Best armies

This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by DavidN DavidN 3 years, 1 month ago.

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  • Tijn
    Tijn
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    #1020

    Every class has 1 unit type more than a hero has slots available, so when assembling the best possible army you have to decide which unit type you won’t be bringing along on your conquests.

    Here’s my thoughts on which units are best left behind for each class.

    KNIGHT

    The weakest unit in the entire game, the peasant, is part of the Knight’s arsenal. This makes compiling the Knight’s best army quite easy, as you probably shouldn’t include the pure cannon fodder that the peasant is.

    This leaves you with this configuration for my best Knight army: archer, pikeman, swordsman, cavalry & paladin.

    BARBARIAN

    It’s probably best to ignore the goblin when assembling a Barbarian army. They are quite effective at the start of the game, as they are cheap, not too slow and relatively strong. But in the end they’re just cannon fodder just like the Knight’s peasant. Since a single wolf is better than 5 goblins, there’s no point in investing your money into a giant goblin army, so they’re better left out at all in the end.

    Thus the best Barbarian army in my opinion consists of: orc, wolf, ogre, troll & cyclops.

    SORCERESS

    With the sorceress it’s a little less obvious which of the units should be kept out of the best army. The lowest ranking unit is the sprite, which is killed quite easily. However they are able to do quite a lot of damage and they have a special power which makes enemies unable to retaliate when attacked by a sprite. Combined with their flying abilities, this makes the sprite a pretty good asset to a sorceress army.

    So what unit should be omitted? There are two ranged units (the elf and the druid) which are quite valuable, the unicorn and phoenix are fast and strong, so this leaves us with the dwarf. Even though the dwarf is actually quite strong and durable, it so too slow to be of real use.

    The resulting best army as I see it is made out of: sprite, elf, druid, unicorn & phoenix.

    WARLOCK

    This is the hardest class for me to decide an optimal army for. Let’s go through them one by one.

    The lowest ranking unit is the centaur. While not the strongest unit in terms of defence, its attack is actually quite strong. It’s also a ranged unit, which is useful for any army. The centaur is also fast, so it can run to safety on the battlefield. The main drawback is that it occupies 2 tiles, especially on the small battlefields of HOMM 1. Still, in large numbers, it’s quite a useful unit to have.

    Gargoyles aren’t great. Especially their attack isn’t all that strong. They are however quite durable and because of their flying ability, they are able to block off enemy shooters very effectively. They are also fast, which is good of course.

    Griffins are quite good in my opinion. They can fly, just like the gargoyle, but do more damage and have unlimited retaliation, which can be great when they’re in the middle of a bunch of enemies.

    Minotaurs are very straight-forward strong guys. They do loads of damage and they can take a beating. They don’t have the best range, but because of the limited size of HOMM1’s battlefield, it usually doesn’t take them too long to get into the fight.

    Now the hydra… they are a bit of a special breed. Hydras are very strong & durable and can do loads of damage. They are however also very expensive and slow. But their main feature is the fact they attack in every direction around them. This means that when surrounded by enemies, it will do *tons* of damage. At the same time it means that when the enemy casts the beserk spell on it, the hydra will likely destroy your own army. The problem with the hydra is to get it into the action. Because of its large size and slow speed, the battle might be over before it is even near an enemy unit. Then again, teleport a hydra into an enemy castle and you’ll have tons of fun.

    Finally the dragon, well, this is a no-brainer. The dragon is actually the best unit in the entire game, so surely your ultimate army should include them. They’re expensive, but totally worth it.

    So which one of these to leave out? The centaurs are quite weak, but it’s good to have ranged units in your army. The gargoyles aren’t great, but the fact they can fly makes them very useful. So although the hydra is strong & powerful, I think these are the ones that have to go. A big factor is their price, which is really high for what you’re getting. Given the fact the dragons are also quite expensive, it’s hard to be able to afford a large army containing both hydras and dragons. But even if you have money in abundance, the hydra’s slow speed makes them ineffective. And even though their multiple direction attack can be cool in specific situations, when faced with an enemy who has some beserker spells, the hydra is really more of a liability than anything.

    My suggestion for the best warlock army would be: centaur, gargoyle, griffin, minotaur & dragon.

    Tijn
    Tijn
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    Podcaster
    #1040

    After playing some more, I feel I need to add something to this thread: the fact there’s a big difference between an offensive and a defensive army.

    When going out into the world, it helps to have an army that’s quick to take out any enemy you might encounter. So flying units are great to block off enemy ranged units for example.

    But when defending one of your cities, I feel it’s a better strategy to have strong units that can take quite a beating. It doesn’t matter if they’re slow, because you can’t really go anywhere from your castle anyway.

    Some of the units I wrote off initially, such as the dwarves or the hydras, are actually quite useful when defending. When a hole in the wall is created, they can move into the gap and block whatever comes through.

    The castle’s archer is quite strong, so just hanging in there can really pay off. If you have a few strong ranged units as well, this is really all you need to effectively protect your town from danger.

    DavidN
    DavidN
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    #1042

    I’m still in my first steps with the game, but the tutorial mission starts you off with a barbarian army and I quickly got to appreciate the Trolls a lot πŸ™‚ They’re strong, they hurl big boulders at the enemy… they’re very expensive, though.

    The Hydra was a massive headache for me during that mission, I never got hold of one myself but whenever I encountered one it seemed like a massively overpowered scaly wall of doom that would trundle round and absolutely slaughter everything. I’m looking forward to seeing if the impression is the same the other way around… it’s interesting that you’re finding uses for units that you hadn’t originally realized!

    The way that each class has one more unit type than you can fit into an army reminds me of Etrian Odyssey, in an odd way – I read that the director of the game chose a party limit of five specifically so that it would always feel you were missing something and want to experiment with new combinations. It’s also interesting that you get a morale penalty for having too many units of different classes – I think this is something I didn’t realize way back when I briefly played HOMM3! What that does is discourage you from stuffing your army with multiple fliers, or ranged units, or whatever, by reaching across classes.

    DavidN
    DavidN
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    #1047

    After diversifying a bit in the second scenario map, I’ve discovered that phoenixes are like a flying pink steamroller – if you’ve got about seven of those then you can absolutely waste everything in a pack encounter very easily, and they’re very powerful against enemy heroes as well! They’ll definitely be on my list of things to prioritize in the future.

    Tijn
    Tijn
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    #1048

    If you like the sorceress’ phoenix, you’ll LOVE the warlock’s dragon πŸ˜€

    Just a few dragons can easily take out 20 paladins like it’s nothing.

    dr_st
    dr_st
    Participant
    #1074

    @tijn

    I mostly agree with your selection of armies for the 4 classes. Peasants are useless, of course, and Dwarfs/Hydra are much more useful as castle defense creatures than in a traveling army.

    The one class where I’m not conclusive on is Barbarian. Ogres are very tough but are also slow. So, choosing between them and Goblins, I would sometimes prefer to take Goblins with me for traveling (as the hero moves faster). This is especially true if you are in a map with lots of Goblin huts where you can get more Goblins to join you for free. So, sometimes I would choose Ogres, sometimes Goblins.

    In the end, it does not matter as much as one thinks, because at some point in the game you will have more than one hero, and you will have conquered some castles of other classes. In the end your most powerful hero will probably have a mix of powerful creatures from 2-3 classes.

    Dragons, well, they are totally awesome. They are way overpowered in this game. It is true that their speed is Medium, so a fast creature (like a Phoenix) will get to attack first, but it typically will not make a difference. Their total spell immunity allows massive exploits – take a strong spellcaster with a few Dragons, walk around and cast Armageddon / Storm, causing hundreds of damage points to all enemy creatures, while the dragons are not affected.

    In the sequel, they tried to balance things out a bit, by adding ‘Dragon slayer’ spell which boost attack against dragons, and adding powerful Titan units that, while not immune to spells, can also benefit from good spells (like Bless), and can often match and surpass dragons, depending on the skills and spells available to your hero.

    dr_st
    dr_st
    Participant
    #1075

    @davidn

    Trolls also regenerate hitpoints at the start of every round (something not immediately obvious). If your troll got even 1 point of health left at the end of the round, next round it starts at 40 again. It can help avoid some of the attrition that the enemy archers do to trolls during long battles (since the AI will go for your most powerful ranged unit at all times).

    One technique against Hydras is to try to take them out of the game by casting Blind/Paralyze on them (Paralyze is especially good since they can’t retaliate either). The AI uses that technique a lot. Then you can finish of the other creatures, and then focus on the hydras. Doesn’t help when fighting groups of hydras in the wild, though. πŸ˜›

    Regarding morale: You get -1 for 3 classes, -2 for 4 and -3 for 5. Since a Knight hero has +1 morale, and since you can usually find some artifacts that boost morale as well, I figure that 3 classes is something you can handle without morale penalties for the most part. 4-5 is probably too much already.

    Phoenixes – well, they are very strong, the 2nd strongest in the game (after dragons), and against pack creatures even a small group is probably enough. However, when fighting enemy heroes, I’ve learned that attack/defense skills matter more than one realizes at first.

    Consider Paladins, for instance. They are not as strong as a Phoenix, but their production is double, and they strike twice. Take a Knight hero with high attack/defense, against a Sorceress hero with low attack/defense, and a double-sized stack of Paladins will easily make minced meat out of Phoenix.

    Tijn
    Tijn
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    Podcaster
    #1079

    Good points, dr_st! You’ve clearly spent a lot of time with this game πŸ˜€

    DavidN
    DavidN
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    #1082

    Aha, yes – I learned about the Trolls’ unique advantage, I had the feeling they were stronger than they should be based on the numbers πŸ™‚ Like I said in the other topic, it’s amazing how many nuances there are to the game – it starts off looking overwhelming, then seems quite simple (buy units, send them off to fight), then becomes more subtly in-depth again.

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