Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes Strategy Guide for the Nintendo DS console. by Blackbird #0000 Version History v 1.00 3/5/2010 Major sections of the guide completed. v 1.01 3/9/2010 Attack types and minor revisions added. v 1.02 4/5/2010 Minor revisions. Added: - Small section on 0 damage scenarios in easter egg section. - New Inferno strategy concerning Fiery Brimstone usage. Revised: - Griffin unit text for a minor observation. - Djinn unit text for clarity. Fixed: - Djinn attack type was incorrectly listed. v 1.03 to be added: little foreseeable future content, unless new sections are added. = Intent ====================================================================== The following guide contains almost everything I've observed regarding Clash of Heroes gameplay, metagame, and strategy. SpiritReach has already written a walkthrough for this game, so I've focused this guide primarily on discussing the strategic elements and mathematical formulae of this game, instead. I may add additional sections later, if it's in demand. I hope you find the current contents of this guide informative and useful. It's fairly verbose, hopefully you won't be scared off =D. This guide is divided into several sections. The major portions of the guide include basic, intermediate, and expert strategies. Basic strategy is generalized advice for playing the game well, aimed especially at newer players. Intermediate strategy deals with more advanced techniques that might be informative to someone that has already had some experience playing Clash of Heroes. Expert strategy deals with the most difficult or abstract techniques, or strategies that are only useful in niche situations. The expert section is aimed at speedrunners, completionists, multiplayers, and hardcore gamers. Following these sections are discussions of Faction-specific strategies, units, heroes, and artifacts. Discussion of units assumes that they are Level 5, as in Quick Battle mode. The final portion of the guide includes exploits and fun facts. Important: >> Read This First << Where possible, I've attempted to keep the guide spoiler free. Faction-specific discussion includes unmarked spoilers on the available units (particularly the unlockable units) and heroes. In all other places where it is necessary to reveal spoilers, I've marked them with spoiler tags. Like so: *spoilers* Spoilers go here. *end spoilers* = Glossary/Definitions ======================================================== A database of terms you will see referenced often in this guide. A row refers to the horizontal axis of the map, like so: ======== A column refers to the vertical axis of the map, like so: | | There are 6 rows and 8 columns in each battlefield. Formation: A unit or group of units that is active, or the act of creating an active group. Charge: The act of creating a Formation or attack. Charging Formation/CF: Abbreviated as CF. Refers to a formation counting down turns until attack. Charge Time/CT: Abbreviated as CT. The number of turns a unit must delay before attacking. Attack/Atk: Abbreviated often as Atk. The strength of a unit while it is charging. Could also be called a unit's active HP. Toughness/Power/Pwr: Abbreviated as Pwr. The amount of damage an idle unit absorbs when it is destroyed. A unit's idle HP. DPT: Damage-per-turn. Total damage a unit does, divided by the number of turns it needs to charge. Attack Type: Some units cross the battlefield to attack. These are melee units. Other units do not cross the battlefield, and are ranged attackers. Melee units are affected by the Inferno Faction's wall ability, while ranged units are not. This makes ranged units slightly better against Inferno. Reinforcements/Reinforcement count/Unit cap/count: The total number of units you can field at one time. HP: The hit points of a hero or unit. Mana gauge: A gauge that fills with mana as the hero takes or receives damage. When it is full, the hero's spell can be cast. There is more detailed information about mana accumulation in the strategy sections. MP: Alternatively used to describe a hero's mana. High-tier: Refers to Champions and Elites collectively. Low-tier: Refers to Core units collectively. Core/Core Unit: The basic units of this game. A core unit takes up one square. Wall: A defensive unit created by creating a formation horizontally. Walls take up one square, are generally more durable per square than Core units, and cannot be used to create formations or attack. Elite: A 2x1 sized unit that requires 2 Core units to charge. Elite units generally have special abilities and moderate Atk values. Champion: A large 2x2 sized unit that requires 4 Core units to charge. Champion units generally have special abilities and extremely high Atk values. Stock: The quantity of Elites or Champion units available for a given unit. If Stock is exhausted, you will be unable to field the unit, among other things. See the section on Stock in the Basic Stategy section for more information. Solo: Refers to fielding only one Elite or Champion and leaving the other slot empty. As an example, using only Vampires, or only Angels, etc. Skirmisher/Skirmishing: Refers to the strategy of using Core units to attack the opponent's battlefield with the intention of destroying idle-high tier units. = Table of Contents #0000a ==================================================== Use Ctrl+F to look up header numbers. Top/Version History #0000 Table of Contents #0000a Basic Strategy #0001 Intermediate Strategy #0002 Expert Strategy #0003 Sylvan Faction #0004 -Strategies #0004a -Heroes #0004b -Units #0004c -Artifacts #0004d Haven/Empire/Human Faction #0005 -Strategies #0005a -Heroes #0005b -Units #0005c -Artifacts #0005d Necropolis/Undead Faction #0006 -Strategies #0006a -Heroes #0006b -Units #0006c -Artifacts #0006d Inferno/Demon Faction #0007 -Strategies #0007a -Heroes #0007b -Units #0007c -Artifacts #0007d Academy/Wizard Faction #0008 -Strategies #0008a -Heroes #0008b -Units #0008c -Artifacts #0008d Defeating Chapter Bosses [not implemented] Walkthrough [not implemented] Puzzle Solutions [not implemented] Exploits #0009 Fun Stuff/Easter Eggs #0010 Closing Comments #0011 = Basic Strategy #0001 ======================================================== This section covers basic gameplay strategies and general advice for new players. These are the fundamentals. Staying Focused As a new player, it is easy to forget that the ultimate goal of each encounter is to defeat the opposing hero by damaging his hero zone, not to defeat his troops. Enemy troops are only an obstacle towards the real objective of depleting the opposing hero's HP. Stay focused on damaging the enemy hero when it's convenient to do so. It doesn't matter if the opposing hero has a Champion charging to attack you in 6 turns if you can defeat him by attacking an open column within 2 turns. Ignore threats that aren't significant, address threats that are, and stay on the offensive. When To Use Links and Fusion Both Linking and Fusion increase the amount of damage you can do with each attack, so you should use these techniques whenever possible. You create a Link whenever you create formations with the same color and charge time. Linking is your most basic offensive strategy. Linking is good to use when you aren't heavily threatened and have a lot of space and actions available to form and complete attacks. It is relatively simple to create combo chains into Links, so you can easily Link several units at once and quickly rack up impressive damage bonuses. The weakness of Linking, however, is that the attack bonus of Linking doesn't occur while the unit charges. The formations making up the Link may be destroyed by opposing attacks before the Linked units can resolve their attack and gain the benefit of the Link bonus. Individual Link attacks may also do less damage compared to Fused attacks. Attacking across multiple columns allows the opponent to block the damage with several column's worth of idle units and walls, distributing the damage. This is especially true of Linked Core units, which are often halted by masses of opposing idle units, despite the Link bonus. The best way to use Links is to Link Core units to Elite or Champion units, boosting the attack of your strongest potential damagers. You Fuse units when you create a formation, then create another formation of the same color and unit type on top of it. Fusion has advantages and disadvantages compared to Linking. Fusion immediately increases the current base and maximum Atk of the formation by 100%, making it both harder to kill and better able to pierce through many layers of enemy units and walls. If you Fuse a unit multiple times, it's base and max Atk are increased by X times 100%, where X = the number of times the unit has been fused. A unit Fused twice will resolve it's attack with 300% of it's normal power, a unit Fused thrice with 400%, and so on. Only the available units and actions limit the number of times you may Fuse. Fusion is best used to reinforce an Elite or Champion unit to prevent it from dying, or to increase the damage of a formation attacking through several rows of walls or units. Compared to Linking, you need fewer units to take full advantage of Fusion, and so Fusion is ideal when you have relatively few reinforcements available (for example, after you've already created several Linked attack formations). Fusion refunds the reinforcements needed to create the Fused formation, so you can reinforce to get those units back immediately, if you like. The disadvantage of Fusion is that it requires the full 6 rows of space in order to create the needed formations. This precludes being able to combo into a Fusion, so you must individually create each Fusion you need. It is difficult to Fuse many formations at the same time. When To Reinforce Reinforcing too often wastes actions, but reinforcing too rarely decreases the opportunity to gain more actions by creating chains. For this reason I recommend, as a general guideline, reinforcing when you have 13 to 16 or more unit count available. Occasionally, you may need to reinforce to get a desired color. For example, you absolutely need an orange unit to complete a Champion's charge, but it would take 5 actions to retrieve it from your existing units. If you only need one unit to complete a formation, it is actually more advantageous to reinforce with a lower unit count, to reduce the possibility of your formation being buried by unnecessary units. It may cost you less actions in the end to simply reinforce to get the unit you need, rather than "dig out" another. It may be occasionally desirable to gamble on the drop from reinforcements giving you more opportunities to create Links. Reinforcing generally takes a lower priority than creating Links to existing formations, though. Sometimes it can be beneficial to reinforce for defensive purposes, as well. If you have a large number of reinforcements available and an enemy formation is about to attack an empty column, it is a good idea to reinforce. Often 3 or 4 idle units will drop in, forming an immediate damage buffer, and this is more action-efficient than dropping three units into that column individually. "Digging Out" Buried Units At the start of the battle and frequently after you reinforce, you will find that your high-tier units are "buried" under unnecessary Core units, which prevent you from charging them. The AI loves to attack idle Champions especially, so it is important to "dig out" and reposition or charge these units as quickly as possible. If there is only one off-color unit on top of a high-tier unit, it is safe to leave it. Simply pile up the appropriately colored units on top of the stack and delete the off color unit, creating the formation. If there are many unnecessary units, then there are a few options you can consider. If you can create walls from some of the blocking units, the walls will ascend to the top of the column, out of the way. This works well, because the AI is likely to focus it's attacks on the idle unit's column, anyway. Just be aware that creating a wall doesn't free up a row; if you need an additional row to create the formation, then you must make two walls and fuse them, or move another unit out of the column first. Another option is to create a formation on top of the idle unit, causing it to descend to the bottom of the column, where you can pick it up. This works well if you want to reposition the unit, and there is enough space for it to descend. However, if you want to charge the unit where it is, be forewarned that you will have to wait until after a Core formation has resolved it's attack to do so. There will not be enough space to create a new formation with three rows occupied. Be wary that your unit does not become trapped, as well. Creating formations on top of a unit can trap it if there is no space to descend, pinning it in a position where it is easily destroyed by attacks. When the above methods would cause more harm than good, there may be times where it is most effective to simply move the intervening Core units aside manually. Take a look at your options, consider the number of actions and turns needed to free the unit, and plan accordingly. Learning How To Combo - Chaining Units A great way to learn how to create the various combinations and chains is to figure out the solutions to the various puzzle challenges within the game. Such quest givers are identified by the puzzle-piece shaped icon above their heads. The puzzles force you to discover the necessary combinations in order to complete them. Puzzles are generally worth doing anyway, because they are easy and reward you with resources and Artifacts. There is no better way to learn than experience. If there is enough demand for it, I will include puzzle solutions in a later iteration of this guide. Using Walls Effectively - Don't Wall Yourself In It can be tempting to create walls for combo points. However, if you don't need those walls to defend a column within a few turns, they will eventually become a hindrance. Each wall counts towards your final reinforcement count. You will have fewer units freely available to create Linked attacks later. Walls also prevent Fusion; even one wall prevents Fusion in that column, because you need the full 6 rows of space to create the formations. You may gain actions in the short term by comboing walls, but create too many and you will eventually be forced to delete some of them in order to free up space and unit count, wasting actions. That said, walls are extremely useful for defending your hero and keeping your offensive formations alive. The best time to make a wall is after you have created your major offensive formations. Attack formations, especially Core units, are initially fragile until they reach their full Atk value. If needed, you can use walls to protect those formations until they finish charging. This is especially true when you need to protect formations that are Linked. Just be sure you don't put up walls in front of any formations you might want to Fuse later. When you create a wall, the units under those walls temporarily rise one row so that the wall can ascend to the front of the column. You can anticipate this movement to create chains, especially other walls. Walls are generally better than idle Core units in terms of Power per square. They are particularly effective at stopping attacks from Core units. Massed walls mitigate a Champion's attack somewhat, but you will need many walls. You can wall up against Elites, too, but since they only attack one column, you may have excess walls remaining. Unit Stock and Using Idle Units to Defend Yourself The most simple way to defend your hero is to reduce or eliminate the Atk of incoming attacks by blocking the damage with the Power of your idle units. Core units are preferred for this role (Lv 5 Zombies are especially good at it). You should avoid blocking attacks with idle Elite and Champion units, except as a last resort. It is okay to block an opposing Elite or Champion attack with an idle Champion if you have no other means to defend yourself. Just remember that Elites and Champions have a finite troop count, and die instantly if hit while idle. They can also be destroyed while charging, but it's much more difficult for the opposing player to do so. You will quickly exhaust your resources if you allow your high-tier units to die too many times, as you will have to purchase new units from the creature dwelling to replace them. There is one important exception to this defensive strategy: Don't block a Bone Dragon with idle units. Bone Dragons gain Atk from devouring idle units, so you will actually take more damage than you would otherwise. Use walls and active formations to block them, instead. Unit Stock, High-Tier Availability, and Unlocking New Units You unlock a new unit type whenever you purchase even one stock of that unit. If you have no Elites or Champions, it is well worth purchasing one or more to include in your army if you can find a creature dwelling. Elites and Champions have a stock cap. I recommend purchasing several stock, when possible. Increasing the unit stock of a given Elite or Champion makes it more likely to show up when you reinforce, and additionally provides insurance. If your stock is low, your high-tier units may not appear very often, even if you reinforce multiple times. If you lose all of a given unit's stock during a battle, that unit will get no Exp for that battle (effectively wasting it). It is a good idea to have some backup stock. High-Tier Unit Cap and Unit Slots There is an unwritten rule in the game that you may only have up to 4 Elites, 2 Elites and 1 Champion, or 2 Champions on the battlefield at once. This is the "high-tier cap". You can expect not to receive additional high-tier units so long as the existing ones are still on the battlefield. To get more, either resolve the attacks of high-tier formations you have already created, or Fuse your idle high-tier units to existing formations. Then you free up another "slot" for a high-tier unit to arrive among reinforcements. As I mentioned above, having higher stock increases the odds that you will get another high-tier unit among reinforcements. I believe the odds of getting a high-tier unit are also better if you reinforce more units at the same time. When picking your high-tier units from the unit menu, you have two slots available. The high-tier units that drop during battle will be a combination of the units in those two slots. An example: With Vampires and Ghosts, you might get 3 Vampires and 1 Ghost, 2 of each, or 3 Ghosts and no Vampires. You would never get 3 Vampires and 2 Ghosts, though (because that would exceed the cap). If you choose only one high-tier unit and leave the other slot empty, the game does not penalize you for this in terms of the quantity of units that appear on the battlefield (although there is an opportunity cost regarding XP gains). Instead, you will receive the full alotted quantity that unit type only. For example, using only Vampires, you would receive between 1 to 4 Vampires every time. With a Champion unit, you would see between 1 to 2 of that unit. If you use one unit slot only, then you are going "solo" with that unit. In some cases, it can be advantageous to use only one type of high-tier unit (for example, one unit's special ability is critical in a particular scenario). Simple Strategy for Victory Against the AI - Use Champions I've found that the AI in this game is generally very poor at defending against extremely damaging attacks, just as those from Champions. If you can get a Champion charged, preferably with a few Linked formations, that is usually enough to crush the AI. = Intermediate Strategy #0002 ================================================= This section covers slightly more advanced strategies for players already familiar with Clash of Heroes. Don't Weaken Defenses - Attack Intelligently All units have two seperate values for HP. The first is Attack. You could call this "active" HPs, the amount of damage a unit can cause when it attacks or negate while it is charging. The second is Power. This is a unit's idle HPs, the amount of damage it negates while inactive. When defending against an attack, carefully consider if a unit would negate more damage while charging or idle. As a general rule, a Champion or Elite unit negates far more damage while it is charging; you want to charge them immediately if you plan to defend with them. However, for Core units, the general rule is to compare the active and idle values. A perfect example is the Archer. In the Archer's case, a charging Archer will, at best, inflict 8 damage to an attacking formation if it resolves it's attack (without Linking or Fusion). However, the idle Power of each Archer is 3. This means that a stack of three idle Archers taking up the same space as a charging formation of Archers will negate 9 damage when hit instead of 8. If you create an Archer formation the turn before an enemy attacks, the comparison is even worse; the Archer has only 4 Atk (it starts with half it's fully charged value) compared to the 9 Pwr three idle archers would have. Unless you can resolve a Linked attack beforehand, it is actually better to leave the Archers idle if your only objective is to reduce the damage of an incoming attack. Remember to consider the time available to a charge a formation, too. Core unit Attack values are typically weaker than their combined Power until their attack resolves. If you create an attack formation 1 or 2 turns before the enemy attacks the column, you often effectively weaken your units and cause yourself to take more damage. In other words, plan your attacks carefully. Don't charge Core units to defend against an attack unless they have enough charge time for their attack to exceed the combined Power of three units, you plan to use other means to negate the attack (walls), or you plan to Fuse them. Zombies are the most extreme case of Pwr being better than Atk. A newly formed Zombie has 4 Atk compared to the 12 Pwr of three idle Zombies (3 times as much damage negated)! One exception to this is Gremlins. Gremlins have an extremely high Attack stat, making them equal or better than their idle Power, even when newly created. Prioritize Often you will face a circumstance where you have a limited number of actions, and two seemingly equal opportunities present themselves. For example, do you charge an idle Champion, or do you create a formation to counter an opposing formation? In cases like this, I recommend examining the situation in greater detail. If the idle Champion is in no present danger, then it might be safe to leave charging it until later. However, if that Champion would block the opposing attack if charged, then it makes sense to go ahead and charge it immediately. As you play, you will get a better sense of what to do in each situation. Saving Actions For Later Sometimes, it may be more beneficial to delay some of your actions until later. For example, you have a Champion with a CT of 4, and enough actions to create several CT 3 formations of the same color. Rather than make those formations immediately, it would be more advantageous to wait a turn and form them on the next turn, so that they can be Linked with the Champion. In this case, it is advantageous to set up your formations in advance, so that you can activate all the necessary formations without using any actions, and then continue with the rest of your turn. The most basic way to "store" actions in this way is to create a stack of 2 units of the same color, then place a different colored unit on top of these, then finally a third (of the same color as the first two) on top of that. When you wish to activate the stack, you delete the different colored unit and create the formation with a simple chain. Creating a formation this way costs a net of zero actions. You spend an action to delete the unit, but gain it back then the formation is created. You can essentially store a number of actions/formations in advance, and then activate them all at once when it would be the most beneficial. What To Do When You Have Nothing Better To Do There will be times when the majority of your unit count is bound up in charging formations, and you are left with little to do but wait for the attacks to resolve. Even if you have enough idle Core units to create formations, I recommend against creating solo, un-Linked Core formations unless they have a specific purpose in mind (hit an idle Elite, etc.). Attacking Core units rarely inflict damage through opposing idle units without Linking. Instead of cleaning up stray idle units and attacking inefficiently, I recommend doing other things instead. This can include setting up actions for later (see above) or deleting excess walls that would otherwise sit around blocking Fusions and taking up unit count. This period is also an ideal time to Fuse units, especially those that are already Linked. It is safe to leave unneeded idle Core units alone; they might be useful for comboing later. The Mana Gauge - Casting Spells More Often and Avoiding Mana Overflow The mana gauge is directly proportional to the amount of health your hero has. At first level (10 HP), it contains up to 10 mana, and at 10th level (100 HP) it contains up to 100 mana. Mana in this game is gained in three principle ways. First, by inflicting damage to the enemy hero. Second, by receiving damage to your hero. Finally, you can gain a small amount of mana for each Link or Fusion created, and each additional action you gain (by creating chains). Damage you inflict to the opposing hero increases your mana gauge by a 1:1 ratio. If you inflict 1 damage, you gain 1 mana. At level 10, if you inflict 100 damage, you gain 100 mana and charge your gauge from 0 to 100%. Damage you receive increases your mana by twice the amount of damage taken. At level 10, if you receive 50 damage, you gain 100 mana and charge your gauge from 0 to 100%. I believe each Link, Fusion and extra action gained from chains increases the mana gauge by ~6% (to be confirmed). You can also gain a small amount of mana for each action you have remaining when you end your turn. I believe your mana gauge is filled by 3% for each action "banked" in this way. It would require 34 actions lost to fill the gauge by this method alone. To cast spells more often, the most straightforward way is to make strong attacks and create large sets of Links by comboing. A riskier but faster strategy is to intentionally take damage. Once the mana gauge is full, any additional mana gained is wasted; it does not carry over towards the next spell. Therefore, pay careful attention to your mana gauge. If you expect to hit or be hit on the next turn for a large amount of damage and you have full mana, go ahead and cast your spell, because you will recharge most or all of your mana on the next turn anyway. Generally, attacking Champions are the best way to do this, although Elites sometimes do enough damage, too, especially if several attack at once. 40+ damage is a good rule of thumb. Similarly, you might choose to cast a spell before you create a large number of Links or chains, to avoid overflow. Here is an example of how spell casting can be chained: Charge spell by Linking+Chaining -> Cast just before your Champion attacks -> Recharge spell quickly by dealing heavy damage to the opposing hero with Champion -> Cast again -> Recharge spell when enemy formation hits you -> Cast again. By "chaining", you can cast several times consecutively. Some spells benefit from this more than others. This can be a game-winner for someone like Anwen or Fiona, but it might mean little to Godric. Mana Overflow and Usage of Damaging Spells As an extension of the above ideas, you can also attempt to manage mana in a few other ways. Damaging spells are an exception to the rule that damaging the opposing hero generates mana. Spells like Sniper Shot do not generate mana for your hero, although they do generate mana for the opposing hero by inflicting damage. If you have a damaging spell ready, like Sniper Shot, Blood Ritual, or Staff of Explosia, it may be more beneficial to clear the way for one of your strong attack formations instead. By reducing strong defenses against one of your Champions, you cause it to inflict more damage against the opposing hero, generating more mana. In a sense, you have indirectly caused your damaging spell to generate mana. You can also use mana overflow against your enemy. If the opposing hero has already filled their mana gauge, it is the perfect time to use a damaging spell to strike the opposing hero directly. The extra mana generated from inflicting direct damage is immediately wasted as overflow, giving your opponent fewer opportunities to cast spells later. = Expert Strategy #0003 ======================================================= This section covers the elements of the metagame that are the most abstract or challenging to use in practical gameplay. Attack Order and Combining Attack Formations Ordinarily, formations attacking within the same turn attack in the order that they are created. Linked units attack first before un-Linked ones. When units attack at the same time (within the same Link) the unit with the fastest attack animation generally attacks first. I don't know if there is a hard and fast rule for which units attack first, but some units have significantly slower attack animations than others, like the Succubus. In a Linked attack, Core units generally attack first before Elites and Champions, because the latter tend to have more complicated animation. In some cases, you can use the attack order of formations attacking in combination to beneficial effect. A perfect example is the Succubus. Each time a Succubus' attack hits anything, it's damage is reduced by 25% regarding how much damage it inflicts to the opposing hero. A Fused Succubus with 100 Atk only inflicts a mere 25 damage to the opposing hero if 5 idle Core units of any type block it's attack; in this example, 5 units with Power 2 each could block an amazing 75 damage. If you have a 10 Atk Core unit attack in combination with the same Succubus, the Core unit attacks first (because of the Succubus' slow animation) and clears the column of idle units, allowing the Succubus to inflict full damage. Attacking in combination would allow you to do far more damage than you could have otherwise, in this case. Attack order might also be useful when an idle Champion blocks one of yours. If you hit the idle Champion with a Core unit beforehand for even 1 damage, you destroy the unit, preventing it from negating more damage from a larger attack. Djinn are another unit that benefit from combined attack. Not only do you want secondary formations to follow up and shatter units the Djinn has frozen, but Djinn also do not damage or destroy units themselves. If you plan to make consecutive attacks with Djinn down the same column, it is a good idea to clear some of the frozen units by attacking in combination, so multiple Djinn don't lose attack power against the same set of units. Attacking in combination can occasionally be detrimental. For example, if a formation destroys idle units in a Bone Dragon's column, then it actually decreases the damage you would have done, because the Bone Dragon won't have the opportunity to devour those units with it's special ability. Gaming The Drop System - If You Want Something, Do The Opposite You may have noticed that this game is programmed never to drop a unit in such a way that it creates a formation immediately. With this in mind, you can, to an extent, predict where units will drop during reinforcement from the units you have currently on the battlefield. Many times, you reinforce because you need one more unit to complete a formation. As an example, you have a blue Champion with 3 blue Core units on top of it. Ordinarily, you could never get a fourth blue unit to drop down and complete the formation; if you reinforce, several "junk" units will likely drop on top of the formation. You'll have to spend even more actions clearing those units before you can move a new blue unit from somewhere else to complete the formation. However, if you first place a unit of the opposite color on top of the blue units and then reinforce, you increase the odds of a new blue unit dropping into place above the mis-matched color. Then you can simply delete your mis-matched unit and complete your formation at a net action cost of 2 (1 for your initial move with the mis-matched unit and 1 for the reinforce). Effectively, your off color unit became a unit of the right color. It's definitely a gamble, but if you have an off-color in place, there is a 33% chance you will get the color you want to drop on top of it, rather than 0. Creating Formations Without Moving - Using Your Opponent's Moves To Your Advantage It is occasionally possible to create formations and gain actions out of turn. The simplest scenario where this can occur is when an enemy formation destroys some of your units. As a result, the remaining idle units in the column drop down. If this drops your idle units into a position where a wall is created, this formation occurs automatically at the start of your turn, and you gain a free action for doing so. With practice, you can predict how many units the opposing formation will destroy, and arrange your units so that they drop into combinations afterward. You can create a similar effect by anticipating when your own units will resolve their attacks. When an attack resolves, that unit is removed from the battlefield, and any units above it drop down. You can arrange units above your formations so that they drop into chains, as well. AI Manipulation As you play Clash of Heroes, you might notice that the AI has a very strong inclination to keep it's idle Champions alive. You can exploit this inclination by creating formations of Core units in the same column as the AI's idle Champions. Frequently, the AI will choose to waste actions trying to move the idle Champion to a safe location, rather than charging it immediately. Anticipating AI Behavior and Spell Countermeasures The AI has a very strong inclination to create formations to attack your idle Champions. To counter this, I advise the player to charge their Champions and Elites as soon as possible, to the exclusion of Core units. You can create walls in front of idle Champions to protect them until they are charged. The AI will almost always attack idle Champions immediately, so it is best to get them charging before they are destroyed. The majority of the AI's spellcasting is easy to predict. Anwen, Cyrus, Nadia, Fiona, Varkas - These characters will use their spell as soon as it charges. If you see their mana gauge nearing full, it is best to take precautionary measures, if appropriate. Anwen and Fiona - These heroes will (almost) always fire their spell down the least defended column, so that it can do the most damage directly to your hero. If you plan to defend against their spell, try to defend evenly across all columns. If you leave any weak points, the AI will exploit it. This means it is normally impossible to defend completely against these spells (they simply do too much damage) so you can, at best, try to mitigate the damage a little. If you are playing as Godric and you can confidently guess when Anwen or Fiona will charge her spell, you can use Holy Shield preemptively to block the damage next turn. This is one of the best ways to block an AI's damage spell. It doesn't work against a human player, though, for obvious reasons. Cyrus - Cyrus will (almost) always throw his Staff of Explosia in the most open area he can find, unless one of your formations would defeat him on the following turn. You can anticipate this and leave a non-critical area undefended for him to throw the Staff to (preferably away from your charging formations). Failing that, you can try to pick up and drop the Staff in a less critical area if it doesn't explode immediately. Avoid dropping the Staff within two tiles of your hero zone; your hero will take damage from the explosion. See Cyrus' entry in the Academy Heroes subsection for more information about this spell and it's countermeasures. Nadia - Nadia's spell attacks randomly. I recommend keeping your battlefield as empty as possible just before she casts this spell. If you have fewer units (especially idle high-tier units) around, there is a greater chance her spell will harmlessly attack open areas of the battlefield. Avoid reinforcing just before she attacks; this is a good way to lose several idle Elites or Champions at once, a costly mistake. Varkas - Not too difficult to counter. If you anticipate his spell, try building walls to lift your important formations and idle units out of the first two rows. This keeps them safe from Varkas' damage. Godric - Godric uses his spell the turn before you would inflict damage to him with your attacking formations. There may be a threshold of minimal damage that must be exceeded before the AI decides to use the spell, but if there is, it is very low. I've observed the AI using Holy Shield to block Core formations. There's not much you can do to prevent this, other than to avoid charging his gauge (ease up on attacks, etc.) before your strongest attack is ready to launch. Markal - Seems hit or miss. He's likely to use it if he has an idle Champion or two or more idle Elites. Plan ahead and position units to counter his Champions and Elites if need be. Findan - I've never observed the AI use this spell, so you don't need to worry about it! Aidan - I believe he casts this spell when he has a certain number of walls. It's usually not too threatening, just be aware of your idle high-tier units. Create your own walls to counter his, and keep your battlefield full of idle Core units to block the rest of the damage. Jezebeth - She casts this spell when you exceed a certain number of walls. The opportunity to blow up your formations and idle Champions may play into the timing of her spell, as well. You can avoid triggering her spell altogether by not creating walls (for her to blow up). If you need walls, use them sparingly and use idle Core units to create a safe gap between your walls and your idle high-tier units. Using Treants Against a Sylvan Player See the Treant entry within the Sylvan unit subsection for details. >> Faction-specific discussion includes unmarked spoilers for unit types and heroes. << = Sylvan Faction #0004 ======================================================== One of the strongest factions, with powerful spells, fast units, decent walls, and excellent unit specials. Generally considered overpowered in both single and multiplayer. Sylvan Walls - Sylvan walls are quite good. They are tied for second highest base Pwr, after Haven. The 12 Pwr maximum is an important number, because it means that the only un-Linked/Fused Core unit that can pierce it is the Gremlin (and high-gauge Sprites). Sylvan walls regenerate 2 HP per turn (4 with the Vine Glove Artifact). Between their high Pwr and regeneration, this makes them very good at resisting successive attacks from Core Units. Weaker units like Archers and Zombies will have an especially difficult time bringing down Sylvan walls because of the regeneration. You can create walls in advance of an expected attack, allowing them time to regenerate to full strength by the time the attack arrives. This saves you the actions of having to create two sets of walls and fuse them. Similarly, if you want to create two rows of walls in the same location, you can save actions by creating one set, allowing it to regenerate for a turn, then creating the second set. This way, the walls do not fuse and regenerate to full strength seperately. I feel that Sylvan walls are the second best in the game. They are effective against Core units, and their special ability is useful. Haven's walls are better than Sylvan's because they are more effective at blocking Linked Core units, and are also more effective when massed against Champions and Elites. However, Sylvan's walls are better than Necropolis and Academy walls, which clutter the battlefield, and Inferno walls, which are weaker against some unit types. = Sylvan Strategies #0004a ==================================================== Pressure Offense This strategy utilitizes 2x Hunters, 1x Pixie or Bear, Unicorns and/or Druids, and Emerald Dragons. Vine Gloves, Phoenix Feather, and Enchanted Staff are the most useful Artifacts for this strategy. The gist of this strategy is to exert early threat to idle enemy Champions/Elites by attacking with your Hunters. While the opposing hero attempts to protect his idle units, you seize the initiative and form an attack with the Emerald Dragon(s). If the opposing player attempts to counter attack your idle Dragon with his own with Core units, you simply shut this down with Unicorns. Druids can be used if enemy Champions are a greater threat. Once you land a Dragon attack, check to see if you have inflicted enough damage to charge your spell. Usually it is charged immediately. As Anwen, you cast Sniper Shot, attack the column the Dragons cleared, and generally win the game. As Findan, you create another Dragon formation as soon as possible and make it attack immediately with Swift Strike, attempting to create a chain of powerful attacks that the opposing hero will be unable to keep up with. It is also viable to leave the Dragons out and use Druids and Unicorns in combination, because the Druids will counter opposing Champions. Treants This strategy utilizes 2x Pixies, 1x Hunters, Unicorns, and Treants. Vine Gloves or Doubling Cape can be used. This strategy favors Findan. You create a solid defense early on with walls and Unicorns, which is difficult to penetrate. Then you stack on top of that massive HP walls in the form of buried Treants once they launch their attacks. After that, you leave the mana gauge full and make powerful attacks with your Pixies while you wait for your Treants to drain the opponent's remaining HP. = Sylvan Heroes #0004b ======================================================== Anwen is the Sylvan hero featured in campaign mode. Her spell, Sniper Shot, is extremely powerful, and arguably the best spell in the game. It inflicts damage equal to half of her maximum HP to a single column (50 at level 10). Use it to destroy enemy formations or finish off the opposing hero. Findan is unlocked for Quick Battle mode by completing the Sylvan campaign. Findan's spell is Swift Strike. It reduces the number of turns for all of your currently charging formations to 1. I feel like this spell is almost wasted on the Sylvan faction; so many of their units are extremely fast already, it seems like Swift Strike makes little difference. Rangers don't benefit from it, and two out of the three Elites only gain attack 1 turn faster. Nitpicking aside, this spell has its uses. It is possible to attack consecutively with this spell. First attack with a Champion. If you inflict enough damage to charge your spell, form another Champion and use Swift Strike to make it attack immediately, creating a chain of powerful attacks that leaves your opponent without adequate time to defend. Swift Strike allows more flexible Linking; you can create units of the same color with Charge Time 5, 3, and 1 on the same turn, then use Swift Strike to make all formations' Charge Time 1, so they become Linked. This is particularly valuable for boosting your Champion's attacks. Interestingly, Findan's Swift Strike brings all units to their maximum Atk value when it is used, regardless of any damage the unit might have taken previously. This has the effect of making your units defend with their full HP for one turn. However, when a formation's attack actually resolves, any damage taken by it is accounted for and the unit's Atk decreases accordingly. It's unfortunate that Swift Strike doesn't permanently heal your units, but maximizing your Atk with "temp HPs" for one turn is still very useful if you need to set up a strong defense immediately. = Sylvan Units #0004c ========================================================= As a basic, general purpose setup, I prefer 2x Hunter, 1x Bear, one of Unicorn or Druid, and Emerald Dragons. There aren't really any bad Sylvan units though, so feel free to experiment. Pixies aren't very good for Anwen, because her spell is almost always used immediately. Core Hunter - Atk 7, Pwr 2, Charge 1, DPT 7. Hunters are superb skirmishers. Attack Type: Ranged Pros: They have the fastest Charge Time in the game, so they excel at putting early pressure on your opponent to defend his idle Champions. You can also build up the mana gauge very rapidly with them because they cycle reinforcements rapidly, which you can use to create more Links or chains. Cons: They have weak maximum damage, which means they have a difficult time piercing through multiple idle units or walls to deal damage to the opposing hero. They aren't very good at defense, either. It is difficult to Fuse Hunters because of their CT 1. Pixie - Atk 6, Pwr 2, Charge 2, DPT 3 to 8 (varies). Pixies are situational; you must build around using them. Attack Type: Ranged Special: They gain a bonus to Atk proportional to how full the mana gauge is. This bonus ranges from 0 (when the gauge is empty) to 10 (when the gauge is full), and is applied only after the Pixie's attack resolves (not while it is charging). I believe the bonus is equal to 1 damage per 10% of the gauge filled. Pros: They do extremely impressive damage for a Core unit when the mana gauge is full. This makes them good at attacking the opposing hero and other formations that they can hit first. Cons: They are the worst unit in the game at defending, with a Pwr of 2, DPT 3, and a pitiful base Atk 6. Pixies offer very little damage reduction if they are attacked. However, if they can resolve their attack beforehand and gain their bonus damage (particularly with a full gauge) then they can inflict significant damage to targets they hit. You must use them proactively. Pixies are weak in general unless the mana gauge is full. This is problematic to the Sylvan faction especially, because their spells are extremely powerful. Anwen will almost always want to use her spell immediately, leaving the Pixies little time to take advantage of their full potential. Pixies are best used by Findan, especially if you are willing to play a more defensive game and hold on to your spell until it is needed. Bear - Atk 10, Pwr 3, Charge 2, DPT 5. Bears are respectable 2-Turn attackers, especially as a compliment to Rangers because of their differing CTs. Attack Type: Melee Pros: They are the best defenders among the Sylvan Core units, with a decent Pwr 3. They have the second best base Atk of any CT 2, and the third best base Atk compared to Core units overall. Only Gremlins, Swordsmen, and Horned Demons are stronger, and the latter two have CT 3. Bears are probably the best Sylvan Core unit for Fusing purposes. Bears are well balanced and strong overall. Cons: Not as fast as Hunters, but other than that, it doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. Elite Druid - Atk 25, Pwr 5, Charge 2, DPT 12.5. Druids are fast and excel at shutting down slower units like Elites and Champions. Attack Type: Ranged Special: If it hits a formation, it increases the Charge Time of that formation by 3 (4 with the Enchanted Staff). Pros: Druids have an extremely fast CT, for an Elite. It is tied with Sorcerers and Unicorns for the fastest CT. This makes Druids amazing at harassing idle Champions and Elites. Even if the opposing unit is charged, the Druid inflicts a CT penalty against formations it hits. Successive Druid attacks can "stunlock" enemy formations, which is especially crippling to any Champion-based offense. Druids have above average DPT, as well. Cons: Not as strong as Unicorns. Although it's DPT is high, it's maximum Atk is low, so Druids can potentially be stopped by factions with stronger walls, like Haven, and massed idle units. Only the Haven's Priest has a weaker max Atk among Elites. Druids are slightly difficult to Fuse, because they attack quickly. Deer - Atk 26, Pwr 5, Charge 3, DPT 8.67. Deer have above average speed and attack over walls. I feel that they are good, but overshadowed by the other Sylvan units. Attack Type: Melee Special: It jumps over the first 2 walls in it's column, ignoring them. Pros: The Deer's attack time is above average. Although Deer do low max damage, they are difficult to completely defend against because they jump over walls. This means the opposing player must generally create an attack formation to oppose them, which can be difficult to do effectively given the Deer's speed. Deer also have an ideal speed for Fusion. Cons: In any other faction, Deer would be awesome, because it's special ability is very useful. However, the Deer has the unfortunate distinction of being within the Sylvan faction, where it competes with other amazing and even broken Elites. The Deer isn't as strong or fast as the Unicorn, nor do they have a potent defensive utility like the Unicorn or Druid. This makes Deer the worst of the Sylvan Elites at defending. Unicorn - Atk 30, Pwr 6, Charge 2, DPT 15. Unicorns are absurdly broken. They are strong, fast, have an amazing DPT for an Elite, and combine this with a game-breaking defensive ability. Attack Type: Melee Special: While the Unicorn is charging, it creates a barrier across the top row of your battlefield. The barrier works somewhat like a wall, except it cannot be destroyed. Attacking formations must cross the barrier, which blocks a fixed damage value (15 at level 5, it may be less for lower level units) per column. Units that take up two columns, such as a Champion, have their damage penalized twice. Multiple Unicorns charging at the same time stack the damage reduction of their barriers. 2 Unicorns charging simultaneously reduce 30 damage per column, and so on. Pros: It has the best CT among Elites, along with Druids and Sorcerers. It has above average max Atk, and excellent DPT for an Elite. The Unicorn's barrier is an absurdly good defensive utility. Think about the barrier as equivalent to having an indestructible layer of Haven walls across your entire first row, except it takes up no space. This means you gain a benefit similar to walls, without the drawback of actual walls taking up space and unit count. The barrier completely shuts down Core attacks; even highly Linked groups rarely do significant damage through it. Even Elites and Champions suffer significant penalties. The barrier's defense also generally buys enough time for you to charge an idle Champion with impugnity. Succubus are crippled by the Unicorn's barrier. Succubus attack four times, so the barrier negates four times as much damage. Often, the Succubus' attack cannot pierce the barrier, and so it's damage is effectively negated. In short, the Unicorn has incredible defensive and offensive potential. It is probably the best Elite in the game, overall. Cons: The only real weakness of the Unicorn is it's availability. As the Sylvan's unlockable "rare" unit, it has a smaller max unit stock than most other Elites. This means that the Unicorn has a lower chance to arrive among reinforcements. It can be a pain if you reinforce your units and don't get any Unicorns, especially when you really need one. Unicorns are the most expensive unit to purchase in Campaign mode, so affording full stock is a challenge. As a minor nitpick, It's often more beneficial to stagger seperate Unicorn formations to keep up a barrier every turn. Fusing Unicorns comes with this small opportunity cost. Champion Treant - Atk 95, Pwr 29, Charge 5, DPT 19. Treants are a decent Champion with a defensive bent. Attack Type: Ranged Special: If the Treant damages an opposing Hero, it buries itself in it's current location. A buried Treant remains on the battlefield with an HP value equal to the damage it inflicted against the opposing hero, although it does not attack or charge. Aside from becoming a wall of HP, a buried Treant also leeches life. It deals ongoing damage on your turn equal to 10% of it's current health. Your hero also regains health equal to the ongoing damage dealt. The combination of installed HPs and life drain makes Treants a potent defensive tool. Using Treants Against a Syvlan Player: A buried Treant is immobile; it does not drop to the top row like a CF, but other objects like walls can pass through it, provided they have enough space. Idle reinforcements drop on top a buried Treant; they do not pass through it. Depending on the conditions prior to attack, a Treant may embed itself within rows 3 and 4, preventing any further formations from being created in those columns. A buried Treant counts towards the high-tier unit cap; if you have two buried Treants, you will no longer receive Elites or Champions among reinforcements. This could actually be exploited by the opposing player; they could allow the Treant to do very little damage to them, but still become buried. Then that player could ignore the buried Treant, leaving it alive to lock down a portion of the battlefield and to handicap the Sylvan player's ability to attack with Champions and Elites. A buried Treant cannot be deleted, just like a CF, so the Sylvan player would have no control over when an ineffectual Treant is destroyed, either. For this reason, it is strongly advisable to delete idle units and walls before the Treant's attack resolves, so it ascends to the top row. This leaves space to create new formations after the Treant becomes immobile. In single player, concerns of Treants being used against you are minimal. In multiplayer, you must be cautious when using them; make sure your Treant does enough damage to be an ongoing threat. Pros: Treants have the highest Pwr of any unit in the game. Although it's generally a bad idea to block with idle Champions, Treants make the best emergency wall if that's necessary. Buried Treants create pressure by placing ongoing damage on the opposing player, effectively forcing that player to attack them or eventually perish. They also give the Sylvan faction a means to recover health, which may be important in a battle of endurance. Cons: As I've described above, Treants can potentially be exploited against you in multiplayer. Treants have the second-lowest maximum Atk of any Champion, meaning they are also among the most easily blocked by a human player (the AI is still bad at it, though). Treants are slower than Emerald Dragons, and offer less initial damage. Emerald Dragon - Atk 105, Pwr 21, Charge 4, DPT 26.25. Dragons are both fast and strong. Attack Type: Ranged Special: The Emerald Dragon breathes acid breath. Any squares reached by the Dragon's attack (up to two full columns) are covered by a tile of acid slime. The slime inflicts 3 damage per tile to any unit on top of it, even charging Ghosts. Slime serves as a deterrent, killing idle reinforcements that drop in those columns later, and hindering any effort to create formations in those squares. A slime tile lasts for 5 turns or until it damages any unit, whichever comes sooner. Slime essentially locks down a column's usability until the acid squares have been "soaked" by destroying idle units or 5 turns have passed. Pros: Dragons are extremely fast for a Champion, attacking within 4 turns. They aren't significantly weaker than most Champions regarding max Atk, and have very high DPT. Compare them to the Pit Fiend, Rakshasa, and Bone Dragon. All of these have a similar maximum Attack, but are slower. Emerald Dragons usually beat other Champions to the attack. This gives you significant advantage, because resolving your attack first applies a host of multipliers, like Link bonuses. The fast CT also gives your opponent less time to prepare a defense. Emerald Dragons attack early, deal big damage, and charge your spell. Then you finish off the opposing hero with Sniper Shot. Acid Breath isn't an amazing special, but it doesn't need to be when Emerald Dragons have good base statistics. Cons: Emerald Dragons don't have any glaring weaknesses. Their max Atk value is low to average, so the strongest Champions, like Sword Masters, can overpower it in an unlikely defensive battle. Emerald Dragons can be blocked more easily than other Champions unless it benefits from Links. = Sylvan Artifacts #0004d ===================================================== Sylvan artifacts don't stand out immediately, because there are few obvious damage boosts to be had. Vine Gloves provide a respectable defensive boost, Enchanted Staff increases Champion control and stunlocking, and Phoenix Feather adds longevity and an opportunity to bust out your hax spell one more time. Ring of Vitality - Average. Increases your maximum health by 15%, which has consequences that might not be immediately apparent. The number of HP you have determines how much mana you need to fill your mana gauge. Having greater HP increases the amount of damage you must take or inflict in order to fill the gauge, meaning it fills more slowly (a small penalty). Anwen's spell power is based directly on her maximum HP, which this item increases. With the Ring of Vitality equipped, her Sniper Shot inflicts more damage. At level 10, she inflicts 58 damage instead of 50. Findan gains no such consequential bonus from this item, and only benefits from the additional HP. In comparison to the Phoenix Feather, this Artifact allows Anwen a more powerful finishing move, but slows your casting. The Phoenix Feather doesn't increase your max HP, but instead heals you when you reach 0 HP. The opponent can keep damaging you without effect while you are at 0 HP, which means the Phoenix Feather grants 10% or more additional HP, and probably a chance to use your spell again. For this reason, the Ring of Vitality is strictly worse than the Phoenix Feather for Findan. The Phoenix Feather increases total HP without increasing max HP, so Findan's spellcasting speed isn't penalized. For Anwen, the difference boils down to one large finishing move or two faster, but weaker, spells. I feel that the latter is more useful, especially considering the additional survivability of the Phoenix Feather. Even still, you are likely to use this Artifact for at least a little bit, as it is the first Artifact available to you. Dragon Scales - Awful. Adds 1 turn to the duration of the Emerald Dragon's acid slime. This is a pointless Artifact, because the slime is far more likely to be removed instantly by damaging reinforcement units than existing for the full 6 turns. Opposing players will simply soak up the acid damage within one or two turns, after which the extended duration is meaningless. A contender for worst Artifact. Deer Antler - Good. It increases the Deer's overall Atk by 25% the moment it is formed, raising Maximum base Atk to 33 and DPT to 11. This makes the Deer better for defending, and brings it roughly on par with the Druid offensively. Significantly, 33 Atk lets you overrun other Elites with more Atk left over, and also allows a Deer to beat a Knight one-on-one. If you like using Deer, the Deer Antler is a good artifact. Golden Roots - Terrible. It makes your walls respawn whenever they are destroyed, but this works against you. Once you've created a wall, the only way to completely get rid of it is by deleting it. This leads to a cluttered battlefield where you have a lot of unnecessary walls sitting idle, taking up your unit count. It's actually better to create walls on a need-to-use basis, allowing them to be destroyed by enemy attacks. Enchanted Staff - Excellent. Adds another turn to the Druid's CT penalty, bringing the total penalty to 4 turns. This makes it even easier to stunlock units with Druids, and also increases the window of opportunity to follow up with another Druid attack. This Artifact is great if you field Druids, especially in the scripted Campaign battles that pit you against pre-charging Champions. Vine Gloves - Excellent. Doubles the regen of walls. This ensures that walls reach maximum Pwr in 2 turns, as opposed to 3. This is a critical number, as most Core units attack in 2 turns. This artifact allows you to create a wall at the same time as an opposing Core formation and be ready to defend by the time their attack resolves. Vine Gloves are also excellent for repelling repeated attacks against the same column; unless your opponent's Core units all attack simultaneously, they face a good chance that the wall will have completely regenerated by the time the next attack arrives. Vine Gloves improve your ability to repel Core attacks, and make your walls faster to respond against bigger threats. Treant Sap - Poor. Doubles the life leech of Treants. In order to take full advantage of this, you must first hit with a Treant, and additionally do impressive damage with that attack. If you inflict 50 initial damage, you will leech 10 HP per turn, which makes up the base Atk difference between Dragons and Treants for every turn the Treant survives. However, you can also improve the life leech of a Treant by simply increasing it's raw Atk with the Lion's Mane or, more likely, the Doubling Cape. This has a twofold advantage. First, bonus Link damage benefits all of your units, even when your Treant is not attacking. Second, improved Links increase the initial damage of the Treant, which consequently increases it's life leech afterward. The Doubling Cape does almost the same thing, but with extended benefits to the rest of your units, too. Lion's Mane - Poor. Lion's Mane is really contingent on how good Fusing is for a particular faction. The Sylvan faction has very fast units and quick unit turnover, making Fusion unappealing. Hunters are very difficult to fuse, and the 2 CT units also require some forthought. Champion units could benefit from Fusion, but getting Champions of the same color are unlikely because of the unit cap, and Fused Champions are overkill even without the Lion's Mane. This leaves the Deer as the best candidate for Fusion, and it probably gains more general benefit from the Deer Antler. Doubling Cape - Average. The Sylvan faction strives to Link as often as possible, because it has a fast unit turnover and can take advantage of Linking to quickly build mana. Improved Linking also helps their Core units to better pierce rows of idle units. As I mentioned above, perhaps the best use of the Doubling Cape is to increase the max Atk of a Treant, consequently causing it to drain more life. Phoenix Feather - Excellent. Compared to the Ring of Vitality, it grants 10% or more additional HP. The Phoenix Feather's real strength is contingent on how powerful a faction's spell is. The logic is that, if your hero is reduced to 0 HP, then it is probably because you took a lot of damage. Therefore, your spell has probably charged. Becoming revived next turn gives you an opportunity to use that spell when you would not have otherwise. Anwen's spell is probably the best in the game, and Findan's is very good. Having the opportunity to use these spells one more time, especially as Anwen, is a game-winner. With the Phoenix Feather, Anwen gets up and deals a finishing blow to the opposing hero. It's an excellent artifact for the Sylvan faction. >> Faction-specific discussion includes unmarked spoilers for unit types and heroes. << = Haven Faction #0005 ========================================================= The most defensive faction. You have extremely tough walls, strong but slow units, and special abilties that emphasize defense. Haven's play style emphasizes fortifying your battlefield and then counter attacking. Haven Elites don't have very strong offensive abilities, so you will typically want to pair an Elite for defense and a Champion for offense. Haven Walls - Haven walls are solid. They don't have any special ability, but they more than make up for this by having the highest base Pwr of any wall in the game. With an impressive maximum of 16 Pwr, even base strength walls can block weaker un-Linked units, like Archers and Hunters. Full strength Haven walls are nigh-impenetrable to most Core units, with the exception of Linked Gremlins (although they fare better against them than other walls). Use individual Haven walls to form a solid protection against early attacks by Core units, so you can charge your Champions safely. Later, layered Haven walls prove more effective at resisting the powerful attacks of Champions than other factions. For this reason, I feel that Haven walls are the best in the game. It is hard to overstate just how useful having a really tough wall is. Haven walls make it very difficult for other factions to threaten you with Core units, and keep your idle Champions safe until you can charge them. They are also the best walls at mitigating Champion-level damage. = Haven Strategies #0005a ===================================================== Low-Tier Offense This strategy is especially useful in the first half of the Haven Campaign mode. It utilitizes 3x Spearmen, and optionally any high-tier units you need to level up. The Golden Spear is easily available and ideal for this strategy, but the Lion's Mane can work too. Spearmen have a special ability called First Strike. When they attack, they don't lose Atk value if they hit any unit equal or lower to their Atk value. Against idle core units and weaker formations, they can pierce through a column and inflict damage equal to their full strength. Golden Spear applies this benefit against walls, too. This fixes the major problems of using Core units for offense, in that they cannot usually pierce through multiple walls and massed idle units. Large numbers of Linked Golden Spearmen are commandos that roll over any idle units, Core formations, and walls and do full damage to the opposing hero. Fused Spearmen can even overrun some Elites. The only way to reliably block a Golden Spearman is with a Gremlin, a charging Elite, or a Champion (idle or otherwise). Solid, as far as Core offense goes. Later on, the Spearmen strategy loses some steam as hero hit point totals get higher, but against lower hit point totals, you can defeat the opposing hero more quickly with Spearmen than with your slower Champion attacks. This makes this strategy ideal for the first half of the Haven Campaign. The weakness of this strategy is that Spearmen are fragile, and terrible at defending if they are attacked before they resolve their own attacks. This makes this strategy much less useful against faster factions, like Sylvan. You must keep the Linked Spearmen alive in order to attack effectively. Fortunately, Haven's excellent walls are useful at preserving them. Against later opponents that have Champions, the Spearmen don't have enough DPT to mount a significant defense. Dual Angels This strategy utilizes 1-2x Swordsmen or Spearmen, 1-2x Archers, Angels, and optionally Sword Masters. Dwarven Hammer and King's Crown work well for this strategy, granting extra actions to get your Angels charged sooner. Angels heal other CFs for a substantial amount of hit points. It is difficult, but if you can get two Angels charging at the same time, then they heal each other, becoming almost impossible to destroy. Any chip damage from Core or Elite units is rapidly healed. The only way to destroy an Angel in this state is with overwhelming damage from an opposing champion. Ideally, both Angels attack with close to their maximum Atk value, dealing a crushing blow. Sword Masters don't appear very often, so they compliment Angels well. Sword Masters are stronger than Angels, so it benefits your offense and defense if it drops. If not, you will almost always receive two Angels, and execute your primary strategy. The weakness of this strategy is that it is very Champion-dependant. If the opponent has Djinn, Sorcerers, or, to a lesser extent, Druids, they can shut your strategy down and pick off the Angels one by one. Balanced High-Tier This strategy uses 1-2x Swordsmen or Spearmen, 1-2x Archers, Knights, and Sword Masters. Dwarven Hammer or King's Crown work well for this strategy. This is a basic, balanced Haven setup. Knights make good mobile "walls", and have a decent max Atk. Sword Masters have the highest base Atk in the game, so they are excellent attackers and defenders. In this strategy, you protect yourself initially with the Knights, then get a Swordmaster charged and make a strong attack by linking it with the rest of your units. It's a strategy that is balanced between offense and defense. The weakness of this strategy is that, without healing, you have no answer to spell damage. = Haven Heroes #0005b ========================================================= Godric is the Haven hero featured in Campaign mode. Godric's spell is Holy Shield. It creates a barrier of walls over your hero zone (behind the rest of your battlefield) that block damage equal to half of his maximum HP (50 at level 10). The barrier only lasts for 1 turn; use it just before an enemy attacks with a formation or formations that would deal significant damage to you. Try not to save it overlong though, or any additional mana you gain will be wasted as overflow (more about this in the strategy section). I feel this spell is about average. Combined with Haven's defensive units, Holy Shield gives you very good survivability, but it does nothing to directly improve your offense (although you can play more recklessly with it and ignore a few more enemy formations than normal in favor of attacking through empty columns). Varkas is unlocked for Quick Battle mode by completing the Haven campaign. Varkas' spell is Elrath's Sword. Amusingly, when you cast it in battle, it is called Edric's Sword. This is a typo. Elrath's Sword damages all the squares in the first two rows of the enemy battlefield. The first row (the row closest to you) receives damage equal to 10% of Varkas' maximum HP per square. The second row receives damage equal to 5% of Varkas' maximum HP per square. This works out to 10 damage and 5 damage per square, respectively, assuming Level 10. Assuming a Champion was fully within the first two rows, it would take 30 damage altogether. An Elite or Core unit would take 15. This seems a little underwhelming to me, when you consider that Anwen's spell does 50 damage, and Cyrus' staff explodes for up to 85 damage. Elrath's Sword weakens units, but it doesn't typically destroy anything but Core formations, walls, and weaker Elites. It's great for popping idle units in the first two rows, but does nothing to hit units further back. Overall, I feel this spell is a little underpowered. It is easy for a human player to reduce or avoid the damage by keeping his units out of the first two rows with walls. That's not to say that the spell isn't useful, though. = Haven Units #0005c ========================================================== Unless I'm going for a Spearmen offense, I like to field 1-2x Swordsmen, 1-2x Archer (for variety of timing). The selection of High-tier units depends on what strategy you are going for. I tend to prefer Knights, Angels, and Sword Masters best. Priests are weak, but make up for this somewhat by making your hero difficult to defeat. If you can land a Linked Sword Master attack, it's often a game winner. Core Swordsmen - Atk 11, Pwr 3, Charge 3, DPT 3.67. Swordsmen are average Core units. Attack Type: Melee Pros: Setting aside Gremlins, Swordsmen are tied with Horned Demons as the Core units with the highest base Atk. This makes them decent at busting walls, and they have a good chance of doing at least a little damage to the opposing hero. They are especially good candidates for Fusion. Cons: With a CT of 3, they are fairly slow. Their DPT isn't great. Spearmen - Atk 9, Pwr 2, Charge 3, DPT 3. Spearmen have amazing offense for a Core unit, but poor defense. Attack Type: Melee Special: Spearmen have a special ability called First Strike. When they attack, they don't lose HP if they hit idle units or CFs with equal or lower Atk values. They charge through weaker living units without weakening themselves. Spearmen are superb at attacking through rows of idle Core units that would ordinarily soak up all the damage of a Core formation. Walls still weaken (and probably stop) them, unless you equip the Golden Spear artifact. Pros: Thanks to the First Strike special, Spearmen are much better attackers than their stats would suggest. They are great at damaging the opposing hero through idle units and other Core formations. Since Spearmen don't lose much (if any) strength when attacking, this more than makes up for their low maximum Atk and DPT because they often inflict full damage to the opposing hero. Cons: Spearmen are awful at defending, with Pwr 2 and a pitiful DPT 3. They aren't good at blocking damage, even when idle. Archer - Atk 8, Pwr 3, Charge 2, DPT 4. Archers are faster than other Haven units, but a bit weak. Attack Type: Ranged Pros: Archers have a CT of 2, making them the fastest Haven units. They are fast enough to do passable Champion harassment, but don't excel at it, unlike Hunters. Archers have decent Pwr, so they are on par with Swordsmen as idle blockers. Cons: With a low max Atk, Archers aren't very good at piercing through walls or idle units, and have a hard time damaging the opposing hero. Elite Knight - Atk 30, Pwr 6, Charge 4, DPT 7.5. Knights are solid units that attack and defend equally well. Attack Type: Melee Special: A Knight begins charging with it's maximum Atk value. Note that a Knight doesn't gain any Attack with each turn of charging, because it begins fully charged. It can't recover from any damage it takes, for example. Pros: Knights are very useful as defensive blockers. You can almost think of them like portable walls; because they reach maximum Atk immediately, you can drop them and charge them at the last moment to throw up a defensive barrier comparable to 2 full-strength Haven walls. Unlike other Elites, you don't have to worry about Knights starting at half strength and getting picked off by Core units. These attributes make Knights synergize well with Angels. Knights provide an instant barrier, but don't recover HP when damaged. Angels heal the Knights, restoring them to their original offensive capacity. With a max Atk of 30, Knights inflict above average damage offensively. They are also good for Fusing. Cons: Knights have a fairly slow CT. This doesn't hinder their defensive effectiveness because of their special ability, but it does give an opponent plenty of time to defend against them. Priest - Atk 22, Pwr 4, Charge 4, DPT 5.5. Priests are weak Elites that are partially saved by a great special ability. They have good defensive utility, but terrible offense. Attack Type: Ranged Special: A Priest heals the hero for 3 HP each turn it charges. If you fuse Priests, it becomes 5. Pros: The healing ability is useful. You can recover from attacks that would put any other hero in danger of defeat, such as damaging spells. In combination with Holy Shield, your hero becomes nigh-unkillable. Priests become better when Fused. Cons: Priests are slow, have the worst max Atk of any Elite, and pitiful DPT. With a starting Atk of 11, Priests are extremely vulnerable to being picked off by attacking Core units immediately after they are formed. Gremlins make short work of them. Priests aren't very good at piercing through walls or idle units, either, by Elite standards. Champion Angel - Atk 115, Pwr 23, Charge 6, DPT 19.17. Angels are a Champion with average offense and a useful healing ability. Attack Type: Ranged Special: Angels heal your damaged formations when the charge each turn. The healing is equal to 25% (rounded up) of the healed formation's maximum HP. Therefore, the greater a unit's maximum Atk, the more it heals per turn. Priests heal 6 HP, Knights 8 HP, Griffins 26 HP, and Sword Masters 34 HP. If you have two Angels, they heal each other. Angels synergize well with units that have a lot of HP, because those units can recover the most damage every turn. Knights make a good compliment, too, because of their special ability. You can set up a Knight as a "wall" to block an attack, then have an Angel heal them up for a counterattack. Pros: Although they aren't as strong as Sword Masters, Angels are still strong and have many of the same advantages. Linking an Angel is easy, because it has a long CT. Link lots of Core units to an Angel to boost it's attack. The Angel's healing ability compliments Haven's defensive theme, and helps you counterattack. If your formations take a lot of damage during an Angel's CT, it is entirely possible that the Angel will make up for it's lower max Atk by restoring the attack potency of your other formations. Two Angels charging together are very difficult to get rid of by normal means. Angels are also much more common than Sword Masters, and you can count on them to arrive within reinforcements. Some players will favor that consistency. Cons: Angels have the slowest CT of 6. This gives an opponent plenty of time to prepare defenses against them. It also makes them particularly vulnerable to anti-Champion units like Druids and Sorcerers. Griffin - Atk 105, Pwr 21, Charge 5, DPT 21. Griffins are fairly average champions with a kamikaze attack. Attack Type: Melee Special: Griffins double their current Atk if they hit a stronger formation (usually another Champion). This has a kamikaze effect; the Griffin is removed as if it still had it's original Atk value, but the defending target is damaged as if the Griffin had twice the Atk. This almost always destroys whatever the Griffins hit. Unfortunately, this special does not apply to bosses or the opposing hero; I was disappointed that you cannot inflict double damage to the Haven chapter boss. Interestingly, Griffins inflict double damage to a Holy Shield that is stronger than them. Pros: Griffins are almost guaranteed to destroy a Champion they hit. They have average speed for a Champion, which lets them attack first before the slowest Champions. Cons: I don't find the special ability particularly useful, compared to Haven's other Champions. The Griffin is likely to destroy any unit it hits, but the Sword Master is likely to do the same, with it's huge max Atk. To take advantage of the special ability, you must also resolve your attack first. If the Griffin cannot go first, then it is no better at defending than any other 105 Atk unit. It would be better to defend with the massively-powerful Sword Master and then counter attack with the remaining Atk. Sword Master - Atk 135, Pwr 27, Charge 6, DPT 22.5. Sword Masters have a slow but extremely powerful attack. They have the highest base Atk in the game, being rivaled only by other Champions that have gained bonuses from Artifacts. Attack Type: Ranged Special: If a Sword Master damages the opposing hero, it inflicts a "Mortal Wound" in the form of ongoing damage. This inflicts 3 damage on each of the opponent's turns until the end of the battle (either hero is defeated). Once a Sword Master has hit a hero, the opposing player has a limited timeframe in order to achieve victory. If a hero has the misfortune of being hit by multiple Sword Master attacks, then the ongoing damage stacks for each one. Pros: With the highest base Atk in the game, Sword Masters can beat other base Champions in a one-on-one battle, with a few exceptions. Resolving a highly-Linked Sword Master attack is often a game-winner, as it is very hard to defend against. Linking a Sword Master is easy, because it has a very long CT; Link lots of Core units to a Sword Master to boost it's overwhelming attack. The Mortal Wound special compliments Haven's strengths very well. It puts pressure on the opponent to win quickly, when Haven excels at a waiting game. The Sword Master has a very high Pwr, so it can make an emergency wall, if need be. Cons: Sword Masters have the slowest CT of 6. This gives an opponent plenty of time to prepare defenses against them. It also makes them particularly vulnerable to anti-Champion units like Druids and Sorcerers. Availability is another problem with the Sword Master. As Haven's unlockable "rare" unit, and a Champion, it has a very limited stock of 3 units. This means that the Sword Master has a fairly low chance to arrive with reinforcements; you might not get one in the initial drop, or even within the first several turns. I have observed battles where I selected Sword Masters and never received them among reinforcements. For this reason, I like to pair Swordmasters as a compliment to more common units like Knights or Angels. = Haven Artifacts #0005d ====================================================== Haven faction can pick from a choice array of amazingly good Artifacts. There are several excellent options to choose from. King's Crown and Dwarven Hammer grant substantial (sometimes game-breaking) numbers of bonus actions, while the Golden Spear grants excellent low-tier offense. The Crown of Elrath is good, and the Staff of Elrath provides an interesting alternate strategy. Staff of Elrath - Average. Works as described; each Priest inflicts 3 damage per turn to the opposing hero while it charges, instead of healing you. Damage inflicted in this way does not increase the opposing hero's mana. This damage scales with Fused priests, as well. You can utilize Haven's excellent defense to gradually wear down the opposing hero with ongoing damage, so it's a decent strategy, if slow. Winged Helm - Poor. This artifact gives Griffins the Knight's special; they have full Atk as soon as they are formed, and don't recover any Atk on subsequent turns. This ability just isn't as valuable for a Champion as it is for an Elite, though. Full Atk is excellent for an Elite, because otherwise it is in danger of being picked off by Core units when newly formed. There is also the "portable wall" factor of Elites. They can be charged quickly, so you can drop them in on the last turn to block a formation. Griffins, on the other hand, face little threat of being destroyed early, even if newly formed, and can't be charged quickly enough to create a sudden defense. The niche use for this ability is if you need to quickly block a Champion-level attack at the last moment. Champions have long CTs, though, so you should have plenty of time to establish defenses even without this item. Crown of Elrath - Good. It does exactly what it says; your mana gauge fills twice as fast, no matter what means you use to fill it. Haven spells are average to good, so casting them twice as often is not a bad thing. Perhaps slightly better for Varkas, since you can use his spell proactively, but Godric can benefit too if you're in a bind. King's Crown - Excellent. It removes the action cost for reinforcement, which overturns all the rules about reinforcement. You can essentially spam reinforce whenever you want. Need another orange unit for that combo? King's Crown. Need idle blockers immediately, but don't want to sacrifice your offense? King's Crown. On average, it gives you a free action every few turns, or possibly more often, depending on how frequently you need to reinforce. Just make sure you don't get carried away and bury important units by spamming reinforce too often. Golden Spear - Good. Spearmen's First Strike (see the Spearman unit to get a recap of how that works) also applies to walls. This makes Spearmen into one of the deadliest Core units, offensively. The opposing player is essentially forced to block them by actively forming Elites or Champions. This creates a great low-tier offense, especially in Campaign mode, where HP totals are lower. I haven't rated this Artifact as highly as others, because Spearmen cannot defend adequately against Champions. This Artifact is superb early in the Campaign, but should be replaced later in the Campaign when Champions become a threat. Blessed Helm - Poor to Average. Provides a 10% chance of Critical Hit. Great! Wait, what does Critical Hit even do!? After testing, I believe this is how it works: Critical Hits only occur when you hit/damage the opposing hero. When you inflict damage to the opposing hero with a formation that has lost Atk value (by being damaged prior to attacking or by destroying units/formations/walls etc. during it's attack) a Critical Hit causes that formation to inflict damage as if it had it's normal maximum Attack value. In other words, a Critical hit causes a formation to inflict damage as it if had not been damaged at all. This is an interesting mechanic, but I don't think it will replace the substantial action bonus of King's Crown or Dwarven Hammer. It can't be ignored, either. Although the chance is only 10%, if a unit reaches a critical mass of initial Atk, it has a chance to instagib an opposing hero no matter how little damage it inflicts. If a Sword Master reaches 150 damage when it's attack resolves (only 1 Link needed) it has a 10% chance of defeating the opposing hero if it inflicts even a single point of damage. This could have interesting applications for multiplayer, although it's probably unnecessary in single player. Dwarven Hammer - Excellent. The Dwarven Hammer eliminates the action cost to delete a wall. At first, I thought this wasn't very useful, then I realized the game-breaking potential of deleting walls to drop units into formations. Ordinarily, the net gain is 0, but if you remove the cost of deletion, you gain an action every time. If you plan well, you can gain almost as many actions as you want. You can reinforce, create a wall or two, then generate several more actions by deleting walls and dropping units down. There have been occasions where I decided I didn't like a particular drop, so I turned all reinforcements into walls, gaining actions in the process, deleted the walls, and then reinforced again for a "do-over". You can often do this multiple times, accumunlating actions as you go, until you have set up as many Linked formations as you want. This item also allows unparalleled control of your defenses; you can create walls to block only the columns you need, then delete any other walls, freeing up reinforcements. This item even enables shenaningans like deleting every wall before reinforcing every time, to ensure that you always get the maximum unit count/chain potential for each drop. Even if the results are less predictable than the King's Crown, this item can enable some really insane action gains and lead to some impressive combos. It also keeps your battlefield uncluttered and focused on offense. This might be my favorite Haven Artifact, but it can be challenging for a new player to use effectively. It's also more luck dependant. I would advise players to compare it to the King's Crown and see which one you prefer. There is a rumored exploit for this Artifact that results in a formation with infinite damage. See the Exploit section for more information. Lion's Mane - Good. The Haven faction benefits very well from Fusion. Spearmen justify Lion's Mane almost by themselves; they are the perfect candidates for Fusion, being able to run over Elites and inflict full damage. Swordsmen and Knights are slow enough that they are easy to Fuse, as well. The Priest's healing ability stacks when Fused, so there is so wasted opportunity there. Champion Fusion is always hit or miss, but a Fused Sword Master is nigh-unstoppable. Doubling Cape - Average. Haven's slow Champions, particularly Angels and Sword Masters, provide lots of time to set up large Links with Core units. This increases the effectiveness of those Links. Doubling Cape is also one of your few options for increasing Atk. This Artifact is overshadowed by other options, though. Phoenix Feather - Poor. Haven's defense is already good enough without the extra HPs, and the potential spellcasting benefit isn't as compelling when your spells are average and you could take the Crown of Elrath to cast them twice as often. There are better artifacts to pick from for Haven. >> Faction-specific discussion includes unmarked spoilers for unit types and heroes. << = Necropolis Faction #0006 ==================================================== A well balanced faction. Depending on the artifacts you pick, Necropolis can be either defensive or offensive. Many of your units have extremely useful special abilities. The Elites, in particular, are extremely useful, so you will generally want to use one. Necropolis Walls - Necropolis walls are average. They have 6/12 Pwr, which puts Necropolis on par with Sylvan. Full strength walls are fairly decent at blocking unlinked Core formations, weaker Core units, and Elites (when massed). The special ability of the Necropolis wall creates additional walls when any idle units are destroyed. When any Necro units is destroyed, it leaves behind an "inactive" wall in it's space, which drops down to create a new Necropolis wall on your next turn (or merge with other walls created by this special). The Pwr of the wall created varies. Core units leave behind a single 1 Pwr wall, Elite units leave behind two 1 Pwr walls, and Champion units leave behind four 2 Pwr walls (two per column). I find this special ability to be more detrimental than useful. Usually, if your idle units are being destroyed, then it is likely that your opponent has already launched all his attacks from that column, and so creating additional walls there is unnecessary. The created walls have a low Pwr anyway, so it rarely provides any useful blocking. Automatic wall creation only serves to clutter up your battlefield, preventing Fusion, locking up spare reinforcements, and wasting actions if you decide to delete unneeded walls. Unnecessary wall creation is directly detrimental to Fiona, as it locks up reinforcements that could be used to increase her spell's damage potential. When it is convenient to do so, try deleting walls to make chains, especially if you can combo without creating additional walls. This helps to keep Necropolis' clutter to a minimum. I'd rate Necropolis below Sylvan's wall, which has, in my opinion, a more useful special ability that doesn't clutter your battlefield. Necropolis is still better than Academy and Inferno factions, though, which have walls made of paper. This places Necropolis solidly in the middle, regarding wall effectiveness. = Necropolis Strategies #0006a ================================================ Spider Cloak & Vampires (Offensive) This strategy abuses the overpowered Spider Cloak artifact. It utilitizes 3x Zombies, Vampires, and any Champion (solo Vampires work great in Campaign mode, too). Obviously the Spider Cloak is the Artifact of choice. You start each battle with dangerously low health, so your first priority is to get your Vampires charging. Use a combination of walls and Zombies to block the incoming damage of any Core units (and faster Elites). If you can survive until your double-strength Vampires attack; you are almost guaranteed to win. The Vampires are very strong, and will drain back a substantial amount of health when/if they damage the opposing hero. Additionally, you will have huge Atk advantage against any other Faction going forward. The weakness of this strategy is that unguarded attacks, Fused Core units, and fast Elites like Unicorns and Sorcerers can one-shot you early on. If your Vampires don't drain enough health, damaging spells like Sniper Shot and Blood Ritual are a threat too. You have to play extremely aggressively and block opposing attacks with your own, more powerful, formations. Ghosts & Blood Ring/Ritual Dagger (Defensive) This strategy utilizes 3x Zombies, Ghosts, and any Champion. Blood Ring or Ritual Dagger are preferred. Charging Ghosts are portable, invulnerable walls. Place them in front of Core units to negate their attacks, or stack multiple Ghosts in front of Champions and Elites to reduce damage. If you take damage, Blood Ring and Ritual Dagger are utilized in place of Vampires to recover health. With Ghosts providing a stable defense, you can attack safely with your Champion. This is a balanced strategy with no obvious weaknesses. With only one Champion, though, it will have a somewhat weak offense, since Ghosts aren't great offensively. Dual Threat Champions This strategy utilizes 2-3x Zombies, 0-1x Ebon Guard, Wraiths, and one of any other Champion. This is a strategy that heavily favors Markal. The best way to take advantage of Markal's spell, Death March, is to charge two Champions at once with it. Idle Champions are more vulnerable to attack than Elites, and more difficult to charge. The advantage of charging them instantly is obvious. An opposing player will have a very difficult time defending against two Champions at the same time, especially if one or both of those is a Wraith. One Champion threatens the opponent with massive damage, while the other poses the threat of instant death. The opponent will often have to compromise between blocking one Champion or the other. To create this scenario, simply survive with Zombies and chain combos to build up the mana gauge until the spell is available, after which you set up your dual attack. The weakness of this strategy is that it has little early offense, isn't very mobile, and is slow. It's very vulnerable to factions that specialize in handicapping Champions, as well as those with strong skirmishers. = Necropolis Heroes #0006b ==================================================== Fiona is the Necro hero featured in Campaign mode. Her spell is called Blood Ritual. The end result of the spell is somewhat similar to Anwen's Sniper Shot; you fire a magical bolt down a single column, inflicting heavy damage. However, the damage of Fiona's spell is determined in a completely different manner, which rarely achieves it's maximum damage potential. This makes it somewhat more balanced than Sniper Shot. When you use Fiona's spell, all idle Core units currently on your battlefield are immediately destroyed (being converted into idle walls in the process) and converted into damage. The damage is equal to half the total Power of all the units destroyed this way. In this manner the maximum possible damage is contingent on three factors: 1) The number of idle Core units currently available (not in an active formation, or converted into a wall). 2) The Power individual Core units absorbed. 3) The total number of reinforcements allowed to your hero (your unit cap). Since the damage potential is heavily based on the Power of your Core units, Zombies are by far the best Core unit for increasing the damage of Fiona's spell (and for Necropolis in general, more about that in the units subsection). Each Zombie destroyed inflicts 4 Pwr/2 damage, or 2 damage per Zombie. The total maximum damage if you absorbed a full 32 idle Zombies (your maximum unit cap) would be 64, even more powerful than Anwen's Sniper shot at Level 10. However, in a realistic scenario, the damage is far lower, anywhere between 30 to 50. Unfortunately, there will always be at least a few units converted into walls by the Necropolis' wall ability by the time you charge the spell, and your Champions and/or Elites take up some of your unit cap. To get the best damage out of Blood Ritual, it is best to cast it when you have few active Core formations on the battlefield (perhaps immediately after several Linked formations attacked). You should also ensure that you have as many idle units on the battlefield as possible before casting. Reinforce if necessary. Overall, Fiona's spell is fantastic, but it requires just a little more consideration to achieve the best results than Sniper Shot. Markal is unlocked for Quick Battle mode by completing the Necropolis campaign. Markal's spell, Death March, instantly Charges all idle Elites and/or Champions currently on the battlefield. Since you can have a maximum of 4 Elites, 2 Elites and 1 Champion, or 2 Champions on the battlefield, it is best to cast the spell after you have reinforced and gotten several high-tier units to drop. This spell saves you many actions which would be spent clearing unneeded units and charging the high-tier units. Death March creates a nice mobility advantage, too. It is simple to pick up a high-tier unit, drop it in the most advantageous strategic position, and then charge it instantly with Death March. You can also create chains with this power. When you activate units with Death March, they ascend to the top of the column as normal, moving idle Core units to the rear. If a formation is divided by the Champion or Elite, then activating it with Death March will cause those units to come together and create a chain. Keep an eye out for these combos when you prepare to use Death March. The most dangerous threat of Death March, though, is that it can create Fusions from same-colored units in far fewer turns. It wouldn't be too far-fetched to Fuse three Elites in a single turn with Death March, suddenly creating a formation that is very difficult to block. With several obvious advantages, Markal's spell is fairly solid. The only downside is that it doesn't remove the inherent weaknesses of high-tier units that have a long CT. Your opponent still has several turns of opportunity to react to your spell by countering or defending against your units. = Necropolis Units #0006c ===================================================== Zombies are hands down the best Necropolis Core unit. They are much tougher than the other Necro Core units, and don't have significantly worse offense. I always take three of them, but you might try adding an Ebon Guard for timing variety. Even then, I'd only consider it as Markal. Taking non-Zombie Core units immediately decreases the damage potential of Fiona's spell. If I'm using Spider Cloak or Blood of the One, I take Vampires. If I'm using the Blood Ring or the Ritual Dagger, I take Ghosts. The remaining unit can be anything; each of the Champions has distinct advantages, but I prefer Bone Dragons myself. With the Spider Cloak, Vampires are perfectly capable of clearing the Campaign mode solo. Core Skeleton - Atk 9, Pwr 3, Charge 2, DPT 4.5. Skeletons are somewhat unremarkable units. They are statistically better than Zombies until the latter reaches level 5. After that, Zombies are better. Attack Type: Melee Pros: It's slightly better as a skirmisher than the Zombie. That single point of Atk can mean the difference between piercing a base wall and not. It's got decent DPT, particularly at lower levels. Cons: Nothing remarkable. It's not particularly strong, weak, tough, or flimsy. Zombie - Atk 8, Pwr 4, Charge 2, DPT 4. Zombies are an extremely good Core unit, with the best idle toughness of any Core unit. This makes them amazing at defense. A Zombie is significantly weaker defensively if you Charge it the turn before it is attacked; it is better to leave the units idle if they don't have enough turns to resolve an attack. A candidate for best Core unit. Attack Type: Melee Special: When a Zombie hits an opposing formation, it inflicts a Plagued Bite, which does ongoing damage. The damage is equal to 2 per turn, and it stacks if multiple Zombie formations hit the same target. The plague damage does not double if a Zombie is Fused, however. Pros: Zombies have the highest idle toughness of any Core unit, with 4. As a group, this makes them exceedingly good as meatshields to block Core and Elite attacks. The ongoing damage special is useful, and can add up to a significant penalty against units with a long CT, like Champions. If a Zombie can resolve an attack, the ongoing damage generally makes up for any base Atk gap there would be between Zombies and other Necro Core units. It is also one of the few things that can damage a charging Ghost. Fiona's spell is based on the toughness of her Core units, so the more Zombies you use, the greater her spell damage will be. Cons: Zombies are somewhat weak with a max Atk of 8. This makes them poor at breaking through walls and idle units, where their plague damage isn't an advantage. By extension, Zombies aren't very good at damaging the opposing hero, either. The ongoing damage makes up for this somewhat against targets the Zombies can hit early, and that have a several turn CT (Champions, especially CT6 ones). Of course, if you use the Spider Cloak, this is overturned, and Zombies become the best Core unit, hands down. Ebon Guard - Atk 10, Pwr 3, Charge 3, DPT 3.33. Ebon Guard are underpowered and slow. Attack Type: Melee Pros: It has a different CT than Zombies and Skeletons, so you might include it for variety. Cons: It has low maximum Atk for a 3-Turn Core unit, is slow, and has poor DPT. It's just not very good. Compare it to the Imp, which has a useful special to make up for it's statistics, or the Bear/Swordsmen/Horned Demon, all of which are statistically better. A candidate for worst Core unit. Elite Vampire - Atk 27, Pwr 5, Charge 4, DPT 6.75. Vampires have low-to-average Atk, but their attack drains HP. Attack Type: Melee Special: Vampires have a special called Blood Drain. When they hit the opposing hero, your hero gains HP equal to the damage dealt. There is a lot of overlap between Vampires and the Blood Ring/Ritual Dagger Artifacts. Choosing both makes you very durable, but might be overkill. Pros: Blood Drain is a very useful special ability. It synergizes amazingly well with the Spider Cloak. With this Artifact, you begin with 10% of your maximum health, and gain a 100% Atk bonus. When a Vampire hits the opposing hero, a great deal of your missing HP is restored. Even if you aren't using the Spider Cloak, the HP gains from Vampires respectably increase your survivability. Fused Vampires drain even more HP. Cons: Vampires aren't particularly good at defending; they start with a low initial HP value making them vulnerable to attacks from Core units. They also have low DPT, and a slow CT. Ghost - Atk 26, Pwr 5, Charge 4, DPT 6.5. Ghosts are excellent defenders that are invulnerable while charging. Attack Type: Melee Special: Ghosts do not take damage from most sources while charging; they are effectively invulnerable, with few exceptions. The only time a Ghost can be destroyed is while idle. When an opposing formation hits a Ghost, it's Atk is reduced by the Ghost's current HP value. If the attacking formation survives, it moves through the Ghost without harming it. Charging Ghosts can only be destroyed by other Ghosts, the Wraith's Death Touch, and Djinn (in combination with another unit). Zombies and Emerald Dragons can also damage Ghosts with their ongoing damage, but probably not enough to actually destroy them. Ghosts are penalized by Druids and frozen by Djinn, but cannot be damaged by either unit. Sorcerers do not return Ghosts to an idle state; they have no special effect on Ghosts. Pros: Ghosts are amazing defenders. Once they are charged, you don't have to worry about them dying. There is little consequence to charging Ghosts at the last moment, giving them a "portable wall" effect. In that regard, they are similar to Knights. Few Core units can pierce through Ghost formation; such attacks are effectively negated in a Ghost's column. Stacked or Fused Ghosts can reduce or negate the damage of Elites and Champions without the potential consequence of losing your own stock, either. Succubus are crippled by the Ghost's special ability. Succubus attack four times, but do no damage to the Ghost each time. So the Ghost reduces a Succubus' Atk by four times it's current HP value; often, the Succubus' attack cannot pierce the Ghost, and so it's damage is effectively negated. Charging Ghosts are immune to many special attacks and spells, as well, which is extremely useful against heroes that specialize in destroying opposing formations, like Nadia and Varkus. A consequence of not taking damage while charging also means that Ghosts always resolve their attack with their maximum Atk value. Ghosts have below average maximum attack, but opposing players must still defend against them, because they always attack at full strength. Cons: Ghosts are one of the weaker Elites in terms of max Atk and DPT. They aren't particularly effective at attacking the opposing hero. Their slow CT means it takes a few turns for their "damage negation" to ramp up, even if they can't be destroyed. Champion Bone Dragon - Atk 105, Pwr 20, Charge 5, DPT 21. Bone Dragons are a fairly average Champion with a potent offensive special ability. Attack Type: Melee Special: Bone Dragons devour idle units they hit; instead of decreasing the Atk of the Bone Dragon by the idle unit's toughness, it is instead increased by that toughness. Bone Dragons can quickly accumulate a significant Atk bonus by eating numerous idle units, particularly idle Champions. Pros: Bone Dragons are difficult to block. The opponent must create walls or active formations to block a Bone Dragon, because idle units will only strengthen it. Essentially, the opponent is forced to react against a Dragon. If you use the Spider Cloak, Bone Dragons are massively powerful, with 210 base Atk, a near unstoppable figure. The Cursed Shield also synergizes well with Bone Dragons, and is less risky. Although their max Atk is lower than the Death Knight, they make up the difference in Atk if they hit only 8 Pwr worth of idle units. That is only 2 Zombies, or 3 of any average 3 Pwr Core unit. Doing this is fairly easy against the AI. Additionally, Bone Dragons have a slightly lower CT, which makes them a little better overall, in my opinion. Cons: Bone Dragons don't have any special weaknesses, aside from the usual ones associated with Champions. Their max Atk is a bit low (without the Spider Cloak), so the most powerful Champions like Death Knights and Sword Masters will defeat them in defensive battle. Death Knight - Atk 120, Pwr 24, Charge 6, DPT 20. Death Knights are oddly without a special ability. That aside, they are strong but slow. Attack Type: Ranged Special: None, as far as I can tell. Pros: It has above average Atk for a Champion. With the Spider Cloak, they have a crushingly powerful 240 base Atk, the highest base Atk in the game (after Artifacts). Cons: Death Knights have the usual shortcomings of Champion units. They have the slowest CT of 6. This gives opponents plenty of time to prepare defenses against them. It also makes them particularly vulnerable to anti-Champion units like Druids and Sorcerers. Wraith - Atk 67, Pwr 13, Charge 4, DPT 16.75. Wraiths are somewhere between an Elite and a Champion in strength, but they have a deadly special ability. Attack Type: Ranged Special: The Wraith has Death Touch. Anything a Wraith hits is destroyed, even the opposing hero. A Wraith's Atk is reduced by formations it hits, as normal. Pros: Wraiths exert a lot of pressure on the opposing player. If only 1 damage reaches the hero zone, that player is defeated, so the Wraith is a threat that must be defended against. This can force the opposing player to spend actions defending, putting you in a position of strategic advantage. Wraiths also excel at defeating opposing Champions. They will typically exhaust their Atk in the process, but a Wraith can destroy any Champion, no matter how powerful, so long as it can reach it. Finally, Wraiths are much faster than other Champions. With a CT of 4, they are as fast as some Elites, which can be a difficult threat to respond to for slower factions. With the Spider Cloak, Wraiths have power similar to other Champions, but retain their threatening special ability. It is challenging to block 134 base Atk completely. Cons: Wraiths have the lowest max Atk of any Champion; it is somewhere between an Elite and a Champion in Atk. It also has a lower DPT compared to other Champions. This makes Wraiths comparatively bad at defending against opposing formations; if a Wraith is on the receiving end of a Champion attack, it will likely be defeated. With Elite+ Atk distributed across two columns of potential blockers, Wraiths are also much easier than any other Champion to block. Massed Haven walls are particularly effective against the Wraith. Wraiths also have availability problems. They are the Necropolis' unlockable "rare" unit, and have an extremely small stock cap of 3. This means that the Wraith has a very low chance to arrive among reinforcements. For that reason, I don't recommend fielding solo-Wraiths. Pair them with another Champion, or an Elite. = Necropolis Artifacts #0006d ================================================= Necroplis faction has excellent Artifacts. Blood Ring and Ritual Dagger increase your durability, while Spider Cloak grants an absurdly overpowered Atk bonus at the cost of your durability. The Spider Cloak is probably the best Artifact for the single player campaign, but the Blood Ring or Ritual Dagger provide less risky alternatives. Blood Ring - Excellent. Each time you destroy an opposing idle unit, your hero gains HP equal to the Power of the destroyed unit. If you hit idle Champions or a full column of idle Core units, that HP can add up very quickly, conferring a respectable boost to your hero's longevity. Compared to the Ritual Dagger, this item is more active. You can potentially accumulate HP much more quickly by making strong attacks and clearing out a lot of idle units, but your opponent can also deny you HPs by making formations or walls. Blood Ring works best when your Core units can freely attack idle units on the opposing hero's battlefield. Units that throttle low-tier attacks, especially Unicorns, render this Artifact ineffectual; it would be better to use the Ritual Dagger instead. Twilight Urn - Appallingly Bad. This Artifact states that it "doubles the starting Pwr of walls created by fallen units". However, this is only partially true. This Artifact only doubles the Pwr of walls created when an idle Champion is destroyed. The walls created when idle Elite or Core units are destroyed are normal 1 Pwr ones. So you only get the benefit of this Artifact when one of your (very limited stock of) idle Champions is destroyed, a tactically disadvantageous situation that you would ordinarily avoid at all cost. A candidate for the worst artifact in the game. Ritual Dagger - Excellent. Each time you delete an idle unit, your hero gains HP equal to the Power of the deleted unit. You don't have to go out of your way, either; you can gain this HP just by creating chains and dropping units down normally. If you're really desperate, you can delete an idle Champion and gain an instant, sizable boost to your HP. Compared to the Blood ring, this item is more passive. You can't accumulate HPs without spending actions to do so, so you can't gain HP as rapidly as you could with the Blood Ring. However, you have complete control over how and when you gain HP, so your opponent can't do anything to prevent it. The Ritual Dagger isn't quite as good without the option to delete idle Champions in an emergency, so I'd rate it a bit lower if you are only using Elites. In the end, I think it's a matter of personal preference; both items have good points. Cursed Shield - Average. It halves the Pwr of your opponent's walls. This Artifact has several benefits, a rounding oddity, and a bug(?), which I shall explain. First, the benefits. It's a significant penalty to factions which depend heavily on their walls, particulary Haven. With this artifact, your Core units are actually able to pierce full strength walls and threaten the opposing hero's idle Champions, which is usually impossible because Zombies are weak offensively. This Artifact actually reduces the base Pwr of the opposing hero's walls, so it cripples the efficiency of Aidan's spell, Fiery Brimstone. This spell is dependant on the HP of Aidan's walls, and Cursed Shield halves that, making his spell deal half damage. It could be useful if you have trouble with this spell. Finally, it synergizes especially well with Bone Dragons and Wraiths. The opposing player is essentially forced to defend against the Bone Dragon with active formations, because he cannot defend with idle units and his walls are ineffectual. Similarly, weakened walls are easier for the Wraith and it's Death Touch to pierce. I feel that this Artifact is somewhat less valuable against the AI, though, because the AI rarely chooses to mass walls. Cursed Shield has some oddities, though. Factions with 10 Power walls (Inferno and Academy) have 6 Power against Cursed Shield. How does 50% of 10 = 6? I believe it is a result of a rounding error. The game uses the base Power of 5 (doubled to 10 to get the full strength wall) and halves it to 2.5, which it rounds up to get 3 Power. When fused to create a full strength wall, it becomes 6. An odd result of this is that, because Sylvan and Necropolis walls don't benefit from the rounding error, they end up having the same final wall Pwr as Inferno and Academy. The Factions benefitting from the rounding error are the least penalized by Cursed Shield, anyway, so it's even more incentive not to use this Artifact against them. The second thing I discovered is a potential bug. I say potential, because it may or may not be intended by the developers. When you use the Cursed Shield against the Necropolis Faction, the base Power of walls created when you destroy the opponent's idle units is doubled to 2 HP. It is as if the opponent gets a free Twilight Urn Artifact (and by that, I mean it works accurately to the Artifact's description, unlike the real Twilight Urn). One possible reason for this anomaly is that the developers may not have wanted to unfairly penalize the Necropolis wall's special ability. Although the Power of walls created by idle units is doubled, the overall Power of the wall is still halved, so the net result (unless there is a rounding issue) is that idle units are still negating the same damage, overall. 3 destroyed idle units create a 6 Power wall, which when halved negates 3 damage, so the math works out. If that was the intention, it seems like they should have also doubled the regeneration of the Sylvan wall, too. Very odd. Blood of the One - Good. It increases the Vampire's overall Atk by 25% the moment it is formed, raising Maximum base Atk to 34 and DPT to 8.5. This makes the Vampire better at both defending and attacking. The only problem with this Artifact is that it simply appears inferior compared to Spider Cloak's absurd 100% Atk boost, which applies to all units, not just Vampires. Still, Vampires are a good Elite and worth using, so you might consider this Artifact if you want more Atk but don't want to start with dangerously low HP. Talon's Talon - Terrible to Poor. Works as described. The Bone Dragon gains double the Pwr of devoured enemies as an Atk bonus. This is reasonably good against the AI, but an intelligent opponent will minimize the effect of this artifact by keeping idle units away from the Bone Dragon. The real problem is that the Spider Cloak confers an Atk boost to the Bone Dragon that is an order of magnitude greater than even the best Atk bonus you could hope for with this Artifact. Spider Cloak - Easily one of the most overpowered artifacts in the game. All of your units gain 100% (double) Atk as soon as they are formed. The effect is similar to gaining a free Fusion for every attack formation you create. Vampires drain a silly amount of health, Ghosts are amazing blockers, Wraiths are a terrifying threat, and your other Champions are generally one-shot knockouts. Even your Core units are respectable attackers. The downside of this is that you start with only 10% of your maximum health. Even a single Core formation can defeat you if you fail to guard against it. The point that makes this Artifact overpowered is that your health isn't capped at 10%; it can be restored to maximum by healing effects. Vampires, with the huge Atk bonus, can easily drain enough HP when attacking to restore your HP back to safe levels. It's a very swingy Artifact; either a stray attack breaks through early and you are defeated in one hit, or you survive until your Vampires attack, recover the majority of your HP, and then generally steamroll your opponent. This Artifact trivializes Campaign mode if used carefully. Lion's Mane - Average. Necropolis Core units aren't especially Fusion friendly, but their Elites benefit well enough. Ghosts turn into massive damage blockers, and Vampires drain more HP. Doubling Cape - Terrible. The Doubling Cape compares really poorly to Blood of the One and Spider Cloak, both of which outstrip the benefits of the Doubling Cape in bonus Atk, and additionally strengthen units before the attack is resolved. The latter Artifacts are simply superior for both offense and defense. Phoenix Feather - Poor to Average. You would probably receive greater survivability benefits from equipping either the Blood Ring or the Ritual Dagger. The increased longevity consequently lets you take more damage for the purpose of charging your spell more often. The Phoenix Feather lets you do this to a lesser extent, and Necropolis' spells are quite good. The logic is that, if your hero is reduced to 0 HP, then it is probably because you took a lot of damage. Therefore, your spell has probably become charged. Reviving next turn gives you an opportunity to use that spell when you would not have otherwise. Fiona's spell is occasionally equal to Sniper Shot, and Markal's spell is fairly solid too, so it's not as bad as it could be. >> Faction-specific discussion includes unmarked spoilers for unit types and heroes. << = Inferno Faction #0007 ======================================================= Inferno is a very offensively-oriented faction. You've got paper-thin walls, so you need to create attack formations immediately, or risk losing your idle high-tier units. The Inferno Faction has several good Elite units, but the Champions are poor to average. Not only do the Elites have more desirable special abilities than the Champions, they can also be charged quickly (keeping them safer from early Core attacks). This Faction favors it's Elites as a result of these two factors. Inferno Walls - Inferno walls are fairly poor. They have a base Pwr of 5, and a max Pwr of 10. Ranged attackers like Hunters and Apprentices shoot right through base strength walls. Even full strength walls are little barrier to most Core units, especially when Linked. The Inferno wall ability is additional fire damage. Units that cross the walls in order to attack ("melee" units) take extra fire damage proportional to the current HP of the wall. This damage is equal to 25% (rounded up) of the wall's current HP/Pwr. This damage is inflicted twice, once for each tile the attacking formation passes beyond the wall. Here are a few examples to better explain how it works. 10 HP wall (full strength normal wall) * 25% = 2.5, rounded to 3 fire damage per tile. 10 HP wall + 3 fire damage to melee units x 2 tiles = 16 damage total. A 13 Atk melee unit attacks a wall with an idle Core unit behind it. It would take 10 damage for hitting the wall, then 3 damage for crossing the tile. In this case, the attacking formation would be destroyed without damaging the idle Core unit. A 20 Atk melee unit attacks a wall with an idle Core unit behind it. It would take 10 damage for hitting the wall, 3 damage for crossing the next tile, destroy the idle unit behind the wall for 3 Pwr, and then take 3 damage for crossing a second tile. It takes 19 damage total, and would inflict 1 damage to the hero. 8 HP wall (full strength w/ Rage Shield) * 25% = 2. 8 HP wall + 2 x 2 damage. Total damage = 12. 5 HP wall (base strength normal wall) * 25% = 1.25, does not round up. 5 HP wall + 1 x 2 damage. Total damage = 7. 4 HP wall (base strength w/ Rage Shield) * 25% = 1. 4 HP wall + 1 x 2 damage. Total damage = 6. It is possible to do 0 fire damage if 25% of the wall's HP doesn't round up to 1. 1 HP wall * .25 = .25. .25 doesn't round up, so it's 0 x 2 fire damage. A 2 HP Inferno wall blocking a melee unit blocks 4 times as much damage overall compared to a 1 HP one! On paper, it seems like Inferno walls offer similar protection to Sylvan or Necropolis walls, but this is only against melee units. It also takes several squares for the full fire damage to be applied, so the protection isn't as good for units standing immediately behind the wall. The point of a wall is to protect formations and idle high-tier units sitting behind it, but Inferno walls only offer their full protection after the unit has already attacked several squares. The really bad part about this ability is that the significant number of units that do not cross the walls to attack ("ranged" units) are completely unaffected. Examine the unit subsections to see which units are and aren't affected by Inferno's wall; units with the melee attack type are affected, while ranged units are not. A sizable part of the Inferno wall's damage mitigation is bound up in this special ability, so it's protective ability against ranged units is awful. For this reason, Inferno walls the strongest against the Necropolis and Inferno Factions, which have only melee-type Core units and a strong melee emphasis in the high-tier. They are the worst against Academy and Sylvan, which feature predominantly ranged attackers. I'm of the opinion that Inferno walls are the worst in the game. You can't rely on them to protect your idle units, and a good portion of the units in the game ignore your wall's special ability. = Inferno Strategies #0007a =================================================== Nightmare Cascade This is an offensive strategy that is especially good in the Inferno Campaign mode. It utilitizes 2x Hellhounds, 1x Imp or Horned Demon, and solo-Nightmares. You can optionally use Sorcerers. Celerity Ring, Rage Shield, and Thorn Whip are all good Artifact choices. The strategy is very straightforward. Get your Nightmares charging, Link them as much as you can, and then run over your opponent's battlefield with your cascade. Nightmares have great offense because they always attack simultaneously. Try stacking or Fusing Nightmares for even more damage. Sorcerers are ideal to fit into a solo strategy because they don't have enough availability to stand on their own. Sorcerers counter Champions, as well. Hellhounds give you an extra turn to charge all of your Nightmares, so that you have more actions available to Link them. Horned Demons add variety to the Link timing, as well. In Campaign mode, where hero HP totals are lower, you can often overrun opposing heroes on the first cascade. The weakness of this strategy is that it has unstable defense against Champions (if you don't get a Sorcerer, you can be in trouble). Elite Sorcerers This strategy uses Elites only. This strategy is viable for Inferno because both Sorcerers and Succubus are excellent counters to Champions. It utilizes 3x Imps or Horned Demons, Succubus, and Sorcerers. The Rage Shield or Fire Ring are the best Artifacts since you don't need many actions for this strategy. Another simple strategy. Elites generally cannot beat Sorcerers or Succubus one-on-one, and Champions are completely shut down by Sorcerers. Succubus are fairly good at defeating Champions too, especially in a group or Fused. This strategy doesn't have strong offense, because Succubus are poor at damaging the opposing hero, but you can wear down the opponent slowly with a relatively tough defense and your Sorcerers (who do have good offense). This is a good strategy against opponents without overpowering spells. The weakness of this strategy is that faster Champions can pose a problem if you get unlucky with Sorcerer arrival. This strategy also tends to inflict damage in smaller increments, granting opposing heroes multiple opportunities to charge and cast powerful damage spells. Heroes like Anwen and Fiona will defeat you with their spells. Champion Sorcerers This strategy uses Champions in concert with Sorcerers. It utilizes 3x Imps or Horned Demons, Pit Fiends, and Sorcerers. Celerity Ring and Rage Shield are the best Artifacts, but Devil's Tail and Chaos Crown might see use. Inferno Champions aren't great, but big damage is big damage. The best way to play this strategy is to charge your Champion, then charge your Sorcerers behind it. The Sorcerers attack and disable any Champions your opponent sets up to block yours, allowing you to smash through with a Pit Fiend for game winning damage. The weakness of this strategy sits on the Sorcerer's low arrival rate. You may begin the battle with two Pit Fiends, which leaves you without an answer to early attacks. Fiery Brimstone This strategy aims to exploit Aidan's spell, Fiery Brimstone, to its maximum potential. Only Hellhounds and Sorcerers are used, because they have a lower CT and free up reinforcements quickly. Celerity Ring works best for this strategy, and Rage Shield should be avoided because it decreases your spell damage. This strategy makes a few opening attacks to destroy idle Champions, inflict some damage and build up mana. After some mana is accumulated, stop attacking and do nothing but create as many walls as possible to convert into fireballs. Try to concentrate many walls into fewer columns, if you can. Fiery Brimstone can inflict extremely high damage if all your reinforcements are converted to full-strength walls beforehand; 100+ damage is possible. The best time to fire your spell is when your opponent has relatively few units on the battlefield (just before reinforcement). Save your Sorcerers to check your opponent's most important threats, particularly any Champions that are charged.This strategy is designed to defeat heroes with powerful spells, like Anwen. The damage is inflicted all in one large volley, so you attempt to either eliminate your opponent within a single turn or to waste enough mana as overflow that you will have the opportunity to defeat the opposing hero before their spell can be charged again. The weakness of this strategy is that it is passive. With many of your reinforcements locked up in walls, it can be difficult to respond effectively to your opponent's moves. If you are unlucky with your Sorcerer availability, your opponent could Link a devastating Champion attack against you. = Inferno Heroes #0007b ======================================================= Aidan is the Inferno's Campaign hero. His spell is called Fiery Brimstone. It converts every wall on your battlefield into a fireball (removing your walls in the process), which then fire upwards along their respective columns. The damage of each fireball is equal to the HP of the wall that created it. This has significant consequence, because one of the Inferno's most desirable Artifacts, the Rage Shield, decreases the HP of your walls, directly decreasing the damage potential of Aidan's spell. As a reminder, the HP of normal Inferno walls is equal to 5/10, so this is the maximum damage you can do per shot. The stronger the wall, the more damage is inflicted. I find Aidan's spell to be poor to average. Removing your walls can be a double edged sword. I like that it can quickly eliminate battlefield clutter. You can free up reinforcements, create space for Fusion, and occasionally create chains this way. However, there are times when your walls would negate more damage by remaining on the battlefield, because this spell doesn't account for the extra fire damage that Inferno walls can inflict. Fiery Brimstone is occasionally useful for destroying the opponent's idle high-tier units or as a finishing move, but it requires actions to set this spell up for best effect. You must create many walls to increase the damage potential of this spell, which is ordinarily an undesirable action (for Inferno especially). It can be difficult to balance between attacking effectively and accumulating enough walls to make this spell effective. Walls are created in horizontal segments, so the damage from this spell tends to be spread out among many columns. This makes it easy for the opposing hero to block the damage by creating his own walls or by blocking it with a horde of idle Core units. I've found the best timing for this spell is when the opposing player's battlefield is almost empty of units. When there are few idle Core units on the battlefield, this spell can inflict respectable damage to the opposing hero. Against the AI, you can easily predict the point just before it reinforces, and cast the spell then. Another good time might be after several of your Linked formations attacked, clearing most or all of the battlfield and leaving it open to attack. Overall, I definitely find the spell useful, but can't rate it as highly as other spells because it can be difficult to set up and use effectively. Jezebeth is unlocked for Quick Battle mode by completing the Inferno campaign. Jezebeth's spell is called Wall Crusher. It explodes all of the opposing player's walls, inflicting minor damage to units and formations adjacent to them. The damage is equal to 25% of the wall's current HP. Also note that the damage does not stack. If more than one wall would explode the same tile, only the highest damage is applied. Put another way, a formation can only be damaged by this power as many times as it has tiles. An Elite can be hit 2 times, a Core formation 3 times, and a Champion 4 times. The damage per tile of this spell is between 1 to 4 for each unit adjacent to an exploded wall. This means an Elite can take, at most, 8 damage from this spell in an ideal scenario. A Champion takes 16. In a realistic scenario (against factions other than Haven), the damage is even lower. Even one damage will destroy idle high-tier units near the walls, but against formations, this damage is insignificant. It will rarely destroy even Core formations. This leaves the utility of destroying walls. Against the AI, this is underpowered, because the AI rarely creates walls more than 2 rows deep. Against another player, this has some strategic threat. The player must choose between the threat of exploding walls, or choose to play without walls, which hinders chaining and defensive potential. With careful strategy, though, a player can manage the threat of this spell. You can negate much of the threat by placing an idle Core unit between your wall and the high-tier unit you intend to charge. In my opinion, this is the worst spell in the game. The opposing player has a lot of control over how effective your spell is. = Inferno Units #0007c ======================================================== All the Inferno Core units have their strong points, and have their roles in different strategies. Inferno Elites are very strong. Succubus are excellent at defeating other Champions and Elites, but are bad at damaging the opposing hero. Nightmares are great as a solo option, especially in the Campaign mode. Sorcerers are amazingly good, and are only handicapped by availability. Inferno Champions are poor to average. Since Inferno Elites are extremely good counters to Champions, it is perfectly viable, and perhaps optimal, to field Elites only. Core Horned Demon - Atk 11, Pwr 3, Charge 3, DPT 3.67. Horned Demons are average Core units. They are identical to Swordsmen. Attack Type: Melee Pros: Setting aside Gremlins, Horned Demons are tied with Swordsmen as the Core units with the highest base Atk. This makes them decent at busting walls, and they have a good chance of doing at least a little damage to the opposing hero. They are especially good candidates for Fusion. Cons: With a CT of 3, they are fairly slow. Their DPT isn't great. Imp - Atk 10, Pwr 3, Charge 3, DPT 3.33. Imps are slightly weaker than Horned Demons, but make up for this by draining mana. Attack Type: Melee Special: Imps drain mana whenever they damage the opposing hero. I don't know the exact formula, but they drain enough mana that the gauge is depleted slightly, even after the damage from the Imps. Pros: Although identical statistically to the terrible Ebon Guard, Imps make up for their lackluster stats with an awesome special ability. Several spells in this game are devastating when cast, so Imps are ideal against opponents with these spells. Consider Imps better than Horned Demons whenever the opponent has a powerful spell (Sylvan, Academy, and Necropolis Factions). This makes Imps quite good in multiplayer and in the Quick Battle mode. Imps drain more mana when they inflict more damage, so they are superb Fusion candidates. Cons: Imps aren't very good in Campaign mode, because most battles are against opponents that do not cast spells. If the opponent doesn't have a spell, then Imps are strictly weaker than Horned Demons, and should be avoided. Hellhound - Atk 9, Pwr 3, Charge 2, DPT 4.5. Hellhounds have moderate speed and decent DPT. Attack Type: Melee Pros: Hellhounds are useful to Inferno because they have a CT of 2. This makes them ideal units to pair with a Nightmare strategy, which is very demanding of your actions. The lower CT gives you enough turns to Link them with your Nightmares. CT 2 also makes Hellhounds a good compliment to Horned Demons or Imps, so your Link timing can be varied. Hellhounds are decent skirmishers. Hellhounds aren't significantly weaker than Imps, so they are better offensively when the opposition doesn't have a threatening spell. Cons: With average Atk, they sometimes have difficult time breaking through walls. A CT of 2 makes them more difficult to Fuse compared to the other Core units. Elite Succubus - Atk 37, Pwr 7, Charge 4, DPT 9.25 (see Special). Succubus' damage mechanic makes them excellent against large targets like Champions, but poor at damaging the opposing hero. Attack Type: Ranged Special: Succubus attack in a different way than other units. They fire four consecutive fireballs, each of which explodes as soon as it hits any opposing unit, causing splash damage to adjacent squares. Splash Damage Discussion: A Succubus' attack occurs in four sub-attacks. Each sub-attack inflicts 25% of the Succubus' Atk value in primary damage, and then inflicts 25% of that value as splash damage to the 4 squares to the top, bottom, left, and right. This splash damage does not reduce the primary damage; it is in addition to the Succubus' normal damage. As an example: A 48 Atk Succubus attacks. It attacks 4 times, each for 12 primary damage. When each of it's attacks hit, they inflict 12 primary damage, and cause 3 splash damage to each adjacent square. When each fireball hits any object, no matter how few HP it has, it stops and explodes, negating 25% of the Succubus overall Atk. For this reason, a Succubus wastes a great deal of their potential damage if they don't attack in concert with other units or through empty columns. A mere 5 idle Core units, of any type, reduce even the strongest Succubus attack by 75% of it's potential damage. 5 Pixies (10 Pwr) could reduce a 200 Atk Fused and Linked Succubus to a mere 50 damage. Although there are ways to get around this, like Linking with units stacked on top of the Succubus, Succubus are generally worse at damaging the opposing hero than other Elites. Oddly, at very low Atk levels, this mechanic works in the Succubus favor, where it could clear out more idle Core units than it could have otherwise because of 1-2 Atk splash damage. The upside of this ability is that splash damage can hit a formation multiple times. A Succubus that hits a Core or Elite unit directly damages it twice; once with the primary damage, and once with the splash damage. It's even better against a Champion, which is hit twice by the splash damage. This effectively increases the Succubus' Atk by 25% against Elites and 50% against Champions. The bonus splash damage makes Succubus a superb counter to large units. Although the fireball explosions have a significant downside, they spread damage through adjacent columns and potentially destroy high-tier units, a beneficial side-effect. Pros: Succubus are amazing at attacking other Elites and Champions. The splash damage is also useful for destroying idle high-tier units. Succubus have the highest base Atk of any Elite, making them decent defensive units, despite their DPT. Cons: The damage mechanic makes them poor at attacking the opposing hero. Ghosts and Unicorns have defensive abilities that often negate the Succubus' attack outright. Succubus are also comparatively slow, with a CT of 4. Nightmare - Atk 34, Pwr 7, Charge 4 (varies, see Special), DPT 8.5. Nightmares are excellent offensive units that always attack in unison. Attack Type: Melee Special: Nightmares have "Demon Blitz". When any Nightmare resolves it's attack, all other Nightmares currently charging also attack, using their current Atk values. The actual CT of any individual Nightmare might range between 1 Turn to 4, if preexisting Nightmares trigger it's attack early. The more Nightmares are available on the battlefield, the better the cascade effect becomes. For this reason, Nightmares highly benefit from being fielded solo or in conjunction with a "rare" unit like Sorcerers, so that as many Nightmares arrive within reinforcements as possible. Linking with Nightmares: Linking the Nightmare that initiates the cascade is simple; just Link the unit by turn count and color as normal. However, Nightmares formed after the first Nightmare cannot be Linked normally. When the lead Nightmare attacks, it begins a cascade, breaking any same-turn Links the other Nightmares had. However, you can still Link "secondary" Nightmares. Instead of Linking formations to the secondary Nightmares, create formations as if you were Linking them to the lead Nightmare. When the cascade begins, the secondary Nightmares will attack as if they had the same CT as the leader, and so they will become Linked with any formations created to "Link" with the lead Nightmare. An example: Turn 1: A Red Nightmare is formed. Turn 2: A Red Imp is formed, and Links with the Red Nightmare. A White Imp is also formed without a Link. Turn 3: A White Nightmare is Formed. Turn 4: The Red Nightmare attacks, linked with the Red Imp. Then the White Nightmare attacks, becoming Linked with the White Imp, which attacks at the same time. The exception to this is if you have Nightmares of the same color as the lead Nightmare, but created later. The nature of the color system means any same-colored units created would be automatically Linked to the lead Nightmare, meaning they would attack in the first wave, before secondary Nightmares attack. An example: Turn 1: Red Nightmare is Formed. Turn 2: A Red Imp is formed, and becomes Linked with the Red Nightmare. Turn 3: A second Red Nightmare is Formed. Turn 4: Red Nightmare 1 and the Red Imp attack in a Link. Red Nightmare 2 attacks subsequently to the lead Nightmare, and thus loses the benefit of the Link with the Imp. Pros: The cascade effect allows Nightmares formed after the first to attack sooner than their slow CT of 4 would suggest. Using the method described above, you get the benefit of having ease of Fusion with the early Nightmares, and ease of Linking with the later ones. Nightmares have a strong max Atk of 34, so they inflict solid damage even through walls. Nightmares stacked on top of each other always attack on the same turn, making them superb for piercing a column and inflicting heavy damage. Overall, they are strong offensive units. Cons: The cascade effect causes Nightmares created late in the turn countdown to attack with a fairly low Atk value, for an Elite. Sorcerer - Atk 34, Pwr 7, Charge 2, DPT 17. Sorcerers are amazing units that are only hindered by availability. They are rivaled only by Unicorns in overall effectiveness among Elites. Attack Type: Melee Special: Special: Sorcerers de-activate any formation that they damage and fail to destroy, returning it to an idle state. This is particularly effective against Champions, because they are very slow and require several actions to charge. Sorcerers cannot damage Ghosts, and thus the Ghost does not return to an idle state. Sorcerers take damage from the Ghost and pass through them normally, like any other unit. Pros: Sorcerers are astoundingly good. They have an extremely fast CT, a special ability that renders even the strongest opposing units ineffectual, and the best base DPT of any Elite unit. Their DPT is more akin to the lower end Champions. Their Max Atk is also very high as well, only surpassed by the Succubus, which requires 2 more turns to charge. These qualities make Sorcerers amazing at defense and offense. Cons: The only weakness of the Sorcerer is availability. As the Inferno's "rare" unlockable unit, it has a limited stock of 5. This reduces the occurance of Sorcerers among reinforcements. For that reason, it is best to use Sorcerers in conjunction with another unit. In the Campaign mode, Sorcerers are also extremely expensive to purchase (but it's so worth it). Champion Abyssal Lord - Atk 120, Pwr 20, Charge 6, DPT 20. The Abyssal Lord is an oddly weak Champion with some redeeming points. Attack Type: Ranged Special: The description states that it summons "four flaming geysers". Visually, the Abyssal Lord fires a bolt of fire that pierces through the opposing columns, regardless of blocking units. I don't fully understand how the Abyssal Lord's special works, but this is my best guess. I believe that the Abyssal Lord inflicts 25% of it's current Atk value to each unit and formation in the columns it attacks, as well as the opposing hero. Pros: It always inflicts the same proportion of damage to the opposing hero, no matter how many units block it, unless it is completely destroyed. This makes it a threat over time, because it is nearly impossible to completely defend against. Put another way, the Abyssal lord always inflicts at least some damage to the opposing hero unless it is completely destroyed prior to attacking. If the opposing player has significant defenses set up against your Champion, then the Abyssal Lord would do more damage to the opposing hero than ordinarily possible. The damage pierces through the column, so it can be useful to destroy units behind a formation that cannot be easily destroyed (like a charging Champion). Cons: It always inflicts the same proportion of damage to the opposing hero, no matter how many units block it. The ratio of the damage is somewhat low. A base Atk Abyssal Lord, without Links, would do a mere 30 damage to the opposing hero, even left completely undefended. Almost any other Champion would defeat the opposing hero in the same scenario. Simply put, unlike the other Champions, an opposing player can actually choose to ignore an Abyssal Lord and survive handily, provided that player began with full health. The Abyssal Lord doesn't have the game-ending threat that other Champions do. This is extremely poor strategically, because the opponent could set up his Champion elsewhere and launch a potentially game-winning counterattack (which you have one less Champion to defend against). Abyssal Lords also suffer from the usual Champion pitfalls of being countered by several units and having a slow CT. Pit Fiend - Atk 110, Pwr 22, Charge 5, DPT 22. Pit Fiends are average Champions with no special qualities. Attack Type: Melee Special: None, as far as I can tell. Pros: Pit Fiends are, in a word, average. They have a fairly good DPT and average CT for a Champion. They provide the Inferno faction with a "game-ending" Champion, a role which the Abyssal Lord doesn't fill. They have all the normal advantages of Champion-level damage. The Rage Shield or Devil's Tail improve the Pit Fiend's max Atk and DPT further, making it comparable in strength to a Sword Master (minus ongoing damage, but with a lower CT). Cons: They lack a special, which is disappointing, especially if you compare them with the very similar Rakshasa and Bone Dragon, both of which have extremely useful special abilities. = Inferno Artifacts #0007d ==================================================== Inferno faction has excellent artifacts. Several of them directly boost Attack, most notably the Rage Shield. Overall, I would say that the Rage Shield and the Celerity Ring are the best Artifacts available, but the other Atk boosting Artifacts and the Thorn Whip aren't bad. The defensive artifacts tend to be themed around the Inferno wall ability, which has obvious weaknesses. Stone Claw - Terrible. This artifact is misleading in it's wording. It doesn't actually double the fire damage caused by walls. What it does do is double the duration of the fire damage. So a melee unit that crosses a wall takes fire damage for 4 tiles instead of 2. I think this is quite poor. It does nothing to improve the protection of units standing immediately behind the walls, and it also does nothing against ranged units which ignore the fire damage to begin with. In short, Inferno walls are bad to begin with, and this Artifact doesn't do anything to improve their fundamental shortcomings. Fire Ring - Average. It increases the Succubus' overall Atk by 25% the moment it is formed, raising maximum base Atk to 46 and DPT to 11.5. This makes the Succubus better for both defending and attacking. Consequently, splash damage also increases, making Succubus even better at busting Champions. Compared to the Rage Shield, this is a safer option if you don't want to penalize your walls. It doesn't offer the broad bonuses that Rage Shield does, though. The Atk bonus to Core units is especially valuable, so I can't rate this Artifact as highly as the Rage Shield. Devil's Tail - Average. It increases the Pit Fiend's overall Atk by 20% the moment it is formed, raising maximum base Atk to 132 and DPT to a substantial 26.4. This makes the Pit Fiend better for both defending and attacking. Compared to the Rage Shield, this is a safer option if you don't want to penalize your walls. It doesn't offer the broad bonuses that Rage Shield does, though. The Atk bonus to Core units is especially valuable, so I can't rate this Artifact as highly as the Rage Shield. Thorn Whip - Good. There is a typo in this Artifact's description; it confers a bonus to "Hell Chargers" but it clearly means Nightmares (as they are listed on the unit screen). After testing, here is what I understand regarding the fuctionality of this Artifact. When a Nightmare formation attacks, it begins a "cascade" where all other Nightmares currently charging immediately resolve their attacks as well. The Nightmare that initiates the cascade (the one that finishes it's CT first) will be referred to as the "lead Nightmare" or leader. The leader attacks first (along with any units Linked to it), after which any "secondary Nightmares" attack (with their Links, if applicable). The leader gains no benefit from this item. The bonus is applied to Nightmares whose attacks are triggered during the second part of the cascade, after the initiating Nightmare has finished attacking. Ordinarily, the secondary Nightmares end their CT and resolve their attack with whatever their current Atk value is. If you created a particular Nightmare on the previous turn, then it only have a little over half of it's maximum Attack value. However, this Artifact instead sets the Atk value of secondary Nightmares to their maximum base Atk value (34) before they resolve their attacks as part of a cascade. As a result of setting Atk to a fixed value, this has the nice side effect of restoring any HP lost from opposing attacks before the secondary Nightmares attacked. The leader isn't healed, of course. The strength of this Artifact is that it allows more flexibility when charging your Nightmares. You can create two or three Nightmare formations on the last turn possible before a cascade begins, and they will attack without penalty (potentially an Atk bonus of 15 or more). The downside is that it doesn't improve max Atk like the Rage Shield does, so it doesn't increase the maximum damage possible or help the Nightmares to survive until the cascade begins. I think the 25% bonus from Rage Shield generally makes up for any lost Atk caused by the Nightmare's cascade, but some players may prefer the stability of better walls. Rage Shield - Excellent. This item confers an Attack bonus of 25% to all your units. This is as good as it sounds. Your Core units are better at piercing walls and skirmishing, your Imps drain more mana, your Sorcerers have Champion-level DPT, and your Champions inflict crushing damage. The Pit Fiend becomes roughly on par with the Sword Master, minus the ongoing damage special. The Attack bonus is conferred immediately upon formation, so it makes your formations better defensively, as well. The downside is that this Artifact decreases the HP of your already pitiful walls by 25%. Obviously, this makes the HP of your walls lower (5/10 base becomes 4/8, respectively) but it has other consequences as well. The effectiveness of the Inferno wall's fire damage and Aidan's Fiery Brimstone spell are directly based on the HP of the wall, so these effects are penalized by Rage Shield. Specifically, your full strength walls inflict 2 fire damage per tile instead of 3 (base strength is unchanged thanks to rounding) and Aidan's spell inflicts less damage per wall. The improved Atk of your Core units will somewhat make up for your inferior walls, but you must play a little more aggressively and proactively create formations for defensive purposes. My opinion is that Inferno walls are terrible to begin with, so the player may as well just discard them altogether and use Rage Shield to improve Inferno's offense. Celerity Ring - Excellent. The Artifact works as described. You begin with 5 actions at the start of your first turn. This works out to 3 additional actions if you go first, or 2 additional actions if you go second. Obviously the former is better; you effectively take two turns at once. It is hard to overvalue how good it is to have a really great first turn; getting the battle started on a favorable note allows you to carry that momentum forward. The first turn is often the most action-intensive. You might need a lot of initial actions to clear out your high-tier units if they get buried by a bad draw. The Celerity Ring is very nice for this scenario, because it helps to "luck-proof" your first few turns by giving you enough actions to deal with any problems. With good luck and 5 actions, you can often charge a Champion (or two) on the first turn, or set up several units in a large Link. This Artifact has great synergy with a Nightmare-based strategy, too, because you can get several of them charged on the first turn. The cascade attack comes sooner, and with stronger Nightmares. A solid alternative to the Rage Shield if you don't want to sacrifice your walls. Chaos Crown - Poor to Average. Causes your formations to inflict fire damage to melee attackers that defeat them. This damage works exactly the same as it does for Inferno walls; in fact, you could think of your formations as Inferno walls with HP equal to their Atk value. The damage is equal to 25% of your formation's current HP (before it was attacked) and is applied twice as the attacking formation crosses the next two tiles. This means that your formations effectively negate a total of 150% of their HP against melee units. Your units can have significantly higher HP than your walls (particularly Champion units) so this can work out to a very significant amount of fire damage. A destroyed Abyssal Lord might inflict 40 or more fire damage over two tiles. This can significantly increase the damage mitigation of your active formations, to the point where you might reconsider the balance of idle toughness to active Atk for Core units. Unfortunately, this has several shortcomings, too. It has the same weakness as the Inferno wall in that ranged units ignore the (substantial) fire damage. Second, the damage is only applied after your unit is destroyed, which isn't an ideal scenario. It's disadvantageous if one of your high-tier units was destroyed, even if it might have been a necessary sacrifice. In the same scenario, the unit might have survived and counterattacked if it had an Atk bonus from Rage Shield or another Artifact. As compelling as this item might be for defense, I don't feel that it is proactive enough when other items provide both offensive and defensive benefits. I consider this item better than the Stone Claw, at least, because the potential fire damage is an order of magnitude greater. Lion's Mane - Average to Good. Fusion has great synergy with Imps, and Horned Demons are easy to Fuse, as well. Sorcerers are a challenging to Fuse because of their speed and rarity, but when you can Fuse them, they make for a powerful formation. Nightmares are easily Fused and benefit nicely from it. The Inferno Champions all benefit from Fusion, with the usual caveat that it is unlikely to happen because of the high-tier unit cap. Succubus don't benefit as much from Fusion because of their unusual damage mechanic; a lot of damage goes wasted with Fusion, although Succubus are easy to Fuse. Doubling Cape - Terrible. Doubling Cape compares terribly to Rage Shield and the other Atk bonus Artifacts, which provide greater Atk bonuses offensively and also bolster defense, unlike the Doubling Cape. Phoenix Feather - Poor. Inferno doesn't benefit as much from the Phoenix Feather as the other factions because their spells aren't as potent. You only benefit from a survivability standpoint, and the Atk power Artifacts provide that indirectly by making your formations negate more damage when attacked. It might have a niche use against factions that can do heavy damage without attacking your formations (Anwen's Sniper shot, etc.). >> Faction-specific discussion includes unmarked spoilers for unit types and heroes. << = Academy Faction #0008 ======================================================= The Academy faction favors defense, but not as heavily as Haven. Several of the Academy's units are excellent defensively, but poor at attacking the opposing hero. Much of the Academy's offense is bound up in it's Champions, like Haven. Many Academy units have quirky specials, some of which are quite good. Academy walls are at once good and bad. More on that below. Academy spells are powerful, but one is randomized and difficult to predict. Academy Walls - Academy walls are somewhat poor. They have a base Pwr of 5, and a max Pwr of 10. Individually, they are about as effective as paper sheets at blocking Core units from attacking through them. The Academy wall ability is strange. The Pwr of the Academy wall varies depending on the total number of Academy walls on the battlefield. There are some oddities of the ability that I can't yet account for, but the ability works roughly like this. The Pwr of Academy walls is equal to the number of walls created. If you create a basic set of three walls, then each wall will have 3 Pwr. If you create two sets of three walls, then each wall will have 6 Pwr. The power of Academy walls continues to increase as more walls are created, capping at 10 Pwr. This means that Academy walls have an extremely low initial Pwr for the first one or two sets of walls created. They are almost useless until you have created several sets of walls and increased their overall Pwr. Each time you create new walls, all of the existing walls increase their Pwr by the number of walls created. In this way, you can "recharge" existing damaged walls by creating new ones. So long as you have ten walls or more, your newly created walls will have 10 Pwr. However, if your total number of walls is ever reduced below 10, then the other walls become correspondingly weaker. This can occur if walls are destroyed or deleted. For each wall destroyed beyond the tenth, the Pwr of the remaining walls is reduced by 1. For this reason, it is wise to create more walls than you need. If a strong attack destroys many walls at once, it is entirely possible for the walls to lose Pwr and "collapse" even as an attacking formation is destroying them, reducing the Atk the walls negate. It is also possible for Academy walls to be destroyed from this Pwr loss, even without being attacked. In summary: The advantage of Academy walls is that, once you have created a certain number of them, you always generate full-strength walls immediately. You can also repair walls by creating walls anywhere; you don't necessarily have to stack new walls in the same place unless you want to layer them. The disadvantage is that they have a low Pwr cap so you need many of them to effectively mitigate heavy damage. This is compounded by the possibility of wall collapse, which means you must keep a large number of walls on your battlefield in order to keep your walls at full effectiveness, even as they are destroyed. Academy walls penalize your reinforcement cap. Personally, I feel that Academy walls are the second worst in the game. They have a low Pwr, comparable to Inferno walls, but they make up for it somewhat by being able a accumulate full-strength walls quickly and being able to "recharge" damaged walls. Academy walls mitigate decent damage when you layer full strength walls, and since they can be layered quickly, I'd rate them slightly above Inferno walls, which take longer to accumulate. = Academy Strategies #0008a =================================================== Solo Djinns This strategy utilitizes 3x Gremlins and Solo-Djinn. Optionally, add Phoenix, because they have a very low occurance rate. The ideal Artifact for this strategy is the Djinn's Sash. This strategy thrives on lockdown and control. Attack repeatedly with your Djinn, freezing as many columns and units as possible. With enough columns frozen, your opponent will have trouble creating chains, walls, or doing anything effective. This strategy is especially effective against factions that rely on Champions; Djinn simply shut them down. Frozen Champions are immobile and greatly reduce the usability of their columns. Use Gremlins to clear columns of idle units, allowing Djinn to attack for increased damage. Gremlins are also useful for destroying frozen formations. I feel this strategy favors Nadia slightly, because her spell is better suited to clearing the battlefield of frozen enemies and giving your Djinn a clear path of attack. The weakness of this strategy is that it has very low offense. Djinn are poor at attacking the opposing hero. They also do nothing to destroy Champions, although they lock them down. You must attack strategically with your Gremlins in order to maximise the Djinn's damage potential. This strategy also tends to inflict damage in smaller increments, granting opposing heroes multiple opportunities to charge and cast powerful damage spells. Heroes like Anwen and Fiona will defeat you with their spells. Early Offense (Campaign) This strategy utilizes 3x Gremlins and Solo-Magi. The best artifacts available early in the Campaign mode are the Battle Wand and the Mana Shield. Academy offense is (in my opinion) awful until you get Champions. This isn't an optimal strategy, but rather the one that makes the best of the limited resources available at the start of the Academy Campaign. Djinn are poor at attacking the opposing hero. Titans have low DPT and are extremely vulnerable to being destroyed by Gremlins prior to being charged. This leaves Mages as the only unit with early availability and salvageable offense. For the best results, Fuse and Link Magi repeatedly to make strong attacks through a single column. The effectiveness of this strategy hinges on defeating the opposing hero rapidly, before he can charge a Champion. I used this strategy for speedrunning purposes. This strategy runs out of potency as opposing HP totals rise. Later in the campaign, it is wise to switch out Magi for the excellent Rakshasa and Phoenix units. If the opposing hero charges a Champion, this strategy has no answer to it. Mana Superiority This strategy utilizes 3x Gremlins, and Solo-Rakshasa. Optionally, add Djinn to counter Champions or Phoenix because they have a low occurance rate. This strategy favors the Scimitar and Absorb Circlet Artifacts. This is a strategy suitable for the end of the Academy campaign, as well as Quick Battle mode. In my opinion, Rakshasa are the best Academy unit overall; their amazing special ability means you can do Champion-level damage without increasing the opponent's mana. At the same time, you gain a large quantity of mana from inflicting that damage. If you attack primarily with Rakshasa, then it follows that you will be able to cast your spell far more often then the opposing hero can, and thus win. To enhance this strategy, the Scimitar is ideal. It increases the damage inflicted and also reduces the window of turns your opponent has in order to counter your Rakshasa. Scimitar Rakshasa are extremely potent attackers. The Absorb Circlet is another respectable option; you can quickly accumulate mana by chaining wall deletion, cast your spell to clear the way for your Rakshasa's attack, and then immediately cast again with the mana you gain from inflicting damage. A cascade effect is created. With the Absorb Circlet, you not only deny your opponent mana gain, but also gain more mana yourself. The weakness of this strategy is that it has low maneuverability and is Champion dependant. Without Elites, it is difficult to respond to changing threats. Once you have charged your Rakshasa, it is a fairly static and predictable strategy. = Academy Heroes #0008b ======================================================= Nadia is the Academy hero featured in Campaign mode. She casts Lightning Bolt. It fires five bolts of lightning that strike random positions on the opponent's battlefield, inflicting 21 damage to any unit hit at Level 10. Each Lightning Bolt strikes a 2 x 2 area of the battlefield. It is hard to quantify how good this spell is, because it is random and therefore unpredictable. Sometimes luck favors you and you strike every one of your opponent's important formations, and other times you are frustrated as the bolts harmlessly strike empty areas of the battlefield repeatedly. If you do hit, this spell is fairly potent at clearing out opposing formations, and the number of bolts means you stand a good chance of destroying one or more idle high-tier units, no matter where they are placed. This spell really shines against bosses, because they have a huge "hit box" for damage detection. It isn't unusual to hit a boss three or four times with this spell, inflicting 63-84 damage. Overall, it is a useful spell of at least average power. Cyrus is unlocked for Quick Battle mode by reaching the top of the tower in the Academy Campaign. Initially, I thought Cyrus' spell, Staff of Explosia, was poor, because the AI was terrible at using it. However, having playtested it, I now believe this is actually among the best spells in the game. The functionality of the Staff is complex. When you throw a Staff, it always lands in the first two rows of the opposing battlefield (with a few exceptions, more on that later). Anything the Staff hits when it lands takes damage. The Staff has an initial "HP" equal to 25% of Cyrus' max HP. A level 10, this is 25 damage. This is the maximum damage that the Staff can inflict on impact. If this damage is enough to destroy all the obstacles (walls, formations, etc). in the Staff's landing site, then it lands and remains on the battlefield with a CT of 2. If this initial damage is exceeded, then the Staff immediately explodes for it's full damage. It can be advantageous for the Staff to explode without the countdown, because it gives the opponent no time to counter it. When the Staff explodes (either by exceeding it's initial damage or by counting down it's CT) it inflicts damage equal to 15% of Cyrus max HP (15 damage) to each tile within a small diamond-shaped radius. Here is a diagram of the blast shape: X XXX XXXXX XXX X The blast is centered upon the tile of the Staff closest to the hero's damage zone. On the top screen, the top of the staff is the center of the blast, and on the bottom screen, the bottom of the staff is the center. The maximum possible damage against a formation is determined by it's size. If you cast Staff of Explosia at Level 10 and hit a Champion (2x2 unit) directly with the Staff, it would take 25 initial damage first. Then, if it survived the initial damage, the Staff would explode immediately, damaging the Champion's four tiles with 15 explosion damage each. The total damage would be 25 initial immediately followed by 4 tiles x 15 damage, for 85 total damage against a Champion. Similarly, an Elite formation takes up to 55 damage, and a Core formation takes up to 70 damage (but will usually be destroyed by the initial damage anyway). This is enough damage to destroy most Champions instantly, unless they are almost fully charged. Even if the Staff cannot easily damage the opposing hero, it is by far the best spell at destroying the opposing hero's Champions, even surpassing Sniper Shot and Blood Ritual. Needless to say, the option to destroy a Champion is excellent, particularly if you can clear the way for your own Champion to inflict massive damage. The blast is large, so it also has a very good chance to destroy nearby idle high tier units (or you can throw it to destroy idle units in the first two rows pre-emptively, before they can charge). If the Staff does not explode immediately and remains on the battlefield, it can be interacted with, much like any other formation. You can actually pick up and drop a Staff of Explosia thrown at you, just like you could any other idle unit, following the normal rules for doing so. Similarly, Staff of Explosia will rise to the top of a column like any other unit if you charge a formation or create a wall on top of it. This has two uses. The first is to free up the Staff from intervening units so you can pick it up and throw it away from critical units. The second is a method to damage the opposing hero with the Staff. To do this, you must trick your opponent into creating a formation on top of the Staff, causing it to rise near the top of the screen. If the Staff's explosion reaches the hero zone, the opposing hero will take damage. Players are unlikely to fall for this, but the AI might. If one of your formations hits a Staff you threw, it immediately explodes. The explosion does not damage your own formation, which makes this a useful strategy for clearing out a column of defenders in advance of your formation. Two exceptions cause the Staff to continue moving past the first two rows. Hitting walls causes the Staff to continue moving forward through the column. The Staff will continue moving through any number of walls until it hits an idle unit or formation, reaches an empty landing site, or runs out of initial HP (25) and explodes. Ghosts cannot normally be destroyed by damage while charging, and the Staff is not an exception to this. If you hit a Ghost with a Staff, two things can happen. If the Staff's initial HP is exceeded, it will explode instantly as normal. However, if the Ghost does not do enough damage to explode the Staff, the Staff cannot land within the Ghost's square, so it continues moving and instead lands on top of the Ghost (exploding if the enemies it clears to land there do enough cumulative damage). An exploit allows the Staff of Explosia to strike the hero zone directly against a certain faction, instantly defeating the opposing hero. See the exploit section for more information. = Academy Units #0008c ======================================================== Gremlins are easily the Academy's best Core unit, despite their low damage against the opposing hero. The Academy's other Core units are terrible, so I always take 3x Gremlins. Magi and Titans are slow and have terrible DPT, so I rarely use them outside of select strategies. This leaves Djinn and Rakshasas. Rakshasa offer amazing offensive utility, especially when combined with the Scimitar Artifact. Meanwhile, Djinn counter Champions, offer control, and lock down the opponent's unit cap. Phoenix have a very low occurance rate, so they aren't suitable for use alone; I generally combine them with the aforementioned units. Core Apprentice - Atk 8, Pwr 2, Charge 2, DPT 4. Apprentices are awful. They compare terribly with Gremlins, which have the same CT. Even looking at other Factions, Apprentices are strictly inferior to Archers and Bears, among several other units most directly comparable to it. Attack Type: Ranged Pros: None really, when Gremlins are also available. Cons: Inferior max Atk and DPT makes Apprentices less effectual than Gremlins at both defending and destroying opposing formations. Their pitiful Pwr of 2 makes them poor at mitigating damage while idle. Their low max Atk means that they aren't any more effective at damaging the opposing hero than Gremlins, except in the rare circumstance when the column is completely undefended. As a player, you are literally handicapping yourself by picking Apprentices. A candidate for the worst unit in the game. Gremlin - Atk 18, Pwr 3, Charge 2, DPT 9 (see Special). No, that Attack value is not a typo. Gremlins are amazing defenders, but poor at damaging the opposing hero. They are among the best Core units in the game. Attack Type: Ranged Special: A Gremlin's Attack begins at an unusually high value for a Core unit, but decreases as the shot moves through the opposing battlefield. You can think of it like a shotgun that loses accuracy at a distance. In the most simple example, if a Gremlin attacks down an empty column, the damage is reduced by 2 for each row of the opposing battlefield. As it crosses the 6 rows of the opposing battlefiend, damage is reduced by a total of 12, making the final damage of a base Atk Gremlin 6. However, this mechanic behaves very strangely as soon as it interacts with other objects that reduce damage, such as units the Gremlin hits. I've observed scenarios where the Gremlins actually increase their Atk in farther columns after losing Atk from hitting walls and idle units. I admit I don't fully understand how the damage reduction mechanic interacts with the Atk Gremlins lose from hitting units. The ranged damage reduction never reduces a Gremlin's damage to 0 (although opposing units can, of course). Pros: Gremlins are amazing defenders. With their astoundingly high Atk and DPT against nearby units, they are better than another other Core unit at piercing walls and idle Core units to destroy idle high-tier units. They have a CT of 2, enhancing their role as a supreme skirmisher. They also excel at picking off newly formed Elites and weakening charging Champions, especially when Fused. Although they negate more damage while actively charging, even idle Gremlins have an average Pwr of 3, offering standard damage reduction. Although their Attack is very weak by the time it reaches the opposing hero, Gremlins are also better than any other Core unit at piercing walls and idle units, making them the most likely of any Core unit to do at least some damage to the opposing hero (even if it is just chip damage). The rapidity of the Gremlin's attacks somewhat makes up for it's low damage per attack. Fused Gremlins, while difficult to form, mitigate the problem of attacking the opposing hero. The static damage reduction of the distance penalty is only applied once, so the second Gremlin in the Fusion effectively goes unpenalized. Cons: Base Gremlins are poor at attacking the opposing hero. Despite their base Atk of 18, Gremlins lose 12 damage against to the opposing hero, even left completely undefended. This means the opposing player is less penalized for choosing to ignore them. You cannot defeat the opposing hero as quickly in the ideal circumstance that you are able to repeatedly attack against lightly defended columns, either. When Gremlins do hit the opposing hero, they tend to inflict chip damage, which is builds up the opponent's mana gauge in a disadvantageous manner. Golem - Atk 10, Pwr 3, Charge 3, DPT 3.33. Golems are underpowered and slow. Golems are Identical to Ebon Guard; compare them to Sylvan's Bears to understand why this unit is poor. Attack Type: Melee Pros: It has different CT than Gremlins, so you might include it for variety. Gremlins benefit more from Fusion, but Fused Golems aren't bad. Cons: Compares terribly to Gremlins, except in niche scenarios. It has low max Atk for a 3-Turn Core unit, is slow, and has poor DPT. It's just not very good. Compare it to the Imp, which has a useful special to make up for it's statistics, or the Bear/Swordsmen/Horned Demon, all of which are outright better. Another candidate for worst Core unit. Elite Mage - Atk 30, Pwr 6, Charge 4, DPT 7.5. Mages are slow and deal average damage. Attack Type: Ranged Special: If a Mage hits an idle unit, electricity spreads through it, destroying adjacent idle units. In order to start the initial chain, the Mage must shoot directly through an idle unit (it must be in the column the Mage attacks). The electricity then spreads to adjacent units. In this case, "adjacent units" only includes the idle units horizontal and vertical to the idle unit that is hit; diagonals don't count. Electricity does not spread through walls or active formations, either. The electricity spreads through the initial unit, the units adjacent to it, any units adjacent to those units, and so on, until all valid targets are destroyed. Note that the destruction of idle units occurs after the Mage's attack is resolved. This means that multiple idle units in the column the Mage is attacking would still reduce that Mage's attack before they are destroyed by electricity. Pros: The special ability can be useful for destroying idle high-tier units, or at least making it difficult to absorb the mage's damage without consequence. Max Atk is respectable, if average. Mages make good candidates for Fusion. Even early in Campaign mode, I believe you have an unlimited supply of them by speaking to an NPC. Cons: It has a fairly low DPT, and a slow CT. This makes it somewhat poor offensively, because the opponent can easily prepare against it. The Mage attacks so slowly that it is difficult to take advantage of it's special ability. The Mage's slow CT makes it somewhat vulnerable to Core units. Djinn - Atk 32, Pwr 6, Charge 3, DPT 10.67. Djinn are an odd unit that lock down other units by freezing them. They are essentially "Druid-lite". Attack Type: Ranged Special: Any unit hit by a Djinn is not damaged, but instead frozen for 4 turns. Djinn pass through other units harmlessly, although the Djinn's Atk is depleted by units and formations it hits as normal. Frozen units are immobile and cannot be interacted with, except to delete them. Poorly positioned frozen units can easily block a column's usefuless and prevent the opposing player from fully exploiting chains. Formations that are frozen can be easily destroyed. If an attacking formation inflicts at least 25% damage to a frozen formation, the frozen formation is shattered and destroyed. Idle units that are frozen are not immediately destroyed (for the purposes of high-tier stock), but they are still vulnerable to destruction from other attacks. Pros: It's CT is above average for an Elite. Djinn make excellent counters to Champions and slower Elites. They have better Atk and DPT than Mages, if you can find undefended columns to attack from. You can control and reduce your opponent's options by freezing multiple columns at the same time. Cons: Djinn don't do any damage to opposing formations, except walls. Rather than depleting the health of a Champion or Elite so it can be destroyed, Djinn harmlessly freeze units they hit, effectively wasting their damage. If/when the opposing unit eventually becomes unfrozen, it can still Attack at it's full strength. Djinn don't destroy idle units, either. If you have multiple Djinn attacking through the same column, then each Djinn is fully penalized by any opposing units in that column. No matter how many base Atk Djinn you send to attack a column with 33 Pwr in it, you will never inflict any damage. The Academy player must rely on other units to finish off frozen units and clear out columns for Djinn to attack through. Fortunately, Gremlins are somewhat good at this, but I still dislike that Djinn inflict no damage to units, especially when you compare Djinn to Sorcerers and Druids. Champion Rakshasa - Atk 105, Pwr 21, Charge 5, DPT 21. Rakshasa are average Champions with an amazing mana drain ability. With the Scimitar Artifact, they become superb. Attack Type: Ranged Special: The Rakshasa deals equal damage to HP and MP when it hits an opposing hero. Although the Rakshasa increases the opposing hero's mana by damaging it, it also inflicts the same damage to MP simultaneously. The net effect of this is that the opponent's mana gauge remains the same. Although this doesn't actually deplete mana, this is still spectacular, because Champion-level damage would typically charge an opponent's spell instantly. This makes Rakshasa invaluable against Factions with strong spells; particularly Sylvan, Academy, and Necropolis. Pros: Rakshasa are a superb offensive unit. Their special ability compares favorably with units like the Bone Dragon and Pit Fiend. With the Scimitar, Rakshasa are astoundingly good. They have a max Atk comparable to the Phoenix or Sword Master, and a CT comparable to the Wraith. DPT is amazing, as well. A CT of 4 is extremely fast for a Champion, and goes a long way to avoid the typical weaknesses of Champions. Scimitar Rakshasa are more difficult than other Champions to prepare against or counter. Rakshasa don't increase the opponent's mana gauge. When you consider that Champions typically inflict heavy damage, charging the opponent's gauge instantly, this is a huge advantage, especially against the Sylvan Faction. The mana drain may prevent or delay you from receiving substantial spell damage. Cons: The usual Champion drawbacks apply. These are somewhat mitigated if you equip the Scimitar to decrease CT to 4, giving the opponent a smaller window of opportunity to counter the Rakshasa. Titan - Atk 110, Pwr 22, Charge 6, DPT 18.33. Titans are somewhat underpowered Champions that compare poorly to Rakshasas, in my opinion. Attack Type: Ranged Special: When the Titan resolves it's attack, existing walls take damage equal to half their current Power. If a wall has an odd number of HP, then the damage is rounded up. 5 Pwr walls take 3 damage, for example. This damage occurs just before the Titan begins it's attack, so the Titan will have the opportunity to attack through the walls it has already weakened. Pros: Titans can be fairly effective against Factions that rely on their walls, like Haven. Although the Titan itself is weaker, it makes up for it's lower base Atk by damaging any walls the opponent has massed against it. It might be helpful against Aidan, too, whose spell power is directly determined by the HP of his walls. Cons: Titans are slow, weak for a 6 CT Champion, and have a low DPT. Against Factions that don't have especially notable walls, they are unlikely to do as much damage as a Phoenix or Scimitar Rakshasa would. It ought to inflict higher damage, since it is going to be a prime target for Sorcerers and Druids. Phoenix - Atk 125, Pwr 25, Charge 6, DPT 20.83. Phoenix are strong but slow Champions with potent special abilities. Attack Type: Ranged Special: Phoenix have two special abilities. The first is a special attack called "Supernova". When the Phoenix resolves an attack, pillars of flame damage units in the two columns to the left and right of the Phoenix, in addition to the Phoenix's normal attack down it's two columns. A diagram: H - These columns are hit by flame damage. P - The Phoenix A - The Phoenix attacks these columns, but no additional flame damage is added. HHAAHH HHAAHH PP PP The distance the flame travels is contingent on the distance the primary attack travels. If the Phoenix' HP is depleted early in the attack, the flame damage will not reach into the back rows. The flame damage from supernova inflicts 10 damage per tile to units in the affected columns. Larger units, like Champions, take up to 40 damage, Elites take up to 20 damage, and Core units take up to 30 Damage. Idle units are destroyed. When a Phoenix resolves it's attack, it usually clears out the better part of the battlefield. The additional flame damage from supernova does not inflict damage to the opposing hero (although the Phoenix' normal attack can). The second special ability is resurrection. If your hero is reduced to 0 HP while you have a charging Phoenix on your battlefield, you aren't defeated immediately. Instead, the Phoenix revives the hero at the start of your next turn with 10% of your max HP. This effect occurs no matter how much damage you take or how many attacks deplete your HP. You are effectively immortal while the Phoenix is charging. However, if the Phoenix is destroyed or rendered idle while your hero has 0 HP, you are immediately defeated. Pros: Phoenix have respectable max Atk and DPT, even setting aside their supernova attack. Supernova is a very destructive special that spreads a lot of damage around and has a high chance to destroy idle high-tier units. The Phoenix doesn't necessarily need to be in front of opposing Elites to destroy them, and it can significantly weaken Champions just with it's flame damage alone. The resurrection special is useful, but difficult to rely on when Phoenix appear among reinforcements infrequently. Cons: It has the slowest CT of 6, so it's vulnerable to anti-Champion units. Phoenix are the Academy's unlockable "rare" unit, and have only 3 stock. This means that Phoenix appear infrequently among reinforcements. I recommend using them in combination with a more common unit, like Rakshasa or Djinn. Unlike any other unit in the game, Phoenix cannot be purchased in Campaign mode; your initial 3 stock are all that you will receive. Once your stock is depleted, you will be unable to use Phoenix for the rest of the Campaign. Use them wisely, or even better, don't allow them to be destroyed. = Academy Artifacts #0008d ==================================================== Several Academy Artifacts have strange effects that change the metagame somehow. Some of these are extremely useful, and others are not so useful. The Scimitar stands out as the most obviously beneficial, but the Absorb Circlet, Djinn's Sash, Battle Wand, and Mana Shield can all be useful at times. Thanks to the readers for pointing out that the Phoenix Feather, Lion's Mane, and Doubling Cape are obtainable in Campaign mode. These Artifacts aren't immediately obvious because you must backtrack after you reach the final boss in order to get them. Gauntlet - Awful. This Artifact allows you to pick up and drop walls in the same way you could any other unit. The flaw with this utility is that you must still obey the normal rules for picking up units; that is, you may only pick up a unit if there are no other units on top of it. Walls, however, have the highest priority to rise to the top of a column. This means that your walls will almost always be buried underneath charging formations or idle units, unless you specifically dig out/leave a column empty so that you can pick up walls. Even if you have walls available to pick up, this utility isn't that great. The nature of the Academy wall special means that you must create many walls anyway in order to ensure that your walls do not "collapse" when some are destroyed, so having excess walls is not necessarily bad. Careful movement of few walls is counter-intuitive to this Faction. It is possible to create chains by dropping a wall into a column and causing the other units to ascend, but when it is difficult to grab a wall under other units in the first place, why bother? Possibly the worst Artifact in the game. Absorb Circlet - Good. Deleting walls generates mana. The mana gained is equal to the HP of the wall deleted. Deleting ten 10 HP (full strength) walls will charge your mana gauge from 0% to 100%. To fill your gauge more quickly, try creating chains by deleting walls; deleting walls in a way that you create more walls or formations is a good way to accumulate even more mana in one turn. If you keep your wall HP high and chain well, it is entirely possible to charge your spell every 2 to 3 turns. The effort spent is well worth it, because Cyrus' spell is superb, and Nadia's spell is good, if unpredictable. If you can succeed at charging your spell before your Champion attacks, try clearing the units in the Champion's column with your spell, so that it inflicts more damage. This sets up a cascade where you immediately charge your spell again. Compared to the Battle Wand, this item doesn't have the same immediate benefit, and it requires a little more work to gain an extra spell. However, during the course of a drawn out battle, I feel that the Absorb Circlet would ultimately generate more mana than the Battle Wand. Djinn's Sash - Good. Increases the freeze duration by two turns, giving you a greater window to keep Champions frozen, and generally increasing your ability to lock down your opponent. Useful in a Djinn-based strategy. Battle Wand - Excellent. Works as described, you begin battle with your spell charged. The usefulness of this is obvious, as Academy's spells are very good. Scimitar - Excellent. Reduces the Rakshasa's CT to 4 and simultaneously increases Atk by 25% the moment the Rakshasa is formed. This raises initial Atk to 66, maximum base Atk to 131, and DPT to a whopping 32.75. This makes the Rakshasa better for both defending and attacking, with the speed of a Wraith and the strength of a Sword Master. The CT of 4 is a major bonus. It reduces the window for opponents to counter the Rakshasa with Sorcerers or the like, and also decreases the time the opponent has to prepare, mitigating two major weaknesses of Champions. This Artifact easily makes the Rakshasa the best high-tier Academy unit, in my opinion. Unfortunately, it is also the last Artifact you receive in Campaign mode. Gold Slippers - Average. Works as described. Walls are destroyed just before the Titan attacks. This is a decent offensive bonus against Factions with stronger walls, like Haven, but less important against Academy. It might be an interesting counter to Aidan's Fiery Brimstone, by denying the opposing player the option to accumulate too many walls. The Gold Slippers augment the Titan unit only. However, I feel that Titans are somewhat underpowered as a unit and compare unfavorably to Rakshasas (especially with the Scimitar Artifact). With that in mind, I think this Artifact loses some value. Mana Shield - Good. Another of the Academy items that alters the metagame somewhat. Damage to your hero is reduced by any Mana in your gauge first, before your hero loses HP. Damage is reduced at a rate of 1 damage per 2 mana. If you have a full mana gauge at level 10, you could negate 50 damage before taking damage to your HP. As a consequence of this, the way mana is accumulated is also changed. Your hero no longer gains mana when damaged (as a result of instead using mana to reduce damage). This is for obvious reasons; if formations attacking the hero charged the mana gauge at the same time, then they would instantly generate enough mana to negate their own damage; the hero would be immortal. This means you must rely on other methods to accumulate mana, such as inflicting damage to the opposing hero or creating chains. As a result, it's difficult to value the defensive contribution of this item when it depends greatly on how many chains the player is able to execute. I would expect it to mitigate a significant amount of damage in every battle, though. I imagine it could easily extend the life of the hero by 50% or more. An incidental penalty of the alternate mana accumulation is that you can no longer intentionally take damage to charge your spell faster; those favoring more aggressive play will dislike this. Note that this item does not preclude the player from casting the hero's spell; it is simply more difficult to accumulate the necessary mana when it is occasionally depleted by damage and one of the major sources of mana has been removed. Lion's Mane - Average. If you choose to use Golems, this can improve their utility somewhat. Gremlins are significantly better at attacking the opposing hero when Fused. Both of Academy's Elites are easy to Fuse and benefit nicely from it. Djinn, in particular, can use the boost to inflict more damage through defending units. Doubling Cape - Poor to Average. Academy has lots of slow units, giving lots of time to set up Links. It also has few options for directly increasing Atk. Gremlins benefit nicely from this, although it is almost overkill. The Doubling Cape does nothing to improve your defense though, so I can't rate it as highly as better Artifacts like the Scimitar. Phoenix Feather - Good. Although it has some overlap with the Phoenix unit itself, this item is still beneficial to the Academy. The increased longevity lets you take more damage for the purpose of casting spells more often. The logic is that, if your hero is reduced to 0 HP, then it is probably because you took a lot of damage. Therefore, your spell has probably charged. Becoming revived next turn gives you an opportunity to use that spell when you would not have otherwise. Cyrus' spell is excellent, particularly if cast to clear an opposing Champion. Nadia's spell is also good, if unpredictable. = Exploits #0009 ============================================================== This section includes strategies which may be considered exploitive or unfair. Breaking Boss Encounters *spoilers* Some encounters have scripted events. These scripted events cause the battle to progress in a pre-determined way, such as the appearance of successive waves of pre-charged formations. After certain triggering events occur, the script advances to the next phase of the battle. In some instances, it is possible to break these triggers in such a way that the AI will cease to fight you. An example of this is the final battle against Azh Rafir. At the onset of the battle, two pre-charged Raksashas attack you, followed by a pre-charged Phoenix a turn later. In this case, the trigger to advance the battle is the removal of all three of these Champions from the battlefield; either by destroying them, or when they resolve their attacks. However, the game doesn't account for the possibility of rendering the Champions idle with Aidan's Sorcerers, and thus unable to attack. If you use a Sorcerer to return one of Azh Rafir's Champions to an idle state and then leave it alive, the battle will not progress to the next phase! So long as at least one enemy Champion remains alive, the next phase of the battle is not triggered. However, the player may still act and attack as normal through other columns. The player is able to attack without resistance until Azh Rafir is defeated. Needless to say, this trivializes this boss encounter. It may be possible to break other battles in the same way, though I have not verified specific encounters. I suspect the scripted encounter where Aidan must destroy the portal can be broken the same way. Elves can likely achieve a lesser effect by stunlocking bosses with Druids. *end spoilers* Instagib Opposing Hero With Staff of Explosia It is actually possible to strike the opposing hero zone directly with Cyrus' Staff of Explosia, in the same manner as you would with Anwen's Sniper Shot, for example. The Staff of Explosia has a strange quirk where it will continue moving if it hits walls, rather than stopping in the first two rows as it usually does. Normally, the Staff would run out of HP before it reaches the opposing hero zone. However, against the Necroplis faction, you can exploit their faction's wall ability to strike the hero zone directly! First, use any formation to destroy a column of opposing idle units. You must destroy at least 4. (Gremlins are superb for this.) The destroyed Necropolis units leave behind an equal number of 1 HP walls, which are "inactive" until the Necropolis' player's next turn. If you immediately throw a Staff of Explosia down this column, (before the idle walls descend) it keeps moving. The walls are ignored because they are inactive, however, the Staff cannot land in their spaces, either. Instead the Staff is carried directly into the opposing hero zone, where it explodes, doing ridiculous damage. The Staff's explosion hits multiple squares, the majority of which are included in the hero's hit detection zone, and so the opposing hero is hit many times at once. Hitting the opposing hero zone directly with the Staff pretty much instagibs the hero; I've confirmed in testing that it will defeat a Hero with 150 HP at full health. That's a one-shot kill. How do you like those apples, Anwen ;)? Infinite Damage With Haven (Unconfirmed) I've heard claims that you can gain infinite actions with Haven. You accomplish this by creating walls from chains, deleting them for free with the Dwarven Hammer, reinforcing, and then repeating the cycle. Ordinarily, you would eventually end your turn when you had locked up all your reinforcements in CF's. However, if you only create one formation and repeatedly Fuse that formation into a "super stack", you could theoretically keep the combo going for some time. I haven't been able to create an infinite with this combo myself, though. Inflict Damage Through Holy Shield Not really an exploit, but this seems like the most appropriate section for it. While it is possible to break Holy Shield with massive damage, there is another way to inflict damage through it. If you hit the Holy Shield directly with the Succubus' attack, the initial damage is absorbed as normal, but the splash damage is not. You can actually inflict approximately equal damage as you would normally, because the splash damage hits up to three squares of the hero zone. Scary. = Fun Stuff/Easter Eggs #0010 ================================================= This section includes interesting or obscure scenarios which may amuse you =). See Results of Cyrus' Battle *spoilers* After Azh Rafir is defeated in the final battle sequence, you actually don't have to fight Lord Bloodcrown immediately. You regain control of Nadia, and you are free to exit the room and backtrack through the level if you so desire. If you walk back outside, you can see the results of Cyrus' battle to hold off the Academy forces pursuing you. You are also free to engage in random battles and gain a few levels before the final boss, if you so desire. Isn't it nice that the final boss is patient enough to wait until you're ready? *end spoilers* Typos Varkas' spell is called Edric's Sword if you cast it in battle, when the proper name for it is Elrath's Sword, as written when you select him in Quick Battle mode. The Inferno faction has a flaming horse unit that is called a "Nightmare" in the unit selection screen, and a "Hell Charger" by the Thorn Whip Artifact. An Academy Artifact is called "Mana Sheild" when the proper spelling is "Mana Shield". Defeating Heroes In Unexpected Ways As mentioned in the exploit section, it is possible to defeat an opposing hero with Staff of Explosia. Another unlikely power is Jezebeth's Wall Crusher. You can actually damage an opposing hero with it if they have walls adjacent to their hero zone. It's extremely unlikely that the AI would create that many walls, and Wall Crusher does miniscule damage, but it is theoretically possible. Damaging/Destroying Ghosts Ghosts are normally invulnerable while charging. They allow attacks to pass through them, negating the damage without receiving damage themselves. However, it is possible to damage a Ghost by attacking it with a Zombie or Emerald Dragon. The Zombie itself will do no damage to the Ghost, but the ongoing damage from the Zombie's Plagued Bite will inflict damage to the Ghost. Similarly, Dragons do not hurt Ghosts directly either, but they can damage Ghosts with the acidic slime their attack leaves behind. I don't think it is possible to inflict enough damage from either source to completely destroy a Ghost, though. Only three units can destroy Ghosts. Ghosts can damage and destroy other Ghosts, presumably by virtue of being ethereal themselves. Wraiths can destroy Ghosts they hit because of their Death Touch special ability. Djinn can also destroy Ghosts in combination with other units. First freeze a Ghost with the Djinn's attack, then shatter it with another unit. Inflicting Zero Damage Several scenarios can cause 0 damage to be inflicted. Some spells and effects inflict a percentage of base damage, and if the base is low enough, the damage is rounded to zero. Low HP Inferno walls are a good example. Amusingly, Wraiths cause 0 damage if they hit a hero that has already been defeated by another attack. Getting a Tie/Draw I've heard that it is possible to get a draw in a Clash of Heroes battle. I've never observed this in my own games, because setting up this scenario is extremely unlikely, but this is how I understand it happens. If your hero is defeated during your own turn, your units still resolve their attacks before the battle ends, so it is possible to defeat the opposing hero at the same time. Two examples of how this can happen are dying from a Staff of Explosia or dying from ongoing damage (such as the Sword Master's Mortal Wound effect). If you get a draw in Campaign mode, I believe you are defeated anyway and must reload your game. Running Out of Space It is possible to create a wall in such a way that it has no space to exist, and so it immediately disappears. The most common way this happens is if you create a wall and a Core unit attack formation with the same move in a full column. Both the wall and the attack are formed, however, the wall has no space to drop down to, and the attacking formation takes priority. In this case, the wall is deleted automatically. = Closing Comments #0011 ====================================================== Thank you for reading this guide. Please help me make this guide better by pointing out any inaccuracies in this guide, any additional points you'd like me to test, and any idea you disagree with or feel I've overlooked. Please point out spelling, formatting, and grammatical errors, as well. Feel free to suggest any additional sections that you would like to see in this guide. I prefer not to give out my email, but you can contact me in either the Capy forums or the Gamefaqs forums. My username is Blackbird on the Capy forum and Outshinedsg on Gfaqs (Blackbird was taken already). Please do not re-post the contents of this guide to any other websites without first requesting my permission. Thanks to Wave1000 for suggesting content for this guide and for input on multiplayer strategies. Thanks to Sector24 and Hynreck for suggesting revisions. No thanks to my computer monitor, for being a scrapheap and delaying this guide. Clash of Heroes was developed by Capybara Games and produced by Ubisoft. All content of Clash of Heroes, from which the information presented in this guide is derived, is copyrighted by them. Thanks for making a great game, Capy!