ok my friend and I play hotseat ALL THE TIME with millions of battles and combos abd maps and etc.
all I could say is your friend played VERY BADLY
sorry but he could have done a lot of things that made him win
first of all the trees are supposed to tank and stand in the face of fast strong units like paladins and root them
and he used bad magic spells for the battle and did he chose ur units as favorite enemy by the way????
anyhow elves must depend on thier initaitive, luck, defense to live since their units have low hp (except trees "the tanks")
hmm the way I see it after 1000000000 hotseat matchs the only race that has problems is the demons they suck bad unless u have lev 30 hero and huge army then they show thier real power but at the begining they just get owned becuase they have no defence and by the time gated creatures come ur main army is history
but all other races are more or less "balanced" although in heros thier is no such thing as balance since a strong spell can change EVERY THING
once I used my 221dwarf beserkers to kill 50 cyclopss yes people my friend let them live for 1 turn since thier defence dropd to 0 when u use thier ability and it adds to thier attack and I used rune of etherlness on them so when they got a 3rd turn they had 81 attack 0 defence and destroyed his strongest unit with what he though was one of my usless ones that day we learned the power of sawrf beserkers
anyway just showing u that a single strategy mistake can cost u a battle