Life / Haven Strategy
The Haven has an extremely low body of flyers and spellcasters, the Angel being the only one out of the 10 Haven creatures to possess those abilities. The Haven has a large number of shooters and walkers, 4 and 5 respectively, making for a more conservative battle strategy than other towns. The Haven creatures also have a rather low HP count.
The crossbowmen’s no range penalty certainly sets it apart as a ranged attacker from the likes of orcs and centaurs. Not a massive Hit Point count, but it also means it saves the hero a turn instead of casting precision on them. Crossbowmen are the basic archer unit of the town, and one of the town's strong creatures. Unfortunately, they can be slow on the adventure map, so they best serve in a siege situation.
Squires are the only creatures that are able to stun an opponent after engaging them. This is a useful ability, likened to Song of Peace, and makes the Squire a valued object in the hands of a Life player. Their stun can prevent a powerful creature from penetrating the defences and causing added trouble. It also leaves them open to attack for one turn.
The Ballista is a very competent level 2 ranged attacker, but it almost suicide taking it with you on the adventure map due to its abysmal movement. It is an effective shooter in sieges due to its no obstacle penalty, and its no range penalty which make it ideal to attack creatures in towers. They are also mechanical, meaning they are resistant to spells such as poison and plague, a useful ability against a death army.
Pikeman are excellent defensive creatures because they do not approach the creature as they attack. They attack from a distance and therefore almost always get the first strike. Pikeman are a faster alternative than the ballista, and are also more resistant to attack due to their hit points. Pikeman are less resistant to magic than ballistae, which may prove decisive against a Necromancer.
Crusaders have the luxury of attacking twice in one turn, by far their best ability. A Crusader with Cat Reflexes works wonders, however it is hard to get. Crusaders have death ward, another timely bonus against a necropolis town. Crusaders are effective attackers, but only have 65 HP each, making them slightly flimsy despite their masses of armour.
Monks are weaker creature, with a meagre 55 HP, has much lower speed and statistics than the Crusader, and even does less damage over a single shot. On top of this, it has a melee penalty, and is similarly slow over the adventure map. It has no notable abilities except for death ward, and the Haven already has an array of shooters before it. However, if you're a defensive player, the Monk is the creature for you.
The Angel is the only creature who has truly superb statistics in terms of speed and movement. A perfect 30 on the adventure map, coupled with a speed of 10 and a combat movement of 15, the Angel is very quick indeed. It is strong in all areas, and can also cast resurrection. Its 20 spell points make it a target for imps, but it has 230 HP to rest on. It is obviously a flyer the town's sole campaigner in this cause.
The Champion is a very quick creature, too, but is the weakest creature in a one on one contest. Thankfully, it has a growth rate of 4 so this need never arise. It is cheap to recruit, but it simply does not have enough special abilities or adventure map movement to prove a threat to the Angel. Despite received an extra 2 champions per week, the Angel offers the resurrection ability as well as much needed speed and movement. The champion may be recruited on maps with a shortage of crystal mines.
The two main heroes of the Life town are Knights and Priests. Additionally, due to its neighbouring alignments, the Haven can also recruit a Lord, a Mage, a Druid, and an Archer. Herein lies the gold-making benefits of having Order as an ally. The Archer and the Knight are two similar classes, and either could pursue an interest in archery or melee combat.
The Knight is a versatile class, specialising in combat and tactics to become a powerful warrior in combat. The Knight is the physical combat-class of the Haven town, capable of dealing damage through ragned attacks or melee. The Knight begins with tactics, a very welcome boost to the speed and movement of the creatures in the Life town. Tactics are especially needed in the beginning of the game where it is important to develop your army and take as many resources as possible. This is complemented by a ranged attack, meaning you will lose less units in combat against neutral creatures. Future classes may include the general class, which gains a much needed 2 morale so that Life creatures have a chance to attack first, and disregarding their speed. It is also beneficial if the Knight hero learns basic or advanced life magic to work in coexistence with the Priest hero, offering support with spells such as Bless, Defender, Song of Peace, and various Wards. These small spells cast in combat can take the strain off the Priest hero, who is able to cast more effective spells such as Prayer.
The Priests are the magic heroes of the Haven town, but are also, surprisingly, combat heroes like the Knight. Priests specialise in blessing and healing magic, and are thus suited to a more defensive existance, allowing the creatures to do the attacking. (In Equilibris, it is able to cast endurance, adding 3 to movement on the adventure map). The Priest should not stick only to Life Magic, but investing in tactics in a bid to further increase the movement of the army and creatures within it, and to give it the first attack on many occasions by granting the Priest maximum morale - the Crusader class. It also creates a more durable Priest, as tactics is required for offense, which help to make the Priest a well-rounded hero beside the Knight. Resurrection should always be one of the top priorities for a Priest, as it is this skill that allows the army to retain its instruments of attack, and encourages the player to become more attacking and make use of his/her Crusader or Angels. The higher the resurrection skill of the Priest, the more aggressive the player can afford to be in combat.
Premier Resources: Crystal, Wood, Ore.
The Haven is a town that does not require as much precious resources as other towns, making it easier to find resources to build structures, as normal resources are guarded less heavily, and double the amount are produced every day. The level 3 dwelling of the Haven town can be bought moderately early, on day 3, favourable resources permitting. This can be achieved through the combination of Guardhouse, Abbey, Monastery in that order. This amounts to a total of only 10,250 gold, a smaller amount than most other castles. If the Order of Paladins to Barracks combination is used, no precious resources need be collected, something which can be difficult for a slow army.
While the Angel is the superior creature when compared to the Champion, the requirements for their dwelling are exorbitant and of less importance than that of the Champion. The Altar of Light needs the Seminary, which, in itself, is an expensive structure of 5,750 gold, as well as 4 precious resources. The Altar of light needs 27 precious resources, while the Training Grounds and its pre-requisite, the Stables, do not need any at all, but do require 50 wood. While the Seminary is a useful structure, especially when helping you to achieve various hero classes, the stables should have already been built long before the level 4 structure, while the Seminary is bought only after a hero has specialised in a various skill and needs to expand. Despite the great disparity and difficulty in purchasing the level 4 structures of Haven, on a resource rich map, Angels should be recruited, but, on a small map that is not does not have a plentiful amount of precious resources, Champions are quicker to develop and more effective in a short game.
When comparing the Haven's unique structures, they are quite varied and have very different uses. They are indeed extremely helpful to the Haven's cause. The Stables is a given building when beginning the game. It is cheap, and provides an extra 5 movement points for an entire week! This greatly offsets Haven's speed deficit early in the game. The Abbey is helpful for gaining the upper hand in combat, even if it is against a neutral creature stack in the earlygame. The Seminary, while not as vital in the beginning game, is a great convenience for the player's heroes to co-ordinate their skills so that they are more versatile in combat. An additional bonus is that the same, pertinent skills are available one every occasion.
Standardised Build Order
Day 1: Stables
Day 2: Guardhouse/Ballista Works
Day 3: Order of Paladins
Day 4: Barracks
Day 5: Abbey
Total army movement on the adventure map is Haven's biggest downfall. The adventure map army movement of the Haven town is the slowest of any town, greatly compromising its ability to develop early in the game and be successful at smaller maps (somewhat discouraging the recruition of the Champion). Of the Haven creatures, there is no surprise the Angel yields the greatest movement (30) followed by the Champion (25) - but you can only choose 1, then a 6 point drop to Monks, Crusaders, Crossbowmen, Squires, and Pikemen, all on 19. If we compare this average, 17.4, to that of the Necropolis, 26.6, there is a disparity of 9.2 movement points. This is why the Stables are crucial for early game development. Even after the purchase of the stables, Haven are still a a good deal slower than the Necropolis at scouring the adventure map, and, the Haven does not have the help of the Thief. However, Haven has the Lord, which should be bought in week 2 if possible, and can begin to generate income through estates, and excel in the pathfinding ability to aid the army in its movement over the map, and act as Haven's adventure map hero that they sorely miss.
Haven's slow movement sometimes prompts players to build precious resource free buildings and go for the quick option in town development of Pikemen, Monks, and Champions, which can be purchased within the second week with a gold mine (depending on the difficulty setting). Haven's speed in smaller maps can be overcome in this fashion, but, in larger maps, it is worth the effort of developing the Lord hero and making long-term investments of the Altar of Light, as this way army movement slowly increases, and the army suffers less losses, which can also lead to expansion into other skills for the Priest hero.