Chaos / Asylum Tactics

Haven

Haven are quite a slow army, especially if ballistae are chosen in a siege situation, which would be favourable. This speed advantage gives Chaos the incentive to attack first. Haven are a balanced faction, focusing mainly on blessing their own units to make them stronger. The optimum combination against the Haven would be Medusae, Efreeti, and Black Dragons to exploit the speed disadvantage they carry. Especially in siege combat, where the latter two can fly over the walls of the town. Haven are also strong in the area of mobility (once their turn comes) through the use of rangers and faster creatures like the Angel and Champion. Efreeti and Dragons can cross the battlefield quickly and neutralise enemy shooters, employing the occasional use of bloodlust and first strike to make these blitzkrieg tactics more effective. If the enemy cannot be reached, use orcs to draw the retaliatory shots from the ranger by waiting with your Medusa and then attacking later. Angels and Champions should be targeted by the Black Dragon, while the Efreet should fly to the Ballistae or Monks, goading the use of the fire shield, as the rangers won't be able to effectively attack elsewhere due to their slowness. If need be, spell shackle can also be cast to prevent the casting of spells such as Chaos Ward or Resurrection, which is a fair trade in sacrifice for bloodlust and first strike.

Creatures to Use: Medusae, Efreeti, Black Dragons.

Spells: Spell Shackle, Bloodlust/frenzy, First Strike.

Academy

The Academy are renowned for having spells to dissect any army, especially considering the availability of two prolific creature spellcasters in addition to the Mage hero. Therefore, the best tactic would be to not let them use these spells, or make them as ineffective as possible. Among the most powerful spells in Order's numerous arsenal are Create Illusion/Phantom Image, Blind, Flight, and Forgetfulness. The most obvious way to counteract these spells is by using the Black Dragon, which has the huge benefit of being 100% immune to spells. Secondly, the Nightmare is a must for its terror ability, sometimes split into 2-3 stacks since bandits and orcs won't play much of a part in the battle. Terror will disable a couple of their spellcasters for 2 turns, giving you time to whittle away at their forces with Medusae. The weakness Order inherit through the use of spellcasters is low HP. Genies have 60, while Mages have a mere 16! It is best to attack the creature with the lowest Hit Points/defense in the ratio of HP/Def : Damage Potential, this means you are using the same damage but attacking a creature that could do more damage to you. For example, a Mage and a Genie both deal .3 damage per hit point with Magic Fist and Ice Bolt respectively, but, the Mage's inferior defense means you will do more damage to it, thus removing more damage potential. Generally, look for the creature with lower HP and defense. Thus, the first target should be the Magi, followed by Genies, and finally the Titans, who should be first attacked by orcs then Medusas to kill as many through Stone Gaze as possible. The preferable option would be to block them with Black Dragons while attacking Magi. Your Sorcerer can simply use direct damage spells against Order, but, if the Order opponent uses spells such as slow, cowardice, and forgetfulness, the best option would be to counter with cancellation and dispel magic, which frees up your own creatures to cast terror. Even before Magi are attacked, if there is a Spellcasting hero, he/she should be defeated first, or at least disabled first by the nightmares. Additionally, your heroes should be equipped with resistance against such an army.

Creatures to Use: Medusae, Nightmares, Black Dragons.

Spells: Cancellation, Dispel, Fire Ring/ball.

Asylum

A fairly common assurance can be made that the opposing Chaos army will have Medusae. In fact, both armies will be evenly matched in strength and power. If the enemy has Hydras, exploit the magic susceptibility they have by using Misfortune or simply casting spells such as lightning. Attacking Hydras can be left until last due to their low speed rating. But, if your own army has Hydras, focus on using haste, bloodlust, and cat reflexes to propel them into action in the centre of the battlefield. Opposing Efreeti should be attacked from a long range where their fire shield cannot deal any damage back. A Fireguard is the optimal choice of hero, as it is resistant to the fire attacks of Black Dragons and Efreeti. Orcs are again useful in drawing the retaliatory shots away from the Medusae, aswell as dealing harmful damage to Black Dragons or Efreeti that may have penetrated your defence. The key to the battle is speed and the impetus for attack. In this case, a Thief is a welcome ally to speed up your units, and also deal ranged damage to Efreeti. Hydras are also a wise choice because they will discourage an onslaught of Efreeti and Black Dragons. In a siege situation, Medusae should be taken care of first, followed by the Magic Hero. The Black Dragons are the target for defending Hydras, while Efreeti or Nightmares can be engaged by their respective counterpart, generally a ranger for the Efreet, as well as non-fire based direct damage spells.

Creatures to Use: Medusae, Nightmares/Efreeti, Hydras.

Spells: Cat Reflexes, Haste, Bloodlust/frenzy, Lightning.

Preserve

The Preserve Town is an unknown quantity in battle, thanks to the Creature Portal, which allows them to recruit an additional creature that suits the player's style. The opponent could opt for magical approach with the Faerie Dragon/Water Elemental Combination, or focus on speed and damage with Phoenix/Mantis. The Mantis has a poorer growth rate than other level 4s, 1.1 per week, while the Waspwort has a growth of 7, but you would encounter it at sieges where it doesn't slow down the army.

In the case of a more magical formation, Black Dragons should be the obvious choice. They nullify the Faerie Dragons and the Magic Hero, while the Water elementals are very average without their spells. Again Medusae are vital for this battle as the Minotaur's physical block only works against physical attacks, and the Medusae are able to inflict their petrifying stone gaze on the Faerie Dragons. Almost all of Preserve's units can be spellcasters or flyers, so it is impossible to match their speed. When the two sides do engage, Efreeti are more likely candidates against Griffins due to their fire shield than Nightmares. Once again, Spell shackle is an invaluable spell against a spellcasting army, especially when they are quite ineffective without them. Magic Mirror can also be cast as a secondary defense (attack is the best form of defense) against their spellcasters.

Creatures to Use: Medusae, Efreeti, Black Dragons.

Spells: Spell Shackle, Magic Mirror.

In the second variant of the Preserve army, creatures such as the Phoenix, Mantis, Waspwort and Fire Elemental arise, the focus being attacking the enemy as quickly as possible. The Phoenix will always attack first, but it is its ability of fire resistance that precludes the use of the Black Dragon and the Efreet, along with the fire resistance of the Fire Elemental. It is much more economical to choose the Hydra in this scenario, even though it is possible to swarmed by wasps, or cut off somewhat by quicksand, its no-retaliation ability doesn't allow the Phoenix to over-exercise its breath attack, while also making the Phoenix's fire resistance ability useless. The Nightmare, as always, can terrorise the opponent, and since the Efreeti suffers from the same fire resistance problem, the Nightmare should be chosen in this case. Effective spells to consider here are mass first strike, so that when creatures such as the phoenix get the first attack in, you will be effectively reversing the order, and making their speed ineffectual. Mass Slayer is always useful against an army with more than 1 level 4 creature.

Creatures to Use: Medusae, Nightmares, Hydras.

Spells: Mass First Strike, Mass Slayer.

Stronghold

Due to their lack of spells, the Stronghold army can only attack through physical means. However, it can become very mobile through the combination of Harpies, Cyclopes, and Thunderbirds, which are the usual choice. To somewhat counteract this mobility, Black Dragons should be used, firstly to defeat the Thunderbirds (since their lightning attack does not work), and then to prevent the Cyclopes from using their area attack, restricting them to their weaker melee. Nightmares can be used to disable the cyclopes on the first turn, while this is one case where either Minotaurs and Medusae can be chosen. Minotaurs can block the oncoming attacks, but Medusae are preferred from an aggressive standpoint. The freedom of no rival spellcaster allows you to use direct damage spells on berserkers and centaurs that could come into play within a few turns.

Creatures to Use: Medusae/Minotaurs, Nightmares, Black Dragons.

Spells: Fire Ring/Ball, Bloodlust/frenzy, Confusion

Necropolis

This battle is unpredictable. The choices in the Necropolis town ask for a very different approach strategy.

Variant 1: The Necropolis: Ghost, Vampire, Bone Dragon.
All of these three units are quite quick and in order to put them out of order, one must begin to cast spells, since that really is the most effective way to dispose of them. Cast Mass First Strike so the Vampire does not gainthe upperhand in life draining. Medusae are very ineffective in this battle, since these creatures are undead, and a couple are skeletal and insubstantial. Therefore, neither of its specialties are effective (same goes for Terror). Minotaurs can prevent a life-drain attack, and are good defenders. Attacking a vampire with a weaker creature wonít do any good, since it will often gain more health and deal more damage to you, so itís a loss to attack. It is not logical to attack a ghost since it is insubstantial, and attacking a bone dragon from a range is not effective because of its 100% bonus. Also, a bone dragon is very strong in a melee, beaten only by the Black Dragon. Watch out for the Plague spell, and Vampiric Touch, and for this reason, try not to bring Bandits or Orcs into combat - they are a magnet for Vampires. Casting Cat Reflexes on your offensive Efreeti is a must for disposing of their Vampires and hero.

Creatures to Use: No Level 1's!, Minotaurs, Efreeti, Black Dragons

Spells: Inferno/Fire Ring, Cat Reflexes, Bloodlust

Variant 2: The Inferno: Cerberus, Venom Spawn, Devil
In the Inferno variation, abilities like stone gaze and terror become useful again, as do ranged attacks. Medusae can easily defeat Cerberi, but they are not a priority in the early game. The only Chaos creature that can match the Devil in movement is the Black Dragon, and even then it falls short. The Devil's teleport effect can be lessened if the Black Dragon moves first (7 vs 7 speed). Venom Spawn and Siege towers are a deadly combination, so Terror is needed to disable them first while Orcs draw their retaliation and the medusae pick as many off as possible with their stone gaze. Bandits are able to hold the Cerberi, while their Lich hero should be defeated within the first 2 turns using lightning or fire bolt.

Creatures to Use: Medusae, Nightmares, Black Dragons.

Spells: Fire Bolt, Lightning, Exorcism (If possible).

Thanks to The_Hydra (Heroes 5 Content Admin, Heroes Community Moderator) for writing the tactics.