Nature / Preserve Tactics
The game's defensive town, Haven, is at its best when it draws the attacker towards it, as with an attacking Preserve line up consisting of Phoenixes, Griffins, and Mantises. However, against a spellcasting combination of Faerie Dragons and Water Elementals, Haven are easy to break down, especially if they haven't chosen their ranged attackers. Clearly, the spell Fireball should be used by the Faerie Dragons to completely destroy Nature's Priest hero and any others around it. Preserve's biggest threat is Life's ranged attackers, as they are able to shoot at will against a more passive army. Preserve will always have the speed advantage as well (aside from Angels against Water Elementals) and therefore Sprites are able to disable the Crossbowmen, but the Ballistae are problematic because Wasp Swarm does not affect them. Instead, the Druid hero can summon some Air Elementals, who are insubstantial and can block the path of the Ballista due to their speed. Pikemen can be easily picked off by White Tigers, while Unicorns should be able to defeat Crusaders if blind is in effect - though Griffins are better for this combat, as they can prevent Monks from having an influence, and are also far more powerful than Crusaders. If they are bombarded, they always have unlimited retaliation up their sleeve, and the tactics Druid is able to cast snake strike on it as well.
Creature to Use: White Tiger, Griffin, Faerie Dragon, Water Elemental (CP).
Spells: Fireball (FD), Ice Bolt (WE), Summon Air Elementals, Snake Strike.
This is a case where superior magic on the half of the Academy forces the Preserve to go with an attacking formation, which it is very capable of. The choice between Faerie Dragons and Phoenix is difficult here, as the former can reflect spells, while the latter is needed against Titans. While on most occasions the result will be inconsequential, it is too difficult to overlook Faerie Dragons' magic mirror, which effectively prevents the enemy hero from casting spells on it, and is devastating against Magi's magic fist and Genies' ice bolt. Faerie Dragons can easily take the opposing Mage hero out of the combat early due to good speed, (made more likely by good tactic skill) and destroy Magi. In general, it would be better to have a ranged option against the Order town, but, for fear of forgetfulness, this is usually not possible, and too big a risk to take, considering elves are weaker than some level 1s in hand to hand combat. White Tigers must be chosen, but even they can become ineffective through the use of slow. Unicorns are perhaps slightly more favourable in this scenario due to their blind specialty. This can prevent a powerful spellcaster from attacking, and the beauty is that they are disabled for 3 turns! The Wasp Swarm and Confusion spells are again useful (the same as Song of Peace) to prevent the Genie from casting a similar spell, and, due to your tactics skill, your Druid should always act first. Additionally, if you do decide to choose Phoenixes, anti-magic can be cast on them to prevent any spells from the opposing side. This can be cast on Unicorns if Faerie Dragons are chosen. Additionally Water Elementals are very similar to genies, but instead can destroy the enemy hero first (if not already done by the Faerie Dragons) followed by the stack of Magi and Genies.
Creatures to Use: White Tiger, Unicorn, Faerie Dragon, Water Elemental (CP).
Spells: Fireball (FD), Confusion (FD), Wasp Swarm, Ice Bolt (WE), Anti-Magic.
Against the powerful Asylum, generally assume the opponent will choose Black Dragons (though the outcome should be the same for Hydras) instantly preventing you from choosing Faerie Dragons, who are completely forlorn in melee combat. Phoenix, on the other hand, have fire resistance, many more hit points, deal more damage, and have the breath attack which makes them a much better physical choice than the spellcasting Faerie Dragon. Additionally, spells such as Dragon Strength can be cast on the flaming birds so they can match blows with the Black Dragons. Indeed, Efreeti and Phoenixes cancel each other out somewhat, but Efreeti or Nightmares are best left to Griffins, who should provide a good fight for both creatures. But, in the case of Nightmares, they should first be swarmed by wasps to enable your creatures to develop before they inevitably cast terror at some point during combat. If the case arose where Dragon Strength was not available, Mantises are a great battlefield auxiliary; helping the Phoenix to succeed in its skirmish with Black Dragons, in the case of Hydras, this is not needed, but welcomed nonetheless. A major threat for the Preserve town is that of the Medusae. Nature's forces are completely open to stone gaze. In this case, it is particularly helpful if the second Druid also has wasp swarm to cancel them out, but if not, they should be targeted by Griffins and White Tigers when they arrive (Summoning Air Elementals is the best option if the Druid is inactive). The Sorcerer hero can be easily disposed of by the Archer hero, who can then focus on exploiting the short range penalty of Orcs. The Quicksand spell is an effective way of impeding the progress of Nightmares, so that they don't get involved in melee combat quickly.
Creatures to Use: White Tiger, Griffin, Phoenix, Mantis (CP).
Spells: Dragon Strength, Wasp Swarm, Quicksand, Summon Air Elementals.
Against a quick town such as yourself, attaining the speed advantage is paramount. Druids are likely to cast quicksand to stop walkers, while spellcasters are also a threat from Water Elementals and Faerie Dragons.
Variant 1: Elves, Unicorns, Faerie Dragons, Water Elementals.
This is a fairly simple combat, which can be easily won merely by getting the first strike in. In most cases, Snake Strike would be favourable (if your Druid acts before your Mantises, cast it on them) but since the defense of the spellcasting creatures is so weak compared to the attacking flair of your own Phoenixes and Mantises, there shouldn't be a problem in severely depleting the numbers of spellcasters. The Phoenix will always move before Faerie Dragons, while Mantises act before Water Elementals. Keep your creatures in a loose formation to minimise the damage of Fireball, while cast anti-magic on your Phoenixes to completely nullify any spells the Faerie Dragons, Druid or Water Elementals may want to cast on them. The opposing Druid can be taken care of by your archer, while Griffins should attempt to attack their counterpart. Elves are more effective here, as they have the chance to shoot at any creature at will after the bind of the Mantis.
Creature to Use: Elf, Griffin, Phoenix, Mantis (CP).
Spells: Anti-magic, Snake Strike.
Variant 2: White Tigers, Griffins, Phoenix, Mantis.
This is a difficult combat, as both armies should have the same creatures to become most effective. This comes down to a battle of the heroes - where they essentially allow the creatures to fight amongst themselves. The key to this combat is speed, and whosever Druid or Archer acts first has the initiative to control the battle and make the first move. If possible, Wasp Swarm should be the first spell cast - on the opposing Druid Hero. Your Archer now has the opportunity to act before the opposing Druid, and can eliminate him with his ranged attack. However, you must also use your Phoenix to engage the opposing Phoenix and at the same time block the line of sight of the enemy Archer hero so that he is not able to dispose of your Druid. If the enemy Phoenix decides to kill your Druid, the battle becomes easier, as it is bombarded by all types of creatures - but most importantly, the archer hero. Opposing Griffins are a problem for your Phoenix, and they should therefore be bound at first opportunity by your Mantises. It is likely the same will happen with your own griffins, but you have the added bonus of the Archer to defuse the situation. White Tigers are can be stopped too easily for this combat through quicksand, and even if they are not, they take two turns to have an immediate effect. In this battle of speed, the Elf is preferred to gain the upper hand at the beginning of combat, by killing enemy elves that may be a threat to your heroes. This combat illustrates the importance of speed and first strike.
Creatures: Elf, Griffin, Phoenix, Mantis (CP).
Spells: Wasp Swarm, Mass Snake Strike, Summon Phoenix (later).
The most immediate threat from the Stronghold are their Cyclopes. Faerie Dragons are marginally better choices against the Stronghold due to the fact that your creature need not engage them, and their limited protection against magic, though the hero is likely to be 50-100% resistant. This is the reason why Mantises are chosen over Water Elementals for this combat. Your own Druid hero should cast Dragon Strength on the Mantises to give them an advantage against the Barbarian hero. Faerie Dragons should cast Lightning on the Cyclopes (or Fireball if they are not in the line of sight) while the tactics Druid can cast wasp swarm, and this combination should continue until they are defeated. Thunderbirds are troublesome, but should be targeted by the Archer aswell as your Griffins, who, together, should be able to contain them sufficiently. White Tigers are suitable against Harpies, but against Nomads, they struggle, so Quicksand should be cast to buy time for creatures to finish their primary objectives before meeting to engage Berserkers and Nomads - two of their most influential low level creatures. This will also allow Wolves to enter the combat if they are included in your army.
Creatures to Use: White Tiger, Griffin, Faerie Dragon, Mantis (CP).
Spells: Wasp Swarm, Dragon Strength, Quicksand, Lightning (FD), Fireball (FD).
The Necropolis army are in many ways the opposite of the Preserve, especially in spells, where they attempt to cancel or curse, while the Preserve summon and bless. Death possesses one of the very few creatures that are able to compete with Nature's griffin, the Vampire. Unicorns do not have enough hit points for a battle against vampires, while creatures such as the sprite and the wolf should be left out altogether due to their tendency to act as first aid tents for Vampires. White Tigers are the better option than Elves, as the latter will come under attack from the very quick Necropolis army, including Imps, Ghosts, Vampires, and Bone Dragons/Devils. White Tigers at least will always strike first, making them more wary of launching into an attack against it. Devils can be particularly painful in wiping out a Druid or Archer hero in the first turn, but their low speed (for their level) means that this can be prevented by the use of Wasp Swarm. The Phoenix is more versatile in this situation, as it is able to deal more damage than both a Devil and a Bone Dragon, as well as not allowing them to escape. Griffins are a better choice due to their unlimited retaliation, something that is likely to be exercised against an aggressive Necropolis army. Your own Archer should try to eliminate the enemy Lich before spells like Plague and Poison become a constant menace. The slots made vacant by the Wolves and Sprites should be taken up by an extra hero, and of course, the Mantis, that provides extra support against Vampires - binding them down so they are not able to life drain at will. Once the threat of the enemy Lich and Devils are removed, summoning spells can be cast to sap retaliation from Vampires, as well as break down the incorporeal Ghosts.
Creatures to Use: No level 1s, White Tiger, Griffin, Phoenix, Mantis (CP).
Spells: Wasp Swarm, Any Summoning spell.