by standard ways (bats + scouting for example)

Yet, for hero I've chosen the 2nd specialization path (sucking HP and SP from nearby enemies... seems quite what I perceive Undead Lords like... and brings the ultimate evil into the whole notion)

Problem: the Hero lacks Ritual and Mana Regen... has only Lore, which is not good enough by itself, especially with the secondary problem

Secondary problem: To be a versatile caster, such hero needs a lot of INT (to cover spell casting chance + at least somehow good mana regen), but also other stats, at least CHA should not be omitted, and skills like Mage King and Undead Lord (increasing Morale)

The hero might have Chronomancy, with HASTE spell, that seems pretty important, but for many levels will be able to cast it at max level of 2, which is not so super strong and lasts only short period of time.

Same goes for Necromancy, especially as building/training army is super expensive and Undead have only one two ways of boosting economy : putting loads of zombies into mines + scavenging. Later with Chronomancy spell Overwork, but the extra 15% is not truly breaking the limits of Undead minuscule economy.

All my hype about investing into Mage King was shattered by enemy AI attacking my base before I even got to the Library (allowing me to train my spell casters) and the level 10 spell : Raise Champion, is limited extremely by the mentioned absence of Ritual skill Sad

Good news is: that the +XP bonus, you get from Mage King, you get twice for your Liches. (let's say you summon skellie with 20XP, then you promote it to Wight, who also has 20 XP, but then promote it to Cultist, and he gets the extra XP from your Mage King skill... let's say 12 -> now has 32 XP, and subsequently promote him into a Lich, who now starts with 44 XP)

Still hugely below needed Level 10 XP margin, when Liche starts casting higher level Summon Shadow.

The only thing that keeps Undead well playable are the early accessible Guardian Skulls (DeadKeep or GardenKeep level 2 allows promoting pretty useless skellies into ranged Guardian Skulls, who can hit flyers)

So a well designed defense with some scavenging zombies crawling around the battlefield, can keep you income boosted high enough, to get to the higher tier buildings. ( Still no hope for late stage cool stuff, like Wood Elves : garden of Wells, where each Well will give you one gold / second and with TRADER upgrade you can endlessly produce units safe inside your well defended base.)

Similar to Orcs, the true income hails from battle, which is good, as it keep you engaged with the enemy and with smart tactics you let them bleed deeper and faster, and gain extra resources in the process, while keeping em weak.

I am even happy that the Raise Champion spell offers Undead Cavarly, that in combo with Haste creates a fast assault party allowing you to control distant lands.

Should I operate only with 90 skill points (level 20) heroes, Undead Lichlord is pretty tricky do play with, not being good in any particular field (not a good leader, not a good support, not a good fighter... economy sucks thanx to the weak CHA, casting spells is based purely on INT and the XP bonus for skellies is super weak skill, one might consider ignoring in general, and the +3 XP for spell casters kicks in first much later in the game..). One would also wish to ignore one of the two spell spheres, to preserve skill points, but honestly, summoning zombies for few mana and also having HASTE + OverWork seems all pretty essential to the otherwise disadvantageous race, dependent on NIGHT to be regenerative (well, Faction 3 allows regen during day, but much slower of course)

Despite their towers deal 30 magical damage, Undead do not have any other active defense, and stacking these towers with skellies helps only 'so much'. Same for flyers, bats benefit is purely in their QTY, but what good it is, when all the spent resources won't return in any spoils of war?

So as soon I cast ZOMBIE spell enough times, to fill the mines, and with some luck I still have mana for OverWork spell, my hero stands there pretty useless, with a portal that will vanish in few seconds, still having a base to build for high prices (no benefit of high CHA --> reduced prices). Now I have to hope, that my base will be kept ignored by enemies (not likely when I usually play against allied AI enemies), to gather enough mana for 2nd black portal + few summon skellie spells + DarkKeep 2, so I could start building up active defenses made of Guardian Skulls. With some smart moves, I can also produce cheap skellies from Graveyard, despite the non-saved resourced will be missed certainly later. Also building brood + some bats for scouting : yes or no? Knowing from where the enemy is going to attack can help you keep loses at minimum and use the few Guardian Skull super efficiently.

Enemies tend to send 30+ or even 50+ large armies, one wave after another, soon with catapults and formidable support and flyers, while I still cannot get to Death Knights or Liches. Basically relying on Guardian Skulls. My hero unable to provide much help, Haste or OverWork cannot be cast often enough, as the situation would require, also formidable summon spells are expensive, so I must be satisfied with the few Summon Skelly casts. With some luck, I can deflect all assaults and get extra mana (scavenge mana skill) and resources (zombie scavenge skill) and use the extra resources to finally build enough Towers + Black Library and get to Cultists -> Wraiths, and if still economy is running, promote some cultists to Liches and get finally some Shadows. The remaining resources to be either used to Brood 3 -> dragon, or Death Knights who can keep enemies away from Liches.

Final obstacle, is to split the army into offense and defense and keep enough mana to boost the attacking party with Haste.

Good part is, that from both necromancy & chronomancy, only few spells are truly needed and helpful, possibly saving some skill points. But the absence of Ritual & Energy are alarming and the whole build keeps me baffled where to siphon some true power to battle crazed AI hordes!
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Gatts
Prince
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Gatts


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeSat Apr 18, 2020 11:22 am

Not the best, but pretty playable combo:
Wood Elves + Geomancer.

Economy:
Pros:
Ancient Wisps (+0.5 crystal), Wells (+1 Gold), Quarrying skill ( +.15 Stone / level) + Trade upgrade in Hostel
+ Unlockable Tree of Life -> +1 all resources / second (with 4 Oakmen)
Cons: no general income or general discount skill (compared to High Elves or Dark Elves)

Extremely sustainable economy, but requires micromanagement and time + effort to be built up and needs protection.

"Needs Protection"
Despite W.Elves have cool towers + anti-air towers (and sight upgrades), their active defense lacks compared to other races. Their buildings are large and harder to fit in many random start places, so coping with small space is the usual problem.
Without extra discount, building up WE base is also costly, not only space limited.

Here steps in the Geomancy Specialization. Easily acquirable spell HomeGuard can take care of many easy & mid AI raids / assaults. Despite the speed of Homeguard missiles is low (seems same as towers =1 ) with few extra phoenixes and regular towers + smart wall design, withholding many assaults is now possible, often with minimal loses.


Reason why I was looking for extra defense? Wood Elves with sustainable economy (infinite income) have all the offense, but could not pose valiant defense, as none of the early+mid game units actually could stand a chance.
Infantry (even with the costly level15 skill: +15XP to infantry) is quite weak, one with few HP, and Oakmen with low speed.
Phoenix with ridiculously weak fireball, that is good against some buildings and few units, but usually does little harm to most early game infantry units, which does often have good Fire Res.
Archers and Horse Archers are excellent offense, but for defense: one would need to replace them all the time. Stacking archers into towers is a strategy that is pure shot in one own knee, as we are well aware of the 100 AP limit!

Griffins are better, but not so much better than phoenixes, but even their quite formidable slashing damage cannot take down heavy catapults fast enough, also cannot defend against a bit stronger archers or flyers and also tend to die too fast.

Dragons: without good defense, I won't get to them at all, anyways.

Homeguard does this great job, that I can build up and operate (send out of the base) vast armies of Horse Archers or whatever, and still keep waves of attackers at bay.

AI Prince and upwards can build up much stronger combo armies, so even Homeguard won't help, without having strong army stationed home.

Sadly the tankish Treants are not only slow and big, but consume far too much AP (army points) and have even weaknesses, so despite I like using the Racial Synergy Bonus and create some of em from thin air, I don't expect having them in my regular army.

I even use Horse Archers over Dragons, as I think that 5 horse archers are more versatile, than the super strong and powerful flying fortresses, killing with their splash breath weapon. Mostly because many races have strong anti-air buildings, and my horse archers are fully ignored by those. With Skirmisher personality, Horse Archers can survive a bloody fight against much stronger enemies, and don't fear flyers as well (enemy dragons included)


I still do the more effective Phoenixes of Dark Evles, also the extra soul income of the same race.
But having the +4 view range, playing a good race, and being able to create solid economy have something, that keeps me producing Elven Cavalry, that is super fast, can take down most enemies (even with high defense, due the ignore armor criticals), so apart heroes with spell "shield" not even dragons frighten me.

With Dark Elves I could survive and sometimes even win against 4 AI of Prince level (all allied together), with Wood Elves I do keep it lower, but still have enemies allied.
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D.Lorian
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D.Lorian


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeThu Jul 09, 2020 8:59 pm

As Im only playing temp hero lvl 20 (because I read the Meta game thread and liked the "balance concept and I love real competetion) casters are mostly trash imo
Every class that can make use of multiple Spelltrees cant reveal their full potential because there are to many important stats to focus on as a caster.  Manareg and manapool, spellrange, success chance and the spellpower in form of lvls.
The int stat gives all you need but feels very inefficent/expensive. Therefore Ritual is a crucial skill combined with maybe Energy eventho this feels inefficent as well.
Considering all points spend well enough under the best circumstances in spellcasting, the caster remains fairly weak in movementspeed and health. This results in 1-3 casts at best after having a long break and maybe dieing because of low health and speed.


Anyway that being said Warlock and Alchemist are the classes I like  best so far.

Orc Warlock with Goblin subfaction is probably my best hero so far.
Warlocks can utilize both mana and health potions for staying alive and also as a spellpool.
There is no need to spread points between Mana and Health - > Healthregen and Ritual are the focus.
Orcs get more Ritual the more units they field and goblins not only get some freebies but also focus on fast produced cheap trash units.
This results in "high tier" chaos spellcasting (Arcane curse, Berzerk, Wild bolt if it would work properly and Transformation as the most important spells) and also lvl 3 summoning of workers (cant remember the name of the Daemon workers Very Happy)
I can start of the game with having all mines filled with workers and start spamming goblins for scouting and harassing.
I dont fully understand transformation yet as maybe its bugged or not but the idea is to spamm gobbos and transform them into something better. there is no shortage of units when playing the goblin faction (if you are lucky you even get some Gobbo Chiefs right of the bat and they can summon 5 normal gobbos)
So early eco is decent and gobbos also get tier 3 Income so thats pretty good too and enables the green tide Very Happy
Technically transform is the gamebreaking spell that could win every game but actually its enough to just flood the enemy with gobbos and having the Warlock spam empowered Arcane curse in the enemy army.

Dark Dwarfs Alchemist is my second fav so far.
I'd play the sub with enchanted Golems. As already pointed out Dwarfs are pretty slow and can get kited easily BUT
I play the Alchemist purely on summoning and stealing enemy mines.
Alchemists can buff golems are other mechs with additional health (I spend like 10 points in that for about 60 more health which is huge!)
Seems awkward to say but its a rush style. Golems are tanky and strong but slow, expensive and get crushed by elemental dmg and kiting. So I use mana flow to "cheaply" instant summon golems/bronze golems which are even tankier and buffed up than normal and just crush the enemy before they field any elemental or range forces. Bronze Golems can spawn fire bombs (which will have around 100 health so they can never get pan caked before reaching their destination Very Happy) to poke away enemy heroes. Important to mention: Golems can get the scavenge ability. You can just send in 10 Golems into the enemies base and snowball from there. If you cant fight the golems they take the base apart and get even more ressources to summon more golems.


Other builds are
Daemon Icemage (Daemons get some free Ritual skill and Manareg which is why I considered them)
with the idea of utilizing frost blade to combat the daemon armor weakness and also to have super annoying frost horses that are able to chase kill everything that cant fight back
but eventho it seems like a good combination Daemons are just to weak/ cost ineffiecent

Minotaur Warlock with the idea of very powerful spellcast due to rage and smooth life recovery with devour (which doesnt work for me/bugged) summons should help out the early eco and spells like Berzerk and Morph should help getting the slow cows into battle. Transform could be used on Gnolls (havent played around with it yet) to get some nice variation and power in the mix and Arcane Curse to pan cake enemy armies.  
(because of the way rage works and how devour wont work for me I didnt play with it furher)


IMO Transform is pretty overpowered even if it wont work everytime I press it for some reason (bugged?)
having instant Hydras, Mammoths and what not is just to good.


Sidenote: Its a shame that Time Magic is so weak early on. lvl1 Hast and Slow shouldnt be 10%  at least 20% and the scaling could be different instead.
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Sunssarathi2029
Squire
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Sunssarathi2029


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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeMon Aug 02, 2021 5:46 am

Undead seems heavily biased to meelee classes for hero.
Healing from kill or free zombies.
First makes beastly anti-mob hero and second is ridicolous.



I favor Necromancers and Demonologists for abillity to build free army + workers. Worker spam resulting in full mines in first 2 minutes.
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Sihastru
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PostSubject: Re: 0.89b - exploring new hero builds   0.89b - exploring new hero builds I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 12, 2021 12:33 am

What do you guys think about DragonSlayer class and Fey? Would it  be a good match?

Sprites and Dragons with ~200 health after Max Fey Lord and Charisma... for attack speed.

I tried Daemon DragonSlayer but it isn't very good.
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