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For those of you who missed its original publication, the Academy strategy guide written by Sir Charles is now featured on Celestial Heavens, in two parts. Perhaps the weakest town in Heroes V, the Academy will require good player skills to win some games. Sir Charles analyzes the creatures, rates the heroes and explains how you can use the Artificer racial skill to get the most out of your troops.

There are more hints and tips for the game at The Genie's Lamp.
CREATURES STATISTICS CREATURES ARTWORK
SKILLS ABILITIES
TOWN BUILDINGS STRATEGY

In the previous Heroes games, the Wizard's town (Tower/Academy) was always a town focused on magic-users and ranged attackers. Ubisoft has kept that base quality intact in the latest incarnation of Heroes 5. Where this town differs from the past is in some creature line-up changes and most notably in the Wizard hero development. In this article I'll attempt to dissect this town and provide some strategies and hero development plans to assist newcomers to the game. Knowing me, the key word in that sentence was "attempt". :O)

Before I get into the guts of this article (hero development) let's take a minute to do a quick review on the Academy town units, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to best use them in combat.

Creatures

Level 1: Gremlin

As with most level one units, the Gremlin has very meager stats but an excellent growth rate. Gremlins have a ranged attack that can assist you early in the game with clearing out mines. Protect the Gremlins as best you can because they will be the heart and soul of your army for several weeks to come. Using the tried and true method of "turtling" is still a very effective way of protecting your archers. Gargoyles and Golems make excellent "shells" for your turtle. But without any noticeable uses other than ranged attacks, upgrading the Gremlins is a very high priority. Do so as soon as possible.

Level 1 Upgrade: Master Gremlin

The Master Gremlin is a huge improvement over the basic unit. While the statistical changes are modest at best, it's in the unit abilities that this unit really shines. MG's gain the "repair" ability. This allows the MG's to rebuild destroyed war machines during combat and to rebuild killed golems during combat, essentially resurrecting them. Once you acquire Master Gremlins, you should have very little trouble clearing out your immediate vicinity simply by going into combat with just MG's and golems, surrounding your MG's and firing away. If you begin to lose any golems, just repair away and start firing again. Enemy spell casters and enemy ranged units will undoubtedly focus their attacks on the MG's however. This is the reason the hero skills are so vitally important. But we'll get to that soon enough.

Level 2: Stone Gargoyle

I can only hope that most people who read this have heard of the term "cannon-fodder" before. Because that's a perfect description of the Stone Gargoyle. With virtually no attacking capabilities what-so-ever, very low hit points and defense, the options for using these units is limited at best. In general, their best use is in either blocking enemy ranged units, thus protecting the Master Gremlins from attack, or in attacking melee units in order to soak up their initial retaliation strike. Other than that, I'd suggest either leaving them at home to let them accumulate or just sacrifice them in order to preserve your more vital troops. Namely the Gremlins and Golems. Gargoyles do, however, come with the enraged ability that increases their stats when an ally is killed. So breaking off a few single gargoyles and sacrificing them in order to bump up the stats of the main gargoyle force is a viable strategy.

Level 2 Upgrade: Obsidian Gargoyle

The Obsidian Gargoyle is a slight upgrade on a very poor unit. The upgrade has only slightly more usefulness than the regular Stone Gargoyle. This comes mainly from the full elemental immunities. Archdruids are rather nasty opponents for the Master Gremlins, so leave them (and the golems) out of the battle and just take them on with the Obsidian Gargoyles and your hero's spells. Its a rather surprisingly effective way of handling an otherwise difficult opponent.

Level 3: Iron Golem

Iron Golems, and their more colorful upgrades, will provide all the muscle you could want out of a tanking unit. Like all previous incarnations of Golems in past Heroes games, this one is also a heavily armored tank that moves like a slug. But when his best use is protecting the MG's, speed isn't that much of an issue. However, when facing enemy spell casters or ranged attackers you'll want to get your golems across the battlefield as quickly as possible. Haste, or even better teleport, will be the perfect solution to not losing a ton of MG's to these foes. Loss of golems isn't a concern due to the repair ability of the MG's. Preserving the MG's is your prime concern.

Level 3 Upgrade: Steel Golem

Ahhhh...Steel Golems. What's not to like about these beauties? Their speed? Okay, there's one flaw. But it's totally compensated for by their great attributes. With a decent size stack of Steel Golems and Master Gremlins you'll be able to take on such foes as Dragon Utopias if played correctly. Large attackers, like hydras, griffins, wraiths, etc...will fall like you won't believe to this combination. With unlimited retaliations, all you'll ever have to do with Steel Golems is defend and repair them with the MG's. Rinse and repeat. The occasional haste, divine strength, endurance or righteous might thrown in certainly won't hurt things. I'll delve into strategies against particular enemies later on though.

Level 4: Mage

Mages are both a blessing and a curse until you learn the tricks to using them effectively. First off, they have a limited selection of spells to choose from. Fist of Wrath and Cleansing. Secondly, they have a ranged attack that kills everything in it's line of sight, including friendly units. Hence...the curse. Due to their fragile nature, you'll definitely want to surround these old men with Golems. But attacking will undoubtedly kill some (quite possibly all) of your protecting units. Therefore, the strategy with this unit is to have your Mages and MG's standing side-by-side and surround both units completely with Golems. While the enemy is at a distance, use your spells from your mages and your ranged attacks from the MG's. Once you're out of mana, start shooting with your mages and STOP shooting with your MG's. The Master Gremlin's main task now is to repair the Golems that the mages have killed. Once we get some different units, these strategies will change quite a bit though.

Level 4 Upgrade: Archmage

The upgrade into the Archmage grants quite a few improvements. Most noticeably is the nice bump to the hit points. They'll still need protection however. Second is the vast improvement in the spell selection. Added to Fist of Wrath and Cleansing is both Righteous Might and Fireball. While fireball is very tempting, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much difference Righteous Might makes on your MG's and your Steel Golems. The 3rd change is the addition of the Energy Channel ability. Anything that lessens the costs of the hero's spells is always welcome.

Level 5: Djinn

My beloved Genie was scrapped in favor of this out-of-proportion monstrosity. But I digress. :O) Sadly, the Djinn is extremely hobbled by the lack of sufficient hit points. Usually one or two strikes by the enemy is enough to take out an entire stack of Djinns. That doesn't mean they're not worth having though. With excellent attack damage and random spell casting abilities they can certainly help out. But anything to boost their defense and hit points is certainly advisable. Leaving these at home until they grow into a decent sized force is highly recommended though.

Level 5 Upgrade: Djinn Sultan

With a slight increase to both defense and hit points, the Djinn Sultan is a bit more durable than the lackluster Djinn. While they still maintain some excellent attack numbers (and the best speed/initiative for all of the Academy troops) you'll still see them dropping like flies unfortunately. Endurance will help considerably as will deflect missile. However, trying to keep the Sultans alive without the assistance of magic is nearly impossible. Again, leave these at home until you got a large number of them. They're simply too expensive to waste in small battles. Once you get Expert Artificer and a decent stash of resources, things will change rather quickly with this unit though.

Level 6: Rakshasa Rani

Excellent stats but with a price tag to equal it. If you decide to start purchasing these cool cats, be prepared to protect them with spells or even better with Artificer. Poor initiative and speed hamper this unit. But the "no enemy retaliation" ability is a great asset. Use with care.

Level 6 Upgrade: Rakshasa Raja

Like their female cousins, the Raja is a great offensive force but shackled with an equally offensive price. Gaining the ability "Dash", the Raja can forego his turn to Dash, thus greatly increasing his initiative for the duration of combat. This vastly improves the usefulness of the Raja. However, they're still quite vulnerable to direct-damage spells and their lack of speed still hurts them. Again, Artificer comes to the rescue. But we'll delve into that later. :O)

Level 7: Colossus

Unbelievable stats come at a price. 3500 gold + 1 gem to be precise. That's not chump-change. So once you start purchasing these giants, make sure you can protect them. With Light Magic being a focal point for the Academy's Mage Guild, waiting until you've acquired expert Light and Resurrection isn't a bad idea. But so is waiting for the upgrade. Lack of any spells or ranged attacks makes the Colossus a glorified tank. A fantastic tank, but a tank none-the-less. The only disappointment for this Genie is the decision by Ubisoft to scrap their movement animation. In the early versions of the game, every step the Colossus took would shake the entire battlefield screen. A sad loss.

Level 7 Upgrade: Titan

The pinnacle of Academy prowess. The Titan has VERY few flaws. The only weakness they possess is a vulnerability to direct damage spells. Therefore magic resistance is very important. The premier ranged attacker in the game needs very little in terms of protection or buffs. But having a few certainly won't hurt. With their great attack/defense/hit points, sending them into melee isn't a bad idea either. To be brutally honest, there's very little you could do wrong with the Titan. They're a wrecking crew all by themselves. Once you acquire them...bring them with you. Period.

Heroes

All Wizards begin with Basic Artificer automatically, they also begin with 0 attack, 0 defense, 2 spell power and 3 knowledge. Their main focus is in knowledge and their Mage Guilds are guaranteed to contain Light and Summoning spells. Spell power will come to a Wizard, but it will lag behind knowledge by a considerable margin most often. Attack and Defense are hard to come by. Take it any way you can get it. Enough of the basics, on to the heroes!

Faiz: Disrupter

Vulnerability spell not only lowers defenses but it also causes damage. It's quite easy to succeed with this hero, but unfortunately it's not a sure thing to get multiple Dark Magic spells. With a bit of luck though, he can really be a force to recon with.

Galib: Spell Twister

Starts with Magic Mirror and Luck. While it's certainly a nice starting set, the spell twister special is what really makes this hero shine. Normally the Magic Mirror ability sends a spell to a random target when it triggers. But Galib sends it to an enemy target much more often. Plus with Luck as a starting skill, taking Soldier's Luck will trigger it much more often.

Havez: Gremlin Master

Begins with War Machine skill and all 3 war machines...and 3 stacks of Gremlins. This Genie's choice as best main Wizard hero. A high level Havez makes Master Gremlins VERY potent.

Jhora: Windspeaker

Starting skills of Sorcery and Arcane Training somewhat hamper the great specialty. 1/2 % bonus per level to her initiative is a very useful special. Sorcery however is somewhat wasted on a Wizard. See the Skill section for more details.

Narxes: Mentor

Boosting the Mages is a nice special, but the starting skill set of Enlightenment and Intelligence does not lead to a solid main hero. But under the right circumstances Narxes can be very successful.

Nathir: Flame Wielder

Very effective main hero. The 50% defense reduction of fireball is lethal is orchestrated correctly. However, this set up usually means leaving off either War Machines or Logistics. To realize his true potential, you'll need to focus your efforts into increasing his spell power though.

Nur: Mystic

Mana Regeneration specialty, Sorcery and Mana Regeneration starting skill set. Secondary hero at best.

Razzak: Golem Crafter

If you can manage to get Logistics, Recruitment and maybe even Estates on Razzak, then he's the Academy's best garrison commander. He's still a nice week one hire though. With 3 starting stacks of Golems, they mesh nicely with Havez's starting Gremlin group.

Racial Skill: Artificer

Upon initial examination, Artificer looks to pale in comparison to some of the other faction's Racial Skills. But once you delve into the beauty of this skill, you'll come to appreciate all that it has to offer. Artificer basically allows the hero to create artifacts for the specific use of individual Academy troops once the Arcane Forge building is constructed. These artifacts cost considerable amounts of resources and the power of the artifacts depends solely on the Knowledge skill of the crafting hero. Higher levels of the Artificer skill allow for additional attributes to be added on to the crafted artifacts. These artifacts will become crucial to the success of the Academy faction as we'll discuss later. For now, let's discuss the complexities of the Artificer skill.

Basic Artificer: Allows creation of level 1 artifacts. Level 1 artifacts can have one attribute crafted onto them.
Advanced Artificer: Allows creation of level 2 artifacts. Level 2 artifacts can have 2 attributes crafted onto them.
Expert Artificer: Allows creation of level 3 artifacts. Level 3 artifacts can have 3 attributes crafted onto them.
Ultimate Artificer: Reduces the resource costs of crafting artifacts by half. (this is currently not working properly though)

Just looking at this, you might think it's a good idea to wait until you max out the Artificer skill before you begin to craft artifacts. But you'd be wrong. Because not only can you create artifacts, but you can destroy them as well. After removing them from the creatures at the Arcane Forge, you can choose to destroy them and gain back the resources you used to initially craft them. Therefore you lose nothing in this process. So once you've got the Arcane Forge built...start crafting. But now comes the big question. What do I make?

Artifacts can be imbued with 9 different attributes (with a maximum of 3 per artifact). The actual stat of these attributes is determined by the hero's Knowledge skill. So if you have any artifacts on your hero that increase your knowledge, make sure you've got them equipped before crafting.

Each of these attributes are linked to a pair of resources. Below is a basic list of what attributes cost what.

Attack

+ to attack stat

Ore

Crystals

Crushing

- to enemy defense per hit

Ore

Sulfur

Defense

+ to defense stat

Wood

Crystals

Health

+ to hit points

Wood

Gems

Initiative

+ % to initiative

Sulfur

Mercury

Luck

+ to luck stat

Wood

Crystals

Magic Resistance

+ % to resistance

Wood

Gems

Morale

+ to morale stat

Ore

Sulfur

Speed

+ to speed stat

Ore

Mercury

As I stated earlier, you can have a maximum of 3 of these attributes crafted onto one artifact. The order in which you add them determine the final cost of the artifact however. The first level, or slot, on the crafting screen will cost 5 of each of the 2 selected resources. Level 2 costs 10 of each resource, and level 3 costs 15 each. For example...crafting a level 3 artifact with attack, then defense, then speed will cost you...

(5 ore + 5 crystal) + (10 wood + 10 crystal) + (15 ore + 15 mercury)
for a total of 20 ore, 10 wood, 15 crystal, 15 mercury

But if we change the order in which you craft it to Speed, then attack, then defense, it will cost you something different...

(5 ore + 5 mercury) + (10 ore + 10 crystal) + (15 wood + 15 crystal)
for a total of 15 ore, 15 wood, 25 crystal, 5 mercury

So determining the order in which you craft it will depend completely on how many of each resources you have at the time. Just don't worry about making a mistake because you can always destroy the artifact and start over at no additional cost. As for just what the bonuses would be...

Knowledge

Stat »


3

5

10

15

20


Comments


Attack

+1

+2

+3

+4

+6

Increases by 1 for every 4 knowledge points

Crushing

-1

-1

-1

-2

-2

Deducts enemy defense by 1 for every 15 knowledge points

Defense

+1

+2

+3

+4

+6

Increases by 1 for every 4 knowledge points

Health

+1

+2

+3

+4

+5

Increases by 1 for every 5 knowledge points

Initiative

+3

+5

+10

+15

+20

Percentage increase is equal to knowledge points

Luck

+1

+1

+2

+2

+3

Increases at 10 and 16 knowledge

Mag. Res

+19

+29

+47

+58

+66

Not verified, but believed to be a max. of 75% resistance.

Morale

+1

+1

+2

+2

+3

Increases at 10 and 16 knowledge

Speed

+1

+1

+1

+2

+2

DExtremely valuable boost for Rakshasa's

Here are some suggestions for things to shoot for with particular artifacts based on creature stats and needs.

Master Gremlins: Magic Resistance, Initiative, Health
(This will help protect them from spells and ranged attacks while allowing them to repair more often.)
Obsidian Gargoyles: Attack, Defense, Speed
(Makes them a more formidable force on the battlefield and lets them cross the field in one move.)
Steel Golems: Defense, Crushing, Health
(Increases durability and with unlimited retaliations...crushing has a huge impact)
Archmagi: Defense, Health, Magic Resistance
(Durability, durability and a bit more durability *grin*)
Djinn Sultans: Defense, Health, Magic Resistance
(A bit redundant, isn't it. Durability is by far the biggest weakness of the Djinns)
Rakshasa Rajas: Initiative, Magic Resistance, Speed
(Resistance solves their one weakness, while speed/initiative allows you to cross the field on turn one instead of Dashing for a turn)
Titans: Luck, Morale, Magic Resistance
(Resistance helps with durability, while the others just enhance the unit considerably)
With a hero with a high Knowledge skill, these changes will give you the most powerful units in the game as a whole. As your hero develops higher and higher knowledge, feel free to crush your previous artifacts and re-build the exact same one with higher bonuses and at the same original cost.
Now that most of the basics are out of the way, let's get into the guts of the guide...
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