[Heroes 3] Which spells are completely useless?

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[Heroes 3] Which spells are completely useless?

Postby Banedon » Nov 21 2011, 14:50

I'm trying my hand at mapmaking and I want to eliminate all the completely useless spells from the map. Which do you think are completely useless or outclassed i.e. no powergaming player will ever choose to cast them? I'm working with this list at the moment:

Protection from X
Disrupting Ray
Fortune
Death Ripple
Remove Obstacle
Scuttle Boat
Air Shield
Animate Dead
Destroy Undead
Hypnotize
Mirth
Misfortune
Counterstrike
Fire Shield (?)
Sorrow
Magic Mirror

Good list, or some spells that should be on it / should not be on it?
I'm a hypocrite because I suggested that all life is sacred and should not be wasted without good reason.

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Postby BigThingWithHolesInIt » Nov 21 2011, 18:40

Death Ripple, Animate Dead and Destroy Undead are presumably on the list because Necropolis is not going to be available? Otherwise I would object to at least the former two being on the list.
Counterstrike isn't brilliant or anything but there certainly are situations where especially the Expert version gives a welcome effect, and also one that a human opponent isn't used to deal with.
I would say Scuttle Boat isn't useless. Unless you intend not to include water, but then Summon Boat and Water Walk should also be on the list.
Remove Obstacle I've cast in the past, but I think I can agree that it's never the best move.
Fully agree on Fireshield.

I would add Slayer, Quicksand and Land Mine off the top of my head.

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Postby Salamandre » Nov 21 2011, 19:46

While mirth can be useful if you have nothing else, I would only flag misfortune and fortune as useless spells. All others can be VERY useful in various situations. Quick sand is the best spell to defeat overpowered armies. It puts every walker to 1 speed!
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Banedon wrote:Protection from X
Disrupting Ray
Fortune
Death Ripple
Remove Obstacle
Scuttle Boat
Air Shield
Animate Dead
Destroy Undead
Hypnotize
Mirth
Misfortune
Counterstrike
Fire Shield (?)
Sorrow
Magic Mirror


I would say: don't eliminate any of them. It is up to the player and his specific skill to use one or another if need.

Disrupting ray: goodly spell. Combo with blind, in 10 turns the stack is at 0 defense, what is better?

Scuttle boat: very important, what if a boat blocks the way? I know 1 million of maps with those blocks in, to vary the pathfinding. Depends on the way you design the map.
.
Air shield: first spell to cast when attacking high level shooters as titans. It will halve the damage, shield like.

Hypnotize: goodly spell. Works on effrets, instead of blind, so you have the time to resurrect all your army.

Counterstrike: AI will change its intention if your stack has it. He will concentrate on another stack, so very useful to protect the stack you need to survive. Same for fire shield.

Sorrow: wow this is one of the best. Combo with slow and you win the battle. A morale boost in bad moment and you lose.

Magic mirror: Average, but AI likes it, so why not give to him so he wastes his spell points.

Just my two cents.

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Postby Warmonger » Nov 21 2011, 20:27

Scuttle boat: very important, what if a boat blocks the way?

Useless in general, as the boat never blocks the way unless mapmaker put it in a chokepoint. Surely, it adds another possibility just to block the way and create new queast ;). But it's only mapmaking tool.
I can remember only one situation when I actually casted this spell to lock enemy hero on an island.
Hypnotize: goodly spell. Works on effrets, instead of blind, so you have the time to resurrect all your army.

Useful only as a trick in rare situations, such as described above. Target stack must be really tiny and we need to utilize other means to take advantage of this spell. It never allows to 'really' take control and make use of enemy stack.
Magic mirror: Average, but AI likes it, so why not give to him so he wastes his spell points.

Potentially interesting, but I never remember a situation with too many spells flying around so this spell could be worth casting. Needs some rebalance. Given permanently, at the beginning of battle or from low-level artifacts. Lowering spell level and cost could also help.
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Postby Salamandre » Nov 21 2011, 21:01

I disagree about hypnotize. Of course blind is better, but hypnotize works against creatures immune to fire, while blind doesn't. So it is about the player concentration to reduce the desired stack to tiny numbers then cast hypnotize and start resurrecting. I did this endless times, so it is helpful.

Of topic, magic mirror is automatic on faeries dragons in WoG, and it is a hell to cast any magic on them. It returns 90% of times. I like it. Of course, in WoG a battle against an AI hero with all troops boosted with magic mirror could be very tricky. But that's another Heroes. (now you gave me an idea!)

Scuttle boat: yes, depends on map design. I like to block the ways sometimes with boats, and affiliate the spell to some quest, so that boat works as a border guard -you don't have scuttle boat, you don't pass!-. But also think that if the landing point is one cell, and another hero (or a third) behind needs to land, he will be stuck for ever in water if not scuttle boat.

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Postby BigThingWithHolesInIt » Nov 22 2011, 0:45

Well the Quicksand pic was impressive :oex:
But I gotta say, just because you can conjure up a situation where a spell would do something useful, doesn't mean it is altogether usable. Some of your suggested tactics seem to assume the opposing hero doesn't cast any spells at all...
Hypnotize, even at Expert level, is simply far too restricted. At 20 Power, which would not usually be before the third month, you can hypnotize a whopping SIX Efreet. Or 3 Firebirds, or 2 Phoenixes. I don't think there's another unit that is immune to Blind but vulnerable to Hypnotize.

Other useless spells:
Disguise
Fire Wall
Frenzy (only Archdevils can sometimes get something out of this)

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Postby Salamandre » Nov 22 2011, 1:26

As you say, there are thousands of situations possible, therefore each spell has its value. If opponent has dispel, all your bufs, haste, prayer, shield are useless.
If he hasn't, suddenly they are very good.

What I am trying to say is that over the hundred of custom maps I played, I used every spell (except fortune and misfortune) in specific situations and it was the best in that right moment. So I would dislike a map which removes spells just because the mapmaker thinks they are useless. It only limits strategies and predict bad design.

On the other side, if you play vs human, you will use very few spells, mostly slow/haste, town portal.

Also, depending on the map design, dimension door and fly are often removed because they make very hard any strategic design. Still, there are some genius maps out there, as Killing for Power, where you get dimension door on second day. And game runs naturally, without tweaks.

In general, more rules you make about the game (remove things), less things you have to think about. After 10 years of H3 brave surviving, I expect from a new map to offer more perspectives, not remove things.

And no, frenzy is just great. You only need to remove the retaliation with another weaker unit then frenzy attack with your main stack. Damage will be deadly.

Fire wall, what can I say...Just look at those examples from chinese players. It says all.

http://forum.heroesworld.ru/showpost.php?p=513281&postcount=24

With 4 SP / Expert Fire Luna deals 180 damage per every Firewall section, this results in total of 540 HP. 4 SP means Luna can do that when she is level 3-4, even before if enough knowledge from objects or else. First week, take on a griffin conservatory with 1 sprite. However, don't try this at home, as we say. It needs training!

Hypnotize is mostly used as a time delay, so you can resurrect lost troops. I recall a very hard battle in Empire II where you face 7 stacks of 7000 sultans. No spirit of oppression available so the last stack can get morale at any time and die before you could revive your lost units. The only way is to take hits and reduce last stack to minimum using lightning bolt. Then hypnotize, voila, you have 20+ turns to resurrect all. Hopefully they made it enough weak, so you need big micromanaging to use it. If it was stronger spell, it would destroy all game balance, I think.

Have you ever tried disguise against human opponent? Well, I tried it once, and the guy leaved the game in the second and went to report me as cheater. The save was investigated and every one had a good laugh. It was day 6 and my army was 10 pikemans + disguise. From other side he saw 7 stacks of "few" gold dragons. Panic!
Last edited by Salamandre on Nov 22 2011, 2:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Heroes 3] Which spells are completely useless?

Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Nov 22 2011, 2:14

Banedon wrote:Protection from X
Fortune
Remove Obstacle
Mirth
Misfortune
Counterstrike
Fire Shield (?)
Sorrow
Magic Mirror


Agreed with those, they reek. And don't forget Disguise (the spell is bugged). Immune Fire Shield is great (efreet sultans) but it's not something
I'd actually cast, enemies will just avoid attacking that stack. But for those I disagree:

>Air Shield
COMPLETELY AWESOME SPELL in my patch! The turret bug fixed by Mr (forget your name, sorry) makes that spell actually USEFUL in a siege now.

>Scuttle Boat
Not too good, but has its use in maps with narrow rivers.

> Disrupting Ray
Great to to make sure the last stack (which is blinded) dies in 1 turn to prevent the enemy hero from retreating.

> Death Ripple
Pretty damn good spell in my patch, since I increased its multiplier from 5 to 8. When playing Necro, it now sees equal use to lightning bolt.

>Destroy Undead
Increased from 10 to 13 in my patch. See Death Ripple.

> Hypnotize
Double it's power in my patch, pretty good now.

> Animate Dead
Are you serious?

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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Nov 22 2011, 2:30

Salamandre wrote:human opponent? Well, I tried it once, and the guy leaved the game in the second and went to report me as cheater. The save was investigated and every one had a good laugh. It was day 6 and my army was 10 pikemans + disguise. From other side he saw 7 stacks of "few" gold dragons. Panic!


DISGUISE is bugged - it only benefits one player (the one who plays first). So your opponent could not even have benefited from it.
It basically should be removed from the game altogether ( I did that, via spell probabilities in guilds in my patch)

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Postby Salamandre » Nov 22 2011, 8:10

And hopefully it wasn't removed, so WoG team could use it for making a distinction between henchmen and regular units (applying disguise is changing the color of creature numbers) Finally it had an use.

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Postby Banedon » Nov 22 2011, 12:11

Ok some clarification: I'm thinking of battles between armies expected from MP games, not solo battles against huge AI armies. I fully intend to make direct damage spells viable in this map. This is also for H3 SoD (so no personal balance patches - sorry). I'm removing spells because there's nothing dumber than starting a map to find your mage guild is unusable and have to restart.

Death Ripple - rather low damage. I don't see why it should be there.
Animate Dead - I forgot that this is the Necro's equivalent of Resurrection. It shouldn't be there, then.
Destroy Undead - rather low damage.
Counterstrike - hard to see it ever being more beneficial than another mass spell (Slow, Bless, Prayer, etc). You've only got a few turns before the battle resolves itself, so ...
Disrupting Ray - why not cast Blind a second time?
Air Shield - why not cast Mass Haste and charge the Titans (or Forgetfulness)?
Hypnotize - that sounds like an AI exploiting tool that isn't applicable to this map.
Sorrow - it's unreliable.
Magic Mirror - another AI exploiting tool? We really don't need more of those.

I didn't list Disguise and the View X spells because they're adventure map spells. If you have the mana, nothing wrong with using them.

Did I miss any other spells? Maybe Fire Shield should be removed, Slayer added. All the spells in H3 listed here: http://www.celestialheavens.com/68
I'm a hypocrite because I suggested that all life is sacred and should not be wasted without good reason.

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Postby Salamandre » Nov 22 2011, 14:30

Death ripple, having low damage, is the best spell for removing multiple clones. Probably useless in human battle, I agree.

Counterstrike cast on your main stack is enough dangerous. Would you concentrate all your units attacks on a level 7 stack with counterstrike? They will suffer heavy loses.

Disrupting ray: the advantage of casting it instead of blind is that the stack can theoretically be killed in one hit if defense 0, so the problems of speed are removed. But I concede that in multi player you have no time for that.

Air shield: forgetfulness does not work vs titans, and mass haste will make you attack only with your level 7 units (titans are fast, you know). They can block two stacks, but others will shot at, doing full ranged damage.

Sorrow: against neutral units, is just a security code. You know exactly where they move, if sorrow on. Without it, a morale boost can screw your plans, specially if multiplayer, where you can reload.

But: the steps two human players take until they meet are the same as in every single player map: defeat the map first. AI or neutrals. Against them, all spells are good. You may never know, maybe you will have to defeat ancient behemots (without sorrow you can be toasted), titans, sultans, anything. Better to have too many spells than not enough and accuse the mapmaker. :D

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Postby Pitsu » Nov 22 2011, 15:47

Not the best expert for MP but:

Death ripple/holy word can be nice not only against clones but against any possible single-unit stacks meant for retal stealing or prolonging the battle.

Disruption ray - I used to laugh when AI cast it against me, but i have learned to respect this spell. Yes, in single casting bless, bloodlust, stoneskin or curse may be better, but the cumulative and permanent (IIRC there is no way to dispel disruption) effect can become very significant.
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Postby BoardGuest808888 » Nov 24 2011, 6:18

Hey, I wanna see a map without Dispel and Cure. It'd be fun to see people curse and buff each other without means to dispell the already cast spells :-D

But for serious, I think both Fireshield & Counterstrike shouldn't be eliminated. Them both are like, super-buff for u'r most important stack which forces enemy to either dispel, ignore or just bite the bullet :D

Now, I don't remember if Firewall & Land Mines did gain damage increase from heroes' Power or not.

Scuttle/Summon Boat, Waterwalk, DD, Fly and Town Portal depend on the terrain arrangement of u'r map. Not much to say here, like they can be a must or a waste. Just like Salamandre said, I once made a map (for Heroes 2, that was), which won't be possible to beat unless the player can somehow use DD :D

Against ranged creature with no melee penalty, usually Air Shield is a much better choice than either Haste or Forgetfulness (especially is said creature is 'even' more dangerous at melee).

U might want to consider kicking out Protection from Water thought. Only two direct damage spells come out of it, and even with specialist, it won't do much more damage than other spell schools. But Protection from others, might be godsend against high level damage spells, especially if u'r mage guild doesn't allow any spells higher than 3rd lvl.

Fortune/Mistfortune are far too fickle to be really depend. U can kick them out too.

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Postby Banedon » Nov 24 2011, 16:52

I think Dispel and Cure provide too much flexibility to remove ... you'd be stuck with things like Mass Haste to dispel Mass Slow, and have no way to remove Blind. So no. I will definitely remove Resurrection and Animate Dead, though. Came to the conclusion that not having either is better for the game after playing maygwan's maps.

Salamandre wrote:Disrupting ray: the advantage of casting it instead of blind is that the stack can theoretically be killed in one hit if defense 0, so the problems of speed are removed. But I concede that in multi player you have no time for that.


Cast Slow first, and then Haste, and then remove Blind? I don't see why that wouldn't work (although I will go all out to make it so that this scenario will NOT happen in my map).

Salamandre wrote:Air shield: forgetfulness does not work vs titans, and mass haste will make you attack only with your level 7 units (titans are fast, you know). They can block two stacks, but others will shot at, doing full ranged damage.


Mass Haste should make it possible to block Titans fast, without level 7s too. Most races can do it. Hasted Silver Pegasi can easily cross the map in a turn, so can Thunderbirds, Efreet Sultans, Dragonflies, Champions, etc. Tactics can also help with crossing the map.

As for defeating the map before facing other humans, yes, but in those maps you don't face huge stacks that you need to Blind + Disrupting Ray to finish off, for example.

How about this list of removed spells:

Protection from X
Fortune
Remove Obstacle
Animate Dead
Destroy Undead
Hypnotize
Mirth
Misfortune
Magic Mirror
Resurrection

Not counting the adventure spells here, because they're not likely to matter for the concept I have in mind.
I'm a hypocrite because I suggested that all life is sacred and should not be wasted without good reason.

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Re: [Heroes 3] Which spells are completely useless?

Postby Artas1984 » Nov 26 2011, 2:51

Protection from X - counter-effective against dumb AI of course...
Disrupting Ray - amazing spell, one of the best
Fortune - there are beter spells
Death Ripple - useless
Remove Obstacle - useless
Scuttle Boat - very important
Air Shield - very effective
Animate Dead - useless
Destroy Undead - effective, essential to deny small stacks escape
Animate dead - essential to necromancers
Hypnotize - there are better spells
Mirth - great spell
Misfortune - there are better spells
Counterstrike - there are better spells
Fire Shield (?) - too long to wait for it to be effecive
Sorrow - great spell
Magic Mirror - hardly imagine a situation where i would use it
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Postby BoardGuest808888 » Dec 1 2011, 6:29

Banedon wrote:I think Dispel and Cure provide too much flexibility to remove ... you'd be stuck with things like Mass Haste to dispel Mass Slow, and have no way to remove Blind. So no.


Yeah, he he. Just for fun :-D :-D
Banedon wrote:Mass Haste should make it possible to block Titans fast, without level 7s too. Most races can do it. Hasted Silver Pegasi can easily cross the map in a turn, so can Thunderbirds, Efreet Sultans, Dragonflies, Champions, etc. Tactics can also help with crossing the map.


Me thinks Salamandre's right on that one. Blocking Titan not same with crippling it. Titan does full damage at melee. Very low chance u want to block Titan with something which can't take it 1 on 1. Either way, with 3 ranged stacks (if at least 1 IS Titan), u can't block with 2 flying stacks (unless u divide u'r flying stacks to make 3 flying stacks as well and still hope to survive being ganked by melee stacks). If the battle is siege, then become problematic since Forgetfulness won't disable Titan. With Air Shield, u can force Titan to either do reduced damage at range or do melee damage (make it move) ;)

Banedon wrote:How about this list of removed spells:

Protection from X
Fortune
Remove Obstacle
Animate Dead
Destroy Undead
Hypnotize
Mirth
Misfortune
Magic Mirror
Resurrection


IF u want to include Sorrow still, then don't discount on Mirth. Especially against Undead. Another, Mirth can also be used to counter morale penalty for having mixed-alignment army. IF u'r map might allow/include that, then it become even more important.

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Postby Korbac » Jun 1 2012, 16:50

BoardGuest808888 wrote:
U might want to consider kicking out Protection from Water thought. Only two direct damage spells come out of it, and even with specialist, it won't do much more damage than other spell schools.



Protection from water is useful in certain situations. I was playing with my friend. And his Solmyr was assaulting my Fortress with Korbac inside. It was early-mid game and no high-level spells were available. The battle came down to the point where Solmyr took advantage of the -2 spell cost reduction from mages and was spamming his magic arrows that cost 2 spell points every round on my lizardmen (and I had quite a few of them). Then I did cast protection from water on them and it was beneficial.

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Re: [Heroes 3] Which spells are completely useless?

Postby cjlee » Jun 1 2012, 18:28

Banedon, if I read the thread right, you're looking to make multiplayer games against human players without any unusual single-player situations which require out of the box solutions. In that case I respectfully object to... all your suggestions! My comments below:

[Some context: I like to get as many spells as possible. So I see value in practically all spells and often use a wide variety of spells.]

1) Protection from X: awesomely useful in so many situations I can't believe you even suggested it. It's a great counter against an enemy who specializes in spell school X. Especially if I am playing Conflux - I will usually cast mass slow/ haste followed by protection from X. Human players and computer players alike love blasting Air Elementals with lightning bolts.

2) Disrupting Ray: a cheap, easily obtained level 2 spell that is effective against enemies who insist on investing all their cash in one or two big, powerful stacks. Actually, I am one such guy as well. My main hero is usually far from home by the time level 7 dwellings get built, so if an enemy assaults my castle in the meantime I tend to buy just the level 7s and the shooters to defend.

3) Fortune: What d'ya mean Fortune is useless? I cast it on Titans all the time! OK, Granted there are better spells like Clone and Prayer. But if you're talking about a moderately developed hero, eg level 10, who doesn't have that awesome Expert Water Magic skill, I'd say Fortune is a very powerful spell.

4) Death Ripple: a must-have spell for ending battles quickly (or destroying enemy clones). Even when not playing Necromancer, I will cast Death Ripple if my enemy is defending his castle with 7 stacks of weak creatures. I find that if I'm defending my castle with a similar setup, human players will also happily cast Death Ripple because it ends the battle faster and reduces their casualties from my turrets.

5) Remove Obstacle: rarely used, but it serves a purpose when my opponent is using terrain to block me. It's far from useless, just rarely used. But I've always been happy when I used it. My opponents have always been incredibly pissed at the result.

6) Scuttle Boat: another awesome spell to keep your enemies from swiping your boats. If I have Expert Water Magic (creates boats), I will always scuttle boats afterwards. Why should I give my enemies free boats?

7) Air Shield: you kidding me, Banedon! Air Shield is useless? I have won tons of sieges both as attacker and defender, where Air Shield (and Protection from X) were absolutely necessary! Don't tell me you have never fought a protracted siege battle against a human opponent before?

8) Animate Dead: another awesome spell for undeads. It's better than H5 because in H3, hit points DO NOT DECREASE when you animate dead. I always cast it when playing undead!

9) Destroy Undead: you have never fought an undead opponent before? Granted, damage is not big. But unlike Chain Lightning, it strikes all 7 stacks of the enemy if he is a necromancer. It won't hurt your side (if you are not undead). It's a good spell to cast if you want to reduce the number of enemy stacks.

10) Hypnotize: ironically, I find it a far more useful spell against a human opponent than a computer opponent on a custom made map. Typically custom computer opponents have huge armies and hypnotize is useless on them. Human opponents tend to have smaller stacks. The primary purpose of hypnotizing the enemy is to steal retaliations or for blocking purposes - it's not to use the hypnotized stack to do serious damage.

Another strategic purpose of hypnotize is to bring the enemy's 1-2 efreet sultans or 5 dragonflies under my control. This allows me to cast spells first. It is especially important if you're playing Wizard because you are slower than the enemy efreet sultans/ dragonflies.

10) Mirth: how can it be useless? Haven't you played a game before where your enemy has conquered your castles and you are desperately fleeing in the countryside, hiring anyone who will join? In desperate situations, you will wind up with 3-4 factions in one army and Mirth is Absolutely Necessary.

11) Misfortune: same as fortune - I like to cast it on enemy Titans and Hydras.

12) Counterstrike: another great spell to cast if you're being mobbed. I can't even tell you how much I love casting it on Hydras. Given a choice between chain lightning and counterstrike (both spell cost 24), I will almost always take counterstrike.

13) Fire Shield: an absolute must if you have a strong stack that the enemy wants to destroy, and is being attacked on all sides. I usually cast this on Titans or Hydras when they're being surrounded. It tends to be a 'spell of desperation' - ie when I'm losing the battle and need desperately to boost enemy casualties to encourage them to flee.

14) Sorrow: you have a point here. It is rarely cast because of the high spell cost. For 16 mana usually you can cast better spells. I tend to cast it only if enemy morale is low to begin with - that way it increases chances they will freeze in combat. But if sorrow cost only 4 mana, I would be spamming it!

15) Magic Mirror: another 'you're kidding me' reaction from me. Magic Mirror is a must-cast if your army consists of mostly weaklings and one strong stack. Problem is, I usually have better spells to cast (eg that all-critical Mass Haste). But I often run into situations where I have one strong titan stack, one depleted master gremlin stack, one depleted archmage stack and too few other Tower units to be of much use. If I'm crowding these depleted units around my strong titans, I always cast Protection from Fire or Earth/ Magic Mirror to prevent the enemy casting fireball/ meteor shower.

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Postby Salamandre » Jun 1 2012, 23:31

Agree, there is no useless spell, but only limited gaming experience.


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