They aren’t too skilled with magic… and I have no clue how to provide magic strategy for a town that has no magic… other than the fact that Might is very powerful with a nature caster in the army, boosting already powerful units statistics.
Nature magic is primarily a stat beneficial magic, which is why it helps might so much. With spells such as Dragon Strength and Mass Speed, Nature units can become extremely devastating. In the early stages of the game, the summon spells are prevalent in the mage guilds, and can be helpful in fighting the crucial battles for mines. Keeping as many creatures as possible is crucial because of the limited number that you have and summoned units do not remain after battle regardless of their quantity at its conclusion, therefore they are expendable units that can be used up. This makes them good cannon fodder, for using up strong unit retaliations, and can greatly reduce battle casualties. As you get late in the game, 3rd to 4th level guilds, I prefer to not get summons however, because Spells such as mass speed, especially with a fast caster, are very deadly, as you can reach enemies from afar, and eliminate shooters quickly. However, summon spells can also be useful, especially if you do not have a fourth level dwelling by the time you have high magics. Nature has perhaps the third best 4th level spells, behind death and order. Mass Snake Strike is probably the second best 4th level spell in the game and although chaos has access to the spell as well, Mass Fortune puts Nature ahead so far as 4th level spells go. A nasty combination with a quick hero caster is to boost everyone stats, I prefer Mass Fortune, followed by Mass Snake Strike, because generally, you will not engage the enemy, other than your ranged units before the second or third round. However, when you gain access to 5th level spells, the casting scheme becomes completely different. Dragon Strength is a massive spell, which doubles a creatures HP and Damage. I prefer to save this for the units you would not want to lose, for example if you are fighting 3rd level units, casting this on Fairy Dragons is not the best idea, because you will doubtfully accumulate enough damage to lose one of the creatures, however if you have a group of Griffins that will be engaging often, you want to have a plethora of HP. While on the subject of Griffins, they can become the best 3rd level units with nature spells…kind of odd, because so can very other unit…but anyway, with unlimited retaliations, they are already very destructive, but if you add in Snake Strike, they are attacking their enemies before they can get attacked…. Then with dragon strength, you lose almost none and they become a solid 4th level unit with unlimited retaliations and first strike. Nature magic takes a long time to develop because the low levels can be frustrating, because most are summons. However Wasp Swarm can be helpful especially if you choose the route of elves. Run a hero around with the elves, limiting the enemy to just two stacks, and thus being able to wasp swarm one while dominating the other with your elf’s. Despite the lack of any form of direct damage spells, nature does have one of the best guilds. Nature magic is quite possibly the most underrated magic in the game (even through I never have room in my army for the creatures that are raised through their 3rd secondary skill - summoning). The biggest advice I can give when using nature is to have only one hero in the army, because natures last few levels of guilds are incredible, but the summoner will likely not be the best in your army until then, and the low level creatures can generally hold their own, especially with a few summons.
I mentioned that Death was probably the best Competitor for tops in 4th level spells with order, because of Mass Weakness, Mass Sorrow and Vampiric Touch. The only problem with Death magic is that what I listed is about all they get. They have the potentially weakest 5th level spells (raise vampires, hand of death, sacrifice). Hand of Death can be unbelievable, because it kills a certain amount of any stack, but if you are fighting imps, where there are a million of them, its not the most useful spell ever…and is probably the only 5th level spell that is not good to cast in most situations. Sacrifice is worthless, especially late, when your army is comprised of good units, its more beneficial to cast Vampiric Touch, and thus gain back the health, without sacrificing your own dudes. Raise Vampires sort of stinks because they don’t stay after battles…so in essense, the Death spells are not very powerful…but as we all know grandmaster necromancy gains you vampires after killing living units. In my mind, that is the best secondary skill in the game. Free third levels, and good third levels at that. However, back to the spell combos in battle. I always start with mass sorrow, because the enemy will all go last in the next round, and have stat drops. Thereafter I will go for Mass Weakness, and just continue bashing their stats, thus making each attack of theirs do less and less to me, while mine do more and more to them. Death magic, as you would expect is the opposite of life, but in practice it is the opposite of nature, in that while nature provides self-help skills, death provides enemy-degrading spells, but of the same nature (no pun intended…), not in the form of direct damage, as chaos would.
Vampiric Touch is always a good spell, because it will give a unit (devils and bone dragons included) life drain. This is probably my favorite of the death spells, because it will work even fighting black dragons, which is very helpful, you can gain your health as you destroy them. I think that death magic is probably the second best overall considering the sub spells, in necromancy, but as for battle spells, it can be a disappointment other than the 4th levels (unless you grab demonology, summon devil is quite the spell…I will talk about this later…in magic/magic combos for you demonologists and arch mages.) Death magic is decent, and compliments their units well, but in terms of in battle usefulness, I vote it is not the greatest. (I will regret saying that the next time I get out of a battle with no casualties solely because of Vampiric touch though).
Chaos is the only actual direct damage dealing magic (although many do have single spells such as ice bolt). The straight forward magic leaves little room for strategy, however there are some things that would leave questions, as every spell is not direct damage. Confusion is an example. However I feel that confusion is not the greatest spell because it takes your casters turn, and usually (especially once you develop an army) there are more than a couple stacks. However, Cloud of Confusion can take away the attacks of three units, which can be beneficial, and can work almost as tactics in Heroes 3, allowing you to place your units. If I get Mass Misfortune, it is always the spell that I will cast first, causing all enemies to be affected by bad luck will increase the damage of all your creatures, and the Medusas are already a powerful shooter, but with the enemy having bad luck it is even better. I tend to follow mass misfortune with either Bloodfrenzy or mass first strike (usually first strike, unless the enemy stacks are very slow and will not be engaged immediately). But an army with these three is already very powerful. Then comes the simple task of just taking out enemies with spells. Many of the high tier spells, such as implosion and disintegrate usually will eliminate a stack in a couple of turns, which can be very helpful, also the addition of magic mirror against fairy dragons is helpful. The only time I use magic mirror is against the fairy dragons, because of the quickness of dragons and nightmares, I can usually terrorize or kill the enemy hero before he can utilize his magic. Many prefer chaos magic, because it is one of the few that can take out multiple fourth level units in a turn...
... while still being able to demolish bigger, weaker creature stacks-which is the drawback of Hand of Death.)
Life magic is the spell group that is most beneficial to its own units. Spells such as prayer only affect the life units, and can hurt you more than help you in some situations…(if the enemy is all life and you only have archers or something). However, the same can be said about Plague from Death magic and thus it cannot be weighed to heavily against Life magic. The 5th level spells for Life can be some of the best in the game, making potions of immortality obsolete, and allowing for you to organize your units in whichever way you see fit before battle and did I mention that they can add extra lives to creatures as well as heroes? The path in obtaining the spells is not bad either, because the first levels are very powerful especially early in the game, as healing units can prevent losses, or at least significantly reduce them, because the spells can usually refill the top stack to all that is left. This is not the wisest spell to cast on squires, who have very low HP, but can save crusaders and champions well. In the second level guild, Life magic has a lot of choices, and it would take a few towns to own gain access to all of them. However they can be very useful…Song of Peace is similar to wasp swarm, but it not as effective, as it allows the enemy to move, just not attack…this can be used in a similar method to wasp swarm though, walk around with just 2 stacks, so enemies will be limited to two stacks, and use a shooter to barrage them while they cant attack you. Defender can be a great spell, as can heavenly shield. The wards are always helpful. The individual are not nearly worth casting (in my mind) because you are going to use more than one unit, and spells such as bind wound, heal, and defender, and mirth (another good 2nd level) are much more valuable to cast. This does not hold true when you reach the good old 4th level mass ward spells. I will always begin battles with a mass ward (well in most cases at least…read on and ill explain), but lets continue to level 3 spells. After an abundance of level 2s, life has just 5 level 3s. Mass Bless may be the best 3rd level spell in the game, causing all friendly creatures to reach their maximum potential on each attack. Regeneration can also be useful, especially on a unit that will not take much damage and could regain most of what they accumulate. Mass Healing is another quality spell because it will heal all of you units, (Mass spells are great huh). This is not advisable however if only one of your units is being picked on (say you went Crossbowman, Ballista, Monk…for some reason…) and your 4th level is just being picked on…then it would be more beneficial since your shooters aren’t being touched to cast regeneration or save the spell points and cast bind would or heal. One of the few direct damage spell in the Life lineup is Holy Shout, which will damage all undead units, obviously this is worthless in 5/6 of the battles, but in that 1/6 it is a good spell to use. When I have all third level spells, and nothing above, I will start a fight with celestial armor, and that is something I may use later in the game, because it is a good defensive spell, even in late stages. Now we get to the level 4 spells. I said earlier that I begin all my battles with wards, that is assuming I have the ward of the creatures I am about to fight, and I will not engage them for 1 turn, which is about 75 % of the time. I have to add those stipulations because if prayer is in my arsenal as well, that is possibly the best life spell (considering your army is mainly life units and you are fighting a non-life army). If I will not engage them, then prayer is something that can wait a turn.
The other spell which I somtimes use first is mass fervor. If you have mass fervor, begin every battle with it regardless of the other spells in my book, because all of your units will act first in every round, and after having it for a game, you will be impressed with how much it helps when its taken away from you. Now after that…the 5th levels. All of these are healing spells … in a sense. The borderline on that is sanctuary, which makes your units invulnerable until they attack someone. I still begin with mass fervor however, because units under sanctuary cannot be affected by spells, and that is unfortunate when you have sanctuary casted. Sanctuary is a great spell, because you are able to position your units anywhere…Hero assassination anyone? You can gang up on one unit, or line up and take them down in a line. I find that Guardian Angel is an underrated spell, it gives extra lives to stuff, and although it takes a while to build, it is helpful in bigger battles, because you will not lose as many troops and thus damage will stay high as you keep the original stack numbers (it doesn’t add units, it just gives them extra lives). Divine Intervention does away with the expensive immortality potions (except the one to have on the caster so he wont die) because it can resurrect fallen heroes…so you can spread the experience. Life magic’s spells, in conjunction with resurrection, can be very daunting, (who needs to raise 3 vamps when you can resurrect 3 angels?) The only problem with life is that perhaps their best spell (prayer) is developed strictly for life and other towns will not benefit from it so you have to base your army on life units.
Notice that the Guardian Angel grants 6 extra lives…and that Divine intervention will heal 340 HP…and raise dead heroes…wow…not a bad spell book…
My mother always told me to save the best for last, and so I will have to conclude the magic overviews with Order magic. Superiority in the spell section is not questioned because Order magic is so powerful. Based on mind spells, Order magic can do everything from push opponents around to making one “switch teams.” The first time I used hypnotize, my friend couldn’t believe that his hydras “switched teams…” Order has incredible fifth level spells, and even when you are cursing for not getting hypnotize, steal all enchantments is a great spell, and pain mirror is very powerful, despite the fact that it seems rather useless, it can be one of the more powerful spells against a large enemy, especially because it is something that people usually tend to forget, and not use in their attack strategy.