Mages - the most powerful units on the board

The power of mages - Fireball - Slow - Flameshield - Invisibility - Polymorph - Blizzard - General countermeasures - Human countermeasures - Orcish countermeasures

The power of mages

Mages are helpless in combat even though they are very good at destroying buildings. Unlike death knights, all spells they know are powerful. Due to the wide range of versatile spells, mages rule the board if they are well protected by paladins. Invisibility adds a wholly new dimension to the gameplay and crucially influences the tactics at the castle stage. Don't let the mages just stand around the mage towers, though: separate them so they cannot all be blown up by sappers.

The mage's spells:

Spell Gold Time to research Mana usage Duration Range Shortcut
Fireball - - 100 - 10 F
Slow 500 100 50 25 s (1000 cycles) 10 O
Flameshield 1000 100 80 15 seconds (600 cycles) 6 L
Invisibility 2500 200 200 1 minute (2000 cycles) 6 I
Polymorph 2000 200 200 - 10 V
Blizzard 2000 200 25+ - 12 B

Fireball Fireball icon

This is the only weak spell, and it's given for free because of that. At least it looks nice :-) the damage of a fireball
You can cast a fireball up to 10 matrices away, and will explode four times, damaging the units along its path. The damage is about 40 hit points at the point of the explosions and 20 points adjacent to them. At the beginning and the end, the damage is even less - something around 10. The picture gives a rough impression of what the damage is like. Note that the damage ignores the armor and is dependent from a random value. You will not always be able to kill an archer with a fireball.

Even though you can even attack air units with this spell, it sucks. If you spend 100 mana for a blizzard, you will get far more power for it - at least 100 damage will be inflicted. Because the fireball travels so slowly, it is hard to hit any moving units other than catapults, juggs or gryphons. Use blizzard instead, it is far more versatile and powerful.

Slow Slow icon

This spell slows a unit down to half of it's speed for only 50 mana. It will also reduce the number of attacks to half of the normal value, thus making slow far more powerful than haste. You can't slow down a unit more than once - the timer of the spell will be reset, but it will have no other effect, as with all other "enchantment" spells that last for a while.

A bloodlusted ogre will only do 1.5 times as much damage as a knight when slowed down. After having cast slow on a group of ogres, you can

Slow is also a great spell to cut dragons and juggs to size. Because of its long range, you can cast it from a save distance while your other units finish the dragon/jugg off. On sea battles, slow can help you enormously if you are under attack. Your ships will be able to attack twice (and probably sink the target) while the enemy can attack only once (you will still have your ships left to attack the next one after the first one is sunk). Slow gives you a huge advantage on sea battles that take place near a shore where you have mages. Of course you should blizzard the ships if your ships are save. If a ship tries to escape, you can cast slow on it to hold it back.

Flame Shield Flame Shield icon

Flame shield is a funny, but not too powerful spell, probably the weakest spell you can research. Usually, Blizzard does the job much better. You can cast it on a unit, and a ring of flames will surround it that will hurt all other units standing close to it. What is surprising is that you can injure air units with this spell. You can actually use a peasant to take down a flyer like this ;-)

Since the shield will not protect its target with better armor, its defense value for ballistas, mages and demo squads is not high enough. You had better use knights to defend a ballista or mage. Demo squads will be attacked anyway, and the mana for the shield will be wasted.

You should not cast flame shield on your knights because they will hurt each other in combat. Cast it on enemy ogres instead to separate them :-)

Flame shield is pretty cool combined with invisibility. Unless you attack with the enchanted unit, you will get some damage for free. A destroyer or a peasant can damage the enemies like this, but it is not too effective. It's pretty annoying for the enemy though :-) It is also funny to cast that spell on critters. Ever seen a burning sheep taking down peons?

Invisibility Invisibility icon

This is the most scary human spell, base of all the dirty tricks. It makes a unit invisible for a very long time, and unless the unit attacks or casts spells, it will remain entirely undetectable for the enemy. No enemy units, even not death knights or flyers, can see the invisible units (unless they are controlled by the computer). Sappers can't be enchanted with this spell (they will die) because this combo would be too devastating. All other units can be, though.

Invisibility is the mother of all sneak attacks. Use it on a paladin to exorcise death knights, on mages to sneak into the peon mining line and blizzard the enemy peons. The latter is devastating since the opponent can't protect himself against it by scouting (you must have some of your units, towers or archers, watching near the mine to kill the mage as soon as the blizzard has started). Invisible flyers make perfect scouts, although they are a bit costly.

You can even cast it on a peon to build towers or walls in the mining line or at other crucial spots in the city. The timer will keep running during the building process, but your peon will be able to build at least two towers with invisibility on. The towers will be visible of course, but you can at least sneak behind the defense line.

Invisibility is the key spell on sea maps. Invisible transports are the reason why (good) human players rule the sea. There is not much you can do against six sappers suddenly appearing at your shore and wreaking havoc. A group of paladins or mages can sneak into the enemy territory in an invisible transport. There are no limitations for the transport - since it cannot attack, the spell will last until the time is over, and that is long enough to cover even long distances. If you want to get back safely, too, you must use another mage to cast invisibility again; I'd rather maximize the damage and use all units for the attack, though.

Polymorph Polymorph icon

Polymorph is the easiest way to get rid of organic enemies. Poof, and the expensive dragon is turned into a critter! Because the spell costs 200 mana, you should only use it on dragons and other mages or death knights. For stopping ogres, slow is much more effective. Slow "stops a half a unit" for a while for 50 mana while polymorph stops one unit for 200 mana - so slow is more economical (and you are much more likely to have a mage with 50 than one with 200).

The enemy will not get a warning for the polymorphed units, and the spell's range exceeds the sight range of any unit. Thus polymorph can easily be used for sneak attacks - unless your opponent is scouting the area, you won't even have to use invisibility. The cool thing is that your opponent might not notice for a while that some sheep have joined his ranks :-)

Blizzard Blizzard icon

This spell has a very long range and does lots of damage. It easily levels towers and walls and it can kill many units. Because it is such a powerful spell and used by both races, I've made an extra page for it.

General countermeasures

It is obvious that any player should get rid of the opponent's mages first. Depending on the race, the means to do so are quite different.

Both races are equally vulnerable to invisible blizzard attacks in the peon line or other critical spots. A good way to reduce the damage these mages can do is to put a few archers and a tower or a catapult near your mine. After the mage has turned visible, these units will quickly finish him off. Make sure they don't block mining peons; and be aware that towers or catapult also make a nice target for a blizzard.

You should also use sappers to take out mage towers. A mage tower has only 500 hit points, so a single sapper can take out a mage tower that is in flames; two sappers will take out an intact mage tower. Of course you should not expect your opponent to have only one mage tower.

Mages are helpless in melee battles. A mage is an easy target unless he casts blizzard around himself and/or is protected by paladins that keep on healing him. In this case, go for the paladins that heal, not for the mage! This is simply because the mage won't be able to cast blizzard any longer on your units or his units are doomed to die as well. And the paladins must stop healing or they will die quickly.

Human countermeasures

Orcish countermeasures

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