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H7: Would you prefer 2D or 3D townscreens?
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Heroes of Might and Magic V  → Academy Strategy (continued)

by Sir Charles

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Hero Development

While certain Heroes restrict your skill set layout, there are still some prime skills you want to strive for and some you want to avoid. I'll try to break down the main skills into "the essentials", "nice additions", and "hero killers".

The Essentials

Artificer: This one is automatic. Get this to Expert (or Ultimate if you're lucky) without exception.

Mark of the Wizard: Incredibly useful ability. All Wizards should acquire this ability.

Magic Mirror: Easy to forget you have it, but you're VERY grateful when it triggers. Soldier's Luck increases chances.

Consume Artifact: You'll only want this one if it's required by something else important.

Arcane Omniscience: Unbelievably great skill. Ignore it though, because it restricts your development too much.

Comments: You'll most likely end up with all of these abilities (except for Arcane O.) and they've all got their uses.

Attack: Greatly helps your Golems, Djinns and Rakshasas.

Battle Frenzy: Nice skill for most towns. "decent" choice.

Tactics: Helps with protective placement and allowing melee units to cross field. "decent" choice.

Archery: 20% increase to the only town with 3 archers. A no-brainer.

Flaming Arrows: Greatly enhances the ballista's effectiveness. Highly recommended.

Cold Steel: Extra elemental damage for all troops. "decent" choice.

Comments: Great skill overall. Archery & Flaming Arrows are suggested, then it's a toss-up between the other 3 solid abilities.

Light Magic: The perfect compliment to the Academy troops, plus there are very few spell power-dependant spells here.

Master of Blessings: Mass Divine Strength, Area Cleansing. Highly recommended.

Master of Wrath: Mass Righteous Might, Mass Haste. Highly recommended.

Master of Abjuration: Mass Deflect Missiles, Mass Endurance. Highly recommended.

Suppress Light: Limited usefulness. Avoid.

Refined Mana: Nice for the Archmagi, but to get it you lose 2 of the Mass skills. Avoid.

Comments: Perfect magic skill for the Wizard. The secondary abilities are fairly limiting. Stick to the basics.

Nice Additions

Defense: 30% less melee damage. Never hurts. :O)

Evasion: 20% less ranged damage. This'll help protect your Gremlins, Mages & Djinns.

Vitality: Somewhat helpful. But stacks for Academy never get overly large. "decent" choice.

Protection: 15% magic resistance. In combination with Luck's Magic Resistance...nice combo.

Resistance: +2 defense? I'll pass.

Power of Endurance: Odds of getting this normally are VERY high. Avoid.

Comments: This was a toss up between putting this skill here or in the category below. But the basic abilities are too useful to completely ignore. If you're forced to take it, go for the basic 3 abilities. Otherwise, some other choice might prove more useful.

Destructive Magic: With a mediocre spell power, this is a "decent" selection.

Master of Fire: Spell dependent.

Master of Ice: Spell dependent.

Master of Storms: Spell dependent.

Sap Magic: only requires Magic Mirror. 20% reduction in magic damage. Great ability. Recommended.

Fiery Wrath: Extra elemental fire damage on all attacks. Recommended.

Comments: With the automatic usefulness of Sap Magic and Fiery Wrath, I'd suggest going for those 2. With the 3rd choice, wait and see what spells you get in your guild before deciding. They're all useful.

Logistics: Always a useful skill. Speed and movement are usually the biggest keys to success in Heroes.

Navigation: Map dependant. If lots of water with islands...not a poor choice. Otherwise...avoid.

Scouting; Useful, but eliminates the possibility of the combination of the following 3.

Pathfinding: Always useful. But the real key here is that it unlocks the next 2 secondary abilities.

March of the Golems: +2 speed AND initiative. With this you can avoid these perks with Artificer.

Teleport Assault: HUGE asset. Not only grants teleport spell, but teleported troop jumps to the front of the ATB bar. Perfect for blocking ranged attackers/spell casters with golems.

Comments: Always a good choice, and it makes your defensive-minded golems into an offensive force as well.

Luck: Double damage should never be shunned. Solid choice.

Soldier's Luck: Helps to trigger Magic Mirror. Otherwise it's of little use to the wizard.

Magic Resistance: Always a welcome addition. Recommended.

Resourcefulness: With the demands of Artificer, this is a great choice for the Wizard.

Spoils of War: Artificer demands again. And with a main hero, a solid choice. Recommended.

Tears of Asha Vision: Allows room for error when digging for grail. On a main hero...avoid.

Comments: Magic Resistance, Resourcefulness & Spoils of War will greatly help you out...especially with Artificer.

War Machines: With the Master Gremlins you'll never be completely without these, so bolstering them is a great idea.

Ballista: With Flaming Arrows from Attack, the ballista becomes a HUGE weapon with 2 shots too.

First Aid: Gains the resurrection ability. Huge asset for reviving lost Master Gremlins who revive lost Steel Golems and war machines. Fantastic interconnection that works wonders.

Catapult: Helps in sieges considerably, otherwise the usefulness is sporadic.

Remote Control: Nice surprise when it happens, you always forget you've got it. Limited usefulness. Avoid.

Tremors: Catapult handles this quite nicely, and the teleport spell helps too. Avoid.

Comments: Surprisingly effective with the Wizard. Highly recommended for the 3 basic abilities. Perfect set for Havez.

Hero Killers

Dark Magic: Great spell selection but availability is a roll of the dice.

Master of Curse: Mass Weakness & Mass Suffering. Great combo...if you get the spells.

Master of Pain: Area Decay & Area Vulnerability. Another great combo...with the same catch.

Master of Mind: Mass Slow & Mass Confusion. Fantastic ability. But without guaranteed dark spells...*shrugs*

Seal of Darkness: Very limited usefulness. Avoid.

Dark Renewal: Requires Destructive Magic as well. Too restrictive. Avoid.

Comments: If, and this is a very BIG "if", you get the spells this is actually a nice choice. But the odds aren't great. And even if you DO get them...avoid the secondary abilities.

Enlightenment: Overall this is a surprisingly great skill, but the secondary abilities don't mesh well with Wizards.

Intelligence: 50% more mana is just overkill. You'll have more than you need already.

Arcane Intuition: Most spells that you'd want, you'll most likely get due to the library.

Scholar: Limited usefulness.

Wizards Reward: +2 spell power and 1000 gold. No thanks.

Graduate: +2 knowledge and 1000 experience points. Avoid.

Comments: The basic bonuses of Enlightenment are tempting, but the basic & secondary abilities don't help the Wizard at all really. Avoid this one completely.

Leadership: Extra morale is a GREAT bonus, but the abilities....on a main hero....I'll pass.

Diplomacy: Depending on the map, this could be a great ability, but it's too hit-and-miss.

Recruitment: The ultimate garrison hero ability. On a main hero, no thanks.

Estates: Early on, this seems useful. By mid to late game, it's a totally wasted slot.

Artificial Glory: Tempting, but it's not working anyway due to a bug...avoid.

Comments: I completely hate not taking this skill because of how effective morale boosts are, but the abilities totally label this skill "secondary hero skill". Not for a main Wizard.

Sorcery: A magic user who's turn comes around more often. Great, right? Not the best choice for the Wizard though.

Magic Insight: With the library, this is tempting because you'll get an additional spell. But most level 3's require the magic school to be of much use. Tempting though.

Mana Regeneration: Wasted slot for a Wizard. He'll rarely get below half of his mana usage.

Arcane Training: Again, with all that mana, is a spell cost reduction going to help much? Nope.

Counterspell: Marginally useful. If going against a Warlock...not a bad choice. Otherwise, avoid.

Erratic Mana: More spell cost reduction. VERY little use to a wizard.

Comments: Not an absolutely horrible selection, but there are just so many more useful selections that this one had to go down here. If you're forced to take it, go for Magic Insight, Arcane Training, and Counterspell.

Summoning Magic: Phantom Forces, Summon Elementals & Phoenix. "decent" choice.

Master of Earthblood: Not horrible, just too random. Avoid.

Master of Life: For Necro it's great, all others...avoid.

Master of Conjuration: Opponent dependant. If facing Inferno, solid choice due to next option.

Banish: If not facing Inferno or a Summoning expert...avoid.

Wall of Fog: -10% damage and initiative of enemy ranged attackers. Great skill, but you're forced to take several things of limited usefulness.

Comments: If you're forced to take it, go for Wall of Fog. Otherwise there are better choices.

Overall, it's pretty hard to make a really BAD Wizard. They tend to be fairly troop-dependent and the skills are just perks for the most part. But with some careful planning you can really make a formidable force to recon with. Just for fun, here's my most popular set-up when playing Academy.

Havez: Gremlin Master

Starts with all 3 war machines and 3 stacks of Gremlins.

Starting skills: Basic Artificer, Basic War Machines

Skill plan:

Artificer, Mark of the Wizard, Magic Mirror, Consume Artifact

War Machines, Ballista, Catapult, First Aid

Attack, Archery, Flaming Arrows, Cold Steel

Light Magic, Master of Abjuration, Master of Blessings, Master of Wrath

Luck, Magic Resistance, Resourcefulness, Spoils of War

The last skill slot is dependant upon the mage guild selection. If it's poor, then it's...

Logistics, Pathfinding, March of the Golems, Teleport Assault

If we've got a nice matching selection, like both ice spells, then it's...

Destructive Magic, Sap Magic, Fiery Wrath, Master of Ice

To be totally honest, I happened upon this combination totally by accident. My main hero was killed very early on by some rather ruthless Archdruids, and my current back-up hero was Havez. He's been BY FAR my most successful Wizard to date. The effectiveness of the War Machines is phenomenal. Not only do you get them back at the end of combat if you lose them due to the individual abilities, but with the Master Gremlins the area effect damage spells/attacks aren't quite as effective because you can always bring them back at no cost due to the repair ability. With Fiery Wrath and Cold Steel I was adding nearly 100 extra points of damage with every attack. Nice combination IMO.

Once I have a full army, I like to have my Archmagi in one corner and my Master Gremlins in the other. Steel Golems protect the Gremlins while the Titans protect the Archmagi. Djinns and Rakshasa's I leave in the middle. Gargoyles tend to get thrown in where ever I see fit. :O) Rakshasa's get sent over immediately, as do the Steel Golems. If I have teleport assault, it's used on the Golems to block ranged attackers or spellcasters. The First Aid Tent is used to resurrect the Master Gremlins, while the Master Gremlins resurrect the Steel Golems. Titans and Archmagi fire away at the enemy and cut them to shreds. Resurrection at expert level will help you maintain a full compliment of Rakshasas, while Mass Endurance make it very tough for the enemy to damage your 2 melee attackers. Obviously, these tactics will change depending upon the situation, but you get the idea.

Certain neutral stacks should be approached in certain ways. Especially in the early portions of the game.

  • Ranged attackers should be punished with spells and ballistas and Master Gremlins should be left standing on the sidelines.

  • Spell casters can be taken on with Obsidian Gargoyles alone, losing a handful of these is a lot less painful than losing your precious Gremlins or Golems. Spells and the ballista will do most of the work with spell casters.

  • Small melee attackers & fliers should be taken on with 3 stacks of Golems and one stack of Master Gremlins. Surround the gremlins with the golems. Shoot from a distance, cast spells and let the ballista do its work. If they get into melee range with the golems, just defend. Use the Gremlins to repair any killed golems while the spells and ballista take their toll (as do the unlimited retaliations of the golems).

  • Against large creatures (other than dragons) go with one large stack of Master Gremlins and one stack of Steel Golems. Gremlins go in a corner, golems go one step away from them and one step ahead of them. This completely blocks access to the gremlins from a large combatant.

  • Versus dragons, go with one large stack of Master Gremlins and 2 stacks of Steel Golems. Place the gremlins in the corner with one stack of Golems adjacent to them in the back row, then the 2nd stack next to the 1st golem stack. You should end up with a solid row of 3 in the back row in a corner. The middle unit (golem should move forward 2 spaces on his first move, and the golem furthest away from the Gremlins should move forward 1 space. This protects the Gremlins from adjacent attacks from the dragons AND it protects them from the 2-space fire breath attack as well. You will undoubtedly lose quite a few golems in the first round (or several rounds) but if you continually repair them you should be able to survive against overwhelming odds. Spells such as Haste on the Gremlins is a huge help, as is Mass Endurance, Mass Righteous Might and Mass Divine Strength. If your ballista is destroyed, repair it...but only if you've got enough golems to survive one round of attacks. Otherwise, just blast away with spells and your golems retaliation strikes. Oh yeah...and pray...a lot! :O)

Obviously there are many combinations you could play with, but hopefully this is a good starting point or a point of reference for players who are just getting their feet wet with the Academy faction. Until next time, good luck and happy gaming.

Back to Page 1
VAMPSVSZOUNDS at 2011-12-13 16:27 wrote:
In fact,Academy,other than the Titans,should NOT be army-dependant.Summoning is extremely powerful with Academy.
Zailash at 2007-02-20 12:56 wrote:
Thanks a lot winter :)

There's also something else I'd like to know. How do you cope with the randomness (can you say that?) of the perk/skill selection. I played a game as deleb (infernal), where I went all the way to lvl 20 without even getting the ballista... :\ it's kinda redundant to think of strats with that kind of randomness (there I said it again ;) )

winterfate at 2007-02-19 23:21 wrote:
Welcome to the forums, Zailash! ;)

That feature was removed in a later patch (1.3 I think). But, when the game first released, MG's could repair an infinite amount of times each battle.
Zailash at 2007-02-19 21:42 wrote:
I don't see why you guys talk about endless repair. I have never been able to get my MG's to repair my golems more than once

MelloRed at 2006-11-17 16:48 wrote:
I think you are underestimating Arcane Omniscience. Yes it restricts growth, and you have to take some useless things, but it will let you cast at expert level, basically giving you the 9 casting skills free (you already have expert summon), which more then makes up for the few useless skills you do have. It's an investment, but it will pay off.

I also recommend using Jhora, as she can cast more frequently and has the correct starting skills.

Gaidal Cain at 2006-08-07 08:17 wrote:
Hold down shift and drag-and-drop as you'd normally do.
Glitch29 at 2006-08-07 06:47 wrote:
It might be just under my nose, but is there a way to split stacks in this game? I knew how to in HoMMIV, but it eludes me in this newest game.

SmokeyTheBear at 2006-07-25 21:35 wrote:
I considered using Gargoyles before, but being the stingy guy I am, I never recruit them and keep all the gold for other stuff. I feel that other than fighting Druids they would be useless except maybe as retaliation soaker/tank.

However, I have started using Golems against caster neutrals. It is really effective when I used Iron Golems with a creature artifact that gives +Defense. They always shoot my Golems instead of casting and the +Defense helps a lot. Although Golems need 3 turns to reach (maybe 2 with Windstrider boots), they have high Defense and I usually cast Weakness/Suffering on the enemy so I don't lose many of them. Too bad if I bring Gremlins they will ALWAYS target the Gremins.

Sir Charles at 2006-07-25 15:08 wrote:
Ahhhh...the dreaded Druids/Druid Elders. You realize that they're quite EASY to beat, right? When you head into battle with them, leave EVERYONE on the sidelines except your Obsidian Gargoyles. Immune to lightning. So that means that the druids will either go for ranged attacks (which won't hurt very much at long distance when gargs choose defend) or stone spikes (again, nowhere NEAR as devastating as L.B.). Then just defend with the gargs, and wipe them out with spells. If you've got summon elemental, summon one on your first turn...the druids will focus their attacks on them thus lessening your garg-losses even further. But spells combined with the ballista will kill them off rather quickly with VERY minimal losses. Gargoyles DO serve a purpose. :O)

SmokeyTheBear at 2006-07-25 03:12 wrote:
Ah yes I hate losing Mages too, but with 18 hp it is extremely hard to avoid losing one. Archmages have 30 which I think is a real big boost.

I know that all caster creatures work better when split. That's why I absolutely detest fighting neutral Druids/Druid Elders. They are usually split into stacks of three and the Lightning Bolt HURTS AS HELL. Boom! 10 Mages perish Boom! 10 Mages perish. Now I avoid fighting neutral Druids/Mages/Pit Fiends until later on.

However, early on with only 10 Knowledge, you can create creature artifacts that give 47% spell damage reduction. Extremely good for fighting neutral casters as you can build the item and fight them then dismantle the artifact to get the resources back.

Sir Charles at 2006-07-24 23:37 wrote:
@ Labyrinth (jerrie)

Yes actually. There are still several options available in regards to the War Machines/Gremlins. You could split the grems. You only have to repair one point in order to rebuild a war machine. But regardless, with the individual abilities you'll still get them back after combat if you do lose them. The Ballista (the key to this skill IMO) is still VERY durable and to destroy it you'd need either a VERY high level area effect spell OR direct attacks on it. As long as you focus your troops in either corner, area spells tend to miss the ballista. And if the enemy's focusing his attacks on your ballista...*grin*...that's exactly what you WANT him to do. :O) Great skill for this town regardless of the # of repairs. (but I'd still like more repairs *grumble grumble*)

@ caradoc
Thanks, I appreciate it. It's a bit outdated now that the patch is out though. I'm working on some better solutions now that the grem/golem tactic is nerfed and the summon elementals has been weakened. Right now it's looking like leaning more heavily on Sorcery and Magic skills earlier. It's still a work in progress though.

@ Smokey
Splitting caster creatures is always recommended early on. Not just the mages. All casters will deal more damage percentage-wise in smaller groups. Individual units pack the most punch. Unfortunately it's rather hard to organize most times due to the constraints of 7 slots. *shrugs* But you're right...it IS effective.

I've also started going the route of mage dwelling in week one too. It's nearly required with the current set-up. I think it's just a personal quirk of mine that I absolutely HATE to lose my mages, even just ONE, to a neutral stack. But it's pretty much unavoidable now. So I'll just accept it now and move on.

After playing a few games post-patch, it's looking more and more like the premium set-up for Wizards would be something along these lines now.

Luck/resourcefulness/spoils of war/magic resistance
Logistics/pathfinding/march of the golems/teleport assault
Light Magic/Abjuration/blessings/wrath
Sorcery/magic insight/arcane training/counterspell

The last slot is a toss up. You could go the War Machines route, which is surprisingly effective even without the gremlin repair. Or Attack/archery/flaming arrows/cold steel. Pairing these two skills is very effective, but the way things are now, sorcery is almost required. But like I said, I'll continue to play with it.

SmokeyTheBear at 2006-07-24 22:41 wrote:
I'd like to suggest another strategy. By week 2 you can get 10 Mages on Day 1, by building the Mage Tower on Week 1 Day 7. Put all the Gremlins in one stack, Golems if you use them, and split the Mages into as many stacks as possible. The multitude of Fists of Wrath allow you to clear neutrals really easily.

The damage of the Mages' basic Fist of Wrath is 30+(6xSP).
One stack of 10 Mages has 9 SP, so damage is 30+(6x9)=84
Five stacks of 2 Mages each has 2 SP each, so total damage is
The damage output is more than doubled if you split them into five stacks. You also don't get wasted damage i.e. sometimes attacks are overkill. The extra damage can go to other enemy stacks.

You can also do this when they are Archmages and you get even better returns when you cast Fireball and Advanced Fist of Wrath with many stacks of Mages.

Later on in the game this becomes redundant when you want creature artifacts, but it helps in giving a good start.

Caradoc at 2006-07-23 02:46 wrote:
Amazingly good! Maybe the best guide ever.

One other battle tactic worth considering: Since the Gremmies are so fragile, you want to discourage missile fire (especially the Assassin's poison) and spells. A way to do that is to present the AI with what appears to be a better target. This is where your Gargoyles help. Send a couple of sacrificial stacks out on the first round and let them drawfire until your Golems can close. The Gremmies will get off a couple of rounds before the Golems start taking losses.

A second point is that if you start your Mages in a corner, you can leave them exposed and avoid losses due to friendly fire. By concentrating your attack on their side of the battlefield, you can usually hold off attacks. However, it pays to keep one of your tanks within range in case something flies or gates into that corner.

Jerrie at 2006-07-22 19:48 wrote:
Hiya, Chuck!
Are you still recommending war machines without endless MG repair?

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