(1) Scout - Have runners and bees/bats everywhere... the more you see the more sound your game play will be. If you have runners placed(defended) here and there throughout your homeland. Just by simple clicking on army report you'll be able to see almost everything, as the runners viewing range will clear all the fog your cities do not. Similarly, kill enemy scouts if possible w/o showing and compromising too much of your own strength.
(2) Fight Order - Change fight order corresponding to what I am attacking. Fiddle with my own just for fun to give my opponent different 'looks'- so he will need to scout me to see what I will look like next, ie, Hero/Green/6 UBs vs. nasty trample stack- put your green drag up front. Sure, you may lose your drag, but that's better than all your Undead Beasts.
(3) My hero shall die on MY terms attacking a city or in the open or defending in a city. Move your hero near the very end of turn and always consider his vulnerability.
(4) Army Set - Have an army set that can cope with any enemy set and ANY situation. Avoid penalties and redundancy in making your army set. Though don't rely on anything in your set, learn to adjust to minor flaws. If you have only one fear unit (ie. green drags) in your set, make a point of building them early. If you need mana, take mana crystals in a sage preferential to almost anything else (even allies). Also, a +1 crystal per quest adds up.
(5) Make keyboard shortcuts that are handy and easy to remember. Edit your keys.w3 file. I have 'a' for army report, 'm' for mana report, 'f' for fight order and so forth. This way I can see all kinds of info fast and without error. I am no better than anyone else- I only make better choices because in general I have more information.
(6) Spread out as fast as you can . - Take the biggest chunk of the map. The more targets you possess makes it difficult for you to be systematically eliminated by strong stacks and heroes (especially if very far apart). I use elf cav + 3 bee stacks and attack cities with but +1 city defense. This way, 90% of the time, I will be able to get far reaching cities very quickly. Chickens, Unicorns + Rats, 5 peasants, etc, are all kinds of stacks which can be sent to very distant locales to establish cities quickly and at minimal cost
(7) Defense - Have strong defense in cities only as appropriate- otherwise a few runners is fine. The object here to assess what your cities defense is meant for: (A) to defend vs. bees/bats, lone runners or rats etc-(B) to defend vs. good non-hero stacks (w/ or w/o trample)-(C) vs. hero stacks. For A), all you need is 1 or 2 runners - having more accomplishes nothing, as even 32 runners won't beat a good non-hero stack (requiring a (B) type city defense). If a hero is nearby one of your cities don't put up a defense that's of (B) quality. Raze it, or support it by teleporting your hero in, moving Assassins in and so forth. Of course there are shades of quality, but the basic point is there.
(8) Vectoring - If I capture a city, it'll take 2 turns or my entire army to get there by vectoring. So I'll take it out with a few seconds left to give my opponent essentially only 1 turn to get there (as he'll have almost no time to react that turn). Similarly, if you are about to attack a city which I've owned for 2 turns with your hero... assume the worst and I have all my Assassins there.
(9) Quests - Do mediums from turn 1 onwards, unless you get a Warrior. If the latter, then do 1 med, then take easies ever after. This way you are more likely to stay in a city to end your turn (for Renown) and you'll get up in level faster (by taking Tomes). Once up to Renown +4/5, sit his ass in a city and let your new heroes do the questing. Further, when possible, do easy quests with new and weak heroes in between your main hero stack(s) medium questing. 95% of the time they can be finished that same turn (or at worst 1.5 turns).Ie. If your main hero had 2 moves left, give an easy to another hero. It'll cost you nothing, but you are almost certain to have a newer hero become stronger. And don't forget to 'Reveal Hidden Ruin' as a reward- its nasty.
(10) Bonuses - Finally, object of the game: combine bonuses. Non-hero stacks apply pressure and can do equal or more damage than hero stacks. I remember once DrDommo's super hero stack attacked a 8 non-hero stack of mine, and I didn't even take a hit.Hope that helps, Hugh
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