Dungeon Strategy

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Dungeon Strategy

Postby {CH}ArticleBot » Jun 11 2006, 15:33

ImageInfiltrator's Dungeon guide, published back in the days of the open beta test, was extremely popular and got very positive feedback from the community. Months before its release, Heroes of Might and Magic already had a decent strategy article. For the second version of the guide, Infiltrator started from scratch and rewrote everything based on the retail version of the game. The longer version includes the following information:
  • hero and creature analysis;
  • skill and ability recommendations;
  • early, middle and end game strategies;
  • explanation of elemental chains.

A series of cool screenshots can be found inside. Have a look.



FACTION INFO
CREATURES STATISTICS
CREATURES ARTWORK


HERO
SKILLS
ABILITIES


DUNGEON HEROES
TOWN BUILDINGS
STRATEGY


Image





Prologue


Everyone who has had
contact with the HoM&M universe will think of an evil Wizard the moment
someone mentions the name Warlock. While this simple explanation may be
somewhat accurate, there's a plethora of complex strategies under the hood of
the Dungeon town. Make no mistake - the Dungeon is one of the, if not THE most
hard towns to play with, especially early on, despite the low production and
high stats of the units. You'll need to plan carefully as losses take heavy
tolls, even if minimal. But, before the actual strategy, a small intro to the
Dungeon.


The Warlock concept has
had evolved through each and every of the Heroes sequels. However, the core
gameplay features that distinct him from the other alignments has remained -
the Dungeon is still a heavily magic-oriented town, particularly leaning toward
the Destructive school of magic, and it is still bearing its greatest asset in
the highest-level creature - The Black Dragon. The new additions are numerous,
though, the most noticeable - the Dark Elves are now part of the family. An
integral part, more precisely, as the Warlocks themselves are all Dark Elves
and 4 of the 7 units are Dark Elves as well. Don't fret though, as the Minotaur
make a return, and so do the Hydras. Since every hero type is specialized in a
skill, Warlocks now get to be better at what they do best - causing damage. One
of their special abilities is Irresistible Magic, which enables them to pierce
the magic resistances of any creatures that might have them, and thus even be
able to use Destructive spells against creatures that are otherwise resistant,
or immune to them. The other special ability are the Elemental Chains, which
will enable you to identify the elements associated with each of the creatures
present in the battlefield, and thus use this to your advantage. More of this
will be explained later. For now, let's stick with..


The
Basics



The Warlock Hero starts
out with 1 Attack, 0 Defense, 3 Spellpower and 1 Knowledge. It's therefore
clear that the hero will mainly be focused on Spellpower and Attack. Knowledge
is a big issue for warlocks, but some workarounds exist, I will get onto them
soon.


Like each of the 5
other factions, the Warlock has a Primary skill, 3 basic abilities that branch
from it and one ultimate which requires your hero to take a specific route when
leveling. A warlock starts out with Basic Irresistible Magic which enables him
to negate 20% of the magic resistance or immunity an enemy unit has toward
Destructive Magic (so this skill cannot override Immunities like the Titan's
Mind Immunity). The percentage of the resistance negated increases per level -
Advanced negates 40%, Expert negates 50% and Ultimate Negates 75% of the
resistance enemy units have to your Destructive Spells. So, at the Master level
of Irresistible Magic, a Black Dragon (who is immune to all spells otherwise)
will absorb just 25% of the damage of any Destructive spells you cast on it.
Also, Irresistible Magic increases the damage bonus of your elemental chains,
5% per level. This brings me to my next point.


One of the abilities
that are available to a Warlock via Irresistible magic is Elemental Vision. It
grants the Warlock to use his second specialty, Elemental Chains. The ones who
were beta testers will certainly remember Elemental Chains being a bit more
complicated and tactical ability of the Warlock, but they have been simplified
since then, and now they are easier to deploy and require less calculation as
they have some random factors attached to them. So what are they all about? Well,
every creature is associated with one of the 4 elements - Fire, Ice, Air and
Earth. At first, you can't see any of them. Once you acquire the Elemental
Vision skill, you can see the elements of the enemy creatures in combat, and
you are already able to deal additional elemental damage - the basic idea is
that you identify what is the enemy creature element (located in the
lower-right corner of his icon in the ATB bar) and based on it, cast a spell
that is aligned oppositely toward it. Fire is opposite to Ice, and Air is
opposite to Earth, so, if I cast Meteor Shower (earth spell) on a creature that
is aligned with air, I will deal bonus damage, dependent on the strength of
your base spell damage, level of Irresistible Magic, and buildings in your
town(s).


Each of the Destructive
spells is aligned with one element:


Eldritch Arrow - Fire


Earth Spikes - Earth


Lightning Bolt - Air


Ice Bolt - Water


Fireball - Fire


Circle of Winter -
Water


Chain Lightning - Air


Meteor Shower - Earth


Implosion - Earth


Armageddon - Fire


ImageAfter you have successfully dealt bonus damage via
the Chains, the element of the enemy creature will change, randomly. As soon as
you build the Temple of Elements in your town (requires the Mage guild) you
will be able to see the elements of your own creatures, and they too can now
partake in doing additional damage. At the start of the battle every creature
is assigned a random element, and if your creature, for example aligned with
Fire attacks an enemy creature aligned with Ice, it will deal additional
damage, and both your creature and the attacked one will randomly change
elements. If you build the Altar of Primal Elements in your town, which is an
upgrade to the Temple of Elements structure, all your chains will deal 10%
bonus damage, and if you build the same structure in other Dungeon towns, they
will stack. In summary, the base formula for obtaining the bonus is - 5*(level
of Irresistible Magic) +10*(number of Altars you posses). The figure you get is
a bonus % of the base damage your creature or spell makes when you connect a
chain. So, for example, if you have Advanced Irresistible Magic and the Altar
of Primal Elements built in your town, and your Blood Fury (air) hits Zombie
(earth) for 200 damage, the elemental chains will kick in and they will do a
bonus of 200*(10+10)% = 40 bonus damage, equaling 240 in total. Which is a nice
boost that gets stronger as the base damage of your creatures/spells increases
and you gain new levels of Irresistible Magic.


The second ability
unique to the Warlock is called Empowered Spells. With it, every Destructive
spell (and Magic Fist) can be cast with 50% more damage, but at double the mana
cost. The normal versions of the spells are kept in your spellbook though, so
in case when you need to conserve, or just don't have enough mana, you can cast
them. Since Warlocks don't have a lot of mana, especially early in the game,
this ability will prove to be a lot more useful mid-late game.


The Dark Ritual is the
third unique Warlock basic ability. It's rather straightforward - basically, it
enables you to fully regenerate your spell points, but requires a full day
worth of movement points. You can already see that you won't be using this on a
regular basis, as there are usually other methods of regenerating mana without
blowing a whole day with your hero. The only reason you should take this
ability as early as possible is because it's a prerequisite to Secrets of
Destruction - an ability from Destructive Magic which grants you +2 Knowledge
and a random destructive spell from level 1 to level 3 that you don't already
posses in your spellbook. With this ability your early game-play will benefit
from a significant boost as more mana and a possibility to get a higher level
destructive spell without the mage guild will enable you to confront tougher
enemies without fret.


The Rage of the
Elements is the Warlock's ultimate ability, and while powerful, its
considerable drawback is having to pick war machines to get it. While War
Machines have their uses, this skill is probably one of the least desired to
fill one of the 5 slots. Apart from War Machines, you require Luck, Enlightment
and Logistics. All three of those are good choices for a warlock otherwise,
however with luck being the only one a "must" choice even if you
don't plan to take the Rage of the Elements route. Which brings me to my next
point, skill and Ability allocations.


The
Tools of the Trade



The Dungeon is a rather
offensive-oriented faction, which is probably why besides the Dragons, they
lack any other tough units to soak retaliations (Hydras are tough, but their
no-retaliation ability sometimes is not as desired). So you have to base your
skills to match the Dungeon's identity.


Critical skills, if
you're a warlock these skills will never be a mistake regardless of situation.
A strong synergy lies between the warlock, his units and the skills and
abilities that follow:


Offense is of crucial
importance to a Warlock, even if at first glance it doesn't look so attractive.
Frenzy isn't particularly useful as it relies on having a lot of low-damage
units, which Dungeon certainly lacks. Archery isn't a great choice either, as
Assassins are there to poison, not deal damage, and Shadow Matrons and
Matriarchs can take the roles of casters more often then not. So what's so
great about Offense? Tactics. This ability will enable your Blood Furies to
reach the other side of the field right off the start of combat and will also
allow you to pick a wider range of targets with your Grim Raiders (tactics lets
you re-arrange your troops in an additional row before combat starts). Once you
get tactics, Power of Speed is available to you, an ability which enables you
to cast Haste at no expense; it will be useful in those situations where you
don't have mana or when you don't need to spend it anyway. And Power of Speed,
coupled with Empowered Spells will unlock Retribution, an ability that will
enable your troops to deal additional damage based on their morale state. So
it's clear that any Dungeon player should ditch Frenzy and Archery and get
these abilities, in most situations. Of course, increasing the Offense Skill
will give a direct boost to your Elemental Chain bonuses made by your creatures
in melee combat.


Destructive Magic is
self explanatory. The Warlock is THE Destructive magic master, half of his
skills augment and affect this school in one way or another, so it's only
natural to get this skill with no questions asked. Destructive Magic will
enable you to cast more powerful and different spells, enabling you to adapt
and use the Elemental Chains to your advantage to the fullest. The abilities
themselves are the aforementioned Secrets of Destruction, three other abilities
that enhance three of the four elements - Fire, Ice and Lightning spells, as
well as Mana Burst. I suggest you wait and build at least the mage guild level
3 before deciding what element-specific abilities to use, because picking
Master of Ice and not getting any Ice spells in your guild afterwards wouldn't
be pretty. Master of Fire will enable you to cut down all affected creatures'
defense by half for one round, a huge bonus, especially against creatures with
a high defense. This affects the Fireball and Armageddon spells. Master of Ice
affects Ice bolt and Circle of Winter spells, and it will grant them freezing
effect. The effect bumps the units back for a few spaces in the ATB bar, and
applies the Freezing effect to them for half a round. If they are to reach the
ATB bar under this effect, they will go one space back as long as the freeze
effect lasts. Master of Storms affects the Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning
spells, and it acts similarly to the Master of Ice ability. Creatures stricken
by Lightning or Chain Lightning will be bumped in the ATB bar back based on how
close they are to acting. Creatures that are about to act will be bumped back
more then creatures whose turn isn't close to come. Also, the Chain Lightning
will only apply this effect to the first creature you strike; the consecutive
ones will only receive damage. Mana Burst will enable you to deal damage to
casters, once they cast spells. I suggest you leave this skill out as having 2
elemental masteries will be far more useful.


Favorable skills, these
aren't necessary, but having some of the listed will help a great deal.


Luck can be very handy.
Having it, you gain an even bigger edge on offensive and will minimize your
losses from retaliating creatures. You should get of course the Expert level as
soon as possible, but there are abilities that are defiantly worth of having.
Resistance is one of them, increasing your chance to resist all spells by 15%,
obviously useful if faced against caster creatures or Heroes aligned with Dark
or Destructive spells. Resourcefulness increases the chance of getting more
resources from fireplaces and resource piles or gold/experience from chests,
but there are better things to spend your level-ups in. Soldiers Luck increases
the chance of applying useful creature abilities that don't trigger all the
time. The only case in the Dungeon is the Shadow Matriarch's chance to apply a
negative spell when engaged in melee combat. While this Ability alone is not
very useful, the one that it unlocks most definitely is. It's called Warlock's
Luck and it enables your hero to have luck rolls when casting Destructive
spells. With a high Luck this Ability will make your enemies tremble when your
hero reaches its turn, as double the damage on any spell is, well, just plain
crazy :) . The fifth ability from Luck comes from the Warlock's Luck, it's called
Tear of Asha Vision and it basically enables you to dig up the Tear of Asha if
you are not directly on top of it, but rather nearby. I wouldn't be picking
this unless I'm going for Rage of the Elements, as most of the time the digging
will be done by other heroes, as the main one has plenty of other things to do.


Leadership, another
useful skill, synergizes perfectly with Retribution from Offense. Combined,
with each increase of Leadership you will also increase the damage output of
your creatures. As for the abilities, Estates at 250g a day is definitely not
good for a main hero to be spending level-ups in. Diplomacy will reduce the
cost of surrendering and, more importantly, increase the chance of neutral
armies joining you, you can then proceed to sacrifice them at your Sacrificial
Pit and perhaps you will be granted a better population bonus of Blood Furies
you so desperately need. Recruitment is an excellent ability for dungeon,
however, not for a main hero. Having to be in the town every weekend is pretty
hindering. However if you've taken Leadership you should also take this skill,
for the sake of Swiftness Aura, a very useful ability that grants all your
units +1 speed and is unlocked by getting Recruitment.


Logistics is almost
always welcome, especially on maps that are large and/or covered with rough
terrain types. It also has its merits, weather you catch up that fleeing hero,
or make a close escape thanks to it. At the expert level, 30% bonus to movement
will be noticeable indeed. One of its abilities, Pathfinding, will reduce the
movement penalty over rough terrain by 50%. Scouting is now much more useful
then it used to be, as it will, in addition to increasing your view range,
enable you to see the exact information on how many creatures are in the
neutral stack or enemy heroes. As an added bonus, scouting unlocks one of the
best abilities a Warlock can get - Teleport assault. This ability will grant
you the teleport spell that will boost forward in the ATB bar the creature
that's being teleported. It doesn't take much to figure out that the Hydra is
the perfect target for this spell. Suddenly, the slow unit that almost never
gets to act will become an offensive fortress with this spells, a hydra is
usually ignored until the end, but this ability will make sure they see the
action much earlier then your opponent would expect. Teleport Assault also
unlocks Death March, an ability that will add +4 to all your units speed when sieging
enemy castles, this will be most useful for your Dragons as they will be able
to get to any spot of the field in one turn. The final base ability of Pathfinding
is Navigation, obviously worth having only on maps that are water-centric.


While Sorcery doesn't
give any benefit to your creatures, it makes your hero much more terrifying and
solves some problems the warlock suffers from having a small mana pool. Sorcery
reduces the interval between hero actions by 10/20/30% per level, enabling you
to cast spells more frequently, something definitely worth having. Magic
Insight will enable you to learn 3rd level spells, this is most useful if you
get Phantom Forces in your guild (as the Dungeon is Destruction/Summoning
aligned) as casting this on your Blood Furies will not only boost their
survivability, but it will also bolster your offensive power significantly.
Arcane Training is a good, straightforward skill that decreases the cost of all
spells by 20%, a welcome addition indeed. Mana regeneration will double your
base regeneration (base regeneration is Knowledge value of spell points per
day, with this ability 5 knowledge would mean 10 MP regenerated per day instead
of 5) and is more useful early on then later in the game, where the base
knowledge would be sufficient enough to keep your mana pool high most of the
time. Mana Regeneration unlocks however, a very interesting ability - Erratic Mana.
It will randomly lower the cost of your spell by 0-50%, after being cast. You
still need to have the amount of mana it takes to cast a spell normally, but
this ability, coupled with Arcane training will significantly reduce the cost
of your spells. Counterspell is unlocked by Erratic mana, and isn't quite
useful, frankly. Couple the fact that you have to take Mana Burst and Defense
to get it as well, it's probable that you won't be offered this ability often.
For the record - it negates effects cast by the enemy of his next spell, but it
drains twice the mana cost from you. Something you definitely do not want in
most cases.


Summoning Magic is a
viable choice for a Warlock, as this is one of the two schools the Dungeon is
aligned with (the other being destructive). Also, summoning magic benefits
greatly from spellpower, something a Warlock certainly has. The abilities
gained from summoning magic are pretty un-inventive, but useful non-the-less.
Master of Life makes your Fist of Wrath and Raise Dead spells stronger by +4 spellpower.
Master of Earthblood applies the same effect for the Earthquake and Firetrap
spells, and similarly, Master of Conjuration adds +4 spellpower when casting
either Summon Elementals or Summon Phoenix. Master of Conjuration also unlocks Exorcism, an ability that makes your destructive spells deal double damage to summoned or gated units, most useful against Inferno forces, as they rely heavily on gating. In addition, summoning magic will allow you to conserve more units, as Phantom Forces and the Summon Elementals and Phoenix Spell will provide you with cannon fodder, and Arcane Armor will ensure the longentivity of your units against phisical attacks.


Enlightment has had
quite an increase in power in Heroes V, and it's a useful all-around skill for
just any hero. Providing you with +30% experience and +1 additional primary
stat per 2 levelups at Expert Level, this will ensure you have level and stat
superiority when facing other heroes. Intelligence is an incredibly useful
ability for the Warlock, enhancing his small mana pool by 50%. Scholar is flat
out as useless as it always was, and considering it doesn't tie up to any more
powerful abilities, I don't think anyone would choose this unless in some very
specific and rare situations. Arcane Intuition is the new name for the Eagle
eye, it is useful when fighting Pit Lords and you don't have Meteor Shower, for
example, as you can learn any spell that's being cast, even by creatures. It
also unlocks Dark Revelation, an ability that gives you a free levelup, but it
still takes away an ability slot, so this is best saved later on when level-ups
don't come by so easily. Dark Revelation also opens up the opportunity to learn
the Wizard's Award, a mediocre ability that will permanently boost your spellpower
by 2 and earn you 1000 gold (as a one-time bonus of course). You'll also need
this ability if you plan on getting Rage of the Elements.


That's about it for the
Useful skills. The ones you should try to avoid are:


Defense - 30% defense
from melee and 20% from ranged attacks sounds nice, but the dungeons main focus
is offense, and killing off anything before they can do any damage, couple the
fact that the abilities of defense aren't tailored for a Warlock either, it's
clear that this skill is not one that should be picked often.


Warmachines aren't bad,
but simply put, there are many other skills that are just plain better then
this skill. Avoid unless you are going for Rage of the Elements.


Dark and Light magic
don't show up in your mage guild after level 4, and up to then only one of the
two will show up for the first 3 levels. So while you definitely could gain
benefits from these schools, you won't have anywhere to learn the spells from until
you've captured another town that is aligned with them.


The
Hero



So now you know the
basics of the skills. Based on your play style, map and what you're up against,
you're going to have to choose wisely, but as important as skill/ability
selection, you're going to have to pick a main hero as well. There are eight
dungeon heroes total on your disposal. I'll go through each one here:


ImageYrvanna
- Blood Mistress, a viable choice, especially for long games, as she starts out
with Basic Enlightment and Learning. On top of that she adds +1 att/def for
every 2 levels to the Dungeons key unit - the Blood Fury. She's also an
excellent secondary hero, as she starts with around 9 Blood Sisters, boosting
your main hero significantly early on.


Vayshan - Black Hand, specializes in Scouts and Assassins,
granting them +1 att/def every 2 levels. He starts out with Basic Luck and
Soldier's Luck, so getting Lucky spells was never easier. Opposite to Yrvanna,
he starts out with around 21 Scouts, but no Blood Sisters.


Kythra - Slave Driver, pretty bad choice for a main hero,
as she specializes in Minotaurs, who don't see much action. Furthermore, she
starts out with Leadership, which is good, but Estates, which is bad, as you
can't get both Diplomacy and Aura of Swiftness, key abilities for Leadership.
Her starting army is downright horrid (a couple of minotaurs and nothing else).


Sinitar - Catalyst, a very good hero for small maps. He
starts out with Basic Destructive Magic, Empowered spells and Eldritch Arrow.
His specialization allows him to reduce the mana cost of Empowered spells as he
levels, but at level 15 the mana cost of every empowered spell reaches the mana
cost of the normal spell version, effectively making this hero stop dead in his
development. On larger maps I advise you to take another hero, as mana won't be
a problem on higher levels.


Sorgal - Lizard Breeder, an average hero, he starts out
with Basic Offense but Frenzy, which immediately throws Retribution out of the
picture. If you don't plan on getting Leadership, this hero will serve you well
though, as his specialty is increasing the damage done by your Grim Raiders'
Lizard Bite.




ImageEruina
- Coven Mistress, a very good hero for medium-large maps. Her starting skills
are perfect (Basic Dest. Magic and Basic Attack) and she also starts with an
Ammo Cart. Her specialty gives your Matrons and Matriarchs a chance to get a
free shot at targets of your destructive spells. AoE spells count too, and the
target is the unit that is in the center of the AoE. The Matrons and Matriarchs
will also shoot even if they don't have any shots left.




Lethos - Poison Master, this hero would be the best
choice against anything but a Necromancer, as his specialty gives him a chance
to cast Plague on a number enemy units based on his level. But, alas, this hero is ruined by starting out with Basic Dark Magic, a wasted skill slot that will make him a bad choice as this school is not aligned with the Dungeon and it's also not Spell Power dependent as the two schools that are - Destructive and Summoning Magic.




Yrbeth - Dark Mystic, I saved the "best" for
last. This hero specializes in Dark Ritual, making it more effective by
overlapping your max mana pool when used, based on her level. Since you don't
use Dark Ritual often in the first place (you need to waste a whole day with
your hero) there's not much point into picking a hero that specializes into
something that you won't use a lot (or at all, in most games). To make her even
less appealing she even starts out with Dark Magic.






The
Followers







So now you know the
basics of the skills, abilities and heroes. But, the core of the Heroes series
have always been the creatures you can command. Dungeon has a unique arsenal,
and to win with it, you need to know each creature inside-out to see how well
they synergize with each other and make surgical attacks, as just attacking at
random will be a sure path to failure with Dungeon.




I'll try to summarize
each creature here, revealing strong and weak points, however, to put them to
good use you'll not only need to know each creature as an individual unit, but
how do they synergize as a group, which I will cover later :)




The Scout and
Assassin





ImageThe Scout is the first unit of the dungeon, and
just by looking as his stats, you can tell that individually he's one tough
level 1 unit. However this quality does not come without cost, or lack of
quantity. As a result, their production is low, and their cost is high. Not
that he's not useful, especially in early game. They are ranged units, but with
a ranged penalty. What this means is that they will do 1/4 damage to targets at
long range, and 1/2 damage when shooting nearby enemies. This is offset by the
fact that they have no melee penalty, and I strongly advise you to use them as
a melee unit (forcing melee is done by ctrl+click) when you can finish an enemy
or don't fear the enemy retaliation will take a heavy toll. So keep him in the
front row, even though he's ranged, soften up the enemy, and when he's in walk
ranged and weakened by your other units, deal the finishing blow with a melee
attack. Gradually, you will have to restrain from using them as a melee unit
though, as when you start fighting higher level neutrals, retaliations will be
too strong to absorbed by them.




That's where the
Assassin comes into play. He's not that much of an improvement over the Scout,
stats wise, but he comes with an ability to poison his enemies with both his
melee and ranged attacks. Poison occurs 100% of the time (although some
creatures like undead and mechanicals are immune) and will deal damage equal to
the number of Assassins in the stack to the attacked creature for 3 consecutive
rounds, each time before it acts. You can't 'refresh' the poison charges on the
enemies, so once you've poisoned one, you might as well switch to another
target. The good part is, of course, that he can poison from a safe distance,
making the Assassin an excellent unit to reduce the numbers of the high level
creatures, as the poison damage is not altered by their level or high defensive
value.




Overall, the Scout will
serve you early game for weakening units at long range and finishing them off
in melee, while the Assassin will prove to be useful after, mostly as a
range-only poisoner.




The Blood Maiden and
Blood Fury





The level 2 Dungeon
units correspond to the ones we had back in Heroes 3 - the Harpy and Harpy Hag,
being different only visually (a lot ;) ) and because they can't fly. These are
also the key dungeon units, much of your offensive power will come through them,
but, as with the scouts and assassins, they aren't cheap and you don't get many
per week. The Blood Maiden is a waste of a unit, she can only fight peasants
and militiamen, and you'll be lucky if you get out without causalities. She
attacks, takes the retaliation and runs back to the spot where she stood.
Obviously the problem is that she lets the attacked creature retaliate, which
is disastrous, coupled with her low growth and hit points.




Image




Fortunately, the Blood
Fury fixes this problem, as she gains the No Retaliation ability. With it, you
will dominate melee units as her high initiative, speed, no retaliation and big
offensive power will allow you to quickly obliderate walkers. Of course,
fighting ranged units with her is a big risk, as they will unquestionably
target her, and while she does gain the no retaliation ability over the Blood
Maiden, she still shares her weak defensive capabilities.




It's no big secret that
you should be very careful with what you attack with the Maidens and Furies, as
one false step, and you just lost 2-3 weeks of their population. I'll cover the
more detailed steps of preserving and utilizing them to their fullest later on.




The Minotaur Slave
and Minotaur Guard





While Minotaurs aren't
as powerful as they once were (mostly because they dropped to a mere level 3
unit), they can still take some punishment and pack a punch. The Minotaur
Slaves are slow and fairly balanced in the offense/defense ratio. Because of
their Bravery ability, no matter what the combat circumstances are their morale
will never fall below +1. While they won't act as much, this ability will
ensure that once they do get to it there won't be a possibility for them to
skip a turn due to low morale. You can use them in the early stages to soak
some retaliations from enemy creatures, and then engage in melee safely with
your Scouts or Assassins.




Minotaur Guards gain a
significant bonus to their offensive skill, as with the upgrade they get to
attack twice. This is best used against ranged creatures and creatures that
have a big defense but low attack penalty, as they will retaliate after the
first strike has been applied, and the second swing will consider how many causalities
you've suffered after the first one.




Minotaurs are adaptable
to most situations, but don't excel at any in particular. They can deal good
amounts of damage, but don't let their huge hit points deceive you - their low
defensive value will make them vulnerable to physical damage. They can soak the
damage early on, but later in the game their offense will overcome their
tanking abilities, so you will have to pick your targets more carefully.




The Dark Raider and
Grim Raider





A new addition to the
Dungeon, the Dark Raider is a charger unit, with excellent offensive and
mediocre defensive capabilities. Unlike the Paladins, who gain damage per
square traveled, the Dark Raider reduces the targets defense by 20% for each
square traveled, all the way to zero. This renders them very useful when
confronting high level units with big defensive values, as if charged from 5+ squares,
their defense will practically be nullified. The Dark Raiders aren't exactly
the charging type because their speed is average, so until you upgrade them,
they are better off at intercepting enemies, then charging across the field.




With the upgrade, the
Grim Raider performs considerably better then his lesser cousin. Most
importantly, speed an initiative get bumped up, enabling them to cross the
field easily. Furthermore, they gain the Lizard Bite ability. It enables them
to deal half their normal damage to adjacent enemies, whenever they get hit by
one of your units' melee attacks. This obviously fits perfectly with the Blood
Fury, who gets no retaliation anyway, and the Minotaur Guards, who trigger two
attacks of the Raiders with their Double Strike ability.




Overall, raiders are an
excellent charger that ignores the enemy defense when charging long enough,
making them an excellent slayer of high level units. When fighting other
players, I don't recommend charging against low-defensive and low-level
creatures unless there's no other option, as dropping their already low defense
to zero doesn't provide much of an advantage. While they are excellent at their
blow from afar, they aren't that great when forced into a melee, so be sure to
take advantage of their maneuverability and retreat them if necessary.




The Hydra and Deep
Hydra





Most Dungeon creatures
are heavy hitters who can't take a lot of beating. To balance things out, the imposing
Hydra once again joins the cause of the Dungeon. Towering above every other
unit in the battlefield, the Hydra is a slow and lumbering unit that can take
obscene amounts of punishment. She has three heads which enable her to attack
three targets that are in front of her. Furthermore, as it has always been,
Hydra attacks cannot be retaliated against, but, luckily for your enemies, the
Hydra has a very poor initiative, so a defensive role is what you will use her
most of the time.




The Deep Hydra brings
even more goodies to the table. The already high amount of hit points goes even
higher, and so does the damage dealt. This hydra has six heads, enabling her to
attack every enemy creature around her regardless of their positions, and a new
ability, Regeneration, is gained. It will enable the Deep Hydra to heal 33-50
hit points each time it gets to act, it will even bring back lost Deep Hydras
back to life if the amount healed overlaps the maximum hit points.




Obviously, the Hydra
and Deep Hydra are mostly defensive creatures due to their low initiative, huge
hit points and big defensive values. But, when surrounded by enemies it will
show considerable offensive potential. That is why most neutrals (and players)
leave her alone or attack her with no more then one creature. The no retaliation
ability is good for preserving her numbers as is the Regeneration ability, so
use this to your advantage - with the Teleport Assault ability (from
Logistics), the Hydra can be turned into an offensive fortress, just teleport
her into the enemy ranks, it will improve her position in the ATB bar, allowing
you to strike down several enemies immediately. It will also deny your opponent
the option to ignore her.




The Shadow Witch and
Shadow Matriarch





These Mistresses bring
what dungeon direly needs - a high level shooter and spellcaster. While having
only four shots, their spellcasting somewhat compensates this. Unlike the spellcasters
from other town, Shadow Witches don't have any direct damage spells, and are
able to cast Slow, Righteous Might and Disrupting ray. All of these spells are
cast at Advanced level so they are powerful buffs and debuffs, depending on
what you need. On the downside, the witch has pretty poor stats (most notably
health) and is quite expensive.




The Shadow Matriarch receives
an additional spell in her book - Confusion. It lowers the retaliation and
ranged damage of creatures, so it will be quite useful where you have to attack
a strong target (halving his retaliation damage), or partially disable an enemy
shooter. The spell is cast without any proficiency, so it does not make it an
absolute favorite over her former spells. An additional ability she gains is
whip strike, enabling her to sometimes cast Slow, Weakness or Frenzy at enemies
engaged in melee combat. While berserk is the highest spell, considering its
effect, it won't prove too useful as you need to be in melee range to apply it.
Like the Witch, the Matriarch inherits only 4 shots and overall low stats, but
bumps up the price.




The role of the Shadow
Witch and Matriarch is of a supportive character to Dungeon, they can shoot and
cast spells and even though they are a lousy shot, Dungeon direly needs them as
a melee-centric faction. They prove to be more useful in the spell department,
weakening your enemies or strengthening your own units. The Whip Strike may
seem tempting, but trust me when I tell you to avoid melee confrontations with
them, as due to the low hit points and stats they will drop like files in close
quarter combat.




The Shadow Dragon
and Black Dragon





Once again, the pinnacle
of the Dungeon army are the powerful Dragons. Shadow Dragons are strong flying
units that can traverse the battlefield in one turn, and incinerate two foes
with their Fire Breath ability. When facing large creatures, be sure to attack
them from the right position as you can fire breathe through them as well. The
only downside Shadow Dragons posses is a somewhat low attack and defense
rating, and low initiative in comparison to other level 7 creatures.




The mighty Black Dragon
is the Dungeons trademark, and with more then enough reasons. Once you get a
hold of this unit it will provide a tremendous advantage in fights against
neutrals and players alike. Baring his curse and gift - magic immunity, the
Black Dragon is impervious to all spell effects, excluding your own area effect
spells (Irresistible magic affects your own creatures at the moment) and the
Destructive Spells from other Warlocks. Improving every aspect of their lesser
cousins except initiative, they will be able to cause severe damage and take
loads of punishment from just about anything.




Image




Once you get Dragons,
your army will gain a considerable boost in both offense and defense. Use their
Fire Breath to your advantage, but be careful about placing your own units
around Dragons, as the enemy can take advantage of it and use your Dragons'
retaliations to harm your units behind them. Black Dragons are extremely useful
when fighting Druids and Pit Fiends, just remove everyone but the dragons from
the group and they won't be able to do much, as their spells are useless. Just
be careful when facing Pit Lords - who will always kill at least one Dragon,
and Magi - who can cast magic fist, which is considered a physical attack.






The
Scheme





Now that you have some
basic insights of the Dungeon's army, I'm going to describe the general
strategy when playing with this town. Note that this is not a winner strategy,
as dependent on the map and other circumstances, you will have to adapt, if you
want to win.




Early game




If your town hasn't got
a tavern, get it immediately, and get a Dungeon hero to fill your main hero’s
ranks and pick up loose resources and mines. With several Blood Maidens and
scouts, all you could clear without causalities at this stage is peasants and
conscripts, on lower difficulty settings. Once you get the tavern, regardless
of weather you have or not the Scout building, get the Blood Sister production
building and the upgrade for it the next day. The reason is simple - Blood
Maidens make up for lousy fighters against anything but the weakest foes, but
Blood Furies are excellent against melee units in general, and absolutely
dominate the slower melee units. Once you have them, make the Scout building
(if it was not there at the start) and continue linearly making units, ensuring
that you have built the Town/City Hall when prerequisites permit it, Dungeon
is an expensive town and you need to build and recruit. Until your hero has
Tactics (which you should get ASAP) do not engage Archers or Hunters on mines (nor
their upgrades).




Disposing of zombies is
easy, but once you get to fight Golems, Footmen or Minotaurs, who can take a
beating, be sure to run back with your Blood Furies and Scouts out of their
reach when they are about to take their turn. That will ensure that the Blood
Furies will get at least two attacks in before they get to act again. So the
procedure with the Furies is:




1) Wait (W button) for
them to move in range of your attack.


2) Attack them, most of
the time you will be able to act twice before their next turn.


3) a) If they will not
reach you when their next turn comes, attack them again. (you can see how much
they will move by hovering the mouse on them)


b) If they will reach
you when they next turn comes, retreat out of their move range.


4) They will move, but
since you are out of range they won't be able to attack you.


5) Attack them.


6) Retreat where they
can't reach you.


7) Repeat steps 5-6 until
they are weak enough, then you can just finish them off with a melee attack
from the Scouts (ctrl-Click) or with the Blood Furies.




Note that the
retreating part also goes for Scouts, but they won't be able to attack as much
like the Furies so just save them to finish off weakened enemies. Don't waste mana
on the melee neutrals unless you really need to, as ghosts and shooters will
pose a much bigger threat and you will need the spells for them.




You can engage Gremlins
and Skeletal Archers even without tactics IF there aren't isn't more then a
horde of them. This will probably cost you 1 or 2 Blood Furies depending on
Morale, but a Horde of them will take away a much heavier toll so stay away until
you get tactics. Scouts are easy to deal with as they have a Ranged penalty,
but Assassins will probably take their toll of a few Furies, so pick your
fights carefully.




If by any chance you
find Sprites on your wood or ore mines, do NOT fight them. They have Wasp
Swarm, a spell that, when cast by around 15 sprites will kill two Blood Furies,
and they can cast it twice (just until you reach them). Couple that with one of
the best initiatives in the games, these pests are the last thing you want to
attack early on. If you are on Easy or Normal difficulty, you might want to
consider hiring a third hero from another alignment just to kill them with
troops you don't need anyway. Pixies, the un-upgraded version do not have the
Wasp Swarm ability, so you should be able to deal with them easily.




By the end of the Week,
your town should have a Tavern, Scout building, Blood Fury building, Blacksmith
=> Minotaur building, Town hall and First level of the Mage guild. Depending
on the Difficulty and the amount of built structure s at the start, you could
squeeze in either the Raider or Hydra structure, do so based on the Neutrals: a
lot of ranged neutrals - get Raiders, a lot of melee neutrals - get Hydras.




Your hero should have
Destructive Magic with Secrets of Destruction if you were lucky (you need Dark
Ritual to unlock the Secrets of Destruction) and/or Tactics, from Offense, by
the end of the week.




Middle game




By now you should have
cleared all or most mines that were guarded by melee neutrals. I expect you
have Tactics by now as it will be essential for dealing with stronger ranged
units. By ranged, I mean Archers, Hunters, Succubi and Priests. Again,
depending on the difficulty setting, you may be able to take them earlier or
later. The key with killing them is placing your Blood Furies on the
appropriate squares. For example, if you place them on Square 4 from the left,
you will be able to attack the other neutrals if they are either all in one
stack, or split in two, as the AI will always place them in the same position.
If there is an obstacle on the way, consider the strength of your army against
the attacking creatures. If you were sure they were going to flee, having
superior forces, they will probably be all placed in a single stack. If,
however, you did not expect them to flee, they are probably split into 2 or 3 stacks,
so place your furies accordingly, and if you have an option to attack two
targets, always go for the one that will get to act first (by highlighting the
unit in the ATB bar you can see in what order they will come) and finish the
second off with a spell, if possible. If you have Teleport Assault from
Logistics, use it on hydras, teleport them between 2 stacks of shooters (if
possible), and enjoy the fun.




Mages and Druids are
the toughest opponent at this stage of game, if they're on a mine you need,
things aren't looking good for you as it's almost certain you will suffer heavy
causalities. Fighting them does not differ from fighting normal ranged units
except that in the case of Druid Elders and Arch Magi you should remove some
units from the combat (like the Hydra and Minotaur) because they have Area
Effect spells and thus you should place your units farther from each other to
keep the damage suffered only on one target.




Attacking Higher level
walkers will be easy, if you did a good job conserving your Blood Furies. Just
employ the same strategy I described in the above section on slower enemies.
Note however, that the faster ones like Nightmares, Unicorns and Paladins, can
reach you in their first turn, so put your furies in the back row for such
encounters. Wait with the Furies if they get to act first, and then launch a
full-fledged attack onto them.




Your hero should have
at least Advanced Destructive Magic and either Master of Storms or Master of
Ice (depending on what you got in your mage guild), both of these will help a
lot as they delay the turn of your enemies. Other skills depend on your
personal preference and just about any of the one I recommended in the
"Tools of the Trade" section can go.




In this stage of the
game, if you are at the end of the week and have to choose between Citadel and
City hall, get the Citadel, as it will ensure more Blood Furies. You should
have built the first 5 unit structures and the 2nd mage guild level by now as
well. If you're on Easy or Normal you should definitely have the first 6
creatures and both the Citadel and City Hall built. The Hall of Intrigue, a
prerequisite for the Shadow Witches, will help you as well, increasing the
knowledge of all warlocks by 1.




Late Game




A few Shadow Dragons
should be among your ranks in this stage. You can now easily clear the once
hard Druids, Mages and Pit Fiends, but you should easily deal with some of the
toughest melee opponents like Angels, Bone Dragons, Colossi and Devils. Place
your units in the back rows, if you have extra spaces, split the Shadow
Witches/Matriarchs into two stacks and slow them. Harass them with the Blood
Furies and spells, and then finish them off with Dragons and Raiders.




The tactic versus
Druids is easy - just throw everything you got on them. The Dragon should go
for one druid, the Blood fury for the other, so put the fury on square 4 from
the right and the dragons on, say, square 7 and 8, with the Raider in-between.
Couple it with your spells, they should be dead before any of them reach their
turn.




When facing bigger
numbers of Druids or Pit Lords/Fiends and you have several or more Black
Dragons, you can just remove everyone else from combat and kill them all with
just spells and Dragons. The high hit points and stats will ensure that the
druids don't kill a single one of them, while Pit Lords/Fiends, who don't have
a ranged attack, will waste their turns on casting spells in vain, ensuring you
that you'll get to cast your share of the spells at least twice on them. Couple
that with a very slow speed, the Dragons won't even have to act (which is good vs.
Pit Lords, as they have the Vorpal Sword ability).




Mages on the other hand
have to be dealt with your whole army, as sending only Black Dragons would be a
mistake - they have the Magic Fist, and they will take a few of them for sure
if you decide just to bring them. So just throw everything you've got on them
as quickly as possible, baring in mind to split your units apart in order to
prevent multiple victims to their Fireball.




The Fast Fliers, like
Shadow, Black, Emerald and Gold dragons are still a threat, as they can cross
the field in one turn. If there are few of them, you can just go with your own
dragons, and place them in one of the corners. Since there are little of them
they will be able to take the damage without causalities, and you can finish
the rest off with spells and smart use of Fire Breath. A lot of them is definitely
something you should avoid. If you must face them, you can start by placing
your Dragons and Hydras in front, and the rest of the small units behind.
Raiders should be placed in a far spot of the field ensuring to get attacked by
one creature at most. When placing them, be mindful of the Fire Breath and
don't leave holes where they can land and kill your Blood Furies, Assassins and
Matriarchs.




ImageTitans are fairly easy (in reasonable numbers),
attack them with a full-fledged assault, and their ranks should dwindle completely
or mostly before they get to act.




In this stage, you
should dominate with your destructive spells. Spells like Meteor Shower should
spell annihilation to your enemies. Speaking of which, if you do not have all
your mage guilds built yet by this stage, or do not have the spells you wanted,
you can loot a Dragon Utopia, which from Heroes 5 gives you the high level
spells you can learn but are missing from your spellbook. This occurs
regardless of the strength of the Utopia guardians and will be a great resource
saver.


Epilogue




Don't think for one
second that you now know all, or even most secrets of the Dungeon. This guide
was meant only as an introduction to the Warlock and his minions. While it was
written to give you the basic insights and tactics, your personal preference
and style of play will ultimately dictate how your hero and town will develop,
and the final outcome of the match. Pick your fights wisely and fight them
properly, and you will go a long way. Needless to say what will happen if you
don't do that. Dungeon is a hard town to play, and leaves little place to
errors, but if you don't make mistakes, rest assured that your efforts will be
rewarded properly.




As the saying goes -
"Hide, listen, watch, learn… And when the time is right, strike from the
shadow."




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