Markal - How should I build him?

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Markal - How should I build him?

Postby Campaigner » Jul 17 2011, 16:02

Replaying the campaigns since I never finished them back in 2006 (and never played HoF and ToTE so avoid spoilers) and because I love to get highscores (Black Dragons for Isabel & Agrael so far)

Isabel and Agrael was very easy to build. Never any tough decisions about which skills to take. But with Markal, jeez I got no idea.

I've decided to either go for the Ultimate ability or Herald of Death (sweet ability I tell ya!) but I don't know whether to go for Dark or Summoning magic....and depending on that I have to choose from Enlightenment and Sorcery....


My reasoning goes like this:

Summoning magic - Magic beats might, heed my words and win every fight
Summoning is very strong for Necromancers since Summoning benefits greatly from high Spellpower which is Necromancers primary stat.
Summoning doesn't have area & mass spells, so Sorcery will be put to extremely good use.
Since Spellpower becomes so important, Enlightenment will boost Spellpower to extreme lvls making the most of Summoning magic. I will also choose Intelligence to boost my poor knowledge.
With Expert Summoning magic and Enlightenment, Raise Dead will probably raise 1000hp per cast :what:

Negatives: I'll only get Attack as a mightskill but that might be enough....Summoning magic is also unpredictable and got "strange" spells. Not direct like Dark magic.

Dark magic - Crippling the enemy and boosting our legions
Dark magic is the strongest school in the game but the majority of its spells doesn't benefit from high Spellpower. A few do (Decay and Netherworld. Blind & Puppet Master lasts long enough) but howoften are they used?
Dark magic got strong area & mass spells so Sorcery will maybe be put to good use. Depends on much mana I'll have. Tempting to take Sorcery --> Magic Insight to get Phantom Forces.
Dark magic takes away the need for Enlightenment since I wont rely on Spellpower. My high Spellpower will still come to good use with Destructive spells and Raise Dead.
Without Enlightenment & perhaps Sorcery, I can take mightskills instead.

Negatives: Unoptimised hybrid hero that will make half- or very poor use out of the magicskills Sorcery & Enlightenment.


Then we got the Dark Energy which wasn't there when I played Markals campaign back in 2006. I choosed Logistics but it doesn't seem useful since I engage in too many fights without being able to raise anything since I ran out of DE points the first day!! I then only raised Skeleton Archers, Vampires/Vampire Lords, Liches/Arch Liches and Wights & Wraiths but I still ran out of DE points in two days....

I'm only on the 2nd mission but I'm thinking of starting over (AGAIN! damn that eastern patrol bug....!) and not picking Logistics this time.


So what do you say..?

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Postby cjlee » Jul 21 2011, 17:38

You have black dragons for both Isabel and Agrael? You seem like a pretty good player! What difficulty level are you playing on?

Also, did you ever get to mass paladins? When I was playing Isabel, I never had the time to accumulate money for paladins. I hardly used her specialty at all.

I'm probably a far inferior player to you, but I think Markal should max both summoning and dark magic, with a bias on summoning. Summoning is stronger early to mid game in my opinion. In any case he starts with Raise Dead so that's a big fat hint to start summoning. In the original Heroes V a summoner would be super strong, but thanks to their patch which lowers subsequent HP by 20% + increases mana cost, you have to be strategic and not spam raise dead anymore.

Markal gets plenty of chances to level up, and Dark Magic works best against big armies at the end. In the original, Puppet Master was a useless spell since any retaliation cancels PM, but later versions allowed PM to stay even if your PMed stack takes damage therefore making dark magic much more attractive.

I prefer Summoning, Sorcery, Dark, Attack in this order.

Logistics would be nice, but wtf did Nival give you Leadership for? With his specialty, Markal never needs diplomacy or non-Undead troops anyway. Thanks to Nival, Markal is essentially limited to four skill types.

For the final battle I think spirit link is a must; PM paladins and frenzy angels so that no one can lay hands. So it's Dark Magic at the end.

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Postby Campaigner » Jul 31 2011, 9:18

Heroic all the way :victory:

Since I'm trying to finish the lvls as soon as possible (without missing statboosters) I never had the time nor the gold to do that. I think I made good use out of training though.

I decided to try the max magic route

    Summoning
    Sorcery
    Enlightenment
    Attack or Luck


Replayed once since I realized he got a hard time to get the skills I want him to get. Have so far managed to get him Summoning & Sorcery.

Enlightenment & Attack or Luck will be harder. It's not showing up on lvlup nor in the first Witchhut and Enlightenment & Attack only got an 8% chance to show up as well!

Keep getting Dark Magic and Defense all the time....had to start lvling Leadership to avoid skills I don't want....then to top it all of the 2nd Wizard hero on 2nd map killed me :mad:

Have to decide if Markal or Godric will fight him....just 2nd week and he got the lvl 5 Light spell that hurts everything (though no light magic mastery or I would have lost in the first three rounds).

No, the walkthru isn't well done. Basically just says what will happen and gives advice you can figure out yourself. But nvm, I'll handle it. Almost beat the map the last time I tried but without Dark magic the final battle (on 2nd map) will be HARD as I only have lvl 1-2 summoning spells.

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Postby cjlee » Aug 1 2011, 19:47

I don't understand! I've played since Heroes II, every single campaign and expansion and fanmade campaigns. I could never consistently get black dragons. Even worse, some campaigns I really don't grasp the way to win, resulting in humiliating footmen or gremlins or similar rankings.

Heroes V original was extremely irritating because of lack of memory mentor. That's why I won't go for the max magic route you suggested - it's not reliable that we get offered the right skills.

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Postby Crux » Aug 17 2011, 23:59

I'm also replaying the campaigns and got black dragons with Isabel and Agrael, however I've been playing normal and completing all levels 100% or close to it down to picking up all the items and resources in addition to the stat boosts. And I only got green dragons with Markal, but I wasn't really trying to max out the score. I built Markal in the following, somewhat non-optimal way:

Expert Necromancy: Eternal Servitude
Expert Attack: Archery, Battle Frenzy, and Cold Steel
Expert Defense: Vitality, Protection, and Chilling Bones
Expert Leadership: Recruitment, Estates, and Diplomacy
Expert Logistics: Pathfinding, Death March, and Silent Stalker
Expert Summoning Magic: Master of Life

First what I didn't like about my build: Cold Steel and Chilling Bones are so weak they aren't worthwhile. Seems like they add 5 or 10 damage total and it never seems to scale up. I would choose tactics and evasion over those any day after seeing them in action. Summoning magic + raise dead does indeed heal for around 1000 points near the end, but it was less useful than I thought. It's best use for me was letting me gather resources without taking any losses, but I rarely if ever came close to needing the massive boosts to it. Phantom forces on the other hand was very useful several times. Overall I liked this build a lot, but the cold skills sucked and summoning magic didn't seem half as useful as light magic did for Isabel/Godric or Destructive did for Agrael or later characters.

I've played through the campaigns before and I've tried him out with dark magic and banshee howl and howl of terror, but you end up fighting lots of creatures who have skills like "Mechanical - This creature is not alive (like all Golems) and its morale is always neutral. It cannot be affected by Poison-, Blind- or Mind-related magic" or "Bravery - Creature always has positive morale (no less than +1)" . I think I found myself usually skipping howl to use dark magic instead anyway. Dark magic was very useful too but mostly for frenzy or puppet master vs large armies.

I realize a necromancer is supposed to be a caster and in general I think they should be but Markal's unique specialty is easily acquiring a very large army, so I think in the campaign its best to capitalize on this and play him as might. If I had to play him again, aiming for high score, I'd go attack & defense to push his massive armies to the limit, leadership because its good and you don't really have a choice, logistics to win faster and luck for the army + resourcefulness to rack up more points. That would leave him with no magic, but he naturally gets a strong enough raise dead, and that's what he's casting 90% of the time when he's not attacking anyway.

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Postby ShadowLiberal » Sep 19 2011, 2:39

Crux I agree that Chilling Bones isn't worth it, I've seen no more then 35 damage get done from that.

Cold Steel on the other hand does seem worthwhile, though it doesn't consistently add 10% to your damage like the skill wheel says. Still, I've seen it add a couple hundred points of damage for very large stacks attacking.

As for my opinions here.

-Dark Magic is a must. I found myself regularly using over half the dark magic spells at one point in the campaign, there's just a lot of useful spells here.

-Summoning magic will help a lot to, especially summon phoenix, unless you have the worst luck in the world like me. I'm on mission 5 in my current play through and STILL haven't gotten Summon Phoenix, despite visiting 6 different level 5 mage guides with summoning magic throughout the campaign.

-Sorcery also will serve you very well. Markal casts lots of spells, and the faster initiative will help, as well mana regeneration and lower spell costs. Perhaps access to all level 3 spells will also serve you well.

-Attack is great to, especially battle frenzy. I also found the power of speed ability very useful here, as mass haste + mass slow really helps give you a lot more turns. Cold Steel or Archery is also good, I went with Cold Steel, but Archery can be worth it to.

Early on when I was developing just my magic and ignoring the Attack skill I started to regret attack at one point, and wish I had enlightenment instead, for the power boost. I changed my mind later about that however, as Markal got so much power that most of his spells I used frequently were already maxed out without enlightenment.


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